"Okay, so first of all. First of all. I'm not Thor's brother, okay? Not adopted, not anything. We're not related at all."

Loki just stares at the man across the table from him. He's actually somewhat disturbingly grotesque; there are a series of thin, red scars across his mouth that look frighteningly like stitches. Apparently at some point, dwarves had sewn his mouth shut so he couldn't lie anymore. His cheeks are bony, his eyes sunken, and his stare is wild and terrible. Long red hair has been braided over his shoulder and he sprawls across the table, glaring.

He claims to be the "mythological Loki." Loki doesn't know where the man came from, or even why he's here, or which of the two of them came first.

"In fact, Thor is an idiot. I can't believe you're actually related."

Loki crosses his arms and glares at the man. "I'm not," he says, "Not by blood."

The other Loki ignores him, waving a practiced hand. "No, see, it's Odin. He's my blood brother. Or rather, he was. Until I bargained away the damn oath for the eight-legged horse. Best trade of my life."

"Sleipnir?" Now Loki's interested. His father's – that is, adopted father's – steed is a thing of legend and power. If Loki had him, he would never have bargained him away. Not even to forgive the debt of an inconvenient oath. "How did you come to possess him?"

"I gave birth to him, that's how." The other Loki downs his drink and glares across the table. "Let me tell you, kid, you don't know shit until you've given birth to a fucking eight-legged horse."

Loki can't keep the twist of horror off of his face. "You… you what?"

"Yeah. Svadilfari may be strong, but he's an easily distracted horse."

Loki can't help his mind from supplying the rest. "You were fucked by a horse, and then gave birth to Sleipnir." At this point, he's not even surprised anymore. "I don't know whether to be proud or horrified that we're based on each other."

The other Loki shakes his head balefully and glares. "Let's get this straight, kid. I don't know about your fancy universe-traveling tech shit, but you're based on me. Got it?"

Loki isn't going to argue, even if he personally believes it's probably the other way around. "Sure."

The other Loki goes on to tell him stories that make his blood curdle. This bastard apparently killed Baldr, for no reason other than he could. He lies and cheats and steals and swindles, and he's mothered or fathered just about every terrible beast Loki has ever heard of.

When Loki hears about being tied to a rock under the earth with poison acid from a snake dripping into his face, he finally caves.

"It's been really wonderful talking to you, Loki," he says, standing smoothly and casually adjusting his cape, "But I really out to be leaving."

The other Loki waves a hand. "See you around, kid. Don't fuck horses."

Loki doesn't answer.

The next time he sees Thor, he throws his arms around him for a moment of uncharacteristic tenderness. Thor is understandably confused.

"What has brought this on, brother?"

Loki smiles. "Let's just say I've learned to appreciate how much worse things could actually be."