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Ghostly Guardian

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Tony snapped his fingers in front of my face without even glancing at me. Was it that obvious that I wasn’t paying attention? I moved an arm to slap his fingers away, and my hand passed right through his arm. I sighed. I guess I’d been fading again. Steve droned on in front of me, completely oblivious to my lack of physical form. Or just used to it. I sighed again and focused my attention on bringing my body back into this dimension. With an audible ‘pop’ that only I heard, I fell slightly back into the physical world and plopped back down in my seat. Tony sent me a knowing smirk. Across the table, Banner sent me a sympathetic one. The three of us had done enough experimenting on my powers for all of us to know just how exhausting it was holding myself in this form.

“. . . and that’s why he’ll be staying with us.” Steve finished.

Tony shot to his feet immediately. “Now hold on a minute Cap’.” He said, testily. “I don’t care whose daddy is being the big mean bad guy. You aren’t putting the God of being a pain in my ass in my tower!”

I jerked to attention. They wanted to bring Loki here?!

Steve was shaking his head. He opened his mouth to argue, but Fury beat him to it. “You’ll do it ‘cuz I say you’ll do it Stark. Don’t think we don’t know what you’ve been up to with all your little upgrades to SHIELD’s tech. We own you.” Fury looked at all of us.

“You’re the Avengers. Your only job is to protect this world from whatever threats exist out there. This is one of them. Loki has got to be put somewhere. Based on what he was able to do last time he was here; it’s been decided that the best place to put him is in Stark Tower. It’s the only building equipped to handle a God.”

“Well that goes without saying.” Tony quipped. Fury continued as if he hadn’t heard the billionaire.

“I don’t care how you do it, but you’re doing it. Figure it out.” With that, Fury swept out of the. Captain America sat heavily in his chair and looked at all of us.

“How are we doing this?” He asked.

Tony stood and stretched. “Well obviously we’re going to let the Phantom of the Opera here do it. What do you say?”

I rolled my eyes. “The name is Y/N.”

“We know, Casper. Now, will you do it?”

I glanced around the room. Nat looked bored. Clint looked furious at the thought of having to be in close proximity to Loki. Banner, Steve and Tony all looked at me expectantly. I shrugged. “Why not?”

Tony clapped his hands together. “Great! Now that’s been decided, let’s see what kind of security system we can whip up. Just ‘cuz Lil’ Miss Poltergeist is watching him, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t cover all our bases. I don’t Reindeer Games to have a single second of privacy.”

Tony left the room, practically dragging Banner out behind him. I smiled. I almost felt bad for Loki. Almost.

Steve caught my eye. “You won’t even have to pop into this dimension.” He said. “In fact, don’t. Stay wherever you go when you’re not here. You’ll be safer there. You just need to keep an eye on him.”

I nodded slowly. “Don’t worry Cap’.” I said. “It’s just recon. What could possibly go wrong?”

Chapter Text

Tony stared at the security footage playing out on the screen in front of him with barely contained frustration. “Looks like the party’s getting started boys. Should we go greet our guest?” Tony and the rest of the team all turned from the screens and started for the door.

Tony paused. “Maybe now would be a good time to pull your disappearing act Y/N. Better not let Billy Goat Gruff down there know about you just yet.”

I nodded and let go of the tight reins I was holding in an effort to keep my form in their dimension. I felt the world shift and 'pop' around me, and I let out a sigh of relief.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was. In fact, there was a lot I didn’t know about myself. One day, I just sort of . . . appeared. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t remember a single thing before that moment. Tony and Banner had conducted test after test to figure out what exactly I was. They’d agreed that at one point in my history, I’d been human. We weren’t sure what had happened to jumpstart my transformation. Tony had his suspicions, but he wouldn’t share them with me.

The first few days of my existence had been strange. I had wandered around the streets of New York trying to fit in, but I couldn’t touch anything. In fact, everything I tried to touch, I passed through. Just like a ghost. It wasn’t just the inanimate objects either. Anyone I tried to touch; I went through. Every now and again, one of the poor souls I’d ghosted would shudder and look around as though they could sense my presence, but they would quickly brush me aside as though nothing had happened.

I wasn’t sure exactly how it had happened, but something seemed to lead me to the Avengers and eventually I found myself inside of Stark Tower. I hadn’t made it very far inside the building when Tony’s security system had lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. Somehow, when all the world around me seemed to have forgotten I existed, Stark’s AI had not. JARVIS sensed me. It was such a startling thing to be sensed that I was actually pulled into reality for the first time since I’d woken up.

It lasted only a moment, which was probably a good thing since Stark’s security system was designed to kill. But I learned something important. I could become physical.

It took me three more days to learn how to do it on command. By then, Stark had luckily deduced that I wasn’t exactly a threat. He’d even helped build something that could forcibly keep me in the physical realm. Hurt like hell to use. But at least I had that option.

Once I finally manifested and we were able to talk, Stark and the rest of the Avengers decided to take me in. To Stark I was the ultimate puzzle. A mysterious past, a curious power and access to a dimension far outside of his own understanding. To the rest of the team, I was a valuable asset. Nothing like a spy-in-training who could literally ghost through the toughest security systems in the world and walk out with all the information they needed. Unfortunately, it was getting harder and harder to phase into reality, and stay there, on my own. I was afraid that sooner rather than later, I wasn’t going to be able to come back at all.

I took another glance at the security footage and watched a gagged and bound Loki be firmly led to his new home. No time to dwell on negative thoughts now. I may not remember Loki’s destructive rampage through New York almost a year ago, but I’d seen the damage he’d caused. I’d be damned if I was going to let him do anything like that again.

 

 

 

“Welcome home Reindeer Games. Few house rules. One, don’t touch my stuff. Two, don’t touch my stuff. Three . . .”

“Don’t touch your stuff.” Loki cut Tony off. “Yes. I know. Don’t worry about me Iron man. I wouldn’t dream of touching your 'stuff’.” Loki looked around the room with disgust.

“Listen here you little . . .” Tony took a threatening step towards Loki who merely smiled mischievously.

Steve grabbed Tony’s shoulder and held him back. “Make yourself comfortable but remember we’ve got eyes on you. We don’t trust you any more than, I’m sure, you trust us. But we’ve got to work together here. Let’s not make it any harder than it needs to be.”

Loki inclined his head slightly as though acquiescing to Steve’s request. I knew better though. I watched his hands flex and wiggle slightly behind his back. I saw sparks of magic shimmer and get immediately absorbed into the cuffs locked tightly on his wrists. I made a mental note to talk to Tony about it later.

A scowl crossed Loki’s face so quickly, I almost missed it. Interesting. He hadn’t been expecting that now had he?

Steve herded Tony away from the room and moved to shut the door behind him. “Be careful.” Was his final admonition. Although he couldn’t see me, I nodded.

The door shut with an ominous clank before the automated locks shifted heavily into place. Loki sneered at the door and then turned away. He was wise enough to realize that without magic he was at the mercy of the Avengers.

I leaned back and let the currents in my ghost dimension carry me lazily around the room. Loki moved slowly around the room, examining every last knick-knack before selecting a book from the shelf and settling in to read. I sighed and settled in for a boring day of guard duty

Chapter Text

If the room Tony had stuck Loki in had any windows, the shadows would have been spilling across the carpet by now. It had been hours since Steve had left us alone together. Not that Loki knew that. He’d been heavily engrossed in his book. I sighed and flipped in the air, lying on my stomach. I let my arms fall towards the floor and kicked my feet up. The most interesting thing that Loki had done all day was look up from his book every now and again and comb over the room as though looking for something he hadn’t seen the last few times. Each time, he seemed bored by what he saw and went back to reading for another hour or two.

I groaned and stared at the floor.

“Are my crimes such to keep me from being fed?” Called a voice from the couch. I looked up. Loki looking around the room for a camera to address. They were all hidden.

“I’m not ignorant of your Midgardian laws. I believe starving a prisoner is against your Geneva Convention.” He reclined against the couch as though a King in a palace and stretched his arms behind his head.

“I would desire . . .”

“You’ll get what you’ll get, and you won’t throw a fit.” Tony’s voice called through the door as it slowly clanked open. A small robot rolled in behind him carrying a dinner tray with some of the worst things Tony’s automated kitchen had to offer. Loki’s careful mask broke as he looked over the less than tempting spread before him with disbelief.

“I was treated better in the prisons of Asgard.”

“You can always go back Antlers.” Tony said. He glanced around the room, nonchalantly. I knew he was looking for me. I swam towards him and shoved my hand through his head. Tony shuddered noticeably. It was not a pleasant experience for either of us.

“Don’t do that!” Tony chastised telepathically.

“Invent a comm that can travel between dimensions and I wouldn’t have to.” I retorted.

“Working on it, Beetlejuice. Anything funny to report?”

“He’s just sat there reading all day. He tried using magic earlier but the cuff’s worked like a charm.”

I practically felt Tony’s chest swell with pride and I couldn’t help but smile fondly. “Well of course they did. I invented them. Alright. Well . . . do you need anything? Feeling tired yet?”

“You know I don’t really have physical needs when I’m . . . wherever I am.”

Tony’s voice took on a wistful tone. “One day we’ll figure it out Casper. Banner and I are close to cracking it. You’ll be a real girl in no time.”

“Till then, I guess it’s good to have a ghost on staff isn’t it? I can’t get away with all sorts of crimes since I’m noncorporeal and all. Wouldn’t do to have real people do the dirty work.”

Tony laughed at loud. Loki’s eyes narrowed at him as though Tony had lost his mind. He stepped away from my hand and winced as our telepathic connection was cut off. I winced too and shook out my hand. We’d learned the trick accidentally during one of our many experiments but no matter how many times I reached a ghostly hand through one of their brains, I never got used to the slimy sensation.

Tony ignored Loki’s judgmental look and nodded at the tray of food. “Well, enjoy your dinner Trigon.”

He turned and left the room quickly. I lifted my feet and let the currents of the room float me away again.

Loki picked up the tray of food with a huff and sat back down on his couch to eat. He held the tray up to his nose and sniffed. Immediately he recoiled. “No doubt they serve better in the realm of Hel herself.” He grumbled, but he picked up his disposable utensils and began to eat.

A smile grew on my face as he ate. His expressions went from bad to worse. Then he reached for what looked like a pile of sardines. I sat up and leaned forward with anticipation. He sniffed it once before putting one in his mouth. Almost immediately he began dry heaving. He raced to the bathroom. I threw my head back and laughed like I hadn’t in a long time. Tears began streaming down my face.

“Who’s there?!” Demanded Loki with a shaky voice. My laugh immediately cut off. I looked down and was surprised to see myself kneeling on the carpet. The very real, very soft carpet. Damn it!

I pulled myself back into my dimension just as Loki rounded the corner, his face pale. “I know you’re here! Show yourself!”

I watched with hawk eyes as Loki rounded the couch with a crazed look in his eye. He passed right through me as he moved about the room, looking for an intruder. He didn’t even shudder at the contact. He made quick work of the room but didn’t find a trace of me.

Loki stood erect in the center of the room. I watched as his hands twitched, sending magic sparks flying through the air like snowflakes, only to fade and die by the time they hit the ground. Loki grunted in frustration and flexed his fingers. More sparks flew from his fingertips but nothing else happened. Loki muttered what sounded like a curse under his breath and began examining his magic cuffs in earnest.

I floated forward, watching his every move closely. The likelihood that he’d be able to get the reinforced cuffs off without magic was slim to none. Tony had assured me. But something about the determination in Loki’s eyes made me doubt Tony’s guarantee. Loki’s nimble fingers traced the ridges and grooves of the device as he muttered to himself. Sparks began to fly from his fingers at an alarming rate. It was clearly taking a lot out of him to be trying to produce so much magic that his fingers lit up like sparklers on the fourth of July even with the cuffs on. I stepped in even closer. What was he doing?

Loki’s eyes jerked up suddenly and met mine for one startling moment. “Who in the nine realms are you?” He demanded. I jerked back, my eyes widening. I stumbled backwards and crashed into a chair. I felt a ‘pop’ around me as I was jerked back into my dimension before I hit the floor.

Loki’s eyes were wild as he prowled towards the fallen chair. If I had a heart or lungs in my other dimension, my heart would be pounding, and my lungs would be heaving. Instead, I froze. Completely, entirely, and utterly motionless.

Loki tossed the chair aside and moved his hands around in front of himself like a blind man. The second he came into contact with me, he flinched. I threw myself against the opposite wall. He stared at his hand in shock. “It can’t be.” He muttered.

He stared down at the broken chair, I stared at him from the other side of the room. Neither of us dared to move.

Slowly, I started to relax. Obviously, he couldn’t see me any longer. Then, suddenly, Loki yelled.

“Thor! I must speak with you at once!”

I flinched as Loki continued yelling with vengeance. Next to me, the locks in the door slid back audibly.

Chapter Text

Steve walked into the room with his arms folded across his chest. “Thor’s not here, Loki.” He said firmly. “What can I help you with?” Steve’s eyes fell on the broken chair lying on the floor and then wandered around the room. I winced. He didn’t look happy.

“You? You can do nothing for me Captain. I must speak with my brother.”

The vein in Steve’s head pulsed. “He’s off world. We don’t know when he’s coming back.”

“Then I demand to speak to your Man of Iron.”

“Tony is . . . out of the office.” Steve was still glancing around the room subtly, barely giving any attention to the irate Asgardian before him.

Loki straightened to his full height and glared down at Steve with righteous indignation. “You know about the Revenant in my quarters, don’t you?”

Steve’s attention slammed back into Loki. “The what?” He asked wearily.

Loki gestured around the room. “I know you’ve cameras everywhere. You cannot pretend not to have notice the Revenant. I believe you call them ‘ghosts’ or ‘phantoms.”

“I can check the survaillence tapes if you’d like . . . but . . .”

“It would be wise not to argue with someone who far outmatches you in wit and intellegence . . . Captain.”

Steve stared up at the ceiling as though begging for patience. He stayed that way for a few moments, his jaw twitching. Finally, he lowered his head and held his hand out to his side.

“Y/N?”

I took a deep breath and stepped forward, holding my hand in his as I pushed myself through to the real dimension. The moment I appeared, Loki took in a breath and took a nearly imperceptible step backwards.

“Loki, Y/N. Y/N, Loki.” Steve said, dropping my hand and gesturing between us.

“Then it wasn’t a figment. You’ve sent a Revenant to watch me.” Loki’s voice was dripping with derision.

I looked at him curiously. “What is a Revenant?” I asked, before Steve could speak.

