The whole thing starts off as small. And in hindsight, yeah sure okay, maybe that’s a word that does not belong anywhere near the God of Mischief.
Because Mobius already knows the absence of self-proclaimed grandeur is the biggest indication that this is going to blow up into some huge spectacle that rapidly spirals out of control.
Everything he’s studied on record and in person proves it - Loki doesn’t do anything by halves. He doesn’t believe in dividing himself up into fractions, scattering his attention sparingly.
It’s all or nothing, this or that.
There are no denominators in his elaborate equations. He thrives on the absolutes, the constants.
Despite the inherent chaos, nothing is entirely senseless with Loki.
But there’s a rare admirable drive to him, an incessant pulsating desire for greatness, the triumph that consumes him and dares him to move in the moments he doesn’t even mean to. He’s an intricate and intimately insecure thing, potent and poignant all at once. There is a biting tragedy in the divine comedy, parody tucked into the paradox.
Really, Mobius just can’t help himself. Maybe Ravonna was onto something about the whole broken things lark.
What can he say, the best things in the universe are a little weathered, a lot worn. Anguished antiques tell the best stories.
Loki cascades through time with glorious purpose, a meaning so chasmic and inherently cosmic it could take decades to uncover every crevasse beneath those aching bones.
That is why no matter how casual the gesture, how small the beginnings of something seem, Mobius doesn’t discard it. He takes it both at face value and for the blatant facade it often is.
So when Mobius finds Loki admiring the plastic knife from the cafeteria in a way that borders melodramatic melancholy, he musters enough patience to investigate the root of the matter.
Loki turns the knife over in his hand, caught in reverie and seemingly unaware he’s being watched - no, wait that’s not quite true at all, scratch that.
Take it from the top.
This is undeniably a performance.
“I’ve been thinking,” Loki starts, wholly aware Mobius is standing within range to lure into absurdity.
“I sure hope it’s about the case…” Mobius quips but knows better than that at this stage.
They’re doing some good work here. Or, trying to at least.
“Considering the climate crisis of 2048, is it really ethical for the TVA to be using plastic?”
“Ah,” Mobius snorts. “They don’t usually offer plastic cutlery. See, those knives are just for you. A Loki special as it were.”
Loki nods, the epitome of scathing sarcasm.
“Nice. Very subtle.”
“Think of them like training wheels so you don’t, you know. Play whack-a-mole with actual people, go full mack the knife.”
Blinking in evident confusion, Loki puts the knife down.
Mobius just wants a receptive audience to his word-related whims every once in a while. Is that so much to ask, honestly. He’s no God, but his tongue can be a pretty good springboard in the right circumstances.
These days, Loki is the force catapulting them aimlessly through chaos.
He can’t complain - it’s good target practice. Keep up with Loki, Mobius reckons he can keep up with anyone else no problem.
“Back to work, back to work. These casefiles won’t read themselves.”
With a dramatic grimace, Loki deflates. He practically merges with the table. Eyes flicking up to Mobius, he raises his eyebrows in sync.
So animated. So dynamic.
It’s forever fascinating how this God can seem to do a million different things with his face and his voice all at once. Then turn it all off in a heartbeat.
“Hardly pageturners, are they?”
Mobius shrugs. Unlike Loki, he hasn’t ever fallen asleep headfirst into them.
“Nah. Though really, they’re not supposed to be. They’re purposefully made that way as bridges of easily accessible, well-formatted information-”
Loki scrunches his nose. Mobius wants to lean over and boop it on a strange impulse. He doesn’t.
“I wouldn’t go that far, these things are littered with a superfluous number of grammatical errors.”
Speaking over Loki is sometimes the best course of action to take. As an extra bonus, it gets him to sit up straight and seethe in silence over the audacity of being ignored.
“That we can digest as and when we need to for a particular case. You want pageturners then maybe check out the fictional aisle sometime. Third floor, first door on the right.”
Mobius gestures to the stack of files. Most definitely not fictional.
“Anywho, considering how many words you run a minute, you should be able to blitz through those no problem. So come on, come on, get to it.”
That automatically turns the frown plaguing Loki’s face upside-down.
“You know, you can be rather tenacious when you want to be.” Pause. He grins. “I like it.”
The admission slips so freely from Loki that Mobius grapples with the real intention it masks.
“Yeah I like it too,” he manages, aiming for something cool and casual. “Comes in real handy, works wonders on wayward pussycats.”
Loki bristles. He gets all of two pages further before disrupting the peace in sheer boredom.
“For the record, plastic knives are wholly patronising. If I really wanted, I could wield them all the same.”
The image of Loki threatening people with disposable cutlery is so laughable and ridiculous Mobius snorts.
“Yeah, okay. Keep telling yourself that. Maybe next time I’ll downgrade you to a Happy Meal let’s see what you can do with that.”
Mobius guesses it would be nothing more than elaborate cardboard origami.
“Sounds rather horrifying and bordering on the barbaric. Is the meal sentient as one consumes it?”
And that’s how it starts.
Mobius M Mobius here.
Let’s get into this.
The subject - that’s Loki, who else - has been stealing plastic knives from the cafeteria. It started with one, now it’s turned into seven.
But I think there’s more to it than meets the eye. So my working theory is this:
Sheathing. Loki is Sheathing - that's what I'm going with.
Loki misses his knives and he’s trying to compensate for them however he can. A desperate play for control, of sorts.
