He Without Sin

In Which, Shapeshifting

Loki had taken up a routine involving the Avengers and watching over them. Whenever Victor was planning an attack, he would go to their city to check in on them a few days before and linger to watch them for a few days after. Amora was usually with him during these times, as herself and not whatever disguise she used to keep an eye on the Avengers when he was not around. She was still playing the game of secrecy and he didn't mind indulging her. She told him what she was up to, after all, just not who she was when she did it.

Loki had taken to wearing his female form when he was out. He tried to pretend it wasn't because it was as much a relief to change forms as it was a disguise to get by. Male Loki had been conditioned to be a warrior, to be strong, to be an imitation of Odin and Thor. (Not that he ever got the trick right.) Female Loki never had such restrictions placed on her. Loki felt a little more like he could do what he wanted. The pressure slipped off his shoulders like water and he could breathe.

He used a different disguise when he was 'working' of course. A new face each time he had to convince the mortals the flee the scene chosen for an attack. The first Victor had learned of this, he'd given Loki an odd look, but it was only after it had happened a few more times that he made any comment upon it.

"I was not aware that you were so concerned with mortal lives," He's said offhandedly.

Loki sensed the trap. Victor knew that Loki and Amora were stronger than him, both in physical and magical terms, but he was always looking for a weakness. It was pragmatic to do so and Loki felt himself become tense at every reminder, just as he admired the mortal a little more. "It won't do me any favors in the long run if I kill off more mortals," He answered. "It will only reduce the credibility of my words."

"Perhaps," Victor replied, "But is that why you spare them?"

"No," Loki answered. "Not entirely. I can kill when I must, if it will further my goals, but I feel no need to do so wantonly."

He could feel Victor's scrutiny despite the man being hidden by his armor. "Is that so..."

Loki sighed. "I am not judging you, Victor. It is no problem to me what gains you pleasure. I do not tell you how to treat those you lord over in Latveria. You need not be so wary. I am whatever I need to be. A warm flame to keep the mortals protected and give them light, or an ice storm that coldly freezes all that I may touch. Is it so hard to understand?"

"No," the man answered. "But not something that I have come to expect."

Loki smiled indulgently at him. "I am a god. Do not expect that you can fathom me so easily."

Victor did not make mention or complaint about Loki's actions later, nor did he aid in them. Which was fine. Loki was used to going it alone. He was use to doing the thankless necessity. And he knew if the mortals were to learn who he was, he would not be thanked. Amora made little comment on it either, except to say that he went to far too much trouble for such ungrateful creatures. She was not wrong, but she was not right either.

It was a coincidence when he ran into Amora's disguised form. He was on a walk in the early hours, surveying where Victor planned his next attack and mentally evaluating how many establishments he needed to evacuate and how many clones he would need to do it, when he spotted her. He was able to recognize her right away, running beside the good captain with a red headed assassin tailing them. He was as inconspicuous as he could be as he moved toward them, knowing that if he used magic Amora would be onto him quickly. He stayed long enough to learn her name and then took great pleasure in revealing that he'd found her out later.

It was not long after this that Loki showed his female form before Victor for the first time. He was tense, because he was comfortable in this form and didn't want that to be interpreted as weakness, but also unwilling to change at that moment, but the mortal didn't comment. There was a tense moment of scrutiny when Loki had first entered the room and the more suspiciously inquired, "Loki?" At Loki's confirmation, he seemed to relax (as much as the man was ever relaxed around Loki) and nothing changed aside from Victor referring to him as a women when viable.

Loki also got the impression of immense curiosity the more times that Loki appeared as a female, but Victor was always curious about Loki anyway.

The man had stared at him with an open look of wanting and undisguised curiosity the first time Loki turned up in an animal form that he almost wondered if the man would try to physical haul him off to his lab for study. (Victor did no such thing. He was not a fool.)

It was during one of these times that Loki was working, halfway through clearing an area about to be attacked (he liked to do it as quickly as possible and that meant multiple clones all at once, enough that it had made him dizzy the first few times he'd tried) when he was approached by Shield. He was between surprised and pleased when Agent Coulson approached him. He hadn't thought that Shield would try to talk to him directly when they tried to figure out what was going on, but he should have suspected this move would come when they didn't find out anything. (Well, he did expect it, but not so soon.) He was happy to find that the agent was alive and well, as Loki had intended him to be.

"Excuse me, can I moment of your time?"

