Thor opened his eyes, surrounded by darkness. Before he could get his bearings he was accosted by the headlights of a vehicle, and a large SUV slammed into him.
"Come on, big guy. Do me a favor and don't be dead. Please don't be dead."
Thor opened his eyes again, this time lying on the ground, a young woman staring down at him, chestnut-colored eyes concerned, chocolate-colored hair hanging into her face.
"Wow," another feminine voice says, out of his line of sight. "Does he need CPR? Because I totally know CPR."
Meanwhile the whirling tunnel of clouds were still spinning, and suddenly another figure materialized.
Jerking to a sitting position, Thor nearly banged heads with the mortal woman, before he got to his feet and hurried over to the dark figure.
"Loki?!" he said urgently, as the other man crumpled.
"Laufey's son..." Loki mumbled dazedly. Looking up to see Thor rushing towards him, Loki instinctively scrambled back away, but when a brawny hand finally managed to land on his shoulder he curled up into a ball as if he thought the thunderer was going to hit him.
Kneeling down next to Loki, Thor coaxed gently, "Brother, it's okay."
"No it's not."
"It will be."
"No it won't."
Thor sighed, picking his brother and ignoring the smaller man's complaints. He did not hold Loki like guys always hold girls in movies—rather, he held Loki on his hip like a mother holds her child. Giving in, Loki wrapped his arms around Thor's neck and his legs around
"What realm is this?" Thor demanded of the three mortals, who were examining the runed circle in the dust of the ground. "Alfeim? Nornheim?"
"New Mexico?" the other woman says, as she adjusted her rectangular glasses with one hand and brushed away a strand of dark hair, while aiming a small black thing at the gods with the other hand.
"This is Midgard," came Loki's muffled voice from where he'd buried his face in Thor's blond locks, chin resting on the thunderer's buff shoulder. "Idiot. Haven't you studied any of the history or geography lessons? These creatures obviously aren't elves or dwarfs or demons, and they look like the gods except without the aura of power or ancient wisdom: thus humans, thus Midgard.
"Ah," Thor said, seemingly appeased.
Loki started trembling again, murmuring to himself, "A frost giant... I'm a frost giant... I'm..."
"Brother, you know I don't care about your heritage. We've been brothers forever, and nothing is going to change that," Thor said firmly, rubbing Loki's back in comforting circles.
"..." Loki said, somehow managing to pronounce the ellipse without actually saying, "Dot dot dot."
"Do not tell me that you do not believe me," Thor said, interrupting Loki before he even thought about speaking. "If you do I will have to start tickling you."
A pause from the dark god, before, "That woman—the shorter one—is about to fire her weapon at you. I think we freak her out."
"Ha!" Thor snorts. "She thinks she can threaten the mighty Thor, with so puny a weapon!"
Loki groaned in exasperation, raising a hand to intercept the tazer beam. His only reaction was the slightest of flinches, before he lifted his head to look at his palm in curiosity, saying,
"An intriguing weapon. Meant to stun the enemy, I presume?"
Darcy's mouth hung open. "How did you—okay that is really freaking me out!"
"Brother, what was that for?" Thor asked.
"You're a mortal now, remember? It would have knocked you out, and I would not appreciate for my ride to be unconscious."
Comprehension dawned slowly on the thunderer's face. "Wait, but you're not mortal?"
"No, I am still quite..." Loki paused slightly. "Godly."
"That's not fair!"
"Fath—Odin said that removing my power would kill me, because I'm Jot—different from Asgardians," Loki explained. He then rested his head against Thor's shoulder, clutching his brother tighter, in a way that said, I'm not angry at you but let's stop talking now.
Also, the mortals are looking at us with hilariously bewildered and frightened expressions. Perhaps you should address them.
Only Loki, Thor thought, could be that expressive while not actually doing or saying anything.
He sometimes wondered if Loki actually spoke in his head. Or if it was just the sibling connection they had, that they could read each other's body language and silences so well. Whatever the case, Thor concluded that they were unequivocally brothers.
Their blood could be red and blue, green and orange, or poisonous and radioactive—it made not a single difference to him.
"Who are you guys?" Jane asked in a whispered voice.
