1963-11-17 - Representation
Summary: Following Loki's appearance on Ed Sullivan the night before, and their… less than reassuring meeting that morning, Liv ends up expressing her frustrations to Heather.
Related: A Really Big Show
Theme Song: None
heather liv 


Last night had not been a great one for Liv. This morning wasn't shaping up to be much better. The stares and murmurings that Liv was now being subjected to within SHIELD's halls were grating, and the worst part was that after her meeting with Loki that morning?

She couldn't fault them their suspicions at all.

The coffee shop where she's taking lunch is a few blocks from headquarters, and Liv has gone alone, though it wasn't hard to notice her leave. She isn't hard to find now, either. She's sitting alone, sticking out like a sore thumb as a tall blonde woman in a tailored men's suit, hunched over as large a mug as she could get the clerk to pour for her.

*

"I thought I'd find you here." Heather slides into the seat across from Liv, puts her own cup of coffee down. "What a shitshow, honey. It'll pass. At least where people at work are concerned." She's just as brisk and cheerful as usual. Nothing's changed for her.

"I'm still…processing. The whole. Show." She exhales sharply. "Can I do anything to help?"

*

Liv doesn't lift her head, but her eyes do flick up to see who's joined her at her table. She cracks a very wry smile when she sees Heather there, her eyebrows raising. "I wish you could. I'm just waiting for Peggy to call me into her office and I have no idea what to expect when she does," she admits, sounding tired.

Liv lightly taps her fingers against her mug, blue eyes still focused on Heather. "…I went to see him this morning, to ask what the hell he was thinking."

*

"And?" Heather looks skeptical. She's considering taking up smoking. Maybe drinking.

*

"And I have never felt ashamed to be from Asgard before."

The blonde's eyes drop back to her drink and she pinches the bridge of her nose, as if it might help. "I told them — Loki and Thor both — that all he's managed to do is guarantee that more innocent people are going to be killed. Mutants, aliens, people they claimed this was supposed to help. And they didn't care."

*

"Why would they do this? There are people at risk, and it was so arrogant." Heather's throat tightens and she shakes her head. "It was the most ill-considered…ridiculous…terrifying…" Heather exhales slowly before she starts ranting. "I couldn't believe it was happening. Like a trainwreck. In slow motion."

*

"Because they are arrogant," Liv says in a low, dark voice, allowing herself to level a downright venomous glare at her coffee. "They're taking the long view, Heather. A few innocent deaths now will have been worth it if it ensures humanity puts aside its petty little differences and takes a more evolved view of their place in the Nine Realms."

Liv is still muttering darkly when she brings her mug up for a sip. She is, plainly, furious.

*

"Have they met humans? They've basically turned Earth into a ship full of cornered rats. It's going to go poorly for everyone — and people will find a way to make it go poor for them." Heather looks more frustrated by the minute. "This is going to be a disaster. People aren't going to look to "understand our place" because that attitude makes it clear they've already decided where our place should be and it's nowhere near the top of the heap. The first thing humans will try to do is secure a better vantage point — possibly by making alliances with races that aren't Asgardian."

*

"He wants them to be afraid of otherworldly threats instead of one another," Liv grumbles, forcing herself to gently set her coffee back down, not slam it like she wants to. "But he doesn't understand how people think, especially when they're frightened. Or, worse, perhaps he does understand and simply doesn't care." She rests both elbows on the table and buries her face in her hands, mumbling against her palms. "Everything is a disaster."

*

"Asgard is now the best-known otherworldly threat going," Heather says dryly. "So, mission accomplished? I wouldn't say everything, but apparently someopne's working on it. This is frustrating. But what about you? Are you all right? Can I help at all?"

*

"I have no idea. First Mattie Ferguson goes missing, now this?" Liv drops her hands to the table and sighs tiredly, forcing herself to sit up. "Ask me again after I know how Peggy's taking it, I suppose. I'm wondering if I shouldn't go speak to Doctor Strange," she admits, anxiously running a hand back through her hair.

*

"I want to say I'm sure she won't hold it against you but I'm not sure that's in her hands at this point." Heather fiddles with her spoon, then takes a sip of coffee. "I hope she can make it work. We really need people on the inside to accept and understand people like you — Asgardians. Aliens. God, it's so weird to say that. Aliens. I mean, I know people from other places and I don't think of them as "alien". They're just "not from here". But it's been normal to me for so long."

*

"Like I told Peggy, this is my home," Liv says, tapping the table with a pair of fingers. "Not Asgard. Especially now, if that's how they're going to carry themselves. It's just so…" She makes a wordless sound of frustration, her nose wrinkling. "I don't understand, Heather. I was raised to trust in the Allfather and the Princes, but how can I trust anyone with so little respect for life?"

*

"I think perspective changes, Liv. If it helps, I have the same issue with many of our world leaders here. You'd think there'd be a wisdom requirement for the post but apparently there isn't." Heather reaches across the table for Liv's hand. "I know this is probably awful for you. It's hard enough to fit in without this nonsense. But…maybe you need to immigrate. Formally. Maybe that would help? You've been here so long. There's got to be a way we can get you officially recognized as a resident of our world."

*

Liv grunts tiredly and reaches out to meet Heather's hand halfway. "I don't know that legal paperwork would do much good, but you may be right," she sighs. "I don't know that Asgard would even recognize such a thing as valid. It's. I don't know. But maybe we should look into it anyway, if only to make people here feel more at ease."

*

"Yes. And…maybe we need that, publicly. If not you, then someone else. Maybe we need proof that people from other worlds are here and are integrating." Heather looks thoughtful and squeezes Liv's hand. "It might shift public opinion in a good way. People are scared. The more people feel like those who have power are following the rules and are on their side, the better."

