Chapter 24: Bound
As I arrived back in Asgard, it was nearly midday. People were planning on feasting and celebrating the victory tonight in the feasting hall. I knew Loki, Thor and everyone else I hung around with wouldn’t be back until later, when the negotiations ended, so I took the opportunity to take a bath.
I climbed the steps quickly, but my energy began fading. I had been on an adrenaline rush since the battle began, and I was beginning to crash. People stared at me when I passed them, giving me polite nods, or bowing and curtsying. It was tradition to do that to honor a warrior just come from battle. I smiled at how things had changed. People used to barely speak to me, and now I had earned their respect.
I reached my room, pushing the door open and looking at my reflection in the mirror. I barely recognized myself. I was covered in dirt, my armor was scuffed in a few places, and I still had blood at the edge of my hairline, which was grossing me out more and more. I ran the bath water, adding bath salts to relax the tensed muscles that were forming in my arms and legs. I stripped down, leaving my armor so someone could clean it. I washed my hair twice, and my body three times, before settling into the tub to relax.
And that was when it started.
It started out slow and barely noticeable. An extra thought in my mind. I ignored it, before it came back into my mind. I felt slightly irritated. I could feel it growing in my mind, growing irritation, stress.
But there was something that was off: I didn’t feel irritated. That was the strangest part. I felt irritated, but at the same time, I felt completely relaxed. It was like my mind was feeling two different things at once, and arguing over what to feel. What in the world is this? Why was I feeling this? I shifted in the water again, getting comfortable, trying to ease back into my relaxed feelings, trying to ignore the irritation.
I eventually settled back into my relaxed state of mind and finished my bath. I put on a silver dress with a silver breast plate only covering my breasts. The breastplate had little emeralds encrusted on it. Loki had given it to me the day I received my first rank for these specific occasions. It was important that I be recognised as a warrior after battle, so I could be respected.
I sidebraided my damp hair and left my room, receiving nods of respect from people I passed. I picked up my pace a bit; I wanted to know if Loki had returned yet. He said he would be back before the feast, yet it was due to start soon. I wondered if things on Nilfheim were going well, or if we’d be hauled back to fight again.
I started worrying when I couldn’t spot Loki, nor any of my friends in the feasting hall. “Loki, where are you?” I murmured to myself. He wasn’t back in Asgard yet. There would have been a lot of commotion if they had all returned. And for some reason, I knew he wasn’t in this realm yet. I didn’t know how, but I just knew.
I walked out to the grand steps to enter the palace, waiting in the crowd with the other Asgardians waiting for loved ones to come home. Their worry and anxiety started to get to me. “Where are you Loki?” I said to myself absentmindedly. “Come home Loki.”
I gritted my teeth. We had been through negotiations for hours, arguing with the two sides of the Nilfheim parties, and we had finally coming to a peace agreement they could both agree with. What would this realm do without Asgard? I wondered, sparing a glance at them, trying to attempt conversation.
And then I felt something else: anxiety. Worry. Why do I feel this in my mind? I wasn’t worried or anxious. I was looking forward to going home, and spending time with Noelle and celebrating our victory. My thoughts turned towards her bright smile, our last moment together when I told her to behave. I smirked at the thought of her behaving. In her own way, she was mischievous. The way she left for Nilfheim both enraged me and impressed me.
The anxiety I felt began to grow, expand in my mind. But it was strange. I did not feel anxious at all, yet it was present in my thoughts. The need to go home. I sighed, wondering what in the nine realms that witch did to us. She seemed to be harmless, but what if she had done something to us?
I began to worry. I may be powerful enough to overcome certain curses, but Noelle may not be.
“Bother we are leaving!” Thor called to me. Finally. I needed to ensure Noelle was fine. I made my way to his side, and watched as light engulfed us, transporting us back to Asgard. I could not watch the beauty of the sky, I was so engrossed in thinking about Noelle and if anything was happening to her.
We reached Asgard, Heimdall greeting us. “All is well in the realm?” My father stood by him, congratulating us. Thor nodded. My father came forward, clasped each of our shoulders. “I am proud of my sons for their leadership.” He smiled at Thor first, then myself. “I am proud of my warriors.” He looked to the crowd behind us. “Now go, celebrate your victory.”
