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Loki re-reads the last paragraph he’s written, scowling at the WordPerfect screen. The lime green iMac sits on the desk, its keyboard sneering with a toothy grin.

How the hell is he supposed to write something halfway charitable about a band as abysmally bad as the Black Order?

Loki rolls back in his chair, spinning around to catch the view from Aether’s third-floor window. He stares at the distant California hills as though seeking inspiration. Maybe last night’s show was a hiccup in an otherwise stellar band’s live repertoire. Every group has them; are you really a rock band if one of the members doesn’t go onstage fucked up on some sort of substance at least once? Even the pristinely polished pop stars have their off days.

Who is Loki kidding? The Black Order are barely passable even on their albums, and he knew that going in. “The Dolphin’s Cry” by Live is playing on his desk radio, and God, Loki wishes the Black Order sounded half as good as those guys. Maybe he could finish this damn write-up already.

Perhaps it’s emblematic of some character defect inside of Loki to blame his problems on other people, but all of this is Sylvie Lushton’s fault.

Loki’s office door swings open, and Sylvie enters, as though summoned by his thoughts.

“Think of the devil,” Loki says, “and she shall appear.”

“Aw, you were thinking of me?” Sylvie flashes him a mocking smile and approaches his desk. She’s carrying a can of Surge in one hand, and with the other, she picks up various items on Loki’s desk before setting them back down: a potted succulent, some CD jewel cases, a small desert terrarium.

“Do you mind?” Loki asks.

Sylvie ignores him. “I’ve always found it weird you don’t have any photos on your desk. Even I have a framed picture of my cat. Don’t you have a photo with your special someone on a trip to Palm Beach?”

“I don’t tan well.”

“London, then?”

Loki sighs.

Like Loki, Sylvie is a writer at Aether magazine, a bimonthly rock and metal magazine out of Los Angeles. But while Loki landed a short article about the closing show of the Black Order’s world tour, Sylvie managed to snag the cover story write-up on Knowhere, the highly-anticipated third album of post-grunge darlings Star-Lord & the Guardians of the Galaxy. It isn’t often Loki gets stuck with Sylvie’s scraps, but when he does, it stings.

Sylvie sips her Surge and sticks her free hand inside a ceramic bowl of colorful polyhedral dice, stirring the dice around and letting them fall from her fingers. “You should fill this up with candy instead. People might come by more often.”

“It’s almost as if I don’t want interruptions while I’m trying to work.”

“Is that what you’re doing?” Sylvie leans over his shoulder to read from his computer screen. Loki smells her peach shampoo. “‘Cull Obsidian’s voice must have taken a beating throughout this tour, if his vocal performance during their final show is any indication.’ Yikes. That bad?”

“You know I prefer to be charitable,” Loki says gravely. “But, yes, it was truly appalling to all of my senses.”

“I suppose your assignment was more enjoyable?” Loki asks Sylvie.

Sylvie straightens up in another whiff of peach. “Not exactly a high bar. At least they’re trying some new things here. I don’t know if it works, but they’re trying. ‘Disco Babylon’ is so corny, though.”

“You expect a band named ‘Star-Lord & the Guardians of the Galaxy’ not to be corny?”

Sylvie shrugs. “It’s a passable album, all things considered. At least only thirty percent of the record is made up of party songs.”

“Not every band has to be Radiohead, you know.” Loki has a soft spot for Star-Lord & the Guardians of the Galaxy; the band’s first album, Supernova, is near and dear to Loki’s heart.

“It’s not my fault you have questionable taste.” Sylvie finishes her Surge and drops the empty can into the trash bin by Loki’s desk.

“Ah, of course. I only listen to music for enjoyment, not a sense of superiority.” Loki remembers being Sylvie’s age and feeling as though his taste in music was an indictment on his character, of showcasing his Joy Division and the Smiths albums while hiding Bananarama under the bed like a dirty secret.

Sylvie moves for the door. “You ought to get your own column. We could call it ‘Guilty Pleasures.’”

“I don’t feel guilty for any of my pleasures,” Loki says before Sylvie ducks out of his office.

Loki turns his attention back to the screen, to the white space that reminds him of a snowbank. He has spent almost four years at Aether writing album reviews, tour digests, and interviews with groups ranging from Blink-182 to Nine Inch Nails. He can churn out a 500-word semi-puff piece if he puts his mind to it.

