Rating: R for violence and sex (but mostly violence).
Pairing/Characters: Loki/Sigyn, Asgard & Co
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not profiting. Don’t sue.
Summary: It dawned fair and clear, the day they sewed Loki’s lips shut.
Link to Chapter 1: Here
Loki sat by Sigyn’s bedside, fingers steepled and pressed to his lips. The bandages were clean, pristine—even those over her chest. Loki felt those, at least, should bear some stain, some sign of recrimination for his deed. He reached out to smooth a minute wrinkle from the blankets.
He had destroyed the daggers. He couldn’t bear looking at them, knowing they had borne Sigyn’s blood.
Would that he could do the same to his hands.
The healers had said she was sound, physically, that the bandages were only to protect the newly healed skin from damage or infection. Her head however, was another story. Mjölnir had rung her a solid blow, and by some miracle of the Norns nothing had broken or ruptured. The real concern, however, was her mind. It was unknown how the Gauntlet, which offered its bearer the power of the universe itself, warped the minds of its wielders to fit its needs. Thanos was certainly no fit scale to judge against, and Sigyn had been so far from herself it had been akin to looking another person in the eye. Loki shuddered. It recalled the power of his scepter, and he felt new, uncomfortable sympathy for his victims. He brushed a hand over Sigyn’s brow, smoothing down the coils of her hair only for them to spring back again.
It could have been him, laying on this bed in the healing wing, unconscious and suffering from wounds no healer could see.
Three days had passed since they had struck her down. Three days he had sat vigil by her bed while she slept. Three days, and already the destruction caused by the Chitauri was being cleared away. Loki could see the civic plaza from the window, the rubble strewn across it dwindling over the course of the day. He looked back to the woman he loved, the woman who had sacrificed her mind to save her home, and his heart clenched in a bitter fist.
The muted rhythm of boots against stone drew his attention, and he tensed. He turned, and it was Njall, escorted by two orderlies with a stretcher between them. Loki rose from his seat.
Njall cut him off. “I’m taking her home,” he said. “I have spoken with Lady Eir, she said there is no reason to keep her here any longer.” His eyes were dark and sorrowful, and he looked past Loki to his daughter and his fear and grief were plain to see.
“She’s all I have,” Loki croaked. He didn’t want this man to take her away, to limit how often he could see her.
“No, Prince,” Njall said, a thin thread of anger slipping through his tone. “She’s all I have.”
Loki bowed his head, defeated. He stepped aside as the orderlies bundled Sigyn onto the stretcher, and watched, despairing, as her father took her away.
He left the healing wing soon after. There was nothing for him there but bad memories, and he drifted through the halls, seeking somewhere untouched. There was nowhere. Here was where he had run into a pageboy that wandering night months ago. That corner, that was where he had hid himself to watch the festivities of his brother’s majority. He had played with toy soldiers on that landing, when he was a child. He walked until he found an alcove set about with chairs, carefully tucked away for intimate conversation, and lowered himself into the closest seat. He stared at the wall, vainly schooling his thoughts to silence.
He lost track of how long he sat there, the passage of servants and swirling conversations slipping by behind him. The sun slipped down the sky, and the shadows grew long upon the floor. He sought only peace, but it was not to be, and his contemplation was interrupted once again by approaching footsteps. The smell of pipe tobacco wafted from the newcomer’s clothes.
Loki didn’t bother turning around to greet his father. “I suppose you’ve come to gloat,” he said, lacing his voice with scorn and bitter hurt. “‘See, foolish child, the consequences of too much power.’”
“No,” the Allfather said simply, stepping forward to stand beside his son. They sat like that for a time, in silence. “How is she?”
Loki assumed he asked out of courtesy rather than a lack of knowledge. “She is alive.” After a fashion.
“She did Asgard a great service,” Odin said. “Though I would not have wished her this fate.”
“No,” Loki snarled, suddenly angry. “You would have wished her the plaything of the Chitauri, to be raped and broken when in the end they conquered us.”
“Genocide is not an easier burden, my son. Nor, it seems, is the Gauntlet itself.”
Loki scoffed. “We are a matched pair, then, aren’t we. Scarred, murdering, untrustworthy sorcerers, good only for when you’re in a bind and can’t muster the stones to get yourself out again.”
Beside him, he heard his father give a long, tired sigh. “I never know the right words to use with you, Loki. It seems I always choose exactly wrong.”
“Then don’t talk to me.” Loki’s voice trembled, and he drew his hand into a fist to keep from touching Sigyn’s locket.
Odin’s voice was thin, when he spoke again, and strained with grief. “Oh, my son. I admit I was afraid.” He inhaled deeply. “Power is a seductive thing; I know this perhaps better than you realize, for I fought in the War of the Gems alongside your grandfather. I helped him force Thanos back from Álfheimr, and I was there when Borr took the Gauntlet from his hand.”
Then, to Loki’s undying shock, Odin Allfather shuddered. “It called to me, Loki, even as it called to you. As it called to Sigyn. It beckoned me with the promise of limitless souls and the minds of all the universe to sway to my will. It lured me, and it came so close to snaring me that, had Heimdall not seen in time and warned my father, Asgard as we know it would not have survived.
“I am grateful this battle is over—but I do not rejoice in how it ended.”
Loki bowed his head beneath his father’s revelation. The press of Odin’s hand upon his shoulder grounded him. “You are a greater man than I, Loki, to have resisted the Gauntlet’s pull. I am proud.”
Loki made to snort, but it came out more as a sob. Ironic humor rose like a tide of stinging brine, and only the presence of his father kept the tears at bay. “There was a time I would have remade the heavens to earn a scrap of your pride,” he said. “Now that I have it, I find I would trade it for the sight of her eyes once more.”
“I am sorry.” Odin’s hand was heavy on his shoulder, and though Loki would not have had it that way, it brought comfort with its weight.
Something in Loki’s chest cracked, perhaps the bitter knot of his heart, but he couldn’t stop the words that stumbled out of him, nor the tear that fell to soak into the fabric of his trousers. “It should have been me. I’m the murderer, it should have been me.”
His father moved to a chair, and sat with him until the long shadows of afternoon faded into the dark of evening.