It was cold, Loki wasn’t used to temperatures these low.
It didn't matter that he was a frost giant, his skin was still cold and covered in goosebumps and he didn't like it one bit.
His shirt was drenched in sweat, sticking to his skin, he felt dirty and uncomfortable standing on that hill, watching the enormous purple fog hang over the destroyed city in front of him.
He saw how a shape formed from it, it had a head, two luminescent eyes and fangs. His… how to call them… himself, in an old, cartoonish style, covered with a long yellow cape told him it was a shark.
It didn’t look like a shark.
To him seemed like a snake, but that’s just how he thought all the things he’d done in his life would suddenly take form of, hunting him for eternity in a sort of karmic resolution of the universe. All that was before knowing about the TVA, Sylvie, meeting Mobius and of course standing on that very hill next to an alligator wearing horns that claimed to be himself from another time.
Loki made a pact with himself when he woke up in that place, surrounded by those people who seemed so far from him but at the same time so familiar, he said to himself: “don’t question it now or you’ll go crazy, no time for that” and decided, more of less willingly, to just work with what he got.
He was amazingly good at solving situations he put himself in, but this time he just wanted to create some knives from thin air and try to kill that purple fog.
Or die trying.
At that point everything was better than doing nothing, hiding underground and fighting each other like he’d seen doing by all those Lokis. Besides, he was pretty thrilled and happy not to be dead, and if he’d been pruned and still alive, that meant that Mobius…
Loki remembered how he looked when Ravonna gave the instruction to the guards to prune him, his eyes now finally clear. Like the same fog that he was seeing right before his eyes was in Mobius’ mind too, messing with his memories, and thoughts. It took only a few words for Loki to see the clarity behind his eyes, free from restrictions, finally unhinged.
If he was alive, that meant Mobius was too and he’d rather die than spend another minute not trying to get back to him.
That only thought made him cringe.
He wasn’t familiar with his mind being so romantic, he’d always hated those thoughts, always tried to bury them before they could come at the surface. But these last times had taught him something. Maybe seeing his own death might’ve messed up his brain, maybe the fact that he knew Thor and him finally resolved their issues and became friends before he’d die made him think that he’d spent so much time alone and desperate when there was no point of doing that, that he could’ve had it all if he just said it: I care for you.
The kid next to him said, a tone that seemed hopeful but wary at the same time.
It took him a minute to realize it wasn’t normal to be seeing a car there, and suddenly only a thought was on his mind.
“What?” He was looking everywhere, right and left, he couldn’t see it.
“Along the horizon.” Said the other Loki.
His heart shuttered as he thought more deeply.
“Is that bad?” He wasn’t sure it was Mobius, it could’ve been but he wasn’t sure, he wasn’t going to give himself a lot of hope otherwise he would’ve be ten times more heartbroken.
What if it’s another animal Loki?
His eyebrows knotted, he could see the car moving from the hills, his heart was thumping in his chest and at the same time he heard it chanting: Mobius.
“Well, usually means cannibalistic marauders or cannibalistic pirates.” The kid wasn’t scared at all, Loki checked.
Didn’t sound like Mobius at all, but his heart wasn’t stopping.
The car was speeding through the grass, Loki sweared he could heard the wheels turning and the bouncing of the plastic standee of a slice of pizza that was on top of the vehicle.
“Delightful.” He joked, his breath now ragged, his throat parched, he felt his eyes stinging and refused to let his chest hurt this much, he couldn’t hope this much.
But his heart didn’t listen.
The car was approaching fast, Loki could see the lights clearly, but the windows were still dark and obscured by the poor lighting.
“They’re slowing down…” Loki stated, his heart seemed to swell each second.
“What are they doing?”
“Just stay on guard.”
It didn’t matter what they were saying, it all became background noise compared to the thumping of his heart.
The car was approaching, now slowly.