We cheered, the crowd moving forward to celebrate in the palace. I saw that father had ensured Storm and Tempest were brought forward for us, and we rode back to Asgard. Tempest was restless, and I urged him faster. Small children ran by the horses in the city, squealing. The people cheered, and I smiled, putting my hand up in a wave, like my father and Thor did. Perhaps I am not so forgotten.
As we approached the palace I searched for her, the beautiful woman who held my heart. After looking over the crowds of cheering people, equally searching for loved ones, I saw her. She was wringing her hands, though she smiled, trying to seem calm.
I lead Tempest over to her, and our eyes met. Joy overcame me, like it did each time I saw her. I stopped Tempest next to her, getting down and letting a stable boy take the reins, resisting the urge to gather her in my arms and kiss her passionately. Noelle was the only one who saw that side of me, the side that was gentle and sensitive. And she had yet to take advantage of it.
“I was worried for you.” She said, taking my arm. I lead her to the palace.
My mind began to work, wondering if her worry and the worry I felt was linked. I dismissed the thought. It wasn’t possible.
“Did you stay out of trouble?” I asked her, watching her eyes sparkle.
“I did.” She conceded, laughing.
I could not stand it anymore. I pulled her away from the crowds, to the gardens where no one would be at this time. When I knew we were out of sight, I wrapped my arms around her waist, crashing her lips to mine. I felt her respond, her arms snaking around my neck.
And then a strange sensation happened. I felt a presence in my mind. I felt the presence of joy, but not my own. It was strange. It was as if something was pulling me closer to this joy. I became elated, my own joy and another’s in my mind. We pulled away, and looked in her eyes for any sign that she had felt the same thing. Had she felt this odd feeling, the extra presence in her mind?
Her eyes gave nothing away but joy and a creeping mischief in her eyes. She pulled me back into the kiss quickly.
3rd person P.O.V
Hours after the feast…
Loki smiled as he finally went to bed. He and Noelle had been late to the feast, to the Allfather’s annoyance. Loki hadn’t cared; he was partly occupied with the woman he loved and the thought of how he desired her more each time they kissed, and what had happened with the presence in his mind. In between eating, drinking and dancing with his love and his friends, the thought of the presence in his mind flitted in and out of my mind.
But as he lay down now remembering the night of revelry, he remembered the presence. He still could not comprehend it. Nothing had ever happened to him of that sort. It was as if someone was entering his mind, and he was entering theirs.
The presence was not harmful either, and unfocused which made him think that the person had not known they were in his mind. Had it been purposed, they would have gone directly to one part of his mind, retrieved what they needed and then left.
That was another detail that eluded him; the presence kept returning. He thought back to all the moments the presence appeared, and froze, his mind stopping.
The garden, kissing Noelle. He kept searching. The feast, sneaking glances at Noelle. His mind kept going, sensing the pattern. Oh no. It can’t be…
He got up, pulling on his pants.
I was in a strange place. A barren ground, the terrain rocky and unforgiving. “Hello?” I called, looking for someone, anyone, to tell me where I was.
“HELLO?!” I yelled, when the silence greeted me. I heard rock move, and turned, searching for the cause of the noise. When I turned back, a figure in a hood greeted me. “Where am I?” The figure said nothing. “Please tell me where I am.” I was so confused.
The figure stepped closer, and I instinctively stepped back. “That’s close enough.” I said. I didn’t want this hooded figure getting close to me. “Stop.” The figure revealed a gnarled hand, six fingers pointing towards me, reaching for me.
“Stop.” The figure ignored me, and I began to run. I tripped, before standing up and running again. Looking behind me, the figure was no longer there. I turned and he was in front of me, reaching. I screamed.
Loki stopped looking through the book he had pulled out from the library, panic coursing through him. He could feel it, almost hear the scream in his head, though no one else would hear her. Noelle was in trouble.
He didn’t think. He only reacted. Loki ran down the halls, knowing she was not in her chambers anymore. I do not know whether to thank the witch or curse her. After going through books for hours, he found what he was looking for. And he hated that his theory had been correct.
Loki could feel himself getting closer to her, and rounded the corner. And there she was, Noelle, sleeping soundly on the ground, her night gown flush around her. He sighed, thankful she had only been dreaming, and that no one else had caught her sleep walking. He sighed, picking her up.
