He Without Sin

Mystique Meets Doom

Victor did not take Mystique's sudden arrival in his home with very much grace.

Loki decided that it would be easiest to teleport the woman, rather than let her ruminate over her decision too long by taking more mundane means. It was more important to be quick than to be discreet, but he hoped it would not seem too strange that he had such a multitude of powers. If things worked the way Loki desired, he would not have to keep up the ruse of being a mutant for too long, but he wasn't betting on the best outcomes.

Loki told the woman that it would be best if she took a more covert form for their arrival and Mystique shifted into the appearance of a blonde woman. The look was obviously one she was very familiar with, the same way Loki was mostly familiar with his dark haired female form, even though he could shift into any other. Loki held out a hand to Mystique. "We are going to travel the quick way, if that is amenable to you?"

"You can teleport, too?" Mystique asked with a smile.

Loki smiled back. "I have a multitude of talents." She reached out to take Loki's hand. "One thing first, have you heard of Victor Von Doom?"

She gave him a confused look. "The one with the robots?"

"That would be the one."

"Why?"

They appeared suddenly in one of the halls of the castle. "I do not wish to startle him," Loki explained as she pulled Mystique down the hall. They had to check a few room before they discovered Victor in the library and he stood immediately upon seeing them. He was wearing his armor, as was most common, but Loki could practically feel the frown on his face. Unlike Loki, Amora never changed her looks around the castle (she couldn't shapeshift as Loki could, only cast illusions over herself), so Victor knew right away that this was a stranger.

"What is this?" He demanded. Loki was glad that he'd told Mystique to wear a more normal look, else Victor's words would likely have stung her. And likely led to a very heated comment. (Though part of him wanted a conflict to blossom between the human and and the mutant, eager to see what his new acquaintance has in the way of skills, but he pushed the chaotic impulse down. Now was not the time.) "What have you brought to my castle?"

"An acquaintance. Victor, please do behave," Loki responded in her most reasonable tone of voice.

"An acquaintance," He repeated. "Or a stray? Is that what you think I am to do? Take in whatever stray that you please? You believe you have the right to invite whomever to a home that is not even yours?"

This was not an unfamiliar argument. Victor could act very fickle, at times, telling the two gods that this was their home, but claiming it to be only Victor's whenever he wanted to assert his dominance.

Loki gave the mortal a patient look. "Surely it is unbecoming to act this way before a guest."

"What shall be unbecoming is seeing her entrails litter the floor when I eviscerate her!"

"I'd like to see you try," Mystique spoke up, taking up a defensive stance. Loki loved the tension in the room. It sent shivers of excitement through her body. Chaos, mischief, all around her like a long lost lover showing their passion has never waned. It was difficult to remind herself that this wasn't what she wanted.

"It isn't as if you do not have enough room to host another party," Loki said. "And I would be... appreciative if you would not put up much of a fuss over this. We can properly argue later, yes?"

Victor turned to the woman. "What do you want here, girl?"

"She said that I could lay low here a while," Mystique answered.

"Oh? And what have you done to need such a thing?"

"I am," She replied defiantly and all at once shifted to her true form, staring at Victor in open challenge.

As Loki predicted, wanting took over Victor's expression. She could read it in his body, having seen it directed at herself so often, but the mask and armor covered his form. Which was good. Victor's interest would likely scare her off.

"Ah, I see," Victor replied. "I have been rude, forgive me." He glanced at Loki before asking, "Do you know where you are girl?" He paused only long enough to read the answer on her face, but didn't force her to answer such a telling question. Didn't force her to admit the vulnerable position she was in. Knowing of it seemed to appease Victor, though. He did so enjoy having power over others. "This is my country of Latveria. In this country and castle both, I am the authority. You will respect that if you are to stay."

"I understand," Mystique replied.

"Good." He paused before adding. "I am Victor Von Doom. You may address me as either Victor or Doom, as you please. What of yourself?"

"Raven," She answered. "But I prefer Mystique."

Loki smiles at this. "Ah, I wondered when you would provide me with a proper name."

"You're one to talk." Mystique said.

"I asked you what you would like to call me." Loki smirked.

Mystique rolled her eyes. "You won't even give me a hint."

"I've had many names before," Loki admitted. "I wouldn't even know which one to give you."

"Luna," Victor offered. "If you are Mystique and I am Doom, it is only fair that she is a lunatic."

"Fitting, I'm starting to think," Mystique answered.

Victor made some gesture and one of his bots appeared at his side. "This shall lead you to your room, Mystique." The mutant followed the mechanical creature out of the room and Victor turned to face Loki.

