Disclaimer: More disclaimage. Disclaim disclaim.
AN: I feel like there's some unspoken fangirl LAW that says I have to make this slash. It's like I'll be rejected from the Fangirl Headquarters if I write a story about two male leads and don't have them hump each other. Well, I'm fighting it, and there'll be no humping here, thank you. That is, unless I get halfway through the story and cave in, and Luke and David take their clothes off and get NC-17. Rowr. That said, on to the story!
David was bored. He was always bored lately, actually. Astrid had taken up with a new guy, who kept her busy, but David couldn't feel bitter about that. Astrid was still young and probably very lonely. She'd already done so much for David – taking him in out of the goodness of her own heart, avoiding relationships until David was old enough to understand, and, not to mention, putting up with the incident that happened six years ago…
It was probably for that very reason why David was so bored. He kept a Zippo lighter in his pocket which he often grasped when nervous, the metal comfortingly cool considering the fire it could call forth. He'd often take it out and play with it,regardingit asa reminder. Luke had continued to visit him on occasion, but as time went on, David saw less and less of his Norse friend. He had made other friends, of course, but somehow, none of them could compare to densely freckled Luke, to Luke of the Flaming Red Hair.
Namely because as bright red as Luke's hair was, he alone had the ability to make it truly flaming, sparks and all. No other red-haired boy could claim that. But then, no other red-haired boy was a god of mischief and trickery.
It had been David's fault. He really did only have himself to blame. As time went on, he'd wanted to see less and less of Luke. Well, no. Not of Luke. He would always like Luke. But less of Loki. In the beginning it had been easy to separate the two, but as time went on, David could no longer escape the fact that they were one and the same. David hadn't wanted a friend with whom he could discuss godly internal affairs. He hadn't cared about Odin and Freya's latest fight. And when he tried to talk rather than listen – mentioning girl troubles or whatnot – Luke simply couldn't relate. He was a god (well, actually, a giant) and was used to just zipping down to earth, finding attractive prey, putting on the magical godly charms, and leaving early the next morning. And heaven forbid he should know anything about giving romance advice. He was Loki! What did he need companionship for?
Still, all that seemed silly, now. At 18 he had to know where to go next, and as hard as he might try, he simply didn't have a clue. David was bored and lonely and needed advice on life choices, now that he'd finished college. Alan couldn't help – he had already decided to be a doctor years ago and was on his way to med school. And if there was one thing immortals knew how to deal with, it was life choices. David had once gathered from Luke that it was the gods' version of gambling in a big casino. And Luke, above all else, knew how to gamble and win.
The door opened. David was dragged from his thoughts to the small flat he shared with Astrid, and he turned, for a brief moment expecting to see a freckled face framed by red hair. Instead, Astrid's pale, but pretty face greeted him.
"O-Oh, David! You're home!" She faltered and sounded anything but glad to see him. David, in response, suddenly felt very embarrassed. Was he thick? She'd mentioned her date that evening a hundred times, and even given him money so he could go see a film with Alan – anything to ensure that he was out of the house when she came back. It wasn't too much to ask for her to have some private time with—
"Seth, you've met David, yes?" Astrid's dark boyfriend came into the room and David, having only met him once in passing, strained to get a better look.
For a split second, David had the impression of extremely large ears and a nose that drooped down to his chin. But David barely had time to cringe before the vision was gone, and instead he saw a handsome, sienna-skinned man with jet-black hair and almond eyes. He gazed lovingly at Astrid and David knew automatically that she was doomed. He should've been happy for her, but there was something about him, about Seth, that gave David the chills.
"David, nice to see you again." David plastered an uncomfortable smile across his face, taking the hand that Seth offered. There was something definitely odd about him, but David didn't know what. Luke might, if he was around… but Luke wasn't, was he?
Seth glanced around their small flat in what must've been an attempt at delight, but as soon as Astrid turned to the kitchen to fetch some drinks, he sneered in disgust. David looked around, confused. The flat wasn't messy, despite Astrid's best efforts. In fact, David had managed to turn into a tidy young man, and kept everything very neat and organized. So what did Seth have a problem with? As David tried to find the source of Seth's discomfort, he heard a crash and turned to see one of Astrid's favourite vases on the floor in pieces.
Astrid rushed back from the other room, looking desperately at the flowers lying in a pool of broken porcelain and water.
"What happened?" She said, trying to hide her displeasure. David gave her a sympathetic look, quickly retrieving a towel to clean up the mess.
"It just fell when I wasn't looking, I guess one of us must've bumped it or something," David explained, eyeing Seth suspiciously. The darker man was struggling to conceal a look of pleasure and relief.
