|Road to Hell
Author: KnightsOfShiloh PM
All Elizabeth wanted was a job. Unfortunately, due to Loki's mischief, she finds herself at the newest position in Stark Industries... but she'll need more than the Avenger's initiative. She can't return home, and her friend Theresa ends up alone again... except for the occasional visit.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Chapters: 11 - Words: 46,079 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 01-29-13 - Published: 06-20-12 - id: 8238330
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
We're back for another chapter!
Thanks to Kiwifruit for giving us a review! As for your question, no… we don't really have a schedule, so much as we know what we want to write and try to actually write it. Sometimes scenes come to us ahead of schedule and we shift focus to that, because you can't really dictate to a muse. We wish we could commit to a schedule, but one of us has a busy job and the other one is looking for a job (which is just as much of a job with none of the pay :| ). Soooo yeah.
But enough of that drabble. On to the story! …and we've got a nice one for you this time, kids :3
I woke up in a bad mood, which I hated doing. I'd had a terrible dream the night before. One of those dreams that you couldn't explain to anyone because it was so farfetched. The type of dream that even the person who had the dream couldn't make sense of it.
I groggily sat up and looked over at my clock and noticed I had a meeting with the Avengers in 5 minutes.
Not wanting to get dressed, I said to myself, "You know what? Screw it. I'm the head of the manor, and I don't have to get dressed."
What was Mr. Stark going to do, fire me for going to a meeting in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas?
I didn't even check myself in the mirror. Instead, I just slipped into my black slippers and bound down the stairs. I started mumbling under my breath about how I haven't even had my cup of tea for the morning.
As I walked into the living room, Clint was the first to notice me.
"Dude! I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! They're my heroes!" I had to smirk at that. Suddenly my mood was a tad bit lighter. With that, Natasha elbowed Clint while eyeing me. Everyone else was now staring at me.
"So what are we doing?" I asked, still standing in front of everyone.
"Well, you should probably get dressed first while we're waiting on Tony." Natasha said, looking away.
I shrugged and walked toward the kitchen to make my morning tea.
"New rule," I said. "We're going to have casual Fridays."
I waited for everyone's response. When no one said anything, I turned to the kitchen.
"Also," I continued, still walking away. "I'm not going to do anything until I have my tea."
From the kitchen, I could hear Bruce say, "We're going to see more of this from her, aren't we?"
While I reached for the sugar, I heard the front door open.
"Hello, everyone!" Mr. Stark began. "I see Miss. Elizabeth hasn't made it in yet." I heard Mr. Stark say.
"Actually, she's in the kitchen," Steve said meekly, as if he knew something bad was going to happen.
There was a pause, and as I put the sugar away, I heard Mr. Stark sit down and started going through papers.
"Miss Elizabeth, would you like to join us?" Mr. Stark called from the living room.
I finished making my tea and sauntered over in to the living room. As soon as Mr. Stark looked up, he stopped shuffling through his papers.
"New rule." Clint chimed in.
"New rule." I agreed. "I am the head of this household and I've decided to start up casual Fridays."
"Right." Mr. Stark started. He gave me a I-will-deal-with-you-later look, but otherwise looked unfazed.
"I'm wearing my American Flag boxers next week!" Steve cheered, and I couldn't help but chuckle softly at that.
Mr. Stark blinked, shaking his head. "Looking forward to seeing that." He muttered sarcastically. "First off, has everyone settled in?"
I looked around as everyone nodded, indicating they had indeed made themselves comfortable.
"We all know Elizabeth has." Natasha remarked, crossing her arms and eying my pajamas.
I knew Natasha was trying to be snarky, but I went along with it and said, "Why shouldn't I make myself at home? This is my permanent home now; I shouldn't have to keep appearances with you lot. And besides," I looked at my watch. "It's not time for me to start working yet."
Natasha rolled her eyes.
Mr. Stark cleared his throat, drawing my attention back to him. "Well," Mr. Stark began again. "You should get used to this. We're going to be having these Friday morning meetings weekly until I'm certain that Avenger House is up and running as it should be."
"Will you be arriving fashionably late for those meetings too?" I asked with a deceptively kind smile.
