Chapter 29: Truth
I watched Loki’s sheet white face as I took him in my arms. I sat myself on his lap, willing him to continue looking at me. “Tell me everything.” I whispered to him. I stroked his face, trying to comfort him. He shook his head stubbornly. “What happened? Tell me, please.” I wanted to help him. I could feel his desperation, his pain. It scared me; Loki was never scared. He was always stoic, angry or nervous, maybe, but never scared.
He shook his head again. Getting up to push me off him. I put my hands on his shoulders, trying to keep him from getting up, in vain. “Please get off me.” He put his hand son my waist gently moving me off him, even though I was clinging on.
“Not until you tell me what is going on.” I was already on the floor next to him. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. I decided to force myself into his mind, watching his eyes go wide with surprise and slight fear. I began searching, and looked for what Loki was hiding. Before I could get anywhere in his thoughts, I felt myself being pushed back, a searing pain forming. I lost sense of myself, before feeling myself fall back in my own skin.
My forehead was killing me, and I put a hand to my head, whispering an incantation to calm my thoughts and subdue the pain, a new spell I had learned. “Why won’t you tell me what’s going on? Please don’t hide from me Loki.”
He began to shake, closing his eyes. “If you are so intent on searching through my mind, why tell you when I can show you?” I opened my mouth to respond when I felt my thoughts rush forward. I lost all sense of myself, of our bodies as I was launched into Loki’s painful memory.
I was looking down at the cold, desolate scenery that was the Jotunheim. I watched as a Frost Giant engaged Loki in combat, Loki pulling out a dagger to plunge into his opponent’s chest. As he did, his arm was stopped, a deep blue appearing suddenly, staining his skin from fingertip to under his chainmail. He looked up, into the Jotun’s eyes, seeing puzzlement in his opponent’s eyes, mirroring his own.
As the memory ended, another began.
I watched him lift the casket in the weapons vault, panic and desperation running through his mind. He wanted answers, yet he hoped he wouldn’t find something entirely unpleasant. As he watched his skin turn blue once more, Odin’s voice echoed in his mind. “Stop”.
Betrayal. Hurt. Desperation. They were the only words I could put to describing how Loki felt, but no words could do justice to the devastating hurricane of emotions running through him.
‘Loki.’ My mind pleaded with him. I could already feel Loki’s emotions, and when they were intense, it took me a few minutes to sort our emotions out. But when we were delved so deep into each other’s minds, into our memories, it was so intense that it hurt. I couldn’t keep a bodily sense of myself. I felt lost, in void, with no feeling. ‘Please. Enough. Being this deep into his mind was too much for me to take. ‘I can’t take it anymore Loki. It hurts.’ I felt my mind shudder away, confused, trying to sort through my thoughts, memories and emotions from Loki’s.
When I snapped back to reality, I was breathing heavily and leaning myself against Loki. I had a cold sweat to my body and felt overwhelmed, the room spinning slightly. “I am sorry.” I was glad Loki spoke aloud, though it gave me a headache. I couldn’t take much more of the raw mind-to-mind contact. “I did not mean to hurt you.” He sounded pained, and I looked up to see my heart shatter at the sadness he saw on his face.
“Don’t worry about me.” I whispered, getting my bearings again. “What was that? Are you only going to show me what happened?”
“Why tell you when I just showed you?” I felt him shudder and ran a hand over his arm, trying to soothe him. “I do not want to discuss this any further.”
I sighed. “Loki, I know you want to forget-”
“It is not that I want to forget. I just don’t want to relive it again.” He, got up and walked away. I watched him walk towards the broken mirror, as he began fixing it. I tried to push down the hurt I felt.
“Please don’t push me away.” I just wanted to help him. I stood up, walking over to him. I shivered, feeling a chill in the air. I was still in my nightgown.
“You can’t help me.” He was looking into the mirror, his face twisted in disgust. My heart broke for him. I stood behind him, wrapping my arms around his torso.
“I know.” I closed my eyes, leaning my cheek into his back, feeling his muscles clench and unclench. “But I’m here for you Loki.”
