"Drink something," Tony insists, pushing a pint towards Thor, who is leaning listlessly against the bar, eyes glazed and mind elsewhere. "I know you're not keen to celebrate with us over the temporary retreat of your brother, even if the bulk of us agree that he's rather this side of crazy—"
"Not now, Starkson," Thor says, tired, but curls his fingers around the cool glass anyway, taking huge gulps of the glorious, sweetened bitter taste he's come to associate with Midgardian nectar. "He has gone too far and he will rain destruction on Midgard any chance he gets, but despite it all…"
"He's still your brother, I get it." Tony gives him a hearty slap on the back before gripping Thor's shoulder intently. "We'll be over here if you need us. Just call for more drinks if you need anything — Pepper insists I take this round, damn it all — and if you happen to find anyone you want to take home…" He makes a lewd gesture, and Thor raises an eyebrow. "Well, just don't wake us up or anything in the wee hours of the morning if you're the loud sort."
Thor sighs, drains the pint, and tries not to think about how he is the loud sort, especially with L— "I've not… been with anyone for a long time, Starkson, but I would do you the smallest courtesy of not interrupting your slumber should that occur. And the rest, too, as they reside in Stark Tower alongside you."
Tony shrugs, just gives him a grin. "There you go again, going all fancy. Bartender, another pint for this man, here! Yeah, all right, just holler if you need anything, Thor."
And then Tony's gone to join the others, an arm curling around Pepper's waist as she bats him away but nips at his ear playfully. Steve is quiet, nursing his drink, and Natasha observes as usual while Clint and Bruce are betting over some cards in a corner. It's a peculiar picture, given how they had been so bruised and battered just scarce 2 days prior from their last altercation with Loki.
"Here y'go, mate," the gruff bartender pushes another pint towards him with a stubby finger, and Thor accepts it gratefully.
"You have my thanks," he rumbles, and the bartender just chuckles and goes back to tending his glasses with a trailing clink, clink of sounds, just like bells.
He doesn't know how long he sits there alone, brooding, his pint being constantly refilled with an Avenger occasionally shooting him a concerned glance. They don't approach him, because no doubt Tony has told them to keep away and give him some time alone. Thor appreciates that.
For the first time in a very long while, ever since he'd been so conflicted with the feelings he'd harboured for his younger brother, smiling and dark-haired, Thor wishes he could forget.
The drinks are a start.
As the crowd thins out, Thor thumbs his glass absently, the bartender drawing him another pint, impressed. "You drink them under the table on a regular basis, then?"
"What, out-drink the Avengers?" Thor laughs. "Probably all except the Black Widow, she is magnificent with her drinks." He tilts his pint in thanks again to the bartender, and takes another gulp.
Eventually, he gets the feeling that someone is watching him.
When he does turn around, there's a young, brown-haired man smiling at him, tilting a glass.
The bartender huffs and sets a tall glass out before him. "From the gentleman with the voice like silk, he asked me to tell you." The drink is green and vaguely ominous-looking, and Thor looks at it doubtfully. "The Emerald Balrog contains absinthe, and it's rather potent. What say you, sir?"
"That a challenge?" Thor smirks, and picks up the glass. He raises it lightly back at the man in the corner, intrigued, before he takes a cautious sip. It is potent, and Thor finds himself pleased by this. "This is good."
"Yeah, it is." The bartender gives him a toothy grin, and there's a flash of gold teeth when he winks. "Best thank him for introducing it to ye."
Thor drinks more of it, and feels it begin to get to his head. "I suppose. Thank you, tapster."
"Man, polite customers, they don't make enough of them nowadays," the bartender shakes his head wonderingly, mixing more drinks as Thor sidles off his stool to join the man who'd bought him the drink in the corner, with the sofas.
"That was an interesting drink," he begins, rather unsure of what he's supposed to do from here. Thor's never quite grasped Midgardian etiquette, let alone trying to return one's passing indication of interest in this realm so similar to, yet different from his own. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, beautiful stranger," the brown-haired man drawls, and the description he'd proffered the bartender earlier really is quite apt; his voice is smooth, syllables rolling off his tongue like the finest wine. Thor is a little captivated despite himself.
Thor shifts in his seat, embarrassed. "I've never really… how would you say this? No one has approached me this way, before." Not entirely true, for Thor had his fair share of male lovers in Asgard before Loki, those who'd approached him discreetly after feasts, sly invitations hidden between insults and tell-tale brushes against his fingers as they passed goblets of mead around the table. This — Midgard — is new, and Thor's at a loss.