"Where'd you say you were from again, Seth?" David asked as he bent to pick up the glass pieces. Seth smiled easily at him, watching him clean up.
"Cairo, actually. I'm an art dealer." David filed through his brain for anything he knew about Egypt, but came up with nothing. He was ashamed to admit that all his knowledge was located in the Norse region of mythology, but that's what happens when you become part of it for a while. Astrid smiled gratefully at David and helped him up.
"Thank you, David, but if you have someplace to be…" The hint couldn't be anymore obvious. He wasn't exactly keen on leaving her alone with Seth, not when he reeked of something not-quite-right, but he had to admit that it was all just a hunch, and he nodded.
"Yeah, I think I'll go over to Alan's. Give me a call if you need me."
David returned an hour later, his stomach churning as he ran up the stairs to their flat on the fifth floor. He fumbled for the keys in his pocket, feeling the Zippo and taking a small comfort from its presence. When he came through the door, he was relieved to find that Seth had gone, leaving Astrid looking dazed and dreamy, sitting on the couch. Fearing that something had gone wrong, David rushed by her side, taking her arm. She instantly snapped out of her reverie, giving him an odd look.
"David, what is it? What's wrong?" She asked, suddenly concerned. David felt a sigh of relief rush through him, but he continued to hold her arm.
"Nothing, it's okay. When did Seth go home?" He asked, studying her carefully.
"Not long after you left, actually," she frowned, looking slightly embarrassed, "not much happened." Her face turned red and she turned to him, obviously desperate to change the subject, "Did you have fun at Alan's?"
David wanted to say so much. He was desperate to tell her: "Oh yeah, I had a great time. I did a little bit of research on his computer and found out that your boyfriend is most likely the Egyptian god of chaos and pure evil, isn't that a laugh!"
Instead, he looked into her eyes.
"Astrid … do you remember Luke?"
Over the years he'd found that Astrid's memory of Luke was becoming more and more, well, normal. Only Alan still remembered him as being something more than unusual, but his recollections were beginning to dull, too. If what David suspected was true, if Seth was the murderer of Osiris, then the only way Astrid would believe him was if she remembered Luke for what he truly was. He watched her as she frowned thoughtfully, her brow furrowed.
"You mean that funny boy you used to hang out with? The one who wanted to be a fireman?"
David felt like someone had just dropped a brick in his stomach. No way, had she really forgotten so much? A fireman? Luke? Firemen put out fires, they didn't create them by winking a certain way. David let out a pained sigh.
"Forget it, never mind," he said. He was about to stand up and head to his bedroom, feeling helpless and depressed, when Astrid tensed slightly. He turned back to her.
"David, honey, I think we need to talk, actually." There was something about the way she said it that David knew it was going to be about Seth, and he sat down, his hopes rising once more. Astrid gave him a solemn look.
"Seth told me you broke the vase."
David blinked at her, trying to process what she'd just said.
"Oh… had I bumped against something? I didn't notice, but I wasn't really-" He started, but Astrid interrupted him, her voice stern.
"No, David. I mean he told me he saw you push it over."
Again, David paused.
"Astrid," he started, slowly, "that was your favourite. Why would I break that?" He knew what Seth was doing, but if he allowed himself to get angry, Astrid would only turn against him even more. He took calming breaths and Astrid sighed, wrapping her arm around him.
"I know that it's just been you and me for a long time, and I know you had it rough before with your… relatives." She said, delicately, "But you have to understand something. I'm lonely. I need someone to be with me, especially when you go off to school eventually. You're like a little brother to me, David, but you have to let me do some things with my life, too. I had hoped you were old enough to understand that."
David couldn't believe what he was hearing. Had Seth realized that David knew? Was that it? But no, it couldn't be. It was just that Seth lived and breathed chaos. David's life with Astrid was too comfortable for his tastes.
David put his hand in his pocket, gripping the lighter tightly in his fingers. Luke had given it to him, once upon a time, and a single eye was carved into its side. His finger traced over the lines of the eye, his breathing shallow.
"Luke," he whispered.
Then there was a knock at the door. David met Astrid's gaze.
"Are you expecting someone?" She asked. David licked his lips.
"Yes. I think so," he said, rising to his feet. He could barely manage the few short steps from the sitting room to the front door, his feet dragging across the carpet like shackles. He swallowed anxiously, as time seemed to slow down, but before he knew it, his hand was on the brass doorknob, turning it and allowing the creaking door to swing open.
"Hello, David. Did you miss me?"