“Why? What is there to stay for?” His voice was harsh, his hands trying to push me away again. I held on tighter. “Why be with the monster? Do you not realize that this changes things? Changes us? I can never offer you the throne. I can never give you something better. I do not even know if I can breed with you!” Loki sounded threatening, dangerous. He was holding my hands, prying them apart. He turned to face me and I saw that face again. It was the face I hadn’t seen in a year. The one he wore when he killed Garrick.
I reached up to cup his face in my hands. I was still trying to process what he had told me. “This changes nothing between us.” He opened his mouth to speak, but I beat him to it. “I never wanted anything better Loki. I wanted you. I still want you.”
“And if that changes?” He ventured.
“You do not know that.”
“I know my heart Loki. And so do you.” I closed my eyes, pulling our connection. He resisted, fighting me off, but it was no use. Loki couldn’t ignore the rush of love I was sending him. All the shared kisses, the nights of whispering to each other.
I felt his heart and mind surrender to me, our minds becoming one again, but this time, it wasn’t so painful. It was still intense, but softer. The emotions I felt were less jagged and sharp, healing rather than destructive.
Dancing in the hall together. Kissing in the garden. I searched for all the happy memories I had with him. Learning magic. The comfortable silences in which we sat. The feeling of electricity as we touched. I let him feel my heart, feel the love I had for him, the trust I had in him.
I let loose all of my emotions for him, every fiber of my being open to him. Every time he tried to push them away, I pressed on, making him feel. Watching the sun set together. Laughing at supper. Fighting together. The rush I felt as we entered the same room.
‘I love you Loki. I’ve loved you all this time. Even when I am angry with you, I love you all the same. I have always stood by you. And I will continue to stand by you.’
I let him pull away this time, and felt us return to the real world again. I could feel Loki’s chest rising and falling, both of us panting and exhausted. I looked up to see Loki still had his eyes closed, and I reached up to brush my fingertips against his eyelids. He didn’t pull away from me this time. Instead, he wrapped his arms around me and held on.
“You know I would never stop you if you chose to leave.” He whispered, looking away from me.
“But I don’t want to leave.” He smiled, though it was a sad smile. We stood in silence, and I knew Loki was just trying to keep it together in front of me. I was sad for Loki, and I mourned for him.
I felt a hand brush through my hair, and the silence returned. After some time, I began to yawn, and tried to stifle them. “So…what are you going to do? Talk to Odin?” I didn’t want to address him as Loki’s dad, since I wasn’t sure if he was still going to call him that. I also wanted to try and get Loki to talk to Odin and Frigga. He needed them to be okay with who he was, and I knew I couldn’t replace them.
“I…” He tensed, his eyes flickering back and forth, as if remembering something. “Damn.” He let go of me, and walked purposefully towards the door of his room.
“Loki, wait. What’s going on?” I followed him.
“While Odin and I were…discussing, he lost consciousness. The guards took him away, but I have no idea what is going on. I must see my moth-Frigga.”
“I’ll go with you.” I wanted to know what was happening too, and be there for Loki.
He turned to look at me, and shook his head. “You are not dressed properly.” I looked down to my knee length nightgown, the string at the neckline loose, and one three quarter length sleeve hanging off my shoulder. “Stay here.”
I sighed, nodding. I watched as he opened the door, light flooding into the room. “I will return when I can.” I climbed into his bed, figuring I might as well sleep until he got back. I was tired anyways. He shut the door as I turned over to face the window, the moon full and the sky clear tonight. Stretching a bit to get comfortable, I ran this hectic day yet again through my mind.
So Loki’s a Frost Giant. I thought to myself. I never saw it coming.
I waited outside the mysterious room I had been directed to, told Frigga would be staying there until Odin awakened. I still had no idea what had happened to him, and it began to eat away at me. I didn’t think I had cast a spell on him, but should it be found that I did…
I sighed, wondering why I had gotten so angry. Why couldn’t I have at least attempted to stay calm? Perhaps none of this would have happened.
