From anicastar's tumblr prompt: "Loki, mortal human, meets Verity, Norse god of truth." And I couldn't resist.
Surprisingly difficult to write. So much of their relationship hinges on Verity having a sort of power over Loki, even though he's the god, that you have to change a lot if you want to switch it around.
He had been bored, and that was the truth of it.
Oh, he loved the lies of a relationship, but he'd been single for a while now, ever since what in polite company he referred to as 'the ornithology fiasco'. His brother hadn't been impressed.
Get a girlfriend, Thor had said and then, upon Loki's 'you cannot seriously be that heteronormative after growing up with me' look, hastily added 'or a boyfriend. Or, you know, whatever. Socialize.'
In all actuality, he had been perfectly happy hanging out with America (who Thor approved of but who did not approve of Loki) and his new friend Lorelei (who approved of Loki but Thor did not approve of).
He was also too damn stubborn to take any sort of suggestion from his pristine perfect big brother.
Go in, troll people, listen to the lies they told, maybe pick a couple of pockets, get out, and tell Thor he went on a date and it didn't work out because of unforeseen personality clashes.
It might even be fun, he'd told himself. And he was bored.
So he invited Lorelei as well, not to socialize, but to split their earnings. Lorelei had a way with people.
And it was fun so far. He was up one hundred and fifty bucks, or somewhere in that ballpark, and he could see that Lorelei's bag was growing steadily fuller. She had a small smile on her lips, and Loki knew her well enough to interpret it as a crocodile grin.
That was, until the tattooed girl with the strange necklace started to make her way toward her table.
The couples were switching, and Loki had just stood up when he saw Lorelei gesturing at him frantically. He started to amble over to her, but she was already on her feet and rushing toward him.
"You. Me. Switching places," she hissed, her nails digging into his arm.
"Oh, come on, Lorelei, she's not that ugly—"
"In fact she's kind of the opposite—"
"Shut up. Take my place. Now." She glanced up at him, something very disturbing glittering in her bright blue eyes. Her voiced softened slightly. "Please."
Ah. So she was shoving him in danger's way.
"Of course, Lorelei. I was at Table 12. Have fun with Mr. Charity over there. I'll give you a hint: it was more than a couple children."
She didn't thank him, and he didn't say anything further. He had just sat down in Lorelei's old spot when the tattooed girl arrived.
He didn't miss her slight glance in Lorelei's direction before the stony mask fell back down. Oooh, this was going to be fun.
"What'd she do?" he asked casually, taking a sip of his wine.
She started, then skewered him with a glare.
"I'm sorry; I don't know what you're talking about."
He almost snorted. "Lie. Listen, it helps to cover it up when you don't look like you just shot a puppy."
"I don't think I need advice on how to lie," she said, in a measured voice, gripping the stem of her glass, "because I wasn't lying. I don't lie," she added vehemently (to convince herself, Loki was sure of it).
"There goes another dog."
She sighed and leant back in her chair, her lips sealed tightly together and her gaze fixed fiercely on a point somewhere above his left shoulder.
Well, the straight-forward approach certainly didn't work. Time to try something else.
"You know, there's nothing wrong with telling the occasional lie," he said gently.
"There is. Truth is good. Lies, even well-meant, will only lead you to a fall. The more you believe, the higher the cliff."
He blinked. "Wow. You don't think metaphors are lies, though?"
She looked suddenly guilty. "There is truth in representation. A metaphor does not pretend to be anything other than a metaphor." She hesitated for a moment, tapping the table with her nails. "I think. Anyway, I should know. What do you know about lies and the truth?"
He laughed. "Admittedly, I don't rub shoulders with the truth very much, except when rushing by in the opposite direction, but I have plenty of experience with lies." He glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes, and smiled slightly. "And I know Lorelei. Very well. I know she's a liar. I know she's a thief. I know she's not human, and I'm guessing you're not either. What's your name, by the way?"
She looked started by the sudden change of subject. "What? Oh, um. It's kind of unpronounceable in Midgardian English. You can call me Verity."
Loki raised his eyebrows at her and she clapped her hand over her mouth, eyes darting furtively around.
"Oh, it's alright," he said, waving a hand. "I know perfectly well Lorelei's an Aesir and afraid of pretty much nothing but Asgardian justice. It figures you're a goddess. What of?"
Verity collapsed. "Truth," she spat. "It used to be great. I battled supervillains, I hung out with heroes, I was even on the Avengers at one point. And then bam, S.H.I.E.L.D. starts valuing killers and spies above people who are trying to eliminate superstition and bigotry and blindness and lies, but all anyone seems to do is lie lie lie and so I tried to too, but while I might not be able to tell all the time when other people are lying, I can damn well tell with myself, and it goes against everything I stand for and everything I want society to achieve. So I quit. Wandered around for a while, and did some stuff that's I'm not too proud of. Felt guilty. Went back to Asgard, and the All-Mother gave me a job. Hunt down this Lorelei character. So I tracked her to here, and then here you are jumping in for her and I can't do a thing while she's off picking pockets and wooing stupid lying men."
She took a deep breath. "Thank you for listening to that. I don't know who you are, and I don't know what you're doing here or what your strange obsession with lies is, but…" she shrugged, and smiled slightly. "There's no point in you randomly announcing to the room that the Norse goddess of truth is here and hunting a wanted fugitive, and Lorelei apparently already knows, so I hope you'll keep quiet."
Loki, who had been staring at her intently for the duration of her soliloquy , clasped her hand where it lay on the table before him. "Brave heart, Verity. There are people in this world who'll never lie to you. Not me, obviously. But they do exist. Probably. Somewhere."
"My, that's comforting," she said dryly. "So what's going on with you? You keep talking like you're the prince of lies or something. But you're just a mortal, right?"
He winced. "Hey, I'm working on it. But yes, for now I'm just a mortal. But… ever since I was young I could always tell when people were lying. I found it absolutely hilarious to play along and then pull the rug out from under their feet."
"That's kind of a jerk move."
"Hey, I never said I was a nice person. That's a lie I have never told. Plus, they were the ones lying in the first place, Ms. All-True-ism."
Verity wrinkled her nose. "That's the worst pun I've heard in quite some time."
"You're welcome. So, there you go. I'm just a simple mortal lie-detector who delights in bad puns and deception. Oh, look at that, we're switching tables. Nice to meet you. Good luck catching Lorelei."
She gave him a look. "You're wishing me luck in catching your friend?"
"We're not really friends, just partners in crime."
"That's awful." Verity sniffed, but then dropped her haughty manner and continued in a much more down-to-earth voice. "Well, good evening. It was nice to meet you too, but for the sake of the stability of my worldview I hope we never meet again." And with that she stood up, setting off on a beeline straight for the rapidly fleeing Lorelei.
Loki watched her go, a smile on his face. "Liar," he whispered.