Loki glared at me with hatred burning in his eyes. “The origin of your mythic vampires or ghosts.”

I sucked in a startled breath.

“She’s not a Revenant.” Steve cut off sternly.

“Then tell me, Captain, what else could she be? Ghost is an apt description for her, is it not?” Loki’s eyes slid from me and moved to glare at Steve. “She’s a Revenant. She’s an animated corpse. She’s dead.”

I felt the world waver in and out around me as I took in Loki’s words. They made an alarming amount of sense. Steve made to grab me, but his hands moved through me. I was dead? That meant that at one point, I’d been alive.

Why couldn’t I remember?

Had I left a family behind?

When had I died?

What had happened to me???

The world ‘popped’, and I found myself once again in my origin dimension. I wrapped it tightly around me like a comforter. Outside of the limits of a physical body, my panic eased enough for my rational brain to come back into play. If I had to be the dead come back to life, ghost sounded better than zombie at least. Besides, Tony and Banner had done enough tests to prove that I was . . . mostly alive. Right?

Loki was arguing with Steve, but Steve just stared in the direction I’d been when I’d disappeared.

“Y/N, head up to the conference room. Assemble the team.” I nodded and quickly flew up through the ceiling and began heading for Tony’s lab. My thoughts were running a million miles an hour. Loki seemed positive he knew what I was. Was I ready for the answers?

Chapter Text

“No. Absolutely not.” Steve was shaking his head. I grumbled. We’d been in the meeting for twenty minutes now trying to figure out what to do. Steve and Tony were afraid to let me have another go at the God of Mischief. I sighed and flexed my fingers wishing I could voice my thoughts. Since I’d pulled the disappearing act in front of Loki earlier, I hadn’t been able to pull myself back into their realm. There was a tiny voice in the back of my head warning me that this wasn’t a good sign. I chose to ignore it. What other choice did I have? It’s not like there was anyone with answers who could tell me what was going on and maybe help me.

Oh wait. There was.

I glanced around the room. I had one option if I was going to be a part of this. I didn’t trust Steve or Tony not to change my words. Banner and Clint got too dangerous when they sensed a foreign presence in their minds. I floated towards Nat. “I’m sorry.” I whispered, not that she could hear me.

Nat, like Banner and Clint, struggled with my presence in her mind. Unlike Banner and Clint, she was able to keep herself together while I was there. She didn’t like it though.

While I was in her mind, I had limited access to her memories. I couldn’t say I blamed her. Life before the Avengers had not been kind of the Black Widow. She wasn’t new to the effects of someone else meddling in her head.

I plunged my hand into her brain. Outwardly, she made no motion to indicate anything had happened. But I felt her internal revulsion roll through her. “I’m so sorry Nat. I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Power’s not working again?”

I sighed. “Not quite.”

“It’s getting worse isn’t it?”

I didn’t answer. Which was answer enough.

“We’ll figure it out, Y/N.” Nat said.

I smiled, but it didn’t quite reach my eyes. Good thing she couldn’t see me. “I know you will.”

“Now what do you want to do about these idiots?” Straight to business. I appreciated it.

“Tell them I have to go back. Loki seems to know what I am. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to real answers. I . . . I have to know.”

Nat nodded once and both of us recoiled slightly at the feeling of my hand moving through her head. Then she cleared her throat and leaned back in her chair. “If we can stop with the bromance; maybe you should ask the woman in question what she wants to do.”

Tony and Steve glanced over at her and then around the room with a grumble of acknowledgement. “Casper?” Tony asked, gesturing towards the head of the table. “The floor is yours.”

“She says she wants to know what he knows about what she is.”

There was a split second of silence before Tony and Steve leaned forward and started arguing again. Nat held up a single hand. “She has a point you know.”

I nodded. I did have a point. Thank you, Nat.

“You’ve both run your tests,” Nat said, gesturing at Banner and Tony. “. . . but you’ve come up empty. You have to admit it would be good to know what we are up against here.” Nat paused and I felt her intention a moment too late.

“No!” I yelled in her head. She chose to ignore me.

“She’s losing control of her powers.” Nat blurted out. I resisted the urge to wave my hand around her cranium. “We’ve all seen how hard it’s been for her to stay in our reality these days. It’s only going to get worse. I say we make Loki talk. The more we know about what she is, the better we’ll be able to help her.”

There was a moment of silence as everyone took that in. Steve and Tony looked positively livid. I was going to be getting an earful from them later. I hadn’t exactly been vocal about my lack of control. They clearly didn’t appreciate it.

Banner looked thoughtful. “She’s right, you know.” He said finally. Tony looked at him as though Banner had just crashed his favorite car. Banner shrugged. “We’ve run almost every test we can think of Tony. We’re running out of ideas.”

I hung my head. I’d thought as much, but it was oddly painful to hear it out loud.

Tony slumped in his chair and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Yeah . . . yeah. I guess you’re right.”

Steve shook his head. “We still don’t know what he can do. We have no guarantee that your magic handcuffs even work Stark. What if he’s just bidding his time? There’s no telling what he could do. I’m sorry, Y/N, but I don’t think you’re considering the dangers here.”

“Like what?” Nat asked, echoing my words.

“If he manages to grab you while you’re earth side, he could teleport you literally anywhere in the universe. We’d have no way to track you, no way to tell if you’d been taken or not. In short, we’d have no way to save you.”

I looked into Steve’s earnest face. He was serious. My heart softened slightly.

“She knows, Steve. But she thinks it’s worth the risk.” Nat shrugged sympathetically. “Better the enemy you do know . . .”

Steve let out a sigh of frustration. “. . . than the one you don’t.” He finished. He nodded. “Alright Y/N. We’ll back your play. But I want hourly reports. We’ll assign a full-time tech to monitor duty.” He stood to leave the room. It took everything I had not to rush over and hug him even though he wouldn’t have felt it. “Stark, I want you and Banner working ‘round the clock to figure out a way to get her a comm link she can travel with. I would feel a lot better if we had a way to communicate with her at all times.”

Stark jumped to his feet and saluted. “Right away Captain my Captain!”

Steve rolled his eyes and left the room.

“Thanks Nat.” I whispered.

“Anytime kid.”

I pulled my hand out of her head and floated through the floor. I was ready for answers.

 

I fell through the ceiling and into Loki’s quarters. He was pacing around the room, muttering furiously to himself. I’d never seen him less composed. He seemed agitated.

For a brief moment, I considered floating to his side and sticking my hand in his mind as well, but quickly ruled out that idea. Banner hulked out when I stuck my hand in his head. There was no telling what the God of Mischief would do. I wasn’t willing to test it out quite yet. Steve was barely on board as it was. If Loki . . . Loki’d out, I’d be pulled from the mission for sure.

I took a metaphorically deep breath, and closed my eyes, concentrating on the world around me. The harder I pulled my attention, the more I sensed the hazier colors and shapes that existed in my world. It was like looking at the world without glasses on. I sharpened the focus around me, the pressure building up and building up until finally I heard a ‘pop’, and felt my feet hit the floor.

I opened my eyes to find Loki glaring at me from across the room.

Chapter Text

“You know what I am.” It wasn’t a question.

Loki sneered. “Of course, I do. Don’t you?”

I slowly shook my head. “I don’t remember anything before I woke up like this.”

For a brief moment, I thought I saw a trace of sympathy on the God’s face. It was gone too quickly for me to examine it further.

“You’re a Revenant. A ghost if you will.” He waved his hand dismissively. “You’ve been revived from the dead to haunt the living.”

I nodded slowly, as I took in his words and moved to perch on the edge of the couch arm. “Are they evil?”

Loki looked somewhat taken aback by my question. “Are they . . . evil?” He parroted back. I nodded. He shrugged. “Depends on the heart of the soul before they died.” He carefully composed his mask back into place. But I wasn’t fooled. Curiosity burned brightly in his eyes. Whatever he’d thought of me before, I’d thrown him enough with my innocent question that he wasn’t so sure of it now.

I nodded again. “I suppose don’t suppose you could just wave your magic fingers around and figure out if I’m a good guy or a bad guy?”

Loki’s sneer returned to his face in full force. “Perhaps you forget, Revenant, but your Man in Iron locked me up in chains that drain magic.” He lifted his wrists and shook them in my direction to emphasis his point.

“That’s not exactly true, now, is it?” I asked, folding my arms and glaring at him.

Loki’s sneer lessened but he glanced at me as though expecting a trap. “Of course, it is. I assure you I wouldn’t remain trapped in the room with a . . . Revenant . . .” He practically spit the word. “. . . if I had any magic.”

His words stung, as he no doubt had intended them too. But I stood my ground. “I’ve seen you working your magic. They haven’t cut you off entirely. Just limited your access to it.”

Without warning, Loki was suddenly in front of me. His hands gripped my shoulders so hard; I was certain I’d have bruises to show for it.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt pain before. It was enough to shock me out of the physical realm and into my own. One minute, Loki was bruising me with the intensity of his grip, the next minute, he was falling through me and faceplanting it on the couch.

I scurried to the other side of the room and pushed myself back into the real world. I laughed at the surprised look on his face as he glanced every which way looking for me.

He made eye contact with me and rose into a threatening pose. He stalked toward me. I held up a hand in warning. “I will leave.” I threatened.

Loki froze in his tracks, his eyes narrowing as they glanced over me. Now that I was back in a physical body, the bruises on my arms began aching. I rubbed at them in wonder. Although they felt painful, it was glorious to be able to feel anything at all. I was unused to such sensation’s in my other world.

“What do you know of my magic?” Loki grit out.

I shrugged and leaned against the wall. “I see it . . . you know . . . when I’m in my other realm.”

Loki cocked his head at me. He seemed to be considering the truth of my words. I took note of that. Absently, I wondered what had happened in his life to make him so distrustful of others.

“Revenants don’t have other realms.” He said, taking a measured step closer to me.

It was my turn to measure the truth of his words. “Well maybe I’m the exception then.” I whispered.

He shook his head and took another step towards me. “And they most certainly can’t see magic.”

I backed further into the wall as he advanced. “Your magic is green. With a hint of sunshine.” I breathed. He visibly jumped at my words. Once again, without any warning, he was suddenly in front of me. We were so close, our chests touched as he stared deeply into my eyes. I noticed he kept his hands clasped behind his back as he leaned closer to me.

“What are you?” He breathed.

I froze against the wall. His eyes bore into mine with a ferocity that took my breath away. For the first time since I’d appeared in his room, he wasn’t putting off a murderous vibe. He seemed genuinely curious and even gentle as he tried to pry the secrets from my soul.

I heard a ‘pop’ and Loki’s hand flew out to brace himself against the wall as my body fade into nonexistence again. I my cheeks would have colored if I hadn’t been in ghost form. I hadn’t realized we’d been so closely pressed together.

I stared up into Loki’s face as he braced himself against the wall. His eyes closed, but before they did, I saw the weight of the world in them. There was more to the God of Mischief than he led people to believe.

His head slumped forward and he took a deep, calming breath. I couldn’t help myself, I reached up a ghostly hand and placed it on the side of his face. He drew a sharp breath and spun around, searching high and low for me.

I tried to pull myself back into being. I felt the world around me stretch, but I couldn’t penetrate it. I tried again. Same results. I suddenly felt extremely exhausted. I sighed. I guess I wasn’t going to get any more answers today.

Loki stood ramrod straight, his eyes searching the room. I reached out a hand, and with only a moment's hesitation plunged it into his mind.

“Sor . . .” I didn’t get to finish.

Loki jerked back so hard; my hand separated from his mind entirely. He threw himself against the wall and into a defense stance. His breathing was shallow and rapid. “Don’t ever do that again Revenant.” He growled, his eyes darting around the room.

I stood frozen before him; my hand still outstretched as it had been moments ago. Never before had anyone reacted so violently to my presence in their minds. Not even Banner. True, my presence made him Hulk out. But once he was a part of his alter ego, my presence also calmed him down.

Loki closed his eyes and I saw the magic flicker at his fingertips once again. I felt something brush against me and looked around me in surprise. I was still in my ghost form. I wasn’t used to feeling things here.

Loki’s eyes sprung open and I was surprised by the amount of vulnerability I saw within them. “I can still sense your presence Revenant.” He spit the word again. “You’re not welcome here. Leave.”

It was a command.

If I hadn’t been so exhausted, I might have stayed. As it was though, I flew out of the room without further argument. Hopefully a good night's sleep would help both of us.

Chapter Text

I woke suddenly when I ‘popped’ into existence and fell the ten feet from the ceiling where I’d been floating peacefully, to the floor. I groaned. I needed to get better at sleeping above my bed. Or maybe, I’d take to sleeping above the pool. Water was a great cushion. I quickly dismissed the idea. With my luck, I’d drown. Besides, I wouldn’t put it past Tony to go skinny dipping in the middle of the night. And that was one image I did not need burned in my brain.

I pulled myself up off the floor and stretched. My vertebrae popped back into place. I moved past the closet, ignoring everything inside. Pepper had bought me an entire wardrobe when I’d first moved into the tower. She used to tell me that I reminded her of the sister she never had. It had been a sweet gesture, but ultimately a fruitless one. I couldn’t take anything from the physical world with me when I ghosted. Not even clothes. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. I could take one thing. It was a form fitted dress that seemed to shift based on my moods. Usually it was white and flowed nearly to my bare feet. Other times, like last night, it had been more of a blue grey funeral style dress. No doubt a manifestation of my thoughts as I’d pondered what little Loki had told me about what he believed me to be. This morning, the dress was a pale grey and wrapped around me much like a toga from Roman times.

I shrugged at my odd appearance and moved quickly through my morning routine. I didn’t necessarily need to perform any of the morning rituals, but it was nice to pretend, if even for a moment, that I wasn’t a ghost. Or a Revenant. Whatever that was. For a few minutes, every morning, I was just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life.

I took one last glance at my appearance in the mirror, and then I allowed myself to be pulled back to my dimension. One good thing about my ghost form, it made traveling quick.

I flew through the tower and landed in the conference room. Steve was already waiting for me. I pulled myself back into reality.

“Morning Cap’.” I said, smiling at him as I took a seat.

“Y/N.” He greeted.

“What’s the plan for today?”

Steve considered me for a moment as he took a sip of his coffee. “What did you get out of Loki yesterday?” He finally asked.

I shrugged. “Not much. You were there for most of it. He thinks I’m a Revenant. A ghost brought back to life.”

Steve nodded and leaned back in his chair slightly. “What do you think?”