Loki squinted his eyes to see better when the engine was turned off. He saw the passenger seat open, the lights going dark and someone get out of the car.
He had to admit his heart ached a little seeing her.
It took him a few more seconds to react, thinking that maybe Mobius was there too, somewhere.
He ran towards her and stopped only when he could finally see her face clearly.
“You’re alive.” She said, a ghost of a smile passed on her lips.
“What happened? You ok?” He wasn’t mad, he was confused, he’d hoped for her not be in that place, to be alive, at the TVA, where she could clearly do something more than him locked up in that place.
Now two people he cared about were pruned, amazing.
“We thought you could do with some backup.” Sylvie’s soothing voice ran on his newly opened wound like a warm, painless cream.
Loki was so happy to see her again he nearly missed the words she spoke.
“We?” He repeated, afraid that it was just another trick his mind was playing controlled by the insane beating of his heart.
Sylvie smiled, now fully, her white teeth showing and a secret seemed to be kept in her eyes.
She only took a step back, looking at the car, that’s when Loki saw him.
“Mobius!” He couldn’t contain his legs that took advantage of his mental state and began running towards him, his arms did the same, spreading wide and in a moment he was enveloping Mobius in a hug.
He didn't even realize he was doing it until he felt Mobius' warmth against his skin. Loki pushed away all the thoughts about all the people watching them, his own mind telling him he was overstepping, because his body just needed him.
Mobius turned into jelly when he felt Loki’s strong arms pressed him into his chest. He was alive and in the arms of his supposedly enemy… He’d never wished anything better.
Then of course he remembered the enormous purple fog going around behind them and... yeah, they could do better.
Mobius finally took control of his arms just to circle Loki’s shoulders, his eyes closing while his perfume surrounded him.
Nothing could’ve break them, nothing... apart from Sylvie, that coughed.
They immediately took two steps back, refusing to watch each other in the eyes, both their cheeks flushed.
“As much as I’m liking this…” Sylvie took a minute to think of the right word to use, then smiled. “romantic reunion…”
Loki snapped in her direction, his eyes dark but truthful and when he saw her friendly smile he relaxed.
“We have a purple fog to enchant.” She finished, smiling proudly.
After the very much needed introductions in which Loki tried to explain to Sylvie and Mobius how and why an alligator was a Loki and how he succeeded in finding all of them at once, earning a “you throw a rock out here, you hit a Loki” from Mobius (which made him snicker and smile in pride), they all decided it was time to get some food in their belly to prepare for their upcoming death.
Loki and Sylvie talked about the plan for at least 10 minutes, which was more than they ever went on without throwing a banter on which of their ideas was better (Sylvie always won). She would’ve stayed there and try to enchant the monster, she said she had linked to it before Mobius rescued her, that it was just a puppet to guard the gates of the truth, which sounded way better than it actually was.
The other Lokis were as much confused and afraid as everyone, but as soon as they took cover in one of the empty buildings along the way and light up a fire nothing could’ve stopped them asking random question to Sylvie who, more or less politely, answered.
Mobius wasn’t hungry, there was something about that alligator that didn’t click. He thought that maybe the fact that it was so confusing was in fact what made him a Loki, but he didn’t seem like one, which, of course, made him more suspected of a being a Loki. And the horns… who put those horns on his head? Could he shape shift? (Mobius knew Lokis could, but he also knew all Lokis were different) and if so, why didn’t it shape shift into something with hands? Or opposable thumbs? Why an alligator?
Besides, he wasn’t exactly sure what kind of meat the Lokis were cooking. Could be human, I don’t wanna eat human meat. But at the same time didn’t want to sound ungrateful so he just stated he was full and stepped outside saying he needed to catch some air.
He didn’t know, of course, but Loki (his Loki) had been watching him since they reunited.
Mobius was sitting nine or ten steps ahead of the place they took cover in, away from prying eyes and eavesdroppers, looking at the sky and how the cloud seemed to growl.