A pleasant conversation was sure to follow. (Loki still felt electric from the amount of mischief in the room and also welcomed the conflict. She'd been too quiet for her own liking lately.)

Victor turned to face Loki as soon as Raven was gone, moving into her space and slamming one hand against the wall beside her head. "What is the meaning of this, Loki?"

"She is a mutant shapeshifter," Loki told him. "I saw her injured and had the desire to help her. It would be very nice were she to offer her help or her resources. There are a lot of mutants, after all."

Victor's hand hit the wall on the other side of her head, but she didn't react or flinch, just keep staring straight ahead. He was menacing her now, or at least attempting to, standing over her and using his body as a threat. Victor never did threaten Loki with words. That would have been unwise, but his body was a weapon. It was why he insisted on wearing his armor at almost all times. His skin was his weakness, but his armor was also his skin and it was strength. Loki understood wearing your skin as weapon. She was a shapeshifter, after all.

"For what reason should I not drag her into my lab upon the first chance I am given?" The question was a threat and a confession. The mortal was a strange man with many conflicts of personality. Honorable, in his way, but no less the villain he desired to be. If she could have, Loki would stroke the lies that he wore upon his skin. But she was not really the god of such things and could only touch them insofar as they could relate to chaos or mischief.

There was no mischief to this lie, though. No appeal to her magic. Loki liked Victor's lies for reasons all her own. She sighed at that, almost disappointed with the thought but not certain in what she would rather it be. "What if I offer you something?" Loki said. "A secret of mine for a secret of hers. Would that appease you?"

"Perhaps."

Loki sighed again, suddenly feeling weaker in this female skin. She shifted, but the feeling didn't dissipate even once he was back in male flesh. The thought of what he was about to do made him feel sick inside, but he had a point to make and mysteries were the surest way to direct Victor's mind where he wanted it to go. Standing up straight so as not to make his unease clear, Loki vanished his clothes with a spell. "Take off your mask, Victor."

Loki wondered if, in the privacy of his armor, Victor flinched at the reminder that Loki had seen him without his skin. Instead, he projected his anger as if it would protect him from whatever was to come. It wouldn't. Loki had tried that before (was likely to try it again) but it does little to protect and only makes you more brittle around the edges. "You have no right to command me!"

"No secret of mine is free, Victor."

"I thought you were giving me payment for the woman you've tossed into my castle!"

"Yes, but that does not make it free." Loki laid a hand on the side of Victor's mask, but did not remove it. "I will not be the only one."

There was a long tense moment between them before Loki began to, slowly, remove Victor's mask. Slow enough that he could be stopped, but the mortal made no move to do so. He lifted it up and off, tossing it to the table behind Victor. Without another word, Loki forced the change to run through his skin. It wasn't something that he had much experience with, changing into a form that he actively loathed. It was like pushing his magic against it's own nature (toward his true nature) and part of him rebelled, but he ignored it as best he could. The blue swept across his skin and the cold filled the room.

Victor backed away from him to take in the sight, eyes wide with greedy wonder. Loki tried not to flinch, feeling the man's gaze like a touch upon his skin. It felt wrong. All of it felt wrong. His skin, the cold, the gaze that drank in the sight so hungrily. "Loki," Victor whispered, a million questioned in that one word.

"We are all monsters here, Victor." When the man's gaze lifted to meet Loki's, the god made certain Victor saw as his eyes traced over the scars on the man's face. The sight didn't bother Loki, but it did bother Victor. Loki would not be the only one. Victor barely contained his own flinch.

"Tell me about this," Victor asked with a gentle voice, trying not to frighten Loki. The god hated being obvious, but there really was no way to hide the disgust he felt at this form.

"You first Victor," Loki insisted. "Show me your hate if you want mine."

To Loki's surprise, he did.

Victor told him, in great detail, the circumstances of his scars and his hate and the exact reasons of his ambitions, and he did so without looking away from Loki's gaze once. His body was a weapon, but so was honesty. A weapon and a mirror, forcing Loki to see what he was being shown, even if it didn't actually reflect any circumstance of Loki's. Loki liked Victor lies, but he decided in this moment that he hated his truths. At least, he hated that Victor knew how to make a weapon of it.

Loki hated that Victor made him feel weak in this moment, able to bear his scars when Loki was unable to bare his own.

"You've a price to pay, trickster," Victor said when the silence following his words grew too long.

"That's right," Loki replied, mostly to himself. He did have a price to pay. A price for penance. 'This is my punishment,' Loki thought to himself. And then he spoke.


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