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Star Sky

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As soon as the door closed behind him he dropped the sword, keeping the dagger on his right hand, and pressed the wound of his side with his left one. He advanced fast. The lights were flashing uncomfortably around him and the sound of the alarms was distracting, but he kept focused on his task. Once he reached the console, he started tipying on the keyboard, still not letting go of the dagger, with one finger. Admitedly, it would have been faster to drop it and let go of the wound for a moment to type faster, but he couldn't. He felt safer with his fingers curled around the hilt, hand pressed almost painfully to his side, soaking in his blood.

It was just a wisper, or maybe a change in the temperature, but he felt it at his back. Without missing a beat he twisted his body and with a firm grip, pointed his dagger at the intruder, the edge grazing the flesh on the neck, not quite cutting, but with enough pressure to sink without breaking the skin. The man, for the intruder is a man, looks surprised, startled even. His hands are lifted in a non-threatening way and his eyes widen. Loki manages to keep breathing steadily through the sting at his side.

“Easy there, handsome,” the man says. Loki doesn't change his stance. The man cocks his head slightly while breaking into a bright smile. “I would like to know how you got here, but what I really want to know is why are you here, darling.”

Loki doesn't even narrow his eyes at him. He is not going to answer, not yet anyways. His eyes leave the intruder for a second to sweep around the room to see if armed guards have entered. No one else seems to be there, but Loki doesn't relax just yet. He doesn't know this man, so he should be careful. The intruder could be hidding some weapon between the folds of his layered tunic. His eyes focus once again in the man in front of him.

“Listen, I just want to know why you are here instead of upstairs. And is that blood? Are you bleeding? Were you attacked?”

Loki's hand tightens over his side, feeling the sticky fluid between his fingers, coating his clothes. He has lost enough time. “I am here to steal a ship,” he says, voice steady and low. Loki sees how the surprise paints the face of the man, grey eyebrows shooting up in his forehead. He continues, “and then I'll go up that gian portal. There's someone waiting for me.” He points with his chin towards the window, from where the sky is visible. Massibe wormholes on the sky are constantly throwing garbage, but the biggest one, in the centre, seems to be vomiting whole cities.

“What?” The man seems startled again. “Why would you want to leave? No, wait. You want to steal a ship from here?” He laughs, almost nervously, it would seem, but Loki doesn't believe that for a second and narrows his eyes just slightly. “If you take one of the scrappers' ships you will be dead before you reach the rim, sweetness. You would need a bigger, sturdier ship.”

Loki nods in aknowledgment. He is still standing strong, his hand is not trembling, but his vision is becoming blurry at the edges, and he can feel cold sweeping from the tip of his fingers. He has no time to waste with this man.

“Thank you for your information. Now, I must leave. Lives are at stake. I have to go save... Save my people. My-my brother is waiting...” Now, he can only see as if through a tunnel. Loki tries to shake his head minutely, but instead, his grip on the dagger slips and it falls to the floor with a clatter. Every sound seems muffled now, and he cannot concentrate on the man in front of him. He knows he is talking to him, his lips moving. Loki cannot help but think that that blue strip going down from the lower lip to the chin is kind of ridiculous just before everything turns black.

 

He wakes up laying on a cot. He is covered with a cotton sheet up to his hips, chest exposed. The wound on his side has been dressed in white bandages. With a swift glance he ascertains his surroundings: he is in a small room, one window, one cot, a small table with a single drawer, a chair. There are clothes resting on the chair, neatly folded. He sits on the cot and reaches for the clothes finding undergaments and dressing himself with them. Then, he eyes the rest: a waiscoat, leather breeches, boots. Loki frowns before dressing completely. Once all the pieces are put, he waves his hand, changing them into something more to his tastes. Just as he finishes the lasts touches to his outfit, the door opens and closes. He turns around to find a woman wearing a warrior's armour. She smiles in a feral way. He responds in kind with his own toothy grin.

“Greetings, my lady.”

“Hello, cockroach.”

Loki is surprised at her words for a few seconds. It takes him only the blink of an eye to bark a laugh. “Cockroach... Well. I suppose my gratitude is in order, for my wound has been dressed and I've been provided with clothing.” He bows slightly, taking care of not losing sight of the woman. Once he is upright he can see how her eyebrows shot up on her face, amusement and surprise mixed in her expression. Loki infers she is not used to people answering politely to her insults.

“Yes, well. The boss didn't want you dead yet.”

Loki lets another toothy grin plaster his lips. “Yet,” he repeats, noncommittally. The woman laughes now, just as Loki did a few moments ago.

“Yes. Do not worry. Sakaar's executions are public.”

“So, as long as I am in a private place, I can count myself safe,” he said.

“Not as simple, but yes. So long you are liked by the boss, that's it. You are a new face, pretty boy, so you have a bit of a heads up, but be mindful of what you do. The boss' patience grows thin in the blink of an eye, and you won't always be his favourite. Now, follow me. It's time to meet your new master.” With that, the woman turns around and, without waiting to see if Loki is following, leaves the room.

Loki grimaces. So he is a pet now. And he is going to get interrogated. Marvelous.

 

Chapter Text

Upon entering the room, Loki felt the eyes of everyone setting on him, even though no one was really looking his way. The place had yellow tiles on the floor of different shades, several couches, arm chairs and coffee tables. There was a bar set up on one of the sides and lights of different colours shone brightly against mirrors filling the room. Music was also present, coming from the black speakers that hang from the ceiling. He spots the same man that found him just as he was about to steal the damned ship. He is playing a keyboard and is surrounded by people, dancing to the beat.

The woman stops short after entering and twist around to look at him. Loki manages not to stumble upon her. She is smiling again, and he responds in kind. “Well, then. I will announce you to him and after that you can start singing, pretty boy, because there are many questions we want answered. Like how did you get so deep into the city without our guards stopping you.”

Loki lets a short laugh fall from his lips before saying, “Oh, my lady, I think that introductions are in order before we step up our game. Topaz, was it?” He doesn't hide his smug smile at the shock that appears on the woman's face. Then she snarls.

“When did you get my name?”

“It wasn't that difficult since all the people we crossed coming here greeted you, warrior,” Loki says, laughing again. He knows he is playing a dangerous game here, but he also knows that showing himself as confident and relaxed can give him the advantage. If he portrays himself as in control of the situation it can keep his enemies at by, wondering how much he knows and what he might he hidding. Of course, playing that card is a wild game, he could be called on his bluff at any given moment, being thrown off balance and thus put in an uncomfortable situation, life threatening even. “So, shall we, Lady Topaz?” He motions towards the man still playing the synthesizer.

“Pray so he won't have a public execution today, cockroach, because I am going to enjoy it very, very much,” is the only answer he gets from Topaz before she turns around and walks towards her boss. He follows her with confident steps. She stops short of the man on the keyboard.

“Topaz! There you are. I was wondering were you went this morning,” the man said, cheerfully, not stopping his slamming of the keys. Loki hid a grimace at the sounds with a loopsided smile, looking everywhere but to the man. His blue stripe still looked ridiculous, if you asked him.

“I went to retrieve this one, Grandmaster, as you commanded,” she said, as if talking with a specially slow child, condescending even. The man, the Grandmaster, snickered at it, as if he hadn't been insulted.

“Perfect. Per-fect! To be hones, I had forgotten about him, Topaz. Thank you for bringing him to me. Hey, Khol, come here and keep the music on! We don't want the party stopping, do we?” Cheers erupted all around them then and the man stepped down from the keyboard walking swiftly towards the crowd. Topaz followed and Loki, rolling his eyes, did the same. As the man walked, people greeted him, touched him, tried to steal kisses from his lips. He answered with touches in kind, but never kissed anyone, giggling in response. Loki cringed. The man kept talking, ignoring or not caring if they were listening. Well, at least Topaz was listening, since she answered to his chattering here and there, and even laughed at his comments.

It's not until they reach a small chamber, one of the walls being a window from floor to ceiling, that the Grandmaster turned around, tunic sweeping the immaculate floor, arms opened as if to invite them to an embrace. Loki contained himself and schooled his face into a neutral mask. With a bit of luck, and a lot of prose on his part, he might get himself a ship and get the Hel out of that forsaken place. He just hoped that Thor had managed to reach Asgard before Hela. He counted on him clossing the Bifrost on time. Maybe it had been done already and his non-sister was cut in half. That would save them a lot of time.

“Well, well, well... Who do we have here? Are you feeling better, sweetheart? I've been told that stabbing wound had pierced you from front to back. Are you whole now, honey?” Loki wanted to tear off either that man's tongue or his own ears. Norns, his voice was grating.

Before answering, he looked towards Topaz, who shrugged and left them.

“I am better, thank you, Grandmaster,” he said, finally, bowing his head. “I am very grateful for your assistance in helping me recovering. Nothing would grant me more happiness than to return the favour, but I am shor in time. I must return to where I came from. So, if I could impose on your generosity once again, I'd like to have safe passage through the Devil's Annus.”

The man in front of him looked frozen. His smile plastered to his face, arms still open. Then, the corners of his mouth dropped. It would have been comical in any other circumstance, but now, Loki felt chills ran through his body. The stare of the man, previously warm and welcoming, became icy and distant.