When Loki came close he detected a familiar emotion in his eyes, something he had been feeling his whole life: Fear.
He said nothing, finally sitting down next to him.
“I always thought about what happened to people when they get pruned.” Mobius was still looking ahead, Loki took a minute to gaze at his profile.
“You didn’t know?” He asked when Mobius glanced at him feeling his stare a little too intense, and Loki suddenly looked away.
“Mh-mh.” Mobius shook his head and turned again towards the sky, a smile grazing on his lips.
“Sounds like you didn’t know a lot about that place, but still trusted it.” Loki didn’t mean it to sound so bitter and resentful, he was curious on why Mobius changed his mind so quickly, and obviously very cautious, still trying to understand if it was all an elaborate trick to get him to trust him. But he realized how absurd it all sounded and that even if it was, Loki could do nothing about it, he was in too deep: he would’ve trusted Mobius with his own life at this point.
He knew it, and that scared him.
Mobius didn’t take it the wrong way, he smiled towards Loki and sighed.
“When you live a life like mine, knowing and understanding only what they say to you, you begin to not question things, to accept everything as it is because someone said so, or because it is what it is—“ Loki listened carefully to his soothing voice, his hands intertwined on his lap.
He tried to focus on something else beside Mobius’ lips that moved, but he couldn’t.
“You’re not so different from me.” Mobius looked at him, Loki couldn’t even try and look away, he’d been caught red-handed.
“Me?” He asked with a laugh.
“Yeah, you.” Mobius couldn’t contain his laugh when he looked at Loki’s puzzled expression. “You’ve changed, you’re not the same as before.” Mobius took him by surprise, Loki knew where this was going but at the same time tried not to let his mind go around thinking whatever absurdities it was gonna create so he laughed, again, trying to dismiss the subject.
“Yeah, I guess seeing my future-self die really changed me.” They were going in an uncharted territory, somewhere Loki wasn’t sure to be ready to talk about.
He hoped for Mobius to drop the subject, for his sake, otherwise he knew he would’ve done something he’d regret.
“It’s not that—“ Mobius didn’t drop the subject, not because he wasn’t as scared as Loki to cope with whatever was going on between them (because he was, and his mind was screaming at him to shut up and go back to common ground), but he thought that if he was gonna die, at least he was gonna do it on his terms. “It’s like I’ve been living with a blindfold on, while someone narrated me what was happening all the time, and I took things as they came; and finally someone—“ Mobius looked at Loki, his eyes shining from the way the dim light, covered by the dark could in the sky, illuminated them, and Loki felt short of breath, and sweared something was stuck in his throat even though a second ago he way perfectly fine.
“Someone took it off, and I could finally see what was happening. It’s…” he took a minute to gaze at the sky ahead of him, trying to find the perfect words, and when he did he came back to Loki’s eyes, that was still there, admiring him.
He sighed. It felt like the huge boulder that he’d felt since he met Loki was finally being lifted from his chest, letting him breathe freely.
“But at the same time—“
Loki cut him off before he could finish the phrase.
Mobius looked at him, a sad smile growing on his lips.
Loki understood, a little too well, the situation Mobius was in, he thought he wasn’t going to talk about those kind of things, at least not right then, at least not with Mobius.
Everything had been banter with Mobius till then, everything was about the plan or the variants or the TVA, nothing about them as people, nothing about them as a couple.
Loki needed to say more, he needed to say everything he was thinking and everything he’d been thinking since he met Mobius, because if he didn’t he would’ve regretted it for the rest of his days.
And the fear of regret for not saying what he wanted to say was far more pressing and painful than the one he was gonna get by saying those things.
“I spent all my life purposely destroying everything good that came my way, I couldn’t accept love not from my brother, nor my father. I thought there was how things where supposed to go, I didn’t let myself care for them even if I did with all my heart.” Loki was watching a blade of grass moved by the wind, he felt Mobius’ stare on him, but he suddenly didn’t care if his cheeks had grown red and his voice shook a bit.
