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Leah:Loki's Redemption

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       Loki felt the similar pain of a burn in the center of his chest like a flame. He was on his knees holding onto his chest, having a difficult time breathing. One hand on the ground, he looked up at the figure standing before him in desperation as her hand lifted into the air, a knife in it. He fell back holding his hand up as he scooted back away from the enraged woman, “you sent me away,” she said through her teeth, clinging to the weapon in her hand.

       “No, it was another Loki,” She didn’t seem to listen to his words as she grabbed him by the neck. She put pressure on her hand to hold him down as she dug the knife into his stomach, driving it upwards towards his chest. She did it slowly, making sure he felt every inch of pain, like he did her. She removed her hand that strangled him and placed it over his mouth to cover his screams and whimpers. She threw the blade sliding across the concrete floor, wiping the blood off of it before doing so. She placed the hand covered in blood over his neck, crushing his windpipe with every bit of hate that consumed her body.

      “You betrayed me, you tricked me and now you must pay the price,” tears dripped from her face as he began to lose consciousness. She wanted him awake for this, she wanted him to witness his punishment for the torture he’s caused. She used her magic, pressing her hand against his chest, igniting the flame that settled in his body. She sat on his bleeding stomach, loosening her grip on his throat as the burning caused Loki to arise from his position, clenching his fist gasping for air that couldn’t be found in his burning lungs. She slammed his body on the ground causing him to hit his head against the hard ground.

       She stood up, grabbing Loki by the hair violently, dragging him towards the knife she tossed aside. He grabbed her arms in attempt to pull her off of him, but her grip only tightened against his head. He was too weak and his voice was strained for him to try to talk to her. He couldn’t breath but he still was alive, he looked down at his torn bottom half with a few bones sticking out of them. He wanted the pain to stop, he wanted her to end it now but he knew Leah, at least this Leah, takes her time with revenge, he was just worried this one was to last all of eternity.

      Leah dropped him next to the blade, picking it up from the ground. Loki grabbed her bare ankle to grab her attention but it only infuriated her, she sat on top of him again, wiping off some of the blood that she smeared across his lips. “Leah, please,” he begged in a whisper from his sore throat but that wasn’t going to stop her. She was far too gone to be stopped and he knew that. She lifted the blade over her head with one hand while the other stayed planted on his cheek.  

     “Bastard,” she shoved the blade  down, puncturing and splitting his eye into two. Blood poured from his socket as his movements slowed into a complete stop. She let out a sob before pulling the blade out of his right eye. All that was left was a lifeless body and a pool of their own blood for Leah to drag to where she usually put this body.

 

      

        Loki woke in the middle of the night shaking with cold sweats. He felt an arm wrapped around his waist and a hand placed on his shoulder. He turned his head to see the person beside him, comforting him. He looked back across his bed, wiping the tears that rolled down his face as he slept before he could find his voice to speak, “Verity,” he said in whisper from his sore throat. He rubbed against his neck, feeling a bruise forming around it.

      “You scared the crap out of me,” She took a breath of relief as she wrapped both arms around him in a hug. “You had another nightmare,” her hug was tight, afraid to let him go, “are you alright,” she asked, releasing him from her embracive hug. He rubbed his fingers against his bruised throat repeatedly as she spoke, shielding it from Verity.

     “What happened,” he switched from his chest to his stomach with his other hand, taking in deep breaths. A few tears of residue slipped out of his eyes, Verity wiping it off with a cloth.

     “I rushed into your room when I heard you screaming, I thought you had been stabbed while you slept. Throughout the night you would have these outbursts of cries and yells like someone was torturing you. I honestly thought you were dying,” Verity combed a hand through his messy hair to get it out of his face and in attempt to calm his nerves. His shaking stopped which was a good sign on Verity’s part but he was still in a moment a shock and fear. She took his hands into hers looking down at them.

     “Another,” he said to himself, analyzing the word, “when did you know I was having nightmares,” he asked through his rasped voice.

     “You’ve been making noises in your dreams. At first they were just muffles but then they got worse,” Verity sat on his bed, holding onto his hands. She stared at him with a worried expression before noticing the marking on his neck, “oh my-,” she covered her mouth. “What happened,” she said flabbergasted, panicking for him. Verity got up from the bed to rush and get him an ice pack but Loki stopped her from doing so, tugging on her hands to come back. She did, sitting back in front of him as her fear for her friend became precedented, “Loki, who did this to you,” she reached for the bruise but he moved from her reach.

     “Please Verity,” he pulled her closer to him, “I’m so tired,” he said wearily before resting his head on her shoulder, “let us talk about it in the morning.” He wrapped his arms around her lower back as he started to drift off into sleep, “for now, rest,” Verity hesitated to move from her spot. Loki’s tense body relaxed under her touch and quickly fell unconscious, resting his body against hers. Verity was too exhausted from all the worrisome to do anything about it so she lied on the bed with Loki on top of her eventually falling asleep.  

Chapter Text

        “You mind explaining last night,” Verity poured herself a cup of coffee as well as him, “and explaining what that bruise on your neck came from,” she observed Loki, who was seated at the table looking at his shaky hands before clenching them into a fist. He’s been having these dreams for months, at first it was harmless dreams. Leah would say a hurtful words about who he was and he would wake up with slight pain but still get up in the morning. Only verbal abuse, which he thought he could handle, even in sleep he was still able to hide his feelings but then it became physical. He was able to hold her back in the start, but the longer and more consistent the dreams were, the stronger she became and the weaker he got.

       Loki lost hours of sleep and that caused him to be weaker during his dreams and soon he wasn’t able to defend himself against her wrath. The more time he spent with Leah, the more prepared she was for him and the angrier. The only remedy he had to these nightmares was Verity, it always seemed to calm his nerves to be in the arms of the person who cared about his wellbeing, which was uncommon for him since most people wanted him dead. He used to have his brother but after his unforgivable crime, his brother didn’t want anything to do with him. With his brother out of picture, all he had was Verity which he didn’t mind either way.

        The dreams had worsen, that was certain. Loki was honestly fearful of this, they were vivid enough to leave marks on his actual body which scared him. Verity sat across from him as she took a sip of her coffee, placing it on the table and cupping his quivering hands. They stopped moving under her warm palms, “you kept saying this girl’s name in your dream,” Loki’s head lowered, averting her gaze, “I’m guessing you know who,” she said incredulously as she took another sip of her drink. He seemed quiet and distance which worried Verity even more. He’s never like this towards her, never distant especially, “who’s Leah-,” she said upfront as her grip around his hands tightened.

       “I didn’t do it,” he shouted in an outburst, banging his fists against the table. He was in a trance that Verity was able to liberate him from. She jumped slightly from her seat as he combed a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry Vey, I’m just so tired,” he rubbed his eyes in attempt to wake up but it failed terribly. “Leah was an old friend of an older version Loki, who he had sent away. I didn’t believe I would remember her, until I saw her.” Verity scooted closer to him, holding his hand and rubbing her thumbs against his knuckles. He had a hard time looking at Verity as he had a sense of shame  run through his body, “she makes me feel like kid Loki again,” that name brought shivers to her spine

       “Do you know why you’ve been having these dreams,” she said concerned.

       “I can’t really depict on the source,” he shrugged. She couldn’t tell whether he was lying anymore, he was always uncertain or unsure of anything which was a disadvantage to her powers to detect a lie “all I know is, it has worsen and it will only get worse,” he placed a hand on his bruised throat. “This bruise was a warning. If we don’t take care of these bad dreams, I soon won’t be able to awake from them,” he clenched his shaky hands to stop them from quivering.

       “What are we going to do,” her voice sound scared and her eyes widen with fear as she stood from her seat reaching over to grab him.

       “I do not know yet but I will figure a solution,” he rubbed his eyes and yawned. His head was pounding causing him to close his eye and rub his temples to ease the pain. He groaned in annoyance before removing himself from the table and walking towards his room. Verity went after him, helping him keep balance from stumbling onto the ground.

       “I know this is a terrible idea but you need rest Loki. Is there anyway for you to sleep peacefully,” she asked before he tripped over his foot and fell against the wall. She sighed, picking him back up before getting to his bedroom. She carefully sat him on his bed before laying his head against the bundle of soft pillows laid out for him. “For my sake, get some good sleep,” she said, holding onto his hand before hearing her phone ring, “I’ll be back in a second,” she hesitated to leave but walked out of the room in a haste. Her phone was in her room, playing a somber tune as she went searching for it. Finally finding it stuck in the crack of her bed and her bedpost, she answered the call without looking at who it was.

     “Verity,” it was a female voice that she recognized to be as Lorelei, “put me on the phone with Loki,” Verity was surprised to hear her voice again. After a year of their encounter, she thought Lorelei had forgotten all about her let alone have her number.

      “Why,” she questioned. Verity was still fully aware of what Lorelei was and what she’s like.

      Verity heard a deep sigh from the speaker, “just do it,” she said in a groan. Verity hung up, throwing her phone on top of her bed as she made her way back to Loki’s room. The phone rang again by the time she got to the door causing her to sigh herself before turning around to answer.

 

       Loki never enjoyed dreams as most people would. His dreams didn’t give and only took ever since he could remember. Even as a child he appreciated staying up more than sleeping, though his mother always told him that all children don’t want to sleep, his conditions never got better. He preferred to stay up and be distracted with work then to fall into a deep slumber only to be terrorized by his own thoughts. He was weak at this state and couldn’t keep his eyes open to wait and see Verity holding him again. He tried to keep wake and gain the energy to get up again but he couldn’t help but fall under.

      Loki jumped out of bed in panic before losing his energy completely. He felt a breeze against his cold skin as he noticed he wasn’t indoors anymore. He was dreaming which he realized but it wasn’t set where it usually was, in a cave. It was an opened area and the ground felt like gravel as he wandered the new but familiar platform. The sky was smoky purple with tears of black and green in it and the air smelled of sulfur and nuclear waste. Memories of this place started to flash in his eyes as bits came back to him. A rush of images processed in his brain quickly causing it hurt his already incapacitating pain. He placed a hand on his head taking a moment to breath in the information that was forcibly given as he stumbled towards a throne.

       There were six chairs but only one man sat in the middle. He noticed Loki’s entrance but didn’t look at the creature, only forward. Loki tilted his head at the dying-looking figure and walked towards him in curiosity only to get visions from his past selves about this man, “Nightmare,” he shouted at the creature sitting in the tall throne. His voice was staggered from the information he was taking in the more he looked at the monster. He finally turned to Loki, a smirk plastered on his face as he gave him his full attention.

      “I’m glad you could remember,” he said, a grin forming against his black charred lips. Loki’s eye narrowed but his body still shook, he was getting that feeling as usual.

      “You are the one causing all of this,” he yelled at him, stepping forward. Nightmare furrowed his bushy eyebrows puzzled, “just as you did before, causing problems just to steal my dreams,” Nightmare jumped down from the throne, planting his feet softly on the rocky earth.

      “You really aren’t the same Loki are you,” he asked, cutting Loki off before he could reply, "Mephisto told me about what happened but I didn’t believe him.” He circled around Loki observing, “I guess he was right, you are different, and you don’t remember a thing,” Loki wanted to answer but he kept going with his analysis, “but it can’t be, you still remember Leah,” he was thinking out loud to himself as his fascination with Loki grew. Loki lifted his hand with his sceptre appearing from it, preparing to attack Nightmare, “oh put the weapon down, you’d never defeat me in my own realm anyway,” he said, waving the weapon away.

     “Any reason why I shouldn’t kill you now for your attempts to kill me,” Loki said incredulously holding onto his sceptre.

     “You think I did this,” he said pointing at himself, “no, you did this to yourself,” he said blunt. He began to chuckle to himself, “I usually have to feed people’s nightmares to keep them functioning but you always seem to find some way to generate your fears,” he rested his arm on his shoulder as he went on a rant. “Your dreams get so bad, even I feel sorry for you,” he started laughing hysterically as Loki looked at him in disgust before pushing him off of him. Nightmare looked shocked from his action but quickly changed to a smirk. He dispersed into black smoke, reforming behind Loki and wrapping his arm around his neck, putting him in a choke hold.

      “Let go of me foul demon of dreams,” Loki struggled to remove his arm from his throat from tightening.

      “Please, call me Nightmare,” he smiled wickedly, “now I’d love to chat all day about the power you feed me but your friend is trying to wake you from this bad dream and I wouldn’t want to worry her, not yet anyway,” he dropped him, teleporting back to his throne. “Don’t worry Loki, we’ll meet again real soon but for now, sweet dreams,” he smiled, revealing the plaque covering his teeth, what was left anyway. Loki was on one knee as he rubbed his throat, glaring at Nightmare who had long shifted his attention to something else in the dimension of dreams.

       Loki felt two hands shake his whole body causing him to open his eyes slowly. Verity had panicked as her scared expression caused Loki to smile. A huge amount of relief filled her when she saw him wake up, “you’re alive,” she sighed before leaning to hug him, “you wouldn’t get up when I shook you and I was worried you really did die in your sleep,” she said in the embrace of the hug. She let out another sigh of relief before releasing him. “Did you have another dream,” she said even more worried than before.

      “Yes but it wasn’t about Leah, it was about Nightmare,” she looked at him puzzled. “Nightmare was the god of nightmares but last time I checked, the crown was given to Mephisto,” he thought about the six chairs he saw in his dream, “there were six chairs I saw, one occupied by Nightmare but I can’t recall who they belonged to,” Verity looked at him befuddled before he tried to clear it for her. To be completely honest, he wasn’t exactly sure himself. His memory as kid Loki was a daze and even harder to remember when he was never there but he still gets glimpses of what happened during those times.

     “Okay, who is Nightmare and what does he want from you?”

    “He’s a dream catcher,” he said, standing from the bed. He stretched, warming his body before leaving his bedroom with Verity. “If I can remember correctly, we had an encounter not long ago during my earlier stages. He hasn’t changed from his old ways, still fetching dreams for power,” he shrugged, thinking to himself out loud. He headed towards the door, turning the knob to open it, “I’ll be back soon Vey,” Verity walked over to him in question of his decision.

     “Wait, where are you going,” she said concerned. He closed the door behind him as he left without a response. Verity considered going after him but she wasn’t one to chase after people. She put her faith in him and hoped he’d come back, memories intact. The last time she walked out on him, he was killed and reborn anew and although it wasn’t bad dealing with a dementia Loki, it still troubled her. She sat at the table in thought about her friend. His dreams are what really scared her, she didn’t believe dreams could come into reality until she met Loki. Her whole world was turned upside down and everything she thought she knew was far from the actual truth. She decided, to keep herself sane, to accept anything strange or unusual and try not searching for an explanation for something that is unexplainable. She rest her head on her hands as she groaned loudly before standing up from her seat and walking out the door, going after him.

           

        

Chapter Text

         After a small argument with Verity about her decision to tag along with him, he accepted her choice even if he disapproved. He didn’t tell her where they were going and she wasn’t sure he knew either. There was more energy in him after the few extra hours he slept but he still had weeks of sleep to make up. Verity kept to herself, far too deep in thought to focus on anything outside her field of thought. Loki wrapped an arm around her shoulders, capturing her attention as he watched the burning sun in the distance with his tired eyes that desperately tried keeping open. “I think we should have brunch,” he looked at her with his charming smile, “don’t you,” he asked, his smile now form into a grin uncontrollably. Verity’s blank expression made a faint smile as the area around began to melt away into dust, only to reform into the entrance to a café/restaraunt.

        Loki thread his arm through hers, locking it in place as they entered the establishment. They took a seat at a random booth across each other, taking the two menus set on the table for them to browse. Verity buried her face in the menu, bringing a frown to his. He knew she wasn’t as she usually was, which bugged him, “you shouldn’t worry about me,” her menu lowered revealing her once masked face. “I’ve handled a lot worse situations-,” Verity waited for an example that he took time to think about, “if I can remember any,” he said more to himself but was overheard by her.

      “Well I can’t help it. There always seems to be something trying to kill you, and so I get paranoid whenever any possible danger occurs in your path,” she admitted, folding her arms over her chest.

      “Trust me Vey, we’re going to take care of this predicament,” he promised to her, placing a hand on her exposed forearm. Verity sighed before pushing her glasses back as she skimmed through the menu she had in front of her.

       “Okay,” she caved in and accepted his request. He nodded, pleased that she agreed and picked up his menu off the table. After a few minutes of choosing their order, a waiter walked over pulling out a small notepad and pen. She had a bright smile curling her lips as she stumbled towards the table dropping her pen. Verity ended up picking up the pen before the young lady could, holding her hand out with the pen.

       “Thank you,” she said, a bit surprised as she grabbed the pen from her hand. Her smile widen once she got a glance at the customer, her heart beating a little harder, “sorry about that, I’m a bit clumsy,” she stood up fixing her apron. “Welcome to Shanti’s Cafe , what can I get you,” she said to Verity before noticing the man across the booth gripping the woman’s arm. “What can I get you two,” she corrected herself respectfully, her smile lowering slightly.

       “Yeah, can I get the classic omelet combo,” Verity said, folding her menu back and putting it in the center of the table. She turned her head to look at Loki who was waiting for the waitress attention.

      “And I will have your stack of blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon,” she wrote the orders down, ripping them off the notepad.

      “Can I get you water while you wait,” he nodded dismissing her. Verity fixed her glasses again, sitting back in the cushioned chair in thought. Loki was hunched over the table observing her stature, who decided to look elsewhere. He noticed her arms crossed over her chest again realizing how much of a pet peeve it was to see her do that.

     “Lorelei called earlier today,” she said, finally remembering the conversation. Loki scooted in with an eyebrow raised as she deepen the statement, “she needed your help with something. She didn’t specify but she said it was important,” she admitted to him. “I told her you had other things to do and he’ll get to you as soon as he can,” he frowned at her disappointed, “what? I wasn’t going to disturb your sleep over some nonsense of hers,” she confessed placing her arms over her chest.

     “Stop that,” he said blantly pointing at her arms, narrowing his eyes as he stared at them. Verity lifted her hands up, setting them on the table across from his. “Thank you,” he said exhaling, “what exactly did she need me for,” he questioned, wondering himself.

      “She didn’t say but she sounded fine over the phone so it must’ve not been urgent,” she shrugged having no other answer. Loki sat back in his seat thinking about Lorelei, he didn’t know what she would want even after a year of no communication. After her escape from prison, she had left Asgard and everyone in the dust, with Sigurd. It was suspicious especially since she wanted nothing else to do with him after that stunt he pulled with her sister but Lorelei was identical to her sister when it came to personality, both vacillating their decision constantly. It was Verity’s turn to wake him from his void of thoughts, “whatever she wants to tell you, she wants you to call her asap,” he scoffed, nodding in the end.

       Their waiter came by with the drinks, setting them down on the table. “I love the ring on your finger,” she commented, noticing its glow on Verity’s finger. She was slightly amazed and curious from the glamorous shine and decorative outer shell it had. “What kind of ring is that,” she said being lured in by more of its design. The silver had an etching on it that she couldn’t see from her distance but she guessed  it was a name. Verity observed the familiar ring before rubbing her index fingers against the black and green orb that was encased.

      “It’s the kind that keeps her physical form apparent. Without the ring, she’d be transparent and possibly invisible to the naked eye,” Verity shot a look at his opened mouth, kicking him under the table to silence him.

       “I’m sorry, what,” the waitress asked politely, confused on what he was going on about. Verity waved him off, giving her a different explanation on her ring, “oh okay, well your orders should be ready soon. Let me go take care of that,” Verity tossed in a smile as the waiter scurried off to get there orders, turning to look at Loki who was grinning, revealing his missing tooth.

       “Please don’t go around telling people that I’m a ghost,” Loki wanted her to elaborate her reason, “in our day in age, people will believe anything but that never stops them from panicking,” she sighed.

       “But it is true-”

       “I know but that doesn’t make them anymore understanding,” she said sitting back and looked at her ring. She glanced at Loki’s hand in search for the other ring that was attached to his finger as well as hers. The first time she asked for a physical body was about a year ago, a few months after alternate Loki’s final appearence. In the beginning she didn’t trip over having an impalpable form and for a moment she enjoyed being invisible to the normal eye, but only a moment. Soon she started to notice the horrors of having no body and being almost useless to herself and others. It was like being handicap, always needing assistance to do regular activities and being stopped from the things you once loved, it was a nightmare.

        After a long while of being a ghost, she asked Loki for a new body. Although it sounded strange to her and Loki’s expression afterwards didn’t help, he ultimately agreed, chuckling to himself on the idea. Verity was annoyed by his laughter towards her but Loki knew how much of a pain it was to be a ghostly form and that was his own way of showing empathy for her cause. Verity asked him questions about the procedure, whether it’ll hurt or if it would leave side effects but all he would say was to trust him. As much trust she puts into him she thought she could, but the look he kept on his face was not something that could be trusted and she worried for her well being especially when dealing with Loki.

         There was a ceremony to this spell he made, Verity didn’t know if that was apart of it or if he just wanted one for the hell of it. The spell did take more than one person to conjure it so Loki invited Amora to the occasion for help and support and of course, wherever Amora goes, Lorelei inconspicuously follows with Sigurd on the side. The worst part about it was Loki called Verity’s mother to go to this orchard like area. Verity thought it’s features to be similar to a wedding’s minus the special dress up and decoration. Her mother seemed nonchalant about the experience, and wasn’t at all disturbed by the magic and the aliens next to her, she enjoyed herself if anything. Verity guessed it was from her father why she wasn’t panicked, he was a very strange man.

         Amora said a few foreign words to make Verity visible to all before she stepped up. She was unamused by the whole event and irritated at Loki for making her help but then again, she could’ve always not shown up. Even the setup was similar to a wedding, Loki used his own magic to keep Verity visible, having to grasp her hands and hold her from disappearing. Amora stood in the space between them in the back preparing to activate the spell as she put the ingredients together. Loki removed the bracelet that kept Verity bound to him and handed it to Amora to include, before whispering the enchanted words under his breath. From a distance, Verity saw her mother being dramatic as usual, squealing in excitement and awe.

          Verity didn’t find it as special as everyone else may have thought. Even Loki was convinced that it was a special occasion though Verity suspected he had planned this from the beginning. She still felt anticipation and butterflies in her stomach for what she guessed was for getting her body back but at the same time, it wasn’t the root of her feeling. Amora finished the mixture, turning back to them and giving Loki the word. Verity felt that pain from the fear that crept into her body once she heard the words. Loki told her about the risk of doing this and how it could possibly kill her already dead-self but she took that risk as well as he. From what she could tell by the way he said it, he was confident she wasn't going to die.

       Amora poured an oozy liquid onto the bracelet and from what Verity saw, the bracelet deteriorated with only the orb that kept her alive. Amora kept the orb on a silver plate as she enchanted the orb setting the trinket on fire. Verity’s grip tightened as the heat came from her ghostly stature and burned her. Loki tried to calm her down, keeping her up from falling apart until the pain subsided and she could hold herself. Amora continued the spell whether Verity was fine or not and split the marble into two. The plate began to break down as it took shape around the broken smoky orb. Verity felt like giving up in the weak state she was in but Loki kept her standing underneath him as he said reassuring words, petting her once brown hair.

       Amora had in her hands, the two orbs that were now rings and passed it to Loki. Loki thanked her to which she scoffed to, standing off to the side. Loki held Verity up with one arm as she had lost her balance. Loki slipped the ring onto her ring finger, pulling her back up and handing her his ring. She used his shoulder for balanced as she slipped the ring onto his ring finger gaining her energy. She looked at her hand as it began to show color and feel her nerves kick in to her fingertips. She sighed in relief that the procedure went successful and she didn’t turn out dead, wrapping her arms around him in joy. He embraced in her hug as she chuckled behind his ear.

      Her mother was the only one to applaud in happiness causing her to force the rest to applaud with her evil glare. It was good enough to make the others clap in fear of what spite she could bring that they did not want to witness. Verity touched against her lively skin checking to see if it was real before leaping onto Loki in excitement. After they left the orchard, they went to a nearby chinese food place where Verity could have her first meal in six months.

       

        Their orders had shown as their waitress sat the plates on the table, refilling their glasses. Loki began to pour syrup on his pancakes, biting into one of the pieces of bacon in his other hand. Verity watched him, her lips curling a faint smile, “what, I need the energy,” he said with the bacon in his mouth as he sliced the pancakes into pieces, “plus I’m starving.” Verity shrugged as she cut herself a bite from the omelet, savoring the taste. Loki removed a piece of his stack and passed it to Verity, placing it on her full plate.

       “I thought you said you needed the energy,” she said eyebrow raised.

       “Yes but I have to give you some first,” he said blatantly, digging his fork into the syrup covered pancakes.

       “No you don’t,” she said dumbfounded.

       “Yes, I do,” he stated giving her a piece of his bitten bacon. Verity rolled her eyes and continued to eat her omelet. She wasn’t so surprised by his act, he always did that whenever they ate together. He had this urge to share whatever was on his plate with her which sometimes could go too far. She accepted it sometimes but there were times where it was not needed, like this one.

         “So where were you planning on going before I came along,” Loki looked at her in confusion,” you weren’t going to this restaurant by yourself-”

       “You’re right, this wasn’t my original plan but I feel it was a better alternative,” he said eating another piece of pancake. Verity wanted the full truth out of him which he could tell from her expressions, “I wanted time to think straight, if I could, and search for answers,” Verity was ready to argue her way into joining him but he stopped her before she could, “I didn’t want you to get hurt in this ‘finding myself’ trip again which is why I went alone. I had hurt you once, I never wanted that again,” he said earnestly. Verity was slightly taken back by his statement, suddenly not hungry anymore, “but it’s better if I have you with me,” he ate his last piece of bacon. “Bacon truly is other worldly,” he said changing the subject. Verity still had most of omelet left, at least three quarters of it left but she wasn’t in the mood to eat anymore.

       “I mean, if you think it could help-” she began to suggest, “than it’s fine if you need time to yourself to think, then you should. Who am I to stop you,” to him everything, and Verity’s been with him long enough to know that he cared deeply on her opinions. He gave a nod before sitting back comfortably, “but where do you plan to go first,” she asked curiously.

      “Not where but what,” he smirked, confusing her, “I’m thinking about running,” he explained making her even more puzzled.

      “What like track,” he laughed before standing up, walking out the booth.

      “No Vey, not literal,” she thought it over before realizing what he meant. He kissed her on the forehead before disappearing into thin air. She sat in her seat with a huff with her arms crossed over her chest. Verity hoped he wasn’t thinking about doing what she was thinking for multiple reasons but mostly because it wouldn’t make sense. Who would actually vote for Loki?

Chapter Text

       When she thought it wasn’t possible, it became possible. Loki ran but not for governor or something simple, for president. He really did go all out with this search and that only seemed to amaze Verity. It was all over the news of the interviews and speeches that in her opinion, made no sense and even on social media there was petitions and blogs created around the idea of Loki being president. Part of her didn’t believe that it was real and Verity was in even more disbelief to hear that he was winning. He had been gone for months with this debate but she didn’t know where he had gone during the presidency or why he didn’t contact her once. She wasn’t going to lie, she had voted for him in the long run, she couldn’t leave her friend hanging but with all the support he got, he didn’t need it.

     Verity rested on her couch watching the news for the results. Riots had been happening during this presidency and chaos ran through the streets but all she wanted to know was if he had won. She rooted for her friend even if most people knew him before as being evil. She even dressed up for the occasion, wearing a silk black dress and holding a bottle of champagne for her to pop when the results came in. She knew the last few weeks for Loki had been rough but from what people had said and from what she’s seen, he still has a chance to win.

    The news finally moved on from their usual reporting of repulsive acts between human beings and began talking about presidency. They had a whole fifteen minute discussion about the past few months about the candidates, mostly about people going back and forth about Loki. Verity sighed as she lifted herself into a sitting positions, resting her elbow on her thighs and leaning forward. “And the results are in,” the man said in the television. Verity leaned closer in anticipation waiting for him to finish the statement, “and our new president of the United States is,” the television screen turned black. Verity heard the sound of her apartment door close and the sound of wet boots hit the carpet floor slowly.

     “I didn’t win,” Verity looked behind her couch to see Loki soaked with a faint smile playing on his lips. Verity jumped from her couch stumbling towards him, having a harder time with the dress on, “what’s with the dress,” he asked curious.

    “Just in case you won,” she said holding the bottle of champagne towards him, “I was going to celebrate hoping not by myself,” she handed the bottle to him.

   “But I didn’t,” he said slightly disappointed but Verity shrugged.

   “Then we’ll celebrate something else,” she said calmly, lying against him, “I spent way too much money on this dress but mostly on the champagne, to have it waste away,” she grinned looking up at him. His smile widen as he wrapped his arms around her.

   “First, change out of those wet clothes,” she said, removing herself from his grip.

   “Not before you change out of that ridiculous dress,” she chuckled as she walked towards the hall to get to her room.

    “Fine but you’re not sitting on the couch with that wet shirt,” she said before stepping into her room, grabbing her pajamas. Loki took off his jacket, setting it on the coat rack near the door before removing the cold and wet button up shirt. Verity came out her room a few moments later with grey sweatpants and a black tank top. She went to the kitchen grabbing two wine glasses from the cabinet before making her way to the couch. She tried covering the whole couch but wasn’t large enough to take all the space while Loki opened the champagne bottle, pulling the cork off with his hands.

    He slipped his boots off next to the couch , removing his soggy socks as well. He sat in between her legs pouring their glasses and taking one for himself. He sat the bottle on the ground looking at Verity, “what will we be celebrating,” he asked, a smirk forming. Verity took a moment to come up with something that was good to celebrate especially since it hasn’t been easy on the both of them lately.

    “For lasting this long,” she said jokingly with a hint of seriousness. He smiled as he tapped his glass against hers, drinking it all in one gulp. Verity drank hers down fast, pouring herself another glass and resting her head on the arm of the couch. Loki took the bottle in his hand, lying his shirtless body against hers, “did you find what you were looking for,” she asked petting his head that relaxed on her chest.

     “No,” he admitted, “as fun as it was, it was not the answer I was looking for,” he regretted to say. Something else was eating at him that Verity could sense and tugged on his hair slightly to spill it. Verity had already sat her glass down and snatched the bottle from Loki’s lips, taking the last drips for herself, tossing it aside once it was empty. Loki refused to tell the rest that was on his mind from the warnings she gave him so Verity was going to have to force it out of him.

     “A lot happened during the time you were gone Loki, tell me,” she lifted her head off the armchair to look for Loki’s reluctant face. “Fine, besides it’s going to come back for us in the future,” she knew that to be a fact in their daily lives. Nothing was left behind from the past and usually came back to haunt him with Verity the one person to help. Loki bit the bottom of his lip, questioning his decision to keep a secret from his best friend. He thought the information to have little importance to her and kept it to himself. This was not going to go unnoticed and Loki was coming up with a believable truth.

     Verity knew he was devising a plan to appease her concern but she stopped him saying a truthful lie, “did you get any good sleep while you were away,” he laughed at the question giving her the answer. He could tell from the sudden shift of her touch, that she was not happy to hear that. Verity sighed but passed on the subject, listening to the hard rain that beated on their windows. Her petting continued as the liquor began to seeped in on both of them and her once tensed body was now relaxed under Loki. The silence that grew in the room was broken when Verity hummed a small tune that she made out of the rhythm of the rain pattering on the window seal. The sound of her voice and the vibration he felt throughout her body lulled his tired eyes  and put him in daze, slowly falling unconscious.

      “Get some rest Loki,” Verity said in a low voice, closing her eyes as sleep took over.

      “Okay…Leah,” he said in a whisper before he completely passed out. Verity didn’t catch his last words before going under herself, resting her hand on his chest, feeling his steady heartbeat.

 

       Every dream always felt fresh, no matter how many times Loki gone through it. He could never get used to the pain in his dreams as each dream was worse than the last. The guilt that built up in his chest  was overwhelming to his mind but for every visit, it was overbearing to his soul. This manifestation of Leah had him trapped in her box and tied up with her strings with no way to escape but death. He never had control over his dreams like he used to and was forced into the unfair games played by her with no chance of him winning. Loki was never a fan of not having control over the situation, that was until he died and came back as the god of stories. That bit of him still exist but it’s died down since then as well as many of his old traits.

      Leah had hooks dug into his skin and hung him up by small wires attached to the hooks. She held him down for the procedure as he struggled to be set free. She used the sharp hooks, shoving the rigid ends right underneath his flesh on his collar bone. She heard the tear of skin as she pressed down on the hook and pushing it out the other end of the collar bone. The rusted hook grinded against his collarbone, causing a rushing pain to shoot through his neck. He held back the screams that were crawling to escape his vocals as she continued to puncture his skin.

      Blood began covering Leah’s hands as she added more hooks to his flesh. She tore four more hooks on each of his arms, two of them wired to his tendon. Loki couldn’t help the tears that rolled down the sides of his face as the feelings of his arms began to fade away and the use of them disappeared. He released the whimpers that were held in the back of his throat as well as the scream that were aching to burst out. His legs were the only part of his body that was moving, expressing the agonizing pain he felt on his top half. Leah had him lying on the cold hard ground, sitting besides him as she tortured him slowly.

      Leah attached a few to his showing stomach and two to his bare chest, causing a burning pain all around his top half. With the little energy he had, he lifted his head searching for any bit of remorse on Leah that he could use to his advantage but found none. She had an unreadable face, other than the rage that was clear from her action, there was nothing to tell from her. Loki couldn’t tell what could be going on in her head at this very moment and part of him didn’t want to find out. Leah used the last hooks for his head, pulling his head up by his hair.

      Loki’s body ached and throbbed and his consciousness started losing its grip. Leah kept him awake, with a tug of the hair or a wound to the stomach, she’d keep him conscious, as always. She stuck a hook through his nostrils, carving into the cartilage and poking out the other nostril. Leah was able to get a squeal out of him but knew he wasn’t going to scream tonight. His voice was staggered now, with each syllable that forcibly came out came a choke. The sharp and sudden pain caused him to grip her arm with the hook in it, in a desperate plea to stop. She hadn’t been staring at him directly, mostly paying attention to her work but for the first time all night she glanced at his weary face.

      His body was shaky and his grip was weak, Leah could’ve easily removed her arm from Loki’s grasp but she kept still, watching him carefully. With the little breath he had he tried reasoning with Leah even though he knew she wasn’t going to listen, “…Le,” his other hand reached for the collar of her dress to help pull him closer to her. “…Leah,” she had a full view of his torment and for a short moment, a small pain in her chest rolled in telling her to give in. She covered his mouth, not hearing another word slip out and used her other hand to grab him by the head and slammed it against the floor causing him to be in a daze.

      Her widen eyes narrowed from his unconscious feature, having to use magic to wake him up. Loki could barely keep his eyes opened as the blood loss seeped through the pain and his body began shivering from the cold that grew within. He tried forming words through his chattering teeth but Leah slammed his head against the hard floor, finding blood in the spot she smashed it on. He flinch slightly since most of the feeling in his body was gone and all there was left was the shivering feeling of coldness. Leah wanted to finish what she started and the anger that was close to leaving came rushing back through her veins like blood. She left the rest of the hooks on the ground and decided to hang Loki up like she had planned to earlier.

      His body was limp on the hooks on the ceiling where the wires were tied. Leah thought about leaving him there to rot for a while before doing something else vile to the malicious creature. She wanted to ask, they were questions she asked every night he came but he never told her the answer. One particular question she asked that he seemed to keep quiet about was the only question she truly wanted to know, why. Why he sent her away all those years, why he did it? She wondered what the answer could be, she thought it would be a selfish one, but she also knew of the selfless Loki that she had met those years ago and part of her still believed that Loki still exist.              

      By now, Loki was officially dead hanging, his body swirling slowly back and forth. Leah used the same magic that got him up, to get him down and took the blood dripping body off the rack into her arms. She placed two fingers over his eyelids, pulling them down to cover his eyes as his body turned to a rigo mortis state in her hands. Her dress was covered in his own blood as she knelt down to place him on the stone ground. She observed his stiff empty shell of skin, reaching for his hand and taking it in her own before a small sound of cries came from her lips.


      Loki didn’t jump from the couch he and Verity rested on but shifted in it until he woke. Verity had a tight hold around him, covering his nose with a large tissue while speaking to his hazy mind gently near his ear, in a panicked voice. He grabbed the hand covering his nose and pulled it away to see  blood pour out of it like waterfalls. Verity lifted her head to notice that Loki had woken and placed the tissue over his nose again to keep it from spreading. She had her legs wrapped around his waist, keeping him from escaping her grasp while she had her arm wrapped around his stomach.

      Once he was fully awake, Verity’s grip loosened enough for him to lift up from the couch making her sit up as well. “Loki,” she said worried, “you had a nose bleed in the night but then you started choking,” she said, heart racing. He stood with the tissue covering the bloody nose as he stumbled to the bathroom in the hallway. He dragged Verity off the couch to the bathroom with him  as he tried cleaning the blood  in the sink.  Verity continued her tangit about the moment earlier, “I did the heimlich but it didn’t work, the cpr but your air circulation was cut off, “ she held onto him by the shoulder, looking over it to see their reflection in the mirror above the sink.

       “Strange,” he said contemplating, “I wasn’t being strangled,” he said as he washed the last bit of blood spilling out of his nose as the flow of it decreased. Loki dropped the blood trenched tissue into the garbage as he took a seat on the ledge of the bath. Verity knelt down in front of him watching his tired eyes stare back at her.

      Verity sighed, placing her hand on his knee tired, “what are we going to do,” she said in a breath as she lifted up and sat next to him.

      “Few memories of me being kid Loki came to me while I was away. They were flashes but memories nonetheless…about Leah, and Hel,” Verity recalled the name Hel from years ago during the battle between Asgard and their main enemies, that being Loki. “I’ve been having this urge to visit Hel, I have strange suspicion she may have answers to a series of my questions,” he said standing from his spot. “I planned to go alone but…I won’t make it out alive without you by my side,” he lend her a hand, helping her up.

      “Where does Hel live,” she asked a bit concerned. Last time she remembered, Hel brought an army of the dead with her to Asgard, plus her name was Hel which didn’t mean any good to Verity.    

      “Where do you think the queen of hell would live,” it was a rhetorical question which Verity realized when she caught the part where he said ‘the queen of hell’.

      Alright, but when are we leaving,” she yawned for the first time all night and wringed her body out.

      “Now,” Loki smiled, grabbing Verity’s arm and dragging her out the bathroom.  

Chapter Text

      “What do you mean, now,” Loki’s grip was strong  on her as he led Verity to the living room. “Shouldn’t we pack or at least grab a snack,” she was reluctant to go at the moment, she thought they would go in the morning.

       “It’ll be quick,” he smirked, letting go of her arm, “I’m glad I can still remember the way to get there,” he said as he pushed Verity aside, holding his hand out. A green line sliced through the fabric of the universe in front of them, cutting a man sized hole for them to enter. Their destination began to form in the hole in a slow swirl with Loki making the motions. Verity was amazed by the smooth flow of magic that waved out of his fingertips with ease. Once he finished forming a portal for them to go through, he stepped into it holding his hand out for Verity. She was hesitant to step in with him, for how late it was to be teleporting through other worlds, “come on Vey, what’s the worst that could happen?”

       “Don’t ask me that question when we’re literally going to hell,” she said deadpanned as she took his hand and hopped into the portal. Loki closed it once Verity was in so that no one else could pass through it to either realm.

        Hell had a similar smell to despair, it was the smell of ashes and corpses with a hint of the fiery burn that generated from the core of hell. Unlike Niflheim, hell was its own cooking oven that would scorched any of its victims that stepped foot to its harden soil. The bright side to the deadly land was that only midgardians died from the melting heat while gods or other abnormal creatures could handle the unending fire. Loki, being the god he is, and Verity being the ghost with a shell that she is, had no problem walking on the burning soil of Helheim.

      They were distances away from the gates of Hel’s kingdom, Loki didn’t want to show up in her kingdom as intruders so he was going to go in the front entrance. Verity stood close to him, observing the foreign land skeptically, “and you’re sure we won’t be dragged down by demons,” she said tightening her grip on his arm.

     “I’m certain Hel wouldn’t let a bunch of skin crawling parasites attack us on her land. Otherwise, Mephisto and Hel would have a long chat about their terms,” he smirked, pulling her closer. As they approached the gates, Loki notice no one was guarding it, not even Hel’s hell hound. In fact, the gate was left open for them to enter with not so much as a skeleton in their pathway. Loki suspected something happened that Hel left her gate unguarded and that it must of been something threatening to her life that she hadn’t sensed them yet.

      “I feel no good here,” Loki admitted, holding onto Verity. He looked around for any danger near by but found none.

     “When did you realize, when we decided to jump into portal straight to hell or when we saw the dead souls walking to their never ending torture,” he chuckled to her snarky remark, realizing how uncomfortable she felt in this realm. They entered the castle, hearing no sound of possible danger from the empty kingdom. “It’s not like I know what happens here,” he explained, “ I can barely remember it,” he said under his breath as they went through the multiple corridors to get to the throne room, most likely where Hel would be located.

    “Not a guard in sight,” Loki wondered, searching for any sign of the undead. The closer they got to throne room, the more rubble would appear. Chunks of the building had fallen or broken off and they noticed the unusual amount of destruction before them. Loki became more cautious with his steps around the shattered castle, maneuvering his way into the throne room with Verity behind him.

     The doors were cracked opened from them to enter only to find the dissipation of the throne and the surroundings around it. Loki walked slowly towards the queen’s throne, feeling a stinging pain in his chest as he took in the information forming in his thoughts. He felt the shock factor to this newly found information, observing every aspect of the decimated room. Large portions of the floors and walls were craters, and the chandeliers from the ceiling had fallen, leaving only a layer of broken glass covering the ground. He grabbed a piece of the arm chair that was on ground, investigating its features. He threw the piece aside, coming to conclusion that there was a clear battle that happened.

      From the far left corner, he heard a sound of a creature scrambling in a pile of debris. The corner was too dark from the lack of light for him to make image of the beast digging in the debris. His eyes narrowed, fixated on the creature searching for something he wasn’t sure of. He took a few steps forward before the beast swiftly turned around, facing Loki. It was a wolf like hellhound with golden eyes, growling at the sight of uninvited guest. He strode out of the dark corner revealing his wolf features to the intruders as his growls increased, “who are you, why have you come to the kingdom of Hel,” he growled. He watched Loki’s movement, with every few, glancing at the woman that stood near the door.

       “I am Loki of midgard and my friend, Verity Willis. We’ve come searching for the queen,” the hellhound step forward at the name. He was bigger than Loki on all fours and he wasn’t similar to the other hellhounds, his scent was different than the regular sulfur stinch. He stalked Loki for a moment, intensifying his glare towards him. Verity was prepared to interfere but Loki lifted his hand from his side signalling her to stay where she was. It wasn’t as if anything would happen to her physical being if she had jumped in the circle, as long as the rings wasn’t damaged. The wolf creature growled at him in a threatening manner, golden eyes flaming.

     “What business do you have with Hel,” he asked suspiciously. His deep voice echoed in the empty room, filling the area in the few growls he spoke.

     “Questions that need answers,” he said plainly but only made the wolf more skeptical, “we mean no harm,” he tried reassuring the overprotective beast. “You see, I’m Hel’s-” he was interrupted by the hellhound.

     “I know who you are,” he said loosening his body, stretching his back before falling onto his side, “I know exactly why you’ve come,” he admitted, lying on his hind legs. He paused for a moment, looking past Loki as if seeing something. Loki looked behind himself searching for whatever it was the wolf saw at the stone wall but saw nothing but darkness. “You won’t find her here,” he said in a low whisper, still looking farther than him, “after being forced off her throne, she disappeared” he looked away, “that was months ago,” he lifted his head watching the wall. His gaze went back to Loki but it was less aggressive and more informative, “I am Garmr, the first hellhound,” he announced. Now being in the light Loki understood why Garmr was hard to see in the dark, he was a black dire wolf and having a coat of fur the color of ebony would make it impossible to see him without the golden eyes.

     “I was put away by Hel many years ago when she first came to hell. I sensed her nefarious presence and protected her ever since,” he stood from his position, taking a few slow paced steps towards Verity causing Loki to follow him in worry for Verity’s safety. “I have no quarrel with this woman,” he reassured Loki, “unless she had anything to do with missing of my queen,” he threaten, already knowing of the answer. His seven foot figure glowered over Verity as she watched him in awe, coming towards her. She pushed her glasses back to fully observe the giant beast with curiosity hanging at her side, ordering for entrance. Garmr was inches away from Verity before turning back to Loki, “after Hel took over she put me to sleep, only to use me when needed. Now she’s gone and I’m here alone,” he said sorrowful before walking back to his corner.

    “There must be something else you can tell us, maybe a place Hel would’ve gone or something-” Garmr stopped suddenly, his back towards the two intruders before speaking.

    “A demon…by the name of Mephisto wandered this sector of the realm searching for an item. That was until I bit a chunk of his leg off,” he said with a growl of hunger. Loki thought for moment, fully grasping the name before knowing what the wolf spoke. Loki rushed to Verity’s side grabbing hold of her hand before Garmr turned to look at them.

    “Your help most appreciated,” Garmr nodded, dismissing the two to their soon to be destination.

     Garmr made a deep sigh before laying his head on top of his paws on the floor looking out the way they exited, “We’ll meet again god of stories and as for your friend,” he closed his eyes contemplating the images he saw before him. The air that surrounded Verity was something too familiar to him, something that every living being dread but can’t avoid.


       “But how much of your memory is gone,” Verity questioned, having this question in the back of her thoughts every time they spoke to one another.

     “It’s not gone , it is…fuzzy,” he said shrugging his shoulders. Verity was clearly not satisfied with that answer and requested for an explanation, “The memories are vague, I don’t remember specific details which is why they come back to me when I’m reminded of them. Also why I remember you, my brother, Leah,” he choked back that name that slipped out, stopping in his tracks, “etceteria,” he said fixing his poise and continuing forward. Verity took note of that, keeping it in her vault specifically designed for the strange things Loki did, which filled quickly.
       Loki transported them back into midgard before they left the kingdom of Hel, sending them back into Verity’s apartment which she now considered theirs since Loki’s crashed there for the past two years. She was confused why they were back in the apartment when only moments ago, Loki planned to see the demon king Mephisto himself. “Why aren’t we in hell looking for this Mephisto character,” she said placing her hands on her hips as a replacement for Loki’s pet peeve.

        “Because…it’s dangerous,” Verity rolled her eyes, “part of me doesn’t want you to come with me on this dangerous journey but I won’t make it without you,” Verity hated it when he was being so genuinely honest to the point where it made her sick. She was more than certain he’d be able to live without her, but as for  her, not so much. He found it hard to imagine living without her by his side and vice versa. “I need my thoughts together before this trip,” he said nonchalantly in the process of removing his shirt, “as well as the time down there is longer than on the surface. We’ve been gone for at least two or three days,” he said as his crown melted into air in his hands.

      “What,” she said, walking faster than normal towards the kitchen where her laptop rested on the table. The power button still blinked meaning it was still on as she checked today’s date, “you’re right,” she said taking a seat, shocked.

      “It’s never good to stay down there for too long. People tend to lose their sanity after a while,” he yawned, alerting Verity to stand up. “Calm down Vey, I’m just tired,” she rushed to his aid, eyes widen with slight fear.

      “Are you kidding me,” she walked with him to his bedroom, “I’m keeping a close eye on you while you sleep tonight,” she said, yawning herself.

      “You are as tired as I am, you should rest-” she practically had to force him into bed for the way he desperately tried to avoid it with conversation.

       “I need rest,” she re-stated almost outraged, “you’re going to sleep and I’m going to watch you,” she pushed him down to sit on his bed as she took a seat from the chair at his desk across the room. She crossed her leg over the other, getting comfortable as she waited till Loki rested his head which he was reluctant to do. “I’m not letting another accident happen,” she stated resting her head in her hands, her elbow on the arm of the chair. Loki hesitated but eventually lied on his mattress, resting his eyes.

      Verity knew what he looked like when he slept and for a while he had been acting asleep. Although she wasn’t going to call him on it just so that the silence would lull him to sleep and she could actually watch him. His breathing slowed, indicating he was unconscious and made only the slightest movements that only someone like Verity would notice. She sat back in the chair watching over him in silence as the lack of sound began to lull her. She yawned repeatedly as her once waken eyes fluttered shut slowly and in realization of this, Verity stood from her seat. She thought about making herself a cup of coffee and the risk of leaving the room for just five minutes and how anything could happen to Loki while she was gone. The caffeine or even hot water would burn her enough to wake up but only for a few moments before she would need another cup of steaming water. She took her seat deciding not to waste her time with a temporary solution when she needed a permanent one, at least for the night.

       Hours must’ve passed by now from the drowsiness that seeped in, trying to take her under. Loki hadn’t so much as stirred in his sleep so far which was a good sign in Verity’s book. She never stopped looking at his person even as her mind drifted off from reality and daydream. Sleep wanted to consume her but she promised herself she wasn’t going to fall for its dirty tricks. She shook herself awake and when that didn’t work, she’d hit the side of her face in attempt to cause pain to wake her. But she knew better as well, unless she was an insomniac which she knew she wasn’t, she wasn’t staying up till morning. She was lying to herself trying to make her believe she could stay up the night, she’d hope that Loki wouldn’t have a nightmare if he knew she was watching, give him a sense of false hope.

      As Verity began to succumb to the slumber and her eyes slowly closed when she felt a disturbance. She heard the sheets on the bed shift and the sound of muffled words slip out. An alarm went off in her head causing her to wake to the quiet noise of Loki’s shuffling. Tired but awake, Verity watched Loki slow movements fasten and his constant stirring, increasing. Verity heard a low groan from him as his expression flustered.

       Verity walked over to his side observing him closely. She wanted to wake him now but her curiosity told her to wait a little longer just to see the transition. She never had seen the process of Loki or the steps it took to get Loki sleep talking, she would usually wake in the middle of it or when he’s already started it. She saw him wince for what looked like pain and pull on a piece of cloth that was balled in his fist from the sheets. Verity decided it was enough and made an attempt to wake him while he was only starting to dream. She pushed on his figure trying to wake him but he didn’t budge while he became more engulfed in the soon to be nightmare. Loki grunted, more apparent than before as the dream began to take him, mumbling a few words that came from the dream.

       He said a name in particular every sentence or so in a pleading manner. Verity knew at this point that he was deep in the dream but still attempted to wake. “Crap,” she said as she sat on his bed besides him grasping his head. She proceeded to slap him repeatedly hoping it would work, “Loki,” she called his name, expecting a response that never came. His body tensed under her touch and she could a sense of struggle that came from him. The dread and worry soon came after as Verity felt that rising panic in her trying to wake Loki. “Come on Loki,” she said, staring at his unconscious face that every so often would show an expression of pain.

       She heard a whimper escape his lips causing her eyes to widen with fear. Verity checked for any wounds or scars appearing on his body, searching his top half first. Looking for any as fast as she could, she worked on waking him up again, saying his name loud and consecutively while simultaneously moving his already in motion body. She watched tears pour out of his closed eyes and roll down each cheek and tried nursing the pain. “Please, don’t bleed tonight,” it was strange to her, he tense on the bed but as soon as she lifted him, he was limp. She placed herself under him, seating him in between her legs as she sat up against the wall and comforted him. Being under him seemed to ease the pain and non-stop agonized screaming so she guessed it would help again.

       Loki arched his back every ten seconds wincing with a groan from pain afterwards. Verity held him down in her grasp and wrapped her legs around him to lock him in. Her chin rested on the top of his head as she calmed his nerves. He choked back on his tongue as if being held back as he slowly but gradually began to yell in agony. He fought against Verity, struggling to be released but she kept holding onto him, almost clinging. “I am not getting another complaint from the neighbors,” she said determined but still panicked as she held him down from flailing but still couldn’t find a way to make him stop screaming.       

      Verity wanted to somehow ease the pain but didn’t have an exact solution, hesitantly placing a hand over his mouth. When it didn’t calm, she quickly removed her hand feeling overwhelmed with the repeated predicament. She was once again reluctant to act in his body, afraid of what he might do but did so acquiesced. Placing her arm under his and resting her hand on his bare stomach as the other petted his hair, “please Loki,” she said desperately, rocking him back and forth gently. Focusing more on his body then his screams, her soft touches caused him to loosen in his dream and he relaxed in her arms. She reached and grasped his clenched hand in hers to give him some form of reassurance, ignoring how slippery they were from the sweat. Her thumb made circular motions against his palm as the motions soothed the yelling, feeling as his fists unhinged.

        Her head rested on top of his as she let out a low sigh from the relief that filled her. The sound of pain eventually stopped and all that crept was the deafening silence that once existed in the room. She sighed again when Loki’s breathing went back to its normal speed, lying her head against the wall and closing her eyes from exhaustion both from Loki and from the lack of sleep. Before she completely fell unconscious, moments after she felt the hand she held squeeze hers back waking her. “Thank you Vey,” Loki said in his low voice, rasped from the yelling.

       “My pleasure,” she said deadpanned, gripping his hand as well. They sat in the lit room, both staring farther than the wall that was across them in thought before they both drifted off into sleep.

Chapter Text

       The sun’s rays beamed in the window and the light burned Verity’s closed eyes. She grumbled in annoyance as she shuffled on the bed, noticing Loki’s weight on top of her. His head was nuzzled in her neck while his arms were wrapped around her waist. He laid there comfortably, soundless asleep and Verity didn’t want to ruin this moment of sleep Loki finally accomplished. She turned her head towards the blinds that weren’t shut, opening her eyes slowly as she took in the rays, blinding her.  She groaned slightly at the pain before the blinds shut on their own, leaving her with a subtle surprise but pleasant from the lost light.

      Verity felt the head that was under hers lips curl into a smile as their head slowly lifted to meet hers. His arms no longer wrapped around her, he pushed himself up to get full view of her face before removing himself from the bed they slept in. Verity sat up from her spot looking at him puzzled, “call it a small payment for the favor,” she swung her legs over the side of the bed facing him.

      “What favor,” Verity sat there puzzled. He sat back down next to her wrapping his arm around her shoulders, “the thing last night, “ she realized, “that’s what friends do,” she said fixing her glasses. “Protect the other from their Freddy Kruger dreams until the ultimate face off with the burnt-to-crisp guy,” she rolled out of his grasp while standing up. She stretched out her body, rubbing her eyes to fully wake but still having the feeling of tiredness envelope over her. She had been having many days like this since the dreams caused her to go to his side almost every night but she pulled herself together and stayed conscious even it became overwhelming at times.

       Loki wasn’t unaware of her sleep deprivation and wondered how long she was going to keep the secret from him. Her unawareness of him noticing her slowly creeping in insomnia gave him an advantage to observations he kept solely to himself. Though, his secrets were never kept for long and he didn’t enjoy keeping them from Verity, something in the back of his mind told him not to say anything. He didn’t know where the idea came to mind but it started soon after the dreams. It wasn’t like telling a lie or half-truths but just keeping them to yourself.

        Still, it killed him to see Verity wear herself out like this, especially for a person like him. He knew deep down he didn’t deserve the care and consideration he got from this woman and to see her pull so many strings for him: he would forever be in her debt, not that he minded. Loki smiled to the thought of that, many things kept the two bounded to each other, the rings that kept Verity alive for one but as well as the eternal bond they forged. He saw that as clear view, with being the god of stories he saw a lot of things, there were many stories. He didn’t consider it clairvoyance since it was never future or a shown image to him but more as an idea that is. It came to him confusing even for long he’s had this six sense but accept it all the same.

      Loki didn’t realize how long he had been in thought before noticing Verity crouched down in front of him, holding onto his knees for balance as she spoke up to him. “Swear to,” she demanded, begging.

     “O-okay, I will,” he wasn’t sure what he was agreeing to but thought he’d probably say yes even if he was paying attention.    

     “Good,” she said accomplished, “now get ready, we’re going to be leaving soon,” she said walking into her bathroom.

     “Wait, for what,” he said scratching the back of his head. He opened his drawer in search for a shirt and a pair of pants, pulling himself off the bed to the bathroom.

     “Lorelei's coming over,” she spat out the gargled water into the sink before wiping her wet face with the towel on the rack. Cleaning off the droplets of water that landed on her glasses, “we still have food right,” she pointed at the wall that lead to the kitchen.

     “I believe so,” he said, slipping his shirt on. His memories of Lorelei and her sister weren’t as vague as most, they slowly came back during Amora helped him with Verity’s missing body problem. Seeing them alive was also refreshing, especially after the events of Ragnarok. He was still surprised nobody remembered what happened after the battle in Asgard, like the Earth crashing into another. It shocked him that he remembered the aftermath of the world resetting as well as scary. He knew what he saw was real and it worried him of this newly found information.

       Loki knew of course about Ragnarok and his knowledge had expanded on it once he was gifted the stories but he never lived to see the cycle of it. It was more devastating to see Verity’s memories be wiped clean from the catastrophic event. He placed her outside the walls of Ragnarok and yet it still reached and took her away from him. At the same time, he was glad she didn’t remember, her whole world crashed in front of her, leaving her with nothing but ash and it’s best if she doesn’t remember that pain. He wanted to ask her how much of it she could remember, if she could remember her disappearing from his arms before he even had the chance to take a breath or even if she remembered leaving with him to the white space. There were two ideas that came to mind with this question: her memories would come back and he wouldn’t be alone in witnessing this unbreakable cycle or, she gets eradicated into nothingness and he’ll truly be alone, forever.

       His mind was filled with different tales for him to investigate, some of which went past his bounds. They dwelled past his very existence to universes past everyone’s which he couldn’t fathom correctly. Loki was lucky, there was never a direct answer, everything was wavy and he had the capacity to hold on to these uncertain answers only to find them later on in his lifetime.

       Verity had left the room to find clothes to wear other than her pajamas. Loki stretched on the couch, already dressed for Lorelei’s arrival. His mind trailed off from the thoughts of reality to the many stories scrambling through his head about different characters. Verity was always the default whenever he daydreamed but it usually was pleasant stories of her, about her successes, some of which weren’t including him, her prosperity throughout her life. It almost felt like picking from a catalog, whichever story suited him best, he dug into the idea deeper like choosing an item from the booklet and taking up the offer.

        He thought about the endless possibilities, the different solutions and variables, it amazed him. He  wondered which ending he was apart of but he’d come back to his senses and realized there’d be no end, only a beginning. A sharp pain formed over his chest as if he was being crushed, causing him tense and stiffen. Wanting to sit up, he tried forcing himself up but his bone and muscles felt like they were being contorted making it difficult to move. He wasn’t able to speak, his words choked back before a single vibration could be made. His heart rate sped up as the adrenaline from panic sinked in only to cause more pain in his chest. As he was being suffocated he heard a voice whisper in his ear a familiar name.

      The room went dark as the name was chanted in the now blacken room. He thought he was in another one of his nightmares and felt his heart skip a beat. He felt immediate dread and stood from the couch that was now gone, searching for any signs of the woman he dared to think. But if the name they spoke was truly who he thought then he was in an even worse case. Loki’s knees fell to the floor as a sudden pain from swelling came from his hand. His hand was throbbing in pain, especially on his ring finger which held the ring. He clasped his hand, hunched over as the pain worsen over the time he spent in this state in agony.

     He gasped for air slamming his hands on the pitch black floor while looking around to find anything in particular. He looked at his swelling hand and the ring that tighten around, seeing the jewel that was encased in it begin to change color. From a spiral black and green to a harden purple, the jem cracked in various places causing the orb to shatter. Loki wince in pain as the jewel breaking caused an excruciating sting and burn starting with his chest, spreading throughout his body. He screamed a cry from both the physical pain and the internal pain he felt for his lost. He knew what it would mean for either rings to be shattered and he got a sample of the pain she would feel if it happened.

     Loki closed his eyes, falling to the cold ground passing out. He opened his eyes to see the carpet floor in front of him, lifting his head, watching as Verity ran from the room to his side. His eyes grew wide as a bit of the adrenaline residu forced him to sit up before Verity could help him. “Are you alright,” she said in a breathless voice, “I heard you scream,” she figured it was another dream but panicked nonetheless. She crouched down next him placing a hand on his shoulder to keep her balance. He grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her in his arms, wrapping them around her.

     “Promise me,” he said embracing in a hug, “promise you’ll never leave me,” Verity was surprised by his favor, what made him think she’d leave? He hugged her waist tighter until she responded, “promise me,” he almost demanded but she could hear the fear that was behind the words.

     “I promise,” she said reassuring him. He sounded like a child but it didn't stop her from worrying. She helped him on his feet before seating him on the couch, “what made you think this,” she asked for confirmation.

      “It was like a dream but I was conscious,” he rubbed his thumb against the ring he kept sacred. He’s never been more terrified in his life about something since he’s come back. Loki didn’t believe that any of his dreams could match the true horror and realization he was given, and he hoped to never witness it again. The possibility of this incident to happen seemed unlikely before but now Loki didn’t know how he was going to fix this problem. He imagined that when he died, his ring would be left in a vault of his and when he would be reborn, he’d pick up where he left off. It was an ideal cycle he thought of when he was first given the second half of Verity’s soul which he had yet to tell Verity about.

     “It was a dream, I must’ve dozed off,” he corrected, thinking of it as a flash of what could happen and decided to put it in the vault that was at the edge of his mind. “What do we have for breakfast,” he changed the subject, placing the fear aside as he made his way towards the kitchen.

     “What? Loki what happened-” she was cut off by him before she could bring the original subject back.

      “What do you think, bacon with a side of french  toast and eggs,” he said setting the ingredients on the counter top. He already set up the stove top before she could reply, placing strips of bacon on the pan and grabbing a bowl from the cabinet to put the french toast in. Verity took a seat at the dining table watching Loki curiously as he went to work. He wanted to find a distraction from his thoughts, something to keep them from stirring.

      

       After their breakfast, Verity researched on her laptop different concepts about dreams. She had been doing this lately, collecting as much information as possible to maybe come up with a solution or an understanding of Loki’s dreams. Very little was explained and his dreams were still left a mystery to her but she promised herself that she would find out the cause of this. She also looked up the studies of comas and what happens to the brain during them for her own personal theories about his nightmares. Loki evidently took a nap on the couch, telling Verity that he’d be fine with a nap but she still kept a close eye on him. For the first time in awhile he didn’t shift while he slept with Verity sitting in front of the couch allowing him to play with her hair as a way to keep him calm.

