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63 - Agony

I do plan on writing something Loki-free eventually! Really!

#63 - Agony

Why did he ever agree to this?

When he'd proposed their little truce, Farley had been resigned to all kinds of godly shit turning up - blood, monsters, curses, literally epic drama, the works. He'd never considered himself the extreme-danger-magnet-I'm-in-trouble-must-be-Tuesday type, but for Loki, he'd deal. So far, though, the God of Mischief had been pretty good about keeping it off his loafers, at least in the flesh.

The nightmares, on the other hand - now that was a whole new can of shit. There weren't many nights where he didn't have to wake Loki before he started screaming or staggered to the bathroom or quaked from hellish Jotunheim storms, but there wasn't any way around it. Even if he trusted himself not to screw this up, he wasn't that stupid, and he wasn't getting Lamont involved, either - the part that remembered him as his almost-killer wasn't about to give him the chance.

With the Latin and petrichor-smelling incense and mind-clouding off the table, there was nothing to do but coax Loki back to bed, and rub warmth back into his flesh. Him, himself, and he - as usual.

But this time, he had to admit that he liked it that way.

Hell, it was turning out to be quite the sweet deal. He could have done worse than Loki for a roommate, and aside from the nightmares and three conversational landmines of family, politics, and villainy, he wasn‘t that bad. Worst part, really, was having to tell himself it was as much a means to an end as the Destructor or blowing up Jotunheim.

For a god, though, he had some damned earthly needs, and that had been the tricky part. Every time Loki glanced over his shoulder into the fridge or he woke up to black curls and hands in fun places or found him nosing through his books - he’d finally gotten to American Gods, and had liked it so far, though Farley had a pretty good idea why - the words got harder to remember.

Loki complicates things. Loki complicates things. Loki complicates things.

The joke was that it was true. Loki as the Big Bad - and all the saga-inspiring kookiness it implied - he could handle. Maybe. Loki as Loki - the food-stealing, sleep-through-an-earthquake-and-come-out-smiling, angel of a witch - that was another story.

He'd cope. After the fanatic angels and God-hates-fangs racists and demon mayors of Chicago, he'd welcomed the chance to take back any sense of control he could, and though it wasn’t Shiwan's head (or at least his obituary), he thought he'd done all right.

But once in a while, the 'verses got in a laugh or two.

It started during one of Loki's moments of "'satiable curiosity" - innocent little questions that segued their chats into something that was anything but.

This was a mistake, no bones about it, and everyone would give him twenty-one barrels of What the hell were you thinking? if and when they found out. He should have told Loki to mind his damn business, but he'd been too tired for manners, and snapping would have just given him more ammo.

So he talked while Loki sat (or lay there) and listened, only speaking if Farley couldn't say it himself, and - most importantly - never judging. At first he'd thought he was filing things away for future blackmail, until he started in on Daniel's little story and saw blue ice turn to steel.

To his surprise, it helped a lot more than he'd thought, and in many ways, more than talking to Lamont ever did. As much as Farley liked him, he suspected there were things waiting that his fellow coven black sheep simply would not get, and though he knew he shouldn't have been telling Loki any of it, he really couldn't not.

The last time, it had been about Farley's parents, and Loki had gotten him to admit that he was starting to doubt.

All this time, he'd figured that no one told them how they died to keep him from slashing his wrists or worse - with the pain still fresh, to learn what happened simply would have been a salted knife in open and bleeding wounds.

Pre-Rift Farley hadn't asked, didn’t want to know, and no one would have blamed him for it.

Post-Rift Farley didn' want to know, but after angels, changelings, a warped version of the Tenth Plague, and every-damn-thing else, he saw things like the blindfold had been swapped for eldritch-tinted glasses.

"It's stupid, I know," he’d said. "Just 'cause someone died doesn't mean they were killed, and even if they were, you don't need magic to make it happen. And they're-" He sighed, forcing his thoughts into a line. "They're dead, it's over, and I shouldn't keep making mountains out of it, but..."

"But you are." Loki twirled his apple core between tapering fingers. "And you're not sure if you're wrong, either." He looked over at him, eyes still as he thought. "Perhaps you should make sure..."

Farley had said nothing. He'd been thinking the same thing for a while, but guilt over digging up old bones and constant second-guessing had kept him from acting on it. But after Loki had said it so matter-of-factly, the old doubts and guilt suddenly made no sense.

"So..." Loki scowled, though he looked almost sympathetic in how he didn't take his eyes off Daniel. "Someone lied to you, too."

The words didn't come.

This time, it was about his mercifully short career as a henchman. So it was only taboo when he brought it up...

"What happened?"