Anyway. I’m keeping my eyes peeled. We’ll see how it unravels and what comes up.
Okay, think that’s a good start for now. Sounds official.
Triple M, out.
For the record: that’s my private investigator name.
Plastic knife number twelve is currently missing in action, and Mobius already suspects that by the time Loki is finished with his lunch the number could double.
Gesturing to the food Loki is more content to play with than eat - how fitting - his lips twitch.
“You should probably eat that, before it shrivels up and goes stale.”
Loki barks out a laugh at that, eyes bright and kind of beautiful. They’re mesmerising the closer you get. Much like the rest of the God, there’s uncharted depth and Mobius is all for taking a deep dive whenever he can.
“It’s salad, Mobius.”
Pause. Loki furrows his brow, glancing up absently from his new obsession. Plastic knives, for the record.
“Wait, can it do that?”
There are so many other compelling reasons to rain on Loki’s not-so-good probably-bad parade.
Food poisoning is just such a tasteless way to do it.
“Yeah, actually. Yeah it can…” Mobius murmurs under his breath.
Barely a moment passes. Immersed in the tangent, Loki outstretches his hands impatiently. He just cannot stand being left to his own devices when the spotlight was once fixed on him. It’s really something.
“Care to elaborate or are we going to stew in agonising ambiguity to the end of the infinite branches those lousy time-keepers are supposedly plucking away at?”
“Hey, I’m all for stewing,” Mobius remarks, amusement seeping through his veins, nudging Loki absently with his foot. “We can stew away if it keeps you like this. I mean such a picture, look at you.”
Mobius might be cooing a little for show and a lot for earnest reasons, but there is something truly marvellous and magnificent about holding the God’s rapt attention in his hands this way.
Private investigation aside for a moment.
“Prying and pliant.”
Poking the plastic knife in a manner that is meant to be ominous and falls alarmingly short, Loki scowls.
“I am no such thing.”
“Loki,” Mobius gestures to the elbow on the table. In a mock-whisper, he continues. “You’re leaning.”
Loki jolts back, affronted by the accusation.
“That’s - contrary to the facetious nonsense you seem to genuinely believe, Mobius, I am not hanging on your every word.” Pause. “So speak up and get on with it already.”
That’s an interesting little thread to pick up and untangle. Later.
“The salad,” Mobius remarks. “It can do that, I wasn’t just saying that to crack you up cos I know deep down you kind of think I’m funny.”
Hands clasped together, Loki smiles. It has fangs, a sharp bite. And it’s all for show.
“Why yes, that’s right Mobius. About time you finally see yourself for what you truly are! A ceremonious clown dancing for his pitiful, pathetic circus crown,” he snarks without missing a damn beat.
“Can clowns also be king?” Mobius asks, sucking in a sharp breath to level his composure. “I’m only asking because I just thought that sort of thing was more your area of expertise, so...”
Loki is simultaneously delighted and disgusted by the underhanded remark.
He is loving this.
The God is in his element, thriving under the Mobius Microscope.
A revelation this good cannot be ignored. Yes they don’t have time to waste, but there is unlikely to ever be a chance like this again.
“See, there it is.”
“That. That right there. You do think I’m funny.”
Loki scoffs, tongue jutting out to swipe over his bottom lip - a habit of his when irritated.
“Let’s not get too carried away here, Mobius. Truth be told, I find entertainment within the TVA to be severely lacking.”
Hovering a palm above the table, Loki continues his ranting.
“The bar is unspeakably low and you being marginally close to the top of it like so,” he moves his hand an inch lower. “Well, come on! It’s hardly a glowing endorsement on the attributes of your character is it?”
“And what would you say my attributes are, exactly?”
“Are you truly so desperate for validation?”
“No, that’s more your field of play,” Mobius quips smoothly, rewarded with the most murderous look in history. “I’m just curious.”
They’ve steered horrendously off course.
“Okay, back to business. Loki, I’m being serious. You better shut your mouth and finish the damn salad. Now.”
Mobius has knives to count. He estimates there’s around five in that jacket.
“Well I’m afraid even I can’t do both those things at once, Mobius-”
God. He just has to have the last word doesn’t he.
Every single time.
“-Do one of them and really commit to it. Though I know that’s a challenge for you, commitment.”
“You get your eyes locked on the prize, sure, but you’re very changeable and I’m not talking about the illusion-projection.”
Not this again.
“Loki, all it takes is for something else to-”
Mobius makes a whooshing noise. Loki follows the swift hand motion that goes with it. Adorable, like a Kitty with a laser pointer.
“Sweep in just like that and you’re gone with the wind.”
“…That is entirely untrue! I am a paradigm of unwavering unparalleled focus.”
“Good, that’s good,” Mobius remarks. “So how about you go ahead and prove that to me.”
Loki pulls a conflicted expression, refusing to accept he’s been coerced. Nonetheless, he does finally go ahead and finish the food.
Now back to the knives.
Mobius M Mobius here.
We’ve jumped forwards quite considerably. Loki definitely is definitely Sheathing. I’m sure of it. At lunch yesterday I counted carefully, and he definitely went double-digits.
So far, the general symptoms are as follows:
Imagining everything could be a knife - ranging from pens to Casey's shoe, which is weird and I really want to forget about that.
Sulking. Don’t need to explain that one, we know what that looks like.
Abstract art - I have no idea where Loki got the paint from but we now have a knife mural outside the time theatre and yeah it looks cool but nobody asked for it to be there.