         She found something that caught her attention on nightmares. She wanted to wake Loki to ask him a few questions about but decided to let him rest and keep a mental note of it. As she dug deeper into the readings about dreams, her phone rang in her bedroom. She closed her laptop, placing it on Loki’s stomach while she went to answer her phone before she heard a knock on the door. Verity went for the door, ignoring the call instead, asking who was at the door only to get banging at the door. She was a little bit startled but also annoyed by the person at the door. Asking them to state their names again, they rammed into the door violently.

        Verity stepped back in surprise and caution now that she realized it wasn’t who she thought it to be. She knew there was more than one person from the footsteps she heard as they were backing away from the door. They were definitely holding a door breaching ram from the sound that bounced off of it when it hit the door again. The fear now seeped in as the people behind her apartment door tried breaking in as they slammed into it more rapid. Her leg hit the couch causing her to stop moving backwards and remove the shock she felt, bringing her back to reality.

      The door busted open by the ram, hearing them drop the heavy metal on the floor as they pushed the broken hinged door fully. There was four of them and they weren’t human but they did have some features like one. They were dark skinned grey and had black symbols up and down their bare chests, trailing through their arms. Their hair was pitch black and braided down their backs and they each held a blade of some sort. One of them spoke in a foreign language Verity didn’t understand while pointing at her, indicating to go after her.

      Verity checked behind her to see if Loki was still on the couch but found nothing but her laptop resting there. “Loki,” she called out waiting for a response only causing to worry even more, “dammit,” she turned around to see two out of the four of the men coming towards her. She fled to her room, getting snatch by the arm in the process by one of the grey men. The symbols on his wrist began to glow white as he dragged her back to the living area, grabbing both her arms, speaking to the man who had ordered him to do so.

      She struggled to be released but he had a firm grip on her and was stronger. Her feet dragged against the ground slowing the process of getting to their destination but she didn’t know how she was going to escape his grasp and survive afterwards.Trying to rip away from his hold, she felt his grip tighten around her arm causing her to grunt in pain. He released her, dropping her to the floor and backing away from her. Surprised, she looked up at him seeing the end of another blade puncture through his stomach, watching it slip out of his lifeless body and him falling to the ground as well. She was given a hand by the person she thought gone and helped back on her feet.

     Loki pushed her back from the other three men walking towards them with rage in their eyes. One ran at him with a long blade in his hand aimed at him. Loki’s scepter dissolved in his hand as he reached and grabbed his arm, holding it up straight and using his other hand forcing the man’s elbow to bend in opposite direction of the joints with ease causing him to drop his weapon . He pulled him into his grasp, holding his head in his hand and twisting it to the right with one jerk. Loki threw the dead body aside next to the other, walking towards the other two that were left.

      They both screeched as they sprinted at him, both holding swords in their hands. They charged at him with a loud screech, stabbing him at his sides once they reached. His damaged body deteriorated into air as he materialized behind one of the men putting him in a choke hold. His scepter shape shifted into a dagger as he placed it on his throat and sliced through it causing blood to pour down his open wound onto Loki’s hand. He held his throat as he bled out, dropping to the floor twitching and shaking from the outburst. The last one turned and went for the girl who watched in fear near the hallway. Loki sprinted at him with his scepter in his hand attempting to stab the creature with it. He dodged out of the way, turning his attention to Loki.

       Loki smirked, he didn’t want them to pay any attention to Verity and only wanted eyes on him. He used both hands on his scepter and broke it into two, transforming them into two blades. The creature sprinted at him with a roar as he lifted his sword to strike him. Loki dodged the strike and shoved his blade into the man’s stomach, using the other to cut off the arm that held the sword. He fell to the ground holding the blade in his stomach, desperately trying to pull it out to end the pain. Loki walked past him, observing the now worthless creature before slamming his blade into his back, ending his life. His once glowing symbols now fading into pitch black darkness.

      Loki sighed, closing his eyes slowly and opening them as he walked over to Verity who was in shock of what she had witnessed. “Verity,” he said in relief and sadness, “are you alright,” he said worried as he reached her. She looked at the dead bodies on the floor before looking back at him and vice versa. She took a deep breath before she could move from her spot, wrapping her arms around him, holding him close. He pulled her closer, tightening his grasp around her, resting his head on her shoulder.

     “I’m fine. I guess,” she said breaking the embrace and observing Loki. She wiped some of the blood off his face before looking at the bodies fully, “are you alright,” throughout the fight, Loki had an ominous and malicious feel to the way he handled the intruders and Verity wanted to make sure he was okay.

      “Yes,” he said in relief, “as long as you’re safe,” he held onto her hand, afraid to let go. He thought of what they were going to do with the bodies and were to dispose of them without them being found before he heard a ringing coming from Verity’s room.


      

Chapter Text

      “They were a race of nephilim,” Lorelei said over the phone, “they must’ve tracked you down when I called,” Verity stepped away from the table where the phone had been placed, shaking her head in disbelief as she paced the floor. Loki stayed at the table, listening for any useful information on the intruders, “I’d see why, they’re out for my head and they’ll do anything to get it,” a clear sigh was heard on the other end of the line. He felt the silent rage that was building as Lorelei ran her mouth and he hung up on her before she could continue her rant.

     “What did you do that for,” Verity asked less irritated but more pleased.

     “I heard enough. Those…men are after Lorelei and now they’ll be after us.” He grabbed Verity by the arm, pulling her to her bedroom, “we’re going to have to leave,” Verity dropped her arm from his grasp confused and outraged.

      “Wait, why do we have to leave,” she knew the answer to that question, but she didn’t want to leave her apartment she’s lived in for years. He pulled out some of the clothing out of her drawer and threw it on her bed, “Loki stop,” Verity demanded causing him to freeze in place.

       “It’s not safe here anymore, they know where we are and they’ll send more. Now please, let us leave,” he pulled her out of her room towards the exit in a rush.

        “Please Loki,” she stopped him in his tracks, grabbing him by the shoulders to keep him steady, “I’m alright Loki. Don’t worry about me-hell-I’m the least of your concern,” trying to calm his nerves, it only made the panic worse. Verity’s patience was wearing thin and she shook him back to reality causing him to give his full undivided attention.

        “I’m sorry Vey, I only want to ensure your safety-” his eyes and voice showed the tiredness he felt as if he was in the verge to fall. Before he could finish, they heard another bang on the door causing them both to look at the door with caution. Loki walked over to his scepter, lodge in the intruders back and stomach, putting it back together and transforming it to its former glory. Verity stepped back from the door as Loki stepped forward, preparing to attack whatever that would be behind the door which he guessed were more of the monsters that were dead on the floor. The door wasn’t locked or even closed, it had been broken only moments ago which made no sense for the person behind the door to knock if they could easily walk in.

        Lorelei stepped in the apartment coughing into her hand as the smell of decomposing bodies made her sick. She covered her nose and mouth staring at the four dead bodies before looking up to be greeted by Loki and Verity, “if I knew it was going to get messy, I would’ve came earlier. Try to lessen the mess,” she said holding her nose close from the aroma of corpses. They both stayed silent and watched as Lorelei observed the blood covered apartment. She turned to look at them once she was finished, “at the very least say hello,” she said offended from the lack of hospitality.

 

       After Lorelei helped with cleaning up the mess from the four dead bodies and swipe the whole room spotless from top to bottom, she consulted them on their issue with the nephilim. “I’d say I’m sorry for dragging you in this predicament if I was but…” she didn’t know exactly how to say what she needed to come out or more specifically, she didn’t want to say what she was going to force herself to say. “I need your help and desperately,” she swallowed her pride and let it all pour out her mouth. “It’s not something I usually ask for but Sigurd left and my sister wants nothing to do with me. I have no other options, you’re my last hope,” she admitted, getting some thoughts off her chest, something she rarely did.

       Verity and Loki sat on the couch watching Lorelei’s performance discussing her tale to each other through body language. A shift to the left or right, a motion of the hand or even just a glance at one another told the whole story. They understood each others intention or feeling towards something, a benefit to being best friends. Verity waited for Loki’s call on Lorelei’s case, glancing back at him for any reply but he was fixated on Lorelei’s ramble. “please, help me,” she begged.

       “Okay,” Loki said without hesitation.

       “What,” Verity asked confused.

       “C’mon Verity,” he said wrapping his arm around her shoulder and pulling her closer to his, “it’ll be fun-”

       “It’ll be risky. He’s in no condition to ride along your rocky road-” she said concluding.

      “Which is why I have you, you’ll pull me back up like always.” He faced her fully, grasping both her shoulders to capture her attention, “right?”

      “Of course Loki, but-”

      “Great then it’s settled. We’re leaving first thing tomorrow,” for the first time in a long time, Verity smelt the sense of a lie. Not a half-truth or an uncertainty, a blatant lie and she knew exactly what it was. Her heart dropped from Loki’s lie but she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and clear up something that could be a mistake. She knew her brain never mistook a lie when it heard one, but she also knew Loki long enough that he wouldn’t-couldn’t forwardly lie in her face, he’s better than that. Verity stood, pulling Loki up with her, asking to speak with him privately to which he happily obliged, moving them a few feet away from Lorelei.

       “Are you kidding me,” Verity said in a loud whisper.

       “What,” Loki asked confused from the anger on her face.

       “You know exactly what,” he rose an eyebrow, clueless of what she meant, “why are you lying to me, “ he indicated that he wasn’t understanding, “you don’t plan to take me with,” she said narrowing her eyes.

      “Of course I plan to bring you, what are you talking about,” her eyes widen in shock and surprise, taking a step closer to examine him.

     “How did you do that,” she said feeling a bit paranoid. He shook his head baffled from what Verity was speaking, “you’re telling the truth but you lied earlier?" She eye balled him for another moment before giving up. “You weren’t lying to me,” she asked him for confirmation. He nodded reassuring her, leaving her unsatisfied but glad she wasn’t being manipulated. She still sensed something was off about him but she couldn’t pinpoint it, she just knew something was different. She left it alone until she could gather more evidence and figure out the strange things happening to him.  

     “You two just going to stand there whining or are we going to get going,” Lorelei asked impatiently.

     “Of course, but first we have to find a new apartment,” Loki grabbed Verity’s bags out of her room, opening the front door as he tossed the luggage out the door. Unlike Lorelei, Verity waited till Loki came back before leaving the apartment, only to find out they entered another apartment. Verity looked back at the door they entered to see a hallway, but not the same generic hallway she saw everyday, walking home from the store, but a different one. Mediocre still, but not the typical 3 storey apartment building hallway, not hers at least.

      “Like it,” Loki asked both women but cared more for Verity’s opinion if anything.

      “Where are we,” Verity asked as she observed the unfamiliar area, taking in the little details of the room.

      “San Diego,” he stated, breathing in the hot air, “prepare for summer this christmas because it’s going to be 80 degrees and higher this year. According to the weather man on the television,” he stated, picking up the bags and setting them next to the already placed furniture table.

     “San Diego,” Verity said flabbergasted.

     “Your mother told me you always wanted to go to San Diego,” he said, disappointed by her reaction.

     “It was San Francisco and that was only when I was kid. Loki-” Verity said exasperatedly.

     “That can be re-arranged, just give me a second to find a place and-”

     “No Loki, it’s not that, it’s just-” Lorelei watched as the two talked to each other like play dates, wasting more of her time.

     “I’m glad you two newlyweds are having fun arguing over the littlest crap, but I have nephilim after my head so could we please focus.”

     “She's right, let's just focus on the task at hand,” Verity concluded, moving to the hallway where her new room would be. Verity noticed the hallway’s ends lead to another section. She chose the closest one and ended up at a door which she guessed was her room. She opened it to see Loki lying on the bed that was already made and her luggage put away. “How’d you get in here,” she said nonchalantly as she checked her drawers next to the bed, in check of her clothing.

       “Magic’” he said, flicking his hand towards her, throwing green glitter that faded away as it got closer to the ground.

       “I know that, but why are you in here,” she rephrased, sitting on the edge of the bed, back against him.

       “I'm sleeping here,” he said, scooting to her side of the bed, “Lorelei's taking the other room and I only bought a two-room apartment. I thought I could stay here before our departure,” Verity was skeptical, the previous lie that slipped off his tongue still stung her even though it was claimed false. He noticed the doubt and worry in her eyes from the back, that avoided him, “if it is alright with you,” he questioned.

         “It’s fine with me, It’ll give me a chance to keep a closer eye on you while you sleep,” she said contently. She plastered a smile on her face, removing her body from the bed, “ it’s about nine o’clock and we’re three or four hours behind here, so technically it’s twelve.” She yawned, removing the shoes covering her feet as well as the socks. Loki agreed with her, stepping outside to speak with Lorelei, reassuring her that she would be safe for the night. She was hesitant to stay but accepted the gesture anyway, resting on the sofa and watching the wide window panel across the room.

         Loki entered the room, seeing as Verity was getting her comfortable clothing on and unpacking her luggage. “How’s she’s doing,” Verity asked, slipping on a grey t-shirt and sitting on the bed.

          “Not the best but, she’ll live,” he said as he began removing articles of clothing and switching them out for new ones. Verity sat near the edge of the bed, legs crossed with laptop in hand, waiting for Loki to sit at the head of it. She opened her laptop, doing what she usually did on it other than work and games, research. She did it a lot because of Loki, that man was a mystery to her but, with her excellent lying detector skills, and her determination for answers gave her the means to unravel the mystery. Similar to how she discovered the laws of teleportation. She figured it was related to the basic rules of quantum physics, but if she was honest, there were no rules to something that was as confusing as quantum physics.

        His transporting to another room, dealt with alternate universes where he was in the another room. He and other teleporters manipulated this power to faze themselves in and out of one universe, to find themselves in a new area without actually moving. Verity saw Loki as the few evidence, of this occurring and it proved quantum physics to be true. She wasn’t sure how he could manipulate that ability or what to even call it but, she did find it as truth of what he was doing. One of the few things on her checklist that she found answers to, only thousands of more questions left to ask. Now, to only solve this sleeping problem-      

        Loki sat across from Verity, reaching to successfully close the laptop she had in front of her. He didn’t remove his hand from the laptop to which Verity watched, flustered. She opened her mouth to question him but he cut her off before she could start, “I know Vey, you’d rather be finding a solution to my surreal and fatal dreams while I’d be coincidentally having one during that time; but tonight, I’d rather spend it on something more important than sleep,” she looked at him, brow raised.

        “I understand that it’s been hard sleeping, but staying up all night isn’t going to help you either.”

        “That’s why I don’t plan to spend it alone,” Verity was skeptical to agree, “Both of us haven’t had a good night sleep in some time; with my strange dreams and you having to deal with the after effects.” Verity was ready to protest but was cut off before she could start, “I can see the weariness of your eyes,” he reached for her hand that held the ring keeping her alive, rubbing the orb encased in the vine shape metal. She knew what he was hinting at but she didn’t go through with it. He pulled her closer to him, pressing his forehead against hers.

        “Loki,” Verity said quietly, “no,” she said firmly, pushing him away. “I know what you’re trying to ask-”

        “Come on Vey, we haven’t done it since after Ragnarok,” he whined, grabbing her hand.

        “That was an accident,” she professed, “we both didn’t know that was going to happen-"

        “But you still remembered how it made you feel,” he smiled, pulling her closer to him.

     “Yeah, when I was still a ghost-”

      “You still are, you just have a temporary body while I’m still here,” he showed her his ring. She didn’t crack, holding her own, “please Verity, you know it makes me complete,” she knew of the two and how she was the finally piece that made him whole, which did bring a warmth to her, but she thought about it. It was a strange connection she had with him, it was a spiritual connection she had gained from him after he bounded her spirit to him. The transaction was weird but the feeling after was exhilarating, so she put it to a vote with herself.

     “Might as well,” Verity said, scooting herself into position. Loki sat back against the head of the bed as Verity scooted back in between his legs, resting her back against his chest. “Do you think it’ll work even with the orb split in half?”

    “I’m sure of it,” he said grinning, “now, relax,” he held her hand to keep the rings close together. He felt her weight relax under his hold as he soon began to concentrate, channeling his magic to intertwine with the one within Verity. She yawned, feeling the drowsiness creep in, slowly closing her eyes as to still have her sensory awareness before it was completely wiped from her. She felt her body fade away from reality and her spirit fuse with the God of Stories. Every essence of her of soul was merged with that of Loki’s and, having no real physical form, her shell she was encased in years ago melted away releasing her umbra.

      Loki held on to Verty during the transaction, until he felt the piece of his embodiment suffice. He was the collector of stories, metaphorically and literally, and Verity was a literary for him to collect. He opened his originally closed eyes to find no one else in the room with him. The bed had one body on it, not two, but the air smelled of two people.            

Chapter Text

 

 

      “It’s nice to meet a new visitor every once in awhile. Even if it is someone we already met,” a faded outside voice said was heard, but not seen. Herself wasn’t fully functional yet, thus having an issue processing a few things.

      “I’ve never seen her, I’ve heard of her but never actually seen.” Another voice from afar said. 2 out of the 5 of her senses returned to her as she felt the hands of someone picking her up.

      “Doesn’t matter now, while she’s here, we might as well make the most of it,” her cortex kicked in, processing the voices she heard from far but were actually near. She still had no feel of her body and wasn’t able to move, but her spiritual self began to manifest the working parts of a physical form, needed to understand her surroundings. The voices began to fade as her mind did as well, finding it harder to shape a body for the raw material she was made of.


 

        Loki opened his eyes feeling restless, having all the energy he would ever need. Verity was one with him, and everything else he connected with on an unexplainable level. He knew it’s been more than a few hours since the procedure and Lorelei was already asleep. His spacial awareness increased and his eyes were sensitive to the lighting in the room, rubbing his eyes or covering them from the burn of the light. He stood up from the bed, walking out the room and seeing if Lorelei was still on the couch, to which his answer was correct. She had fallen asleep, curled up in ball, keeping close to herself. He frowned, upset that she didn’t take the room he willingly gave to her without argument, but moved on from the thought.

       His hearing also flourished, being able to hear her quiet breathing from across the room as if he was next to her. Everything was hyper focused, as if being in a new environment and needing all your sense at 100 to survive the unfamiliar surroundings. He moved on from his senses, feeling only his energy clawing at him. He walked up to the couch where Lorelei rested, wrapping his fingers under her body and pulling her up from the couch. He threw her body over his shoulder carefully as to not wake her abruptly. He felt thirsty and he wanted something to quench his thirst, taking Lorelei through the portal he made in front of them.

       Lorelei woke up on the shoulder of Loki, unhappy about it. Loki carried her through the streets until they met their destination at a convenient store. Once they reached the door, he set Lorelei down as to not scare the man who owned the establishment. “Why are we here Loki? Or more specifically, why am I here? Couldn’t you have brought the girl of your dreams,” she mocked, irritated.

      “I was thirsty, and Verity is here,” he corrected her, stepping into the store with Lorelei following behind.

      “Alright Helen Keller, where is she then,” she observed the store, looking at the different items organized by category on the shelves.

      “Who’s is this Helen Keller you speak about,” he asked, glancing at the man behind the counter, who had an unkindly glare towards the both of them. He ignored it, searching for a section with drinks in them, feeling his third eye sense the man’s deepening glare.
     “Ugh, you haven’t explored Midgard long enough to,” she looked at the items on the shelves with disgust before leaving to where Loki was, “these greenish-brown food called bread, is moldy,” she stepped to the cold drinks where she watched as Loki took his time to get his drink. “So where is Verity,” a name she tried to use rarely.

     “Here,” he pointed at himself, confusing Lorelei. She shrugged her shoulders and waited for him to pick his alcoholic beverage for the day or night.

      


 

      Verity was pulled onto her feet by the help of two hands and from what she could tell, she reformed her physical form. Her eyes focused on the man who was holding her up and the child beside him. He was an exact replica of her Loki, minus the short hair and the broken horns he occasionally wears. He wasn’t as sick as him either, but he still looked tired. “Loki,” she said concern, picking herself up and using him for balance.

       “Yes Verity,” he said with the same expression. She gradually kicked the gears to her senses, processing her thoughts.

      “Nothing,” she rubbed her head, “I thought I was talking to the other one,” he nodded, taking her hand into his. He reached for the child’s hand, walking in the opposite direction they were facing. “Sorry if I can’t remember from last time but, where are we going?”

     “We can’t stay here, not for long.” He began to speed walk, hurrying to a safe place.

     “Wait, why,” she said keeping up with his longer strides.

     “We’ll explain later,” kid Loki ran in front of them, seeing a clear view of the door to escape. He opened the door before Loki and Verity could catch up, holding the door open for them to go in first. Loki pushed Verity in the room before grabbing kid Loki and closing the door behind, locking it behind them. She noticed as she stumbled in the room he had lead her into, was the living room from their original apartment in New York. She was still getting a feel of her legs, and walked clumsily to the couch, falling into it. Loki spoke to the smaller version of him in whispers, telling him to get them water from the kitchen to which he agreed, running to the room. “It was a good thing you came when you did. This would usually be when they would come out, but from we can see, he’s not asleep yet,” he said in relief.

     “What? Who's they?” Verity asked worried but calm in her circumstances.

     “We’re not exactly sure,” kid Loki walked in with three cups of glass water, handing it out to both Verity and Loki, “but it’s not anything good. Whatevers happening inside that’s killing him, is killing us too,” kid Loki nodded, sitting next to Verity. Loki sat next him, holding him close to him as to keep him under his wing. “It’s safe here because… this place holds a special feeling in his soul that not even the darkest creatures could harm, call it home for us.”

      “So the dreams are actually killing him… from the inside,” she was perplexed, having a hard time understanding, “to the point where it's killing you all too,” he nodded, “are there any others,” she asked wondering if any other Loki’s are in danger.

      “All of us and none of us, he has a direct connection to the different realities, more than he realizes,” kid Loki buried himself into his side, holding his arm as he sighed, rubbing his eyes. “It’s best to stay in our physical forms to stay separate,” kid Loki rested his head in his lap as he closed his eyes, “but it is draining to the soul,” he confessed, placing his hand over his heart. He sighed, looking at Verity who gazed with sorrow, fearing for all their lives. He watched her brown eyes widen with concern before she opened her mouth to speak.

      “Is there anything we can do,” her vision switched back between Loki and the child in his lap, “there has to be something we can do-” he cut her off as he placed his finger against his lips to silence her as to not wake the boy in his lap.

      “We are him and you’re a ghost so… no,” he said blatantly as he sat back in his seat, getting comfortable, “I’ll have to wake him soon so he doesn’t dissolve,” he said petting his hair, “can’t lose this one,” he admitted as he turned on the television. Although he was calm, Verity was in a panic, looking around the room with less pleasantness than before. She was restless knowing that the entity killing her friend was outside the front door and she couldn’t do anything about it. Loki needed her to stay calm for the time being, placing his hand on her shoulder, “please don’t freak out. How’s it been outside these walls,” he asked trying to take her mind off the previous subject. Not that this place was a prison but, forcibly keeping yourself separate from your soul made it hard not to feel pain.

      Verity looked at him with more confusion as she found it odd that he asked that, but answered nonetheless, “fine… I guess. I mean, Loki’s been getting worse and, Lorelei showed up to worsen it. I’ve been sleep deprived just to keep him alive and it’s getting harder to do so as the nights go on. We still haven’t found any way to help the nightmares and now, I feel like he’s been acting strange these past few days and he’s lied to me,” she professed as she placed her face in her hand, hunched over.

     “Sounds like we’re not the only ones who’ve been struggling,” he said rubbing her back to show sympathy. She sat back, collecting herself as she stared off into space in thought. Kid Loki shifted from his spot, bringing their attention to him as Loki shook him slightly waking him. Loki whispered something to him that Verity couldn’t hear that sent the child version of himself off. He yawned, removing himself from his lap as he walked to the kitchen, disappearing from their sight.

    “Where is he going,” she asked feeling the panic before build up. He told her not to worry and that he would be fine, he always had an eye out for the child even when he was Ikol. After he realized she didn’t know who Ikol was; he explained the time he was a bird, magpie specifically, and how he spent a year with the child whom he protected. He said little detail of what happened during the year and decided to exclude the part where he killed him, Verity would be heartbroken to hear how it happened. Verity asked about the girl kid Loki would hang around with, but he didn’t have any specific detail about her, saying that only kid Loki would know. She wondered what their relationship was like in the past, if it was similar to her and Loki’s.

      “Actually yes. She was less open than you are to him, but they did have a close relationship. She was his only friend after all,” Verity was confused, needing for him to elaborate. “If it wasn’t for his brother, all of Asgard would’ve had his head on a platter,” now shocked, she questioned him, “no one believed he was a restart from me, so everyone wanted him dead.” He sighed, having more of a difficult time talking to her about it, “when you're surrounded by vicious killers in a precarious environment, it becomes hard to do any good. Hard to do anything at all really,” he admitted, feeling the dark hole in his chest once more, “but, even with all that, he managed to pull it off. He was good and people were starting to believe that too. Until I came along,” he said with despair. Verity could see the sorrow from his lowered face, with everything that's been told and everything that hasn't, she expected it from him.

       “That’s not you,” she claimed, placing her hand on his lowered shoulder causing them to rise, “not anymore. You’ve changed, you aren’t the same person as before and you’ll never go back to what it was,” she said lightening his spirits slightly. “Besides, you’re all the same person. You’ve been good, you’ve been bad, but now; you’re balanced, which is the most important property in a person, it’s what keeps them together,” she hinted, rubbing his back for comfort. He nodded inconspicuously, raising his head up to sit straight. Verity chuckled, comparing this moment to the ones she had with Loki when she first met him. He wasn’t what she had expected and, he’s only become the more unpredictable over the years.  He laughed himself, at another idea that popped to his head.

      “Loki was lucky,” her chuckles silenced, looking at him curious, “no wonder he was so successful,” he smiled, grasping her hands which were clear of any rings, “with you by his side, no one could’ve stopped him,” she spared him the doubt she felt in the pit of her stomach, “you truly were the key to unlocking the chains,” she was flattered but she couldn’t quite accept his comment, not in the predicament they were in now. Her doubt was visible for him to see causing him to frown. He looked at his hand, which were more transparent than the rest of him, “I know things are rough right now,” he placed his hands on her shoulders, pulling her closer to him as he rested his forehead on hers. “But I have a strange suspicion that you’ll find a way,” she chuckled softly, keeping her laughter from piercing through his ear drums.

        He paused for a moment, staring into her oak wood brown eyes, mesmerized. He leaned in, pressing his lips gently against hers, pulling her closer for the embrace. Verity was hesitant to move but accepted the affection he shared for her, wrapping her arm around his neck. He slowly removed himself from her, savoring the taste of her, licking his lips before resting his head on hers. “You know how much he loves you,” he placed a hand on her cheek.

     “All the time,” she noted, “this is like sex to him,” she pointed out causing Loki to laugh.

     “Yeah, it is,” he smiled as he leaned in to kiss her again.


 

      “Nephilim were an ancient civilization who had colonized a section in old Asgard . They were here long before Aesirs were thought of, but once we showed up, it was good bye to Nephilim.” Lorelei said putting her coat on, now that they’ve returned to the apartment, “The first of the Nephilim, Lysets Ånd, was invulnerable to the aesirs attack, so your grandfather-” it stung to hear him be referred as Loki’s grandfather. He wanted to sever his association with Asgard, interrupting Lorelei to correct her.

      “Please-just Bor,” she shrugged, keeping it in mind.

      “Bor, put Ånd and whoever Ånd kept alive, under a spell. It put him and his apostles asleep,” Loki looked around the room, observing the small features it had like, the crack in the wall near the bed. Part of him was listening to Lorelei babble about the origins of the Nephilim; he wasn’t particularly interested to know why or what they were, he questioned why she was telling him since he couldn’t remember requesting answers. He listened to the voices in his head, they spoke mostly about Leah; whether she was alive, or what she was going to do if she saw him again. They had recently been speaking about Verity, after his vision, they had to discuss it. The voices only seemed to talk about people whose story wasn’t as clear to Loki as it should be. Almost all people were but Verity’s and Leah’s are a haze, it was too blurry for him to see. It was as if they were off the grid, or the cycle, but even then he would’ve seen it.

       The voices were no other than the gods of gods themselves, chatting a storm whenever Loki tuned in. He didn’t realizes where they had gone the last time he spoke to them, or what the sudden voices in his head were, afraid that his mind had lost it. It wouldn’t be the first time he heard voices, but it never meant any good to hear them either. He gave names to the four of them: Thrym, Maxwell, Sigyn, and Georgie. Strange names he thought of, but they came in mind when he heard each individual speak. They seemed to grow accustomed to the titles given to them, calling each other by their made up names.

     Lorelei noticed him drifting away from the conversation, walking to him and snapping her fingers to capture his attention, “do you hear me,” she said annoyed. “Have you even been listening,” she said with warning of the answer.

     “No,” he said plainly, walking away, “at least not thoroughly.” He touched the trinkets on the shelf besides him, picking up a small glass elephant with its trunk lifted. “Continue, I wished to hear more about this Lysets fellow, where his tomb is and how you’re involved in this ancient tale,” he said still focused on the elephant before setting it down and facing Lorelei, giving his undivided attention. He knew the possible answers she could give him and took the most common answer for his remark, “I’m sure it has something to do with money,” she glared his way, crossing her arms over her chest. He turned away, playing with the menagerie of elephants placed around the shelf.

    “You know me so well,” she mocked as she set aside her fury, “but yes, I sold a certain artifact-to the highest bidder-that so happens open the door to Ånd’s crypt,” he looked over his shoulder with a smirk causing her to scoff. “When Ånd woke up, he was not happy who he was given to, as a slave, so he sent his men after me.”

    “Who was the buyer and where can we find them,” he said taking one of the glass elephants and putting them in his jacket's inside pocket. He listened in on what Sigyn and Maxwell were talking about, speaking about finding Hel, his former daughter, at least that’s what people say. She was the daughter of a Loki who died long ago, but she was also smart enough to know that they were all the same, she of all people would. Usually she’d refer to him by his name but on occasions, she’d call him father. Whenever she was getting help or support from him or; when an aesir came to her complaining about his punishment given by her, for his many attacks on Asgard, that he tricked her into joining.

    Sigyn thought it vital to find his daughter, she knew she would know the answer to Loki’s problem. Thrym chimed in about Nightmare, what they were going to do about his ordeal. They all agreed Nightmare wasn’t helping the problem, but he wasn’t worsening it either. Still, he slowed the process of recovery, which was unshown, and they believed they had to cut him out. Whatever plan he was going to use the bad dreams for, didn’t fit into theirs nor Loki’s schedule. “Then it’s decided, get him out,” Loki said aloud in a low voice, leaning against the wall perpendicular to the shelf.

    “What?” She said baffled, “who, Lysets, get him out of what? The tomb because-”

    “No, Nightmare,” her expression was more befuddled, “I was thinking aloud on accident,” she nodded slowly, understanding his outburst better. “It’s just, when there’s too many voices talking at once, I tend to  speak out loud to get my thoughts straight,” he said pointing at his head. He knew she’d feel mildly discomfort to hear that but he could care less about her comfort. She opened her mouth to speak, but decided to keep the question to herself, sealing it closed. She let the thought pass, moving back to their original conversational subject about the buyer.   

    “Most people call him; The Collector , absurd name, but it fits his field of work,” she shrugged with disgust. “He supposedly took old Asgard as his own,” Loki asked where the Collector is located but Lorelei had no answer.  He was muffled for her knowledge unknown of the Collector's whereabouts, finding it strange that as a seller, she didn’t know where she was shipping her products to.

     “So we’re back to square one,” he laughed, “great,” he said taking his seat on the couch, looking out the window.

    


 

       Hours passed, at least to them it felt as though it did. Verity walked into the kitchen where kid Loki rested. She noticed him sitting on the stool next to the counter, taking a seat next to him. He wasn’t asleep, not fully, his eyes were barely open and his breathing hastened. His head rested on his arm on the counter, faced towards Verity, but not focusing his eyes to her. She watched him struggle to stay awake in the state he was in, thinking of any way to ease to the pain. He yawned tiresome, looking up at the woman staring back at him before lifting his body. “Sorry if I disturbed your… sleep,” he had barely enough energy to pass a smile before falling into her. She quickly grabbed hold of him, reaching under his arms and wrapping her arms around his back before he slipped out of his stool. Her arm stayed wrapped under his arms while the other swept under to pick up his feet. He naturally placed his arms around her neck, clasping his hands together behind her neck to keep himself from letting go.  

      “So tired, can’t even speak,” she said as she walked out of the kitchen.

      “It takes energy to think up words and process them through your head to your mouth,” he said quietly, “but if you rather have me speak, I’d be happy to-”

     “Oh no, please conserve what energy you have left for when you really need it,” he nodded, resting his head against her shoulder. She plopped down on the couch with Loki in her arms, holding onto him close. She wondered what the child in her arms, was like when he was resurrected. She could only imagine what asgardians thought of him, and what they wanted to do to him if they got their hands on him. Even with all his wrongs, she could never put her hands on an innocent child, especially one scared and confused. She was never the hitting type, her words were good enough to discipline, experience from younger cousins and nephews.

    “He won’t be able to sleep, not without hurting himself,” Loki said coming from the hallway, “I try to keep him distracted, but it never works nowadays.”

     “He seems to be sleeping blissfully now,” she said watching Loki rest in her arms. He stayed close to her, wrapping around her for shelter. She attempted to move him from his spot, but he was glued to her, never letting go of her warmth.

    “What,” Loki said curious, walking towards her with his hand out. Verity grabbed his hand, embracing him in her one-free-arm hug.

    “I guess you could say, I’m my own ball of energy,” she chuckled, waiting for his response. He hesitated, processing the new found information before he hugged her back.

    “I wish you could stay here forever,” he smiled, chuckling to himself as he felt her energy transferring to his. His tension relax under her warmth as his tiredness dissipated.

     “Sometimes… I do too, but Loki needs me-all of him-to be there. In the world he lives, he’s going to need all the help he can get, and if we’re being honest, so do I.” She sighed remembering her past life, it wasn’t the prettiest, being the human lie detector you weren’t guaranteed the best experiences. In a way, Loki was a miracle to her, he was the only person she could talk to. They both lived in a world of lies and they only had each other to help pull them out of the lake of silver. Verity was bounded to him, not just physically but spiritually, their souls were one in the same. No matter what she could do or say, they were going to be together, it was fate and they both knew that.    

       “Before you leave, let me rest a little longer,” kid Loki mumbled as he tighten his grip on her. Verity chuckled, allowing him to get more comfortable in her hold.

       


 

        Lorelei thought about what other options they had when it struck her; if the nephilim were after them from Ånd, then they could use one of his servants to get to old Asgard. The question was; how were they going to do that? Loki figured a bundle of plans to get to old Asgard through the nephilim, one of which included torture, but he stuck with the simplest. He told her they were going to be captured and surrender to them and, hopefully they would take them back to old Asgard where their leader would be. The problem with this plan is that they didn’t have the key that locked the nephilim away, the collector was the one who kept it; and being the hoarder he is with rare artifacts, he’d never give it up.

     “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Loki stated, “is it back to New York then,” Lorelei nodded walking towards the exit. She unlocked the door but was stopped from opening it by the person on the other side of the door. The door was slammed against her face causing her to fall back and stumble onto herself. Loki jumped from the couch making his way to Lorelei in a haste, picking her up from her fallen state before turning to look who was the cause of the blood that poured down her nose.

      “Nobody hits me with a door and gets away with it,” she said recuperated, wiping the blood of her nose and standing on her own two feet, “I’m an asgardian god dammit.” She walked in rush to get at the man responsible, summoning a large knife. He slipped by her before she could attack, wrapping his arm around her waist and using his hand that had a dagger in it, to stab her several times in the side. He violently shoved the dagger in her side multiple times, painfully draining her energy to fight back. She fell unconscious, dropping her knife as he tossed her aside and watched her bleed out.

    Loki pulled out his scepter staring at the man while glancing at Lorelei who was groaning quietly in pain. “She will not die, he doesn’t want her dead,” he was the owner of the convenient store they had went to earlier. There was something off about him and the store he owned, but now they knew why. His clothes shed off his body as his symbols burned the false skin off. Pieces of his skin turned to ash as the rest peeled itself off of his grey skin, exposing the inside of the suit; inflammatory like mucus colored red like blood. As bits of his skin peeled away, it left a trail goop on the floor as he stepped towards Loki with the knife in his hand. Loki swung his scepter at him, knocking the knife onto the ground, preparing to stab the nephilim. The nephilim backed away, landing on all fours before his symbols lit reaching his hand out, “sleep,” he called out, confusing Loki.

     “Sleep?” Loki dropped to the floor, fighting to stay conscious. His mind was hazed and he was drowsy, he didn’t know what that nephilim did to make him so sleepy.

    “The fluids consumed were magic,” he said picking up Lorelei and throwing her over his shoulder. As Loki was closing his eyes, he could see the nephilim growing in size. He walked over to Loki’s motionless body, picking it up and throwing him over his shoulder, “time to go,” he said as a portal opened for him to walk through.

Chapter Text

       Loki screamed his lungs out, but the sound of the electrocution blocked it from being heard. He felt every sped up heart beat in his chest, with every boosted volt shooting through his body. His negatively charged hair struck up, repelling against the positively charged ions rushing through his veins. He bit hard on the leather belt strapped to his mouth to keep him from biting his tongue off. His body violently shook with the electrical current burning his flesh as his nails scratched at the wooden arm rests, bleeding from the restless scratching. The electric shock stopped for a short time, enough for Loki to recuperate the little energy left from his already drained body.

      He wasn’t able to lift his head up from its lowered state. His arms and legs were tied to the electrified chair, having no way to escape as Leah grabbed his bruised jaw, pulling his head up. Her intent was to snap his neck, but that would be too easy, she wanted him to die in pain slowly. She pulled out a small knife, holding it back before plunging it under his jaw and removing it. The blood poured down his neck, staining his shirt with a burgundy color. He leaned his head back, twitching uncontrollably, allowing his pressurized blood to burst out of the wound. A few droplets landed on Leah’s dress, ruining the glowing green look it had, but she could care less what she looked like.

     Leah shoved two fingers in his gushing wound, digging her sharp and rigid nails into the muscle to make the stab larger than it already was. She twisted her fingers into the muscle until she hit the gums, hooking her fingers in and tugging for him to lower his head. His whimpered screams slowed using his paced and heavy breathing as a substitute to appease the anguishing pain. All of the blood draining rolled down her hand and she removed her hand to wipe it on his face. Their time was up, she picked the previous knife and held him steady by the shoulder. She glanced up at him from the knife noticing the paleness in his face and the weariness in his eyes. He moaned in pain quietly as he had little energy left for him to cry out. She stab him in his side until the sound of his moaning stopped.

     

     Loki woke up shaken and screaming as he held his dagger up, shoving it into the nephilim carrying him on it’s shoulder. He threw Loki off his shoulder, dropping Lorelei in the process as he grabbed the dagger and removed it from his arm. It took Loki some time to rejuvenate, being woken up from a nightmare that left him sore. He picked himself up, standing on his two feet and holding his own. His head hurt and he was still weak from the enchanted drink’s effect but he summoned his scepter trying to focus his eyes on the enemy. The nephilim’s eyes burned bright and the black sigils on his chest turned white as he pointed his hand out at Loki. “Stand down,” he said, causing Loki to kneel, using his scepter for balance.

     Loki sighed grievously, having no other urge than to stand down. He didn’t want to attack him like he did seconds ago. He dropped his weapon looking up at the larger nephilim with anger. The nephilim looked at him with curiosity and caution, he still had a mission to do as he grabbed Lorelei off the ground and throwing her over his shoulder. Loki fought internally to get up but he couldn’t focus to channel the energy to his favor, “where are you taking us,” he said through his teeth. He thought of a way to slip past the spell they put in him. He couldn’t attack him, that’s what he commanded, but he didn’t say he couldn’t run.

    Loki stood, turning away from him and sprinting in the opposite direction. It was a desolate area he ran in, and all there was in what was a crumpled, broken down city was large pieces of its former glory. Chunks of building still lay waste on the ground for Loki to hide behind, not paying attention to the surroundings around him and their familiarities. He hoped the nephilim wouldn’t use his power to call him out, he had ran far enough for the nephilim to be far for him not to hear his voice if he called to him. Loki collected himself, wiping the cold sweat off his face and letting his breathing regulate.

     He heard an echo from the distance, at least he thought it was from afar. The voice came closer and he recognized it as the nephilim chasing after him. He froze in place, hearing the words the nephilim spoke and went out of hiding. He told himself no but his body couldn’t help but obey to his voice. He knew he didn’t want to, but he also wanted to, hesitating to move from his hiding. His voice became louder in Loki’s ear, telling him to come to him. Loki fought to ignore his voice ringing in his ear, but he couldn’t hold on for long and stepped into the nephilims path, walking forcibly to him.

    Loki noticed Lorelei shuffle in his grasp, she was unconscious but she was close to wake. He shouted for Lorelei to wake up, telling her to get up. She stirred but nothing more, Loki could see his yelling disturbed her sleep and kept it going. Her eyes opened slowly as she took in her surroundings, staring at Loki who yelled at her to wake, growing irritated by his voice. “Stop yelling,” she said weakly as her hearing faded in and out. She read his lips that shouted “nephilim” and it took her a second to react. Her eyes widen as she realized where she was, pushing herself off of him and falling to the ground shoulder first.    

      Lorelei tried picking herself up but she hit the cold ground hard and she needed time to recuperate. The nephilim’s focus shifted to the girl on the ground, thus his voice ringing in Loki’s ears stopped. Lorelei looked up in fear at the creature standing above her as she scooted back away from him. She hit a large rock, having no place to go, she plunged the dagger hidden in her leather pants into the nephilim's leg. The blade broke on impact, leaving her with only the handle. He grabbed her arm as he lifted her in the air, “your blood’s impure asgardian,” he grabbed what was left of the dagger from her hand and threw it to the ground.

      His eyes lit as he lifted his hand, reaching to place it on her head. Lorelei flinched as she closed her eyes but his eyes depleted and his hand lowered as he dropped her. His eyes looked down at the weapon pierced through his stomach. He turned around to see Loki holding the long blade before he pulled it out of him. He dropped to his knees holding onto Loki’s jacket in desperation, “why,” he asked before his head dropped and his body hardened in place. Loki placed a hand on his shoulder causing the body to fall apart into ash. Loki stepped back watching the dust disperse into air, finding it strange that his body did that but the others didn’t.

      He walked towards Lorelei, giving her a hand and helping her off the ground, “thanks,” she said with genuine gratitude.  

      “Anytime-” he dropped to his knees gagging. He was on all fours choking back whatever was trying to come up. His body shook but eventually he hurled up the substance the nephilim had fed to him. It took him a moment to get all of it out, having a hard time getting a chunk out of his stomach. It came out solid black and slimy, squirming in the pile of puke. Loki stood as he looked down at the parasite and wiping his mouth before he stepped on it, crushing it into oblivion.

      “Uh…Ew,” Verity sounded in disgust as she put her ring back on. Loki looked up to see her standing in front of him. He stepped past the vomit holding his arms out and wrapping them around her waist, picking her up from her spot and swinging her around before setting her down to see her reaction. “Didn’t give me moment to react,” she opened her arms, wrapping her arms around him in a bear hug to which he happily accepted.

      “But I didn’t feel your presence leave,” he questioned, holding her tighter.

      “I think you did,” she said referring to the vomit on the ground.

      “Oh, yeah,” he said releasing her for a short moment before pulling her in for another hug.

      “Geez, you make it seem like I was dead,” she said curious for why he was so touchy.

      “It gets lonely out on the surface,” he said smiling widely, “besides, I like holding you so much better,” he said, dipping her. They both laughed from ridiculousness as he helped her up, turning to look at Lorelei’s annoyed expression, “you wouldn’t understand,” he said simply. He turned to talk with Verity about the situation, and what they plan to do about the nephilim, enjoying himself while doing so. Lorelei looked at the two with disdain, turning away from the sight of them and exploring the familiar area.

      “So Lysets was the original nephilim, the first,” he nodded, “and wants Lorelei’s head,” he nodded again. “So what are we doing hanging around her,” he explained to her that they were involved because Lorelei called them and now the nephilim wanted them too. Verity grumbled in anger for Lorelei’s set up with them, she suspected it was Lorelei’s plan all along but had no evidence yet to back it up. She still told Loki of her suspicion and to keep an eye on Lorelei which he agreed to do. He sat down leaning against a boulder causing Verity to sit with him confused for why he wanted to sit.

       “Just a little tired is all,” he said laying his head against the rock. Verity saw a healing wound underneath his jaw of what looked to be a stab. She gasped, covering her mouth from the small whimper that escaped from it. She grabbed his face lifting it up as she examined the slowly healing wound, panicking with shock and fear. Verity asked who had done this to him, afraid to touch the closed but fragile wound. “Leah, it’s always Leah,” he nonchalantly, hiding the pain crept inside of him.

       “Did she hurt you anywhere else,” she demanded an answer, searching his body for any other wounds. She was more rough on him than usual, rushing to find any damage than what’s already been done to him. He called her name but she focused on searching more than she was listening. “Have you been bleeding out this whole time,” she grabbed her hair and pulling it from stress. She combed her hand through her hair before looking back at Loki who was faintly smiling.

       “I’m fine Verity, it was only a dream-”

      “You and I both know it’s not that at all,” she said with sorrow. “How long before I find you dead in your sleep, bleeding from a headshot,” she raised her voice.

       “There’s nothing we can do-”

       “There will be if we don’t stop wasting our time; with this woman who can clearly take care of this mess she caused by herself, and focus on finding you a cure,” she grabbed edges of his jacket shaking him. He pulled her in for another embrace, pressing her body into his. She let out a small cry, burying herself in his chest as she let out another whimper. Verity thought about a life without Loki, having no one to come home to, it made her cry harder. He lifted her face, wiping away her tears, smiling wishfully before chuckling quietly, causing Verity to chuckle. She leaned back, holding onto Loki for balance as her chuckles turned to laughter and more tears poured out her eyes. She sat back wiping the sad tears away as Loki comforted her.

       “I know you’re afraid, believe me, I’m terrified. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, to you, but what I do know is that we have each other. And as long as we have each other, nothing’s going to stop us, not even a bad dream. We’ll find the answers, but first we have to help Lorelei,” Loki said picking her off the ground. She was reluctant to answer but he looked at her with the same charming smile she saw when she first met him. She crossed her arms over her chest, thinking of her answer but having a hard time deciding. Loki stood in front of her, grabbing her arms and unfolding them, staring at her for her answer.

       “Fine,” she smiled pushing Loki off jokingly as she walked in the direction Lorelei was in. Loki chased after her, catching up to her quicker than she expected. He snatched her off the ground and carried her to Lorelei who was focused on the objects left on the ground. Verity pointed at Lorelei shouting for Loki to go forward, which he did as she wrapped her arm around the back of his neck to keep steady. Lorelei turned around to see the two charging at her and she moved aside. They stopped in front of her as Verity hopped off of Loki and found her balance to stand.

       “You know, you two are the most childish people I could’ve ever met,” they both rolled their eyes in unison. “I think I know where we are,” she said taking a second look of the place. They both asked where, irritating her for how in sync they were, “we’re at our destination. We’re in old Asgard. All we have to do is find Tivan and bargain for the key.”

      “Where does he stay,” Loki ask, searching the area for any sign of the collector.

      “He kept Asgard close by his place, if we walk around we should be able to see it soon,” Asgard wasn’t that big for them not to find his fortress. The problem was; she didn’t know what it looked like, she could only guess it would be flashy like Tivan. Loki began their travel to find the collector, hoping that they wouldn’t run into any nephilim on the way. Verity clasped her hand in his, staying close by to him while keeping an eye on him. She looked at the wound one last time, frowning before facing front.

     “So you’re going to tell me why you threw up a giant worm,” Verity asked, not bothering to glance at him.

     “It’s a long story,” he warned her, but she knew their expedition was going to take a while, so she had the time. 


 

     The ground was shaking, it felt like an earthquake which was highly unlikely since there were never earthquakes on Asgard. They had passed an old shriveled tree that Loki knew to be the Yggdrasil tree. He had stopped to examine the dead tree, touching it’s roots that still had the smallest amount of energy left in it. Grass grew around it, patches of land that grew small plants as a way to show the effects of the tree, even in the state it was in. The earth rumbled under their feet and Loki could feel it coming from a distance.  They’ve been walking for miles, and they had finally found what could be the collector and his people.

      Loki heard a clash of lightning in the distance. Lorelei rushed to see what it was making the noise, causing both Verity and Loki to run with her. Verity saw a moon sized planet above them, that radiated purple as they were running towards the noise of conflict. They stopped at a safe distance to see the conundrum without being caught in the crossfire. Verity focused on the wave of people that dropped with every blow given by the two men using lightning to their advantage. Lorelei saw Tivan coming down from his giant ship with a few of his men behind him. Loki stared at the lightning and who it came from. His heart raced from the fear that shamed his body, and he felt himself go blind from the sight of the man.

     Loki fell back, falling onto the ground and sitting up with the help of Verity. If it was the man Loki thought it was, then he was in more of a trouble than he first gathered. He was disorientated and he couldn’t get himself on his two feet, having Verity pick him up and hold him. His mind was shaken and he felt a headache spurring on. He didn’t hear what Verity was saying to him but he looked back at the battle raging on before them. Every bolt he saw hit the ground caused him to wince, flashing to times before he met Verity, times before he was the god of stories. Lorelei walked up to him waving her hands in his face, waking him from his trance. She was pointing at the ship in the sky as she was telling him to do something.

     The ground shook violently, causing them all to stumble as a purple light shined from the battlefield. Lorelei grabbed Loki and yelled for him to respond as she pointed at the ship. He focused his eyes on the man but snapped out of it when he felt Lorelei grab his jacket, and a purple light spurted from the cracking ground. He looked at the ship then Lorelei before he tore a hole in the fabric of the universe, helping Lorelei and Verity into it, walking in after them. Lorelei shoved him against the nearest wall furious, “what the hell was that! We could’ve died,” they heard an explosion from outside causing the ship to shake. Loki walked away, exiting the hallway they landed in. He entered a large room full of different, various cages that were empty. The door on the other side of the room had opened and a man dressed in burlap with dirt covered armor walked in, with a taller man behind him.

       “But…I’m sorry, sir, the cages are empty, and I’m the last of your soldiers still functional. I’m afraid I can’t-” he said with fear.

       “You say you’re the last,” Tivan said, tearing up but smiling wickedly.

       “Yes I-” Tivan jumped on top of him, wrapping his hand around his neck and slamming his head against the hard floor.

       “Then you’ll do,” he cried as he choked the life out of his last soldier who struggled to free himself from his grasp. He wiped the tears off his face as he stood, leaving the body to rot. Loki didn’t walk into view for Tivan to see him, but Verity and Lorelei stepped in the light for him to see them. “Who are you,” he asked, sadness still present. He eyeballed Verity, noticing her ghostly form, “are you rare,” he questioned as he stepped up to her. Loki walked out from behind one of the collector’s cages, blocking Verity from him. Tivan jumped back from surprise, “Loki,” he said with a bit of joy. He didn’t have his army to capture the infamous Loki, but he could possibly persuade him to stay.

       “I had just saw your brother only moments ago. I’m sure you’re looking for him, I can take you to him,” he said, getting his hopes up.   

        “I’m not here for him,” he said as Lorelei appeared in front of him waiting for the collector to remember her. He stared at her for a long moment, finding no recollection of this woman. She said her name causing him to recall her appearance at some point in time. “Oh right, the girl who sold me the key,” he gasped, tearing up as he fell to his knees whimpering. “Asgard was mine,” he banged his fist against the ground in anger.

        “Was he always this crazy,” Loki asked Lorelei.   

        “You don’t remember,” she wondered, waiting for Tivan to collect himself. “We need the key I sold you,” Tivan looked puzzled as he stood up, “the one that unlocks Lysets’ cage,” his eyes widen with realization. They lowered when he devised a plan, raising them before speaking.

      “I’ll give you the key,” he shifted his eyes from her to Loki, “if you give me him,” Lorelei and Loki said no, causing him to pout. They were very lucky to had caught him in weak state because if he wasn’t, Loki would’ve already been in a glass container. “Then the key stays with me, until he is in one of those,” he pointed at a cage, “and what is that,” he turned to Verity who had been exploring his collection room. “She has the aroma of him but the stench of a human. What is she,” he shouted with excitement, getting only silence from the two. Lorelei suggested beating the keys out of him, but he stopped her from it with a claim, “I’ve lived billions of years girl, it would take more than a few bruises to make me give up my few valuables,” he smirked. Lorelei raised her hand to test his theory but Loki grabbed it from hitting him.

       Tivan thought about making a mutual exchange, “maybe there is another way to for you to get my keys. Something was stolen from me as you can tell,” he said looking around the empty space, “but something specifically was taken from me. A hammer, Thor’s hammer from another universe. Retrieve the hammer for me,…with Thor attached to it, and the keys are yours.” Lorelei thought about the deal and how impossible it would be to capture Thor, especially in the state he was in. Loki was blank, he didn’t react to his request, but he did look at Verity who had been watching him. Her face looked worry, knowing their past interactions with his brother didn’t go so well. Verity personally didn’t appreciate his brother, she had a close up of who he truly was and she didn’t like what she saw. She had her own grudge against him but she never had to see him again to express her dislike.

        “Okay,” Loki finally spoke causing everyone to look at him. His expression was blank still, and Verity knowing him so well knew what it meant. Lorelei agreed, having the only courage to shake the collector’s hand in agreement.

        “Remind me to wash my hand,” she whispered to Loki as they waited for Verity to catch up to with them before they left for the exit.    

        

Chapter Text

         Loki was gone by the time Verity woke up. They went back to San Diego to rest, before they'd go on their long trip to retrieve the hammer and the man it belonged to. Verity fell off her bed, noticing Loki’s absence in it and pulling herself off the floor to look for him. She checked the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and Lorelei’s room last; finding no trace of the golden horned god. Lorelei wasn’t happy to be interrupted in her sleep, but Verity told her the situation which caused her to wake up. Verity knew she cared enough for Loki to help if he was truly in trouble which they both clearly thought. Verity thought one day Lorelei was going to tell her feelings to him, that is if she doesn’t get them killed first.

       Verity went outside to check the block as Lorelei called his phone, getting only his voicemail. Verity walked a few extra blocks before stepping inside, knowing that Loki could already be countries away. She sat on the couch thinking about what could’ve made him leave, and where he would go if he wanted to. Lorelei kept calling him, leaving him threatening voicemail, but ultimately sat with Verity on the couch contemplating. “Was it Tivan, did he kidnap Loki as a trophy even though we said no,” Lorelei said angrily, feeling like beating Tivan either way.

      “No, Tivan would’ve had to know where we were first,” Verity said tired. “It’s Thor he’s running away from.”

     “The woman,” Lorelei questioned.

     “His brother Lorelei,” she said exasperated. “Their last meet wasn’t all that great and now he’s afraid to show his face,” she sighed as she looked up at the ceiling. “I just hope he’s okay,” she said more to herself. She checked her phone, noticing one new voicemail in her inbox.

 

 Week 3

 

        “Just keep calling Lorelei,” she shouted across the room for her to hear her. Verity wasn’t surprised to see Loki missing for the weeks that he has. He had been gone for longer on multiple occasion; when the earth crashed into theirs, he was gone for 8 months during that time, or the other time when he ran for president.  There was another time shortly after his potential presidency, but he didn’t give any specifics. Verity could handle his absence but Lorelei, was slowly but surely losing it. She was getting more and more angrier for how much time was being wasted waiting for Loki to return. Verity knew how much Loki liked to leave for a period of time that it didn’t scare her to see him gone again. It still hurt, it would’ve been nice for him to tell her where he had plan to go for three weeks, or even just a note.

       She admitted it, it did bother her a little to not know where he was at the very least. She didn’t like being alone-even though she has been for her entire life-now that she had someone to look forward to. Being around Lorelei annoyed her, her lips spoke of lies and it took every bit of strength for Verity not to say anything. Loki knew of this, and laughed with every conversation they had of Verity ranting about her. Having to deal with the pretentious girl was going to be a nightmare for her if Loki didn’t come back soon.

      “Why don’t we call your sister to help? It is your life on the line,” Verity suggested just to get her out of her face.

       “That wench wouldn’t help anybody but herself. If she’s not too busy riding Loki like a horse,” she spat.

        “Ouch,” Verity said slightly offended.

       “We’re not calling her, ever,” she said with disdain. She paced the floor wondering when the nephilim would find her in their new location. They were good trackers and could find her easily, it baffled her on why they hadn’t found her yet. Loki had killed the only nephilim that had seen them, but there should’ve been dozens of them surrounding that vicinity. None of them ever travelled alone, she knows that from experience, and she knew that they’re even harder in a group. With Loki gone and Verity not being a good fighter, she was sure they would capture them with ease. She put in consideration to call her sister, but then she thought about what she told her earlier. Amora’s too busy trying to gloat her success with Malekith that she doesn’t have time for anyone else. After a few insults to Lorelei’s face, she left her with nothing, alone without Sigurd who had also left her.

         She grinded her teeth to hold back her petty driven anger. Verity watched her glowing ringing with irritation before rubbing her thumb on it to clean the invisible markings on it. She called to Loki as she looked into the ring, hoping it would do something mystical that teleport her to his location. She gave up after the second time saying his name, finding it ridiculous to be talking to ring as if it was sentient. She watched Lorelei tantrum for a few more minutes before she started drifting off into sleep. It was too early in the morning for her to be up, Lorelei got her up, making her think Loki came, but in fact, he hadn’t. Verity announced she was going back to bed and went to her room, collapsing onto her bed.

 

        Her breathing had changed, it was slower. The breaths she took, weren’t hers, they were unusual. Verity’s body density was heavier than she expected, maybe she was underwater. Her hearing was different, she heard the littlest of things, like a door opening from across the long hall, or the sound heavy footsteps coming from the dining room, or hall, she couldn’t get her thoughts straight. And the voices, she was hearing so many different voices in her head, telling her so many different things, she didn’t know which one to listen to. What she saw was unrecognizable, nothing she’s ever seen.

        The room was practically empty, with only a bed with a woman hooked up to single wire, connected to an older man sitting in chair. He looked remorseful with regret, and part of her wanted to ease his pain but Verity knew that what she did was going to be unforgivable. She knew he understood why she did it, but it was going to take time for the pain to heal.

       “That’s why I had to be the one…to save you.” She said with sadness and fear, she heard her voice as the same, but she knew it wasn’t, not truly. “I swear just that once…I’m not lying,” she begged for the woman not to die, taking note that her name was Frejya .

         Her vision went blurry and the scenery changed; the land was bright, and it was windy. She was looking at what was Thor, but the girl version. She was raising the “originally belonging to Thor’s” hammer at her.

        ‘All the parts of me,’ she looked at her mockingly, “I wonder if you even know what that means,” she smirked before chuckling. Verity felt the voices escape her mind and leave elsewhere. She replied to the unmasked Thor who she assumed was mortal, and had a good guess on who it could be, but kept quiet about it, just for Thor’s sake. “Just how many cheeks will it take,” she said noticing kid Loki standing beside her, as well as the older version of him. The jotun, mythological, ogre, bug, cat, and all the other ever created Loki’s were behind her, and then it struck her. She wasn’t in her body, she was in Loki’s, or rather she was Loki.

         She felt her eyes roll back in her head as the scenery changed and time had passed. She was walking with a jotun who she knew to be her father. He didn’t look at all pleased by her company which she knew why, but found it to be a dumb reason to be so upset. They walked into a colder cave from an already colder plain, watching the one giant left alive scream in agony, a bit proud of the work she had done. “I tore off my ears, but I can still hear his voice,” the giant scream, holding onto his detached ears and slamming his fist against his throbbing head until it bled.

        “I just spoke…apparently they didn’t like what I had to say,” she shrugged. Laufey looked shocked but tried hiding it from her, Verity although was confused about why they hurt themselves, she did appreciate the shock value it left on Laufey’s face. Laufey began to yell at her, saying her murder wasn’t the frost giant way. She brushed it off her shoulder, not giving a damn about the “frost giant way.” She looked at him with content and determination, with a side of irritation, glaring as she got in Laufey’s face.

        “A Loki isn’t a slave to the whims of his ancestors. A Loki writes his own story,” he corrected continuing to say that Laufey wouldn’t understand because he was dead for too long. “But my story has been rather fan-fucking-tastically good as of late,” Verity heard a voice in her head. Her own, calling her name, Loki. Continuing to spill out his reasons for why he couldn’t care less  if Laufey approves or not, Verity felt herself drop from the situation and back to her own self. She jumped up from her bed, awaken from her nap, planning on telling Lorelei her newly found information on the location of Loki.

        “Loki, what have you’ve gotten yourself into,” Verity said with disappointment. She went to the living room to see Lorelei resting on the couch, finished with her tantrum. Verity didn’t take the time to tell her she may know where he had gone. Lorelei’s eyes brighten to hear she knew where he was, and was prepare to leave for the location. Verity wasn’t certain he was still there, her dream or vision wasn’t in chronological order, she only saw different points in time. Verity was clear that it was definitely recent, but she didn’t have good estimate. Loki had been gone for longer than three weeks, without them even knowing, the Loki that’s been traveling with them wasn’t really him. It meant he was lying to her, he’s been missing for what she can assume has been a month without telling her the truth.

         Once she realized she was being played, she stepped back from Lorelei and fell into a wall. She didn’t understand why he lied to her about leaving, she would’ve accepted it if he had just told her he was leaving. The even bigger question was; how she couldn’t see through his illusions. She put her faith into her ability to see lies, but she knew he couldn’t have been here this entire time. Unless he could be two places at once, something else he didn’t tell her about.

        Right now, she wanted answers. Verity rubbed her radiating ring as she yelled Loki to answer to her. She guessed the ring had something to do with her dream and thus, meaning she could contact him for afar. Lorelei was cautious to step closer to the woman who randomly started screaming to her hand, but Verity was panicking, at least in Lorelei’s eyes. Verity told him she wasn’t going to stop yelling until he showed his face as Lorelei grabbing her hand and taking it away from her. She told her that she won’t be able to contact Loki by yelling at her hand like a maniac, but Verity snatched her hand out of hers, continuing to yell.

