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lightning strikes twice (and it burns like ice)

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things you said at 1 am

They have not told anyone about their relationship. They have not even spoken to each other about their relationship. They see each other when they have a common day off, which doesn’t happen as often as Thor would like. Niall has a show most nights, and Thor has so much paperwork regarding Asgardia (now located in Oklahoma, which is different from Kansas, apparently) that he’s lucky if he’s in bed before midnight.

(Thor never knew being a king involved so much paperwork. Odin never mentioned it. Perhaps that’s why he was so eager for Thor to become king; he was tired of the paperwork.)

It’s not Thor’s favorite thing, being apart from Niall for so many days at a time, but he managed it with Jane until they dumped each other, so he will be okay. He will.

He hopes.

-

“Can’t wait to see you again,” Niall mumbles. Thor smiles, flicking through the file in front of him. “How is everything? Asgardia doing okay?”

Thor hums. “Not exactly. Congress refuses to let us secede from the country; they want us to just be a city. They don’t quite understand that we haven’t got the same method of ruling.” He sighs, shutting the file. “That’s alright. Stark and his friend will help me to convince them.”

Niall yawns, then, muffled as if he had a hand over his mouth. “That’s rubbish. You’re a load of refugees, they should be helping you. I bet it’s not even the damn administration as a whole; how they ever thought voting that asshole into office was a good idea is beyond me.”

Laughing, Thor makes a noise of agreement. “Yes, well, they are the same people who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.”

Niall laughs, loud enough that Thor knows he must be in a hotel tonight rather than on the bus. “Do you know how old that ‘fact’ is?” he asks. “People have been saying that for years; I don’t think it’s true.”

“Stark says it is,” Thor says, shoving aside some papers. “I trust him; he’s the one of the smartest people on Midgard. If not the smartest.”

“I think I’m pretty smart,” Niall says, laughter in his voice.

Grinning, Thor stands and walks to the refrigerator. “Oh, of course. How could I possibly forget about you, the most intelligent man this side of the Nine Realms?”

Niall laughs, so loud Thor has to move the phone away from his ear. Talking with Niall really boosts Thor’s self-esteem, he’s noticed. Nothing he says is actually that funny, and yet Niall always laughs hard enough that one would think Thor was the funniest being to ever exist. It’s nice, really. No one from Asgard would laugh at him, and most Midgardians don’t understand his humor.

“Christ, you’re funnier than Harry,” Niall murmurs. Thor peers into the refrigerator, curious about the mention of Niall’s old friend. “He had this phase, right, where every three minutes he’d be telling a new joke. Well, most of the time the jokes weren’t new, he recycled them quite a bit, but they made me laugh no matter how many times I heard the same one. I think it was his delivery, I dunno, but I laughed every time. I thought he was hilarious, because if we’re honest, he was. But you? You’re funnier.”

Thor hums, pleased. “Thank you, Niall,” he says. “I know I’m not as well versed in the humors of Midgard but I do try. During my time with the Avengers they taught me much about the culture here, including humor. In fact, Barton’s favorite thing to teach me was jokes.”

“You know, I think Hawkeye might be my favorite Avenger, after you,” Niall yawns. “The bow’s pretty cool.”

Making a face, Thor pulls out the container of orange juice and shuts the door to the machine, leaning back against it. He holds the cell phone between his cheek and shoulder, twists the cap off the container, and takes a swig. “Not as cool as Stormbreaker, right? I mean,” he laughs awkwardly, “even your replica of Mjolnir is cooler than Barton’s bow. Right?”

Thor can hear the smirk in Niall’s voice when he says, “You know, I’m just not sure. Like, yeah, they both can conduct lightning and make you fly and stuff, but so can some of Hawkeye’s arrows. You know, like. The trick ones.”

“Ha,” Thor says sarcastically. “We were talking about his bow, not his arrows. Doesn’t count; my weapons are better.”

Niall laughs, that staccato sound Thor loves so much. “Alright, Your Majesty, whatever you say.”

Grimacing, Thor sits back down at the island, stares at the pile of paperwork he still needs to finish. “Don’t call me that. Val calls me that; it makes it weird.”

“When is she going to tell you her real name, by the way?” Niall says, thoughtful. Thor shrugs, forgetting Niall can’t see him. The different types of calls one can make with a cell phone are confusing. “Anyway. What would you prefer then? Your Highness?” Thor makes a disgusted sound. Too similar to Your Majesty. “Alright. Uh, what about, uh.” He laughs then, softer than before, more to himself than anything. “My king?”

His voice is shaking with soft laughter, but the name makes Thor pause. It’s not something any of the Asgardians have ever called him. He doesn’t even think anyone called Odin that. It’s personal enough that Thor can always associate it with Niall, but also ridiculous enough that it he doesn’t take it too seriously.

“It’s perfect,” Thor says.

 

things you said through your teeth

“Hit the brake, Thor!” Niall snaps, hands braced on the dashboard. Thor does so, a tad too hard; both he and Niall jerk forward. Thor huffs. Why would Niall attempt to brace himself when he moved anyway? “Okay, uh, next time just. More gentle.”

Crossing his arms, Thor leans back in his seat. “I don’t understand this. First, you told me if I brake too gently then it won’t be fast enough. Now, you’re saying I have to brake gently? Make up your mind, Niall!”

Niall stares at him, mouth dropped open in shock and hands still pressed to the dashboard. “Thor,” he says. “Petal. You can drive actual spaceships. A car should be nothing to you.”

“Yes, well, spaceships don’t have pedals,” Thor snaps, kicking at them. The car lurches forward, and Niall flinches harshly, squeezing his eyes shut in shock. “Horses are much more practical, Niall, why don’t you people use horses?”

Niall laughs quietly, rubbing at his face as if he can’t quite believe he’s having this conversation. Which Thor finds to be quite rude, actually.

“We used to,” he says helplessly, shrugging. “But then we realized they aren’t actually that practical after all, considering they need to be fed and they can’t ride for very long and they die, mostly. Cars are the sort of the best thing we’ve got right now.”

Thor scoffs. “Cars need to be fed. You can’t drive cars for very long, otherwise you start complaining about being tired or bored or stiff. Cars die, mostly.” He looks at Niall, who seems at a loss for words. “You should have stuck with horses. They also don’t harm the environment. Cars do.”

Speechless, Niall stares out the windshield. He shakes his head, mouth still hanging open. “I can’t believe this,” he says quietly. “One of the most advanced forms of life in the universe, and he thinks a horse is more practical than a car. One of the most advanced forms of life in the universe, and he can’t even drive a car.”

“Hey,” Thor says, leaning away from Niall. “Don’t get mean just because I’m right.”

Niall stares at him in annoyance, shaking his head. “You wouldn’t let me eat dinner last night until I was able to pronounce Yggdrasil correctly!”

Thor points a finger at him, insulted. “That is the tree of life and you will treat it with the respect it deserves!”

“How am I supposed to respect something that doesn’t exist?” Niall snaps.

“It does exist, it is just currently being destroyed by Surtur!” Thor answers harshly.

Throwing his hands up, Niall scoffs. He doesn’t say anything as he unbuckles his harness and climbs out of the car. Without looking back, he storms into the house. Thor sighs, deeply frustrated. All this turmoil and they hadn’t even made it off Niall’s land. Ridiculous. A horse would have been so much faster.

The worst part is he can’t even get out of the car until Niall comes back, because he’s forgotten how to completely stop a car without turning it off.

Thor is never letting a car into Asgardia. Ever.

 

things you said too quietly

They’re at their first public outing, only not as a couple. Niall had apologized to Thor, but said he didn’t think it was quite time to come out to the public, not only about their relationship but about his sexuality.

“It’s different on Earth,” he’d said. “You can’t always be with who you want to be.”

Of course Thor understood. He knew from his brief trips to Midgard that the people here were not as accepting of anything, really, as the people of Asgard are. In Asgard no one cared about the color of one’s skin or who they took to bed. Really the only thing Asgardians cared about was how good of a warrior you were, and if not a warrior then a sorcerer.

They also didn’t like certain alien races, but that was for a different reason. Such as war. Not about the color of the aliens’ skin, per say, more because one civilization had tried to conquer the other and it hadn’t gone so well. Which led to war, usually.

But that doesn’t matter now. Because Asgard is gone and all they have left are a few thousand Asgardians, a spot of land in Oklahoma, and a few escaped prisoners from Sakaar.

“Thor?” Niall asks, pulling him out of his thoughts. Thor looks over to him, eyebrows raised. “Alright?”

Nodding, Thor turns back to look out the window. “Is there a reason we’re doing this, again?”

Niall chuckles, hitting him playfully on the arm. “I know you didn’t want to come, but I’m happy that you are. Just—see it as an opportunity to get more people to vote for the secession.”

Thor hums thoughtfully. “Do Midgardians usually speak of politics during birthday parties? I haven’t been to very many. The parties Stark threw weren’t birthday parties, usually.”

“Well,” Niall says, contemplative. “I mean, it’s just a birthday party, so really you’re allowed to talk about whatever you want. Usually it’s easier to just talk about something you think is interesting, cos then you know what you’re talking about and hopefully there won’t be any awkward silences. I’m sure politics is an alright subject, as long as you’re not going into anything other than the secession.”

“Alright,” Thor says, nodding. He looks back at Niall. “And for the record, I want to do anything you want me to do. Unless it’s something bad. And birthday parties are not bad.”

Smiling, Niall nods. “I know, pet.” He holds his hand out on the seat between them, palm up. Thor grins, small, and slaps his hand down to grab Niall’s. “Ow,” Niall laughs, but he squeezes Thor’s hand, so Thor knows it’s okay.

-

“Just—if anyone asks, you know,” Niall says quietly as the climb the steps to the house. He shrugs helplessly, glancing at Thor.

Thor nods, patting him amicably on the back. “You got it, mate,” he says, emphasizing the word. Niall had taught it to him, said it was like the word friend, only more casual. Because that is what they’re supposed to be right now. Casual.

(Thor does not think sleeping in each other’s houses more often than their own is casual, but he will not be saying that aloud.)

As they step through the door they’re offered a glass of champagne each by servers in shirtsleeves and ties. The house is grand, by Midgardian standards; high ceilings and windows large enough to fit a horde of bilgesnipe and chandeliers dripping with glass. It’s quite impressive, for a Midgardian. The house is about the size of the grand hall in the palace on Asgard, if the hall were cut up and stacked on top of itself to recreate this house.

Niall takes him around the room, introducing him to some of his musician friends and other people he knows. At one point they’re having a conversation with some members of Niall’s band, and then Niall gets pulled away by some other person, and when Thor goes to follow the band members pull him back because they have questions about his time with the Avengers.

So now Thor is alone with people he’s never really met before, despite having been with Niall since his arena tour ended.

