School baffled Loki as soon as he stepped off the bus. His ears were still ringing even after Peter was nice enough to loan him his phone and headphones to block out the cacophony of noises that overwhelmed him. It helped and calmed his nerves. He was already nervous with the sheer amount of people he knew was going to be there. Loki walks directly behind Peter as he is led to the office to get his schedule. Loki was breathing shallowly in order to not take in so many smells at once. He smells sourness of sweat and the sickeningly strong women’s perfume. The burning odor of men’s cologne and the greasy stink of the cafeteria made Loki’s stomach turn. He could already feel a headache coming on. When they walk into the office he is hit with the dry scent of paper and old lady. The scent came from behind the desk named Bertha who handed him a piece of paper. Peter had made them have the same classes so he could keep an eye on him. Loki looked over the list with a distant gaze, not interested in the least, but ready to go to class once he clears his throat. Peter turns on his heels with his skateboard in hand. Loki watches as his chaperone throws it down and skates around the corner. Loki turns the corner and smirks when he sees him being lectured by a teacher. He looked to be about to lose the plank of wood with wheels. Loki rolls his eyes and walks over, head held high.
“Excuse me, I am sorry to have gotten Peter in trouble. He told me he wasn’t supposed to ride the thing in doors but I had asked him to show me how it works. I have never seen someone ride a skateboard before.” The teacher looked confused. He examines the two, old eyes glaring at Peter and glancing over Loki.
“In the future, try to control yourself from showing off Parker.” The boys skitter away, Peter goes to his locker and grabs what he needs. Loki glares at the teens making out on Peter's locker as the teen works to get his book.
“Get off the locker you horny miscreants.” Loki growls. He could not stomach the display and the two stop long enough to move a few lockers down to be someone else’s problem. Peter grabs his books with ease and smiles brightly at Loki. He only turns and walks slowly till Peter gets in front to show him to his locker. It was only at the end of the hallway and Loki puts the load of books Peter had kindly brought him the night before to lug all the way here. He then grabs the books Peter tells him to grab for the classes till lunch and they head off to first period as the late bell rings. Peter enters the class and rushes to his seat as the teacher is about to berate him for tardiness again. Mrs. Hawthorn is distracted, however, by the kid clad in greens, and blacks.
“What is your name? You must be the new kid.” Loki huffs at Peter for leaving him to the wolves.
“Loki, I am Peter’s cousin.” The dark skinned woman smiles kindly at him and gestures to a woman with blond hair.
“You can sit by Gwen then.” Loki nods and heads to the desk beside her, one seat in front of Peter. Once the teacher turns to write the name of the lesson on the board Gwen turns to him.
“Gwen Stacy, I like your name. It is very unique.” Loki was gripped by her hazel eyes. He gave a small smile and nodded. He looks back at Peter who only has eyes for the girl. He then turns away from those love sick eyes, not wanting anything to do with this romantic Peter behind him. Loki seemed in his element once the lesson started. He felt as if he had read the Macbeth play a hundred times since he always raised his hand to have the correct answer with a few opinions on how Shakespeare could have done a certain scene better. The teacher learned to stop calling on him a few minutes before the end of class; Loki in turn read the next book they were going to be assigned, The Great Gatsby. The bell rings to signal end of class and the beginning of the next. Loki jumped slightly at the shrill sound but quickly recovers to follow Peter out. He takes note of their surroundings to see further than the hustle of students. He doesn’t trust that the school has such well-behaved children running around. He stops for a moment and observes two men at a locker. They exchange a packet with white. He snorts at the obvious scene of misconduct that no one else notices. He turns to jog up to Peter who goes into a stairwell to go up a floor. Loki is stopped by his curiosity of a group of students standing outside in the parking lot. He goes over to the window and sees a big student clad in leather with an acne problem gesturing wildly to a motorcycle. It looked simple and easily able to be missed while parked beside the purple and lime green bikes. Loki saw the sales pitch in his exaggerated movements and he wonders if he would enjoy riding to school on a motorcycle then the chaos of the bus.
