Hidden Within

Balance

"S-sir." The Tiefling stuttered, glaring forward at the other, sitting atop his throne.

"What is it, now?" He snapped and lunged forward in his seat, in order to somehow scare the response from the mere guard before him.

The Tiefling swallowed, "Eleven out of twenty of us survived, sir. We had to flee the scene. The king called on too many guards and we-"The king held up his index finger to cut off the blabbering Tiefling warrior. "Did you," He paused, eyes burning in ferocity, "acquire the target?"

The other being shook his head, "I am afraid he fled the scene, sir. We cannot be sure where he is, but he was not executed."

Gallien nodded and smiled softly at his mere follower.

The lesser demon beamed innocently up at his leader, with questioning eyes. "So, you are not angry, sir?"

Gallien was on his feet, approaching the small warrior with a friendly face.

"Angry?" He asked with wide eyes, placing his two, red-skinned hands on each of his follower's cheeks."No, no, no, no, no." He grinned and firmly tightened his hold on the small demon, whom only cringed at his King's harsh touch.

Gallien leaned forward and gazed directly into the other Tiefling's eyes. "I'm outraged."He stated, and in one smooth movement, turned his palms the opposite direction, snapping the guard's neck.The low being fell limp to the floor, eyes open in silent surprise.The king sighed and shook his head with a shrug. He then snapped his fingers to call on another of his followers.

"Get rid of this." He groaned dryly, and sat gently back down into his chair, watching two men drag off the corpse, its devilish tail sliding along the tile of his abode, and its horns lacking their common glow. Gallien chuckled darkly, and licked his lips.

"Oh, Loki, Loki, Loki." He snickered, "Where have you run off to now?"

The day seemed to pass faster than Adeline thought was possible. Time was slightly different in Midgard, and she was rather shocked at how close the day was to night. Were their days just shorter than Asgard's? Or perhaps they had arrived later than assumed? She brushed the thought away, as really, she didn't overly care. She only cared about the people she had traveled with. They were now out of her sight as Jane was ushering her towards a small door at the end of a long hallway.

"And this is where you will be staying." Jane smiled and pushed the wooden slab open noisily, as it creaked at the slightest touch.

Adeline winced at the sound and peered inside. Her new chamber was smaller than the one she'd had previous, but appeared almost, more comfortable. It was cozy, a satin, beige bed sheet draped over a beige bed frame, and a small, oak wood wardrobe in the corner. Inside the space, was another door, which supposedly led to the bathing area. Adeline's eyes lit up as she saw the petite desk sat across the room, a few books stacked neatly on top. She quickly swayed over to them, sliding past Jane's open stance at the doorway. Jane narrowed her eyes, as the Asgardian picked up the first book on top, a small thing with a bright red cover, bearing the image of an odd, green tree.

Adeline said nothing, just continued to gaze down at the book in fascination. She loved reading, always had, and now she was somewhere new, with millions of different books all about different, and incomprehensible things. She marveled at the soft surface resting firmly in her hands.Jane stepped forward, with a friendly smile.

"That was always one of my favorites." She laughed gently and reached forward to point at the cover, that read, 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.

"We read it in school. I remember all the other kids thought it was so incredibly boring." She shook her head with a wide grin, to which Adeline found slightly comforting. "Not me though." Jane nodded amusingly and watched as Adeline turned to her in intrigue.

"What is it about?" Jane raised her eyebrows and opened her mouth to speak, allowing it to hang open for a little while before actually speaking.

"Acceptance." She finally managed and smiled kindly to Adeline.

Adeline cocked her head in suspicion. "How so?"

"Well, it's about not judging someone by the way they look, or speak." Jane shrugged and chuckled softly to herself, for a reason Adeline was not sure."Basically, don't judge a book by its cover. Judge it based on its contents."

Adeline's eyes widened and she nodded, carefully choosing her next words, all while putting the book down and sitting on the bed that would now be hers."Is this why you are so fearful of Loki?"

Jane froze and stared at Adeline with a startled expression. "I, um," She stuttered and shook her head with a shrug. "What do you mean?"

Adeline swallowed and nodded, "You are frightened of Loki because of his actions, more than anything else. Am I correct?"

Jane stayed completely still, "I guess so, but with good reason."

Adeline answered for her, "Yes, because he murdered many innocent people, and attempted to claim your world for his own." She winced at the words and began to ask herself why she didn't feel the same as Jane.

And as if she could read her mind, Jane asked, "But you aren't. Why not?"

Adeline gulped and seemed to shrug off the idea of Loki's actions.

She cleared her throat, "My father made me promise him one thing. In all his life. One thing."Jane leaned forward in interest.

Adeline shut her eyes as she said the words."No matter how mad someone makes you, how sad, as long as you see the good in them, you will guide them towards the light."

Jane tilted her head to the side in almost intrigue, gesturing Adeline onward with a comforting half-smile.

"For years, I had no clue what he meant by it. Evil people were evil; criminals, killers, liars. Good people were good; innocent bystanders, victims of the evil done." Adeline visibly swallowed and shook her head slowly, "Until,"

Jane's eyes widened instantly and she dropped her head to face downward. "Until you met Loki."

