In the last few weeks of Loki’s sentence, where the Chitauri had been rooted out completely and the Avengers were treated with the sight of Loki flipping his finger at Thanos as he threw him into a black hole. Darcy simply said, “That’s my baby right there,” while munching on potato chips and gave him a high-five. Hawkeye simply said, “I need to retire. Right now.”
Needless to say, Loki was done. He had a hand in rebuilding New York, he aided the Avengers (scathingly, but really, did anyone expect anything else?). He was ready to leave, and so were Spock and Jim. It would be a quick spell to the Enterprise, using the replicas of the Vortex Manipulator River had once shown him how to make. They would have left immediately if Jim suddenly said, “Let’s get some whales.”
Then he turned to Spock.
Spock shrugged helplessly as if to say, ‘fuck if I know’.
Jim looked at him, pleading, “It’s really important.”
Now Spock blinked and looked at Jim, who also gave the ‘fuck if I know’ shrug.
Loki had already started packing.
They travelled by plane, on first class. In the earlier weeks of their exile on Earth, Loki had a bank account and a steady influx of money, the kind that even he knew was enough to make him as rich as Tony Stark. Loki always claimed it was SHIELD who provided it, but later on, Spock suspected that it was actually Odin who made sure his son was well-cared for. His suspicions were never confirmed, even if Loki was unusually frugal about spending money frivolously, claiming that he didn’t require that much attention. When it came to travel though, Loki was at his worst. He complained and rebuked all forms of transportation, claiming that Midgard clearly needed better methods of flying, like giant eagles.
Jim not so helpfully pointed out that giant eagles lacked belt buckles and was promptly couched for it.
Coaxing Loki into a plan was never fun, but doable. Sandwiched between Jim and Spock, he almost immediately fell to sleep (in order to avoid thinking about flying so high in a ‘tin can’) while Jim and Spock take turns with watching him, speaking in hushed tones. Spock would stroke Loki’s hair out of habit now while Jim tucked Loki around him.
Their flight to San Francisco was no different, though it gave Spock the chance to talk to Jim without Loki listening (one habit he’s never been able to break. Loki has stopped fearing abandonment, but he never stopped fearing betrayal. A world with lies is like breathing)
“Whales, Jim?” he said quietly, his fingers threading in Loki’s hair (he finally had it cut, but it still twitches in all directions)
Jim looked out the window, darkening clouds flickering in his eyes, “Let’s just get it done so we can go home.”
“You miss the Enterprise,” they both did, like a starship shaped hole in their hearts. They never talked about it in front of Loki. It upset him. It upset them worse when he didn’t show it.
“It’s not just about that… we’ve been here a while. Loki too. Now we’re gonna uproot him again to a new place. Let’s just …have a vacation.”
Consideration and warmth ebbed out like the steady drain of blood into the sink, so Spock just nodded. It had been a long two years, but that was nothing to a God.
San Francisco wasn’t very different from New York and to Loki, one human city was the same as the next one. He was, however, strangely curious over the existence of whales. He circled their tank, clicking his tongue, watching them dance and roll in the water gracefully. When the aquarium closed, he snuck them in, bending over the water and speaking to the whales softly, a ghost of a smile on his face.
(Spock remembered, back to the days of wandering stars and planets, how proud and happy Loki had been at mastering Vulcan and slowly picking up the other languages of the Federation, despite his constant boasts of being called Silver Tongue. Jim just laughed, twirling Loki in his arms and kissing him every time Loki called him a bar-wench in Klingon)
It hurt them all to be here, back in the past, away from everything they knew. It had hurt when Loki had his first cold, constant nightmares of Asgard coming to throw him out once more. It had hurt Jim when he had to stop introducing himself as “Captain”, how he stared at army officers with something akin to bright longing. It had hurt Spock, to regress his methodologies and theories to suit this century so he didn’t give them away.
It had hurt, but Spock couldn’t remember why, when Loki pulled Jim into the water like a child and they laughed as the whales swam circles around them.
With some form of magic dust and creative teleporting, Loki managed to get two whales back to the 23rd Century (and then refused to explain how he did it, proving to Jim and Spock that their mutual boyfriend was in fact a great bag of dicks). He had just laughed at them, the mischievous glint in his eyes slowly returning.
Spock met Jim’s eyes, nodding his thanks.
Jim’s lips curled into his sardonic smile, “Don’t mention it.”
Loki simply smirked, and then pretended he didn't hear what was said.
They were ready to go home.