"Forgive me for being rude," Thor said, bowing slightly, a movement that made Loki cling tighter. "I am Thor, of Asgard, and this is—"
"Nobody," interjected Loki sourly.
"This is my brother Loki," Thor continued, flicking said man lightly in the shoulder to let him know that that comment was not appreciated on any level. "Also of Asgard."
"Forget the who," Darcy said, voice tilting higher, apprehension bordering on terror. "What are you guys?!"
"And how did you get inside that cloud?" Jane added.
The muscular blond man hesitated a moment. The lean dark one filled his silence.
"Boooooootherrrrrrrr," Loki whined, tucking his head beneath Thor's chin and shivering slightly. "I'm cold."
Thor frowned in confusion. "But Brother, you don't get c—ow!" he exclaimed, as Loki surreptitiously pinched him.
"I'm not a cow. It's cold," Loki insisted pitifully. His shivering became more violent and after a moment his teeth began chattering. "I'm so c-c-cold."
"Excuse me," Thor said, finally catching on and turning to the mortals. "My brother gets cold very easily. If we could go somewhere warmer...?"
Darcy came over to the two gods and put a hand on Loki's forehead, her eyebrows lifting in shock. "Oh wow, he's freezing. You poor baby. Come on you two, get in the car. We'll take you to the lab—it's nice and warm there," she said soothingly. "We'll get you some blankets and hot chocolate and everything."
Chrome diopside eyes widened at her hopefully.
Her mind now completely made up by said puppy dog expression, she grabbed Thor's arm and tugged the them over to the SUV.
"But what about answers?!" Jane protested, hurrying after them. "And this, this phenomena—I'm not done collecting data!"
"They could be dangerous," Erik Selvig added uneasily.
"Well," Darcy said briskly, "You guys either come with us, or can stay here if you want, and I'll come pick you up in the morning. Your choice."
Turned out the decision wasn't a hard one.
"What about Jane?" Erik asked, as the four of them drove back to the lab, Darcy driving with the radio on at full blast, leaving the short but pretty scientist at the site with the strange runes.
"We'll pick her up in the morning, just like I promised," Darcy shrugged. "But if you're worried about her, maybe you should have given her your jacket. Not that it's actually that cold out, seeing as it's the middle of summer in New Mexico and even at night it never gets lower than about seventy degrees Fahrenheit..." she trailed off, realizing that the lean, raven-haired man with the adorable face was shivering and complaining of cold, and the even the blond man in the short sleeve t-shirt that didn't conceal the fact that he had sexy abs was beginning to look cold, and she was starting to shiver, and Erik was starting to shiver, and the temperature gage on the van read forty-four degrees Fahrenheit.
"Why the hell is it so cold?!" she exclaimed.
"Helheim is always very cold," Thor said in confusion.
"I thought hell was hot, with like a bunch of fires and stuff for burning the damned," Darcy objected.
"No," Thor said, "Hell is actually quite misty and cold, and is not a place of purgatory but of eternal rest for the dead that did not die valiantly in battle."
"How would you know?" Darcy scoffed, the radio begins randomly changing channels without her interference, and she frowned at it and messes with the buttons trying to get it back to her favorite channel.
"Because I've been there," Thor said, as if it were obvious.
"Ha!" Darcy said skeptically. "I'm sure!"
"But you're alive."
"And Jane says that there is no life after death, since science hasn't been able to prove it," Darcy pontificated.
"And why do you keep quoting Norse mythology?" Erik added.
"Mythology?!" Thor said, aghast. "Is that what the Allfather has allowed the belief of humans to fall into?"
"Are we there yet?" Loki asked boredly, from where he was sitting on Thor's lap and absentmindedly playing with a pair of scissors he found on the floor of the van.
He seemed to find it vaguely amusing that the scissors couldn't cut his dark tresses, and so he tried snipping off some of Thor's hair.
A small lock of blond hair fell onto the gray seat.
"Loki!" Thor protested, grabbing the scissors out of the younger man's hands. "Don't cut my hair! I'm trying to grow it out! Cut your own hair!"
"No," Loki said, crossing his arms. "I'm growing my hair out too!"
Thor gasped, glaring. "You copy cat!"
"Admit it. I have better hair than you," Loki smirked.