Loki carried her up the stairs and back to her room. He was surprised she had even made it over stairs without tripping and falling. He was setting her down in bed, convinced she would awake and not know of the events that occurred, when her eyes flew open, and her hand flew to her bedside table. He watched as a silver blade was pointed to his bare chest.
“It’s me.” He whispered to her. She looked deep into his eyes, and recognizing him, she sighed a breath of relief, setting the knife down.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, crossing her arms. Loki had never once visited her at night. What was he doing?
“You were having a nightmare. I found you in the halls, sleep walking.” He explained.
“Oh.” She sounded surprised. “How did you know I had a nightmare?”
Loki sighed. She wasn’t going to like this. “I felt where you were. I felt you having the nightmare.” It was quiet, so quiet he thought she had gone back to sleep.
“What do you mean?” She demanded. She wanted an explanation.
“The same way I felt you worrying about me when I was in Nilfheim. Did you feel anything strange, anything at all, while I was gone?” He hoped she hadn’t. He wanted his theory to be false.
She thought about it, remembering. “I remember I was feeling calm, relaxed, then suddenly this-this agitation filled my mind. It was like I was and wasn’t feeling it.” Loki nodded.
“You were feeling my agitation. The last few hours you have been feeling my feelings, and I have been feeling yours. I can feel where you are in the realm. You must have felt something when I arrived to Asgard.” She nodded.
“Why is this suddenly happening?” She needed to know. This was too strange. She was feeling Loki’s emotions, and if she thought of them, she could feel the agitation, the worry and the stress he felt. She could even close her eyes and feel him, his presence by her, in her mind.
“It is happening because that curse the witch threw at us worked.” He started, looking away from her. “She split our souls, which is why we felt pain. Half of my soul is attached to you.” He looked at her. “And half of your soul is attached to mine. We’ve been bound.”
I yawned, lying in bed. Loki had left something ago, and I knew he was in his room, too stressed to sleep. The events of last night were still in my head.
We were bound. Loki and I were bound. Our souls were now connected to each other. It was the oddest thing to find out in the early morning. I turned to my side, exhausted. Loki and I had been up for hours, pouring over the book he conjured up, looking for answers.
The witch had done exactly what Loki had described: split our souls, and rearranged them. According to the book, soldiers had done it previously to improve teamwork and unit thinking. They were able to tell who was where, what everyone else was thinking, and would know what they had to do. It was perfect for a pack mentality.
The witch seemed to have done it to keep Loki and I together, to protect our relationship, though I doubted it would have ended with that disagreement on Nilfheim. The book didn’t describe people doing it for that purpose.
I sighed, confused. I felt Loki respond with his own sigh. Now that we were always in each other’s minds, we could literally have a conversation in our heads with each other.
It was hard to describe how I felt about it. On one hand, I was annoyed. My thoughts were never going to be private again. Loki would always know where I was, what I was doing, how I felt, what I thought. It sounded so intrusive. Yet at the same time, it wasn’t too bad. At the moment, I could feel Loki sending me reassuring thoughts and feelings, trying to make me feel better about the situation. Because we couldn’t undo it. There was no going back.
Really, I would never be alone anymore. And that was a good and a bad thing. I felt Loki feeling the same way as I did. I knew his thoughts were very personal, and he carried a lot with him.
‘I promise not to pry.’ I sent a thought to him, testing out this new two way telepathy.
‘Thank you.’ I felt gratitude flow from him. ‘At least I will know when you are ignoring my requests for you to stay safe.’
I smiled. ‘So we really are stuck like this?’
I felt a sigh run through him. ‘Yes.’ We were silent, both of us tired from staying up all night to figure all this out, clear up all the confusion. ‘I love you.’ I felt a wave of love wash over me. ‘I know neither of us like this. But it has some winning qualities.’
I agreed. Now that we were bound, I knew exactly how Loki felt for me. I felt a constant feeling of love, of caring and gentleness, of being wanted. And though I didn’t like our thoughts no longer being private, I did like that our feelings for each other were finally being done justice. ‘I love you too Loki.’ I felt happiness on his side of the bond.
‘If I had to be bound to anyone, I’m glad it is you.” It felt like he was right next to me, that’s how close we felt at this moment. It was so intimate.
‘I guess you should be. We are stuck now. But I don’t mind.’
I felt him nod. ‘As one. Always.’