(Arena tours do not mean the same thing on Midgard as they do Asgard.)

“So are you the mate Niall’s been staying with since the tour ended?” Jake the guitarist. Thor nods, smiling.

“Yes,” he says. The boys stare at him, waiting for more, so he adds, “He and I have been spending time together since we met at my birthday party last year, and he was curious about the process Asgardia is going through in order to secede from the country and become its own nation.”

The boys nod, making curious noises. “How’s that going, then?” John Bird asks. “Isn’t like, a whole mess because of the White House or something?”

Yes,” Thor says emphatically. And to think he thought no one would want to know about the secession. “Congress refuses to allow us to secede because we are, technically, on their land, but really that doesn’t mean anything because technically it’s not their land.”

“Because they stole it, yeah,” Jake says, sipping from his glass.

Thor shrugs. “Sure, that too.”

The boys exchange looks, laughing amongst themselves, but Thor pays them no mind. He’s used to Midgardians laughing at him when he says something they don’t understand. Besides, he’s much more interested in what Niall is doing across the room right now.

He hadn’t quite paid attention to the man who had pulled him away, and the man hadn’t introduced himself so even if Thor had paid attention it would make no difference, but all Thor sees now is the man’s arm wrapped tightly around Niall’s waist, his other hand placed flat on his chest as he says whatever it is he’s saying. Niall’s cheeks are red, but Thor can’t quite suss out if it’s because he’s been drinking or because he’s nervous, or what it is that’s making him look like that. He’s laughing, and it’s not his awkward please get me out of this conversation laugh, so Thor assumes he’s perfectly fine with the situation.

That does not mean Thor is perfectly fine with the situation.

“You and Niall must be close, eh, if he’s been staying with you all this time?” John says. “He doesn’t do that with just anyone.”

Thor nods, not taking his eyes off of Niall, who gently extricates himself from the man’s strange hold on him. He glances over at Thor and their eyes meet, and Niall doesn’t even hesitate to wink at Thor, shrugging helplessly.

“I think he may be my best mate,” Thor says.

 

things you said over the phone

“It really sucks being away from you after so much time together,” Niall says, resting his chin on his hand. He’s sitting at a little desk in his dressing room, and Thor is happy to see him back on tour and having fun, but he does miss him terribly.

“Yes, I keep waking up and expecting to see you in bed,” he answers, propping his phone on a stack of books. Attempting to secede from the country has involved a lot more studying than he had imagined. He thought his studying was over when he finished school. Evidently not. “And every time I turn to tell you something you aren’t there.”

Niall makes a dramatic face, like he’s about to cry but more exaggerated. “You can’t just say stuff like that when I’m thousands of miles away from you,” he says, laughing. “Guess what, though.”

“What?” Thor asks, scratching at his beard.

“I met a girl with your hammer tattooed on her arm today,” Niall says, “at the meet and greet. When I asked her about it she said she’s been in love with you since you landed in New Mexico all those years ago.”

Thor smiles, feeling a bit smug. “I am quite lovable. Many women have been known to find themselves enamored with me; even Stark says so, and he has been dealing with Midgardian women for years longer than I have.”

Niall scrunches up his nose, annoyed. “Don’t like it when you mention Stark, if I’m being honest.”

“Why not?” Thor asks. “I thought you liked him.”

Letting out an awkward chuckle, Niall shrugs, rubbing at his arm. “Yeah, I do, just. Not when you talk about him like he’s the master of all things Midgardian. I dunno, it just bothers me.” There’s a shout on his side, and he looks away from Thor to call back a short yeah thanks. When he turns back, his cheeks turn red and he laughs nervously. “Don’t look at me like that,” he pleads, laughing. “Stop it, Thor!”

“I’m not!” Thor protests, insulted. “I’m looking at you as I normally do. In my normal way.”

Niall shakes his head. “No, you’re looking at me like I just said something embarrassing, because I did.”

Thor hums, propping his chin on his hand. “I think it’s quite endearing, actually, you being jealous of Stark. Even though you have no reason to be, considering I’m dating you and not him.”

Niall makes the face again, cheeks darkening in color. “Can’t just say stuff like that, Thor. I’m not even on the continent; I can’t do anything about it.”

Grinning, Thor just shrugs. “I only say it because it’s true.”

Ugh,” Niall groans, waving his hands. Thor laughs fondly. “I’m hanging up now; soundcheck is in a few minutes.”

Thor nods. “Aright. Have a good show. I miss you.”

Making the face, Niall mumbles, “I miss you too, you sap.”

 

things you didn’t say at all

The thing that makes Niall so appealing, Thor thinks, is that he’s the perfect amount of open and closed. On the one hand, Niall is so open and involved with anyone he talks to, but on the other hand, most people will leave a conversation with him and think did I even learn anything about him? Usually, the answer is no, but Niall is so good at hiding his secretiveness that they think the answer is yes. Niall draws people in because he’s inviting, but what people don’t realize is they’re only seeing what Niall wants them to see, even if they don’t think so.

So Thor is smug when he speaks to people who think they know Niall, when he hears them say things like oh, Niall wouldn’t ever do something like that, he’s not the type, when not the day before Niall had done exactly that. Thor is smug when he reads something on the interweb about Niall that isn’t quite right, and only he knows it. Thor is smug when he hears people talking about he can’t possibly be anything other than straight, because he’s such a bro.

Thor is less smug when he sees papers on the front of streetshops claiming Niall is dating beautiful women who go on tour with him and who are seen with him and wearing his clothes. Thor is less smug every time he has to send Niall a text asking if it’s true. Thor is much less smug when Niall ignores his texts and calls for three days after they get into an argument over the credibility of these papers.

“I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything,” Banner says. “He’s a busy guy, he might just not have time to call back.”

“He’s upset, but not with you,” Stark says. “The tabloids were basically invented to irritate the people they print about.”

Valkyrie thinks he’s being foolish, Loki doesn’t have an opinion, Thor doesn’t know what to do. He trust Niall, of course he does, more than anyone else in the world. Even the Revengers don’t have his trust in the way Niall does. Thor isn’t even sure how he grew to trust Niall so deeply so quickly; all he knows is that, if it came to it, he would trust Niall with his life.

Not in battle, of course. Niall is quite skilled with a golf club, but the one time he swung his Mjolnir replica he almost rendered himself unconscious, so. He would not be the one Thor took into battle. That would be Banner, or Valkyrie. Loki, if he’s especially desperate.

But he trusts Niall, and he loves him, more than he’s loved any of his past partners. And he knows better now, knows better than to believe papers over Niall’s own truth. He would tell Niall this, if Niall would answer his calls. Or his texts. Or the one email he sent him. Not even Niall’s band are answering his calls, even though he only has two of their cell phone numbers.

“Hello, Niall,” he says, attempting to sound optimistic. “I know you must be busy, so I won’t keep you long. I, um, I hope you’re having a good tour. I wanted to say I’m sorry. It was foolish of me to believe the papers over you, and I apologize for that. I never meant to insult you or imply that you could not be trusted. I trust you more than anything. Please return my call when you have the chance. Have a nice tour. Goodbye.”

Even if Niall doesn't call him back today, or tomorrow, Thor knows he will forgive him eventually. It's only a matter of time, really. They've never argued over something as serious as this before—their spat over cars and horses doesn’t count, as it was resolved when Niall realized Thor did not remember how to park the car and so could not get out—and according to Stark and Banner, the first fight is always the hardest but the quickest to be resolved. Since they are more familiar with the ways of Midgardian romance, Thor trusts their judgement.

He thinks, if Niall doesn’t forgive him soon, he will fly to wherever Niall is and grovel, like a man. It’s the quickest way to be forgiven, he’s learned. The fake people in the screens on Stark’s walls are very informative that way; he’s been able to study the ways of Midgard by watching them. Most of them end the same way, so he assumes they’re like trials. Going by that logic, there is only a one if ten chance he will not be forgiven.

Niall has until the end of the week, Thor decides, before Thor flies to him.

 

things you said under the stars and in the grass

“What are you doing?” Niall asks, gaping at him. “This is—you’ve just ruined the lawn, Thor. They literally just mowed like, two minutes ago.”

Thor looks down at his feet, where the telltale marks of the Bifrost opening and closing are burned into the grass. “I don’t know how to prevent that. I will speak with whoever is in charge.”

Niall stares at him, expressionless save a touch of annoyance. Thor grimaces. “Hi?”

“Why are you here?” Niall asks. “I thought you had a shite ton of meetings lined up for the next few weeks?

“I do,” Thor says. “But you weren’t answering my cell phone calls or my texting messages, and I figured this was the best way to get in contact with you.”

Brows raising slightly, Niall asks, “By teleporting to my exact location?”

Thor squints. “Well, it’s not really teleporting, exactly, more like—”

“Thor,” Niall interrupts, a slight glare on his face.

Nodding, Thor clears his throat and tries again. “You’re right, I’m sorry for that. I came here because I wanted to apologize. I should have trusted you and known that those papers were not completely truthful. I trust you, Niall. I won’t make the same mistake again. I’m sorry.”

Niall, stoic as ever, stares at him, unblinking. His arms are crossed, his cell phone clutched tightly in one hand. There’s people moving all around them, ignoring them as they pack up the materials from tonight’s concert. Niall had been standing behind the venue, staring out at the city, when Thor had arrived. It’s late, and very dark, and it makes Thor a bit uncomfortable that Niall feels safe enough to stand in the dark alone. Even if all these people are here around him, something could happen.

“Also, you shouldn’t be standing here in the dark,” Thor can’t help but add. “I just. Don’t feel comfortable with you doing that.”

Niall rolls his eyes, uncrossing his arms and pressing a button on his cell phone. The screen lights up, but he darkens it again just as quickly. “Is that all?” he asks.

“Um,” Thor says. “I believe so, yes.”

Nodding, Niall rubs a hand over his face. He looks tired. “It’s okay, Thor. I’m still quite annoyed at you actually believing a bunch of goss over me, your boyfriend, but it’s okay. You’re not used to magazines and all that making up all kinds of shite about you, so I can’t be upset at you for not knowing how to respond to it. I just—just believe me next time, you know? Don’t try to argue with me over something that you asked me about.”

Thor nods, eyes downcast. “Of course. I’m very sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“Christ, Thor,” Niall groans, laughing a little. “You sound like a damn kid. I’m not your teacher scolding you for lying, you do realize that? I’m just asking that you believe me next time.”

“I do realize that,” Thor says, smiling softly. “I’m just letting you know it won’t happen again. I trust you.”

Niall stares at him, expression a funny mix of annoyed and amused, the way Valkyrie always does. “Give us a hug, then,” he says, holding out his arms. Thor grins and lumbers over, wrapping his arms around Niall tightly. He hugs him so tightly he hears a joint in Niall’s neck pop, and leans back, brows furrowed with worry.