This next one is interesting. Unconsciously telling the truth - but only about things related to knives. Get him on the subject and he folds fast. I should probably just ask him where the hoard is. He’ll tell me.
Making knife noises. I didn’t even know people could make those sorts of sounds. It makes me wonder if he can make bird noises too.
Organising casefiles on the desk to spell ‘knives' wherever possible - it’s too obvious to be a subliminal message. The fourth time, I switched out the I for an A and removed the S. Knave - that was a pretty good play, it impressed him too. But we’re not playing scrabble with casefile names anymore.
And that's all I got for now.
Triple M, out.
Lo and behold, when Mobius tracks down the mischievous scamp intent on making his life a thousand times more exhausting than it deserves to be, he finds himself entering a makeshift construction zone.
The whole area has been cleared to make space for the project’s foundations. Done so with such lawless chaos that it looks like Loki literally just swiped his hands across the desk to throw everything off it. Poor Miss Minutes is glowering through the upside-down computer screen on the floor.
Mobius tuts in weary disapproval, leaning down to set her upright again. His movement claws the God away from his latest obsession.
Hauling himself onto his feet, Mobius strives for something close to serious. He really does. He’s even starting to get genuinely annoyed here, mostly about his desk.
Then his eyes roam over to whatever Loki has deemed important enough to wreak havoc on an otherwise pristine workspace and things drastically change.
With a sweeping gesture, as if unveiling something truly spectacular, Loki grins.
Honestly, it’s not too far off that mark.
Because there, sat in the middle of the desk, is a miniature statue modelled entirely from the collection of plastic knives Loki has been not-so-secretly accruing. Composed in his honour, with startlingly remarkable likeness.
Here lies another abstract piece of knife art.
“What do you think?”
“I think you could’ve done this someplace other than my desk,” Mobius placates with his hands on his hips, pushing down his growing awe.
He has to take the high road here. One of them should. Though admittedly, that’s kind of hard. Especially when Loki leans into tiny scraps of praise.
“Alright, fine... It’s pretty impressive,” Mobius admits in fond exasperation.
Tto think, he really made this from a not-so-secret stash of plastic knives. That's absolutely wild.
But these knife-related incidents are also really getting of hand and have to stop.
Glowing with pride, Loki preens.
“I call it Loki Liberty.”
“Still hung up on New York, huh?”
Loki’s smile curdles into something scathing.
Anyway. Back to the knives.
Mobius M Mobius here.
So I found the plastic knives. Loki built a statue out of them. Loki Liberty, he calls it. I like it. But there are many questions that need asking around this.
Most of all, why is the statue so perfect? It looks so real.
Triple M, out.
As always, Hunter B-15 is on a mission.
Both on and off the field, she has remarkable focus. Loki could really do with some of that lately - he’s been stuck on the sulking part for too long now. The resulting roadblock in their progress is frustrating. Even more, knowing that beneath the antics is something real. Loki is dealing with his own issues, and he’s not any help to anyone right now.
Maybe Mobius could ask Hunter B-15 to join the club, but he doubts she will. To be honest, it looks like she came over here for a reason that has nothing to do with reading.
“The knives are gone.”
There it is, all parties doomed to discuss knives. Sheathing is so serious.
“I wouldn’t worry too much,” Mobius murmurs absently. “There’s only so much our Loki can do with a stack of plastic.”
He may have accumulated a lot of it, but nothing that disastrous has happened.
“What are you talking about?” Hunter B-15 asks tersely.
“The knives.” Mobius looks up, meets her pinched expression head-on. There’s a touch of confusion there. “Wait a minute, what are you talking about?”
Already marching off, Hunter B-15 answers with urgency.
Mobius M Mobius here. Yeah this is - sorry, sorry. Getting out of breath but kind of in a rush so I’m gonna keep this one short.
Loki has taken the knives. We may have reached breaking point here.
Okay, I gotta go.
Triple M, out.
“Where are they, Loki?”
Loki is the epitome of false innocence in his moment, a satisfied smile he cannot suppress spread across his face. Mobius spins on his heel to add more emphasis to his finger poking.
“The knives, Loki.”
Smirking, Loki glances over at his statue. Blatant aversion. Deliberate misdirection. As he speaks, there’s a lilt to his voice which means he finds this funny. He’s laughing on the inside.
“Where do you think?”
That deserves another finger point with even more gusto.
“Don’t get smart with me.”
Blinking slowly, Loki counters swiftly.
“I’m already smart.”
Sighing, Mobius pinches the bridge of his nose. He didn’t want to resort to this but drastic times call for drastic measures.
“Okay, stand up. Hands in the air.”
Ushering the God up, Mobius waits a beat. Just one. Nothing happens.
“You heard me,” he repeats firmly. “On your feet.”
Confusion plagues Loki as he stands. Slowly, he raises his hands. Mobius starts his search, methodically patting down the customised TVA jacket. Barely a second passes before he plucks a stray plastic knife out from a crease. Setting it down on the desk pointedly, Mobius reins in his exasperation.
See. Giving any part of that uniform pockets was probably an oversight.
“Is this really necessary?” Loki complains in abject indignation, pirouetting petulantly yet with elegance as Mobius steers him.
Despite the vocal protest, Loki makes no real effort to stop the scene from unfolding. Yeah, figures. He just likes kicking up a fuss. By the time Mobius has reached the well-shined shoes, Loki has been reduced to a quiet seething thing.
