ByAlia Sauthor, writer at Creators.co

Chapter 22: Confessions

Loki and I were silent. He wasn’t looking at me. I wasn’t looking at him. And the tension in the air was ever present. “Tell me how you feel about me.” Loki gently commanded me. I sighed, finding a bench and sitting down.

I had to tell him. Loki and I couldn’t dance around this anymore. We were too far gone to pretend nothing had happened, that nothing was there. Or at least I was. “I like you Loki. I-I like you a lot.” He didn’t move, he didn’t say anything. “I’ve always like you.” There was that uncomfortable silence again. And it was starting to annoy me. “Say something.”

He chuckled. So I tell him how I feel and he laughs at me? What was that? Loki was turning out to be the biggest asshole ever today. I stood up, fully intending on leaving. He noticed and turned to grab my arm. “Where are you going?”

“If you’re going to laugh at me, I won’t stay here.” I was insulted, to say the least.

“I was not laughing at you. I was laughing at our situation.” He reassured me. He let go of my arm and sat down on the bench. “I have always admired you Noelle. Always.” He was speaking softly now. “From the day I first saw you in Asgard. You were such a beautiful creature, so mysterious and curious. From the moment I saw you, I admired you. I wanted to know more.” Loki said all this looking into his hands. “But I didn’t think you were any different from other women, in a sense. I had admired many women. But I saw your intellect. You are quite intelligent.” He looked up at me. “And I respected you. There are few people I respect.”

He stood up then, graceful and smooth. He walked over to me slowly, quietly, and stood right in front of me, so close that I had to look up. “And then I watched you. You were compassionate. You were brave. And I realized that my respect had turned to something else. Love.” I held my breath. “I’m in love with you Noelle.” We were so close now. “You do not know how I long to hold you.” He whispered. I was still stock still, shocked at what he was telling me. Loki was telling me he was in love with me. His hand came to my face caressing it, his thumb brushing my lower lip. “How I long to kiss you. And how much it kills me that I can’t.” He backed away.

I snapped out of my trance. “What do you mean, you can’t? I thought you weren’t married anymore?” I blurted out, not thinking. His face went white.

“Who told you?” Loki’s voice was sharp now, all softness gone from it. “Tell me Noelle.”

I shook my head. “Rumours fly Loki. You do not thinking people would not hesitate to whisper about it? Especially when they already assume we are courting each other.”

I saw his figure crumple a bit. “They should not have told you. They know nothing of what happened.” Loki sat down again, his head in his hands. He looked so sad, so broken. It broke my heart.

“Loki.” I sat down next to him, putting my arms around his shoulders, hugging him to me. He tried to push me away. “Don’t.” He removed his hands from his face, then tried to pry me away. “Don’t push me away Loki.”

“I can’t…” He started to say, when I put a finger to his mouth.

“Just let me help you. Let me comfort you.” I pulled him back to me. He didn’t resist this time. “Tell me what happened.”

“How much do you know?” He asked, his voice shaky, almost scared. I had never seen Loki so vulnerable.

“I know you’re son died. And that you and Sigyn were unhappy, and you annulled your marriage.”

“Then you do not know how he died.” I shook my head. “No one knows but Sigyn and I.” I nodded. I didn’t push him. He didn’t have to tell me if he didn’t want to. I was about to tell him so when he continued talking. “Sigyn was out of control. We were unhappy in our marriage. I regretted marrying her, and she knew it. I think she knew I stayed for Nari.” He smiled bitterly at the thought of his son. “She longed for another child, assuming it would fix our marriage. But Sigyn could not convince me of her idea. So she began seeing a dark sorceress, Saga. We still have not been able to apprehend her.” He added. “Sigyn began dabbling in darker magic, which made her unstable. She was fueled by emotion, which made her dangerous to be around. I kept Nari with me constantly, to protect him. And then one day I couldn’t find him.” Loki began to shake violently. “When I did-” He broke off, his voice tight.

I took his hand in mine, squeezing lightly. His eyes were unfocused, and he seemed lost. I rubbed his shoulder, his back, trying to ease the shaking. “Hush.” I silenced Loki. He didn’t have to say anymore. Loki was still shaking, and I kept stroking his shoulders, his back. I didn’t know what else to do. He ended up pulling me to him, and we held each other, Loki burying his face in my hair and neck, like a child. “I can’t have my heart broken like that again.” He whispered. “Not again.”

I nodded, understanding. “I won’t break your heart Loki.”

“I can’t-” He began pushing me away again.

“I know you’re scared.” I whispered, clinging to him. “I am too. But you don’t have to be. We can take things slow.”

"I am not worthy of you. I am the second prince. The second son. I am not a warrior. I am too broken for love."

"If you think that, you're wrong. You can put yourself down all you want Loki. I can do the same." I became aggressive. I wasn't going to let him give in to fear. "I am half Asgardian, half Midgardian. I do not belong anywhere. I am not tall or graceful or as reserved as Asgardians. But I know I'm not going to let you go because of what happened to you."

He nodded slowly. "Then I suppose we will make quite a pair." He sighed after a few minutes, resigned. After that, none of us said anything. I didn’t know how long we sat out there, how long we held each other. All I knew was I wasn’t letting go. I felt as if Loki needed me. He was so vulnerable, laying his heart bare to me. I doubted anyone had ever seen Loki so out in the open, and I felt incredibly honored that he trusted me with this part of him. Eventually I yawned, and realized how tired I was.

“You need rest.” He said, tenderness in his voice.

“Will you be alright?” I didn’t want to leave him if he was going to fall apart by himself.