“Loki, hurry, we are going to be late for second period.” Loki turns swiftly to take the steps two at a time. They barely make it into chemistry class before the late bell and the balding teacher looks over his glasses at them. They take their seats swiftly, Peter having an empty seat beside him. Loki notices a familiar blonde head up front and sees her turn to wave at him. He senses Peter slump as she turns and avoids looking toward him the rest of class. He was not getting in the middle of a lovers quarrel, friendship be damned. Peter was given the lab instructions for the chemicals they were to use and make a bioluminescent glow. It was a simple lab, Peter saw and shrugged passing it to Loki since he tried to read over his shoulder. Peter skims over it as Peter looks at the vials. Everyone had a different array of liquids to make the needed reaction. No one could cheat was the idea so Peter quickly goes through his memory to remember the list of chemicals that worked together to get a glow. Loki sets down the paper and looks at the names of the multi colored liquids and before Peter could grab the first one, Loki beats him to it. He then grabs the next element needed and a glow starts in the tube. Peter stares, eyes big as oranges in disbelief. Loki stares at the light with glassy eyes. He was zoning out again and Peter grabs the glass tube to snap Loki out of it. He jerks his head in annoyance but realizes what happened. Loki was excused from doing the worksheet and he goes to stare out the window. A bird flies past the windows to land on a tree directly outside the building. A cloud blocks the sun for a moment causing a darker shade to blanket everything in Loki’s view. He could feel himself zone out yet again. He was thinking of his past two dreams. He has come to the conclusion he was dreaming of his mother, brother and father. This didn’t feel completely right so he knows there is more to his background. Mother was the only title that sang bright in his mind and a sigh of contentment exits his throat. Brother seemed to be filled with colors of sadness and broken promises. Something happened and he wondered if his brother could have been the one to do this to him. He thought back on the kid in the arena. He had no intention of actually hurting him despite his want to use a real sword. He then remembered the storm and when he came to find him with mother after a fight with father. Loki shakes his head. He wouldn’t have hurt him this way. His thoughts then go to the father that entered his dreams. He could not feel anything positive toward that man. To be honest, he saw him as a wall between him and the boy in his dream. Before he had woken up, Loki had seen the boy reach out for him. He had tried to grab the little hand but the man’s cape had taken the boy from his vision. A storm rages in Loki’s heart that is quelled when a hand rests on his shoulder. Peter was pulling him to leave. He must have missed the bell. Loki quickly grabs his bag and follows Peter to third period, calculous. He heard some kids whisper ‘math black magic’ as they enter with time to spare. He sees the kid with the bike from earlier and Peter seems to sit on the opposite side of the classroom. Loki looks from the two places. Sit with Peter or sit closer to the other guy. Peter was already immersed in his book and Loki walks over to the seat two down from biker guy. He was talking with someone who looked interested in what the guy was talking about, the bike, and Loki opens his book to act like he wasn’t paying attention.
“It can drive just about anywhere, has great speed, and is one of the best in the line.” The biker says, ending his pitch. The guy looks like he wants it but shakes his head.
“No can do Kev, I don’t have enough money right now. If you can wait a few months I could have the cash. I am just broke from the ticket I got last week.” ‘Kev’ groans loudly.
“Scott, you are my last chance. The guys don’t want my bike. They have ones that look nicer and no one else seems to have the cash for it. I need a new bike before the motorcycle show. I don’t want to go in on that outmoded piece of shit. Besides, no girl wants to ride unless there is style to a bike. That just doesn’t have the right look.” Scott shrugs.
“Sorry Kevin. My hands are tied tight.” Kevin takes his seat and Loki decides he can make his move.
"How much?" The guy looks him up and down and swipes his scraggly black hair out of his eyes.
"This isn't meant for beginners, I only sell to people I know can ride." Loki smirks and lowers his head a bit, the classroom growing quiet after the late bell rang.
"Well I am sure I can learn quickly. I can promise you, the bike won't be in better hands." The guy snorts appreciatively.
"Four hundred. I made it cheaper because I'm getting a new one and my dad won't give it to me till this one is gone." Loki nibbles on his cheek in thought. Money's no object to this guy.
