The Eagle/Thor fusion. Apparently my brain wanted to go there -- and how. There's a graphic header and a music mix to go with this story as well.
Kudos go to robanybody for the cheerleading as always, littlerhymes for squeeing and beta duties, misspamela also for beta duties and pollymel for having to listen to me read out sections of it to her across the flat, in the car and in text messages and not punching me in the head.
And because it amuses me to tell it, the original working title for this story was Sleipnir Only Has Eight Legs. It'll make sense eventually. ;)
Also, I apologise if I screwed up any Yorkshireisms. Let me know if I did and I'll fix them.
The first time they meet, it doesn't go well.
Then again, Esca's not really sure one could define it as meeting because it's more like two atoms colliding, really. Or particle beams in the Large Hadron Collider. One particle beam being Esca and his car, the other being the motherfucking son of a bitch that appeared in the middle of nowhere right in front of him.
Either way there's wavering lights, swearing, loud noises and it all ends in a bang.
The second time they meet Esca is kicking at the dirt (the tyre bloody hurt), waving his phone around trying to find a signal (fucking American deserts, government paranoia and no decent mobile reception) and trying not to panic because he just flattened someone with his car (bloody well not his fucking fault and the rental company was going to rip out his goddamn liver to pay for the damages).
So when he's grabbed by the shoulder, Esca reacts as any good Tyke would.
It doesn't end well that time either.
The third time they meet, well.
Esca is massaging his hand and swearing like a sailor in three dialects and doesn't think he's going to stop any time soon, because: a) he's fucking pissed off; b) while he's pretty sure that his hand's not broken, his fucking phone is; c) it feels good to vent, and d) if he keeps going then maybe the fucking weirdo will up and leave instead of looking at Esca like he's either the cutest moggie in the world or the one that's just upchucked parts of a dead mouse in his lap.
It's a little unnerving.
"You have strength." The weirdo's rubbing at his jaw as he enters the beams of the headlights and Esca blinks because, fuck him sideways, the weirdo's fit. No just fit but fit and Esca's easily distracted sometimes. It's a weakness.
"Strength and courage," Mr. Fit says. "I am Marcus. What are you called?"
It's probably the shock of the entire situation that makes Esca tell the bloke his name. It could be his latent manners kicking in, but he's pretty sure it's the shock. Oh, it's not the shock of hitting someone with his car in the middle of nowhere, it's the fact that he hit an incredibly fit someone in the middle of nowhere.
A someone who seems to be walking around, talking and acting as if Esca didn't just hit him with his car.
"What are you? Superman?"
"I hit you with my car. There's a great bloody buggering dent --" Esca points to add emphasis. It's more of a flail, but what-the fuck-ever. "I hit you with my car."
"It does seem a little careless of you." Mr. Fit (Marcus, apparently) is looking at Esca with a serious expression as if -- actually, Esca doesn't even know. He's not very good at reading people. He's been told there's a clinical term for it, but he tends to think it's mainly just because most other people are chuffing morons.
"Oh, fuck you." Esca's not going to take this kind of shit, especially from someone who's pretty much cost him his liver even if his dick is starting to get over invested in the bloke. "You were standing in the middle of the bloody road."
"You do like to use profanity for emphasis, don't you?" Marcus has that 'aren't you a cute little moggie?' look on his face again.
"I'm from Yorkshire." Esca shrugs and then frowns when he realises that he's been distracted. "But I'm not stupid. I have the PhD to prove it, not that that is really all that much of a fucking distinction considering some of the fuckwits out there with them, but not. fucking. stupid."
Esca pokes his finger at Marcus. "So don't think I haven't bloody well noticed that you didn't answer my question."
"I am not this Superman you speak of."
Esca narrows his eyes. He's pretty sure that he's being fucked with. Marcus, though, is not really paying attention to Esca anymore. He's found something, apparently, way more interesting than Esca's questions.
"Your mode of transportation is intriguing." Marcus comments, wandering around the car, looking at the wheels, the lights, touching it, stroking it, like a lover.
Esca's pretty sure that his face must be a sight, his eyebrows alone are doing things they haven't done since he was -- figuratively -- caught with his pants down when they invited him to CERN for an internship. Esca hadn't been able to find words for about five minutes afterwards and full sentences had taken a hell of a lot longer. Seeing the LHC for the first time had almost made him come in his pants. His whole time there had been like being back in fourth form, trying to hide his hard on behind a clipboard every time he was in the control room.
But holy motherfucker of god, the LHC has nothing on the curves of Marcus' arse when he leans in the door to look at the inside of the car.
Esca has to shake himself to stop staring because he's suddenly realised that he's not sure where the keys are and being left in the middle of nowhere with a broken phone would be just his fucking luck.
Somehow finding the keys means that Esca is suddenly very close to Marcus. When Esca leans to grab them from the ignition, Marcus watches him do it. While still standing in the doorway, right there. Esca can feel Marcus' breath on his face when he straightens and it's like one of those hung moments as Esca's brain tries to catch up with his dick. It's currently making Esca aware of Marcus, very fit Marcus, being right there.
