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A Pair of Lonely Ones

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He has to get out of here.

The green beast, Thor, Barton, Stark, even the woman and the soldier, any one of them would kill him in an instant. And if they don’t….the other option is Thanos.

He doesn’t want to die.

He pulls himself together, sends his magic flowing through his body until he’s strong enough to stand. Stark goes rocketing past the window and the reminder of his predicament spurs Loki on. He supposes that SHIELD is too busy at the moment to notice a little more magic, so he changes his clothes – a green t-shirt and black jeans this time, a bit less conspicuous than the suit – and transports himself the Hel (he mentally apologizes to his daughter for using her name in such a way) out of Manhattan. He doesn’t much care where.

He finds himself in Jersey City. All right. He can work with that. At least he’s not directly under their noses anymore. But now what? He sighs and rubs his forehead. This did not work out at all the way he planned.

He pauses. Things not working out the way you plan…

Of course. If anyone in the Nine Realms would be willing to help him, or even could, it would be her. She understands disaster, after the apple fiasco. And Odin knows (he winces) he could really use a friend right now. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and focuses. With concentration, he can find her. He can always find her.

Loki only does a little more magic; he doesn’t want them tracking him down. He changes his hair (she did always say she liked the idea of him as a blond) and conjures up a plane ticket under the name Luke Owens. He’s a bit jumpy, constantly checking the skies for clouds and lightning, and doesn’t breathe normally again until they land in Los Angeles. Within an hour, he’s knocking at her door.

It takes her a minute to answer, but when she sees him, her eyes widen and she pulls him inside, nearly slamming the door in her haste. “What on Earth, or in any other realm, have you been up to?” she hisses. “You’ve been all over the news!”

He sighs. “It’s a bit of a long story.”

She folds her arms over her chest and scrutinizes him. “And I suppose you need a therapist.”

This time he laughs. It sounds like he’s somehow broken. He supposes that he is. He should have come here a long time ago. If he had come to her at the start, when he found out the truth, or even before then, maybe this could have been avoided. Maybe he would be home right now.

She looks steadily at him, taking him in from head to toe. Then she sighs and spins around, walking towards a bar at one end of the room. “Ouzo or retsina?” Loki smiles. Ouzo and retsina. Eris never drinks anything else. “No preference? Fine then.” He watches her as she pours them each a glass of retsina, hers neat and his with ice. Oh how he has missed her. Not that he would ever tell her so. Not that he needs to. She turns around and holds out his glass. “I’ve missed you too, dearest.”

And with that their millennia-long friendship, everything they have been and have never been, can be and can never be, clicks back into place and he feels whole again. She beckons him to a seat by a window and takes the one opposite. “If you want me to help you, you’re going to have to tell me exactly what kind of trouble you’re in.”

He hesitates, staring down at his drink for a full minute and a half. Then he looks up and meets her dark eyes. She blinks at him, slowly, and it all comes tumbling out.
He can’t look away from her face while he talks, even though she doesn’t say a word and hardly moves except to sip her wine. Her grip tightens on the glass as he describes his fall from the Bifrost, she raises her eyebrows nearly every time he mentions Thor, and actually winces when he describes the death of Coulson and the Hulk’s attack. When he finally finishes, the ice in his glass is half melted. He takes a drink as she sets her own glass down.

Eris pulls a cellular phone out of her pocket and pushes a button. “Hey, Charon. It’s me. Yeah, I know Persephone’s not there. I’d actually like to talk to Hades.” A brief pause, then, “Uncle Hades, I need a favour.” She listens for a moment. “No, nothing like that. Listen, has there been a recent arrival by the name of – what was it, Loki?”

“Coulson. I think his first name was Philip.”

“Philip Coulson. And if he didn’t come through your gate, try Hel and Osiris, would you?” Another pause. “Great. Can you send him back?” Hades says something that makes Eris roll her eyes. “It’s not like he’s been dead very long.” Hades is yelling now. “Look, please just do this one thing for me. All right. Yes. Yes, I owe you one.” She hangs up the phone and sets it beside her glass. “You owe me big time, Loki.”

He’s confused. “Why did you do that?”

She shrugs. “I figured Thor is less likely to come looking if he has his friend back.”

“They’ll still look for me. I killed a lot more people than just him. And Thanos -”

Eris shrugs again. She’s a goddess of chaos, in all honesty a few dozen mortals more or less makes little difference to her. “Let the Avengers take care of Thanos. And let them come looking. It doesn’t follow that they’ll find you.”

“And why not?”

She leans back in her chair and rests an ankle on the opposite knee. “Do you know what it looks like when tricksters share a city?” She waves a hand at the window. “LA. This is and has always been our town, and if we want something hidden,” she grins. “It stays hidden. And the apartment next door is empty. Or if you prefer, I think Puck is still looking for a roommate.”

Loki slowly sips his retsina, considering. “You, Puck…who else is here?”

“Raven, Coyote and Anansi.”

“And what do you do? To keep yourselves occupied, I mean.”

“Actually we’re all in the entertainment industry.”

He snorts. “I have desire to become a performer.”

“Of course not. But a producer, director, editor…at some levels it really is like being a god. With your skill in magic you would be great at special effects.”
He’s still considering this when she sighs. “Look, it’s not a trip back to Asgard. And it’s not a kingdom, either. But…”

But she is offering him a home. A family, even, of sorts.

“…You say the place next door is empty?”