"Alright, however, money can only give you so much and from what I see, you don't need it since your parents have you set." The teacher begins his lecture from his book and the two continue their conversation in bursts when the teacher turns. Loki feels a stair from a brown eyed teen across the room and holds his head higher.
"What couldn't money buy?" Loki shrugs at this question looking the guy up and down.
"What do you want?" Kevin chews on his pencil for a good fifteen minutes. Loki actually starts doing some of the equations on the board as he waits. He drops his pencil when he hears a whisper disturbingly close to his proximity and sees that he has leaned over to speak lower as the teacher helps a student with a question.
"Steven Spittel has a sister that is a model. She has graduated already but it's clear that she would make a good fuck and is not known for intelligence. Get me her and I will give you the bike." Loki stares at him, wondering if he is serious but is not surprised to find he is being serious. He labels him a horny caveman in his mind and decides Kevin’s use is the only thing keeping him there now. a shiver goes down his spine since Kevin has yet to leave his personal space.
"Where does she live?" he asks as he finished the last equation.
"2250 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10035." Loki takes out a piece of paper from his book bag Peter let him have and writes the address down in near calligraphy. The bell rings and after he quickly puts his stuff away to run out of class Kevin grabs his wrist. “You should get my number too.” He quickly scribbles it down and scurries out with Peter on his heels. His hand felt greasy and he really wanted soap now.
“What were you and greasemonkey going on about?” he asks as they walk to their lockers to grab their lunch. Loki merely shrugs, not sure how Peter would take the information. after theater class, they separate to grab their lunch and switch out books for the next few classes. The cafeteria was louder than the bus and Loki grabs Peter’s wrist in a death grip that made Peter yelp. He then drags Peter toward the pavilion. It was quieter with noise not being caged in a small room so Loki takes a seat at one of the tables with the least amount of bird poop and gum. Peter takes the seat in front of him and is about to continue his questions but is distracted. Loki doesn’t even have to look over his shoulder to know it was Gwen. Peter grabs his camera and Loki freezes mid bite of macaroni. A click and flash later Loki takes the bite, chews quickly and walks over to the girl who was talking with a few other women of her group. Loki was done with the stalker Peter was acting like and decides to try and stop it to save what little sanity he had left.
“Hello Loki how are you?” two of the four girls stare at him with appreciative eyes but he ignores them.
“I am well Gwen how have you and Peter been?” no beating around the bush and the aura around the group turned unwelcoming. The girls take the cue to leave and Gwen stops her smiling to bite her lip.
“Why do you ask? Has he been talking about me?” she looked annoyingly hopeful.
“He does not need to utter a word. His entire being speaks of his love for you and he has just taken a picture of you talking with those young girls.” She has a blush creep on her face and she looks away gasping. How does this not make him sick? He wants to say cute and endearing instead. Gwen truly is a wonder, everyone must love her on sight. “Whatever has happened to cause you two to keep distance I will not have it. I can barely stomach this school and I will not have the only two people I deem interesting be nauseating me too.” She looked confused but it dawned on her that Loki had complimented her and gives a smile. Loki bites his lip realizing this too. It feels weird to be kind like this but these two seem to be the only two with individuality in this god forsaken hellhole.
“I have to go get my lunch but tell Peter that I will be seeing him around.” She gives a toothy smile and hops off inside. Loki isn’t sure what just happened but he feels that it went well. He turns to find Peter putting all his efforts into eating his lunch. He take his seat and starts eating as well. He knows Peter is probably wondering what just happened but when he looks at Loki he sees in those emerald eyes that he has no intention of uttering a word.
