Her lips pursed thoughtfully as she processed his introduction. Part of her training growing up had been studying the numerous pantheons. Loki had always been her favorite god that spanned them all, but she’d never imagined him quite so…sinister. “I can,” she answered simply not wanting to let him know too much about what she was capable of before she was sure he wasn’t hostile. “The Liesmith himself?” she asked intrigued. “Well isn’t this an interesting surprise.” Her eyes followed his little display unimpressed. “Nice trick,” she smirked. If he was trying to intimidate her, Loki was missing his mark entirely. “Dangerous company?” she asked with a cynical little laugh. “Danger stops holding any meaning when you’ve had a death warrant hanging over your head since birth. Pain, suffering, oblivion…” Vex shrugged and fixed her grey gaze on his, her tone matter of fact. “You can only go through it so many times before it looses its hold over you.”
That ‘trick’ of his had near pushed the limits of his capabilities, having been rendered next to useless in his banished state. Her final words, however, clung to him eerily. Either this woman was reading his signature a little too closely or that had been a coincidental slip of the tongue. Both options were equally upsetting, though he kept his appearance shockingly emotionless. “Is that so?” Half-closed eyes scanned over his guest in vain distraction. “Endurance, too, is an attribute possessed by the strong and worthy.”
Steve watches him, the derision melting from his features; it was not a difficult thing, seeing that it was not a form of communication he often employed, but he was distracted enough by Loki’s obvious skill at his new profession. His mind cleared of his sarcastic, facetious remarks, Loki’s statement and obvious suspicion brings a look of genuine and innocent surprise to the soldiers fair face. “Did I really make that much of an ass of myself?” he asks humbly, taking the drink but almost not wanting to taste it for fear of ruining it’s pristine arrangement.
“I try not to make a habit of gathering pleasure from other people’s misfortune,” he adds softly, before finally sipping it. ”…Wow. What is this?” he asks, canting his head at it as if it would tell him itself.
Perhaps for the better, Loki leaves the Captain’s previous statements untouched, deciding it best not to delve into the topic further. Both his and the soldier’s discomfort had been established with that exchange. It was enough to satiate him, thus the question came with a welcome attitude in response.
“It’s called a piña colada, which in Spanish literally translates to strained pineapple.” Producing a half-empty bottle of light rum from the shelves behind him, he continued. “A favorite amongst the sweet-seekers, it aptly blends coconut cream, light rum and pineapple juice into a balanced cocktail.” One slender finger pointed at the wedge of pineapple that graced the glass’ edge. “That garnish is just my way of saying I haven’t the desire to poison you.”
There is hesitance to believe his words, though there is likewise reluctance to act violently. Such lash outs would have repercussions the likes of which he would prefer never to feel. “If what you say is true,” he begins cautiously, “then you have an awfully poor manner in approaching me.” There is an unmistakable look of emotional distance in his eyes. “What is it you want?”
Else merely stared, her expression blank. She had reverted to the same place she had been before today: the state of indifference to everything around her. Nothing could bring the emotions back, not now. Not if she slipped on the ice and became concussed, not if the world burned before her and she could do nothing but watch, not if she continued to gaze into the green voids that were Loki’s eyes.
There were no tears. Not anymore. No anger, no pain, just numbness.
The daunting nearness of an empty forever was all she could see, and the young agent didn’t say anything more, merely turning away from him. Slowly she walked, seeing nothing. It didn’t matter much.
As she made her way down the stairs from his apartment, she rolled up the sleeve of her left arm, revealing the scarred skin. There was nothing new, of course. She’d been doing so well. That would change.
Her thumbnail sliced along her forearm, not drawing blood, not even really causing much pain, but it traced the path the knife would travel later.
The pain, at least, would be something she would be forced to feel.
There should have been regret.
There should have been pain.
There should have been fear.
And yet… nothing.
The Asgardian’s eyes studied Else’s descent for but a moment before breaking away. Within seconds, he was not only within his apartment once more but in its kitchen no less. Not of any desire to cook, but to harm. Here lay the closest assortment of weapons he could lay his hands on without setting off suspicions or alarms; knives, culinary in design but still blades nonetheless. The largest of the set from his cutting block was a frightening sight in his hands, the wild look in his eyes likely even more unsettling.
Numbness. That’s all there would ever be anymore. One could only endure so much before crossing over the threshold, past the point of no return. The reflection of his piercing gaze in the knife’s blade almost jolted him, though he knew better than that by now. Slowly, he ran the metal’s edge along the fabric of his long-sleeved shirt, allowing the cotton to split open and fall away like unwanted skin. Arm exposed, he rested the blade against his ice cold skin. The assortment of slices past that drew hideous patterns in his flesh were disgusting, even to him. It was a sight meant for no one’s eyes but his own.
One deep inhale, a wavering exhalation. Nerves were always an obstacle in keeping a steady hand, perhaps only in this act above all else. In most dangerous situations he would pride himself on his dexterity, the nimbleness with which he moved in a proud display of control. In these moments that strength seemed to shatter, the only barrier to protecting himself crumbling alongside his already poorly founded resolutions.
