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A Passing Mood

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How about you? You’re a prince. Must’ve been...would-be princesses. Or, perhaps, another prince?

A bit of both. I suspect the same as you. But, nothing ever...

Real?

 

Sylvie smiled. It was small and a bit sad, but it was without any of its usual bite. In an instant though, her lips were curling back upwards in amusement.

“I’m surprised you’ve avoided the obvious question until now,” she said, folding her arms over her chest as she leaned back into her booth seat “You’re allowed to ask, you know. I may not answer, but that’s another thing.”

Loki frowned. “The obvious question?”

“Oh, come on, you’re not that thick.”

“Maybe it’s you that’s –”

Sylvie cut him off with a frustrated noise, uncrossing her arms and leaning back into the table between them. “I’m a woman, idiot.”

“Good for you,” Loki said, in that exaggerated way of his, voice dripping with false sincerity.

“You’re not the least bit surprised by that?” she tested.

“I’m honestly more surprised by the blonde,” he said, eyes narrowing as if studying her hairstyle “We make a very ugly blonde.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome.”

They lapsed into icy silence, though Loki was still smirking at her from across the table. Sylvie looked very much like she wanted to stick out her tongue at him. Or stab him. One of those.

“And to think,” she finally sighed, over-dramatic “We were almost getting along for a moment. What happened to talking about love.”

Loki rolled his eyes, but he leaned farther into the table to match her nonetheless.

“Listen,” he said “It’s really not that surprising. I just assumed you were in a mood.”

“A... mood.”

“Yeah like a...” Loki continued, with the expression of a man who knew very well that what he was about to say was stupid, but couldn’t stop himself “Like a... woman... mood.”

“A woman mood,” Sylvie said, voice carefully neutral. Her lip twitched at the corner, betraying her. “What colour is that on a mood ring, do you think?”

“Oh, shut up.” Loki pushed back from the table, crossing his arms and looking to the side. Sylvie let out her grin full force, unable to stop it.

“No, I’m serious” she insisted, immediately contradicted by the mirth in her tone “What colour?”

Loki huffed, clearly chaffing a bit from the mockery. “You know, like, when you’re a woman you feel like a woman, but when you’re a man you feel like a man, or when you’re –”

“I never feel like a man.” Sylvie cut him off, voice surprisingly sharp.

Never?”

“Never.”

Loki let out a breath. “Variant, indeed.”

Sylvie barely masked her flinch at the word, only betrayed by a twitch of her eye.

“So, what, you have moods, then?” she pressed “I’ve seen you in the memories of TVA agents –”

“I’ve been on a streak,” Loki said defensively.

“A man streak?”

“If you like.” Loki smiled as Sylvie scoffed at him. “When you live as long as we do, a few years is just a passing mood.”

She looked at him, doubtful, until he sighed. He raised one hand, elbow propped up on the table between them. He waved his fingers as if twisting an invisible key, and a green shimmer passed over his body, like a sudden ripple on a still pond.

Sylvie had seen him do this earlier, when he had disguised himself as a guard, but this was different. At first glance, it was hard to be sure if anything had changed at all. The person sitting across from Sylvie was wearing the same outfit, and had the same pallid skin, the same sharp features, the same greasy dark hair. But, somehow, the energy had changed.

The two women sat in silence for a moment, staring at each other, until Loki grinned.

“I stand by what I said,” Loki said, her voice sounding somehow both completely different and exactly the same, still lower than Sylvie’s but just as smug “Dark hair is the better look.”

“I’ll take it under advisement,” Sylvie said, starting to smile again.

Loki laughed easily and, with a twist of her fingers and a shimmer of magic, returned to his previous form.

“I can’t imagine switching so easily, like that,” Sylvie confessed suddenly, her smile gone sour. She ducked her head, keeping her gaze firmly on the table, where she worried her hands together. “I’m not the person I used to be. Or maybe I never was.” A deep breath. “I changed my name.”

“And you changed your hair,” Loki offered.

Sylvie gave a short laugh, looking surprised by the sound coming out of her own mouth. “Yes, I changed my hair. Sorry.”

Loki smiled back. “Well, it’s starting to grow on me.”

Sylvie let out a breath, some of tension slipping from her shoulders as she did.

The conversation petered off, after that, but the slightly easier air between them stayed. It was enough that, not long after, Sylvie was relaxing into sleep for the first time in too long, blonde head resting on the table.