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Something Far Stranger

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“It’s future tech,” Klarion explained, showing Loki the silverfish in his palm, “you swallow this, and you’re jacked into everything.”

Loki picked it up gingerly, pinching it between his thumb and pointer finger. Sparks jumped between their hands at the momentary brush of skin-on-skin; Klarion flinched, Loki didn’t. He held the drive up to the light. Scrutinizing. “This won’t give me some hand-bursting parasitic battle bot to worry about, will it?”

Klarion just smirked, daring Loki to take the plunge and find out for himself.

It wouldn’t, not this version, but like hell was Klarion going to tell him that. He hadn’t forgiven Loki for scoring the first point in their relationship - getting Klarion to hand over his story for nothing - but even if he had, the danger made it more exciting. Made it fun.

Clearly, Loki felt the same way. “Bottoms up then.” He winked, eyes glittering with that same reckless anticipation, and tossed back the chip.

Klarion watched his throat work for a long moment, a peculiar sensation in the pit of his stomach. Loki’s eyes were closed, and Klarion had never been so glad for the chance to scrutinize him without notice, but then -

“Whoa.”

Loki’s eyes were blown wide, blazing bright electric green like a beacon. He looked even more other-worldly than ever, and Klarion forced himself to swallow hard.

“Plenty of stories lurking out there in the shroud,” he suggested, as if Loki wouldn’t have started scanning through them already, “and you’d be surprised how far the ripples travel.”

Loki pursed his lips, looking directly at Klarion and staring right through him. “So you knew my reputation from the get-go. At least some of it.” He sounded far away.

“Tricky me,” Klarion agreed, taking the praise for what it was, even if his intel had ultimately failed him.

He’d relied too heavily on the Loki the shroud had shown him - social media addict, troll, and connoisseur of shitty breakfast food; clever, powerful, but ultimately harmless. It had cost him, but he’d never make that mistake again, anyway.

Besides - this was better.

“You’re off the grid,” Loki continued, wondering. He leaned back, blinked, and finally his gaze connected. Then he smirked. “Good thing I got it all from the source.”

Klarion scowled at him. “Fair’s fair-”

“Not that either of us play fair,” Loki interrupted, still grinning. His eyes were beginning to glow again though - the irresistible pull of a shiny, new toy.

“It’s still going to cost you.”

“Fair,” Loki agreed distractedly.

“You’re teaching me how to warp reality,” Klarion told him, not leaving room for discussion, “since I just gave you a new way to do it, oh god of stories. And...” he hesitated long enough for Loki to interrupt him again, trying to reach a decision.

“And?” Loki scoffed, “getting ahead of ourselves here, are we?”

“And,” Klarion repeated. Neither of them did things by half-measures, and the uncertainty was what made it fun - that moment of frenzied invention right before everything either went spectacularly well, or blew up right in his face - “I want a kiss.”

“A kiss?” That earned him Loki’s full attention again. He cocked his head and pondered it a moment.

“...I think you’ve actually managed to stump me this time. What’s the catch, Klarion?”

“The catch is that I want to kiss you."

He almost wished he had an ulterior motive. That might keep the blush from his cheeks at least, the heat from pooling beneath his collar. Klarion wiped his palms on his jeans and watched as understanding finally dawned on Loki's face.

“Oh,” Loki said. “Ohh,”

Klarion made a face at him as Loki thought that over for another too-long minute. “For such a powerful sorcerer, you’re kind of a dumbass,” he said, matter-of-factly, and almost didn’t blame Loki for ignoring him.

“I’ll teach you how to pull on the threads,” Loki conceded eventually, “that’s the first step. And you can have your kiss.”

“Deal.”

He was all too aware of Loki as he leant forward. It’d been so much easier with Zell, being drawn closer and closer together by some invisible magnetism that may or may not have been her powers. Klarion hadn’t had to think, to feel the dead-space of tech shut down between them, with expectation lingering nearly palpable on the air.

Zell wasn’t even his first - not by far - but that alone felt like a lifetime ago, and he wasn’t a god of “certain popular sex acts”, whatever that meant.

“You got on my case for overthinking,” Loki teased, and then all of a sudden he was the one bridging the distance between them, his lips brushing over Klarion’s as soft as a whisper.

He sat back, looking smugly satisfied and as mischievous as ever.

“That wasn’t even a kiss,” Klarion complained.

Loki just raised an eyebrow.

It was definitely a challenge. Had to be. Klarion brought a hand up and closed the space between them again - not quite so intimidating now that Loki had broached it first - twisting his wrist and curling his fingers, and was inordinately pleased when Loki made no move to block his spell work.

Okay, so he might have been played a little bit.

But - Klarion thought, as he finally claimed Loki’s mouth with his own, far rougher than he’d first intended - he might be at least a little bit okay with that.

At least, so long as he got the upper hand next time. And Klarion was definitely planning on it.