He nodded. “To be honest, my heart feels a little lighter.” I hugged him tighter. I didn’t want to let him go, because I didn’t know where we stood. Loki loved me, yes. And I would probably grow to love him too. But where did that leave us? What did he want from me? He must have been reading my mind, because he continued. “I want your heart, and your love.”

Then he stood up, pulling me to my feet. “We should get you to bed. I intend to begin courting you tomorrow.” He smiled. “You have my respect, my trust, my love. And you have me along with all that.” He joked.

Loki escorted me to my room, a perfect gentleman, giving me a small peck on the cheek as goodnight kiss. I knew even that was a little scandalous in Asgard, but no one was around. The peck wasn’t enough for me, so I pulled his face to mine. He gladly granted me a better kiss. I went to pull away when he pulled me closer.

When he finally pulled away, he smiled. “I shall seek you tomorrow afternoon.”

“What about lessons?” I asked. I still wanted to continue with them.

“I know you have been practicing. I am sure one day will not hinder your progress.” He kissed my cheek once, and then bid me a goodnight. I closed my door, leaning against it and trying to not jump around. Loki loved me. Loki loved me. I went to bed that night thinking of what I would wear tomorrow, to our ‘date’.

**************************

Where is the Amaranth? The voice whispered into Tyr’s ear. He knew Thanos was in his head. He had been through this interrogation before.

Go find it yourself. Tyr thought, a smile slipping through, though hia arms and legs screamed. He was suspended by his ankles, his arms chained together above his head. There were many in Tyr’s place who would have broken, told Thanos all he needed to know. What could possibly be worth all this torture, the constant hiding? But Tyr had reasons: he was chosen to protect the ones set to fulfill the prophecy he had seen materialize in his eyes centuries ago. And one more important reason: his daughter.

He felt a tug in his mind and he knew Thanos was searching for his last memory of the Amaranth, what it looked like. Tyr smiled again, grim. He knew for a fact the Amaranth had already changed its shape. Whatever Thanos saw, it didn’t matter. Where is it?

*************************

I do not know. Thanos recognised the taunting truth in the captive’s voice. He growled, his anger bubbling. He sent a wave of pain through Tyr’s mind, pleased with the screams he could hear from the dungeons.

“The captive has erased his memories. He cannot tell us the location of the Amaranth.” He paced, while the servant listened to his master. “Each time, it is the same. We do not know the location of the Tessaract, he has erased his memories of that. The Aether,” He growled. “No one has seen since the great battle and the fall of the Dark Elves. We must wait for it to reveal itself.” Thanos wanted to murder the captive. He had thwarted him time and time again, slinking into the shadows. Nothing was going according to plan.

“Faced with obstacle after obstacle! I need the boy to find the Tessaract. I need his brother to find the Aether. But with the Amaranth, I could find them both. But I need the captive to find the Amaranth! Such wastes of time and energy!” At this rate, he would be waiting another century for his plan to unfold.

“Perhaps the daughter knows the whereabouts of the Amaranth?” His faithful servant suggested. “She and boy are quite taken with each other. Perhaps he could obtain the information?”

“Is the boy completely within our grasp?” The servant shook his head. “Then we cannot seek to convince her until he is under our complete control. We have no way to enter her mind. It was already difficult to obtain access to the boy’s mind. Had we not spoken to the Jotun king, we would not have received such.”

“The captive could potentially give her-”

“He will not do so either. His daughter is who he protects.” Thanos argued. He opened his mouth to say more, to find more flaws in their plan, when he realized something had happened while he was distracted. Two servants came running in.

“Master! The captive! He has-”

“Escaped.” Thanos ground his teeth together. “Yes, I am aware.” He cursed himself for not paying closer attention. The captive had been known in the past to be cunning and slippery, which was how he had escaped in the past. Thanos roared in anger. This would be the last time. Next time, he thought, the captive will not escape. He will die.

*********************

Tyr had escaped. He smiled at how clever he was. He had simply waited until Thanos distracted himself with his plan and whispered the words he had memorized. He was no longer held in the dark dungeon, but in a candlelit room, the floor packed dirt. The room held a wooden table, with two chairs at each end. One was already occupied.

“Your luck will run out one day Asgardian.” The old woman at the table didn’t look in his direction, but simply gazed ahead. She was watching. She had been watching for years. Since she first saw the young Tyr looking for a place to hide from Thanos, so he could find the relics and hide them.

He nodded. He knew it would, he himself had seen the day. “Until then Groa, I will continue to risk what is needed.” He sat down across from her. “What do you see?” Groa held her hand up, quieting him. Tyr waited. Groa was a better seer than he was, and a sorceress as well. Where Tyr only saw the path ahead of him, what he must do, Groa saw the whole prophecy, from beginning to near end.

“The boy has a year.” She said decidedly. “A year until Thanos will have him in his grasp.” Tyr winced. He knew the day would come. But he feared for the boy, the young prince. “And of the Halfling?” He tried to sound neutral. The fewer who knew about his child, the better.

Groa was not fooled. She knew more about Tyr than he did himself. “I believe it will soon be time for you to see your daughter. She will need protection from Thanos.”

“How will Thanos gain access to her mind? She has never been exposed to him!” Tyr did not understand. He had kept her and her mother safe, leaving them. He had sacrificed love and having a family for this. How did it not work?

“I do not know.” Groa said, her shoulders sagging. “But he will, and when he does you must have a solution. She does not know how valuable her information would be to him.” The two seers sat in silence, pondering over the burdens they carried. A seer is a thankless helper. Groa recited to herself.

Tyr stood. “I must go. Thanos will be searching for me.” Groa nodded, whispering to herself. Then Tyr disappeared. Groa got up and stoked the fire, looking into the future, looking to know what awaited them next.

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