When the tiny bit of Esca's brain that is getting blood finally makes itself known, he stumbles back, dropping the keys.
Marcus stoops to pick them up and stays crouched when he holds them out with a smile. "You need these to operate it?"
Esca has no words, none. They've all died like a Norwegian Blue. Ex-words.
Marcus is crouched at his feet.
His fucking feet, and all of Esca's attention is completely subsumed by the way the interior light slides across Marcus' face, casting shadows and highlighting the mind-blowing curve of Marcus' lips.
Fucking God, no thoughts of blowing, Esca tries to tell himself. He could be some kind of psycho, he's acting like a car is the most amazing thing in the world and it's creeping Esca out, but he's just so buggering fit.
Esca always thought that he had a one track mind, physics was his mistress, his god, his lover. Everything else was transient, but there's something about Marcus that's disproving his hypothesis. It's changing his paradigm and Esca's pretty sure he should be really fucking worried.
Oh fuck, Esca has a sudden epiphany. This is America, home of the constitutional right to sue every Tom, Dick and Harry for something that's your own fucking fault. He's got a lot more to worry about than a paradigm shift.
"Fuck, I can't just leave you here."
Esca's still not sure how they get from Marcus looking like he's the best thing that's ever happened to Esca to here, but Esca is pretty sure that if he keeps shooting glances at Marcus across the car, he'll find out. There has to be a reason, maybe some kind of weirdo mind control, oh bugger this for a game of soldiers.
"So --" Fucking brilliant, MacCunoval. You're really showing that higher brain function you're so proud of.
Esca's internal diatribe is run off the rails when Marcus looks up from where he was stroking the arm rest with a mildly interrogative sound; looking up in time to catch Esca's gaze.
"Please tell me you're not some kind of serial killer weirdo who's going to eat my brain." Esca asks, a little desperately. Maybe if he can justify this decision he won't feel so fucking stupid for making it. Who the fuck invites a complete stranger into his car and takes him home?
"I'm not some kind of serial killer weirdo who's going to eat your brain, Esca." Marcus replies with a straight face, but there are crinkles fanning from around his eyes and Esca can tell the fucker is laughing at him.
Esca has to look away when the car swerves under his tightened grip on the wheel. God, his dick is going to get him killed, he's going to end up dead in a ditch somewhere and Marcus will be standing there with those same fucking laugh lines eating his brain.
Esca is so completely fucked. Buggered beyond all recognition.
"So --" Esca tries again. It might be getting a little ridiculous, but fuck anyone who wants to comment on it because Esca really doesn't want to have his brain eaten. "You're not Superman, but you you still haven't fucking explained how you weren't flattened when I hit you."
Marcus is looking at him, Esca can feel Marcus' gaze on the side of his face, but he's not succumbing to the bloke's tricky wiles.
"Training." Esca echoes, his hands tightened on the wheel again. "That's your fucking answer? Are you some kind of super soldier then? The Yanks are always trying to come up with that kind of bullshit."
"I am also not a ... Yank."
Esca can't help himself, Marcus gets him with the confused tone and he has to glance over again. Buggering fucking fuck. Marcus is looking at him as if Esca has just given him one of the Millennium problems to solve and he's got an Arts degree.
Esca wants to press his finger right where Marcus' eyebrows are drawn together. Oh God, avert, distract, change the subject. "But you're a super soldier, then?"
"I am einherji." Marcus replies, and Esca is almost blinded by the pride that shines out of him. He's almost glowing with it. "This would be similar to one of your soldiers, I believe."
"Okay, so definitely not a Yank unless they've started changing the names for their ranks." Esca comments, trying to fit it all in his brain. "The fucking dent in the bonnet is proof positive that I hit you, you didn't avoid it. How the fuck didn't you break anything? You went arse over tit."
"I am one of the einherjar." Marcus shrugs, as if Esca should know what that means.. "We eat, we drink, we fight, we die, we wake to do it again."
It's instinct, preparation for flight or fight in its purest form that has Esca slamming on the brakes. Marcus' head makes a solid, wet sound when it hits the dashboard as Esca yells, "You're a fucking zombie. You said you weren't going to eat my brain!"
Marcus has his hands over his face and Esca is at a loss. He should probably apologise because that must've hurt, but Marcus just seems to be sitting there shaking and Esca is no good when people get emotional. Makes him feel all cack-handed and awkward.
"Friggin' hell, be reight, mate. Fuck, it'll be all right." Esca curses and corrects himself; he always lapses when he's uncomfortable and on this side of the pond it's even less understood than back in the UK.
Trying to make up for everything he pats Marcus on the arm.
The sound that Marcus makes in response has Esca pulling his hand back as if stung. It's muffled by the hands over his face, but it's definitely familiar. Esca narrows his eyes in suspicion and it's confirmed by the snorting element that has now entered into it.
The bastard is laughing.
It's enough to make Esca lose his rag.