With a school day under Loki’s belt and a weekend to look forward to, Loki scampers onto the bus to get the horrible ride over with. Peter follows, less enthused. The kid had the ability to skip gym class due to his injuries. They are no longer noticeable under his green hoody with gold trim and black cargo pants. He knew that the ones that should have had stitches are still healing though and he was glad he was not made to run track today. Peter was beat though, the hurdles being murder on last night’s bruises. Once seated, Peter hands Loki his phone and headphones. He takes it and continues to explore his music library. He skipped a lot of songs but stuck with artists like Imagine Dragons and 3 Doors Down. He was intrigued to see what Loki liked and decided that the Iphone he found in his closet last night was going to be a great surprise. He was also going to download things he saw him listening to now so he kept watching him, despite Loki trying to turn away. The ride back was easier for Loki and he continued to play on the phone as they exited the bus, immersed in a game of candy crush. He has already beaten Peter’s high scores and was now on new levels Peter couldn’t beat just yet. They entered the house, Peter calling to Aunt May who was getting ready for her late shift tonight. She had to do two shifts today and he knew he was going to need to pick her up too. Peter proudly thinks of the fact he has not been late once since that night. It was a miracle and a stroke of luck that despite what he was doing as Spiderman at the time he always finished in time to swing to Aunt May. He never did show up without new bruises though and it was easier now that late shifts are rare. Loki had climbed the stairs already to his room. Loki has become good with the tech overnight and they both needed it for homework tonight. He wonders if he would be able to buy a cheap one for him so they wouldn’t have to take turns. Peter jumps the steps three at a time, using the railing for balance and decides he would take a few hours of Spiderman time while he did homework. Loki turned from what he was doing and closed the browser.
“Is this a nightly thing?” his arms were crossed, one leg elegantly placed over his knee. Peter felt like he was being caught sneaking by a parent, not a teenager who used to be passive.
“Someone has to.” He puts on the mask and walks toward the window. Loki gets up to stand in front of it.
"I'm coming with you." Loki wanted to see what all this was about. He knew he wasn’t necessarily going to be useful and he wasn't really going even if he said yes. He wanted to know why Peter when out there. He also thought he might get some answers from the scene he just set up. Peter shakes his head furiously.
"No you’re not." He wasn’t surprised by the answer but decided to see what would happen if he pushed.
“You are putting yourself in senseless danger and I know you see how much it hurts Aunt May.” Peter starts doing his usual nervous ticks of wild hand movements and touching some part of his head.
"No, I won't let you come along."
"I'm not asking your permission." Peter turns quickly already his exaggerated body language looking upset and mad.
"No, I will web you to the bed if I have to but you are not coming with me I will not put you in danger." Loki sees his distress but ignores it.
"So what, you are just going to keep going the way you are without a care for those who will notice your absence? Just attacking guys who the police have trouble catching or the occasional monster that surfaces. You are killing Aunt May." Peter takes off his mask face red with rage.
"At least she and you are alive! Loki I cannot lose people ok. Not again." Loki sees his eyes turn glassy, the puzzle pieces all fitting together perfectly.
"Is that why you won't let Gwen close?" he turns away and goes out the window without a word. Loki sighs at his stubbornness. “So that’s why you act so angsty. I blame teenage hormones for the exaggerated mood swings.” He goes back to the computer and writes down the directions to the girl’s house. He stuffs it in his back pocket and grabs his bag. On his way out Aunt May asked where he was going from her seat in the den. “Just to go meet a guy from school. He wants to introduce me to a girl he knows.” She smiles a knowing smile.
“Do you have bus fare?” He looks confused for a moment and she goes to grab her purse on the couch that she sits on. She grabs three dollars. “This should give you an all-day pass.” Loki grabs the money from Aunt May feeling more in debt to her by the day. It’s only been about three days since he has been here and she has been so giving. Never has she asked for anything in return or said anything against him for taking so much.
“Thank you Aunt May.” She waves him toward the door.
