Genre: Romance, Hurt/Comfort
Loki is pregnant, coming back as an exile in chains from the final events from the Avengers movie. Nobody seems to know about his ongoing pregnancy, nor the father of the child. Loki doesn't know how to handle it, from bearing the child, to his constant thoughts that he will be killed, surely, for the crimes he had committed.
But what is he to do when he's welcomed back home with open arms? What if, although still at fault for the horrors he had done in childish vengeance, his old friends, his family, still missed him so incredibly? Would Loki have the growing courage to speak of the unborn child? And, above all else, would he manage to fix the broken bond and heart he once had with not only Thor, but with himself?
It is funny sometimes what the truth can hold for a person. Happiness. Regret. Pain. Relief. Sometimes it yields nothing, so telling it doesn't affect barely the breeze against your skin, or the sun glittering in the sky. Sometimes it scarcely receives a twitch of your lips into a grin, finding nothing but mild amusement at the finding you hadn't known prior. Sometimes the truth is nothing.
But there are times where it is everything.
The truth holds as much power as one can give it, and Loki knows he has given the sadistic force more than he had to keep. His life. His reason to be. Such a force had long taken it and ripped it to pieces, letting the fragments of truth fall before the man's feet. And it was only then in the shattered pieces of truth that it revealed itself to him.
Though Loki has been 'home' (as so many, most specifically Sif tries to insinuate) for almost two months now, not a soul had so much spoken of what had occurred in the hours before he 'left' Asgard.
That is what they call it, from the petty commoners to Sif herself. He left. Loki left Asgard. Yet it seems they always fail to mention the betrayal that had lead him to such a thing, the pain of a thousand needles that punctured his heart as the man had so tried to grow pride in his dear father's heart.
Father. I could have done it for you, for...for all of us.
The voice that responds to the memory is as cold as it is warm, filled with a rejection and realization that Loki still cannot simply let himself forget it.
No, Loki. Eyes of Odin stare straight into him, his soul bare and weak to the pain that fills it. No Loki. Your trails were naught. Your heart is small, broken and shattered, taped together simply by time and emotion.
Loki hasn't gone to see Odin just yet. His mother, whom admittedly visits him every few days (usually with several more books in arms), tries to convince him otherwise. She asks for him to speak with Odin.
He can never bring himself to, no matter how much anyone else speaks of it to him. Sif is the only person who so tries to convince him of such an action, but Loki cannot. He cannot bring himself before a man who had fabricated a life-long lie that Loki had been forced to live. He cannot do such a thing just yet, to bow before the very person whom he had tried to make proud, whom had still looked at him with scorn until the last moment.
Was that wrong of him to want? Was it wrong for him to desire a closure, a mere understanding of why his entire youth had been a shallow fabrication?
It would be almost as painful as meeting with Thor again, who had taken seemingly every instance to stay far away from the raven-haired god as he could. So outside the occasional visit of Frigga, it left Loki with Sif for the majority of his time. Though obviously still in anger upon Loki's action, she is the only warrior who bothers to see him every morning, the same time every day, her dark eyes filled with a confusing mixture of hate and sympathy.
For whatever reason he deserves such an emotion placed upon him, sympathy. He still wonders why she of all people have it for him. Why Sif, of every soul in Asgard, was giving him this undeniable sense of tolerance.
Most of Loki's free time is spent in his chambers, sitting upon his bed with a book in his lap, while his mind allows himself to read upon the thin lines of text and let them weave amongst the corners of his fitful mind. He tries not to think about anything other than a brewing of potion, a casting of a spell (no matter how much he would not be able to bother practicing such; the cuffs still on his wrists prevented that).
But it is enough to keep his mind from dripping in thought again. From the isolation, both of his brother and father, Loki is sure that if he allows so much as a moment more of free and idle thought, his mind surely would explode in agony.
He feels hurt. He feels betrayed. He feels guilty. He feels as if he is entitled to more than a pat on the back and a wave of his crimes. You are home, they had said in indirect ways (from letting him free to welcoming him back in Asgard), but Loki has not yet felt satisfied.
He didn’t ask to be pardoned from the sins he committed. It was as if there had been some unspoken bargain he couldn’t control. The return of his freedom for the silence of the truth that started it all in the first place. If anything, Loki felt shorthanded by his guilt, and furious for both his cowardice to speak with anyone on the topic.
Upon one sunny day in his room, Loki again is reading. This time it is a children's book, filled with fairy tales, battles, and happy endings. Something he surely will never have. It is a book he had always taken to in his youth, as he enjoyed the stories it told, and he still does. Battles with brave warriors, adventures with rightful meaning, people with a place in their lives to be; they have a place in which they feel as if they belong.