       Lorelei stopped her from speaking any longer to her finger, holding her hand away from her face. “whatever it is you are going through right now, we can deal with it later. Stop screaming and we need to go get Loki,” Verity fought her hand but Lorelei didn’t trust her enough to give it back. She tried explaining to her that it was Loki she was talking to, Lorelei didn’t want to hear the excuses. Lorelei forced her to calm down, Holding her still until her heavy breathing subsided and her anger and frustration disbanded. Lorelei watched her to check for any crazy on her, before she released her. She caused Verity to sit down with her on the couch to discuss what Verity was yelling about.

       Verity told her about her surreal dream, playing as the body of Loki. She described how she could possibly have a connection to him through the ring, which didn’t seem surprising to Lorelei, but she wondered what would. Verity wanted to see whether or not he would answer if she talks to the ring. Before Lorelei could chime into the craziness that was spewing out her mouth, Verity stood up yelling at her hand. At this point, Lorelei was ready to knock her out so she could think straight for once. She told herself no, and decided to try this “calming her down thing” again, but maybe more violently.

         She grabbed Verity by the shoulders, and pushed her down into her seat. She snatched her hand from her, using all her force to squeeze it, crushing it in her palm. She forgotten that asgardian strength was not the same as midgardian, and loosened her grip before it started breaking bones. Verity winced as her small cries peaked from her lips. She clawed at Lorelei’s hand to let go, to which she did, as Verity collected her bearings. Verity let out a deep breath from the moment she had held it when her hand was being crushed. Lorelei’s apology wasn’t as genuine as Verity had hoped it to be, “I’m sorry, but you were acting like a maniac over ring that you’ve probably over thought about.” She stood in front of her as she talked, watching Verity struggle to collect herself with all the throbbing pain she was feeling hand.

         “I don’t believe that ring communicates to whoever wears it. I’m sure the only reason why you were able to be in Loki’s body, and see through his eyes is because you have in the past.” She had realized when she put two and two together. Loki was able to consume souls, or do whatever it was he did to Verity, and Lorelei assumed that Verity would have fragments of him left with her.  “That or Loki is allowing you to see through him,” she pointed at her as she went through her tangit. “He is the greatest sorcerer in all the 10 realms (but I’m sure it goes farther then that.) If another midgardian put the ring on it would only do what it was designed to do, make you solidify.” Part of her didn’t believe what Lorelei was saying, but she knew Loki for longer than she. Verity was unsatisfied, with those questions answered she still had Loki to deal with and her questions she needed to ask him.

         Lorelei could see how upset she was about other things. She could read Verity like a book, for the moment, partially because she knew the feeling. She took a seat, turning to Verity and placing an arm against her shoulder. “I know, he lied to both of us. I mean, how do you think I feel? He left us without a word, and made us waste our time searching for him,” this wouldn’t be the first time for either of them, and they could both see it in each other’s eyes. Lorelei chuckled, “this isn’t your first time feeling worried sick about him,” she asked rhetorically. Verity’s  half-hearted smile answered her question either way, chuckling with her.

         “Tell you what,” she looked around the room before finishing, “we’ve been looking for Loki for three weeks and counting. I say; screw him, and let us have a our very own girls’ night out, no boys allowed-” she stopped, changing the statement, “no Loki’s allowed.” She smirked, wrapping her arm around Verity’s shoulders and standing with her. She couldn’t speak without Lorelei interrupting her with enthusiasm, “tonight we’re misfits-no, tonight we’re criminals.”

          “That’s a huge jump for it just being a girls’ night,” Verity said with concern.

         “Oh quit your complaining and jump in the hole,” she had already opened a portal while Verity was talking. Verity was reluctant to go, and even though she was mad at Loki, she didn’t want to lose him. She also wasn’t keen on girls’ night out, from past attempts that went horribly wrong. In her trance of thought, Lorelei took the liberty to shove her into the portal and stepped into it herself.

         Verity picked herself and her rug burned hands off the ground. From the bland with faded color scheme designs that repeated throughout the whole sector on the rug, she could tell where they were. Attempting to wipe the seemingly permanent stains off her jeans, failing to successfully wipe the dirt stains. “But first, let's change that outfit of yours. A good criminal doesn’t wear bright clothing,” Verity looked at outfit, seeing nothing out of the ordinary with it.

        “There’s nothing wrong with my outfit, and we’re not breaking the law Lorelei. You know what, I think this was a bad idea-” Lorelei rolled her eyes before grabbing her hand and dragging her to the changing rooms.

        “Come on Verity, when’s the last time you’ve got to have any fun. Always worrying about what will happen, just live in the now ,” she smiled as she told her to wait until she came back. Verity put in consideration of her words, and waited to see what she’d bring for her to wear.

         It wasn’t long before Lorelei came back with a pile of clothing for her to try on. It was almost overwhelming for Verity, she wasn’t a shopper because she was a straightforward kind of girl. Clothes were a simple subject, like a walk in the park, it wasn’t hard for her to find what she liked. The entire pile was varieties of dresses, very expensive looking dresses. Verity didn’t know how they were going to afford any of these, if she was even planning on picking one out. Many options made it difficult for Verity to choose, there must’ve been at least 15 dresses. She never told Lorelei her size which could explain the smaller and larger sized dresses she found in more than half the pile. At least it minimized her choices, she wasn’t going to waste time searching for the right fit.

      When she walked out the changing room with a long black and gold open back dress, Lorelei handed her a two piece catsuit to put under it. Verity questioned why she had a catsuit on hand, but eventually brushed it off and went with the flow. Verity thought it looked ridiculous but Lorelei thought it was fine, but her top was going to have to stay in the purse. Lorelei was practically putting her together like a barbie doll, picking the outfit for her and placing it on her. Verity stood there waiting for her to be done. By the time she had finished, Verity was covered in expensive wear, more expensive than all her clothes in her closet. She asked how they were going to be able to pay for, and from the look on Lorelei, they weren’t.

        

        “A hairstylist, really,” Verity wondered as Lorelei pulled her hair back.

        “Do you know how many times I had to do Loki’s hair when he was ‘too busy conquering.’ I started as a hairstylist for Asgard’s royals, before I got into the whole greedy thief thing,” Lorelei unrolled the hot curler in Verity’s hair before moving to a another section of her hair. “It used to be a hobby of mine,” she said as she finished her hair. Verity stood, looking into the full body mirror Lorelei had put in her room. Lorelei was right about the ends being curled, it did make her face pop with every bounce.

        “So what special place are you planning to rob today,” Verity asked as she put the rest of her outfit on.

        “You’ll see when we get there,” she said as fixed her hair up while her outfit formed on her body, over the catsuit she was wearing. “But first, let's teach you how to fight in a dress,” she said as she pulled a knife out on her. Verity stumbled backwards from how close the blade to her throat. Lorelei laughed before passing it from the handle, asking her to take it from her. Verity reached for it but she snatched it away from her before she could touch it. It was one of the first rules in fighting, to always be quick with movement. She took the note, and Lorelei waited little time for her to fully comprehend it as she slashed at her.  

         Verity missed the blade by inches with the face of fear and confusion. Lorelei did it again but Verity was quick to move, fully understanding what she meant. Lorelei handed the knife to her, telling her to strike her with it. Verity wasn’t going to do it but she insisted, pushing her every time she said no. Finally agreeing to it she tried stabbing her by jolting her arm forward. She dodge it easily, and grabbed Verity’s wrist, twisting it in a weird angle and placing her other hand on her elbow. “I push and your arm goes, giving me a chance to pick up the knife you’ll drop and kill you. “ She let go of her, giving her a second chance to prove herself.

         Verity tried again, holding the handle to her chest and slashing sideways. Lorelei jumped out of the way, grabbing her wrist and  bending her arm placing it behind her back, pulling at her shoulder joint. “Better, but you’re slow and you lack that power.

         “I don’t know what you want from me. I don’t know what to do-”

         “Nonsense,” she let her try again, telling her to ground herself. She widen her stance in response and turned slightly away from Lorelei naturally. Lorelei told her to put her shoulder into the swing to which she did, pivoting as she swung at her, slicing downward. “Finally we’re getting somewhere,” she said cheerfully, “you’re ready,” she announced, leaving Verity disappointed.

         “That didn’t teach me how to fight. That just taught me a few basic forms of a good fighter.”

       “That’s all you’ll need, hopefully. You’ll get the rest on the way,” she said as she finished the last few touches on her hair. Verity rolled her shoulder back from the previous pain given to it, before putting her knife in her small purse. Lorelei opened a portal as Verity put on her white fur coat they had also stole at the mall. “Now we don’t want to be late,” she said dragging her into the torn fragment of the universe.

 

        Verity frowned at the sight of the cold marble floor under her as she quickly forced herself on her feet. She wiped the dirt her dress caught off before she was pushed turbulently by her shoulder. Being thrown off balance and driven by her sudden fury, her hand was snatched by the same person who caused her anger, pulling her out of the horde of people that walked casually into the entrance behind her. Lorelei looked the same to her but she could tell she was wearing a disguise. Verity took in her surroundings as she was stepping into a large kitchen. It was a mansion, from the structure and size of the house. The spiral stairs, separate library, and the multiple porches she saw through the stained glass windows, she concluded that it a victorian house.

        The kitchen had to be the biggest room of the whole house, at least on the first floor of three. As ugly as she found victorian houses, she could see why Lorelei would choose this place to rob discreetly. The people who lived there probably had a lot of expensive materials in here; silverware, specially made cloth, bars of gold hidden under the carpet. It was a dinner party, with an auction in between. The plan was to go in and dig into the vault, below in the built in basement, and from what she could see, it was going to be easy.

        Lorelei told her not to do anything during the dinner party, and to act natural while she took care of the vault. She wanted her to keep the security distracted while she snuck off. Verity questioned why she didn’t just teleport them in the basement. Nowadays, everybody knew about magic and few knew of their capabilities. People know about ways of keeping magic out in today's society, so hers didn’t work. Her magic also wasn’t as powerful as Loki’s or her sisters, and it limited her range and amount of teleportation before it would wear her out.

         The reminder of Loki made Verity lower her head. Everyone was settled at the table as the owners of the house rose from their chairs to speak. She tuned out everyone as she became deeper with her thoughts. She was worried about Loki and what he was trying to do. Those glimpses she saw, told her nothing good was coming out of what he was doing. All that was being made was enemies, and problems for the both of them. Whatever problem he had, she had, and if Asgard was causing him trouble, she had troubles with them.

      Luckily she didn’t need to worry about Asgard until now. Why did Loki have to go back in the mess of that realm, and be the center of it. He had so much to deal with already and now this, it just didn’t make sense to her. She only hoped that whatever he was planning on doing, it wouldn’t get him killed. It would tear her inside out to hear him die and her having no way of getting to him in time to stop it from happening. Maybe Lorelei is right; the time apart from each other should do them good. All the stress and worry for his well being wasn’t healthy for either of them, and she needed time to focus on herself.

      The dinner party was as bland as it could’ve been. Verity only heard lies coming out of every person's lips, and the truth was revealed to her through the alternation of their words. She heard the lies but her brain perceived the truth, like hemiagnosia but with people’s words. Some people tried chatting with two youngest people in this table but Verity blew them off while Lorelei tried persuading them. People started conversing on how they found this place and asked Verity and Lorelei where they heard about the auction.

     “Our father told us about it and we wanted to see the beautiful artwork this wonderful family has to sell,” Lorelei instantly replied, staring at Verity. Verity nodded uncomfortably before taking a sip of her white wine. Lorelei laughed, nudging Verity to laugh with her, which she did after a moment of realizing. Verity sighed when everyone went back to one on one conversations. Lorelei nodded towards Verity to execute the plan before she stood up tapping her glass.

     Verity made the distraction while Lorelei went to find the safe. Afterwards, Verity would go down with the material to open the safe. Verity asked the owners for a larger tour of the house before they would start the auction to which they happily obliged. The house was large enough for it to take them a while to finish describing the different rooms and decor of the house. Verity paid no attention to them speak and only listened for Lorelei’s signal with the earpieces Lorelei also stole.

      People seemed to be engaged in learning the history of an old victorian house in New York. Verity heard Lorelei say she had found it and asked the people where the restroom is. Once they pointed a certain direction and named the side of the hall it would be in, Verity headed there. She waited until people weren’t near the staircase to walk down into the basement. The basement was dank and had little light to brighten the room. She was shocked to see how moldy and rusty the room was compared to every other room in the house. It would be the perfect place to set a safe but also the worst if every other part of your home is spotless.

      Lorelei whispered to her to tell her to be careful of her steps. Traps were hidden around the bottom floor and she didn’t want any of them to be triggered. Verity saw the fake traps they had set; not-so-very hidden nets, random bear traps, but she saw the ones underground. The automatic tranquilizer, the taser nets, and the gatlin gun, just in case of emergency. The room was covered in bells and alarms, even a siren horn. She thought they must’ve had something they really didn’t want people to find. Verity sensed the magic that surround the basement, and knew it made Lorelei weaker.  

       Verity watched her step as she made her way through a maze of useless junk covering the safe that was hidden with more security. “It’s like they’re trying to hide more than just a few millions,” she joked, guessing it was because they had the money to put this much security.

       “You’ll see,” Lorelei smirked as she took Verity’s abnormally large purse from her. The safe wasn’t a large one, but for what they kept in there, it didn’t need to be. She pulled out from the purse a drill, a  punch rod, a borescope, and grabbed a few other necessary items for the procedure. Verity was wondering why the bag felt like a ton while carrying it. Lorelei told her to watch her back as she cracked the safe, and to warn her if anyone was coming. She did so, scouting the area while Lorelei  attempted to break it open. Verity changed from her dress to her catsuit, stretching her arms and legs out to get comfortable.

        Lorelei attached the borescope above the combination dial and started drilling towards the lever. The drill was loud enough for her to hear throughout the basement, making her wonder if someone could hear from the floor level above. She decided she would go quickly, driving the drill in harder. Once the drill hit the bolt she stopped, telling Verity to help her. She had to use magic to break the spell holding the entrance closed. Verity didn’t know how to break in safes and part of her didn’t want to. She had no need to take money from people, and suddenly her morals kicked in.

      “Lorelei I don’t think we should do this,” Lorelei sighed heavily while she focus on breaking the spell.

      “You say that now,” she said irritated.

       “What exactly is in that safe that you need.”

       “Help me open it and you’ll find out,” she said, moving back to her magic. Verity dropped all the tools to open the safe and stood, crossing her arms over her chest.

       “No,” she had no business stealing in the first place, and she wanted to call it a night.

       “Come on Verity, I promise you, what I’m trying to steal is what they stole first,” pointed upstairs where everyone else was.

       “No, I’m done,” she walked for the exit but Lorelei stopped her.

       “We are already in too deep for you to walk away now. Just, please, do this thing for me,” Verity contemplated but eventually walked herself back to the safe. Lorelei instructed her to push the bolt out of place and once she did, the safe cracked open. Lorelei cheered as she grabbed the small black velvet sack, holding it by the string and sealing the safe.

       “What are you doing in here,” a woman shouted from afar. Both heads turned her way, looking at the bag in Lorelei’s hand then back at the woman.

      “Ah crap,” Lorelei whispered before she grabbed Verity’s hand, running towards the woman. The owner attempted to block their way, pulling out a taser before Lorelei flung Verity at her, knocking her and Verity down. They both ran up the stairs as she called for security, getting them surrounded by large men when they got to the top. Lorelei grabbed the nearest guard, pulling him in for a kiss as she whispered in his ear to do something. His eyes dilated and a pheromone passed through him as he jumped on top of one of the security officers, sedating him before moving onto the next.

      The other four were shocked, having no clue of what the woman did to cause a man to turn on them. Few stayed behind to help get the traitor off of the other security while two others ran after the thieves. Lorelei was tugging Verity while she tried to recuperate her fall, stumbling with each rushed step but keeping herself from falling again. They pushed themselves through a crowd of people, trying to navigate to the exit. By the time they got to the front door the security had beat them to it. From the wave of people blocking their way back and the guards standing in front of the exit, they were coner and had nowhere else to run.

      “Guess we’re going to have to fight our way through,” Verity looked at her surprised before staring back at the guards.

      “I didn’t bring anything,” she admitted.

      “What happened to the knife I gave you,” she responded angrily.

      “What was I going to do with a knife? Kill someone,” Lorelei nodded, expecting her to do that. “I am not going to kill somebody,” Lorelei sighed exasperated as she began to argue with Verity about why it’s important to carry a knife. While they argued, the two guards grabbed both of the theives by the shoulder, snapping them out of the argument. They both sighed in disappointment in each other as the owner snatched the black sack from Lorelei. The woman told the guards to throw them out and keep them out while she walked away from the scene. People started following her to the room where the auction was held and the room began to clear out.

 

      Verity brushed off the dirt smudges on her catsuit. “Thanks a lot Verity, now we lost our gold prize because you couldn’t break the law for five seconds,” she said pacing the sidewalk. All she heard from Verity were hysterical laughing as she stood on her feet. Verity couldn’t stop laughing as she fell into Lorelei, using her body for balance.

      “That was so stupid,” she barely could say before bursting into laughter again. Lorelei wanted to be mad but couldn’t help but feel her giggles crept inside her with Verity’s loud and pompous laughter. She laughed for fifteen minutes straight, holding her stomach as she calmed herself down. She ended up making Lorelei burst into laughter after her, causing her to laugh again. Each moment that happened today became a joke to each other that made them laugh their way to the nearest bar.

        They drank the rest of the night, mostly wine and sometimes burban before Lorelei lead Verity towards the exit, entering to the top of a random building. Lorelei took a seat on the edge of the building, asking for Verity to sit next to her. Verity plopped down sloppily as she looked down at the city. The view she had was beautiful, the city lights blended with splotches of different colors and had a glow around New York. “Thanks Lorelei,” she said, feeling a form a gratitude to this woman, “I think I needed this.”

       “What, the expensive clothing we stole, the catsuit, or the the failed robbery,” she joked earning a chuckle from her. She was still a little bummed they were not able to retrieve the item she wanted. “We could’ve got the norn stone if you didn’t quit on me halfway through,” Verity laughed, keeping her composure.

       “I wasn’t going to kill anyone either,” Lorelei huffed before letting her finish, “besides, you didn’t need the money from selling the stone anyway.”

       “How’d you know I’d sell it?”

       “Because, that’s what you do,” she shrugged before reaching for her large purse. “But, just in case,” she pulled out a handful of silverware, “I took these on the way out.” Lorelei took the silverware in her hands in awe. “You can probably pawn these for a few thousands,” Verity considered. Lorelei liked it better than nothing, thinking of different ways to sell them for top price. She looked at Verity noticing the half hearted smile on her face.

     “What percent,” her excitement lowered. Verity looked at her with confusion, “ how much do you want in return.

     “None Lorelei, I didn’t come for the money,” she stood wandering off with Lorelei following her behind, relieved to hear she wanted none of the cut. “I needed to get out of my own head; worrying about Loki was killing me and doing something as stupid as a heist, showed me I was.” She sighed heavily as she stood, beginning to wander on the roof. Lorelei personally thought these moments weren’t for her, giving her feeling wasn’t something she enjoyed. It was nerve racking to her, but Verity clearly wanted the support and understanding from her.

    “Look,” Lorelei said, still facing towards the city as she took a deep breath, “I know Loki sets himself up to be in dangerous situation without informing his loved ones. It is, just what he does. He’s been on his own for a very long excruciating period of time, and never felt the need to tell anybody anything. Usually because there was nobody there, he could trust,” it was her turn to sigh. “You have heard of the stories, the stories he probably tells you…he wasn’t exactly treated right back at home and it left a stain on his soul,” Verity tuned in more to hear what she had to say.

     “You’re the first person in many years, he can trust,” she thought about why he would leave if that was the case, “and maybe he is still afraid of that,” she stated, looking over her shoulder.

      “But we’ve known each other for more than two and a half years, why would he be scared-”

      “A lot of damage had been done up here,” she tapped at her head, “he might be that way forever. He’ll always leave for long passages of time, he’ll certainly lie, and most times, he’ll be distant,” Verity didn’t seem happy to hear that. “But that’s what he does, it’s who he is and it’s how he thrives. Loki knows how to take care of himself on his own and you shouldn’t worry about what he’s doing or planning on doing.” Although Verity should've taken that into consideration, but she didn’t take it as an exception. Verity nodded, standing to leave, “Loki is a strange creature, but he’s your creature,” Lorelei stood as she grabbed Verity’s wrist.

      “What are you talking about,” she asked.

      “I have seen the way he looks at you,” she opened a portal in front of them, “he loves you Verity, have a little more faith in him,” she smiled before walking into the portal. Verity hesitated before stepping in, having to take in everything she said. Maybe she should have more faith in him, he has taken care of his problems by himself but it never lead to anything good, just something worse. Maybe she thought if she was added to the equation, things would turn out better. She didn’t want to see anything happen to him knowing that she could’ve done something. Maybe that was her problem; she wanted to help her friend in any way, and she’d feel responsible if he died.

     Or she was afraid herself, afraid to lose her friend, and when he pulled stunts like the one prior, she’d be scared. She guessed her loneliness had affected her as well, Loki is the only person she can trust and its caused her to cling to the only thing she has in her life, Loki. Their solitude had caused different paths for them to go, their reaction are completely different, but somehow they still manage to find each other on the same road. She may be clingy and he may be distant when it comes to forming a bond, but Verity knew that meeting this strange man was no mistake.

     Lorelei waited on the other side for Verity to step so she could close it, the energy was draining her. Verity jumped in before Lorelei decided to close it, daydreaming as she went to bed. She couldn’t be angry, because all she did at the end of the day was hope her friend came back home safe.

Chapter Text

      Loki didn’t want Verity any where near the problems he was facing but it was too late. He didn’t know why he even agreed to do this, going back to Asgard was an idiotic idea. But then again, he did know why and he tried covering it up with more lies. He didn’t know anymore who he was trying to protect, her or himself, it was all becoming one note in his mind. He was too tired and there were so many voices that he couldn’t think straight. He needed to go home, maybe it would become clear then.

      He wanted Verity to know that he was fine, safe even by showing her through the ring. It was his only direct source to message her without contacting her. With all the problems he was dealing with he needed Verity the most, but it was better to protect her. To leave her in a safe box where nothing could get to her without him knowing. She was something he cared excessively about and vice versa, and he never wanted to lose that feeling. Not ever again.

      He was, once again, against his brother. He loves his brother dearly, and would’ve done anything for him but sadly, Thor can’t stand to breathe next to him. Loki wished things could’ve been different, wished he would’ve been giving another chance (even through the many failed chances that was given by Thor.) He was given one too many chances by his brother and the increasing number began to slowly crush his brother. The aimless hope that one day, Loki would change and love him again only to be smothered in the cruel truth that there was no hope to begin with. It did a toll on Thor, his expectations decreased as the years passed and his brother’s apathetic and corrupt ways became habitual.

       Loki’s death was meant to change that, to give himself a second chance when no one else could. The excitement in Thor’s eyes to see a new and clean rebirthed Loki, gave him hope. Thor was in immense belief that this was his shot to have the brother he always wanted, the one he thought he deserved. Only to find out the Loki he wanted had died long and he had put his trust in an imposter, the imposter he had learn to hate. That was his final straw, thus his certain rage and vast hatred for Loki emerged. No more tricks and betrayal, lies or broken hearts. Thor did the one thing he dreaded the most, he sealed his heart in a hardened shell causing him to close himself off the outer world.

     Verity wasn’t that angel that pulled him out of hell like Thor was. Thor put him in the uncomfortable position of good where there was no choice then to do good. It was great at first, there were some praise to being changing sides, he even became an Avenger for a short period but it ultimately wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the cure he needed to help his internal struggle with himselves, but then again, nothing really was.

      Verity was the one to give him that chance of hope to believe in himself again. She was the one person in the entire existence of this reality that believed in him changing. The one speck in this universe that made the choice to forgive and love Loki. He wanted to rewrite his story because of this, knowing he had the choice to choose his story gave him the strength to do so. The fear of losing that made him leave Verity. Not risking the chance of losing that feeling let him understand why he couldn’t stay, but a last goodbye wouldn’t hurt.

       It was late at night when he entered the apartment building exhausted. He was worn and plopped himself on the couch to sleep, something that was usually impossible for him to do. Before he could close his eyes, the lights were turned on and a blurry feminine shaped figure stood in front of him. She called to him but he had already been drifting in and out of slumber. He rubbed his eyes trying to wake up before a flash Leah appeared in front of him. She grabbed him by his shirt, forcing him to sit up. “Get up Loki, we still have much to cover,” she said showing that well-known infamous smile he could recognize a mile away. “Who should I kill first, Lorelei, or your best friend Vey,” she mocked the name.

      Loki stood grabbing her before she could do the task, ready to do anything to protect his friends. Something she was before, but now she was a threat, to his and his friends’ life. He could  handle the torture he was given  but if she got a hold of Verity…he couldn’t-wouldn’t allow her to get hurt. Leah was struggling to be release from his tight grip around her. His arm was over her neck while he pushed her neck into it to crush her throat. He still had feelings for her, maybe he could save her or at least imagine himself saving Leah. Leah was yelling as she clawed at his arm to let go begging for him to stop before she choked.

      Was it a dream? Was he asleep or was he awake, Leah couldn’t be here, he sent her off far away where he could never come in contact of her. He removed his hands from her and stepped back, wiping his eyes to see if it was true, if she did find him to kill him. Lorelei dropped to her knees gasping for air as she rubbed her now sore throat. “Lorelei,” he questioned, not certain if it was true. He rapidly blinked, clearing his vision and it was in fact Lorelei. He heard a door open and Verity ran out of the room to see why Lorelei was screaming. Loki’s eyes switched

 to Verity, seeing the concern and shock on her face.

    “Lorelei,” he said with more fear, reaching a hand out to her. She rejected the help, smacking his hand away as she felt more safer if she stood on her own. Lorelei stumbled to step away from him as she walked behind Verity, telling her to take care of this.

    “I wake him, and he decides to choke me,” she coughed, rubbing her sore throat.  

    “Loki,” she questioned taking a few steps closer cautiously. Loki was stunned for a short moment, questioning himself why he did that. He could’ve sworn in it was Leah, his mind believed every moment of it, but in a quick flash it wasn’t. His mind was playing tricks on him, and now he had hurt Lorelei. Verity saw his defense lower and felt that it was safer to interact with him. “Loki? You okay?” She wondered, hoping his response would be yes. He couldn’t think of anything else to say as Verity walked towards, giving him a reassuring look and feeling. Verity’s own defense lowered once she knew Loki was calm.

     “Verity I-” he decided to keep it to himself, what he saw wasn’t real, Verity didn’t need to know about it. “She startled me,” he said convincingly, he sat down with his face in his palms.  Lorelei stepped closer with rage in her eyes, “I’m sorry Lorelei, I just-” her hand balled into a fist and she socked him in his jaw before he could explain himself. He was down on the couch, wiping the mark that was soon to form a bruise on his jawline

     “Don’t ever do that again or I swear to Odin I’ll break your hand,” she grabbed his hand forcing him back up. “Where have you been,” she demanded, feeling more irritable now.

    “What do you mean, I haven’t been gone for that long,” he thought but from the looks on their faces, that wasn’t the case.

     “4 weeks Loki or more,” Verity answered, not certain if he had been gone the entire time they were with Lorelei, “I could see some things, what you were doing while you were getting worse.

     “Verity I don’t-” Loki was vulnerable and he didn’t like it.

     “Don’t lie to me,” she said calmer than it should’ve as she placed a hand against his burning cheek, “Lorelei didn’t startle you,” he almost forgot she could see lies. Verity stared down at him waiting for the truth out of him. His face lowered before revealed the true sadness that he felt in reality to what he showed. Verity didn’t know what caused him to attack Lorelei but it seem to have him shaken. She frowned as she let him rest his head against her hand before opening up to her.

     “I’m sorry Vey,” he looked up at her as he grabbed her hand, clutching it in his. He hesitated to speak, finding it complicated to say words, “ I-I can’t explain because, I don’t know myself.” He sighed heavily, “I don’t even know why I’m doing all of this,” he said disappointed before releasing her hand.

       “Loki, whatever it is you’re going through, we can help you,” Verity said as he stood.

       “I wish that was true,” he said to himself as he made for the exit, “I didn’t come to stay sadly, and I don’t want you to come or you,” he said to Lorelei. Lorelei objected but he stopped her from making her claim.

        “Why did you come then,” Lorelei forced out angrily. Loki smiled half-heartedly not knowing why he came as he turned away from them, being pulled back by his arm. Verity looked at him with sadness and anger.

       “I don’t stand behind you, I stand besides you,” she practically yelled, having no other option. “Your problems are my problems, because I am permanently bound to you,” she showed him the ring that bonded her soul with his. She pulled him in, speaking closely to him, “so you can’t walk out on any of us easily anymore,” she announced to him. “I’m not going to stand by and watch my friend kill himself because he’s afraid of help from them.”

     “It’s not as-” Loki tried protesting but she didn’t let him

      “I don’t care what it is, how dangerous it is, no matter the predicament, I always be beside you the whole way through…because that’s what friends do.” Verity was determined to get her point across, she wasn’t going to be left behind and he wasn’t going to leave. As much as he didn’t want it to be true, she believed in it and that was enough for him, for it to be true.

      “Besides, you owe us,” Lorelei claimed, crossing her arms over her chest, “the least you could do is stay,” she placed her hand on Verity’s shoulder, nodding when she looked back at her. Loki sighed heavily, finding it challenging to tell them where he’s been for the past weeks. Verity forced him to tell her with more persuasion and occasionally Lorelei threatening to blackmail him into telling them. After a while, he gave up trying to convince them that it was best for him to go, taking a seat on the couch and told them why he had been away. The war Malekith is planning on causing with Asgard was coming very soon and Loki wanted to stop it. His plan was unclear to most, but Loki had been getting an upclose on what Malekith’s pulling to start this war.

      “But why not let Thorita take care of this,” Lorelei asked.

      “Because, just like all the other Thors, she doesn’t know what’s actually happening. She’s simple minded like my brother and can’t seem to capture the bigger picture-”

       “So you’re going to fix this while also jeopardizing yourself,” Verity shook her head, “why Loki? I know there is an easier way of going about this without getting yourself hurt in the process,” she didn’t have one on her but he was sure there was.

       “Yes but this is more efficient. I have a higher probability of succeeding if I do this. I work for Malekith and stop this whole war from happening,” he said certain that he would.

      “But if you don’t,” Verity asked, testing him. He lowered his head having no thought of the outcome being failure.

       “I will,” he said with determination, “I have to.” He kept asking himself why he was doing this, why he was following these old ways. What was he doing? Was it the kid Loki in him that was putting him up to this? He wasn’t sure which story this was, he couldn’t decipher it well in his mind. He didn’t know why he needed to do this, it just felt right.

      “Either way it goes you’re not leaving without us,” Lorelei disclaimed. “Now are we going to get Thor and his hammer or are we going to have to tie you down and drag you with us,” Lorelei was prepared to do the second option. She believed her and Verity could find Thor and his hammer, but the only way they could make him follow them is with Loki.  Loki hesitated to answer causing Verity to clasp his hand in hers.

     “Please Loki,” she pleaded the last time, “don’t make her tie you up,” she smiled causing him to smile. Her smile widen seeing his as she helped him to his feet. He grasped her body in his arms laughing as he opened a portal behind her.

     “Thank you,” he said with gratitude, taking longer to let go of her. The more he was with, the more he wanted to keep holding on. Not only to her, but everything he’s become, making it easier as the days went on. He didn’t want the feeling to disappear but he didn’t want it far for him to reach when he needed it. He wonder when Verity’s limit was, how long she could deal with his problems before she would leave herself. No one had ever stayed for this long or been alive for this long with him without losing their mind and it was reassuring to see she still felt liable to stay. It made him hold tighter and closer before Lorelei interrupted. Verity nodded at her as she turned both her and Loki around, pushing him into his own portal

Chapter Text

   “It’s simple, I take the realm of dreams and you take the realm of reality,” Nightmare explained while attempting to read his face. It had been the same the entire negotiation which gave him no advantage to use his emotions as a tool against him.

    “Why would I do that,” the grey colored figure said, planted firmly in his throne. “I don’t care for this world or the next.” Nightmare took his seat besides the table where the conference was happening.

      He sighed to himself quietly as he was beginning to give up hope on having him as an ally. “The reason you would want to take the realm for yourself is because-” he said thinking of a reason that would appeal to him. He was the only creature of his race, maybe he wanted to expand. The dark oak wood door busted open before he could finish, with five people walking up to the table, Loki being one of them.

    “The writer was too lazy to give the antagonist a good reason to be the bad guy in their story,” His other four advisors took their seat, with his seat directly across the grey creature. “Like Nightmare here,” he placed a hand on his shoulder, standing over him, “why he does the thing he does is a mystery to me. People usually say; ‘because of his lust for power’ or, ‘because he’s crazy.’ But my favorite one is; ‘sometimes they’re just bad.’ Which can be fine for most villains, make them do terrible things and people won’t give a damn about why they do it. All the writers care about is making the hero look good, put them on the highest pedestal while the bad guy is swept under the rug.” He walked to the grey man, placing his arm around his shoulders, smiling to his intrigued expression.

     “Truly it is crazy, but that’s only amauteur hour,” he smirked, “that may have been our stories in the past, but not anymore. Tell me Lysets Ånd, why are you here today?” Lysets didn’t answer, he sat there frozen in time. Nightmare grunted irritably as he rested his head in his hand waiting for Loki to finish his counter statement. Thrym and Sigyn looked at each other confused before turning back to Loki concerned.

   

     "Loki get up,” Verity pulled him to his feet as Lorelei tried talking to him, “guess he fell harder on his face than we thought,” he hadn’t been responding, only swaying back and forth.

     “No I’m fine,” he said as he left his daydream. He stood on his own as he shook away the drowsiness.

     “Okay, so where are we?”

    “Asgard of course,” he said as he fixed his horns, “the back alley’s of it,” he admitted. “We’re going to need to get Thor but I don’t know where he has gone,” Lorelei saw the castle from afar. “But I know somebody who would,” he said as Odin came through trotting on Sleipnir. Odin nodded his head towards Loki before glancing at the two women, recognizing one of them to be Lorelei. He decided to ignore Lorelei’s past and listen to whatever it is his son wanted.

    “I heard your prayer son,” Odin was aware of what Loki was trying to do. Everyone else saw him as a villain but his father knew better now.   

       “I need to know where Thor is-” Odin slid off of Sleipnir, looking at his son quizzically.

       “Your brother is not in the right place for you to speak with him,” he glanced at the unfamiliar face before focusing on his son.

       “I know but it is important-”

       “Leave the boy to his own self loathing before contacting him,” he saw it as a faze but months had passed and looked to be permanent, though he didn’t want anyone else to think of that. People prayed for Thor to come back to them in Asgard, but Odin didn’t see it happening. He kept hope to the people but it seemed as though people were becoming fond of the woman Thor. Although he and his brother prefered actual Thor, Odin had a little faith in her. His brother on the hand wanted her dead, he could see whenever they even spoke her name, how his eyes darken with hate and wished on the stars for her death.

      “Pity or not, I’m talking to him and if he’s still upset over losing that dreadful hammer then that’s his problem,” Loki couldn’t wait longer to see his brother again. He didn’t care how he was feeling, he needed to talk to him. Loki didn’t know why he needed to urgently, it couldn’t be over some keys he wanted from Tivan. No, there was so much more he wanted out of this dispute and sadly, Odin could tell. He saw that desperation Loki was feeling, the last chance he will ever have with his brother and their relationship, his final chance to make it right. Loki felt as though he could, the slim chance Thor would ever forgive was enough for him to do this.

     “Loki,” he sighed as he contemplated what he should do. Thor would rather see Loki burned at the stake then to be in the same room as him. It was a long stretch but Odin did want to see them patch things up. He was no longer in control of either of his sons, he couldn’t tell them they had to be friends again or else. Now it was up to them, what they were going to do and how either of them were going to fix this. It was unknown to Mimir himself. Maybe they needed more time away from each other. The tension had increased after what Loki did to Freyja, but Odin could possibly explain to Thor what happened, but even then he’d hate Loki.

      He had no other choice, Loki wanted to see his brother and Odin ultimately wouldn’t be able to stop it. All he could do is aid his sons, “he was pacing the door of your mother’s resting chamber last,” he came up with a plan to make it less difficult for Loki. “I can send him to the throne room where you can speak and maybe explain to him-” Thor was always stubborn, but now, he was a nightmare to talk to.

      “I’m sorry father but no, you can’t be there when he and I are in the same room,” he already could see them fighting, “send him to the throne room but don’t show up.” He turned to look at Verity and Lorelei who were tuned in to the plan, “neither can you,” he said to both of them. Verity’s stature straightened as she didn’t agree to the plan.

     “Are you kidding me,” she said flabbergasted.

     “You can’t be serious,” Lorelei agreed with Verity, seeing him having no chance of survival if he’s in there alone.  

     “No Loki,” she remembered the last time she stood aside when Thor showed up, she wasn’t going to let it happen again without her getting involved physically. She knew her body compared to Thor’s was like a twig, but she would die first before Thor would kill Loki. “You’re insane if you think I’m not going to be there to stop him if he tries to hurt you,” Verity stated.

     “I can handle a few punches from my brother,” he tried to reassure her.

    “No Loki,” she confirmed, “you’re not going to be alone with your psycho for a brother,”  he chuckled to himself.

   “Usually, I’m the psycho for a brother,” he laughed.

  “Not the time,” Lorelei responded to his joke.

   “Have a little faith in my son,” he said joining Loki’s side. “Are you sure you can handle him,” Odin whispered to him, worry coming from his used voice.

   “I have in the past, what’s different now?”

   “Thor held back then, but this Thor is merciless,” Odin admitted. "Thor has gone through a lot of change in his life and it’s made him an apathetic man. He doesn’t hold back anymore, and it’s made him a weaker man."

     “Like I said, what’s different now,” he said as he walked towards the kingdom. All three looked at him concerned but they let him go, Verity less willing but Lorelei told her to put her trust in him as they followed the AllFather to a different part of the kingdom. Odin hoped for the best, he knew this would be the fight of the century and wanted them to shake hands afterwards. Verity was going to be close by then Loki would think she’d be with Lorelei there to help her. Lorelei was strangely excited for the showdown that will happen in the throne and she wanted to get a close look at what unfolds.   

    

   Thor left his mother’s room, preparing to leave to get Jane Foster. She was in an unhealthy condition and that wretched hammer was only quickening her inevitable death. He knew she left for Muspelheim to see the queen, causing a lot of the catastrophe but he didn’t want her to go alone. He may feel betrayed by his former lover but, he didn’t want her to die in battle. She had so much more to live for and he needed her to see that other than the hammer she held in her hand.

    Then there was War Thor, as he prefered to be called. Thor could see the lust for blood in the man’s eyes as he fought through the fire goblins. He didn’t have Mjolnir to protect the innocent, he used it only to kill anyone who stood in his way. Thor saw the corruption that was being brought from the hammer’s inner evil and he had to stop it before it hurts someone else. It made him question whether the hammer had corrupted him all these years, and how he broke free from its hypnotizing spell. He saw the hammer as a curse, but deep in his heart and mind it was all a façade to cover up the pain he still felt for losing Mjolnir.

    He had already lost too much in his life, for him to lose his hammer. That was where all the real pain and bitterness generated, the losses he couldn’t bare to handle forced him to lose himself from the world. In search to find himself he had found nothing, and it made him an empty shell of a man, at least that’s what he believed.

   As he walked through the halls towards his chamber, servants, guards, or any person near the vicinity avoided him. Aesirs were less comfortable with this bitter Thor, and tried their best to stay out of his way. People who’d walk by would turn around and go the other direction. Asgardians would take longer pathways to get to their destination just to avoid his general direction.

    Thor met Thori at his door for his chambers. Thor shouldn’t have Thori in the halls of the kingdom but his father wasn’t here most of the time so he let him rest there. Thori was asleep waiting for him to return before he woke up, noticing Thor standing over him. “Your father wants you in the throne room,” Thori said before closing his eyes again. Thor wondered why Thori stuck around after his liberation, he thought that following him around would be another form of enslavement.

    “Do you know why?”

    “Didn’t bother to ask. Seemed urgent-” Thori froze as he lifted his head to get a sniff of the air. Something familiar was in the air, something he found to be pleasant and it made him want to go after it.

   “Okay,” Thor said before entering his room to get his ax. Thori thought about what the smell reminded him of and his eyes widen when he realized what it was. He thought for a moment of what he should do, he wasn’t sure he should go after it but if it was who he thought it was; he had to see him again. Thori decided to wait and sat down before he would head out with Thor. He didn’t want to tell Thor what he had smelled, feeling as it was best for him to find out himself.

 

      “Let me tell you story,” Loki said to Lysets, placing his hand on the arm of his chair. Lysets nodded his head before Nightmare could intervene. He stood from his seat to interject but Lysets raised his finger as the markings on him turned from pitch black to blinding white. Nightmare forcibly sat down by the commands of Lysets’ thought, turning his attention back to Loki. Nightmare grumbled but he couldn’t fight his soon to be ally, if Loki wouldn’t successfully convince him otherwise.

     Sigyn looked to Maxwell with some bit of worry. Loki’s words didn’t necessarily bring good to the table whenever he spoke them and his stories were sure to bring catastrophe. Georgie was ready to object, knowing the experience of one of Loki’s ‘story telling’ before he’d make a terrible mistake. Loki removed his jacket, watching his advisers with a close eye that indicated for them to stay silent. He read the doubts in their faces but  he knew what he was doing and what he was getting himself into. Thrym sat back in his seat, waiting for the show to begin as the other bickered quietly in their trio.

    “The story begins in the time before creation. The time before Ymir or the mammal it was nursed from. A time, even before the Yggdrasil had grew its roots. No, this story starts with two brothers.” Everyone’s eyes were on him as they saw every word he said, everything he depicted. Even Nightmare was on the edge of his seat from how astonished he was. It was like a spell but he sensed no magic in the room, all he could see was what Loki said. Loki was the only one who couldn’t see, but his imagination ran wild in everyone else’s mind as he continued the story. Nightmare saw the two brothers in front of him, he saw the whole scene in front of him and it almost felt real.

     “One was light, and one was dark,” the room was now an empty void but he saw the two brothers standing next to each other. “Both brothers had their own unique qualities. The light brother was a creator; he made planets, put plants, wildlife, people, on them. He was the creator of life,” he saw images of a man creating the worlds he knew now as the nine realms, the different universes, dimensions, planes of reality, or at least attempt to.      

      “The dark brother as we can guess, was the opposite of creation. He was the destroyer,” the dark brother began crushing the light brother’s creation, turning them into dust. “the darker brother only craved destruction and desecration while the lighter brother craved life and growth.” Everything looked and felt real, Nightmare was feeling himself getting warped into the story, having a difficult time separating it from this reality. “The light brother rebuilt the world he had made only to have it crushed by his dark brother. For eons it went on like this, the light brother made something, the dark brother destroyed it. One day, the light brother asked ‘why must you decimate the things I make?”

      “The dark brother shrugged at him telling him, ‘because I have a role to fill.’ The brother didn’t like the response as he found it to be unjust. He told the dark brother to leave his creation alone and destroy his own things, but being the destroyer, he couldn’t exactly accomplish that. So, he kept breaking the brother’s things. The brother became annoyed by his action and decided to stop him the next time he tried to destroy his world” Nightmare saw the light brother grab his brother’s hand before he could place it over his creation to destroy it. The dark brother looked at his brother with anger, seeing as he wanted to challenge him. The light brother wasn’t ready to fight his dark brother, but he wasn’t letting him touch this world.

      “They fought for years. Everyday the dark brother attempted to destroy the world his brother had created but the light brother protected it, “ he saw the dark brother coming after the light he made to distinguish it. The light brother held his hands out as the excessive light caused him to back away. The brother ran towards the dark brother, preparing to strike but the dark brother grabbed his forearm, sinking the darkness in his body. The light brother winced in pain from the darkness forcing itself inside him. The light brother pushed him off of him and forced him down with his light.

      The dark brother grabbed his brother’s leg and dragged him down with him as he proceeded to stain his brother in the illness that made his body. The light brother tried kicking him off but his dug deep into his flesh with darkness that kept him attached. He burned the darkness off of him as his brother got back on his feet, rejuvenating what he lost from the burns. The world was still intact and it  angered him to see so. The light brother used all the energy he had left as his brother ran at him again, bursting it all at his brother to knock him down. The dark brother was down but he’d be back the next day to try again.

    Loki said nothing, knowing they could see what he imagined. Once he felt it was right, he continued, “that was only the beginning of their long struggle against each other, but neither would realize the truth that was hidden in their roles.”

   

    Thori decided to wait at the door to the throne room, feeling it was safer for himself if he didn’t come in. Thor allowed him to, noting the worried expression on his face.  He may have been a hell hound but, he was a talking one and Thor could tell his emotions. Thori heard what Thor said about his brother, he had clear dislike for him and he didn’t want to be there when Thor would see him. He would fight for Loki if needed but Thor was also the one who freed him and he couldn’t betray him after that. He was going to stay outside where he wouldn’t have to choose either, and where he’d be safe.

    Thor kept his ax close as he entered the throne room. The AllFather wasn’t there, in fact, nobody was there, not even a guard. That grew more suspicion and his defenses risen as he observed the empty room. He was more paranoid now, his life wasn’t running a good streak as before and it caused him to think everything was out to get him. When only silence filled the room, his guard lowered. Loki didn’t know how he was going to approach this but he was ready for what was going to be thrown at him. He hesitated to step from behind the throne, grasping his scepter  tightly from the nervousness he felt in his stomach as he walked out.

    “Hello brother,” he said, swallowing hard. That was the only thing he could get out before Thor threw his ax in his direction. Loki jumped out of the way before it could reach him, shocked by first act done of violence by his brother.

    “Of course it’s you. It’s always you,” he said gritting his teeth out of pure rage, “we can finally settle this,” he said as he walked towards him, walking faster as he got closer.

   “Why can’t we just talk things out,” Loki asked as he slowly backed away from his brother, keeping a far distance from him. Thor began running towards him, picking up his battle ax that was stuck in the ground and aimed it for Loki’s neck.

   “I don’t talk to the God of Lies, I only kill them,” he said as he threw his battle ax close range at him. Loki quickly moved out of the way, trying not to engage in battle as his brother obliged him to.

    “Then would you talk to your brother,” Thor’s eyes widen as his words enraged him causing him to sprint at him, planning to knock him down. Loki held his scepter in front of him as a way to block his brother's attack, holding it with both hands. The impact of Thor slamming his weight against it caused Loki to slide back.

     “You’re not my brother, you’re an imposter,” Thor used his hands to attack with Loki blocking every last hit. Loki pushed him off of him with his scepter, his own anger building inside him. He didn’t want to fight but every word he said made it harder not to. He only wanted to talk this through but as always, he has to fight him before they could get anywhere.

     “I’ve always been your brother, it is you who is the imposter,” he said in a low growl, holding back the pain creeping inside him. Thor grabbed his battle ax holding it up as he charged at Loki with, swinging downward when he was close enough but Loki jumped out of the way before he could reach him. Thor swung diagonally upward, missing his brother by inches before he tried a third time. He tried hitting his abdomen but Loki pulled his stomach back, knocking the ax out of his hand by hitting it with his scepter. Loki didn’t have his armor on, nothing to protect him against his brother’s wrath.

     The ax slid on the golden ground as Thor grabbed Loki’s scepter by the end, trying to yank it from him. The scepter deteriorated in their hands as Loki summoned it away. Thor took the opportunity to grab Loki by the neck, pulling him off the ground as he crushed his throat under his grasp, “is there a trick you haven’t pulled.” Thor glared at his brother as he waited for an answer but Loki’s air circulation was cut off, grabbing Thor by the arm to let him go.  It became difficult to look his brother in the eyes when he was in pain, harder when that pain was caused by him. Thor shook the feeling aside, throwing Loki across the room before grabbing his ax.

    Loki fell onto his back, rolling onto his side and using his elbow to hold him up as he coughed up the pain he felt from the impact. He rubbed his head, trying to shake the dizziness he felt in the back of his head. The headache he sensed died down as the air started flowing through his body regularly again. He summoned his scepter, using it to hoist himself on his feet  but Thor stopped him before he could. He jabbed him in his side with the end of the handle to his ax, repeating the action until he was down again. Loki lied on his back as he held his scepter over him, blocking Thor’s ax from getting into contact of him.

      Thor slammed his ax hard on Loki’s scepter as he attempted to break the scepter. Thor stood over him as he forced his weapon onto Loki, wondering why his scepter was still intact. “I can see it Thor, your aura,” he struggled to speak while he used all his strength to match his brother’s. “It’s darken since we last met,” Thor didn’t want to listen as he proceeded to bang his ax excessively  against the metal of Loki’s staff.  

     “It will be easier to kill you that way,” he said as he pushed his ax down using all the strength he had. Loki couldn’t hold his weapon up anymore, pointing the end of it at Thor, pressing its sharpness against his chest. A blue light emanated from it as Loki looked at his brother in reluctance. He didn’t want it to go like this but if  Thor wasn’t going to stop at nothing to see him dead, “please brother, don’t make me do this.” Thor lifted his ax causing Loki to ensue in the fight, shooting him off of him with the scepter. Thor fell back as he placed his hand over the part of clothing that was burned off and where his chest burned. He brushed the clothing that was turned to ash on his tunic and stood on his feet quickly.

     Loki stood watching his brother carefully. He walked in circles as his brother did, wondering when he would strike. “I will avenge all the lives you’ve taken and the ones you tried to take,” Thor charged at him swinging his ax, “for Asgard,” Loki blocked the sharp edges of the heavy blade, “for mother,” Thor shouted as he attacked, “for my brother,” he said with his last blow before he kicked Loki in his ribs. Loki had barely enough time to react as he dropped his weapon, holding up both his forearms to block the force of his foot. The ground had enough friction to allow him to slide from the force near a pillar. Loki lifted his head only to be greeted by Thor’s fist. Loki ducked out of the way with Thor’s fist crashing into the pillar instead of his face.

     The pillar cracked and crumbled from Thor’s anger, causing huge chunks of rock to fall on top of them. Loki stepped out of the way as he came through the rubble with his ax in his hand. “I am your brother,” he shouted back at him as his own rage expanded. He ran at Thor, his blade pointed at him. Thor held his weapon close but Loki moved before he could strike, shooting him in the back. Thor’s back arched as he step forward, surprised from the attack before Loki slammed his scepter against his head. “You killed your brother long ago,” he yelled as he kicked his leg joints to make him fall onto his knees. “You and the rest of Asgard,” he said in disdain and anger.

     Loki walked in front of him, pointing his scepter directly at his face, “but just like all asgardians, you’re too arrogant to believe that.” Thor glared at his brother as he chopped his scepter with his ax. Loki grabbed the other half of his staff before Thor stood. Thor didn’t respond to his statement, only rage filled his eyes. He wanted blood and he was going to get it, but it wasn’t going to be Loki’s. “You killed me and felt no shame or guilt about it,” Loki shouted as he reformed his staff.

    “Shut up,” he said as threw his battle ax at him. He felt some guilt over Loki’s corruption and he knew he was part of the problem, but he blocked that part of him that knew that truth and blamed it all on Loki. Loki blocked it, shoving his scepter into the center of it. The heavy blade began to glow as cracks formed from the center of it spreading throughout the weapon before the blade bursted into the different pieces the cracks had shaped. As Thor sprinted at him, Loki grabbed his weapon with both hands, holding it back and knocking Thor down with a hard blow to the head. Thor was finally feeling disoriented before Loki grabbed him by the shoulder and punched him, busting his nose.

      “But it’s never your fault,” he said sarcastically with fury as he punched him to the ground, busting his lip. “Because you’re the hero. All the good you do makes up for your wrongs,” he punched him again. “You get to be selfish, inconsiderate, and brash while everyone else squabbles at your feet,” he yelled as he had continuously beaten him. “All I ever did was care about you," crack. "I strived to be like you," smack, "but like everything else I’ve done for this damned realm, it wasn’t good enough." He punched him again, "Nothing I ever do is good enough," thwack "not for Odin," bash "not for Freyja," klak "not even for my own brother,” Thor grabbed Loki and threw him off before he could get another hit in.

      Loki jumped onto his feet with the same ominous look of death on his face. Thor walked towards him, no weapon in hand, “if you won’t listen to my words, than listen to fists,” he said low as Thor sprinted towards him as did Loki but Thor’s momentum overthrew his, slamming him into another pillar. The pillar cracked which didn’t stop Thor from shoving his brother against it by holding him by the upper arms causing it to shatter. Loki lifted his legs and kicked him in the stomach causing him to fall back. Loki pushed him out of the way before the pillar could fall on top of them. Thor wiped the blood that dripped from the side of his head, suffering from the blood force trauma Loki caused before he grounded himself.

    Loki coughed up blood from being slammed against a hard object, spitting the rest out, “you were right to call yourself Odinson, Thor wouldn’t be a coward,” he shouted grounding himself. Thor ran at him, using all the force he had to strike him. Loki didn’t block or dodge this time, his words were getting to him and that’s all he really needed. The pain he felt in his stomach from Thor’s fist caused him step back, coughing up more blood. He bent forward, holding onto his stomach before lifting his head, blood drooling from his mouth, “Thor wouldn’t be hiding behind a mask of his own self-loathing.” He took another blow to the stomach, coughing up more blood and stumbling backwards, “because in the end, you never really cared,” he stated, knowing the truth to the question.

     “Shut up Loki,” Thor knew it wasn’t true, but Odinson didn’t know what to think.

    “You don’t care for anyone but yourself, because it is all about your ‘pain and suffering.’” Loki mocked when Thor punched him in the jaw. Loki fell over but quickly picked himself up again, hunched over as he cracked his jaw.

    “You know of nothing,” Thor determined.

    “I do,” he yelled, standing straight, “because I was that for thousands of years,” Thor’s eyes widen as he connected the similarities of the two. Thor’s hands lowered and his fist slowly unhinged as he saw the flaw in the path he’s taken. It wasn’t a path to find himself, but a path to destroy himself. For once he looked at Loki and saw his brother, his brooding had blocked him from seeing him before, but for the split second he could see the truth. Loki took the opportunity to speak to his brother to maybe get some understanding out of him.

     “Please Thor, I need your aid,” Loki walked closer coughing up more blood, holding his hand out hoping he would accept it.

     “In what?”

     “Tivan,” Thor frowned to hear the name. He turned away from Loki, heading towards the exit.

    “You have my help…but not my friendship,” Thor said looking over his shoulder before leaving the room. Loki’s hand lowered in disappointment but satisfaction, a bit of him got to his brother.

     “Guess I’ll have to earn the rest,” Loki said as he wiped the blood from his mouth, looking over the damage caused in the throne room. A few pillars destroyed and cracks in the ground where Thor threw his battle ax and pieces of his ax scattered around the room. “I’d say a very successful turn of events,” he said before moving his bottom jaw to make sure it was still in place. He cracked his sore neck when he headed for the exit.

 

      Thor walked outside, calling for Thori to come to him which he did. Thori didn’t hesitate to ask, “how did it go?” Thor glared at him, realizing he knew Loki was there.

      “Did you know about this,” he demanded an answer. Thori smirked when he walked away from Thor towards his room.

     “You know you still love him,” he said loud enough for Thor to hear. He grunted before he caught up with Thori.

     “I don’t.”

     “Your brother was a better liar even as child,” Thori laughed, looking back at Thor who seemed to be in deep thought. He noticed his knuckles were bloody and his face was bloody, whatever had gone in there left an imprint on Thor physically and apparently emotionally. Thori wasn’t the best out of the seven hell hounds Hel had but he was pretty decent to know that Thor’s scent had changed. Something about him was lighter than before and Thori could smell it.

      

       Loki returned to his chambers after he cleaned his bloody face in their infirmary, holding an ice pack for his bruised jaw. Lorelei and Verity waited for him in there, waiting for the news. When he opened the door, he saw Lorelei holding his crystal ball in her hand and Verity watching it closely, sitting on the edge of his bed. “What are you doing,” Lorelei jumped in surprise before she tried placing the ball back in it’s box. Verity sprang off the bed into Loki’s arms, squeezing him tightly.

       “Oh-I’m so glad you’re still intact,” the pain he felt in his stomach increased as her hug tightened around him. “We could barely see what was happening in there,” she said worried.

       “Because I had to stop her from running in there…besides, we weren’t even using your crystal ball. What are you talking about,” she said hoping she wouldn’t get in trouble.

        “I wish you hadn’t worried,” he said wincing from the pain, “sorry Vey but could you let go, it’s starting to hurt my abdomen,” Verity released instantaneously, more worry from her face.

       “Sorry, what did your brother say?”

        “A few hits to the head and he agreed to help,” he smiled warily.

       “What about you,” she wondered whether they could fix things between each other.

        “It’s a working progress,” his smile lowered, “but for now we’ll rest up, come up with a plan to trick Tivan and get the seven keys with Thor attached to it.

       “But it’s only noon,” Lorelei objected.

       “Well then I’m going to rest,” he said as he fell onto his bed closing his eyes. He placed his ice pack on his stomach, lifting his shirt before he placed it. Lorelei enjoyed the view, licking her lips from the sight of his defined but bruised muscles. Her eyes glazed over his body before reaching back to his eyes that were staring back at her, “seems like you’re intrigued by something else Lorelei,” Lorelei frowned at the sound of his egotistical innuendos even when he was in pain. He still held the ice pack to his stomach, feeling it calm the ache down slightly, “my bed is always open for old customers,” he grinned.

      “Shut up. You’re still going to pay for the last night,” she shut him down before he could continue, “you coming Verity,” she said as she headed for the door in a rush.

      “I’ll meet you later, I’m going to stay here for now,” Verity said as she took a seat by a small table Loki had near his bookshelf.

       “Introverts,” she said as she left the room, planning on exploring her home land once more. Verity chuckled but stayed in her seat, waiting until she left. Silenced filled the room when Lorelei left, leaving both Loki and Verity to their thoughts. A million different things running past them as they collected their thoughts. Verity knew Loki wasn’t going to sleep, and part of her was glad now that he didn’t. It was too dangerous and risky but it was also bad not to sleep. She still wondered the night before, what he saw that would scare him bad enough to try and kill Lorelei. She didn’t want to push him on the matter, but something was clearly affecting him mentally other than his dreams.

       “I could feel…what you felt during the fight with your brother,” Loki opened his eyes to look at her. “Faint but it definitely influenced my own emotions,” it made her more empathetic when she could feel what he did. It was their souls bonding with each other that caused a deeper connection within the two. Their minds were one in the same and it was starting to become more literal for them. “All the anger buried inside you,” she realized how much his brother angered him. His ignorance had to be the most frustrating for Loki to deal with, his misconception and lack of understanding. Loki sat up sighing heavily as he shifted to the edge of the bed and holding the ice pack to his head.

       He breathed a laugh before he could look at her directly, “part of the package for having a sibling. My anger may seem great but never alters my care for him. His opinions highly affected me, but I’ll be fine,” Verity wasn’t certain of that. “You should go with Lorelei, meet some of the locals,” he said as he lied back down.

     “But Loki-”

     “You worry too much, go. It’ll be good for your health,” Verity was not sure she was ready to leave when she had so much to say, “please, for your sake, go,” he said when he stood up, helping her to her feet. He opened the door for her, practically pushing her out, “besides I’m sure Lorelei would love to show off her new girlfriend.” He teased, leaving her with unbelieved face as she crossed her arms over her chest.

      “Fine Loki, but I will talk with Lorelei about this,” she said before she walked away from his room.

      “Send me wedding photos,” he yelled loud enough for her to hear down the long hall. She held her fist up to signal a threat to him for his words. He chuckled before he closed the door, lying back on his bed again. Now he was only stuck with his thoughts to occupy him. He was in the heat of the moment, all the adrenaline pumping through him as he fought Thor could make anyone believe it was anger. Loki knew it was only going to get harder from here, but he saw the small dent he put in his brother’s shell that he’d continuously break throughout their travel they planned together. It was going to be hard but Loki had a bit of confidence in himself that he could get to his brother again.

     

     “But with every battle the weaker they became. But it wasn’t strength that declined, it was their spirit,” Loki announced, showing them the analogy of their bodies and the fire held in them burn out. “ Both brothers became more ruthless in their battles and it became less about his creation and more about each other’s lifestyle and survival.” The light brother came after the dark brother instead, throwing the first blows instead of him. The dark brother out of surprised dodge them and grabbed the last hand he threw, shooting him with darkness inside of him.

     ‘You don’t understand,’ the dark brother tried reasoning with his brother, seeing the poison seep in his body. “the brother had an objective to fulfill but neither of them saw the bigger picture. So on their last battle, they gave each other their all,” the dark brother wasn’t after the life anymore, his main focus was his brother. The light brother sprinted for him with all the light he had and fired at him, forming a blade of light and pointing it at him. Once he was close enough, he attempted to shove the blade through his spirit. The dark brother grabbed the blade, being burned by the light it gave off but breaking the blade off from his brother.

     ‘I understand well,' he said as he placed his hand over his chest, clawing his light into it. The dark brother grabbed his head, slamming it against his head causing him to fall back disoriented. The dark brother collected himself, rejuvenating the cosmic flesh that his brother had burned off. Before he could fully heal, his brother grabbed his head, burning the light into it which caused him to drop to his knees. “Neither knew what the point of their existence was,” the dark brother grabbed the arm and inked darkness into him. He grunted from the pain but stayed in place, holding his ground and continuing to slowly kill his brother.

      “They guessed from their powers, that was what they were created for. But they were wrong and they only could see the truth when it was too late,” as the darkness fed into the light brother, his grip loosen as the fury that fed his blood thirst depleted. The pain he felt as the dark shot through his body caused him to keep holding on and keep pushing. The light brother’s skin started to crack as the darkness destroyed him from the inside out. The dark brother felt the light slowly turned him into ash and he used all the dark he had left in him to kill his brother. Both sides filled the room as their bodies expanded until it bursted into nothingness.

