The Most Important Question
by Sauron Gorthaur
A/N: The idea for this story came from a recent conversation I had with my FFN friend, Lysana. We were laughing over the fangirl tendency to obsess over every little "canon" detail surrounding their fan obsessions even if everyone seems to disagree on what those "canon" details actually are, and in particular, the fact that no one seems to agree on what color Loki's eyes are. Are they blue? Are they green? It's obviously a question of life and death. And then Lysana suggested that perhaps Loki, being the Trickster that he is, actually causes some fangirls to see his eyes as green and some as blue, just to cause mischief so he can laugh at their arguments. I found this a very likely explanation. And so this one-shot was born…
Also, this story takes place after The Avengers, but it contradicts some of the events of The Dark World, so it can be taken as AU if you like, at least where TDW is concerned. It's rather Crack!fic to begin with, so hopefully no one will take offense to the fact that it doesn't fit into canon perfectly :)
And finally, thanks for the plot-bunny, Lysana! Hope you like the result of our conversation! Oh, and you just might recognize a couple of Loki's fangirls, too… ;D
Thor and Loki were engaged in their usual afternoon pastime of reading through their considerable stacks of fanmail. Even though it had been a full nine months since Thor had dragged his little brother back home from his shenanigans in Midgard, the fanmail was still pouring in and showed no signs of stopping. No one was quite sure how it actually got to Asgard, but every day for the last nine months, much to Heimdall's disgruntlement, stacks of adoring letters had been showing up in the Watchman's gatehouse, mainly addressed to the two princes.
Actually, that's not quite true – they were mainly addressed to just one of the two princes.
Loki, of course, being clearly unfit for proper society for the time being in Odin's opinion, was locked until further notice in one of the cells under the Asgard palace. Thor had taken to visiting him there, even if Loki ignored him the whole time and all the older prince ended up doing was straightening out the furniture that Loki had flung around with his magic in his last fit of self-pity, but Thor just couldn't bring himself to completely abandon the person he'd spent his whole life growing up with. Besides, he hoped he could still be a good influence on his younger brother.
Then Thor had started bringing the fanmail with him to the cell. This seemed to cheer Loki up considerably, not because of the hundreds of girls down on Midgard professing their undying love and devotion to him, but because he was finally beating Thor at something. So Thor was a good sport and allowed Loki to be a bad sport (at least it kept him from throwing furniture around), as he counted out each of their stacks daily and then gloated when his almost invariably was the larger one.
This particular day, Thor was sitting at the white, round table in the middle of the cell quietly reading his letters and smiling at the enthusiastic words of the young mortals telling him he was their new role model and the way he could control storms was "so cool!" and the little sketches of hammers most of them had attempted to draw in the corners of the stationary, while Loki was lounging on the floor, his back to the wall and his legs stretched out in front of him, surrounded by his pool of letters, most of which were decidedly feminine in coloration. He'd already counted them (and found out, unsurprisingly, that he was once again the winner, which had put him in a good mood) and Thor could hear him snickering over the contents. The God of Thunder glanced over at his younger brother to find Loki casually setting fire to the corner of a paper that had studiously been colored green in crayon then dotted with red hearts.
"You know, some mortal lady down on Midgard spent time working on that for you," Thor said with a small frown. "And yet, you would destroy her work in a moment. Does their devotion mean nothing to you?"
Loki glanced up from the paper that was now curling from the flames and emitting a rather unpleasant smell. "Devotion?" he asked, raising his eyebrows and lifting his upper lip in a slight sneer. "Oh yes, you would know all about such things, wouldn't you, Brother? I suppose that's what you and your new friends discuss together around dinner in the evening. We saved a world, aren't we devoted? And yet, as the result, you would let your own brother burn… Oh yes, devotion means so much to me, Brother…"
"Oh shut up," said Thor. "Devotion is sitting here every afternoon listening to you complain surrounded by three times the amount of fanmail as anyone else on Asgard."
Loki nonchalantly released the smoldering remains of his fan letter and let it drift to the floor in a swirl of green ash. "These Midgardian women, they are foolish," he announced, his sneer widening a little. "Where were all these supposedly love-struck devotees of mine when I came to Midgard to be their king? It's all right and well for them to speak up now when it does me no good. If they were truly as devoted as they claim, if they had come to me when I called, you and your avenging friends might have had a harder time." He looked at the stack of still unopened letters, his sneer fading to an almost wistful scowl. "I might have had a real army…"
"We still would have beaten you, Brother."
