Loki's consciousness adjusted to Sage's body far quicker than he would have expected, and by the time he was at Stark Towers he was considerably more comfortable than he had been and wondered if maybe she was experiencing the same phenomenon in his body. There was no need for him to adjust the way the body walked and moved, for he found that her body was used to movement and followed naturally the patterns she had set in it; causing him, as he walked, to be periodically stretching his arms or allowing them to hang, swinging, by his sides.
And without feeling any emotion towards his current situation made it much easier to just walk into Stark Towers, as she most likely would, without having to talk himself up to it; the Avengers were his enemies, after all, and just walking up to where they lived was a blasphemous idea.
"Hey, Sage, we made supper if you want some," Piper offered as Loki walked in, and it at the faint aroma of cooked meet in the air that he noticed his stomach rumbled for food; and nodded.
"Thank you," He told Piper, going into the kitchen to serve himself and observing the presence of Natasha, Clint, and Bruce as well as Tony in the top floor living area of the tower. It was cooked steak and green beans, both cold; but he plated it and took it to the microwave automatically. Her brain quickly worked with his mind and figured out how to control the device, so he punched in the time for a minute and a half and let the food warm up.
It was a wonder to him how quickly and easily her brain worked; he learned faster than he had in his own body and felt smarter, it was enough for him to think that intelligence was linked more to the body than it was someone's character. Once more, his thoughts were brought back to the girl who usually inhabited this body and how she might have been faring in his; which was certainly far different, and complete with actual emotions to make it all the more confusing.
"So how are you doing Sage? Not too bad, considering," Natasha smiled a little and plopped down into the chair next to the girl as she began eating mechanically, not even pretending to have any emotion as she had when they had first met. The Black Widow could sympathize with how it was to be numb and felt bad for the girl, but still couldn't bring herself to mention the funeral they had held several hours previously.
"Not so bad," Loki remembered that her father, adopted father, he amended, had just died and they'd held the funeral early in the morning. "Considering that we buried my father this morning." He didn't have to correct the dry tone of voice that naturally flowed out; this body had proved to be little actual work on his part.
Natasha gave another small smile and patted the girl's shoulder. "If you ever need to talk about it, I'll be around." She left the table to let the girl eat in peace, sitting next to Clint and sighing. After eating and putting his dishes away Loki found his way over to Sage's room, lying on the bed and sighing deeply.
Meanwhile, Sage sighed while leaning against a light post, picking at the remains of the burger she had bought. Loki's body was awkward to fit into and, just as she had guessed, less coordinated than her own. She could feel the same deceptive strength hidden in him that was in her own body, but the proportions were different. It didn't help the new mental anguish she felt towards the way his body tended to move; shoulders swaying ostentatiously back and forth. She could grow used to the exaggerated stride length, given his size, but the unnecessary diagonal movement of his shoulders in the pattern of a contemptuous swagger was irritating, an emotion she was still unused to and couldn't manage to get under control.
Sage closed his brighter green eyes and let a deep breath out, rolling his shoulders in a soothing, rhythmic manner to calm down and return to her equilibrium. She didn't need to feel emotion; and it would impede her thinking. That was another thing that was off; her mind was working slower than normal, the effect of swapping a brain, she figured. She could compare the situation to a computer; different hardware ran different software differently.
Still, she was bugged and unable to concentrate fully; she needed tips to deal with this body but was unwilling to contact its usual inhabitant and compromise their position even further. Sighing again, she decided to concentrate on more pressing matters than her personal discomfort and find a place to rest for the night, probably in a shelter.
Allowing for the dipping, swaggering walk, Sage made quickly towards the nearest shelter and let the walking calm her screaming emotions in attempt to return to the emotionless state she was used to working within. She needed her mind to be completely clear to be able to think and reason appropriately.
Loki had his nose buried into one of the books he had found in Sage's room when he heard a few loud steps outside and looked up, interested in whatever the sounds may have been, before peeking out to check. He saw Thor beyond the hallway in the living room. "Loki has escaped from Asgard and come back to earth," he was informing the other Avengers.
Loki frowned and backed into Sage's room again. "Shit," he muttered, pulling out the cell phone and calling her like she had told him. He heard his voice muttering from the other end for a few seconds.
"Hey; we need to meet up, perhaps at the park? Same place as before?"
Sage was disoriented from her sleep but nodded. "Twenty minutes." She told Loki, hanging up and standing to go to the park. She'd get there within five minutes but it would take him a little longer.
Loki put the phone away and grabbed a coat before leaving the room, his brother and the others were still talking. "Where do you think he is? We need to find the snake and lock him up good this time,"
"And I still owe him that arrow in the eye socket." Hawkeye was checking his bow as Loki hurried past the group, hoping to be unnoticed in all of the confusion.