I looked out the large window beside us and shrugged distractedly. “Some of it makes sense. I do have all the tell-tale signs of being a ghost.”

“But?”

“But . . . I have a physical body sometimes too. Plus, last night when I went back to talk to him again, he seemed surprised that I go somewhere else. He said Revenants don’t have other dimensions.”

“Is that all he said?”

Steve’s knowing tone of voice drew my attention back to him and I grinned. “Well he also said that Revenants can’t see magic.”

Steve chuckled darkly. “I can’t imagine he was very happy knowing that you could.”

I shrugged, but my smile grew.

“Have you talked to Tony about it yet?”

I shook my head. “You know Tony. He likes a good mystery, sure. But he also likes reliable data. I’m going to observe it for a little longer before I go to him about it.”

“Do you think that’s wise? Loki shouldn’t have any access to magic at all. You don’t remember what he did to New York, but Loki and magic aren’t a good mix.”

I chose my next words very carefully. “He doesn’t have enough access to be a threat.” The unspoken ‘yet’ hung in the air between us. I rushed to finish my thought. “It’s barely a little spark. If it gets any worse, I promise I’ll talk to Tony.”

Steve nodded. “See that you do. In the meantime, I suppose you’ll want to see what else you can get out of Loki?”

I nodded and smiled up at him. Steve sighed.

“Please be careful.”

I nodded and let myself be dragged back to ghost realm.

 

I fell through the ceiling of Loki’s quarters and looked around. Loki was bent over the desk in the corner, scribbling almost angrily on a piece of paper. His hair looked unkempt and if the dark bags I saw under his eyes as I crept closer were any indication, he hadn’t slept much last night.

The myriad of papers before him were absolutely covered in strange symbols. I leaned closer, trying to make sense of them. I ‘popped’ into being.

Loki startled.

“What are these?” I asked, reaching out to touch one. Loki caught my hand. An electric jolt shot through me. By the way Loki dropped my hand and sprang away from me, I got the sense that he’d felt it too.

Loki ran a hand through his hair. “I thought I told you to leave, Revenant.” He tried to hide it, but I heard the shakiness in his tone.

I leaned away from his papers and studied him as I answered. “I think you also mentioned that I’m not exactly a Revenant.” I said casually.

He lowered his hand and glared at me.

I shrugged my shoulder and turned my back wandering towards his bookshelf. “You didn’t say it in so many words.” I agreed. “However, I distinctly remember you telling me that Revenants don’t have other realms and they can’t see magic.” I spun around and looked at him and smiled in triumph. Loki watched me stoically.

He nodded tersely.

My feet moved towards him of their own accord. “So . . . who am I?” I whispered, coming to stop just before him. I noted my tone of voice was practically a plea, but I didn’t care. You don’t realize how much your past makes up who you define yourself to be until you have no past.

Loki looked into my eyes again. His mask fell away the longer he looked into my eyes and I began to see his own past sneaking up on him. I was surprised by the deep-rooted hurt that I saw echoing in those eyes. What had happened to him?

I ‘popped’ into the ghost realm. I groaned and swept away from Loki and moved to sit on the back on his couch. Loki’s hands flexed at his side.

I grabbed reality with both hands and pulled myself into it. Loki’s head immediately swung in my direction.

“How much control do you have over that?” He demanded, the mask fully back in place.

I sighed. “Not much.” I grudgingly admitted. If I wanted answers, I had to be willing to give them.

Loki nodded and started pacing around the room, never taking his eyes off me. I stayed still on the couch and focused on staying in sight.

Loki froze and marched up to me. He gripped my chin in his fingers and raised my head to look me in the eyes. I felt the sparks of magic, rather than saw them, as they brushed my skin. I leaned further into his touch, seeking out the feelings they elicited in me. They made me feel alive. His eyes widened in surprise and he dropped my chin and backed away.

“Impossible.” He breathed.

I followed his movements with my eyes. “You know what I am?” It wasn’t really a question.

Loki began pacing again, completely ignoring me. I tipped over the back of the couch and let myself sink into the cushions. I would wait all day if I had too.

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long. Loki’s head popped out over the end of the couch and he looked at me with a strange look in his eyes. “I can help you, but we will need to perform a soul bond.”

Chapter Text

“Excuse me?” I demanded, sitting upright. Loki moved around the couch to stand before me. His hands were clasped behind his back and he smiled at me. It was not a comforting smile. “We need to perform a soul bind. It will give you more control of your powers. You’ll be able to come and go as you please without any of the negative side effects that you currently suffer from. You can think of me as a sort of . . . anchor . . . giving you a permanent foothold back into the realm of the living.”

I gaped at him. Where was this coming from? “. . . Why would you be willing to tie yourself to someone you see as a monster?”

Loki’s stance remained tightly controlled, but a flare of surprise lit up his eyes. “You’re not a monster. Believe me. I would know.”

“I assume you know what I am then.”

Loki nodded. “Yes.”

“. . . But you’re not going to tell me.”

Loki shook his head. “Consider your secret my price for helping you.”

I shook my head as I stared at him. “What do you get out of it?” I finally managed to get out.

Loki’s smile grew eerily on his face. His trickster smile was much more genuine than any other expression I’d seen on his face to date. There was a softness about it despite the warning it also seemed to issue. “I assure you, whatever it may be that I get out of the soul bond; you will not be harmed in any way.”

“Not much of a promise.” I noted, under my breath. Loki’s smile grew.

“Do you agree?” He asked.

“. . . I need to think about it.” I said finally.

“Of course. Be warned though, if you tell any of the others about this offer, the offer will be rescinded. I’ll not wait forever either. You have a day to think, and then I want my answer.”

I nodded absently as I faded back into the ghost realm. I had a lot of thinking to do.

I slowly moved through the tower and headed towards my room. I went over the facts. Loki was a trickster. He was being held here against his will. He was no doubt desperate to escape. It seemed reasonable to assume that this ‘soul bond’ that he proposed would give him access to something that would help him escape.

I ‘popped’ into my room with an unusual amount of aggression. “Why can’t anyone just give me straight answers?” I screamed into the air. My nerves were shot. I slumped onto my bed. I had been living with my powers for almost a year now. Nat hadn’t been wrong. They were growing more unstable by the day. I was genuinely afraid that sooner, rather than later, I was going to disappear from this world and appear in the ghost world and never be able to get back. I may not remember my past, but my gut told me Earth was my home. I didn’t want to go.

“JARVIS . . . What can you tell me about soul bonds?” I called into the empty room.

“Not much, I’m afraid. There is an obscure Asgardian myth that indicates that two souls can become permanently entangled if a certain ceremony is performed. It is something akin to a wedding; although soul binding can be for romantic or platonic purposes. Think of the second as more of a business partnership or an alliance of power.”

I turned that over in my mind. “Does a soul bond exchange powers between people JARVIS?” I asked.

“Unknown.”

Figures. Everything in my world was unknown these days. I ran my hands over my face. I couldn’t talk to the Avengers. I couldn’t really talk to JARVIS. He was too smart for his own good, and I didn’t trust him not to rat me out to Tony. So, it all came down to me.

What did I want?

On the one hand, there was no guarantee that binding my actual soul to the God of Mischief was going to work out for me. In fact, it was almost definitely going to come back and bite me in the ass. On the other hand, how much longer could I go on the way I was? Without a knowledge of my past, I clung even tighter to the family I’d found. The Avengers needed me. Tony and Banner were doing their best, but I felt deep in my bones that I didn’t have a lot of time left. I may not know what I was, but that didn’t stop me from dreading any change to it.

“What else does it say about them JARVIS?”

“According to the myth; soul bonds are the result of two individuals physically taking a piece of their souls and, from what I can determine, grafting said pieces into the other persons soul. It’s symbolic of making two souls one. A full union as it were.”

“That sounds painful. Are there any known fatalities from such a ceremony?”

“Erik Selvig’s book doesn’t list any particular examples. Only a brief mention of the custom.”

And what if Loki was right the first time? What if I was already dead? I didn’t think I was ready to die again. To die a second time seemed much more permanent than this soul bond.

“Was there any way to destroy a soul bond once it was formed?”

“The records indicate that there may have been a way. However, not enough information remains to give you a conclusive answer. May I ask what all this is about Y/N?”

“Just thinking about an odd story I heard.” I lied.

“Of course.” He didn’t sound like he believed me. “May I suggest that whatever plan you are considering, you exercise extreme caution. You are well loved here Y/N. None of us would like to see you harmed.”

Tears formed in my eyes and I let out a wet laugh. “Thank you, JARVIS. I’ll be careful.”

I ‘popped’ back into the ghost realm and paced around the room, passing through the furniture. Although not what he’d intended, JARVIS’s words solidified my decision. It seemed to me, based on what little information JARVIS had, that soul binding would, at the very least, prevent Loki from managing to hurt me. We would be bond. Become ‘one soul’ even. Surely if he hurt me, he’d hurt himself; and if he couldn’t hurt me, I could prevent him from hurting the others as well. It was worth a chance at least.

I glanced down and noted, with amusement, that my dress had once again shifted. It was red, the color of courage, and looked not unlike the clothes Thor’s companions had worn when they had visited Earth the last time. Clearly my wardrobe approved of my decision.

I closed my eyes and took one last fortifying breath. A part of me screamed that this was a big mistake, but a bigger part of me begged me to do it.

I fell through the floor.

Chapter Text

Loki was sitting on his couch, pretending to read a book. The book was pressed closely to his face as he leaned against the arm of the couch, but his eyes searched the room as though looking for me.

I sat atop his bookshelf and willed myself into existence. It took so long; I was panting from exertion by the time I ‘popped’.

Loki’s eyes met mine right as I appeared. He lowered his book and slowly stood as though he didn’t have a care in the world. He wasn’t fooling anyone.

Briefly, I had a twinge of trepidation. I still didn’t know exactly what he was going to get out of this. Yet somehow, something deep inside me was telling me that I needed to do it.

Loki’s eyes caressed me, and I snapped into the present. His eyes practically smoldered as they took in my appearance.

“You’re dressed as an Asgardian.” he noted.

“It would appear so.”

Loki took a step towards me and reached up a hand almost reverently. He touched the silky material as it swayed against the books. In the process, his hand grazed against my leg. An electric jolt shot through my body and the pleasure of it immediately ‘popped’ me back into the ghost realm. A warmth colored my cheeks even in my ghostly form.

I floated away from him. Loki spun to face the rest of the room, looking for me. I floated to the desk and knelt on the surface. I braced my hands in front of me and concentrated.

Loki’s eyes zeroed in on me as I flickered into being. His eyes once again seemed to drink me in. There was a heat there that hadn’t been there moments earlier.

“Your gown . . .”

I glanced down and gasped. The Asgardian style had remained the same, but the colors had shifted to a deep emerald green, almost the same shade as the tunic Loki himself wore. I glanced back up. Loki had moved so close, my head almost connected with his chest. The look in his eyes was ravenous as he reached a finger out to trail it down the draping sleeve.

A shudder racked my body.

He cleared his throat and took a step back, pulling his hand away in the process. “You’ve decided.” He said in a husky voice.

I nodded slowly. “Before we do this . . . I need your word that whatever you gain from this, you won’t use it to hurt my world or the people I care for.”

The heat in his eyes cooled significantly. “I’m the God of Mischief and Trickery Midgardian. Of what good is my word?”

I slid off the desk and approached him. A darkness filled his eyes and he scowled as I reached out a tentative hand and placed it against his chest. “It might not mean something to anyone else, but I’m not asking for anyone else. I’m asking for me. If you promise me that you won’t hurt this family I’ve found . . . I’ll believe you.”

Beneath my hand, Loki’s heart seemed to skip a beat, but the man himself gave no outward sign of what he thought of my proclamation. He stared into my eyes searching for something. I let him in. I meant what I said.

Loki tilted his head back and let out a heavy sigh. “I, Loki, exiled prince of Asgard, stolen King of Jotunheim, God of Mischief and Trickery, swear that you and yours will be safe, Y/N of Midgard.”

His eyes met mine as he finished his vow. A power swam about the room and seemed to echo the strength of his promise.

I nodded and moved to step away. Loki’s hand flew up to pin mine to his chest. “Do you agree to my terms then?”

I nodded. He reached out and placed his free hand against my chest. “In pledging this soul bond, you agree to take a piece of my soul into you forevermore and agree to give me a piece of yours in return. There is no unraveling a soul bond once it’s in place. Do you still agree?”

JARVIS had said as much. I wasn’t afraid. I nodded again.

Loki opened his mouth, but I cut him off. “You don’t have much access to your magic.” I said quickly. “How are you going to do this?”

“Soul binding is an ancient magic. Its power can be neither destroyed nor contained. Shall we begin?”

I looked around the room quickly, gathering my thoughts. It was stupid, reckless, and bound to blow up in my face. Yet that instinct that had guided me to the Avengers when I’d needed them most now told me that I was on the right path. I had to trust it. I had to trust him.

I nodded again.

“Very well.” Loki’s grip on my hand tightened. “Don’t fade.” He warned. His eyes closed and he began to chant in a long-forgotten language.

Power filled the room and seemed to wind around us, pulling us closer together. Although I wasn’t in the ghost realm, I could see the faint outline of a nearly invisible string of magic. It wrapped around the hand I had firmly placed against Loki’s chest, weaving an intricate series of knots, almost in rhythm with Loki’s powerful voice. Slowly, the string traced down my arm, up my shoulder, and down to were Loki’s hand was pressed firmly to my own chest. It stretched until it was wrapping around his hand as well.

The second the last knot was tied, a wave of power shot through the room, scattering papers and rattling the windows. The nearly invisible knots of power pulsed once against my skin and then the knots on Loki’s hand seemed to push into me as the ones on my hand seemed to push into him.

We both gasped. I felt another heart beat in rhythm with mine once, twice, and then an unfamiliar weight seemed to anchor itself in my heart. I poked at it mentally and Loki grunted across from me. We really had exchanged pieces of our souls. I metaphorically touched his soul again and Loki straightened his spine. A smile lit up his face.

Loki’s eyes scanned my face before they moved lower, fastening on my lips. I tried to pull my hand from his grip. Something about his ravenous gaze penetrated deep inside me, and my heart stirred. There was a desire there that hadn’t been there before. I wanted him. His grip tightened on my hand, squeezing it so tightly I was surprised I didn’t hear bones snapping.

“What do we do now?” I asked, licking my lips.

Loki seemed to startle to attention. His trickster smile slowly crept over his face. “Why, we seal it with a kiss of course.”