“Have fun but stay safe ok.” He nods opening the glass door and heads toward the bus stop at the end of the block. The bus was to arrive in about thirty minutes so he takes out one of the school books he brought and studies what he has missed. He was skimming most of it and found that it all made sense to him. As if he already knew what was written. Once the bus actually arrived, Loki takes an empty seat in the back, relieved that not many people are on the bus. His relief was short lived when the next stop brings a crying baby and its mother on the bus. He winces at the shriek that echoed in his mind. The child had no reason to cry. Its mom was right there. The incessant wailing was causing Loki to grit his teeth from the annoyance that was creeping to rage. He almost missed his stop but managed to jump off before the doors closed when he finally noticed to blinking sign up front. Looking down the street he starts thinking. The sun warmed Loki’s pale skin and he takes a glance at the directions to be sure which way he was supposed to go. The map told him he just needed to walk a few blocks so he turned left and started walking. His thoughts as he walked crept to his living arrangements and he wonders what his title is among them? Would Peter call him a friend? He knows Aunt May cared for him. There was no way that woman could lie and so he felt safe around her. He then ponders about his dreams and possible family he could have. Did they miss him? Did they care? How far away were they? It seemed so crazy that if his family loved him that they haven’t found him yet. It is not as if he were hiding and he had to have been misplaced for a long time. Here he was though, living in another house with strangers who have been nothing but welcoming. Would he go back if they found him? He couldn’t see himself doing that. It seemed as if he was best alone or here. Peter hasn’t said anything about him leaving and Aunt May said to stay as long as he would like. He has a room to himself even. The word house turns into another word. Home. Could he have found one? Would they care if he left? Loki shakes his head and realizes he is at the address. He goes up the walkway and past a working mini fountain. He knocks on the door using the lion head knocker and waits. A girl answers the door and Loki guesses it’s her.
"Hello, who are you?" She asks with a cautious smile. Loki bows his head slightly.
"Good day miss, I was wondering if your brother was home." She shakes her head.
"He should be back soon though, football practice is about over." Loki nods appreciatively.
"That is fine, a friend of mine just wished to ask a question but could not make it here himself. His motorcycle had to go to the shop after his engine blew from going too fast." Her interest peaks at Loki's explanation. he had no idea if his lie was believable to those who knew the mechanics of a motorcycle but she believes it.
"Is your friend ok?" Loki nods.
"Yes, he does this a lot so no need to be concerned. It is sad though, he wanted someone to go with him to the motorcycle show tomorrow night but his girlfriend broke up with him rather viciously." Her eyes show concern but a bit of a sparkle of want in her eyes shows that it is only polite concern.
"Is he cute?" Loki shrugs.
"From a guy's point of view I guess he could be seen as such." She smiles fixing her hair as if he could see her right now.
"Could you give me his number? I have always wanted to go to a motorcycle show." Loki doubts it but he truly could care less if this girl cared or not. Loki gives the number to her, says a polite farewell and walks away back to the bus stop. It took a good forty five minutes till the next bus, which was also ten minutes late but Loki is at least all caught up in literature and chemistry. Loki was relieved to actually have a quiet ride this time despite the many people in the bus. It was hot and he did give up his seat to an older woman but no screaming baby was on it. However he did see an older man staring at him occasionally and he was beyond disturbed by the look. Once the bus pulled around to his bus stop he got off with the other seven and headed to the Parker residence. Aunt May was now gone and he looked at the clock to see he had been gone for about three hours. He decided to head up to Peter’s room and finish the little homework he got today. He was bored after and really didn’t want to read any more school text books tonight. He started tossing pens in the air, attempting to get them stuck in the ceiling. He managed two by the time Peter climbed into the room at around eight at night. He looked frazzled and sore.
“It is a little passed eight. Don’t you have to get Aunt May at nine?” Loki asks. He had heard them talk about it this morning. Peter jumps up from the pile of mush he became after plopping on the bed. Loki pushes him down with a single finger. “Give me the address, I’ll go get her.” Peter looks ready to object and Loki crosses his arms. “I dare you to challenge me because if you do, you will have lied to me. You told me I wasn’t weak. I can walk to pick her up just as well as you can. Now give me the damned address.”
“Language Loki, and fine.” He goes to the computer and prints off directions in two minutes. “Just be safe and don’t stop anywhere from here to there.” Loki snorts as he goes to his room to grab a leather jacket. Peter drags his body behind him in another attempt at a safety lecture. Loki pushes the spandex clad teen back and smirks.