It's a matter of seconds for Esca to undo his seatbelt, reach across Marcus (god, the bugger really is fit) and push the door open. When he shifts back to his seat again, Marcus has dropped his hands and is laughing outright, tears streaming down his face. Esca pauses, because it's something that deserves a second look.
And a third.
But there's no fourth because Esca is too busy trying to push Marcus out of the car with his feet. "Buggering bastard, get the fuck out."
Esca's swearing steadily under his breath as he walks down the road.
It's fucking ridiculous in so many ways, but it's the only way that he feels he can hold onto what remains of his sanity.
Marcus had lost most of the laughter and protested strongly against his forced expulsion from the car. Strongly, not so much in words, but in the way that he'd braced his arms against the dash and the edge of the door and hung on like a fucking limpet -- while still sporting a fucking smile and trying to talk Esca down.
Esca's going to hold onto his anger and not let his dick do his thinking and focus on the way the muscles in Marcus' arms had strained against the sleeves of his shirt while he'd fended off Esca's feet. That's where madness lies and, maybe, having his brain eaten.
Hence the swearing.
The walking is because if he couldn't get Marcus out of the bloody car, at least he could absent himself.
Which, when considered rationally, is the stupidest fucking idea he's ever had.
Esca's starting to think that someone must've injected him with something or he inhaled some kind of experiment he shouldn't have or that he's finally losing his fucking mind because he's walking down the road in the middle of fucking nowhere at 3-fucking-am in the morning while a perfectly fucking good, if weirdo-infested, car idles behind him.
"Esca." Marcus is suddenly right there.
"Motherfucker of god." Esca stumbles and almost falls, but Marcus' hand on his arm keeps him upright before he wrenches himself free. "Don't. Just fucking don't."
"I mean you no harm." Marcus is making a placating gesture at him and all it's doing is making Esca angrier. "I am in need of your help, though."
Esca doesn't have a phone this time, but a closed fist is good enough.
"Could you please stop hitting me?" Marcus asks a little plaintively, wiping the blood from lip.
Esca will feel some shame once his fucking hand stops hurting. Jesus fucking Christ, he's a nerd, not a boxer. Who knew it hurt so fucking much more to hit someone on purpose rather than by accident? Esca can't believe he's hit someone twice in one night; normally he's the one getting hit.
"Why the fuck should I? You spend most of the time laughing at me and now you say you need my bloody help."
"I apologise." Marcus looks away with a frown. "I have been unforgivably rude, but this is all so new to me and you are entertaining."
"I'm so happy I bring joy to your life."
"You are just not what I expected."
"What you fucking expected? Hold on, what the fuck is going on?" Esca is backing up a step, then another, all kinds of fucking horrible scenarios swirling around his head. His skills are valuable and there are people who'd do anything to have them. He's heard stories.
"Esca, stop." Marcus raises his hand, but drops it to his side when Esca keeps backing away. "I mean you no harm. I give you my word."
"Aye, and that's worth what?"
"It's worth everything." Marcus is swallowed by seriousness so suddenly, that Esca feels like he has whiplash. "If I had my sword I would swear on it, but I do not."
What the fucking fuck? Sword. Esca feels like his head is going to explode and all it needs is for Marcus to keep talking for it to happen.
He's one step closer when Marcus drops to one knee and says, "I will explain, but first, will you accept my word that I mean you no harm?"
Esca's not going to say it out loud -- he's really not, even if the part of his brain that is babbling hysterically is pointing it out to him, repeatedly -- he's not going to say. Besides, that kind of shit could get him killed or at least a good clout.
Unfortunately, while he might be laying down the law to his brain, his mouth has decided that laughing nervously is the way to go and Marcus has stiffened and looks like someone has shoved a poker up his arse.
"Oh, bugger it. Okay, I'll believe you, don't have a hissy fit. Now get up before someone comes along and thinks you're trying to propose." Oh, fuck. Esca should really know by now that when he wants his internal filter to work, it never bloody does.
Marcus' smile is broad as he gets to his feet and he nods his head in some kind of formal salute before he states, "I will not break your trust again."
Esca doesn't know how to respond, not in a way that won't lead to him offending Marcus again, so he settles for, "Good. Now bloody well explain."
It isn't until Marcus relaxes that Esca realises how stiffly he was holding himself. Esca can feel the tenseness dissipating from his own muscles as Marcus steps back and gestures to the car.
"It would be more comfortable if we could sit."
When Marcus finishes telling Esca where he's from, Esca blinks, pulls off his glasses, cleans the lenses on his shirt and then puts them on again -- all while trying to formulate some kind of response.
It takes a while.
But Esca's pretty proud of how he manages to express everything running through his head in ten words or less.
"To quote Kirk: bullshit, twatmuch."
Esca really isn't all that good with surprises and he's pants when it comes to people taking the piss, he just doesn't have the temper for it. It's too easy for him to blow his stack.
"Fucking bullshit. You said you weren't going to lie to me again."
"To be fair, I said I would not break your trust again," Marcus clarifies. "But I am not lying to you."