“Could you repeat that, sweetheart?” Loki shivered visibly at the tone of his voice.

“I need to leave,” he repeated, not looking away, sublty changing his stance to one of relaxed fight. To an untrained eye, he just shifted. To the expert, he was in attacking mode. The way the eyes of the Grandmaster's eyes narrowed slightly told him that the man knew what Loki was doing. Forcing his heart to calm, he lifted his hands so very slowly, showing his unarmed palms. He could summon his short sword and dagger any time he needed and the position of his hands wouldn't matter, but the man in front of him couldn't know it, could he?

“But-but you... You cannot leave. No one leaves Sakaar. That's the rule! Don't you know the rules?” the man lowered his arms, signs of displeasure on his mouth, a frown appearing on his face. “No one will leave Sakaar until the ruler dies, either of old age or killed. Anyone is welcomed to try and take the ruler down. If they fail, their lives will be taken by the ruler to do as he pleases with them.”

Loki's pupils dilated at that. Was it a threat or a promise? He couldn't pass upon this chance. The man in front of him was undoubtly the ruler of Sakaar, wasn't he? They were alone, not a guard in earshot. Loki let his seidr expand in thin tendrils to search for possible aid for this man. No, they were completely alone. He had two choices now: kneel down to this creature and stay on Sakaar Norns knew how long or fight and chance his escape to his battle knowledge. With a snarl he conjured his dagger and short sword and lunged forward.

Chapter Text

As he approached the other, Loki could have sworn that he saw a small smile of his lips. As if he was amused by Loki's actions. That almost got to him, but Loki had a thousand years of expertise at warring on his shoulders: one-on-one, one against many, sitting at the tent putting up strategies to breach through defenses, so he wasn't intimidated. Right before he reached his target, he feinted, stopping with one foot and using hisimpulse to pivot on his toes, aiming for the neck. The man didn't even move, but Loki missed for a few millimetres. He jumped back to regroup and attack from another position.

This time, without stopping, he threw his dagger as he aimed to slash diagonally downwards from one shoulder. This time, the man moved, dodging the sword as he took the dagger with his hand and threw it back towards Loki. He turnstiled with the sword, dagger chattering against the metal and falling to the floor. In seconds it was back at Loki's hand. Looking at the man's face, Loki narrowed his eyes, feeling dread and uncertainty when he saw the man smiling broadly. A longswrord appearing at his hand, painted nails contrasting with the dark hilt.

Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, Loki tested his footing. Still strong, perfect. Changing strategies was always good when facing the unexpected, so his weapons changed too into a spear. That seemed to surprise his opponent. Good, if he could leave him unbalanced he might have an opportunity. Charging wouldn't be advisable now, so he settled for circling with slow steps, body half relaxed. The Grandmaster, the creature, just turned with him, always facing towards Loki, not moving from his initial position forwards nor backwards. Loki frowned. He had expected the Grandmaster to attack him when he summoned his weapon, not to wait for him to attack. Well, he would need to create an opening if he wanted to land a hit.

Straightening, he let the lower part of the spear tap the floor once. Five more Lokis appeared surrounding the Grandmaster, whose face changed again from smiling to surprised to smiling. This time, the smile reached his eyes. He was enjoying this, the bastard. All six Lokis changed their posture into one of attack. One changed his spear into twin long daggers, other had twin short swords. He could see another who relinquished physical weapons, opting for seidr, surely. They didn't attack just yet, waiting for a signal. The room was filled with the creacks of Loki's leather and the soft intakes of breath. Then, in seconds, all was chaos.

One lunged forwards, while other threw a fireball, as another aimed for the feet throwing a shower of daggers. The song of metal against metal filled the room. One Loki managed to hit the shoulder of the Grandmaster with the blunt part of his spear, forcing him to move. The man let a short laugh before he slashed two Lokis with one swift movement of his arm, efectively killing them. Blood stained the floor and the longsword before the Lokis gasped and disappeared. The original Loki grunted, looking down his chest: two bleeding gashes not overly deep, but enough to sting and restraing slightly his movements. The cuts loosened the bandages for the wound at his side. There's a chuckle and when he looks back up, he sees the Grandmaster averting the other Lokis' attacks while looking straight at him. It is then when Loki realizes, the other Lokis are not wounded, only him.

“There you are,” the Grandmaster said before slashing through his attackers. All the Lokis are killed then, except him. He feels as if he was pushed and falls down, spear falling to the floor. More gashes appear on his body: on the neck, at his back, at his side.

As he lays down on the floor, the only thing that Loki can think about is that he failed. He failed. He cannot breathe. Tears pricks at his eyes and he fists a hand and hits the floor as hard as he can. Pieces of tiles flew around. He knew he had broken the tiles but he couldn't care less. He had failed to get a ship and now he would face the consequencies.

“I'm sorry, Asgard, I failed you,” Loki wispered as he closed his eyes. He could hear the Grandmaster approaching with calm steps. Only death awaited him. A fleeting thought passed through his mind. He wouldn't even go to Valhalla. Where went the Jotnar after death?

“Hey, you, down there.” Loki opened his eyes to discover the Grandmaster crouching beside his head. He was frowning. “What? Are you done? Are you all bark and no bite? C'mon, sweetcheeks, get up and let's go for round two. I haven't had so much fun in a while,” the man giggled. Loki didn't answer, just kept staring at him, stonefaced. “Aw, c'mon! If you get up now I promise I won't melt you. You seem to be a good fighter. Though we will have to do something about your magic trics, that's a big no-no at my arena. How does that sound, mm?”

“I am no fighter,” Loki said, voice low. He wasn't a warrior, he was a strategist who knew how to defend himself to a degree.

“That is not true, darling. You are quite good at it. You just need to practise with some of your movements. Though there's this elasticity with which you move that's quite fetching, darling. But then again...”

Loki stopped listening as he realized that maybe, just maybe, this creature wouldn't kill him now. That there might be an opportunity to get into the hangar later. That not everything was lost. But he couldn't summon the energy to sit, much less to get to his feet. He was bleeding still, wasn't he?

“... the Commodore, but that can wait until you are more used to the city. Oh! I haven't asked you yet, gorgeous. What's your name?” Loki blinked twiche, slowly, before opening his mouth to answer.

“Loki,” he said. For a second there he wanted to say more, Laufeyson, Odinson, rightful king of Jotunheim, king regent of Asgard, brother of Thor... Still, he didn't add anything else.

“Loki? Loki... Lo-ki. I like it! Well, then, Loki, there's a couple of questions I want answered, so, if you don't mind...” The Grandmaster rose to his feet and then offered his hand to Loki. He took it and let the man help him haul his battered body up. The motion was so fast he ended up almost colliding with the Grandmaster's chest. The man chuckled, steadying him by putting his hands on his shoulders. “Well, I think you should go get cleaned up first, Loki. Then we will talk,” he winked.

Loki nodded, his face an impenetrable mask. He was going to get interrogated. At least now he was not going to die for nothing. His racing mind was trying to get up with a plan, or several, but the only thing he could think about was the warmth on his arms going down from his shoulders to his fingertips.

Chapter Text

He didn't feel refreshed. He had had a shower, his wound dressed by what could be counted by beautiful women and then given clothes with a note. Please, wear this as it is and do not change it, it read. He cringed. Bör's bollocks! Loki didn't know wether to feel aggravated, flattered or threatened. Clenching his teeth, he dressed with what was given to him and, with a lot of self restrain, did not change any single thread.

Loki looked at himself at a mirror with a frown. He didn't like it. He was wearing black leather breeches, high boots with a bit of heel on the platform, an undershirt without sleeves and a dark waistcoat. The neck of the shirt was frilly, and annoying if you asked Loki. There were also fingerless gloves that reached his bicheps with straps to fit them to his arm. He forego the strap of silk that surely was to use to tie his hair up. He just brushed it asied and back.

There was a knock on the door and without waiting for an answer it opened. Topaz entered, wearing a frown on her painted face.

“You, idiot! Who do you think you are!? How dare you-?”

“Now, now, Topaz, don't be like that. He is new here, isn't he?” The Grandmaster entered following his warrior, carrying a strange long rod that finished in a sphere. Loki eyed it with suspicion, narrowing his eyes in distrust. When the Grandmaster spoke again, his eyes darted to the man's face. “So, Loki. I see you changed. Mm... Not quite how I thought it would be,” he said, giving the rod to Topaz and walking in circles around Loki, inspecting his clothes. Automatically, Loki squared himself. Now that he was slightly calmer, he could feel something, a buzz if you will, coming from the Grandmaster. Something dangerous, ancient, powerful. How stupid he had been for trying to challenge him.

“With all due respect, Gast, I don't think this a good idea. This trash here tried to kill you as soon as you were alone with him in a room. Twice,” Topaz said, pointing the rod at Loki, without looking at him. At her words, the man seemed startled.

“But Topaz! He is really entertaining. And look at him! Do you really think that he can really pose a threat against my life?” he said, lowering the rod with one hand and pointing at Loki with the other.

