Part 1

"THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!" I shrieked at my laptop, smacking my hands on the table. "Dammit! I can't even do this anymore. I'm done. Forever."

My roommate poked her head around the corner of the kitchen, into the living room where I was parked on my butt at the coffee table. "Reading fanfics again?" she asked me. When I groaned in response, she said "If you don't like them, don't read them."

"I caaaaannnnntttt" I whined. "They're addictive. Just not realistic."

"They aren't supposed to be realistic." she said, her head disappearing back around the corner. I heard her go back to the dishes she was washing.

I knew she was right. Mary was always right. But I couldn't help it. The stories captivated me. Seeing characters and plot lines from the viewpoint of fans was enthralling. A glimpse not only into their own lives but into their imaginations too. And since I lived mostly in imaginary worlds, I loved fanfics.

The only problem was the lovey-dovey thing.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY MEET OUT OF NOWHERE FOR NO REASON AND FALL IN LOVE? IS THAT ALL THERE IS? WHERE'S THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT?

Aghh. I was driving myself insane. I closed my laptop and sat back against the couch, rubbing my eyes with my fingers. I'd had enough for the day. I puttered into the kitchen instead, hopped up to sit on the counter, and watched Mary finish the dishes.

"What fandom was it today?" she asked.

"Loki."

She smiled. "Your favorite. You're seriously obsessed."

"I know" I said, "But I just have a hard time believing that he shows up out of nowhere and falls in love with mortals and makes them queens or concubines and whatnot. That's just so…predictable."

Mary looked up at me, her eyebrows coming together with an almost audible click. "Loki's not real, Rachael. You can't predict the personality of a fictional character."

"Shut up. I know he's not real. I'm just saying…"

"Yeah, well, stop 'just saying' and help me dry these" she said, cutting me off and handing me a towel.

"Yes ma'am."

….

Later that night I wiggled into my workout pants and tank top, slipped on my sneakers, and headed outside into the dark. I liked to walk my neighborhood at night, where I could unwind without being bothered. Tonight there was a storm rolling in, so a chilly wind cut through the heat leftover from the baking-hot afternoon. Storm clouds were coming, and I could make out the faint sound of thunder, still pretty far away.

I set off, letting my muscles unwind and my mind relax.

One thought still nagged at me, though. The Loki thing. The trickster god. Handsome bastard. Lady killer. Apparently rough sexual lover, according to majority of the fanfics that I read.

Ugh, it didn't make sense. Why would Loki ALWAYS want to dominate his lovers, if he even had any? I had a hard time believing that someone so emotionally fragile could even bring himself to HAVE lovers, let alone completely rough them up to the point of being classified as dangerous.

To each author, his own, I supposed.

My mind began to drift, constructing my own version of the God of Mischief.

"He would be shy." I said to myself. "Maybe not shy, but not forward. A fly on the wall. Seeing everything and watching everything. Always calculating the best move. Yes. That's what Loki would do. Why throw himself into a situation where he couldn't control the odds? He wouldn't. Exactly."

At this point, I was talking out loud. It didn't matter. The streets were deserted anyway, everyone tucked into their houses for the night. I was alone. Talking to myself. Yeah. Totally normal.

"If Loki took a lover, I bet he would move very slowly at first. Testing the waters. He can't predict a person's actions completely, especially a total stranger. He would have had to either watch them extensively beforehand, or trust his senses and dive right in…."

I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that almost missed the slight movement off to my left. A stirring of shadows.

There was someone leaning against the tree, arms crossed. Watching me.

I froze. Time stopped…..

Then the adrenaline kick-started my heart again.

I bolted away, the surge of energy making me run faster than I ever had before. It took me what seemed like mere seconds to reach my apartment building. I flew up the stairs and through my door on the second floor, slamming it behind me and locking it tight before slumping to the floor.

Mary whipped out of her room to kneel next to me.

"What the hell happened? Rachael, are you okay? What happened?" she said, holding my shoulders and looking me in the eyes, worried.

"Fine..fine. Just got scared by some freako" I wheezed, trying to catch my breath.

Mary got me a glass of water and herded me into my room, making sure I was okay before she went back to whatever she had been doing before I scared the bejezzus out of her.

I sat by my window the rest of night, waiting to see if whoever had been watching me would walk by the apartment.

No one did, and I fell asleep to the sound of the starting downpour.

-To be Continued