"You're from fucking outer space?" Esca feels like Kermit the fucking Frog with the amount he wants to flail, there really isn't enough room in the bloody car to get a good rage on. "Aye, 'cos that's so believable. What the fuck am I thinking? We're in New Mexico, of course you're a fucking alien."
"Esca." He doesn't want to stop, it feels good to rant, but Marcus is looking at him, intent and serious, as he holds his hand out. "If I show you, will you believe me?"
"How are you going to show me?" Esca hunches back against the door. "Brain fuck me with your mind?"
"You have an inordinate fondness for your brain." Marcus is back to the moggie look again as he takes Esca's hand. Esca tries to resist, but all Marcus does is lean forward and place Esca's fingers against his forehead. "Look, feel -- there should be a bruise."
Marcus is right, the knock he took when he hit the dash was solid, but there's nothing to see. There's no kind of swelling under the skin, it feels smooth and right, and when Marcus takes his wrist again and brings Esca's fingers to his lip, no tear remains from Esca's earlier punch either, just a smear of dried blood.
"I am one of the einherjar." Esca can feel each of the words, and as loath as he is to have that stop, he lets his hand fall. "It's part of who I am, Esca. I will not die until Ragnarök comes."
Esca can't stay in the car anymore, this is too big, too fucking huge for the car to hold. Besides, if his head explodes inside the rental company will take his fucking kidneys as well as his liver. Upside, his head will have exploded and they wouldn't be able to gouge him.
Esca is pacing back and forth when Marcus comes around the front of the car. He doesn't quite take a step back when Esca points at him, but he does straighten as if readying for an attack.
"So, let me lay this out, just so we're fucking crystal clear. One, you're not lying. Two, you're a motherfucking alien. Three, you're from Asgard. As in Asgard. Thor, Odin, giant wolves and giant snakes and giant trees and chicks in chainmail corsets that take warriors to heaven."
Even though he doesn't mention them by name, Esca suddenly gets earwormed by fucking Wagner and looks around for choppers. There's always fucking choppers in New Mexico. Except, apparently for tonight. Fuck, focus, fuckwit.
Marcus has crossed his arms over his chest and just looking at him drags Esca back to his points. Fine points they are too.
"Four, you've come to Earth to help some bint called Jane --"
"Jane Foster. Hold up, Jane Foster, the astrophysicist? Holy fucking shit." Esca blinks. "I've read her papers on Einstein-Rosen bridges. They're like the best kind of physics porn. Anyway, five, you've got two days to find her, for us both to find her, because some bloke says so."
"Heimdall watches. He sees those that would cause harm to Asgard and those that would be of benefit. He sees shades of what will come to pass."
"What-the fuck-ever." Esca can feel a throbbing pressure behind his eyes and he's pretty bloody sure it's not going to go away any time soon. "Get the fuck in the car."
The car is silent as the headlights sweep across the road. It's making Esca edgy and he can't help but ask again, "You really can't die."
Marcus turns from where he was starting out the window -- at what Esca has no idea, given it's fucking night and the headlights only show so much -- and there is a sigh in his words. "No, Esca. Small wounds will heal. If I take what would be a mortal wound for any other, I will wake the next day."
"I don't even fucking know how to process that. It's just so --" Esca waves his hand around. "I can't decide if that's really fucking awesome or really bloody awful."
Esca can see Marcus staring at him out of the corner of his eye, but he's not saying anything. "What?"
Esca takes his eyes off the road to look at Marcus, when no answer remains forthcoming. "Bloody hell, what's with the mardy?"
"You are not like other people, Esca MacCunoval." Marcus finally says and Esca is shocked by his tone and the softness in his eyes.
Esca's exhausted by the time he pulls up in front of block where his flat is. It's crap, but he's never there except to get a change of clothes, have a wank and every so often watch some telly. The cot in his lab is more welcoming.
It's an effort to switch off the ignition and thinking about getting out of the car is making him want to cry. Fucking adrenaline crash, you're not all that. Maybe if he sits here with his head against the steering wheel someone will invent a personal transporter and deliver it to him in the next five minutes.
Hold the fuck on -- Esca turns his head and looks at Marcus. "Can you teleport?"
Marcus stops his investigation of the neighbourhood to look back at Esca and shake his head. "No."
"No teleporting." The steering wheel really isn't that comfortable but Esca can't be arsed moving. "You're a piss poor excuse for an alien then. The jury's still out on the whole can't die thing."
"It was not possible to bring anything from Asgard with me." Marcus has serious face on again.
"So you left your teleporter in your other pants then? Piss poor, seriously. You know, you never did cover how you did that. Get here, I mean." Esca raises a hand when Marcus starts to answer. "No, I don't think my brain's up to any more of your shite. I just want a fucking horizontal surface and sixteen hours sleep."
Esca somehow finds the energy to push off the wheel and open the door. Looking back over his shoulder, he asks, "You coming, then?"
"Can't believe I'm bloody doing this." Esca mutters as he flips his keys in his fingers before turning back to Marcus with accusatory finger. "If you eat my brain while I'm sleeping, I'm going to be so fucking pissed off."