“Are you quite finished with this temerarious nonsense of yours?”
The amusement curled in the corner of Mobius’ mouth ebbs away when he yields no further results. As he stands, reality gets no less aggravating.
The knives are still missing, the actual knives.
“Loki,” he presses, annoyance bordering on something agonising. “Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
Maybe it’s a reckless act of desperation, but Mobius grabs his mislaid jet ski magazine and holds it above the stupidly spectacular statue the way someone prepares to swat a fly. The response is immediate. Loki holds out an imploring hand.
“Hey,” he exclaims. “That’s Loki Liberty! Hang on. Don’t even think about it - Mobius, that took me several hours of extraordinary toil!”
“Well too bad,” Mobius chides, voice fraying around the edges. All of him is hanging by one teeny-tiny thread Loki just can’t help tugging for the sake of it.
“Cos guess what - it’s gonna take me seconds to smash it to pieces. Now listen up, here’s how it’s gonna work: you tell me where the knives are or say goodbye to Little Loki Liberty. I’m not messing around here.”
Loki narrows his eyes, but it does nothing to quell the wild disbelieving gleam to them.
Of course, destroying the miniature masterpiece would really suck. Mobius doesn’t actually want to do that, or be the bad guy. But his patience can only be stretched so far. Huffing in frustration, Mobius slams the magazine down perilously close to the statue.
“The knives, Loki! Where. Are. They.”
“Alright, alright!” Cradling the statue in his hands, Loki frowns. “I yield - temporarily of course, but I fear should I digress any further you will truly descend into madness. If you must know, they’re with Casey.”
Of all things. That had not been the answer Mobius expected. Relief swathes through him.
Casey is weird but he’s harmless.
Eyeing Mobius warily, Loki sets the statue back down. He seems to trust it is safe once more.
For now, that’s true.
“Truth be told, I was growing concerned with the condition of my weapons. They’ve been left unattended for heaven knows how long. I simply won’t accept a fate where they become rusted or dulled. As I know not where they are nor how to find them, I wrote down a list of very specific meticulous instructions and asked Casey to tend to them on my behalf.”
Mobius processes the information. Somehow he doubts very much this stops at cleaning. This plan has at least another twelve steps for it. Mobius already can grasp the first eight of them.
“What so you can sneak them away thinking that because you have an unreliable accomplice you won’t be the first person anybody around here comes to?”
Loki frowns. He despises transparency when he’s striving for stealth.
“This is far more refined than you make it out to be. Casey is not that unreliable.”
“Okay, first of all I can’t believe you trusted someone else with your knives. That’s quite a big deal.”
Rolling his eyes, Loki falls back into his seat.
“Don’t be absurd. I’m merely using whatever tools - and fools, mind you - I have at my disposal.”
“Second of all,” Mobius continues swiftly because he doesn’t have time to unpack all the lies woven into that. “Little snag in your genius plan here: maybe you don’t know this but Casey is a dragon.”
Loki’s casual disinterest falters.
Mobius refuses to elaborate on that. Because Loki can believe whatever he wants - if he wants to believe too much in metaphors and totally ignore sense and reason for his own entertainment, fine.
“He has a thing for shiny stuff. We’ve never been able to find the extra stash of treasures he keeps.” Pause.
And then, with feeling, Mobius lowers his voice.
Loki grimaces, eyebrows furrowed. The gears are turning. Hook, line and sinker.
“So what do you think is gonna happen once he’s done whatever you want and sees those knives of yours glistening and gleaming-”
Before Mobius can even finish, Loki is out of his seat.
“I won’t hesitate, mark my words.”
“I’m marking them,” Mobius replies absently, squiggling an invisible pen across a non-existent dotted line.
Loki takes no notice, consumed in his own melodrama. Mobius watches the God’s descent into chaotic fury in fascination.
Somehow, it’s all so easy. Endearing when it’s not supposed to be.
“This is precisely why I refuse to lower myself and have friends because they’ll just go and-” Loki makes a frustrated gesture, searching for the right phrase. “Stab you in the back.”
Mobius snorts. He clears his throat, dregs of laughter littering the words.
“Sorry, sorry. It’s just - you complaining about that when you’re literally like the universe’s biggest backstabber is all kinds of ridiculous.”
Falling back into the seat once again, knocking backwards into the desk behind, Loki turns to his beloved statue. Oh, great. He’s sulking now. About the knives or the failure of his plan - maybe both at once.
“You sit tight.” Mobius gestures to the mess. “And can you fix up my desk a little while you’re at it. I’ll get them back, okay?”
Too caught up in his own self-made misery, Loki doesn’t even dignify that with a response. But it’s fine.
He’ll swing back.
Loki is resilient even in the face of loss - no matter how staggering. He may fail sometimes, but he learns. He adapts. He meanders past defeat like it’s nothing more than a rude awakening to shake off. Then he picks it all back up again.
That’s something Mobius admires.
Now back to the knives.
Mobius M Mobius here.
They knives were exactly where Loki said they’d be, which is a little suspicious but I’m not gonna dwell on it because it’s been established that is one of the symptoms of Sheathing.
Before going full Smaug, Casey did actually follow Loki’s instructions.
I’ve got a copy of them here - pretty thorough notes. I didn’t realise knives took so much work.
Triple M, out.
Mobius M Mobius, here.
