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
She woke to the sound of chirping birds, chimes and the gravelly rumble of a voice nearby. Her thoughts drift toward each other, and it seemed they took a great deal of time before they met—like ships in the night, but with a fair sight more good fortune, for these, at least, eventually did cross paths.
That was her father’s voice. The words, too, were familiar, but… Sigyn sighed internally, and once more she let out her thoughts out to drift over the waters. They felt loose, detached, and she… she felt the absence of supporting structures that had stamped their imprint on the architecture of her mind.
It took an age to recognize the words. They were from her favorite childhood book, one of wizards and warriors and noble quests. It was a frivolity, but something her father had shared with her, and she had treasured it.
…Why was he reading it now?
Sigyn breathed deeply, taking in the smell of clean linens, and opened her eyes. The rich ochres of her bed curtains met her gaze. Her father’s voice stopped.
“Sigyn?” he asked, and she could hear… worry. And hope, in his voice.
“Wh… wha’ h’ppened?” she slurred, half-asleep yet. Chime lilies, she thought. From Vanaheim. That was the chiming, she had them outside in planters. She was very proud.
Her father’s callused farmer’s hand took up her own, and Sigyn flopped her head to the side to look. By the Tree her head hurt. Her brain throbbed at the incautious movement, and she winced.
“You took something of a blow to the head,” her father said, and there was something else there, but Sigyn couldn’t think enough to get it out.
“Oh,” she said, and let her eyes settle closed. She was in bed, and her father was close. It was time to sleep.
It was Loki who took Sigyn outside for the first time since… whatever it was had happened.
Everyone had been tight-lipped around her, as though she was delicate and requiring kid gloves, but she had overheard enough talk to realize the war was over. The Chitauri had apparently left Asgard, and the invasion was lifted. She tried to grasp at memories of that day, but aside from random images that flickered and vanished, or vague impressions when she looked at the way her curtains billowed in the breeze, she could remember nothing.
Far more unnerving was the way the servants tiptoed about her, and froze like rabbits whenever she made a move. Only Ane and her father, and Loki, and Thor when he came to visit, treated her anything like normal.
Further, Something had passed between Loki and Njall. Gone was the wary circling from before, replaced by grudging mutual understanding, and all told Sigyn was ready to try hitting her head with something very hard again in hopes that it would set her mind back to rights.
She was wearing her most comfortable, worn-in dress, tucked beneath her trustworthy surcoat, to visit the City in the wake of the victory. Sigyn would have thought it a joyous walk, but Njall’s eyes, and Loki’s when he came to gather her, were solemn and reluctant.
It put a damper on conversation. She leaned on Loki’s arm, steady beneath her still-wavering sense of balance, and silently stared out at the destruction marring her home. The worst of the rubble was gone, and the broken glass was no more than glittering puffs of silver ground into the pavement, but buildings were still hollow, torn shells, and mighty towers that had once reached for the sky were now truncated just above the surrounding roofline.
“They infiltrated through the sewers and cut the generators,” Loki explained softly. “Do you remember the warning bells?” Sigyn didn’t. “That was when the shield fell.”
Sigyn nodded, and something was rising in her chest, some revelation she knew but couldn’t touch. She clung tighter to Loki’s arm.
A groom held a horse waiting, and Loki helped Sigyn into the saddle before easing up behind her. He clicked his tongue and drew the reins, and led them down the Causeway. The destruction was plainer, in the plaza. A sizable crater radiated out from the center, and Sigyn had a vague recollection of Thor and Loki slamming home before the invasion struck. All around the shops were boarded, though some were open in defiance, and an impromptu market had sprung up amidst the more prodigious chunks of fallen architecture.
It did not escape Sigyn, the looks the City-dwellers gave her. They were wary, they were guarded, and no few were awed. She pressed back into Loki’s embrace and her feeling of foreboding deepened.
Loki goaded the horse into a canter after they broke through the plaza. Sigyn stared up at the defaced colossi lining the Causeway.
“Leviathans,” Loki said, following her gaze.
Sigyn tore her eyes away, focusing on the air between the horse’s ears and nowhere else.
They reached the Northern Gates, those that opened on Bifröst, and when they parted Sigyn stiffened. How many times she had gazed down this vista she had lost count, but she knew that that—she squinted—structure, had not been there. Nothing stood there, not since the Observatory had shorn off into the void.
She leaned forward in her insistent curiosity, and almost fell off the horse. Loki caught her, snugging her back against him. “Easy,” he murmured.
“What—” she began, but he cut her off.
“You’ll see, soon enough.”