*

"Lord. I'd hate to be a public figure," Liv grumbles, rolling her eyes towards the ceiling as she reaches over to cover Heather's hand. "Especially now that I have a job like this, where I need to be able to blend in sometimes." She glances down at herself and makes a face. "As much as I ever do."

*

"Well, if not you, then someone. It's going to have to happen. We need acceptance — this is already such a struggle getting people to accept mutants. Now we want them to accept aliens. We can't even get people to stop killing each other over skin color!" Heather is openly frustrated by the time she gets to that point. "It's obvious that this King person is not really in touch with Earth issues or our best interests."

*

Now it's Liv's turn to give Heather's hand a squeeze. "Loki. And he claimed that that is precisely what he's trying to encourage people to do, to unify with the knowledge that there's life out there that is much scarier and more dangerous than their fellow man." She rolls her eyes. "I see where he's coming from but it's so damned short-sighted."

*

"The crisis is not here so of course people are going to turn on each other. We're going to see every weird little goggle-eyed kid in America getting put up against the wall tomorrow. We can't fix it, though. And it's obvious this person didn't consult with a single human about this shit, so we know what he thinks of us." Heather manages to drink her coffee angrily, which is a feat in and of itself.

*

"He's… arrogant. And I fear that he may view humanity as novelties and entertainment more than, you know. People." Liv sighs and shakes her head, looking down as she reaches for her own coffee. "I'd expected better of him. And of Thor. This feels horrible. I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill, am I? This is as bad as I think?"

*

"Honestly? It's a catastrophe. I prefer the alleged space ship crash in Times Square." Heather runs a hand over her face. "I'm just glad I'm not running anything anymore. I can't imagine the policy disaster."

*

"It would have been better if I'd told people I was from Asgard after we closed the Hellmouth, wouldn't it." Liv does not phrase it like a question, and she looks utterly resigned. She just hangs her head, mumbles something under her breath, and brings her mug up for a very quiet sip.

*

"Possibly, yes." Heather chuckles softly. "You'll get through this. We'll find a way to keep you on the team and all that good stuff, Liv. I would really like to see your residency here formalized somehow. It would probably mean a great deal to you. Pity the role of ambassador to your people isn't open. I'd prefer someone with some real experience among us. The little people."

*

"Oh, lord. I'd be an awful ambassador," Liv says with a laugh, her eyes going rather wide at that thought. "Especially to Asgard. I ditched them, Heather, they would never respect me or take me seriously in a capacity like that!"

*

"This is going to be a problem, isn't it? And not just a culture clash. Your people don't seem to respect ours very much." Heather stirs her coffee aimlessly. "It's so hard to have a working relationship like that, and you know how the chest-pounding gets here."

*

"It's… mmmh. I'm over nine-hundred years old, and I'm still young," Liv admits, keeping her voice low. "Compared to the people here? We're immortal. And so few of us have spent any real time here, so it can be easy to fall into the trap of looking down, and not across. Does that make any sense?" Her nose wrinkles. "It is not going to do them any favors."

*

"I don't think they understand how volatile and creative humans can be. Yes, they know what weapons we have — but it's not our weapons they need to look out for. Our people will use anything they're offered if they feel threatened." Heather has seen it enough times on smaller stages than the interplanetary but it remains true.

*

"I worry that they do understand it and are simply arrogant enough to think they can control it, or that they're so powerful that nothing humanity could do would ever effect them." Liv just pushes her mug away and slumps back in her chair, folding both arms across her chest. "Which… maybe that was true a few hundred years ago. Maybe. But now?"

*

"I think on our own we could be a problem. With help, we could be a disaster." Heather finishes her coffee, then sets the mug aside. "I don't think I'll need caffeine to stay awake anymore, with that thought."

*

Liv makes a low, rumbly noise of agreement. "I'll buy you a proper drink after work, if it'll help," she offers, shifting to rise from her seat. "Assuming the Director doesn't mount my head to her wall as an example for the others, anyway."

*

"Well, she can't have your head. It goes with the rest of you, which I like. I guess maybe you could work with David if things don't get sorted here — or I can give you references to a department in Canada that would probably love to have you." Heather gets up as well, shouldering her satchel. "I'd miss you, but I think you'd fit right in."

*

Liv draws her jacket back on and grins tiredly. "I'm glad you like me. Thank you for the recommendation, by the way," she adds, moving around the table and absently offering Heather her arm. "Peggy thinks the world of you, in case she hasn't made that obvious."

*

"She's been very kind to me. I'm just glad I can help her out." Heather's cheeks go a bit pink. "I miss my old job, in Canada, but I really like being able to make things easier for Peggy. She's important to a lot of people, a lot of projects. That matters."

*

"It does. I probably shouldn't ask you to come with me when I get called in," Liv muses, heading for the door. She reaches out to draw it open, holding it for Heather. "I'm not a child being called to the principal's office or anything."

*

"You're within your rights to have some kind of representation," Heather says as she steps out onto the street. "If not from Human Resources then at least another staff member. I'll do it, if you'd like. It's completely up to you. I'm sure you'll be fine but if you're uncomfortable, then maybe someone should be present. I would think they'd need legal consultation in this as well."

*

That clearly takes Liv by surprise. She stays where she is for a moment, blinking owlishly, before she remembers herself and hurries along after Heather. "Really? Oh. Well. Maybe I will ask you along, then."

*

"Unless it's a high level briefing? I don't see why you couldn't have someone else with equal clearance sitting in. At the very least, I can take the minutes of the meeting." Heather looks over her shoulder and shrugs. "I am, basically, the secretary."

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