"No, you do not!"
"Yes, I do."
"You won't when I have long blond hair with a braid behind my left ear and wear it half-up and half-down," Thor said, grinning at the thought.
"Yes I will. Because I will grow my hair long too, and I will wear it straight and slicked back except for maybe sometimes I'll wear it down and let it be its normal wavy and make me look like a rock star."
"YOU HAVE WAVY HAIR?!" Thor said in astonishment, eyes nearly popping out of his head.
"Are we there yet?" Loki interjects, peering out the windows at the sparse dessert rolling by in the darkness, the headlights jumping around as the car bumbled over the uneven ground, looking like somebody was running from something in terror and waving their arms wildly while holding a flashlight in each hand.
"No, we're not there yet," Erik snapped.
"Where have you two been?" Darcy snorted, as she bobbed to her head to Usher's "Yeah". "I mean, the stylish hairstyle for dudes right now is short!"
"Not for long," Loki said, grinning. "We will change it back to long hair. We're trend setters. Just you wait, people will be dressing up like us too. Or at least," he looked at Thor's Midgardian-looking t-shirt and jeans. "Dressing up like me."
"Metal and leather?" Darcy asked, dubious. "I doubt it. That's hardly practical!"
"It only weighs like 30 pounds," Loki said, wrinkling his brow in confusion as to why that wasn't reasonable. "Most people wear at least 100 pounds of armor!"
"Where the hell are you two from?" Darcy questioned, as she finally pulled onto a road and the driving evened out, and a small little town appeared in front of them, apparently one of those small little towns out in the middle of nowhere.
"I already told you: Asgard," Thor said.
Loki rolled his brilliantly verdant green eyes. "Duh," he snorted, though when he snorted he snorted like a cat. It was a cute snort. Not like, you know, a cow's snort or anything.
Nothing about him was anything like a cow. Not even the horns of his helmet, which were, for the record, not like cow horns. Seriously. No matter what Thor said, that sumph.
"So you're saying that you're gods," Erik said, voice dripping sarcasm.
"Technically we're aliens," Thor started, before Loki cut him off with a hissed, "Don't tell them that! Let them believe we're gods! We can rule the world!"
"No," Thor said, poking Loki on his finely-carved nose. "No Plans of World Domination for you."
"Why not?" Loki pouted.
"Because you don't need to kill a bunch of people or get people to kneel before you in order to be loved and get attention," Thor grinned, poking him in the ribs and making Loki squirm.
"Easy enough for you to say! You just smile at people and they fall in love you, or if that doesn't work all you have to do is take your shirt off," Loki protested, wrinkling his nose and sticking out his tongue, before continuing with pleading puppy dog eyes, "What if I only kill a few people, and I purposefully fail to take over the world, and just win girls' hearts instead?"
"You're just envious because you know I could do it."
"Yeah, I bet you could," Darcy giggled from the driver's seat. "You seem like a total woobie."
"Are we there yet?" Loki asked.
"Almost," Darcy acknowledge, but immediately regretted it, as Loki began asking, "Are we there yet?" every fifteen seconds or so.
"Yes! We're there!" Darcy sighed finally, as she pulled up in front of the lab, a large, round building with glass walls all along one side, a kitchen and lots of lab equipment visible inside.
"Ta da!" Loki sang.
"Ta da what?" Thor asked in confusion.
"Ta da I sound awesome saying 'ta da'."
Darcy's face met the car horn.
"AAAAAAAH!" exclaimed the gods, scrambling out of the car and tumbling out onto the concrete, Loki removing a couple butter knives from his sleeve while Thor grabbed the nearest weapon—a trash can—and hefted it above his head as his sapphire eyes scoped the area.
"Show yourself, monster!" Thor demanded, "And I shall smite you!"
Cautiously Darcy and Erik climbed down out of the van, raising their brows at the trash can and butter knives.
"You guys are really weird," Darcy remarked. "You know that right?"
