"I am a king!" Moriarty hisses as Loki’s fingers close around his throat. Pale and slim, he can’t help but think they match the silk handkerchief in his pocket.
"And I am a GOD!" Loki purrs in his face, his breath supernaturally cool. Jim feels his feet leave the floor, his toes scraping the shiny tiles of the swimming pool. It’s always here. It always has to be here.
"I don’t believe in gods," he smiles, the tendons in his neck popping beneath Loki’s hands. He closes his hands around his wrists, and wonders whether it’s the oxygen deprivation, or the lighting in the pool, or whether Loki’s skin is actually turning blue, a blue that spreads across his flesh like a virus, like surface veins, meeting at his eyes - red, like an albino rabbit’s.
"Then what am I?" Loki says, with blue lips, and white teeth, and Jim giggles hysterically.
"A very bad trip,” he spits, and with a burst of his dizzy oxygen and unknown energy, he drops his hand beneath his jacket and shifts until there’s the barrel of a pistol pressing against Loki’s ribs, or what he assumes are his ribs, through the layers of leather and armour and really, this is the first time he’s been threatened by one of Alexander McQueen’s mannequins, and he can’t say he’s not entirely enjoying himself.
"Go on," Loki smiles, and walks, still holding him (and his arm isn’t even shaking, there isn’t so much as a tremble of give in his shoulder), until the back of Jim’s head is cool against the wall. "Do it," he whispers, serene and giddy as a lullaby, "It tickles so pleasantly."
And the smile that wafts across Jim’s face is radiant. A Hollywood, million-megawatt, moonbeam of a smile around eyes that are popping slightly. Because Loki, this god with truly notable biceps, is right where he wants him, and he, Jim Moriarty, has outsmarted him. Loki’s dark cloak, his blue skin, he’s suddenly covered in red splotches of light, hovering like bloody fireflies. “Blue and red go so beautifully together, don’t they?” he gasps, and he makes a note to kiss Sebastian with Loki’s blood still warm on his lips. Loki looks around him, a tiny wrinkle furrowing between his brows, and his grip loosens in confusion, unfamiliarity. Jim delights in it, near hysterical, his laughter small and choked within his half-compacted windpipe,
"Sorry, god. My partner doesn’t like smurfs."
And he’s just about to comment on how tragic it is to have enemies who don’t understand his sparkling repertoire of cultural references before everything is predictably ruined in the most unpredictable possible fashion. Because yes, as anticipated, there’s a lanky bumbling oaf with curly black hair and a swirling cloak accompanied by his woollen-clad shadow, but there’s also… a rather gargantuan Medieval re-enactor with surfer-boy locks and… a hammer? He really must be dying.
"Brother! Stop!" roars the tin-foiled coated buffoon, brandishing his hammer like a sword, and Moriarty feels Loki sigh against his face, as resigned and bored as Jim tends to feel every day of his life. "Release him, before his red dots end you!"
Jim looks from the intruders to his captor with a hopelessly raised brow.
"He has a sniper," Sherlock says, and Jim delights in knowing how much it must pain him to point out the obvious, "and he’s probably covered in explosives that not even you could survive, Loki."
"Listen to the inquisitive fiddler!" the blonde beast roars earnestly, "He is a wise mage."
"Your brother?" Jim says disbelievingly, softly, so only Loki can hear him, like the voice in his head, like the conscience he was hopefully born without, "Has anyone ever mentioned you two have very different colouring? I’d question the milk man, if I were you."
The colour washes from Loki’s face, Jim’s sly jibe having the desired effect as he suddenly finds himself shunted up the wall, £1600 shoes scrabbling for purchase against the slippery tile as the veins pop in the god’s face, his teeth bared, the sound that leaves his throat visceral and pained and inhuman as supernatural strength shuts around his neck like a vice and he can almost hear Sebastian’s finger twitch and for the first time he wonders whether he’ll be quick enough -
"Do you really think that winning a war will help?"
The woolly soldier speaks.
Loki rips his gaze away from Moriarty, and Jim’s almost grateful, because he knows he won’t die without Loki’s eyes on him, watching the life slip away. “Help what?” he bites, and out of the corner of his eye he can see John creep closer, hand held out, methodical and trained for these sort of god-on-consulting criminal situations.
"Help you find a family?"
Loki rolls his eyes and lifts Jim forward like he’s going to just crack his head against the wall like a coconut and be done with it but John just keeps speaking like the ridiculous lump he is.
"It does, you know. Your soldiers are your brothers. Until they die. And the war ends. And then you’re just a veteran, with a couple of wounds, and a pension, if you’re lucky."
Loki’s arm flags, sinks, and for the first time in Christ knows how long Moriarty’s feet touch solid ground.
"You’re wrong," Loki murmurs softly, and John’s so close now that red dots pepper the sleeve of his coat as he reaches out.
"And you’re alone," he says, eyes molten and voice kind, a sort of kind that Jim’s not sure Loki’s ever been privy to before, the sort of kind that irritates him to his bones. "But it doesn’t have to be that way."
"Oh please," Jim chokes as he’s dropped unceremoniously to the floor, undignified as he rubs his throat, eyes watering, "Can we save this for the sleepover?"
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