Warnings/Notes: WIP, Crossover/AU. This is probably set after The Avengers, but trying to avoid getting totally Jossed, so I'll withhold a firm decision till May. This takes place after my story, The House of Keebler.
Character(s): Methos, Loki, Duncan MacLeod, Thor, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanov, Original Character
Summary: Methos doesn't believe in fairy tales – or gods.
Methos doesn't believe in fairy tales – or gods.
Once upon a time, on Earth, Immortals were at the top of the food chain. They may not have known what they were, or where they came from, but they were secure in the knowledge that they were unique and without peer. But there came a day that something happened to shatter that belief. For on that day, the Bifröst opened, bringing through it beings that, in Earth's mythic past, had been considered gods. For the Immortals of Midgard, when the gods returned, the universe, and their place in it, changed irrevocably.
SHIELD Base, somewhere in New Mexico
Methos rubbed at the crick in his neck, exhaling tiredly. He glanced over at the glowing face of the clock on his desk, not really sure if it was eleven a.m. or p.m.—probably a.m., though he wouldn't bet money on it. He pushed at the pile of books, papers, and scrolls that littered the surface of his worktable. He wasn't getting anywhere fast with his translation, and the aggravation of it all was eating at him. He never thought that digging through dusty old tomes would have come with such a sense of urgency, or that the hunt for some kernel of knowledge could mean the difference between life and death for the inhabitants of Earth.
When he'd signed on with SHIELD, it had been as a medical doctor, but it hadn't been long for his talent as an historian—well, as history itself, really—to become the focus of his work for the secret organization. Oh, he still patched people up; god only knew he'd put enough stitches into Stark. It was the universe's way, or maybe it was Fury's, of pulling his chain. But when he wasn't in the medical bay, he was here, surrounded by pages of time, trying to buy more of it.
Sliding down into the chair, he dimmed the lamp next to him, closing his eyes. Maybe just a quick nap. And maybe you should go home. How long has it been since you touched her face? Heard her laugh? That made him wince, the voice in the back of his head. Home, he hadn't been home in days, hadn't slept in a bed, felt her warmth against his chest in the still dark of the night, hadn't eaten anything that didn't come from a box. God, what he wouldn't do for a real meal. Somewhere along the way, this work of his had become obsession. It had to be so. And she understood that, had stood in this same place seventy years ago, another war, the fate of mankind on the knife's edge. He sighed, letting sleep tug him down into the dark. He would call her later, he promised himself.
A growing sense of unease pulled him from slumber, a feeling of power, similar to Thor's, and yet, not. One smooth motion, and he was up, sweeping the room, looking for the danger, ready to attack if need be. In the gloom, Methos' eyes made out the shape of a man sitting at his desk, only illuminated by the glow of computer monitors and the faint light of the lamp on his work table. Reaching out, he flipped the switch on the wall next to him, the overhead lights splashing the office with sharp white light.
Methos quirked a brow. "So we meet at last." He knew who it was; there was no need for introductions. "Should I be honoured?"
His uninvited guest stood with a florid bow. "My fame precedes me." Loki laughed. "But then, that's how it should be." He walked the short distance to the worktable. "I suppose it goes without saying that I've breached what passes for your defenses, with none the wiser to my presence."
"I suppose it does," Methos agreed. He stayed where he was, drawing no weapon.
"It is something of a pleasant change."
"Let's just say I'm not used to such a…peaceful response to my arrival."
Chuckling, Methos shrugged. "You've offered me no threat." The 'yet' was unspoken. "What brings you to my door, Loki?"
"Curiosity." He flipped over a book, running a finger down the spine. "The Immortals of your planet in general, and of you in particular, ancient one."
"I see that my fame precedes me."
Loki just smiled, picking up a scrap of parchment, which had once been part of a larger sheet. "I see you have an interest in the Múspellsheimr."