Loki should feel insulted. He definitely should, but he felt like he couldn't care lees about what this mighty, crazy creature thought about him as long as he could survive. He simply flashed a smile at Topaz. It wasn't of mock innocence, no. He would not try to appear harmless now, but he sure wasn't going to go outright dangerous.

“That's right, Lady Topaz. I couldn't even scratch him and he managed to beat me in one single blow. I'm but a kitten with sharp claws and teeth against a...” he didn't finish his sentence, just motioning to the Grandmaster, to make his point. His comment made the man giggle, while Topaz growled before putting aside the rod.

“Very well, master. But if this one even steps one hair out of line, I want to be the one to melt him.”

“Yes, yes, Topaz. You called dibs as soon as you knew. Stars, sometimes you are really exhausting. Now, shoo! Go, I have to have a talk with the kitten now,” the Grandmaster said, moving his hands repeatedly. Topaz wasn't overly happy to leave them alone, again, but she complied with a curt nod.

When the door finally closed the Grandmaster turned around to look at Loki. His smile wasn't as open as before, it held some uncertainty, as if he wasn't so sure of what might happen now. Loki was unpredictable, it seemed. Well, he was the bloody God of Chaos, so of course, he shouldn't be predictable, right?

“Gast?” he asked the other man, brow raised.

“Ah, yes. Yes, that's my name.”

Loki hummed in aknowledgment, but stayed silent otherwise. The silence stretched itself. Loki was not inclined to talk now. He felt really vulnerable, and the sense of urgency kept him on edge. What was happening outside this palce? Was Thor still alive? Did the Idiots Three stop Hela? Was Hela in Asgard? What was happening? It was maddening and he couldn't concentrate on anything else. Suddenly, he snapped back to reality when a hand moved before his eyes. He looked at the Grandmaster straight in the eye, surprised. By the gesture, by himselft for getting lost in thought while being in the presence of this powerful being.

“Ah, you are back. Brilliant. Look, sweetcheeks, there are several things that need addressing. Of the utmost importance. Some of them are about security. And chairs. You should have gotten a chair, love, and by the way you are looking at me, you don't even know what I'm talking about, mmh? Well, then, let's hear what you have to say, m'kay? How did you get here, on Sakaar?”

Loki thought for a second before answering. Should he tell the truth or a blatant lie? As always, he settled for a partial truth. “I fell from the Rainbow Bridge.”

“Oh, wow! Fancy name. Yes, well, you fell. Next one,” the man put a finger on his lips while he thought. Loki looked at him pace about the room. “Who attacked you?”

“You did.”

“Ah, haha. No, honey. I mean, before. When I saw you first, you were already bleeding. Was it one of my guards? Because if it was, well, I should melt them, they should have finished the job or not cut you at all. You get the drift. Well? Who was it?”

Loki blinked, slowly, before answering. “A very powerful woman. She pierced me with my own weapon. After that, I fell down the Bridge and landed here. The next thing I did was to look for someone who knew how to get out of here. I found some guards, took the knowledge from their minds –rather forcefully if I'm honest. Then I went straight to the nearest hangar and that's where you found me. I was too careless and entered a wrong code and the alarms went off,” he said, deciding that going directly for the answers the man wanted, rather than wait for each question to be asked, was a faster way to finish this meeting. Then, taking a shaky breath, he continued, “We are at war and I have to leave as soon as possible. Grandmaster, please, let me leave. I can promise you whatever you want from me. I can give you all I have. I will come back. I swear upon my-”

“Now, now, Loki. Stop that! I don't like that. Stop, stop,” the Grandmaster cut him short. Then he put his hands on Loki's arms, careful of not touching his bare skin, before continuing, looking directly at his eyes. “No, I don't like where you are going. I appreciate that you are willing to give me anything but, you see? I already own you. You lost, hon. I could have executed you the moment you fell, and I didn't. I want you alive, and I want you here.”

Loki felt the blood draining from his face. The man was right, Loki wasn't free anymore. The notion made his knees weak. He belonged to someone else, again. A being more powerful than himself. A being that could obliterate him with a thought. A being so selfish that wouldn't let anyone go from his playgrownd. A tyrant. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe! He was drowning. He was a slave. He...

His legs gave in. Loki felt faint. He heard someone speaking, a soothing voice. Then, he felt a thumb against his bare shoulder and he sucked in air as a vision flooded his eyes. Galaxies being born, the beginning of life in countless realms, a face. It was a handsome young face. A man with long dark hair, brown eyes, blue skin and a radiant smile.

When he came back into himself, he had been laid on the floor. Little by little he was becoming aware of his surroundings. His head was resting on the Grandmaster's lap, his hands had been put over his chest. Fingers were playing with his hair. Cautiously, Loki opened his eyes. The man wasn't looking at him, and for that, he was grateful. He closed his eyes again.

“What happened?” he asked softly. The hand in his hair stilled before giving a last caress.

“You fainted.”

No-one said anything for a long while. Loki broke the silence with another question, “Why are you still here?”

“This is my planet and I will be and do whatever I choose to do,” the Grandmaster answered, giggling, as if Loki's question was stupid. “I could have let you fall to the floor and hit your head. It would serve you right. You are being very rude!”

I had a vision, Loki thought. A vision of your younger self. He was feeling suddenly depleted. And in no mood to argue with a being that had lived through the beginning of all life. Or if not the beginning, close enough to that, at least. He started shivering. And once it started, it looked like it wouldn't stop.

“I...” he tried to say, he tried to sit up, but he was pushed down by gentle hands, caressing his face, his neck. Long fingers graced his lips. Loki felt cold, really cold. Gooseflesh covered his skin. “What's... happening?”

“I was a bit careless, kitten, shhh. Just sleep.” Careless? With what? It must have shown in his face because the man answered his questions. “Sometimes, when there is another magical being, and we... touch... bits and parts of my memories slips. Usually, the others don't feel more than nauseous, or a static. But you... You must be more powerful than I thought and we... Tuned. It can be disorienting.” Loki nodded. He felt fingers combing his hair again before everything faded to black. He was so cold.

Chapter Text

The room was filled with people having fun. They had drinks in jeweled hands, clothes that catched the eye. The attendees swirled about, eating, drinking, laughing. Loki was one of them. He laughed with them, ate with them, drank. But En Dwi could see that he was not enjoying himself. Not truly. His smiles never fully reached his eyes, though they all looked genuine. He laughed with mirth, he smiled charmingly, but he didn't open himself to the others.

En Dwi was sitting on his favourite couch, twin girls sandwiching him, his favourite drink in his favourite chalice, and still he couldn't feel at rest. His eyes kept wandering to his new pet. Loki's peridot coloured eyes shone whenever he smiled. It was all false, he could see it, but his audience didn't know. There was something bothering him. At first he hadn't noticed it but as the days passed by it was becoming more and more notorious. Loki smiled to everyone, anyone, really, with just one exception.

It had not been his intention to do it, but he had peeked slightly into that gorgeous man's mind to see a strong aversion to anything that tried to bind him down. Anything at all. It could be words, a rope or even a higher power. And after that, he had realized that Loki's soul sought to soar freely and being here, on Sakaar, was like tearing appart his metaphorical wings. The man was restless and En Dwi couldn't do anything for him, for he was selfish and selfcentered and would never give up any of his things. Even if that meant for his things to slowly decay. He would enjoy them 'till the last breath.

He wouldn't mind, really. If Loki always looked sour to anyone else, he wouldn't mind. But whenever Loki caught him looking, or if their eyes met, his smile would freeze, become a rictus, and if before his smile didn't quite reach his green eyes, then his eyes would become icy. En Dwi knew he itched to leave.

For the past three days, he had granted Loki audience in his court room, and in each of them he had asked passage through the wormhole. He had denied him, of course. The first time, Loki had even smiled, as if he couldn't quite believe his ears. He kept talking on and on about a war and how he needed to go save his people. What was he, a general? En Dwi was curious about it, but not so much so he would ask. He wasn't that interested in Loki. At least, not days ago. Now, as the man's face became a neutral mask whenever they were looking at each other, curiosity began to spike. But it was too late now for pleasantries. Either he forced himself in Loki's mind, or he would be left wanting to know.

He could give Loki the access codes and wait and see. Maybe he could make him swear whatever he pleased. He could even put a tracking chip on the man and follow him if he decided to not return, because returning would be one of the things he would require before giving Loki the means to leave. On the other hand, he felt skittish. He had never felt like this before for one of his things. Not that he remembered, maybe he had had in the past, in a very, very distant life. And his affinity to the rest of his guests was fadding while the bond he felt with Loki strengthen after he had touched his skin.

Without warning, he got up, leaving the twins confused on the couch and called for Topaz. Then, left the room, not looking back to see if he was staring, watching. En Dwi could delude himself on many a thing, but that Loki would care if he left or not wasn't one of them. Not yet, anyways. He was a master of self-delusion, after all.

Once he had put enough space between him and the party parlor, he turned to Topaz, who stopped immediately, awaiting for his orders.

“Tell me, Topaz, when you talk with the kitten, does he smile to you?” Yes, it was bothering him, sue him. Topaz, on her part, seemed confused.