Chapter Text

Without waiting for an answer, Loki took a step towards me, his eyes still firmly locked on my lips. His head bent towards me. His lips hovered just above mine, giving me a chance to back away. I didn’t want to. He touched his lips to mine gently. A spark of pure bliss shot through me just as Loki let out a low groan. Suddenly, his lips slammed down on mine, consuming me entirely.

Loki’s hand slid from my chest and wrapped around my back, pulling me tightly to his chest. His other hand wrapped around the back of my head, fusing our lips even tighter together. Not to be outdone, my own hands reached up and buried themselves in Loki’s hair.

I was so lost in the moment, I almost didn’t hear the electric locks clanking back in place as the door began to open. Loki must have, because he quickly shoved me away and began to straighten his clothes, avoiding all eye contact with me.

The realization of what had just happened came crashing down on me and I let go of the hold I had on reality faster than I ever had before. With a cowardly ‘pop’, I was back in the ghost realm, leaving Loki to suffer his fate alone.

Not a moment later, Captain America stormed into the room with the fiercest scowl I’d ever seen. “Y/N?!” He called, completely ignoring the annoyed looking Asgardian God in his way. “Y/N! Get out here now!”

Tony strolled into the room, his casual saunter doing nothing to hide the furious disbelief in his eyes. “Where’s the girl Reindeer Games?” He asked, sauntering right up to Loki.

Loki gestured to the room around him. “No. Please. By all means, do come in.”

“Not in the mood to play with you today pal, okay? Just give us the girl and we’ll be on our way.”

Loki looked right and left. “Clearly there is no one else here.”

Steve . . . or should I say Captain America . . . (he was fully decked out, shield and all as he prowled about the room), turned to Loki. “You’re under twenty-four-hour surveillance Loki. We saw Y/N in here less than five minutes ago. I don’t know what you did to her but fix it. Now.”

Loki looked up at the ceiling. “Just what am I being accused of this time Captain?”

“Of brainwashing Lil’ Miss Poltergeist. Obviously. Fix it. We happen to like our in-house spook and we don’t need your brand of chaos ruining her.” Tony quipped.

Loki glanced out of the corner of his eye, directly at where I was standing. He knew. How could he know where I was?

Loki looked at Tony again. “You’re not doubt referencing the time I used my magic to influence your Avenging Robin Hood.” Loki held up his wrists, still entirely encased in Stark’s patented magic-free cuffs. “I don’t exactly have magic this time though, do I?”

Loki’s gaze was entirely focused on Tony, so he didn’t see Steve shake his head slightly. I winced. I’d forgotten that I’d told Steve about the cuff’s not quite working. I was going to be hard pressed to convince Steve I wasn’t being mind controlled now . . .

Steve opened his mouth to argue, but Loki cut him off.

“I don’t know where your precious apparition has gone Stark.”

That was a lie. There was a pang in my chest. I rubbed it absently.

“I’ve done nothing to her.”

Another lie. Another pang in my chest. Hmmmm . . . a way to tell when the God of Lies was lying? . . . This could be useful.

“She’s no doubt haunting your tower this very moment, finding new ways to disrupt the peace.”

This time, his eyes cut to mine again, giving away his lie. Had the soul bond given him the ability to see me? That was going to make sneaking around a lot more difficult.

“For your sake, you better hope that’s true.” Steve said threateningly.

“JARVIS! Where's Y/N?” Tony called.

I launched myself through the ceiling of the room as fast as I could fly. Once out of Loki’s room, I calmed significantly.

“Y/N, Tony requires your presence in the conference room. I’m afraid he’s quite insistent.”

I ignored the AI and wandered the halls towards my room. The further away I got from Loki, the more I felt my soul stretching back the way I’d come; almost drawing me back to him.

I rubbed my chest absently and pondered this afternoons events. For better or worse we were tied together now.

I just hoped I wouldn’t come to regret it.

Chapter Text

I regretted it.

Sometimes I wished Tony would just go ahead and invent time travel already. He’d invented everything else. Then I could go back in time and punch my sweet innocent past-self right in the face.

What had I been thinking???!

It hadn’t even been an hour since Loki had tied our souls together and I was already seeing the side effects.

Three times already, I’d been dragged through some kind of ghost realm whirlpool and spit out in Loki’s quarters. Each time, Loki had been standing before me as though he’d been expecting me and had met my eyes, despite my not being in his physical realm. Each time, he sent me a satisfied smirk and then gestured with his head, dismissing me.

It hadn’t taken long to figure out that he was the one causing it. It was getting annoying.

I trudged through the halls, wishing I could materialize and stomp through them. Too bad I was still too chicken. I knew the second I appeared, Tony would put me in lock down until he and Steve could come lecture me about my ‘fraternization with the enemy’.

Suddenly the air around me grew thinner. I groaned. Not again!

The currents in the room wrapped around me and spun me around until I was sucked through the floor and I was once again dumped unceremoniously at Loki’s feet.

I scrambled to my feet and willed myself into existence. For the first time in memory, I didn’t hear a ‘pop’ and didn’t strain to keep myself physical. The revelation was quickly shoved to the back of my brain. I was too angry to be grateful at the moment.

“What the hell!?” I demanded, throwing my hands up in the air.

Loki kept his hands behind his back, his stance straight. His smile mischievous. Something heated burned in his eyes.

“Language.” He chastised.

I ignored him and began pacing around the room muttering darkly. I didn’t remember ever having felt so angry before. It was a gratifying experience.

Loki watched me with a smirk on his face. “No need to be so angry darling.”

I froze in my tracks and veeeery slowly turned to face him. “What?”

“Anger doesn’t suit you. Darling.”

“I’m not your darling.”

Loki turned his back on me and moved towards the couch. He leisurely took his time reclining as he spoke. “You’re my wife. Surely that makes you my darling.”

The wicked smile was back on his face. I took an angry step towards him, my finger rising as if to poke him. The electric locks slid back before I could drive home my point.

“Freeze!” There was a plethora of armed SHIELD guards braced on the other side of the door. All of them had guns aimed directly at us.

There was a tug on my soul and instinct had me taking a step in front of Loki, shielding him with my body.

Tony pushed through the agents.

“Stand down Seal Team Six.” He grumbled. He marched into the room and wrapped a hand around my bicep. “You’ve got a lot of ‘splaining to do Y/N.” His tone was less than friendly.

Tony wretched me towards the door. I let out a gasp of pain. Without warning, the SHIELD agents had their guns drawn and aimed into the room again.

“What the hell . . .” Tony dropped my arm and raised his hands in surrender.

A low growl sounded from behind us and I turned slowly.

Loki had taken a few steps towards us. His fists were clenched tightly as though he was ready to start swinging. His lips were curled back in a fierce snarl. My eyes slowly trailed from his lips to his eyes and I was surprised to see the fierce rage burning within them. I took an unconscious step away from him before I noted that his eyes weren’t on me or the SHIELD agents. Instead, he was glaring at the spot where Tony had gripped my arm.

“Freeze Loki!” Shouted an agent. I was snapped back to the present. Several noticeable red dots were fixed firmly on Loki’s chest. He looked as though he was going to ignore them. Could God’s survive bullet wounds? I was in no hurry to find out.

“Stop.” I whispered, tugging on the bond within my chest, willing it to work. Loki froze.

Slowly, his eyes moved from my arm, up my shoulder and finally met my own. The amount of focus made the simple action feel like a physical caress. I shuddered. “It’s okay.” I mouthed.

Loki didn’t look convinced. But he did take a step back. He moved his hands behind his back and gave a terse nod.

For a tense minute, no one moved, and then Tony let out a breath. “Y/N.” He said, gesturing in front of him. I sent one last calming glance towards Loki and then proceeded Tony out of the room. As soon as we were in the hall and out of Loki’s sight, Tony gripped my arm again and practically pulled me down the hall.

“We’ve got a lot to talk about Casper.”

Chapter Text

I reached within myself for the soul bond I shared with her again. It burned brightly within me. I wrapped my mind around it and pulled it closer to me, summoning her. There was a barely discernable breeze through my cell before I saw her faint outline fall through the ceiling to land at my feet. It was the third time since the bond formed that I had called her here against her will. She was growing angry.

It was charming really.

I smiled at her. She seemed to huff, before she picked herself up and flew back through the ceiling. My smile faded.

The further away she got, the more taunt our bond seemed to stretch. The more my own heart seemed to ache.

It had been so long since I’d really let anyone in. So long since I’d allowed myself to feel anything besides the burning hatred that kept me going. Anger was better than despair. Made me feel more in control. And isn’t that what all creatures truly want in the end? Some semblance of control.

I sighed in disgust and sat on the couch. I steepled my fingers and stared at the floor, lost in thought.

The soul bond had taken me by surprise. I had, of course, known that eventually something that could easily be mistaken for love or desire might arise. I hadn’t expected it so soon. The literal moment the bond was completed, a yearning for this mysterious woman had enveloped me. Never before had I craved someone so entirely.

It was alarming. It was a distraction.

I stood and began pacing. Soul bonds were formed with ancient magic using rituals nearly forgotten. Even I didn’t know the full effects one could have. It was possible that the attraction was entirely one sided. I initiated the bond and therefore felt the fuller effects of it. Yes. Yes. That was it. Well, a simple solution could be had then.

Although my affections were likely to only increase, I could hope to mitigate the distraction by getting her to despise me. Should be easy enough to accomplish. I was the metaphorical big-bad-wolf in her world. Surely the precious Avengers would no doubt sully her opinion of me as well. A pain shot through my heart at that thought. I rubbed at it absently. A distraction. It was all she was. A distraction and a means to an end.

I flexed my fingers.

Although the soul bond had not been made of my magic; creating it had exhausted me. I would wait a few more days while my own reserves returned and then I would begin to experiment with my newfound powers. I watched my fingertips fade in and out of reality briefly.

A smile curled my lips. The Midgardians wouldn’t know what hit them.

I reached down inside of my soul and summoned my Warden back to me.

She fell at my feet with barely contained rage. I felt the world shift around her as it made room for her in the mortal plane. She was breathtaking.

“What the hell!” She screamed, throwing her arms up.

“Language.” I muttered, distractedly. She had begun pacing around the room. The green Asgardian robes moved about her as she stalked from one end of the room to the other. She was an absolute vision in my colors. A warmth spread through my chest and I itched to take her into my arms again. That kiss . . . well I doubted that even I with my extensive knowledge and experience had adequate words to describe that kiss. It had devastated my world.

I shook my head to clear my thoughts. A distraction.

I plastered a smirk on my face. “No need to be to be so angry darling.” I’d meant it as a jibe, but the endearment felt surprisingly welcome on my lips.

She froze in place and slowly turned to face me, retribution burning brightly in her eyes. She was beautiful.

“What?”

“Anger doesn’t suit you. Darling.”

“I’m not your darling.”

I moved back towards the couch, shirking away from the appealing idea of being tied to her forever . . . “You're my wife. Surely that makes you my darling.”

She took an angry step towards me, one finger outstretched as though she was going to drive her point home. A genuine smile lit up my face. I was excited to see her try. There was something intriguing about her emotions. They were only ever genuine. Even her anger. Especially her anger.

She opened her mouth, and I found myself practically on the edge of my seat to hear her sweet voice again, when the electric locks to my prison squealed open. I resisted the urge to groan. Damn the Midgardian’s and their sense of timing.

“Freeze!” There was a plethora of armed Midgardian warriors braced on the other side of the door. All of them had antiquated weapons pointed directly at us. I rolled my eyes but made no other movement. I would play by their rules. For now.

There was a tug on my soul, and I watched in horrified fascination as my Midgardian Warden took a step in front of me as though to shield me from the threat. My long-frozen heart seemed to thaw a bit more. No one had ever attempted to protect me before. I found myself on my feet quickly. The thought was touching but I couldn’t let her sacrifice herself for me. The thought of my Warden bleeding to death in my arms . . .

Tony Stark pushed through agents. “Stand down Seal Team Six.” He grumbled. He marched into the room and wrapped a hand around my Midgardian’s bicep. “You got a lot of ‘splaining to do Y/N.” He practically ordered her, before he yanked her unceremoniously towards the door. She let out a distinctive gasp of pain.

I took a few menacing steps towards him. Man of Iron or no, I would not let the slight against my Soul Bound go unpunished.

Instantly, the warriors at the door were on alert. They brought their weapons up again.

“What the hell . . .” I barely registered the voice. My attention was entirely focused on the red splotches of skin that marred Y/N’s arm. I was going to kill him.

“Freeze Loki!”

They dared to hurt her?! They would rue the day . . .

“Stop.” A voice whispered, penetrating right through my enraged mind and slamming into my chest. My eyes moved from the red fingerprints dotting her arm and up into the eyes of this woman I’d tied myself to irrevocably. “It’s okay.” She mouthed. I didn’t believe her for a moment. Real fear swam behind her eyes.

I felt a desperation tugging on me through the Soul Bond. She needed me to be calm. I could be calm.

Very carefully, I folded my arms behind my back and gave a slight nod. We would speak of this again. I wouldn’t hold myself back so fully next time someone threatened either of us.

Stark glanced at my Soul Bound and then at me, his knowing eyes seeing too much. I ignored him, my entire gaze riveted on the woman before me.

“Y/N.” Tony gestured for her to precede him out the door, wisely keeping his hands to himself this time.

I watched them go and let out a shaky breath of air.

This was going to be more challenging than I’d thought.

Chapter Text

Tony dragged me down the hallway and up towards the conference room. The entire time, his fingers dug painfully into my arm. It almost seemed like he was afraid that if he let me go, I’d fade away again.

He wasn’t wrong.

My heart beat nervously in my chest. I’d never seen Tony or Steve for that matter so furious. Especially not at me. This wasn’t going to end well.

I reached inside myself and felt for the Soul Bond burning brightly. Loki’s calm confidence filled me, and my wild heart calmed.

I was pulled into the conference room and dumped unceremoniously into a chair at the head of the table. My heart sunk a little further. It seemed they had assembled the entire team for this. The light blinking on the conference room phone indicated that most likely, Fury was listening as well.

I resisted the urge to groan out loud.

“What. The. Hell. Y/N.” To my surprise, it was Clint who started in on me first.

“What Robin Hood said. I don’t remember kissing the enemy being anywhere in your mission brief there Beetlejuice.”

“Y/N . . .” Steve just shook his head and looked down at the table. His disappointment hurt the most.

“Did he influence you?” Banner was all science and sympathy. He glanced at Tony. “Do we have a way to tell if she’s still being influenced?”