"I find that unlikely. You and your heroes cheated."
"We did no such thing. The Man of Iron gave his life-"
Thor sighed and picked up another letter as Loki retreated into a pout. He was staring at the drawing that his letter contained trying to figure out what it was supposed to be (ooh, it must be him – he had mistaken those yellow lines for some strange type of Midgardian grass and that grey blob for a rock, but it must be his hair and hammer) when Loki deigned to speak again.
"Besides, none of them seem to know what color my eyes are."
"What?" Thor asked, jerking his thoughts away from the grass-hair.
"My eyes," Loki repeated. "They're always wrong. If they truly find me as admirable and desirable as they all drool on about in these letters, you'd think they could get something as important as my eye color correct."
"What do you mean?" Thor asked, still slightly puzzled about this odd change of subject.
Loki flourished the next opened letter in his pile. "Listen to this: My dear Loki," he began reading in a mocking falsetto, "My name is Kayla and I'm sixteen, blah, blah, blah." He skipped down. "I really sympathize with you because I know what it's like to feel like you're an outsider, too – yeah, right you do, you're not in prison for it, are you, you little whiner?"
Thor waited patiently as there was more skipping and sneering.
Finally, Loki got to the part he'd been looking for. "Besides, I think you're really hot, definitely the hottest god in Asgard." Loki shot Thor a "burn" look. Thor ignored it. "I actually dyed my hair black last week so it would look like yours, but it isn't nearly as beautiful as yours is. And I can't believe how gorgeous your eyes are. I can totally see how you charm everyone. I mean, I know I'd absolutely do anything you said if you looked at me with those lovely emerald green eyes and asked me to."
Loki tossed the letter down with its fellows and looked triumphantly at Thor for confirmation. The Thunder god's brow creased slightly and then he spoke slowly. "But, Brother, your eyes are green."
Loki made a disdainful noise in the back of his throat. "Well, not that you have ever been the most observant man in Asgard, but I would have expected more from you. I guess that shows just how much attention you actually paid me during all our years together."
Thor was about to protest, but when he leaned forward and looked directly into Loki's eyes, it was clear that they were a fine, pale blue. Thor leaned back in his chair, his brows still knit together in confusion. "I am sorry, Brother. I truly did think your eyes were green. It must be the way the light sometimes strikes them that makes them appear as such. But I am afraid you are right that I am not as observant as I should be."
"And Father's going to make you king," Loki said, the sneer reappearing both in his face and voice. "Asgard will fall into oblivion before your coronation day is over."
Thor knew from experience that this was not a topic he wanted to get into with Loki. Instead, he picked up another of Loki's letters, the envelope of which had been shut with a huge red heart sticker with the initials L & R written with black ink inside. He tore it open and pulled out the large piece of paper that had been folded up in it. Unfolding it, he examined the fanart portrait of his brother. "Here, look at this one, Brother. It is an excellent likeness," he said, noting the blue eyes and holding it down to Loki. "You see, you have fans that observe you properly. This-" he checked the signature on the portrait "-Ramona is a fine artist."
Loki took the picture and tipped his head to the side slightly, examining it with a tiny frown. "Perhaps. But my hair does not flip up that much in the back and again, the eyes are completely wrong."
"What is wrong with the eyes this time?" Thor asked, with just a hint of exasperation. "I thought they were well done."
"They're blue," Loki stated, his voice dripping with scorn. "In the picture, they are blue."
"Your eyes are blue!" Thor rumbled, his voice getting louder.
Loki looked at him as if he were daft. "Brother, now I am really beginning to worry about you," he scoffed in a tone that said just the opposite. "We just had this conversation a moment ago. I know you aren't observant, but we just determined that my eyes are most certainly green."
Thor scowled and his hand automatically balled into a fist that he was about to give his impudent younger brother a taste of when he looked straight down into Loki's glinting green eyes. His fist froze above the table top. Green. They were most definitely green. Thor's fist dropped with a thud to the table.
He stared suspiciously at Loki who looked back at him, face innocently smooth and unreadable, his green eyes unblinking.
Thor sat back in his chair with a humph. "What game are you playing, Loki?" he said slowly.
A small smirk twitched the corners of Loki's thin lips. "You should ask what games they are playing, Brother."
Thor's brows drew back together in a determined expression. "I am going to figure this out. Jane says that the Aethernet can answer almost any question."
"The internet," Loki corrected him with a smirk.