“Kitten? When did you get a new pet? Gast, I swear to the-”

“No, no, Topaz. Not a real kitten. I was referring to Loki.”

“Who?”

En Dwi sighed, finching the bridge of his nose. Topaz was fast in forgetting his many, many friends. For her, all of them were replaceable. And in a sense, they were, no surprise here. But some times he would like for her to put in a little effort in remembering them. Looking back at her he saw that she wasn't bothered by his own concern. Well, that was Topaz for you. En Dwi knew he could count on her, and she was the best in her own job, but sometimes her demeanor towards her co-workers or his prisoners with jobs was a bit taxing on his nerves.

“The new one.”

Unfazed, Topaz repeated, “Who?”

“Stars, Topaz! Sometimes I think you play at being thicksculled just to get on my nerves. The one that didn't get a chair! Pretty? Has strong arms and goes around flirting with everybody, even with the guards! Ring any bell?” At his exasperated words Topaz seemed to meditate. Then, something clicked for her, her eyes widening millimetrically. Then she grinned her savage smile. Oh, how he loved that smile.

“Should I melt him for not smiling enough?” she asked, cheerfully. That made him frown.

“What? No! Not smiling enough is not a capital offenc- I mean, where do you ever get those ideas? It's like you would rather go around melting people, Topaz.” En Dwi saw her smile still in place and then he understood. She loved the Melt Stick. He couldn't help it and giggled. “No, I just want to know if he smiles when he talks with you,” he said, smiling serenely, feeling like a father with infinite patience speaking with one really troublemaker child.

“Ah, yes. He does. He shows his teeth, as if he was parading them. Sometimes they look as sharp as blades. Is that why he isn't in the pit with the other gladiators, Gast? I mean, he put up a good fight. It would be more entertaining and if he went past his boundaries, the Champion could chew him up in one go.”

“Ah... Yes, well. I thought about it. But no. He is not that kind of fighter. He would just slay his opponent as fast as he could so he could go back to whatever. You see? That kind of fighter is boring. Wouldn't present well and my people would feel cheated.”

Topaz hummed, “Then, you should just put an Obedience Disk on him. He will smile at you when the electric current travels through his body. I've seen it before. Their mouths go like this,” she said, showing her teeth. En Dwi laughed while shaking his head.

“Yes. But that's not what I want. Well, this one is solved then.”

“Is it?”

“Of course! I have more things to do than to mope around because one of my guests doesn't smile while in my presence. I will go to the tenth floor. Pass word around, would you?”

Topaz smiled again, entertained, “Count it as done. Though... Do you want me to give only invitations or can anyone come?”

“Mm... No, only the guests with code Opal. Yes. I am feeling in the mood for a smal gathering.”

Small, if you counted three hundred of people as a small amount, that's it.

En Dwi was already feeling better. Who cared about a stone-faced kitten when one could have so many smiles only for him in one place? Ha! It was going to be the most awesome party of the day. Not that the parties that were already on full blast weren't entertaining, but they lacked one special thing: his presence.

As he climbed the stairs he felt a disturbance. Looking out a window he saw the fuselage of a very sizeable ship falling from one of the wormholes. He could hear people screaming from the distance. Hum... Interesting. Maybe there would be more guests to be added to his little collection. Or more prisioners with jobs? The kitchen staff had been complaining about being shorthanded. He should send Scrapper-113 and Scrapper-182 there to take a look before the ones who lived between the debris arrived and started cooking people alive.

Another disturbance stopped him in his tracks. He felt it closer. From the room at his back to the place where the plane just landed. There was a flash of golden-green. En Dwi felt his breath coming in short gasps. He went there, following the trail, hidding himself from everyone. Was it possible? When he landed he saw Loki looking from atop a pile of debris towards the rests of the ship. Disappointment painted his sculptured face, though his green eyes kept looking frantically. He saw his lips form a word. A name? Was Loki waiting for someone to fall from the wormholes just as he had days ago? He resolved he would go there and talk with him when he heard the man sigh.

Loki was frowning deeply, chastising at himself with hard words, whispered to the wind. The same word repeated twice more. Thor? What was a thor?... Who was...? Then, Loki was gone in another flash of gold-green, and En Dwi felt his mood drop to the floor. Fantastic! Now he was sulking. Well, maybe instead of a party he should go hold court, see if there would be someone stupid enough to find themselves at the other side of the Melt Stick.

Chapter Text

Two weeks. Two weeks and nothing! Loki was –as Thor's Midgardian friends would say– losing his shit. Waiting here was maddening. He had tried everything to contact with Heimdall right after he found out that time on Sakaar worked differently. He'd tried, at first, with plain calling. Closing his eyes and concentrating, feeling the roots of his seidr connecting with Yggdrasil. What he discovered was that while he was still connected to the Nine Realms, his presence was muted. As if he was in a bubble, attacked to the main bubble. He could feel the other bubble and see what happened but couldn't cross to the other side. Still, he tried. The paths to the other Realms were not closed. They simply weren't connected to Sakaar.

That alone had been enough to almost drive Loki to madness.

After some hard sessions of relaxing breathing, Loki managed to partially feel Asgard. Once he achieved it, he started calling for Heimdall. He knew Heimdall could hear him. He wasn't in the Void, so this time Heimdall would hear him calling and he would answer and he would be able to relay important imformation and maybe he would get a ship delivered here and he would be out of this dumpster.

There was not such luck for Loki. He had managed to align himself with Asgard, but it was like looking at a still painting. He could see it, and that was it. There were no creature there who could talk to him, see or hear him. Still, he tried day after day.

“Odin's beard, if I don't manage to do anything today it's the last time I'm waisting my time,” he sweared. After the last two disappointments regarding the landing of new spacecrafts coming from the wormholes in the sky, he was more than drained. Of course Thor wouldn't fall from the Bifröst like he did. Thor wouldn't get stabbed with his own dagger by his sister. No, no, he would have reached Asgard, then closed the door and left Hela in the void... Or if she managed to cross with him, he would have thrown her into the void. “This is not helping, idiot! Concentrate.”

Loki retook his posture, sitting on the bed, closed his eyes and evened out his breathing. He let himself get lost in the beauty of the Realm Eternal for the last time before he reached for the Gatekeeper.

Heimdall,” he whispered.

Loki?

Loki gasped, almost losing his concentration. He had not been prepared for an answer, even though he had been seeking it actively. Trying to calm himself down again he answered. “Heimdall, hear me out. Danger is coming to Asgard. Hela got out of the prission Odin made for her. She threw me out of the Bifröst and I landed in a place of no-time. You have to take the civilians out. There's a place in the mountains. I will show you how to reach it. Thor is in his way. I'll go as soon as I can. Please, Heimdall, this is of the utmost importance, you have to believe me and trust me in this.” Loki felt more than heard Heimdall's agreement. “Good. Listen well, I don't have much time.

When Loki came back to himself in Sakaar he was startled by the dimlit room. How long had it been? He was sure there was another party to which he was required to attend. What if he was late? Would he be melted? Oh, Norns. His lateness could mean his demise in this place. The Grandmaster could deem him unworthy of his pressence and execute him. Not that the man's patience wasn't tested by Loki time and again –he refused to be civil with his captor– but he wasn't stupid enough to jeopardize his chance at being alive by not attending one of the Grandmaster's gatherings.

Hel be damned. He had received a written invitation. On parchment! He put on the cape and exited his room. Trying not to run, he went as fast as he could to the parlor where the party was supposed to be held. When he arrived he found the place deserted. It looked like something wild had happened and either had ended or moved to some other place. Loki felt stupid. If this mistake got himself killed... That old question haunted him yet again in the dark room. Where would he go after death? He should go fighting, right? Even if he was not going to end in Valhalla... But...

“I'm sorry, Thor, I won't see you there...” he whispered to the nothing, placing his weight on the doorjamb, staring inside the room. He spotted something different. There was a piano there. An actual piano, not a keyboard.

“You are late if you come to the party. The Grandmaster moved everything to the seventh floor hours ago,” a voice said at his back.

If Loki had had the energy, he would have jumped in surprise. As he felt, he just cocked his head slightly to the side and nodded. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the guard leave. When he couldn't hear any more steps, he looked back to the piano. It was there, standing out like a sore thumb. It was black. It's been covered with confetti and streamers of different colours. There was also a folding screen on the floor at its side. Maybe it had been covering the instrument and then it fell, showing the colorful room such a boring thing to the partygoers. Loki was sure the Grandmaster would love to get rid of it only for the lack of decoration.

Looking over his shoulder, he decided to enter the room, closing the door as soon as he was inside. Suddently, he felt giddy. Would he really do it? It's been centuries. He had stopped his affinity to music when Thor and the Idiots Three's jokes at his expenses became too much to bear. He walked slowly towards the instrument, feeling almost reverent when he opened the lid, grazing the keys with his fingertips.

The lights were off, but the room was sufficently lit by the many neon lights that could be seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Shaking slightly, he sat before the piano. He was going to die anyways, right? He had ditched one of the Grandmaster's parties, an important one if the invitation was any indicator. Loki exhaled slowly, not having realized that he had held his breath until then. Now that he had decided that he had all the time in the world, he did some warming exercises for his fingers, wrists, shoulders... And closed his eyes, resting his hands over the keys.