Tony shook his head, the glare on his face indicated he didn’t appreciate his shortcoming. “Not yet. But we will.” There was a promise burning in his eyes.

Only Nat didn’t say anything. She was just watching me. Seeing too much.

“What did you do Y/N?”

I glanced at her with wide eyes. Everyone else at the table stopped talking. Their eyes volleyed between the Black Widow and myself.

I shook my eyes, pleading with my eyes for her not to press the issue.

Her eyes narrowed at me and she opened her mouth to argue.

“If I may . . .” Interrupted JARVIS. I slumped further into my seat. “. . . Before the incident, Miss Y/N had asked about the Norse custom of Soul Binding.”

Dirty rotten, filthy stinking, piece of junk, traitor.

“What.” Fury’s voice coming from the speaker phone was hard and flat.

I was screwed.

When I made no move to explain myself, the traitor continued.

“I informed her of what little information we had. All of it is contained in Dr. Selvig’s book. Perhaps Thor would know more?”

“Thor is off world for the next while.” Cap’ grit out. “What can you tell us?”

“Soul Binding is the process by which two individuals, usually very powerful individuals, entwine their souls permanently through an ancient magical ceremony akin to a modern day wedding.”

The temperature in the room seemed to drop several degrees as the Avengers took the information in.

“It is unknown what the full process entails but seems to imply that literal fragments of soul are exchanged. The book hints that there may be a way to undo a soul bond once it is performed . . . but it gives no direct method for accomplishing such a thing.”

I sunk even further in my chair and refused to make eye contact with anyone.

I didn’t feel guilty. Not really. My gut told me I’d done the right thing. Even if I didn’t know why just yet. I had noticed that it barely took any concentration at all to keep myself in this realm even though I wanted so badly to hide in my own instead of facing their disapproval. For that alone it had been worth it . . . right?

I did, however, feel a deep-rooted sadness take over. This was the closest thing I’d had to a family since I’d woken up. Their disapproval cut me deeply.

The men in the room immediately leapt up and started arguing about what to do next. They clearly felt the best option was to end the soul bond as soon as possible.

A jolt of alarm raced through me at that thought. It wasn’t entirely my own.

How much of the conversation could Loki feel through our bond?

I’d have to ask him.

I was so distracted, I didn’t notice the Black Widow slink out of her chair and appear at my side until she reached out a hand.

I nearly ghosted to my other realm right there and then.

She gestured towards the door with her head and held a finger to her lips. I nodded and followed her out of the room. No one noticed our disappearance.

We moved silently down the hall until we were in front of another conference room. Nat held the door open for me and gestured with her head once again.

The second the door shut behind her, she whirled and crossed her arms. “Want to tell me what’s really going on now?”

Chapter Text

I sighed and moved to sit down. Nat followed me.

“I let Loki soul bind me.” I whispered. “But it’s not as big a deal as everyone thinks.”

Nat raised an eyebrow. “Not a big deal?! Kid . . .” Nat trailed off.

“I know Nat . . . but you yourself know I’ve been having a hard time staying in your world lately.”

Nat nodded.

I paused, searching for the right words. “Do you remember telling me once that I should trust my gut more?”

Nat nodded again.

“My gut said I needed to trust him Nat. Maybe not with everything. But I needed to do this. And look!” I slammed my fist down on the table. She didn’t even blink. “I’ve been physical. This whole time. Nat . . . you know how much I hate confrontation, and yet, I’m still here.”

“Loki’s keeping you in this realm?” She asked.

I shrugged. “Not forcing me here, if that’s what you’re wondering. He told me he would act more as an anchor. I could come and go as I please. It doesn’t hurt to keep myself here anymore.”

Nat looked over my shoulder and seemed to be going over the facts in her mind. I waited in breathless anticipation. I knew whatever she decided would seal my fate. One way or the other.

“I don’t like it kid.” She said finally, my heart dropped. “But you have a point.” Hope flared up inside of me.

“You’re a good kid, Y/N. I know you wouldn’t have done something this insane without a good reason. Just . . . be careful. I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but Loki doesn’t just help people out of the goodness of his heart. He wants something from you.”

I nodded. “I know Nat. I’ll be careful.” Nat nodded her head and rose to her feet.

“I’ll try to calm down the dream team in there, you put all that training I’ve given you to good use. Figure out what Loki wants. Let’s use this soul bond to our advantage.”

Nat headed towards the door. “Probably a good idea to stay out of sight for now kid. I’ll put the cams in Loki’s cell on a loop for you. You can hide out there while we try to figure this out. I think Steve’s already summoned Thor back here. I’ll try to get answers from him.”

I smiled and moved towards Nat. I wrapped my arms around her. “Thank you for trusting me.” I whispered. She awkwardly patted me on the back.

“Just don’t do anything like this again without talking to me first. Deal?”

I nodded and pulled away. She pointed towards the ground. “Go get him tiger.”

I winked and ghosted.

 

I fell through the ceiling and into Loki’s quarters. Loki was pacing the room. The moment I landed, he froze and turned to face me.

“Well?” He asked dryly as I pulled myself through to the physical realm.

I crossed my arms and moved towards the desk. I pulled myself on top of it and leaned back. “Well what?”

A smiled seemed to briefly cross his face before a scowl masked it. “What did your precious Avengers want?” He sneered. I didn’t miss the way that his gaze traced over the arm Tony had grabbed earlier. I smiled despite myself.

“They wanted to know if you were mind controlling me.”

Loki took a step closer to me. “And what did they decide?”

I watched as he took another step closer. I looked into his eyes. “They didn’t really give me a chance to change their minds.”

Loki was so close now, I could reach out and touch him. I kept my hands firmly pressed into the desk behind me.

Loki’s eyes seemed to stare into my soul as he came even closer, his thighs pressing into my legs dangling off the desk, trapping me against the wood. “They want you to break the bond.” He said.

“Yes.” I breathed.

Loki reached out a hand, and gently brushed a finger across my cheek. “They won’t be able to.”

I leaned into his touch. “Mmmm.”

“The only way to break a Soul Bond is to kill one of the bearers of it.” Loki said, matter-of-factly. My eyes flew open.

Loki watched me carefully, his finger still touching my cheek. “You would never be able to get away with it though.”

I jerked away from his hand. “I wasn’t planning on trying.” I said, folding my arms across my chest.

Loki carefully pulled his hand back to his side. “Of course not.” Loki said, looking at me with a knowing look in his eye.

I snorted in disgust and ghosted. I passed right through the smug bastard and flew to the top of the bookcase, carefully crossing my legs. I phased back into reality.

“I’m no fool, Loki. I may not understand fully what you did when you bound us together, but I know enough to know that it’s what’s giving me the ability to stay in this dimension. I’m not going to kill you.”

Loki stared at me with an unreadable expression on his face. He was entirely still. I counted to ten before I saw his chest draw in a breath.

“Did you need something?” He finally said.

I was silent for a moment as I observed him. He hardly seemed able to meet my eyes.

“The Avengers aren’t happy with either of us at the moment.” I said finally. Loki’s eyes jerked to mine. “Nat suggested that I hide out here for the time being. I guess you’re stuck with me.”

Loki swallowed hard. I ghosted and flew down to the floor before ‘popping’ back into reality. I marched up to him and deliberately stepped into his bubble. “What do you do for fun around here?”

Chapter Text

I paced the room agitatedly. Y/N’s emotions were all over the board. I couldn’t sense them directly, but I’d felt it when the Avengers had threatened to find a way to break our Soul Bond. I was surprised at the alarm she’d also felt at the thought. She wanted it to remain as much as I did . . . perhaps . . . no. She was a distraction.

Her heart stuttered abruptly, and I grabbed my own chest, reaching a hand out to steady myself against the wall. Her heart resumed its normal pace and I let out a sigh of relief.

I resumed my pacing on slightly shaky legs and reviewed my plan in my mind. Focus. I needed focus.

I’d been surprised by the ingenious of the Midgardian’s when I’d been forced here. Though it was nothing compared to Asgardian technology, the magic inhibiting cuffs I’d been forced into, worked surprisingly well. In fact, if I hadn’t had happened to wander into a Warden of all things, I would have been much harder pressed to escape.

A Warden.

I shook my head. I could scarcely believe my luck. Perhaps Freya had finally forgiven that little incident from eons ago when I’d pointed out her less-than-chaste lifestyle when she’d mocked my lack of a wife. I could think of no other reason why I’d been so incredibly blessed with a lone Warden. Specifically an unassigned one. A smile broke through my mask. I brought my fingers in front of me and smiled gleefully as I watched them flicker in an out of existence. Only a few days longer, and I’d have complete access to her powers. Then we’d see what the Midgard’s thought of their once vanquished foe.

I paused. My Midgardian’s eyes flooded my thoughts. Her wide, innocent eyes that had begged me not to harm her family.

I snorted in disgust. Family was and always would be nothing more than a distraction. A weakness. Still . . . I’d given her my word. She’d believed me. Even knowing what I was. She’d believed me. No one had done that in over six hundred years. I couldn’t bear to include her in those numbers.

Perhaps I’d leave Midgard alone. It was hardly a worthwhile prize.

I felt her heart stutter within my breast again. What in the nine-realms were her so called ‘family’ doing to her? A snarl ripped from my lips. They would pay for it. Whatever it was.

I stood in the center of the room and closed my eyes, focusing on the Soul Bond burning brightly in my chest. I brushed against it and a warmth shot out of it, filling me from head to toe in what felt like an embrace. I clenched my jaw and tried not to revel in it. It was a distraction.

I focused on the bond further. Y/N seemed to be in good health. At the very least, I could not sense that she was in pain or in any direct danger.

I stayed connected to her for another moment before I suddenly felt her presence drawing closer. I began pacing again.

As soon as I felt her emerge behind me, I stiffened and turned to face her. “Well?” I demanded. It angered me that the Avengers had so much control over my own fate. Did they know how to break a Soul Bond? Would they carry their plan out?

She crossed her arms and moved towards the desk, a scowl marring her beautiful face. “Well what?” She grit out.

A smile crossed my face of its own accord. Hel if she wasn’t the epitome of the Midgardian word ‘cute’ when truly angry.

I plastered a scowl on my face to mask my amusement. “What did your precious Avengers want?” My gaze fell to her arm that still bore the marks of Stark’s rough handling.

“They wanted to know if you were mind controlling me.” She said, simply.

I took a step closer to her. “And what did they decide?” I took another step closer. The need to hold her in my arms and shield her from her family’s judgement nearly overwhelmed me.

“They didn’t really give me a chance to change their minds.” She said cryptically.

I took another step closer to her, my eyes seeking out the secrets she held on the surface of her own. “They want you to break the bond.” I said.

“Yes.” Her voice had taken on a husky tone. My heart jumped at the sound of it. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out a hand and gently brushing a finger against her skin.

“They won’t be able to.” I breathed, watching with rapt attention as her eyes fluttered shut and she seemed to lean into my touch. Was it possible I wasn’t the only one affected by our bond? I had to snap us both into reality. She would hate me when I’d carried through my plan. It would be better if she learned to hate me now. So, I pulled on the only weapon I had at my disposal. I lied.

“The only way to break a Soul Bond is to kill one of the bearers of it.” I said quickly.

Her eyes flew open and she jerked away from my touch. I already missed the contact. “I wasn’t planning on it.” She said testily.

I carefully pulled my hands away from her to avoid the temptation to reach out and sooth her angry expression and take back my words.

“Of course not.” I said simply. As it was a lie, it would have done no good anyway. Even if the foolish mortals could find a way to kill a God permanently, I’d been right when I’d told her she was dead. She was of the same realm as the Valkyrie now. Nearly as immortal as I. In our case, I didn’t believe there was a way to reverse the Soul Binding. Even if I died.

I stiffened slightly. I couldn’t let it come to that though. Bound as we were, she’d be dragged to Hel or Valhalla right alongside me. And even I could admit it was unlikely I’d see the hallowed halls of Odin’s Valhalla when I finished my journey in the physical plain.

Y/N shot me another look of disgust before she ghosted before me. I shuddered, but not in pain, when I felt her move through me, literally touching my heart in the process.

I slowly turned, giving myself time to mask my reaction to her. I found her sitting on top of the bookshelf just as she had done earlier. This time, I noted, she kept her legs to herself. I froze, recounting what it felt like to touch her. The thrill it sent through me.

“I’m no fool, Loki.” She was saying. “I may not understand fully what you did when you bound us together, but I know enough to know what it’s what’s giving me the ability to stay in this dimension. I’m not going to kill you.”

She was entirely earnest. I needed a distraction from my distraction.

“Did you need something?” I finally managed to get out in a strangled tone of voice.

She watched me out of the corner of her eye for a moment. “The Avengers aren’t happy with either of us at the moment.” She said, finally.

My eyes jerked to hers. Where was this going?

“Nat suggested that I hide out here for the time being. I guess you’re stuck with me." There was a challenge in her eye as she ghosted and reappeared in front of me. She took what could only be described as a menacing step towards me, a wicked twinkle in her eye.

“What do you do for fun around here?” She asked. My own trickster smile lit up my face.

Chapter Text

I leaned against my arms and breathed heavily. “I don’t suppose you know what a psychopath is, do you?” I questioned, looking at Loki out of the corner of my eye. He was leaning casually against the wall across from me, not the least bit winded. Then again, he wasn’t the one being yanked back and forth between realms.

“Again.” He said, completely ignoring my question.

I stood and shook my head. “No way.”

Loki glared at me, but there was no malice in it. “Again.” He ordered again.

I folded my arms and shook my head childishly. “I thought you said this was going to be fun.”

Loki’s trickster smile slowly crept across his face. “I think you’ll find that you asked what I did for fun around here. This has been thoroughly entertaining.”

I froze. My eyes narrowed on him. “Psychopath.” I grumbled under my breath. Loki’s smile just grew even wider.

I moved around the room slowly. The more time I spent in here, the more it felt like a prison. True, the Avengers, mostly at the request of Thor, had tried to make it a little more homey than the cells on the SHIELD Helicarrier; but there were only so many books you could cram into a narrow bookcase and only so many other distractions Tony was willing to give to a convicted criminal.

I ran a finger over the spines of the books. “Learning a lot about our histories are you?” I asked, looking over the collections of very boring history textbooks.

“I believe it was meant to be a cruel jest.”

I kept my back turned to the God as I continued to peruse his books. “Come on, history can’t be that boring.”

He merely snorted. I shuffled my feet and grew a bit nervous as another question popped into my head. I took a moment to debate with myself whether I should ask it or not, but finally I couldn’t hold it back any longer.