Sigyn bit her tongue and watched as the pylons fell past and the structure grew larger. Her frown deepened. “That looks like an observatory,” she said, and it did. The Bifröst Observatory had not been the only observatory in Asgard, though it had been the only one with the additional purpose of housing a bridge. With the absence of the latter the former should not have stood in its place. To do so would mock the Bifröst, and make it more difficult for future engineers to reconstruct it.
“It is,” Loki said, and Sigyn heard the reluctance in his voice. He reined in the horse before the Gatekeeper’s amber gaze. “We wish to see the Observatory,” he said.
Heimdall’s gaze flicked between the two, and Sigyn felt herself quailing beneath that penetrating stare. The Watcher said nothing, however, merely stood aside.
Loki helped slide Sigyn from the horse, and once again offered his arm for her to lean upon. He guided her through into the viewing platform within.
It was like the former Observatory in outline, but the resemblance ended there. Where the previous had been a bright, brassy gold, this was the color of worn steel. Where the previous had been marked with seiðr and rune along the axes, this instead bore corresponding plants, rising from the metal as though grown, not sculpted, and the effect was softer, more organic. Sigyn gazed about her, taking in the bridge port above and the keyhole before, and she found herself beginning to tremble. This was more than just an observatory.
“Loki, what… what is this? How—”
“You took the Infinity Gauntlet, Sigyn,” he said, and the words sounded as though they were torn from his lips.
She frowned. “I did what?”
Loki swallowed. “The Gauntlet. Thanos’ Hand. You took it, you rebuilt Bifröst. This is your doing.”
“Oh,” Sigyn murmured, and reached out to touch a flowering mandrake. It was cold beneath her touch. Awe filled her. So long she had worked toward this goal. “I don’t remember any of it.”
That wasn’t entirely true. Even as she said it glimpses flared through her mind; battle frozen on the Causeway, her hand against Loki’s cheek; ancients wielding mighty forces; a Chitauri hiveship silhouetted against the sun. She frowned. “There’s something else,” she said, and looked to the prince.
Loki was staring at the walls, his face a mixture of fascination and revulsion. “You formed a black hole,” he said. “You generated a star not a hundred paces from where we stand and you collapsed it into a black hole.” He glanced to her, then away. “You sent the Chitauri into it.”
Sigyn stared at him. “I… what?”
“You buried the Chitauri in the black hole you created, and then you built this Observatory out of their own hiveship as a gravestone,” he said. His eyes bore terrible knowledge in their depths, and deep, aching regret.
Sigyn swallowed, her brows drawing together. “I destroyed a hiveship?”
“No,” Loki whispered. “You destroyed all of them.”
There was a beat where Sigyn tried to process his words, tried to understand what he was saying, but it wouldn’t come. She stared at the glorious tangle of plants, and the stylized stars peeping out from behind their leaves, and her breath came faster and faster.
All of them. She had destroyed all of them.
Memories flickered; she saw hints of her own mind, foreign yet intimate, of joy at her victory, impressions of vindictive pleasure, of sculpting the folly of her enemy into the glory of her people. “Loki!” Her voice was thin and weak in her ears.
She couldn’t see. She was blind; all she saw was the shadowed memories that tore at the edges of her, like looking through broken shards of glass that refused to stay steady in her grasp. She couldn’t see, and Loki’s hands came up around her, warm and strong.
“Sigyn, it’s alright, I’m here.”
A wail tore from her throat, horror-stricken and hoarse with denial. It sounded guttural and animalistic where it reverberated from the exquisite acoustic of the domed walls. She buried her face in Loki’s chest. She could feel her own pride and pleasure, she could still feel it. She broke away from Loki’s embrace and collapsed to her knees, coughing up the bile that rose in her throat.
Loki’s hands were back, brushing aside her hair, and Sigyn shuddered.
“What have I done?” she whispered.
“What you thought best for your people at the time,” Loki answered.
“Don’t justify it!” Sigyn snarled, wiping the taste of vomit from her lips. “Don’t make this less than it is.”
“You think I make less of experience?” Loki said, and his voice was oddly distant. Sigyn looked to him, and even through her agony she saw its mirror in his own gaze. “Twice I tried to kill an entire race. The second time I succeeded.” He stroked Sigyn’s hair. “There was but a handful left, after Thanos’ attentions, but I still killed them. They were a fragile species. Fragile and beautiful. Thanos ordered, and I obeyed. Take comfort in the knowledge the Chitauri would have destroyed you, in turn, my lady. It is cold comfort, but better that than none at all.”
Tears slipped down Sigyn’s cheeks, hot and stinging, and she felt herself crumple about the ache in her heart. “Take me away from here, Loki,” she said. “Please, take me away.”
Once more she felt his arms come about her shoulders, and then felt the pressing weight of the In Between. He brought them to her bed, and he curled himself around her, taking her sobs into himself and sharing in her pain until the weak oblivion of sleep claimed her.