      There was a moment of silence and darkness before little white lights began appearing from afar, representing the stars. Soon after, the worlds began to shape through the darkness and life ensued again. “They weren’t following their roles, they were avoiding their fate,” Loki concluded as the images began to fade away and everyone realized they were back in the conference room. Loki turned back around towards everyone but specifically Lysets. “To make something you have to destroy something, and to destroy something you have to make something. The cycle continues throughout our lifespans and we see this happen repeatedly.” Loki lowered his head taking a glance at Nightmare before turning back to Lysets. “So my question for you is; are you planning to do the same?”   

Chapter Text

       Loki woke to the sounds of scratching at his door. Verity had slept sitting on the side of his bed when she lulled his nightmares away hours before. She had been gripping his hand as they had slept and he let go as he removed the fur covers from him to get the door. The scratching had been constant, something from the outside desperately wanted to enter. Loki picked Verity up off the ground, swooping her legs off the ground and holding her top half with his other arm. He placed her in his bed before picking her glasses off the ground and setting it on the desk next to his bed.

      He could hear the claws digging into the metal before he reached for the knob, opening it only to see Thori leap at him in excitement. He jumped on top of him, causing Loki to fall on his back making a loud noise enough to wake Verity from her slumber. Thori was twice his size, crushing his injured bones with every hop he did. Loki gritted his teeth in agony while the memories of this favored hell hound came flooding back to him. A smile lifted from the pain he was feeling as he began to enjoy the affection. Thori finally removed himself from his fallen body when he noticed the unpleasant expression he was given. Loki sat up, holding his ribs before he breathed a laugh from the surprise intrusion and relieved soreness.

        “Is that you Thori?” He asked in disbelief. He only nodded in excitement before Loki stood on his feet. Verity jumped to see a giant wolf in the room, “it’s okay Vey, I know him,” Thori turned to look at the woman who was frightened to see him. He sense something strange about her, she wasn’t all there but she was clear as day to the naked eye. Her smell was that of two, she wasn’t one individual but two.

        “Who is she, a lover of yours” he guessed, seeing that she was previously asleep in his bed..

        “No, she’s a friend of mine,” he looked back at Thori, reaching out to pet him when he stopped before he could touch him. Thori nodded his head as he stepped forward to be petted from his head, “I remember you used to hate it when I did this.” Loki got into petting him, scratching under his jaw and the sides of his cheeks as he mumbled growls in pleasure. Thori shook his head once Loki had stopped, feeling as though he had been groomed.

       “That was before I liked you. I've had worse,” he said recalling the time he was imprisoned by The Collector.

       “Well I’m glad you finally admitted it,” he said as he struggled to stand up from the pain he felt from his ribs. His hand burned as well from the swelling that manifested after a few hours which made it harder to stand. “I think I need to get these wrapped,” he said gripping his stomach as he limped for the exit. His body stayed hunched over to ease the pain as he opened the door.

      “Guess Thor really did a number on you,” Loki smiled and nodded as Thori left the room with him. Verity would have gone with him but he seemed safer now that he was on his own land, and she was honestly too exhausted to go after him. Loki wanted her to get her sleep, knowing she needed it more than he needed his. Verity collapsed onto the bed, wrapping the fur covers over herself.

      “Yeah, I suppose he did,” he said uncertain, knowing his brother’s done worse. Thori walked beside him, glancing at his swelling hand before focusing in front of him.

      “Thor went to the infirmary early today, he found out he’s got a concussion from the blunt object you used to hit him with and a broken nose,” Thori laughed causing Loki to snicker, “he was pretty pissed, but they said it was only side effects to the concussion. Oh, and the first degree burn on his chest,” Thori laughed hysterically as they made their way to the infirmary. Loki shushed him when they entered the calmer and quiet room. Loki was greeted by a healer who lead him to a table to be examined.

       “I’m going to have to ask that you keep your pet outside,” Thori immediately growled at the lady causing her to take a step back from them. He didn’t have to deal with this problem when he was with Thor, people wanted to keep it brief and quick with him so they never mentioned the animal policy. They also didn’t want to get on the bad side of Odinson, fearing of the wrath he could bring.

      “I am a hellhound you dull creature, not a pet! I come straight from where you’re going to, hell, so don’t tell me I can’t be in this worthless piece of structure that will crumble in the next decade because it’s not allowed,” he walked towards her in a menacing way that made it feel like he was going to pounce on her. Loki interfered, holding Thori back from getting closer to her.

     “No, he’s going to stay with me, close by me,” he said before Thori settled next to, resting his head on his arms.  The healer nodded but cautiously stepped forward with the bandages and medicine in hand. While she took care of the damage, Loki spent the time to catch up with Thori , telling him what had drastically happened to him over the years. He explained to him the eight months he spent in the void with his former selves, not having a logical way of explaining the experience.

       “So you’re not the Loki I knew,” Thori realized, making sure he was correct.

       “Not exactly.”

       “Well then who are you,” Thori said before he took another sniff of him. The smell was different than what he remembered, similar but different in many ways.

       “There’s no understandable way of saying who I am…I’m just me,” he shrugged his shoulders as he lifted his hand for the healer to examine. She asked him a few questions about the pain he felt in his hand to which he responded with the most honest answer he could think of. She grabbed an ice pack and told him to place it over his hand for twenty minutes before she would wrap it. She checked his rib cage, asking him to remove his shirt before she gently placed her hands on the sides of his body.

       He winced whenever she pressed her fingers against his ribs, feeling the slight rupture in the bones. “You didn’t sleep on this,” she questioned, knowing the crack was a day old. She could feel the pressure the rib was crushed from for a longer time period than a few minutes or hours.

      “All night,” he answered, hoping it wasn’t as bad as she was making it sound. She sighed, helping him up to his feet as she dragged him to another room.

      “We’re going to have to do more than just an ice pack to heal the fracture. Come with me to the operation table-we won’t need surgery, just going to need some body movement and a cast.” She made it sound easier than it actually was. She smiled reassuringly but the pain that would come in the near future would not be something he would suffice, but it was always great to try.

      “We’ll be back in a moment Thori,” Loki said before leaving even though she knew they weren’t. Loki promised before the sudden exit, to take Thori hunting so they could do more of this chatting. Thori seemed willing to come with Loki when he left but Loki was keen on keeping him with Thor. Thor needed all the help he can get and he trusted Thori with that help. Thori was stuck with his thoughts, having nothing else to do or kill, he waited patiently for them to come back. Moments later he heard screaming coming from the other room which came from Loki, causing him to laugh cynically.

 

       Verity had left the room when she struggled to fall back asleep again. She still didn’t seek out Loki, instead she searched for a library and after a long search through the halls of Asgard, she had found one. She didn’t have her laptop with her to look into the information she was recently looking into. She looked through the large shelves of books for ideas and theories on dreams. She was having a hard time finding one of that interest since most of them were either about typical viking lifestyle or magic. Some of them even had the history of the original nine realms in the perspective of Asgard. One or two of them had history on the tenth realm of the galaxy, but most tried to ignore it.

       There was no use of finding a book of psychology revolving around the study of dreams, not in Asgard at least. She was here now so she might as well do something with one of the books she picked. She grabbed the one that looked the prettiest, a leather cover with gold drawn on top to make the shape of a tree and light illuminating from it. She knew the tree to be called the Yggdrasil tree or the ‘tree of life’ as Loki explained it to her. He was her own personal encyclopedia when it came to old norse mythology or any viking related history that involved scandinavian gods. When she opened the book she realized it was written in a language she didn’t understand. The page was covered in different characters she guessed to be old norse with only drawings for her to guess from.   

      Her lips scrunched up as she desperately tried to get some form of understanding out of the pictures. She flipped through the pages frustrated as she tried connecting the images to the next but she came up with nothing. She flipped back and forth to find something she could recognize from Loki’s short lesson on old norse but it was hopeless. She closed the book irritably when she put it back in its original spot. She explored the rest of the book shelf when she heard the sound of another woman walking up to her. She grabbed the same book Verity had put away before grabbing her shoulder, forcing her to look at who it was.

     “Amora,” Verity said in surprise, lowering her guard.

     “Hey Verity,” she despised the name, “having a little trouble reading,” she waved the book around before slamming the hardcover against  her face. Verity stumbled backwards, covering her face from the hit she had already took. The pain was faint for a reason she did not know, shaking away the feeling easily and recovering quickly. Amora waved her hand in her face, enchanting a spell onto her that caused her to fall unconscious. “Hate,” Amora whispered in her ear before she crushed her glasses that fell from her face under her heel. Amora disappeared within a green cloud that covered over her without a trace of her presence in the building.

      Verity woke up on the same floor she had fallen asleep on, having no recollection of what had happened. She picked herself up with the sudden anger that filled inside her. Her breathing became heavy as her anger rose faster and she felt like punching a wall. It slowly subsided as she was around no one to be angry at but she knew the source of the anger and she planned to find and deal with it.       

      As she walked through the halls she was halted by Lorelei. Verity sighed in relief to see it was Lorelei and gladly walked back with her to Loki’s quarters.

      “We should head over to the infirmary, Loki seems to be resting there,” she said as she turned them to another direction.

       “Loki?” Verity said uncertain she was ready to see him.

       “Yeah, who else,” she rolled her eyes but continued to reach for the infirmary. Verity was reluctant to enter but Lorelei forced her to go in and see her best friend. She walked in to see Loki wandering around the infirmary, chest and upper abdomen covered in sturdier bandages. He smiled when he saw her waiting at the door causing her to frown. She couldn’t stand to see him, all the pain she had to go through with him. He had the nerve to smile as if everything was fine, but she knew that it wasn’t and it wasn’t going to get better.

       Loki strode towards her as he wrapped his arms around her and pulling her in for a hug. She didn’t return the hug, holding her arms up from the hug. He tried ignoring the lack of usual affection she gave, releasing her swiftly, seeing as she seemed uncomfortable. Loki looked up to Lorelei for explanation but she only shrugged, having no clue of the distance Verity was keeping.  “The doctor says I shouldn’t walk around as much or make much motion, but you only live four times, why not make it count.” Verity was very unamused, wanting nothing more than to leave.

      He sat down at the nearest operating table, “could you hand me my shirt Lorelei, it honestly does hurt to move as much as I did now,” he admitted before pointing to where it was. Lorelei went over to fetch it for him as he rested himself, “Thori went to get Thor and when he comes back, we could possibly put this plan on its feet,” Verity barely looked at him, avoiding his gaze as much as she could. The more she thought about him, the more hate she felt towards him.

     “You have a plan,” Lorelei asked as she passed him his shirt. He nodded reassuringly before attempting to put his shirt on. “Well then let’s get going-” she said smirking before Verity interrupted her.

     “I don’t think we should go,” she said blatantly. They both looked at her confused, “I don’t think we should go with you ,” she grabbed onto Lorelei, pulling her away from him.

     “What,” Loki didn’t believe.

     “What are you talking about Verity,” Lorelei asked befuddled by the sudden change in attitude.

     “I’m talking about what he said earlier. About how he needs to ‘do this alone.’ He’s right. He should do this alone,” she crossed her arms over her chest, finally looking at him.

     “Verity, what-” Loki stood, not understanding what she was trying to say.

      “I’m not walking another step with that monster,” Verity shouted, telling Lorelei but staring at Loki. Both Loki and Lorelei were taken back by the statement but Loki was the most hurt by it.

     “You can’t possibly mean that,” Lorelei said in denial while Loki was soaking it all in.

     “I do. The years I wasted with him; dealing with his own problems, his own self-pity. All you ever did was take from me. You took my home, my life, my soul,” Lorelei’s eyes widen as the realization became clear. “Did you even care when my mother had to find out I was dead?”

     “Verity, I-” he was losing the words he was going to say, knowing that what she said was right.

     “You didn’t when you stuffed my soul into a small orb, and you didn’t care when you brought me to the edge of reality where I could never see my family again.” Loki couldn’t help but look down at himself, realizing the pain she must’ve been through that she’s kept buried for this long. “Now I have to deal with your dreams of another woman you had taken advantage of. And you only did it because you’re selfish. You make everyone suffer for your actions, for your consequences.” Tears spilled from her eyes as she tried covering the unnecessary tears that poured down her face.

       She couldn’t help from hiding the sadness that poured out from her eyes and the sorrow that came from her regretful words, “Verity, you don’t actually mean…I mean all we’ve been through-”

      “All I’ve been through,” she wiped her tears as she snapped back at him, “while you sat around for everyone else to solve your problems, I realized how much of a mistake it was to have even talk to you,” she headed for the exit, turning back to him. “I would rather die than have to live another day with you, but you’ve made it impossible for me to do so,” she left the room in a hurry. She continuously cried as she wandered the halls, trying to find an exit out of the building to get some fresh air. Lorelei stared at the door Verity had ran out of in shock. She turned to look at Loki, soaking everything that had been thrown at him. Verity was right about everything and she had every right to want to leave, like everybody else in his life.

        How could he ever think he could have something as great as Verity was in his life. He was foolish to ever believe that someone could be around him for that long, if his own brother couldn’t, why would she? He should’ve accepted long ago that he was alone in this world and should’ve kept it that way. But he couldn’t stop himself from growing so fond of someone as close as she was. He should’ve realized that all he did was poison her because that’s all he did. Anyone who grew this close to him would eventually see the reality of his personality. He was the Black Death to a person’s soul and Verity was lucky enough to find out before it was too late.

       He desperately wanted to go after her, but to pull her back in was to pull her into her grave. He looked back at where she ran off to, feeling his heart drop harder than he’s felt. His chest burned and his throat strained as he let out a choked sob. Lorelei stared at him before walking towards the exit and opening the door. “You can’t actually believe what she was saying right?” She said offended by her statement towards him. She ran out for Verity, anger being her concluding emotion. She could see Verity down the hall walking hastily as she wiped the tears away.

     Verity didn’t have her eyes on where she was going, bumping into a large man in front of her. She didn’t bother to look at him, pushing him out of the way as she made for the stair case. Lorelei saw Thor be pushed against a wall, flabbergasted by the action before he saw Lorelei running after the woman who had shoved him. Lorelei focused on Verity but Thor grabbed her arm before she could reach her, “what happened?” He knew who she was and her relationship with Loki, but why had she come out from the place Loki was located?

      “It’s a long story-just go help your brother,” she ordered as she released herself from his grip. She called to Verity who had gone down the staircase at the end of the hall. Lorelei opened a portal a few feet away from where she ran from before walking through it.

        Thor told himself no. He'd rather kill him than to help him. The only reason he helped him now was to take care of Tivan. If the world was to be a better place, he would rid it of Tivan and then, his brother. He was at the door of the infirmary when Thori showed up. He had a bone in his mouth that had some meat off of it. He observed Thor at the door, noticing his reluctance to go in.

        “Why haven’t you gone in,” Thori asked as he chewed the rest of the meat off.

       “I’m not going in there,” Thori wanted an explanation on why. “Something happened with Loki and his lover that left them both broken,” he was tempted to walk in and comfort his brother but he wasn’t ready to be that person again. He couldn’t think of why he had to be involved in this mess especially since it had nothing to do with him. “But I'm not helping the bastard.”

      “Then don’t,” Thori was leaving, “you’ll know when you’ll have to intervene, but for now, let’s go eat,” Thor followed behind Thori, agreeing with his decision to wait. "Loki’s a strong person, more so than your cowardice,” Thor lifted his hand which made him chuckle. “Only a joke,” he protested lightly, “Loki can handle a woman walking out on him,” he was certain of it.

      “But she was no ordinary woman-”

      “And you were no ordinary man, but you left him to fend for himself,” he shook his head in shame. “You can keep running from your problems, and until you earn the courage to forgive him and yourself, we’re going to eat ourselves into comas.” Thor was almost stunned by his words until his last statement. He didn't know why he let Thori say the things he did, most people would’ve already been flung across the room for such things. Thor couldn’t deny the truth any longer, what Thori said was what he was going to have to hear for the rest of his life if he didn’t change. He realized he was guilty for a lot of things, now that he wasn’t blinded by his arrogance and it made him more remorseful.

       “You’re beginning to make me regret releasing you from your cage.”

      “I only say what you think,” Thori laughed again before leaving for the banquet halls for a meal. Like most creatures of the underworld, they all had their own psychological element to their creation. He was a gatekeeper of hell, Hel’s land to be specific and as a creation of Hel, there was going to be something off about him that people would run from. Other than the giant claws and sharp teeth, he could sense the pain of an individual whenever he thought hard about it and used it against them. Now that he wasn’t a gatekeeper, he had no plans to use it against people he liked, only to aid them with the truth.

       

        Lorelei came back to Loki when she couldn’t find Verity. She wanted to check to see if he was doing any better than she first left. Loki had been getting dressed when she walked back in the infirmary. “Where do you think you’re going,” he had slipped his jacket on before Lorelei stepped in the way of the door.

       “Verity was right” he tried stepping to the side but she moved in his way.

       “No she wasn’t-you couldn’t actually believe what she was saying?” His stare gave her the answer, “you know she couldn’t have possibly meant anything she said to you.” She pushed him back from the door.

       “Please Lorelei-” he said only having the desire to leave.

       “Loki,” she said shocked to hear that he believed what Verity said. “You expect me to believe that Verity pour her heart out to you all these years just to take it all away in an instant.” She crossed her arms over her chest but Loki was in his own head, “I can’t believe you think she’d do this.” She paced, giving Loki a chance to leave but she stopped him before he opened the door.

       “What Lorelei!? All she did was tell the truth and she’s right. I took advantage of her for my own purpose, I was going to drag her down with me to the pit of fire made by my doing,” he said, feeling his eyes water.

       “You can’t possibly think that,” she said in disbelief. She placed a hand on his shoulder waiting for him to respond but he let out a small sob instead. She grabbed his hand, placing it in hers, “I don’t know what’s wrong with Verity but she’s not herself. I know she didn’t mean what she had said, it sounds nothing like how she usually speaks,” she thought about what her speech pattern did remind her of feeling it was on the tip of her tongue. She looked down to see the ring that held half of Verity’s soul in glow a different color.

       Lorelei looked more closely at the orb. Red tainted the original green and black glow and Lorelei could make an educated guess on why. It started to make sense to her why Verity acted the way she did, if it was her sister, she need to find Verity. She stepped back realizing what Amora was trying to do, “Loki, we need to find Verity right now,” she said as her eyes widen from fear. She grabbed his wrist, pulling him towards the exit but he removed his hand from her grasp.

       “No, I’ll only hurt her more,” he was convinced.

       “You idiot,” she dragged him out of the room, “it’s not Verity, Amora’s controlling her. I knew I smelled something disgusting,” Loki stopped her from continuing, holding her back.

       “What are you talking about,” he said concerned why she had mentioned Amora’s name.

        “Amora corrupted Verity’s soul, and if she did what I think she did then we need to hurry up and find Verity.” She grabbed his hand and tugged for him to follow behind her. Once he fully listened to what she said, he began rushing himself to find Verity.

        “What’s going to happen if we don’t find her?” He questioned but didn’t slow down in their search.

        “She’ll eventually kill herself,” His fear exploded when he heard it, running into any room he thought she could be in. He didn’t know what Verity might do, he held half her soul but she held the half. Maybe this was the dream he saw, Verity would be the one to destroy the rings to kill herself. The guilt that fell over him from the thought of her doing it caused him to hurry faster. He couldn’t believe he let her walk out when she clearly wasn’t in a stable mindset.

         He was stupid for letting the words determine his actions, he should’ve went after her. It would be his fault if she’d put the blade against her throat because he couldn’t get out of his own head. He would have failed to protect her if she were to end her own life and the thought of it made his heart heavier as he dragged it around the palace, searching desperately for her. His body ached with the pain he suffered from the broken bones, but he moved forward knowing that the pain was nothing compared to the pain he felt, fearing for his friend’s life.      

      

Chapter Text

      Verity had made it out of the castle after a long hour of finding the way to the exit. Loki made it look so easy to leave when in reality, it had to be the hardest thing to do. Every time she thought of him she wanted to choke. She couldn’t help but hate him, every memory of him had some sort of downside to it. She became frustrated with him and herself, she found it hard to even say his name. She didn’t know what came over her, why she had this sudden realization but she was glad she did. She realized how much of an idiot she was for putting any of her time and energy in this egotistic, power hungry, sadistic man. She couldn’t stand another day knowing that he still walked and talked. It aggravated her to the point she wanted to kill him.

          She came out the kingdom the same way she came in. She wiped the dry tears from her face when she found a safe place to rest. She didn’t know why she stopped herself from doing so. She was so close, she could’ve ended it there, but she didn’t. Now she wanted nothing more but to see his life be drained, but something told her she didn’t. Her world was flipped upside down, everything she thought of Loki was wrong and it took her this long to see that. She despised the man but she had doubt in her thinking. She felt something was wrong but when ever she doubted her feeling, the voice called to her again.

       Verity let out a small whimper in pure regret of what she had done, but she heard the voice that told her to shed no more tears. It told her only to hate and that’s what she did, she wiped the tears away and regretted nothing. Something was wrong and she couldn’t see it, whatever it was kept her away from the truth and it was driving her crazy. Verity walked farther away from the kingdom, she didn’t want to be around civilization as she began to hate it. She planned to walk for miles as she searched the smaller villages within Asgard, finding a way out of society. People's faces slowly morphed from average civic citizens to hideous monstrous creatures to Verity’s eyes. Her eyes darken as she observed the transformation, life was becoming clearer to her and it wasn’t something good.

 

        “What have I done,” Loki said rasped as he pulled at his hair.

        “Is there any reason Amora would want to hurt you,” Lorelei ask, trying to piece it together.

        “When is there not a reason,” he said as Lorelei forced him to sit and calm down. They found themselves in the main library where Lorelei found Verity’s broken glasses on the floor. “Amora’s always been a witch, a wicked one. She won’t stop until she brings the whole world to her ugly level,” he said in disdain for the enchantress. If he wouldn’t find Verity in time, he swore to Hel he’d bring the soul of Amora to her doorstep. He was going to kill her with his bare hands if he got hold of her, with every breath in his body he was going to end her life.

      Lorelei could see the blood thirst in his eyes, it reminded her of someone she used to know which was a little concerning. She knew who it was targeted for and as much as Amora deserved it, she couldn’t let him revert back to that person. “Okay, Asgardia isn’t that big, she wouldn’t be able to get far. We just need help finding her. It’s going to take her time before she…gets to that point so we have some time. Since Asgard hates us we’re going to have to get inside help.”

     “Thor would help.”

     “The self-loathing one,” she questioned.

      “He may act like that but he will help, now come on,” he grabbed her hand and raced for his brother. He saw him earlier in the banquet hall while he had been running around the castle to find Verity. His grip was tight around her hand as if he needed something to keep holding before he lost it all. He was desperate to save Verity but if he couldn’t catch her, he didn’t know what stopped him from falling himself. Lorelei gave him that small hope needed to keep pulling and tugging to grab that light that kept him up.

       Loki dragged Lorelei as she tried keeping up with his longer and faster strides compared to her shorter ones but his hand pulled her back up besides him as they made their way to the banquet hall. There they saw Thori gorging himself in the various meats that were thrown to him by Thor. Thor had been more into the drinking part of the banquet hall. He was drinking mugs of many alcoholic beverage the servants brought to the two, he barely touched his food as he poured the wine down his throat. He didn’t care what the flavor or type it was, he just needed a drink. Neither of them noticed the two enter as Loki ran up to his brother, releasing his tight grip around Lorelei. She shook her hand in relief from the pain as she walked towards Thor with more casualness than Loki’s alarming panic.

      His brother had finished his tenth mug of mead before speaking, “Thor,” he responded to him even though he didn’t go by the name anymore.

      “Odinson,” he fought the name knowing he hadn’t earned it back.

      “I don’t care,” Loki said as Thor turned to him, his worry affecting him, “I need your help.” Thor turned to him before filling his cup with more to drink when Loki snatched it from him, “Verity’s missing,” Thor didn’t see that as bad as Loki made it feel. Thor grabbed his drink, downing it quickly before slamming it against the table.

      “I don’t see that as alarming, go find her,” he said wishing for them to leave.

      “We can’t. She gone and we don’t know where but we need more eyes out for her and soon, we don’t know how long we have,” Thori stopped eating once he heard. He licked the meat that was on his teeth as he jumped up, leaving the leftovers for the servants to clean.

      “We have as long as she fights the spell. Her will is the only thing keeping her from consuming the darkness.” Lorelei said which caused Thor to pay more close attention.

       “What darkness?”

       “Amora. We have to find her before Amora gets to her if I can get a chance to break the spell,” Loki was the only one in the room who could overthrow Amora’s magic. If he could get into contact of Verity, one touch, he could rid her of the sickness Amora supplied her with. Thor removed himself from his seat and picked up his repaired ax that rested propped up against the table. He now understood the circumstances, if Amora were controlling people again, they were going to have to take care of her now.

    “Okay,” Thor nodded, “Thori and I will searched the perimeters. I’ll take Gnasher,” he said to Thori. “What will happen if we don’t get her,” he asked Lorelei, she knew the most of her sister’s tricks and games.

      “She’ll die,” the word made her stomach churn. Thor and Thori made for their leave for the stables where Thor temporarily kept his goats.

       “We’ll take the east.” Thori said to Thor but said it loud enough for Loki and Lorelei to hear. They nodded before leaving for the west of Asgardia.

 

       Verity was deep in the woods where no one could see her. She rested her head against a large oak tree, sliding her body against the shedding bark until she hit the large roots that grew out of the ground. She held onto her chest, feeling her quicken heartbeat. Her sadden sighs called to the voice that made her straighten. All the cries were replaced with angered grunts. The world got smaller and darker to her eyes but she clung to the small hope that said the pain will get better. All she saw was monsters around her, she wasn’t scared but alarmed. The voice showed her the truth and as much she didn’t want to believe it, it was right in front of her.

      Verity looked up at the sky when she saw a man leap out from it on a goat, going the opposite direction she came from. It looked to be the despicable Thor who she guessed was searching for her. She growled at the thought of him, despising him almost as much as she hated Loki. It wasn’t particularly justified other than what he did to Loki, but she couldn’t care less about Loki now. She was beginning to hate everything. Loki, Lorelei, Thor, she had a grudge against every last one of them. Her mother who she thought couldn’t protect her, or her father who died when she was an adolescent.

        It left her with a feeling of loneliness, she saw that she was alone in this horrid world. All she had was the hole in her chest that she mistakenly thought could be filled or cover up by the people she cared about. It was a pathetic excuse for Verity to keep going in hope to find something to free her of her own cage. All these years only to realize she would never escape her box, she had no point in even trying to leave. She didn’t know why she was trying now, why she was fighting back when the truth was in front of her. So clear that she could no longer deny the fact that she was hopeless.

       Nobody meant anything so what would make her any different. Verity was worse, she was a mistake. She didn’t want to be the human lie detector, damned forever to know the truth to the lies. She could never live the fantasy of an average person’s life. She could never make friends, afraid they would dishonest about everything they said. She could never marry and have kids with a man she knew she was going to divorce in ten years, but still get a chance to enjoy the experience. She was never given the chance at a regular life and it was emptying to know she achieved nothing in her life.

      Verity hated herself, she wished the pain she felt grow would leave her but she couldn’t stop. It was becoming harder and harder to see a way out of the crippling misery pouring down her shoulders. The darkness was shrouding around her and it turning around on her. Her own internal problems hitting the surface after the long time of burying them deep in the vault of her mind. Having them return to her in the sudden made her sob in realization of the pain she held back. The voice encouraged to think the way she did, hopeless and she welcomed it in sorrow. She sat on the bark of the tree crying her eyes out, having no way of escaping her dug up hole.

 

        “I don’t know how long Loki,” Lorelei shouted back at him.

        “Where’s Amora,” he said enraged. Lorelei wanted to keep him calm but it was becoming hopeless, “I am going to burn her alive.”

        “Wait Loki,” she looked at his ring again, grabbing and holding his hand up for her to look closely, “the more red it becomes, the more Amora is affecting her. From the looks of it we still have time to find-” she in attempt to calm him which she successfully accomplished.

        “But we can’t find her,” he paced the floor contemplating before realizing what he needed to do. “Unless…”

      “What?” He looked into the ring for answers.

      “I can find her with the other half of her soul, with enough magic I can turn it into a tracking device,” he said with anticipation.

       “Then what are you doing explaining it to me, go find Verity.” He did so, closing his eyes and whispering an old norse spell he learned long ago when he was a child. He was shown from his shut eyes the directions Verity had ran off, to which he sprinted towards, dragging Lorelei along.

 

      “I just don’t see the problem. Loki’s already killed her, why not let her go where she belongs,” Thori responded as they searched the land for the missing person.

     “Thori,” Thor glared before continuing their walk, “Loki loves this woman-though stuffing a person’s soul is much for expressing compassion, which in itself is wrong-but he wouldn’t want to see her leave his side.”

     “A little ironic, killing your friend but not wanting her dead.”

     “Shut up Thori,” Thor said annoyed.

     “No, I’m just saying their relationship is strange, that’s all Odinson,” Thori said realizing his words were bothering him.

      “Strange yes, but Loki is strange. He was lucky enough to find someone who could accept that from him. Loki’s never been able to keep a relationship with another person stable for long and for a midgardian to last as long as Verity did, it's shocking.” He noticed Thori’s was satisfied with his response, waiting to hear what he needed to hear. Thor frowned realizing what he wanted to get out of him, “I’m not saying he deserved the company, I’m just saying he needed it.” Thori encouraged him to continue forcing him to spill his truthful words, “Because I sure as hell am not," Thori frowned but continued on there journey.

     Thor saw how much devastation and fear came from Loki when he asked him for help. It was damn near believable, he did care much for that woman and would do anything for her. But that’s how it always is, Thor knew the sentiment Loki carried everywhere he went and how much he carried. More than Thor could bare to have with him, but he suspected that’s what made Loki the man he is today and the man Thor couldn’t be.

     “I can’t deny you of that Odinson, but I smell something,” he sniffed the air searching for the source. Thor heard the sound of ruffling coming from afar and followed the continuous noise of cracking branches and leaves. Thori quickly followed behind him, realizing the noise was that of footsteps. Thori stayed back and watched Thor carefully move through the forest to find the source that he assumed was the person they were looking for.  When he walked deeper into the forest he found a large tree that he noticed was occupied by Loki’s friend.

      She lied on the tree holding a knife she had kept in her boot, a tip she learned from Lorelei. The knife dug deep into the earth and Verity held tightly to the handle of it. She wasn’t surprised to see Thor had found her, figuring he had not flown farther than her location and was certain he’d get to her eventually. Right now she wasn’t focused on the beast in front of her. Her head was low and she stared only at the knife in her hand. She had a few thoughts about ending it but only a few, but the more she looked at the knife the more it became clear. Her thoughts gnawing at her to do it, to stab it through the heart and the pain certainly wasn’t helping.

      “It wouldn’t be too hard would it,” she lifted the knife out of the ground causing Thor to step closer cautiously. She looked up at him to reveal the water in her eyes from the fear of the thought, it made her tremble with anxiety. Her eyes widen from a different thought that made her gasp, “oh God, what have I done? Loki,” she covered her mouth from choking back what she said. Thor dropped his ax and stepped closer to her, eyeing the knife she held close to her.

       “It is alright Verity, hand me the blade and we can fix this,” he knelt down in front of her, slowly reaching for the weapon.

       “I don’t know what to do Thor,” she lifted the blade slightly, “she won’t stop talking to me and I can’t take it,” she was strong enough to drop her hand, gripping the blade with all the strength.

       “Amora’s words aren’t worth dying for,” he tried grabbing the blade but Verity snatched it away from him.

       “Amora?” The voice screamed at her to do what she was meant to, reminding her the horrible memories she’s had in her life. Verity whimpered in pain before lifting the blade to her chest. Verity cried before moving the knife from her chest to her finger. She placed her hand down that wore the ring on it and placed the blade on her ring finger. “A monster,” she said through her teeth at Thor but sobbed, “and a mistake.” She referred to herself, wiping her eyes with the hand that held the knife. “I’m sorry Loki, I’m so sorry,” she managed to release as her final words before Thor grabbed the hand holding the knife, keeping it far away from her body. He grabbed her other hand to keep it from grabbing the knife and finishing the job.

      Verity struggled to be released as looked up to see Loki and Lorelei rushing to her causing her to panic. “No, get them away from me,” she screamed in a sudden change of thinking. She was able to remove her hand from Thor’s grasp and shoved her blade into the side of his back His grip loosened from the sharp pain that came from being stabbed, giving Verity the opportunity to escape. She stumbled to stand but held the knife out at her former friends, before pointing it at herself. Loki grabbed the knife from the blade, pressing it against his palm and allowing it pierce through, causing it to bleed. He gripped the rigid edge, pushing the side of the blade into Verity’s chest as he grabbed the back of her neck.

      He pressed the magic closer to her brain for the effect to happen faster, feeling her tense body loosen in his arms and her movement go limp. Her grip on her blade dropped, allowing the pressure on his hand to loosen and a chance for him to remove the blade from her. “It’s going to be fine Vey,” he said before she fell unconscious. He dropped the knife, placing his arm under her legs and lifting her feet off the ground. Lorelei helped Thor back to his feet, placing his heavy metal arm over her shoulders and carrying him back to the kingdom of Asgard. Thori followed Lorelei, keeping a close eye on Thor who was beginning to bleed out. “Are you alright,” Loki asked Thor, concerned for his health. He was positive that Thor would be fine but it was always good to check.

      “I’ll live, your friend carries hard hits for a midgardian." He looked at his hand that was covered in his own blood causing him to laugh breathlessly. He winced from the pain he felt after doing so and continued to bleed, growing weaker with each step. Loki barely formed a smile before looking back at Verity. He was lucky Thor was there to stop Verity from doing the unspeakable act. He had almost lost her again and he was grateful to the heavens that she was unharmed, at least not physically. Amora always left an imprint on her victims that he was sure he’d find on Verity soon.

 

     It didn’t take long for them to make it back to Asgard. Lorelei dragged Thor to the emergency room to be patched while Loki took Verity to his room to rest. Loki couldn’t keep his eyes off her, afraid that if he looked away she’d be gone. He held her close to his body before he forcibly unhinged his arms, releasing her onto his bed. He knelt down beside her holding her hand and rubbing the encased crystal on her ring. It was bleached in red but there were still bits of her fighting against it. If Verity wasn’t going to kill herself, Amora’s corruption certainly would. Loki placed two fingers on her temple, “this is going to hurt only a little.” He cleansed her mind of the poison Amora fed her, his magic being more efficient to wipe her slate clean.  

      Verity stirred from the discomfort, groaning in her sleep before waking up from the sharp pain she felt in the back of her head. Loki jumped back, feeling the same energy bounce back into his hand. Verity jerked up into a sitting position rubbing her head to ease the pain. Loki rubbed his hand sensing a disturbance in the transaction, his hand burned as if the spell was repelled. “Vey,” he questioned whether it had worked or not. She collected herself before looking at him, jumping back in shock. She looked around the room causing her to panic more before turning to Loki again.

     “Who are you and where am I,” she said pushing herself against the wall in fear.

      

Chapter Text

     Loki took a moment to understand what she was saying. He slowly stood as he stepped towards her causing her to push herself against the wall, holding her knees close to her chest. She hopped off the bed, heading for the door but keeping an eye on the mysterious man in front of her. “Verity, it’s me,” Loki smiled warily before moving closer to her. She backed herself into another wall, confused and scared of what was happening. Loki’s previous burning sensation in his hand didn’t seem to subside and worsen as time went on. Something wrong had happened when he tried clearing her mind of Amora’s hate, something horrible. “Your friend Loki,” he hoped it was only a side effect from the mind control. Her mind wasn’t the same when it was being tampered with, maybe it was her brain readjusting.

    Loki wasn’t lying but she could not recall meeting this man in her life. She didn’t want to put her trust in him just yet, hearing as he has not yet lied. “Okay Loki…where am I?” She asked for answers now that she knew he considered her a ‘friend.’ She thought if she was cooperative, she would be able to make her escape. Loki frowned to hear the tone of her voice, the sound of severance and the absence of years worth of a relationship. He still denied it, now praying that she’d break out of this character she was playing well. He hoped she was just playing a game and would soon burst out laughing from the great trick she pulled on him. He’d test her to see if she really recalled who he was.  

    “Do you know who I am?” He asked bluntly to which she frowned upon. She realized he saw the worry that came to her from the question and he looked to be heart broken. She straightened her spine trying to play it off coolly. If she wanted to get out of here safely, she was going to have to appease him and from the looks of it, she was failing to do so.

    “Yeah, we’re friends Loki. I’ve known you…for a while,” she stuttered on her last sentence, having to take an educated guess. Loki was unhappy to hear her answer which made her hold back her tongue to stop herself from blurting out anything that would possibly get her in trouble. She needed to think quick on her feet before something happened in this room she feared.

    “You’ve known me for eight years,” Verity felt the feeling she always got when she knew their words were wrong. She took a step towards him in a of anger.

    “I’ve known you for four,” she said remembering for the second it took her to say the correct amount. She stepped back covering her mouth in surprise she knew that. She knew she remembered something but the memories escaped her, “I’ve known you for four,” she repeated to herself puzzled.
    “Verity,” his face lit as he walked closer to her. Verity had luckily backed herself into the door and placed her hands behind her back, searching for the knob while watching Loki.

    “How do you know my name?” Verity asked in concern, knowing that she’d soon escape.    

    “We’re friends Vey,” he said exasperated as the painful truth was about to hit him.

    “I don’t have any friends, not one named Loki anyway,” she found the knob, opening the door and turning around to make a run for it. “I don’t know what’s going on Loki, but I’m not the friend you’re looking for.” Loki couldn’t get any closer before she ran out the door, sprinting for the exit. Verity wished her clarification would encourage him not to go looking for her again, but from the footsteps she heard behind her she realized that wasn’t the case. He called to her, for her to stop but that only made her run faster. She couldn’t tell what was happening but right now she needed to get away from this man.

     Verity ran down the long hall for her life. She wondered how big Loki’s house was and how far the exit to the outside world was. She guessed it was his home since she ran out of a bedroom that he clearly was vacading. The trinkets and personal belongings indicated that someone lived there and lived there for a while. She questioned why he had her in his bed, afraid something horrid might’ve happened there. She wasn’t unclothed when she woke and the attire she wore was not that for bed. She felt untouched, clean even, but she was uncertain to believe she was safe. Verity turned a corner following down a longer corridor.

    Loki chased after her. He wasn’t sure what to make of the situation, all he knew was he couldn’t let Verity out of his sight. He didn’t know whether it was still just Amora telling Verity to do things she didn’t want to. He didn’t want the chance to lose her again because of his ignorance to see the deception caused by the infamous enchantress. Verity couldn’t remember him and he couldn’t tell if it was part of the mind control or if she genuinely forgot who he was. Either way, he couldn’t let her go as easily as he did the first time, not ever again. He asked for her to stop but if she wouldn’t comply soon, he was going to have to act.

     Verity was panicking as she began to lose her breath. She kept up the pace but she didn’t know how long she was going to keep this up. She thought his house was bigger than a mansion from the size of it. She had yet to find the exit door or a set of stairs to reach the bottom floor. “What is this place, a castle?” She looked around noticing the odd statues of men in a “warrior” outfit placed evenly throughout the hall. The encrypted writing and few paintings that covered the walls of his home, maybe it was a castle. In that case, where was there a castle in New York that she knew of? Definitely none near her apartment, but maybe there were renovations across the street she didn’t see.

     Verity looked back to see how far he was from her. She kept running without looking in front of her until she bumped into a woman that walked out a room besides her in a rush. Verity barely could look before she knocked over the lady with her shoulder, tumbling to the ground herself from the surprise contact. Verity rolled over her and quickly sat up to see if Loki was still after her. She shook her head to wave the disorientation away and glanced at the woman once she knew she was clear for the short moment. The lady groaned annoyed as she gathered her thoughts together. Verity caught her breath before she grabbed the fallen lady’s attention, “please help me, there’s somebody after me.”

    The woman stood while helping Verity to her feet in confusion, “who?”

    “Lorelei, don’t let her go,” Loki shouted from afar causing Lorelei to tighten her slightly.

   “What? Why? Verity are you okay, who’s after you,” Verity watched in horror as she realized this woman associated with the man chasing after her. She snatched her arm away from her, slowly walking back from her to get a good view of the people. Lorelei snapped her gaze towards her from surprise before Verity shoved her back to the ground and ran off. Lorelei had no time to react to Verity’s action as she caught herself before hitting the ground with her body. She sat up and whipped her head back at Loki who stopped in front of her to help her up. “What happened now,” Lorelei asked exasperated.

    “We need to catch her,” he managed to say while catching his breath. Loki opened a portal before walking in with Lorelei tiredly following behind. She sighed heavily before building her energy to deal with whatever would come next.

    Verity turned a corner, reaching the set of stairs that would lead her to freedom. She almost thought it was too good be true knowing that every person she saw was after her, but it was. Loki appeared in front of her blocking her way and the woman from earlier ran behind her. She swallowed hard before attempting to push past him but he grabbed her arm, pulling her back. “Verity please stop,” he held her by her shoulders to keep her in place.

      “Please, just let me go,” she begged both of them, “I don’t know you,” she clarified to him, pleading from him to understand that she didn’t.

      “What happened Loki,” Lorelei asked conflicted. She was starting to feel bad for her and was tempted to release her.

      “I don’t know, my spell, it rid her of more than Amora’s thoughts. It rid her of her memories of us as well. The portion that was corrupted is now eliminated,” Verity watched between the two in fear. Something told her this wouldn’t be the end of what they planned for her.

     “Do you remember me,” Lorelei asked her to which she shook her head in response. “You don’t remember Loki? At all?”

     “No-I don’t remember ever meeting any of you,” she explained herself. Both glanced at each other before turning their attention back to Verity. Both had disappointment in their eyes, but Loki was affected by the confession worse.

     “If we release you, will you run?” Lorelei asked, feeling it was best to make them seem less hostile than their first impression.

      “What do you plan to do with me,” Verity asked honestly.

      “Nothing. We just want to ask a few questions,” Verity was skeptical at first but Loki released her without her agreement to the deal. Verity stepped away from them, checking their hostility levels. None of them came towards her and both stood still in their place observing her.

      “Tell me where I am,” she demanded out of the man that previously chased her.

      “Asgard, kingdom of gods,” he used the technical description of it, loathing the phrase but thought of it as the best way to describe the aesirs largely inflated ego of each other. His simple but honest answer made Verity lower her guard slightly. She wondered how long he’d keep this streak of honest answers before he would lie.

      “Did you kidnap me?”

      “You came here willingly,” she was a bit stunned to hear that as true. Was he truly a friend she had forgotten or was it a trick. “We were here to get Thor and steal the seven keys from Tivan,” she looked quizzically at him. Was she there to help him? She couldn’t remember doing it but she knew it as truth.

      “Could I go home?”

      “If you want to Vey,” she nodded reluctantly before he opened a portal. Verity hesitantly walked into the portal, watching behind her before entering. Loki walked into the portal but Lorelei held him back.

      “Be gentle with her, if she truly can’t remember then you’re going to want to go easy on her.” Loki tugged on her for her to go as well but she pulled away.

     “She’s not going to feel safe if it’s just me,” Loki admitted since they got off on the wrong start.

     “Verity’s your best friend. You’ll talk to her and I’ll try and figure out how to fix this. I’m sure Amora will have a reverse effect of the spell or at least answers.” Loki nodded before leaving her behind for Verity.

      Verity was shocked to see the sight of her apartment. The place was torn inside out and ripped apart. Everything was misplaced, furniture shredded and tossed aside, walls smashed in and doors cracked open. She checked her room to see the place completely destroyed, her bed covers and sheets thrown off the bed and her drawers wide open and empty, all the items kept in them were on the floor or demolished. Her home was ruined by a force she didn’t know and it gave her a mixture of anger and sadness. She left her room, afraid that if she looked back she would cry. Loki exited the room across the hall from hers. “Who did this Loki?” She asked trying to keep her composure but having a hard time.

      “The nephilim. They were looking for that woman you met a minute ago, her names Lorelei. Now they’ve been after us. It’s actually not safe for us to be here, they could still be here,” her head hung low as she contemplated. Her head lifted to see Loki pull something out of the pocket of his jacket. “Thought you might need these to see from afar,” he held out a pair of glasses to her. She hesitantly grabbed them, “I always kept a spare in my drawer just in case they broke or I broke them.”

       “Thanks,” she put them on, surprised they were a perfect match to her sight, “how’d you know I needed glasses?”

       “I’ve known you for a while, ‘four years’ you described it.”

       “I  guess you really weren’t lying about being friends,” it was a far stretch but maybe he was right. He hadn’t lied once to her and that was going to benefit him. “If there really are people after me, then I guess I can’t stay here,” she said in sadness.

      “I’m so sorry Vey,” he said realizing how much this affected her. She never really had an opinion the first time she lost her home, now that she didn’t know the circumstances she could be offended by it. She pulled herself together, pushing the feeling aside as much as she could while the pain still ached her. Loki reached for her in attempt to comfort her but was reluctant to from the loss of connection. “Do you remember anything before waking up,” it took her a moment to recall. It felt so long ago yet that’s all she could think of.

      “I was talking to my mom. She was telling to go out, like with other people…speed dating,” she sighed remembering the moment. “I was planning on going tomorrow,” she covered her face in mild embarrassment. Loki’s face lit to hear she remembered the place they had first met.

      “I’m glad you remember the activity at the very least,” she asked him to elaborate, “it’s where we met. I was capturing Lorelei but I came across you,” with his vague retelling of the story, he hoped she’d remember something out of it. Verity didn’t recognize the memory, so he moved to different subject. “But anyways, are you willing to come back to Asgard with me?”

      “I’ve got no other options,” she shrugged as he touched her shoulder and teleported them back.

     “Will you be alright,” Loki asked wondering if she was okay after experiencing that.

     “I’ll have to be,” she sighed heavily before taking a deep breath in. “If I have forgotten all my memories of you…and that other woman, than I want to know what I’ve forgotten.”

     “Are you sure Verity,” he wasn’t sure she had her trust in him as much as she used to.

     “I know we got off on the wrong foot but I’m clearly missing pieces of my memory. I need to know what happened back there and if you’re the only one who knows the answers then I’ll take it,” Loki stood in awe for how much she was beginning to sound like herself. “My home was wrecked and I want to know why Loki. You haven’t told a lie once since we’ve met and I’m certain you won’t do it now,” he had almost forgotten she was a human lie detector. It’s become a way of life for him to speak the truth of every tale, even the ones he was living in.

     He grabbed her hand and guided her through the castle, “where are you taking me,” she thought over whether it was a good idea agreeing to trust him.

     “Nowhere special, just quiet and secluded,” Verity stopped him in his tracks. She wasn’t keen on the idea which he could respect but he was going to have to find another way to tell her. “Let me tell you a story-” he began his anecdote before  the ground shook violently, cutting him off mid-sentence. Verity stumbled off balance but Loki grabbed her before she fell while also trying to keep balance. Verity thanked him before another violent earthquake hit the building causing them separate.

    “What’s happening,” Verity managed to say before falling.

    “I don’t know-” the ground beneath them began to crack and the sound of the floor crumbling reverberated. He managed to help Verity off the ground before she fell with the rest of the ground.

    “Look out!” Verity shouted, pointing behind him. He looked noticing the hands that shot out the ground and grabbed his legs, dragging him and the floor under him down. He shoved Verity off the breaking floor as he was dragged to the first floor of the kingdom. The hands whipped his body to ground before he could react to the pulling, causing his chest to hit the floor first. His body flipped over when the ground fell and his head felt the impact of him reaching the solid ground. Verity called to him but he couldn’t focus his senses while in the moment of agonizing pain.

    Loki coughed up the pain he felt in his chest and placed his hands over the back of his head trying to ease the pain. His eyes were closed as he focused on healing the feeling but opened wide when he heard Verity calling him. He looked beside him where the hands retracted from. The pairs of hands retreated to three grey figures standing in front of him. He quickly recovered, hopping back on his feet and spawning his scepter to use for balance. He shook the haziness off as he looked up at Verity, “oh my God, are you okay Loki?”

      “I’m fine Vey, get to safety,” Loki shouted but she hadn’t seem to agree.

      “But what about you, I can’t leave you,” she wasn’t sure what she’d do, all she knew was she wasn’t leaving him to die.

       “I’ll be fine just go-” one of the hands shot at him, knocking him off his feet and out of Verity’s view.

    “Loki!” She shouted rethinking whether she should go down there.

    “Go,” Loki yelled back at her while his mind drifted in and out of consciousness. His priority now was to protect Verity from the harm that could possibly come to her.

    “I’m going to get help,” Verity managed to say before reluctantly leaving him. She couldn’t leave him with whatever was attacking him for long, looking for help anywhere she could find it. Loki picked himself up from the hole he created in the wall, throwing the rubble on top of him off onto the ground. He sighed heavily as he regained the energy he had lost from the hard hit to the solid ground to the compacted wall. He stammered forward before grounding himself. Another hand came after him but he was ready. He waited until the right moment to dodge the attack, holding his scepter up and slicing the elastic arm in front of him.

     Blood spurted out from both ends of the severed arm that splattered over  Loki’s face. The detached hand squirmed rapidly until Loki crushed it with steel-toe boot. He heard the scream of the nephilim whose hand it belonged to. He turned to the three after him and began making his way towards them. The nephilim was injured for only a short time as his arm grew back. Loki huffed, realizing they’d be more flexible than before. All three separated, covering more ground and more spots to attack. Loki halted, waiting to see who would attack first and who’d be the first to die.

    The nephilim in front of him ran at him but the one beside him grabbed him. He shoved his scepter in its arm, melting the arm off of him. The hand loosened as it fell to the ground, drying up into dust while doing so. Loki turned to the creature running at him fired the energy encased in his weapon at the nephilim. The pure energy seared through the nephilim’s chest causing it to collapse. It was healing quickly but slow enough for Loki to act before it got back up. He ran at it, aiming for its head but the third creature snatched him and threw him across the room.

    His body smashed through the wall into a hallway. He could tell it was the hallway they had busted through, from the body of guards piled up through the hall. He barely had enough time to grasp his balance before a nephilim charged through the same hole he was thrown into. He slammed his shoulder into Loki’s chest, running him into another wall. Loki pushed his scepter into the stomach of the nephilim, melting it from the inside. The creature let go, pulling away from him only to slam back into him. He grabbed the scepter from his hand and yanked it away from him. Loki despawned his weapon, attempting to respawn it in his hand but the nephilim wrapped its stretching fingers around his abdomen and squeezed the life out of him.

      Loki felt the reappearing pain that came from his sore body multiple by a hundred. He winced and whined from the pain he desperately wanted to stop. He could not focus his magic on his scepter while in the incapacitating agony he was in. With the little focus he had, he spawned a dagger in his hand and stabbed the nephilim in the back. When he didn’t go down he stabbed him again, stabbing him repeatedly until his back was covered in blood. His grip only became tighter around his body and he lost the passion to breath.

    Its eyes glowed bright, a sight Loki couldn’t help but look at. Loki in a last struggle grabbed its head, pushing it away from him. He shoved his dagger into the eye of the nephilim, splitting it in half and causing him to scream. Loki held onto the handle and twisted the dagger, finally getting let loose from the creatures strong hold. The nephilim yelled in torment as he tried pulling the blade out of his eye. Loki dropped to the floor recuperating while the creature begged for help. He crawled to a corner and hid behind a wall to breath. His ribs were officially broken but he still had to take care of the problem behind him.

    The screaming stopped suddenly and the room grew silent. Loki quickly got to his feet and formed his scepter in his hand. A hand bashed through the wall where he stood and pulled him into the room he stood behind. His body was thrown onto the floor before he got back up to his feet, targetting his blade at the creature. He fired at the nephilim a few times to shoot it back from the room as he realized there was another person present in the room. Loki respectfully greeted the maiden hiding fearfully in a corner  before running out of her room in a haste.

    Loki chopped off another hand by the other nephilim after him as he went after the one attacking him previously. He ran to the larger room he met the three in, welecomed by the leader of the group. He cut off the hand of another from behind but was thrown by the other. He was tossed across the room but he caught himself before he’d consider it a thrown. He was now in the center of the room when the leader called onto more of the nephilim he had hidden away for the right moment. “It’s tiring being continuously thrown across the room,” he said breathlessly. They surrounded him, with more people to keep him from escaping . Loki took a deep breath, “fine,” he said, knowing he wouldn’t be able to stop them all with just one.

     Loki concentrated on himself as duplicates of himself surrounded him, covering him like a shield. Each Loki he put a piece of himself inside of, making their embodiment as authentic as the real thing but without the dying part. Once he knew they had their objectives to fulfill, he released them onto the battlefield of war. “Go for the eyes,” Loki shouted to his doppelgangers that nodded to the command.  They ran towards the nephilim with blades in hand as they jumped onto the grey figure, gauging their eyes out. Few kept the Lokis' blades away from their eyes, throwing them onto the ground and shoving their fists through their chest. Few passed the dopplegangers and aimed for the real one.

      There were five after Loki, each holding a weapon of some sort. Their bright eyes and symbols covering their body was mesmerizing, a trick they realized could be used against them. Loki held his ground as they surrounded him closely. One attempted to stab him low to distract him from the blade that aimed for the top of his spine. He bent down to grab the blade near his lower body before turning swiftly, blocking the sword above him with his metal plated forearm. He snatched the sword from the nephilim hand and gripped it tightly as he shoved it in the stomach of the other. He stepped back and reached the momentum needed to kick the grey creature away from him. He ran towards it with its sword while it lied on the ground and slammed the blade in the throat of the creature.

     It choked blood but it was nowhere near dead. Loki picked up the sword and sliced the head of the fallen creature. The head twitched instinctively as its eyes rolled in the back of its head. Loki kicked the head across the room just in case it reattached itself before turning to the other ten in the room. A nephilim he saw fell onto all four, arching its back and cracking its bone. His face contorted when he opened his mouth wide to expose the large saber teeth growing out in front of his moderately normal teeth. Its spine grew out of his skin and his arms and legs became hind. Sharp claws shaped its hands and dug themselves within the earth. He growled but hushed when he prepared to pounce on Loki.

     Loki watched in awe of the transformation. The creature was much larger than the rest and stronger as well. The other nephilim stood beside it as their eyes glowed. The beast stood back as they sprinted for him. Loki kept his scepter close to him as the each took turns on  bringing him down. He blocked each swing and jabbed each head. He managed to get them to back away, giving him a chance to cut the heads off of a few but it only angered the beast. He grabbed the hand of one and sliced it off, jamming the point of his scepter in the eye of it. He pulled it out and stabbed him in the neck. The nephilim wobbled back, holding his arms out to grab him but Loki swung his weapon at him, chopping the head of another.

     Loki fired at the one behind him and beside him. The beast roared loudly as it charged at him in a fit of rage. Loki disappeared into thin air leaving the creature confused. He appeared on top of the creature, holding onto the vertebrae for stability He stepped to the front of the beast, holding his scepter in the air. The creature tried shaking him off violently but he stayed attached by inserting the blade into a soft spot of its exoskeleton. It ran around the room, slamming into walls to rid him but he stayed.

    A nephilim jumped onto the beast to take care of the problem. Loki shot him off the ride and continued his procedure. The beast grew tired of running which gave him a chance to dig deeper in the soft spot. He melt the wound wider until the meat of beast began spilling out. It screeched in horror but eventually slowed as it sat on its belly. Loki made a larger hole in the neck of the beast causing it to stop moving as it slowly burned out. He jumped off the nephilim to shoot its eyes out before it would heal. There were only a few nephilim left in the room that he shot down, each one he chopped the head off of. When he was certain there were none left he planted his scepter and leaned against it as he caught his breath.

     Loki took his time to recover. He didn’t notice the nephilim that came from the hole, slowly walking towards him. It grabbed him from the back and proceeded to crush him in his hold. It lifted him in the air as it squeezed as hard as it could. His arms weren’t free in this embrace for him to do anything. He tried pushing its grip off of him but it only got tighter. He didn’t have any energy left for him to fight back as he was slowly crushed. His lungs gave out and concave. His eyes began to shutter close from the lack of air he received. His body trembled till his brain sent no more waves to move.

     He could faintly hear from his last beat, life, thunder. His eyes rose as he saw Thor run in with an electrified ax in his hand. He sprinted towards the nephilim, throwing his battle ax and hitting him in the side. The creature’s grip loosen as it turned towards Thor in surprise. Thor lifted his hand and punched the face of the demon crushing his brother. Its body flew across the room, hitting the ground when it dropped. Thor grabbed his ax and waited for the nephilim to come back for him as he expected, swinging his ax upward to slice its head off.  

    Loki dropped to the floor, lying on his back as he coughed up more blood than he thought. Thor stood in his view, “What took you so long,” Thor offered his hand to Loki, pulling him off the ground. “I think I’m internally bleeding,” he half heartedly smiled revealing the blood that covered his teeth before he passed out onto him. Thor picked his brother up and dragged him out of the massacre that occurred on this floor.

    

     Loki jumped out of bed in panic. His scepter appeared in his hand when he held it out as a threat. Once he realized he was in the safety of his room he sat back and dropped his weapon. He noticed Verity was asleep at the desk in his room which brought him comfort. She woke from the sense of being watched, realizing Loki had woke. “Are you okay Loki,” she stood from her seat walking towards him. “When I saw you, you were knocked out and bleeding. I didn’t know if you’d make it.”

     “So it wasn’t a dream,” he said to himself before the aching feeling reappeared to his senses. “Which means you don’t remember me,” he said with disappointment. “What happened with Thor?”

     “He left with a pet of his, it was a really big dog,” she emphasized the operative word. “So uh, how are you feeling?”

     “Like crap, but I’m alive,” he said in gratitude, “how are you?” She looked at him a bit confused but answered the question.

    “Fine, a little traumatized but I’ll live,” they both chuckled at the repetition.

    “How long before I can leave my bed,” he asked knowing the damage was fatal.

    “Weeks probably, I didn’t check. I just really came to check on you. Also since you’re the only person I knew, I didn’t want to socialize much.” She admitted uncomfortably but truthfully. Loki smiled to hear she considered him a person she ‘knew.’ It was progress but it was good progress.

     “So you’re staying with me,” he smiled hopeful.

     “That’s the only way for me to get my memory back Loki. What else would I do,” she asked rhetorically.

     “See, you’re already sounding like yourself,” Loki said in joy. She rolled her eyes before sitting next to him, asking him question of their past.

     

Chapter Text

     Lorelei guided Verity in the kingdom while Loki recovered.Verity visited him whenever she could, collecting all the information she could about her past. She was in disbelief to hear the things she’s done in her life. She knew them to be true, she only wished she could feel it. “And you’re positive this is me you are talking about,” she was uncertain. She propped her chair next to his bed, facing him.

    “I could never mistake your face for another,” he charmed.

    “I’m glad you’ve taken an interest in me,” Verity smiled to what she knew to be certain.

    “Actually, it’s you who took an interest in me. You were the only person who stayed when I needed a hand and that takes much will.” She laughed causing him to frown in a loss of understanding.

   “I highly doubt I was the only one,” she didn’t think he’d be a person who’d get left behind.

    “On the contrary, you were the last person to be there.” She didn’t believe him even though he was telling the truth, “you can’t remember the stories about my past and part of me is glad of that.  It was the slit within our friendship, but it was also the patch sewed on top of it.”

    “What kind of person were you?” She was intrigued to hear of his past life, realizing she knew nothing about him before they met.

    “I did some bad things, hurt some people,” he said with a tone of regret.

    “Like murder or something,” she didn’t it as bad as Loki knew it was. Her fixed opinion on his character made it hard to open her mind to the endless possibilities of wrong he could’ve done.

    “Mass genocide and homicide. Attempt to world domination and enslavement. I’ve caused wars and the destruction of planets,” Verity was shocked to hear that and she felt a sensation of befuddlement by the statement. “I know, it’s strange to talk to a madman like me,” he admitted laughing to himself.

    “I just would never see you like that. You seem more calmer than to go destroy a planet,” she need a confirmation to fully grasp the idea.

     “There’s much we’ll have to discuss,” he stated before asking for a hand. Verity stood grabbing his hands and helping him out the bed. He made for the exit but Verity stopped him.

     “You’re not planning on walking around?” She asked concerned.

     “There was a reason you helped me on my feet,” she tugged him back gently.

     “I strongly advise you don’t. The doctor said you’re not well enough,” she said aching for him to return.

      “I’m not going to lie in bed forever. My body’s more sturdy because of my will for it to be, I’m going outside,” He opened the door, limping his way out. Verity decided to push the matter aside and let him do what he wanted. She was becoming more emotionally attached than she thought and she still barely knew the man. She did feel as though she were responsible for his injuries and she felt it was her duty to see through this recovery. It was just another excuse to explain her feelings. He did say they were close before, what should it matter if she was becoming attached? Maybe it was her past grasping her mind again and the same feelings before were resurfacing. It wasn’t as if Loki noticed, the more attached, the better.

     But with every stitch of honesty and feeling, the scissors of doubt would cut the wound open again. Even if she knew the tales he told were true, she couldn’t vision them as so. Her memory went blank whenever she thought about them. She couldn’t picture herself in that past life and her doubts would arise when she thought about them. Maybe it was a trick, if he knew her then it would be easy for him to lie to her without her being able to detect it. She didn’t think that would ever be possible but what if it was? He would be the one person to find out and she wouldn’t know because she doesn’t remember.

    She never did ask how she lost her memory. It may have slipped her mind but it would be interesting to know how it happened. She was jumping to conclusions but it was starting to worry her. Every passing day brought more questions, and although Loki was very open to answers it could be a facade used to distract her from his true intentions. Verity would have to ask someone else for answers to confirm his. With her missing memories she wouldn’t know what truly happened between him and her.

     “Any particular destination,” Verity held his back and arm to keep him from falling.

     “Maybe the outside, or inside. I don’t really know, I just need to move.” Verity walked the halls with him, being given a small tour of the sections they wandered. She didn’t talk much, keeping her thoughts to herself and only nodding in understanding his words. Her actions never came unnoticed by Loki and her memory may be gone but the distance given at a close range was no loss of fond memories. He stopped them in their tracks and removed his grip from hers.

