ByAlia Sauthor, writer at Creators.co

Chapter 18:

A week later…

The plans were set. After days of debating and pooling resources and solutions, a plan was made to end this. I was relieved and afraid all at once.

We were finally moving forward with this whole ‘save the universe’ thing, but we still had to face the big bad boss. If what my father said was true, we were in over our heads. No one had said it yet, but I knew we all thought the same thing: not all of us were coming back after this.

We were able to recruit a few helpers to our plans too. Volstag and Fandral were all in. “One final battle to end in glory!” Fandral had put in, which raised our morale about one hundred percent. With two more seasoned warriors, we had a better chance of executing the plan. Sif was another matter. She was convinced of the problem we had, and we had even managed to convince her to help, but she did not trust Loki or I one bit.

It’s sad to think how we used to be such good friends and now I barely feel comfortable in the same room with her. I had overheard Fandral and Volstag attempting to reason with her, but to no avail. Loki was a criminal with a weak mental capacity, and I had to be guilty of something, since I left Asgard so suddenly. But what can you do? We need help and beggars can’t be choosers.

That meant there were only seven of us who knew of this plot. We decided it would be best to keep the guards out of it. Thanos would see an army coming.

Thor even suggested asking a few of his Avenger friends to help, but father would not hear it. “We do not need to involve anyone else. This is our fight.”

So now here we were, discussing the final particulars of our plan, in this small study. We had decided to lead Thanos into what Loki called a void. “It’s a blank space in time. There is no life there. But voids do not stay open in each realm long. We’ll have to be ready when I find an opening, and finish the job before it closes and takes us to another galaxy. It’s a slim chance, but the best we have.”

“Noelle and Loki will be our priority to protect. Take aim at Thanos, but guard them. Only they can wield the Amaranth against the gauntlet.” Everyone nodded. “He may bring help, but I doubt it. He likes doing things on his own.”

“So how are we getting Thanos to said void?” I asked, speeding this little meeting along. This was the most important detail we had yet to go over.

“Ah. Yes. That.” Was all he replied. “We invite him there.”

The silence was almost funny. “What?” Fandral finally asked. “You mean to tell us that this intergalactic menace will simply meet us with an invitation?”

“No. I meant to say we tell him we are surrendering.” Before he could even finish the whole room was in uproar. I just waited patiently for him to finish. There had to be a point to this.

“QUIET!” Loki shouted, startling me. He was right next to me, so close our arms were gently brushing. I gave him an annoyed look, which he expertly ignored. “Let him finish.”

“Thank you. As I was saying.” He glared at everyone. “We tell Thanos we are ready to surrender the Amaranth. That will convince him.”

“Not if we are all there to give it to him.” Sif pointed out. “And why would we ever surrender anyways?”

“We wouldn’t, unless we needed to bargain for something. Which is why I will be perfect bait.”

“What do you mean?” Loki asked, giving his mentor a sharp look.

“I mean I will have to be caught by Thanos. Then Noelle will contact him and tell him she will give him the Amaranth in return for my freedom. He will take the bait, and you give him the location of the void. It makes sense to meet there, away from innocent people. You will strike then.”

"It can’t be you who goes.” Thor argued. He had been pretty quiet the whole time. “We need you here to ensure the plan works. It is your plan, after all.”

“I’ll go.” Loki volunteered. I protested.

“No way. We need you to open the void. And what If he kills you? We need to use the Amaranth together.”

“I must be the one who goes. I am the most disposable.” Father said, ending the matter. “Neither of you can go.” He looked to Loki and I. “You need to defeat him. Thor must stay and rule Asgard, as if nothing has changed. The warriors and Sif are of no interest to Thanos. He will kill them on sight before taking them captive. It must be me.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but Loki suddenly grabbed my hand and gently squeezed, telling me to let it go. That, or he figured that it would distract me enough not to keep arguing, which it did. I had had very little physical contact with him all week.

We had spent every day together since the library. It was strange and emotional and amazing all at once. We were more friends now, learning about each other once more. Which was all I could handle right now.

Being with Loki was hard sometimes. It was like…breaking up with someone. You get over them after a little bit of time, but it’s slow. So slow that you still think of them fondly, and a part of you still wants to be like you were before. But you’ve moved on, and you are different than before, and so are they. You still have feelings for them, but you’ve fallen out of love with them.

It’s hard to explain. But I was glad that Loki was still a part of my life.

As for Loki, having only my soul to live on made him dependant on me. He felt empty when we were apart. He was extra careful when he spoke with me, trying to repair the damage and keep the peace. I felt bad for him, knowing I was giving him a bit of a difficult time. I know it would be easier for him if I forgave and forgot everything. But I couldn’t. Nothing was as it was before.

As I looked around the room, I realized we were all changed. We all looked the same, but underneath we were hardened by the burdens of the past years. Thanos had wreaked havoc on our lives. Asgard hadn’t seen such turbulent times since the war on Jotunheim. In the past few years, we had fought against so many enemies, walked on so many battlefields. This last fight meant the end. It meant the start of a new age in Asgard.

We would either finally live in peace or die for it.

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

Later…

“Does it bother you?” I asked Loki, who was sitting across from me under a tree. The sun was shining, the air was warm and breezy, and the grass was cool. It was a day to enjoy and remember. We didn’t know when my father would suddenly be captured. He hadn’t given us that detail. So it was important to savor every moment we had in peace.

“Does what bother me?” Loki was lounging on the grass, his arms behind his head as he soaked in the rays. One knee bent and gently swaying back and forth, while the other was straight and still. I noticed he loved the sun more than anything now. Whenever we were outside, he sat directly in the sun. Inside, he would open windows and sit by them to feel the heat. Maybe he just liked the warmth, now that he was…well, let’s not say soulless, but yeah.

“Having to depend on me.” Loki was so independent. Having to always rely on me must annoy him.

“Sometimes. It’s not because it’s you. I am quite relieved that it happens to be you, actually.”

“But…” I pressed.

“But being helpless and needy are not qualities I like to have. I was never like this before.”

“No, you weren’t.” I smiled, thinking of all those amazing times we had.

“Does it bother you?” He closed his eyes at the point.

I thought about it for a moment. “Yes and no. It bothers me that you are here, and at the same time you aren’t. I want you here completely.”

“I do too, my Lady. I do too.”

“Did you really love me so much Loki?” I changed to another serious topic.

“Yes. And I still do. I would rather be in this state, here but not here, than spend an eternity without you.”

“Well, you might not be in this state for very long.”

“Well, that’s optimism for you.” Loki said sarcastically.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m just being realistic here. You know as well as I do that the chances-”

“Are slim.” He finished for me. “But there is hope, at least for me. There is always hope.”

We sat in silence until Loki sat up to look me in the eyes. “If we live through this, I promise you I will never leave again. I will stay with you, if that is what you want. If you want me to leave, I’ll leave. If you wish to move on, I understand. But I will do what makes you happy.”

“If we live…I want you to stay with me. It doesn’t have to be here. I don’t know if I want to still be here after all this, and Earth is impossible for you. But I want you to stay with me.” I said carefully. “I want you to be with me until the day I die Loki. And maybe by then, we can be like we were before.”

He took my hands. “Then I will stay, until your heart stops beating.”

I smirked. “What if I live forever?”

“Then I will be with you forever. It would be like a dream, to spend forever with you.” He gently kissed my hands, and then each fingertip. “Forever. I promise.”

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