“Are you alright?” he asks, and Niall laughs.

“Yes, you doof.”

Satisfied, Thor leans back in, hugging him for a few minutes longer. After they part, Niall shows him around, introducing him to the crew and the band. Even though Niall introduces him as a mate , Thor finds he liked the people Niall works with. They’re just as kind as he is, and they don’t seem to be afraid of Thor, despite him wielding Stormbreaker. Stormbreaker is an admirable weapon, but it’s moments like these he misses Mjolnir the most; it’s small size made it easier to carry around.

When it comes time for everyone to get on their respective modes of transportation, Niall turns to Thor, and small smile on his face.

“I don’t suppose you’re able to stay the night?” he asks. “We’re on the buses tonight, but I’ve got a pretty spacious bunk, if you wanna, like. Share.”

Thor smiles regretfully. “I can’t, unfortunately. I’ve a meeting hearing tomorrow in front of Congress. They’ll be deciding tomorrow whether or not Asgardia will be granted the secession. I don’t think it would be wise for to risk being late.”

Nodding, Niall glances around and, deeming the coast clear, leans up on his toes and presses a quick kiss to Thor’s lips. He tries to pull away, but Thor presses his hand to the small of Niall’s back and holds the kiss for a second more. When he lets go, Niall lowers himself back down and ducks his head, cheeks pink. He scratches at the back of his head, grinning.

“I’ll see you soon, alright?” Thor asks. Niall nods. “Be safe. Have a good tour. Answer my text messages and my cell phone calls. Alright?”

Laughing, Niall nods, shoving Thor in the chest. Trying to, at least.

Thor winks at him, laughing when Niall rolls his eyes. Once he’s far enough away, he raises Stormbreaker, and in a flash of multicolored lights, he’s back at Stark’s house.

 

things you said when i was crying

“Thor?” Niall asks, quietly. Thor stays silent, sniffling into the phone in his hand. It’s so damn small, despite being the biggest one the tech shop offered, and Stark has offered to make him a better one but he’s been so busy with the spider child that he hasn’t gotten around to it yet, so Thor is stuck cradling a metal leaf to his face every time he has to take a call. His fingers barely work on the stupid thing, too, his hands are so big.

“Thor, pet, you have to talk to me,” Niall says. “You’re kind of freaking me out right now.”

Sniffing hard, Thor swipes a hand over his face. “I just. What if I’m not doing this right?”

“Doing what right?” Niall asks gently.

Thor makes a frustrated sound, pressing a hand to his eyes. “What if I’m not doing the ruling thing right? I understand that Odin began his reign in not the best way, but he was still an amazing ruler. And even when Loki was impersonating Odin, Asgard was under control; the people were happy, the market was doing great. They were performing plays! They rarely ever do that!” He exhales shakily. “But as soon as I came back, Asgard was ruined, and they had to relocate to a planet they’ve never been to, and the people here are mean , Niall, they keep calling the Asgardians aliens and that’s not what we are!”

“Um, petal,” Niall says hesitantly, “I hate to break it to you, but to us that’s exactly what you are. You’re not from Earth, so you’re aliens. It’s not supposed to be an insulting word, pet.”

Scoffing, Thor leans against the window he’s standing by. It gives him a perfect view of the little village his people erected shortly after arriving in Oklahoma. Mostly the houses and things are made up of the ship they arrived in, but a handful of the neighboring Midgardians also offered to help them build houses in their way, so Asgardia is now a wonderful mix of Sakaarian metal and Midgardian material, with Asgardian flair. If they had more gold, it would probably be a very close replica of what Asgard used to be.

But for Thor, it’s just not good enough.

“Maybe so, but the people here don’t make it sound that way,” Thor says. “They spit at us in the streets and they refuse to help my people when they ask for it. They’re not happy, Niall, nor are my people, and it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have let Loki trigger Ragnarok, I should have found some other way to defeat Hela.”

Niall says nothing, and Thor sighs, watching Loki sneer at the kids surrounding him. Thor didn’t quite trust him with dealing with the Midgardian rulers in regards to the secession, and so Loki’s been handling Asgardia from the inside while Thor handles it from outside.  He seems to be most interested in teaching sorcery to the children who made it from Asgard, which surprised Thor at first. It suits him, though. Thor sees that now.

“Do you know what I think?” Niall says. He continues without waiting for an answer. “I think you’re doing an excellent job. I think that if anyone else were dealt the hand you were they’d have caved by now. You did not have any other choice but to trigger Ragnarok. Hela could only be defeated if Asgard was destroyed, you said that yourself. It’s kind of impossible to kill the Goddess of Death without destroying her source of power, first. What happened was not your fault. And the people who live here are assholes, they always have been. They don’t like what they don’t understand, and trust me when I say that no one on Earth understands Asgard or its people. Odin may have done a good job while he was reigning, and Loki may have done alright for the two years he was on the throne, but you’ve done more good for Asgard than they have. Odin killed thousands of people just to create Asgard, and all Loki did was put on a weird play and build a statue of himself, and this was after he almost killed everyone on Earth and then tried to kill you. Twice.

“Thor, you are doing the best anyone can expect from you. Better, actually. I know you don’t quite believe it because it’s so hard, but you saved your people, and a couple of other random aliens you had no responsibility over. You saved your brother, which, if I’m being honest, I could never do. Save your brother, that is, mine is alright. The secession is going better than anyone expected it to, what with the awful administration you’re dealing with. You’re doing amazing. Everyone is on your side, babe. Trust me.”

Thor doesn’t answer, not because he has nothing to say, but because there are too many tears for him to get anything out without sounding pathetic. The breaths he takes are shaky, but he doesn’t make a sound.

“No one is working harder than you right now,” Niall says gently, and Thor breaks.

Niall doesn’t say anything while he cries, just listens patiently and doesn’t interrupt. It’s the best thing he could do, really. If Niall tried to console him, Thor would probably have to end the call. This is embarrassing enough as it is. Especially since he can’t seem to stop crying. If he had to assume, it would probably be because everything is happening so quickly. Has happened so quickly. Ever since his father died, it’s like Thor can’t quite catch a moment to even think about anything other than Asgardia or his people or the million other things he’s had to deal with between then and now. There hasn’t exactly been a second for him to have a good cry.

When he’s finished, all he can think to say is, “Thank you.”

Tutting, Niall laughs a little breathlessly. “I don’t think you need to be thanking me, love. You know I would do anything for you. Just. Take some time out for yourself every now and then, yeah? Go out and play with Stormbreaker, or have nap. Do something that can get your mind off everything, you know?”

Nodding to himself, Thor sniffs in hard. “Yeah. Yes, I will do that. Thank you.” They sit in silence for a moment more, until Thor clears his throat and says, “Niall?”

“Yes, pet?”

“Stormbreaker is a weapon, so I wouldn’t quite recommend playing with it,” Thor says. “I could practice with it, yes, but not. Not play with it, per se.”

Niall laughs, not unkindly. “Of course, Thor. Practice with Stormbreaker.”

Thor nods to himself again, swiping a hand over his face one last time. He’s going to do just that.

 

things you said when you were drunk

“Have you met Thor?” Niall shouts over the music. He’s already many drinks in, and Thor isn’t quite sure if he should be worried yet.

The young woman Niall is shouting at shakes her head, obviously amused at Niall’s drunken state. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure,” she says, barely laughing. She’s American, and Thor swears he’s seen her before, only—

“Well, this is Thor,” Niall says, placing a hand on Thor’s chest. “Thor, this is Hailee. She’s the one you thought I was sleeping with.”

Oh. Thor presses his lips together, raising his brows. He glances between Hailee and Niall awkwardly, afraid someone will be offended, but Hailee just bursts into laughter.

“Wow, you fell for it too?” she asks. She places a hand on his arm placatingly. “Don’t worry; after those pictures came out even my mom was asking me if we were dating. Can you believe that? My mom . God that was embarrassing.” She laughs again. “Anyway, it’s so nice to meet you! I’m such a huge fan of the Avengers, I couldn’t believe it when they were disbanded.”

Thor shrugs. “Yes, well. It seems every time I leave Midgard something happens with them. I guess I didn’t come back fast enough this time to prevent the fallout.” Niall and Hailee both laugh, although Thor isn’t sure why. He was being completely serious. “But tell me more about your music, Niall has told me much about your career.”

“Oh,” Hailee grins. “All good things, I hope. Um, I dunno, I just do what a lot of other artists do, you know; I tour, I write, I record. I’m not really any different from the rest.”

Niall, too busy drinking to say anything before now, shouts, “She is different, though, because she’s my best friend!”

Thor looks down at him, brows raised. “I know, you’ve said it many times already. Perhaps you should drink something else. Water, maybe.”

Cackling, Niall shakes his head. “We’ve only just got here, I’m not that drunk.”

Exchanging a look, Thor and Hailee say nothing in response. They move on, talking about Thor’s time on Midgard and how he likes it, and his progress with Asgardia’s secession, which should come into effect in only a fortnight more. It’s happening much sooner than Thor was led to believe it would, truth be told. Not that he’s complaining; the sooner his people are out from under the rule of this country’s awful administration the better.

Eventually Hailee is pulled away from them by another friend, leaving Thor with a drunk Niall. Thor wants to attempt to catch up with him, but Midgardian drinks are nowhere near strong enough to inebriate an Asgardian. Valkyrie was basically forced into sobriety because of this, which she attempts to remedy every day. If Thor had known there would be this many parties involved with dating Niall, he would have brought more ale from home.

So he drinks, and it’s only after two hours that he begins to feel the effects of the alcohol, and even then only barely. He follows Niall around like a child, because he doesn’t know anyone and most of these Midgardians seem to be intimidated by him. The one time he tries to move away from Niall and introduce himself to someone the young man bursts into tears, crying about aliens coming to take over the earth. Thor is only mildly insulted. He knows he’s an alien, he’s just upset that Midgardians really think he wants to take over the earth. If he really wanted to he would have already. It’s just not interesting enough to warrant it.

The night is fun, for the most part. Thor isn’t quite sure what the cause for celebration is, but he gets to dance with Niall, and he’s spending his first night out with Niall since he left for tour, so he’s happy.

Until Niall gets up on stage with the music man. Thor isn’t quite sure when he lost track of Niall, but obviously it for a long enough period of time for Niall to sneak up there without Thor noticing. He should be fine, right? Niall is used to these parties; he knows how to act. And even if he’s never had a secret boyfriend he needed to hide, he had a secret girlfriend at one point, and he never told anyone about her. So he’ll be okay. Thor trusts him.