"I promise I will not eat your brain, Esca." Marcus swears solemnly, but Esca is fucking sure the shite is laughing at him again. He just doesn't have the energy to care. It's hard enough getting the key in the lock.
After dropping his keys for the second time, Esca stops swearing under his breath and just does it quietly. It grinds to a halt somewhere around bloody buggering stupid keys and motherfucking lock when Marcus' hand closes over his and helps him insert the key in the lock and turn it.
Esca can feel the heat that Marcus is radiating against his back, the way his arm and chest against Esca's shoulder are solid, muscled warmth. It makes Esca want to lean backwards into it so he doesn't have to deal with reality for a while. It also makes his dick try and perk up like it has a chance in hell.
It's completely fucking typical. He can barely keep his eyes open, has lost the majority of his fucking peripheral motor control, but his dick doesn't give a shit.
Esca's pretty sure that there's something wrong with him. Marcus is a stranger, he's a fucking alien from fucking outer space (as if that isn't a fucking kick in the nuts just on its own) and all Esca wants to do is fuck him like the world is ending, hide himself in Marcus and pretend that this bloody day is just a figment of his imagination.
It's fucking insane is what it is. Completely. Utterly. It's up there with Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. If it was anymore fucking insane Esca would have to change his name to HAL.
Esca blames Marcus.
He's pretty sure that he wasn't this crazy when he left the lab earlier. Oh, Esca knows he's a little crazy, it comes with the territory. Genius and all that and he's always been a little left of fucking centre anyway -- but it's worked for him up until now. His crazy was functional and actually quite fucking productive if you go by his publication schedule.
It just seems likes he's hit the tipping point and that's where fucking Marcus comes in.
Esca wanders off for a little while and thinks about fucking Marcus and he may have made a sound that makes Marcus twitch, but Esca's not admitting to it and he's also not fucking admitting that he drifted for a second there.
Blaming Marcus, yeah that was where he was.
It could just be Marcus himself or it could be the fact that he's still holding Esca's hand.
Though that changes when Esca startles at the realisation. The clench of his hand seems to make Marcus aware of how they are standing and then Esca is left feeling cold and alone and so very fucking tired again (no matter what his dick is trying to tell him), while Marcus backs off.
Esca blinks and tries to find his train of thought, but all that's coming to him is sleep and bed now.
Esca suddenly feels exposed and awkward and in need of space.
Pushing the door open, he makes for the bedroom.
"The couch is yours."
Esca is pretty sure that he should be worried that there is a stranger in his flat, sleeping on his fucking couch, but the sight of his bed drives all of that out of his head.
He barely manages to get his shoes off and his glasses on the bedside table before he's face down on the mattress and pulling a pillow to his chest.
Any coherent thought dies a swift death as sleep rolls in.
Esca frowns as light tickles at the edge of his awareness. Fucking shit, he forgot to shut the blinds. He tries to burrow under a pillow, away from the horror that is morning in New Mexico, but nothing will prevent the bright light from completely fucking up his sleep. Even if he can't see it -- a pillow over the eyes is a beautiful thing -- he can feel it. It's crawling across his arm like a touch and as his brain comes online it's making him realise that he slept in his clothes again.
God, mornings fucking suck. It's one of the reasons he tries to work through them -- so he doesn't have to face them -- plus, he tends to work better at night.
He's contemplating maybe potentially getting up and facing the fucking day when a noise from beyond the bedroom has him sitting up like a Victorian virgin afraid of being molested. It's a matter of a moment to discard the pillow he had unconsciously clenched to his chest with a muttered friggin' heck and search around for something more substantial to use as a weapon.
Motherfucking America. He'd never had anyone break in in London, never been mugged. Looks like he's going to be two for two now thanks to the damn Yanks.
Esca's pretty sure that his brain's not functioning for shite, confronting a burglar is never a good idea, but he's out the bedroom door before he finishes the thought.
Esca's not sure what he expected (kids, maybe a professional crew; not that he's got anything that's worth much to anyone but him) but he's pretty sure what he gets is not fucking it.
The world has the blurry haze that comes with not having his glasses, but his eyes are good enough.
There's a shirtless bloke in his kitchen.
Esca's not entirely sure how that happened. He looks back to the bedroom and he's pretty sure that he was the only one in there. And he's not looking a gift horse in the mouth, he's really not, because there's a shirtless bloke in his kitchen. Esca's too busy enjoying the view to actually do anything so mundane as think.
"Good morning, Esca." Marcus says with a broad smile, when he turns at the happy cheer that Esca may or may not have just made.
Esca feels his knees go wobbly and fumbles his way to sit on the arm of the couch. It's not the smile though, really, Marcus can just keep doing that all day. Esca isn't going to complain. Not one bit. It's the way that everything comes back to him. It's like doing a header into a brick wall.
There's a shirtless alien in his kitchen.
Who seems to have taken what food Esca has in the fridge and in his cupboards and has lined it up on the bench.
