1964-03-29 - Elf!
Summary: Loki sends a friend to go find out just what Skali is. They're besties now.
Related: Special Orders —]
Theme Song: None
kai skali 

When Skali had breezed through the entry way of the penthouse suite, the waiting note caught her eye. Carefully penned by her significant other, with a notice that he was not her secretary at the end, and maybe it was time she got her own phone line. Sniffing dismissively, her golden eyes had flickered over the message with idle consideration before slipping into higher heels and switching out a wallet in her back pocket for a clutch.

The coffee shop was found without much difficulty, a guarded apprehension slowing her approach outside as a hand fell to scratch gently behind one of the large ears of the Alsatian at heel. The missive hadn't been particularly specific, thus she folded herself into an outdoor table, the beast of a dog folding into a lazy sprawl at the legs of her chair. When the server slipped by, she ordered her coffee black and waited for whatever purpose this meeting had been divined.


Kai really should add more color to his wardrobe. It would suit him better than the black upon black upon black that he wears: chinos, a turtleneck, and a beret that fails to hold his blond curls in check. His features aren't suited either to the serious look he's put on. He gives the large dog some serious side-eye. No one said there'd be a big dog. Still, he approaches, and he pauses beside the captivating woman's table. "Are you Skali?" he asks.


Skali didn't have to move. As soon as the man drew close enough to regard them with more than a cursory glance, the canid rose to its feet with a low rumble. The hackles that lit down its spine doubled its already impressive presence, little brown eyebrows creasing with the snarl that fell quiet as soon as the woman's voice purred,

"Down, Magnus."

There was a lazy drawl to her manner of speech, something that was rich and unhurried in the way her eyes rose from the menu to weigh the man that faced her. A twitch of her nose, a deep inhalation of what scent he carried on his skin, and those golden eyes glittered with restrained curiosity.

"Depends. Who wants to know?"

She gestured to the other chair in an offering for him to sit, the now titled Magnus having sunk to the ground with a glowering focus dedicated still to the stranger.


Kai stands very still until the dog is called off. For all his insistence to meet, this young man isn't an aggressive sort, and he doesn't get in fights with big dogs. The grim look falters briefly, those big fey eyes widening at the glowering dog. He takes a seat. Those lips were made for broad smiles, not pursing in a tight line. "We spoke on the phone," he says as he sits, ramrod straight. "I'm Gerhard. Gerhard Alfsson. I wanted to ask your intentions toward my man."


Skali considers the individual on the other side of the table, something about his scent, something just on the edges of it - the hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she let out shuddering sigh. Couldn't quite place it, but the Varg's curiosity was sufficiently piqued. As the coffee was set down in front of their hands, she waited until the server had moved away and the other man had said his piece before shaking her brunette curls and giggling. It was a surprisingly feminine sound, edged with a mirth that could cut a man to his core if applied at a vulnerable time.

"Incorrect. You spoke to my man on the phone. He left me a very terse message."

Shaking her head slowly, she drew out a flask and poured something that smelled entirely too strong for this hour into her coffee. After installing the cap, she held it out in offering while she continued,

"I asked him for a book. He's cute, but I'm not in the market. I don't date shop keepers."

Or relatives, but he didn't need to know that.


"He's more than cute," says Kai as he takes the offered flask. Once his coffee is set before him, he doctors it generously before handing the flask back. He doesn't ask what it is; he's taken so many drinks, shots, and pills without asking. Life on the edge, hep cats. "He's sizzling, dig? Smoking hot." He taps the table with a fingertip and hisses, mimicking a sizzle. Then he points at Skali with that fingertip and says, "He doesn't know it yet, but we're a thing, you read me? Anyway, what's the tale, nightingale? He seemed to think you had intentions, and I'm not in the market for a time share." He nods firmly, and his seriousness only slips a little. This just isn't him.

For one, the shopkeeper terrifies him, but hey, he's not lying about the sizzling.


Skali raises an eyebrow, seeming to border upon feigning serious offense for a lingering moment before her humor got the better of her and she slipped back into laughter. It was an open and rollicking sound this time, having built up momentum as her newly found drinking companion asserted his dominance. A flicker of gold in the corner of her eyes, and she shook her head while a hand fell to gently pet the panting head of Magnus.