Loki Liberty has now been dismantled.
I’m kind of sad to see it go.
Triple M, out.
Mobius M Mobius, here.
Things are getting hairy. Loki hasn’t said a single word for hours. I’m going to investigate.
Wish me luck.
Triple M, out.
At the best of times, Loki is stubborn. In this state, he’s an immovable, impossible force that cannot be reckoned with. Because he refuses to do a darn thing.
Enthusiasm dwindles in the face of the work, no longer spurred on by the satisfaction of boasting or being right about a new theory or even seeing how far he can drive another person’s sanity to the edge before it collapses.
He barely offers one of those self-assured smiles.
Mobius has to admit, he doesn’t enjoy the silence as much as he thought he would. To be blunt, the rewards are dull - no puns intended.
So when it abruptly ends with something outrageous in the corner of the library they’ve sabotaged for everybody else - nobody even tries getting close to their table, it’s great - he doesn’t even mind.
Their endless stream of conversation is basically the TVA soundtrack now.
“They deserve a full pardon.”
“Loki, they’re knives.”
“Yet they are punished more harshly than my person. They’re not responsible for my actions.”
“No, they just facilitate them. And as much as I think you’re a perfect match, I can’t have you waltzing around with those things up your sleeve. No way.”
Closing a file, Loki tosses it aside. As it lands, the contents spill all over the page Mobius isn’t reading but he’s pretending to and that’s what counts.
Clicking his tongue, Mobius pushes the paper away.
That was petty and definitely on purpose.
Before they can get into it, Loki is already taking them somewhere else.
“On Asgard,” he starts, eyes a little clouded. “There’s a saying we have.”
“Yeah, what’s that?” Mobius prompts.
“A blade will speak freely on its master, so best keep tongues swift and clean. It’s a matter of dignity and respect, for the weapon one chooses to wield soon becomes an extension of oneself. So much so that the condition in which they are kept speaks volumes. The blade is inextricably tethered to the perception of one’s own character.”
Mulling it over, Mobius bites back his growing amusement.
It’s a good little story, maybe it’s even true. Who knows. But this is just like the renaissance fair and he really should’ve known.
Loki always has something up his sleeve, especially when that thing can’t be a knife.
Arms folded, Mobius leans back to appreciate the mastery of the God before him. Mischievous, meddlesome. Intent on making things as difficult for everyone as possible.
Quite an accomplishment.
“So what, you’re worried that the knives are gonna start a little office gossip and spread rumours about you because they’ve been kept in the dark too long?”
Loki scoffs bitterly, a strained smile on his face. He seems upset that the meagre trick didn’t catch.
“The TVA and all within its walls continue to be a terribly contrived farce.”
“Hey,” Mobius goes for damage control. The TVA needs someone arguing their case. “Look at it this way, that can be the first thing you change when you’re king of space. Or earth. Or even just the TVA, but let’s be honest space has a better ring to it.”
Unfortunately, that lacklustre response is all Mobius gets for indulging Loki’s dramatics.
Loki cascades into sullen silence. He doesn't speak again.
Mobius M Mobius here.
So I’m on my way to see Ravonna, hence the background noise. Subject is still sulking, he’s barely moved from the spot I left him in earlier. Totally despondent. The symptoms have gotten worse than I could’ve possibly imagined.
I’m thinking it’s time for a little tête-à-tête…
Tune back in later.
Triple M, out.
Needless to say, Ravonna is hardly impressed with the suggestion of a tête-à-tête. But at least she’s not completely despondent like Loki.
Mobius can work with this. What he can’t work with anymore is the God who has all about given up on doing anything coherently. Even the things that aren’t remotely helpful to the case, things that usually disturb the peace of others for fun.
“It’s serious Ravonna. I’ve never seen him like this before - I think he’s Sheathing.”
He knows Loki is. But the theory is a little unorthodox, so he has to tread carefully to get to the end goal.
“Yeah that’s what I’m calling it.” Mobius waves the dictaphone in the air, setting it down on the table. “Because of the knives. Also, sheathing sounds like a bit like teething so it felt sort of fitting given the minor problems we're facing in this stage of his TVA development.”
Head tilted, Ravonna eyes the dictaphone incredulously.
“Sheathing doesn’t exist, Mobius. Not in people.”
Mobius signs, leaning back in his seat.
“This little beauty holding hours of untapped research argues that it does. Listen to the logs if you don’t believe me.”
They’ll be here a while but then maybe Ravonna will understand the gravity of the situation. Unfortunately, her scepticism doesn’t lessen.
“For all we know, he could just be putting this on.”
Oh. Loki definitely is.
There’s a whole bombardment of bravado tethered to this. But at the core is something genuine that cannot be fabricated. As much as he may conceal it all behind these tricks and schemes, Loki wants a taste of reality.
More, he needs it to ground him.
“At the very least, he’s entitled to visitation rights.”
Ravonna stifles a fond smile, averting her eyes. That’s good. Mobius might still have a shot here.
“We can set something up, come on come on. I’m sure we can.”
“This is ridiculous, I hope you know that.”
It’s a little ridiculous, yeah. But if Loki continues being a colossal nuisance pining over his beloved knives, they’re not going to get anywhere with anything.
“But - if you think it’ll help, then I’ll allow it.”
Before Mobius can internally celebrate, Ravonna presses on with her verdict. She has such a natural gift in making any request seem unwarranted.