"If I so choose."
"Could you bring doughnuts next time?" I asked batting my eyelashes.
"I like that idea!" Clint crowed, pointing at me.
Mr. Stark chuckled. "I could be persuaded." He said.
"What are we going to be doing at these meetings, anyway?" Steve asked.
"Well, this and that." Mr. Stark said with a shrug. As I understood it, he really wasn't sure what all would ensue at these meetings. Still, he obviously understood the need for us all to check in. "Firstly, it's just for us to check in and tell each other what we may or may not need. Areas that need improvement, where the budgets going, where we think it should be going, etc. Essentially, anything that you feel needs to be brought to attention, it gets brought up here." he said before looking straight at me. "Speaking of which, I want to address is the budget. Where is my money going?"
It occurred to me that this may very well be an attempt of Mr. Stark's to test me. Asking me for numbers from the budget without warning me that I'd need the paperwork for those figures. Luckily, he didn't count on my mental ability to tap into the systems that I'd already made to keep track of the budget.
"Well," I said, leaning forward. "So far, I've furnished the house, buying everything you can see on these living quarters and upper levels; this includes food. I set the baseline budget at $50,000 to work with and I only spent $48,000. Well.. $48,065 to be exact."
"Wait," Mr. Stark interrupted. "Where did the random $65 come from?"
I looked around the room, slightly uncomfortable for once. "I took Thor on a date." I mumbled, looking down.
Steve looked at me, awkwardly. I looked over at Mr. Stark, not knowing what to say. Mr. Stark looked over at Bruce. Bruce shrugged and looked over at Clint. Clint grinned, obviously not bothered. He looked over at Natasha and she was glaring at me, not that it mattered. She hadn't stopped glaring at me from the moment I'd walked in.
Everyone, including me, looked at Thor.
"It was a practice date!" He bellowed in defense. "I needed lessons for a real date with Jane." He looked slightly timid. "It will soon be our anniversary."
"The big bad god of thunder needs help going out with a girl." Clint said, mockingly.
Thor, standing behind him, looked like he was about to strangle Clint. Steve jumped up and forced himself between the two to try and keep Thor back.
"Thor came to me with the concern." I said in an attempt to defuse the situation. "I considered it a necessary expense." I looked coolly over at Mr. Stark. "Besides, you're good for it."
Mr. Stark smirked. "Anything to keep love alive." He said with a chuckle. I had to wonder if he was saying this ironically after his failed relationship with Miss. Potts.
"Are there any further issues that need discussing?" Natasha asked.
"I'd like a bit more input on meals." I said reasonably. "I understand that most of you scavenge and graze for whatever you'd want during the day, but I'd like to know if anyone wants to cook or if you'd prefer to allot more days for catering to be delivered for dinner."
"I have something against cooking on days that end in Y." Clint announced with mock severity.
"Very well said." Mr. Stark said with a nod.
"I am not averse to preparing an evening meal from time to time." Thor announced.
"If you tell Jane that, she will love you forever." I told him and he blushed with a bashful smile.
"It's very difficult to plan ahead for the days when we'll be called out." Bruce reminded.
I nodded. "Alright. In the event that you are called out, I'll put in an emergency call to the caterers, and have dinner delivered. Protocol set. That's one less thing to worry about."
"You'll keep everything warm for us?" Clint asked with a smirk.
"I can manage the hell out of that." I replied with severity, but ruined it by smiling.
"Okay, all this food talk is making me hungry." said Mr. Stark, rubbing his eyes. "Can we call this a day? I wanna go out for Shawarma."
"Well, what else did you want to discuss?" I asked. He looked around uncertainly. "Are there any other issues?" Everyone seemed to look around at each other. "Nothing?" I was met with blank looks and shrugs. "Okay then. Class dismissed. My boss needs shawarma." Mr. Stark chuckled at that. "Shall I have Jarvis call your favorite place and place an order?" I asked cordially.
Mr. Stark eyed me carefully. "Why do you seem more… professional?" he asked.
I tipped my empty tea mug. "It's the power of English breakfast tea." I said. "I feel more like myself now."