    “I’ll be back soon,” he entered a room, making her wait outside the door. She sighed as she leaned against the wall, sensing the tension between them. She hated that there were but she couldn’t help but see the strangeness that came with their relationship. She couldn’t say why but something told her not to trust him and it made her uncomfortable. There was the side of her that stayed with him because he was the only person she could trust but it felt to good to be true. To believe there was one person on earth that wouldn’t lie to her, it felt like a dream. She wished she could have answers and she wished she had her memory back but she was stuck. Stuck in a place of the in between where she didn’t know which direction to go.  

       Loki came back putting a small trinket in his pocket before leading her to another room. “We have to visit Lorelei,” he said with a bit of anticipation. Verity wasn’t excited to hear she would be seeing Lorelei

again, her character was strange. Lorelei had been helping her understand her surroundings but not in the normal sense of the way. Lorelei came to her room periodically mostly to observe her condition and her thoughts.She would ask Verity of her past and if she saw any flashes of them or of someone. It felt like a session with a therapist but more of being lab rat in an experiment. The questions were nerve racking but she didn't like there was a choice to not answer.

      Lorelei frequently discussed about one woman in particular. She couldn't remember her name but Lorelei seemed fixated on this woman. She wanted to know if Verity had thoughts or dreams about her but she couldn't think of any memory with her. It was like she hid something from her about the woman, something important that she couldn't put her finger on it.  

       Verity supposed both people were hiding things from her now that they had a chance. It made her suspicious and quizzical, not being able to understand anything. After they passed a few corridors they landed at Lorelei's door. Loki didn't bother to knock, opening the door and dragging Verity in with him though she disagreed to. Lorelei jumped out of bed from the noise that came from the outside and she covered herself with her cover even though she never removed her clothes. She stood quickly at the sight of Loki and Verity and rubbed her eyes to wake fully.

        “Sorry to wake you Lorelei but I wanted to see how you were doing in contacting your sister.” Loki said plainly, standing closely to Verity.

        “Bad,” she sighed in annoyance, “why haven't you tried?” She wondered why she was the only one trying when he has a probably easier access to Amora.

        “I have, every moment I get. She hasn't picked up once,” he said with disappointment. He wondered what Amora could be doing that she wouldn't answer one call. It wasn't as if Malekith had her do much, it was Loki who take care of the heavy lifting and rearrangement of pieces. She was just a bodyguard to him, nothing major she would be distracted in.

        “How are you Verity, still forgotten,” Lorelei asked almost rhetorically.

         “Hmm, well I still have no memory of you and I'm implementing memories that he tells me so, bad.”

        “Right,” Lorelei said in thought.

        “On another note, we need to deal with the nephilim.” Lorelei nodded breaking out of thought, “they're becoming an even bigger issue than I thought. The good thing is they seemed to only be after me but bad news is they are coming at a larger and stronger rate. I've already set a meeting with us and Thor in the throne room about the plan and leaving as soon as we can. The other reason why I came,” Loki announced. “I planned to tell Thor but then I had you do it for me,” he said asking. Lorelei sighed again as she sat on the edge of her bed slumped.

      “Why,” she asked exasperated.

       “Our relationship isn't anywhere near good but at least he can look at you,” he said deadpanned. Lorelei frowned to hear him running from his problems but agreed to tell him.

      “Also since you can barely stand on your own,” she said noticing Verity held him up. He chuckled as he attempted to pick himself up and failing miserably. Verity chuckled to see him fall back into her hands which caused him to smile. “But you should probably get back to your bed,” she warned.

     “As I said to Vey but in a longer analogy, no. I've been in bed for weeks, it's time I gave my lady a real date,” he leaned into Verity smiling wildly. She blushed from the words and surprise close contact.

     “What?” She said confused by the gesture. Lorelei rolled her eyes as she crossed her arms over her chest.

     “Fine but don't take too long. We have a lot to cover when we talk,” she gave him an intense stare. Loki nodded as he pulled Verity out of her room and taking her off to the side. The world around them melted away as a new one formed in front of them. Trees began to sprout out of the hardened ground and earth covered the land. Verity watched in awe and unsettlement at the sight of the transformation. She turned to Loki for reassurance only to see him wave his hand that caused the change in scenery.

    They were outside from what she could see. She had never seen them teleport the way he visioned it. “I want to show you something Vey,” he said maintaining the balance he gained on his own and weakly continuing forward. Verity looked around for the last time before following him deeper into the forest. Loki rustled through the tall trees and large bushes of Asgard's forest before making it to the area he lead her to. “It's been something I wanted to show for a long time, before you lost you memories.” Verity walked out of the bushes to see an abandoned stone temple.

    “Woah,” she said amazed by the broken glory. The temple was decaying  and pieces of the structure had fallen to the ground, covered in the vines and moss of the earth. The earth planted the abandoned structure and kept it together with its own mortar. Parts that crumbled were joined by the grass that grew between the cracks and vines that wrapped around them. The roof was tilted from the broken pillar that kept it up. The set of stairs that led to the entrance cracked under its weight and shriveled into dust. “I thought this place was made of gold,” Verity said surprised to find it wasn't true.

     “The main kingdom yes, but rare time comes when we find an old praying temple. Old Asgard was full of them, but not Asgardia. This is one of the last.” He began to make his way up the crumbling stairs, helping Verity while he did. The entrance led to small room with a large set of stairs that spiraled deeper into the temple. The sunlight from the outside illuminated the room enough for them to see but the stairs grew darker by the step until there was nothing left but the abyss of darkness. Verity disagreed to go down but he insisted, leading her deeper into the temple.

      Loki placed his hand against the wall as the spiraled downward, sparking a flame in his hand that the lit the way. Verity jumped in surprise, concerned to see his hand burst into flame. He reassured her with the explanation that it was only magic though there were perks of being the god of it. The spiral stairs seemed endless until they met another brighter light coming from their exit. Her eyes went blind at the sight of the pit of molten lava stored deep inside the temple.

      It was a large pit that split off into sections throughout the temple, powering what was left of it. The sections lead to areas where spells were casted and sacrifices were made. The lava is what kept the temple breathing, it kept alive and pure. There wasn't as much room as Verity would've appreciated for them to walk across the lava to get to where he wanted them to be. Verity was more amazed than terrified. She observed the different marking and etches within the wall as they walked across the narrow bridge. The different statues of Asgard's current and previous king, holding their poise and dignity high. At the base of their statues were words written in their native tongue which she could only guess talked about bravery and honor.

       Stories architected across the walls of previous “righteous” battles and wars won. One showed the fight between Odin and The Serpent. Another of Bor fighting against the armies of Jotunheim. There were three door in front of them, each with a different lighting. Loki was eager to enter the brightest one in the center, pulling Verity in with him. Verity was curious to see what he wished to show only to see a memorial wall of someone's glory. There was a set of stairs that went to an empty pedestal and a window near the ceiling that beamed the sunlight into the center.

      “Who is that,” Verity looked at the man in a red cape and holding a hammer in the center of the memorial. Loki chuckled as he sat at the top of the steps.

     “He looks a lot different now doesn't he,” he looked back smiling. “That's Thor Vey,” she squinted her eyes for a better look.

      “What happened to him,” she said noticing the hope in this Thor's eyes.

      “He became unworthy of the hammer he's yielding,” he said pointing at the image. She observed the room and wandered around touching the etched walls. As her wonder faded away she began to question why he had brought her here of all places. “Kid Loki used to go here, whenever he was challenged with a difficult moral decision. He'd stay here and just think with the guidance and protection of what was above him,” he said aiming at Thor.

      “Whose ‘Kid Loki?’ You?”

     “He was a better me. Someone an older me made to be better, but ended up killing him.

     “Really?” She asked flabbergasted.

     “Yes,” he said regretfully, “ and although the guilt doesn't ale me as much anymore, the painful memory does shake me.” Verity frowned to hear it, “he wasn't the only person to be harmed because of me and not the only memory that wakes me up at night.” Verity sat next to him, less curious about the place and more concern for Loki. He explained to her all the good people he had wrongly hurt in his past. He went down the line, starting with his brother who he felt he had hurt the most. He did so many awful deeds to hurt him, killing people he cared about, destroying their home, and attempting to kill him with no remorse for any. The worst part about it was he did it more than once and continuously for centuries.

      He began to talk about the pain he brought to his family. The disappointment he got from his mother, the regret from his father, the hate from his brother. He had no one else to blame but himself and it took him too long to see his mistake. He drifted to Leah and the mistake he made with her. It may have been Kid Loki's doing but he was responsible for all of his actions and his existence is the reason Loki banished her. He didn't want her to see the monster he would become after Ikol got to him. He moved on to earth and his mark on it, describing the many times he's tried to destroy and the one time he removed it of all life. Verity stopped him before he continued, “why tell me now,” she said, feeling as though his goal was to make her run away.

     “Because I never have. Even when you hadn't lost your memory, I never gave you details, reasons to how or why everybody hates me. I know you may have associated with indifference but, it was never just that. They had good reasons to want me dead,” he stood pacing, worried.

      “But why not later, when you trust me with this information,” she asked a lot more calmer than he was.

      “I do trust you, but you don't trust me and this was my only chance to tell you who the true me was without our past relationship blocking you from staying or leaving. I don't want to make the same mistake I've made for centuries and I don't want to hurt you like I did the rest.” Verity stood baffled before Loki grabbed her hand, “at least if you go, you won't be attached to come back.” She snatched her hand back and turned away, walking a few steps from him.

    “It’s too late,” she turned to him shrugging, “I don't know this person you described to me but it doesn't sound like you.” She placed a hand on his shoulder, “you've been nothing but honest with me and I've never met or heard somebody who could do-be honest.” He face still read uncertain, “ I trust you Loki,” she said with more confidence than expected. “And I don't think you're a bad guy,” she smiled, “you're my friend,” she said simply. He leaned in and pulled her in for a tight hug. Caught off guard, she lifted her arms in surprise before placing her arms around him as well.

       Verity felt a familiarity with the warm hug she received and the feeling made comfortable with it. It took Loki to let go for her to release him, not wishing not to forget this memory or the ones she already lost. By the blink of an eye they were back in the kingdom of Asgard, the throne room specifically. Loki hopped onto the throne chair, lying his body on top of it with Verity to stand beside him. Lorelei was first to enter and didn't bother to ask why he felt the need to sit there. Thor and Thori were the only ones to use the door to enter. Thor glared to see his brother sitting in their father's chair gleefully.

        “Get down from there you despicable creature,” he growled through his teeth.

        “Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words are mine ,” he bit back, leaving Thor with a distastefulness of venomous poison on his tongue.

        “Why have you called us,” he manage to say before biting back his tongue.

       “Great question,” Loki stepped down, walking up to them. “I've called to talk about the nephilim attack that happened weeks ago.”

       “And the plan for Tivan.” Lorelei chimed to keep him on track. Loki agreed, explaining the urgency of the situation before getting to the plan.

       “What were those things?” Thor asked.

       “Nephilim, they have bad history with Asgard (as most things do) and want to kill Lorelei and now me.”

       “So what's the plan,” Thor said, tired of the talking.

       “We sell you back to Tivan and he gives us the lock to the door the nephilim came from,” he said plainly.

       “That’s an awful plan,” Lorelei exclaimed, confused for why she even showed.

       “I am going to kill you,” Thor promised him, enraged by the plan. Bicker and rambling ensued from the two as they argued with Loki about the plan. He silenced the room before the argument could continue, explaining himself.

       “The Collector has nothing left at this point and if you escaped him before, than you can do it again,” both were still very uncertain and began to argue. “This will be very easy, even if you were trapped we could get you out, but as I said before,” Lorelei stopped him to comment on his idiotic plan but Thor hushed both them.

    “Fine Loki, I’ll go along with your terrible plan ,” he let his thoughts go and called for Thori who began to play with Verity. She didn’t seemed bothered but she was startled by the large dog patting her leg in search of something out of her. Thori ran to Thor in excitement as they headed for the exit.

     “She has no memory in her head,” Thori concluded from his search. Thor grumbled as he rubbed his sore shoulder where she stabbed him, ignoring his observation. Thori turned around to see his old friend once more.

      “Come Thori, we have other business to attend to. Leave Loki and his followers to his own wasteland.”

      “Well that went amazing,” Lorelei pointed out sarcastically.

      “Shut up,” he rebutted knowing she was right.

      “This isn’t going to work if he doesn’t cooperate,” she realized for a while now.

      “He will,” Loki stepped up to help Verity down the throne, “I know my brother, in time he will.”

      “And what’s that supposed to mean,” Lorelei asked.

      “He’ll put his trust in me again.” He walked out the room with Verity, speaking under his breath, “he’ll forgive me one day.” Verity saw the darkness in his eyes, the gloomy look he naturally had. He didn’t speak for a while as they walked the halls and the silence was intensifying the mood. He was in his own thoughts and it didn’t look to be good.

      “Loki, I-” he stopped, holding her back.

     “No Verity. Things are already as bad as they are,” his face lifted. “Right now, I just want to take my friend out for the night,” he said smiling halfheartedly. Verity was uncertain but breathed a laugh from the uncertainty. She agreed to join, making his smile widen with more confidence. Her smile widen from the joy that came to his eyes and a grin formed on his lips. He grabbed her hand and quickly made it to his room where he could prepare. Verity’s scepticism grew by the mischievous look Loki gave her, but following through whatever he had planned for her.  

       

      

Chapter Text

     Loki didn’t inform Verity what it was they were searching for, and only told her he would once the journey started. They headed back out into the depths of the woods as the sun began to set, days were much shorter compared to earth. Not as short as Jupiter, which compared to their land, made them one of the smaller moons of Jupiter. They were still a solid piece of mother earth and as such, had semi-similar days and nights as Earth but the difference is noticeable. When the day was on the verge of night and Verity had followed Loki through the woods to a small convenient patch of land with trees surrounding it, Loki sat in the center.

     He glanced at Verity before closing his eyes. Verity didn’t quite understand what he was going to do but she knew not to stand in the way or waste time trying to ask. On the last hill could be seen the last bit of sun that shined through the cracks and hit Asgard with an orange glow. The sky’s darkness began to creep and circle around them. Loki whispered a spell under his breath as the sun went down. Verity could hear what he was saying but didn’t understand it. Maybe it was his first language she hadn’t heard him talk about.

    His words lit the ground. A white glow shot out the cracks of the ground and slowly burned a path following straight ahead. Within the path was writing of old norse, leading the trail. Loki stood gleefully and allowed the continuation of the journey. The light show was a bit intriguing to see but Verity still wondered where the light would take them. If the journey did begin, than questions should be answered. Verity was behind him as they traveled and grabbed his shoulder to pull her forward and pull him back. “What are we searching for Loki?”

    “Something perfect,” he answered swiftly before continuing forward. The path wasn’t long but the area he looked for was hidden. After a time of pacing, he felt the air change. “We’re looking for a beautiful item,” he announced. He turned around to her and placed his hand over her eyes. Caught by surprised, she grabbed his hand and forced them off her sight. Her eyes widen to see a giant building in front of her when moments before it was just trees. Before she could ask, Loki covered her mouth and quietly and carefully made their way into the abandoned building.

     The main sector seemed to be desolate, as there was only the echo of their footsteps making noise. The lobby held five doors on each side of the wall and a door at the end of the room with three circles in the center of it. Loki looked in awe of the door and touched the surface of the empty cases. “I can’t believe it worked,” he smiled as he backed away. He turned to Verity in excitement as he lead her to a door. “I’ve heard places like these come in a lifetime. Each door holds a new challenge and when we complete the amount required for that door,” he pointed at the end door, “ we can unlock the golden door.”

    “But there’s ten.”

    “That’s because there’s two of us but you’re a spirit so we won’t separate. Also since we’re bonded,” he showed her his ring and hers.

    “What does that mean,” she said looking at the rings.

     “I’ll tell you later, right now, lets do this,” he grabbed her hand and dragged her into the room. The room was white with dark symbols covering the wall. The door at the end of the room was the exit to the next puzzle and in the center, lied a book resting on a stand. He carefully walked up to it, checking for any traps as he got closer. He asked Verity to stay put while he scoped out the area and figured what they were doing. She hated that she was thrown into this situation with no clear explanation of why. They were in a dangerous place and Loki still hadn’t offered to tell her what he’s looking for. He kept it vague and mysterious which etched her on to know more but she wasn’t given any.

     Loki relaxed once he saw what was in the book, “it’s only in our elder’s tongue,” he said relieved. “And it’s a riddle,” he said befuddled by the simplicity. Verity stepped up behind him and looked over his shoulder to see the text. Her eyes focused on the words and they became clearer the longer she stared.

       “ The hearts of those whose glory burned by the nature’s shroud ,” Verity said with a chill going up her spine. Loki turned to her surprised by her fluent speak of a language that has been dead for centuries.

      “When did you learn old norse?” Verity froze but collected herself quickly, straightening her posture and clearing her throat.

       “I only know a little,” she showed a visual diagram of her description with her fingers. “I took at least one class on Scandinavia at least once,” she tried recalling a time she took a class in college. Loki was highly suspicious of her statement but held it off for a later conversation. He began to read the rest of the passage as follows;

     “ The man whose bread crumbs was eaten by the feeders of inanition,

    The woman with bruises and blisters to forge the wheat that fed the man,

      The demon, with only the crumbs to atone for the child lost to their corruption

      And a smile on their face to hide their hate.”

     “Do you know what it means,” Verity asked as she looked around the room.

      “Yeah, I think,” Loki said searching the room for an image of the description. “One of these symbols is the meaning of the poem,” he pointed at the various drawing on the wall.

     “The moral of the story,” she said searching for the answer herself. “but what is it?” She said thinking of a few possible answers but none matching to the images.

     “What did the three individuals have in common,” he said still searching for any answers. The pictures were obscured and more abstract than the poem. It was the last line that threw him off, it all made sense until the last part. It felt unnecessary for what the creator was conveying in the beginning. There was an image on the wall, clear enough to understand quickly, of three people tugging at each others neck to hurt one another. It was simple but it showed the message he believed was the answer. He reached for what he thought was the symbolism of the poem when Verity grabbed his hand.

     “What happens if we get it wrong,” she asked worried.

     “I’m sure nothing horrible,” he said with uncertainty.The image brighten the closer his hand got to it. Before he could press it, the lights flickered and each symbol lit, some brighter than others. He followed the trail of brighter symbols until he found the source. Verity had pressed one across from him that was similar but had a different twist. It was a group of people huddled together in a circle, holding knives behind their back and holding each others hand. The door at the end opened and the book closed. “Well that was easy,” Loki said before following Verity out.

       The next room had to been worse than the last. Loki frowned to the sight of glass windows stained with the images of kid Loki. Multiple windows with pictures of the child in fetal positions with different expressions for each. He seemed to be holding an item of sort in his hands, but he kept it behind his back where he couldn’t see. There was a particular window in the back of the room of him holding his hands out with his head lowered, and a wide smile on his face. It was the only window of him with his hood over his head, and the only one where his hands are shown.

       Loki lowered his head and turned away, looking up to see a note rest at the door. The note read a small phrase; the truth shall set you free . Loki’s anger was slowing building with every word on the note and, for every window. He looked back up and crushed the note in his hand before shifting his sight to Verity. She had looked at the windows, petrified of what she had saw. When she finally had the courage to move, she backed away from the tainted windows and pressed her back against the wall. “Vey,” she didn’t respond, she only murmured to the sound of whimpers.

       Loki ran to her side and asked what was wrong, but she couldn’t answer and only stared at what she was seeing. He didn’t know what it was she saw, but he knew it would be the last thing she would have to see. He swept her off her feet and carried her to what he assumed would be the exit. Going back the way they came, he entered the room only to realize it was the same. He ran to the next and noticed it to be the same set up. The door he attempted to kick open was locked, and on it burned the words; the games only just begun . Loki frowned but realized their escape wasn’t going to be easy.

      Verity covered her face from the horror she had seen. Loki placed her on the ground gently and removed her hands from her face. She searched the room for any signs of the images and saw none. She calmed her breathing before she stared back at Loki who had been cradling her. “What did you see?” It took her a moment of recuperation before she could answer. She pushed herself off of him and pulled herself to a wall. She looked around paranoid before her gaze fixed on Loki. She stood and walked past him in a rush, observing the door before them.

      “How do we get out of here,” she asked, looking for a way to leave or progress forward. Loki stood, turning to her confused. Something was off about Verity and he could sense it more than ever. He didn’t know if it was the effect of memory loss, that some aspects of her he knew of were gone with the memory. It could’ve been what she saw in the stained glass, something of her past she didn’t wish to relive, and the sight made her freeze and act the way she is now. A defense mechanism for her to cope with past trauma, but what the trauma is, he didn’t know. He was skeptical, keeping a close eye on his friend who seemed to be finding a way to the next exit.

       “The door…” Verity touched the frame of it, examining the words on it. “What’s the Eldritch?” Loki sighed, realizing what he meant.

     “Verity, there’s something I have to tell you,” he rubbed the back of his neck, embarrassed by the thought. Verity turned to him, seeing the nervousness in his eyes as he walked to her. “There was a reason why I brought you here other than for fun. You see…I owe a debt for which I haven't paid for more than half a decade. With you around I thought, maybe I could use you for-” he didn’t finish when the door opened in front of them. He didn’t wait until they fully opened before slipping through, with Verity beside him. It was a relief not reveal all he desired in their little trip, but it brought Verity suspicion.

     The door led to a long hallway, where they saw the bright light shining at the end of it. Loki quickly began the walk to the end, while Verity stayed a few feet back from him. “Loki,” he looked at her but kept moving, “what were you going to say before?” She asked in concern and worry. She was curious to know what it was he planned to use her for. If there was a debt to pay, how was she going to help fix it, and who did the debt come from? Something about this seemed sketchy, and her brain was pointing around all the wrongs and the lies that were placed in front of her. It told her to run, but she didn’t know where, and to who she didn’t know.

       It took him a moment to respond, and when he did manage to open his mouth, Verity stopped him. “Your lies will only tell me the truth,” she phrased, wrapping her arm on his waist to keep him from escaping.. Her body was closer to him in a way that was familiar to him, all too natural.  He nodded carefully before continuing forward without a word. Verity grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back, “I still want answers,” she said frustrated.

     “And you’ll get them, but first we have to solve this room. We’ve been walking for a while and we haven’t gotten any closer to the door,” he pointed out.

     “What,” she said annoyed. She walked past him in a hurry as she watched the light in front of her shrink and further its distance. She turned to Loki flabbergasted, surprised to see him right behind her. She could barely let out a sound before he placed his hand over her eyes, casting a spell for her to sleep. Her body went limp and he caught it before it fell to the ground. He lifted her legs off the ground and carried her, with a small grin on his face.

    “You couldn’t even sound like her,” he shook his head in disappointment. He read the writing coding the walls, he knew Verity wouldn’t be able to read without having the sight of Mimir. Neither her or the person she had could read the writings hidden in the walls, you had to have been alive for that transaction. Luckily for him, his past selves had which gave him access to the all seeing eye of Mimir. The one who Odin sacrificed his own eye for, and the reason Loki’s eyes were green.

        “ The seeds of mistrust have been planted

lies have been told

The truth has been revealed

Yet, you're still scold.

Why is that Loki?”

       Loki shrugged to his question, making him unsatisfied. Loki continued on his journey to complete the quest, Verity now asleep on his back. He got the answer he prioritized, now he could come to the teller with his original question. The door drew closer as he walked towards, having no puzzle needed to solve it. Loki could hear the Teller chuckling to himself before he entered. The room was blinding to the whiteness of it, but once he stepped in, the room darken to pitch black as the Teller became more visible.

       The teller cackled in  laughter, his ghostly eyes staring deep into Loki’s soul, finding his deepest and darkest desires. His stretched but starved transparent body melted itself to the floor, the place he’s been under for these past years since their last meet. His widen smile taunted Loki, he knew all the answers Loki wished for and he promised he wouldn’t share them, not without a price. Loki sat on the floor, within the circle the Teller was placed, holding tightly to Verity. “I’ve seen you’ve got one answer before you got to me. It will still cost you,” he laughed loudly.

       “You’re more cheerful than expected,” Loki said not so happily. His long and lanky arms reached him, and he placed his large claws besides Loki, pulling himself forward.

       “Well, when you’ve lived for the many millennials and ragnaroks that I have, you start to realize how pointless this universe really is.” He smiled, revealing his rigid teeth, “you’ve seen it Loki, you’ve seen what I speak,” Loki didn’t respond which caused his to cackle. “The god of stories is it now? It’s certainly different than before. I have a story for you,” he mocked, “where’s mine?” His face was inches away from Loki’s, drool spilling out the spaces of his exposed teeth. His soulless eyes read hunger even with the life they lacked of. For a moment, Loki was actually concern for his life, but if he wanted to eat him, he would have already. Loki relaxed, unfazed by his attempts to intimidate him which caused him to back down. “So you know,” he stated more than he asked.

       “Somethings,” Loki said confidently.

        “You lie,” he said through his teeth, “you know nothing. Why I choose to hold back my teeth from sucking the life out of? I hear your questions that are desperate for answers but I won’t feed them to you until I am fed.”

          “But I conjured you-”

         “So naive Loki, just as before. You believe you’re in control of the situation when in reality, you’re another pond in the game,” Loki was flustered which made him laugh. Loki frowned to hear his laugh, he hated when someone knew something he didn’t, and it was even worse when someone knew everything he didn’t. The Eldritch twisted his body in an awkward and broken position, his head twisted backwards and his arms bent in the opposite joint, if he had them. Loki contemplated, wondering what he’d do next if he wasn’t the one who conjured the Eldritch. He’d asked the Teller who did order him to the surface, but he wasn’t going to answer him.

      Loki thought of what he could do to have the upper hand and it hit him, stories. “Plan to give me that story you owe me? All theses years have past and your story still takes the top,” he untwisted himself. “Yours has to be the most juiciest I’ve seen in my lifetime of being a Teller. Give it to me, and I can reveal to you all you wish to receive.” Loki looked up at the creature with a smile growing on his face as he stared into his missing eyes. The stories came to him, as they always did and he stood. The Eldritch’s smile lowered once he read Loki’s face. His eyes filled with fear, knowing what was going to happen. “No,” he said to himself as the fear crept in.

     “I do have a story for you to consume Teller, but it isn’t mine,” he smirked, he saw the tale deep in his sockets as he did in his eyes. He read the Teller like a book, the story was clear as day and he was going to make sure the creature knew it as well. The Teller shook his head in pure horror as Loki stepped closer to him. The first word that slipped out of his lips made the Eldritch hiss and twitch from stinging he felt on his non-existent skin. Maybe he did have soul after all? He didn’t know, but he couldn’t let Loki continue his tale. He begged him to stop before he started which made Loki freeze, prepared to hear a proposal.

     “Alright, I can answer what you wish, just please don’t tell the story. I’ve seen what you’ve done and what you can do so please,” he begged. Loki sat down next to Verity, clasping her in his arms again.

    “Why did you make this place? Why weren’t you direct?”

    “This place keeps me from leaving this realm, and I wanted to be creative about my approach.”

    “Well it wasn’t all creative,” Loki commented, “we got to you pretty quickly.”

    “I was eager to see the child I let go all that time ago, but I can see the child is with us no more,” he remarked.

     “He is, as all the dead Loki’s of this universe, in here,” he pointed at himself. “As you will be too if you don’t silence,” the creature backed away, silencing his voice for now. Loki looked down at Verity, who had been sleeping peacefully in his lap. “What of my friend? What can I do to save her?” He removed strands of hair from her face.

     “Remove the spirit that haunts her dreams. Her memories are stored in a place that not even her possessor cam retrieve. Once you know where they are, you can save your friend,” Loki nodded, smiling, having a bit of hope for helping Verity.

        “Last question, where’s the book,” the creature froze. It’s the question he’s been dying to know the answer to, but he couldn’t answer for his life. He was physically incapable to. “Where’s the book Teller,” he repeated himself, noticing the sudden nervousness on his face.

       “I cannot say, for I was ordered not to,” he replied calmly.

      “By who?”

      “I cannot say.”

         “Then I’ll make you say it,” he said angered by his question authority. He began his tale and the creature screeched, holding his hands over his ears to block the noise. He repeated over and over that his lips wouldn't let him speak the name or describe the  person. Loki stopped talking and allowed the creature to rejuvenate his lost energy.

       “An old story, an old memory,” he said breathlessly. “Now please, leave me be. I can’t listen to  another word you say,” he said in agony. Loki nodded, thanking him for his cooperative services and picking up Verity. The Teller reached his hand out opening a portal leading him to the outside. He had whispered a few words before transporting them out of his home. Loki translated it to a banishing spell to which he chuckled at. He turned to where the castle was and headed towards it, more happier coming out then in and he didn’t know why.

      Verity shuffled in his arms, shifting to consciousness. Loki placed his hand over her head again and put her to sleep. “We’re going to figure it out Vey, we’re going to get Amora out of your mind.” He wasn’t sure what the Eldritch meant when he said her memory was tucked away where Amora couldn’t get to it. Where did Amora put it that even she wouldn’t be able to find it? He was hoping when he got back Lorelei could help, but for now, he could enjoy the trip before he’d take it to get back to all the problems he had on his small plate.

       

Chapter Text

     Verity woke up in a bed, dazed. The last thing she could remember was Loki taking her to the deep forest. Everything else came in flashes, indefinite memories that she wasn’t sure was real or in a dream. She turned her head away from the wall it faced to the sound of voices conspiring. It was Loki, and he was talking to someone she couldn’t quite recognize. When she wiped her eyes of blurriness, she saw a woman who Loki occasionally talked,  usually when they were talking about her. She looked directly at Verity when she noticed her consciousness, and told Loki to turn around, interrupting their conversation.

      “Which one are you,” he grabbed her face by surprise. “Are you my friend or that evil witch,” Verity looked in shock, knowing not what to do.

      “What,” she spoke out confused more than scared. Loki dropped his hand once he realized it was Verity, relieved that it was. Even if it was Amora, he wouldn’t be able to put his hands on Verity, no matter who was in her body.

       “I’m sorry Vey,” he said for his mistake. Lorelei pulled him to the side before he could continue on explaining himself and apologizing.

        “Look Loki, we can’t stay here long. The nephilim will come back, it’s a blessing they haven’t attacked again already.” Loki began to stop her, claiming the importance of helping his friend before dealing with any other problems in his way. “I know Loki, but keeping her here is going to put her in harm. Asgard is in total chaos, it can’t fend for itself or the people within it,” she said pleadingly. Verity tugged on the hem of his shirt, forcing his attention to her.

      “Loki, what happened?” She begged for the answers she wasn’t told. Loki helped her out of the bed, knowing her legs would be weak from the lack of usage. Loki looked to Lorelei who didn’t look eager for him to tell her. It had been a few days since Loki put her to sleep while they took care of her Amora problem. Unsuccessful it was but, Verity remembered none of what had happened. Part of Loki believed it was best if she didn’t remembered what happened over the past few days while she slept, thinking she might be disturbed from what she hears. It was her body they were “playing” with, and that might take her off a step.

        Another psychological hold Amora had on Verity that Loki noticed, was her thoughts on Amora. The few times Loki mentioned Amora to Verity or what she did to her would make her freeze. Whenever he tried forcing the memories to her, she would panic and pass out. He guessed it was Amora’s way of wiping her brain clean from truth that was hidden in the walls Amora forged. He didn’t want to keep the secrets away from Verity though. He was terrified that if he mentioned Amora to her again, all her memory would be wiped. It seemed each time she woke up, a piece of memories was chipped away. She only remembered when Loki took her to the temple because everything else was removed from her brain, or blocked.

       He wanted to tell her, but there was no hope in doing so. He only wished he knew what the eldritch meant. Amora was a good sorcerer, Loki gave her that much credit. Though everything else in her lacked, her sorcery was all she needed to do this prestigious and cruel plan of hers. He still knew nothing of her reasons to harm the ones he cared about, truly, he didn’t. He believed it was just her evil ways, but nothing was always “just” with Amora. She had a motive, and from what he knows about Amora and her personality, that motive was to be idiotic and childish.

      With him, it could be explained from the insanity gained throughout his life that he now believed manifested itself into what he is now. Amora, usually did the malevolent acts because of her feelings, and he could no longer deny his own true feelings but hers…were obnoxious. It felt a bit cold for him to think that way, but he’s known Amora for too long for her reasons to be the same and for him not to be annoyed by them. It was the main reason he left her in the first place. She had something so simple to do in all of this, and she ended up failing him again because her emotions got in the way. After he had warmed up to her and pulled so many strings, she couldn’t do it.  The one task that might’ve foiled Malekith’s plan, but her feeling of betrayal got in the way so she didn’t set the decoy. She performed the actual spell and cursed the queen of the light elves.

      The disappointment in his face was anguishing. He felt frustrated and he left, her, Malekith, Laufey, he left it all. He could already see what was going to happen. What was soon to happen, and he left, because he had other matters and he couldn’t stop or slow down. He thought that he couldn’t stop, which is why he wanted to stay there, with those people in the first place. But he did stop. Verity made him stop, for her, for their relationship to which he’d give up the world for. She knew it, he knew, and he would do anything to keep their friendship breathing.

       Why did Amora have to betray him like this? Why did she take the one living thing he valued the most. She took it and tainted it, corrupted it with her own flaws which bring the worst in a person. Whatever wasn’t tainted, was blank of expression, nothing there left for him to find but emptiness. The feeling made him die a little. Amora truly did curse him, and parts in the back of his mind believed he deserved.

       At the end of the day, he had no one to blame but himself. He provoked Amora and that caused her to hurt Verity, to hurt him. It was his fault he couldn’t tell Verity what happening in her head, why she was slowly losing all her memory. A mistake he made, but everyone around him faced the consequences, another curse he had since he was young. Verity looked at him in worry, repeating her question. “I’m sorry Vey, but I can’t tell. You’ll get hurt otherwise.” Verity was displeased to hear that answered and searched in Lorelei’s eyes for the answer.

        She looked back at Loki in certainty, “is it true?” She looked in both their eyes for answers she already knew.

        “You would be able to tell if I wasn’t,” Verity took a moment before sitting on the bed slowly. She looked at Loki for any other answers but found none.

        “Okay.” Loki and Lorelei both looked at each other dumbstruck.

        “Okay?” They asked simultaneously to which Verity nodded. “I don’t understand,” Loki said confused to her surprising copious amount of understanding.

        “I trust you,” she said simply. Lorelei was shocked to see she didn’t include her in trust, “and you,” she said not as confident as last time. Lorelei turned away, realizing this was a conversation for them to have, not her. She left the room, announcing she’d be outside when they were ready to talk about real business. Verity thanked her verbally and a nod, thinking the conversation was more private than it might turn out to be. Loki sat down beside her on the bed with a questioning gaze. Verity was content with her answer and was shocked to see Loki not approve of it willingly. “I trust you Loki. It may seem hard to believe, but I have all my trust in you. If knowing what’s causing my amnesia is going to hurt me, than I don’t want to know. And I know your best interest is to help me,” she said as she clasped her hand in his.

      “I know, it’s just-” he had a strain in his throat suddenly. He didn’t know what he wanted to say that would either convince her that it wasn’t right to trust him or to thank her for existing. “I don’t want-” he choked, having a hard time coming up with words. With all he’s over thought, he wasn’t sure if he deserved her. “Is this-” he managed to look up at her, but she pulled him, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him close to her. She rested her head over his shoulder as she comforted his nerves away.

       “Look, I’m re-new to this ‘friend’ thing, so just roll with it okay. For both our sakes,” she requested. Loki wrapped his arms around her in embrace, nodding.

       “Okay,” he accepted.

      “Alright,” she released him and stood, using him for support. He smiled, helping her onto her feet and keeping her balanced. “But Lorelei is right,” she admitted unenthusiastically.

      “About what,” their conversation had completely escaped his mind, forgetting what Lorelei’s point was in the first place.

      “About not staying here. If those creatures are coming back, than we don’t have time to sit here and wait.” He verbally agreed but his physicality told her otherwise. Although he disagreed, she knew he would follow through. He told her to wait here while he tell Lorelei they were going to leave soon. Verity nodded before preparing for her departure.

      Lorelei pulled him out of the room quickly once he opened the door. She set him aside as she closed the door behind him. Startled and confused, Loki asked her why she yanked him out of there as if he was in some sort of harm. “Let me see your hand,” he lifted his hand in hesitation, “I mean the one with the ring.”

     “Why,” he asked, holding his hand back. She snatched his hand from him and looked at the ring, noticing the magenta glowing brighter than the other colors swirling in the orb of the ring. Lorelei smirked, piecing the clues she found together. “What are you doing,” he wondered as her eyes were glued to the orb.

    “I’ve done a little study that you may find interesting.” Lorelei announced before going on, “I’ve been watching you two closely since the first time Verity was cursed. Specifically the orb that carries her soul,” she tugged him away from the door that lead to his room and more to the center of corridors. She lowered her voice so no one else (more importantly, Verity) couldn’t hear them. “Ever since I noticed the strong change in color, I’ve been studying it, and gathered information that I didn’t want to tell you about until I was completely sure,” she said excited. She knew she was correct about this information, and it gave her hope in saving Verity.

     “We both know the reddish-purple color in your rings is a sign of Amora’s presence. But what I realized was; each time you and Verity have your one on one, intimate conversation, Amora is watching-”

      “What,” Loki said outraged. Lorelei interrupted his fit and continued with her analysis.

      “Not possessing her,” she reassured him, “she used her eyes, to see what she was seeing, and that was you. She’s watching you through her eyes. Verity is her eyes but her vessel too, which explains why she influences her feelings so much to the point of possession.” She thought about it more and came up with a conclusion.

      “So, Verity is an open gate way to Amora when she talks to me,” Lorelei nodded her head. “Then all I have to do is pull her out,” Lorelei supposed but wasn’t sure if that would be the way to describe it. “It makes sense, the way to get Amora out of her mind,” he said with joy.

      “Keep your voice down, we don’t Verity to hear us,” Lorelei shushed him.

      “It doesn’t matter now, I know the answer,” he spoke loudly.  He hugged and thanked Lorelei for telling him this, causing her to blush from the surprise immense amount of gratitude. The answer seemed so obvious once he had all the pieces, and he almost felt stupid for not seeing it before. Amora was a decent sorcerer, but her magic wasn’t as great as his. Hers always had a flaw in the technique, a missing ingredient that he knew she lacked. It was a great advantage for him, and now that Lorelei told him the flaw in this spell, he planned to exploit it. “The question is; what do I do to open the gate?”

      “My guess, talk to Verity like she’s Amora and when the ring glows red, that’s when its open.” He embraced her in another hug of thanks to which she was more obliged to.

       “What are you guys talking about,” Verity said as she fixed her long sleeve shirt. Lorelei signaled him to go with his plan, and left the halls for him to deal with. “Is she not going with us,” Verity questioned as she watched her walk away, never having taken a glance at her.

        “No, she’s coming, not now though,” he turned to her and placed his hands on her shoulder. He slid one of his hands down to hers and grasped it, lifting it into view and checking the ring. The magenta was fading away, a displeasing sight to him. He thought for a moment of ways he treated Amora. Mostly unpleasant in the past, but whenever he needed something from her or wanted her to do tasks for him, he was manipulative of her emotions. He could do the same, but he wouldn’t enjoy it and he was worried Verity would call his bluff and ruin the plan. He had to test out his lying, to see if Amora would be able to see it as Verity would. “She went to pack her things as well.”

        “Okay,” she responded nonchalantly. It was shocking to him that it worked but he wasn’t sure it was really her responding, noticing the magenta/violet glowing. He wondered how much Amora influenced her, to the point  of altering her ability to detect a lie. There was definitely a form of possession going on between Verity’s mind and Amora, and could see that Amora was overthrowing Verity. It angered him to realize that, but he kept the rage inside and plan to use to an advantage.

        “I want to take you somewhere more…exclusive,” he thought up. There were about a million places he knew of in Asgard that most asgardians knew nothing of. But this wasn’t Asgard, this was Asgardia and if he were truly being honest with himself, he hadn’t explored all the depths of this place. It wasn’t his home to, so he never travelled beyond the mile of this realm, and he didn’t have to. Nothing significant about this place to explore, it was a remake of an old story and it had the missing parts of a story. Asgard had the mystery, the lore while Asgardia; had the basics, the outline of what made Asgard. It was almost a shame to see that much of what made Asgard was gone in this new realm, there wasn’t anything to do about it. He may have remembered, but no one else did.

       Another subject that was hard to speak about when no one in universe would believe you, except Verity. Verity would’ve listened, because she would know it to be true. All the secrets he kept from the world were told to one human, his only friend, to which she had the choice to do whatever she wanted with the information. It was load off his mind, and it was the few things that kept him sane.

     He desperately needed his friend back. His insanity leaked out more than it should and he was starting to realize it. The craziness was beginning to affect his daily life, and his missing friend certainly didn’t help with his state of mind. Loki wanted Amora gone and for Verity’s memories to return to her. He hurried in this transaction, and lead Verity to the closest and quietest place he knew of, grabbing her hand and tugging her along.

   The room was that of a servants break room. He could tell from the large table set out and the many aprons and gloves hung up on coat racks. He knew it would be empty since it was working rush hour. They would have a good two hours of privacy before any servant would come to disturbed them. “What is Loki,” she asked, sounding as if she had somewhere she needed to be. He was ready to lie, ready to lie his way to Amora, then one simple spell to tear her out. A way to get his friend back, back to the way they used to. Wouldn’t that be nice, he thought, but it wasn’t going to be that way. It wasn’t and he knew, deep down he knew, nothing was going to be the same. Even if he managed to go through with it, the remnant of her would still stick to Verity in a negative way.

      He couldn’t doubt himself now. He had to fix the problem he started and then worry of the after effects of the separation. He took a moment to breath before he’d start, “do you know what you said to me the first time we met?”

      “Who are you, where am I?” she remembered distinctly. Loki chuckled, correcting her. She realized her mistake and shook her head, “That’s rhetorical right? I can’t remember,” she reminded him.

     “You commented on my attire, claiming it was meant for comic convention. Of course you said it in a more sarcastic question insult, but a rhetorical claim either way.” Verity laughed to herself, seeing her say that to him. He laughed too, finding the comment he previously thought to be confusing, to be hilarious now. “I knew you were the one after that.”

     “The one for what,” she didn’t understand the phrase, taking most things literal.

     “The one in the ten that could save me. You didn’t know me and it was chance to truly have a clean slate. I knew from those lie detecting eyes, that you were my escape.” He sat on the table, holding Verity’s hand and pulling her closer. He checked the ring inconspicuously and saw it glow brighter red. It was slowly working, but he hadn’t talked to Verity as if she was Amora. He did the exact opposite, because he wanted his friend to come out, not the evil spirit controlling her body.

     “It only took me until now to admit this,” he stood, placing his hands on her shoulders. The space between them was thin and the tension grew which would bring the attention of Amora. Verity’s eyes were glued to his, mesmerized by the green emeralds placed in them. “ But maybe I can now,” he leaned in, inches from her face, “I love you Verity Willis.” He pressed his lips against hers passionately. It took her a moment before she leaned in to the kiss, surprised by the sudden affection. Verity wasn’t sure is she wanted this, but Amora surely did. “And I will use all the power I have to get her back,” he placed a hand on her chest and grabbed her arm to hold her in place. Verity’s eyes widen as he twisted his hand on her chest and tighten his grip on her shirt. He could feel Amora’s presence escaping her body as he yanked her spirit out of core.

       It was a white shadow coming out as he whispered the words of the spell she used to get in there in the first place. Verity screamed in agony as the division was happening, and grabbed his arm, pushing desperately to be removed but he used all his will to not let go. Part of her was Amora, telling her to get him off while the other part of her told her to let go. It was an internal struggle that made the separation longer. The spirit tried pushing itself back in, afraid of what might happen if she was to be separated from her host. Loki would know, which is why he did it, but she wasn’t skilled enough to realize.

       Loki was going to make sure Amora suffered the consequences of her action. He used all the magic he had and tore her soul out of Verity’s, ripping it from its attachment to her. He had her by the neck and spell bounded her in chains, tossing her to the floor and aiding Verity who had collapsed to floor from pain. He dropped to floor, picking up her body and checking it for damage, physically and mentally. “Vey are you alright?” Her eyes were closed and she seemed to have passed out from exhaustion. He shook her slightly to see if she was still breathing, and he heard a mumbled whimper escape her lips. He set her on the ground and turn to Amora’s willowing spirit.

      It was her soul, in a pure form, lying on the ground recuperating. It was coughing violently as it caught up to what had happen. Loki was furious, on the verge of killing her, but he told himself he wasn’t. It wasn’t worth killing her for, no matter how much pain she may have caused to Verity, he wasn’t going to destroy the soul of Amora. He grabbed her transparent body from the ground and lifted her to his level, rage filling his eyes. Amora couldn’t help but feel a bit scared, now that she was caught. She always did have a slight fear over Loki, especially now that she pissed him off. She was the few people who truly knew of his mental instability and what it can make him do, and she feared for her life.

      He fought internally on what to do with her. She was in his clutches and this maybe the last time he’d be able to. The intensity in his eyes and the silence of his voice told her to be frightened. He wanted to kill her and everything in his mind told him to. One less problem to deal with in his life. He looked at her, eyes burning with revenge and he smiled wickedly, a smile she would’ve like have never seen again. “Whatever you’re thinking about doing Loki, please, don’t do it.” He placed his hand on her head, whispering a spell in an even older tongue than Amora could understand. “Please Loki, we can talk this out,” she begged but he had already went to his own head.

     Loki stopped when he heard the door open and Lorelei call his name frantically. He dropped Amora and turned to Lorelei who ran between him and Amora. Amora clung to the wall to stay far away from Loki before Lorelei grabbed her chains from her neck, “finally, you got her.” Lorelei said in relief as she took Amora’s chains in her arms. “Loki,” she questioned as he walked over to Verity’s side and picked her up off the ground. “Where are you going, we’ve got to interrogate her,” she said looking at Amora.

    “I’m taking Verity to my room, you can handle her on your own,” he said as he left the room which  brought relief to Amora. Loki needed to calm down and it wasn’t going to help if he was in the same room as Amora. Lorelei watched him leave in confusion, but did what she planned to and turn to Amora who smiled nervously at her sister.

     “That man is crazy,” Amora announced.

    “I know,” Lorelei pulled on her chains to follow her, and she reluctantly did, tugging for the bondage to loosen.

Chapter Text

     Verity was tired of waking up with a blistering headache and confusion. She had blacked out again and she wasn’t sure what had happened. Part of her said it was a dream, but she thought it to be logical to believe it was real. She realized one of her hand was in the hand of another, clutching onto it like their life depended on it. She looked up cautiously to see Loki sitting in a chair next to the bed. His head was down and his horns were in his lap, his other hand clasping onto it tightly. His hair blocked view of his face but she could tell from the slumped shoulders and weakly body that something ailed him, and she only guessed it was her.

     He lifted his head when he noticed her slight movements. His frown lifted to a sadden smile, pleased to see Verity finally woken, “Hey Vey.” All he could say to her, “how are you feeling,” he asked tiredly.

     “Fine, I suppose,” she lifted her body, hearing the tiredness in his voice. “How long was I out?”

     “A week I think,” he wasn’t sure since he hadn’t been sleeping for longer than a week. To keep Verity from knowing his night terrors, he stopped sleeping altogether. It was almost a good thing she didn’t remember him, than the stress she had for him never existed.

    “Are you okay,” she was more worried for Loki, seeing the dark circles under his eyes.

    “I’ll live,” he forced a smile for reassurance. “Do you remember anything?”

    “Before or after I had a spirit ripped out of me?”

    “Both.”

    “I remember blacking out after the third or fourth scream. Before; I remember getting ready to leave, Lorelei leaving, and you taking me to room to talk privately. Than, you pulled the soul of…Amora out of my chest,” it was surprising to hear her speak the name of witch without freaking out.

     “Anything else?”

     “The last month of being here,” she said assuming he wondered if she had all her memory back. He nodded regretfully and let go of her hand, as he sat back in his seat, sighing heavily. The disappointment in his eyes caused Verity to frown, her brain was wiped clean and although it wasn’t her fault, she somehow felt the blame and guilt for Loki’s sadness. She went through the last month in her head, recalling every detail from it. She could recognize the conversation she or other people had about Amora, and the fact that she was possessing her. The anger did start to boil once she knew that all this time, someone else was in her body, and that the somebody also erased her memory. “So, what happened to the spirit, who was it?” She asked to make sure she had all the facts.

       “Amora, who was responsible for all of this, and we removed her from your soul,” he replied simply.

       “How?”

       “Lorelei and I figured out a way to open a portal which would reach to Amora. I used magic to completely separate her soul from your body and hers.”

       “Where is she now,” she asked anxiously.

      “Far from where she can get to you. We haven’t talked to her since, I wanted to wait for your recovery.” Verity grabbed hold of both his hands and pulled herself towards him, wrapping her around him in an embracive hug.

      “Thank you Loki,” she said in much relief as her grip tighten. He hugged back reluctantly, having a slower cognitive time of the action. “I feel like a sickness had been released,” she admitted happily, “so thank you.” Her grip loosen as she began remembering more details about Amora, about how he got her out. “Wait a minute,” she removed herself from him, leaving him confused. “How did you get Amora out?”

       “Through a portal of her own device,” he shrugged, warming up to Verity.

      “Yeah, but how,” the memory was on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn’t make out what it was. Loki froze, recalling the week ago incident. It had been so long that he had forgotten the steps he ended up jumping to open the portal.

       “I…uh…kissed you,” Loki said not so confidently. The memory was as fresh to him as it was to her.   

      “What,” she asked, not sure if she heard him correctly. The moment came back to her in an instance as he repeated his statement. “Oh,” she sat back in shock and contemplated. How she was supposed to take this, she wasn’t sure. She had never been kissed by someone she actually liked, “okay,” she accepted the gesture though it gave her mixed feelings. She remembered the conversation before which lead to the kiss, nothing he said was false. It was all his honest belief, and she felt grateful for that. Still, she didn’t know how to feel, having to gather them and debate on which she thought best.

     Silence crept over them as the awkwardness grew, “Was it…for me…or for her,” she asked curiously. Loki laughed, finding it ridiculous that she would come up with that question.

     “Whichever makes you happy,” he said, making it a challenge for her to find out the truth. His smile widen in genuity as she thought long on what the answer could be. “Both Vey. It’s both,” he finally told her.

     “Oh, alright,” she said, still having no definitive feeling. She remembered the details of the conversation, every word he spoke, and it brought butterflies in her stomach and a smile formed on her lips. “I love you too, then,” she said in a questioning tone, not sure what it would bring or what it would mean for them.

      “What,” he was surprised she remembered enough of what he said to reciprocate, and reciprocate positively.

      “I don’t think I ever got to say that to you either. Even before I lost my memory,” she smiled warmly. He smiled blankly, revealing his missing tooth, “I just don’t know if it’s romantically, “ she frowned, contemplating whether it was.

      “I don’t know either,” he said enthusiastically, widening his smile. It shocked Verity to hear that, but it didn’t ease her churning stomach and he could tell.

      “But I don’t understand,” she said confused as she rubbed her temples as a distraction to get to the answer she could not figure. Loki sat on the bed, next to her and placed his hands in hers. His feelings may have been confusing to most and sometimes himself, but he was certain about one thing, his feelings to Verity.

      “You know, I thought you would be angry at me. Since you’ve only really known me for a month and I kissed you without the knowledge of you knowing, but you handled it better than I thought. Way better…” he rested his head against hers. “Because, our heads are one in the same,” Verity laughed nervously. “I think…I think I love you too much for it to be romantic,” he laughed the nervousness away as he lifted his head. “You have no idea how much I’d do just to have you by my side,” and how much he’d destroy, but he kept some of those darker parts to himself. “And I need you to be more than my lover, I need you to be my friend,” Verity’s smile was replenished before she hugged him openly.

        “Alright,” she agreed, feeling her stomach ease, “friends through thick and thin?”

       “Bound by purpose,” he phrased their commitment. Without her, he didn’t know how long he was going to last in this universe. Verity was his everything and he couldn’t put a status on his everything, it wasn’t logical to do so. He pulled her out of bed and helped her out of the room, “I forgot, Lorelei wanted to see you immediately if you woke up.”

      “Oh, really,” Verity said a bit surprised by the matter. Loki took her down the hall to where Lorelei rested. “Wait, what do you mean ‘if?’” Loki didn’t bother knocking and unlocked the door with magic, practically bursting the door open with glee. Lorelei jumped out of bed when she heard the loud sound of the door banging against the wall. She didn’t have her weapons on her, but she still had her hands out in a threatening tone as if she did. She rubbed her eyes to get full vision of her intruders to see it was Loki and Verity.

     “Why in hell did you bust my door open,” she said as she rubbed her eyes again, regaining the vision she was slowly starting to lose. She dropped her hands and shoulders droopily before she straightened her back, using all the energy she had left to hold herself up.

      “Simple, Verity’s back and she’s looking better than ever.” Lorelei stared blankly at him, not quite processing what he was saying.

      “That’s great Loki, now get out,” she pointed for the exit as she turned around and began to climb back to bed, before she realized what he saying and what it meant. “Verity’s awake,” she turned to them and looked directly at the woman, a smile growing on her face. “Verity, you’re awake,” she asked her to which she nodded. She hopped out of bed with more excitement and hugged Verity tightly before regretting what she was doing. She released her immediately and touched her shoulders in inspection to cover up her affection. “I thought you would never wake up. That last magic trick Loki did put a number on you. At first, I thought it killed you. I mean, so much magic was required to stabilize your body, you shattered,” Lorelei ranted, making Verity uncomfortable.

      She continued on about the process of pulling Amora out of her, broke her, in a literal way. “She’s right, but I had it under control,” Loki reassured her, but it didn’t. Lorelei denied him, “I knew what I was doing,” Loki rebutteled.

     “Name another time you have ever done that spell, and it go successful,” Lorelei challenged him.

     “I’m a little rusty. A little,” he emphasized to not make her argument strong enough to prove him wrong.

      “My point is; he almost killed you,” he glared at her, “but luckily you were strong enough to handle the pain. Your body is a lot more sturdier than I expected,” she grabbed her shoulder, shaking her stiff body. “How are feeling now,” she asked knowing there are side effects to the spell.

    “I don’t know, okay I guess. Maybe a little dizzy,” she shrugged. Lorelei nodded and looked up at Loki.

    “I am more than positive that she is fine, I already checked,” Loki responded to her gaze.

     “Did you check twice,” Lorelei asked. Verity sighed heavily.

    “You know Lorelei, your ignorance is impeccable,” he provoked.

     “Ignorance, because I want to make sure you didn’t end up damaging her,” she said outraged.

     “No, because your inferior knowledge to magic forces you to make stupid comments about it,” he said enraged. Verity got in between their argument and stopped it from its continuation. Both took a breather from their boiling anger and set the argument aside for Verity.

    “Besides, you have a beast to take care of down below,” Lorelei gave him the same look as before but more concerning.

     “Fine,” Loki hated that she reminded him, but he headed for the door. “But this is far from over,” he threatened.

      “I’ll be counting on it,” she smiled sarcastically. Verity attempted to follow Loki, but Lorelei grabbed her shirt from behind, pulling her back into the room. “I think it’s best if you stay here for, we don’t want her to pull any tricks and take over your body again. She still has soul and that’s enough to form any spell.” Verity was reluctant, but she stayed with Lorelei until Loki came back, disappointed to do so.


      Loki was headed to the darkest pit of the castle. A place that only he and Odin knew of. Where they hid their darkest secrets from the world, never meant to see the light of day again. It was a perfect place to store something as horrid as the soul of the Enchantress, but he was being kind. The floor was dark, very dim lights as to not see the creatures that lurked in this level of the building, at least that’s how Odin liked it. Loki on the other hand enjoyed witnessing the awful things Odin brought down to this place to hide away from all of Asgard. It was a museum of his design, to see, or use the monsters brought down here by the AllFather. Loki wasn’t sure if the AllFather still used this dark place Loki made for him, but he didn’t remove all the things he brought into it.

      He saw the bright light illuminating from her soul, latch itself to the nearest walls. He saw next to her cage, the severed head of Mimir on a pedestal, talking to himself again. He did that whenever there was another being in his vicinity, usually talking about them, their past, present, and future. It was best not to listen to him unless they wanted to go crazy. Of course, Loki was already insane so he would talk to him occasionally, asking for the latest news of Asgard or anything he had on mind. “How are we feeling today Mimir,” he seemed to always start the conversation that way though Mimir could not comprehend most of what he said.

        “Eight months…empty space. Three years…one place,” his eyes shifted to Loki, surprising him since he never did that usually, “Loki, god of stories.” It was intriguing and Loki tuned in to what he had to say, having value in his words now that he was speaking to him directly. Mimir’s mind had drifted away long ago after Odin had cut off his head, which would explain why he spews out whatever time period he wishes to exploit. But his mind looked deep into Loki’s soul, saw what he wanted, and told Loki what he wished. A wish that not even he realized he wanted, “some stories are meant for your eyes while others are meant for the blind to see.” Loki thought he referred to himself since his eyes had milked over long ago. “You will burn in the eternal flame and suffer no pain,” he looked at him intently.

         “What do you mean,” he said, not understanding his cryptic phrasing.

         “No pain, no game,” he rephrased in a language Loki spoke, and laughed. With the vocal cords he lacked, he spoke, and the diaphragm he missed, he laughed. His loud laugh echoed throughout the chamber and the laughter flourished. It disturbed Loki to see Mimir laughing as hard as he did. He’s never laughed before, and he was dying with booming laughter. His laughter slowed and eventually stopped as he went back to whispering to himself. Loki couldn’t make up the words he said to himself, speaking in fractures. Loki could do nothing else to get the answer from him and moved on, having the thought of what he said on the back of his mind.  

        He heard Amora calling for help right afterwards. She was banging on the bars that she was stuck behind and calling for someone to find her. She shushed once she heard the sound of steel toe boots clanking against the hard ground get louder, indicating that someone was coming. She backed away to the corner when she peeked to see who it was. “What are you so scared of,” Loki asked, gripping the bars from the other side.

        “You dammit! Look what you did to me,” she stood, showing her arms to him. There was etched writing going up both her translucent arms in a language too old for her. “Not to mention the fact that you tore me out of her body and mine. I didn’t even know you knew how to do this. I don’t know how to do this,” she said a bit impressed, but more angry. “Why do you have me here, in this dark and dank place, like I’m some sort of monster.” Loki didn’t respond, “okay, I used your friends body to watch you. What’s the problem, it was all fun and games,” she joked worried.

       “No, it wasn’t,” Loki held back his rage and stayed quiet. Amora laughed nervously.

       “What do you want from me? I’m chained to you until you decide to release me, so I won’t be going anywhere.” Loki walked through the bars, as if they were never there, and stalked up to Amora who had a difficult time holding her ground.

       “Why did you do it,” he asked as his first interrogating question.

      “Isn’t it obvious,” she smirked, “I did it for you,” she placed her hands on his chest. “She was a distraction, a blockade from our goal,” he pushed her away, too frustrated to accept her affection. Amora frowned, watching the looks on his face, “don’t you remember what you said to me?” He didn’t answer, which angered her, “It was us against them-do you remember that promise,” Loki grabbed her by the shoulders.

      “Where did you come to wield such power,” he demanded answers from her.

     “Malekith of course. I was more loyal than you and I ask for a favor,” Loki wanted to kill Malekith but it would take much time, time that he hadn’t have. His grip loosen, “you hurt me first, and I thought I’d do the same to you,” she said simply. Now that she looked back on it, it wasn’t worth all the trouble she had herself in with him. She still was uncertain on what he was going to do with her, the last time they met, he tried killing her. She was wary of Loki, but she couldn’t deny she knew him. Knew him well enough to push the right buttons that would get him to relax under her.

   She saw the weakness in his eyes and if she ever wanted to see the daylight again, she was going to have to exploit his weaken state. His eyes were tired and his mind was in over thought, she would have to be meticulously careful if she didn’t want to tick the screws missing in his head. “Why are we fighting Loki,” she placed her transparent hand on his cheek, forcing him to face her. She may have been powerless in magic, but she did have one trick up her sleeve. “This isn’t us. We’re so much better when we’re together-”

    “Where’s her memory?” Her words had no effect on him and he only wished for the answers he seeked. Amora was taken back but answered him hesitantly.   

    “Your friend’s? I don’t know, it wasn’t my doing. All I did was alter her thinking,” she stepped away from him. “Her missing memory was all you-which I’d like to thank you for-even better to have her memories of you not exist in the first place,” she antagonized. “But don’t you see-” she attempted to calm him as she grabbed his arms and pulled him closer.

    “You’re right, this isn’t us,” he realized, making her smile from the break through. “This is only you,” he said blatantly crude as he removed herself off of him, walking through the bars onto the other side. She was hoping by the end of this, she would be walking out of those bars with him, but he cut their time short. He cut their life together short and it made her upset. She walked up to bars, gripping them.

      “I saved your life,” she shouted at him, dying to be released from the dark cage.

     “Then you tried to destroy it,” he looked over his shoulder to say, referring to his friend she tried desperately to ruin.

      “Loki,” she screamed after him as he walked farther away, sticking her arms out of the bars in a pathetic attempt to reach him. Once he was out of view, she walked back to her corner and brooded. “I swear I’ll kill him if I get out of here,” she made herself a promise and curled into a ball to contemplate her plan.

     Mimir’s eyes were closed and his lips shut. He never closed his eyes, always having something to see in the wave of wisdom he was given all those years ago. “Mimir?” Loki asked concern. His eyes opened wide and shifted to Loki.

    “Yes child,” he asked contently. “For the first time in a long time, I could close my eyes and dream.” His milky eyes stared into his eyes intensively and read all the futures they held. Loki nodded and began to make way back to ground level of the castle. “Loki,” surprising to hear Mimir call on him instead of the other way around. Loki would listen to his elder in what he ordered, “I want to leave. Odin’s kept me here for far too long and I must join my elders.”

