Title: Just a Million Little Gods.
Rating: PG-15-ish for an instance of really bad language… and language in general.
Word Count: ~4100
Characters: Loki, Thor, Fandral, Sif, Fenrir. Very one-sided Fandral x Loki.
Warnings: AU. Pissy!Sarcastic!Loki, Flirty!Fandral to be faithful to the comics, some almost-fighting, a lot of tongue-in-cheek-ness.
Summary: He and Thor have oddly emotional reactions to music. Loki-centric, part of the Brothers!verse.
AN: Since I liked writing Brothers Extraordinaire so much, I pretty much decided I'm going to write a bunch more stories within the same universe. This one is basically two random, drabbly things with Loki's music as a theme. I might do one about Thor's music later on. Anyways, this didn't turn out to be as humorous as I wanted it to be; it actually took a dramatic turn. Also, before you read, I want to point out that Loki, Thor, and Thor's friends are all college students if that wasn't clear before (you might want to read Brothers Extraordinaire before starting this; I strongly recommend it). You'll find out more about their school-related experiences if you follow the verse. The title is taken from a lyric from the song Wake Up by Arcade Fire.
"What're you listening to?" is suddenly in his ear, rudely replacing the almost-soothing cacophony of Arcade Fire. Loki makes an irritated noise as his hand shoots out, expertly snatching his misplaced ear-bud from Thor.
"Does it matter, Thor?" he asks, shooting his older brother a carefully exasperated look. Loki fastidiously contemplates his expressions before doling them out to Thor, quickly coming up with the right mixture of emotions like aggravation, bitchiness, fury, coldness, indifference, fatigue, sarcasm, and many other similar feelings. This time, the look he gives Thor is mostly a hybrid of tiredness and irritation, peppered with a small but strong dose of frostiness.
Sadly, that doesn't seem to hinder Thor. Which, while unfortunate, doesn't really surprise Loki.
Thor grins like he knows how he gets under Loki's skin with merely his presence (he probably does, ugh), and he drops onto his brother's bed to sit facing the smaller, darker man. Fenrir rouses beside Loki, obviously set off by Thor's suddenly very proximity, and the dog practically leaps to his feet, stomping on Loki's thigh and whacking him in the face with his tail in the process of doing so. Loki rolls his eyes (can he and his dog be best friends again?) when Fenrir starts barking at Thor, ears turned back and tail straight out behind him. And of course, Thor isn't fazed, watching Fenrir apathetically if not with a hint of amusement.
Reaching out almost reflexively to run a pacifying hand down Fenrir's back, Loki hushes his dog. "Calm down, Fenrir," he mollifies, pushing the husky's butt down until he sits on his haunches. As Fenrir ceases his barking, keeping his hard gaze on Thor still, Loki offhandedly adds, "He's not leaving, no matter how much we want him to."
Thor snorts with a smirk, and why does Loki get the feeling that his brother is winning a fight that hasn't even started yet?
Probably because Thor has won unborn struggles between himself and Loki for their whole lives.
"You do flatter me, Loki," Thor jests, holding his hands to his chest in a mockingly heartfelt gesture. He's gazing wistfully at his brother, and Loki feels incredibly uncomfortable as Thor goes on, "I can just feel the love radiating off of you in waves."
"Don't use such big words, Thor," Loki deadpans, attempting to turn back to the novel he was reading before his brother interrupted him, "It's much too becoming."
The resounding, brief silence sounds a bit like victory to Loki until Thor laughs loudly, scratching his head. Thankfully, the chortle is a bit awkward and forced; something Loki's practiced ears easily pick up. He finds his place on his page.
"You know, I can be smart, too, bro," Thor interrupts Loki's train of thought as he crosses his thick, muscular legs under him and leans back on his hands. The older, fairer one of them grins almost childishly as he states, "I just opt to be awesome, that's all."
"Oh, believe me, brother. You are awesome," Loki bites out sarcastically as Fenrir noses into his dark, currently messy hair. He casts his pale green eyes up to regard Thor with a forced coldness; Loki's fucking pushing it, turning his default, level 3 icy glare for Thor into a powerful, level 9, full-on glacial scowl of death. "I suggest you get out before your remarkableness starts to rub off on me," he says without warmth, "You wouldn't want to lose any awesome points, would you?"