Mr. Stark pointed towards the mug in my hands. "Keep that tea in stock."
"I have every intention of doing so, Sir. Jarvis, make a note to keep that tea in stock." I said with a smile as I rose and ready to start my work day.
"Duly noted, Miss."
Theresa hummed as Fly on the Wall began to play from her player. Right now, her iPod was set to play songs randomly while she went about cleaning. Currently, she was taking clean, warm laundry from the dryer and placing it in a basket so that she could bring it into the living room and fold things properly. She hefted the laundry basket over her head, and bopped to the music, letting her hips sway exuberantly and singing her heart out as she swayed her way into the kitchen.
"We had a plan to build a wall, a great divide that would never fall. To separate us from all the pain, and keep our skeletons locked away."
She twirled on the balls of her feet, catching a stray glass that had been left on the table and placing it near the sink.
"And brick by brick, we built it so thick that it blocked out the sky and all the sunlight… And one by one we all became numb! We were making the bullets to a broken gun!"
As she turned back to face the living room she found a smirking Loki standing there, staring at her, obviously amused. "Oh, don't stop on my account." He assured her.
She stared him for all of 3 seconds before shrugging. "A'right!" she conceded and continued to dance about with the hamper basket on her head. "I wanna live, I wanna be the change. We can all be Kings and Queens! We can just learn to believe… if we can just learn to believe!" She sashayed into the living room, looking about the tables there to see if any stray dishes were left behind. There was nothing… of course, she was living alone again, so upkeep wasn't half as bad. Not that it had been bad with Elizabeth around.
The music began to peter out, so she dumped the clothes onto the sofa. "Babies! Laundry's here." She really didn't have to wait long. River dashed across the room from her spot under the table and dove headlong into the pile of warm sheets.
"What exactly is it that you're doing?" Loki asked cocking his head to the side as he studied her.
"A human custom. Well, for those of us clever enough to engage in it." She smiled. "I'm uncertain how matters are handled on Asgard, but here we have chores."
"Ah. Yes. We have chores, though most menial labors fall to the servants."
"Well, here it is a common custom to turn tedious affairs into a bit of a game or celebration."
"..for what purpose?"
"Because if something's fun we're more apt to do it." She said with a smirk.
His brow rose and he nodded. "Yes. I suppose that is true."
She smiled. "My game involves putting my player on random and dancing while I work. I try to remember all the words to the songs even though I haven't listened to some of them in years."
"Why do you keep the songs if you don't listen to them that often?"
"Nostalgia… and because they don't go out of style, I just forget to listen to them." She replied with a smile. "When I was a girl, the first CDs I ever owned were soundtracks to Disney movies. I still love them, even if I loathe Disney for giving me such unrealistic expectations." Theresa rose, hefting the laundry basket over her head and sashaying back to the laundry room. She left the basket near the drier and began moving the wet clothes from the washer into the dryer.
"I'm afraid I don't understand." Loki said, wandering into the kitchen. He still kept his distance so that she could exit the laundry room whenever she needed to, but he could still observe her. "How did this 'Disney' give you unrealistic expectations?"
Theresa smiled. "Disney's a famous movie company. They're really well known for children's movies and family friendly films." She began to explain. "Disney went through a 'renaissance' period in which they revamped a bunch of old fashioned fairy tales. And by revamped, I mean lied profusely." Theresa shook her head. "They made it seem like every girl is a princess and if she waits long enough a prince will come along and he'll complete her and make her life wonderful." She rolled her eyes.
Loki scoffed. "What a lovely dream." He said, his tone dripping with sarcasm.
"Right?" Theresa's eyes widened humorously. She laughed, shaking her head. "Luckily, I realized very early on that there were no princes on white horses that would appear and love me on first sight. I was really lucky, though… My parents were great in teaching me about what love was." She announced, leaving the dryer to do its work. She returned to the living room, using the remote for her player to turn the music down. "Still… a part of me enjoys the music because it's so idealistic." She made a face, her mouth screwing sideways. "I guess part of me wishes the world could be that pure, even though I know it'll never be." She said with a shrug. "Either way, the music does help to pass the time."