“There will be conditions. Stick to them.”
“You know me, I do everything by the book.”
Returning to her desk, Ravonna sighs.
“This is a one-time deal. Do you understand?”
Mobius does. And it’s going to be fine.
Now, back to the knives.
Mobius M Mobius, here.
I did it. I got the approval so we’re going ahead with the whole thing. I’m on my way to get Loki. I’ll update when I next can.
Triple M, out.
Nothing gets Loki more animated than a mystery parcelled up without clues. All Mobius has to do is gesture vaguely and start walking off without an explanation for the interest to accumulate to the point where Loki just cannot help himself. It pours out of him, over skin and into his eyes.
“What’s going on? Where are we going?”
So predictable, in the best way.
“Well, I noticed you’re in a bit of a funk. So we’re gonna go get the groove back.”
Loki bounds into step right beside him, returned to the endless stream of curiosity usually all-encompassing.
This is a total transformation from the sulking, sad thing that got them here in the first place.
That didn't take very long.
“Is it another apocalypse, because I’ve always wondered about the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction event. Can the TVA go back that far?”
“This isn’t Jurassic Park, Loki. I’m not taking you out in a jeep to see dinosaurs.”
“Well where are we going, then?” Loki pries for the umpteenth time. “Come on, Mobius. Can’t you just tell me?”
Reaching training room five, Mobius unlocks the door and ushers them inside. Ravonna’s rules mandated he locked the doors not just manually but electronically too.
And in return, as requested, the pair of knives Loki has been yearning to see since he found himself in the TVA sit on the table at the edge of the room.
Glistening and gleaming - Casey did a really good job following those instructions.
Loki comes to an abrupt halt, gaze flickering between the knives and Mobius. Hesitance creeps out into the open, lingering in the corners.
That never fails to press a little too hard on Mobius’ aching heart.
Because Loki doesn’t quite believe in kindness, in how tangible it can be. He seems to assume anything remotely nice has a rapid expiry date and simply isn’t meant for him, that there's a whole stack of cosmic conditions attached to any cause.
That a cause is a clause.
With the show stripped back, Loki treads cautiously through these things - somewhere down the line he’s already set up a trap in the absence of one.
This insecurity is sincere enough to be believable, removes them from the wild chaos of all that came before they arrived here.
Mobius gestures over to the table, nudging Loki forwards firmly. Their eyes meet.
“Go ahead. This isn’t a test,” Mobius encourages. “I got you ten minutes with them. Don’t waste it staring at me.”
The confirmation jolts Loki into motion. And because he can’t stand to leave a conversation without being the one to finish it, he quips back.
“I was hardly staring.”
Hm. Interesting choice of words.
Not needing to be told twice, Loki scurries over to the table. There’s a buoyancy to his steps, genuinely lighter rather than an illusion.
Mobius leans against the door, a swell of affection bursting in his chest as Loki picks up the knives with reverence.
“Oh, how I’ve missed you…”
Mobius M Mobius here.
We’re in the training room. The reunion is going well. Loki's in his own little world over there.
Cute. Make sure we remember this when he’s next being… less like this. From over here, his smile is all big and look at that face. That face.
Maybe I can push for more than ten minutes another time. He deserves good things, he really does.
Anyway. I gotta wrap this up before he catches me talking to myself and gets all suspicious.
Triple M, out.
Dictaphone tucked away out of sight, Mobius checks his watch. He only put it on to make sure they kept to schedule. As much as that unyielding part of him is all too willing to turn a blind eye and let Loki spin ten minutes into twenty, or thirty - they have a window here.
If this can ever happen again, they have to get it right.
“Mobius,” Loki calls, not bothering to look away from the knives he’s spinning around in the most elaborate routine Mobius has ever seen.
“What, so you can use me as target practice? Yeah, I don’t think so.”
Loki scoffs. This time he does spare a glance over his shoulder. It’s amazing how he can look away and still keep his little demonstration - or whatever this is - going.
Maybe it is a demonstration. Loki does like showing off when he knows he’s good at something. He is definitely good at this. He’s good at a lot of things.
“Distance hardly matters, I could strike you down wherever you stand.”
“Actually, that’s not true. Right now, I’m teetering on the edge of the danger zone,” Mobius replies smoothly. “You know, arrogance isn’t a good look you should mix up your big three personality traits more.”
“Is that so?” Loki turns to face Mobius now, playing a weirdly elaborate kind of catch with the knives as he speaks.
He makes it look so easy. It’s really fascinating. And cool.
“And what about you?”
“What about me?” Mobius asks.
“Well yours are all interchangeable because they’re exactly the same. Boring, boring and oh - let me see…”
Catching the knives, Loki leans in to inspect them as if they are providing the information. He taps them with a nod.
“Ah, yes! Here it is.”
Flicking his eyes up, Loki continues.
He has such a knack for absurd comedic timing it’s unreal - and maybe it’s for the best he doesn’t quite understand how the wit and sarcasm send a really silly sensation up Mobius’ spine. Makes mirth the only thing he can feel.
It’s too much fun.
Mobius makes his way over to Loki, stepping into the danger zone. Kenny Loggins did it, so can he.
“Yeah well this ‘boring’ guy here got you some quality time with your precious knives. But if you really want boring, I could actually be and shut this whole thing down.”
Loki clutches the knives, protectively of all things, to his chest.
“Don’t be absurd.”
