Warnings: bad grammar and multiple mistakes
Disclaimer: most of the characters are not mine, but all the mistakes are.
The rays of the rising sun had barely touched the sky when Loki was woken up from his peaceful slumber by quiet knock on the door.
It took him a moment to become fully alert and another moment to stroll to the door, making himself presentable at the same time.
The prince didn't remember falling asleep, nor did he intend to – the outlines of scientific knowledge he planned on sharing with Lady Jane were yet to be finished, but the flabbergasting demonstration of Midgardian hospitality by his newly found acquaintances had him properly distracted.
The Aesir spent a good couple of hours contemplating the reasons of their aforementioned behavior, and the more he thought of it, the more he became assured their escapade had nothing to do with implementing a careful strategic plan of pushing him off balance he had suspected was in progress that day, because no planner in nine realms could hit upon an idea so ridiculous.
It was a noble impulse of their hearts, Loki realized, and that made him grateful and strangely warm inside.
The prince's first urge was to share the story with Thor, but he knew his brother all too well to anticipate how the Thunderer would react- laugh at him and tease him and diminish any value the deed bared, calling Loki weak and crazy for being so fascinated by puny humans and their stupid tricks, telling Sif and warriors three that his brother is so dim witted he belittles himself to befriending earthlings so they could humiliate him together.
No, he would keep this memory private and recall it each time he has to endure yet another story of Thor and his friends drunken adventures. They will laugh and see him return their excitement and wont bother him, thinking he is truly astonished by their tales, unaware of the real reason behind his smile.
When Loki finally reached the door, he was surprised to see Lady Jane standing in the door frame.
She looked tired and weary, dark circles casting unfitting shadows beneath her warm brown eyes and her face spoiled by the frown of displeasure.
“I'm sorry for waking you up, but...Agent Coulson asked to tell you to get ready, they will pick you up in half an hour.”
Jane's petite frame was visibly shaking with tiredness, and Loki pitied her for a second for having to endure Thor for so long.
The girl nodded and turned to leave, not willing to waste any more time on the aliens, when Loki reached out and caught her by the wrist.
“Milady? Is everything all right?”
The sincere concern in Loki's tone instantly soothed Jane's irritation like a cool breeze when it washes over the sun perched skin.
She stopped and turned to address the prince,
“I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. I just...It's been a long day and I'm a bit tired.”
She wondered for a second how could it be that last time she saw the prince his eyes were emerald green and now, in the light of dawn they turned blue, clear and bottomless like the morning sky, framed with heavy line of long dark lashes that came into sharp contrast with his pale skin.
Jane suddenly became aware of Loki's strong fingers still wrapped around her wrist and her body flushed hot at instant, because the touch was burning.
Loki kept watching her attentively, and it only made Jane more frustrated, because she felt naked under his lingering gaze.
Why would he even do that, why is he staring at me like that, not blinking?
And why is he licking his lips at the same moment, those soft luscious lips..Oh my god, I have to stop!
“You seem displeased, Lady Jane, had my brother wronged you in any way?”
Loki released his tender grip on her arm and took a step back, and Jane finally felt she had some air to breathe.
“No, no...he is just...overwhelming sometimes. I hoped he could ...well, help me with my theory and stuff, but he doesn't seem to be even remotely interested, which I totally understand, and mean no disrespect, I was just a bit disappointed that he is so concentrated on himself and can't even explain simple things and...I'm sorry, I really should shut my mouth right now.”
Loki watched with barely hidden amusement how Lady Jane's lovely cheeks burned red with shame and how she actually bit her lip to stop blabbing.
“Forgive him, Milady, Thor means no harm, he just...genuinely lacks manners.” Loki's head suddenly jerked up as if he remembered something important, “Speaking of,”
he trailed back into the room and came out moments later, carrying a pile of papers in his hand.
“I've prepared those for you and I didn't get a chance to finish, but...um, I'll try to finish after the exercise.”
Jane accepted the papers and gave Loki a stunned look.
“What is this?”
“Schematics of Yggdrasil, description of Bifrost, some other information you might find useful for your research...I have to apologize beforehand, I am not familiar with Midgardian scientific terms so I used common language, but you have my word I will elaborate anything you find difficult to understand as soon as we return from the demonstration.”
The dumbfounded look on the woman's face was the best reward for the evening Loki spent on scribbling.