"Yes." Loki muttered. "Time is an inconstant task master."
"Relativity." Theresa responded.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Einstein's theory of relativity. You put your hands on a hot woman, and a whole hour will seem like a second. Put your hands on a hot pan, and a second will seem like an hour. It's all relative."
He studied her, slightly confused and somewhat amused. "…Quite." He finally responded with a smirk. "And your Einstein was the first to say this?"
"Yea.. well, no." She said with a chuckle. "Einstein developed and established the theory of Relativity. Those words are his theory summed up by L.L. Cool J." She clarified. Loki nodded with a mildly amused expression on his face, as though he fully understood her words and every aspect of how she'd explained it. He watched as she began folding sheets and pillow cases. "Did you never have to perform such chores?"
"Never these chores specifically."
"But there were others?"
"Only when I couldn't trick others into doing them for me." He said with a chuckled before quickly schooling his expression. "No. The All Father didn't allow that injustice to continue for long." He continued in a tone that tasted more like sour grapes.
"You speak of Odin in a particularly unsavory fashion. What grievance do you have against him?" Theresa asked genuinely interested.
Loki let himself scoff. "I seriously doubt you'd understand."
"Certainly, I won't. Especially if you don't tell me about it." She replied with a bit of her own sass. "Sit." She said, motioning to the plush leather recliner to her right. It had certainly seen better days, especially with 2 cats in the house. Still, it was partially facing her.
Loki regarded her carefully before sitting. Loki found it interesting that she didn't seem colored one way or the other about his opinion. No idealistic view of the All Father, no assumptions that he was the father of all evil. This could go either way… He decided to leave certain things out of his story… But he told her. He told her of Thor's coronation…the Frost Giants, sneaking to Jötunheim…the discovery of his parentage and Thor's banishment. For some odd reason, the truth flowed out of him without him even meaning for it too. He didn't know if he simply needed to tell his side of this story, or if it was just how easy it was to talk to her. At the end of it, she had stopped folding things, her eyes on the far wall behind him, a puzzled expression on her face. It reminded Loki of Heimdall's expression when his gaze was worlds away…perhaps she was worlds away.
"That doesn't make sense, Loki." She murmured, and he felt his chest constrict. Why had he given her the truth so readily? It was obviously a mistake. "Odin himself has been a wielder of great magic, a killer, a world breaker, a thief and a liar…" She continued, her eyes snapping to him. Her expression was concerned and sympathetic. "..how could he condemn you for your behavior when it's been so similar to his own?"
Quiet gasps tore themselves from Loki's throat as relief spread through him like a drug.
"Are you alright?" She asked in concern, rising just slightly. He held up a hand.
"I thought…" He took a deep breath in hopes of settling himself. "No one acknowledges that. No one understands. They think I'm mad."
"The deception, the lies, the double betrayals, the attempt to destroy Jötunheim." He listed.
"You mean because you're crazy like a fox, they think you're crazy?" Theresa said with a small smile. "Loki.." She said gently. "You may very well be crazy, but certainly not for the behavior you told me about. There's clear rational, and a definite method behind that madness." Loki sighed heavily, relief and shock blossoming in him. "Of course you allowed the Jötuns into the vault, you knew they'd never succeed."
"And you had to stop Thor's coronation because he wasn't ready." She continued. "It wasn't like anyone was listening when you tried to tell them Thor was so woefully inept to take Odin's place for any length of time. So you made it more than obvious by goading him into marching into Jötunheim. Odin couldn't ignore conduct like that any longer." He stared at her in wonder. It was amazing how she could understand so easily. "You certainly didn't expect to have a crisis of self-realization not to mention one so staggering, and then when you needed answers and support, Odin falls into the Odinsleep and everything is on your head." Her expression was so aghast, as if imagining it alone was too much for her to comprehend. She was right. It was staggering. "But, Loki… you had to know that killing Thor wasn't the answer."
"I…" the lie, the justification was on the tip of his tongue, but he hesitated. She reached out, resting her hand on his knuckles. Would this woman ever cease to surprise him?