He transcribes his notes on the concert and then rewrites them, taking care to focus on the band’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. The commercial break on the radio fades into the void, becoming background noise like the tinny top-40 hits played over a shopping mall sound system.

At some point, “Disco Babylon” comes over the airwaves, and it’s so catchy Loki almost hates it. Almost. It’s a song that’s doomed to be despised in about three months by the general public due to being overplayed.

Star-Lord & the Guardians of the Galaxy themselves might fall victim to oversaturation. “All Because of You” got tons of airplay to promote their second album at the start of 1998, then “Radio” became that year’s summer single, then “Galaxy” hit MTV in the fall with a bright, colorful music video. To say the Guardians were everywhere would be an understatement.

Loki’s desk phone rings, and he sighs. It’s probably Mobius, the magazine’s senior editor, who is undoubtedly waiting with bated breath for Loki’s finished review.

“Loki Odinson,” he answers curtly.

Thor’s voice booms through the other end of the phone. “You sound so professional!”

“I am professional. How did you get this number?”

“Your office’s front desk lady is quite nice. Bee, is it?”

Apparently all someone has to do to get access to Loki’s work phone is tell Bee, the receptionist, that he’s Loki’s brother, and she’ll patch him through. Thor could have been anyone.

Loki should have told Bee to ignore Thor’s calls, but he never expected Thor to dial the office. Loki assumed the low frequency of their phone calls communicated that he isn’t much interested in the constant contact Thor wants to instigate between them.

“I’ll have to have a word with her,” Loki grumbles.

“You’re hard to get ahold of these days,” Thor says. “Are you busy?”

“You know how it is. Now what’s this about?”

“I have a job offer for you,” Thor says, and Loki hears the barely-contained glee in his voice.

Whatever Thor’s offering, it’s got to be better than the drivel Loki’s working on now.

“I’m listening,” says Loki.

“I got another touring gig!”

Thor is a rhythm guitarist who floats from garage band to cover band, occasionally opening for a group mainstream audiences have actually heard of. According to Thor, “rhythm guitarists can always find work, even if they’re stoned.”

“Playing another wedding?” Loki asks.


“A Ramada Inn?”

“That was one time. Ten years ago,” Thor says.

Thor has played for a myriad of bands, some of them rather notable, but Loki still enjoys ribbing him about the early days.

“So who is it, then?” asks Loki.

“You probably don’t know them,” Thor says, because he knows this hipster bullshit will rankle Loki.

“I’m hanging up now.”

“No! Wait! It’s Star-Lord & the Guardians of the Galaxy!”

Loki freezes. Even the radio seems to grasp the gravity of this moment, indulging in a few seconds of silence before playing an annoying station identifier ad.

“Loki?” Thor asks, as if fearing Loki has actually hung up.

“You’re playing with the Guardians?”

“They hired me to play their upcoming tour. I thought you might be interested in coming along. At least for a few days. You could get some interviews with the band and write about the shows.”

That’s a hell of an assignment, one the magazine might not need to pay for, if Loki can worm his way in on Thor’s ticket and pay for his own meals. Above all, it means snagging an opportunity before Sylvie can grab it herself.

“You’re putting me on, aren’t you?”

“Trickery was your forté, Loki.”

That’s a little unfair. Playing tricks on his younger sibling was Loki’s birthright as the older brother. It certainly wasn’t personal — save for that one time.

“Oh, will you let it go already? It’s been seventeen years,” Loki says, exasperated.

“You tried to drown me!” Thor says.

“You and our father have really mythologized that whole incident, haven’t you?”

Thor goes quiet. He knows he won’t win this one.

“In any case,” Loki says, seguing from this topic to the more pressing matter at hand, “I can’t imagine this band will be thrilled that you’re bringing a journalist along. Seems like an imposition, with you being new and all.”

“I haven’t asked them yet. If you’re interested, I’ll call their manager straight away.”

So the interview isn’t in the bag, then. Loki will have to keep his fingers crossed. Fuck, if Sylvie was harsh in her review of Knowhere, the band might nix the whole thing.

“So you thought you’d dangle this carrot in front of me for fun?”