And is making a face at the smell of the mustard that he's just opened.
It's enough to make a man go mad. Oh, right, Esca's pretty sure that happened yesterday.
"Your food is very strange. Why does it come in these?" Marcus gestures to the clutter around him, looking at Esca for an answer.
Esca's got nothing. He's barely awake, his glasses are still in his bedroom and when he looks down at his hand he realises that he was going to try and use the television remote as a weapon. That may even be less than fucking nothing, actually.
Also, Marcus is looking at him as if Esca has the higher brain function to be able to converse.
Looking like that.
So, the one thing that Esca does know this morning is that Marcus is weird. Really fucking weird, what with the car stroking thing and the sword thing and the food thing and the being from another planet thing. Plus, he has better manners than Esca, and Esca went to public school. Okay, so they didn't really stick when it comes to everyday life but Esca can pull them out when he needs to. Interviews and grant proposal meetings bloody well count.
But Marcus is also really fucking fit.
Esca wasn't kidding about it being a weakness. Mostly brought about by the fact that: a) Esca's a nerd, and b) it's been a really long time since he got a leg over with anything more than his hand. The two are interlinked, there's a definite correlation between a) and b), but there's also the fact that Esca sometimes loses the filter between his brain and his mouth and says things that probably should stay inside his own head, especially when he's tired.
Ten seconds ago being a prime example of this. He's also pretty sure satellites could pick up the heat signature of his face from space.
Marcus' eyebrows have drawn together again and he's looking at Esca in confused inquiry. "What does that mean? 'Wanna shag?'"
Esca still wants to stick his finger right there between them, but he's too busy trying to find a way to explain.
Esca can go one of two ways -- he can own up or he can brush it off -- but he's too paggered from everything to come up with anything plausible for the second.
So owning up it is.
"Shag, mate." Esca grins, hoping like hell he's not going to get a punch in the face. Not that it would be unfair given the number of times Marcus has taken a hit since they met.
"A bit of the other, a bang, a bonk, a screw, a good rogering --" There's something right entertaining about watching Marcus try to parse all the slang and Esca wants to just keep going, but it's too fucking early. Esca wants, actually he's not even sure what he bloody well wants, he'd just like this to be done one way or another. "Fucking, Marcus. Do you want to have sex?"
Marcus loses the smile and Esca starts to think that maybe putting the couch between them is a good idea. He makes an aborted attempt to make it happen, but it's confounded by his eyesight and Marcus' fucking shirt.
It's fucking ridiculous, that he can be bloody well brought low by a shirt, but Esca is nothing if not fucking unlucky. Look at the turn his life has taken.
Esca's staggering has him almost falling back over the couch, he's still trying to right himself when Marcus is right there. Again. You'd think Esca would be used to it by now, but he's not sure he ever will be.
He flinches when Marcus raises his hand and he may cringe a little because he's not fucking into pain. There may even have been some babbling, but Esca's ignoring that in anticipation of hit he's about to take.
It's a massive fucking surprise to have Marcus cup his cheek and tilt Esca's chin up. It's like the world has flipped on it's axis when Esca meets Marcus' eyes and sees no anger there, just interest and humour and heat.
And it takes his legs out from under him when Marcus smiles again, slow and wicked and sexy as fuck. "I would very much like to have sex with you, Esca."
Esca wants to have it noted, written in the stars or in mile high sky-written letters, that his life is fucking brilliant.
Esca's not sure when it happens, it may be when they back into the kitchen bench, when Esca's trying to find purchase, to find something solid to hold onto while his entire body is threatening to melt to the fucking floor with the things that Marcus is doing with his mouth.
It might even be when Marcus lifts and props him against the edge, when Marcus steps between Esca's legs and his hands slide out from under Esca's arse to grab his knees and pull him close.
It could even be when Esca's trying to climb into Marcus' skin, into his mouth, to get more, to feel more.
It could be any of them, it could be all of them, Esca's not sure.
All he knows is that when Marcus shifts his weight and presses into Esca in a way that makes his head swim, the earth moves.
By the earth, he means Marcus.
And by move, he means fucking falls.
"I do not like these food containers of yours, Esca." Marcus mutters, and Esca can feel every movement as Marcus shifts to pull -- something -- out from underneath his back.
"Aye, I'm not all that fucking happy with them at the moment either." Esca replies, as he pushes himself up. Marcus had taken most of his weight, but Esca was going to have a couple of painful bruises that oh god.
Esca freezes. Oh, that's really fucking nice.
Marcus stills under him, eyes wide, his mouth open as Esca finds movement again, as he shifts his hips, spreads his knees wider and settles down more firmly.
His name is almost a moan and Esca leans forward, swallowing one of his own just enough to be able to ask, "Yes, Marcus?"
"I do not think this is a good idea."
Esca flinches backward, caught between wanting to prove Marcus is so very fucking wrong and wanting to get the fuck away, to hide from the rejection. He's got one foot under him -- flight has always been his friend in times of need -- when Marcus' hand twisting in the material of his shirt stops him, pulling him back and tumbling him to sprawl on Marcus' chest.