"Yes, yes, that's what I said," Thor growled as he pulled his Smartphone out of his belt. The phone had been a gift from Jane, which she'd given him the last time he saw her, shortly after he'd been excused from his saving-the-world duties and was on his way to take Loki back to Asgard. "I know it's kind of weird," she'd said, handing it to him and shyly brushing her hair behind her ear with the other hand, "but who knows. Maybe Asgard gets mobile reception. Try giving me a call when you get back up there." She waved her hand vaguely at the sky. "I think it would be really nice if we could stay in touch."
"I will do that, Jane Foster," he had answered with a smile, taking the odd little black box and wondering how in the worlds it would help them to stay in contact. Perhaps it could be used to summon her to Asgard, the way Tony Stark sometimes spoke and magically summoned his armor.
"You could also try using the internet on it," Jane had added. "I could send you some of the projects I've been working on. I really think I'm close to figuring out how…" She had then began speaking words that Thor was fairly sure were not English.
"Hey, if you like, you can take my phone and give it to your brother," Darcy had added when Jane was done with her non-English spiel. When both Jane and Thor gave her an odd look, she shrugged. "Hey, what? I think he's kinda hot, all right…"
"He's also evil and just tried to take over the world," Jane said. "Giving him internet access is probably not a good idea." She gave Thor an apologetic look. "Sorry, but he is."
"Well," said Darcy, "the internet's evil and trying to take over the world, too. I doubt he could do much more damage with it than it's already doing on its own."
Thor was slightly annoyed, but not completely surprised, when Loki had figured out how to work the Smartphone much more quickly than he had. In fact, he had a sneaking suspicion that Loki had already known about these "mobile receptions" and "internet" before they had even received the phones.
Loki pulled his out, too. He'd discovered Facebook four months ago and created a fanpage for himself (he referred to it as "recruiting"), though Thor had warned him that the moment he started giving them "ideas", he'd take the phone away from him. Thor was not too worried though – he suspected if "Loki's Army" attacked anything, it would be Loki himself.
In a matter of seconds, Loki was logged in and examining his fanpage, while Thor was still trying to remember how to find his Favorites (Jane had helped him set it up) and get to the website. Realizing that Loki was already there, he abandoned it and slid down onto the floor beside his brother, scooting aside the mess of opened letters, torn envelopes, and bits of ash that surrounded the God of Mischief. Loki's quick, slender fingers were much better at navigating the small buttons on the phone than Thor's large hands anyway.
Several new fanart pictures had been uploaded in the last twenty-four hours. Loki opened the first one, a realistic colored pencil sketch of himself from the shoulders up gazing soulfully into the distance with an angsty expression. The eyes were emerald green.
There were already 14 likes and three comments posted. The first two comments were along the lines of "Looooookkkkkkiiiiii!" followed by a trail of hearts. The third comment, from one Esmeralda White, while still steeped in estrogen, was at least intelligible. After praising the portrait's realism and remarking on how it captured "the deep pain of his tortured soul," the comment ended by saying: "FYI though, you know Loki's eyes are blue."
Loki smirked and tapped out a reply. "Esmeralda White – Have you ever seen Loki's eyes? They actually are green. But not some stupid emerald green like everyone says. They are a very pale grey-green." After a moment's hesitation, he added. "And his soul is not tortured... FYI."
Within minutes, Loki's post had a reply. "Actually, Esmeralda is correct. If you look carefully at pictures of Loki, you will see that he does have blue eyes. They are rather grey-blue, but definitely not green. And there's no need for you to be rude. And yes, I definitely think Loki's soul is pretty disturbed and tortured. I mean, he killed a bunch of people and tried to take over the world."
Loki began typing back something that was both rude and inappropriate. Thor snatched the phone away from him and deleted it before he could send it, then gave his little brother a glare. "That was not very nice."
Loki curled his lip at him. "And how long has it been since I gave up 'nice'? Oh, maybe back when I got you banished, deceived Mother, and took the throne from Father."
"Shut up, Loki," Thor said with a frown, examining the phone in his hand. Another reply had appeared. Thor's frown deepened as he read it. "Sorry 2 break it 2you, but Luke Lauson (this was Loki's screen name) is rigt tho he could have said it nicr Lokis eyes are green. take a look." There was a link following the comment.
Thor clicked the link, and a photograph of Loki from New York appeared on the screen. He leaned forward, squinting at the picture and trying to see Loki's eyes, until Loki took it back from him and zoomed in. Thor was puzzled. "The Midgardian lady said the eyes should be green. They look blue to me."
