The footsteps outside his door were quiet, but not quiet enough. Loki scowled at the book he was trying to translate - and making no headway in. “I told you not to bother me,” he said loudly. “I’m in the middle of something.”
The lack of response was so surprising that Loki looked up, only to start a little. His door was already open, and Thor was standing there staring at Loki like he’d never seen him before. Loki jerked to his feet.
“Thor! You can’t just barge in,” he started to say, but then he realized - it was Thor, but he did not look as he had an hour ago. His hair was longer, for one, and he was taller, broader even than he already was. Loki blinked twice.
“Brother,” Thor said, and there was something odd in his voice. He looked like he wanted to say more, but was lost for words. Loki recovered himself, tensing.
“You are not my brother,” he said.
Thor - or the man who looked like him - flinched. Actually flinched, like Loki had struck him, something flickering across his expression that made Loki’s stomach drop. “I am,” he said. “I think - something has happened.”
“Something? I saw my brother not an hour past-”
“Loki,” the imposter said, his voice oddly strangled. He stepped inside and shut the door, and Loki tensed further, summoning one of his knives. “Are you…” He took a half step toward Loki, reaching out, and he brought the knife up.
“Stay back or I shall call a guard,” he said, keeping his voice from trembling through an effort of will. “Explain yourself. Who are you?”
The man’s jaw worked and it looked like the gesture Thor made when he was upset and trying not to show it. Exactly like, and it was uncanny enough to make Loki feel suddenly cold. “I am who I say,” he said. “And you are - you are Loki.”
Loki fidgeted under the intensity of that gaze fixed on him. “You have no proof of your words,” he accused, buying time. He glanced toward the window - and fell still.
There was dust on his shelves. A thick layer of it, even though a moment before they’d been clean. The window and curtains were closed when he had left them open. And now that he was looking…
A thousand small details. This wasn’t his room.
He felt his chest tighten, fear worming into his heart. Dust. Why should there be dust on his shelves?
Why had Thor looked so surprised to find him here?
Something was very wrong.
“Loki?” Thor sounded uncertain, and that was wrong too, the list only growing longer. “Look at me. Please.”
The please jangled against his strained nerves but Loki turned, unable to ignore him. “Is this the future?” He blurted out, feeling himself start to shake. Thor looked startled and covered it poorly, but for the most part he was still staring at Loki as he had been all this time, with a strange sort of hunger.
“I’m not certain what has happened,” he said at length, which wasn’t an answer.
Loki’s dread deepened. He swallowed hard and looked again at the shelves. At the bed, perfectly made.
“Am I dead?” He asked, and wished his voice didn’t tremble quite as much as it did.
Thor did that little jerk again, like Loki’s words hurt. “Loki,” he said. It wasn’t a no, and Loki felt himself start to shake.
“No,” Thor said abruptly, his voice rough. “No. You are not.” There was something fierce and terrifying and desperate in his voice, and when Loki looked at him, in his eyes. His brother, but…not. Half a stranger. “You live, and I will protect you.”
— We’ll get through this thegither, and he walks into the stair, compelling Renton to follow. — Ah know that, mate, Renton says, almost distracted under the luminosity of the stars, till the heavy door, closing behind them on the spring, extinguishes their light.
Sherlock has his head hung in shame. “On the wall.” He mumbles.
“Sorry, didn’t quite catch that.” John folds his arms.
“On the wall.” Sherlock says louder, then cuts his eyes to the ginger haired puppy who is sitting and panting happily as if nothing is wrong. He gives the pup an accusing glare. “In my defense, it was all going well before-”
“The paint was supposed to go on the wall, and now it’s all over the both of you.” John too cuts his eyes to the pup, whose ginger coat is mottled with white paint. “I have to give both of you baths now, I suppose.” John sighs, then notices Sherlock’s smirk. “A clinical bath, you clot.”
Sherlock stops smirking and puts down the paint roller in the pan. “As if you’ll be able to resist me once I’m undressed.” He begins undoing the buttons on his shirt as he leaves the room. “I’ll give you five minutes before you-”
“Don’t forget you’re in trouble!” John warns.
“Hm, even more a reason to indulge.”
John watches Sherlock leave, then picks up the pup, holding it out far in front of him to avoid getting paint on himself as well. “Never a dull day, is there?” The puppy licks John’s wrist. “I’m glad you agree.”
blame that picture of Louis with a horse, I take no responsibility for any of this.
Louis can’t remember the last time the smell of hay and old leather came to him and made him feel safe instantly, but that it’s been too long is what he knows for certain. He lets the smell settle into his bones, breathes in deep, and promptly forgets about everything that had been waiting at the tip of his tongue.
Quite frankly, when Harry had given him the address of where to pick him up earlier, Louis hadn’t been prepared. The last thing he’d expected was to be led into old stables and be confronted with real life horses for the first time in years. What he expected even less was to see Harry on one of said horses, elegantly making his way through the riding hall with a straighter posture than Louis has ever seen on him when he’s with both feet on the ground.
It takes his breath away. Harry is beautiful, sat on top of the white Arabian as if he’s royalty, and the two of them together are a team that Louis wishes he could look at forever and put in his pocket to take out and treasure whenever he feels that deep burn in his veins again.
so some fun facts about working in carpentry (from someone in the field) that probably no one wants but could be fun for writing about julia and mags with:
it is so so important to maintain a positive relationship with your clients and that’s probably why mags is so proud of his rustic hospitality and wants to use it at every corner because your relationships and reputation is half the job
for one you get returning clients and tends to be the best and most reliable source of income and you also usually will end up getting gifts from them too which is, sweet,
if they’re doing pretty well off during a year i’m almost certain that they offer discounts for their services for the poorer members of raven’s roost, mangus in particular has a “doggy discount” that if they own a dog and they let it work with him they get a good discount
both of them (+plus stephen) are probably ambidextrous to a degree as when working on repeat projects, you tend to get really tired and sore and continue working until that arm gives out and then switch to the other to be able to continue working
going with that, you get paid by commission or project usually and so hypothetically you could pick up as many as possible (or as many as the union will allow) and probably will do that a couple times and you could literally blow out your entire body but be set for the year in a couple weeks
going with the stress on the body, the physical labor definitely means that they have bad knees and probably a bad arm as well not to mention if there is a lot of heavy lifting you can get multiple hairpin fractures along your spine and legs causing intense pain that cannot be treated
also if they’re working with saws (which i’m pretty sure trav did say were in the pocket workshop) then i have no idea why mags reacted so badly to losing a finger because everyone i have ever worked with has or has almost cut off their finger once a week
also you get a very high tolerance for pain (which probably helps mags as being a sword for hirer) like i have literally sliced my entire forearm open and just wrapped it up and continued working
since raven’s roost has a carpentry district, that most likely means that they have a lumber sister town that provides all of the resources
and again, going with the importance of rustic hospitality, if you’re friends with the lumber providers then you will get first pick on the quality wood and quality literally will save you days of work
if there’s a bad harvest one year then it will fucking suck because people don’t stop needing furniture or buildings and you as the carpenter have to pick up the slack for the shitty warped wood and most projects will take about double the time
woodworking is a skill trade and has to be learned over years so most likely by the time mags came along julia was already extremely skilled and is able to do commissions and bids on her own and has her own reputation in ravens roost (which…tbh mags could have very well apprenticed under her)
it is extremely hard to go from apprenticing one carpenter to another because even the basics get muddled with your own style to the point where most people measure in different ways and cutting something wrong (especially cutting it short) will waste so much material thus mags being brand new to apprenticing under stephen probably takes years while jules just laughs each time he fucks up a leg of a chair