We should have never gone to Jotunheim. The thought kept running through my head, over and over. None of this would have happened. Thor would still be here. I would never have known-
The door opened, interrupting my morose thoughts. “Come in dear.” I hear Frigga’s voice, soft and tender, calling me into the room. I straightened my posture, holding my head high. “Are you alright dear?”
“I am concerned with…Father’s condition.” My throat caught on the word father. I did not even know if I should call him that.
She nodded. “Come, sit.” She motioned me to enter the room. Inside was a large golden bed, nearly the whole width of the room. The bed was located near the end of the room, and in it I could see Odin laying, hands folded on his chest, a golden sheet tucked around him. A golden sphere encircled him, glinting in the light. Frigga sat on one of the benches built into the bed on the right side, a look of concern and slight fear on her face.
I must have had the same look to my face, for she gave me a sympathetic look. We were both perceptive, never able to hide from each other. “What happened?” was all I could muster, before sitting opposite her.
She sighed, slipping her hand past the golden sphere, putting a hand on Odin’s. “It is called the Odinsleep. You father-” I flinched slightly, wondering if she knew that I knew. She saw the flinch, and seemed to note it. “Has much power, though he is not as young as he was. But his power and knowing requires copious amounts of power. Every so often, your father will fall into this state of sleep to replenish his power, but is rendered powerless during this time. It can be quite fearful.” She gave me a sad smile. “So I must stay here, to watch over him until he awakens.”
I nodded. “I am glad to understand this now, mother.” We were quiet, Frigga looking to Odin and I looking at the hands in my lap. I let myself drift to my thoughts. I thought of Noelle. She wanted to stay with me, even though I was a monster. It gave me great joy, and relief. But I feared she would become tired of this game of pretend, and leave. What could I possibly offer her now?
“Loki. I think I know of what you and your father were discussing, before he fell into the Odinsleep.” I didn’t look at her, feeling as guilty as a child. I did not say a word, and did not need to, because she did not question me further.
“My son.” I heard her address me. “I believe it is time for you to sleep.”
“I am not a child, mother.” I argued. “I am a grown man.”
“Even grown men need to sleep.” She chastised. I knew she was right; I could feel myself sag with fatigue, my eyes drooping. I nodded, and began to focus on an image in my head. My chambers. I felt the familiar tingle of magic around me, flexing and bending in its mysterious ways. When my feet left solid ground, and touched it yet again, I opened my eyes to see myself exactly where I had aimed to be. Not that I didn’t do that usually.
I looked to the bed to see the shape of a small being cuddled in the sheets, resting, facing away from me. I carefully began to undress, leaving my pants on, and climbed into bed, covering us both in the deep green sheets. As I placed a hand on her hip, I felt her stir. Noelle turned slightly to face me, her eyes bleary with sleep.
“Loki?” She mumbled. I nodded. She made a move to get up, and I knew she was leaving. To give me time alone, like she thought I wanted. It was what I thought I wanted. But as I looked around the room, thinking of being alone here, the bed seemed emptier without her presence. Colder. I smiled to myself, chuckling darkly. I was the coldest creature alive, and yet I believed I could feel cold.
I wrapped my arm around her waist, pulling her to me, her back flush against my chest. “Stay.” I whispered in her ear, holding her to me. “Please.” I watched her stop, turn her head to look at me, smiling lightly, before cuddling into me.
If it hadn’t been such a bleak day, I would have been more aware of how thin the material of her nightclothes were, our legs fitting together, of how close we were in my bed. I could smell the intoxication sent of her hair. But I was in no mood for the fire that should have kindled in me. I kissed her bare shoulder, before burying my face into her hair and calming myself.
I did not know how I would go about Asgard, knowing what I was. I felt exposed, raw. It was a feeling I was not comfortable with. I was utterly alone here.
“You aren’t alone.” I heard Noelle mutter, her hand moving up to rest on mine. I felt warmth from her, comfort. Acceptance. “Now we’re both different. But we both belong.” She whispered. “Together.”