    “In the stars,” he asked, knowing all their elders were released into the night sky after death.

     “Promise me you’ll take me where I need to go.” Loki was reluctant to promise him, not sure what would happen if he didn’t fulfill it. Loki saw his reflection in the giant’s eye, he closed his eyes when he felt the stinging of them. When he opened them, he saw a flash of red in his iris, a color he hadn’t seen his eyes been for a millenium. It burned and he closed his eyes, opening them to see the emerald green.

     “Where did this sudden power come from,” he asked Mimir but he didn’t respond. “I promise, I’ll get you out of here,” he said finally. Mimir closed his eyes and dreamed again. Loki didn’t know if that conversation was real. Either Loki completely lost his mind or Mimir had been hiding his true abilities for thousands of years. Loki left the underground floor and made it back to the surface, where Verity and Lorelei waited for him.

     “What happened,” Lorelei was first to ask before Verity could stand.

    “Nothing of value,” Loki said disappointed.

     “What about my memories,” Verity asked anxious.

     “She can’t help,” Loki waved, knowing this long before talking to Amora.

    “Well that’s just great,” Lorelei said pouting. “I’m sure you did a splendid job of interrogation to not get any useful information,” she said sarcastically to let go of her frustration.

    “I’d liked to see you do better, you’re her sister-”

    “Only by blood. You’re the one creature in this world she’ll actually listen to-” Verity sighed as the argument continued. Verity stood, listening to them bicker about their superiorities to each other, although it seemed Loki was winning. Verity stepped into the argument once threats were being handed, “ I will burn you alive you insolent moron. None of this would’ve happened if it weren’t for you-”

   “You came to me for help,” he got in her face but Verity pulled him back, forcing him to turn to her.

    “Can we please, stop the arguing,” she said exasperated.

    “No,” they both said and continued on with their points they were making to each other. Verity tried a second time to calm the two, but their words overlapped hers and their voice tuned out her own.

    “Okay, I’m getting a drink,” she said but they didn’t listen. She left the room and wandered off to find the nearest bar.  She didn’t know her way around this palace, but she thought it was high time she explored the outer reaches of the kingdom and hopefully find a place to have a drink or two.
      Verity wandered the halls in searched for a bar of sort but eventually found another person in the castle, and asked for directions to nearest place to get a drink. She was told she was going the wrong direction and turned back around to follow the right way the person described. The place they named wasn’t a bar, it was banquet hall, or a place to eat and be served. She didn’t know she wouldn’t be the only person there looking for a beverage. There was one other person in the room, getting served drinks by the servants. He had a large dog with him who was eating raw meat the man threw on the ground for him to eat.

    She got a closer look of who the man was to see it was Thor and Thori. If she could recall all the things she’s been told about Thor, than this was going to be an uncomfortable situation. She could tell from the way his shoulders were slumped, that he was sulking in misery. She was the human lie detector, and she was probably going to learn a lot of secrets about this man if she were to talk to him.

    Thori detected her first and warned Thor of her presence. Thor didn’t move positions and kept drinking out of the large mug that held his mead. Verity sat two chairs before him and asked the tender for a cup of any liquor. What was handed to her was a golden bronze colored beverage to which she was more curious as to what could’ve made the drink golden. Before she could take a sip, Thor placed his hand on her cup, pushing it back down onto the table. “You will die if you take a sip of that.” He took it away from her, “some of these servants like playing cruel jokes on people like you.” He poured the alcohol into his cup and drank it in one gulp, slamming the empty mug on the table.

     “Thanks then,” she said with gratitude, knowing he hadn’t lied just to have an extra drink. Now she didn’t have a drink, what was she going to do? “Is there a particular drink I can ask for that won’t erupt my kidneys,” she asked hoping there was.

     “Yes, but how intoxicated do you want to be,” Thor turned to her.

     “Just enough to feel like I’m off the ground,” she joked but he didn’t laugh. He took another sip of his mug and passed it to her side  of the table. There was very little left of the golden bronze drink but it seemed he insisted on her drinking it, “down the hatch I suppose.” She poured the drink down her throat acquiescence, and wiped her mouth of the foam. The after effects of the drink came into effect immediately. “Why do you go here,” she said as her weight felt to increase and her body become heavier to hold up.

     “Many reasons. Most, to make the pain vanish-” he answered truthfully.

    “What pain do you have now,” Verity asked curiously, feeling slightly light headed.   

    “Remorse. My goat, Toothgrinder, was killed by a creature named Mangog so now I know the beast is coming. But the cost of losing my goat to know was not worth paying,” he admitted to himself more than to anyone else.

     “I’m sorry for your loss,” she said genuinely before standing up.

     “But I need you to warn the others,” Thor said getting to his point

     “Of…Mangog,” he nodded, finding himself too coward to do it. “Okay,” she said simply as she walked to fulfill his wish. “Thanks for the sort of drink,” she said uncertain. As she walked away, Thori turned to him.
     “Are you too scared to help your brother or are you just too lazy,” Thori smirked.

     “I’m too much in a rush,” he stood up, “a lots going to happen over the course of the next few days and we’ve got to help Asgard, not Loki and his friends.” He picked up his battle ax and Thori stood hesitantly, leaving his meal behind.

     “But you don’t want them to perish in the crossfire,” he hinted but Thor didn’t respond. “Do we have to help Asgard,” he pouted, feeling no power to help.

     “You’ll get to eat the enemies we kill if you do-”

     “That’s better,” Thori said more excited to fight. He drooled through his teeth from the hunger he was suffering from and it brought a small smile to Thor’s face. Why was this dog always hungry, nothing ever seem to quench his thirst for meat. It reminded him of himself, when he had hole in his stomach that could never be filled. That was probably why Loki named him Thori, somehow he saw the Thor in him, their characteristics were similar. The thought of seeing Loki imagine Thori like him, made him smile. Reminiscing over his dead brother through Thori was a remedy to the pain. Temporary and short, but still a pleasant memory. He shook the sadening thoughts away and continued on what he planned to do.

       Verity remembered her way back to Lorelei’s room, with a message to tell. She was a little tipsy and supposed Thor was right to give her that small amount of poison to drink. She did feel like she was off the ground, at times of her walking. She was in a hurry, since what Thor was saying was true, it was safe to assume a giant monster was going to wreak havoc on this plain and from she could tell, soon. She wanted to leave sooner, but because of the Amora incident, they were stuck here another week.

       She wondered why Thor didn’t decide to warn them of the harm that was soon to come, but that was problems for him to figure out. She was glad she went to the bar and saw him in the first place, she wasn’t sure he was going to tell her otherwise. She didn’t know what a Mangog was, but she was more than certain that Loki would. She knocked on the door she believed was Lorelei’s, “hey guys, we got some problems,” she could still hear them arguing from the other side. She grumbled and open the door, “alright, this has got to stop-” she heard a loud thud as she walked in.

       Verity saw Loki on the ground, besides Lorelei’s bed panting, shirtless with his pants barely on him. Lorelei, who was on the bed, had her leg pointed towards the direction Loki was clearly kicked to. Lorelei’s hair was messy, she had a top on but her bottom half was covered by sheets. Verity turned around and walked back out once she saw the large wet stains on the sheets. She closed her eyes until she was certain she was no longer in the room. She closed the door behind her and exhaled deeply as she opened her eyes.

       It was moments later Loki entered the hallway, still with no shirt but at least his pants was on fully. Verity stood from sitting besides the door and fix her posture, although her mind was twisted. “Verity,” she rose a hand in protest to whatever he was going to say.

      “There are so many other things to talk about than what you’re going to speak,” she looked at him as her hand went down. “Like the creature Mangog,” she repeated the name a few times to herself to see which pronunciation sounded right.

     “What,” Loki was taken back to hear that name be spoken. “The god killer?”

     “No, the goat killer,” she said sincerely. “Thor told what he did to his goat, and he told me to warn you about his coming.”

      “To Asgard,” she shrugged, guessing that was where, “when?” Loki internally panicked in fear as he grabbed her arms and shook her for answers.

       “Soon,” she said, surprised to see how much fear it brought out of him.

        “Then we’re leaving now,” he had opened a portal and attempted to push her into it, but she had stopped him from their immediate departure.

         “Wait Loki, we still have other people to bring.”

         “They know how to fend for themselves-”

         “Really,” she said rhetorically. “Loki, calm down,” Verity said as she held him in place, “it’s just some bad news, we don’t have to run off scared of a creature with a weird name.” He may have known what his name meant, but Verity didn’t and he chuckled, agreeing with Verity in the end. She was able to calm him quickly and he agreed they would leave by the end of the night so they could catch their bearing before Mangog’s appearance. “Now go shower, you stink,” she said holding her nose to exaggerate his smell. He laughed, embarrassed as he opened the door to Lorelei’s room, “in your room,” Verity demanded, turning him around and in the direction to his room.

Chapter Text

      They were getting ready to leave. Verity sat on Loki’s bed and watched him collect all his things. Verity had rested on his bed to which she eventually fell asleep in. He didn’t know how she could be the slightest bit tired from all the resting she’s done over the past few weeks. It was only a reminder to the lack of rest he’s gotten. Everyday he grew weaker, and it was becoming harder to cover the dark circles around his eyes and the paleness of his skin. He kept himself from looking sickly but he didn’t know for how long he’d be able to.

     The thoughts of Leah escaped him when he didn’t sleep, and Verity didn’t mention the stress of slowly dying which he appreciated but only because she couldn’t recall. As great as it felt to not have night terrors every night with bruises and cuts in the morning, it was painful keeping his eyes open until dawn. He tried to distract himself by doing miscellaneous tasks, but the thoughts of sleep never slipped his mind. It wasn’t as if sleep was better. Having to suffer through torture was worse than to just stay awake. It may have ill him, but it truly was a better alternative than waking up with wounds.

     He checked in the mirror of his bathroom, noticing the dark crescent moons forming under them. He couldn’t use magic to cover up the blemishes, since Verity could see right through them, so he used a different alternative, makeup. Lorelei helped him, giving him the right tools to hide certain feature that he held, and sleep deprivation was one of them. It was useful to know that Verity couldn’t see through makeup, maybe the only thing she couldn’t see through. He wasn’t sure how long he could cover it up before it truly began to show, Verity would figure out soon he was wearing foundation. She knew makeup, she knew what looked like makeup, and it wouldn’t be long until she noticed him wearing it, and then she would be curious.

      He had no other options. He wanted more time before he would have to tell her what’s been going through his scrambled mind. As long as Verity’s memories were wiped, she needed to know nothing of his troubles. He didn’t want to torture her with his problems with his past, present, or future. He stared himself down in the mirror, realizing what he’d do. A male usually didn’t wear the pounds of makeup in the typical society of Midgard, but for women, it was fashion. It would be casual for him as a lady, to wear makeup and seem less out of the ordinary. With a little restructuring of the body from the will of his being, (given to him from the ancestors of his heritage, the Jotuns) he would have the ovaries and the clitoris of a baby maker, and the breast of a seducer to re-claim himself as a woman.

     Loki walked out of the bathroom a changed man. Verity jolted wake when she saw a woman through her blurry vision, walk out of the room she had just saw Loki walk into. She pressed her back against the wall, feeling alarmed to see a stranger wandering the room, and worse, digging through Loki’s stuff. “Who are you,” she said loudly, grabbing her attention. Loki turned to Verity and her smile dropped when she saw the fear in her face.

     “Vey,” she said almost questionably, “it’s me, Loki,” she said thinking it to be obvious. Verity rubbed her eyes and picked up her glasses off the bed, setting them in a place where she could see clearly.

      “Loki,” she asked as she began to notice the close resemblance. Loki nodded making her gasp in shock as she was taken back by the new… gender, “but how?” She asked completely dumbfounded by the idea that Loki could be a woman, “in such a short time-wait-how long was I asleep?” She asked worried that she slept for much longer than she thought. Thinking back on the question, she realized how ridiculous it sounded and decided to use logical explanation, “is it magic-” she said to herself before blurting the question out.

       “Actually no, I don’t think so, or, yes I’m not sure. We weren’t exactly taught the biology of jotuns, since we technically don’t have one.” Loki sat down next to Verity as she explained.

       “What,” she said startled and amazed. Loki forgot that she didn’t remember she could do that. Loki smiled warmly, figuring this would be a re-new experience for them both to enjoy.

       “Since jotuns shape shift into becoming the creature they possess, they can’t really have a definite structure to their body, it has to be… moldable,” she simplified, not having a completely comprehensible answer herself. Verity tried to understand as much as she can but it ultimately made no sense. “So I can be a girl,” green shimmer covered her face and dispersed to show the scraggle bearded Loki Verity recognized, “and a boy at the same time,” she said in his deeper, testosterone voice. More green shimmer and she was back to herself. “The green smoke is to cover up the horrific sight of my bones and muscles shifting,” she could see the question on the edge of Verity’s mind.

         “And why did you choose now to be a girl?”

        “I felt like today would be the day I’d be a woman. Let’s be honest, if a man had a chance to be a woman, he’d definitely take that chance. We’re just such fascinating creatures, and we’re powerful in more ways than one, I don’t see why everyone wouldn’t want to be a girl.” She said uplifting and confident, avoiding the question Verity had ask originally.

      “... Okay, final question; what’s jotun,” she asked subtly, seeing as it was common knowledge to know what the species was.

      “Another story for another time,” she left the conversation at a cliff hanger. “We’ve got places to be,” Loki grabbed her bags and they disappeared in her hands. “Alright, we’re ready, let's go round up the other,” she helped Verity off the bed and steered her towards the exit. Loki said she’d grab Thor and Verity would grab Lorelei. Loki would also grab a few other items before their departure, but she wasn’t going to announce them to Verity. Once they landed into the halls, their closeness disbanded and the went their separate ways.

      It didn’t take long for Verity to find Lorelei, since she did nothing on her free time other than steal, and if it wasn’t that then it was tricking innocent men to do her bid. A touch and a kiss and they were in the palm of her hands, mesmerized by her everlasting grace and beauty. Verity found her ordering around a few guards with the charm she put on them. They originally were help repairing the massive damage from when the nephilim attacked. They had almost completed their task until Lorelei came to bother them. Now they were swindling things from the castle to her, to which she either planned to sell or keep for herself.

      Verity witnessed all of it. Most of the things she stole were either jewelry or other small trinkets she’d be able to fit in her pocket. “Lorelei,” she called to her a bit annoyed to see her wasting her time by preying on innocent people. Lorelei glanced up at her and greeted but continued what she was doing, which was making money at the cost of others. Verity walked over to wear Lorelei stood and looked into the eyes of the slaves she’s brainwashed. Their eyes were vibrant violet, and they were smiling to the wrong deeds they did for the woman they “loved.” It was borderline disturbing, to watch their fixated eyes and robotic bodies move around and Verity couldn’t stand it.

      Verity asked for her to free the men of her spell that she could see clearly, which most people couldn’t. Lorelei hesitated but she could tell how much it bothered her and broke the spell she held over them. They dropped all the items they were carrying to her and scratched their heads in confusion of what’s been happening for the last hour or so. They soon left the room in search for answer and possibly a drink. Lorelei rested her body against the nearest wall and observed the few items she had stolen. Verity gave her the look of disappointment and shame, “to be fair, they came onto me.” Lorelei shrugged, “with spears and swords, they came onto me with,” Verity’s scolding stopped and confusion flushed her face. “They said I was a criminal,” she said surprised.

         “I wonder why,” Verity said pointing at the valuable objects occupying her hands and pockets. “We’re leaving Asgard soon,” she finally got out.

         “We just got here,” Lorelei said annoyed, just beginning to have fun here. Verity explained the situation that Mangog was coming, and she was just as much if not more terrified than when Loki found out the news. “Where did you hear that,” she said panicked, disbelieving what she said. “Are you absolutely sure,” she grabbed hold of Verity’s shoulders, “you better not be lying.”

         “Do I look like the person who knows what a Mangog is to be lying about it?”

         “You’re right,” she said as she bit the side of her finger. “We got to go,” she said after a long and hard thought about it. Verity agreed with her, irritated by the fact she didn’t catch it earlier when she said it. Lorelei ran with Verity following quickly behind her, to Loki, needing to be teleported as fast off the realm of Asgard as possible. It took a minute of them searching for him for Lorelei to ask Verity where he went. Verity corrected her pronoun to “she” and got to telling her where she went.

           Loki changed himself to male again before meeting Thor. He knew Thor disliked when he’d change gender to woman since he’d have to be more courtesy to Loki. Ever since he was a boy he was taught the act of chivalry, and although those ideas had changed throughout his life, the basic understanding still stands with him today. He may hate his brother but had to be kind to his sister under principle, and Loki didn’t want that out of his brother, he wanted the truth.

         Thor for once was no longer in the banquet hall, drowning himself with poison. Instead, he was pacing the floor in front of the door of the room that his mother’s healing bed laid. He wasn’t happy to see Loki, practically enraged by the sight of his brother, since he was the cause for Freyja’s lethal injury. “You could’ve told me in person,” Loki said annoyed as he grabbed his attention. Thori, who had been resting on the side, jumped up when he saw Loki, creeping to him carefully. “Instead of sending it through Verity,” he said frustrated, knowing how cowardice it was to do that. Thor only glared and continued his pacing, trying to keep his nerves down. Loki sighed, releasing his own stress, “come on, let’s go.”

          “I’m not leaving,” Thor continued to pace.

          “What,” Loki asked flabbergasted, “were you making up that stuff about Mangog’s return,” he asked rhetorically.

          “I’m staying here,” he re-stated, stopping what he was doing.

           “And get yourself killed, I don’t think so,” he grabbed his forearm to pull him with him but he snatched his arm away.

           “I’m staying to fight this creature,” he raised his voice.

           “The woman version of you can surely destroy the beast-” he tried to assure him.

           “She’s not here anymore, Asgard is left to defend itself and I plan to stand with it-” he picked up his battle ax.

           “What do you mean she’s gone?”

       “Thor is never returning and for good reason,” he knew, he was the only person who knew. Jane Foster was Thor, the new Thor, the better Thor. Thor had fallen after he lost his hammer and he couldn’t pick the pieces off the ground, so, Jane picked them up for him. She continued the legacy while he became a myth, a story told by children of today. That legacy came with a cost, her life. Everyday her cancer got worse and Mjolnir only sped the process. He had finally convinced her to put the hammer down before it was too late, and he only prayed she’d never come back for her sake.

       He would never tell this to Loki, he was the last person he wanted to know about this. “And that reason is…” Loki waited but Thor didn’t respond. Loki decided he didn’t care enough to know why the girl Thor was no longer around, what he needed to know was; whether Thor was going with him. “Thor, we have somewhere to be,” he would be the only person to call him by his first name and only when there was no one else around.

       “My place is here in Asgard, and you may want to run and hide, and leave your people behind but I’m going to fight,” he raised his voice, glowering over Loki.

       “You are such a hypocrite, all you ever did was avoid your problems and hid whenever it came back to haunt you,” he accused him, infuriating him. “and stop acting like you’re so damn noble, you always left me behind,” he yelled as his scepter materialized in his hand.

        “You’re not my brother, you killed him-” he shouted, raising his ax. “You betrayed me, and my trust and I will never forgive you for it. I will make you pay-” Loki tapped him on the chest with his scepter and Thor dropped to the floor unconscious. Loki combed his hand through his hair and sighed heavily. Thori ran to Thor’s side in shocked before glancing at Loki who wasn’t pleased for what happened.

        “Let’s go Thori,” he picked up his brother by the arm and threw it over his shoulder to carry him.

        “He’s just scared,” Thori tried to ease the pain Loki was clearly facing internally.

        “I know, but it hurts… because he’s right,” he shifted his gaze to the floor. “It may have not been my hands, but it was a my hand. I do have guilt for my crimes, and Thor is one of my punishments.” He was able to look at Thori again.

        “What are the others,” Thori was curious and concerned.

        “Leah,” Thori was taken back to hear that name again, it has been too long since he’s heard that girls name. “She’s come back,” he questioned.

        “As nightmares, so, maybe. I haven’t slept good for months and now I’ve completely stopped,” he said blatantly.

         “It’s as if all the crimes done by all the Loki’s are coming to punish you,” Thori concluded. Loki paused for moment, realizing what he said and noticing the sense it made, and chuckled. His constant chuckles slowly became soft laughs, which transformed into harder laughs. Thori smiled nervously, not sure what was hilarious about the statement.   

        “You’re right,” he laughed, “you’re absolutely right and I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before.” His laughs mixed with the cries that came after, “because I’m the last one,” he smiled as tears rolled down his face and laugh echoed the room. “I’m the only one that’s going to do something about what I did, because I’m the only one that can,” he sounded relieved, as if it all made sense now. He cried more which made him laugh as he carried his brother to his room.

        “You’re sounding crazy Loki,” Thori admitted.

      “I know,” he laughed which didn’t help Thori. “Then Sigyn will come to kill me,” he didn’t remember who that was but he knew that she was a another problem he’ll face. “And Angrboda will come back from the dead, and the dwarves I killed for Uru will show up to destroy Asgard,” he didn’t know who the people he listed were, but he knew they were past mistakes. His tears slowly stopped pouring and his laughter subsided as he escaped the thoughts of his mind.

     “... You know it’s going to get better, right?” Thori could see the brokenness he was facing from the hysterical laughter and crying in a horrible situation as he had explained.

     “I-I’m not sure about that anymore,” he wiped away a tear that slipped out. “I keep losing all that I’ve worked, because what I’ve worked for was the destruction of what I’ve worked for,” he smiled weakly. “My best friend’s missing and I don’t know where to find her. I’m too scared to tell her that I’m dying because she only remembers the few weeks we’ve known each other.” He teared up, “my brother hates me, my family hates me, the world hates me. I-I just… don’t know anymore,” he answered. He wiped his final tear away and glanced at Thori who took a moment to respond.

     “You’re dying,” Thori asked worried to which Loki nodded weakly. They continued on their walk to the room before Loki changed back to a woman. By the time they were a few feet from the room, they were greeted by Lorelei and Verity who both rested their bodies on the door. Both were shocked to see Thor passed out on Loki’s shoulder, but they didn’t question it. When she entered her room, Loki placed Thor on the bed, placing another spell on him.

     “So we have a sleeping bear on our hands, what now,” Lorelei asked Loki. Before she could stand, Loki dropped to the ground, hitting the hard floor and  passed out.

Chapter Text

     Lorelei was able to get Verity out of the room by sending Thori with her, while she took care of Loki. She dropped to her knees and lifted her head off the ground, placing it in her lap in attempt to shake her awake. She called to Loki to wake up quickly but there came no response. Lorelei looked at Thor who was still knocked out on the bed which she was thankful for. She knew Loki had something to do with why Thor slept for the first time in a long time, and she guessed he wouldn't be happy to know that. She tried shaking her again, knowing that in a situation like this, Loki wouldn't want Verity to see him dream and part of her didn't either. She wouldn't know what to do, the only person that would is Verity and he didn't want to be involved.

        “Come on Loki, get up,” she was relieved to see her wake up after the second shake. She sat up panicked and stood up quickly, catching the balance she had previously lost. She recovered from the haziness she felt earlier before she sat on the bed next to her brother. She must've not been out for long since she was still here, but she was out long enough for Verity to see.

      “Where’s Vey,” Loki asked alarmed but Lorelei freed her of some of the anxiety when she calmly reported her whereabouts were outside. Loki sighed and shook the rest of the sleep off as she picked Thor up from the bed, “we’ve got somewhere to be,” she rushed. It was astonishing to Lorelei to see Loki, even in the form she was in, be able to carry her brother as easily as when she was a male. Their strengths were imparable and she wouldn’t plan to argue with that. “Bring Verity in,” she ordered to which Lorelei happily obliged to, mesmerized by the pheromones that even she was hypnotized by.  She opened the door to let Verity in who ran to Loki’s aid.

      “Verity, we’re going to send you away,” Loki said as she placed her hands on her shoulders. Verity frowned to hear that and asked for an explanation she was surely going to dismiss. “It’s too dangerous for where we plan to go and I don’t want you to get hurt,” Verity couldn’t help but roll her eyes. She had an argue set before Loki cut her off, “please Vey… please,” she begged. Verity hushed but was reluctant to keep shut, asking what had happened earlier to her and why she fainted. Loki did her best to avoid the question or at least, talk around it as she moved onto the plan. Verity had no apartment to stay in, she planned for her to stay with her mother. It would be the safest place until Loki and Lorelei came back.

    Verity was wary to leave Loki, but they had no other options. She knew they were leaving, but she didn’t expect it would be without her. She felt hurt for their plan to leave her behind, but Loki showed much gratitude to her generous cooperation. Loki tore a hole in space and time that would lead her to her mother’s residence. Her mother was shocked to see people enter her house uninvited, and worse, in a portal but the rudeness quickly dissipated once she realized it was her daughter. She ran with her weaker legs to her daughters arms and sighed in heavy relief.

   She hugged her daughter closely and placed a big kiss on her cheek, expressing the affection she’s been having to hold in for the longest. Verity smiled embarrassed and flushed as she wiped the wet kiss from her cheek. Once their mini reunion ended, her mother noticed the two women waiting at the portal. Her mother couldn’t recognize the girl wearing the violet leather under armor and white tank top, but she did notice the one in green. She could recognized that green jacket and smile from anywhere.

     Loki was glad her mom remembered her even when she wasn’t male, it showed how good of an eye she had for faces. Her mother greeted Loki warmly as well, figuring she would ask why he was a she now, later. She greeted Lorelei formally than the rest and learned her name quickly, wishing to keep her face in her memory bank as well. Loki tried to keep it brief and gave her short version of the predicament and why she wished for Verity to stay with her for the time being. She knew what it was like to deal with supernatural beings and objects, and completely understood her reason and was grateful that Loki brought Verity back to earth. If anyone’s home would be safe from ancient creatures from another planet, it would be hers.

     Lorelei stayed close to the portal as Loki said her goodbye’s. “Let me know if you’re safe,” Verity’s mother demanded she do. “I don’t need my daughter’s wife/husband to go M.I.A. and we not know,” she warned as more of a threat to which Loki promised to. “I’ll keep her safe,” she said sweetly now that she was assured. She released Verity of her grip when she said her goodbye’s regretfully. She tried keeping in the sadness she faced, Loki was going to leave and she didn’t know how long and if she’d ever come back. She despised staying home with her mother instead of standing alongside the dangers Loki planned to face. The more she thought about it, the worse she felt.

    Loki embraced her in a hug to which she accepted sadly. “Dammit Loki, why do feel like you have to go at this alone,” she was still taller than her, towering over her in the embrace.

    “I won't be alone, I have Lorelei,” Verity glanced at Lorelei from behind her before looking back at her. “And I have you,” she revealed the ring on her hand, “every step of the way,” she spoke metaphorically. It didn’t help with what Verity was feeling, but Loki didn’t want her in danger. She felt too much guilt for the state Verity was in already, she didn’t need anymore on her shoulders. Verity understood that and decided she would stay with her mother. Loki kissed her forehead before saying her final goodbye, holding her essence in her arms once more.

     Loki left her with that, waving goodbye to her mother as the portal closed with them behind it. “What a sweet child,” her mother noted as she went into the kitchen to grab herself and her daughter a drink. She entered the living room with two mugs, handing her daughter one and taking a sip of hers. Verity sat down on the couch with her mother, setting her cup aside once she realized it was warm milk. She didn’t know until her mother hand her a tissue, that there were tears rolling down her cheeks. They came out of nowhere but the sight of them made her cry harder.

     Her mother took her in her arms and rested her head against her bosom, rubbing her back in comfort. Her embrace made Verity weep more, she couldn’t understand why she was crying so much and why she had no control over it. It felt like she’s known Loki forever, and this would be the last time they met, and yet she didn’t know her. The tears were unreasonable for the circumstance she was in, she’s only known Loki for a month and she knew she would come back. Her mother shushed her weeps away, and forced her to drink the warm milk, claiming it would calm her nerves. When her cries subsided, her mother spoke, “Loki will come back. I know he-she will,” she corrected herself. “And I know you got this from me, but wait, be patient, she’ll be fine.” She was more than certain Loki could handle herself, she had that look of experience.

     Verity wiped the tears from her eyes, and wiped her glasses with the hem of her shirt. She found her voice after a few sniffles and glanced at her mother, “I know ma,” she spoke calmly. She took another sip of the milk and contemplated, “how have you been?”

   

       Lorelei rolled her eyes when she saw Loki crying as they finished packing. “You’re going to see her again,” she knew for fact. “You’re like parasites to each other,” she said disgusted. Loki didn’t respond to her remarks, not caring about how she felt about the situation. Loki knew she was feeling and there was nothing that could be said or done about it. “We should probably hurry if we want to get off this target for a planet. Mangog will be planting his feet on this soil anytime now,” she checked the window of her room. Lorelei turned around before being snatched from her position by Loki. She kissed her deeply, wrapping her arms around her waist and pushing herself against her pelvis.

        Lorelei was welcoming of the sudden kiss as Loki pressed her against the window seal. “Right now,” she asked breathless, feeling herself getting heated and not sure if she should.

      “Yes,” she kissed her again, needing the stress reliever.

       “What about your brother,” she sighed to the feeling of Loki’s cold lips against her neck.

       “He’ll be unconscious for hours,” she said as she continued kissing down to her collarbone.

     “What about the beast,” her most concern to which Loki had no valid  response.

      “It will be quick,” Loki was distracted with her thoughts and desires, but Lorelei didn’t want to die because of Loki’s seduction. Lorelei removed Loki from her body and held her by her shoulders.

      “Then it can wait. Once I know we’re safe.” She moved from the window and picked up her bags. She turned and grabbed Loki by her jacket, pressing her lips against hers, “now let’s get the hell out of here,” she smirked. Loki nodded, accepting her request and finished collecting the items she’d need. She went through her closet and pulled out a large burlap sack from the depths of the closet. Loki left the room, informing Lorelei she’d be back soon and made her way to the darkest, bottomless pit of the castle.

 

      He went to the cage where he stored Amora. He was changed into a man for the benefit of Amora. Amora was huddled in a corner, covering her ears and closing her eyes. It seemed Mimir kept her up with nightmares from the words he whispered in the echoed chamber. Amora noticed Loki was in a rush when he forced her onto her feet, placing chains connected to his person on her, and removing her from the cell. She was tempted to ask why they were in a rush, but he didn’t seem to be in the mood to hear her voice.

      Loki was the only source of light in the light lacking ambient room she’s been stuck in for more than a week. He made a shortstop past her cell where they were met with the head of Mimir. His eyes were closed which brought a unpleasant feeling to Loki’s stomach, but he was still whispering. It wasn’t until Loki grabbed the large head did he open his eyes, burning his damning stare into the socket of Loki’s eyes. Loki felt the sting that came from the effect of the touch, and shut his eyes to shield them from the gaze. Mimir raised his voice as he conjured words that only Loki could understand.

      Amora asked what he had said, slightly disturbed by the head speaking in tongues. The question made Loki realize how old he truly was that Amora didn’t know of Mimir nor the elder language he spoke. He opened his burlap sack, and as regretful as it was going to be for doing this, Loki pushed Mimir’s head into the sack. Two straps formed on the sack and Loki threw it over his back, glad he still had the magical bag he stole from the dwarves so long ago. Once he had all the people he needed, he opened a portal to where Lorelei waited for him.

 

        Lorelei didn’t bother to ask what was in the sack on his back when she heard a voice escape the bag. Loki tried to cover it up with a smile and a nervous laugh, but she knew an entire body couldn’t fit in there yet there was a being speaking to her in the sack. She would rather not touch on the strange things Loki gets himself involved with, finding them to be on a level no sane being should meet.

       Lorelei didn’t glance at her sister who walked past her with Loki. Amora was staring directly at her with her evil glare but Lorelei kept her gaze from her, not giving the satisfaction of her reaction. Loki tugged on her chains to move with, and she did so reluctantly as she got her last stare of her sister. It felt as though a curse was put on Lorelei and she didn’t know it. The intensifying stare Amora gave her, may have been one of that who’s putting a spell on someone. Her eyes had a menacing tone of needing the blood of the innocent to survive, and Lorelei wasn’t innocent but she was good enough for Amora. The thought brought chills to her spine, Amora was in chains but somehow, she still didn’t feel safe. Her sister was a powerful creature, if she were to get on her bad side, there’d be hell to pay.

     Loki came back with his brother and Thori, having a more difficult time carrying his heavy brother. Amora questioned where the other woman was, the one Loki was head over heels for. He didn’t tell her where she was, but why she left, knowing it would anger Amora to see how much they care for each other. After their dispute between them and their feelings towards the other, Lorelei stopped the argument and ordered for them to leave. There was already too much time wasted for them to stay another minute on the planet. Loki agreed and quickly teleported them off the realm.

    

    Getting to Tivan’s ship was the easy part, but knowing where Old Asgard wasn’t. Apparently it was gone after the battle between Thor and Tivan, Thor being the cause of its disappearance.When they sought out Tivan, he was lying in one of his empty cages, mourning. Loki wasted no time to getting what he bargained for, and pulled Tivan out of the cage, taking him out of his grief. Tivan shook to the touch and was surprised to see it was Loki, holding onto his unconscious brother.

    He stood, fixing his stature as he observed the fallen god. “He’s passed out?” Tivan wanted to be certain of.

     “For hours,” Loki assured him, making him squeal from glee. He took his brother from his arms and carefully placed him in a cage, locking it securely. “Where’s the nephilim key,” Loki asked to which Tivan recalled.

    “I’ve kept it someplace safe,” he lead them to another room of his ship, filled with more empty cages. “After our last encounter, I came across one of your ‘nephilim’ you’ve been talking so much about.” Into another room, they were met with a nephilim, trapped in cell of his own device. “I whipped it up quickly, but it’s been holding her so far,” he said as he scurried over to her cage. “Interesting how I’ve never seen this species in all my eons of living,” he grabbed a lock of her ebony black hair and sniffed it, causing her to push away from him.

     “Why can’t I just eat him,” Thori growled at the man who enslaved him.

     “You can eat him afterwards, I promise,” Loki said intently making Thori smile. “Give us the key Collector, we’re done toying with you and your dungeon.

     “Oh alright, fine,” Tivan whined as he dug in a lock drawer nearby, pulling out a keychain with seven keys, each different shapes and symbols. “How much do I owe you, three,” he removed that exact amount and handed it to Loki.

    “How about all of them-” Loki said irritated.

    “Ah, but you only brought Thor, I also requested the hammer that he ran off with,” he grinned, taking the rest of the keys. Lorelei sighed heavily from recalling the memory as she placed her face in her hands. Amora chuckled to herself, enjoying the disappointment Loki was served. “But I’ll make another deal with you,” he was willingly to make Loki owe him more valuables. Loki’s head lowered before in his hand, his scepter appeared, and he shoved it into the side of the Collector. His speech was halted by the sudden sting he felt in his side, and he looked down to see a large staff stuck in it.

     Blood soon came after and stained through his shirt to his armor. He laughed, “it’s going to take more than a stab wound to make me go down-” he looked at Loki as he grabbed the staff. He felt a burning sensation come from his new wound and noticed a bright glow emanate from the end of the scepter. He frowned at the sight of of the glow brightening and the burning increased before Loki fired into his side, making a small crater. “Oh-” Loki grinned as he snatched his hand which held the rest of the keys, keeping him standing. Loki gave Thori permission to eat the Collector as he wished, pouncing on him and biting onto his wound.

    Loki let go of him, allowing him to fall from the force and weight of the hellhound. As Thori fed off of Tivan, Loki stepped over his twitching body towards the occupied cage. He watched the nephilim skeptically who looked at him with the same feeling. “If I release you, will you attack us?”

    “Depends if I have to,” she countered. She could read what he was thinking of her, whether to set her free. “That thing took me from my home and dragged me out here to be his slave,” she pointed at Tivan accusedly. “Set me free, and I’ll forever be in your debt,” she lowered her head hoping he’d take the offer.

   “Join the club. I’m going to owe him next week,” Lorelei commented realizing how everyone in this group owed Loki some kind of ‘debt’ to pay. Knowing Loki, he was going to use those debts. Loki glared at Lorelei before crouching down to where the lock was placed. He removed the spell that was casted over the cage and broke the lock. She pushed the door open and stepped outside, stretching her arms and legs out.

    It wasn’t until her stretching did Loki realized she was a kid, a teenager to be exact. Her markings weren’t as defiant as the grown nephilim were. She had barely any black marks, with the size of her body, she wouldn’t be able to etch the amount usually placed on their fully developed bodies. “How old are you,” he asked curious.

   “Four months, eleven days,” she said mindlessly as she wiped the dirt off herself. He guessed they aged faster because of their leader, forcing them to grow up quicker, but for reasons he didn’t know. It also could be the natural aging process of nephilim, but that would make their lifespans short. “How can I repay you,” she bowed in gratitude for her release.

   “Do you know where your home is,” Loki knew she could lead them to old Asgard since it wasn’t where they last saw it.

    “Why,” she questioned skeptically. She was a captive only seconds ago and she didn’t know these people, she didn’t know what they wanted to get from her home if she were to bring them.

    “Don’t fret child, we mean no harm to your people.” He lied. She didn’t believe him completely, but she owed him. If his intentions turn out to be to do harm, she would kill him in an instant. She agreed to lead them back to her home, in hope it wouldn’t bring bad fortune.

   “It’s quite some miles from here, hopefully you can keep the pace,” Loki called Thori over, forcing him to stop feeding. They entered the previous room where Thor was held hostage. He was still sleeping, needing it from the clear lack of sleep he’s gotten. He opened the cage, but he didn’t wake him. He asked Thori to stay here with him and wait for him to wake, then guide him back to Asgardia. Although Thori was reluctant, he respect his wishes and laid next to Thor. He supposed he could rest after the large meal he was given, the Collector was bigger than he looked.

   “Why do you leave him here instead of bringing him with you,” Thori wondered why he given the job he didn’t ask for.

   “Because… he’s had enough of me. It’s time he’s gotten a break from a… “ he choked back his words and turned away. They left the ship, Thori being the one to say goodbye.

    When they reached the exit, Lorelei stopped them in their tracks. “Why don’t we take the ship, it’ll be faster travel,” she said, finding it annoying that they almost walked away from their better way of travelling. It took the girl a moment to realize that it was a ship and it would be a great source to travel.

    “The ship is Thor’s way to Asgardia, unless he has his goat, this is his only way to get back.” Loki knew he wanted to put his effort in battling Mangog, even though he was going to lose. He was going to give him that chance, he wasn’t going to hold him back for his sake. He’s done enough damage in his life.

     The young nephilim pointed in the direction where her planet was. They wouldn’t be able to cover that much distance in a short amount of time on foot. Loki decided to take the escape pods towards the direction. It would get them close at the very least. He was certain Tivan would have a few, he used to have an entire army on the ship. They passed his prison chambers to get to the central command deck, hoping they’d find the escape pods there or near.

     Tivan’s body lied on the ground twitching ever so slightly. His intestines ripped out of his body and spilled across the floor. His entire chest was eaten away by Thori, having his heart and lungs, badly damaged, but still functioning. His throat was slit more than once by Thori’s claws, leaving large gashes down his neck to his open chest. Blood poured heavily down his neck and made a puddle, that Loki regrettably stepped in. His lips were torn on off, Thori found it too chewy not to eat it. His gums, which were badly damaged, were exposed and his teeth covered in his own blood. His mouth was filled with his own blood and spilled onto the floor, adding to puddle.

     His face looked as if it was thrown into a wood chipper. The part left of his nose was the septum, clawed away to show his nasal passages. His face muscles were punctured and dug into as if Thori was looking for the good parts of his face muscles. An eye was missing, the socket being a dark crimson red from the thick blood that filled it. The other still existed, but it was closed due to the lack of brain activity that told him to open them. There was not enough oxygen coming through to his brain to help charge the neurons to keep him alive. He was lucky he wasn’t a normal benig that would die from this.

     He was weaker, but he wasn’t dead. He wasn’t going to die, but he was in incredible pain. He learned next time to not let a hellhound get close to him. He pulled himself together, unsuccessfully, and grabbed Loki’s ankle. His legs no longer worked since Thori bit the tendons. He used Loki’s groundedness as away to crawl onto his leg. Loki removed himself quickly from Tivan causing him to collapse onto the floor. He could barely get a breath in before he spoke, “you’ll… be sorry-for-what… you did. To me,” he said jaggedly.

     “What I did to you doesn’t compare to what Thor’s going to do to you when he wakes up.” He crouched down to Tivan’s level, “after being kidnapped and betrayed again, finding out he’s on your ship? All that built up anger and no one to release it to, other than you,” he grinned wickedly. “Thor’s wrath will be worse than what I’ve done,” he stood, “what I gave you was mercy. He’s not.” Loki left him to wallow in his own blood and fear.

     It wasn’t long when they found the central command deck. From there they found a blueprint of the layout and located the smaller ships in the lower parts of the ship. It didn’t take long for Loki to catch up and find the escape ship with them. Lorelei asked where he went, to which he excused by saying he was waving goodbye to Thori. She wanted to question him more, but he seemed to not be in the right mindset to be bothered.

   They were able to locate the ship. The ship was only big enough for four people, luckily there was only three. One was a child, which meant it cut her size in half, so two and a half. They didn’t have any coordinates for the ship to follow. They’d have to manually guide it through space with the help of a nephilim who could “sense” her home. It was Lorelei who steered the ship, claiming she had more experience with flying then either of them. They only prayed she was right.

    When they were finally shot out of the ship and into the void of space, Loki contemplated. He was missing Verity with every bit of his soul. He couldn’t help it. Even without her memories, she was much comfort to his being. She kept him grounded, and now he was alone. He couldn’t help but feel like he made a mistake to sending her home. She didn’t want to leave his side and he to her. It felt stupid to not allow her to go when they both wanted the same thing.

    He felt another side of him, the side he conflicted with. He was being overprotective but he couldn't take any chances. He felt paranoia consume him. He didn’t know what he’d do if she were to be permanently gone and it scared him. He knew what he did was only to protect her, for his sake mostly. It was an inner turmoil in his head of what he wanted and what he needed, and it was the same turmoil that forced him to act this way.

Chapter Text

    

   Loki was talking to the head in the bag as they travelled to their destination. He might as well know the ancient giant since he’d be carrying him around. He might’ve known him long ago, but he couldn’t remember that far back in time. The nephilim was uncomfortable to see him talking to a bag she didn’t know what was in it, but it wasn’t her business to be looking anyway. Amora, who was latched on to his side, had to listen to their conversation even if she had no interest. Lorelei could hear their conversation while she was steering, it creeped her out to hear Loki enjoying himself, talking to a sack. It was even worse to hear the bag respond to him.  

   Loki asked why Mimir was blind. If he could recall correctly, it was Odin who gave up his eye to Mimir. “I was born this way boy. Your father wanted the gift of mine, he had to sacrifice that of which blinded him,” Mimir said cryptically. “As did you at one point,” he didn’t tell him why he didn’t remove his eyes or even one. “My head was removed from my shoulders by then,” he frowned.  

   “Odin can be wicked-”

   “He was greedy. Lusting for power and expecting it to be handed to him,” Mimir spat in disdain but keeping his composure. He was speaking in complete sentences to Loki’s surprise. Complete, comprehensible structural sentences that Loki could understand. He wondered why he spoke in staggers for so long if he had the capability to speak understandably. He would asked Mimir later about it, they were talking about Odin and his mistakes now. “The universe with fall because of him,” he knew all the intimate details of how, and although it wouldn’t end in his hand, it starts with his.  

    “I know. I’ve seen it before… and lived through it,” something Mimir didn’t know. Throughout all the time he’s lived and all the knowledge he’s gain, never would he had ever thought Loki would be able to witness the Ragnarok.

     “You are a step closer to your ancestors,” Mimir concluded after a while of contemplation. Loki smiled faintly from what was considered a compliment in Jotunheim and an in insult in Asgard.

     “Funny, since Laufey said the exact opposite to me while I stayed there,” he didn’t care completely what his biological father had to say about him, but to hear he was wrong from an ancestral was reassuring.  

      “There was a reason he was killed many times,” Mimir said incredulously. Loki chuckled to the remark, resting the head on the table. “We’re approaching,” Mimir sensed the old land. Lorelei was relieved to hear that since she based her steering off of what the girl said which wasn’t the best source of direction when it came to travelling in space.

     From a distance they could spot the small amount of earth. Lorelei turned off the thrusters as they approached and turned to Loki who was getting ready to exit. She gasped to see his eye color had changed drastically from emerald green to bloodshot red. Loki looked at her confused until she pointed at his blood eyes. He checked his reflection in the glossed steal nearby him, before forming a mirror in front of him. He looked at Mimir for answers but he stayed quiet, making Loki grunt in irritation. As long as Mimir was with them, they would turn their natural color. He put Mimir’s head back in the sack, wanting to hurry and get Mimir to his ancestors.

     The land was as they remembered it, destroyed. Months have passed by and Loki could see a few improvements to the place. There was less ruble and life was growing once again on the dead earth, he supposed the Yggdrasil lived which meant one thing. “Asgardia” was going to be destroyed, he predicted it was but now it was certain. Old things just can’t die. Loki rubbed his eyes, hoping it could help change it back but his illusions or tricks wouldn’t work on Mimir’s own will to be and let be.

    Life replenished on Asgard and so did the tree, healthier than ever. “What’s your name little girl,” Loki asked as they walked passed the tree of life. He was mesmerized by its glow and desired to touch it, but he knew of the consequences for craving the knowledge of the tree. He knew it all too well.

   “Shiklah,” she responded, distracted by the giving tree and her home which was not too far from the tree. “Yours?” They never did make a formal introduction of one another.

  “Loki,” Shiklah froze to the name.

  “Strange name,” she said a bit nervously. She continued their trail, approaching the kingdom soon. Her marks began to glow, hiding them from the people she travelled with. “I hope you have a sense of direction because this place is a maze.” The structure of the kingdom was that of a maze. Each village was its own sector surrounded by a giant wall that blocked the entire civilization. Loki couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen this before, maybe Ånd made renovations. The sectors were split off into multiple pathways which lead to more that lead to more villages. They were all branched off from the center of the kingdom, where the castle was placed. Possibly where Ånd stayed.

    “Which part do you belong to, I can send you there,” Loki asked Shiklah. He could send her there through a portal now that he knew what the place was. He walked up to her when she didn’t respond, “Shiklah?” Her back was turned to them before he placed a hand on her shoulder, forcing her to look back. She turned to reveal her illuminating skin and soon after, her eyes. Loki took a step back in shock before she placed her hand on his neck, sending pure energy through it.

    Loki felt something sharp be inserted into his neck and his vision blurred. He removed her hand from his flesh to see the main culprit from the sharp pain he felt go straight to his brain which made him hazed. Her palm had a short sharp-like-needle fused with it, “did you poison me,” Loki demanded an answer in his hazy state. Lorelei sprinted towards the girl with a blade in her hand, but she ducked, reaching and grabbing Lorelei hand which held the long blade. Shiklah took her hand and placed it on her neck, sending a rush of energy to her brain. Lorelei fell from the sudden voltage of shock she felt course inside her skull and passed out.

   Loki grabbed her hands from behind and twisted them back. He recovered slowly from the shock that went through his brain, he handled worse. Shiklah had shouted from the pain she felt by the sensation of having hand almost break. Loki predicted there would be betrayal, she was nephilim after all. He went along though, wanting to know where they hideout was located. She head butted him in the face, busting his lip and weakening his stance. She twisted her body and crossed her arms as she yanked her hands away from him.

    Loki wiped the blood that poured down his neck, shaking the pain quickly away. “You’re truly Loki,” she said with surprise. To actually be in the presence of the highly known and valued creature, it was exhilarating.

    “In the flesh,” his scepter appeared in his hand. He didn’t realize he was recognized across the land of nephilim. From the look on her eyes, he was talked about down there a lot but he didn't know why. She sprinted at him, aiming her needles for his neck. He pointed his scepter’s sharpest end at her and fired a blast of energy at her chest. She halted at the sight of bright colorful light coming towards her, and fell when it contacted her bosom. The feeling burned her internally and managed to scorched the part of clothing it hit.

        She wasn’t as sturdy as the older nephilim. She was on the floor squirming in pain she felt wishing it to be no more. Loki knelt down beside her and placed his hand on her forehead, commanding her to sleep. The pain subsided and she passed out in his arms, exhausted from resisting the agony. He shook Lorelei to wake who grumbled and rubbed her head as a headache spewed on after the shock. He helped her to her feet and threw Shiklah over his shoulder. Amora was not amused by the situation and didn’t bother helping because she hated those people. “Let’s keep moving,” Loki said to Lorelei as he tore a hole in the universe for them to step into.

     The castle was familiar to Loki, it was similar to Jotunheim’s structure. Their light source for most of the palace was illuminating crystals, placed on the ceiling or walls. The halls were similar as well, they were set in spirals going deeper down the castle instead of linear pathways as Asgard made it. Each level in spiral lead to another room or another set of spiralling halls. The throne room would have to be on the lowest floor if it were structured similar to Jotunheim. “Mimir, do you have any ideas to why she knew of me,” Loki asked his back. The civilization was ancient, he must’ve known them when he stilled had a body.

     “You may not remember your age, but the rest of us ancients do. You have a long history with all creatures of the nine realms-” he said through the sack, though his voice was clear as day in Loki’s ears. Everyone else around them only heard muffles.

     “There’s actually, ten now,” Loki recalled.

     “The eyes of the universe read nine,” Mimir corrected. Loki wasn’t sure what he trying to say. If one was to be destroyed or if one never existed. Maybe he was losing his vision, as ironically as it sounded, he might be going blind to the modern world. “Don’t doubt me boy,” he sensed it in Loki, but he wasn’t going to give him the answer he seeked.

    The palace seemed desolate. They managed to get to the bottom floor but throughout, the castle was empty. They hadn’t encountered a single guard or even a servant as they went through the halls. It was suspicious and Loki could only guess this would be an ambush, but he had other plans to this field trip. He wished Verity was here.

   They were met by a large oak wood door with carvings of symbols similar to that etched on the nephilims’ skin. Loki warned Lorelei of the trap they were being set into before they would entered. They stepped closer to the door silently as they prepared an entrance. Loki carefully placed the girl he was carrying, a distance from the door in case she woke. Loki kept Amora away from making any purposeful noises, and ordered her to be quiet. With the spell she was under, she had no choice but to obey disdainfully. “Remove yourself from the door,” Mimir ordered Loki. Loki asked why as he stepped back, listening to his elder. It was mere seconds later that Lorelei was shot in and blown across the hall.

   Loki clung to the wall to further himself from the bullets being fired through the door. “Guess they’ve had some innovations,” Loki glanced at the broken door before switching to Lorelei who was collapsed on the ground. He ran to her side, setting Mimir down in case of injury. He turned her from her side to her back lying against the ground. She held closely to her stomach and he watched as blood seeped through her padded shirt. She winced from the pain she felt consume her, and she held her breath till she coughed. She coughed up blood. “You’re okay-you’re okay,” the calm and collective stature broke into worry and panic. She shook her head, feeling the pain worsen as she took in breaths.

      Loki placed a hand over the bullet wound and tried to subside the pain with magic. It didn’t help. Tears trailed down her face with gargled whimpers from the flow of blood that went through the wrong place. She was stuck in place as she began to choke on her blood. Loki lifted her to a sitting position and made the blood and saliva pour out of her mouth. “Breath Lorelei, breath-” he used magic to make her lungs filter out the blood and function normally. She took deep breaths in and out while crying out the pain. He swept her off the ground, keeping their connection close as he kept her breathing.

    The doors were wide open, and behind it was the entire army of the nephilim. They had guns, powerful ones. They must have gotten the idea from Midgard, a prominent feature of the planet. They were all pointed at him, some with laser pointers attach to them to see they aimed for the chest. He had no choice but to surrender, lowering his head and getting on his knees. Lorelei’s breathing quickened and he coaxed it with the rubbing he did of her back. The army of nephilim moved out of the room they hid in, picking up the pieces he dropped.

    They took the sack and the little girl he had set aside. They attempted to remove Lorelei from his arms, but he gave them a hard glare of malice that threatened them to keep away. Two of nephilim helped him to his feet, and carried him off into the main chamber. He could hear Mimir talking to him, as much distress he was in, Mimir spoke to him. They were incomprehensible sentences as before, but they were clear as day. Mimir wanted him to listen even though he was misunderstood.  He listened, and he was silent.

       They dragged him through the dark oak wood doors that led to a new set of rooms and floors. He guessed the ruler was deeper in the kingdom than he thought. They didn’t place him in a cell, but in a bedroom to his surprise. There was still weapons pointed at him for their own safety, but they left the room, sealing it shut with enchantments. It may not have been a cell, but it was a prison. Once Loki was sure they were alone, he focused his energy on Lorelei.

    With the bed that was laid out for them, he placed her on it gently. She focused her own energy to helping her wounds as she placed a hand over it. Loki lifted her shirt to reveal the holes in her stomach. Blood poured out of them constantly, making a small pool on her stomach which inverted from tensity. “I should’ve seen it coming,” he stared at the grainy blood gushing out of her uncontrollably. In his hand, formed a wet rag that he used to wipe up the blood and clean the wounds. He placed his abnormally cold hand on her forehead to cool the fever that was rising.

    As he worked on her wounds in various ways to heal them, Lorelei placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked in her eyes, the pain she was feeling was the only thing she could express. The distress in her expression brought more sadness to his mistake and his eyes watered. “I’m so sorry,” Loki apologized but she didn’t take. She clenched his jacket as she forced herself up, setting her hand over her injury. She opened her mouth and diluted blood came out as she spoke.

    “I’m not Verity,” she slurred hysterically as the magic coursed through her and the bullets retracted from her stomach into the palm of her hand. “So stop crying,” she fell onto the bed as she took in a deep breath. Her hand went over the bed and she unclenched it to drop the bloody bullets trapped in it. Her breathing regulated and the bleeding stopped as her wound slowly healed. “I-I didn’t know how long before the spell would kick in,” she coughed up the last bit of blood she’d ever cough. She glanced at Loki who was more than relieved she was fine, but still just as upset. “I’ll live,” she assured him in her hysterical state.

    It was that he failed to keep her out of harm's way which made him upset. He wouldn’t be able to protect Verity even if he wanted to. Lorelei could see in his eyes that her injury was more than a wound, it was a test. Lorelei placed a hand on his cheek, “it’s okay Loki. I’m fine, well, better.” He was far from convinced and it wouldn’t help his situation if it were true. She pulled herself up and pressed her lips against his, “because of you,” she was still recovering from the brain trauma she went through from Shiklah. He helped her while she was still healing from her last injury, if he wasn’t there she would’ve died.

   His face lifted for her, but he wasn’t fine, he was worse and it was only going to get worse. Lorelei didn’t need to witness it. “So, what do we do about this,” the predicament they were in.

   “They kept us alive this long, they clearly have a plan for us more than death,” he set his thoughts aside to search for an exit. They sealed them in a energy field which reflected magic, he wouldn’t be able use any outside the walls he was behind. These nephilim knew what they were doing and who they were dealing with. Loki touched the door, feeling the reverberation of energy flowing through it. He knocked on it a few time to feel it was reinforced, it wouldn’t be easy to break through with brute strength, a quality he lacked very much of. He thought logically, they weren’t coming out unless an external source came through. He walked back to the bed and sat down on the edge. While they waited he might as well work his energy into healing her.

   “What about the head, can he do something,”Lorelei asked, noticing his eyes were still red.

  “If he could, he wouldn’t tell me and he’s currently not with us,” Mimir’s voice went silent moments after Lorelei pulled the bullets out of herself. He placed both his hand on her stomach and worked on sewing the muscles together with creating new cells at a rapid speed. It was disappointing to hear they wouldn’t be able to escape this place as easily as Lorelei thought, but she was glad she wasn’t dead. It was better to be here with Loki than to be on the cold hard ground, choking on her own blood.
   “Maybe you’ll get some rest finally,” she brought up.

   “Sleep is for the dead,” he said discontent that she mentioned rest to him.

   “We don’t know how long before the nephilim come back, and you and I are both too weak to cause real damage. Why waste this time contemplating when it should be wasted on conserving energy.” She didn’t want to move from pain but she reached and grabbed him, pulling him onto the bed. He fought very little against her force, she was weaker but just as stubborn.

   “I can’t promise I’ll sleep-” she kissed him softly as she laid him to bed.

   “Shut up and go to bed,” she was very exhausted and she needed him to sleep without knowing the consequences. Loki laid his body beside her. She may have been growing unconscious from blood loss but he swore to himself he wouldn’t dream, and if that meant no sleep, than so be it.

 

    Loki felt as though he was digging out of his own grave, but there was no casket and he was ten feet under. The dirt was wet and heavy which made it harder for him to climb out. He kept his eyes tightly shut as he used as much force in him to latch onto the dirt in front of him and pull it behind him. He struggled to free himself from the clutches of earth that filled his lungs whenever he took a breath. His heart raced as his lungs gave out to the tainted air he was breathing, and he clawed desperately out for oxygen. He could see the light in the direction he dug from, and he used all the energy left in him to push his last breath out.  There was no more dirt on top of him and he pushed himself out of the grave, gasping for air.

    He coughed up dirt that was lodged in his throat or captured in his respiratory. Lying against the moist ground, he wiped the mud off his face and turn to his side. He shook more of the mud off himself as he sat up, regaining the energy to move. He looked at his surroundings, realizing it was an old but familiar place. He recognized the six chairs and the person who occupied one of them. He was in the world of nightmare.

  Loki could only taste dirt which was very unpleasant to walk with as he reached Nightmare. He was sitting in his appropriate chair as Loki remembered seeing him, but there was something wrong. Loki might have been sleep deprived, but he couldn’t be hallucinating enough to see the chains attached to Nightmare. Unless they were real. Nightmare ignored Loki’s presence as he usually did, but it wasn’t in a cocky tone as before. Something was wrong with Nightmare and the world he had created for himself by Loki’s design. “You seemed all high and mighty before demon, the attitude’s changed,” the chains disappeared.

   “Were you not buried ten seconds ago,” Nightmare was in thought, but he would have to deal with his own demon, Loki. He removed himself from his throne and stepped towards Loki. He placed a hand on Loki’s shoulder, “watch your back when speaking to the ones who have you chained-” he went behind him and squeezed his shoulder tightly.

   “Hopefully those chains were representative of mine then,” he pointed out the shackles on him. Nightmare removed himself and strode back to his seat . Loki wanted something out of the demon, and Nightmare wasn’t planning on giving him the right information he needed to hear. He glanced at the empty chair beside him, then himself and the chains force upon him. Loki had seen the bondages, so they was no point in hiding them, but he couldn’t show them all. He revealed the shackles on his arms and legs, each chain with symbols etched into it that meant something else. The person who had him tamed knew what they were doing, and wielded the magic to do it.

     “They’re dead you know,” he looked at the empty chairs. “Brutally murdered by that-” he winced, holding back the name and cursing to himself. “You would think it was a good thing. The only obstacles to my plan, now gone. But I was wrong. There’s a lot more scarier things out there than my coworkers… my friends.” That’s what they were to him a long time ago, before the lust for power consumed him, before it consumed all of them. He was kidding himself if he thought he could stop what was already in motion. Trying to tell Loki the truth when he knew it would only bring him closer to his inevitable fate. He sighed in realization that it matter none. Anything he said would be on no use to him or to Loki, that would lead to a positive impact. Positive , that was new.

   Loki noticed this conflict in Nightmare, this doubt within his plans. “You’re nightmares won’t stop, and I’ll only get stronger,” he said with much less enthusiasm as the last time. “I’ve only come to remind you of that,” he was hinting at something that Loki couldn’t catch. “Whether you and I like it or not,” he flicked his wrist and Loki began to sink into the ground.

   “What, no!” He didn’t enjoy the idea of being forced back underground. He desperately dug back to the surface, but the dirt collapsed over him. He spotted from the little sight clear for him, Nightmare holding a shaping hammer. He was off his chair and into his workshop for which he began smelting materials. Loki took his last breath and closed his eyes as he went under.

   

   Loki woke gasping for air in his lungs. He had gripped the sheets as he pulled himself up into a sitting position. When he knew he wasn’t dead, he turned to Lorelei, hoping he hadn’t woke her from his night terror. She wasn’t in the bed. He checked the rest of the of the room for any signs of her and found none. She was gone and he was alone.

   He panicked. He checked the door to see if he could open it, but the external source was gone and he couldn’t escape. Loki knew he shouldn’t have slept, but his brain betrayed him once again. Now Lorelei was kidnapped and he was trapped in the prison, not able to save her. He used magic against the door, he knew it would be reflected but he had to attempt to escape. His scepter formed in his hands, and he shoved it into the field to break it. “They use dark magic, I use darker magic,” he input more force to breaking the spell, but it ended up bouncing back, pushing him away.

  Loki shouted in frustration. Why did Lorelei have to be kidnapped? Why did he have these nightmares? Why did Verity have to be away? Why did her memories have to be gone? Why did he have to have these nightmares? Why does Leah torture him? Why did he torture himself?  He had answers to none of them. He could make excuses and explanation all he wanted to, but the truth was, he didn’t know. He didn’t know anything and that scared him. The truth was; he was alone, no one to help him know what was the unknowable. The fear he faced with everyday grew bigger and moved closer as it slowly swallowed him and he used the excuse of guilt and hate to explain why he was falling deeper down the hole.

   Mimir spoke to him in his helpless state. He was losing himself and wasn’t thinking straight, but he was Mimir’s way home. In the oldest tongue, he ordered Loki. Through his red eyes, Mimir could see. Loki’s frustration turned to anger as he pressed his hand against the energy field. It was the words of the old that awoke the old spirit of his soul, the oldest parts. He gripped the energy meant to reflect his, and it burned in his hand. The field shattered quickly afterwards, not being able to support the large hole caused by the fire in his very being.

   Loki’s head hurt from the memories coming back to him, too ancient and disoriented for Odin to recall. The fire burned as hot as all of Muspelheim itself and brighter than the gates of Vanaheim. He was the god of it, and it took him too long to remember it. Loki asked Mimir why he didn’t tell him but he went silent. Loki sighed, but was able to escape, searching for Lorelei.