"Sage!" Tony called just as he reached the door. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going for a walk." Loki turned around to greet him, smiling slightly. "I need some fresh air."
"No, you're staying here. Loki, a very bad guy, has been seen in the city and I don't want you out wandering."
"I'll be fine Mr. Stark." He pressed the button for the elevator behind her back and leaned against the wall.
"I know you think that Sage but your father told me to take care of you and I forbid you to leave." Tony stated, walking a little forwards. Loki didn't like that he was being told what to do and frowned; it was impossible to be angry but he really needed to get out. The elevator opened so he began backing into it, before changing his mind and heading to the stairs; Tony could shut the elevator down with him inside.
Tony frowned when Sage began heading over to the door to the stairs. "Sage,"
Loki sprinted towards the stairwell, slamming the door open with his shoulder and flipping onto the handrail of the circular stairway, sliding down a few stories before Tony was even able to get to the door he broke.
"Is she acting weird? Because it appears to me that she's hiding something," Thor stated as Natasha and Clint began heading down the stairs after her and Tony was suiting up to head her off.
"She is acting weirder than usual; which is why we're going to grab her and ask her." He was out on the balcony and flying down to the ground not a moment after stating his plan, to which Thor seemed to agree with as he nodded and hurried to help. Bruce just decided to take the elevator.
On the way down Loki was dialing Sage again, aware that the Black Widow and Hawkeye were in hot pursuit and that Iron Man was probably on the ground by now. "I'm in trouble and by Odin's beard I can't shadow walk out of it so I need to know what you would do." He blurted into it as soon as she had picked up.
"Where are you? What's going on?" Sage frowned, feeling worried and beginning to pace.
"I'm sliding down the stairwell; Black Widow and Hawkeye are right behind me and Tony's probably on the ground by now." He explained shortly, glancing back and just barely ahead of the two assassins. He wasn't moving fast enough and started running in the hopes to gain a little ground.
"Get off on the nearest landing and lock the door behind you; then tell me what you see."
Loki obeyed, barely able to shut the door before one of the two, the Black Widow, he guessed, and slammed his shoulder against her force to lock it. "I'm in a lab; there's a lot of fancy equipment but I don't recognize any of it."
"What's the layout of the room?"
"Door on far wall, lot of glass, window to the left; there's probably more than one room to this floor. And they're breaking in."
"Get into the next room and throw the heaviest object you can against it; now Loki!" she told him, sensing hesitation and hearing the pounding of the others splintering the door. He sprinted into action, doing as he was told; he wasn't used to fighting without magic and her quick brain had come easily to the conclusion that he'd need help getting out of this mess.
"What floor are you on?" Loki looked out of the window in this room; he had no idea he had come this far down. "Twenty-fourth or fifth."
"Not many," he picked out a few places he could put his hands and feet but they were far apart. "Not enough for me to climb."
"Sage what are you doing?!" Natasha asked through the door; they hadn't started busting it down yet, not yet. "Just come on out and we can talk about it all!"
"I'm not going to be able to get out," Loki was crouched behind a desk, whispering. "What should we do?"
Sage sighed; she couldn't let her body get confiscated and locked up, or she'd never get the chance to switch back. "Is there any way I could get up there Loki?"
"You could shadow walk; but it's an extremely difficult magical trick and it takes a lot of practice-"
"We don't have time for a lot of practice!" Sage yelled, angry and on edge; she couldn't manage to keep her calm in this situation, especially having only dealt with emotions for the past few hours. "Just tell me how to do it and I'll figure the rest out!"
"Well, you sort of just think about where you want to go and- shadow walk," Loki told her, making her sigh.
"That helps a lot; thanks." Sage managed to picture a room filled with strange equipment, on the twenty-fourth floor of the building, and took a few steps forwards with her eyes closed. Suddenly there was a lot of noise and when she opened her eyes she was staring at an arrowhead. "Shit,"
"Sage? Did you manage it?" Loki asked through the phone, which she had set to a loud enough for the two assassin's to hear the whole thing.
"I managed it; but it didn't work out as I'd hoped." She stated loudly so that Loki could hear her though the wall. "You may as well come out; out little game is up," She smiled nervously at the stony expressions of Hawkeye and Natasha Romanoff, forcing a laugh. "Please don't shoot me; there's actually a very funny explanation behind this all,"
Loki pushed the door open and saw that the Black Widow and Hawkeye both had murder in their eyes. Body reacting, he rushed forwards and jumped in front of his body, between it and the murderous arrow. "Hawk, calm down a little bit; she's right, this is all really funny once you've heard it," for some reason it was just easier not to lie in this body.