Assured the threat has passed, Loki weaves one of the knives expertly through the air. As it comes into stillness, the handle points towards Mobius.
For some reason, Loki is no longer doing complicated tricks like a kid on a skateboard outside their crush’s house.
He’s just standing there, waiting.
Expectantly, of all things.
“Okay what am I looking at here?” Mobius asks, truly bewildered. “Do you want me to clap, or cheer-”
Loki’s whole body radiates annoyance as he exhales.
“I was preparing you for the most glorious rite of passage anyone can undertake. You haven’t lived before you’ve wielded a knife.”
Actually, Mobius is doing just fine and dandy over here thanks.
He’s never ridden a jet ski before and he’s still ticking along. In comparison, knives aren’t anywhere near the top of his list.
Mobius glances down at his watch, his adoration simmering to a low constant.
“Hate to say it but time’s up, Loki. We gotta pack it up now.”
Loki doesn’t even kick up a fuss. He sets the knives down on the table.
Then he steps back from them, landing right in Mobius’ orbit. Super close.
“Hey…” Mobius manages.
Clever, sharp eyes dart down. Oh. Okay. Loki is totally staring now. At his mouth. Mobius reins in his silly elation.
“Allow me to share a token of my appreciation for this.”
Before Mobius has the chance to enthusiastically approve, Loki is already a step ahead. Just the one this time. Mobius doesn’t take long to catch up.
They’re pretty in sync most of the time. The ebb and flow never falls too far out of their easy tandem.
An arm slings over Mobius' shoulder, bracing and bringing them closer and closer still. Loki guides them back to the table. His back hits it as he melts beautifully into this.
There’s a light rustling sound - no, no. It’s not rustling… With insistent lips chasing his own, Mobius finds his attention is a little scattered to say the least. But he figures it out a moment later.
That’s a clanging sound. Like knives being carefully moved and clinking together - oh.
This sneaky little God.
The scheming, not the kiss. The kiss is good too but it kind of dwindles in the face of everything else going on.
Part of him is really irritated that Loki has coaxed them here for his own agendas, and part of him is just a puddle of mush between screaming bones.
Guess which foolish part is winning at the moment.
Mobius keeps the pressure steady and warm, waits for Loki to make the next move. He’ll play a little more. They’re approaching the horizon.
Nobody takes that long to stash knives away.
“Well, then!” Loki says as he leaps back, hands working over Mobius’ tie. Satisfied, he darts towards the doorway.
Shifty. Sneaky. It’s spectacular.
“Let’s get back to work, shall we?”
As much as Mobius appreciates the newfound vigour, he knows it’s a massive misdirect. And it’s so ridiculous. Such a jarring shift from what came before that he can’t hold it in any longer.
Mobius shakes his head, a disbelieving laugh escaping him.
“Loki.” Holding out a hand, he cocks his head to the TVA jacket. “You’re not fooling anyone here. Give me the knives.”
The series of wild expressions that flash over Loki’s face is beyond cinematic. Worth waiting for. Reaching into the pockets, he takes out the knives.
“How did you know?”
Prying the knives from those very clever and crafty hands, Mobius gives Loki’s wrist a gentle reassuring squeeze.
“Easy. That wasn’t the mind-blowingly fantastic moment you seem to think it was.”
It kind of was but shh.
At that, Loki balks. Irritation sears across his skin, setting him ablaze with it.
“I beg your pardon?”
Unfazed, Mobius steers them out of the room and double locks. The knives are out of the equation now.
“You had me for like a second or two, gotta admit.”
You could have me forever but let’s not even go there.
“Do you always kiss like that?”
“Like what, pray tell.” Eyes narrowed, Loki follows Mobius down the corridor. “I advise you to choose your next words very carefully.”
“Like your heart’s not really in it.”
The words land blunter than they’re supposed to. Probably because of their nature.
Mobius is not that upset, just frustrated that this genuine piece of mutual - it’s definitely mutual - magnetism got so tangled up in misguided mischief.
And maybe he shouldn’t be goading a God to bark up this tree. But this whole thing has been quite the ordeal.
Beside him, Loki is quiet. Lips pursed, he grapples over what to say.
Hey, look at that. Sincerity.
“Perhaps my timing was admittedly a little askew. But I didn’t just do that to steal back the knives, I’ll have you know. It wasn’t merely a distraction.”
Mobius is fully aware. But he’s going to let Loki squirm for a while.
Sighing theatrically, Loki throws up his hands.
“The thing is, if you’d care to let me explain, I saw a rare window of opportunity open up before me. So I took it.”
“We talking about the knives or you planting one on me?”
Now that is a surprising admission.
“Yes both. Mobius, I’ve been wanting to kiss you for quite some time now. Congratulations for noticing. I’ve hardly been keeping that a secret.”
Processing the words, Mobius slows his pace down in the hallway. He’s been too caught up in the knife stuff to really pay attention to anything else.
“Anyway. Then, it hit me.”
Oh no. Nevermind.
“In a stroke of genius, I realised it was far more efficient to pair one scheme-”
Loki holds out a hand, bringing his other slowly to meet it.
“With another. Like so. That way, I presumed I would get my knives back and kiss you in the process. Turning two separate and entirely unrelated schemes into one.”
Mobius presses a hand to his temple. Somehow, he still finds amusement nestled beneath his bones. There has never been anything as disastrous as this and probably never will be again.
Together, they’re quite a rare brew.