Loki's voice - soft and firm as a priest's - slid over his ears, snapping him out of it.


"You didn't have everything, but you still had a life, a job, a home. So - what happened?"

Farley toyed with his bottle, long since empty.

"What can I say? I fell, same as you."

He wouldn't have put it that way, usually, but they'd already had a few rounds, dulling Loki’s bitterness into regret, and he only shrugged in not-quite-acknowledgement.

"Well, I'd hardly call it the same..."

"Yeah, not the details, but-" He gestured for emphasis. "Strip it down to the bones, and there you go. Had a goal, got desperate, got stupid, got whatever, over - and I mean overreached, and-" He mimicked a bomb dropping, and to his surprise, Loki nodded, raising his own bottle in tired salute with a chuckle.

"That's usually how the story goes, isn't it?" he said, pensive gaze somewhere past his couch.

Farley nodded. The names and the deeds and the drives and the goals were different, but the path felt too familiar beneath his shoes.

These moments usually ended like this, with his new friend offering his suspiciously truth-laden brand of comfort, or the two of them reflecting on what they’d lost (even if Loki refused to admit to it.)

This time, his thoughts were on Loki.

Yeah, he'd fucked up - no reason to pretend otherwise. But even though he hadn't even spoken to Reinhardt (never mind seeing him) and he still felt like Margo would take a swing at him if no one was looking, he still had New York, insane as it would ever be.

Loki didn't even have that - he'd rejected Asgard, his adopted family and people, and probably would have done the same with Farley if he hadn't come up with their little deal. Worse still, he was trapped in that downward spiral that had taken a near-miss with the fucking Shadow to snap him out of - if he even knew at all...

He set the bottle on the table without looking, and glanced over, half-tempted to stand, to pull him into a hug, something-

Of course Loki had to have the chair that would put him in full view of the couch. The instant he'd glanced over, he was doomed, staring at dark green silk wrapped around slender legs. Then he moved up and inward, as if he didn’t quite believe what he’d seen (just like the last several times), tracing up the inseam of his thighs.

The way he sat, legs spread and draped casually over the easy chair, pulled at the fabric over his crotch, baring more than it ever should have for him to see.

He didn't gulp. But damned if it wasn' hard not to. Instead he mumbled something about food - though he didn't know if he got the right syllables out - and shuffled off to the kitchen.

Out of sight - he hoped - he leaned against the counter, desperately trying not to think.

He couldn't have stopped Loki, even if he wanted to. Might as well have tried to make fish dance or rain fall up - without magic. But between that, his casual way of draping himself over Farley one way or another, and contented smiles as he curled up against him, well, any pretense or denial was just a waste of damn time.

Yet Loki was Loki, even if he claimed that most of the stories were bullshit, and this was just the kind of thing he’d do, even if Farley hoped otherwise.

Stupid Loki. Stupid rum.

...Stupid damn kiss...

Okay, now he was blushing.

He'd been happily drunk when it happened, but the memories kept replaying at the most awkward moments possible - how Loki had practically melted into him after that moment of intense shock, vaguely thinking the rum added to the taste of his mouth and tongue, and worst of all, the quiet simmer in his eyes when he pulled away. He hadn't known that anyone with blue eyes could smolder - until now.

"You know you'l hate yourself for this tomorrow," he'd teased, arms draped over Farley’s shoulders as he pulled him close.

"Yeah," he replied, pressing his forehead against Loki's as he backed him towards the couch. "But while it's still tonight..."

Dammit dammit dammit dammit-

Glass clinked and clattered against plastic, making Farley jump. Loki stood by the recycling bin, wincing at the unexpected noise. While he studied the tiles, Farley tried to compose himself, praying that the God of Mischief hadn't noticed his little monologue.

"Still," Loki said finally, and Farley wondered at how he could be so quiet and yet so eye-(and ear)-catching.

He walked over, smiling as if nothing happened, and leaned against the sink next to him.

"Even if I have... fallen-" The word still hinted at untold sorrows, but he continued as steadily as before. "At least I'm not alone, hm?" He turned towards him, quiet not-smile in his eyes, and Farley smiled back.

Suddenly, impulse - at least he hoped it was impulse and not total insanity - overrode reason, and he pulled Loki into his arms. To his lack of surprise, Loki tensed - for all his casual disregard for personal space, he still managed to be surprised when Farley returned the favor.

Instead of launching another mental tirade against Odin’s stellar parenting skills, he laid his cheek against Loki’s shoulder, and smiled contentedly as he relaxed. His arms slid around his back to pull him closer, and he lowered his head to nuzzle at his throat.

If this was a lie, then it was a beautiful one.

That's why.


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