"Get out of the way Sage," Hawkeye was tense and ready to put the arrow between Loki's lying eyes, and didn't need a little girl telling him to stand down.
Sage was scared and angry at this situation; heart pounding as she stared at what was probably certain death with the person that caused it all right in front of her. "How the hell did this happen Loki?! I told you to do one thing; one goddamned thing!" she couldn't stop from yelling; overwhelmed by the heat flooding the veins of the body she was currently possessing.
Loki turned to face his tall form, having to look up and giving his back to Hawkeye and Natasha, who were just starting to understand that something was going on. "Why are you yelling at me?! I'm trying to save your life right now!" He raised his voice and tried to sound angry.
"You're trying to save you're fucking body not my fucking life! Come up with a better lie next time!"
"What the hell is going on?!" Natasha broke in, and they both turned.
"It's really a funny story," they said at the same time; Loki plainly In Sage's monotone and Sage sneering the answer in Loki's voice.
Both Sage and Loki were sitting on the couch under the stern eyes of the Avenger's, all except Steve, who couldn't be reached at the moment. Sage, in Loki's form, was shackled and muzzled; but Loki, in her form, was completely free to gesture and talk, though the others were watching to make sure she wouldn't get up.
"Okay, you have got this all wrong; I'm the one that should be wearing the muzzle, not her. She's innocent." Loki gestured to his bound form as Sage, within it, rolled his eyes and rubbed his forehead and giving him a look that said 'you're an idiot'.
"That's Loki; Loki is a bad guy."
"No, that is Sage in my body; I'm Loki, obviously in her body." He reached over, taking the muzzle off of her mouth and getting only a contemptuous frown. He felt no need to lie while in her form.
"You're an idiot for getting us into this Loki; you couldn't manage to fly under the radar for more than four hours, really? I was perfectly fine, hanging out in the homeless shelter, blending in."
"Great job you did blending in; my brother came and was telling the others that I was here in the city; they were coming to look for you."
"They probably saw you swaggering down the street early this morning and it took a little for word to reach your brother; I mean really? Could your natural walk be a little more walk and a little less flare? There's no need to move your shoulders while you walk, unless you're trying to attract a mate." She growled; Loki's body was quick to temper and the chemicals in his veins were having an adverse effect on her personality.
"Breathe a little you hothead and get control of yourself."
"I'm not a hothead; you are. This is your body, producing hormones and chemicals that are effecting your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing patterns and my personality; meanwhile my body is a temple of, not calm, but unfeeling thought and logic." Sage sighed and rubbed her forehead again. "You're emotions are so confusing and they hurt," she thought to this morning at her father's funeral and relaxed, feeling sad at the memory.
"Hey, I have an idea; how about one of you tells us what's going on." Tony interjected in a sarcastic tone.
"I was getting to that," Sage started, cutting Loki off. "Loki is in my body, I am in his body. This happened earlier and now I will tell you what happened to cause such a situation; you see, I was walking, trying to mourn my father's death, having just left his funeral a few hours ago, in the park when I accidentally bumped into Loki here. He reacted by yelling at me; obviously I wasn't freaked out but I somehow managed to figure that he wasn't a normal person and asked who he was. He started acting all boisterous, getting armor on and looking down at me, yadda yadda not intimidating, anyways, he tried to use his magic to take control of my mind; but it backfired on him and switched our consciousness's instead. So we decided that we'd try to handle this crisis on our own and he was going to pretend to be me while I hid out in his body, keeping out of trouble until I figured out how to get us back to normal." Sage sighed and frowned. "There; does that ridiculous but true explanation satisfy you or are you going to demand 'the truth'," she made sarcastic air quotes as she spoke, "From us, which we're not going to be able to give you because, as I said, this is the truth."
Loki looked up at the disbelieving faces of the others and settled on his brother's. "Brother; can you not see that this is true? Surely you of all people can tell that that," he pointed to his body, occupied by Sage on the other end of the couch, "Is not me; it's not the brother you grew up with. It's a little mortal girl far in over her head because of a mistake I made." He searched deep into Thor's eyes, trying to convince at least him; Thor was the only one that could keep the girl from rotting in an Asgardian jail, or being killed, in his body. She didn't deserve that, he thought.
Thor conceded a little; his brother was acting odd and this girl was acting a little like him. "Then tell me this, brother," the Asgardian pronounced the word 'brother' with a tone that implied that he was still uncertain, "If what you say is true; what is bringing you to care so much about the fate of this girl? Why not deny everything she said and let her be taken to Asgard in your place?"
Loki frowned, purposefully contorting Sage's face in confusion. "I'm not really sure," he looked over to Sage, who was watching him closely and attempting to cross her arms with the shackles.