"I understand why you felt that you had to." She comforted. "You were going to be a better King than he ever could be. You were going to avert war, destroy your father's enemies utterly, and your so-called friends proved their metal by going straight to big brother." She smiled softly. "But you realize that you did shoot yourself in the foot there?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Well… if you hadn't sent the destroyer, Thor may have never made that noble sacrifice and never returned to power. Or at least not in time to stop you."
Loki sighed and nodded. He had played that scenario over and over again in his head. That one split-second decision made in panic was the only one he truly regretted… for various reasons. Perhaps the warriors would have returned Thor to Asgard, but he probably would've been human… hardly a match for the new King of the Nine realms.
"I also understand the reasoning behind killing Laufey and your attack on Jötunheim, but… hindsight is perfect. You have to realize that Odin didn't want that any more than he wanted Thor's death."
Loki groaned, messaging his forehead with his free hand while he leaned on his other elbow. "Yes. If the All Father wanted them all destroyed, he would've done it himself."
Theresa stared at Loki hard, before saying as gently as possible. "You shouldn't have let go."
He thought for a moment to answer her with a question, or to ignore her even. "They would not have understood, and I was not sorry." He maintained. He wasn't. He may have been sorry for certain results, but he did not regret his actions.
"Thor wouldn't have understood… but Odin very well may have."
Loki glared at her. "It isn't as if Odin ever truly loved me as his own."
No sooner had the words left his mouth than Theresa drew away like the lash of a whip. Her shoulders snapped back, her spine arching, her fingers digging into her scalp as she hissed in discomfort. She glowered at him after it passed.
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't lie to me so blatantly."
"It is true." Loki growled and another shudder passed through her.
"Loki, let's get something straight." She said firmly. "Perception isn't equal to the truth. That doesn't change just because you're from Asgard."
He did growl this time, shooting to his feet as he lorded over her. "Do not presume that you are in any position to advise me, human." He ground out.
He was surprised when she shot to her feet as well, glaring up at him. "If I'm good enough to listen and console you, then I'm good enough to correct you." She countered.
"You worthless little—" His words cut off sharply when she slapped him right across the face. He stared at the wall in shock at first before his baleful green gaze turned on her.
"Frigga did not raise you this way." Said firmly, with just a hint of disappointment.
His eyes widened and he froze, completely astounded. There was a truth he could never run away from… Looking into her angry, disappointed face made him question…
Loki Liesmith vanished in a blaze of green fire and black smoke, and the mortal woman who he'd been so ready to crucify stood unflinchingly still. He absently wondered how she could be so self-assured and confident, but he was too preoccupied with her words to fully consider her behavior.
I waited with anticipation outside Thor's bedroom. After a few minutes, he finally emerged, head to toe in the latest men's fashion.
"Well?" He asked, extending his arms so I could get a better look.
"You look like a prince." I gushed.
"Is that what I am supposed to look like?" Thor asked.
I giggled. "You're just supposed to look pretty, that's all."
Thor put his arms down and sighed. "I must confess something to you, Elizabeth."
"What's wrong, Thor?"
"What if I cannot do this? This is the most nervous I have ever been. What if I do something to upset her? What if she never speaks to me again? I need to cancel-"
"Thor!" I shouted, trying to settle him down from his episode. I found it surprising that this bulky man let me calm him down. "Thor," I said more calmly. "Thor, look at me."
I pulled myself up and balanced myself on my toes and put my hands on Thor's face so he could look at me.
"All you need to do is show up and pay attention to her, like we talked about. Just tell her that this is your first date and you're nervous, she'll understand."
"Thank you, Elizabeth." he said, now reassured.
Still holding his face in my hands, I smiled back and said, "Now do your ancestors proud."
Theresa felt so melancholy as she watched the sun light fading through her windows. The weather was fairly temperate outside. She couldn't remember the last time she'd sat outside on her porch. She may have relocated to the north, but she was still a southern girl at heart. Her home came with a very lovely back patio, with rocking chairs and a swing suspended from a magnificent nearby oak tree. Her property was fairly small in comparison to her other homes (just 1 acre), and there wasn't much except a few trees and the soft turf between her home and the tall stone wall that wrapped around her property. She valued her privacy, and her neighbors knew that by the virtual fortress she'd encased herself in. She thought of the lonely swing, suspended from the long branch of the oak just on the edge of her porch… she might as well enjoy the sunset and the cool of the evening air.