The time wasn't wasted if in result he could make a lady smile, like Jane was smiling right now, her face lit up with pure emotions of joy and gratitude.
“Just one inquiry, milady- why exactly were you sent to wake me up? Doesn't Coulson have enough agents to do his bidding and not exploit the kindness of your heart?”
Jane blinked twice before responding, then blushed even more, “Um...actually, it was my idea. Thor was telling me something about his adventures when agent Coulson came to discuss some security details before he would come here and wake you up and ...”
“And you volunteered to come here so you could finally break free from my beloved brother?”
The teasing undertone of Loki's question forced Jane to lower her eyes and pick at the papers nervously.
Loki just laughed at the poor woman,
“Don't worry, milady, I'll keep it our secret. I know from personal experience Thor could be rather difficult to deal with. Now, if you'll excuse me, “ he caught her wrist with his fingers again and bowed down to plant a swift kiss on her hand, “I'll depart to prepare myself for the day ahead.”
Jane smiled awkwardly, turned on her heels and practically run away from him, casting a quick look back when she thought he wasn't watching anymore, when in fact he was, realizing she had been caught and running even faster.
The notes surely had the planned effect, the prince concluded – he was careful to monitor Jane's reactions and even allowed himself to check her pulse twice while he was holding her hand, and was rather stunned that she didn't faint because her heartbeat was skyrocketing.
It was very pleasing to meet someone who got so exited by the prospect of gaining knowledge.
At least Loki had a chance to challenge Thor's good looks with the superiority of his own mind.
Loki allowed himself to grin for a moment, stepping back into his quarters and thinking quietly that the day promised to be interesting.
“I've practiced the whole breakfast.”
“What?” Steve's fist stopped inches from the door as he turned to look at Jay.
The smaller man seemed to embody pure joy as he held up his arm and produced a gesture vaguely resembling one of peace, only with fingers divided between the middle and the ring one and the thumb pointing outwards.
“It's a Vulcan greeting.”
“Alien race from Star trek.”
Steve wasn't familiar with the said trek of stars, but he was damn sure Loki wasn't a Vulcan, “Loki is Asgardian.”
“Thank you, Captain Obvious.”
“It's Captain America.”
Jay rolled his eyes, “You of course know the official Asgardian way of saluting? “
Jay rolled his eyes in the opposite direction- he must have been born with the talent, “All righty then, I'll stick to Vulcan. “
The door opened before Steve got a chance to knock, and Jay repeated the gesture, this time accompanied by the official “Live long and prosper.”
“Peace and long life,” was the response and both men blinked in surprise when Loki's long fingers mirrored the gesture.
Rogers was absolutely sure Jay would have hit the floor if he hadn't been lazily leaning on the door frame. This way he limply scrambled down the wall and bounced back when his military training finally kicked in.
“Wow, just wow, dude, how did you know that?”
Steve imagined if Jay was a puppy, he would be beating the floor with his tail mercilessly and probably jump on Loki to lick his face in the upsurge of endless love and happiness.
Loki seemed completely unnerved.
“A successful diplomat must know of perception of his race by local population. So, I made inquiries and acquainted myself with your cultural traditions.”
“Can I marry you?”
Loki smirked at the proposal, fixing his newly conjured silk scarf loosely on his neck, “I believe, the appropriate colloquialism will be, you are so gay.”
The prince managed not only to repeat the phrase, but to mimic Jay's intonation precisely, the fact that amused Steve the most.
Jay giggled shamelessly and sent Loki a kiss, “I stand my case. Nice wear, by the way. Where did you get it?”
“But you told us at the club you have no money!”
Loki smiled smugly at the man's playful indignation,
“I paid with gold, horses and women.”
“Hey, I'm going to be your guide today, are you going to pay me too?”
“I can give you five dollars.”
“Well that's more than my weekly allowance, thanks, bud!”
Steve's accusingly pointing finger interfered Jay's trail of thought, “Stop teaching him bad things.”
“OK, mommy, I'll be good.” the man nodded to Steve and slyly winked back at the Aesir.
Loki's eyebrow elegantly arched in response, “He looks more like “daddy” to me.”
Jay waved him off, completely ignoring red as tomato Rogers, “No, Steve is the Mommy. The Big Daddy is on the ship assembling the crew to hit the water.”