With his right hand he pressed some keys. He hummed. The instrument was tuned. He, then, went for a short melody, an easy one. Still with his eyes closed, he smiled. What was the Midgardian saying? Like riding a bike.

His fingers then trazed a piece. Would he be able to remember the lyrics? The melody was easy enough once he started playing. It felt like letting a stream of water go. It kept coming, all the right combination of keys. The words, he feared. What if they got trapped in his throat? Shaking his head, he decided not to sing it just yet, just enjoy the melody, and if by any miracle he remembered the lyrics...

Here we are
Riding the sky
Painting the night with sun.

Loki gasped. Yes, those were the lyrics. He stopped playing and cleared his throat, twice for good measure. Then, instead of singing the lyrics, he practiced some scales with the aid of the piano. When he felt confident enough he took a deep breath before starting the song from the beginning.

Chapter Text

The party had been a complete success. It had trully been mar-vel-lous. He had missed his kitten in there, of course, but he had been told that the poor thing had been cooped up in his chambers. For reasons he would not think about, he let the kitten stay in. En Dwi knew himself well enough to know that if it had been other guest they would have been tried and then demoted. Maybe a couple of years with a disk of obedience would teach them, but for Loki... No. Loki shouldn't have a disk marring his long white neck.

Chuckling, he walked through the halls. When the screen had fallen down and revealed the black piano, his mood had been slightly sulled. He hated that colour. Boring, really. So he moved places to a more entertaining place. Now, he decided to go back to check on it. When he found the doors closed, he frowned. He didn't like his party rooms to be closed, not even when there was nothing going on, so he went to open them.

When the doors slid infinitesimally open, the sound of a fast melody, cheerful. Then, a chuckle. A warm feeling settled in his stomach as he walked into the room and closed the door behind himself quietly, not wanting to disturb the musician. When he stepped closer he saw Loki with a relaxed demeanor, soft smile on his lips, eyes half closed. He looked very attractive and En Dwi had to grip his tunic hard to prevent his hand to shot forwards and caress the man. Then, he took a deep breath, Loki's name on the tip of his tongue.

He was going to show himself. He was. But Loki cleared his throat playing a new song, and then he couldn't move, not even to take air into his lungs, and then Loki started to sing. His baritone voice, clear and powerful, not missing a note. En Dwi's voice got stuck in his throat, eyes swelling with tears, lower lip trembling. The warm feeling from before spreaded out through his body.

The lyrics to the song were forebonding, promising depature and separation. And it hit home to him, because some of the things said in such lyrics were almost a reflection of one of his darkests secrets. Oh, it wasn't dark because it was bad, no, no. It was dark because it never failed to make him feel as if his chest was being ripped open, fire creeping up through his innards, scorching his throat, melting his eyes. It was painful.

And Loki had unlocked it with that silly, stupid song and his prodigious fingers flying over the stupid piano. A stupid thing he should have burnt ages ago, but that for some reason he never destroyed. In fact, he didn't remember the thing until he arrived at his party to see it, half hidden behind that stupid screen.

Closing his eyes, he leaned on a pillar, remembering clearly the face, the desperation in a pair of brown eyes. How his lips moved to say those words: «I cannot love you back, I'm not the one you seek, even if I share her soul within me. It's not me. Let me go, please

Of course, he had not heeded his words and tried to trap him at his side. That had resulted in his premature death. After that, En Dwi forbid everyone from leaving Sakaar. If this place was where the unwanted and the lost came to be, then he would collect them all until that special soul came back to him. It was just a matter of time, after all, and what did he had in spades if not time?

Burn the page for me
I cannot erase the time of sleep
I cannot be loved so set me free
I cannot deliver your love
Or caress your soul so
Turn that page for me
I cannot embrace the touch that you give
I cannot find solace in your words
I cannot deliver you your love
Or caress your soul.

Oh, wow! Those lyrics really strung hard and deep. En Dwi gasped softly, trying to swallow the lump in his throat. Loki's performance came to a sudden halt, the man standing up, holding a knife in both hands.

“Who's there?” he snarled, pointing the blades at nothing. Or, well, not at nothing. One of them was pointed straight at where En Dwi was. Taking a shaky breath, he stepped away from the pillar.

“Keep playing, Loki.” He saw the surprise in the man's face, then suspicion. A slight tremmor ran through his body. “Keep playing, I won't ask a third time,” he said, voice lowering dangerously. With a surge of satisfaction he saw how his Addam's Apple bobbed up and down.

“Yes, Grandmaster,” Loki bowed before sitting back again. He picked up where he had left it, but En Dwi stopped him.

“No, no, no! Start from the beginning, boy!” Loki stiffened, but did as told. He approached him and studied his features as well as his posture. En Dwi let his eyes roam freely through that body, covered in leather from neck to toes – he refused to acknowledge the stiffeness with which Loki was playing now. The cape was a nice addition and he hadn't told him yet, had he? Of course not. He would have, if the ungrateful man had come to the party. But he hadn't. And where did En Dwi find him? Not in his chambers, no. Not in another parlor partaking in one of his multiple parties nor attending the Arena. No, he had to be playing the stupidly black piano. Urg! He should paint the thing with blue and yellow. And add a neon light somewhere.

He lifted a hand and caressed the head, threading through the black, curly hair. Loki's voice didn't falter, but his performance lacked it's brillance for a second. Yes. En Dwi would indulge today. He would shed off the face of the Grandmaster, for as long as the shadows covered this room. He didn't let Loki finish the piece this time either, fisting his hand on his hair and forcing his head back. Indulgence was something he could do whenever he wanted but never really did. He kissed him, swallowing his gasp.

Not waiting for Loki to recover, En Dwi pushed his back to the piano. The dissonance filled the room when Loki planced his palms on the keys for leveling. With one hand still fisted at the back of his head, En Dwi let his other one roam from neck to groin. Annoyed by the sturdy leather he teared it appart with an angry growl slipping past his lips. Loki's hands darted to his chest then, pushing. That made him even angrier.

“You dare? You dare!?” Who did this boy think he was to deny him? Him, En Dwi Gast, the Grandmaster, one of the lasts Elders of the multiverse! With the hand on his hair he stilled his head so he could look right into his eyes. Wide, scared. His other one pinned him to the piano, gripping forcefully at his hipbone. Loki's chest was rising and falling faster than he had ever seen, pupils contracted into tiny black dots. “You will not refuse me, boy. You are mine, in my domain, understood?” Loki didn't move, not even to nod. En Dwi leaned forward then, and took his lips. This time he didn't fight, but to his annoyance did not kiss back, mouth slack. Well, no matter, he could have fun on his own.

He sucked on lips, nibbling slightly from time to time. The hand that was at the hip moved to trace the muscles of the torso, pinching the marred skin, tracing the scars with light scratches of nails. In a surge of boldness, he dipped his tongue. En Dwi knew that Loki could use this opportunity to bite down and unlike other lovers, Loki would keep bitting until his organ teared off. But he didn't. He wasn't fighting, just trembling under his weight, pinned against the piano.

After feeling satisfied, En Dwi left the mouth to trace the column of his neck. He paid extra attention to the Addam's Apple before going downwards. Stars! His skin tasted deviously addicting. He released Loki's hair, he needed more. He mouthed every centimetre of skin he could find and when he reached his pubish, relished in the smell there. Loki's cock was half hard and he swallowed it up from tip to root in one swift motion, fondling the balls with one hand, delighted by the sharp inhale he heard. Hands fisted his hair then, pushing him away, irritating him. Why was he fighting again? Had he not been clear enough?

En Dwi released his sex with a frown. Looking up he was shocked to find Loki shedding silent tears, lips trembling. Under his hands, he felt how his whole body started shaking. A distant thunder echoed. It wasn't uncommon for thunder and rain in this season on Sakaar, but Loki looked out of the window, as if looking for something.

“Thor?”

It was but a weak exhale of air covering the word. It would have meant nothing if En Dwi had not been paying attention these past weeks. Everytime someone fell from the wormholes, Loki was there, whispering that word, like a mantra or a curse. It infuriated him. Loki was waiting for Thor to come for him. Whomever this Thor was. His nails digged into the flesh, making Loki whine., head snapping back to look at him.

“Who is Thor.” He wanted it to be a question. He couldn't. He was angry. He recognized that name. Loki had been crazed looking for that Thor whenever someone new arrived at Sakaar. As soon as this Thor appeared, he would rip their head off. He rose to his feet, crowding Loki even more if it was possible. “Who is Thor, Loki. Answer, now.”

Loki's whine increased. He flashed a look at where his nails were digging into flesh to find blood sliding down. Oh. He should take control. He should calm down. He could always melt Loki in the morning. No problem there. But this, this now. He was losing it, and someone in his possition should never, ever lose control over his emotions nor his needs.

“No one,” Loki whispered. “No one, Grandmaster. Please, release me.”