Thor's grin shapeshifts into a small, disappointed frown. Part of Loki is glad that Thor doesn't take his spectacularly acerbic comments to heart; the last thing he wants is a pissed-off Thor in his house, counting on him for food and a satisfactory living space among other things. But, another part of Loki hates that Thor can take his insults in stride, because that implies that Thor doesn't take him seriously, which means his efforts to get his brother to leave him alone/be quiet/generally make life easier for him are almost always in vain. Yeah, life's a bitch.
"You still haven't told me what you're listening to, Loki," Thor points out in an even voice. He leans forward, draping his arms over his lap as he leans closer to Loki's slightly slouching form. And damn, Loki has no chance of paying attention to Fight Club with Thor that close to him. His brother's closeness is just distracting in that perfectly aggravating way.
After futilely pretending to ignore the ever-loving fuck out of Thor (Goddamn, Thor, you can just be so fucking dense sometimes. Can't you see your brother has spontaneously become oblivious to your presence?), Loki heaves an incredibly heavy, dramatic sigh and shoves an ear-bud at his brother. It takes Thor a few moments to realize Loki's intention, and when he does and takes the earphone, Loki is rolling his eyes and craving a big cup of the girliest coffee Starbucks can offer. He vexedly watches Thor plug his ear with the small white bud, only half caring about his brother's reaction to the music.
Thor is staring at the junction between jade wall and gray ceiling, his face a mask of wondrous concentration and his mouth only slightly open. Loki is listening to Wake Up through the other ear-bud, still in his ear, and he takes Thor's distractedness as an opportunity to continue reading Fight Club.
Loki has a tendency to get very deeply immersed in the books and stories he reads, often in a matter of only a few seconds. He's been doing it since the third grade and has countless sleepless nights to account for the habit. That's why he almost screams when Thor shatters his reverie with a comparatively loud, "Who is this?"
Loki responds with a level 6 glare and, "Arcade Fire." Upon Thor's bemused face, Loki sighs so hard he feels out of breath and adds, "You've probably never heard of them."
Thor shakes his head and watches Loki, still listening to the rough, odd-sounding music through his one ear-bud. "I haven't," he says, and to Loki's surprise, there is no sarcasm in his brother's voice as he goes on, "But they're cool."
Loki doesn't really know what to say at first, unused to having Thor agree with him about anything, especially music. He's not sure whether Thor is bullshitting him or not (he's not really a good actor, but Loki doesn't appreciate being showed up at all), and he's scared to say something nice. What horrors could Thor perform while under the impression that Loki can be pleasant?
"I'll let you sync your iPod to my computer," Loki manages in a carefully neutral voice. He doesn't look at Thor because the argyle pattern on his bedspread is incredibly fascinating. Not at all because he knows if he looks at the man, he'll want his older brother who loved him and picked him up whenever he fell and sang him to sleep at night back. That's ridiculous.
Thor is grinning like a kid in a candy store when Loki decides he's detached just enough to look up. (Is he smiling at me?, he internally wonders.) The man brushes his flaxen hair out of his face as he tugs the ear-bud out of his ear and hands it back to Loki.
"Thanks, bro," Thor exclaims in his voice that sounds like thunder, hopping off of the bed with a grace odd for his size. Loki watches Thor duck out of the doorway, almost amused by how his brother's height and width makes him lower his head, pull his shoulders together as he exits. The warmth doesn't stay with him long, though; the ember in his core is quickly replaced with snow, not quite ice yet.
Loki, an expert about himself, can already feel a wave of depression approaching. With a sigh that feels heavier than lead, he dog-ears Fight Club, removes his ear-buds, absently pets Fenrir, and slips out of his room into the kitchen for a huge bowl of ice cream. Only in sadness can he afford to be unhealthy.
He curses, staring defiantly at the patch of scarlet paint on the cement. With glaring emerald eyes, Loki once again aims his hose at the offending splotch.
Nothing happens. Of course.
Loki sighs in a defeated fashion as he turns his gaze to the house, watching through the glass double-doors as Thor and Fandral stupidly fight over a bag of beef jerky (When the hell does Loki have fucking beef jerky in his house?), Sif sitting on the counter and laughing at her companions' struggle. Thor and Fandral are almost completely covered in bright red paint, the scarlet liquid drying in their hair, on their faces and arms, their clothes. Sif has a dash of it on her face, but nowhere else. Even worse, there are several blood-colored footprints on the kitchen floor, and it's all Loki can do not to start screaming or crying. Oh, yeah.
Stop burning, Loki tells his eyes as he looks down and away. So far, Thor and his so-called bros haven't yet caught Loki weeping from the stress of their antics. Loki would very much like to keep it that way.