The stranger laughs. His face is warm and handsome, from what he can make out in the seedy lighting of their environment. Something about his eyes doesn't match his smile; the stranger has sharp eyes of a dark colour he can't see that make Thor feel like he is terribly vulnerable, somehow. "Surely not! You're remarkably attractive, there must have been a few who've made passes at you."
He remembers green eyes and smiles like quicksilver.
"Not really, no."
"What is your name?" The question is intent, and the stranger's gaze is piercing and unsettling.
Thor scrambles for a name that isn't his. "Tho… Thomas," he says, remembering at the very last moment a name Pepper had mentioned to Tony while shouting at him over one of their strange contraptions (she did that a lot, and he avoided that contraption at all costs, but then she would contact him directly when he had his suit on and he would whimper and— well, it was really quite amusing.). It would do, and it was closer to his own name than most.
The man's eyes crinkle delightfully, and his eyelashes are long. He might have called Thor beautiful, but this man was no less beautiful, himself. "Suits you. A handsome name."
Feeling emboldened by the sheer number of drinks he's had this evening, Thor drapes an arm over the edge of the couch, leaning in. The stranger doesn't flinch away from him, but neither does he move closer to Thor. He just looks on coolly, his smile sharp like a dare as he brushes his knuckles against Thor's exposed neck and moves to tilt Thor's chin with the back of his thumb.
The gesture is both foreign and familiar.
The music around them seems to grow progressively quieter as the world narrows to the two of them, and the colourful lights that are playing in the bar are eerie and ethereal.
"And what of your name, stranger?" Thor asks suddenly, curious. "How may I address you?"
The man's expression snaps closed, and he hesitates a moment too long. He eventually forces a smile, twisting it so it comes out a bit of a sneer, but his eyes are wary. "Does it matter?"
Thor does not answer for a while, but he does look intently at the stranger's face as the lights continue to dance above them. "No."
"Well, there you go, then."
They linger there for a few more moments, eyes locked, neither willing to back down. People laugh around them, making merry and moving against each other in seductive movements. The Avengers are somewhere, and they've probably forgotten about him.
Fitting, because they're the last people on Thor's mind, at the moment.
It is a peculiar kind of gravitation. They seem almost frozen in place, but for the small movements they're making towards each other; the subtle shift of a leg, fingers creeping on cloth. The man slides closer, sinuous, his black shirt whispering against Thor's arms. For one breathless and intoxicated second, it's like the world tilts, and then there are lips grazing the edge of his mouth. "Do you, do you want—" there's a murmur, an unfinished question, and then there isn't. A hand's wrapped in the front of Thor's shirt, unyielding, possessive almost. It loosens in a growing uncertainty.
Thor closes his eyes, thinks of Loki, and answers, "Yes."
The Avengers are all staying at Tony's tonight, so they both hail a cab when they stumble out of the bar onto the rain-wet streets, and then they stumble again up to the hotel where the stranger is supposedly staying at. It's dark out, but it's still loud around them and people are still walking and chattering despite the hour.
Their short journey up the elevator (Thor will never get the hang of those things, he'd take a harrowing near-death experience on the Bifrost any day) is quiet but for the sound of panting between presses of mouths on the curves of necks, between fingers tugging insistently at collars to bare more skin.
Pushing through the door to a dingy room, laughing helplessly along the way, they kiss at last, hungry and hot. It's frustrating how suddenly they have too many limbs, too many hands between them because they're wonderfully close together but for the layers of clothes separating them. Thor eventually has the good sense to step back and pull his shirt back over his shoulders while deft fingers seem to effortlessly undo the buttons on his pants, feather-light wisps of touch that remind him so painfully of Loki's magic. He returns the favour, and eventually, they are both completely divested of clothing and naked in the light that creeps in from the small window of the room.
The stranger is lean, beautiful against the white sheets when Thor pushes him down, finally, kisses and mouths between his legs, drawing out a husky moan from him. It's a blur of lust and murmured encouragements from there, hands tangling into Thor's hair as he bucks into Thor's mouth, sweat mixing into the sheets.
When he moves up to rock against the man in a punishing rhythm, their groans echoing in the empty room, their mouths meet slowly, all lazy teeth and tongues. The man tilts his neck back, letting Thor bite down the line of his neck, and hums pleasantly before he tugs at Thor's hair and moves in to kiss him again.
Distantly, he hears his name, murmured feverishly like a litany. Not Thomas, but Thor.
"Thor, fuck. Just like that. There. Thor. Yes. Oh, fuck, Thor, Thor, Thor—"
Then, he sees what he's been looking for; the man's eyes are green.