“Loki… you were doing okay but that just totally tanked all your chances.”
Mobius steps into the elevator, keen to close it before trouble enters hot on his heels. Too late.
Scurrying in, Loki apparently isn’t done yet.
“You seem wholly unimpressed with my resourcefulness. So let me ask this of you, what other convenient excuse could I possibly have had to kiss you? This one practically fell into my lap. I had to take it.”
“Loki, you don’t need to come up with an excuse to kiss me. Really, I mean - what is this, first dance at the prom?”
Brow furrowed, Loki shuffled closer until their shoulders bump.
“I’m not sure. You’re remarkably difficult to lead.”
“Who said you were leading?”
“Of course I would be. Don’t be ridiculous.”
Bring it back, bring it back. They can do it, they're so close.
There’s an even smaller window of opportunity and Mobius is going to seize it. The same way Loki did but with less scheming over knives.
“It doesn’t matter, because there is no dancing. But for the record, you have my permission. To kiss me. Whenever you like-”
Wait. No, that’s too much leeway. Too much power. Loki is already inching forwards.
“Just actually make it interesting next time, you know?”
Rolling his eyes, Loki folds his arms. He’s affronted, more so than he is enamoured.
“Oh come on - it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t even bad!”
“It was bad because you were being kind of bad,” Mobius murmurs, finding he’s actually quite annoyed about it now the whole knife thing is water under the bridge. “I can’t believe you squandered the moment like that. What a waste of, you know-”
Mobius gestures back and forth between them wearily.
“It was hardly a waste. They’ll be plenty more not to squander.”
Hands on his hips, Mobius raises an eyebrow.
“Oh will there?”
“Yes, you just said so!”
“Maybe I’m taking back the offer.”
Looking up to the ceiling, Loki regathers his frayed composure.
“Seeing as we’ve lived through my series of events. Tell me, how did you imagine it would go?”
That is not the direction Mobius wanted them to take this. He expected Loki to get stuck on pride, take them down a more trivial road. Yet here they are.
Mayday mayday. Big uh-oh.
Averting his gaze, Mobius studies his shoes. They’re good shoes.
“I- I didn’t imagine. I’ve never imagined anything like that before…”
He had roughly four scenarios, one a cut above the rest.
Of course, Loki mercilessly cleaves through the lie. When Mobius looks up, he finds those eyes gleaming smugly.
Poking a finger in Loki’s direction, he folds. Only a little. He can’t help it. Damn it.
“If I tell you, don’t laugh.”
Loki is the epitome of false innocence, lips twitching as he forces them into a hard sombre line.
“I won’t laugh, I promise.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Mobius!” Loki whines, somehow gleefully. “Just tell me!”
Well. Mobius hasn’t got much left to lose here.
“Okay, so. You were cool. Really cool.”
Mobius lowers his voice. His shoes are suddenly interesting again.
“Like D.B Cooper-Loki kind of cool.”
Loki sucks in a sharp breath next to him. Sighing, Mobius feels rather than hears the reaction. Beside him, Loki is basically vibrating with stifled laughter.
“You said you wouldn’t laugh.”
“Sorry,” Loki gasps for air, tripping over the apology clumsily.
He is not sorry. That’s another lie.
“Just - seriously, Mobius?”
“Like! I said like D.B Cooper not actually-” reeling the outburst in, Mobius watches Loki revel in the information.
This embarrassment is softer. Without sharpness. That solace he’s always offered - Loki seems to be wading it right about now. All by himself.
“I can’t believe you had to get the knives involved, anyway.”
“Well, it was fitting. After all, they’re my first love so it’s only natural they’d want to thoroughly assess the second.”
Loki’s eyes widen belatedly at his own words. They plummet into awkward silence. The implication rings loudly between them and it’s not going away anytime soon.
The elevator doors open. Loki sags in relief - like this is mercy incarnate.
Walking backwards to escape his own blunders, Loki looks a little flustered. But there’s a glittering smile plastered on his face.
“That wasn’t what - how it sounded, I mean. I don’t have a second. Yet. Perhaps some day I will but as it stands there is none. No second. Allegedly, I'm deplorable, one might say entirely loveless-”
Mobius watches the floundering in fond amusement.
“-As a matter of fact, I-”
The problem with walking backwards is there’s no way to tell where you’re going to land yourself next.
Casey yelps as Loki crashes into him. The noise Loki makes is even better.
“Oh,” Loki blinks, quickly sobering. “They’re too good for you, by the way. My knives.”
Casey storms off, leaving Loki on the floor in perpetual confusion. What a lovely, lovely mess.
“Well, that was rude.”
Mobius hoists Loki onto his feet. Yeah. There’s nothing remotely loveless about this God.
Mobius M Mobius here.
Well what can I say, this has been quite the adventure.
Seeing his knives up close again, Loki’s behaviour has improved. Virtually all symptoms of Sheathing have gone, we may or may not need to schedule this in as a regular thing.
Off the record: we also need to mark this date on the calendar because guess what - it happened. The big K-I Double S. Yeah. Loki tried to steal the knives off me in the process and I said it wasn’t that good but I was just trying to play it cool, you know?
Loki can’t get everything he wants all the time.
“Mobius, what are you doing over there?”
Oh no, oh no. That’s Loki.
I gotta skedaddle shoot he’s coming up on me really really fast, this final entry might end on more of a- Loki!
Loki no that’s mine. Get back here. Give it baCK-