"Fucking let me go before I --" Esca loses the rest of his words. Actually, it's more like Marcus takes them away from him, swallows them with his lips and his mouth and his hand on Esca's neck.
"Not here." Marcus is laying kisses against the corners of Esca's mouth between words. "Not a good idea to do this here, Esca."
"Oh." Esca flattens his hands against Marcus' chest and leans into the kisses, lost so easily it's a little embarrassing. "Oh, aye."
They're a tangle of limbs for precious minutes, trying to sort themselves out between kisses and touches that hold them in place as they savour the brushes of fingers and lips instead of finding the impetus to move.
Marcus almost falls again as the mustard bottle gets its revenge for his derision and rolls under his foot as he stands. Esca swears as he stubs his toe on a can of something that skids across the floor and bounces off the cupboard door with the force.
Somehow they manage to get out of the war zone that the kitchen's become.
Esca loses his shirt somewhere around the couch, he's pretty sure that it's going to be unwearable (he heard something tear when he tried to pull it over his head). They manage to get him free after Marcus stops Esca's frenzied flailing with a hand on his back and a bite against Esca's neck that has him pausing like a deer in the fucking headlights. The feelings are so fucking intense it's almost paralysing.
Marcus uses it to his advantage, to bend Esca over and peel him out of his shirt like a banana, walking forward while Esca stands immobile.
Esca's got his hands on his zipper when Marcus stops him, fingers encircling Esca's wrists.
"No, Esca." Marcus is shaking his head, a half smile on his lips. "I will do that later."
Esca's pretty sure that he's just entered a vacuum because all the air's been fucking sucked out of the room.
Marcus might as well be leading him by his dick, because he's not going to be bloody well going anywhere else than where Marcus leads.
Esca's not sure how they get into the bedroom (probably walking or, in his case, stumbling), he's too taken with the way that Marcus is looking at him, holding his eyes and circling his thumbs on the tendons of Esca's wrists. It's driving him fucking nuts.
By the time they get through the door, he's had enough.
Marcus lets out a startled curse when they land on the bed, but his reaction time is fucking loads better than Esca's; Esca loses his breath in a moan when he's rolled under Marcus and the press of their bodies drives all thought from his head.
So fucking fit. Esca hooks a leg over Marcus' hip and starts the process of cataloguing all of Marcus that he can reach. Mapping the planes of his back, the curves of his arms, the way they flex and move under Esca's hands. He tastes and teases and taunts and --
"Esca." Marcus voice is low and husky, the sound of it digging into Esca's belly in the best possible way. Esca makes a lost noise when Marcus shifts away, but it turns into a garbled combination of swearing and oh god, yes when Marcus runs his his fingers along the waistband of Esca's pants and pulls the zipper down. "Lift."
Esca is quick to comply.
Esca honestly didn't mean to do it, he was just trying to get rid of his pants.
He's trying to find words, trying to apologise for the way Marcus had to duck to avoid being kicked in the fucking face but Marcus is looking at him with that moggie look again and running his hands up Esca's legs and chuckling. "You are dangerous."
"I'm a fucking disaster area." Esca complains, shivering under the warm caress.
Marcus crawls back up Esca's legs and takes his mouth in a kiss that has Esca wondering how many of his brain cells are spontaneously imploding right now.
Marcus is smiling against Esca's lips when he adds, "Good thing I like fucking dangerous disaster areas."
He isn't sure how Marcus manages it, how he shucks his own pants with a shimmy and a curl that draws Esca's hands to his stomach, to feel the muscles there.
Marcus makes a muffled sound as Esca dips his hands lower, to trace and touch, to encircle and squeeze. It lengthens and cuts off on a sharp, indrawn breath when Esca pumps insistently.
Marcus' fingers are around his wrist again, stilling his hand. "Slowly."
Esca shakes his head in denial. "I want you to fuck me until I'm walking funny for days."
His may not get another chance is lost in the hot, wet press of Marcus' mouth.
Esca's chanting under his breath as he scrabbles in the bedside drawer for condoms and lube, he's sure they're there. Pretty sure, actually, no, he's not. Lube, yes, condoms, not so much.
His searching gets a little desperate because motor control's hard to come by when there's a horny alien kissing a trail down his back.
"Marcus, fuck." Esca arches into the wet heat of Marcus' mouth at the base of his spine and loses his grip on the lube.
He almost rips the drawer completely out when Marcus sucks hard enough to bruise. Motherfucking god, Esca wants to moan and claw at the sheets and push back and, oh thank fuck. Esca lets his chest drop to the bed so he can grab a condom with one hand and the lube with the other and it's with a crow of triumph that he twists to show his spoils to Marcus.
Marcus looks at him and then down at the condom packet with a confused look when Esca tosses it to him.
Esca turns over and gives in to inevitability, dropping the lube and reaching up to rub his thumb over the crease between Marcus' brows. When Marcus leans into it like a fucking cat, Esca knows that he's completely lost. "I don't want space syphilis."
