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A Man Up His Alley

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He was in America, New York City to be exact, though Loki cared little for the trivial names and places of this realm, save that soon they would all be his. But for now he trekked through the city's underworld; the slums and scattered trash he gingerly avoided. His polished shoes tapped against the pavement, and Loki dug his fingers deeper into his pockets. In truth, he didn't want to be here. The dirty streets were unpleasant to see, and uncomfortable to walk through, even though he had both his magic, and multiple well placed knives on his person. He much preferred the lights and life of the nicer part of town. He was a man who enjoyed the creature comforts, and a glass of Midgardian wine and a fine meal was much more... up his alley. Even the pleasant, if simple strains of the musical concerts he had seen had been agreeable.

But, he wasn't here simply to amuse himself, though that did come into play at times. He had work to do, and dawdling about the lower part of New York City was not part of it. Loki was currently trying to find someone. A man, he assumed, who was systematically removing various ...cogsfrom the machinery of his plans. The people themselves were not the problem, they were easily replaced. No, what concerned him was who in this simple realm would have the resources and brains to connect together his people. No one had before, and quite frankly no human should have been able to.

It was puzzling to be sure.

After a careful search, Loki was poised to meet this mastermind. There were two outcomes to this. Either the genius did not walk away, or he did with Loki's paycheck in his pocket, for Loki was willing to be lenient.

A shadow melted out of the general darkness, and Loki stopped where he was, waiting for him to come forwards. The man, for man it was, was tall, thin and walked with a limp. Red curls and a hideous jacket completed his ensemble. He was totally unremarkable, except for the fact that nearly everything about the man was an act.


"Good evening." Loki called out, stepping into the circle of light emitting from a leaning lamp post. It put him at a slight disadvantage, as the stranger could see him, and the glow would have blinded a human to the shadows around him. Good job he wasn't human then. Jotunheim was a dim realm and he had excellent night vision.

The stranger stepped forwards, dragging his leg behind him. He murmured a hello in a New York accent, also fake, and went to shamble by him, the homeless wanderer playing his part to the full.

"There is no need for that accent." Loki said softly as the man passed him. He stiffed, ever so slightly. A human would not even had seen it. "Nor that limp. I am sure your leg is very uncomfortable by now."

Slowly, the other man straightened up, his bearing becoming tensed and ready. He was nearly as tall as Loki, perhaps a finger-width shorter, and thinner than Loki on his worst days, and Loki was not large.

"I assume you know who I am." The man said, his voice a rich English one. Loki met his eyes, smiling a little at how the other man stayed just out of the line of light pressing his apparent advantage.

"I know what you are doing."

"That's not the same thing." He said, his voice even.

"Is it not?" Loki's reply was quick.

"Who are you?"

Loki spread his hands.

"Take a guess."

The man's eyes glinted in the light, and soon Loki had the feeling of being a bug pinned on a card, a slide under a microscope. Loki's smile grew as the man grew more and more frustrated. "Well?"

"Your shoes, coat and scarf came from the same manufacturers and cost quite a bit of money, though you didn't pay for them, did you? A man concerned about appearances, but not the law. You don't seem to be quite comfortable in them, it's not something you wear often, but oddly it's not the restriction of the collar, sleeves etc that is bothering you, but the freedom. You're used to something tighter, stiffer, you move as if you'll have greater resistance than your coat and trousers give you. You walk with reassurance, even in the dead of night in this part of town, as well you should since you have six, no seven knives concealed on your body. You can take care of yourself most definitely."

Loki's smile broadened.

"I must say, I am impressed-" The stranger held up his hand.

"I'm not finished yet. You are most intriguing." There was an excited light in his eye now. Loki raised his own brow.

"Indeed? Then by all means."

"You are a man with a troubled past, and you've done things that most beings would cringe at. The few plans I stopped with my meddling weren't the worst by far, were they? You have a difficult relationship with your father and mother...oh, found out you were adopted, did you? Always a challenge, but when it's kept from you for so long..." He clicked his tongue and there was cruel joy in his tone. "You have a brother, who you've seen recently, not under pleasant circumstances, I'm afraid, and you may even have tried to kill each other, though you still love him, and he certainly loves you. I also am of the opinion that you aren't entirely human, not even a little bit, and when the fancy takes you, you can change forms completely. Magic, they say is only science we don't understand yet. But you understand it, don't you? Is that enough to be getting on with?"

Loki found he was staring at the man.

"Who are you?"

A flash of teeth. "I asked you first."

Loki blinked away the probing gaze. How could this man, this humanknow so much? Someone had to have told him. Maybe he was working for Thor? No, Thor was not smart enough to hire someone of this caliber, for some unknown purpose. Thor was much too straightforward. This man was a being after Loki's own heart.

"I am Loki," Loki finally said with a small bow. "And you were right on all counts."

"Sherlock Holmes," the stranger said, and they shook hands. Loki was feeling rarely felt equality, and he smiled a real smile, which Sherlock Holmes returned.

"And now we come to the reason for our little get together tonight." Loki said, his smile becoming wolfish.

"You have caused me a fair bit of trouble."

Holmes gave a smirk and a sketched a bow. "It was my pleasure."

Loki frowned at the other man. "Oh do not imagine for one minute that you can toy with me, Holmes."


"I will not have my plans meddled with." Loki finished, with a warning look.

Holmes smiled a fuller smile, his grin challenging and warning in its own right. Loki's brow furrowed. This man would not be intimidated...but perhaps, bought?

"If you're thinking of propositioning me to work for you, which is a better choice than challenging me, I assure you, you can save your breath. I'm not that kind of man."

Loki looked closely at Sherlock, and shook his head regretfully. "No, I can see you are not. It appears we are at an impasse." Loki said with an ironic twist of his lips. He rather enjoyed a few of the Midgardian films.

Sherlock got the joke. Inching his eyebrow up, he asked,

"What now?" Somehow, he managed to make the simple question sound like a threat. "We try and kill each other like civilized people?"

Loki smirked, and felt his magic rise up within him, then...

"No, I think not." Loki said, stepping backwards out of the light. "You are a fascinating creature, for a human. I think I shall keep you."

"Keep me?" Sherlock tried not to show the frisson of alarm at that thought.

"I could do with a challenge, methinks." Loki murmured, out of the darkness which he'd vanished into.

"Keep on doing what you are doing, Sherlock Holmes. I will find you."

Sherlock gritted his teeth, and called out. "Even Norse gods get bored, do they?"

"Indeed," Then with a flash that pained his already dilated pupils, Loki was gone and Sherlock was alone on the street. A smile tugged at Sherlock's lips. Two criminal masterminds in one lifetime...

Who could believe his luck?