~THERE IS ALWAYS RISK~
The next morning seemed slow in coming, but for once, you found it to be a good thing. A long night of rest was exactly what you had needed after returning to Asgard, and being with Loki was just the cherry on top. It was a beautiful and calm day in Asgard, and even though there was a part of you eager to get going, most of you was content to let the day start of slow and just wait to see how things played out. Loki didn’t seem jumping to get going either, which was sort of understandable. With the visible level of discomfort he’d had in Nidavellir, aside from the Marauders and that troublesome time, you couldn’t blame Loki for not being ready to leave Asgard just yet. For all the issues he had (or at least claimed to have) against Odin and Thor (mainly Odin), Asgard was still his home, and not even he could shake off the level of familiarity and peace he had in returning here.
The two of you had breakfast together, but afterwards you slipped out for a little time by yourself. You wandered through the palace halls, close to the more populated areas but still keeping fairly isolated. You liked to watch the city, to watch the people. Seeing everyone go about with their normal, daily routines was something you were envious of, and the feeling was not one you’d had only after coming here with Loki. Watching the people mill about, knowing that your life never was and never could be that way was a feeling that had been with you for a very long time…
Still, you found contentment in watching, imagining what a life like theirs would be. It was difficult to imagine, especially at the moment. It was hard to picture yourself living like a normal Asgardian when here you stood, dressed in jeans, a tank top, and hoodie. For no other reason than that you missed the feel of denim and cotton had you worn your “Midgardian” clothes (though these were the clothes that felt the most like you). You hadn’t worn them in a while, but given that this was a quiet morning and you were not likely to come across too many people that you didn’t even remotely recognize, you saw no harm in your attire. All the talk of “Loki’s mysterious Midgardian girl” had faded from the popular conversation quite a while ago, once your training had gone underway. You were still viewed as an outsider in many respects, but you didn’t receive as many strange or questioning looks as you had before. Things were beginning to feel more…more permanent here, and you wondered if they would stay that way once all this business with the stars was over with.
That was honestly one of the few things that had not come to your mind yet. What would you do when, assuming that the world didn’t end and you didn’t die, this was over? Would you go back to Manhattan, to your apartment? It was likely that Fury and Anderson would want you back at S.H.I.E.L.D. – Anderson, for sure. Not that you had any idea what sort of job you had retained, but if you had been brought in for your skill, you could adapt quickly to the job. But Midgard wasn’t your only option, was it? What if you stayed in Asgard? Loki wasn’t the only one you had gotten to know in your time here. There was Thor, Lady Sif, and the Warriors Three, among others, whom you could gladly call friend. And Odin, while ever so mysterious and silent as he watched all that went on, never seemed opposed to your being in Asgard. True, he didn’t like that you “wasted” so much time with Loki when there were matters to attend to, but it wasn’t like he viewed your being in Asgard as forbidden.
And then there was the final question – would Loki want you to stay in Asgard? Even if he said nothing to encourage or discourage your choices, you didn’t need his permission to stay in Asgard, if that was what you wanted. But if you stayed in Asgard, you would want to stay with him. Your feelings for him were undeniably strong now, and the only reason you weren’t looking to make anything “official” was because there were more important things to take care of. Once all was said and done with this quest, then you could turn your attention to any sort of relationship. You didn’t want to push Loki. You weren’t even certain how much he cared for you. Closeness, kisses, and a little bit of confiding could be deceiving, and perhaps Loki’s feelings for you were not entirely what you perceived them to be. This was, after all, the god of Mischief. Were his actions merely actions to keep him in your good graces, or were his actions true reflections of his heart?
You shook your head quickly, irritated that you had let such doubts creep into your thoughts. There was certainly nothing wrong with being wary, but that gave you no right to be judgmental. When had Loki played with your affections thus far? Aside from what you knew of his past, there was really little evidence to say that he was only using you. Perhaps he was, and he was just very clever. But until either suspicion was proven true, you wouldn’t doubt him. He had not yet won your heart, and there was nothing wrong with caring for him as you did. As long as you remained your own, there wasn’t as much for you to worry of.