"He thought I had intentions? Haven't lost the knack for it then, have I Magnus?"

The question was directed to the hound, who paused in his panting to look for direction. Finding none, he heaved a sigh and grumbling began to chew on a nail.

"Then why did he send you? If he is unaware that you two are a thing, and he wished to discuss romantic intentions, I fail to understand how you have become involved."


Kai's brow knits at the laughter. But he's being confrontational! Nibbling at his lower lip, he considers the woman across from him intently. After a long sip of his doctored coffee, he sets down the cup and says, "Because I'm jealous," he says. "I took the number and called to give you what-for." There are flecks of silver in his eyes, like little spots of moonlight, and they sparkle with mirth he struggles not to express. "So you say you just wanted a book. I suppose that's cool, but you gotta turn up your audio: I'm looking out for him. Just. Don't tell him I said any of this." He taps the side of his nose and lowers his voice. "It's gonna be a surprise. You know, when I'm ready to seal the deal."


Skali weighs the man quietly, allowing him to speak. There's a long moment of silence after he finishes, lips turning down as she lets out a long sigh and tousles her curls.

"Darling, we're not in France. I doubt that will go well."

And she looked pityingly at him with a sigh, her legs recrossed once more as she leaned back in her chair. The server came back and she requested a bagel for herself, allowing the man to order as well before returning to the discussion at hand,

"And you can't be jealous of something you don't have. That's just petty and unbecoming."


Kai sighs, and the facade drops. Suddenly, there's not so much a rival before Skali but an infatuated young man grasping at straws. He knows he can't have the fallen prince. The idea is ridiculous. "I can't stop thinking about him," he admits. "This isn't even my style, chicka. I'm not the guy who stays for breakfast, you get me?" So much easier telling the truth. At least a smattering of it.

"It's too bad you're only after a book. I'd pick your brain to tell me what he's like." Cue the grin that fits so well on his face, dimpled and showing pearly white teeth. He ducks his head. "He's a closed book. Drives me crazy."


Skali shrugs and allows the words to fall loose from his chest, sipping at her coffee while she awaited that smear and Lox with an empathetic cast to her eyes. Pursing her lips, she looked over the streets and the pedestrians passing by, commenting as if the admission had little meaning,

"I've known him for a while, though I don't suppose he can recall me. The other day I was just checking in on him, making sure he's doing okay, safe, happy. I don't suppose he's the sort to ever truly be happy, but some approximation of it would be enough."

A little huff escaped her then and she held out her coffee cup for a passing waiter to refill, quiet as if in thought before continuing,

"What I do know of him though would lead me to caution you against further infatuation. For your own good."


Kai leans forward, eating up her words. She has quite the attentive audience, as if any scrap of information she can give him is food for a starving man. "I'll take care of him,," he says. "As best I can. He's been cool to me, loaning me books I don't have the bread for, and we hep cats have to stick together."

As for the crush, her words bring him another sigh, one that seems to deflate him. He all but sprawls on the table, his head in the cradle of his arms. "I know," he groans. "My dignity." Like he ever had enough of that to worry bout losing it. "I'm so far beneath him it's not funny. I'm on a one-way trip to Hurtsville, and I can't get off." He lift his head. Poor little besotted elf. Speaking of besotted, he sits up and drinks his coffee. Sobriety is a burden.

"Anyway," he says, perfectly composed, "I'll tell you, he'll be all right if I have anything to say about it."


How did the Trickster keep acquiring an adoring fan base? Skali was tempted to believe charisma ran in the genes but her few attempts at cocktail party humor would run as contradictory evidence. Topping off the fresh coffee in hand with another slosh of the flask's contents, she tapped the edge of her chin as if pondering something before speaking.

"I'm still a little confused, if I can be honest. I'm not sure how you can take care of him if you can't even afford to pay for a book?"

Neither could Skali, for that matter, but the woman relied on other means to keep those she valued safe.


Kai has eased into himself. He couldn't hold the seriousness for very long anyway. He's just not a grim person. He's lively, full of energy. He has joie-de-vivre in abundance. It's hard to keep under wraps. So he regards Skali with a smiles and laughs as he says, "Oh, I can't keep him like a kept man. I just mean, you know, checking in. Making sure he's not alone."