En Dwi didn't believe it for a second. Thor would get in his way, this gut clenching feeling told him. He kissed Loki again, hand caressing his temple, erasing the memory of this disastrous meeting. It took him more time than he wanted to admit, with Loki's mind defences fighting against him right and left. He was rusty. It's been too long since the last time he played mind tricks. He didn't like doing it, but if by doing this Loki would not look at him in that desperate, frightened way, then he would do whatever it took.

How had he become so invested in this one? Why? What did Loki have that others lacked? He also restrained himself from digging in too deep. Not cheating. Though he could look into Loki's head all he wanted and modify his memories at will, he had given his word to never do something like that again, unless he was in the memories. When he separated from Loki's mouth, he could see the disorientaion in his green eyes.

En Dwi turned and left Loki there, picking at the shreds of his clothes, covering himself with his cape, not looking up. As he walked through the corridors towards his chambers, he could feel his own heart hammering in his chest, reverberating in his ears. He closed the doors with a slam, feeling hot tears streaming down his own face.

If he was all powerful here, if he was the law, if he was the tyrant without a heart... Why did he feel so wrong?

Chapter Text

Loki knew the second the Grandmaster pulled away that something awful had transpired there. One second he was playing the piano, the next thing he knew was that Gast was kissing him and leaving the room. Something had happened between those two moments and he couldn't fathom what, exactly. Looking at himself, he supposed what the Grandmaster had wanted from him, but he couldn't remember for the life of him if he had gotten what he wanted.

Taking a shaky breath, Loki covered himself as best as he could, working his seidr to fix his tattered clothes. He didn't repress the wail nor fought to stay standing. He was tired and he had no honour to keep anymore. He was cursed. He was cursed to be handled by crazy powerful beings and never be the master of his own destiny. A stolen relic, a weapon, a slave. Loki wasn't strong enough. He couldn't go on like this. There were two exits: wormhole or death. And wormhole promissed death as much as death did. What a stupid think to mull over.

He hid his face on his knees, hugging his legs as close to his chest as he could and let himself cry. He needed to let everything out before he could recompose himself and get ready to survive in this new enviroment. He had to get used to it, faster. He was getting left behind and if he didn't steel himself he would get swallowed. He also needed to know what in the Nine had happened between he and the Grandmaster a few minutes ago.

There was only one explanation. His memories had been trampled with. Loki was sure now, the gap in his memory couldn't only be that. The Grandmaster had done something to him, or maybe he had regreted it before even consumating the act and tried to erase the evidence. He let out a shacky laugh. Getting up, he looked for a surface in which check his appearance to completely fix himself. He combed his hair with shacking hands.

“Norns, I need some mead!” he whispered with a frown. Then he laughs again, dryly. “I need to forget something I cannot remember.”

Abandoning the room, he went directly to the ninth floor, looking for the canteen. They always had liquors from all kind of places. As soon as he stepped in, he could see that some kind of party was still going there. He took seat on a stool and checked his credits. Dread ran through his spine when he saw they had increased from hours ago in a very sizeable amount. His heart hammered against his ribs. Had the Grandmaster paid him for his service? A toothi smile was plastered in his mouth and when the bartender came to him he had the impulse to tear appart his head with his teeth. Instead, he just ordered his strongest mead.

He downed it in one go, asking for more.

Time passed by, and when he looked to the windows he was surprised to find the glare of the midday sun coming through the cristal pannels. He looked at the bartender. It was a different one. Looking down, he found his hand nursing his cup, half empty. Someone sa beside him and asked for Vanir wine. Loki's eyebrow shot up.

“If you want to get drunk you shouldn't drink that. Most people think that Vanir wine can drive you to oblivion but it's only made to taste good and mixt it with other wines and liquors,” Loki commented, taking a swing.

“If I had asked for your opiniong, you'd known.”

Loki looked at his side. The woman had dark skin, braided hair and white paint on her face. She looked unimpressed by him.

“May I know your name?” his voice sounded slurred.

“You may.” Loki waited. When it was clear she was not going to answer, he ordered a tankard of mead and stood to leave. He was passing by her back when she said, “I'm known as Scrapper-142, you?”

Loki stopped in his tracks, turned towards her and sat at her side, taking a long gulp from his tankard before saying, “The Grandmaster calls me kitten.”

She snorted before taking a swing at her own drink. “Then your new name is Kitten. Nice to make your acquaintance.”

“Likewise,” Loki nodded. They clinked their cups and drank in silence. The day passed in silence for them. Loki wasn't even feeling sluggish or tired. He could see his hands clearly and when he moved his head nothing spinned. He frowned. He wasn't getting drunk, and he hadn't forgotten that his mind had been raped by the Grandmaster. He was still very much aware of the lack of memories. He knew they were still there. One couldn't simply take away memories, though burying them so deep the victim couldn't find their way back was something feasible, albeit quite difficult to achieve. He grunted. Loki would not be discouraged of finding out what had happened, if anything at all. Though he knew that something had happened to a degree. If nothing had really happened, the Grandmaster wouldn't have feel the need to repay Loki for his services.

With a growl, Loki downed his drink in one go –a tankard of ale– before rising from his seat and going to another parlour, barely aware of Scrapper's farewell. He needed a distraction and alcohol wasn't diverting enough. He paced about halls and corridors for a while before setting in one place. He found a colorful couch, comfortable enough. Shortly after, there was a woman at his right and a man at his left. He talked with them until his throat felt dry.

Hours passed by and night came again. By the time the party started to go into full blast, he was lost in the lips of the woman, her hands undressing him of his vest, fingers deflty caressing his skin –his scars were all hidden by a glamour. At his other side, the man was kissing his neck, one hand sneaking inside his breeches, grabbing him with sensuous touches. Loki's hands weren't idle either, and his partners hummed and gasped under his ministrations.

It wasn't until the man was bobbing up and down his cock, sucking him with delight, and the woman rubbing against his thigh when he felt it. He was being watched. Not that he hadn't noticed before, but he had made eye contact with the onlookers and they were all ocupied in similar activities. No, this time was different. He shuddered, opening his eyes, scanning the place and not finding anyone looking in his direction. Strange. Swallowing the discomfort he closed his eyes again, losing himself in the embrace of his partners, moving his head until his lips touched the woman's own.

Mouth on his, tongues fighting, he let her win, hand sliding down her bare back. She moaned into his lips and he moaned back when the man licked his glans with the flat of his tonge, before teasing his slit. The three of them became a tangled mess of limbs, kisses and saliva. Loki wanted to forget what he couldn't remember and he was almost there, lost in bliss.

He is not here, he told himself when everything was done. He was not looking at you. You would have felt him. His magic has a traceable trail.

Loki disentangled himself from his lovers and gathered his clothes. He hadn't bothered to remember their names, as he would not repeat this show. He doubted he would feel comfortable. Not after feeling watched by him. The coward had hid himself from sight, there was no other explanation and Loki hadn't been able to trace him properly but he would bet his head that the Elder had been observing. A shiver ran down his spine.

He located a bar nearby and went directly behind it. He gathered the strongests drinks he could find and mixed them all in a huge brass tankard, then, went around and sat at a stool before taking a sip of his beverage. Someone sat beside himself and stole his tankard to drink.

“Hum, not bad.”

Loki smiled before recovering his drink. “Thank you, it's my personal mix. Would you care for one?”

“Nah! I'm good, pretty boy.”

Loki huffed, hidding his smile behind the tankard. “I wonder why everyone here is so addept at giving me pet names that include sweet, pretty, honey or cheeks.” His company laughed with him. “But, really, if you want to drink anything, just order it, it's on me, Scrapper.”

“You will regret it,” she said, rising a brow.

“I might. But currently I am in possession of more credits than I can spend and I certainly don't feel quite comfortable with,” he said, bitterly, taking another gulp of alcohol. “Why can't I get drunk on this?”

“Aw, don't sulk! I have the best things in my room. I could share... If you buy something for me,” she said, half smile on her face. “There's this new upgrade for scrappers' ships that interests me greatly.” Loki grins.

“Lead the way, love.”

Chapter Text

En Dwi wasn't fuming. Well, maybe a little. But in the metaphorical sense. He was, also, most surely not jealous. No, no. He wasn't. He didn't want to rip off the lips and tonge of Kurt because he fellated Loki. Nor did he want to skin Della because she had received Loki's attention all over her body. In fact, he had really good reasons that had nothing to do with Loki to want to melt them. He surely had, it was just that he couldn't remember it at the moment, so he just got them in a secluded room and chopped off their hands and then he procedded to pardon them from life.

It was a small ceremony, only he, Topaz and the two. Very intimate, if you asked him. He nearly giggled. He was feeling really pleased, refreshed even. He smiled at everyone, waved his hand, laughed at every joke and was feeling content. Everything was back in track.

“Topaz, Topaz! I have had the most fantastic of ideas! Come here and take notes,” he said full of glee. As he gave instructions, Topaz's face became one of boredoom. When he finished she looked ready to say something, so he prompted her with a raised brow.

“I don't know... You already have someone on code Green and they already are untouchable.”

En Dwi dismissed her with a hand as he said, “I know, I know. But I don't want people touching my kitten without my permission first. I know that a cat will purr for anyone if touched correctly, but if the owner doesn't give permission for that it's a transgression.”