Loki was in a female form, a little similar to Agent Romanov, if he thought about it. Short and red haired, but with the darkest of eyes, and the uniform he wore to imitate the authorities hugged an immodest amount of curves. Loki smiled a little. "I'm actually in the middle of something," she replied.

"Yes, I can see that," Coulson replied. "If you tell us what you are doing we could be of help."

Loki titled her head as he watched the man, curious. He wondered what conclusion the organization had come to. She put a hand on her hip and gestured to the right. "Three blocks down, and four blocks over," she said, because Coulson would obviously know that he was evacuating the area, otherwise why her approach at all. "This is mostly estimation, of course."

"Of course," He replied. He spoke quickly into a communication device in his ear, relying Loki's words and quietly speaking orders. Loki dismissed her clones, relieved not to have her magic so wide spread anymore.

"Two hours," She added as an after thought.

Coulson nodded and spoke into the device again before returning attention to Loki. "You really cut it close, don't you? It's not easy to evacuate an area that size in such a time span."

"It's also not easy to keep people away if you go in too early and they wander back out of curiosity." Loki shot back.

Coulson nodded to acknowledge this fact. "Now that that is taken care of, may I have a moment of your time?"

"I find I cannot agree to such a thing without knowing who you are and what it is that you want from me."

"Agent Phil Coulson, from the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division," He answered, holding out a business card.

Loki hesitated only a moment before reaching out and taking the card, looking at it critically. "A... government agency."

"Yes, can we talk?"

"If we must, but I refuse to go anywhere with you," Loki replied. "I will only talk to you in a public place and I will leave before the two hour mark is up." Loki looked around a moment. "Outside the evacuation area."

The two of them walked no more than a block away and Loki kept an eye out for covert agents. She spotted only a few of them, but she knew there were more. It was troublesome, but there were spells aplenty to hide her from the humans if she needed. They went into a cafe, taking a seat near the door where they both had clear sight of it.

"Is it too much to ask for your name?"

Loki paused in consideration. "Call me Lockley."

"Your full name?" He inquired again with a raised eyebrow.

"You may call me Lockley or nothing at all," She stated firmly.

Coulson accepted this with a frown. He leaned forward slightly. "I'd like to inquire about why you were instigating a massive evacuation."

"I'd think you would know."

"I'd like you to tell me."

She pursed her lips before answering. "To save lives."

"From what."

She sat forward, folding her hands on the tabletop. "Have you noticed, Agent Phil Coulson, that whenever there is an attack by a... more powerfully inclined individual, there is often a great amount of collateral damage? In such instances, it would be beneficial if we could change that, don't you think?"

They both paused in their conversation as a waiter approached, placing simple orders and waiting until she returned with their drinks before speaking again. Neither of them touched the drinks.

"How do you know that the attacks are coming?"

"I don't always know," She answered.

"But when you do know?" He pushed. "Is someone feeding you information? Telling you when to do this?" He waited for an answer, when none came, he asked again. "Miss Lockley, who do you work for?"

"Why must I work for anyone?"

Coulson frowned, holding her gaze. "Miss Lockley, I'm afraid that you aren't giving me much information to go on."

"I do not know what to tell you, Agent. What I do, you cannot do it."

"Are you a mutant, then?"

Loki tilted her head to the side. "And what if I were?"

"Miss Lockley, I am not here to frighten you," He assured.

"Why are you here?" She asked him.

"For answers."

"What if I cannot give them?" Her eyes flickered to a clock on the wall. "I believe I have given you enough of my time."

"It hasn't been two hours," He pointed out.

"Yes. I said I would leave before two hours had passed." Loki moved to stand but Coulson placed a hand on hers. He held out another business card, this one with a list of different phone numbers.

"Let's stay in touch, Miss Lockley."

She glanced at his hand on her before taking the card. "It was nice to meet you, Agent Coulson."

Loki walked to the busiest place that was nearby before casting the spells that would her hide from sight. Better they think they lost her in a crowd than she disappeared too abruptly. It would be beneficial to have contact with Shield, but only if she could control it. She didn't need them too suspicious and she needed time to decide how she could best use this opportunity.


The next battle Loki was involved in she came upon by accident. They were mutants, some of them were distinctive enough to be certain of that fact, either through infamy or mutation. She had been walking about unseen when she saw the disturbance and it seemed as good an opportunity as any to get a better look at the group.