“That’s something I’ll never do it again.” Loki glanced at his side, some sick part of his brain was telling him Mobius was probably laughing at him, or maybe not even listening, but when he turned he found his eyes staring at him, an encouraging expression on his face.
“That was what was happening with Sylvie, I couldn’t just stand there and say nothing, and do nothing…” Loki couldn’t hold his gaze anymore. “And I’m not gonna do that anymore.”
Loki took a deep breath, the fresh air restoring his lungs that somehow felt like they were on fire.
It was enough difficult as it was but if Mobius was gonna call his name like that it would’ve been impossible.
“Mobius.” Loki said, his tone firm while he looked at him.
Mobius felt a shiver run through the length of his spine for how Loki said his name, he hoped not to be too oblivious at the God’s eyes.
“Huh?” He was so starstruck he barely responded.
“Shut up for a minute, this is difficult for me.” Loki smiled, one of those side smiles where his eyes squinted a bit that Mobius loved so much.
“I…” Loki tried, his voice died as soon as he spoke. Mobius watched him struggle to get his voice to stop shivering, his mind running out of theories for what he was going to say.
“I’ve never felt like this before.” Loki blunted out, a little too high, but it was understandable since he was fighting with how his voice sounded so pathetic at his ears.
Mobius nodded, signaling him that he was listening, he was always listening.
“This is…” it took him another minute, Mobius tried to get his shoulder to relax but it seemed impossible. “new ground I’m standing on, and I don’t know how do to it but I’m gonna try, and even if it’s incomprehensible, if I’m babbling or If you don’t feel the same and you’ll laugh—“ He stopped, his eyes closing just like he had let go of the leash that trapped his thoughts for a moment letting them flow through.
“If all of this taught me something it’s that I have to say it.” Loki took a tentative side glance towards Mobius, who was staring, his mouth slightly open afraid but thrilled for what Loki was going to say.
There was a moment of silence, Loki found the courage to look at Mobius in the eyes as he took the most important breath of his life.
“I care about you, Mobius.” His heart stopped, he was doing it and it didn’t feel half as good as he imagined, his head hurt like his mind, not a comprehensive thought could be processed, so he just let go. “A lot.” He clarified, the thing that was possessing his heart making his chest feel like a war zone, but he couldn’t look away from Mobius’ eyes.
“And you know how I enjoy talking, how I love choosing the right words when I speak but…” he sighed, this time a smile slip through Mobius’ expression which made Loki gather as much courage he needed to finish his confession. “I can’t put into words what I’m feeling and I care for you is the closest thing that comes to mind.”
He thought about the word he was so afraid of, how it fitted perfectly what his body was feeling, how it described amazingly how his heart beat each and every time he looked at him but he thought it was too much. Dropping that word on him like this, it was too much, and maybe he was rushing and it wasn’t within him to do so, to be so blunt and vocal about his feelings, but he just needed to do that, he just needed Mobius to know that.
Mobius, on the other hand, was doubting that was even the real world. He was thinking that he had died when they pruned him and that the Loki right in front of him, the one that was confessing his feelings was just the last shred of consciousness saying the things he deeply wished to hear from his Loki before finally drifting into an eternity of dark.
He woke up a little too late, and by the kid Loki variant screaming at them, to even answer.
Loki, his Loki, coughed, straightened his shirt and stood right up, walking away towards the cloud.
It was time to say goodbye.
The Lokis had already made their decision to stay, the kid magically forged a sword for Loki to wield which made him more happy than he let on.
Mobius was going back to the TVA he wanted to let everybody know what he knew, or at least he had to try; and Loki said he wasting to fight alongside Sylvie. Both Mobius and Loki understood their perspective and reasoning, both had accepted their destiny, so why was it so difficult to say goodbye?
Mobius opened the portal the sound it made startling Loki.