He looked at the watch and cursed, “And he'll slap me till the beginning of next week if we are late, so, ladies, lets roll.”
An elegant hand stopped the man in mid-turn.
“I have a favor to ask of you, Jay. Would you mind to refrain from familiarities when we are in presence of my brother?”
Jay's face instantly became serious and calm as he politely nodded, “Do not worry, your Highness, I've got your back.” And then he winked.
As the trio left the barracks, Loki wondered why exactly he felt so relieved when Jay didn't seem offended by his request.
When the men made their way through the base, Steve wondered how was it possible for Loki, dressed in simple civilian clothes, to outshine every single officer in a parade uniform and in full regalia.
And as they approached the quarter deck and saw the commanding crew of the capital ship, Jay mused why exactly nobody had told him that the Big Daddy Iceman decided to change most of the officers on board to the platoon of fucking Navy Seals.
Loki winced at the morning sun that was lazily crawling up the horizon.
It was very strange to feel so at ease when he was so far from home.
And even more strange, since the sun itself differed from the Sun of Asgard. There, in the Realm Eternal, the brightest star on the sky was as magnificent as the world it illuminated, and it pierced everything and everyone with its light, unforgiving, revealing all the imperfections, making Loki crave for the dark shadows it created.
Here, the sun was different, warm and gentle, embracing everyone like a loving parent, making one yearn to be in the light and yet making impossible for one to hide in the dark as it cast all the shadows away.
Thor, by his royal tradition, was late, and Loki's nerves tingled because with each passing minute Captain Iceman and the officers around him were getting more and more pissed.
Steve upon their arrival had assumed a position to Loki's right and the prince smiled to himself, silently enjoying the company.
Jay was engaged in rather heated discussion with a group of female officers on the side of boardwalk, who from time to time cast quick glances at Loki, and the prince wondered if he was the subject of the quarrel. Finally, the man managed to break free and almost galloped to Loki and Steve, cheeks flushed, wild look in his eyes.
When he got closer, Loki realized, that the man's frustration was for some reason directed at him.
“I am not taking you anywhere with me ever again,” Jay hissed, glaring at the prince.
“Have I wronged you in some way? If so, it was unintentionally.”
Jay let out a sigh of despair, “Sorry, man, I shouldn't have snapped like that..it's just ...you just came here and all of a sudden all the women seem to have hots for you, and it's really frustrating.”
Loki glanced sideways at Steve, whose eyebrows seemed to reach the same high as his own and disappear in the hairline.
“They want to get into your pants. Have sex with you. Breed like bunnies. Fu...”
Steve stopped him in mid-sentence, “OK, I think it's enought, we've got the meaning.”
Loki was dumbfounded, “I...um...I'm afraid you've misunderstood the ladies, they were perhaps referring to my brother...”
Both Steve and the Aesir had to take a step back as Jay started gesticulating uncontrollably, “Oh my fu...dear Lord, what's wrong with you and your self esteem? I did not misunderstand them, how could it even be possible, if all I've been hearing this morning is Lokilokilokiloki, I'll mutter it in my sleep for crying out loud, this Lokilokilokiloki. Loki this, Loki that. I've asked them if I could hook them up with Thor, because obviously you're just one and can't...you know, multiply or something, to be with all of them at once...”
“I can multiply...”Loki blurted for some reason and momentarily regretted the slip of the tongue since Jay's eyes went rabid.
“Well, keep it to yourself, mate. I don't want to be lynched for keeping you out of reach of their grabby hands. What was I about to say...oh, you brother- you know what they told me? I quote, “if we wanted another meat head, we would have gone to Marine barracks and pimp some dumb blond out there, they have a lot of good looking dudes who in addition to their muscles are clean shaved.” So yeah, here we go.”
Loki threw a careful glance at the group of females Jay escaped moments ago, and found out to his amazement they were attentively watching his every move.
The way they looked at him, playing with their hair, licking their lips, hungry looks playing on their faces, Loki could only describe as outrageous flirting.
It should have appalled him, or frighten, or deeply embarrass, but it actually felt...pleasant to be in a center of attention. Those sorts of glances were always directed at his elder brother and Loki himself was mostly overlooked, so...
He gave the ladies a curt nod of gratitude, and watched the effect, mesmerized by all the giggles and blushes and coquette glances the women responded with.
His observation was interrupted by Jay pushing a stack of small papers in his hand.