"I do not have --" Esca stops Marcus' response with a laughing kiss.
"That --" Esca gestures to the condom when he breaks free. "Goes on your, actually, fuck it."
Esca grabs the condom from Marcus and uses his teeth to tear it open. Pushing Marcus back onto the bed with one hand against his chest, Esca grins. "How about I just show you?"
The way Marcus' eyes go wide and then flutter closed as Esca rolls the condom down is the best fucking reward for his altruism ever.
It's fucking embarrassing, is what it is.
Fucking embarrassing and a hell of a turn on.
Esca knows he must be lit up like a bloody tomato, but the way Marcus is looking at him makes him want to go at it forever.
Marcus is muttering something low and fervent (fuck, whatever it is, Marcus can just keep saying it), one hand digging into Esca's thigh, while the other traces the line from Esca's shoulder to his wrist, riding the movement as Esca opens himself with his fingers.
When Marcus fingers tangle with his own, Esca moans and has to still and drag in deep breaths to stop from coming right fucking then and there.
Marcus freezes as well. "Not good?"
"Too fucking good." Esca manages to gasp, lifting up on his knees as he shifts and maneuvers and then hisses at the push and burn. Marcus moans in counterpoint to the slow slide and pulls Esca in for an open-mouthed kiss.
With the first coordinated hitch of his hips, it's like Esca blows all of Marcus' control out of the fucking water.
All he can do after that is hang on and enjoy the ride.
He's got no words for how good it feels, for how fucking amazing (amazing fucking, ha!) it is. Esca's all nerve endings and desperate hands and begging. Marcus is all heat and fire and flesh and all Esca has time for is, "Motherfucker" before his world turns white and brain-meltingly blissful.
Sometime later, Esca's blinking at the ceiling and trying to re-establish the connections to his extremities. "Bugger me, I'll go to't foot of't stairs."
He can feel the way Marcus smiles against his shoulder, but he makes no comment, so Esca doesn't have to try and rustle up some defensive indignation. Doesn't stop him from commenting anyway. "Fuck you, Marcus."
"Another time." Marcus' smile is as smug as his tone as he shifts up onto one arm.
Esca looks away and traces the freckles on Marcus' shoulder, not wanting to give into false hope. "Aye?"
"Aye." Marcus brackets Esca's chin in his hands and kisses him soft and deep.
Even later, Esca's lying on his stomach with his chin resting on his hand, dangling one foot over the edge of the bed. "So what's this help you need then?"
There's definitely something to be said for lolling around in bed with someone who doesn't kick him out when the shagging's done.
Marcus shifts and pushes a pillow behind his back. Esca can almost see him pulling himself inward, bringing the einherjar to the surface again as he starts to explain.
It's when Marcus gets to the part about getting to Earth that Esca (metaphorically and fucking physically) sits up and listens. The post-shag glow's gone as his muscles tense and his hands fist in the sheets.
"So, I leapt from the remains of the Bifröst, following the path Loki took." Marcus explains, all intensity and expressive eyes, as if eye contact will make Esca understand the necessity of his actions.
"So, let me get this straight -- you risked your life going through the remains of a shattered Einstein-Rosen bridge, a fucking transversible Schwarzschild wormhole, to get here because Heimdall told you that Jane needed help and that I could help too?" Marcus nods with a smile, while Esca tries to find the words to encompass what he is feeling. "Are you fucking mental?"
Marcus' smile drops, his face going blank and Esca wants to apologise, but there's loyalty and then there's rabid bumfuck crazy and Marcus hasn't just skirted the edges, he's jumped in and swam around and is currently floating on the fucking surface of his insanity.
"Seriously, you listened to this bloody intergalactic voyeur?" Esca can feel his hands twitching and he wants to grab Marcus and shake him, but Marcus has turned away, sitting on the edge of the bed, radiating fuck off vibes so strongly that Esca wouldn't be surprised to see the air shimmering. "Do you have any idea what could have happened to you?"
"It shouldn't even have been possible. They're not supposed to be transversible in the first place and they're inherently unstable, plus factor in the damage you said was caused when the Bifröst disintegrated and all those issues would have been magnified exponentially."
"Thor could not be risked."
"Fuck Thor and the twelve-legged horse he rode in on, you could have died, torn apart into component parts, a smear of quarks across the stars, you brainless fuckwit!" Esca isn't even aware that he's shouting until the last word comes out. It's disconcerting to say the least, but the fuck you vibes have disappeared and Marcus is looking at him again.
"Sleipnir belongs to Odin." Marcus' smile burns bright and Esca is mesmerised. So fucking fit. "You feared for me, Esca. That is why you speak the way you do."
Esca tries to hide behind a scowl, but he knows his reddening face is giving him away. "Maybe."
"Definitely." Marcus is stalking him across the bed, all arms and shoulders and burning eyes. Esca's might be a boffin but he knows a really fucking amazing thing when he sees it, so he lets Marcus come to him.
Fuck Jane, she can wait.