"Let it go!" Thor bellows from the house, and Loki looks up just in time to see Fandral ramming into his brother's chest, taking advantage of the man's heavy build to push him back into the counter behind them. A stack of plastic bowls tumbles to the floor upon impact. Loki sniffs wetly.
He reminds himself to never again let Thor use his paint and drops his hose, uncaring that it continues to spout water.
Very wet and deeply wounded, Loki pushes his way into the house, letting his face harden as he strides heavily through the kitchen, water squishing beneath his feet with every step. Fandral's smooth honey laugh reaches his ears as he approaches the doorway.
"Where're ya goin' so fast, sexy thing?" the man purrs, and Loki idly considers grabbing a butter knife and ramming it between his ribs. When, like an idiot, he turns to regard Fandral, the first thing he sees are the man's heady, lascivious blue eyes gazing longingly at him. Fandral grins and winks purposefully.
Loki doesn't feel anything, yet. Honest to God.
And then Thor roughly yanks the bag of jerky from Fandral's hands, nearly ripping the thing in half. A couple of pieces of beef fall to the floor, and before Loki knows it, Thor and Fandral are scrambling to the ground, shoving fiercely at each other and grasping for the lost meat. Sif busts out laughing, and Loki is reminded of how badly he wants to cry again.
Before he starts sobbing uncontrollably, Loki darts down the hallway into his room and shuts the door, pressing his lean, shaking body against the dark wood when he does. He inhales deeply, closing his eyes tightly and trying to ground himself.
When he feels like he won't collapse upon movement, Loki pushes himself away from the door and pads over to his bookshelf. Rolling up the sleeves of his steel gray Henley, he quickly scans the shelf he has occupied with CDs until spotting something he's in the mood for. Loki gingerly snatches the vinyl case from the rack and heads back for the door, breathing heavily to calm himself.
Oddly, the exercise only causes Loki's resentment to grow. The man absently takes note of this as he pulls his silky raven hair up into a small ponytail, letting some of the inky strands fall messily out of their bonds. Pissed Loki is a much more fun part to play than Weepy Loki, in his opinion.
When he returns to the kitchen, CD in hand, Thor and Fandral are sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor tearing the bag of jerky apart, like they can't eat it fast enough. Sif is still perched on the counter, but now she's chattering loudly on her cellphone, oblivious to her surroundings. Thor and Fandral look up to see Loki's tall form entering the room.
"Back so soon?" Fandral smirks, watching Loki as he approaches and unabashedly looking him up and down. Pig.
"Oh, yes," Loki replies in a spectacularly dry tone, walking towards the glass doors without giving Fandral or his brother so much as a second glance, "How could I go on being separated from you for so long?"
As Loki opens the door, he hears Fandral chuckle, say, "You couldn't, angel-face."
Loki doesn't think he looks much like an angel. That's one of the reasons why he gets extraordinarily PO'd at the comment, why he whips around to glare lethal daggers at Fandral, clutching the glass door tight enough to shatter it. Well, not really (he never was particularly strong, unlike Thor), but for the sake of being dramatic, let's just say that.
"Sarcasm, you cunt," he spats, a thrill almost reluctantly running through him when Fandral and Thor's eyes widen to the size of saucers, mouths going agape at the insult. The two of them, however dense they are, know that when words like cunt come flying out of Loki's usually eloquent and articulate mouth, he's downright furious. Feeling cold enough to smirk, Loki adds, "And don't call me an angel when you know just as well how very demonic I can be."
He slams the door loud and angrily behind him, stomping across the wet patio to the stereo sitting atop a now paint-covered table. Loki reins in the urge to pulverize it (The table or the stereo, you ask? Is there a difference?) as he pops the lid to the stereo and practically shoves his CD into it, thanking whatever higher power there is that he didn't break the disc. He cranks the volume up as high as it will go, almost scaring himself as he does it.
To say that Loki despises loudness would probably be mostly truthful. Sure, he appreciates chaos and disorder when it counts, and some sounds, like thunder or the beat of a drum, excite him more often than not. But, since Thor moved in with him, Loki finds himself cringing away from anything too noisy or voluble. Especially things like music. Or voices. Besides that, blasting music at maximum volume is a scarily Thor-esque action, and Loki fears that his brother's influence might be rubbing off on him.