Thor sighs. “It’s been too long… You and me. We were close once…”

When they were kids, whenever Loki was sad (or moody, in his teenage years), Thor would bring him something scaly from their backyard. Loki went through a brief reptile obsession during his childhood, and Thor often used it as relationship shorthand for “I care about you.” Frogs and toads were common in the often-damp terrain where they lived in London, while geckos, lizards, and garden snakes crawled around their house in Oklahoma; if they ever lived in Florida, Thor would probably have hauled in an alligator for him.

Loki and Thor’s last real conversation took place at their mother’s funeral two years ago, so Loki understands this invitation is motivated by Thor’s desire to reconnect with him.

It would be nice to have a brother again. Maybe Loki can use this as an opportunity to work through his backlog of issues with Thor and his parents. And a cover story for Aether magazine wouldn’t hurt either.

“Alright,” Loki says. “Then give that manager a call.”

Peter Quill (stage name Star-Lord) opens the package waiting for him on the doorstep of his home. It’s postmarked from New York City, so he assumes it was sent from the office of his record company. Inside are complimentary tour goods, examples of the merchandise to be sold during the band’s upcoming concerts: two posters, three T-shirts, iron-on patches, stickers, and acrylic keychains.

Peter saw the design proofs a month or so ago, but holding the actual physical items fills him with unmitigated glee. The keychains showcase the band’s cartoon avatars. None of the designs are too extreme (although Gamora has green skin, and Drax is covered in red tattoos), but Rocket went and turned himself into a damn raccoon, so his cute and cuddly character is going to sell way more merch than Star-Lord, and Peter’s a little bitter about it.

Maybe on the next tour they can sell Rocket Raccoon plushies.

Mom would have loved this, Peter thinks, unrolling one of the posters and admiring the psychedelic colors laid over a photo of the band.

His phone rings, and the area code tells him it’s probably his manager, Yondu.

“Got a question for ya,” Yondu says when Peter answers the phone. “How do you feel about having a journalist cover your first couple’a shows?”

“Not great,” Peter says. While their albums tend to get lukewarm (and sometimes downright cruel) reviews from music magazines, the band’s live performances can’t be so easily dismissed. A publication that dismissed their second album, Galaxy’s Most Wanted, as ‘a forgettable, derivative post-grunge record’ gave that album’s supporting tour a glowing review.

But there’s always a first time for everything. With the band’s constant radio and MTV presence, their popularity might work against them, garnering negative reviews out of oversaturation.

“What magazine?”

Aether. Apparently your new guitarist has a brother who writes for ‘em.”

“Oh,” Peter says, tight and clipped. “I see.”

This wouldn’t bother Peter if the invitation came from Gamora, Drax, Rocket, or even Yondu, but who the fuck does this Thor guy think he is, waltzing into the group and acting like he runs the show?

“I know what you’re thinkin’, and just slow down. You think this guy’s gonna shit on y’all if his brother is playing with you?”

It makes sense, of course, and if NME and Rolling Stone can begrudgingly give the Guardians kudos for their live shows, then Aether will rave about them.

The band’s a democracy anyway, and the other members will have few objections to a journalist accompanying them for a few days. Peter has no veto power, not unless he wants to form a rift between himself and the others.

“Alright,” Peter says with a long sigh. “He can come along.”

The tour starts during the first week of April, and they’re headed to Chicago. Yondu’s chartered them a private jet this time, upgrading from the grime and grind of tour buses.

Peter oversleeps and thus is the last to board. He has never flown private before, and it’s wild: no security, no check-in, no tickets. The limo just drops him off on the tarmac by the steps leading up to the huge jet.

Peter ducks his tall frame through the plane’s open door. A tall, slim flight attendant with dark hair smiles at him. “Good morning, Star-Lord.”

Peter grins. Even the flight attendant calls him by his rock star name. It’s good to be famous.

The jet has leather seats, a couch, a sofa bed, and presumably a bedroom behind the closed door near the back of the plane. Peter doesn’t see Drax or Rocket; they must be catching up on sleep behind the door, as they often did on the tour bus.

Gamora’s glaring at him, as though she expected very little from him but still ends up disappointed. Yondu’s sitting up front reading a magazine.

“Thought we’d have to leave without you,” comes a jovial voice to Peter’s right. Thor grins at him like they’re best friends who rib each other like this all the time; Peter bristles and considers swinging one of his duffel bags at Thor for this disrespect.

But then he sees Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome sitting beside Thor, and Peter’s irritation vanishes like it’s been cut out of him. “Who’s your friend?” Peter asks.