“How’s everybody doin’ tonight?” Niall slurs into the microphone. The crowd cheers, loud enough that Thor’s ears ring. Impressive, he thinks. “Now, I know you all know about him, but I thought it would be more polite for me to introduce him to you all just in case. This bloke is, in my opinion, one of the coolest men in the world, and not just because he’s a god. He’s funny, and smart, and he’s a king , and he’s got these little lightning bolts that shoot out of his eyes sometimes, and he’s not even from this planet! Please give it up for my mate, Thor!” He points to where Thor is standing by a table laden with food, and the crowd cheers even louder than before. Those by him reach over and jostle him, and Thor grins gamely, waving. “Show them the thing, babe!” Niall calls.

“No, no,” Thor says, laughing. “Too many people! It’s a—it’s a closed space, people could get hurt!”

The crowd boos, but Niall waves at them to quiet down. “No, no, just the thing with the eyes, not the big thing!” He motions at his eyes excitedly, grinning, and Thor sighs. He knows it’s wrong, knows it’s irresponsible and he’ll be receiving many emails and cell phone calls and texting messages tomorrow, but. Thor can’t quite say no to Niall.

He passes his plastic goblet to the person standing next to him, and Niall cheers from his place onstage. The crowd follows his lead, but Thor ignores them in favor of pushing the people closest to him away so he can at least pretend he tried to make this as safe as possible. Niall is slurring into the microphone about how cool the thing is, and Thor can’t help but laugh. If he ever needs to present himself before a grand battle or something of the sort, like that time on Sacaar, he’ll have Niall make the announcement.

Once the crowd is far enough away from him that Thor is almost completely positive he won’t electrocute anyone, he stands in the middle of the sort-of circle he’s created, shaking out the kink in his neck and arms. He stretches a little bit, making sure he’s loose enough that the lightning won’t get stuck anywhere on him. One time, before a battle, he didn’t stretch properly, and as a consequence he had lightning stuck in his pants for almost a week.

It was not a fun week.

Thor tightens his hands into fists and shuts his eyes, concentrating. He feels the tingle of electricity run down his spine, and when he opens his eyes he knows they’re shining blue, small bolts of lightning shooting out of them. There’s lightning dancing around his fingertips, as well, but he ignores that in favor of playing up the bolts in his eyes, since that’s what Niall asked for. The crowd gasps, which Thor expected, but it still makes him smile. He keeps the sparks going for a few moments more, then lets them disappear and takes a small bow, waving awkwardly when he comes back up.

Under normal circumstances, the applause would be quite loud, since Midgardians are so easily impressed by anything remotely cool, but since this crowd is mostly drunk and/or under the influence of some sort of mortal drug, the applause is much louder than usual. The building shakes with it, almost, and over the cheers and claps of everyone Thor hears Niall shout into the microphone, a distinct Yes! That’s my boyfriend!

It doesn’t seem to register with anyone but Thor, since no one really reacts and continues clapping for Thor, but he definitely heard Niall say it. And when he looks across the room to where Niall is standing, he knows Niall heard himself say it, too. It’s clear in his shaken expression, face gone pale under the colored lights bouncing around the room. He shakily replaces the microphone in its stand, and Thor loses sight of him as he clambers off the stage.

“Damn,” he mutters to himself, and ducks into the still cheering crowd to go after him. It’s easy to part through the drunken mortals, who have begun dancing once again to some song whose only lyric seems to be thunder, but there’s so many of them that by the time Thor has approached the stage Niall is nowhere to be seen.

“Thor!” he hears someone call, and looks over to see Hailee standing by a hallway, waving him over and looking concerned. He fights through the crowd once more, but once he’s reached her Hailee grabs onto his arm and pulls him into the dark hallway. “He went this way, but I’m not sure which door he went through; I wanted to make sure you found me before I went looking for him.”

“Thank you,” Thor says. There’s dim lights running along the walls by their feet, which Thor finds strange, but he tries each door they pass in hopes of finding Niall. They stumble upon many people doing things they most likely shouldn’t be doing in a public building, but no Niall.

Eventually, just as Thor is beginning to panic, they reach the end of the hallway, with a door that reads EXIT in red letters. It’s been left ajar by the last person to go through it, and through the crack left behind Thor can see Niall crouching with his back against the wall of the building, face in his hands. He doesn’t move when the door creaks open, signalling Thor and Hailee’s arrival.

“How bad is it?” he asks, muffled. Thor and Hailee exchange a look, saying nothing. “How bad is it? Have people started mocking me for being bent yet?”

“Oh, babe,” Hailee says softly, rushing to his side. She kneels by him, an arm around his shoulder. “Everyone was too drunk to hear what you said; no one is mocking you.”

Niall snorts, lifting his head. “I doubt that.” He rubs a hand over his forehead, hard enough that it makes Thor wince just from watching. “Christ, I wasn’t even thinking. I’m so fucked.”

Thor squats in front of Niall, taking his hands in his own. “Niall, I can promise you that no one even noticed. Everyone was still cheering too loud to hear what you said; you’ll be fine.”

Shaking his head, Niall looks away from Thor. Hailee still has an arm around his shoulders, looking a bit more stressed about the situation than Thor really thinks is necessary. “You don’t get it, Thor. It was alright for you when you came out, cos no one really follows you around the way they do the other Avengers, but like. This is a much bigger deal than you think. People are gonna be freaking out about this for weeks.”

“Will they, though?” Thor asks, squinting a bit. “Isn’t it much more acceptable now than it was a few years ago to not be straight? Even you’ve told me so.”

Niall stares at him blankly, a hand resting over his mouth. Hailee looks like she’s trying not to laugh. Thor isn’t sure which reaction is more confusing.

“Look, why don’t we just go back to the hotel?” Thor suggests. “It’ll give us time to start working on some damage control, you know?”

Hailee nods, patting Niall’s shoulder. “That’s a good idea. It’s honestly probably the best thing we can do right now; there’s not much we can say to a building full of people that won’t make this worse.”

Heaving a sigh, Niall nods in agreement. “Yeah. Yeah, let’s just go.”

 

things you said when you thought i was asleep

Thor wakes up to Niall talking to himself.

Well. Not to himself, since he hasn’t gotten a chance to get off the phone since the situation at the party a week ago. Ever since Niall told an entire party of people that Thor is his boyfriend, he’s been lobbying calls from his managers and his publicists and his team, or whatever they’re called. He can’t leave whatever hotel he’s staying at that day without being followed by swarms of men with cameras, and the girls going to his meet and greets keep asking him questions he tells Thor he doesn’t know how to answer.

It’s been a mess, to put it lightly.

“I’m not going to take it back,” Niall says. “No, I don’t want to. I get that, yeah, but if I’m with Thor and people know now then we might as well just leave it be. Look, I didn’t call you because I need help in keeping this a secret, I called because I need help in making a statement. I just—no, I don’t want to go on, like, Ellen and make some huge dramatic scene, it’s weird. Like I said, all I want is help in making a statement that— yes , I want to confirm I’m dating Thor and that—no, I’m not gay. I’m—listen, no, I’m not gay, so I’m not going to say that. I’m bisexual, Stephen, fuck off with that shit. It’s twenty-fucking-eighteen, I think people will be okay with it. Alright, know what? If you can’t help me with this then I’m just gonna do it meself. Bye.”

Huh. That’s probably the first time Thor has heard Niall be anything other than extremely polite and understanding to someone on his team. This entire situation has probably got him more strung up than usual.

Sighing, Thor rolls over in bed. His own cell phone is lit up, and without getting up from bed he can see he’s got dozens of texting messages and missed phone calls and voicemail messages. He’s not quite looking forward to checking all of those.

“Hello?” Niall says. Another phone call, then. “No, Haz, I’m fine. He’s sleeping right now. I dunno, he went to bed pretty late last night.” He laughs quietly. “Yeah. I didn’t even know you were following that.” There’s a long silence, and Thor can picture Niall sitting on the couch, biting at his nails. Awful habit, that, but Thor can’t judge. He’s got a few bad habits of his own.

(He once swung Stormbreaker a little too wide while standing in the middle of Stark’s living room and blew a hole through his roof. He is no longer allowed to wield Stormbreaker while pacing.)

“I dunno, Haz,” Niall says. “I mean, I know I’ve said this once or twice before, but. Thor’s it , you know? Like, I’ll think of what comes after, when I’m done with touring and all that, and he’s there. He’s always there, you know, even though he’s got a country he’s king of and million other responsibilities. The only reason he’s been able to spend so much time with me and Tony Stark in the first place is because he’s trying to work out the secession, you know? As soon as that’s finished, he’s going right back to Asgardia to be king. And I don’t think I’ll be able to just. Follow him.”

Well. Thor actually was going to ask if Niall would be alright, acting as his partner while he ruled over Asgardia, but if Niall doesn’t think it possible maybe he should rethink that. He thought Niall would be okay with that, but perhaps he was wrong.

“No, I get that,” Niall says in response to whatever this Haz is saying. “I just. It would be weird, wouldn’t it? Being surrounded by a bunch of gods and goddesses. What if they don’t like me?”

Not possible, Thor thinks. If his people are anything like Thor, they will adore Niall.

“Haz, I’m just saying, you know,” Niall pauses for a second, searching for the words. “Even if I can’t go with him to Asgardia when the time comes, I would want to, you know? Like, I would make it work, even if we had to do the whole long-distance shit. And you know I’ve never been able to commit to that before. Well, yeah, that’s my point, Harry, you don’t have to rub it in. Shut up, Harry. No, my point is that I’m actually thinking about the future for once in my life. And I can’t think of a future right now where he’s not in it.” He pauses again. “I’m saying I think he might be the one.”

Oh.

“Yes, Harry, the one,” Niall says, sounding exasperated. “Christ, Harry, what else could I possibly mean? He’s my lobster, the lock to my key, the other half to my blue sky, I can’t imagine life without him, I’m in love with him.” He pauses again, but this time Thor freezes with him. Did he just…?

“I’m in love with him,” Niall repeats, quieter, a bit stunned, like he can’t believe what he’s just said.

Well. Thor can’t quite believe it either.

 

things you said at the kitchen table

“Look who’s finally awake,” Niall jokes, smiling tensely. Thor smiles back at him softly, not sure what to say. Not only is he still unsure of how Niall is feeling after the party, he’s now unsure of how Niall is feeling after his confession on the phone.

Without saying anything, Thor pulls Niall into a hug, wrapping his arms around him tightly and resting his chin on Niall’s head. Niall goes willingly, laughing softly.

“What’s gotten into you?” he asks. Thor shrugs, still not saying anything. If he’s being honest, he doesn’t know how to process what he’s heard. “Thor. You know I love a good cuddle, but you’re kind of worrying me.”

“Do you plan on marrying?” he asks suddenly. It wasn’t what he wanted to ask, but he decides to roll with it. “Not now, but in the future. Is that something you want?”

Niall pulls away to plant his chin on Thor’s chest. His brows are furrowed, an Thor feels bad for confusing him this way, but he’s been thinking, and.