“Am I ever going to remember my own history?” I whispered, turning to face him. I kept my eyes locked on the carpet, my hands clasped and unclasped in front of me. “You said I was dead . . . that means that I had to have been alive at one point, right?”

Loki didn’t say anything for so long, I hazarded a look up. He was watching me carefully, his arms still folded against his chest as he leaned against the wall. As soon as he had my attention, he took several measured steps until he was within arms length from me.

He reached out a hand and gently tapped his fingers under my chin, his eyes never leaving mine. “You were alive at some point.” He agreed, there was a sympathy etched deep in his eyes. “I don’t know what happened to you to cause this change in you.” He dropped my chin and ran an agitated hand through his hair. “You were chosen for a grand purpose. I wish I knew why.” He took a step away from me and began pacing. I watched him go, feeling rather helpless.

“Still won’t tell me what I am huh?” I asked sadly. It wasn’t an accusation. I wasn’t sure that knowing would help any more than leaving me in the dark did. Whatever had happened to me, it was clearly part of Loki’s world. Not whatever world I’d been a part of before my . . . death.

Loki stopped pacing, his back to me. I nodded quietly to myself. It was all the answer I needed. I moved to walk towards the couch when suddenly, Loki once again in my space, his hands reached up to cup my face and he leaned in. There was a manic sort of desperation in his gaze as he looked over me.

“If I thought for even a moment that you knowing what’s become of you would help you, I’d tell you. You have my word . . . Y/N.” A warmth spread through me as he called me by my name.

I shot him a sad sort of smile to indicate my understanding of his oath. Loki let out a sigh that seemed to wrack his entire body. He tilted his forehead against mine for a fraction of a second and then he was gone, once again pacing the room.

“Truthfully, Y/N, I have more questions than answers myself about your origins. It’s almost unheard of for one of your world to be accepted into the ranks of your new people. Indeed, it’s hard for one of mine to be. Once upon a time, your race was a powerful people. I haven’t heard of anyone joining their ranks in over a thousand years . . . in fact . . .” Loki trailed off and started mumbling to himself. His eyes widened slightly, and I thought I heard the word ‘Valkyrie’ escape his lips. “Where is my brother?” He asked suddenly, spinning to face me again.

I shrugged my shoulders. “He was on Asgard the last time I heard anything about him. Steve and Tony thought it might be a good idea to summon him here to see if he might be able to shine a light on our little situation. They’re hoping he’ll have ideas on how to break the bond.”

Loki was already shaking his head. “He’ll be no more able to break it than they.” He said distractedly. “They’re summoning him then?”

I nodded. “As far as I know.”

Loki glanced at the ceiling and then around the room, clearly lost in thought. Finally, his eyes settled on me again and he seemed to come to a decision.

“You’re tired.” He said suddenly, coming closer to me.

I glanced down in shock before I remembered that I couldn’t see my own face by looking at my feet. Instead I looked inward and noticed that I was, to my surprise, struggling to stay on my feet. I looked back at Loki in surprise. “I guess all that ghosting took it out of me.”

Loki nodded slowly, his hands reached out and grabbed my arms gently before trailing down them and grasping my hands in his. He hardly seemed aware that he was doing it. “You’re unused to being in this realm for so long a time I imagine.”

I nodded slowly, and inched closer to him. My lips tingled, and my eyes lowered to his.

One of Loki’s hands left mine and trailed back up my arm before it brushed a lock of hair out of my face. His finger lingered on my cheek, brushing against it in a maddening pattern.

Loki’s eyes dropped to my lips as well.

I didn’t know how long we stayed like that, wrapped up in each as we were, but finally he spoke, and the spell was broken.

“Go rest Y/N. Everything will seem more clear in the morning.” Loki took a measured step away from me, and I nearly staggered from the loss of support.

I sent him a smile that I hoped wasn’t too smitten, and then I let myself be dragged into the ghost realm and up to my room.

Chapter Text

She leaned against her legs, breathing heavily. “I don’t suppose you know what a psychopath is, do you?” She asked, glaring at me. I resisted the urge to smile, but only just. I was well acquainted with all the Midgardian’s titles and classifications. I refused to take the bait.

“Again.” I commanded, watching her slowly roll her shoulders back and stare up at the ceiling as though begging for patience. I couldn’t say I blamed her. For the past three hours, I’d tested her abilities to phase into her other realm and return, memorizing everything she did. Her powers were naturally gifted to her when she’d been deemed a pure soul upon her death and chosen to be a Warden. I would soon possess similar powers, thanks to our Soul Bond, but using them would not come so easily to me. I needed to know how they worked if I had any hope of escaping this cursed world.

“No way.” She said, shaking her head.

I glared at her, but I couldn’t hide the amusement dancing in my eyes. I didn’t know why it was so satisfying to find the limits she’d let me push her to, but I loved every moment of the chase. “Again.” I said simply.

She folded her arms and shook her head. “I thought you said this was going to be fun.” She grouched.

A genuine smile crept across my face for the umpteenth time in a matter of days. At no other time in my recent memory had I truly smiled as much as I did in her presence. “I think you’ll find that you asked what I did for fun around here. This has been thoroughly entertaining.” I said. The unspoken ‘for me’ seemed to echo around the room.

Her eyes narrowed at me. “Psychopath.” She coughed.

Before I could retort, she began wandering around my cell, taking it all in. I was surprised at the shame I felt at the meager hovel they’d shoved me in. If we were back on Asgard, I could show her luxury beyond her wildest imagining. Then again, on Asgard my room was also now a cell.

For the first time in my entire existence, I felt the briefest twinge of regret at the actions that had led me here. I quickly banished the thought. I’d only done what I’d had to do to procure my birthright. Son of Odin or not.

Y/N stopped in front of the bookshelf and ran her fingers over the titles. “Learning a lot about our histories are you?” She asked slyly. I smiled in spite of myself and resisted the urge to roll my eyes.

“I believe it was meant to be a cruel jest.” I said. I was sure it was the one called Tony who had masterminded that feature in my room.

“Come on, history can’t be that boring.”

I snorted. No, history generally wasn’t. Often the weaknesses of entire nations could be found in the annals of their pasts. Midgardian history, however . . .

The Midgardians had a saying, ‘Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. I’d yet to see evidence of their applying that saying to their lives.

Y/N began fidgeting, and she drew my attention back to her. It didn’t take an empath to notice the sudden tension in the room. I braced myself.

“Am I ever going to remember my own history?” She blurted out in a whisper as she turned to face me. “You said I was dead . . . that means that I had to have been alive at one point, right?”

My Midgardian kept her eyes glued to the floor in front of her as though it were suddenly the most fascinating thing in the world. My hardened heart ached for her. She and I had that in common at least. The two of us had been ripped from our worlds and had no knowledge of the world before. I had wondered in the months that had followed Odin’s revelation of my origin, how my life would have been different if I’d been left with my own people. At least I had the ability to wonder at it. My Midgardian couldn’t even be sure she was from Earth. Though the spark of life that burned within her constantly was more surely from Earth than from Asgard.

I waited for her to glance up again before I walked towards her. I reached a hand out and gently tapped my fingers under her chin, unable to stop myself from touching her. My eyes never left hers. “You were alive at some point.” I agreed. I wished I could take this pain from her. Pain and I were old friends. I could bear being in pain myself far more than I would ever be able to bear the pain that crossed her face. “I don’t know what happened to cause this change in you.”

I dropped her chin and ran a hand through my hair. I had been pondering it a great deal and my failure to understand her situation was beginning to frustrate me greatly. “You were chosen for a grand purpose.” Wardens were powerful creatures meant to aid, guard, and protect their charges. Not unlike the Midgardian notion of ‘guardian angels’. “I wish I knew why.”

I stepped away and began pacing again. It was unheard of for a Warden to have been created, or called forth, and not to have been given a charge. Who had called her forth? And more importantly . . . why had they left her to wander alone?

“Still won’t tell me what I am huh?” She asked, pain cracking her voice.

I froze, the words penetrating my heart as though she’d thrust a dagger through it. Without warning, and not quite sure how I found myself there, I was in front of her. I reached my hands up to cup her face and leaned towards her.

“If I thought for even a moment that you knowing what’s become of you would help you, I’d tell you. You have my word . . . Y/N.”

She shot me a smile that didn’t reach her eyes as she seemed to nod in the prison my hands made. I let out a shuddering sigh. I hadn’t realized just how much her good opinion meant to me until that moment. I titled my forehead and touched it to hers for the briefest of moments. It was all the time I would allow myself. I was falling in love with her. Body and soul. It was growing harder to distinguish between my original desires to leave this forsaken place, and my growing desire to stay here and build something with her. I had to force myself back to the issue at hand.

“Truthfully, Y/N, I have more questions than answers myself about your origins.” Each time I felt her name on my lips, my heart grew. Focus!

“It’s almost unheard of for one of your world to be accepted into the ranks of your new people. Indeed, it’s hard for one of mine to be. Once upon a time, your race was a powerful people. I haven’t heard of anyone joining their ranks in over a thousand years. In fact . . .” My mind began reeling with the implication. My voice dropped to a whisper as I paced around the room. “In fact . . . the last time I heard of anyone becoming a Warden was around the same time the last of the Valkyries were born. And no one has seen either race in almost a thousand years . . . That can’t be a coincidence. Where are they going?”

I spun around. “Where is my brother?” I demanded.

Y/N shrugged her shoulders. “He was on Asgard the last time I heard anything about him. Steve and Tony thought it might be a good idea to summon him here to see if he might be able to shine a light on our little situation. They’re hoping he’ll have ideas on how to break the bond.”

I shook my head. “He’ll be no more able to break it than they.” I said distractedly. Thank Frigga for that at least, for surely Thor would try the moment he learned someone so pure was tied to me.

“They’re summoning him then?”

She nodded. “As are as I know.”

I glanced at the ceiling and then around the room. Thor’s presence would be a blessing and a curse. Perhaps he could shine further light on the missing Valkyrie and Wardens. However, it would also be a lot more difficult to escape with my brother looming over my shadow. Only he would be powerful enough to stop me.

I glanced at my Midgardian again. I also didn’t want him around her. Theoretically there was no way to break our Bond. I’d tied us together as a normal Soul Bound couple would be. But I also claimed her as my Warden. The two spells should be so intertwined that there would be no separating either of us. Still, Thor would have Odin on his side as usual. And Odin would do everything in his power to separate me from my Guardian. She was too powerful a commodity for the likes of me. Especially if the others were missing.

I needed time to plan and practice. My escape would need to happen sooner rather than later and not just because Thor was coming. My eyes combed over my Soul Bound. My feelings for her were growing by the day. While the Bond could never completely be severed, it could wither and weaken. I merely needed to get far enough away from her to allow it to happen.

“You’re tired.” I said suddenly, drawing closer to her.

She glanced down in surprise. I smiled briefly.

“I guess all that ghosting took it out of me.”

I nodded and drew her hands into my own. “You’re unused to being in this realm for so long a time I imagine.”

She nodded slowly and inched closer to me, her eyes falling down to mine. Hel help me, even in spite of my promise to cut her out of my life, I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. One of my hands traced up her arm and brushed a lock of hair out of her face. She seemed to lean into my touch again. No one had ever trusted themselves so willingly to me before. I was at a loss for words.

We stayed that way for a long while as I longed to pull her closer, and rationally argued with myself to push her further away.

Finally, I could take the battle raging within me no longer. “Go rest Y/N. Everything will seem more clear in the morning.” I took a purposeful step away from her. She seemed to stagger closer to me before she regained her footing. She smiled brightly at me before she disappeared from sight and flew through the room.

Only then did I relax my tense stance and bring a shaking hand out pinch the bridge of my nose. I needed to escape. Soon.

Chapter Text

I looked around me. I was in a room I hardly recognized, and yet . . .

The walls were a gaudy golden color. Large, colorful tapestries hung from the ceiling and draped down nearly to the floor. Huge tables filled with every type of food imaginable stretched from one end of the room to the other. The smell of booze hung heavily in the air. I turned around slowly in a circle, taking it all in. I’d been here before . . . I could almost remember it . . .

I closed my eyes and tried to grasp the fleeting memory in the back of my head. Why did I know this place? The more I tried to grasp the memory, the further into the recesses of my mind it seemed to hide. I grunted in frustration and flung my eyes open, kicking my bare foot against the immaculate golden floors. I took a step towards the large double doors at the front of the room. Perhaps if I could just look outside . . .

I felt a tug on my chest and an invisible force began pulling me backward. I stumbled and tripped over my feet. I landed hard on my back, the breath whooshing from my lungs in a painful gasp. Before I could right myself, the tug pulled at me again, harder this time. I was slammed further into the cold floor.

I tried to lift a hand to push myself out, struggling to catch my breath so I could call for help. Before I could get the word out of my mouth, the tug pulled even harder and I suddenly jolted upright in bed.

I glanced around, my breath coming in short gasps. It took me a minute to recognize the walls of my room. I was safe. I was in Stark Tower. I was . . . I was surprisingly in bed. In fact, I’d clearly been here all night. I’d never woken up tangled in my sheets before.

I brushed my bed tangled hair out of my face and was surprised to note my shaking hand. My heart was racing furiously too. I didn’t remember the last time I’d had a nightmare. In fact, I don’t think I’d had one since I’d woken up.

A strangled laugh escaped my lips and a warmth spread through my soul. Not the best way to start a day off, but it could have been worse. For the first time in months I’d dreamed at all, and I hadn’t woken up by falling from the floor to the ceiling. It was all thanks to Loki.

A smile spread across my face at the thought of the imprisoned prince. He had been nothing like what I’d been expecting. I touched my fingers to my lips. I could almost feel the kiss we’d shared after the soul binding ceremony. The memory of it alone made me want to ghost down to his quarters and politely demand another.

I laughed again and shook my head. I could only imagine what he would say to that.

I pushed aside my daydreams and untangled myself from my bed before starting my daily routine. Every now and again, my thoughts would trail to the fleeting dream I’d had. I did recognize the room. I wondered briefly if my memories from my past were coming back to me even in spite of what Loki implied would never happen. What kind of life had I led before this to have ever been in such an extravagant room?

Suddenly, I felt a tug on my chest, pulling me backward just like in my dream. Instinctively, I ghosted. Immediately I was pulled at an accelerated rate, straight through the floor. I came to an abrupt halt in Loki’s quarters.