It was slightly less useful than she anticipated. The battle was pure chaos and she had a very hard time trying to tell who was supposed to be the hero and villain in this particular game, though one side looked slightly more uniformed than the other, that wasn't a good indication. What did catch Loki's attention was among those fleeing the destruction around them. One moment a man was hurrying along, the next moment she saw a flash of blue skin and a child was weaving through the crowd.

For a moment Loki completely froze, uncertain what to do with the sudden reminder of her own skin. She swallowed hard, conflict building in her until a sudden explosion rained down near the child form. The attack had clearly been meant for another, but she watched as the small body was tossed aside, laying still and injured. Loki didn't do much thinking at that point, just moved to the child's side and teleported them both back to one of her nearby apartments.

The child woke while Loki was still healing her. She sat up in surprise and moved away and Loki let her magic drop despite the injury not being completely healed. She was in her more natural female form, waves of dark hair and bright green eyes. She didn't want to intimidate the thing, whoever or whatever it was.

"Wh-who are you?" The child asked.

"I mean you no harm," Loki answered instead. "I saw you injured during the battle and I wanted to help you." The child looked down then, seeming to notice the lack of injuries she beheld. "May I finish healing you?"

"You can heal?" The child questioned.

"Yes." Loki moved forward and placed a hand on the child to continue with healing. The contact wasn't completely necessary, but it certainly eased the way.

"Are you a... a mutant?" The child asked in a nervous voice.

"Would you like it if I were?" Loki questioned. "It certainly seemed as if that is the case for you, if I am not mistaken."

The child knocked Loki's hand away and stood, transforming into the blue form that she'd briefly seen earlier, looking ready to attack.

"I told you that I do not wish you harm," Loki said. "I can change as well." Upon saying, Loki shifting form to that of a cat. Loki sat up in the regal way that only cat's could, looking imperiously upon the woman that stood before him. "I must admit to knowing very little about mutants, so do forgive me if I say something untoward."

Her eyes were hard as she glared at him. "So you aren't a mutant, then?"

"That is not what I said," Loki replied. "I said that I am not well informed."

Her glare persisted, but she dropped out of her attack stance and Loki returned to his female form.

"You are a shape changer, then?" Loki questioned.

"Yes. And it looks like you are, too."

"That is a correct statement. What may I call you?"

"Mystique. What about you?"

Loki debated for a moment before answering. "Well, what would you like to call me?"

"Strange," she replied right away.

Loki laughed. "A name no more odd than yours."

Mystique's eyes darted around the apartment, taking in the white carpet and furnishing, looking to the open kitchen area. Loki didn't know what possessed her to get white furnishings, but it made her feel calm to look around the room. Clean, stainless, unlike Loki. She swallowed back the feelings of loss that threatened to rise within her.

"Why did you bring me here?" Mystique asked finally.

Loki smiled sheepishly at her. "It was a whim actually. I caught a glimpse of blue inbetween you changing forms and then I saw you injured. It was impulse, really, to get you away from the battle so that I could heal you. It didn't look like you were apart of it, but... were you? You don't have to lie if you were. I don't know why that fight was happening so I have no reason to judge either side."

There was a long moment of Mystique staring at Loki. "I'm hiding from someone," she answered. "Guess I wasn't hiding well enough."

Loki nodded at that answer. "If it would help, you could hide here."

Mystique narrowed her eyes again. "Why would you help me?"

Loki met her gaze when he answered. "I'm hiding from someone, too," She said softly. "I understand the need to have a safe place."

Mystique let her eyes drift back to the furnishings of the apartment. "He found me before. It's only a matter of time before he finds me here again..."

"What if you are not here?" Mystique looked at Loki questioningly and Loki went on. "I have a friend I stay with most of the time, out of the country. I'm very rarely here. You could come with me. It would be harder to find you if he did not know where to look."

"Your friend would be okay with that?"

"If he is not, I shall convince him." Loki's eyes sparkled with mischief a moment. "And with how quickly you were to try and fight, I don't think it too much to say you can handle yourself when you need or hide when you must." She smiled at the blue woman before going on. "I know only one thing about mutants, they are dangerous. That means that I think you are dangerous enough to take care of yourself, but also that whoever you are hiding from must be dangerous, too. If it is another mutant... or if it is something of more mundane persuasion."

"I'm not use to being offered something for nothing," She answered.

"Oh, I do expect something!" Loki exclaimed. "I expect you not to attack me, for one. Not an unreasonable expectation I hope."

Mystique smiled. "I think I might be able to manage that."

"Good," Loki replied and smiled in return.



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