“Ah, of course. Quill, this is my brother, Loki,” Thor says. “He’s the journalist I told you about. Loki, this is Peter Quill.”

“Star-Lord,” Peter corrects. “Lead guitarist and vocalist of Star-Lord & the Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“Charmed,” Loki says, like he means it. They shake hands, and his hand is impossibly delicate and smooth. Peter briefly fantasizes about that hand around his cock before banishing the thought to the corners of his mind, where he’ll probably take it out tonight in the privacy of his hotel room.

“I guess I’ll see you around,” Peter says, trying to play it cool. “Nice meeting you, Loki.” He heads a few rows down and sits across the aisle from Gamora.

As the plane takes off, Peter flips through his song notebook to distract himself. He has plenty of unfinished song scraps in here, and he fills in missing pieces like numbers in a sudoku puzzle. Change a lyric here, add a chord there. These scraps serve as a rough sketch he can reference later when he gets his hands on a guitar to try them out.

Gamora rises from her seat and moves toward Peter. Peter closes the notebook and discreetly tucks it back into his bag as Gamora takes the empty seat beside him.

“Whatever you’re thinking,” she says in a low voice over the hum of the engine, “it’s a bad idea.”

“What are you talking about?”

“This whole push-pull thing with Thor. You’re trying to keep him at arm’s length so you don’t try to seduce him like you do with everyone else in the band.”

What?! That’s not — I would never — I can’t stand him! Why would I — ”

“It wouldn’t be the first time.” Gamora’s right, but she shouldn’t say it.

It’s not like Peter hasn’t tried to sleep with all of the Guardians (finding some success with Rocket and Gamora, albeit out of pity on their part), but Thor?

“No! Look, there’s no Cheers Sam-and-Diane thing going on here, okay?” Peter hisses, though he does glance behind him, hoping Loki and Thor aren’t eavesdropping. “He’s not even that good-looking.”

Gamora just stares at him.

Peter is aghast. “You think he’s attractive?”

“That is entirely beside the point. You cause trouble with Thor, and you jeopardize the integrity of our live sound.”

Peter makes a face at this dramatic phrasing. “We’ll just hire somebody else.”

“And don’t think for a second whatever shit you pull won’t end up in the article Loki’s writing. So just behave yourself, okay? Can you do that?”

At least Thor shows up for rehearsals and plays well. Peter’s willing to concede that the band does sound a hell of a lot better live with two guitars. That doesn’t mean he can’t resent having to share the stage with another guitarist. So, no, Peter isn’t going to hit on Thor any time soon.

Peter scowls, folding his arms over his chest. “It’s not — ” He lowers his voice to a murmur. “It’s not Thor I’m interested in, okay?”

Gamora peers over the seats, catching sight of Loki and putting the pieces together. “Oh.” She looks at Peter. “That’s so much worse! The last thing you want is a scorned journalist writing about you!”

“‘Scorned’?” Peter scoffs. “You think if he goes to bed with me, he’s gonna be disappointed?”

“You are not the lothario you think you are, Quill.”

“I don’t even know what that means!”

Gamora doesn’t dignify that with a response. “Whatever you’re thinking, just don’t, okay? He’s Thor’s brother.” Peter’s calling bullshit on that; there’s no way Thor and Loki are blood related, unless their mother had an affair with the postman. “You cause trouble with Loki, and that will bring trouble with Thor, which means we’re out a guitarist.”

Peter scowls harder, though he’s glaring at his lap and not at Gamora. He hates that she’s right. “What’s the point of being a rock star if I can’t have fun?”

“Just stick to groupies, Peter. They’re easily impressed, and they know the score.” Gamora rises from her seat and returns to the other side of the plane before Peter can argue.

Loki sips champagne as the plane cruises along. He’s been on a private jet a few times before, and while he could take or leave the free booze, legroom is of the utmost importance. Even when he flies commercial, he always pays extra — if not for first class, then for the roomy seat near the emergency exit.

“Since we’re here,” Loki says to Thor, “I suppose I should start with you.”

Thor’s Game Boy looks impossibly small in his large hands. “You want to interview me?”

“You’re part of the group, aren’t you?”

“Only for this tour, but I guess that counts.” Thor places the Game Boy on the tray table. “It’s strange, you know, being interviewed by my own brother for a real magazine featuring important bands.”