After finishing the final word on the page, Loki cannot keep himself reading it. How a golden warrior had laid battle over the frosting hills of Jotunheim. How the man's hair was as bright as the sun, his eyes as blue as the deepest ocean, his body as strong as the ox and lithe as a cat. How the Jotuns fell beneath his blade in groups of dozens, until the warrior stood upon his pedestal of glory and honor. For he had slain the monsters of the land, oh so obviously.
The small man closed it without another though, already finding a dabbing of tears in his eyes simply from the description of the man. It made his mind think, and Loki had found that is a dangerous thing. Thinking brought memories. It brings his regret to what he had done, the betrayal he had both caused and felt by his own brother (whom he is certain hates him. Thor seemingly cannot bare the sight of Loki now, always going more than his way to keep out of the same room in the rare chance that Loki wishes to leave his own chambers).
Loki is torn inside. Like a doll that he had once seen a Midgardian girl holding in the streets of that one country, bustling and large. Germany. Yes, Loki remembers seeing a young girl with a small doll. It had a poor body, material old and worn, stiches easily looking as if they had been ripped apart and sewn back together more than once. One eye was missing, and its arm was half torn.
The dark god feels like that doll, ripped apart and poorly stitched back together. Stuffing within his cloth body missing in huge chunks, leaving little more than bits of void and inner confusion battling through his thoughts.
The air around him is cold. He cannot think. His body quickly is pushed from the bed, feet clipping against the floor as he starts to walk.
Loki is sorry. He cannot begin to think how much regret is in his heart for what he had done. He knows it was wrong, it was horribly wrong. Though he had been power and revenge-crazed, the blood he spilt was just as bright, and just as permanent.
The lives he took, the hearts he broke,
the pain in Thor's eyes.
They had forgiven him, to an extent. They laws lain and the memories brushed away with a swipe of a hand. And Loki feels only as a small child, lost in the world of his own regret, and his own confusion, without a force of reprimand. It almost feels inherently wrong, the lack of reprimand. His freedom for a continued secret, it seemed. He felt he was just as much wronged as the thousands he had killed.
Loki wants to beg, to plead, to bear knowledge of why his incredible heartbreak could be, but he is now brave enough only to leave his chambers for food, and little more. Pitiful.
So Loki walks to the balcony again of his room, and gently leans his body over the railing. The cold metal presses against his arms, easily moving through the material of his jacket, but Loki does not care. He is fairly well with the cold, and it only serves to remind him of the truth.
One arm instinctively moves to press against his stomach, as if to ensure that it's still there. That little life-force, barely bubbling under the surface of his emotional turmoil. And it's there, still there, growing into a baby. His baby. Thor's baby.
How can he ever tell Thor of the truth? Loki cannot even begin to answer his own question, for there is suddenly someone behind him. He turns quickly, almost instinctively raising his shoulders and hands up in defense, his mind pulling into a mode of protect, protect, protect.
But it is only Sif. She stands with her arms crossed, her eyes staring upon Loki's form in a deep, though unreadable expression. It takes a few long seconds before the man finally feels the flaring reaction die off into a subtle bitterness.
".....I do not wish to speak to anyone right now, Sif," Loki says with a slow sigh, turning back onto the balcony. His arm does not so much as twitch towards his stomach.
He hears the woman snort lightly upon his words. "And that is why you will never heal." There is silence, but soon there is the sound of light footsteps as she moves beside him, her own body leaning upon the golden metal railing. His face turns to look at her in an almost angered curiosity, for he honestly does not want to deal with another person. His confusing thoughts are more than enough to push him to the brink of his sanity.
"Heal? I hardly think that is the right word. I know already that I have done wrong, Sif, and I already feel the pitiful sense of regret for it." He brings a clammy palm to his face, flesh pressing at his closed eyes in a vain trying to make the flashing colors of tears move from him. He feels them welling up, and tries his best to keep them forced down. “I have spent two full moons knowing well that I’ve killed more midgardians than you have killed warriors in battle. I know I’m stained with the sins, and it doesn’t do anyone good to remind me of it when I’m already near-mad as it is.”
Sif blinks once and seems hesitant, almost unwilling, but lays a gentle hand on his back. It leaves Loki stiff to the contact of her against him, but he doesn't brush it off as she had thought he would.
"That is not what makes you turn away from your family now. There is more to it than that, Loki, I have seen it in your eyes." There is no question to her voice, nor any sense that she wants a response out of him. "...All I ask is for you to speak with Odin. Hearts cannot be healed unless you fit the pieces back together."