I froze. He hadn’t seemed to notice my arrival; he was so focused on his hands in front of him. I took a cautious step towards him, my attention drawn to his hands as well. I felt a gentler tug on my soul and suddenly his hands seemed to ghost. For the briefest of moments, I felt them in my realm as clearly as I was in it.

Shock and a little bit of rage propelled me from the ghost realm and spewed me into the land of the living. “That’s what you got out of it. Isn’t it?!” I demanded, pushing my way over to him.

Loki spun around in surprise, he thrust his hands behind his back, but I’d already seen all I needed to.

“You’re using my powers to escape.”

I stumbled to a stop as a sudden, unwanted epiphany sprang to mind. I wasn’t angry. I’d known something like this was going to happen. No. I was hurt. He was going to leave me. A hand fluttered to my aching chest as though I could claw my own heart out. I loved him. As crazy as that sounded, and I was aware it sounded insane. I loved him.

Loki hardly seemed to notice my world crumbling around me as he put his ruthless mask back on. “You think I would have bound myself to anyone as pathetic as you without the promise of something worthwhile in return? You’re a Revenant. A glorified one, certainly, but a Revenant all the same. Once I escape, I will leave this wretched planet behind. I’ll leave you behind as well. Or maybe I’ll kill you. After all, the Soul Bond can only be dissolved if one of us dies.”

Loki sneered at me with barely contained rage. I felt my eyes well up with tears, but I refused to let a single one fall in his presence. I suddenly wished I was dead. Well and truly dead. I didn’t know what power brought me back only to leave me living this half-a-life, but I didn’t want it anymore. I was so tired.

“Do what you want with me.” I whispered, too afraid to speak any louder for fear that my voice would crack. “But remember your promise about my family and my world.” With that, I ghosted and flew from the room as fast as I could go. I needed to know if Nat had gotten in contact with Thor. I couldn’t let Loki escape. Even if it meant losing my foothold in the mortal realm. Who knew? Maybe losing my foothold would finally let me rest in peace.

Chapter Text

I reached inside of my soul to find the little piece of hers that was safely nestled there. I touched it gently with my mind and let the peace and light that I felt therein wash over me, calming me. My Midgardian was more than just the balm to my wounded soul. She was healing the injuries that no one else had even bothered to see.

I let myself bask in her light for a moment longer, and then I shook myself from my reprieve. I couldn’t forget that my brother was more than likely on his way here at this very moment. I needed to focus.

I’d watched carefully yesterday when she’d ghosted. I merely needed to duplicate the process just long enough to get the infernal magic restricting cuffs off.

I tugged on her soul as gently as possible and let her power fill me. Using the bond without her consent was like sand pouring through an hourglass. It took a great deal of patience, and ultimately, I wouldn’t have access to the full weight of it; but perhaps I’d be able to get just enough of it to free my own powers.

I had another reason for allowing the trickle instead of accessing her full potential. To have unbridled access to her powers without her knowledge, I’d have to rip them from her cold dead soul. That was something I couldn’t bear to spend even a moment contemplating.

In only a matter of days, she’d become the light in my dark world. I couldn’t lose that. No. It was better to make my escape and leave her here on Midgard to protect these insignificant creatures she cared so much for.

I concentrated her power on my hands and watched as the tips of my fingers faded in and out of existence. It wasn’t enough. I pulled harder on her powers through our bond and watched as her powers crept slowly up my fingers. Still, I couldn’t push enough power into my hands to make them fade altogether. I touched her soul gently once more, almost reverently, and sent her a genuine apology in my mind before I savagely yanked on her soul, filling myself with enough power to send my hands up to my palms shooting into the ghost realm.

I smiled in triumph. I was nearly there. Once free of the cuffs, I would once again have access to my magic. Once able to access my magic, and with just a hint of hers, I was hopeful that I could open a portal to her realm.

The ‘ghost realm’ as she called it was actually the realm of Valhalla. It had originally been forged by Odin himself as a means of traveling across the nine realms quickly. The Valkyrie needed to collect the dying. The Wardens needed to protect the living. Travel between worlds there could happen instantaneously. I could travel to Asgard, take back the Tesseract which rightfully belonged to me, and then travel the galaxies, building my army until I could return and take back my throne.

I wouldn’t let one Midgardian distract me from my true purpose.

I pulled on her soul once more, gentler this time and watched my hands fade even more.

“That’s what you got out of it. Isn’t it?!” I heard her demand from behind me. I froze. I hadn’t meant for her to see it. I spun around, and instinctively hid my hands behind my back as though a child caught doing something he shouldn’t.

“You’re using my powers to escape.” Her anger seemed to cool as she stumbled to a stop. A hand reached up to clutch her heart. The hurt in her voice rang in my ears. My own heart threatened to burst out of my chest. A nearly overwhelming urge to comfort her rose up inside me. I couldn’t give into it.

I pulled at the anger that was always brewing in the back of my mind and wrapped it around myself like a shield. “You think I would have bound myself to anyone as pathetic as you without the promise of something worthwhile in return?” I sneered. Her soul writhed around inside of me as each word I spoke seemed to stab at her. It was all I could do to keep the vitriol spilling from my lips. “You’re a Revenant. A glorified one, certainly, but a Revenant all the same. Once I escape, I will leave this wretched planet behind. I’ll leave you behind as well. Or maybe, I’ll kill you. After all, the Soul Bond can only be dissolved if one of us dies.”

The lies spilled from me, one after another. I couldn’t reign them in. I wasn’t the God of lies for nothing. Each one hit its mark if the stricken look on her face was any indication. My heart seemed to bleed internally as the light within my chest, the sudden spark of hope that her soul had ignited within me, seemed to wither and fade.

I wrapped my anger further around myself, trying to stave off the pain I’d elicited within myself. I couldn’t be angry at her. I was furious with myself.

Her tear-filled eyes glanced up at me, breaking what was left of my worn heart entirely. “Do what you want with me.” She whispered. For one shining moment a fire sparked in her eyes once more before completely fading again. “But remember your promise about my family and my world.” Without a backwards glance, she ghosted away and flew from the room.

I fell to my knees. I’d done what I’d set out to do. I’d turned her against me. I let out an enraged scream. What little magic I had access to, ripped through the room, scattering papers and shattering glass. I was once again alone in the universe. I ruthlessly shoved the anger and sorrow I was feeling into the back of my mind and focused on my escape. Odin was the cause of this. Odin who had never cared for me. Odin who had forced me to this useless floating rock in the middle of space. Odin who had forced me to bond with the one person capable of destroying me entirely.

I clenched my fingers. He was going to pay.

Chapter Text

I flew through the tower looking for Nat. She alone could be counted on to provide help without an ‘I told you so’. It took a minute, but I finally found her sitting alone in the kitchen.

I popped into existence. She looked up from the tablet in front of her casually, as though I hadn’t just appeared out of thin air when she hadn’t been expecting it. Vaguely I wondered what it would take to surprise her.

Nat took one look at my face. “Let’s find somewhere private to talk.” She said. I nodded, and faded back into the ghost realm as I followed her through the maze of hallways that made up Starks tower.

Without a physical body, the pain that was slowly eating away at me seemed less potent.

Nat led me to her room and carefully shut the door behind her. I ghosted through it easily. Nat led the way and carefully sat down.

“Want to tell me what happened kid?” She asked.

I ‘popped’ into existence and settled down on the couch, picking at my otherworldly dress. It had taken on a drab grey color today. The color of my soul today.

“Did you get in contact with Thor?” I asked, avoiding the question.

Nat crossed her arms and waited for me to meet her eyes. I did so, grudgingly. Nat nodded slowly.

“He plans on arriving sometime today. He had a few loose ends to tie up in Asgard first.”

I nodded and looked down at my dress again.

Nat waited patiently at the end of the couch. She was a master spy. She would wait all day if she had to.

“I think I know what Loki’s planning.” I finally said, risking a glance out of the corner of my eye. Her expression didn’t change. “Whatever else the Soul Bond may have done to us . . .” I wasn’t ready to tell her about my feelings just yet, and I was entirely sure they weren’t altogether a natural result of the time we’d spent together, “. . . it’s given him access to my powers.”

Nat’s expression didn’t change, but her voice took on a hard tone. “He can ghost now.”

“Not completely. I suspect it’s only a matter of time though.”

“Have you told the others?”

I shook my head. “I just found out.”

Nat nodded and stared off into the distance, deep in thought. “We need to severe the bond.” She said it casually.

My heart pounded in dread anyway. Though Loki had cut me deeply, my soul rejected the thought of severing the bond.

“Does Thor know more about it?” I managed to ask.

Nat shrugged. “Tony was the one who talked to him.”

Suddenly, I felt a violent tug on my soul. It was enough to pull me back into the ghost realm. A sudden sense of absolute dread filled me. Something was very wrong.

“Kid?” Nat called.

I tried to pull myself back into her world, but I couldn’t. For the first time since bonding myself to Loki, I was stuck in the ghost realm. I reached a hand up and shoved it into her brain, without hesitation.

“Something’s wrong.” I grit out.

“Where?” Nat demanded.

Before I could answer, Nat’s earpiece crackled to life and Clint’s voice came through. “We have a situation! The bastard opened a portal! We’ve got incoming!”

Nat was in motion before Clint’s voice cut off abruptly. My hand was pulled from her mind as she went into motion, pulling weapons from random places around the room and strapping them to herself.

“Figure out a way to stop him Y/N! We’ll take care of his guests!”

She took off sprinting down the hallway.

Anger permeated my soul like it never had before. Bastard was right. He’d promised. I’d believed him. If killing one of us was what it took, then one of us wasn’t walking away from this and at this point, I didn’t care which of us it was.

I dropped through the floor and went in search of my ‘precious’ Soul Mate.

Chapter Text

I glanced up at the ceiling and closed my eyes. I willed Y/N’s power to me, letting it fill me. I didn’t yank on her soul again, I simply let the trickle build until I had just enough to let my hands fade entirely. It took several minutes, but then I heard the distinct thump of metal hitting carpet. A smile lit up my face as I sensed my magic returning to me, begging to be played with.

I opened my eyes and looked at the green sparks shooting off my fingers. No one besides myself could see the power made manifest before. I tried not to think about the one recent exception to the rule and how I’d felt to know someone had seen into my world.

I was leaving her behind. My shattered heart ached at the thought, but I refused to pay it any attention. The Midgardian had served her purpose. It was time for me to fulfil my destiny.

I took a step closer to the wall in front of me and laid a hand on the blank surface. It was time to escape this forsaken world.

I reached for her soul for the last time and wrapped my magic around it. The spark of life had long since faded, leaving it limp in my minds-eye. It was much easier to manipulate when it wasn’t fighting against me.

My green magic wrapped tightly around it once, twice, three times. I focused the combined forces of our power together.

For the briefest of moments, I hesitated. Something deep within me sensed a grave foreboding, but I paid it no attention. All my life the stakes had been stacked against me. It was high time I help my destiny along.

I shoved the wrapped ball of magic and power outwards, yanking heavily on her soul to do so. The power exploded out of me and scattered across the blank wall in front of me, opening a portal to Valhalla.

I took a step forward, a smile on my face. It was time to reclaim my throne and exile the old ways.

Before I could enter the portal, a creature came stumbling out of it. The stench of rotting flesh hit me, and I paused. The creature fell to its knees, large chunks of flesh slipping down it’s body and landing grotesquely on the floor. Slowly, it lifted its head. Its dead eyes met mine and a chill raced through my body.

Revenant.

The creature slowly rose to its feet and took a menacing step towards me. Behind me, I saw more of the creatures piling out of portal I’d formed. The first one spoke, its voice echoing a thousand years of pain and suffering. “Þinn makt.”

It spoke the old tongue, but its meaning was clear. I had power.

“Gefossr þinn makt.” It wanted my power.

Without warning, the creatures surged forward, headless of the bits of flesh they lost along the way. True Revenants were the dead come to life. Soulless entities. Their bodies cursed to wander the earth until they found enough power to restore their souls to their decaying corpses. They were Hel herself’s army.

I braced myself and attacked, fending them off with my magic alone. What I wouldn’t give to have my staff with me!

An alarm echoed throughout the tower distracting the Revenants for just long enough for me to mask my appearance and shoot illusions of myself about the room. The mindless louts immediately began attacking the apparitions as I slowly inched my way towards the portal where even more of the creatures were appearing.

Just then, the bolts of my prison slid aside, and the door was thrown open. The man of Iron and the Archer raced through the room and began shooting their way through the deceased.

“Loki!” Screamed the Archer, shooting through one of my illusions as he took out a few Revenants. No love lost there. I almost wept with disappointment.

I ignored the Avengers as one by one they made an effort to enter the room. As more of the Revenants piled through the portal and into the room, the Avengers were forced further and further into the hallway.

“JARVIS! Defenses!” Screamed Stark.

“Working on it, Sir.”

“Work faster!”

I stood motionless in the corner of the room, waiting for an opening in the portal that I could rush through. I couldn’t close it until I was safely in Asgard. There was no telling what Earth’s mightiest would do to me if I stayed. I wasn’t looking to find out.

“What evil is this?!” Boomed a voice from the hall. I shook my head and inched closer to the portal. I most definitely didn’t want to stick around if my brother was here.

I had almost reached the portal when I felt Y/N’s sudden appearance in the room. I spun around just in time to see her materialize in front of me. I watched in horror as one of the Revenants who’d clearly been aiming for me, completely the arc of his swing and embedded a hidden dagger right into the chest of my Midgardian.

“Nooooo!” I screamed, reaching for her. She glanced down in surprise.

“It hurts.” She said in shock.

I reached a hand out to pull her towards me, even as I shot a burst of magic from my fingers that flung her assassin across the room. Before I could reach her though, she let out a startled laugh and ‘popped’ into her realm, leaving me grasping at air.

Chapter Text

I ‘popped’ into my other dimension in a daze. I was still staring at the knife embedded in my chest as I fell to my knees. “It still hurts.” I noted oddly. “How does it still hurt?” I reached up a shaking hand and brushed the hilt of the very real dagger still penetrating my very real ghost form. “That can’t be good.” I muttered. I gripped the handle and pulled it from the wound. Instantly, the room seemed to sway around me as blood flowed freely out of the wound. “That’s not supposed to happen.”

I collapsed to the ground. I watched as Loki dropped to his knees in front of me. His fists were clenched on either side of him as he threw his head back and let out a guttural roar of pain. Magic so powerful it shot through all the creatures lumbering about his room, disintegrating them entirely, ‘popped’ into the ghost realm and swirled my hair around me as though it were nothing but a breeze.