Thor’s false humility rankles Loki. Like Thor ever truly believed he would languish in obscurity forever. As the golden child of the Odinson family, of course Thor would be the one to rise to stardom.

“Indeed,” Loki says, coolly. He takes his tape recorder and journal out of the backpack at his feet. “Why don’t you tell me how you got involved with the Guardians? For the record.”

As Loki switches on the recorder, Thor explains, “I got a call from Rhomann Dey — he produced the Guardians’ last record, and he heard me play as a session musician on the Accusers’ previous album. He said the Guardians needed another guitarist for their upcoming tour and asked if I was available. Of course I said yes. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity like this?”

“Have you toured with other groups before?” It’s a little weird asking questions Loki already knows the answer to. He’s never been in this position before.

“A few. Mostly smaller bands, like the Warriors Three — which wasn’t such an accurate name with me along. I was in the Dark Elves for a while; we opened for Fear Factory a few years ago…”

“You think the Guardians might keep you on?”

Thor laughs. “No, not when Quill is so prideful.”

Interesting. Loki scribbles a note in his journal, reminding himself to watch for signs of a rivalry between Peter Quill and Thor. “How’s that?”

“It seems improper to talk about it,” Thor says, shrugging the subject off. “And I’m only speculating.”

Loki stops the recorder. “Off the record, then?”

Thor chuckles at this transparent attempt to elicit gossip. “No, Loki. I’d rather not jeopardize my position here.”

Thor is new and doesn’t want to start trouble. Talking shit about a band member — even if said shit is true — results in friction and absolute chaos for the cohesive unit of a group.

Still, Loki is intrigued. He might get more information out of Quill — er, Star-Lord.

Loki gathers his belongings. “I suppose I ought to get to know the others, then.” He finishes his champagne, slings his bag over his shoulder, and heads for the rear of the plane.

Peter Quill sits with his legs stretched out (another fan of ample legroom, Loki observes), listening to music on a portable CD player. He glances up when Loki approaches but only slides the headphones around his neck when he realizes Loki intends to sit with him and isn’t simply passing by.

“Oh, hey!” Quill’s smile is sweet but managed, as if he doesn’t want to show too much enthusiasm to a stranger. “You want an interview?” He switches off the music blasting from his headphones and draws his legs in so Loki has room to sit across from him.

“That’s why I’m here, but it’s not why I’m here,” Loki says as he takes the seat opposite Quill.

Quill glances to his left, presumably at Gamora, who’s sitting alone on the other side of the plane. “’M guessing you’re not a musician, huh?” he asks Loki.

“And why is that?”

“When I shook your hand, I didn’t feel any calluses. So I know you don’t play guitar. Wait, no, you’re probably a piano guy, huh?”

Loki lifts an eyebrow. Quill is perceptive. “The proper term is ‘pianist.’”

Quill snickers, and, great, he’s immature too. “Ha! Made you say it!”

Oh boy.

“Regardless,” Loki says, soldiering on, because he’s a professional, “I don’t have a proper piano to practice on anymore. Just a secondhand keyboard.”

“Just for the record,” Quill says, “you’re not one of those snobby music journalists who’s gonna play nice while you’re around us but turn around and say we’re ‘derivative’ and nothing special?”

That’s a specific accusation, and Loki’s intrigue is piqued. “I’m not a critic. I don’t find it necessary to take shots at a band for credibility amongst the elitists. Playing nice just to write a scathing review would break the trust I try to build with the musicians.”

“So you’ve never written a bad review?”

Loki thinks about his recent Black Order article and suppresses a shudder. “I have on occasion, but it’s not beneficial to concentrate on what doesn’t work. I try to focus on the positives. I can recognize when a record simply isn’t ‘for me.’ You’ve had bad experiences with interviews before?”

Quill gives a lazy shrug. “I mean, I read the reviews — which, I know, there’s my first mistake. We get slammed with a lot of criticism. Our albums are shallow — c’mon, we’re not making Dark Side of the Moon here — the lyrics are dumb, which is my fault ‘cause I’m the one who writes them. And reviewers always act like music can’t be good unless it’s super complex like some prog rock opus. I think it’s dumb to hold us up to the standards of Pink Floyd or Rush.”

He’s oddly knowledgeable, a quality which Loki appreciates. “For what it’s worth, I quite enjoy your first album.”

Quill’s expression brightens to a grin. “You do?”