“I mean,” Niall shrugs. “Yeah, I guess. I won’t be too torn up if it never happens, I don’t think, as long as I can at least say I’m with someone. Think that’s what really matters, you know? Being happy with someone.” He pauses, face growing red, and laughs awkwardly. “Right?”

Thor nods, then lets go and turns to the fridge. “Go have a seat. I’m going to make you breakfast.”

“Uh,” Niall says, eloquent as always. “Do you even know how to work a toaster?”

Turning to him, Thor gives Niall a look. “I’ve been living on Midgard for the past few months, Niall, of course I can work a toaster. And don’t forget I lived with Stark for years before returning to Asgard. I know what I’m doing.”

Brows raised, Niall holds his hands up in defeat. “Alright, then. I’ll be in the other room. Please don’t burn the place down. Or hurt yourself.”

Thor waves him off, a spatula already in his hand.

-

Thor doesn’t burn the place down, but he does burn the eggs. And the sausages. And the toast. And maybe the coffee, but he’s not quite sure. The only thing he doesn’t manage to burn is the orange juice, because it’s the only thing that doesn’t need to be put over heat, but. He has that.

He carries the dozen or so plates out to the table easily, arms laden the way he’s seen servers do in the extravagant restaurants he frequents with politicians he tries to impress. Stark usually recommends them, which is how he always knows they’ll be extravagant.

Niall watches him as he sets the place on the table easily, amused. He’s got his chin planted in his hand, and it’s not supposed to be attractive, Thor doesn’t think, but it is. Extremely so. So Thor tells him just that.

Cheeks growing red, Niall just laughs and pulls one of the plates closer to him. “I haven’t even changed out of my pajamas, Thor, please.” Thor shrugs, pouring a generous amount of syrup over his (also burnt) pancakes. “So what’s all this for? You haven’t ever cooked for me before. Even if you did burn half of it. Hey!” He laughs, ducking away as Thor swings at him without looking away from his plate. He barely misses, but he wasn’t really trying anyway.

“Just wanted to do something nice,” he says, mouth full. “I know the past week have been troublesome for you, and I just wanted to try to make it better.”

Niall looks at him, skeptical, but says nothing, digging into his own meal. That’s one of Thor’s favorite things about him, really; there isn’t a single Midgardian Thor’s come across that eats as much as Niall does. Not even Captain Rogers, and he’s explained to Thor many times that he requires more sustenance than the average human because of the serum.

(Despite what many people think, Banner does not require sustenance after coming back from turning into the Hulk. He requires sleep. Lots of it. Days, sometimes.)

They eat in silence for most of the meal, and it’s not until Niall’s plate is cleared and Thor has let out a belch worthy of Valhalla that he speaks again.

“I love you, Niall,” Thor says. Niall stares at him blankly. “I know it’s not the most ideal time to be saying it, since you go back on tour tomorrow and I go back to D.C. tonight, but I want you to know I love you. If I had my way, you would rule beside me in Asgardia and never leave, but I know you have your own career you need to work on, and even if you didn’t I would never ask you to drop everything just for me. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and that includes the time Banner admitted I’m the strongest Avenger. The death of my father has made me realize that, despite what many people think, I am not immortal. I will die one day, and I will only die happily if it’s with the knowledge that you know how I feel about you. You don’t have to say it back, obviously, but I just. Wanted you to know.” Niall says nothing, expression unreadable. Anxious, Thor adjusts himself in his seat and rambles on. “Of course, that’s not to say I wouldn’t appreciate something being said, you know, because I’ve been with one other Midgardian and I’ve witnessed many a Midgardian relationship and yet I still don’t quite know how one is supposed to go about these things, see, because I’m not sure how different it is from a relationship on Asgard—”

Niall dives across the table and attaches his lips to Thor’s, throwing his arms around Thor’s neck and scrambling onto his lap. Thor grunts, pleasantly surprised, and wraps his arms around Niall’s waist to steady him.

“I love you too,” Niall gasps, pulling back. He leans back in before Thor can respond, kissing him like his life depends on it, and Thor has to place a hand on his shoulder and push him away. His skin is flushed, eyes wide with shock at his own boldness. His hair is still a mess from this morning, and he’s got a bit of egg stuck on his chin. There’s a hole in his shirtsleeve and his trousers—sweatpants, Niall calls them—are a size too small, with a faded logo on the thigh that says 1D, whatever that may mean. It’s the most attractive he’s been since Thor met him, really.

Thor grins, smug. “Are you aroused because I said I love you?”

The crazed look fades quickly from Niall’s expression until he looks mostly annoyed. He slumps in Thor’s lap, his hand dropping from his shoulders to his chest. “You’re so annoying. Christ, I can’t believe you get me hot and bothered.”

“What?” Thor laughs, confused. “I’ve never heard that before, what does it mean?”

Rolling his eyes, Niall attempts to climb off of Thor’s lap, but Thor just tightens his arms around him. “It means I’m aroused because of you, you knob.”

Grinning, Thor leans back in his seat, jostling Niall just a bit. “So you are aroused because I said I love you.”

“You made me breakfast and asked me to be your queen, pet,” Niall deadpans. “You’re a literal god; I don’t think any normal human would be able to not get aroused over that.”

Thor hums, shrugging. “Well, that depends, doesn’t it. If I’m not someone’s type then they won’t become aroused because of me.”

Niall stares at him. “Please stop saying that, it’s so weird.”

Laughing, Thor rises to his feet. Niall yelps, scrambling so he doesn’t fall, but Thor is two steps ahead of him, wrapping Niall’s legs around his own waist for him and holding onto him from his bum. Niall’s cheeks grow pink again, and he stares at Thor.

“You’re so feckin tall, mate,” he says breathlessly. “Christ, Bressie doesn’t even hold a candle to you and he’s one of the tallest people I know.”

Thor frowns. “I’m not quite interested in hearing about Bressie when I’m attempting to seduce you. Really, Niall, you should know better.”

Head thrown back, Niall cackles loudly, which is quite rude considering he knows how much it bothers Thor when this Bressie is mentioned. Thor has met Bressie, just once, and he’s actually a good man, but Thor refuses to like him on principle alone, especially since he knows as a matter of fact that Bressie is the same height as him.

“Sorry, babe,” he says, grinning. “Go on, then, seduce me.”

Thor looks at him, unimpressed. “You’re lucky I love you,” he says, and Niall grins so hard Thor worries for his face, eyes shining. “Alright, then. I’ll give you a choice: the bed, the couch, or the wall.”

Niall smirks, expression going a little dopey. “You’re so fucking hot.”

“That’s not an answer,” Thor says, brows raising expectantly. “The bed, the couch, or the wall?”

“Fuckin’ hell,” Niall says hoarsely. “Honestly I could do with all three.” He grins cheekily. “If you can handle it.”

Thor squints at him, insulted. “You dare question my stamina?” he asks, approaching the wall. He takes one step with each word he says. “I will have you know, Niall Horan of Mullingar, that I am the god of thunder,” step, “lightning,” step, “and fertility.” He pushes Niall against the wall, eliciting a gasp from him. “Which means I can go for much longer than you can, my love.”

Head leaning back against the wall, Niall stares at Thor, eyes hooded. It’s astonishing how quick he can go from sarcastic and laughing to seductive and sultry. He’s quite the three-dimensional person. It’s very attractive.

“Try me,” he says, and Thor just about melts.

 

things you said after you kissed me

“Well,” Niall says, panting. He stares up at the ceiling, eyes blown and looking spaced out. “I guess we both won, huh.”

Thor laughs, folding his arms behind his head. “Well, technically I won, but I do see what you mean.” He sighs, contented, and turns to look at Niall, who seems like he can’t quite figure out what’s just happened. “Are you alright?”

“Yup,” Niall says. “Just need to catch my breath, I think.”

Grinning smugly, Thor settles deeper into the mattress. It’s only been a moment before he speaks again. “I was telling the truth, you know,” he says quietly. Niall hums. “I do love you. And I would love for you to stay with me in Asgardia when you can. You’re my lobster.”

Niall shoots up, staring down at Thor with wide eyes. “You fucking wanker, you heard me on the phone earlier!” He grabs a pillow and starts to beat Thor with it, only it doesn’t actually hurt because it’s, well, it’s a pillow, and Niall is not very strong. Thor pretends to be hurt, though, just to gratify Niall.

“Oh, no, you’ve wounded me!” he cries out, curling in on himself. Snickering, Niall continues to his him over and over again until his arms get tired. Eventually he settles for just lying across Thor’s stomach, heavy enough that Thor feels a strange sort of comfort. Niall rests his chin on his hand, blinking at Thor. He looks content, at peace.

“I love you too, you know,” he says. His cheeks grow pink, but he soldiers on. “I’ve never really said that and meant it before. I always want to mean it, you know, so I say it in the hopes that I will, but. It never actually happens. With you, though. It’s like...I’m feeling so many things I’m not used to, and it scares me, just a bit? But in a good way.” He chuckles awkwardly, turning his face into his hand. “This is so awkward, I’m sorry.” He whines, a high pitched sound in the back of his throat, obviously embarrassed.

Thor smiles fondly, running a hand through Niall’s hair. “I don’t think it’s embarrassing. We’re much more similar than you think, in that aspect. I’m fifteen hundred years old, and I’ve been in one serious relationship in all that time. Jane, you know her.”

Niall turns to look at him, brows raised. “You know not everyone on Earth knows each other, right? I don’t know Jane. I know of her, but I don’t know her.”

“Oh.” Thor frowns. “Well, either way, she was the only serious relationship I’d ever been in before meeting you. And before I met her, all I would ever think about was whose ass I was kicking next. My mother and father would try their hardest to introduce me to a girl I would even consider marrying. They even went so far as to suggest I should marry Lady Sif.” Staring at him, Niall says nothing. Thor smiles. “You don’t know who Lady Sif is, do you?”

“Not a single clue,” Niall says, a small smile on his face. “I do know what you mean, though. I want to say I went through the same thing back in the Gar, but it kind of stopped a few years ago. It’s not really a thing anymore, I guess.”

Staring at Niall, Thor runs a hand through his hair softly. “You know, when I first let my intentions with you be known, Peter told me you had a history of avoiding relationships. And then—”

“Wait, who the fuck is Peter? And why is he telling you about my love life?” Niall interrupts, brows furrowed.

Thor freezes, feeling caught out. “No one.” He pointedly does not look at Niall. “No one important.”

Eyes narrowed, Niall places a palm flat on Thor’s chest, lifting himself up so he can look Thor in the eye. “Who is Peter, and why is trying to give you advice about me?”

Sighing, Thor stares up at the ceiling. He mentally weighs the pros and cons of telling Niall who Peter Parker is. He’s sure Stark wouldn’t mind; he knows Thor is no good at keeping secrets, so he knows anything he tells Thor is likely to be told to the universe at large. Thor keeps in touch with his alien comrades.

