A/N: I'm afraid that if you're not familiar with Norse mythology you're going to find this chapter very, very strange. If you are, you'll probably find it very, very strange too. Dedicated to anyone who's been reading this story since the beginning. (Anyone?)
There was something inexplicably familiar about this situation, he thought, as Mayura rifled through his small wardrobe and babbled pleasantly about the sort of wedding she would have, one day, when she met the right man.
"And a big white dress with a cake shaped like a panda, and Papa would have to be in charge because…hey, Narugami, why do you think they chose to have a Western wedding instead of a Japanese one? We'll have to go buy a dress…Why are all your clothes so big? Anyway…"
Couldn't she have worked that out? Of course his clothes were too big for her! Why did she have to accept the wedding invite, anyway?
"Maybe you could go in my school uniform…"
And it was supposed to be a cross-dressing wedding! That wasn't manly! That wasn't the sort of wedding a god like him should be invited to attend! But when Mayura had described it excitedly at the café the day before, he'd seen the light in her eyes, and, well…maidens. He was sick of all these maidens. One request from a girl like Mayura and he'd turn into a doormat.
"Narugami?" She turned around, clutching a motheaten suit in her hands. There had to be some benefits to being a god, and one of them meant that he didn't worry about clothes very much. Things like that sorted themselves out around him, without him bothering himself at all. But the suit she had found clearly needed a good helping of godhood to be ever wearable again.
"Narugami, what sort of clothes are these?" She held the dress up to her face. "Do you ever get dressed up? You know, you're too old for that school uniform now!" Mayura giggled and pointed to his current clothes.
"But I look good in it!" That was true, at least. Mayura laughed and buried herself back into his wardrobe. It was so easy for him to find a look that worked, and stick with it. But it had been a few years now since he had left that school…maybe it was time to change.
Mayura started to hum as she dug through the layers of clothes stashed in the closet. Narugami really was impressed: she threw herself into everything she did as though it was the only thing that mattered in her life. Just days ago she had been searching haunted houses for the secret to the universe –
No, he couldn't ask her about what she thought was going on. Clearly, it was something about them – him, Heimdall, Frey, the Norns…and this Spica, whoever she was.
Spica? Was that right? Could that Spica girl from the café be an important part of this whole mystery?
Urgh, it really was a mystery. Mysteries had never been his thing. He would always leave the mysteries to –
Why did so many of his sentences end like that now? Like something important was missing, slipping through his fingers while he looked the other way and pretended not to notice? Something had changed, something important about who he was and what he was doing had changed…ever since he had gone into that house, and stepped on the shattered memories on the floor, and crushed them further into dust. That Enu Decie Any building.
Argh! He couldn't stand it any more. Mysteries were the business of Mayura and that guy and his job was just to turn up and cheer everyone up. Mysteries were not his thing!
Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait. What?
He must have made some kind of strangled sound, because Mayura looked back at him over her shoulder quizically, one eyebrow raised. Narugami managed enough self-control to shake his head a little and Mayura shrugged and turned back to the incredibly important task at hand.
What had he been thinking when his brain let something slip? 'Mayura and "that guy"'?
Oh man, he needed to go back to the beginning and work everything out, piece by piece, step by step. There was a house. Yeah. An old house, kinda falling apart. Lots of broken stuff everywhere. There was a family photo in the house, and no people. That girl, Spica, the waitress, she had been in that photo. Okay, good so far. Spica was trying to 'do her duty' for someone. Presumably someone from the photo, someone from her family. She wasn't old enough to be a mother, he didn't think, so maybe a brother, or a sister.
Now, clearly the most important person from the photo was the little kid, the one with the dog who had been standing next to Reiya. He was the one that everyone had pointed out, that everyone had thought they recognised. Was he the one Spica wanted to do her duty for? Maybe he was her younger brother.
Okay, okay. Progress, great. He tried not to be distracted by Mayura's pose as she went head-first through the closet, near to giving up judging by the irritated sounds she was making. He was so close to…something.