With a soft sigh you leaned against one of the pillars and shoved your hands into your pockets, resting your head back and closing your eyes. Why was it that most of the time you always had such ridiculously complex thoughts running through your head? Why couldn’t there be more times like Christmas, or even like last evening? Why couldn’t you just not worry about so much all the time? The answer rang through your thoughts as fast as the questions had come – because you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t worry. That sounded like something Loki was likely to tell you, but he would have been right in saying it. Worrying wasn’t good for the soul, but you liked to think things through, and the complicated things, like nearly EVERYTHING in your life right now, needed a lot of thought. You just had to make sure you didn’t go crazy in the process.
While your hands were in your pockets, you felt your phone, which you hadn’t even thought of since you and Loki had come to Asgard. Like always, you had turned it off once you and Loki left your apartment to come here. There wasn’t ever a reason to have it on (really, you hardly used the thing even when you were in Midgard), but you never wanted the battery to drain, just in case something were to happen (though what sort of scenario could occur that you would need your phone on outside Midgard seemed horribly unlikely). But at the moment, you were horribly bored, and you distinctly remembered the random question that had come to mind on the first day you had been in Asgard – could you get your phone’s Wi-Fi to work here? You sincerely doubted that it would, but there was no harm in testing the rather pointless theory. You held down the power button on your phone until the screen lit up, and then proceeded to wait as it turned on completely (your phone wasn’t exactly a well working on, most of the time).
“If you’re trying to see if Wi-Fi works, you’ll only be disappointed,” you heard Loki say from nearby. You turned and saw him leaning against the closest pillar, his arms crossed over his chest and smirking towards you. “Your phone is as much a near ancient artifact here as a stone tablet would be in Midgard.”
You smirked as you turned off the screen and twirled your phone between your fingers. “So is there something similar to Midgard’s internet here?” you inquired, curious to know what sort of answer you would get.
Loki gave a slow, slightly amused nod. “There is,” he replied slowly. “Though I don’t believe there are as many pictures of feline creatures here.”
You gave a soft laugh. “I can believe that,” you smiled as you looked him over curiously. “So why have I never really seen much of it? Your teaching has been from every book in the Hall of Knowledge. Wouldn’t it have been faster if you had just shown me what particular information I needed?”
A mischievous and knowing smile came across Loki’s lips as he stepped closer to you. “I’ve seen you on your laptop in Midgard,” he answered softly. “Do you really think I’d let you be so distracted while you were here?”
You smiled back as you looked up into his sparkling eyes. “Fair enough,” you replied with a soft laugh. Your smile faded slightly as you looked at Loki a little closer, sensing the somber mood behind his playful words. He was so good at hiding his emotions, and if you could see it, well that meant it was something seriously weighty in his thoughts. “Is something wrong?” you asked him quietly, unsure if this was something he would chose to confide in you or not.
Loki lowered his eyes for a moment, perhaps a little irritated with himself that he had let his emotion come through enough that you had noticed. There was still some hesitation in him to tell you about what he had found, but the part of him that wanted to help you was stronger than the part concerned for everything else. He gave a heavy sigh as he took hold of your hand. “There is something that I need to discuss with you, __________,” he said slowly.
You nodded slowly. “Okay…” you said as you glanced around. “Do you want to talk here or go somewhere else?”
Loki glanced around the area as well. Thought the two of you were relatively alone, this was an open area and there was always the chance that someone could come walking by and hear. And Thor did tend to show up at the most inconvenient of moments… “Not here,” he said definitively and, holding a little tighter to your hand, led you down the hall a little ways and through a side door, up some stairs, and to a small yet open balcony that looked out across a part of the city that couldn’t really be seen from Loki’s chambers. While still part of Asgard, which you had become accustomed to seeing, the beautiful sight up here made you catch your breath and looked out in wonder, like it was the first time you’d ever seen anything like this.
Loki was patient in letting you have your moment of awe, and it was not until the two of you had settled on one of the couches that he took a deep breath and started talking. “When we returned from Nidavellir, I went to the Hall of Knowledge in hopes of finding any information that might help against your fatigue.”
You gave a slight nod. Though you had been close to being totally asleep the night before, you remembered Loki saying something about having found some information. “Okay,” you said, letting him continue.
“Do you recall when I mentioned to you - that there was a possibility your fatigue/headaches could very well be related to your memory loss?” he inquired.