“So I take it I shouldn’t accept candy from a stranger either.” Peter rolls his eyes and goes back to his room to change and get started on homework. Loki heads right back to the bus stop, lucky to grab it right before it left and heads to the first stop that is ten minutes away. He then finds he has to walk the rest of the eight blocks to where Aunt May works. He walks with his head down and hands in his pockets. It was cold and a bit windy but Loki enjoys it actually. It wasn’t cold to him really and Loki watches as people bundled from head to toe walk by him while he wore a hoody and a light leather jacket. Shrugging it off to being warm blooded he finally reached the building with Aunt May just now walking out. “Aunt May, you ready to head home.” He hollers as he walks to meet her. She jumps slightly but is all smiles when she sees Loki.
“Hello dear, is Peter ok?” he nods easily.
“He needed to catch up on homework in all. We are having to take turns with the computer right now.” Aunt May nods and embraces Loki. He takes the hug awkwardly and tries to return it. She lets go with a kiss to his cheek and Loki blushes brushing it off like a child. Aunt May laughs good naturedly and walks toward the bus stop with Loki walking beside her. It was an easy walk till some drunkards stumbled out of the bar. Aunt May stopped in surprise but Loki grabbed her arm to pull her around the men. Just when they had passed the three guys, one throwing up. The one that looked most sober for a drunk starts following them. The other two were to out of it to properly follow so instead howled suggestively. Aunt May tried to look back but Loki pulled her to walk faster keeping her eyes forward. He felt his presence, could tell how many paces away he was. He reeked of booze and vomit but an aura radiated from him. He was alpha, one people submitted to due because of strength alone. He didn’t look smart with little light to his eyes but that could just be the alcohol. He yells to them. Telling them to stop but Loki just tucks Aunt May closer. He was a head taller than her and he knew his body, though sturdy, was still sore from two nights ago. He was catching up and Loki felt his muscles tense, body start working in over time. It felt like the dream. His fight with the boy. His body was trained and it was working now through muscle memory. Where was he from with such knowledge commanding his body? The man was close, he was reaching out and Aunt May was tense. Loki moves first. Pushing Aunt May ahead. He turns on his toes in an almost dance form and grabs the man’s arm. He then steps behind him in a twirl and bends the arm up his back unnaturally causing him to yell. Loki then kicks the back of his knee with all the strength he had. A crack sounds. Loki gasps realizing what he had done. He only wanted him on the ground. He had no idea he had that much strength. He drops the man and grabs Aunt May. She walks steadily with him toward the bus and right as he turns the corner, he looks to see the man’s knee was protruding the skin. Fear wells up inside Loki but he tosses it out till they get back. It was quiet till then. Loki would not even look at Aunt May. He felt her eyes on him several times but he would not meet them. He didn’t want to see the disgust. They got back and Loki all but runs inside. Aunt May calls to him but he was already inside and up the stairs. Should he leave? He looks to the book bag and grabs it about to dump everything to start packing. Just as he unzips it a hand is on his shaking one. He freezes and Aunt May turns him to face her. He looks to the floor. He had ruined everything in an attempt to protect her. He couldn’t stop hearing the sound of his knee cracking the flesh being ripped.
“Loki, look at me.” She uses her pointer finger to gently raise his chin. He looks her in the eyes to see concern. No disgust or fear. Just concern. “Thank you for protecting m. I don’t know how you did that but I know you didn’t mean to hurt him.” Loki bites his lip and Aunt May puts both her hands on either side of his face. “You are a good man Loki, and my kind hearted talented boy.” Hers? He was hers? “This is your home Loki, I would never be afraid of you.” Loki could feel his eyes burn with unshed tears but he would not let them fall. Instead he squeezes his eyes shut and holds Aunt May close in a hug that he tried to convey all he was feeling through. She returns it and he feels so warm and safe. He had a home. This was home. He was a man that had been walking alone in an unforgiving land to finally find an oasis.
“Thank you.” He whispers in her hair. He saw Peter out of the corner of his eye looking from his room directly opposite his down the hall. Peter merely smiles and shuts the door.