   He was greeted by a dozen nephilim who waited at the door eagerly. They grabbed him by the arms and pulled him forward. With the replenished magic, he tried using it to remove the nephilim on him. It didn’t work to his dismay. They were all cloaked in a burgundy color, covering their faces with hoodies. They spoke the same tongue as Mimir did to Loki moments before. The few nephilim that weren’t carrying him, were observing him. His eyes mainly. It was a sign for them and what they planned for him, and from the smile on their faces, it was a good sign.

    They dragged him into a dark room, lit only by the sources of their illuminating symbols. In the room was a large set of stairs trailing deeper in the depths of the castle. If what they spoke to him were true, than Lyset Ånd would be located there. For the most part, he didn’t struggle as they pushed him through the many doors, going farther down. One door, they had all halted from entering and allowed only Loki to enter. He was hesitant to go in by himself, seeing as the other people didn’t dare to go near it. He turned to them, “where’s Mimir,” he asked but they only pointed at the door. Each nephilim went on their knees and lowered their heads as if bowing to him.

    It’s been a long time since he’s had people bow to him. It once gave him the fire in his soul to conquer all, to witness the greatness he was given. He watched the people in confusion now, the fire it once gave him was diminished. He felt nothing to the bowing, if anything befuddlement to the pointlessness of it. “Where’s Lorelei,” they continued to point at the door. The answers he wanted would be inside the heart of the kingdom.

    Loki reluctantly opened the abnormally large door and passed through. The door was shut and locked behind him. In the center of the room was another nephilim, larger than the others, cloaked and back turned away from Loki. Loki watched the creature who was distracted by whatever it hid from him. He must have been Lyset Ånd, being bigger than the average nephilim and being isolated as he was in his castle. Loki took a step forward, alerting Lyset Ånd of his arrival and he turned to him.

   His hoodie fell from his head, revealing his face. Loki’s eyes widen to the sight of his skin, blue, deep blue. His eyes were crimson red and the markings on his face was that of a tribe Loki recognized. He was jotun. It was also not a he, but a she, a she he knew before. She walked up to him but kept a distance, she was a giant and he wouldn’t be able to see all of her if she was too close. “I know you have questions for me-”

   “I thought Odin had demolished your essence into ash,” he said in shock to which she nodded. “Then how,” he asked flabbergasted, “and why,” he wondered why she made this kingdom and those creature.

   “Well, when new worlds are created, balance resets. For a long time, I was an imbalance and it kept me from being reborn, but somethings change. The universe is in my favor and I promised it I would do what I was sent here for,” she shorten, not wanting to waste anymore time than she already has. He still couldn’t fathom the fact that she was alive and living moderately well.

 “Fárbuati…” he had more than a million questions to ask her, but he held back. “Why did you send the nephilim after me and my friends?” She sighed, knowing he’d asked.

 “I sent them because when I knew you were alive, I had to see you. I had to make sure you were truly my Loki, so I locked you in a box for you to escape. If you’d escape, then I’d know you were mine.” She was an explorer in the extraordinary and the unexplainable. She knew of the vast universes that existed and what to expect in them. There were many Loki’s that weren’t hers and she had to know if he was. “Necromancy is hard to master, they weren’t meant to attack you, but if they did, I’m sorry.”

     The nephilim were the dead jotuns on this realm. They were been past decayed corpses of the giants before asgard that she manipulated into work. Fárbuati was a fanatic in the dark arts and examined every aspects of it. She grew stronger everyday in dark magic, one of the reasons why Odin killed her.  Loki was amazed that she knew necromancy, a subject he always wanted to study in but never had the chance to. He wasn’t sure if she were his mother. He’s heard rumors of Fárbuati being his biological mother, but it's never been said by Laufey. Laufey never mentioned a mother to Loki, most of their talks were about how much of a disappointment he was.

    Loki asked why she didn’t try to find her former husband Laufey, from the few conversation Loki did have with him, Laufey cared for her a lot. She promised herself she would one day, but she had much more important tasks at hand. “I’ve heard, so many stories of you,” Loki said flabbergasted.

   “And I, you,” she smiled invitingly. Loki’s time in Jotunheim opened his eyes to a lot that he had missed, such as this famously known woman.

   “But why did the asgardians refer to you as Lyset Ånd if they knew your true name?” His mind was boiling down to the important questions he needed to ask, for the sake of him and of people.

   “I’m not the name you speak. You’re referring to my little project,” she lifted her hoodie and turned away from him. He followed her willingly as she opened a private doorway to her ‘project.’ Loki thought about all the past interaction with the nephilim and how it made sense for why they were able to use magic the way they did. The woman who controlled them was a mystique, a master in magic and the dark arts. He would’ve studied in her ways, but most of her scriptures and recordings were burned by Odin after the war. He wanted her existence to be forgotten, and he successfully made it to be. The one other person that remembered her was Laufey, and Loki sometimes, but she was officially alive. Her existence would be recognized once more, and in a big way.

   The room was brighter than ever. Loki didn’t know what it was Fárbuati had been working on, but he understood why people called it “light spirit.” She used magic to concentrate the energy being emitted from the center of the room and dim the blinding light. It was dangerous to do so, but she was confident in her strength and arts. Now that there wasn’t a bright light hiding the room from Loki’s eyes, he was able to see how large it was.

    The room had to be as big as the kingdom, maybe larger. The door at the end of the room was too big for someone his size to open, too big for Fárbuati to open. The gigantic figure in the center would explain why the room was big. Loki’s jaw dropped to the sight of the creature; it was covered in cosmic armor that consist of yellow and black. Bits of his armor was cracked or broken off, and revealed the light of the spirit that Loki was blinded to. It’s face had missing pieces in it as well, showing one of its closed eyes. Its eyes hurt to look at.

    It was hooked up to a machine that seemed to be generating energy into the creature. The places where armor was missing, were where large metal tubes were injected to it, conducting electricity into its veins. It wore an air mask, whatever air it was that it breathed which also led down to the machine. All the wires and tubes were connected by a large battery which was connected to smaller sources of energy that were unknown. The creature was either dead or in deep sleep for it to not make any movements, and the machine was pumping the liveliness it needed to wake or breath again.

   Loki knows a few things about these creatures. If he were right, and Odin’s stories taught him a thing or two, than he could describe the large creature as a celestial. He wasn’t sure which one, but it had to be a celestial, in a weak state. The brightness in the inside of the armor indicated that there was something living in the beast, and that was enough to keep it alive. “Ancients call it ‘the executioner.’ Sent down to destroy whoever kills a celestial,” she frowned. “Odin did that,” she knew of celestials and their purpose, but sadly asgardians didn’t. “It was sent down to kill him, but it was stopped in the process. Badly injured by the god of thunder-”

     “Thor,” Loki shouted in shock. She nodded, “my brother-” he said in disbelief.

    “ Your brother,” she questioned in falseness,

     “I was raised with him after all,” she didn’t seem pleased to hear, but he wasn’t going to deny it.

     “This magnificent creature has a personal grudge against aesirs, and so do I.” She sensed it, its anger towards them, its need for revenge. “I plan to bring this celestial back to health, and send it to the village of aesirs and wipe them to extinction,” she smiled wickedly. Loki halted at that moment, soaking in the newly found information. The sounds of it was that of genocide of an entire race

    Loki wasn’t sure what to say to that statement. He wasn’t sure he was okay with that plan. “It is also why I have brought you here, to help me,” she smiled warmly. He frowned to the choice he was given. He didn’t think he wanted to be apart of this crazy scheme. It was so soon and out of nowhere, did he truly want to be apart of this? She could read the reluctance in his face and frowned.

    “But why?”  

    “To restore the world in its order, when aesirs couldn’t live long enough to explore the land. Pillage and taking over every place they crossed, this could restore the balance that was lost by the aesirs’ reign. Join me Loki, in this philosophy to destroy the aesirs.” It was a tempting offer, to join someone who could be his biological mother.

    “Do they all have to die,” Loki asked.

    “Every last bit of their living,” she said with determination. He knew he couldn’t admit to her, but he had asgardians he cared for. Three of them: Lorelei, sometimes Amora, and his brother.

    “Will Thor be killed,” he knew the answer, he only hoped she said no, but she didn’t. She noticed the sadness from his eyes to hear his brother would be killed, gruesomely.

    “Do not be upset, he was never truly your brother. Not by blood,” that didn’t help his case but she couldn’t care less, she only wanted the deal. “He will die in honor… of you and our cause,” it was the truth she would give him. She stuck her hand out, if he’s accept the gesture, then they can finally wake the beast.

   Loki contemplated little. He looked up at Fárbuati who waited for his response. He took a step back, shaking his head, “then no.” He took another step back, “where’s Lorelei, and where’s Mimir,” she wasn’t happy to hear he didn’t join willingly.

   She dropped her hand, “I had hoped better of you.” Her statement made Loki spawn his scepter, clutching it tightly in his hand. She lifted her hand and slammed it down on the ground, planning to swipe Loki. Loki turned the opposite way a plan to run before he got smashed, but fell short when he was met by a dozen of her dead jotuns. He stabbed a few instinctively before shooting energy at them as they started to attack him. Distracted by the jotuns, he was snatched by her and sent to her eye level.

   Loki dropped his scepter as her hand gripped his body, knocking the air out of him. She squeezed his body hard enough to hear the cracking of his ribs, and he had just recovered. He choked on the air he wasn’t given as her grip tighten. He felt his eyes roll to the back of his head, and his body grow limp. He struggled but his arms weren’t free, and her strength was much more than his. His body gave out as his lungs stopped working. He felt himself become light headed, and his only way to recover was to pass out. His head lowered and his body relax in her grasp. She loosened her grip and carried him out, disappointed in her son’s decision to go against her wishes.

Chapter Text

     Loki grumbled in pain from the headache spewed on after the injury. Darkness surrounded his vision as he heard the voice of a woman, “so here we are again.” His eyes opened slowly as he lifted his head from the table he was strapped to tightly. His vision was blurry but he could see it was Leah holding a weapon of sort. He blinked repeatedly to clear his vision as she stumbled towards him when a bright light covered her figure. Loki turned his face from the direct hit of light he received and closed his eyes, shielding them. When the light dimmed or rather, he had gotten used to it, he glanced at Leah who had turned away from him.

    She wasn’t in her regular attire. She wore a sleeved shirt and blue jeans, her feet were bare and covered in the muck she stood. Her raven black hair wasn’t tied into a bun, but fallen loosely on her shoulders and dark brown colored. “Why do you do this to yourself,” she looked over her shoulder, sadness motivating her words. He saw on the corner of her face were the hinges which connected the temple to the lenses of glasses. His body jerked forward in shock as he called Verity’s name, but her figure disappeared in the light.

    The light dimmed to nothing and his eye adjusted to reality. He was strapped to an operating table, and being carried through corridors by two nephilim. They pushed him through  each door, leading him closer to his destination. One had pushed down on his chest to make him fall back onto the table, holding his head down until he stopped moving. He looked to his surroundings, remembering where he was and what had happened. He tried moving his hands but they were wrapped in an enchanted cloth that kept him unable to summon his scepter.

    He tried anyway, to escape from his binds. Forcing his body upwards, and failing to tear the straps connected to the operating table. He was pushed down by the same nephilim, and he had no other choice than to comply. After a minute of struggle, he rested, figuring out where they were taking him. “Where are we going,” he asked, guessing it wouldn’t a problem for them to tell him. It wasn’t as if he was going anywhere.

   “To Fárbauti for preparation of the exchange,” the other responded as they entered a room filled with smaller rooms.  Loki didn’t like the sound of it. What were they preparing him for? Fárbauti exited out of one of the many rooms, taking Loki under her wing.

  “Where are we going? What do you plan to do with me,” Loki spat as he struggled to be realed from bondage.

 “This would have been so much easier if you agreed to my philosophy,” she sighed in disappointment. “We could have saved the world together, but you let your feelings get in the way,” she looked down at him, shaking her head in disapproval.  He shook the table by the momentum of his ragged motions, but she kept it steady with her hand.

   He should’ve seen it coming. This wouldn’t be the first time a mother used him for her own benefit, either without his knowledge or against his will. He really hoped she wasn’t his real mother, then maybe the pain wouldn’t hurt as much. He was used to it, the mistreatment was all he knew, and at certain points, he had accepted it. No time to mope now, he had people to save.

   Fárbauti called for Shiklah. The girl entered with needles in her hand, filled with a thick blue liquid. She walked over next to his body, looking up at Fárbauti for guidance. “You already met my perfect creation, Sykraemr. No need for introductions.” She nodded at Sykraemr to continue the procedure. She took a shot from the pile in her hand, and grabbed Loki’s arm. He fought her back, moving the table as much as he could to make her lose focus on her target. He couldn’t move his arms in a way that would save it from her needle.

 She placed her elbow on his forearm, keeping it in place. She searched for a prominent vein, feeling his arm with her fingers. She felt a vein in his upper arm, and injected the needle there, pushing whatever blue liquid was in the shot. Loki tried shaking off the needle, but he couldn’t get an inch off. He watched the needle be inserted, and stared in horror of what might come next. When she removed the shot, he shouted, “what did you put in me!” He saw the liquid flow through his vein into others, slowly fading into his bloodstream.

   “Electrolytes,” she said simply, “very strong and concentrated electrolytes.” Sykraemr smiled as she lifted her hand, pressing it against his neck. He tried biting at her hand, but she pushed him away before sending a wave of electricity to his brain. Loki shook violently to the intense energy that flowed through him, and had twitches as an after effect. His body was stiff for a moment as he glanced at the girl, her eyes bright and big from the work she had done. She made him into a life-sized battery. “He’s ready,” she looked up at Fárbauti with joy in her eyes, she had made Fárbauti proud.

    Fárbauti was proud of her child, being able to have emotions and thoughts, told her she had done something right in her enchantment. It was extremely difficult to master necromancy, centuries of your life must be spent on the dead to bring them to the living. The time it takes to bring the dead back, with a conscious was even more of a challenge. Depending on their size or age of death, depended how much energy required to bring the back the same. It was the reason Sykraemr was a perfection to  Fárbauti. She had the memories of her past, and the conscious of her young brain. She was truly a live being, unlike most of the undead jotuns. Fárbauti would one day bring her children back, as they once were.

     Loki’s conscious faded out from his body shutting down. It was a shock of energy that went through him only moments before that caused his body to relax. He was tired, and since he knew he wasn’t escaping, he might as well pass out. “What do you plan to do with me,” he asked her in a haze.

    “You are a sorcerer as well, and I have been talking to Mimir,” he smiled hysterically to Mimir’s name. “He spared me much about you, doesn’t want to get you hurt I see,” nice of Mimir to hide his past from her. “But it matters none, I know who you are and what you are capable of. You could destroy planets with the amount of power you harness. Just enough to wake the ancient,” she said more to herself. Fárbauti ordered Sykraemr to leave her with Loki, making her leave to her chambers. She shook her head to her son, she considered him to be, as he closed his eyes falling asleep.

 

     Loki opened a door that led to a bright place that he was blinded from. Expecting the sight of Leah, he was shocked to see it was Verity’s apartment. The one in New York that he had taken as his new home. His face lifted when he saw his best friend sitting on the couch, drinking her morning coffee as she typically did. He breathed a laugh in relief as he walked towards her, planing to sit with her.

   Verity didn’t glance at him. She seemed to be ignoring him, fixing her glasses and finishing her coffee. Before Loki had a chance to talk to her, she stood, walking over to the kitchen and rinsing her mug. Loki quickly followed behind her, sitting at the kitchen table as she did. He was sitting right across from her, having no other choice than to look at him. She didn’t look as happy to see him as he was, she was in fact the opposite. “You and I need to have a talk,” she leaned her upper body over the table. She was clearly irritated by him from the tone of her voice. Loki was confused on what there was to talk about, but she glared at him, knowing he knew what.

  His complete denial and misunderstanding of the situation made Verity bang against the table out of frustration. “Dammit Loki, how long do you expect me to keep up with this,” she asked in angered sorrow. He looked at her flabbergasted, not sure what she wanted from him, but he would do anything for her not to be upset at him. She calmed her nerves, taking a deep breath in and exhale. “You told me, we were in this together,” she could barely look at him, “why’d you lie to me?” Loki sat back in his chair, not having a logical answer for that. Loki stared at Verity, wishing she hadn’t brought the matter up. It was why she was furious with, now he was being judge.

   “You have to understand-”

   “The only thing that I understand, is that you’ve given up. On me, and yourself,” it was her turn to sit back. They both sat in long silence, thinking to themselves about each other. This was her last straw, if this wasn’t going to work, all hope was lost. “Loki, talk. Why?” She wanted an answer for his neglection towards their friendship, and why he had left her here.   

   “You know why, can’t you understand,” if only she could, but she didn’t because it wasn’t about him. It was about them . Verity stood up from her chair, walking over to Loki’s side, placing her hands on his shoulders.

    “You need to stop looking at it in your lenses, and see it in others,” she squeezed his shoulders, pulling him back. “You can’t get help until you admit that you need it-and accept the fact that you do.” Loki removed her hands from him, turning to face her.

   “I don’t need the help,” he said surely, but she gave him an proven doubted look. “I can do this on my own, I don’t need your help,” he was certain, but she was shown otherwise. It was why they were here now, because this was his final chance to accept it. He turned back around, “it’s better that you stay with your mother,” she was safe, that’s all that will ever matter.

   “But I’m not!” She slammed her hands against the head of the chair, “because you’re stuck in a crappy situation, and you’re too afraid to admit you need help,” his arrogance was getting on her last nerve. If they could both be on the same page, as they once were, this could all be resolved so quickly, so easily. Loki disagreed with her, shaking his head.

    “Can’t you see it’s better this way,” he was full of himself. He believed he’d never have to worry about Verity’s misfortune, but it was turning to be Verity worrying of his misfortune. Loki stood, turning to Verity and grabbing her arms, “you’ll never have your life be threatened, safe and away from harm,” if she could see it his way.

    “Stop. Lying. You won’t be escaping until you accept the truth. Until you let me go, we won’t be leaving,” he was holding her captive, not the other way around. “You need to make a decision, I’ve been here for too long.” Verity wanted to leave desperately, but Loki was holding her back. Loki took a seat, contemplating his choices which were only two. He didn’t want to make a decision. He looked at Verity for guidance, but it wasn’t her choice. Though she had a preferred choice, it was all on him to make the right decision. She only prayed he did, for her sake as well as  his. If he didn’t come to an agreement with himself, she would have to fall with him, because she wasn’t leaving him behind. She would keep holding him up on the edge of the cliff, for the end of eternity if she had to.

     Verity supposed she did have a choice, but her decision was made long ago. The day she decided to go speed dating was the day she made that choice, and never once has she regretted.It may feel as though Loki gave up on her, but she wasn’t planning to do the same for him. She was hopeful that soon he would realized; a friend’s meant to stick through until the bitter thick end. If he could remember that, then there was a bit of her friend left in him after all.

    Verity sat on the table, suppressing a sadden smile and sobbed laugh. “Time’s up,” he hadn’t made a choice. “I’ll see you later, or maybe never… again,” she removed herself from the kitchen and walked back into the living room. She laid on the couch, and rested her eyes. Loki looked back, he saw the sadness in Verity’s eyes. He wouldn’t let her go, he couldn’t because he cherished her too much. He was too afraid to admit why he held on so dearly, and terrified of letting the feeling go. Verity would be stuck here forever, because of his selfishness.  

    Loki was back in the room with the dead celestial. Sykraemr was strapping him to a large machine that was pumping energy directly into the celestial. Loki sighed to see himself here, even more upset for betraying Verity. He thought that would be the only person he could never betray, but she had the opposite vision as he did. Sadly, there was no negotiation, it was all on him. He felt he could still make this path he went down work, but he was faced with more obstacles telling him to turn back. Verity was telling him it was okay to turn back, but he wanted to go further, there had to be a light at the end of this dark path.

    He was right, Verity would always be with him. In an unhealthy way she was stuck with him, trapped in his mind and soul. She wanted out, but he didn’t want her to leave, but he needed her. He needed her desperately, he had lost sight of that throughout their travels. The more dangerous situations they got into, the more he pushed the idea aside. She was put on this high pedestal that the world wasn’t ready to reach, but everyone told him she was. He would either listen to them, or get trapped in his own thinking which affect both him and Verity. He got her into this mess, it was his job to get her out.

    Loki was placed on a metal plate. His forearms were encased in metal as well as his legs.  He concluded they planned to feed his essence to the celestial. That wasn’t anything good. He stared at the girl who prepared him for the transaction, “you should let me go,” he said plainly. She ignored his request, and kept working on the machine. “You’re pretty smart for a dead child, having a mind of your own,” he began to put the pieces together. “Everyone else around here seems to be following aimlessly, but you have a goal at the end of this that you want to reach.” She glanced at him before continuing, he was starting to get it.  “Why did you name yourself Shiklah?”

    “It was the name my mother gave me,” she slipped out. She was only a little bothered her master renamed her Sykraemr.

    “So you remember your past,” he said astonished, Fárbuti was a master at necromancy. “Why do you stay here, don’t you want to go home. To Jotunheim with the rest of us?”

    “My parents were my home, they're gone now,” she had stopped her work, sensing Loki get to her head. Loki frowned, realizing what her ultimate goal was

    “You know, revenge isn’t the answer,” he said genuinely. He would be a hypocrite for saying this, but from his experience, it wasn’t the answer. She glared at him for his insolence, and attempt to give her advice on what she should do. This was her way with coping with grief, by holding the person responsible for their death, accountable. “It’s not a healthy way of dealing with their death-” he realized at that moment, “you don’t think Fárbuti can help you? Bringing back your mother,” it was a nice thought.

    “Take me out of these bondages,” Fárbuti would never be able to fulfill her wish. He could see the attachment she grew on Shiklah, she wouldn’t want to let her go. “What lies in your future isn’t happiness and bliss, but anguish and regret.” She was turned away from him, no longer responding to his provoking remarks. He asked for release one last time before having a rubber mouthpiece shoved in his mouth. Shiklah finished preparations, and moved on to the next step. Loki spat out the piece she put in his mouth, watching her hateful glare as she walked away.

    Loki looked away, it was worth an escape plan. He examined the room he was trapped in, connected to the celestial. He couldn’t be the only battery they had feeding the celestial, he had seen others. But who was in them, is what he questioned. They had to be similarly powered as he was, otherwise the deity wouldn’t have lasted long. If he could only see more than his peripheral.

   They started the batteries, starting up the systems that made it able to be a life drainer. Loki heard the cogs turning, the pendulums shifting. He couldn’t depict how the machine transferred parent and transparent energy as the very essence of a person's being. It was more of a spiritual mechanic than of nuts and bolts. There had to be some sort of magic involved, Fárbuti’s magic. When there was magic involved, Loki knew he could counter it. Fárbuti was a powerful sorceress, possibly stronger than the AllFather himself. It would be excruciatingly difficult for Loki to counter any suasion of magic she sways forth.

   He would put himself in a bubble, harness the power she desperately wanted to claim. He would have to do it at the right moment. If he did it now, Fárbuti would know and attempt to break the spell. He would also need time before doing the spell, needing to conserve much energy to block all of hers. It would be a stretch, but hopefully it could counter her magic long enough for him to think of a new way out of the predicament. He was running out of options, and he feared it might be the end for him.

   He felt the power turn on, each battery turning on after the other. Loki sensed her sorcery lurking in the large room. He began to hear the screams of the other victims harboring the indescribable pain of feeling their soul being ripped out of them. One of which he recognized to be Lorelei.

  Loki jolted upwards to see where she being held chained, but reality showed he was in the same circumstance. He was strapped down to a table that would soon take his essence as well. She would hate him for it, but he had to protect himself. She would hate him more if he ended up getting her killed for his negligence and idiocy. He would save her at the end of this, he promised her that.

    His thought was cut off by the sensation of Fárbuti’s magic attempting to reach him. His skin started to burn, and his bone began to ache. His muscles felt in motion as his energy was being drained. He closed his eyes, focusing his mind and body on the task needed to survive the attack. The pain made him wince, but it didn’t keep him distracted from sealing himself off from her enchantment. Loki felt his lungs empty, and he held his breath. His body went limp as he fell into a slumber, sinking down to the deepest parts of his mind where she couldn’t find him.

 

    Loki found himself in shackles. He was in line with other people being prosecuted. When in front of the line, they could see a courtroom, a judge, but no jury. The line ran quickly as the other people were given the same punishment for different crimes. Those other people being Loki.

    They were from different instances in his life, but it was him all the same. Everyone’s head was low, their chains clashing together whenever they were in motion. Loki wasn’t sure if this was another game of Leah’s, or if it was his own psyche playing tricks on him. He reached the front of the line, looking into the courtroom where he saw an older version of himself be sent for execution. He knew this place wasn’t real, but he couldn’t help having a nervous feeling in his stomach. He didn’t want this to be his last day of living as it is for the Loki in front of him.

      Loki was called into the court to be prosecuted. He walked with his heavy chains, to the center of the room, his eyes meeting the judge. He glared to see it was his brother deciding his fate when he couldn’t figure out his own. Loki would hold his ground, he wouldn’t give Thor the satisfaction of punishing him. “For blasphemy, you are sentenced life in prison,” he read off the list he was given of Loki’s crimes. “For attempt of matricide, you are sentenced to death.” Thor glanced at the last sentence carefully before looking up at Loki, unfazed by his punishments. “For act of suicide,” Loki looked up at him befuddled, “you are damned.” He set the paper down, and watched Loki.

     “What,” Loki asked, caught off guard. He heard the doors behind him open, and a person calling his name before he felt the ground under him, disappear and he fell. It was a pitch black hole in the ground he fell into, and from the court was the sound of his echoed scream. Loki’s hand reached out for the ledge as he went farther away from it. He felt the last bit of air escape him, and his screaming was cut off, now he was choking. The light shrunk in his eyes, and the dark was closing in on his person. His thoughts of reality was warped, it felt too real for it to be a dream. He truly felt himself falling into a dark pit, and death approaching quickly.

     As fast as it had started, it had stopped. The sensation of falling had halted, and the darkness depleted. He looked up to see someone holding his hand as they helped pull him back to the surface. He was able to see the face once he was dragged closer to the light, realizing it was Verity helping him as she always did. Loki smiled as he felt a tear fall from his face, he could never get used to death, no matter how many times he’s faced it. He was relieved to be out of the black hole, and in the arms of Verity. He noticed his brother wasn’t there anymore, and it brought more relief.

     He sighed as his head rested on her chest, wrapping his arms around her waist. His feet dangled off the edge of the hole, and Verity pushed herself back, dragging him back as well. Loki’s legs were weak, and his body shaken from the experience. “Thank you Vey,” she didn’t respond, deep in thought. She rested her head on his as she sighed deeply, wrapping her arms around his back.

     “I’m not willing to drop you if you’re willing to catch me.” She knew he was, but she needed to hear him say it, to admit it. Loki frowned, she was still upset for what he did, even in this dream he couldn’t run away from all his problems. “Are you,” she asked him, but he hesitated to answer. He wished he could make it better, but he was terrified of what he would have to do to fix it.

     “Of course,” he didn’t know what she was trying to get out of him. Verity helped him onto his feet as she did herself.

     “Good,” she said in relief, holding his hands, “that’s the first step of getting over it.” Loki looked at her confused, but she seemed to know what she was doing. “This path you’ve taken us both, is wrong. I need you to see that, but you’re choosing not to. So, you’ll have to see it the hard way-” Loki arched his back to the sharp pain from it as his legs felt weak. He winched to the stinging of his skin being ripped open, falling onto his knees, Verity’s grip being the only force holding him up, “but I’m never going to let go.” She swore to him as he fell unconscious, the sight of Verity and the courtroom fading away.

       He was left in darkness as before, the same chains he woke up in. He heard Fárbuti from afar, speaking in her soft voice as she threatened him. Loki felt it, her hands on him as she manually pulled his energy out of his body. His mind was being pulled along with her hands while a hole shaped in his back. Attempting to reflect her enchantment would end up bouncing back to his body, and he would have external wounds. It didn’t stop the pain or struggle he experienced internally, to push away her magic with the same. It was mentally exhausting, but his life, and the lives of others depended on his battle against her advances.

      In the darkness, he scratched the small hole forming on his back. The wound had an itch to it that didn’t go away. Loki didn’t want to scratch inside of the hole, but he knew that was where the real itch came from. If he could get two scratches, he would feel better, the itch would ease. There were consequences to scratching, but his thinking was distorted from the constant reminder that there was a twitch in his back. Fárbuti’s spell was beginning to work, his essence fading from him, the hole increasing, the itch starting to burn him. Maybe it wouldn’t be bad to rub the burn away, his brain knew it would make him feel better.

    His hand reached behind him, digging two of his fingers deep into his wound. Loki felt his nails ripping the skin from the muscle as he shifted the meat. He shouted in pain and pleasure, satisfied to feel the itch slowly disappear. He heard the mushy feeling of his muscle being damaged by his fingers, and he yelled as he dug deeper. When the itch and burn was gone, he ached. Removing his hand, he looked at the blood covering his fingers. There was more blood than he expected, covering his hand in burgundy grainy liquid. He noticed blood poured from his back, and he used his other hand to touch it. Both hands were now covered in blood, and the burning returned.

    Loki felt a shock run through his body, and he froze, twitching slightly. Another shock passed by, and it took him a moment after to scream in agony before dropping to floor, shaking. The pain told him to stay down, but he knew that he couldn’t. He needed help, he needed to find it, and he wasn’t going to do it by lying on the floor.

    The darkness fell, and he was placed somewhere else. Looking around, he noticed it to be Verity’s apartment. They were in the kitchen, Verity sat on the table while Loki was seated in a chair. She sat cross legged, her head on her hand as she sighed. “I think I’m starting to understand your brain,” she announced. “By that, I get why you choose to do the things you do, but you have a lot of material for me to go through.” It was a discussion of his problems, and he lowered his head in shame. “Chin up. Don’t touch that,” she smacked his hand from scratching his bloody back. She forced him to look at her, pulling his head up. She read it in his once  emerald eyes, there was a decision made, but he couldn’t admit it. “I know you need help with the lady outside-”

     “No, not yours,” she was taken back. “I can’t risk it,” Verity removed herself from the table.

     “You know, I don’t like speaking in metaphors,” she leaned against the table beside him. “But you force my hands, all the time, because the only way for you to understand what I’m feeling, is through ‘expressions.’” She placed a hand on his blood covered back. “But I need things literal,” she placed her other hand on his shoulder. “Why did you put me here, what sprung this on? Why don’t you let me leave when you know you need help?” If she could have the answers, this could be much easier.

      Loki had a hard time opening his mouth to speak. He was scared of what he would say, he could barely stare her in the eyes and tell her. She shook him for an answer, desperate for one, “I am your friend Loki, your best friend. Please, if there’s no one to tell, tell me, please?” Loki felt another shock and stood. He walked away as he focused on his headache, leaving the parts of Verity behind. Verity reached out to grab him, but he was stumbling out of the reality he shaped for her. He walked out of bounds where she couldn’t touch or speak to him.

      He wandered until he reached a bed, falling into the comforts of it. His head was throbbing as he closed his eyes to diagnose the pain, and destroy the source. His body tensed, his hands gripping the sheets tightly as the ache worsened. He bit down on a pillow hard, groaning into the pillow in agony. He didn’t have much time left, he wasn’t going to be able to hold Fárbuti back with this much intensity. Verity offered to aid him, but he couldn’t allow it. He needed help, but he wasn’t going to call, afraid of who it might bring. Verity wasn’t planning on letting go, he could still feel her grip on him. She would wait forever until he figured out what he wanted. She would be his guardian, prepared to save him from the darkness.

    The hole in his back grew, and his headache subsided. Loki would have to tell Verity the truth if he wanted her help. All he could think of now, was wishing for the pain to stop, and Verity seemed to be the key. He didn’t know how to get over his fear, he was paranoid to the point of no return. He scratched at his back, stopping himself midway for remembering what Verity had said.

    He turned to his side, facing a wall as he heard the presence of a familiar person. “It happened a while ago,” he could barely speak, but he forced the words out. He swallowed hard, holding his breath and wiping the blood from his hands. It was a bit easier to talk to her when he didn’t have to see her face. “I had a vision of your death. I felt your soul being shattered into pieces, and I couldn’t  bring you back… it seemed so real.” She sat on the bed, scooting towards him. “It’s affected my every move since,” he turned to her, resting his head in her lap. She petted his hair to comfort him, “I was too afraid to tell her because… I kept seeing you in her. I knew you weren’t there, but I couldn’t trust myself.” She continued to comfort him as she hummed in agreeance.

     “It is trust that blocks you then, the lack of it?”

    “It’s the lack of control, because I gave it to you,” he looked up at Leah who was smiling solemnly as she fiddled with his hair. The lack of control forced him to forge a bubble for his protection. Every move he made was backed up by her. He stayed in the background as he watched her take over. Admitting it was the first step to getting over it, and he finally had the means to. Loki sat up, realizing what he had said, and what it had meant. He could find a way past this with Verity, if he gave her a chance.

    “So, what are you going to do,” Leah asked him as she watched him leave the bed.

    “I don’t know,” he grabbed the door knob before his body was shocked. The electric current didn’t cease as he dropped to his knees seizing. The hole in his back was large now and grew rapidly. Leah removed herself from the bed, walking towards the fallen body.

    “How are you going to tell her when you can’t even stand,” she smirked as she rested her shoulder against the wall beside him. The door was locked, and Loki dropped his hand, falling against the wall quivering. She suggested he scratch his back, it must’ve been burning from the infection that was forming. He glared at Leah in his weaken state, knowing she was enjoying his self torture. She crouched down next to him, “you still see me, when you look at her. Nothing’s changed.” Loki didn’t respond, but she placed her hand on his blood-soaked back. She looked him in the eyes, shaking her head in shame before wiping the blood on her green dress. She grabbed his head, electrocuting him before slamming it against the door, making a hole.

     Loki screamed his lungs out when he felt the contact of Fárbuti. It was horrendous pain to be separated from his body, and fed into the mouth of a celestial. The sound of his screams were a gradual build as he realized where he was and what had happened. He had woken to the feeling of being extracted, screaming and shouting for it to end. From Fárbuti’s perspective, she could hear the voice of three, and sense the soul of two. He had two other beings bound to his spirit, one of which were apart of him. Whoever they were, they were going to be fed to Lysets Ånd as well, a bonus for having three souls for one.

    Loki focused on closing her off from his spirit. Leah had distracted him, and pulled him into reality. The hole from his subconscious was being dug out of his back. He couldn’t give out from the pain he embarked, he had other souls to protect. He closed his eyes as he bit down onto his tongue, nearly bitting a piece off as his mouth filled with blood. There was so much pain surrounding him that it became numb, and he was able to sink into his bubble once more.

    Loki was sitting on the couch with Verity, playing a game. Loki mindlessly played, mostly enjoying her company. Verity seemed to be distracted by the game, but she in the back of her mind, found joy in spending time with him. Loki worked up the courage to tell Verity what he needed to say, “hey Vey-” he paused the game. He started the conversation with an apology, regretting not listening to her before. She set her controller down carefully before turning to him. “I must be the worst friend ever,” he said in shame.

   Verity shrugged her shoulders, “we have our ups and downs, the point is, can we recover? I like to think we can.” She was calm, picking up the controller and continuing to play without him. He heard a loud bang, and turned around to be met with a hand grabbing his face. He was on the floor of the locked room, Leah crouched beside him, banging his head against the wall. He felt an electric shock before she slammed his head against the hard surface.

   Loki clenched his fist as he held in the screams. He pulled himself together, and blocked Fárbuti’s magic. He looked her in eyes, his red eyes burning with malice and hate. He steered that energy into patching the bubble he created. He spat out the blood in his mouth before falling back under into his subconscious.

    Loki revealed to Verity what he had kept secret and why. Verity stood, sitting at the table across from him as he told her all his problems. He kept her in this box while her body walked empty to keep her from Leah. Leah was influencing his actions, and seeing her in Verity forced him to put her in a secure place. One that Leah wouldn’t know or be able to reach, but his plan backfired. Both their souls would be taken if he didn’t let her go. He had to find help past his problem, and he was ready to get it from Verity. He realized she was right. The first step to getting over it, was to acknowledge the problem.

    “So, are you ready to get better,” his paranoia had taken over his life, he didn’t want to live that way ever again. Verity chuckled to herself as she crossed her arms over her chest, leaning back against her chair. Her subtle smile dropped as she realized, this could happen again. How long would it be before he had another breakdown, and they were back to square one? Before the lies are planted, and next thing she realizes, she is back here? She needed this to be real, she couldn’t take another accident, another physic break in Loki’s mind. He was going to accept her help, he had to truly let her in.

    It used to be so simple, until Leah came along. He seemed to be open to tell her anything, gave her a chance to help with the problems he dealt with, but its changed. It wasn’t going to be easy for them to work together, or solve the problem. Verity had to be sure that he understood what it means to accept her, what it meant for both of them. Leah had taken both their lives, and she would have to get them back, but Loki would have to understand that. She wouldn’t accept his apology until he agreed with her, as sincere as it was, she  wouldn’t forgive him.

      Loki nodded, ready to get better, but Verity disagreed. She read his eyes, he didn’t believe he could get better. For how far down he’s gone, he could never see the light again, but Verity could. If it meant saving her, he was willing to claim anything could help. He swore to her, what he said was true, but he was lying. “Then say it,” he had to say the words they needed to hear for him to believe them. Loki choked back, he didn’t expect Verity to tell him to say it. He was at a loss for words even though she handed them to him. He opened his mouth, but closed it soon after, having a hard time finding what he needed to speak.

   “Say what, exactly?” She glared at him, giving him the answer.

  “If this is going to work, you have to believe it.” she leaned over the table, “say it aloud,” she sat there waiting.

   “I need your help,” he felt another bang, and his body dropped. Verity latched onto his forearms, and held him up.

   “That was pathetic,” she smirked as she lied on the table, keeping him from falling. If he were to leave, he wouldn’t come back, and he would die. His back burned and he yelled in pain.

    “I need your help Verity,” he shouted in pain.

    Loki was planted on his knees while Verity held his hands. “Do you trust me,” they were in the courtroom, being judged. The jury was filled with all the people in Loki’s life, including himself.

    “With my life,” he shouted in corresponding to her.

     “Are you going to listen to that witch,” her grip tighten as she shouted louder. He shook his head, unable to find his voice, “SAY IT!”

     “NO,” he answered as he was losing the feeling in his nerves to his back, and his shoulder blades.

     “ARE YOU GOING TO DIE?” He let out a few tears to release some of the pain.

     “No!” he said weakly, “because… you have my back,” he managed to lift his and reveal the smile on his face. He was in unbearable pain, but he did believe he was going to make it. He should have listened to Verity’s advice long before, and maybe they wouldn’t  be in this situation now. Verity smiled back before Loki felt himself fall to the floor, lying against a corner of a wall.

    Leah had her hand underneath his shirt, digging in his wounded back. She scratched it for him, making the pain worse as she shoved his head into a wall. Loki was drooling blood, as he was too weak to do anything about the banging, and he took the electrocution. She grinned, knowing he was going to die from blood before having his soul taken away, she would make it so. She grabbed a handful of his hair, lifting his head off the cracked wall, soon to break the wall.

   Loki glanced at her, enjoying herself more than she ever has, knowing he would die soon. She didn’t look at him, staring into the empty void that the wall brought to her. She gave him his final wish, and looked at him, her grin lowering from the hint of sadness she felt. She hated feeling regret, and forced herself to ignore it. She cocked her arm back, planning to plunge his head to the wall. She sent one last wave of electricity, breaking his protection spell, before sending his head to the wall. She was halted by the force of someone’s hand pressing against her head, and slamming it to the wall nearest to her.

    Her head came into contact of the surface hard, considering the effect it had on her afterwards. She fell back from dizziness as she looked up to see who caused her the pain. Leah sat up immediately from shock of who it was, she didn’t believe she could ever reach these limits of Loki’s mind. She glanced at Leah before helping Loki onto his feet, “okay then,” Verity smiled at Loki as she wiped the blood from his face. “Then let's get out of here,” she placed Loki’s arm over her shoulder as they stepped over Leah’s weaken body. Leah watched them leave the small room frozen in shock, quickly collecting herself to go after Loki.

    Verity opened the door, closing it behind them. She pulled a key out of her pocket, and locked the door behind them. She finally had a glance of the woman Loki talked about for all these months. She had an interesting look, no one she’s ever seen before. Still, Verity was glad for what she did, if Loki wasn’t close to unconscious, he would have thought she was cool for it. She could see in the darkness, a light that she knew would lead outside. She ran in that direction, wishing to see the light of day once more. She couldn’t help tearing up, now that she was able to leave, and even more eager to save Loki from peril as she did in his mind.

   

     Loki jolted awake, shaking. He wasn’t being electrocuted anymore, and his soul was intact to his body. His hands checked his body for any wounds other than his back and found none. He was fine, better than fine. His restrictions were gone, he wasn’t chained up. He stood up, stumbling from the weakness in his legs. He could hear people screaming, including one of which was Lorelei. Now that he was free, he ran to her side to save her. The room was huge, but he could tell which direction her voice was coming from.

     Lorelei had been crying out for help for what felt like hours. Her life was being drained, and she could see it flash before her eyes. Death was coming close, she saw the dark figure lurking in the corner of her eyes. Once she looked away, her life would belong to it. She cried as Death approached her, she wasn’t ready to die, but she didn’t have a choice. She wished she would have done her life differently. Maybe lived it where she wouldn’t end up dying so young in the most painful way possible. Have a providing husband, a few kids, be a housewife instead of thief. Have a few girlfriends to spend her weekends with, drinking wine and gossiping. On second thought, this is the life she rather live than the one she fantasized. It was the reason why she left Sigurd.  

    Death was next to her, she had gotten distracted by her thoughts that she hadn’t been looking at the figure. Lorelei took a deep breath as Death reached its boney hands for her. She closed her eyes before her end, but she didn’t sense her end. She felt her shackles being broken, the spell being shattered. Her soul returned to her before her last breath. Swinging her legs off the plate, she looked up to see it Loki who freed her from the clutches of Death. Loki saw a flash of anger run through her before it soften to a sad smile of relief. She jumped up, holding him tightly as tears rolled down her face.

     She didn’t know what had happened. All she could remember was being in bed, and then waking up on a metal plate. Soon after she was having her energy taken from her, and inserted into a giant body. She had no clue what was happening, and she was glad to see him.

    Loki held her close, relieved to see she was moderately okay. He wondered where Verity was, if she was still in his mind, or if she had landed somewhere. He heard someone shouting nearby. It must have been towards Fárbuti since he referred to her as “witch.” Loki told Lorelei to stay where she was while he went to find out the noise. While on his travel, he was met with other individuals hooked up onto the machine. Fárbuti had to have gone lengths to get the some of the people inhabiting the batteries. The places they were from were light years away from Old Asgard.

    The shouting came closer as Loki saw Fárbuti trying to negotiate with a creature he recognized to be Beta Ray Bill. Shocking to see the horse-face Thor be captured by Fárbuti, even more shocking to see her trying to set him free. Could it be… it was a crazy notion, but it seemed as if Verity had learned possession, and took her body in replacement of his. Loki sprinted towards them, and halted when Fárbuti noticed him coming her direction. She stopped listening to Beta Ray, staring at Loki, “Verity?”

    “In the flesh… somebody’s anyway,” they laughed. She didn’t notice how big she was until she walked up to Loki. He was the size of an ant in her eyes. Verity crouched to get a closer look of her friend, smiling gleefully to see him in the flesh. They looked at each other for a long while before returning to reality. It may have been Fárbuti’s skin, but it Verity’s spirit vacating her body. “I’d hug you, but I guess I’d crush you,” Loki chuckled, agreeing.

    “How can you possess people?” It was the new trick of being a ghost that Loki never knew she learned.

    “I got it from you,” she didn’t know how to explain it other than saying it was because of him. “By the way, mind helping me with him,” she spoke about Beta Ray. Loki obliged, and walked towards Beta Ray, helping remove his restraints.

    “Your working with this witch,” Beta Ray asked rhetorically, but in disbelief.

    “Calm down, she’s possessed by an ally. She’s helping us,” Beta Ray stood once he was free from the chains. He looked at Loki skeptically before glancing at Fárbuti. She didn’t make any moves, so it was safe to assume she had been possessed. The spell she had on him was broken, and he called onto Stormbreaker, his own hammer made by the same dwarves who made Mjolnir. Loki asked how he ended up in the hands of Fárbuti, curious of how someone as strong as him, lost to a necromancer. It happened after the fallout with Tivan and Thor, after he and Thor defeated him, Beta Ray left for home. He was stopped by a figure in a hood, and the last thing he remembered was being tied up. He had been there for weeks being tortured, unable to call his hammer from her enchantments and break free.

    “I thank you Loki, and you possessor for setting me free. Your work will not go unnoticed, but first, I have to set these other people free.” Loki agreed, but he had to find a way to shut the entire operation down. Nothing would stop Fárbuti from doing it again, unless he destroyed the machine all together.

   Loki remembered the seven keys he had taken from Tivan before his trip here. They had to have some use to why they exist, to turn off the ignition or something. He took the keys out of his pocket, thinking where the lock would belong to. “That goes to the base of the machine, it’ll disconnect the battery to the celestial and kill him.” Verity said to him, “it’s why I didn’t want the girl to have it-sorry, I meant she-and Lorelei,” she said staggered. “It’s hard to sound like yourself in someone else’s mind,” she shook her head, fighting the thoughts of Fárbuti.

    Loki quickly came up with a plan to stop the celestial from waking, and save the people being used as life feeders. Beta Ray Bill would be the one to turn off the machine, and disconnect the large wires from the celestial. He had the strength to, and the durability to survive if anything malfunctioned and destroyed the place. Verity would free the other prisoners while Loki go to search for Mimir. Loki hoped Verity would shed some light on where Fárbuti placed the head, but she didn’t respond. She was staring out into the darkness of the room, lost in the vast parts of her mind. Loki pulled on her heavy cloth to capture her attention, and she stood, backing away.

   “What’s wrong with her,” Beta Ray asked, but Loki handed him the keys and told him to go. With Stormbreaker in hand, he swung into the direction of the sleeping giant, flying into the center of the machine. Loki asked if Verity was alright, but she was frozen in place. She fell back, causing the earth to quake under Loki’s feet. Loki was cautious to step closer to her, she was too big to be falling back and crushing people. He could sense her spirit leaving the fallen body, and he took a few long strides back.

  Fárbuti sat up, cracking her jaw. Loki could tell it was her from her posture changing, and her attitude shifting. He called to Verity to see where she was now, but he got no response. He wouldn’t be able to hear her unless he was in the spirit realm, but he might be able to see her in this realm. He had no time looking for Verity as Fárbuti slammed her hand next to him. He quickly caught his balance, and jumped away from her, “I did not realize you had tricks of your own. Clever boy,” it was going to take a lot more than one soul to possess her.

    Loki sprinted in the opposite direction of her, teleporting himself in a random part of the room Fárbuti wasn’t near. He searched for any sign of Verity, but the adrenaline blinded his focus to the spirit world. He ended up meeting Lorelei, warning her the predicament they were in. Lorelei wasn’t happy at all to hear she would be chased soon, she was still recovering from a bullet wound. Loki would keep Fárbuti busy, but he needed Lorelei to do his job for him and free the prisoners. Lorelei was highly reluctant to agree. This would have been the time she would leave a situation like this, but she was going to show her dedication and help him as he did her.

    Loki left Lorelei to do his bidding, running into Fárbuti along the way. He was halted for a moment as she stalked towards him. He asked her where she placed Mimir, but she wasn’t giving him the answer, so he asked Verity. The attempt was futile, she wasn’t in her, but maybe she would if he called her. Fárbuti laughed before stomping her bare feet on the ground near him, and swiping her hand to snatch him. He jumped out of the way, stepping onto invisible steps created by his magic. He stepped up higher whenever she swiped at him, looking down at the crater made by her foot.

    Fárbuti smirked as she removed her foot from the disheveled ground. Her hand ballad into a fist as the earthy ground began to move. Many giants have died on the battlefields of Asgard, some long since have been buried. There corpses even here, lie far down in the earth. It was time for their rise once more, to fight one more battle on the soiled land. From the dirt, came out the body, barely decomposed. Thousands of years would have to past for a giant’s body to begin decomposition.

   This giant was almost as big as Fárbuti. She was saving the large Jotuns for last, but she decided it was time to test her abilities. Loki watched the giant arise from the grave in fear. Now there would be two giants he would have to duck and dodge. Fárbuti tried grabbing him, but he dropped, stepping on the head of the dead giant and hopping out of his way. His scepter appeared in his hand before he began firing at the dead giant. He flailed his arms at the open fire, unsuccessfully hitting the target. Fárbuti ordered the giant to focus, and sprint for the prey, making him charge at Loki.

   Loki clung to the wall before diving out of his attack. Fárbuti reached for him, forcing Loki to fire energy at her. Her hand froze from the impact, and her fingers scrunched. “That tickled,” she laughed.

   “Then why did you flinch,”  he fired more energy rapidly into her hand until he saw pieces of the glove burn off. It slowed her down, but her hand was able to cover him, surrounding him in darkness. He continued to fire, but the space was closing in on him, and he felt her hand wrap around his body.

     He felt her grip loosen as he heard a loud thunder. The light from the room, peered through the cracks of her fingers, and he could see lightning. He saw a figure come towards him, her fingers casting a shadow to cover his face. Loki looked up to see a smaller hand reach out for him. Taking it, he was lifted out of the grasp of Fárbuti, “you’ve still got work to do warrior.” Beta Ray Bill said as he pulled Loki away from the giants.

    “Thanks,” he thanked him for getting him out of the mess. Loki smiled slightly, “thanks,” he said for referring to him as a warrior, a technical compliment as an asgardian. Beta Ray nodded respectfully before turning to the giants after them.

   “Change of plans; I’ll take the witch and the corpse, keep them busy long enough for you to remove the pipes.” He handed the keys to Loki, given him no chance to speak as he sprinted into battle. Loki had no choice other than to agree, making his way to the machine. From afar, he could hear the clash of Beta Ray’s hammer and Fárbuti’s force, a loud boom echoing through the room.

   Loki saw the entrance to the machine, leading to the interior where the wires connected. The lock on the door was in a strange shape, one he could not recognize with the keys. The keys were in a somewhat normal shape compared to the door’s distorted lock. He shoved each key in, testing which one would be a fit. It was the key wrapped in cloth that unlocked the entrance, disintegrating into dust upon further impact. Loki shrugged, having six more keys to destroy in the process.

   The inside of the machine was sweltering. Not only were there engines running, producing heat, but the magic flowing through the smaller devices to fire into a specific part of the giant. Each device tied to a pipe that led to the celestial, shutting down the devices would require the keys. He chose to go for the first the device nearest to him, having to climb a few large cogs to get to it. The purified energy was contained in a sealed glass beaker, being transferred by a pressured piston. The lock belonged to the seal of the beaker, Loki checking the glass to see if it could be broken. To no avail, he began to walk upon it, falling off balance from the quaking outside.

   Catching himself from falling, he made his way to the top. Not sure which key to use, he picked one with symbols written in gold etched around it. He jumped onto the top before attempting to open it, changing the key when it wouldn’t turn. Opening the seal with a wooden textured key, he pried the seal off the top, putting his arm into the large beaker. He felt his hand graze the concentrated energy, stinging his fingertips with the heat it emitted. He leaned in more, putting his other arm in with his body hanging off the edge of the beaker. He sensed the energy coming to him, inserting itself in the nearest orpheus of his body.

   The magic eased its way inside of him, being trapped by his own antics. He absorbed the encased energy as it slowly burned through him. The place shook harder from the intense clash between Beta Ray and Fárbuti. Loki slipped, and fell into the pool of separated souls. His skin burned as he consumed an enormous amount of distorted souls. When the pain ceased, he dropped. Waking himself up, he stood quickly, fixing himself up from the mess he put upon himself. He shook the haziness away, and moved forward to the next five beakers he would have to do that to.

   Fárbuti saw a section of the battery malfunction. She knew it was Loki breaking her stuff without permission. She would have to punish her son for bad behavior. Beta Ray swung his hammer down onto her arm, forcing her to smack him out of the way. He fell into the arms of the dead giant as she summoned more jotuns to go after Loki, all ranging in different sizes. Few of them came from higher levels of the underground operation, guns in hand. Fárbuti was an innovative woman, a trait Laufey needed from her to survive.

    They marched into the room, to the machine holding their weapons. Beta Ray Bill through his hammer at the group of dead waiting at the entrance for Loki. A dozen of them were struck down by the force of the hammer, and the lightning it carried. Beta Ray was being crushed by the dead giant holding him tightly. He sent his hammer coming towards him, hitting the giant down to the ground. Fárbuti sent swarms of  jotuns after Loki, and was stopped by Beta Ray Bill punching her in the face. Being distracted by the brute, Fárbuti couldn’t focus on her enchantment, Beta Ray only hoped Loki would be okay.

     Loki had finished his third beaker when the jotuns showed. Some crawled up the walls to reach him while others climbed. He still couldn’t understand why these jotuns had such abilities. Even in past battles they used their malleable bodies to the fullest extent. Maybe Laufey held back the jotuns from their true powerful potential that Fárbuti gifted these dead ones. It was interesting of their ways of battling were similar to that of feral creatures. There was some traditions Fárbuti kept, like their natural state.

   Loki had consumed a lot of souls, and his senses were heightened. The power he held increased by an exponential amount, and he fired his scepter at the nephilim, causing an explosion. Blinding the jotuns near him, he climbed to the next beaker. The crawlers were faster than him, and made it to the seal before he could open it. When he climbed to the top, he was immediately kicked off the ledge. He fell from a high point, he called to Verity for help, but couldn’t get into contact of her. He hit the ground hard, creating a small crater of where he landed.

   Rubbing his head, and coughing the back pain out, he got on his feet. He walked his invisible stairs back to the beaker, being intercepted by a few dead jotuns. Two of them had shotguns pointed at him while the others were ready to pounce on him. “You’re lucky I’m  a god, otherwise that would hurt,” he said looking at the gun. They stepped closer to him, closing him off from escaping. One was aimed for his open wound back, the other to his shins. He watched the two carefully, them having the lead on this, the others would be lost if they didn’t have their two leaders.

     Loki glanced over his shoulder, staring at the jotun before jabbing his scepter into his stomach. He bent over in surprise as he recovered from the gag reflex. The other jotun shot at Loki, Loki dodging the bullets by a inch. He rolled out of the way before extending his arms out, stabbing the gun wielder. He fired an explosion, hitting the jotuns in the blast radius, knocking them off the beaker. The other jotun fired at him, calling the others for assistance. Loki shot another explosion, knocking him off but holding his ground.

   Loki took out the other keys, inserting the one that would open the beaker. More adrenaline pumped through him with every soul taken, and he was feeling energized. He needed the souls, they were healing his wound, and keeping him up to fight. He couldn’t absorb them all, it was meant to feed a celestial. His size wouldn’t be able to handle that much energy within him. The amount in him now was becoming overwhelming. He stepped out of the large beaker, noticing the jotuns climbing to get him.

    Loki shot at a few of them, removing them from the walls before moving to the next beaker. One jotun jumped on his back, clawing into it with its sharp, ridged nails. Loki cried in stinging pain, ripping the dead giant off his back, and throwing him over his head onto the floor. The giant dug out more than skin by his removal. Trailing lay waste upon his previously injured back of blood, and exposed muscle. He was slowed down by the attack for a short moment, but he was healing quicker than he believed.

    The gun that was dropped nearby was off the ground and pointed at him. The jotun carrying the weapon fired at him rapidly. Loki was able to miss the bullets by a short distance, but the last one was shot into his leg. Although he was a god, it still hurt to walk on. He pulled himself up, and attempted to fire his own projectiles at the jotun. He continued to travel up to the next beaker, paying little attention to how as he fired at the gun wielding jotun. He stopped when he reached the beaker, opening it and jumping in. To his dismay, they had been waiting for him, closing the lid when he entered.

    The key to the entrance had already been destroyed. They sat on the lid, and sealed it with their own cohesive substance, secreted by their bodies. They trapped him in a jar, but the system was beginning to fail from insufficient energy. He had taken the last but from the jar he was trapped in. He wasn’t able to use magic to break the beaker, it was specifically designed to capture such essence. It would only bounce back, and cause more damage to Loki than it already has. Although the material looked to be of glass, it was sturdier than the actual substance, and reinforced by Fárbuti enchantments. He wouldn’t be leaving the glass unless an external source came into contact.

    Loki rested for the time being. Beta Ray Bill seemed to doing well on his part, from the thunder echoing through the machine. A few of the dead giants went to inform Fárbuti the news that Loki was captured. Loki sat on the ground cross legged, deciding to meditate in a way. A way in which he could contact Verity in the spirit realm. It was harder to see her when their connection was split as it was now. She may have been physically bound to him, but her spirit rested in her hands, in her making. She had the choice to have that bond with him or not, and for this moment, he couldn’t see her.

   Loki called for Verity, catching a faint sound that most people would call wind. But this was a seal, their wasn’t enough air circulation to make a sound of wisp. He started to hear her voice, through the loud banging outside he heard Verity. He smirked, feeling a tap on his shoulder before opening his eyes.

   Loki frowned to see it wasn’t Verity tapping him, but a little boy. The little boy smiled warmly at the man staring at him confusedly. He hadn’t been noticed in a long time, and it was refreshing to know he still existed. The boy stared at him for a moment, admiring the view before speaking up. Loki continued his search for Verity, frustrated that it was taking longer than he ever thought it would. “Hi,” he heard from the boy, making him open his eyes. The boy had hazel red eyes, and short curly ginger brown hair.

   “Hey,” Loki replied nervously, noticing the large blood stain in his faded beige tunic. He repeated Verity’s name, wishing for her appearance sooner.

    “Who are you looking for,” the boy asked, curious.

    “A friend while I’m trapped here. Her name’s Vey,” he called her again, wondering why she wouldn’t reveal herself.

    “Does she have brown hair,” he caught Loki’s attention at that instant, “two pieces of glass on her eyes,” Loki nodded slowly, surprised this boy knew exactly who he was thinking of. “She’s trying to possess one of the dead creatures. She’s doing a poor job of it,” he looked up, watching the lady struggle. He chuckled to himself before glancing at the man across from him. Loki asked how he knew about the woman, and he simply replied with a shrug, “lucky guess.” The comment brought a light smile to Loki’s face, he was starting to like this spirit child.

    Loki wondered if there was any way for the boy to help her, but he didn’t know how to possess creatures. He only knew she wasn’t doing it correctly. He learned from his father, the proper way of possession, he wasn’t shown but he was told. There was apart of this kid Loki felt off about, there was something to his spirit that brought Loki illness. He guessed it was because of the soil they were on, or technically in. Asgardian soil would mean creatures belong to either Valhalla or Niflheim, but the child belonged to neither. It was strange, and worrying for what Loki suggested had happened.

   He couldn’t think about the child’s past now. He was dead, and there was nothing Loki could do about it. “Fárbuti didn’t do this to you?” He had to be sure, he didn’t know the lengths she would go to wake a celestial. He knew she would kill her own son for it. Would she start killing children too?

    “No. My father always told me she was a kind woman, and would never lay a hand on me.” He remembered Fárbuti before her death, being told many stories of her early life.

    “Did you know her before her insanity,” his mind seemed open, for an asgardian he was a reasonable ten year old.

    “I have only seen her presence once when I was still breathing. My father snuck me, and my brother out of Asgard to see her,” Loki froze. He looked at the boy suspiciously with a hint of nervousness.

    “You had a brother?” Loki didn’t want to, but he felt a familiarity rush over him. The boy nodded, making Loki’s heart stop. He took a moment to breath before asking his next question, “were you related to Fárbuti?”

     “By blood.” Loki swallowed hard, dread filling the air as he exhalled.

     “What was your mother’s name,” he looked around, noticing time had stopped in his eyes. His mind was focused on the dead child in front of him, and the answer that would slip past his lips.

     “That does not matter any more. She is gone now.” They heard the clashing outside, the screeching coming from a jotun. Loki looked behind him, paranoia and anxiety influencing him to do so. The boy didn’t enjoy speaking of the past, he remember every last detail of it. Especially the bad ones. His mother may have brought him ease and happiness before, but now all there was left was a dark hole of despair. Mentioning her name would only bring him sorrow, and he wished to fell none today.

     Loki seemed to be quivering in his spot. He tensed out of his cross-legged position, preparing to stand in fear. He asked the boy again, who his mother was, and the boy became suspicious. He was questioning why the man needed to as badly as he made it seem. When he asked a third time, his voice had raised, ordering the child for his answer. The child stuttered, choking on the words from shock and dismay, “S-Sigyn.” Loki felt his eye twitch to the name, and his hands ball into fist.

    “What about your father, what was his name,” his voice sounded crack as if he knew the answer. He could never forget his father’s name, no matter how much his mother told him to forget.

      “Loki,” he smiled, embarking on the memories he spent with his father.

      Loki froze in place, unable to move a muscle. He took a second glance at the child, looking over every aspect of him. Loki started to remember, from the boy’s features he saw the reflection of he and Sigyn’s features. That boy was his offspring, and by that he glued himself to the glass. He was unsure of what to do with seeing a dead child of his. It had been too long for him to immediately catch the sight of him, but once he did, it brought him horror.

    He questioned why he saw his spirit now. For all the times he’s spoke to spirits of this land, why was today the one time he got to see his son again? Old bridges that were meant to long ago burn, were repaired and increased in planks. Loki was forced to deal with those bridges, but he didn’t know if he could cut this one. Loki didn’t know how to deal with this. He stayed frozen, even his breath was cut short from tensity. It did not make sense why his son appeared now, but he was here and it looked as if he planned to stay.

   Loki whispered the names of his sons, the only words on his thoughts. The boy looked at him confused by his surprised expression. Loki’s eyes grew wider when he walked towards him. Loki couldn’t back any farther away, and he couldn’t leave the beaker. He was stuck with his past, staring deep into his eyes. “Your eyes… they seem familiar,” Loki closed his eyes tightly, he didn’t want Narfi to recognize him.