"Well it seems then I'm screwed; why don't you help me back into my muzzle and we can get going," Sage rolled her eyes; they all still looked unbelieving to her and she was tired of this situation. She didn't care if she was locked up for life or even killed.
Thor grinned and laughed, embracing the girl that was his brother and the form of his brother, which was the girl, "My brother would never say a thing like that!" he laughed, still holding them both.
"That said; why don't you let go of me, since I'm not your brother and you are a stranger to me." Sage pushed away from him and Loki was just stunned by his brother's reaction and froze.
"Right, forgive me for my eagerness, Miss Sage," he looked over at his brother and let him down as well, now a little concerned that he may have harmed the human body he was in. "I didn't hurt you did I brother?"
Loki shook his head. "No; this body is remarkably sturdy."
"It's much nicer than your gangly body that's for sure." Sage told him, glancing over at the others. "Anyone have a key to this crude device or do you all really believe that the God of Thunder has lost his mind and taken the girl as his brother?"
Tony sniffed and pulled out a key, tossing it to her. "Fine Sage," he still wasn't too happy about the whole thing; this just meant that Loki had to stay here, untouchable to him, until they were able to switch bodies back.
"Thank you Mr. Stark." Sage caught the keys and unlocked the shackles, grumbling to herself at their medieval design.
"So how are you going to switch back?"
"I'm still working on that; any idea's from anyone here, so long as you're in on it too?"
Loki really thought about it for a moment, mind whirring with a few ideas. "Well, what if you attempted to cast the same spell I had tried to use on you? Perhaps if it worked the same we'd switch back,"
Sage shrugged; that was a better idea than she'd gotten. "What's the spell then and how do you do it?"
"Well you have to put your hand here," he took her hand and put it on his forehead, suddenly remembering something. "But wait; you started saying something before I finished the spell, that must have been what messed with it."
Sage felt the strange words start flowing from her mouth now again, nodding that she remembered that as well as a light came around them, lightly green. Loki felt the words start as well and touched her hand with his; then there was another flash and the broke off, Loki getting the feeling of déjà vu but seeing Sage's body in front of him.
"I can't believe that worked," Sage turned her hand in front of her face, feeling better to be back in her own body, her own unfeeling body again. His emotions were strong, fast and confusing; and it was almost good to be back to normal.
"So you're back to normal? Brother?" Thor asked, nearly blinded by yet another flash, except that no one other than he and Loki seemed to notice it.
"More or less," Loki stated; after the second flash all traces of his magic had disappeared to him.
"My son Loki; I have made a decision to exile you from Asgard until you are worthy again of returning home. Thor, remove him from the Avenger's presence and then let him go. Keep an eye on him." Odin's booming voice rang in their ears and they gave imperceptible nods.
Sage looked at the two Asgardian's and knew that something was going on; but then the half second was gone and she shrugged it off.
"I'll take him back to Asgard," Thor told the others, grabbing the shackles and muzzle to make it look good to the other Avengers. They couldn't know about him being exiled or they'd make his life a living hell. Loki understood, somehow managing to feel calm about everything; he could almost swear that he felt another presence within him, one that was numb and unfeeling.
"Are you sure this was right to do?" Odin turned to the three fates standing next to him, addressing them calmly; they had advised him to mess with his son's magic and switch his body with that of the girl.
"Yes, of course. They have now shared their essences with the other; her essence is pure and strong, it will help him to think clearer and be better, so that he may return to his home."
"But what of the girl? His essence is within her as well; it wouldn't have any negative effects on her would it?" It was a little late to ask now, he thought, since the deed was already done.
"No, no, no; she is a strong girl, and pure. He will not corrupt her; she will choose whether or not to allow his influence to change her. She will be fine."
Thor took Loki a few states away, down to South Carolina; he should be well concealed there. "Be good with your chance brother; father may not give you another," he told him as he released him from his bonds.
Loki let the numb presence take him over and nodded to his brother. "I will." He didn't feel the need for any more words and started to leave. Thor watched him disappear into the town before sighing deeply and deciding to return to Jane.
Sage stood on the balcony, breathing in the fresh air and listening to Natasha's footsteps as she came closer. "Seems that you had quite the day huh?"
"Quite the day." She agreed, allowing a smile. "It's just a good thing Clint didn't shoot me."
"Yeah," Natasha sighed deeply, "I'm sorry about that; you must have been really freaked out by that,"
"I was; but it is good to be back to normal."
"Even if you could feel emotions in Loki's body?" Sage shook her head and laughed a little.
"Emotions are confusing and his are hot and quick; I am glad to not feel again, because it's not right to feel the emotions of another. I could not handle them properly," she yawned a little and stretched. "I will go to get some sleep now; have a good night Natasha."