“Then, you should make it into a-”

“Capital offence? No, no. That would be too easy, and I like to play the long game, my friend.”

“Gast.”

“Yes, Topaz?”

“I'm not your friend.” Topaz was smiling while saying that. And En Dwi found himself smiling too.

“No, no. Of course not, my dear Topaz. Now, go make this into something doable. Move your threads and all that.”

She left and he walked around for a while. People followed him, talked with him and all was well. Or it was, until he arrived at one of the various control rooms and watched the feed from last night. His smile froze on his face as he saw Loki entering Scrapper-142's room. She entered first and he followed and the door slid shut and when he fastforwarded the tape he didn't see him getting out of the room until an hour ago. His heart hammered painfully inside his chest and he realized one thing: Loki had stayed in Scrapper-142's room, with her, all night. Not that when they entered there was much night left, but still. What did they do? By default, he let his scrappers a little bit of intimacy by not putting cameras in their rooms –as he did in the chambers of his guests. But this, this felt like betrayal.

“Find him,” he told the guard. “Find him and tell me where he is. Now!” The man started sweating while doing his task. But as his search gave no fruit, En Dwi got restless. “You know what? Don't worry about it. Stop, stop. Oh! Just keep doing your job, honey. I'll have someone give you a sweet drink. Just... Just, when you find him, tell me. Ok, sweetheart?” He patted the man on the cheek and left.

Taking a deep breath through his nose, he released it slowly with his mouth. Nothing good would come by being impatient. There were things that needed tending, and so he would. He was a ruler and he had to keep his planet in check. He went to his court room and listened to his people asking for this and that and he then managed the thirty four parties planned to be thrown that day. Then, he went to have a late breakfast on the feast hall in the twentieth floor.

Smiling, eating, talking, drinking. Everything seemed normal. It was normal. But he was feeling antsy again. Should he call for Scrapper-142 and ask her or just melt her and be done with it? Would that prevent his kitten from getting more attention or worse, seeking it? Stars! He needed to concentrate on other things. And fast.

He needed... He needed to fly the Commodore. Yes! That was the best of ideas in his current state. Up to twelve, no, thirty people. Yes. He needed to make arrangements. He would go have a private party at the Commodore. It always helped him with his sour mood. It took less than a hour to get everything ready. Just as he was going to board the ship, a man came running to him.

“Grandmaster! I have found him!” En Dwi stopped midway and turned to look at the man. “I have put an algoritm that will give you direct feed towards any camera that has him. Currently, he is in the Gladiators' training grounds. He seemed to be fighting one of the new creatures that we found,” the man said as he approached him. Then, he gave En Dwi a small device. “You will be able to watch him from any screen as long as you have this one connected to it. Doesn't matter which one.”

En Dwi smiled sweetly before taking the device, patting the man's cheek and saying, “Well done, my friend. You will get a rise on your next pay. Oh, better! Do you know how to fly a ship?”

The man nodded and En Dwi motioned to the Commodore. The man boarded it and went directly to the pilot's cabin. En Dwi entered then and the people gathered inside cheered. He could look at the footage later, right? Every feed that came from the cameras were registered, saved and upoloaded into a personal CPU, though En Dwi never looked at the archives, too dull for his tastes. He focused on the party at hand while the ship flew around the city.

 

A couple of hours later, they were back at the hangar. While he gave his farewells at his guests and the pilot left the ship, he considered wether to get back inside and look at what had his kitten been up since his status upgrade. In the end, curiosity got the bet of him and he went straight back. The place still smelled like alcohol, food and sex, but he wasn't bothered at all by it.

Connecting the device to the nearest screen he went hours back to see how'd Loki fared in the training grounds and his mouth watered. The man was as elastic as he had been while fighting him: firm stance, powerful strides and very precise movements that gained him the upper hand. Though the beast was strong as well and it managed to land its own slashes across Loki's beautiful skin. His stomach coiled. What if his Kitten had been seriously hurt while he had been in his ship having fun? Then, scowling, En Dwi shook his head. So what? He could do whatever he wanted, and if Loki was stupid enough to get himself killed, well, not his problem.

He moved fastforward towards the end of the fight and saw with no little satisfaction, how Loki killed the creature and smiled back at... Scrapper-142. En Dwi felt himself growl in annoyance. He fastforwarded again and then stopped abruptly when Loki entered the showers' stalls. There were no curtains nor walls. Those were communal and the only privacy was one thin wall separating it from the lockers' room –and the cameras recorded everything inside the showers, he made a mental note to congratulate the one who set those cameras on.

En Dwi felt his mouth go dry when he saw Loki disrobing completely and stepping under the cascade of water, just looking up and letting it slide down his perfect body. He scrubbed his body with his own hands and the help of a shoap bar. En Dwi set the volume at max and could hear the sigh of satisfacction that Loki made upon cleaning himself. His hand ran teasingly up and down his thigh, closing on his crotch. He saw Loki run his hands over his pale skin, marred with the scars of past battles and then notices that the ugly one in the middle of his chest has a twin one on the back. Uh! He was skewered. And he is still alive. How interesting. Then, his attention gets stolen when Loki starts washing his hair. Several sighs of satisfaccion follow then and En Dwi lets his eyes roam about the naked body once again, appreciating the shoap sliding down, rivulets of water and colours falling from his shoulders.

Another thirty minutes later –and several repeats of the same part of the clip– En Dwi was ready to leave his hangar when he noticed in the that damned Scrapper giving a naked Loki some fresh clothes. None of them seems embarrassed by Loki's nudity. Irritated, he stoped the video and left the Commodore, looking for Topaz.

“Topaz, Topaz! Give me good news about the new law,” he demanded. As soon as they were on the halls he went towards his court room.

“Yes, master. Let's see, it's going effective right now. But I still you are troubling yourself too much for some new toy. I know you, Gast, you are going to get bored of him in a couple of decades and then what? You will think all of this silly and will change the laws again –which will mean more work for me...”

En Dwi stopped listeting to Topaz, eyes locking on his Kitten. He looked distressed and didn't notice him.

“You know, Topaz? Maybe you are right. Maybe I'm investing too much on an ungrateful...” he was saying, but then he noticed the pallor of the other man and his slightly shaky hands. “Clear the floor, will you? I have some matters to attend to.” He saw Topaz roll her eyes as she sighed, bored.

He followed Loki to the balcony, dismissing guards and guests. He stayed at the door until he saw Loki's trembling form regain some strength. Then, he stepped up and put a hand on his shoulder.

Chapter Text

Loki left Scrapper's room, followed by her, feeling a little better. They had got so drunk so fast they fell in an uncoordinated mess on the floor, then slept in the worst positions possible. But still, he felt better.

“Are you sure that with your influence around here we can go into the training grounds without getting in trouble?”

“Yes, Kitten. Already told you that. Ugh! Do I need to spell it for you?”

“No, my lady. It's just such a joyous event I cannot contain my enthusiasm.”

“Heh! I like when you speak funny. Makes you seem stupid and silly, and easier to look down on you.”

Loki grinned. “I see.”

“Well, don't get too excited. Just recently a creature fell down and we were thinking about wether to use it in the arena or just for training. But, since there hadn't been any consensus, it's going to be sacrificed and eaten later on, so you can get your fair share of fight against it, if you like.”

Loki nodded and followed her. He changed clothes into something more comfortable and took some blades with him into the training ground. People were clearing it out of fightiers and then they took a creature out of a pit. The creature was massive, it roared, it's scaly body shinning under the sun's light and Loki's eyes widenend as his pupils dilated. His breathing became heavy with anticipation and his hands trembled with want. Oh, yes, this was going to help him release all what had been getting stuck inside him. All the pent up rage.

“I don't know if you know this creature, Kitty, but this is a-”

“Bilgesnipe,” Loki breathed, cutting her off. “Yes, I know. It would be more ideal if I could go hunting out, but this, this one is going to suffice...” She looked at him then, eyes calculating and he looked back at her. “Just for this, I'll buy you a fully new ship, and will call you my friend until I deem you are useless.” She shrugged.

“Deal.”

Loki nodded, then looked back at the monster, fighting it's captors, trying to shake off the chains.

“Tell them to release it,” he said.

She nodded and gave the order. As soon as the creature was freed, Loki lauched himself against it with a battlecry on his lips and laughter bubbling in his chest.

The creature focused on him and roared, snapping it's maw centimetres away from his head. He jumped back with a twist of his body and landed on steady footing. Then, ran onwards and slashed. It roared again and launched an attack of it's own. Loki got some scratches on his arm, but didn't mind the sting and kept slashing it, running from every single way he could think of. Jumping, falling from the sky, coming from behind. It took him around two hours to brandish the final blow into the bilgesnipe's body, sinking his blades into the heart and the mouth at the same time.

By the time he recovered the blades, he was covered in sweat, mucus, blood and scratches. He couldn't help the laughter. He was feeling invigorated. Looking around, his eyes found Scrapper and approached her. She wasn't as welcoming as before, and she seemed rather tense.

“Tell me there's a hunting place somewhere close. I think I need to ride into a forest and chase something big now,” his smile was wild, he knew, but he didn't mind. He knew he looked crazed when he was deep into his enemies' blood. She frowned.