   Narfi watched him panic befuddled. Loki waited a moment before opening his eyes, realizing the boy was still looking. He took a step closer to the man, inspecting his eyes before stepping back. He cocked his head to the side slowly, getting his last glance at the man. His brow furrowed as he frowned, his eyes fixated on the man. Loki took a deep breath in, the lack of oxygen suffocating him. Loki removed himself from the glass carefully, seeing as Narfi had caught the connection. He truly hated that Mimir gave him his red eyes. His signature blood eyes.

   Narfi teared up as he noticed the familiar face. It was altered a bit, but that was his father’s, he could sense it. He backed himself into a wall as he opened his mouth to speak, but had no sound come out. He looked down at his bloody shirt, a reminder of how he died, and of his eternal suffering. He looked up, gazing at his “father” with horror and fear. A silent tear rolled down his pale face as he fell into reality. This was the life he was in; one in which he suffers while Loki lives, happy and healthy.

    They both stood in their designated spots, not able to take their eyes off each other. The only sound heard, was that of outside. Bullets being fired by the only target as lightning struck the foes, thunder following quickly after. Stormbreaker slicing through the heads, and bodies of the dead. Loud crashes from the bodies being thrown. It echoed through the room booming, layering the silence that dawned over a man and his dead son.

Chapter Text

 

    Beta Ray Bill was thrown against the wall by the hands of a dead giant. He hit a large pipe connected to the batteries, forcing a damaging dent into it. High pressured steam bursted out of a small tear in the metal, burning part of his face. He quickly recovered, and removed himself from the pipe. He called onto his hammer, bringing a storm with him as he charged at the dead giant. He shouted to handle the pain as he put all his force into swinging his hammer. The giant ran at him, his hands reaching out to grab him. Beta Ray leaped high, swinging downward on the giants head.

    He felt his hammer stop in motion. He looked down to see the blade of the ax lodged in the giants brain. The giant had halted, frozen in time. It took a long moment for the giant to respond, attempting to snatch the ax out his head. Beta Ray Bill pulled it out for him, slamming it right back in, even farther than before. Blood poured out of the small crevice between the hammer and his head. The blood was old, pouring out burgundy green oozing chunks from the cracks. Beta Ray was sickened by the smell it released, but continued to chop at the beast.

   Placing his foot on the beast, and using the force of it to push the head away from his ax hammer, he continued slicing. His ax landed in the side of the dead creature as he conducted electricity into his hammer. The dead jotun yelled in pain as he grabbed Beta Ray off his head, throwing him onto the ground. He removed the hammer from his head, tossing it far away from the person using it. Beta Ray was left in a crater, collecting himself before being crushed by the giant’s foot.

    Loki stared at Narfi with conceited worry. Narfi watched him with a similar look, tears rolling down his eyes uncontrollably. Narfi stepped back into the wall of the beaker, clinging to the glass. His body slid down the glass onto the floor, eyeing his father widely. His knees lifted, covering part of his face while he kept his gaze, unable to blink. Loki walked towards him, but Narfi began to sink through the floor. He quickened his pace, making him fall through faster into nothingness. “Narfi… wait,” Loki said right before he left. He had fallen to the ground to reach his son, but he too late… just like before.

   Loki stood quickly, trying to cope with what he witnessed. He sighed exasperated before growing angry with frustration. He turned away from where he saw his son leave, walking to the other wall. He sighed again, a grumble after sound. He placed his head on the wall contemplating. He couldn’t stand there focusing on the long since forgotten past when he had a job to do. He knew he would have to come back to this place, to see his sons again, but for now he had people to save. Narfi chose to leave, and Loki would have no right to tell him otherwise. If he were to come back, Loki would deal with it. Hopefully better than he did moments before.  

   Loki looked up, the dead giants who were keeping him locked in the glass, were now fighting each other. It seemed Verity successfully possessed one them, and proceeded to attack them. It brought a small smile to his face, witnessing his girl put in damage to the enemy. He should’ve had more faith in her, she was clearly capable of handling more than what he expected. He could blame himself for that, though it would help them both in the end. She truly was the one, and the only thing that would stay with him til the very end. The day she’d be gone, would be the day he would officially be extinct from existence.

   He couldn’t tell which jotun she was, he could only see feet shuffling above him in an aggressive manner. He called to Verity either way, hoping she would be able to catch his voice. He quickly turned around when he heard the sound of a body falling onto the side of the glass, and sliding off to the floor. He watched as the body descended far to the hard ground, praying it wasn’t Verity who had fallen. He heard another body fall, then another, and another until all the bodies fell, except one.

  Verity was triumphant. She wasn’t sure how to use the body she was in, only in the most basic ways she knew how to use her own. She tried removing the seal keeping Loki locked in the glass chamber but had no luck. She heard the voice of Loki talking to her again, making her pull harder on the unbreakable seal. She was abrupted by a jotun leaping on her back. She fell off the glass, plummeting to the unseeable ground below. She instinctively latched herself to a wall as the jotun slipped off her back. She screamed in fear but halted when she realized she was okay.

    She climbed her way back to the glass prison Loki was trapped in. She checked the bottom of the seal, noticing the substance used to close him away. Without hesitation or much thought, she began licking it off. The adhesive loosened and began to dissolve from her saliva. When the substance was gone, she was able to open the latch, breaking it off its hinges in case of another incident.

   Loki smiled widely as he saw Verity reach her hands out for him, helping him out of the temporary prison. “New body,” he arrogantly pointed out.

    “The old one was nosy,” she remarked making Loki chuckle. He had one more beaker to break, although the systems were failing already. He wouldn’t let Fárbuti have any power left for the celestial she planned to abuse.

     They felt the earth shake, signalling them to hurry. Verity carried Loki to the last beaker on her back, being faster on all fours than him on two. Loki saw from behind them, a bright light burst in the entrance, firing into the open beakers and flowing in the battery. Screams followed afterward from a recognizable character, causing Loki to panic. “We have to go down.”

   “What,” Verity asked befuddled but Loki jumped off her back, pulling her down with him. She shouted in surprise as they quickly reached the ground, magic being the break of the their fall. Verity noticed from the full beakers that the battery was at full capacity. She followed behind Loki only to be stopped by Fárbuti.

    She had a tight grasp on Beta Ray Bill, and was stealing the life out of him to replace the lives she lost. “He’s causing all of that,” Verity shouted, the sounds of his screams blocking her voice.

    “A very powerful being,” Loki noted before running towards Fárbuti, halting a few meters away from her large figure. Fárbuti looked down at him when she sensed her jotun next to him. She frowned to see it was in the possession of the same human who had possessed her briefly.

    “I should have known you to have a few tricks up your sleeve,” Fárbuti said, regretting her mistake to think otherwise.

     “Unexpected surprises,” Loki said as he rubbed his hands together in preparation of spell casting. Beta Ray was too weak to call for his hammer as he struggled to be released. Loki’s hands turned warm from the constant motion and he dropped them. Her magic was ancient, and compared to his, his looked liked childs play. Her power was immense, she could forge planets if she truly wished to. He would try to stop the flow of magic coursing through her and into Beta Ray, stealing his energy and powering the celestial.

    He pulled his strings together, the ones latched to her prowess. She didn’t seem affected by their attachment, and he tugged on them. His hands gripping tightly, he pulled down. Fárbuti inched forward in surprise before standing straight and continuing. Loki continued as well, pulling down farther until she was thrown off balance. He tugged once more, and her entire body moved towards him. She dropped Beta Ray in the process of stumbling, but rage followed after.

    Beta Ray Bill was unconscious on the floor, catching his bearings. Loki couldn’t aid him, for that would bring the attention to him, and that was the opposite of what Loki wanted. Fárbuti snagged on the strings, and yanked Loki towards her. She crushed his person in her hand, picking him off the ground and replacing Beta Ray with him.

   She froze when it didn’t work. She couldn’t extract his soul, and soon after she couldn’t touch him. It began to burn holding him, and she released him. He caught himself before falling to the ground full force. It had to have been the work of Mimir, protecting his organism. He would have to thank him once he found him.

    Loki landed on his feet, tugging on the strings while he fell. Fárbuti being distracted from the burn, stumbled forward and fell to one knee. Loki smiled wildly from surprise, a sigh of joy escaping his lips. He yelled for Beta Ray Bill to wake, his voice being the only tool he could use to help the horseman. Loki’s smile widen when he saw him stir, and he shouted more while keeping his energy on Fárbuti. The joy quickly disbanded when he saw Fárbuti looking at Verity. She wasn’t blinded from Verity’s spirit possessing her dead creatures, and Loki wasn’t dumb enough for him not to know what she would do to Verity.

    Fárbuti reached her hand out to Verity, calling to her. Her spirit didn’t listen, but her body walked slowly towards her. Loki dropped the strings and ran to Verity, knocking her onto the ground. Fárbuti grinned and ballad her hand into a fist, crushing Verity upon her weight. The dead giant may have shown no signs of pain, but internally, Verity was dying. Fárbuti trapped her in the body, and in doing so, used her power to crush her in it. Verity screamed, but all that came out was small sighs of discomfort. “Verity, are you okay,” Loki asked, and was given coughs as a response.

    He could already see what Fárbuti was doing and panicked. “Let go of my friend!” He shouted at Fárbuti, but she wasn’t going to stop over back talk, though she found it disrespectful. Loki held Verity close with worry and doubt filling his mind. He decided to break the vessel Verity was currently possessing, pressing his hand to its chest and burning a hole through it. He felt the rotten insides of the creature, but continued to burn through it. He felt the decaying heart light into flames, and decentegrate to ash. The body went limp, and slowly, as the rest of it had, lit up in flames to ash.

   “What are you doing?!” Fárbuti said outraged. She ran over, shoving Loki out of the way as she collected the ash. She grieved for the fallen giant that now lay dust in her hands. She was devastated.

   Loki picked himself off the ground, glancing over at the witch mourning. “You rather see me burned than a long since passed giant,” he said in disgust, considering he was her son. Her only left breathing son.

  “No,” she overheard and rebutted. “I-am… so tired of seeing my people fall,” she stood, staring at him. She lowered her hand, sending the other dead jotuns back to the earth below. “At least if they are bone, I can put them back together. If they are ash… I can not.” She wiped the only tear she could ever shed. “You destroyed so much. I-I can’t let you take anymore.” With her plan going horribly awry because of Loki, she had to change it; to protecting whatever she has left with her life.

 Loki attempted to use magic to wake Beta Ray, but Fárbuti blocked it. She blocked the man from the rest of the world, sealing him in a indestructible bubble. With that in mind, Loki realized he would have to break the last beaker without Fárbuti being distracted. He knew he wouldn’t be seeing Verity anytime soon, and he didn’t wished too either. Fárbuti was getting to a dangerous part of herself that could result in everyone dying, he didn’t want Verity witnessing it when it happened.

  He turned from her, and ran from Fárbuti, who immediately chased after him. She used magic to pull him back towards her, but he sliced through the waves pushing him to her. He used his scepter to make a passage through the waves, while firing at Fárbuti to keep her distance. Her steps being a lot farther gave Loki a strong disadvantage, but he was quick on his feet, not just figuratively.

  His heart dropped when entering the machine. He had forgotten how far high the last beaker was, he would never get back up without Fárbuti catching him. He sighed exasperatedly, but began his climb up. He continuously pushed back Fárbuti’s force, but it was becoming harder to push back while keeping pace. He was positive her person would be behind him soon.

   He heard a sound below him, of the something crawling up for him. He looked down to see it was a jotun coming after him. Loki shot at it, but it got closer. It wasn’t until it grabbed him, did he realize it was an ally. “Vey,” he asked surprisingly cheerful.  She nodded with indiscretion as she climbed the walls to the top. She had two arms holding Loki, and two others digging into the wall. Loki blocked the magic from Fárbuti as they climbed, focusing his energy on it. “You shouldn’t be here, Fárbuti’s losing it. She might kill you,” he discussed earnestly.

     “I’m not leaving your side. I told you I’m holding on, I’m not letting go.” Loki smiled, “hand me the last key, I’ll unlock the seal while you give me cover.” Loki agreed, and when they reached the top, she hopped to the beaker. Loki saw Fárbuti’s hand reach for him below. She was being careful around the equipment, but she navigating her way to him. Loki pulled the keys out of his inner pocket, and tossed them to Verity before firing energy at Fárbuti’s hand. Her hand flinched at the pain, but she sent tendrils of magic at him to snatch him.

   Verity unlocked the last beaker, and the energy bursted into the air, having no other place to go. Verity turned to Loki with joy, but saw he was nowhere to be found. She frowned to see he was being dragged away by the hands of Fárbuti, and dived down to grab him back. She landed on the nearest wall when she got too close to the ground. Loki stabbed at the hand squeezing him, but it didn’t slow her down nor did it stop her. She was out for blood, and it seemed it was his blood she was looking for.

   Verity watched in hiding, Loki struggle in Fárbuti’s grasp. She noticed her hand steaming, and soon after, her skin sizzle. Verity supposed it wasn’t steam, but smoke from her burning flesh. Her grip didn’t loosen for him as she put a spell on him to freeze his body. Verity had to think of a way to save him and fast. Fárbuti still was upset about her giant turned to dust, she would have a grudge against Verity. She could be a distraction long enough for Loki recover while hopefully not getting herself killed. She was already technically dead, but with magic involve, ghosts could die too.

    Loki tried wiggling himself out of her palm, she was beginning to press into his sore injuries. He shrieked when he felt a spike of pain in his bullet wound. “I don’t want to kill you son, I only want to protect what is mine.” Fárbuti said, wishing he wouldn’t squirm as much.

   “So do I,” he struggle to let out from pain. “We’re at an impasse, but I completed my goal.” She squeezed him in anger.

   “What,” she said flabbergasted before noticing the machine shutting off, the battery depleting, and the celestial dying. She opened her mouth to speak, but she couldn’t get a syllable out from shock. Her grip tighten around Loki, and he stopped breathing. “How,” rage filled her as she watched the light in the creature dim. The more she was faced with reality, the tighter her grip on Loki became. He was going to pop from the pressure surrounding him. She didn’t care how much it hurt to hold him, her life’s work was ruined by him. She ordered him to answer for his crime, on the verge of crushing all of his bones with her charred hand.

  “I did it,” a second voice spoke up. Fárbuti looked down to see her jotun talking back to her. The girl possessed another giant before she sent them below. Fárbuti was enraged, and forcefully shed the skin the girl was harboring.

  “Show yourself cretin,” she shed light to her actual figure, and made her visible to see. Verity was visible, and she had her arms crossed over her chest. She fixed her glasses as she stared intently at the giant woman. “A mortal’s spirit destroyed my work,” her eye twitch from holding anger. Her grip loosen around Loki, for she planned to put her hands on someone else. Loki slipped out, and fell to the ground.

    Verity ran for her life from the hands of Fárbuti. Fárbuti was close to capturing her, sending magic her direction to knock her off her footing. Loki stopped the chase when he put Fárbuti inside a barrier, similar to the ones she had trapped him in. He had energy left from the souls he consumed, and decided to put them in good use. Fárbuti was stunned to see her own magic used against her, and to see it was working. She couldn’t break out of the barrier Loki made. She screamed in anguish, and banged against it, attempting brute force as an escape route.

     “It won’t hold her for long, but it will hold her.” Loki said to Verity as she strides towards him. Loki held his abdomen from the pain previously endured. He was weak at this point, and could barely stand. Verity tried to hold him up, but her transparent body made it so she couldn’t hold him. He stood straight once he caught his breath, “we still have work to do. You go retrieve the other prisoners, I’ll try to wake Beta Ray. He can help with getting us all out of here.” Verity did as asked, and went to find the rest. Loki went to Beta Ray’s side, and put a waking spell on him. The barrier around him was broken the moment Fárbuti was sealed off herself.

    Beta Ray woke up swinging, jabbing someone in the face. He gasped when he saw it was Loki he had hit, “what happened,” he asked, not regretting his act. Loki covered his cheek which he was sure was bruised, and helped him on his feet. “Is the beast dead?”

   “Which one,” he said bitter, still affected by the bruised cheek.

   “The one not in a bubble,” Loki shrugged, he couldn’t determine if the celestial died yet. He was on a life support, he was surely to die if it were to be cut off. Loki had little time to explain, but he sent Beta Ray in Verity’s direction. Loki turned to Fárbuti after Beta Ray left. She stopped fighting to get out, and only stared at her son with malice.

   “Where’s Mimir,” Loki asked as he got closer to the bubble.

   “Why? Want to take that from me as well? How did you use my magic against me?” She had a few theories, but she wanted his explanation. She pressed her hand against the wall, feeling the lacing of the cage. The magic was stitch perfectly, she wasn’t coming out solidly.

     “I became familiar with your magic and simply, reversed it. Now please, we all have objectives to complete, and mines is with Mimir. Where did you place him?”

     “A place safe,” that was all she planned to tell. Loki sighed with frustration, but decided he would have to worry about the matter after he saved the prisoners. Beta Ray had already busted a hole into the ceiling. Seeing as there were many ceilings he would have to burst through to find the surface, he used his body. Loki stopped him quickly before it resulted in him doing that. They were too far down to try and go back up. Asgard was a strange place. It was a place that had an edge, and could be considered flat. It still consist of a gravitational pull, enough for Beta Ray to dig under and reach the second surface. Of course the place would be cold there, Asgard never rotated on an axis. The land was still, as were the people, stiff and still.

      Loki came up with a plan. Beta Ray Bill could dig to the other side while Loki formed a platform for the captives to be lowered on. He would need help, having to hold Fárbuti’s magic back at her and making the platform would not ensure the solidity of it. Lorelei was the only other person who knew some form of magic. She would be the one capable of sustaining the energy of the platform. Once they were on the other side, Loki would join them. He needed to find Mimir first, he felt as though his life depended on it.

    Beta Ray did as planned, getting a jumping start and shooting himself into the ground forming a crater. Using the powerful attacks of his hammer, he plummeted in the ground making a larger crater. He repeated the process until the crater was a deep hole leading to the end of the world. Loki reminded the people it would be very cold on the other side, and to be weary of it. He didn’t need people dying because they couldn’t handle the cold. Loki made the platform when the hole was large enough, figuring Beta Ray was reaching the end.

    Verity stayed with Loki, she was going to help with finding Mimir. He dared to ask Fárbuti where she put the head, but she stayed silent, brooding. “What are you going to do with her,” Verity asked as  they exited the room, wandering the corridors aimlessly. The place was big, he wouldn’t know where to start.

     “Nothing. She already lost. I’m going to find Mimir, and then we’re going to make a dastardly escape,” he exaggerated but it got Verity to chuckle. “So… which Verity are you,” he had to ask. There were so many split versions of her, he couldn’t depict any of them.

     “I’m the one who’s getting my body back when we’re done.” He still wasn’t sure, but he wasn’t going to push the subject. “I have the memories,” she said, “hell, I am the memories. Of you and I,” Loki smiled before entering a random room. He checked a few other rooms for Mimir, and found no sign. They continued their travel to find him. Loki wished he could hear his voice, calling to him in his head.

    They walked through more hallways, and ended up in an area Loki remembered. It was the place they prepared him in, where they shot needles into his arm. Shiklah couldn’t be far, maybe she knew where Mimir was after all, Fárbuti trusted the girl with her life. “Do you think you could search the vicinity for another living person?” Verity nodded before searching in the rooms above and below for people. Loki looked inside the room as Verity looked around it.

    He examined medical trays with medical tools on them. The different cutting objects made to open a person up. Loki wondered if they ever needed to use the equipment they had. It would be unnecessary for what they actually needed the people for but he didn’t know. Torture could have been involved in previous scenarios, or surgery done to an injury, but they had magic to do that.

  His thought was caught off by a voice. He recognized the soft voice. The voice of a lost child, his son calling to him once more. It sounded behind him, making him turn around. When he looked, he saw nothing. He heard crying. He turned around, “do you hear that,” he spoke to Verity who wasn’t there.

    “I do,” she said as she met him in the room, “do you see that?” She pointed in front of him to which a little girl stood, carrying a large, filled burlap sack with her. She was shocked to see Loki standing a few feet from her and dropped the sack. She backed away in fear slowly, she didn’t expect him to escape.

    Loki thought it might have been her voice he was hearing, it had to be. He walked towards her frightened person. She believed if he escaped, than Fárbuti must have gotten horribly injured, and if that were true she didn’t have much time. Shiklah didn’t know what Loki was going to do, but she wasn’t going to sit around to find out. She switched directions and ran for the exit. Loki snatched her off the floor before she could get away. She struggled in his grasp to be set down, kicking and screaming, but he wasn’t letting her go until she calmed down. He assured her he wasn’t going to hurt her but she didn’t trust him. “Don’t make me put you to sleep,” her panic slowed to a complete stop. He didn’t think it would work, glad the threat did.

      “Where is Fárbuti, what did you do to her,” she asked concerned. “What are you going to do to me?”

      “Nothing, and Fárbuti’s fine. I only put her in a bubble,” he put the child down, holding her shoulder to keep her in place. He told her the circumstance she was in. He held no grudge against this child, and gave her a heads up on the situation. Fárbuti’s operation was close to failure, and everything she worked for was going to be destroyed. The future she planned with her dead giants wasn’t coming true and that included Shiklah. He had to admit, she was a well conscious and live dead-giant. She was functioning like a normal jotun, so why not take her there.

     He knew how much she wanted revenge for her parents, but what if she didn’t get revenge? What if instead she lived the life she never got to? It was wrong of the asgardians to kill a child, jotun or not, they shouldn’t have laid a finger on her. Her death was undeserved and somewhere in the stars, Loki knew the higher beings believed it too. They granted her a second life, of her own design, not ran by a genocidal maniac, or an egotistical sadistic. It didn’t even have to be Jotunheim, Loki personally preferred Midgard. The planet was very freeing to the mind, different exotic people to meet that could understand you. Verity was his understanding partner, what could stop Shiklah from finding her own Verity.

    Loki seemed serious of her choice. The worry of him attacking her left the back of her mind. She wasn’t sure if she was reading his eyes correctly, but she would say he actually cared about her future. Why? She didn’t know. She may have caught his interest, Fárbuti did call her a special jotun. Her memories of her parents were the exact reason she was special, and her subconscious, but it was the same reason that made her who she was. Now this man she barely knew was asking her to drop the entire mess and move on. She didn’t know if she could do that. She didn’t want to do that. The aesirs didn’t deserve it, they deserved punishment. She wanted them to pay for what they did to her, her family, her people.

   She had a little Fárbuti in her left, but she would have her own mind soon. Loki was disappointed but he wasn’t surprise. There are five stages of grief, she was still on the second: anger. “What’s in the bag,” she looked up at him with guilt in her eyes.

   “Mimir,” Loki’s eyes widen before he checked the bag. He smiled to see Mimir’s head pop out the open bag. His eyes closed, Loki heard his whispers and smiled with delight. He covered the head and picked up the bag, turning it into a carrying sack. He walked back over to Shiklah, taking a second look at the girl. He did see a little bit of himself in her, the hate and rage. It was too close to home. It was motivation for wanting to help the girl to a better life. She didn’t take the offer, didn’t stop him from trying.

   “We’re escaping in the celestial’s room. You can choose to come with us, or, stay an apostle to Fárbuti.” Verity joined him as they left Shiklah to think of her choices. They headed for the exit where they could leave the old land, and Loki was happy for it. Their walk was filled with silence, both persons in deep thought. Mimir was the only voice talking throughout the small travel in low whispers.

    “You have an interest in the girl,” Verity said in question. Loki didn’t glance in her direction, contemplating his decision. Verity knew that blank stare into the void, it was stare of emptiness. He felt empty inside, with only the hope of the girl joining him to fill the hole. The chances seemed unlikely.

     “As a child, I never had anyone on my shoulder to help me with the issues I dealt with. Neglect, remorse, grief,” he spoke nonchalantly. “Thor was the only person who comforted me, the rare times I told him my true feelings.” He swallowed hard, “I never admitted it, but those rare times I was comforted, were the best parts of my childhood. I never wanted to let go.” He looked away in his direction, ashamed of his next statement. “Of course, me being afraid I would be considered a wuss by my peers, I pushed him away and thus, I felt more abandoned.” He stared at Verity with void in his eyes, “I see too much of me in her. I figure, do what Thor wanted to do for me; be there.” He shook his head in regret, his past mistakes eating at him.

    Verity looked at him with sympathy. She couldn’t touch him, but she held her hand out for him. A small smile formed on his lips as he attempted to hold her hand. He pantomimed holding her hand, his hand hand hovering over hers in a cupping position. Words weren’t needed to be shared for him to see she understood his pain. She couldn’t make it disappear, but she made it easier to bare. To know those feelings weren’t fake or over exaggerated, that they were valid, it was easing to his mental state. “How do we know she won’t free Fárbuti,” Verity asked to be sure.

   “She will, but not to hurt us. Probably after we leave, that is, if she isn’t already with us.” If she truly wanted them hurt, she would have electrocuted him.

    When they returned, Loki was shocked to see Fárbuti had escaped. He told Verity to stay back as he approached the giant. She was panting as if she was tired, catching her breath. Loki approached her slowly as to not be detected. He used magic to form another barrier around her, but when he lifted his hand, she grabbed his arm. She turned to him as she grabbed his other arm, crushing them with pressure. Verity ran for him, but Fárbuti put force between them  so she could not reach them.

     Loki noticed Fárbuti was crying, dried tears on her face. She had a psychotic break, he could feel her shaking from grief. “You… pathetic excuse for a son,” she said in a fit of bitter rage.

    “You sound just like father,” he mocked before having his arms crushed. He shouted in agony before losing the energy to keep holding on.

    She lifted him off the ground, “you forced me to do this,” she dropped him. Verity was able to reach him once Fárbuti let go, but she wasn’t able to help him on his feet. Fárbuti stared at the celestial, “tell Sykraemr I will miss her.” She took one last glance at her son before dematerializing, turning herself into pure energy. Her spirit fed itself to the celestial directly, healing its wound and bringing it out of its coma.  

     Loki watched in concern, the celestial, worrying when he saw the light in the beast replenish. Loki stood quickly as he moved to see the creature’s face. From all the armor covering its body, he could see its eyes slowly opening. A bright golden color illuminating from its eyes that made it blinding. Its armor dim, but it could be made out, a golden cross over its body. From what Loki considered to be the beast’s helmet, came steam, the large tubes attached to it releasing the steam. The sight of  a celestial waking up was intriguing. It wasn’t often someone like him could witness something like this, but he remembered why it shouldn’t be often.

   “What does that mean,” Verity asked before the earth began to quake. Loki could barely catch his footing before standing on an invisible platform to keep balance.

  “I don’t know,” Loki said with worry. If the celestial was to wake, havoc would break loose. If the creature still had the memories from thousands of years ago, Thor is its first target. Loki failed to stop the creature from living, and now Thor was going to pay the price. He shook his head in disbelief, wishing it was all a horrible nightmare he was hoping to wake up soon. His panic stopped when Mimir started talking to him. “Wait here,” he told Verity as he mindlessly walked towards the head of the celestial. Verity couldn’t go after him as she wanted and watched from a distance.

    Mimir gave Loki an idea that he believed could work. His magician skills had to be mastered for it to work, and he knew it to be fact from the thousands of years spent playing with magic. He supposed this would be putting his enchantments to the test, to see if he was truly the supreme sorcerer. He walked a mile to reach the head of the waking beast. Loki was the size of an ant compared to the celestial. It would be a challenge to pull the stunt he wished to make.

     Loki landed on the shoulder of the celestial, its black sleek armor glistening from its glowing eyes. “Do you really think I can talk to it?” He asked Mimir, unsure of himself and his abilities. Mimir didn’t respond, and he continued his walk. The earth was shaking by the hands of the beast Loki stood on. It was trying to stand. Loki couldn’t allow it to move, and pressed his shattered hand on its head. He wasn’t sure if it had ears or could hear, he would have to speak aloud for the spell to be in full effect. “Does it have a conscious,” he asked Mimir but no response.

     He focused his thoughts into reaching the mind of the celestial. He had to be in tuned to what the celestial thought, pull himself in the vast space of the beasts imagination, which there was none of. The creature was technical. only thought of and did its job, what it was created for. Loki had to try, the creature had to have some feeling. If it did have a grudge against Thor, it had to think about its hatred towards the thunderer. Loki wasn’t sure the connection was there and he spoke, “can you hear me large beast?” Loki didn’t get any sign that it responded.

    He thought harder to intertwine his mind with it. His goal of the conversation was to make it back down. To sleep for little longer. Enough for Loki to warn Thor of the coming trouble his way. His thoughts paused when he heard a sound. It wasn’t clear if it was the celestial trying to speak or an external noise. “Was that you,” Loki asked as he knocked on his armor, wincing in pain. No response.

   He needed this to work. He needed a connection with the beast. He needed more time, but he wasn’t given any. He only had this moment, and if he failed, it would be over. People will die, millions, both from Earth and Asgardia. They’ll all perish and it would be his fault. He grew frustrated with himself, he was going to blame himself for everything because he was there. He knew he could have done something, and instead he sat around doing nothing.

  He was tired of that. He wasn’t going to be in the background anymore, watching other people do his work. People’s lives were on the line, and for once in his pathetic life, he was going to be the hero of this story. “I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’m continuing anyway.” He spoke closely, “I want to tell you story,” he said calmer than before, “the story begins in the time before creation…” he hoped it was listening, he was telling all of it. Starting from the dark and light creators to the end of the universe, he exclaimed every small detail. He told the anecdote with passion, even going as far as emphasizing his favorite parts.

    By the end of his tale the celestial had stopped moving, a good sign on his part. “So my question for you is; are you planning to do the same?” For a long while, there was silence. Loki frowned believing he hadn’t heard a single word spoken, but he felt the golden glow shine on him. The celestial’s eyes were on him, Loki backing up to get a full view of its face. “Lysets Ånd?”  It was the only formal name Loki knew to refer it by.

     “Exxitaaaar,” Loki could barely make out what it was saying. Its voice was deep and echoed throughout the entire structure, making it quake.

      “Exitar? Is that your name?” It nodded its head once. Loki almost fell off its shoulder. Exitar looked down at himself, his golden eyes revealing the damage done to him.

     “I had a brother once,” Loki was astonished. He could actually understand a celestial, and it was talking back to him. He couldn’t hide his pleasant surprise and shock, a serendipity to live to tell. “He died. I sent to avenge him, and failed,” there was only a handful of words he could speak that Loki would understand."I wanted to protect them." He was more ancient than time, and Loki’s story touched his spirit. “I have rested underground when I meant death. I wake now, but I don’t…” He couldn’t come up with words he wished to say. He’s been asleep for too long, his voice was tired and strained.

     Exitar’s eyes were back on Loki. He was blinded by the light, shielding his eyes from the pain. “Have you a brother?” his deep voice cleared, he was understood better.

     “Yes,” he hesitated before continuing, “and like you, I too failed him. Multiple times,” he said more to himself. “I wish to make it right, but that requires me to put you to sleep.” No expression was placed on the celestial.

    “Right by me, right by you.” no more brother killings. He had faced enough of it in his lifetime. Celestial against celestial, he was tired of witnessing relatives slaughter each other and him being the judge of it all. "Protect them." If Loki agreed to his wish, he was more than willing to sleep longer.

    “Deal,” Loki stuck his hand out before realizing who he was speaking to. Exitar nodded and Loki caught his balance. The celestial repositioned himself in his chair, getting more comfortable. Loki watched as his eyes slowly closed, and the glow deplete. When he was in full rest, the light from his armor dimmed until it was black once again. Loki took a moment to breathe in what had happened before making his way back down to under-ground floor.  

    Verity was surprised to see Loki in one piece. She asked what happened, but he didn’t seem compliant to answer. “No one’s ever going to believe this,” was all he said before leading Verity to the exit. She was reluctant to jump down a hole, but he etched her to do it, claiming she would be fine. After having to non-existingly push her, he was able to leave the place. He gotten one last look at Exitar, planning to remember his face for a long time, and their deal. He was going to take that until Thor’s grave, or his own, whichever one came first. His probably. Exitar would be on his side as long as he followed through with the deal. He had no problems with that.

   No one would believe he single-handedly talked down a celestial from doing its job. The only other person to witness that was Mimir, and most people consider him to be a crazy talking head. Those people including Loki at certain moments. It wouldn’t matter, he did what was needed to be done and that’s all that matter. He wouldn’t mind a little recognition for his act of heroism. He didn’t bother thinking anymore on the subject, and jumped into the hole.

    Everyone outside was freezing. They didn’t realize how warm it was in the underground operation until they reached the opposite side of Asgard. Loki, a frost giant, had no complaint of the cold, he was sure Jotunheim was colder. Beta Ray had started a fire with the cloth wrapped around his forearms under his armor. Every prisoner was huddled at the fire keeping warm as Beta Ray kept the flame going. “I felt the earth shaking, has the beast awoken?” Beta Ray asked on Loki’s return.

    “He’ll be asleep for a while longer, and his name’s Exitar. The executioner,” he didn’t know how he knew his title. The captives all cheered tiredly that Fárbuti wasn’t able to succeed. “We have to bring these people home,” Loki stated, thinking of how they could.

    “I know a place. It’s a few light years away but, the people can be sent home on ships.” Loki agreed, trusting Beta Ray knew what he spoke about.  Beta Ray informed the other prisoners of the next step. Many of them were reluctant to leave with the horse face before he promptly reminded them he was also prisoner. Having told Loki the location of such place, he was able to tear a hole in the fabric of the universe for the people to enter.

    One by one, they left Asgard, each getting a glance at Loki. A prisoner who Loki noticed was a dwarf, had been glaring at him. When he finally approached him, he stared at Loki, his glare intensifying. “I saved your life,” Loki said to shoo him away.

    “You paid your debt, from all the items you stole. You have one of me bags on ya’ now, but I’ll consider it a gift from me,” he grunted, revealing his rotten yellow teeth.

   “Thank you…” he mocked, but his name Loki did not recall.

   He grunted again, “Uun,” he spat near Loki’s boot before walking through the portal. Loki was relieved he didn’t spit on his shoes. He believed the myths about dwarves, as diminished as his teeth were, he must spit acid.

    A woman who was shivering violently glanced at Loki. Not him, but the jacket he wore. There was blood on it, but it had warm fur around the neck. She only had a long sleeved shirt, and it was thin. Loki willingly gave her his jacket, wrapping it around her small figure. She thanked him briefly before hurrying with the rest of the group. His shirt was covered in more blood, the green fading from the burgundy red staining it. His body armor was smeared with his own blood, but he rather not think of the blood he was drenched in. It would only remind him of the wounds he should have attended to long before.

    Beta Ray Bill was the last one to leave. He walked up to Loki, his eyes judging his character. Loki stared back with the same intent before offering his hand. Beta Ray glanced at his hand before grabbing his forearm approvingly. "Thank you Odinson,” he said officially, “your work will not go unheard.” He was stunned to admit, but Loki did change for the better. If this was just one of the many good-samaritan acts he planned to do, Beta Ray would happily consider him a brother in arm.

    “Yeah… lets just keep this between us,” he laughed nervously. Beta Ray looked at him befuddled, wondering why he would want to keep this a secret. “I’ll be a villain in their eyes even if Thor called me hero. I don’t want to fuel them,” Beta Ray nodded, respecting his wishes before releasing him. He thanked Verity for aid as well in the escape, and shared how he will be laughing for days about Fárbuti’s possession. He announced his final goodbyes to the two before entering the portal. They waved farewell to the horse-faced man as Loki closed the portal.

    “Do you know where Lorelei is?” Loki asked Verity, realizing her absence. Verity shrugged, asking if she should start looking, but their conversation was interrupted by the very person.

   “I couldn’t be around those people. I went for a cold walk,” she said shivering and in pain. Both persons ran over to her side. Loki wasn’t able to offer his jacket since it was already taken.

    “Are you alright,” Loki asked, using his body heat to keep her warm.

    “I’ll be better once we leave this horrible place.” She didn’t say it, but his closeness brought her much relief and comfort. She felt protected in his arms and that calmed her traumatized nerves. Loki and Verity looked at each other before signalling for their leave.

    Loki took a moment to have a last look at Asgard. He hoped this would be the last time visiting his old home, he clearly had too much unfinished business there that he chose not to deal with. He had many mistakes left here for him that he wish he could fix but, one step at a time. One problem at a time. Loki opened another portal that lead to Verity’s mother’s apartment. He was the last to leave Asgard, having his last smell of the rotten air. Before he closed it, he heard a voice calling him, shouting for him. He stepped out of the tear to see who it was, noticing Shiklah running towards him.

     She ran desperately, tears rolling down her eyes. She was barely looking at where she was going, and ended up crashing into his body. Loki grabbed her before she could fall back, holding her by her arms. “She’s gone,” she said upset as she wiped her tears. She wanted answers for the sudden disappearance, and she knew Loki had them.

    “She sacrificed herself to Lysets Ånd.” She was heartbroken, but she was still loyal. The fact she came to him was a sign of her doubt and he needed to feed into it. “She loved you but, her life’s work was more important,” it was the truth he believed at least. She cried more, covering her face as she sobbed.

     “Why am I the only one left,” there were other dead jotuns, and now they’re gone.

    “Because you had the will to live,” he looked at her sympathetically. “You gave yourself a chance to live your life,” he said, making her suggestive. “Leave with us, there’s nothing left for you here,” it sounded a bit crude but he was being honest with the girl. Her tears subsided as she thought over his offer. She just couldn’t believe Fárbuti left her alone in this cold, dark place. She didn’t want to be alone, it was the worst time for her to be alone. The only person she trusted was gone and she didn’t know what she’d do. “It doesn’t have to be with me, but at least let me take you somewhere safe.”

    “... Okay,” was all she said. Loki smiled before leading her to the portal. She acquiesced through before Loki went through. He may have lost a mother today, but he’s gained something better. He didn’t know what to call the girl, refer to her as but succeeding in bringing her with him brought some form of happiness to him. A piece of him was put together again and he had Shiklah to thank. He didn’t know what their relationship would, or what to call it now. Helping someone in need? He wasn’t sure, he was glad she joined him though. He had his last look on Asgard before closing the portal behind him.  

Chapter Text

     Verity was happy to see they had returned, and in one piece. She had just finished making dinner for her mom when she noticed Lorelei’s arrival. It was a while after that she witnessed Loki’s return. She set her plate down on the nearest counter, and called for her mother. Loki seemed distracted by a person he was pulling through the portal. It wasn’t until a girl peered through, was his attention brought to the woman staring at him blankly. He smiled halfheartedly before closing the portal, “hey Vey,” he said nonchalantly.

   “Weeks, you were gone for weeks,” she crossed her arms over her chest.

   “It felt like a night to me,” he scratched his head, it felt like one long night. Lorelei interrupted, agreeing it felt like an eternity of pain and suffering. “Don’t remind me,” he had too many wounds for his adrenaline to be depleting.

   “Whatever,” Verity tossed aside the bad thoughts with joy before walking towards him open arms. She welcomed him into her embrace, holding him close, “I’m just glad you’re back.” She released him when her mother called her. She led them to the dining room for everyone to recuperate, and update everyone on what has been happening over the course of four weeks. Verity wasn’t paying much attention to the girl next to Loki, she recognized the gray skin but she wasn’t attacking him. Either way, she was a guest, and guests were welcomed in her mother’s home.

   Her mother seemed more eager of their return than Verity, jumping with joy that they were alive. She hugged Loki first, happy to see Verity’s husband hadn’t died. He laughed nervously, forgetting he had told her they had gotten married. She then greeted Lorelei, recalling her from the wedding, “it’s nice to be welcomed Verity’s mother-” Lorelei thanked as she shook her hand.

    “Call me Eloise,” Lorelei formerly referred to her as such. She was excited to see the child that kept to herself, shielding herself with Loki’s body. “Who is this young lady,” she was gray, but she didn’t care of her skin color. She could smell death on the girl and kept her distance.

    “Shiklah,” Loki responded for her. She wasn’t in the mood to socialize, and he could understand why. She was grieving over the only place she considered home, and the only person she considered family. She was in a broken state that would take time to heal, thus she didn’t want to speak. He gave Eloise a brief explanation of Shiklah’s situation and she nodded with sympathy.

   “Well then, please join us for dinner. Tell us about your travel,” Eloise insisted, making everyone eat in the dining room. Shiklah wasn’t willing to eat with strangers, she was weary of the people she was with. It was Verity’s mother who convinced her to join them, promising nothing would hurt to have a little food in her stomach. She reassured her that they only wanted to make good. Shiklah wasn’t sure if it was her voice or her features that made her subjective, but she was willing to have food with strangers.

     While everyone was heading for the dining room, Loki had taken Verity away from her mother. Eloise was intuitive enough to let them be alone, and Lorelei was smart enough to not care. Loki still had other business to take care of involving Verity. She turned to him, lifting her arms but Loki grabbed her wrists before she could cross them. “I owe you an apology,” he stated before releasing her. “I shouldn’t have kept you away, but my paranoia got the best of me.” She looked at him skeptically, he was looking indirectly at her. “You were right, and I’m sorry.” He hugged her, but she was weary, something did not feel right.

     Their affection was interrupted by another voice, a voice of logic, “alright you big baby, I forgive you.” Verity swiftly turned around to see a transparency of herself. Verity stepped back in shock, landing in the arms of Loki. “What is that,” Verity asked concerned. Verity was offended.

     “It’s the part of you I took from you-” Verity walked towards herself.

     “Didn’t you say someone else did that?” Verity was reluctant to face herself, unsure if this was real or hysteria. Loki seemed to see the same figure, so it must be true. “Oh stop being so anxious and take my hand,” Verity held her hand out for her nervous self. To be whole once again, Verity would have to accept the part of herself she lost. Verity got a good look at her ghost self before glancing at Loki, “who is she?” Herself of course, but of who is she in correlation as Verity.

     “The memories you can’t recall, became a manifestation of itself-”

    “Because of you,” Verity chimed to which Loki was fully aware of and trying to explain. He kept the refresher brief, just enough for Verity to be on the same page as he and she. “So, I touch her and the memories will return?” Verity nodded, and she stuck her hand out. Verity hoped there would be no side effects, her mother wouldn’t be happy to see Loki holding a seizing Verity. She ultimately agreed, willing to try anything if it meant getting her memories back. She grabbed for Verity’s hand but wasn’t able to latch onto her ghostly form.

      Loki came from behind her, and offered his hand within Verity’s. “If I die from this, I’ll kill you,” Verity took his hand in hers, accepting the piece of her that was taken. The lost memory of her was finally returned, dematerializing into the memory she once was. Verity lost balance and fell to her knees in silence, her head hanging low as a piece of her returned. Loki did not let go, and held on tighter when she lost use of her legs. Her body went completely limp, and Loki swiped her body off the floor.

     Verity pushed out of his arms, to the floor where her face landed first. “I’m awake, I won’t be passing out this time,” she assured as she protested his body coming closer to hold her in case. She caught her own balance, and she stood straight.

    “How do you feel,” he said almost anxious, hoping the answer would be what he prayed for.

    “I feel…the same,” his expression lowered with disappointment, “but you aren’t as goofy looking as I remembered you,” she smiled as she nodded to his non-verbal questioning. His lips cracked a smile as he couldn’t help but reach and hold her. She returned the affection, holding him closer than she ever has. She was trapped in his head for long enough to experience and understand the turmoil he faced internally. Verity soon realized why he had gone crazy, she always knew the man was insane. Ever since he was brought to the world he was crazy, but Verity had a glimpse of what it was to know his mind. If she was being honest with herself, she would probably be insane as well.

    Their hug held more emotion than either of them could describe. It was as if the two creatures were finally whole, neither of them had the strength to let go of the other. “We have to go eat dinner otherwise people will think it weird-” Loki had spoken but Verity interrupted.

    “Shut up. My mom thinks we’re married,” she hushed him as she gained the power to let go.

    “Okay,” he wasn’t planning to argue with her on that. They had managed to release each other and enter the dining room, where everyone was getting settled. Verity’s mother passed out the food to people at the table, sitting down at the end. Loki and Verity sat next to each other as she knew they would, and Shiklah sitting at the other end.

   Everyone was eating the meal given except for Shiklah, she didn’t seem happy to be around the warm environment. Eloise had her eye out for the strange looking girl and took a seat next to her, planning to have a chat with the mysterious girl. “Why don’t you eat sweetie?” She asked but her head was low.

  “Fárbuti left me,” she said to herself, clearly stuck in the moment she realized she was alone in the world.

  “Was Fárbuti your mother?” Loki had told her Fárbuti was her caretaker, but did not explicitly say she was her mother.

   “No. Skadi, daughter of Thaissi, was my mother.” Shiklah said raising her voice, a sudden anger rushing through her. Fárbuti promised she would bring her mother back if she helped her, and now she was dead. She was betrayed, cheated out of the deal and she had no one to express her anger, so she expressed it towards this stranger questioning her.

  “‘Was?’” Eloise tilted her head in confusion, and she watched Shiklah’s blood boil. Loki noticed the tension building between Eloise and Shiklah and intervened. He quickly gave Eloise a run down of Shiklah’s character in a whisper, and pulled her away from the destructive child. He then turned to Shiklah, trying to get her out of her own head and in reality.

  “Shiklah,” her head lifted to his call, but it didn’t stop her rage. There was a time she looked at him with admiration, Fárbuti told her that her son would be the answer to all her problems. That with his help, she would be able to bring her family back. That he was the key they were missing. Now, Fárbuti was dead, and her son only helped in the destruction of her world. She had hate for the man, but just like her feelings towards Fárbuti, her admiration still lingered. She was on the verge of electrocuting him, but she put her hands away. She only did it before, because of orders from Fárbuti, she didn’t truly want to hurt him. Why would she hurt the person who would resurrect your family?

 “You were supposed to help us,” she said clenching her fist and holding her tears. She was a very emotional dead girl, intriguing to Loki when it was excruciatingly hard to achieve a sentient, conscious dead creature. He would really have to look back at the work of his mother, just to know the secret.  He hadn’t noticed he was staring at Shiklah for too long without responding until she furrowed her brows in confusion.

  “What Fárbuti was doing was not going to help you. It wasn’t going to help anyone,” he said ignoring the pause before he spoke. “It was most likely going to kill all of us,” he sounded bleak, but honesty was the best policy. Shiklah didn’t need anymore broken promises or lies in her life. He placed a hand on her shoulder as he lowered himself to eye level with her. He could tell from her expression she was not satisfied with that answer. “I talked to celestial myself, he didn’t want to go through Fárbuti’s plan either.”

  “I should have stayed there, and died with Fárbuti.” She had no reason to live any longer. Not for her mother, not for Fárbuti, she had no purpose to exist. “I wish she never brought me back,” she said looking away from Loki as she covered her face with her hands. He forced her head to lift with his hand as he stared at her intently.

  “You chose to live for a reason,” he said determined to convince her. “You may not know what it is now, and that’s okay. Stop questioning the whys, and question the whens.” Shiklah’s fire blew out and she sunk into her chair, she didn’t want to speak any longer. Loki wouldn’t force her to speak her mind, giving her time to contemplate.

   Loki sat beside Verity who stared at Loki’s tired expression, all he had been through for past months, she expected it to do a toll on his character. Verity rubbed his back for comfort, and he showed his gratitude with a faint smile, and small sigh of relief. It has been too long since he has had his friend.

 

   Once people were satisfied with their stomachs, people wished to rest their minds. Lorelei yawned, moaning to the pain she felt all around her body, and realized it was time for her departure. Loki was not shocked to hear that she planned to leave, and he personally didn’t plan to keep their relationship going either. Eloise lead Lorelei to the door where everyone but Shiklah followed to. Verity was first to say her goodbye to dark haired woman. To Verity’s surprise, Lorelei embraced her in a tight hug, crushing her ribs.

    “Don’t think highly of yourself just because I missed you,” Lorelei said blatant.

    “What,” Verity laughed in confusion and understanding.

    “You heard me, I missed my partner in crime,” Lorelei admitted as she let go to see Verity’s face. She smiled genuinely to Verity’s befuddlement.

    “It was one time, and I technically didn’t steal,” Verity said exasperated as her lips curled.

    “Yeah, you did.” She patted her shoulder before her attention drew to Loki who stepped forward. They stared at each other for a long while, and it was Loki who broke the strange silence.

    “We’re all adults here-” she cut him off by lifting her palm.

     “I didn’t expect it to last, just tell me you will treat her right.” Loki looked at her questioning, “you know, not take her for granted.” Lorelei knew how much Verity meant to that man-child she was staring up at. She was the world to him in more ways than one, and Lorelei was silly to ever think she could be a replacement. Loki smiled to her acceptance, but decided against showing her affection that truly wasn’t there. Lorelei’s smile lowered, “thank you,” she spoke earnestly. She was prepared to say more, but her lips stayed shut. She was hesitant to speak her mind, the part of her mind that was emotional and honest.

    Loki placed a hand on her shoulder, “you needn’t say more, I know.”

    “You’ve been on Midgard far too long,” they both chuckled.

    “Funny, since before you said I wasn’t here long enough,” she laughed recalling those words. Her smiled dropped once more.

    “What of Amora?” She asked with a hint of concerned and curiosity.

   “She wronged me, and the ones I love dearest, but I will return her to her body.” Loki and Amora have had their ups and downs, but when their relationship was boiled down to the bare bone; Amora was his first and only friend in all the lives he has lived. She was by his side when no one else was, though it was for doing evil and malicious acts, it was nice not to be alone in his craziness. Reminiscing the good memories he had of Amora, helped him follow through his action to do the right thing. “I’m sure Malekith is shocked by the catatonic state she’s been trapped in,” he chuckled to himself.

     Lorelei thanked Eloise for the hospitality, before opening the door for her exit. She said her goodbyes one last time before she shut the door behind her. Loki didn’t ask where she planned to go next, he was more than positive it would near a house with riches in it. It would be ironic considering the fact that she was stuck in this mess to begin with because of her burgarling, but she wasn’t a fast learner. Loki laughed to himself before turning to Verity and her mother. “I half expected her to punch you,” Verity revealed while surrendering to the idea that she would not hurt him.

    “I’ve been told I have a very punchable face,” he smirked proudly as they walked back to the kitchen where a now complacent Shiklah waited for them.

    “What are we going to do about her,” Verity asked him as they approached the doorway to the kitchen, worry clear on her face.

    “Take her with us, teach her the ropes of being human, and then letting her decide if she wishes to stay or go-” He was interrupted by a distressed Eloise.

    “Are you insane,” she said to Loki who was in utter shock by the sudden outburst. “That is a child not of this earth, living on it. This is why I’m telling you to have children,” she pointed at Verity who was staring surprised that she was also getting yelled at. “I’ll take her in,” she claimed and she heard her daughter gasp.

   “That is not happening, she is dangerous-” Loki said blatantly.

   “Yeah mom, she is not as innocent as she seems,” Verity said with the hint of a begging tone for her mother.

   “I handled your father, I can handle her,” Eloise said determined to keep the child.

  “I’m sorry Eloise, but I have-” she turned to him glaring intensely. Loki was sure if looks could kill, he was be caught dead on the floor. He glanced at Verity to help appease her mother since he clearly was not fit for the job. His eyes were wide, but his mouth stayed shut, afraid of the wrath of her mother. Verity gave him a knowing look before facing her mother. She took a deep breath in before she collected her words. She was the mediator in the moment, her word would decide the fate of Shiklah and of her mother’s.

     Verity frowned as she worked the courage to break the news to them. “Alright,” her mother smiled approvingly, and Loki frowned.

     “Vey…” The risk of having the child stay with her mother was a high one, and Loki knew that but Verity apparently didn’t.

     He watched her with questions in his eyes, “my mom is a strong woman, I think she can handle her,” her lips curled into a small smile. He relaxed slightly to her confidence in her mother but his mind was still uneased. “You’re sure,” he asked to be positive this is what Verity wanted. The only reason he denied her mother her request, because he knew Verity would be upset if her mother were found dead from electrocution.

   Verity nodded her, giving him the signal to tell Shiklah. Observing from the kitchen doorway, Verity saw Loki bend to one knee before the dead giant and speak the conversation he had with the other beings in the room. She didn’t react, she didn’t even seem to be listening. She was stuck in her own head, replaying the scene over and over again. The day she died, the moment she crumbled to dust.

  Her head lifted from its lowered state to something he said. Verity couldn’t hear in exact detail of what he spoke, but from reading his lips, it was not in a language she understood. Shiklah quickly glanced at her mother, than to Verity before staring at Loki. More words were shared between the two jӧtnar, and Shiklah wrapped her arms around him to Verity’s bewilderment. She noticed a tear fall down her cheeks before she wiped them away, and removed herself from his grasp. She nodded her head, and he stood proudly. Pulling her to her feet, they walked over to Eloise.

    Shiklah held her chin up high to Eloise even though she was a few inches shorter than her. Eloise was not certain what the girl wanted, but she lowered her head to the older woman. Eloise inspected Shiklah’s poise before surveying she suspected were responsible for the sudden shift in behavior. Loki shrugged his shoulders, and Eloise lifted her hand. She slowly reached for Shiklah’s head, and placed her hand on top of her fully set of hair. When Shiklah didn’t flinch, Eloise scratched her head. Shiklah lifted her head, and she moved to stand by her side.

    Verity insisted they had overstayed their welcome in her mother’s home though she knew it to be the opposite. Once Loki was certain Eloise was safe with Shiklah, they began their departure. “Ready to go home,” he smiled, staying close to his friend.

   “I am very tired, and wish for a bed next to me, yes,” she said yawning. Loki opened a portal before saying his goodbyes to Shiklah and Eloise. Before Verity made her escape, her mother clasped her shoulder, pulling her into a tight embrace. Verity was quick to return the affection, “thank you ma.” She felt as though she would be crushing her mother for how close she held her but Eloise assured her she was fine. The memories of her life slowly made its way to the forefront of her mind, and she remembered everything . It was refreshing, but it was heart aching. Her mother could tell her daughter was feeling lost. Verity was good at hiding her feelings, but her mother’s intuition told her what she needed to know.

   “It’ll be alright baby,” Eloise kissed her head, and she glanced at her saddened state.Verity took a deep breath in, keeping the tears from shedding.

   “I know, it’s all just…so overwhelming. My brain’s flipping through everything ,” she smiled weakly before wiping the single tear from her cheek.

   “You’re sure you’ll be okay,” her mother reiterated, heartbroken by the tears in her eyes. Verity nodded before hugging her mother for the last time. Loki opened a portal, and Verity turned away from her mother to enter it, promising to visit her soon. Loki spoke to Shiklah once more before saying his farewells to Eloise. Eloise gave him a stern look that told him they needed to talk.

  “Treat her right-” Eloise warned.

  “That is twice tonight,” Loki remarked, but Eloise did not appreciate his talent to lighten the mood. “I will.” She stared at as if examining his person, before a small smile formed on her lips.

 “Good,” she said relieved. “She needs you,” Eloise said as she wrapped her arms around the god. He was reluctant to accept her affection, surprised by the care after her previous statement. He wrapped one arm around her as he slowly began to feel the emphasis behind her words.

    “And I, her,” Eloise released him, giving him a second look over before giving him permission to dismiss himself. He neglected to notice the resemblance Verity shared with her mother, but looking at Eloise again, they were practically twins. Eloise was the older version of Verity, and he was sure if he had met her in the past, he would have…

   He stopped his thoughts before they began.

   “Good-bye Eloise,” he stepped into the portal before glancing at Shiklah. He gave a small nod to the dead giant to which she returned as he sealed the portal shut in front of him.

 

  Verity didn’t believe what was in front of her until Loki showed up. She rubbed her eyes to make sure what she was seeing was not a dream. Loki placed a hand on her shoulder, giving her permission to believe what she was seeing, “New York?” He nodded, and he could have sworn he heard a squeal escape his friend’s throat. She ran to her familiar and repaired couch, rubbing its rough surface with glee before falling onto the cushions. She relished in the feeling she gained from claiming her couch once more.

   Her apartment had been repaired, more than repaired, upgraded. She went to her original bedroom, looking at the contents inside. The bed was no longer a full size but a queen. Her drawers were organized, and she saw clothes she did not recognize that were brand new. Getting back to the living room where Loki waited for her to finish her exploration, she noticed her television stand held more than one console and a stack of a variety of games beside it. She walked with all her excitement to the small balcony window. She opened the blinds, and she stared at the night sky. Skyscrapers shooting up from below, hiding the stars with their bright lights. The city that never sleeps , and it was her city.

  Verity let the nostalgia take over and she smiled fondly. It was good to be back, and it was even better to have her friend with her. She missed her friend so much; months of being tucked away, of forgetting her memories with him did a toll on her emotions. She remembered when she was a kid, how lonely she used be, how her parents were her only friends because she was a buzzkill to be around. How hard the shell gotten over the years to protect her emotions from the outside world. She realized now she was always wrong, she should have taken the leap as she has with Loki.

   She was the luckiest person in the world, he truly was a one of a kind. He clearly thought the same, he did kill her to keep her mind preserved and proceeded to bound their souls to one another. Dramatic it was, but the sentiment was still there. Memories were returning to her at a slower rate than expected when she was recalling her own past much faster. Verity held herself together, breaking apart would do nothing for her mind nor her body. She turned around to face Loki, smiling weakly.

   Loki realized something was amiss within Verity. She attempted to hide it with her smile, but that’s what gave it away. She hid it well at dinner, but now there was no one keeping him from noticing the crooked smile and watery eyes plastered on Verity’s face. He knew there would side effects to getting memories back, he just didn’t understand why she held it in-how she held her composure. He walked up to her, staring out the window with her. The city of New York was pretty at night, the bright lights, the working individuals travelling blocks to follow their dream. Most of the places he saw, he distantly remembered attacking in his past lives. Not the space specifically, but it was caught in the crossfire.

   Loki wrapped his arm around her back, and Verity turned to him. He looked down at her, a small smile curling his lips. “You don’t have to hold it in, it’s only me,” he assured her. She wrapped her arm around him in response, looking out once more. He repeated the same action, trusting Verity to put her trust in him. He glanced at her to see tears were now streaming down her face, but she was silent.

  “I won’t” she watched him as the waterfalls began to pour. She wrapped a second arm around him, covering her face in his shirt and she finally wept.


  For the first time in a long time, Loki was confident he would sleep peacefully. After Verity broke down in his arms, she was tired enough to go to sleep. He convinced her not to try to stay awake and watch over him, he was certain he would be fine. When her eyes shut, and the snores began, he departed for his room. He collapsed on his bed, feeling the weight of a thousand suns on top of him. His injuries beginning to heal, his body ached all over enough to make any person cry for the sweet relief of Death. Death wasn’t charitable. Especially towards the God of Stories, so, he got used to the pain.

   He lied on the bed contemplating, he lifted his hand to see the ring with the green, black, and pink orb in the middle. Amora would be mad, but she would be than grateful for being returned to her body. She’ll forgive him.

  He wondered if Leah was ever real. It was confirmed Nightmare spewed on the dreams, but there was something off about the demon that Loki questioned. Leah was gone, she had been gone since he was kid Loki, and Nightmare was using his guilt to fuel his power. Loki was grateful; Verity had saved his life from the clutching hands of Nightmare, and of his mother. Twice in one sitting. He didn’t know what he would do without Verity, he most likely would be dead…again.

 He did take her for granted. Eloise and Lorelei passive aggressively warned him to treat Verity right, and right he would. He was in debt to her service for the rest of this life, and Loki wasn’t known to be an honorable man. It wouldn’t be bad being in debt to Verity Willis, all anyone would have to do for her was supply her with coffee and computer parts. He smiled to himself, he knew he wouldn’t regret repaying Verity with his servitude. He didn’t need to be in debt to give her his full undivided attention, all she needed to do was ask.

  He felt good being back in New York. He knew he shouldn’t, but he was really beginning to call Midgard home. He began to understand Thor’s attachment to the realm, befriending even one human could cause anyone to protect the entire planet if given the power and choice. Loki wasn’t sure if he was on Thor’s level of protection, but he would be bummed if the Earth were to be destroyed. Home was where Verity was, and as long as she was still of this life, he would be fine. His eyes slowly drifted close, and in the quiet of the night, he fell into deep somber sleep.

 

For once, Verity woke without the sound of screaming.

    Verity yawned as she sat up from her bed, removing her large covers from her body and stretching. Her sleep was better than most, but her dreams consisted of memories from her adolescence. She wiped her eyes, and felt dehydration pulling her. Verity decided to take a shower, she hadn’t heard a cry for help from her friend all night, and saw that as a good sign. She grabbed a towel from her drawers filled with new attire for her to try on. She picked a sky blue t-shirt, and dark grey sweats.

   Verity didn’t question how Loki knew her exact clothes size, nor did she plan to question how he knew her underwear size. She was certain if Loki ever wore regular clothes, she would have known his sizes by now too.

  She travelled across the hallway, glancing briefly at Loki’s door before entering the bathroom. The bathroom’s interior was differently shaded. Instead of the plain, boring, white that all the apartment bathrooms received, it was colored with a faint pastel blue. It wasn’t much difference, but the slightest color can liven any mute rooms. She loved it.

  Verity kept her shower short, removing her body of the dirt it festered in for more than a couple of days. She washed her brunette head, tying it into a bun when she was done before stepping out of the shower. She wrapped her body in the light pink towel, and opened the bathroom door to let the steam out. It was nice having a quiet morning, but Loki would typically be awake by now even when he didn’t have night terrors. Verity knew he needed his sleep, all the months he spent losing it, he deserved to sleep the morning in. Verity still went to check on him, entering his room quietly with only her towel to cover her.

   Loki was deep under the covers, his back turned away from the door that Verity occupied the frame of. “Hope your having good dreams for once,” she walked towards the bed even though she shouldn’t have. If she truly wanted him to get rest, if she truly believed he was alright, she would have walked out that door. Her conscious told her it was fine, and her mind trusted her conscious, but her subconscious had control over her body and it followed what it said. She smiled, reassured as her hand reached for his shoulder. She pushed him, but he didn’t respond to the touch. “Loki,” she spoke neutral, her conscious and subconscious becoming into agreement. After her second push, she decided to pull, revealing his shielded person to her.

 

  The silence was deafening. It had been too long since Verity has had a good night's rest, and even more so for Loki. She was glad for the silence…

   All there was left was the crescendo of Death’s drums banging in her ear.