“Peter Parker, Stark’s protege,” Thor says. He meets Niall’s gaze. “He’s a young man still in school, and he’s been working closely with Stark over the past few months. He is also Spider-Man.”

What? ” Niall asks, sitting up completely. “No way. Spider-Man is a kid? And he personally knows Tony Stark? Oh, my god, that’s where his fancy new suit came from, right?”

Thor shrugs. “I guess. Stark doesn’t tell me everything, you know. The point is, Peter is young, so he’s familiar with your work and the work you did with your band, One Direction—oh! That’s what that means!”

“What?” Niall repeats, calmer but no less confused.

“The logo on your trousers,” Thor explains. “I wasn’t sure what 1D meant when I saw them earlier, but I get it now. One Direction. 1D. It’s an abbreviation.”

Niall stares at Thor, blinking slowly. “Can we get back to a kid trying to tell you about my relationship habits?”

“Oh, of course,” Thor pulls himself into a sitting position, facing Niall. “So young Peter is a fan of your music, and of the music you made with your band, and I guess he also follows your activities on the social medias and the interweb, and so he’s a bit well-versed on the romantic outings of you and your comrades. Bandmates, sorry. When I told him you and I were together, he told me you have a habit of being seen out in public with a young woman once or twice and then you’re never seen with her again. You ‘ghost’ her, Peter said. I’m not quite sure what that means, but basically you go out with someone once or twice, change your mind, and stay as far away from them as possible. He was attempting to warn me, I believe.”

Squinting, Niall rests his chin in his hand. “You know, there’s a lot to unpack there, like why the hell are you telling a kid who apparently is a fan that we’re dating, but the one I’m going to focus on is why the hell are you going to believe a kid who is, again, just a fan. Obviously no one actually knows what it is I get up to in my relationships other than me and the other person involved, Thor. The same way no one’s known about you and me, no one’s ever known about me and anyone else. I don’t ‘avoid relationships,’ and I definitely don’t ‘ghost’ on people. That’s rude; I’m not Harry.”

“I’m not sure Harry would appreciate the comparison,” Thor says.

“The point, Thor, is that yeah, I may have a habit of running away when things start to get serious, but it’s not always on purpose, and it’s not in a rude manner,” Niall says. “I never just up and walk out on someone without at least telling them first. Tell Peter that, why don’t you.”

Pursing his lips, Thor squints at Niall. “I get the sense you don’t actually want me to tell Peter anything.”

“Oh, my god,” Niall groans, and smacks Thor with a pillow again.

 

things you said with too many miles between us

“So I hear you have some news for us,” Ellen says kindly. Thor nods. “Does this have anything to do with our friend Niall?” Thor nods again. The audience is eerily silent, in a way that Thor has never experienced before. It makes him want to walk right off the stage.

“It does, Ellen,” Thor says. “I’m not sure how many of you all are connected to the interweb, but those of you who are may have seen a video that was circulating on the social medias for the past few weeks. It was also on the picture box—the television, sorry.” The crowd laughs, a quiet sound rippling through the room, but it’s enough to make Thor feel less tense. Less like he’s delivering awful news. “Niall and I were at a party, and I performed a trick with the lightning, and Niall said something that—well, it caused a bit of a mess, really.”

Ellen holds up a hand, stopping him. “We actually have the video, for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Here it is now.” She points at the screen—the very screen on which Thor saw Niall’s face for the first time, back when he played the game that started all this. But it’s not Niall’s face that shows up this time. Instead, it’s a dark and shaky video, with Thor right in the center, all lit up the way he gets. It plays out exactly how he remembers, right up until the very end, where there’s a very distinct Irish voice yelling Yes! That’s my boyfriend!

The person recording laughs loudly, says holy crap, did he just— but then the video cuts, and it’s silent again. Ellen looks at Thor, her eyes kind. She had spoken to Thor backstage, before either of them came out, and she told him she understood how difficult this would be, both for him and for Niall. She made sure to let him know that he didn’t have to do this. There wasn’t a hint of judgement or disappointment in her expression, just the kindness and gentleness he sees now.

That kindness is what pushes him to say it.

“I know what everyone must be thinking,” he says. “The last time I was here, and I admitted my interest in men and women alike, I didn’t expect the reactions I got. Most of them were supportive, of course, but there were a lot that were…” He shakes his head, exhaling a laugh awkwardly. “A lot that were ruder than some of the things my enemies have said before I slayed them. It’s one of the reasons Niall and I never said anything. That, and he never had the opportunity to come out at a time that it wouldn’t affect his career in a detrimental way. I may not have been on Midgard for long, but I have been here long enough to understand why Niall, or any of his old comra—band members making such a statement would not have been a good idea.”

The audience is silent again, and the air in the room feels so heavy Thor wouldn’t be able to conjure even the smallest bolt of lightning if he tried.

Clearing his throat, he continues. “The thing is, Niall and I are together. We have been ever since a few weeks after I was here last, when we played your matchmaking game. We never told anyone aside from our closest friends and family because we knew there would be...complications. Even when Stark came out as bisexual all those years ago, the public was not happy. They said he should resign from the Avengers, that he didn’t deserve the company his father left him, despite expanding it in a way Howard Stark could never have imagined. And, and Niall and his band mates have been mocked since they first began singing just because of, what, they way they dressed? Spoke? The songs they sang? Niall and I knew that by coming forward and revealing our relationship, everything people used to say about him would be confirmed in their eyes. Everything, the good and the bad. Besides, we honestly didn’t think it was anyone’s business besides our own. Frankly, it’s what we still believe, but ever since our slip up we’ve decided it would be best to just come right out and say it.”

Thor takes a deep breath. He hadn’t been able to look away from Ellen the whole time he was speaking, but now, he turns to the audience, adjusting his suit jacket.

“Niall and I,” he says, speaking clearly and firmly, the way his father taught him to deliver a speech, “are together. Romantically. Niall Horan is Thor Odinson’s boyfriend, and Thor Odinson is Niall Horan’s boyfriend. We have been together for quite some time now. Nothing anyone says can change that. We love each other very much.”

The room is silent for a breath, but in the next the applause and cheer is so loud that Thor jumps a bit in his seat. He stares at the crowd, completely in awe, and laughs a bit breathlessly. There are tears pricking at the corners of his eyes, but he rubs at them before any fall. Ellen reaches over, placing a steady hand on Thor’s shoulder. Thor grins over at her, shrugging helplessly.

He knows Niall won’t be able to watch the clip until it’s been published on the line, since he’s probably at soundcheck right now, but he also knows Niall will be just as happy when he watches it as Thor is right now.

The cheering is deafening, and it doesn’t stop for so long that Ellen has to call for a commercial break. No one hears her, but it doesn’t matter.

Thor’s just happy.

 

things you said when you were scared

Thor can’t quite believe it, if he’s being honest.

Val is roaring her approval, Loki is standing with his arms crossed, smug as always, Heimdall has a hand on Thor’s shoulder, a steady weight meant to ground him, but Thor can’t really focus.

They’ve been granted the secession.

“Despite there being no clear procedure for a secession,” says a Congressman (Thor doesn’t know which, all the white ones look the same), “the United States have decided to allow the people of Asgardia a secession, as they have proven competent enough to run their own small nation. This, along with the clear issue of no Asgardian being eligible for United States citizenship for at least five more years, has led to the five to one decision. The Asgardians have refused permanent asylum from the nation, and the nation has, for the most part, refused to give them asylum.” The Congressman looks up from his desk, to where Thor is standing, still shocked to his core. “Thor Odinson, do you accept the terms that have been laid out before you, which state that, if the United States deem it necessary, the nation has the complete authority to retake the land upon which Asgardia has settled, and that Asgardia will be an ally of the nation no matter the circumstances presented to them…”

He goes on, but his voice is drowned out by the roar of Thor’s blood in his ears.

They’ve been granted the secession. Thor is king again, for real this time. He has his people back.

By Odin’s beard, Thor has a lot to do.

-

“—and apparently we’re expected to come up with an economy within a month and I have no idea how to do that, not to mention the fact that we don’t have the resources to even make currency, let alone give it value. We have nothing to export since all our usual items of trade were, you know, destroyed with Ragnarok, and we have a hearing in front of the United Nations in a week, so they can decide whether we’ll be integrated in or not. Not to mention—”

“Thor, petal, you need to calm down,” Niall says calmly. Thor doesn’t know how he’s so calm, considering this is a very big deal , and he also doesn’t know how he can be expected to calm down. “Just take a deep breath, talk to Stark, and ask him for help. You know he’s got to have some sort of knowledge on all of this. Oh, King T’Challa just admitted he’s like, actually super rich, right? Ask him if he can help you. He beat Captain America up in a parking lot, remember, he’ll talk to you.”

Thor splutters, at a loss for words. “Okay, first of all,” he starts, holding up a finger even though he knows Niall can’t see him, “King T’Challa did not beat up Captain America in a parking lot, okay, he beat up Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier in a parking lot. Second, I don’t have his email.” He pauses, hand on his hip. Niall says nothing, but it’s an expectant silence, like Thor is missing something. “I could ask Stark for his email.”

Niall chuckles. “Better yet,” he says kindly, “you could approach him at the UN meeting. I’m sure he’ll be there, and considering he said he wanted to use Wakanda’s resources to help who he can I’m sure he’d be willing to give you some advice, at the very least.”

Oh. Thor squints, not really focusing his gaze on anything. “Oh,” he says. “Niall, I thought you were a singer, I didn’t know you had experience in politics.”

“Thor, love,” Niall laughs, “I don’t want to sound condescending or anything but it’s quite simple. I know you’re not used to ruling a kingdom on a planet with multiple countries and multiple governments, but it’s the kind of thing we learn how to navigate later on. I don’t know everything, of course, considering I never finished school, but I know the basics, you know.”

“Huh.” Thor scratches at his beard. “But what if he says no? Or what if he can’t do anything because his own government wouldn’t allow for it? Oh! What if he can’t do anything because the UN says he can’t, hmm?”

Niall says nothing, but Thor can already see the unimpressed expression he must have at the moment. “Pet, I know you’re worried, but you came to Earth and landed in America for a reason, alright? You could have landed literally anywhere else, but since you’ve dealt with the government there and you know how to deal with them, you went there. I mean, you probably would have been better off if Norway, considering your history there, but still.”

“Norway?” Thor asks. “Oh, is that where we landed the first time, ages ago? When the people were still sailing big wooden ships and had fantastic beards?”

