“I got you a present,” the young man says and he smiles wide, grin lopsided but genuine, with a shy flirty look in his eyes. “It took me a long time to figure out what to get you. But it’s perfect, I think.”
Loki does not return the smile. He stands perfectly still, unnerved by the danger he’s sensing from this mortal.
The man before him is young, perhaps not more than twenty years old by Midgardian standards, yet Loki’s vigilance is not tempered by his youth. He knows better than to be fooled by appearance.
The young man saunters forward a step, juggling a black bag back and forth between his hands a few times, a show of nerves, before holding it out to him. When Loki makes no move to accept the proffered gift, the youth tosses the black bag towards him.
Loki does not catch it, watching it bounce once and roll away. Whatever is contained within is heavy and quickly comes to a stop before it reaches his feet.
“You’re a sharp one,” the youth remarks. “Most people would have caught that on reflex. Come on, don’t be shy,” he says. ”It’s worthy of your interest.”
Still, Loki does not deign to pick it up.
The young man sighs, his lovesick veneer cracking with impatience, and he bends to retrieve the bag. ”After all the trouble I went through to get this,” he mutters. ”I guess I’ll have to open it myself.”
He holds up the object and pulls the bag from it as if unveiling a work of art. “For you, my dear, with my best regards.”
A metal helmet rests in his hand. With wing adornments and battle worn metal, it is none other than Thor’s helm.
“Oh, do I have your attention now?” the young man coos, throwing the helmet at him and this time Loki does catch it.
Once it is between his hands, and his fingers trace over metal clearly forged by the dwarves of Nidarvellir, Loki knows with terrifying truth that this is Thor’s helm, the very one he used to tease him about when Thor was still his brother.
It’s dirty now, splattered with mud and the inside is stained with deep, red blood. It’s wet still, fresh, and the blood trickles over the sides of the helmet as he examines it, tainting his pale fingers with Thor’s lifeblood.
“You don’t like it,” the youth says, disappointed, and in that moment any tender feelings he harbored towards Loki turn to rage in the face of rejection. “Well, that’s a shame.”
“What have you done?” Loki whispers.
“Isn’t it obvious?” he asks. And with all the arrogance in the world, he replies, “I killed Thor. I thought you’d be pleased.”
He’s smiling again, bristling with deranged pride. And something else— there’s a challenge there too, a gauntlet thrown upon the ground.
Whether this “gift” was meant to please him or provoke him, Loki is unsure. The young man’s mood oscillates on a wire, swinging between infatuation and malice on a whim.
Loki does not know if the mercurial youth wants to possess him or kill him, but either way there will be a fight. Energy crackles around this young man, a subtle tremor that less attuned beings would not perceive. But Loki does.
This is no ordinary mortal.