"That was quite the performance," Sif said after the guard shut the door behind her.
Loki sat up, chains jostling as he did so, and regarded her with something akin to amusement. "Wasn't it, though? Correcting to Laufeyson instead of Odinson. I so enjoyed the look on the Allfather's face when the proceedings opened."
"Loki," Sif felt the anger roil through her and resisted the urge to strike him, "without the protections of the king you will die." She searched his face for something, any sign that he understood what that meant. "Why are you throwing your life away?"
She saw the humor drain from his face. He rose to his feet and approached her with slow, graceful steps until she could see the light from outside fall on his face.
"Because I have nothing to live for."
"Nothing," Sif repeated, incredulously. "Nothing."
He was lucky she opened her fist at the last moment, otherwise she might have broken his jaw. Her backhand bore enough force to nearly knock him from his feet. As it was, he gaped and felt the side she'd struck, before licking a droplet of blood from the corner of his mouth and turning back to her with a smile, as if she'd just told a joke.
"You are either a liar, a fool, or both," she spat. "Your brother, your father, your mother, your friends, your title. Do they mean nothing to you?" When he turned away, she circled until she blocked his path. "You lie, you lie to my face."
"What does it matter?" He seemed to taunt, but she could see a tremor of fear under his armor. "Fine, if you care so much, no, I do not wish to die. The thought chills me, in fact."
"Then accept the Allfather's protection." Sif was exasperated with his logic.
He laughed, a sickly sound. "Lady Sif, if you do not understand fear, then I hope you understand honor."
"You seem to have a grasp of neither and you choose the worst time to care about your honor." She shook her head, fisting her hand in his hair before pulling him close, and she felt him stiffen in shock as she wrapped her other arm around him. It was equal parts grapple and embrace, because if he kept talking she was going to hit him again.
"If you die a traitor, I will not mourn you." She buried her face in the crook of his neck, because she still remembered what he felt like, smelled like, when he had love in him, if he ever had love in him. She mistrusted that a part of her was still weak to it, still thought of him as her friend, but indulging it - probably for the last time - felt good. "You who tried to destroy two worlds and are responsible for deaths in the thousands."
"Do you not think it's what I deserve, then? If that's what you believe---"
She kissed him, and felt the jolt in his whole body. "What you deserve and what I want for you are two different things."