There is silence. Loki almost shudders. His hand pulls away from his face and almost turns to look at her with shock. Does she know? The truth? The very lie that made his mind shake so?
Her head nods in the unspoken question. "Yes, I know." The air ticks by their eyes with the passing of time, slow and silent in the light of the sun. ".....Everyone knows of your true birth. Odin spoke of it after you....left."
It is then that the man pulls away from her touch, brain trying to piece it all together. Father had told of the truth to everyone? Hadn't he felt shame for Loki, a Jotun outcast, as a son?
What am I, father?
You are my son.
The words had been simple, been short. Loki reels back and shakes his head, wanting to be rid of them again, before the tears can finally spill. It is simply too much to take.
But Sif is insistent and firm, one hand holding onto Loki's shuddering shoulder.
"Why?" Loki asks at last, hands over his face again. "Why did he bother to say? People would have scorned him for having...for having a heathen as myself in his golden family. The son of his enemy in his very own home."
There is a bitter edge to his words, but Loki doesn't speak further. He takes a deep breath of air to steady his feet on the ground. Beside him there is an almost broken sigh, a voice seeming nearly torn between emotion as the woman finally responds.
"He did it to explain," she starts slowly, as if to let Loki take it in piece by piece. The air brushes past them both, making Loki's clothes flutter in the force of it. "The people did not understand what had happened. Some took it with confusion. Others had hatred. But everyone knew what you did. When they came to the All-Father…” She stops for a few minutes and sighs, pulling a hand through her hair, as if she has to find the right words. “He finally told everyone why you had done it. He spoke in pain of his mistake-"
"Mistake of having me as a pitiful excuse of a son," Loki cuts in with his own spiteful words, already sensing where it was going. Yes, his fault, all his fault. There was only so much that Loki could feel guilt for. “Why did he bother to save me anyway? Why didn’t he just tell them that I was a monster? Considering the hatred for Jotuns, I don’t see there would have been much political difference in the statement.”
But Sif growls at him and forces her hands at his shoulders, pressing the man backwards until his back collides painfully with the wall just a few feet from the doorway to his room. The force shocks the man, breath stopping for a moment as Sif lays one quick slap across his cheek.
Time seems to stop for a moment.
The sound echoes through the air. Loki is left with a look of sudden shock upon the hit, frozen and face turned to the side from the collision of her palm on his pale cheek. There is heavy panting from the woman, but not that of simple exhaustion. He could hear it, the tinge of anger, the sound of emotional strain.
"Have you no sense in your brain? Can you not see it, Loki?" Her question falls on idle ears, but she continues. "Your father apologized to all of Asgard for lying to you. He held tears in his eyes because he thought he had sent you to your death! And you stand here still in your woe and self-pity?" And finally she pulls away from the man and allow him to relax, his taller body leaning back against the wall. “You are still such a child! You stand here and speak of your regret and betrayal, yet you choose not to go to your father and make amends!”
There is a painful sting in his cheek where her strike had hit, but Loki is attuned more to her words than the distraction against his skin.
Green eyes met brown ones with great intensity. Pain and comfort. Realization and truth.
"Your father loves you. Frigga loves you. You are right to feel as you do, for I would be the same if my father had kept such a secret from me." She looks honest and true, eyes and face pulling into a look that Loki could only call as pleading. "But look past your need for bitter reasoning and woe. Please just let your father and mother see you again, let them explain their sorrows and apologies to you as they had done to all else of Asgard!" The voice of pleading is stronger, the power within each word more than before. Loki can tell the woman before him is holding back some pain or another, but her words are honest and true.
He looks away, unable to take the sight of her, unable to hear of his father, of anything.
"....you still hold anger for me," Loki blinks once and stares at the ground. "I can see it in your eyes as you have seen such in mine. You are still very angry for what I have done."
At this Sif starts to speak, but breaks her words. The air once more is silent between the man and woman, the only sound the wind rushing through the air, making Loki's clothes flap harder in it's constant force.
But it is only after it dies down again that Sif speaks. She is calm, quite, her voice soft in Loki's ear as she whispers. "....I do. Just as you feel angry for your slight from All-Father, I feel anger for what you have done to Asgard, for the people you left behind. I feel a rage in that you have hurt Thor, whom is as close to me as any brother.” Loki winces at the sound of her contained, restrained anger. Of course, Sif is just as angry as the rest of them.