Methos stood straight, no longer feigning disinterest, but Loki appeared not to notice, reading from the ancient text, "And the fire of the gods shall be gathered up and ruin shall follow." He tossed it back on to the table. "Or something along those lines; hard to make out really." Cocking his head, he searched Methos' eyes. "Ahhhh, but you didn't know what it said, did you?"
"No. Thor said the language was long dead, and was one he had no knowledge of." Methos could see no point in lying.
"My brother is no scholar, as even you must be aware." He snorted. "His pursuits are of a simpler nature. I suppose he thinks you're an Elf." Methos didn't have a chance to respond, Loki once more seeming to know the answer. "Why, he does, doesn't he?" Shaking his head, he muttered, "simpleton," under his breath.
"If not, then what?" Thor had presented his rather fanciful idea as to what Midgard's Immortals were when they'd first met. Methos wasn't sure he bought it, but the God of Thunder had seemed quite certain that they fit into the known peoples of the Nine Realms. But about all Thor's certainty had brought was digs from Stark about the North Pole, Santa, and shoemaking. And then there had been the day that every surface of his office had been covered in boxes of Keebler cookies. No, if Loki could tell him otherwise, he would be grateful for the knowledge.
"What indeed?" There was a secretive glint in Loki's eyes. But he didn't seem inclined to share any further information. Instead, his attention focused on the framed photograph under the work lamp. He took it, tilting it to get a better look. Methos stepped forward as he fought the urge to snatch it from his hand. "She's lovely, your Charlotte." This time, the smile on his lips was a warning. "You'll find I know a great deal about you and your friends, ancient one. Secrets are my special talent, after all."
Methos forced himself to relax – he was revealing far too much to the God of Mischief. This time, he did take the photograph from Loki's hand, but casually, with no urgency. "She is," he agreed, looking at the photo, Charlotte smiling up at him, grapevines tangled in her black hair. A sense of dread touched his heart and he wished he hadn't stayed from home for so long. "But I may be biased," he said lightly as he set it face down on the table next to him, as if being from Loki's view could somehow protect her.
"A lover's prerogative," Loki replied, circling the table till he stood even with Methos. "I told you I was curious, and that's true. I think that you could answer so many questions, Methos; for both of us."
Shrugging, Methos leaned casually against the corner of the table. "I'm an open book, Loki."
There was a bark of laughter in response. "You are anything but – which makes you all the more fascinating to me, it's true. But arriving at the answers, that, my friend, is almost as rewarding as the answers themselves."
Loki waved a hand around the room. "You could rule them, the mortals, they're sheep. And yet, you make yourself subservient to them. Such a waste of potential."
"Tried that once—long before you were born, in fact." It didn't hurt to remind the pup, that god or no, Methos had been at this game for eons longer than Loki had lived. "It didn't work out."
"Ah yes, your little band of horsemen, playing at the apocalypse." He leaned in, picking up the parchment he'd read from before, waving it at Methos. "This is as the coming of Ragnarök, and I'm not playing at it, Methos," his voice, almost a hiss, echoed round the confines of the cement walls.
"I've heard that before too," Methos replied, matching his tone, "more times than I can count. And I'm still here, and I will still be here when all your plots have turned to dust and the universe forgets your name."
"How easily you pull on Death's cloak," Loki observed. "Can you remove it just as easily? I wonder."
"What do you want, Loki, really?" Methos was losing patience.
"You asked me what you were, what your people are. I believe the answer to that is the key to a power that will change the course of time itself. You and I," he stood straight, "Methos, we shall discover it together," he promised darkly.
Methos shook his head. "I've chosen my side, Loki. I won't help you."
Loki appeared once more to be all good cheer. "Honestly, it wouldn't be fair to accept your decision quite yet. You see, you don't have all the facts available to make an informed choice."
He waved away Methos' protest. "But soon, ancient one, soon. I'm a patient man, after all. I can give you the time you need to consider my offer." And then he was gone. There was no flash, no smoke, nothing at all. Just an empty space where Loki had stood mere seconds before. All that was left was the echo of his voice, "I'll be waiting."
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