He sighs, and his gaze wanders to the pedestrians on their way from one place to another. "It's a hard thing to be, dig? Lonely. That'll do you in before bare cupboards and an empty fridge." He takes a cigarette case from his pocket and offers it to Skali. "Even if I'm just an amusing diversion, I'm still there, yeah?"


The Asgardian knew all about loneliness. After all, she was here partaking in coffee she couldn't pay for while providing a caring ear to a complete stranger with a love interest in her grandfather. Plucking a cigarette out of the proffered carton, she pulled free a lighter and lit it with a grateful drag. Magnus sneezed.

"Do you think he's lonely?"

And to her credit, she did seem to actually care about the response, her golden eyes swerving to rest upon him with the weighted question whilst tendrils of grey smoke framed in delicate features.


Kai takes a cigarette for himself. He lights it, then leans back, taking a long, needful drag. He sighs as he exhales. Ah yes, that's the stuff. "Don't you?" he asks, leveling a thoughtful gaze upon the woman. "He's not like other people. There's nothing more lonely than not having anyone around who's at your level. Trust me, I know how this routine goes. You're over here." He raises his hand just above his head. "And everyone else is down here." He lowers his other hand to just above the table. "What do you do? Who do you talk to? About what? Even if you shout so they can hear you, they don't listen." He shakes his head and takes another drag off his cigarette.

His gaze wanders again to the people doing what people do. There's a twinge of longing in those big eyes. "So, yeah. I know there's no chance he's gonna notice me, not like that, but hanging out with him takes the edge off, so."


Skali offers up a shrug in a response to his question, allowing him to answer it for her while she smoked the gifted cigarette and followed his gaze to the mortal traffic lining the sidewalks and streets. The grid work of the city was oppressive, like a low whine in the back of her head that she couldn't quite shake out of her ears no matter how she tried. The powerful musculature and bellowing lungs this human form hid itched constantly to run, faster than anyone could match her and farther than most could dream to go in one evening. Yes, she did know what the man spoke of. A bit of ash was knocked loose from her cigarette onto cold concrete, and Magnus whined softly, sensing her brief spate of melancholy.

"Well sure, if you overthink it."

A cruel little smile that hid whatever sadness had traced her expression moments before she continued,

"We are born. We fuck. We fight. We die. Usually in that order."

The lox and bagel smear finally was brought before her, and she eyed it pensively before reaching to take a bite.


Kai inclines his head and says, "I think all the time. Bad habit." The cigarette relaxes him. It's like a different person has emerged from the one who arrived. There's something painfully sincere about the elf. He's not made for intrigue. Sitting up, he stabs out his cigarette and takes up his coffee. "I'm a lover," he says. "Not a fighter. Sign me up for two fucks instead and I'll get in line."

He tilts his head, regarding Skali more closely. That cruelty, it doesn't sting when it's expected. Then there is the pensiveness with her food. Curiouser and curiouser. "You know," he says, "I think I like you."


Skali clears the errant cream cheese off her lip with a tongue, making a face at his incessant commentary before plucking the lox off of the bagel. The raw salmon disappeared between her lips, the remainder of the meal lowered plate and all between the waiting paws of Magnus who obliged almost as delicately as his mistress in its consumption. Both seemed inclined to weigh this cafe's offerings as lacking.

"I'm so relieved." She purred, a lilt of mockery in her tone that was good-humored instead of sadistic. Her own cigarette followed suit to his, something about the taste of fish still on her tongue that she wanted to preserve while a little shiver worked down her spine. The sound of porcelain being licked clean punctuated the silence in their conversation.

"Though you will need to be both if you want to have anything worth loving."


Kai glances at the food being given to the dog. So hungry. But. He's got enough pride not to say a thing. He's got half a box of cereal at home. No milk, but never mind that. He smiles, pretty as a picture. He's used to the mockery and sadism. The world is full of bastard-flavored bastards, and after the night he had, coming home to a gun in his face, cruelty to the woman he's done no wrong seems about right.