As the pulsing throb of a bass guitar radiates from the stereo speakers, Loki moves to grab the bucket of paint left open and dripping on the patio. He lets his resentment for everything, even himself, rule his actions as he shuts the hose off and throws it carelessly to the side. Not waiting for the patio to dry, the man gets on all fours and starts to cover the ruined cement with red paint. Maybe it'll actually turn out nicely.
Or it won't, because everyone and their mom hates Loki for whatever reason.
The sky is a beautiful, deep blue, stars are hanging dimly in the sky, almost half of the patio is a striking scarlet hue, and Loki is still losing himself in the sound of The White Stripes when Thor decides to pay attention to annoy him again. The younger brother almost jumps and spills the remainder of his paint on the cement when his older, brighter counterpart bangs unceremoniously on the glass that separates them.
Loki raises hard, frosty emerald eyes to regard Thor, who is pretty much a huge silhouette standing in the kitchen, staring at him in what looks like curiosity. Thor opens his mouth and speaks, but Loki can't hear him over the blaring music.
And that's exactly why he put The White Stripes on in the first place. Consider this a success.
Loki doesn't think twice when he simply turns back to his work, yawning quietly and brushing a lock of raven hair out of his face with red-stained fingers. He's tired, honestly, but the loudness and automatism of his present situation is calming and grounding in a way almost nothing is to him now. Loki doesn't want to let it go so soon, despite the fact that tomorrow is Monday and school will be hectic (not to mention early) and his psychology instructor is relentless in loathing him. All of that is easy to deal with next to Thor.
Speaking of Thor, the man bangs on the door again, and Loki absently wonders why, in light of his own intelligence and insightfulness, his brother was gifted with physical prowess and relinquished mental excellence. Maybe they were destined to be foils of one another, fated to be polar opposites; in appearance, in personality, in spirit. It's a sad existence, in Loki's opinion (he secretly wishes that his relationship with Thor would thrive because of their differences, rather than crashing and burning).
When Loki ignores his brother once more, Thor does what's both sensible and aggravating by opening the door. He practically screams (or just raises his voice a little; it's Thor), "Loki! Maybe you should turn the music down!"
Loki laughs in spite of himself, speaking in a deliberately normal (inaudible) voice, "Maybe not." He feels like a troll at this particular moment, takes pleasure in aggravating Thor. In hindsight, it's probably not a good idea to grate on his brother's fragile nerves, but do you see any of the fucks he gives?
"What?", Thor bellows, leaning further out of the door in a largely futile attempt to hear his brother better. Loki laughs harder, the asshole.
"Oh, nothing, Thor," he replies in a slightly louder voice, this time insolently glancing up at his brother, who towers over him, for a moment. "It's nothing important, because nothing really is important to you, is it?"
Thank gods Thor doesn't hear him clearly. Surely Loki would have gotten slammed into the pavement for his cheekiness if he did.
But Loki forgets his purposefully insouciant attitude when Thor steps outside (onto the still-drying paint, goddammit) and crosses the patio (tracking huge, tacky, red footprints across it) over to the stereo. He switches it off with a flick of the wrist, and Loki barely stops himself from chucking his bucket of paint at Thor in a particularly violent show of disapproval. Thor turns to him, expression bemused.
"What was that, brother?" the blond asks, watching Loki's squatting, fuming form crouched on the ground with his horrible squinty eyes that arch like crescent moons.
"I said, 'Fuck you'," Loki spits thoughtlessly, quickly rising from the cement to storm over to his brother, whose face has taken on a mildly irritated expression at the insult. He stands before Thor, glaring unabashedly into his clear blue eyes (damn their height difference), and asks in a curt, cold voice, "Why did you do that?"
Of course Thor has to be stupid. It's practically written in his genetic code to be stupid. "Do what?" the man retorts in his voice that's slightly louder and more forceful than his already normally loud and forceful tone. That voice is like a yellow light; it means he's getting aggravated, which means back off before he actually gets pissed enough to slam you.
Frankly, Loki doesn't give a damn.
"Turn off my music! Why the hell did you turn off my music?" Loki demands, and he can almost feel himself getting colder, angrier, can almost see the fury swelling in Thor himself. The two of them have gotten in enough fights over the years to know each other's tells; Thor knows that Loki's eyes get wider, more sunken, that the emotions displayed on his face become erratic and nonsensical when fury creeps up inside him, and Loki knows that Thor's scowl slowly grows deeper, that his brows knit further and further the madder he gets.
And, look. Thor's eyebrows are starting to come together as he leans closer to Loki, getting in his face (Loki knows it's a tactic Thor uses to intimidate him. Does it work, you ask? Kind of.) and answering, "It was too loud, Loki. And it's getting late."