You nodded again, that mention of it a vague memory in your mind. “Do you still believe they are related?”
Loki nodded slowly. “I do,” he answered. “An enchantment would have been placed over you, thus giving you amnesia. But whoever used the enchantment did not wish for you to try to regain your memory, and added a failsafe, just in case you started to remember anything. Headaches would turn your immediate thoughts away from remembering, and fatigue would quell long term thoughts. You recover, so long as you do not persist in trying to regain what memory was taken from you. But if you do remember, the headaches will attack until they kill you, or fatigue will drain your body until you are too weak to defend yourself – like what happened in Nidavellir.”
To know that all of this was what had happened to you was nearly overwhelming. “Who…who would do such a thing? What memory could I have that someone would want me not to know?”
Loki gave a heavy sigh, taking your hand in his consolingly. “There aren’t many that could do such a thing,” he answered. “Even for me, it would be a challenge.” He looked into your eyes with a caring gaze, running his hand gently along the side of your face. “But I believe I have found a way to help, at least with the headaches and fatigue that plague you.”
Your eyes grew wider at his words. “Really?” you asked, excited to know that there was hope in that, if nothing else. “How?”
Loki lowered his hand from your face as he continued sharing the information he had found. “The enchantment that causes these headaches relies only on the fact that you do not have memories. If it sense you trying to regain what you should not, then you get migraines as you have. But if you were to regain your past memories, or at least…share the memories of another, the headaches would not come because there is nothing for it to prevent you from remembering.”
“Sharing memories?” you repeated. “How would I do that?”
“Through a mental bond,” Loki answered. “The first time that we established the connection between our thoughts, you broke through the walls in my mind and caught a glimpse at my past.” He paused, becoming silent for a moment as he recalled the painful experience. You also remembered, but what had lasted in your mind were the heart wrenching memories, along with their emotions, of Loki’s that had flooded your mind.
“If we were to establish another connection,” Loki continued. “Beyond simple communication with one another, I could allow you to share my memories – my past. The feeling of having memories might break through the original enchantment and grant you your own past, but at the very least you would have memories that would keep the headaches and fatigue from surfacing.”
“Isn’t that risky, though?” you inquired. “I mean, if the headaches start when my memories start to surface, wouldn’t it do the same if your memories were in my mind?”
Loki nodded thoughtfully. “There is always a risk, though at that point we would both suffer – not just you,” he answered. “And it could even kill us, but if we remain focused, I can get my memories past the enchantments fast enough that the enchantment couldn’t complete its purpose, and you would be safe from it forever.”
You nodded slowly, the concept of Loki’s plan making sense to you. While the thought of enduring pain and possibly dying in the process wasn’t appealing, you wanted your memories back, or at least not feel half dead due to fatigue and headaches. “So let’s do it,” you said with a determined voice.
Loki still seemed hesitant. “There is something else, __________,” he said slowly as he looked into your eyes. “It won’t just be the memories that you will receive; it will be my emotions, my torment, my way of viewing the past which has more contempt than you might believe. You will not only see it – you will feel it as I feel it. Not all of my past is pleasant, and you will feel every moment of joy, love, pain, sorrow, and anger as if it were your own.” He paused and lowered his eyes from you, thinking. “You may rather with to endure headaches then to endure what lurks in my mind.”
From remembering all that you had felt the last time that you had glimpsed into his memories, you knew that what he said was true. It wouldn’t be pleasant, and it would hurt in so many ways. You were hesitant to agree now, knowing this. But you knew that, despite how painful this could be, it would save you. Loki was willing to risk dying by the enchantment that was over you, only because he had a chance to help you.
You reached for his hand, your fingers entwining around his. “I want to do this, Loki,” you said softly, your voice hardly louder than a whisper. You slid closer to him and leaned against him slightly, your free hand resting on his shoulder, toying with a strand of hair behind his ear. “You are risking far more than I am in this, and I am so grateful to you for it. I can endure what might happen, if you are willing to help me.”
Loki looked into your eyes, a glimmer of light in his eyes that was about as close as you had ever seen to hope. His fingers curled around yours as he gave a slow nod. “I will help you, __________,” he replied, the faintest trace of a smile on his lips.