Several minutes later, once the two gods had calmed down, Erik had 'cleaned up' (aka set on the floor) all the scientific stuffs that had been covering it, and Darcy had heated water in a chicken-shaped teapot and found the chocolate powder stashed behind the special-doohicky-whatsits, the four of them sat at the table drinking hot chocolate and listening to Darcy's iPod that she'd plugged into the speakers (one speaker was in the kitchen, and the other one was buried somewhere beneath delicate-sciencey-gadgets, and they could hear the sound coming from it all muffled, though they never could seem to dig it out because it looked exactly like the thing-a-ma-jigs that intercept special waves from space, though at least it didn't look like the toaster-thing.)
Loki had a green blanket clasped around his shoulders, such that it looked like a cape.
"This drink, I like it!" Thor declared, finishing his hot cocoa in one long swig and throwing the mug upon the ground, where it shatter with the satisfying noise of ceramic breaking.
A moment stunned silence, before Darcy said, "Well, since Jane isn't here to reprimand you, I guess I'll have to say: what the hell was that?!"
"The drink was delicious, I desire more," Thor said, as if it were obvious, which it was, since he'd just said it.
"You could have just said so!"
"I just did." Once more: painfully obvious.
"Well no more smashing!" Darcy huffed. She gestured at Erik, and then at the shattered mug, saying, "Okay, clean that up."
"No way, he can clean up his own messes," Erik grumbles, glaring at the muscular blond, who gets up, slightly confused, and picks up the broken pieces.
"You must forgive my brother," Loki said, shaking his head. "He really is a klutz."
"I've been betrayed!" Thor pouted, looking hurt, like a kicked puppy dog. He was very good at looking like a kicked puppy dog. A huge, kicked golden retriever, that just wags its tail and loves everybody.
And if Thor was a golden retriever than Loki was a sheep dog, fiercely intelligent and herding everybody else into doing exactly what he wants.
"Could I please have some more?" Loki asked politely, widening those emerald eyes that caught the facets of darkness from the windows and the photons of artificial light.
"Of course you can, you sweet thing," Darcy cooed, taking his empty mug to refill it, while sending a glare at Thor, like that's how you ask for more hot chocolate.
Thor pouted further. "Brother?" he asked, holding out the broken pieces of the mug. "Could you fix it?"
Loki blinked at him.
"Please?" Thor added, looking so pitiful that Loki finally relented, waving his hand and causing the shards to piece together again.
Darcy was so shocked she dropped Loki's mug, and it shattered on the floor.
Erik started choking on his hot chocolate.
"Now do you believe us?" Loki grinned.
He fixed the broken mug, and Darcy filled it up, bringing it back over to the table.
"Alright," she said, sitting down.
The two humans eyed the two gods warily, and the two gods eyed them smugly.
Darcy cleared her throat, saying, "Start talking."
They did. Both of them at once, talking over each other.
"I call I get to sleep on the couch!" Loki called later after explanations, dashing over and throwing himself on the brown cushions.
"No fair!" Thor protested, reaching the couch and standing before it, crossing his arms. "You have till the count of three to move, or I'm using you as my pillow. One..."
Loki didn't movie.
Loki still didn't move.
When Loki still didn't move, Thor promptly declared, "Well fine," and sat down on top of Loki.
Or at least, he thought he was sitting down on top of Loki, but instead just ended up sitting on the couch.
"Haha!" Loki smirked, appearing out of nowhere and sitting down on top of Thor. "Are you ever not going to fall for that?"
Thor tried to toss Loki off of him, to not avail.
"Ugh. When did you get so heavy?!"
"Asgardians are three times as dense as humans. And you're missing your powers, so good luck trying to get me to budge!"
"You know, you make a very good seat."
Thor growled, before licking Loki's neck.
"Oh, ick!" Loki exclaimed, leaping up and wiping at his neck, making a disgusted face. "You're disgusting!"
"But now I have the sofa to myself..." Thor pointed out, spreading out over the couch with a smug smile.
"Hey!" Darcy called, and the two gods turn to look at her. "Before you go tearing this place apart, you should know that there's a camping pad, too," she said, holding it up. "And I think that Loki should get the couch, since he's had a rough day, discovering he's adopted and everything. Besides, a good big brother would let his little brother have the couch."
Grumbling, Thor got up, Loki smirking triumphantly at him as the dark god sprawled across the couch while Thor got the thin sleeping mat.
Yeah, lucky boys don't have to spend the first night in the hospital XD