Well, fuck it. He's not going to let it ruin him. He lifts his coffee cup to her and tilts his head with a small smile. Cheers, the look says though his lips don't. He takes a long swallow, finishing it off. "Don't get it twisted, doll. I'll defend what's worth defending. I just don't go out looking to put knuckles to a creep for looking at me wrong." If he did, when would he have time to sleep?


Skali offers up a dramatic sigh in response, meeting his eyes with a little hint of mischief in the corner of her own.

"Fair enough."

And it was. The wolf had little use for intimacy outside of the manfish she loved, and since pups would never be in their future, even that was without much purpose. Varg adapted so poorly to the realm of men.

"Well it was a pleasure meeting you, Gerhard. I don't suppose-"

She looked over their empty coffee mugs, the empty plate on the ground between Magnus' paws, a slight frown as she realized he wasn't the sort of person who she could stick with the bill. A little frown formed on her lips and she extended her hand, as if requesting he meet her in a handshake while she rose to stand.


Kai glances at the table as well, and it dawns on him. "I've got it," he tells her. He's got tips in his pocket from the other night. He was going to buy bennies with it. How will he get his kicks tonight? He'll figure it out. He shakes Skali's hand and tells her, "It was nice to meet you." And it was. She didn't put a gun in his face. That's practically a declaration of friendship.

"Please, call me Kai," he says, and he looks her in the eye as he favors her with one of those sweet, dimpled smiles, the proof positive this world hasn't diminished him. Not yet. He rises to his feet as well. "Thank you for hearing me out, and you've given me some deep words to ruminate on. Cool."


Skali smirks as she reaches forward, grabbing the other side of his wrist as they come together in a shake. Quietly she looped his arm in her own, and then she began walking. And that was that. A finger rose to her lips, warning him to be quiet as heels and all, the wolf god aimed to dine and dash. Why not? She was particularly good at the dashing part. He could protest, after all, wasn't theft beneath him. The dog had risen as if this was completely normal, and was trotting along confidently behind them with a wag of his tail.


Kai's grin broadens, and that sweetness takes on a wicked edge. Oh, he knows the routine, and he falls into step. He's doesn't make a peep, and his shoes are so worn out there's no more click left in their soles. Dine and dash it is! It's only when they've put some distance between themselves and the cafe that he says, "You're the Ginchiest. The absolute swingingest." There's laughter in his voice. If he got any more thrilled, he might burst something.


There's something infectious about flirting with an optional rule, and as the shout goes up from the restaurant behind them, she busts out laughing and suddenly applies speed to their step. Except they aren't walking anymore, they're jogging, then the heels have been lost and she's sprinting, and his lungs are on fire by now if those cigarettes are a regular habit. There's a panting at his heels, Magnus keeping easy loping stride that stretches into full gallop, and maybe Kai would have fallen by now if not for that firm grip on his wrist. People are knocked out of their way, packages are loosed from a bike messengers bag as they careen through his path, and she drags them both into a dark alley with a shake of those curls as she finally releases him to stagger back against the wall giggling like a schoolgirl.

Except when she looks up at him, her eyes aren't human anymore - the gold bled into brilliance like sun fire burning out the pupils. Magnus growls quietly, ears peeling back, and flattens to the ground in deference while his mistress turned her features to the scum filled skies over head and breathed a happy little note of content. Only then did she finally murmur with an honest appreciation,

"Thank you."

Though for what, it was hard to say.


Kai picks up his pace when Skali does. He glances back over his shoulder, and he breaks into a jog with her and, when she sprints, he busts into a full run. He's a quick thing, and those lungs heal faster than the average mortal. Poor breakable things. Still, he's panting for breath. He's lost his beret, but he doesn't go back for it. He's got another one. When they end up in the alley, he laughs. He laughs so hard he can barely catch his breath, doubled over with his hands on his knees.

When he's laughed himself out, he looks up at her, and he takes in those golden eyes with a quick glance. His smile broadens. There's no way she could have been normal running that fast, and how could he be normal if his response is that dimpled grin? He stands upright, draws a deep breath and lets it out in a contented sigh. "Any time," he says. Maybe he knows what she's thanking him for but, pressed to name it, he's not sure he could.


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