And he knows.
Thor feels something in him give way, and he stops, reaching down to link his fingers through the man's, a gesture that suddenly feels more intimate than their lying against one another, skin-on-skin. He can feel himself starting to shake, emotion crashing down on him like waves after brutal waves, and his grip tightens.
"Loki," he says hesitantly, because he can't be wrong, surely not, not if—
Those same green eyes are wide now, snapped wide, startling still even with the mess of a fringe in front of that unfamiliar face.
"Thor," Loki says in a small voice, like he's been caught doing something bad, and it's with his own, original inflections. It's silken still, the voice of the Liesmith; Thor wants to kick himself for not recognising it earlier, the dulcet honey tones his brother often employs when he wants something.
Or when he wants Thor.
The whole situation is beyond him. Thor just stares at Loki, who's not Loki, who's a pale young man in this form anyway but with a completely different face.
"Are you aware of how very baffling this situation is, brother?" Thor asks, incredulous.
Loki stares back at him for a while longer before he sighs, long-suffering. "How did you know?" He lets his guise drop, mousy brown hair lengthening into long dark strands against his pale skin. This is the Loki that Thor knows, and doesn't; like the mad god he'd faced down just a few days before, he is too thin, cheeks hollowed and gaunt, his eyes haunted. There's a soft tremble to his fingers he doesn't remember.
Thor doesn't know how to answer that, because there were little tells he'd picked up on from the very first moment Loki had touched him in the bar, arrogant and seductive. Loki's mouth on his, even under the shadow of a guise, had been demanding as ever, plundering and taking whatever he wanted because he could, his fingers moving in achingly familiar patterns over Thor's back.
Being with Loki has always been like playing with heartless fire, thrusts and fucks and kisses that blended pain and pleasure and desire and possession. There was no way that Loki could have tried to tempt him so without giving himself away, weaver of silver lies or no.
Loki's body speaks truths his mouth won't reveal. His lash of self-loathing is tucked away in the arch of his back when Thor flogs him for his pleasure, mingling with his shame at taking pleasure from such an act, even if he knows it's nothing more than he deserves. Loki's tenderness creeps from between his caresses when he cradles Thor's face against his, pushing himself up against his brother as they lie naked together languorously in the early morn, his lips soft and sweet.
And then there's the way Loki gives in so completely to Thor, yields his heart when their eyes meet as he fucks into Loki, when he reads the fear in his brother's eyes, the wild wanting, the truth.
He does not know what Loki is so afraid of, because Thor has been Loki's as long as Loki's been Thor's, and they're both too deep in this exquisite chaos to ever want out.
Loki's eyes are shadowed, troubled. He pulls away gently from Thor, but Thor will not have it. He wraps a strong arm around his brother's slighter frame, yanking him closer. It had been so long, since Asgard, Thor muses. Since his Fall, and Loki's discovery of the horrifying truth that Odin All-Father had stashed away in his own way of showing Loki his love.
It hadn't been enough for Loki.
The silence is thick, and uneasy, and Thor eventually breaks it. "I ask you again," Thor whispers unhappily against Loki's hair, kissing down to his brow. "Won't you come home?" He rests his forehead against Loki's, his brother's breath hot against his cheek. "With me."
Loki bites his lips, eyes shadowed and devastated. "I can't."
"Why?" Thor's voice breaks, just like his heart. He slides a hand up Loki's arms, pulling them slowly above his head, pins them there and lets his left hand travel southwards on sweat-slick skin. Loki moves up into his touch, body a gentle arc, and Thor rubs his thumb roughly against the sharp turn of a hip, teasing and a little hesitant. "Why, Loki?"
"Because Asgard will never be my home again, Thor," Loki closes his eyes, hooking a long leg around Thor's naked waist, reckless in his abandon. "I don't belong anywhere."
Thor is too caught in despair to speak, too angry with everything — hurt and grieving in kind for Loki's heartbreak, disappointed that the love he harbours for his brother can ultimately do nothing to change things as they are, and because there is nothing he can do.
He snakes an arm around Loki's back, pressing him tightly to him. He grits his teeth, his eyes stinging with emotion, and doesn't say anything in his helplessness.
After what feels like an eternity, Loki's hands creep over his shoulders as well, uncertain, sweeping over the length of Thor's back like they always do. He shifts closer to Thor, buries his face in Thor's chest, lips moving softly and his breath tickling Thor's skin. It's as if he is reciting a spell.
Or it might be the echoes a prayer — for the both of them, for the denouement of Ragnarok, for everything to end.
They stay like that, together, until the dawn.