He paused, considering this, then glanced sideways at Loki. "You also replied in that comment that your eyes were green. Why did you lie to her?"
Loki gave a long-suffering sigh. "You really don't catch on, do you? You do realize that there are many on Midgard who refer to me as 'the Father of Lies' or 'the Liesmith', right?"
Thor continued to frown. "I do not think they mean those names as complements."
The God of Mischief shrugged unconcernedly and opened up another page that said "Unleash your Imagination" across the top. "It's not as if any of them really know me. You should read some of the nonsense that they write about us here," he snickered, clicking on the first story link that popped up in the Thor fandom. Thor read over Loki's shoulder about a seventeen-year-old Midgardian mortal named Miranda who was living on the streets after a fire had destroyed her entire home and killed her whole family. There she met an extremely handsome man with black hair and soulful green eyes ("My eyes aren't soulful any more than they're green," sneered Loki.) who claimed he had also lost his entire home and family. By the end of the chapter, they were kissing in an alley "each bringing the other new hope for the future" while rain fell lightly on their hair, something that the author clearly thought was a romantic touch.
"That's ridiculous," Loki snorted. "Who falls in love that fast? Especially someone with a damaged, hurting, suffering, tortured, angst-ridden soul like mine. I don't know what I find more revolting: that, or that fact that they think I'd give my love to some pathetic, whining mortal woman."
"Hey!" said Thor, "there's nothing wrong with mortal women. And it is possible to fall in love quite swiftly. Well, maybe you can't, but some of us can. Besides, the young lady who wrote this is clearly very deeply in love. I think it is sweet."
Loki snorted and went to the reviews. There were quite a few of them, but it was not long until Thor spotted a very familiar-looking one: "Why does everyone say Loki's eyes are green? He has blue eyes and they are very beautiful. I don't know why everyone has a problem with Tom's beautiful blue eyes and insists they are green."
This confused Thor even more deeply. "Tom?" he asked, giving Loki a quizzical look.
Loki looked miffed. "I don't understand those comments either," he said, clearly displeased at having to admit this. "It seems the Midgardians have got it into their heads that there's some mortal who looks like me. It's completely ridiculous. I don't see why the color of some mortal's eyes should matter when determining what color my eyes are. Besides, I take offense to the fact that they think I look like a mortal in the first place."
Thor couldn't help but chuckle at Loki's peeved expression. "Perhaps it is the other way round, Brother. Perhaps this mortal looks like a god."
Loki scowled at him. "I've seen pictures. I don't think he looks anything like me."
Thor took the phone again and spent another couple minutes looking at the reviews to various stories, almost all of which had at least one review disagreeing with whatever color the author claimed Loki's eyes were. He then spent another couple minutes looking at photographs and pictures of his brother, still attempting to discern which party was right. Every time he thought he determined which color was correct, the next picture clearly showed that Loki's eyes were the other color.
He finally found a picture where almost all the comments had disintegrated into an epic battle between the two fangirl parties. Insults flew like arrows. Links to other pictures of Loki, as well as of this mysterious mortal Tom, (all clearly meant to prove each fangirl's point) were numerous. Thor was beginning to seriously worry about the sanity of these mortals (and was rejoicing that Jane seemed more sensible than the average Midgardian female) when he heard a peal of laughter close beside him. He turned to see Loki leaning against the wall, laughing riotously. Loki saw him staring in surprise and grinned wickedly. "Beautiful, isn't it, Brother?"
Thor gave him a severe look. "You have caused all this discord, haven't you?"
Loki put his hands behind his head, smirking. "Of course. All minds are easy to play with, but I learned down on Midgard that mortal minds are even easier than most. I've had to have something to do to keep myself amused these last nine months." His lip curled familiarly. "Besides, it pays them all back for not showing up when I actually could have used their support."
Thor turned away from him, gazing sadly down at the string of insults on the phone screen, the evidence of his own brother's powers of strife. He heard Loki laugh mockingly behind him. "And the saddest thing of all, Brother, is that every single one of them is wrong."
Thor frowned, still wondering how Loki could get such amusement from torturing all the females who so clearly admired him. "So, what color are your eyes, Loki?"
He yelped as something cold pricked his arm. He turned around and almost jumped backwards in surprise. Loki was sitting cross-legged behind him, still smirking, but his skin was the scaly blue of his Jotun form. He immediately shifted back to his Æsir appearance, his skin pale once again, but his eyes remained the same, glowing with mischievous pleasure.
"I believe," Loki said, grinning smugly, "that the real color of my eyes is red."