Now, his most recent thought, Mayura and 'that guy' with their business of solving mysteries. That was definitely related. So was 'that guy' someone else from the photo? Had to be. He wracked his brains trying to remember everyone from the photo that he didn't know.
Obviously it couldn't be the kid. So…(unless it was the dog)…it was the older guy? The one who wore the glasses? That might guy with the glasses – the family father, right? – liked to solve mysteries, and Mayura would help him?
Narugami couldn't compete with a detective! Was he an ex-boyfriend? Did he and Mayura used to go around to mysterious sites of mystery and try to solve said mysteries? Did they-
He was getting too tense, and too crazy, stressing out about some perfect ghost ex-boyfriend Mayura may or may not have had. This was just stupid.
So, work it out based on what he already had. Clearly, they had all known each other, all been friendly, going by the group photograph, though Narugami wasn't quite sure why he had once been seemingly friendly with someone who Odin must have disliked going by what the Norn had told him. Didn't seem like a way to live a long life, really, even if Odin was his – nah, never mind.
Must have been pre-Ragnarok, presumably, since this new world really wasn't that old...
He was so close, he could tell, fingers itching with his proximity to the truth, and so of course Mayura chose that moment to whip around, brandishing an old dress that Narugami definitely recognised.
"Narugami! You didn't tell me you'd already gone shopping! When did you get this? Just after I told you about the wedding?"
He recognised the dress, he did. He knew he did. It was very, very old-fashioned, dusty and lacy, the sort of thing a princess might have worn, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, made for someone much larger and more muscular than he was. There was no way it could fit him now, he was sure, it was made for someone with the physique of a viking.
A memory hit him right between the eyes.
There is some sort of gauze over his face, so he can't see quite straight, but enough to know that the old ugly giant sitting right next to him is definitely coming on to him. He just wants to be left alone for long enough to finish his roast oxen, but the giant is reaching out to touch his hand, stroking his hand, making eyes at him, flicking at his veil. "I ain't never seen no lady eat so much," the giant comments in a gravelly voice. "I like it."
His hand forms a fist under the table, and he thinks he's chosen his time, but someone next to him in a dress almost as fine as his own leans over and speaks into his ear. "Just a little longer, Thor," the red-haired woman who sounds like a man says, and then she turns to the giant and giggles. "My lady is just so excited about tonight, she's trying to build up as much energy as possible!"
The giant grins and he, Thor, God of Thunder, just sits there and punches the red-haired bridesmaid under the table.
And then, when it's all said and done and he's torn them all apart, back with his Mjollnir once more, the red-haired god slips the dress into his bag and winks. "For sentimental purposes," he says, and Thor has never wanted to kill that damn trickster more.
It happened to Narugami a lot, sudden forgotten memories rising back up again, which is why he brushed it off so easily, shrugging – well, he might as well take the dress, it'll please Mayura, and in situations like that he was'nt too worried about how he comes across, since he had enough confidence inside himself to handle that much embarrassment. He has been around for so long, had so many memories, that the slightest thing can trigger a sudden memory he never realised he lost. Sometimes, just walking outside can set memories off – that apple looks so similar to Idun's apples, that painting of a horse…well, horses always make him laugh a little. He was not sure exactly why. A lot of things are like that.
People he couldn't quite recall, events that seem a little unfamiliar. Certain things just trigger certain memories. This new one is already fading again. It hasn't happened in a while, actually, oddly enough, not often since Ragnarok.
Could this one maybe actually have some form of importance? Could it have anything to do with the problem at hand?
What was the problem at hand? What had he been thinking about before that flashback, again?
He's lost it. It's gone, again. It had been so close, too…but he's being distracted, because Mayura was turning around with a suit she had just found and was taking her shirt off to try and see if it fitted, and she seemed to have forgotten that he was sitting right behind her.
Well, no-one in that family was red-haired, anyway.