"I can't imagine why you'd want to come here," Loki complained. "Out of anywhere you might have chosen."
"Your imagination doesn't seem to be doing you much good, then," Sylvie said, an absent sort of criticism. Strange how they'd known each other hardly any time at all, yet countering him seemed as familiar as anything, even as familiar as the kind of circuitous thoughts she sometimes got inside her own head.
It was something she might have thought about longer, except that she was too busy exploring. Loki's suite was made up of a series of three rooms, fit for a Prince of Asgard. Sylvie didn't recognize the layout, but she hadn't expected to: these weren't the quarters he'd had as a child, surely. Even if they had been, it had been so long. Too long, maybe.
She circuited the rooms, Loki hovering behind, searching for anything familiar, for signs of herself. It felt as if there should have been something. He was her and she was him, in a way. Perhaps she'd have had that paper-covered desk, if she'd stayed long enough. Perhaps that strangely striped rug would have been hers, if she hadn't been stolen. Perhaps she would have commissioned that set of daggers, lethal in green and gold, if she'd grown old enough to be allowed them.
Loki, when he left here, had been a man, where she'd been a young girl. Perhaps it had been too much to hope for, after all.
"Are you looking for anything in particular?" Loki asked, with a peculiar sort of strain in his voice, which was something like the strain he'd been looking at her with ever since they'd arrived.
"Not really." Sylvie might have confessed then--they'd each gotten slightly better in the art of confession as the other had gotten slightly better in the art of not immediately wielding the confession against the one who gave it--but that was when she spotted it, near the back of a shadowy shelf filled with unknown odds and ends. She reached for it, brought it out into the light, held it in her hands.
"I don't know how that got there," Loki said, sounding embarrassed. "It's nothing. A meaningless artifact. It's not even mine, probably."
"It's beautiful," Sylvie said, but it wasn't what she meant. The ship was at once a child's plaything and a craftsman's master work, which must have been gifted to a Prince on his eighth or ninth birthday: made of real, heavy wood, every detail just what it must have been long ago, when such ships had been common defenders of Asgard's sea. The masthead's expression was just as she remembered it; there were even the exact same number of oars. It was clear that it was old, old; the wood must long ago have darkened with age, while the fabric of the sails had faded with the years, so that you could barely tell, anymore, what colors the stripes must have started out being.
"It's yours, if you want it," Loki said. Then he must have caught the expression on her face, whatever had been there before she'd banished it away. "--Or we could burn it."
"No," Sylvie said. "I don't--it's nothing. It doesn't matter."
She put it back on the shelf, let Loki show her the things he wanted to show her, let him talk more about his plan, which seemed to consist entirely of 'show up, hope no one's too cross with me for all that other business.'
"It's still a shit plan," she said.
"Oh, probably. Though it's interesting that you haven't come up with a better one, isn't it?"
"Almost as interesting as the way you got us here five hours early for no reason," Sylvie said.
Loki looked out the window, at the spectacular view whose only downside was that Sylvie couldn't remember a bit of it.
"I'm rather nervous about facing them," he said. "Even my mother. I thought it might help to give it some time."
"It's kind of a relief, honestly," Sylvie said, meeting this confession with one of her own. "I'm not sure about this either."
It had seemed like a good idea when they'd decided. She had no home left, her timeline too long gone to retrieve; but Loki's branch had been newly cut, and could easily be regrown. They'd go back, save his mother, perhaps even Asgard itself. Stay there together if they could, after, or go somewhere else if they couldn't. There was a whole universe out there, and nothing in it they need fear, anymore.
They sat for a long time in front of the window, watching the light change over the Realm Eternal, every bit of which seemed to be visible from here. It was hard to say whose hand sought whose first. What wasn't hard to say was how great a comfort it was, somehow.
"I had a ship like that," Sylvie said, another confession. "When I was--before."
"I think you'll find you have a ship like that now," said Loki, casually, like it didn't matter to either of them.
"All right," Sylvie said. "If you insist. You don't have to be weird about it."