“What is it?” Loki inquired with a dreadful feeling.
“Their phone numbers.”
“You are overstepping the boundaries of appropriate.”
“Why...can't you just take them?”
Loki started to get irritated.
“For what purpose exactly? I'm an a diplomat and will not spend time fornicating with midgardian maidens I've never met!”
Jay suddenly looked very miserable, “your Highness, please? As a token of our friendship?”
Anger boiled inside Loki's veins, and he would have probably do something stupid with this annoying little pest if Steve wasn't looming over his shoulder and if Jay didn't lean in and whisper, “Please, it's a question of life and death.”
Loki stepped even closer to the human, hovering above him like a thunder cloud, almost seeing the reflection of his own eyes sparkling with emerald green flashes of anger in Jay's dark ones.
“And how is that, exactly?”
Jay pouted, “Those furies promised to cut off my balls and feed them to me until I choke if I fail to pass you the numbers, and I felt very vulnerable...I always do when it comes to my testicles.”
Loki straightened up and growled with frustration, anger immediately leaving him like a whirl of mist evaporates in the rays of the sun.
He looked at Steve, and Cap only shook his head and smiled.
Jay reminded Loki of a puppy that kept misbehaving constantly, but kept putting on a face so innocent and adorable that everyone just kept forgiving it for all mischief it had caused.
Indeed, the that human harbored great many talents, and for that reason alone Loki didn't want to be pissed at him. Nor could he.
The pleading look in those huge dark eyes didn't allow him to harbor any ill emotions for long.
The prince reached out and tore the papers out of Jay's grip, catching the fragile human's wrist with his fingers and squeezing tightly, not strong enough to break the bones, but hard enough to make the point.
“I'll save you this once, but keep in mind- if you try to sell me again, and I will personally castrate you.”
Loki leaned so close, his and Jay's noses were almost touching. “And I'll be very thoroughful.”
He wasn't sure if his threat had the intended effect, as Jay just flashed him a blinding smile and whispered back, “You are gorgeous when you are angry.”
Loki had nothing else but growl in defeat.
That very moment the captain's patience wore thin. Iceman motioned to the officers to move out and bellowed, “All aboard, time to move.” The officers immediately broke their lineup and started to board the ship.
The same second Thor chose to finally grace the quarter deck with his presence.
As the Thunderer realized that the humans were going to leave without him, his face became an epiphany of confusion and anger.
“What is this? You leaving without me?”
Iceman turned to face Thor in the middle of his way up the ladder.
“Excuse me? Are you a woman to make us all wait for you?”
He didn't raise his voice, but it nevertheless echoed like thunder in the silence as everyone stopped immediately to listen to him.
“ If so, you should have told me, I would’ve brought flowers.”
Loki rushed to his brother as soon as the words left captain's lips, he knew all to well that Thor never took insults lightly, especially ones questioning his masculinity, and if Loki was even a split of a second late, it would've resulted in a bloodbath.
He was just on time.
Loki's pale hand gripped Thor's bicep right when the Aesir was trying to charge at the humans.
“Thor, do not.”
“How dare you stop me now, brother? They've just insulted me greatly, and you are siding with them?”
“I'm siding with no one, Thor. You were late and so disrespectful, and...”
Thor bellowed at him in barely restricted fury, “I shall not listen to you preaching on how I should behave...”
Loki's patience was not endless either.
“Very well, brother, do as you please. But I warn you I will not be the one to tell Father that we failed because you couldn't control your temper.”
The sharpness of his voice hit Thor like a whip across his face and the Thunderer winced.
It must have been a deep frown that convinced Thor in the truthfulness of his younger brother' s intentions and made him forcefully calm down.
“Fine, I will let it go, but only once. “
“Thank you. Now, let's not let them wait any longer, shall we?”
Loki smiled at his brother in reconciliation and guided him carefully towards the ladder.
Steve and Jay immediately assumed positions close to the princes, Jay played a guide and a distraction for still gloomy Thor, the mission he fulfilled spectacularly, talking without a break and fully occupying Thor's attention; and Steve assumed his position of a self-appointed body guard for Loki.
Through all the commotion the younger prince stole a second to glance at the captain, who was still looking at him, dead calm, and grinning.
This is going to be a very long trip, Loki thought sadly and wished to the High Powers that it would go smoothly, without any other hiccups.
He rarely got what he wished for.