To be honest, this is probably a ridiculous thing to get in a fight over. To be honest, neither brother cares that much. There's too much testosterone in the air to worry about the idiocy of this whole situation.
Loki's face splits into a manic grin as he laughs. It's not a pretty sound at all; it's filled with malice and sarcasm and bite, and it makes Thor's grimace intensify a whole fucking lot. Tilting his head spitefully, Loki replies, "That doesn't seem to bother you when it's your music, Thor. Double standards aren't cool in my book."
And then Thor is grabbing Loki by the front of his Henley and dragging him up, and only the tips of Loki's toes are touching the ground, and Thor is glaring right in his face and holding him up in the air and suddenly Loki feels helpless and sixteen and weak again and he's more upset than angry now and oh God.
"You'd do better to not piss me off, Loki," Thor growls, and it's a kind of inane thing to say because he's obviously already outraged. For whatever reason, Thor tends to say pointless shit when he's pissed, and while Loki guesses that it's probably only to make himself look tough, it still doesn't not aggravate the fuck out of him.
Loki tenses up but doesn't writhe in his brother's vice-like grip; he's smart enough to know not to struggle, now, when Thor is so much stronger than he is. So instead of fighting with his hands, he uses his words. Against Thor, his tongue has always been his main advantage.
"And you'd do better not to hurt me, Thor," Loki replies with forced calmness. He steadfastly holds his brother's gaze as he adds, "I'll have you out of my house in a heartbeat if you hit me, and then where will you go?"
They both know the unspoken answer to that question: back to mom and dad's, back home. That's the last place Thor wants to be right now, when he's so free and awesome and full of life.
The resentful, grudge-holding part of Loki wants Thor to strike him, just so he has a really good reason to kick his brother's ass to the curb. But the childish, heartful part of him wishes for just the opposite, because deep down, Loki wants Thor to stay, simply out of an impossible hope that things can get better between them. Keyword: impossible (Loki doubts they'll truly be fixed after what the accident did to Thor's body and Loki's mind; the toll the car crash took on them is engraved deep within both of their minds and hearts).
Loki can see the conflict flashing across Thor's face, can hear the gears turning in his brother's thick head. He watches Thor with careful indifference, making sure he remains seamlessly composed on the surface so as to not sway the man. With every second that passes the feat grows more difficult, and just when Loki thinks he's going to start screaming or crying (or both) out of frustration/fear/depression, Thor's rankled expression smoothes over and he sets his brother back on the ground, gently. Loki chokes back a relieved sigh.
"You're right," Thor huffs, and he's actually looking at Loki (which is great, because usually Thor avoids Loki's eyes when he's telling him stuff like this). He runs a meaty hand through his golden hair and exhales sharply, frowning in what looks like shame or exhaustion.
Loki is absently smoothing out his shirt as he watches Thor with wide eyes, and he can't help but feel a little guilty as well (damn emotions). Before his older brother can break into this long-winded apology that makes him feel like a dick, he says, "You're right, too, okay? Now can we go one night fight-free, please?"
Thor looks a little taken aback for a moment, like he's shocked that Loki doesn't enjoy their fighting or something (why the fuck would he do that?), then nods lamely without a word. And then everything is suddenly and horribly awkward. And then Fandral and Sif start obnoxiously calling for Thor from inside the house. And then Loki luckily remembers that he needs to go to bed if he doesn't want his morning to be unbearable tomorrow.
(Exeunt Loki and Thor.)
More A/N: In the very small, single instance where Fenrir's nosing Loki's messy hair, I was thinking about that interview Tom did with the Loki hair… I hope you know what I'm talking about, since I can't put a link here. But, yeah. His hair is slicked but just a little curly and disheveled, and that's pretty much where that random bit came from.
The White Stripes song that starts with the bass guitar is Seven Nation Army if you didn't figure that out/know.
Sorry about how sloppy and roller coaster-esque the last part is; it was written over the course of about ten hours total. I am serious. I was moving around and half the time laughing my ass off with my family and half the time depressed out of my mind and I took a huge break to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, so yeah. If that part seems inconsistent and messy in the tone department, that's why. I went back and cleaned it up a bit, but. I don't blame you if you get confused.
One more thing: the last line is written in the style of stage directions for theatre for the non-acting folk who don't know that. Don't mind me and my theatre humor.
Reviews are greatly appreciated, loves. :]
- X Academy.