Rivulets of crimson raced against one another down his forearm in a heinous spectacle, winding and swirling until they all eventually veered off course. They were beginning to stain the kitchen’s white tiled floor, otherwise spotless.
The knife crashed to the floor below with a sharp echo, much against Loki’s desires. An unpleasant electrical current had passed through his body, likely a product of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing their duties. For whatever reason, whoever manned his security footage today had no intentions of letting him get away with this. It varied from time to time, he had come to learn. There were likely cameras stationed around his apartment, though he bothered little to snoop them out. Rotations of agents would monitor him, each with their own access to that pesky communicator he was forced to carry at all times. Most personnel cared little when he practiced self-mutilation, making the current agent’s actions more than frustrating to the already seething demigod.
It was crueler this way, he figured, to stop him. Carrying on would be allowing the war criminal too much satisfaction.
Perhaps several months ago he would have gone on a screaming tirade against the nothingness that was S.H.I.E.L.D.’s monitoring, knowing his words would be reaching some disinterested party in the distance. No words, however, were coming today. None likely would for a long time now.
Slumping to the ground, Loki buried his face in his hands, one sullied from the previous activities, allowing blood to smear onto his complexion. It was here he remained, curled up in a hollow silence, refusing to shed a tear for two reasons above all others. First, that he had none left to let fall. And two, even if he did, they would be kept at bay like everything else.
Emotions were weak.
He was weak.
Was there ever any point to anything?
Steve raised his eyebrows at him, impressed by that a little bit. “I see. Well that is honorable of you, though I imagine it’s mostly because you need not lose this job.” He pulls out a stool and plants himself on it, eyeing the place a little bit, and though he’s not letting on, he is very curious as to how Loki came to choose this profession. He didn’t seem like the type of person to put up with something he despised day after day. “And I don’t have an order in mind, I don’t drink often, but something sweet, if you have any suggestions.”
The liesmith’s hands move swiftly to fix the solider a piña colada, a sweeter feminine drink of choice. Eyes never left his work as he treated the beverage like a work of art, decorating the rim with a line of sugar before sliding it forward. “I cannot help but revisit my assumption from earlier,” he mutters at last, slightly pained eyes sizing up his former enemy. “You have come to make a mockery of me.” Only this time, it was a statement.
Turning at the sound of a voice addressed his way, he give an overwhelmingly less-than-friendly look the stranger’s way. “I presume you to either be unwise or suicidal, given your choice of language in addressing me.” Gritting his teeth, he sneers. “Which is it, then?”
“You can hide in plain sight if you want to, but disappearing in it and reappearing elsewhere…well, that’s a talent most Midgardians wont comprehend.”
The woman knew of how to find quiet places. She had practised the skill many times. Her occupation liked secrecy, subtlety, quiet. Elaya eyed the patrons of New York and their winter attire.
Elaya watched the mist that came from her breath in the cold air. “Is there not an alleyway behind the bar?”
Without answering verbally, Loki tugged Elaya down the alleyway behind the bar and waited to make sure they were truly out of decent view. Pressing her into him, he allowed a strange sensation to envelop the both of them as they vanished one moment, just as they reappeared the next. The trip felt instantaneous, landing them both in the hallway outside of the landlord’s door.
Having been stripped of his powers for the most part, such feats took more out of him than he cared to admit. It had been quite some time since he had transported more than just himself, and the trip had taken its toll. Tired eyes stared at Elaya with a mild hint of regret. “Have you the desire to do this now?”
Brows raised in surprise, Darcy licked her lips thoughtfully as she tried to compose a sentence and conceal her reaction.
“Well… Hi, Luke.” She managed lamely, no longer watching him with the same intensity, but instead with a hint of wariness. Her teeth caught the corner of her bottom lip anxiously as she considered what to say—or not say—next.
“We haven’t actually officially met, but we know some of the same…” She paused, eyes darting. “…people.”
She distantly remembered hearing some of the details of Loki’s exile, always from third and fourth party sources, but she hadn’t paid them any attention at the time. Honestly, she’d never expected to run into him.
Darcy paused again before she could mention the first name that came to mind. Her instinct suggested that it wasn’t the best one to bring up. “I used to work with Jane Foster.” She admitted instead, waiting to see if that name rang any bells.
Jane Foster. Loki let the name tumble about in his brain for a moment before the pieces began clicking together. “Thor’s wench?” he muttered under his breath, more to himself than to her. Gaze uplifting, he attempted to show Darcy some sense of composure despite the topic she had unwittingly walked in on. It was a bitter one, no doubt, and if she had any detailed information in regards to Jane’s romantic escapades, this mortal was sure to know his would-be brother.
“Ah, yes. A lovely creature, or so some say.” His words danced the fine line between sarcastic and indifferent. “And whose employment do you follow now?”