“Yes, Thor, the people who created an entire religion and mythology centered on you and your family. Those people.” Niall laughs, and Thor can picture him running a hand over his forehead. “Love, everyone is supporting you, okay? Literally everyone. The secession is all over the news everywhere, all over the world, and all anyone can talk about is how much faith they have in Asgardia. Earth loves Thor, okay, and everyone is just really excited that there are more of you now.”

Thor knows for a fact that is not true, considering the Americans were not at all happy about the secession. The only reason they were granted it in the first place is because the president is absolutely terrified of Miek, of all people. He doesn’t even have his suit anymore, he’s just a weird looking bug that Korg carries around everywhere.

“Thank you, Niall,” he says anyway, because he knows Niall is just trying to make him feel better. “I appreciate it. I’ll talk to King T’Challa and some of the other world leaders and see if they can help me in any way.”

“No problem, pet,” Niall says. “Hey, if you see the Queen of England, tell her I said hello, yeah? She knows who I am.” There’s a joke there, Thor can tell, but he’s not sure what it is.

“Do you know the Queen?” he asks, trying to figure it out. “I didn’t know that.”

Niall laughs, loud enough that Thor has to pull the cell phone away from his ear. “Oh, yeah, didn’t you know? I’m a Sir, Thor, look it up.”

“Oh,” Thor says, shocked. He and Niall exchange their goodbyes, but as soon as he’s ended the call Thor is searching up ‘sir niall horan’ into his phone. He struggles a bit since he still hasn’t got a phone big enough for his hands, but after clicking on a few wrong links, he finds a video of a much younger Niall, soft blond hair lying flat over his forehead. Niall looks quite soft, actually, cheeks pink and wearing a big gray sweater. Thor taps on the video, curious. It’s short, maybe three seconds, but it’s enough to make Thor laugh.

“That’s Sir to you,” Niall says seriously to someone off screen. “Don’t call me Niall, it’s Sir.”

Maybe Thor will ask the Queen about Niall. Say something embarrassing too, if he gets the chance.

Niall would kill him, probably. Or, Sir Niall would kill him.

Thor’s gonna tell her about the time Niall tripped over Stormbreaker and broke his table.

 

things you said when we were the happiest we ever were

Niall grins at the crowd, arms resting on his guitar. Thor stands in the VIP box, ignoring the screaming young girls staring at him in favor of believing Niall can see and is smiling at him. They’re in Berlin, a circular arena with a weird name that reminds Thor of one of the vegetables his mother tried to get him to eat when he was younger. Temporary something.

“How’s everyone doing tonight?” Niall asks the audience. The building shakes with the screams he gets in response, and Niall’s grin only grows wider. “Well, I don’t know if you know, but I’ve actually got a special guest here with me tonight. His name is Thor, don’t know if you’ve heard of him.” The screams double in intensity, and Thor waves humbly at the people around him who begin to shout at him, instead. “He’s right up there, all the way in the back,” Niall says, pointing. “I can’t see him, since he’s so far away and it’s so dark, but I know he’s there because I made him promise me to stay put until the show is over.

“Now, obviously it’s gotten around in the past few weeks,” Niall says, scratching at the back of his head. His cheeks go pink, a blush caused by more than just excitement. “But I wanted to tell you all something very important for myself, in my own way.”

Thor hadn’t thought it was possible, but the shrieks grow even louder . Thor squints, feeling his ears ring, and glances over at Valkyrie, who looks bored out of her mind. He gives her a small shove, but she just rolls her eyes at him, peering sadly into her bottle. She still hasn’t found a drink as strong as what they had on Sakaar, unfortunately, but Thor thinks it’s okay. This way, there’s a much smaller chance of her drinking herself to death.

“So, the thing is,” Niall continues, “my friend Thor is—well. He’s more than a friend, for one. He’s, uh. Well, the thing is, see. Thor is my boyfriend.” The screams grow impossibly louder, and Niall pulls away from the microphone, laughing with his band mates. There’s a clearly awed expression on his face, like he can’t quite believe people are making this much noise in his honor. He approaches the microphone again, exhaling shakily. “And, um, the reason he’s my boyfriend, you know, is. You know, it’s—it’s because I haven’t been completely honest with you for the past few years. I want you all to know that I never feel more lucky than when I’m standing on stage, and I owe that to you all. I also owe you all the truth, which is, uh.” He laughs nervously, rubbing at his arms where they’re crossed over his guitar. “I don’t know why it’s so hard to get out, Jesus.” He starts to pace around the stage, swinging his arms in an attempt to calm his nerves. When he comes back, Thor can see his hands shaking from all the way across the arena. “What I’m trying to say is, is that I’m bisexual.”

And, of course, the audience exceeds Thor’s expectations once again and cheers even louder , so much so that Thor feels the air escape his lungs. He steps forward, gripping the rail, and stares down at Niall, who’s clearly still so anxious about saying this for the first time in front of so many people. His hands are shaking where he’s got them pressed to his guitar, and his eyes are watering, clear to Thor even from so far away.

Niall shakes his head, looking down at his feet. A shaky hand comes up and runs through his hair, and he looks out at the crowd with pure, uncensored gratitude. He seems almost overwhelmed, with the way he keeps taking in deep breaths and letting them out shakily, stepping away from the microphone every so often. Sniffing in hard, he signals to someone off stage. The young woman who had opened for him comes out, going in straight for a hug. They sway with how forcefully they’re holding each other, but when they pull apart, Niall approaches the microphone once again.

“Thank you all so much,” he says, sounding choked. “I always knew you were the best fans in the world, but really this just proves it even more. People from Mullingar don’t ever get this lucky in life, but it’s moments like these I know I’ve been dealt much more than I deserve. Thor, I’ve never loved anyone more than I love you,” he says, staring in Thor’s direction. “There isn’t a single thing that could change how I feel about you. When I wrote this song a few years ago it wasn’t about a relationship I’d had but one I’d longed for, and as soon as I met you I knew you were who I was waiting for.” He sniffs again, looking out to the audience. “This is Seeing Blind. Thor, this one’s for you.”

 

things you said when we were on top of the world

“I don’t think I could have picked a better boyfriend,” Niall says, grinning up at Thor. His chin is propped up on Thor’s chest, and it reminds him painfully of when he was with Jane, but he shoves that thought far away. He’s with Niall now, who he loves.

Thor grins. “You couldn’t have. I’m a god, a king, an Avenger, a Revenger, and an honorary member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Plus I have a really cool axe. There isn’t a single person on Earth who you could do better with.”

Brows raising, Niall laughs a little. “Oh, so you’re saying I have to go out to space to find someone better? Because I’m sure Mr. Stark would be more than willing to build me a spaceship so I can go look for one.”

Thor stares down at him unimpressed. “Try again.”

Niall cackles, pulling away. He struggles when Thor holds onto him, laughing even more. “Stop, Thor, I have to check on the food.” He groans, leaning all his weight away from Thor, who holds him by a hand. “Christ, you’re not even bothered, are you?” Squaring his feet, he pulls harder, trying to free his hand, and breaks into laughter. “Seriously, Thor, if you don’t stop you’re gonna pull my hand off. Not to mention you’ll be eating overcooked pasta for lunch.”

Relenting, Thor lets him go, chuckling when Niall stumbles back. “I only let you go for the food,” he calls after him. “I could never harm you; your small Midgardian body is much too strong for me.”

“Fuck off!” Niall shouts from the kitchen. Grinning to himself, Thor putters about the living room, inspecting everything closely. He’s not quite become accustomed to staying in hotel rooms as of yet, but this one seems much more humble than the ones Stark usually stays in. Niall also hasn’t made any effort to settle in, since he’s leaving tonight after the concert. The only clue that anyone is staying in the room is Niall and Thor’s bags, which they only brought up because they both wanted a shower before leaving.

He approaches the music machine, which has a touch screen like most of Midgard’s technology now, thankfully. They were so behind the last time he was here, Thor was really starting to worry for them. Humming, Thor taps randomly at the screen until he sees a picture he recognizes from Niall’s home, and taps on it. He frowns when no music plays, tapping forcefully at the picture again.

“What are you doing?” Niall asks, appearing suddenly behind Thor. Thor jumps, startled, and turns from where he was staring at the music machine. “You’ve got to press the button, pet.” He shows Thor the button, one with a little triangle on it, and a surprised smile shows up on his face when the first song begins to play. “I love this album,” he says, brows quirked. “How did you know?”

Thor points at the picture on the screen. “You’ve spoken of the Kodalines many times before. A legend, you’ve called them.”

“Oh,” Niall laughs quietly. “Yeah, I remember.” He slowly swipes his finger across the screen, and the music grows louder. “Dance with me?”

Squinting, Thor hesitates. “This doesn’t sound like a song you’re supposed to dance to.”

Niall chuckles, cringing. “Yeah, this one is a little too jumpy for the kind of dancing I’ve got in mind.” He presses a button on the machine repetitively. “It’s a fun tune, but I was thinking more romcom, slow dancing, you know? This one, though.” A new song begins to play, more upbeat than the first. Niall grins, bouncing on his feet. “I’ve been listening to this song for a few years now, and it still gets me every time.” He smiles, holding his hands up for Thor to grab onto. Positioning them so they look more like the people do in the films, Niall begins to sway them back and forth. “It’s a bit of a sad song, but it’s so good.”

All I want is, and all I need is to find somebody…

Thor listens carefully to the lyrics, frowning when he realizes just how sad the song really is. The singer so obviously longs for someone who can match the love he gives, and for some reason Thor can’t quite pinpoint it strikes a chord in his chest. Brows furrowed, he moves his arm from around Niall’s shoulders and lowers it so his hand is resting on the small of Niall’s back instead. Niall doesn’t seem to notice how distraught the song is making Thor feel, head resting on his chest as it is, but Thor can’t help the tears that prick at his eyes when the singer quiets, letting the instruments sing for him instead. When the song finishes and moves on to the next one, Niall lifts his head to smile up at Thor, but his expression quickly turns concerned when he sees how Thor’s eyes shine.

“Thor, love, what’s wrong?” he asks.

Shaking his head, Thor shrugs. “I don’t know. The song just...made me sad,” he says. “I think it was the lyrics, I’m not sure.” He sniffs, pulling away to swipe at his eyes. “Um, shouldn’t you go check on the food? I don’t want overcooked pasta, like you said.”

Niall frowns up at him, but does as Thor asks and checks on the food anyway. When he’s in the kitchen and out of sight, Thor lets out a deep breath, fisting his hands in his hair to ground himself. He really was surprised by his own reaction to the song, considering he’s listened to most of Niall’s favorites and never really had such a visceral reaction to any of them before.

He’s sitting on the couch, chewing on his thumb—a habit he’s scolded Niall for many times but seems to have picked up from him—when Niall comes back, two plates in hand. He hands the (much) bigger one to Thor, sitting next to him. It’s clear just how concerned he is; he usually would never allow eating something as messy as pasta on the couch, regardless of whether he’s in a hotel or his home.