She poured herself a large glass of ice tea and headed out the front door. The swing looked just as inviting as it always did, even if there was no one who'd sit with her. She was out there for 15 minutes before anything changed. She heard the sound of his boots on the patio stone. When she looked his way, he paused. She felt all the anger from before die away. He seemed so uncertain; it was very difficult to even be irritated with him.
"Come and sit with me." She said with a soft smile as she patted the empty side of the swing. He hesitated, but walked closer to inspect the seat he was offered. He stared down at the empty space before carefully seating himself on the unsteady seat. He would tense up now and then when the swing would shift suddenly. But eventually he relaxed beside her and watched the sun as it set.
"Frigga." He began after twilight had settled around them. "There was a moment…when Odin had fallen into the Odinsleep and we both knew… we both knew that we both knew the truth." He swallowed hard before pressing on. "I was given Odin's staff… Thor was banished, so the burden of the throne fell to me. That wasn't my ultimate goal, not at all. I hadn't counted on the Odinsleep or.." He took a steadying breath to interrupt his own hurried explanation. When his eyes skittered to Theresa, she smiled and nodded her understanding. "She.. My mother looked at me with such quiet pride…" He let out a soft breathy laugh. "..As though it was her honor to call me King… As if she knew that I would do everything properly." He shook his head. "I wanted nothing more than…" His eyes landed on his boots, his expression downhearted. "The last thing I ever wanted was to disappoint her."
Theresa contemplated that before pushing the swing back and letting it swing forward. Loki started a bit, reaching up with one hand to grab the chain the swing was suspended from.
"Frigga still loves you." Theresa said staring straight ahead. Loki studied her waiting for some response which would single the presence of a lie. "Odin and Thor love you as well." Loki's brow came down, his expression hurt and questioning. "Maybe they were crap at appreciating you, but they love you enough that they'd probably still be willing to meet you half way." She stopped speaking to the empty air in front of her and looked over at him. "Maybe that hurts worse.." she murmured. "But, in the end, that is what counts."
"How could you possibly know.."
"Well… I am psychic." She reminded with a tiny smile. He chuckled softly at that. "Your brother… is he still pleading for reconciliation?"
"Yes." Loki sighed. "Even as we returned, when I left him with one of my shadows, he was begging me to resolve our issues." He gave her a little glare, though it held little heat it made up for it in stubbornness. "I hope you are not suggesting that I should—"
"Not yet." Theresa amended. "If you were to show up out of the blue and agree to work towards that goal… It wouldn't be believable in the slightest. But the seeds of hope remain in his heart, Loki." She shrugged. "If I were you, I would cultivate that."
Loki considered that carefully before asking. "How so?"
She shrugged again. "Humans like to believe that things are simple… but the truth resists simplicity… and it's stranger than fiction." She smiled. "The truth is that despite the fact that you and your family all wish for a solid reconciliation, they're now very aware of what you're capable of as well as how deficient they were in estimating your abilities…. Either way you look at it, a mere apology will not suffice. From either side." Loki nodded at that. "Humans like to see things in black and white. There's good and there's evil and they are absolute." She smiled. "Once again, the truth resists such simplicity. Good and Evil aren't absolutes. If they were, there would be no point in our choices or free will." She met his eyes. "Every choice you make takes you closer to that absolute… but it doesn't make you that absolute, because no matter what there is always a choice." He nodded again, still following her line of thinking. "Unfortunately good and bad are defined by people. People, can you believe it? People, who are emotional and inconstant. Honestly, people can be persuaded to believe that anything is good or bad. Otherwise we wouldn't enjoy stories in which we admire rogues and loathe kings." Loki chuckled at that. "The thing about choices is that they do define you, but if you appear to question your choices… then things become slightly blurred."
"I don't understand." Loki responded.
