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The Masks We Hide Behind

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“It’s for your own good,” Frigga murmurs, resting a hand on Loki’s shoulder. She gives Loki a tender look, despite all that he has down. Despite all the crimes he has committed, the lives he has taken. Despite the pain he must have caused her. “The Allfather has his reasons for his every action.”



The half-Jotun sneers, jerking away from her light touch as though her intent was to burn him, not offer some meager form of comfort. “The Allfather has his reasons!” Loki mimics in  ringing, mocking tone. “You know not of what he plans to do besides having me banished from this godforsaken realm. How long will you hide behind that excuse?” He gives Frigga a remorseless, rapid smile that really looks more like a smirk, and stalks off to the other side of his relatively small quarters.



Clothes are lying haphazardly in lumps, some just strewn like Loki originally wanted to take them but forgot in the process of finding something better. The room looks a mess, and it seems to resemble the chaotic, destructive path Loki’s mind is traversing down with gaining acceleration. Frigga frowns, but does not give Loki a halfhearted reprimand. She does not have the strength to fight with him. Not now. Not today. He already knows everything she would say; she's said it already. She goes and fusses through his small collection of cloaks, trying desperately to remain a calm anchor for Loki while she tries to choose the best cloak for Loki to bring.

 


“Take care how you speak, child,” Frigga intones a moment later, for that is still how she sees Loki much of the time. He is still a child in her eyes, his adult self a product of what he feels was a vapid, neglectful childhood. She is largely unable to argue with him there. She and Odin were never meant to raise Loki, never meant to raise more than one child, never meant to raise a Frost Giant. But how could they leave him to die? She did the best she could with the most of her abilities. Odin did nothing, but that is a thought she keeps private, for it would be nothing less than treason, she thinks, to speak it aloud. “You must watch your silver tongue; you never know who may be deciding to heed your words.”



Loki doesn’t grant her a response, hands trembling with quiet, barely controlled ire as he accepts the few garments she hands to him. This is the only way, the last way, she feels she can support him. By helping him to pack for his departure, by giving him company when none else will. Frigga can only offer him words and nothing else, for she is not sure how much more Loki or she can handle. They are past the point of breaking, trying to navigate a shattered relationship. She watches as he continues to shove clothes into his knapsack, stopping only when it is full to grab his waterskin.  Silently, Loki murmurs a few words in Hebridian, and it fills with water. He is trying to bring whatever he thinks he will need; he has no idea where on Midgard Odin will send him to. He ties his bag shut, swings it over his shoulder once his cloak and shoes are on.



He doesn’t even stop to look over his shoulder, to look back at Frigga, who is wringing her hands unconsciously as she frets and walks around his room, silent worry rolling off her body honey slow. She is fussing and cleaning up though she has no reason; they have servants to do that. But Frigga needs to do something; she cannot sit still but there is no way she can protest what is happening, no way she can voice an outcry over Loki’s banishment.

 


She looks up as she hears his feather light footsteps approach his door. “Loki,” Frigga begins. But what can she say that she hasn't said already?



He still does not look back. He does not plan to say goodbye; he will not make this harder than it needs to be. He will not drag it out like it is a dramatic scene in his life. He knows she knows this, and knows she will not say goodbye either. But still he can feel his control waning all too easily, like water tumbling through his fingers, splashing over his palms. Loki is sorely tempted to burst into a run, to block out her voice and refuse to hear what she has to say. He cannot listen  because if he does, he is not sure he can force himself to leave. He is still a child trapped in an adult’s body, alarmed and frightened by the fact that Frigga may hate him. Loki can bear everybody, anybody thinking him a criminal, deeming him an apathetic monster to hate and avoid. Everybody but Frigga. He cannot bear her thinking that.



But all she says is, “Be safe, Loki. Go not where trouble is. Cause no mischief. Find a way to use what common sense you must have and repent for what you have done. Promise me this much. I would like to see you once more back in Asgard.” She adds the last sentence softly, each word in the sentence a parent’s plead.



Odd, Loki thinks, that she is saying to both of them that she wishes for him to be forgiven so that he may come back to live in his not-home. “Promise is a big word,” he tells her, breaths stealing down his throat and curling like smoky tendrils in his lungs before he expels them out. He is trying for some semblance of control, because he wants nothing more than to stay here with her. And yet he cannot. He cannot. Loki pauses, then adds, softly, “I will. You shouldn't worry so much."


Loki turns and walks out, one foot sedately going in front of the other, back rigid with masculine dominance. he walks to the throne room like he is going to die, though he will not.


How he wishes desperately at times that Frigga is his real mother. That he could be Loki Odinson, not Loki Laufeyson. Would that have stopped him from letting go of rules he felt bound to for centuries, if he had a family he could call his own?