Samirah turned around, the leaves in the graveyard crunching under her feet and disturbing the eery silence.
“Hello, daughter,” he said
He looked the same as usual. The same grotesque smile, burned cheekbones, and marred lips. Today his dark copper hair was hidden under a baseball cap. He was wearing a fur lined winter jacket over a Red Sox t-shirt, and a pair of leather leggings that accentuated his skinny frame.
“No hug for your dear old dad?” Loki said, extending his arms
“No,” Samirah said bitterly
“Aww...what’s wrong, baby girl?” Loki said, approaching her and coming up to her side to wrap an arm around her shoulders. Loki was not a man of stature, the top of his head just reaching up to the bridge of Samirah’s nose. Whether he was simply choosing to appear this short in her presence was another matter.
Samirah shrugged out of Loki’s grasp and pushed him away.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked, smiling and moving to lean against a tree
“No, maybe I just didn’t feel like seeing my terrible, manipulative, deadbeat dad today,” Samirah shot back
Loki laughed, his scarred lips pulling up to reveal his rows of dazzling white teeth “You have a sharp tongue...I see more and more of me in you every day,”
“My worst nightmare,” Samirah muttered under her breath, crossing her arms and looking off to the side
Loki pushed off from the tree and walked around her so that he was in her line of sight yet again. He gestured to the headstone behind her. “You look just like Ayesha,” he said.
Samirah’s expression softened at the mention of her mother and she turned back around to look at the headstone. “I miss her,” she sighed, toeing the ground with her boots.
Loki put his arm around her again and tenderly kissed the top of her head. Samirah reluctantly leaned her head on his shoulder, against her better judgement.
‘Just let me have this, just once’ she thought to herself. It was one of those days when she was feeling particularly sad about her mother and it was cold and no one understood exactly how she was feeling. Nobody close to her knew what she was going through, with being a Valkyrie and all, and no one could know. Not Bibi, not Jid, not Amir, no one. Nobody except Loki. She didn’t have to pretend around him, didn’t have to make up excuses as to where she was going, didn’t have to hide her entire identity. He knew what she was and she knew what he was and it was as simple as that.
So she let herself have the moment (let him have it too, since she was sure Loki was pleased to finally be getting her attention). Standing there in the graveyard with her head on his soft jacket and his firm arm around her shoulder, listening to the sounds of the wind blowing softly through the trees and her father’s steady breathing, Samirah felt more at peace than she had in a while. Right now, right in this moment, it was as if they were the only two people in the world. As if Loki wouldn’t be gone in a second and Samirah wouldn’t go back to resenting him. As if Samirah wouldn’t have to return to her life where she had to come up with creative half-truths in order to go be with people who barely accepted or trusted her because of her parentage. As if Loki wasn’t going to return to his suffering and as if she wasn’t about to embark on one of the most important missions of her life, given to her by the All-Father himself.
“Good luck, Samirah,” Loki whispered. And then, he was gone.