"Decisive choices take you closer to one side or the other, but if you begin to question your choices, then the 'good guys' will begin to think you're coming out of your 'madness'." Loki blinked at that. "Think about it. If you do something or behave in a way that suggests you aren't certain you're justified in doing something, it suggests that you no longer know if you are justified. If you no longer believe you're justified, then your concept of right and wrong are realigning. Because, ultimately, your actions are evil but you believe that they're justified actions."
"And if I question my actions my brother will believe that my morality is reasserting itself… That I am questioning my methods…" Loki murmured.
"Exactly." Theresa murmured. "It could be something relatively small. Let's say you cause some sort of catastrophe – all with the hope of gaining something else, of course (because Loki doesn't just attack you, he distracts you and takes what he wants while you're not looking) – and you see a foe creeping up behind your brother and just let loose some sort of attack that protects Thor. Then, you 'realize' what you've just done and it shocks even you, because let's face it, you've been trying to kick his ass for a long time now." Loki was nodding while staring at the stone work that lined her house, visualizing everything she was saying it. "You retreat in confusion, still having gained whatever it was you were after, but defend your actions saying 'it was just a reflex, not a conscious decision at all'." She shrugged her expression incredulous. "This isn't much of a good argument because you've just said that protecting Thor is something you're used to doing by reflex even when you're trying to beat him."
"Yes… yes that would… that would certainly make him think before simply attacking."
"Right. Also, you may want to try addressing him as 'brother' without contempt, and then realize that you've just called him brother when you keep denying that you are his brother."
He eyed her speculatively. "Why would you tell me all this?"
She sighed. "Honestly, I do want you to reconcile with your family, Loki. There's nothing worse than a family that wants to be whole, but refuses to on principle. I mean, really, I understand that you've been hurt by them and they need to apologize as much as you do. But the pride and principles of all that should be secondary to the fact that you do all care for each other." She met his eyes, taken once again by how deep they were. His gaze was so intense that she couldn't stand to stare at him for too long. She had to look away. "But, I still think you should reconcile with them on your terms, in your own way."
He nodded slowly. ".. you think very much like a mad genius." He observed with a small smile.
"Well, when the world gets bad enough the good go crazy, but the smart…" she looked back at him with a small smirk of her own. "…they go bad."
His head turned just slightly as his smile widened making his eyes twinkle. "Who said that?"
"Abed Nadir… Well, Evil Abed and Abed Nadir." She said with a nod, as if she were reaffirming it in her own mind.
He chuckled softly. Both of them seemed content to stare off at the skyline in thought.
"It will never be as it was." He said after some time.
She looked back at him and nodded. "No. No it won't." She affirmed. "But there's room for improvement." He glanced over at her. "One could hope that this will have taught them to treat you better… That the words 'different' and 'deficient' are not synonymous." She met his gaze squarely. "You brought two worlds to their knees, Loki." She reminded. "How could anyone call you weak now?" she smiled softly. "Your strengths are different from theirs, but it doesn't mean you are not strong." For the first time, Loki was the one who looked away. Theresa felt just a touch of smugness when she realized there was a hint of pink in his cheeks. The man was a sponge, soaking up her praise with equal parts greed and shock.
"I'm weaker than you. That doesn't make me weak" He said, and it took her a moment to realize that he was repeating what she had said to him days ago.
Theresa smiled. "Cheers." She said before admiring the first few stars that were emerging through the darkened night sky.
For a moment it seemed Loki was content with the quiet, but then he turned and studied her profile. "What are you thinking?" He asked softly.
She sighed softly, her eyes squinting as the light truly began to fade. "I'm thinking… that I want to rewatch Jurassic Park." She turned and looked at him, his expression spun into bewilderment. "Want to watch Jurassic Park with me?" she asked with a growing smile. He blinked, but before he could answer she rose and tugged at his hand in both of her's. "Come on. It'll be fun. We can eat popcorn and watch people get eaten!"
He chuckled softly and gave her an uncertain smile. "With a proposal like that, how can I refuse?"
Soooo! ...nothing bad can happen from Loki watching Jurassic Park, right? ... o..o we'll, uh, see you guys later.