“I was heavily into grunge at the time, so I appreciated the rawness you captured with ‘Selfish’ and ‘Ego.’”

“Oh man, you’re gonna love this tour! We finally get to play ‘Ego’ live — with two guitars! It’s almost a totally different song!” Quill’s enthusiasm is endearing, and Loki can’t help but share it with him. “I love that we get to reinvent some of our older stuff now and keep it fresh.”

Quill doesn’t seem to harbor any ill will against Thor, but maybe he’s pretending everything’s fine for Loki’s sake.

“Do you mind if I record now?” Loki eases a hand inside his bag and switches on the recorder again. “If you want something off the record, just ask.”

“No problem, man.” Quill is affable, but of course anyone would be when they’re being asked to brag about themselves.

The only thing rock stars love more than talking about how great they are is how great their heroes are. “So, Star-Lord,” Loki starts, and Quill grins at Loki’s unironic use of the name, “who would you say are your greatest musical influences?”

“Well, jeez, you can’t answer that without the big three: the Beatles, the Stones, and Led Zeppelin. Right? But if you listen to our records, we hardly sound like those guys at all. I guess we’re more like a mix of Green Day, the Smithereens, Foo Fighters, and maybe INXS.”

Knowhere is your third album. What are you doing differently here than on the last two records?” Admittedly, Loki hasn’t given the album a listen yet. He’ll have to remedy that soon.

“More experimenting,” Quill says. “Obviously ‘Disco Babylon’ is funk and disco inspired, something we would never have tried before. ‘Falling’ is kind of nu metal, a way harder sound than we’re used to. And we have a few softer songs on here, which we didn’t really do much of before. Maybe the critics are right, and this one’s a mess.”

“But if it was too cohesive, it would be ‘unmemorable’ and ‘afraid to take risks.’”

Quill snorts a laugh. “Right? Then when you do take risks, you get ‘who is this for? This isn’t what we wanted from them.’”

“Who does most of the composition?”

“We all share the credit. I write the lyrics and the guitar stuff, but Drax, Rocket, and Gamora come up with their own parts, and sometimes they know how to fix a song when it isn’t working. God, they’re all so good. You could build a band around any one of them. You really should be talking to them, not me.”

Such high praise for his bandmates! Not what Loki expected after Thor’s comment about Quill’s pride.

Loki looks at Gamora, though she’s pointedly reading a Stephen King hardcover and not paying him the slightest bit of attention.

“But you might wanna wait until tomorrow night,” Quill points out, as if plucking the thought from Loki’s head. “The only time Gamora wants to talk to anyone is after a show, ‘cause we’re all hyped up on adrenaline. And Drax and Rocket always sleep on the plane rides. So you’re stuck with me for now.” Quill flashes a roguish smile.

He really is quite gorgeous. His hair is a confused cross between brown, blonde, and ginger, managing to be none and all of them at the same time.

“At least you’re good company,” Loki says, settling in. “What have you been listening to lately?”

“Lots of stuff. But I keep coming back to Foo Fighters’ There is Nothing Left to Lose. What an incredible album. God, I wish I’d written ‘Learn to Fly.’ Or any of the songs on there, really. They’re all amazing.”

“That is a good one.”

“What about you?”

“Smashing Pumpkins. Siamese Dream, and Mellon Collie. I’m rediscovering my love for shoegaze.”

Quill’s brow furrows, as if he has no idea what Loki’s talking about but doesn’t want to look stupid by asking.

“Shoegaze? Dream pop? I could explain it, or I could give you the magnum opus of shoegaze and see if you get it.” Loki reaches into his bag and takes out a CD: My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. This record, along with Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See and Lush’s Gala, are the soundtracks of Loki’s halcyon days. Removed from this personal context, the songs will have no deeper meaning for Quill, save for what he might find in them.

“Really? I can just listen to this right now?” Quill takes the case in his hands as if it might break.

“I brought plenty of others,” Loki assures him. He has lots of CDs with him, as he anticipated large chunks of time spent alone in a hotel room getting the first few drafts of his article done.

“Awesome!” Quill takes his CD player from his pocket and swaps the discs. “Thanks, dude! I wish I could give you some cool new album to listen to.”

“You don’t happen to have a copy of Knowhere on you?”

Quill laughs like Loki has made a joke; Loki’s going to let Quill keep thinking that.