She sighs, and looks at Loki with a sense of indescribable calmness. “…But I know you feel grief, and for that I cannot be angry forever. I know you deserve forgiveness Loki, for the crimes you have committed. While it will take long to earn it back in all of us, it is still there for you." She takes a small step towards the man (he stiffens against her touch again, still unused to so much contact for such a long time of loneliness). "But your father deserves forgiveness too. Let yourself forgive him Loki, as Asgard begins to forgive you. You know the guilt hidden in your heart, know its sting and it's pain.
And that is as your father feels, I know. The same that your brother feels, your mother. But you cannot keep avoiding them. As I had said; a heart cannot heal unless they are placed back together."
It takes a long time for the other to let himself think of her words, her incredible honesty with him. She is angry. Yet there is forgiveness already in her voice. She could berate him, could scream at him (as she very well once had upon their first meeting again), could cut him up and tell Loki of the incredible agony he very well knew he had placed upon his brother, his people.
Yet....yet she forgave.
She was angry and hurt, but Sif forgave him. Father forgave him, even so much as to make a public apology to all of Asgard. Father....father knew that he had hurt Loki and actually apologized, wanted to heal the hurt between them. His son. Loki. His.....his son.
The sudden wave of emotion runs through the man again, just as it had before. But he cannot cry. There had been too many tears before, too many running down his cheeks to allow him the luxury now. Instead he bites his bottom lip so hard he's almost sure to break the skin, and nods. As hurt as he feels, as broken and betrayed as he has become, Loki finally agrees. If Sif can forgive him, he can do the same.
For his father, his mother.....
For Thor. For the father (unknowing) of his unborn child still just a fetus in his belly, Loki finally decides he can forgive.
Well, start to forgive. There are many painful questions that need answers, many tears to be shed and screams to be heard in his pent-up sense of pain, but Loki knows that if Asgard can take in his crimes, his betrayal and forgive, he can very well attempt the same.
Sif sees the change in Loki's posture, from a bitter freeze to a softer, almost pliant calmness about him, and then finally nods herself.
"I shall see father soon," his words spill out like dripping water from his lips, shivering against every thought, as if he was planning his visit to the devil himself. The anxiety within his heart was great. What if he couldn't bring himself to forgive the All-Father? What if, no matter how much Loki yearned for normalcy, he will not find peace in Odin's apology? "But for right now I am tired from so much talk, I....I am not used to so many plaguing emotions." He is honest and vulnerable; heart again splayed open like a raw nerve, ready to be struck dead by Sif's warrior anger. But she does something Loki didn't expect.
"It is to be expected," she said finally, the smile never once fading. "Though I cannot ever forget what you have done, Loki, I understand the pain you have been through, and can forgive. Thor...has always loved you, and now I can understand why he forgives you so, and has always forgiven you." There is nothing more she says, nothing to explain her meaning, her sense, her reasoning to even say such words to Loki, but he doesn't ask for an explanation either. Sometimes words are better left unquestioned.
She looks about ready to say something further against the soft wind of the air, but a new voice cuts through the gentle calmness that Loki and Sif had created between them. It isn't a word, nor a sentence, but a sound that catches the attention of both forms on the balcony.
Loki blinks and turns his tired and worn eyes to the open door of his chamber.
His heart nearly stops, breath catching painfully in his throat at the sight of the golden hair, the bright blue eyes, filled with a subdued pain that had never been given explanation or healing.
Thor stands with his arms at his sides. He presses his lips together once, staring upon the sight of Sif and Loki standing together on the balcony. Loki can only wonder what Thor thinks of the scene, thinks now of his unanswered question of the baby.
But he doesn't say anything on the subject. Instead, he looks at Sif, then towards Loki.
"Loki....." He starts, voice cut off when green orbs meet blue ones. Time seems to stop between them, letting memories of laughter and giggles flow through the air. Memories of games, of love, of pleasure. And from Thor's eyes only, memories of betrayal, recent and still dripping of its deep blood. Loki winces from the sight of it. Thor doesn't know the truth. Loki doesn't say anything (such words still needed to be thought upon, decided if he should or should not tell him of the memories he had stolen so many months ago). Instead the golden god continues with his original goal, speaking in a low, contained voice.
"Father wishes to see you." And Loki nods. Sooner than he had expected, but he was nonetheless not surprised.
Pain, questions, and a hurt trust awaited him, but Loki took it with a strength and pride as he was soon led out the door, Thor in stride beside him.
Having left Sif with a seeming, knowing smile as she stands at the balcony once more. Her dark hair blows over her shoulder, and she hums.
The breeze is gentle and cool this morning.