I reached out a shaky hand and tried to place it on Loki’s leg. He was going to be okay. Once I died, he wouldn’t be tied to me anymore. He could be free.

I couldn’t find the strength within me to lift my hand up. I just watched in a detached sort of way as I felt the life leaving my body. He would be okay.

I felt my eyes shutter closed. I wondered absently if this time I would stay dead. Then there was nothing.

Chapter Text

I fell to my knees as I felt the bond between us begin to weaken. I threw back my head and let out an agonized scream. My power exploded out of me, devouring the beasts that dared take her away from me. Behind me, I felt the portal slowly begin to close, trapping the rest of the creatures where they’d always been meant to stay. I heard the fighting continue in the hallway where my magic hadn’t disintegrated the creatures, but I hardly paid it any attention.

I grabbed onto the Bond that pulsed weakly in my chest and searched for my Midgardian. I could just make out the faint silvery outline of her prone form. I crawled towards her.

She couldn’t die. She couldn’t. I wouldn’t survive without her.

I reached out a hand as though I could grip her ghost form by sheer will alone. I pulled my hand towards me, hoping to pull her into the mortal realm. My hand was absolutely coated with blood. A tremble racked my body. She was dying. The evidence coated my fingers, but it wasn’t the blood that made my heart nearly stop beating. It was the way our bond pulsed so weakly. It was fading.

I was going to lose her.

I sat frozen in a sea of my worst fears, when I felt a rough hand land on my shoulder.

“Brother?” I startled and turned to see Thor’s sympathetic face staring down at me. He took in my blood covered hands and glanced around the room. “Where is Y/N?” He asked.

I shook my head and curled my bloodstained fingers into a fist. I was helpless. I couldn’t save her.

The rest of the Avengers trickled into the room, each of them had their weapons trained on me. I couldn’t bring myself to care. I could only focus on the slowing beats of her heart.

“I think he asked you a question Antlers. Where. Is. The. Girl?” Stark raised his hand and pointed his palm blaster at my chest.

I gestured in front of me. “She’s in her realm. I can’t reach her.”

The captain took a step towards me, but it was the woman who spoke. “Then pull her back.” She gritted out, pointing her gun at me.

I shook my head. She walked up to me, knelt in front of me and slapped me so hard I saw stars. I jolted out of my morose thoughts and snarled, raising my fists, already summoning my magic.

Thor moved to intervene, but she shot him a warning glance. “You bound her soul, didn’t you? Pull her back.”

I slowly lowered my fists as a desperate sort of hope filled me. I could do it. I had to.

I turned towards my Midgardian’s prone form and closed my eyes. I focused on the light I’d always been able to sense in her. The love I’d grown to have for her. The way she smiled at me as though she didn’t see a monster before her. The way she would sacrifice anything for the ones she loved. I focused on the memory of the one and only kiss we’d ever shared. I’d known her for days, but her touch would last me a lifetime. I couldn’t let something so pure fade entirely. I had to save her.

I focused inward and wrapped a hand around the piece of soul she’d let me attach to my own. I pulled on it as gently as I could, urging her back to me. Pleading with her not to leave me as everyone else had.

I heard a gasp behind me, and only then did I open my eyes.

Laying before me, white as a sheet, was my Soul Bound. Her eyes were closed, her breathing shallow. Blood pumped weakly from the wound in her chest. My heart stopped.

“JARVIS! We need med staff now!” Tony shouted.

Captain America was by her side in moments, pushing down on the wound to stave off any more bleeding. “Banner! I need you!”

A roar echoed in the hallway, the doctor less than himself.

“I’m on it.” The Black Widow said, slipping from the room.

I watched helplessly as the others tended to her. It wasn’t until they moved to take her away that I regained my sense of self. I moved to go with them, but Thor held me back. The Archer swung my way, arrow already notched. “You stay here.” He said, angrily. “You’ve done enough damage.”

He glanced at my brother. “I’ll remain with Loki.” He said simply.

The Archer merely nodded, sent once last scathing glance my way and slipped from the room.

The bolts in the door shuddered closed. “I must go to her.” I said.

“She’ll be okay brother. She’s with her people now.”

I clenched my fists at his proclamation. “She’s my Soul Bound. I’m her people!”

Thor simply stared at me. “Why would you do it?” He asked finally.

I shot him a disdainful look. “It served me in the end.” I hissed.

My brother shook his head slowly. “You are many things, brother.” He began. “But even you would not have tied someone so permanently to yourself without good reason.” He watched me for a moment out of the corner of his eye. I ignored him and focused on the slow beating of my Soul Bound’s heart. It continued its torturous rhythm. My own heart seemed to slow to match its laboring pace.

“You love her.” Thor said suddenly. My head jerked up to meet his. A smile grew across his face. “You love her.” He repeated, even louder. My heart stuttered. Thor threw his head back and laughed. “The mighty Loki, lost over a girl. A Midgardian no less! After all your teasing about my Jane.”

Thor’s eyes dropped to my bloodstained eyes and the mirth left his face. “She will be well brother. You helped save Jane, I will help save Y/N.”

Thor nodded his head once at me and then moved towards the door, waving his arms to signal his desire to be released. The bolts slid back allowing him to escape.

I didn’t even attempt to follow.

I just focused on the slow beating of my love’s heart, willing it to continue.

Chapter Text

I looked around me. Once again, I found myself in a room I hardly recognized, and yet . . .

The walls were the same gaudy golden color. The same large, colorful tapestries hung from the ceiling and still draped down, nearly touching the floor. The same huge tables filled with the same range of food stretched from one end of the room to the other. The same smell of booze hung heavily in the air. The only difference was; this time, I didn’t feel as curious. This time I simply wanted to fade away. If this was Heaven, I wasn’t interested.

“You do recognize this place . . . don’t you?” Said a beautiful voice behind me. I spun around. A beautiful woman with golden hair stood at the far end of the room. She was dressed in blue robes. Her smile was warm and inviting.

I shuffled nervously. “I dreamed about it once . . .” I said.

She smiled sympathetically and moved towards me gracefully. “The change can be a little taxing on the mind. It’s a wonder you’ve dreamt about it at all.”

As she drew closer, I could see her brilliant blue eyes. They reminded me of Thor . . .

Suddenly, it clicked. I ducked my head respectfully. “You’re Frigga. Thor’s mother.” I breathed.

She stopped in front of me, and reached out a hand, lifting my chin so I was looking her in the eye. “I am. Though I’m Loki’s mother too.”

I blushed at his name.

Frigga noticed, but didn’t mention it. She released my chin and took a step back. I breathed a sigh of relief.

“You said I’ve been here before?” I asked, gesturing around the room.

She nodded. “The last time you were here was the last time you died.” She said simply.

I froze and glanced at her. “You know what happened to me?”

She nodded, the smile on her face losing a little of its sweetness. “I know you died saving someone who couldn’t save themselves.” She said simply.

“Please . . .” I didn’t know what exactly I was begging for, but she took in my expression and took pity on me.

“Your life before your calling was not a pretty one.” She warned.

I nodded. I just needed to know.

She nodded to herself. “Very well. The condensed version perhaps.”

“Your parents died when you were very young. You were orphaned and alone. You took to wandering the streets of your world.

“You learned quickly to distinguish between souls. Those who were good, forced to do that which was bad to survive, and those who were bad because they craved the darkness. You did what you could to help both kinds of people.

“You died in New York City, nearly a year ago.”

I gasped, quickly putting the pieces together.

Frigga nodded sadly. “Though not directly at my son’s hands, it was because of his actions that your life ended.”

Frigga glanced at of one of the tapestries on the wall. “You died protecting a young boy you’d taken under your wing.”

I followed her line of sight as I took in her words. I wasn’t sure what to think about it. I didn’t remember that life. It almost felt like I was hearing a story about someone else.

“What am I?” I finally asked.

Frigga glanced at me with sympathy in her eyes. “You were chosen. You became what you were in life. A Warden.”

The blank look on my face was answer enough. Frigga let out a tinkling sort of laugh. “Wardens are much like the Midgard concept of Guardian Angels.” Frigga stepped toward me and put a comforting hand on my shoulder. “I chose you for the grand purpose. I saw your soul, Y/N. I saw the goodness within you. I realized that only you could save my son.”

Her words echoed around the large room; my eyes snapped up to meet hers. Though the smile was still in place, it seemed to be forged of steel and determination instead of the sweetness from before.

“I . . . I didn’t . . . Loki’s not . . .”

Frigga’s smile softened. “Wardens are assigned to protect specific people Y/N. After all, what is a guardian angel without a charge to guard? Under normal circumstances, you would follow that individual throughout their life, guiding them towards a glorious end. The true success of a Warden would be measured by the happiness and safety they brought their charge to while in this life, and of course, whether or not their charge entered Valhalla in the end.

“But I think we can both agree being assigned guardianship of my strong-willed son is anything but ordinary.”

I shook my head and backed up a few steps, trying to sort through everything I was being told. “I’ve done nothing to help your son, your highness. I . . . he doesn’t even like me!”

Frigga chuckled lightly. “You haven’t seen yet the impact you’ve had on him. But I can assure you, Y/N, you’ve change him. For the first time in a long time, I sense my son hiding there within him. More than that, my dear. I can swear my word as Queen of Asgard that my son loves you dearly. Even if he’s too stubborn to admit it.

“However, I must apologize, my dear, for everything you’ve been put through. I have watched you. I know the past year has not been easy. A Warden without a charge normally tends to feel as though a piece of their soul is missing.”

I nodded. That’s exactly how I’d been feeling.

“I couldn’t assign you to Loki while he was on Asgard. My husband is a good many things. Patient is not one of them. He is King of all Asgard. He has the final say as to who becomes a Warden and whom they’re tasked with guarding. I couldn’t risk him forcing you elsewhere.

“So, I sent you to Midgard and have been patiently bidding my time until I could send Loki to you.”

“Were you responsible for the Soul Bond as well?”

Frigga let out another tinkling laugh. “No.” A smile of fondness crossed her face. “That was all Loki. My son does not do things by halves.”

Frigga turned back to me. “You have done a noble job my dear. I regret that in rekindling the spark of hope that had long-since burned out of my son, you were caused so much pain. I cannot offer you much, but I can give you this. Last time you were at death’s door, the choice was taken from you. This time you can decide. Would you like to remain in the sacred realm of the worthy who have fallen? Or would you like to continue on as Warden to my son?”

Chapter Text

I fell to my knees as the sudden weak beatings of her heart fell completely silent. She was gone. I brought a hand up to my chest and clawed at the skin through my tunic. The last words I’d uttered to her had been full of lies and hatred. She died thinking that I wanted nothing more than to use her. The soul bond twisted wildly within me, reminding me of the lasting punishment she’d endure. She would find no rest now. How could she when her soul was incomplete, and a piece of my own blackened ruin marred hers?

Never before had I hated myself as entirely as I did now. And there was nothing left to do. No other tricks to pull from my sleeves. She was gone. And it was all my fault.

Chapter Text

I floated through the floor and came to a stop in Loki’s quarters. The Avengers had been pleasantly surprised when I’d been dragged by Frigga into the ghost realm, and miraculously spit back out whole . . . if not healthy. I was technically dead after all.

They were less than pleasant when I made an attempt to find Loki. They were waiting for Thor to get the approval from his father, and then they were shipping him back to Asgard. They wanted nothing more to do with him. Turning hundreds of zombies loose on the world tends to have that effect on people.

I’d done my best to explain that it hadn’t been his fault. Frigga had been watching her son in the months since she had passed. She’d heard the whimpers of his dreams at night. Clint hadn‘t been the only one mid controlled the day Loki invaded Earth.

I wasn’t sure they’d believed me. I hardly believed me. To my surprise, it was Clint who’d finally admitted that perhaps it could be possible.

They’d finally left me alone when I’d used my Warden powers to summon the spirit of Frigga from her resting place in Valhalla to tell them of all she had learned since she’d passed. It had been a tearful reunion between her and Thor.

I’d slipped away to find another of her sons who she needed to reconcile with.

Loki was curled up on the bloodstained floor of his cell. One had dug painfully into his chest, the other stretched out and rested in a pool of blood . . . my blood . . . still coating the carpet. Silent tears streamed down his face.

I pushed myself into the present world and placed a gentle hand on the side of his face. “Loki.” I chastised lightly, trying to draw his attention away from the horrors of his mind. “Is this any way for a Prince to behave?”

Loki jolted into a sitting position; his hands flew out to grip my arms in a bruising grip. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.” I muttered.

Loki reached a shaking, bloodstained hand up to my hair and stroked my face. “You’re real.” He breathed.

I nodded, reaching out to cup the side of his face.

He let out a strangled sound and drew me in close to his chest in a bone crushing hug. Sobs wracked his body.

I ran soothing hands down his back. “You’re okay.” I whispered soothingly. “You’re okay.”

He buried his face in the crook of my neck and slowly his sobs calmed.

We stayed that way for a long while.

Eventually, Loki pulled away. His hands roamed down to my chest and he gently pulled aside the fabric there to stare at the scar left behind from the Revenants dagger.

“I thought I’d lost you.” He breathed, tracing the scar.

“If we’re being technical about it . . . you did for a minute there.” I whispered, relishing the tingling sensation his fingers caused.

Loki’s fingers froze and he looked up at me sharply. “What?” He demanded, his voice low.

“Valhalla is a nice place.” I said, avoiding the question. I wrapped my fingers around his and pulling our joined hand against my chest where my heart beat slowly. “Your mother saved me. Again”

Loki’s eyes met mine. “You’re here.” He whispered again, reaching out his free hand, running it up and down my arm as though assuring himself that I really was before him.

I nodded. “We’re Soul Bound Loki.” I whispered, leaning closer to him. “I’ll always be real to you. Always be here.”

Loki opened his mouth to argue. I cut him off.

“I’m afraid your stuck with me.” I said, smiling wickedly. “For better or worse . . . husband.”

Loki’s trickster smile slowly crept across his face, and without further argument he swept me into his arms and kissed me passionately. We’d both been hurt by life and by each other. But we were no longer alone. We could face anything else the world had to offer. This life or the next, we were bound.

Loki pulled away suddenly. I missed the taste of him immediately.

“Did you mention my mother?” He asked abruptly.

“Hmmm? Oh, yes. Your mother.” I rose to my feet and held a hand out to him, pulling him up beside me. “Your mother has been very busy since her death.” My expression darkened and Loki took a nearly imperceptible step backwards. “Now, would you like to tell me what you know about a man named Thanos and just what he wants with my planet?”