“Where did you say you came from?” she asked, crossing her arms.

“I didn't, my lady. Now, is there a place where I can shot? If not, I'd rather have a shower,” he smiled, cocking his head slightly to the side. Scrapper just narrowed her eyes.

“Follow me. I'll also get you some fresh clothes. And you really, really owe me those new upgrades to my ship, don't balk now,” she pointed at him, accusingly.

“Never. I always fulfill my part on a contract. Well, as long as it's not bad for me.” He followed her to the showers' stalls and went in, instantly undressing and getting under the water. It was cold at first, but he didn't mind it at all. When he finished rinsing the shoap from his hair and body, he took a towel and dried himself. Not bothering to cover himself with it, he went out into the lockers' room to find Scrapper there with fresh clothes. He grinned and she looked unimpressed. “Thank you, you are most gracious.”

She snorted, rolled her eyes and passed him the clothes. It was in a flash, but he saw it on her hands. He took the clothes and dressed himself, growing wary of her.

“What? You balking? I shoul'da known!!” she said when they left and he kept looking at her with suspicion.

“You are a Valkyrie,” he said. And she stopped and glared.

“And you are a noble from Asgard. Maybe a royal?”

The glared at each other.

“They were supposed to be dead. All of them disappeared a thousand years ago,” he accused.

“Well, you are tall, pale, and black haired. Surely you get prettily well with the queen? Is she your mommy?” she rebuked.

Loki tensed, stopping himself from snarling, daggers appearing on his hands. She also changed her stance, ready to throw a few punches.

“You... You can't know what has befallen on the Golden Realm, hidding here like a rat!” he spat. One foot moved.

“You accuse me of hidding? Look at where we are, princeling! It's impossible to leave Sakaar,” she hissed. A knee flexed.

“As far as I know, elite like Valkyries, that surpassed even the Einherjar are strong enough to break any kind of chain. So, yes! You are hidding here, drinking yourself into stupor. Your realm needs, you. Your king!”

“King? Odin stopped being my king the moment his precious heir became a monster!”

The had been circling each other, blades drawn, breathing heavily, and Loki would have launched himself into the fight, in the middle of the corridor if it wasn't for the last words the Valkyrie said.

“Odin is dead. His true son, Thor, God of Thunder, is the legit heir and the exiled sister, Hela, has come to usurp the throne,” he said but in a whisper, not blinking. Blinking now would be a mistake.

“So why should I care?”

Loki lost his fight then, mouth slack. “What?”

She approached him, lowering her weapons and spat her words with as much poison as she could muster, “Why should I care? Why do you care? You are here now, on Sakaar. You have more credits in your account I have ever seen in a new recruit. You have luxuries, you have commodities. I'm sure the Grandmaster would let you get off with almost anything you did. Why would you want to go back!?”

Loki dropped his daggers, looking at his feet. “Because I owe it to my brother and to my realm. I want to change. I have changed... I cannot abandom then now.”

She bristled. “Well, boy, that's only going to get you killed sooner than later. Surely it's just the bloodlust in your inner berserker calling for more. I saw you out there, princeling.”

“No,” he shook his head. “I'm not an Asgardian. I don't have an inner berserker,” he said, almost inaudible, as he passed past her. No. He wasn't Asgardian. He wasn't like Thor. He wasn't like Heimdall and he sure wasn't like the Valkyrie. It wasn't in his blood. What bellowed in his veins wasn't the roaring fire of the battle, no. It was the icy cold of a snow storm. Even then, his own Jotun instincts weren't to go into the fight mindlessly, but to plan ahead, at least a few steps so he could save his skin where he to find himself in a pinch.

He heard the steps but ignored them. He was going to ignore the woman following him and get cooped up in his room all day and most surely all week, when a hand grabbed him by the shoulder and twisted him. Instinc kick in and he shoved it off his body with his forearm. What followed was an exchange of kicks, punches, and hits between he and the Valkyrie. He had always prided himself on his one-on-one skills but she was fairly supperior to him, even hangover as she was.

It finished with him pressed against the door of his room, hand on a shoulder, forearm on his neck.

“Explain, princeling. Because as far as I know, you are of the royal house. The way you were trained wasn't as a mere guard.”

“I don't have to explain anything to you, deserter. If you are so scared of Hela, fine. Stay here for ever and rot. I am going to find a way back and I'm going to fight her off and then...” what? What would he do then? Thor was convinced he had orchestated everything. There would be no redemption for him, either. He was also an usurper. “And then I'll go drop dead somewhere where I'm not a nuisance,” he glared at her. And she glared back. Then she nodded.

“Fine. I will help get you out of here... If you transfer all your credits to my account.”

Loki grinned. “Consider it done, then.”

She released him and left. Then, she looked over her shoulder, “I'll have to talk with a friend, before we do anything.”

He just saw her walk away before entering his room. Sliding down the door towards the floor, he hid his face on his hands. What was he doing? Plotting against the Grandmaster like that in broad light, in a fucking hall where anyone could listen! And no doubt there were cameras everywhere. They were screwed. If they didn't move fast, they would be dead by dawn, right? It was impossible that the Grandmaster didn't realize what was going on.

A blip sounded and he looked at his device. It was a comunication. It said that there was an update on what a Green Code guest was, and that there were now two of them. As Loki read through it, he felt bile rising in his throat. He was a Code Green guest now. He was to not be touched by anyone without the specifict permission of the Grandmaster and whomever touched him without it would be dealt with on the spot. So now, he had been privated of contact with others. His gilded cage becoming emptier. Was the Grandmaster trying to isolate him?

He kept reading. Apparently the order was just given now, so if anyone had touched him before there would be no punishment, but if someone touched him after, then... Loki felt nauseous. The walls around himself seemed to be shrinking around him. He needed air.

Not quite running, never running, he walked towards the closest balcony and supported himself on the railing, taking greedy gulps of air, trying to get his breathing back in control. He didn't know how long he stayed there, trying to calm down. He just knew something was amiss when he noticed that there were no-one around him, as if the place had been emptied. A hand on his shoulder startled him.

“Wha-?” he started, turning around. He found himself in front of the Grandmaster, ancient face looking worried. Loki schooled his features into a neutral mask. Or so he tried, because he felt his whole body trembling. “Grandmaster,” he greeted, gripping the railing at his back with more force than necessary. “How may I help you?”

“Help me? Oh, no. No, no, no, Kitten. You don't need to help me,” the man said, concerned. The hand on his shoulder lifted to rest lightly on his cheek. “You, on the other hand... What's wrong, Kitten?”

“Nothing is wrong,” he said, trying to speak past the lump in his throat.

“You don't need to lie to me, Kitten.” Loki frowned. The hand was now caressing his skin and that was doing something to his insides. Two forces warred inside: one fighting to escape, the other to bask in the warmth of the touch, and the last one was winning. “You seem distressed, love.”

That last endearment snapped Loki back. “What?”

“Well, you look a bit pale. Have you eaten?”

“You needn't wor-” he started to say but what he was trying to say was cut off by a sharp intake of air as new memories seeped into his mind.

A woman was grazing the Grandmaster's blue cheek and saying something. The Grandmaster smiled fondly, eyes clear and loving. Then, the woman's hand left his face and she turned around to look at a golden vortex.

“Don't worry. You will find me again.”

“So you say.”

“So I say,” she chuckled. “I've told you time and again, we get reincarnated. I will remember you as soon as our minds touch,” she said looking back at him. Then, she walked towards the vortex and everything went black.

 

“...ki. Loki! Please, Kitten, wake up.”

“Ngh...”

Loki was feeling nauseous, disoriented, everything was spinning. A huge shadow was hanging over his head and he felt something patting his face insistently. He tried to get up put a hand pushed him back down.

“Woah, slow down, honey. Stay laying, alright? You don't look too well.”

“Who is Aleeria?” Loki said, groggily. Damn! He couldn't keep his eyes open.

“Wha-what? What did you say, Kitten?”

“Who is Aleeria? She was... there. In the vision,” he said, moving one of his hands. Who was that? “Who are you?”

“Loki? Are you all right?”

“Uh?... No. I belive I am going to throw up.” He then, was helped to another position, his hair pulled out of the way. As he emptied his stomach in a bucket, his surroundings started to make sense. He was in a bed. A really comfortable one, and large too. His vest had been taken off of him as well as his boots. The room was spacious and colorful and had enormous windows. The hand rubbing comfortingly at his back belonged to the Grandmaster.

“Aleeria, uh, Aleeria was... My fiancee. She had a mission. So she...” the man answered his prevous question, looking down at his own lap.

“Stepped on the golden vortex and spread knowledge and life, yes. I saw that. It felt awful, being torn appart in millions and millions of parts.” At Loki's words, the Grandmaster's head shot up, face blank.

“I wouldn't know. I didn't went into the vortex,” he said, eyes narrowing. “How do you know that?”

Loki pushed himself up and got off the bed before saying, “Lucky guess. Thank you for your hospitality, Grandmaster. There's a place I should be.”

The man let him go, surprisingly, without stopping him. Loki felt him digging holes on the back of his neck with his eyes.