The wind was stronger there, it made Loki’s eyes water and his cheeks turn pink, or maybe it was just the fact that he could still smell Mobius’ perfume as he thought it would’ve been the last time he could do it.
Mobius had his back towards him, faking checking something on the TemPad, his head low so Loki couldn’t see his watery eyes.
“Looks like you got away in the end.” Mobius smiled when he turned to face Loki, both of them recognizing the emotion they were feeling in each other’s eyes.
“As I always do.” Loki tried to smile, it came out weak and Mobius realized it wasn’t the same he had before, this one was bittersweet, the one Loki used to hide himself behind.
“Well…” Loki looked around, just now realizing Sylvie was beside him, her eyes trying not to stare but secretly watching the scene.
She took a few steps ahead to leave Loki some privacy when he found her looking.
There was something that was raging inside Mobius’ chest, something that was screaming at him to do something, to say something. He knew it had to do with the fact that Loki talked so openly to him but there was also something else.
“I'll see you when I'll save the universe, Mobius.” Loki smiled and offered him his hand.
He had taken Mobius silence from before like a refusal, like he didn't even want to answer, but he didn't care… Yes, it hurt and he was feeling stupid standing there offering a hand to the man he loved but he couldn't do much either.
Mobius remembered how Loki had enveloped him in a hug as soon as he saw him, the light and joy he saw in his eyes when he called his name, but most importantly he knew he loved him. He knew the way his heart beat for Loki wasn’t just platonic, he knew he had looked at him in a way friends would never do, he knew the way his body reacted at him like he could charm him with is magic.
Mobius looked at his outstretched hand, Loki’s lips slightly open, the pain surrounding his expression made Mobius' heart nearly break free from the rib cage.
And suddenly he wasn't Mobius anymore, he was the man reflected in those eyes, the pleading man, the one whose hands stood shivering at his sides, whose skin was covered in goosebumps and bottom lip trembled. Just like the one he was looking at a few moments before.
He was right: they were in fact the same.
Mobius took a breath and finally, purposely, pulled him close tugging him down till their lips met. He held Loki’s head in his hands, his skin so soft and smooth against his freezing fingers.
Loki couldn't do anything except oblige, his heart nearly exploding from excitement. He let his hands circle him and hold him dearly, pressing his body onto himself, as Mobius sweetly kissed his lips.
Time didn’t matter, the purple cloud didn't matter, they didn't need a TimePad to go to another place it just took their lips to launch them into another galaxy.
When they got out of breath, and only when they did, they fell back still tangled in each other.
“I care about you too, Loki.” It was all Mobius had to say.
“Finally.” Sylvie sighted under her breath, too low for both of them to hear.
Loki smiled, letting the tears in his eyes finally fall, allowing himself to be vulnerable just this once, knowing well that Mobius wouldn't have laughed, that he was safe in his arms.
Mobius gathered the tears with his thumbs, Loki still resting his face in his palms, he basked in his sweet perfume and how his warm skin felt on his'.
“I'll be seeing you on the other side—“ Mobius felt Loki’s hands grip at the fabric of his shirt like he didn’t want him to go, like he was ready to physically restrain him but his eyes were joyful and peaceful like he had never seen before. “You’ll recognize me. I'll be the one riding the JetSki claiming to have burned down the TVA.” Loki laughed he had to remind himself that this wasn't a permanent goodbye but just a nice way to say: “I'll see you later”.
“I'll see you on the other side—“ Loki repeated. “I'll be one with the timekeeper's head.”
They kissed again, this time briefly, to seal their promise and to allow their lips to hold the taste of one another till they met again.
They held each other, their foreheads pressing together, Sylvie stood ahead of them, tears were in her eyes too.
“Goodbye.” Mobius said, finally stepping into the portal.
Loki watched it vanish and suddenly he felt like he could conquer the whole world.
“Let’s go kill these fuckers.”