“Pet?” Niall asks. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Thor sniffs, twirling his fork around and watching a hefty pile of pasta tangle itself up in it. “I think it just. It reminded me of what I felt for Jane, I guess.” He shoves the forkful into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. “I tell everyone it was a mutual dumping, but really she was the one who dumped me.” Niall makes a surprised noise, and Thor nods, waving his fork. “Yes, I know. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it, and so I lied. But really she dumped me because she hated how much distance was always between us, since she was always working on her research and I was always off with the Avengers.” He shakes his head. “Darcy had warned me, of course. She was Jane’s assistant, you know, and she told me that if I continued to prioritize Avenging over Jane that she would leave me. I just didn’t think it would ever actually get to that point.”

“Thor, if there’s anything I know about relationships, it’s that there’s gotta be an equal amount of effort,” Niall says. “If she was okay with constantly travelling to do her research but she wasn’t okay with you doing stuff with the Avengers, she wasn’t being quite fair to you, was she?”

Shrugging, Thor stuffs the last of the pasta into his mouth. “Yes and no,” he says, mouth full. Niall gives him a look, and he rolls his eyes, chewing and swallowing. “We had agreed that, since I was the one who was always gone and travelling when we first began dating, that when I came back the second time I would take a break, and she would pursue her research further. But then Stark and Cap told me that my help was needed in searching for Loki’s scepter, and since I was most familiar with its magic I had to go, and.” He shrugs again. “It was an issue on both our parts, I believe, but I owed it to her to stay by her side, and I did the exact opposite.”

Niall stares at him, brows furrowed, obviously trying to understand. “So, when she broke up with you, you weren’t expecting it, and you wanted her back, and when you heard the song just now it made you think of her?”

“Sure,” Thor says. “That’s the gist of it, really. I’m not exactly looking for a therapy session, you know.”

Laughing, Niall takes Thor’s plate and stacks it on his own. “Come on, mate, we both know I’m not the one to be giving therapy sessions anyway. Not as fucked up as I am.”

“Well,” Thor says, and leaves it at that. Mock insulted, Niall kicks at him on his way back to the kitchen, but before his foot can make contact Thor grabs at it, pulling until Niall goes toppling down with a yelp, the dishes clattering to the floor.

“Hey!” Niall cries, turning over and raising himself onto his elbows. He tugs at his foot, still stuck in Thor’s grasp. “Let go, you dick, there’s pasta sauce in the carpet.”

Laughing, Thor tugs on his foot even more, dragging Niall across the floor. Niall makes a strangled sound, tugging at his shirt so it covers his back to prevent a rug burn. He doesn’t go compliantly, though, kicking at Thor with his other leg until Thor just grabs hold of that one, too. He whines, annoyed, twisting around the floor to get loose.

“Thor,” he stresses, “there’s sauce in the carpet; it’s gonna stain.”

“I’m a god, Niall, do you really think I can’t get a stain out of a carpet?” Thor asks, hauling Niall up onto his lap. Always the difficult one, Niall’s body goes lax, so he’s hanging off Thor’s lap messily. “Niall, come on, I just poured my heart out to you; give me a break here.”

“Yes, but you also insulted me,” Niall says, perfectly calm. It’s quite a funny sight, actually, considering how ridiculous he looks compared to how serious he sounds. “It’s a tradeoff, you know. I’m not fighting to get away, but I’m not cooperating either.”

Sighing, Thor stares down at the boy in his lap. He places a hand flat on Niall’s stomach, smirking a bit when he sees it covers a substantial amount of space. It’s nice, he thinks, how he and Niall can do things like this and still know that they’re joking. Niall knows Thor was joking, Thor knows Niall will straighten up if he asked him to.

He’s really never been happier than at this moment, despite their conversation not five minutes ago. So really, he can’t be blamed for what he says next.

“Marry me.”

Niall freezes, still splayed out across Thor’s lap. “What?” he asks, strangled. He struggles to sit up, only really making it when Thor helps him. “What?”

Thor smiles, not fazed in the slightest. “Marry me,” he repeats. “It doesn’t have to be now, or in six months, or in six years. Just, you know, eventually. Whether it’s when we’re both old and wrinkly or in a week. Just promise me that you’ll marry me, one day.”

Gaping at him, Niall gently lifts himself out of Thor’s lap. “Jesus, Thor, warn a guy before you spring some shite like that at him, you know?” he exhales loudly, running a hand through his hair. “I mean, I want to say yes, of course I do, but—”

“No, no buts, please,” Thor says, frowning.

“Well, Thor, I mean, I’m only twenty-four, you know?” he shakes his head. “I still have years of music ahead of me, hopefully, I mean, obviously it’s not guaranteed, but—but the point is, you know, I’ve had to end more than one relationship because of distance issues, and if you’re going to be king of a small country and I’m going to be touring every couple of years and making music for the ones in between, like. When are we going to have time for that?”

Thor frowns, resting his chin on his fist. “Alright. I guess I didn’t quite think that through.”

“Yeah, you think?” Niall asks. “Listen, I love you, alright, more than anything, but—”

He cuts himself off with a startled yelp as a mirage of Loki shimmers into existence next to him, looking harassed. The mirage looks around wildly before its gaze settles on Thor.

“Brother, you need to come back to Asgardia, now,” Loki says. His gaze travels around the room, as if he’s seeing things Niall and Thor aren’t. “There’s a ship, it’s landing right now, they’ve sent scouts ahead and they’re rounding up our people, you need to come back.” He looks at Thor, looking more terrified than Thor has ever seen him. “It’s him. He’s come for—you need to come back and protect your people.” The mirage fades away, leaving the room silent behind him.

“Thor,” Niall says quietly. “I think you need to go.”

Nodding, Thor stands and summons Stormbreaker. “I’ll be back as soon as possible. Please, Niall, just think about it.” He leans in for a kiss, a hand on Niall’s cheek. “But I will understand if you say no.”

Niall nods up at him, blue eyes shining. “Go kick some arse, love. Come back to me in one piece.”

Thor smirks, sending him a wink. “Always.”

He’s gone between one second and the next.

 

things you said before it was over

Thor hears Niall call him as he’s mourning Loki.

Thor? It’s me.

Tears still fresh on his face, Thor lifts his head from Loki’s chest. Niall continues, bumbling and awkward. He had never been one to pray, he’d once told Thor, and it shows.

This is probably really shite timing, and I don’t even know if I’m doing this right. I read somewhere I needed the fresh blood of a lamb but I wasn’t gonna do that, you know, so this might not even work.

A sob tears itself from Thor’s throat. Niall, as innocent from the ways of war as ever, has no clue what he’s just interrupted. Thor has mourned Loki countless times now, but he feels this will be the last.

I just wanted to say, ehm. Good luck in your battle, I guess. Don’t—don’t die. Please. And, ehm, hopefully all of your people survive. It would be quite awful to have saved them from your sister only for them to die cos of some alien.

There are still fires from Thanos’s gauntlet burning around him. The smell of blood is thick in the air. There’s not a single living person in Asgardia, Oklahoma. Thor has failed his people as their king. Oblivious to his inner turmoil, Niall continues.

Don’t get too lost in your head, pet. You know how that messes you up when you fight. Shit, what if I’m interrupting you in a fight, fuck, maybe I should go—

“No,” Thor says aloud, gruff. He can feel Niall’s hesitation.

Did—did you say something? I think you did, so um. Guess I’ll keep going. I just wanted to tell you you’re a good man, Thor. You’re a great king to your people, probably better than your dad even if I didn’t know much about him. You’re a great warrior, a powerful one. The strongest Avenger.

There’s a smile in his voice, Thor can hear it. It doesn’t stop the tears from flooding his eyes, though.

You’ll beat whoever it is that has the bollocks to attack your people, I know it. And you’ll show any other weird-looking thing that’s floating about in space that you are not to be messed with. You’re strong, Thor. Show it to them.

Thor looks out at the remains of his people, the new home he’d built for them. The ruin it’s become in a matter of minutes.

Whatever happens, Thor, I’m proud of you. Always will be, how can I not? You’ve saved the world more times than I count, I’d be insane not to be proud of you. Anyway. There’s a sound like a sigh. Just wanted to let you know, ehm. Just in case you don’t make it back anytime soon - which I know you will, I do, but. Just in case.

He hesitates, and Thor listens hard, not wanting Niall to leave him so soon.

I’ll marry you, Thor. I know it’s only been a few hours since you asked, and it’s awful fecking timing, but I will. Maybe not soon, maybe not even after a few years, but. I love you, and—and I’m happier than I’ve ever been with you. So just come back to me so I can lose my shit over your wounds, alright? Right, then. Kick some arse, my king. Bye.

The connection is lost, broken like a string snapping.

Swallowing hard, Thor struggles to his feet. Hearing Niall’s voice has helped him find strength where he didn’t think he had any left, and reminded him that Asgardia will not be Thanos’s only target. He will be going after the Vision, now, and Thor cannot let him succeed.

Staggering through the bodies lying around the room, Thor makes it to the control panel from the Sakaarian ship and sends out a distress signal. Groot and the Rabbit will receive it, he’s sure. He will need their help if he wishes to defeat Thanos.

Because he will defeat Thanos, if it is the last thing he does.

 

things you said when it was clear we lost

Niall doesn’t realize what’s happening until he crashes into the car in front of him. His forehead smacks into the steering wheel, his seat belt chokes him, and all he can think of is that he was dumb enough to not see the brake lights until the very last second.

The press is gonna have a field day with this, really.

“Are you okay?” he asks Hailee, pressing a hand to her shoulder. She nods, rubbing at her neck.

“Yeah, but what the hell happened,” she groans, wincing.

Grimacing, Niall stumbles out of his car, instructing Hailee to stay where she is. He jogs to the car in front of him, pressing a hand to the driver’s window, and freezes in place.

There’s no one there.

All that sits in the driver’s seat is a pile of dust, which blows away in the ac of the car, disappearing in front of Niall. Gaping, he looks around him, where other cars are screeching to stops, where people are screaming.

Where people are disappearing.

“Shit,” he mumbles, and looks back to where Hailee is—missing. The front of his car is empty, the seat vacant where Hailee was literally two seconds ago. “Holy shit,” Niall chokes, scrambling to pull his phone out of his pocket. “Come on, come on.”

When he’s finally got it out, he frantically swipes through it until he’s pressing on Thor’s name, bringing the phone up to his ear. He brings a hand up to chew on his nail anxiously, spluttering when he tastes dirt.

Thor doesn’t answer. It goes straight to voicemail, which Niall should have expected, but his eyes still water as he watches his hand disintegrate in front of him.

There’s a beep.

“Thor?” he says, and his voice shakes and he knows Thor will hate that being the last thing he says but it’s all he can get out before—

He’s gone.