Adeline nodded and blushed slightly. After a few moments of utter, painful silence, Adeline continued."I just want to help him, Lady Foster." She sighed in defeat and placed her palms on her cheeks, sitting with her elbows on her knees.Her self-wallowing was shaken to the side as Jane lunged forward and pulled her into a soft embrace. Adeline froze, her eyes wide with confusion.

She shook her head and stuttered, "What is this?"

Jane pulled back with a small laugh and shrug, "A hug."

Adeline nodded, eyes still wide with a lack of understanding, "Yes, but why?"

Jane got up; smiling softly as she put down the stack of clothing she had been holding all along, much to Adeline's oblivion, onto the small, lonely desk."Because you looked like you needed it."

Adeline bit her lip, staring blankly at the edge of the bed, only to be knocked from the silence as Jane cleared her throat.

"Well, these are for you. Some of mine and Darcy's things." She firmly nodded her head and swayed back to the open door.

Before she could leave, Adeline spoke, "Thank you, Jane Foster of Midgard."

Jane spun back to face the blonde-haired warrior, her eyes lighting up in sympathy."Just Jane is fine." She winked, and left Adeline alone in the rather lonesome room.

"Brother, it will be alright here." Thor breathed softly, as he stood on the edge of the small complex's balcony, staring out over the more 'out in the country' side of London.

Loki shook his head, "I feel unwelcome."

Thor sighed and nodded, trying to comfort his brother in anyway possible. "I understand, brother." Loki spun to face him, bearing an angry scowl.

"But you do not, Thor!"

Thor froze and arched an eyebrow.

"Here, you are a savior, a hero. Whilst, for me, many wish I'd dig a hole and die in it."

Thor chuckled softly at his brother's dramatics, although it was wholly true.

Loki sighed and shrugged, "Part of me wishes-" Loki stopped, brushing away his confession and simply turning away.

Thor narrowed his eyes and leaned forward, placing a hand on Loki's tense shoulders. "What, brother?"

Loki shook him off and moved further away from his sibling's position on the balcony. "Nothing. Nevermind."

Thor groaned and inched closer again, "Loki!"

His voice was now quite a harsh yell, causing Loki to turn even farther away, taking back his thought of every sharing anything with his oaf of a brother.

"Leave me be." He muttered and Thor sighed deeply.

With that, the blond-haired prince turned to the glass door of the balcony, leaving his sibling behind in the cold breeze of 'eager to fall' snow. On his way out the doorframe, he nearly rammed into the frail figure of Adeline Crow. She gazed up at him in surprise with a small, innocent smile.

"Sorry." She murmured, holding a blanket around her, and her hair loose, flowing downward beautifully at her sides.She watched as Thor grinned with a shake of his head. "Not a problem, Lady Crow."

Adeline winced patiently, as Thor leaned down to her, whispering softly, "Talk some sense into my little brother, will you?" He urged, and she nodded hesitantly, watching the large man stride away toward his bedroom.

She let out a deep breath and stepped onto the cold ground of the outdoor balcony.

Loki stood, hunched over, staring at the bottom surface of the world, his eyes narrowed, and his body clothed in a simple tunic, his elegant cape removed. Adeline smiled softly and approached him, standing just at his side, wrapping the blanket she held a little tighter around her.

"Are you not cold?" She questioned, to which Loki simply glanced her way with a smirk.She sighed at her own stupidity. "Right, of course."

Loki chuckled, straightening out his position against the balcony. "It's rather soothing."He made out, his voice deeper than usual. "After being almost burnt alive, the frigid air warms me."He winked with a laugh, "If that makes any amount of sense."

Adeline found herself giggling, and instantly blushed, shaking her head to rid herself of the girlish noises."In a way it does, in a way it doesn't." She stated firmly, satisfied with her answer.

Loki nodded and turned away again, his smirk staying with him but immediately disappearing when Adeline posed an eager statement."You wish to confess something." Loki whirled to face her, confused by her truthful knowledge.She could tell by the way he stood, as if bottled up by anxiousness. Uncomfortable and unsure.

He cleared his throat and sighed, "Yes, I suppose."

She nodded and gestured him to speak with a flinch of her head.

Loki smiled hesitantly and shrugged, "I just think-"

Adeline watched as his face twisted peculiarly. "You think what?" She asked when he didn't continue.

"I just think maybe," He paused and shut his eyes tightly, "maybe I should have died in that execution. Made it easier on everyone. Spare Thor from this stress, and you-" He swallowed quite visibly. "Spare you from this complication that is me." He was then chuckling as he angrily shook his head.

Adeline wasn't sure how to respond. She wasn't sure if words could suffice.Instead, she flew forward, wrapping her warm arms, still covered by a blanket, around his cold body.He froze, actually froze, not from the frigid air, but because of the sympathetic action.

"What is this?" He questioned, causing Adeline to laugh at the irony.

"A hug." She grinned, except unlike Jane, she didn't let go yet.

"What ever for?" He asked in suspicion, arms still hanging at his sides in hesitance.

Adeline sighed into his shoulder, tucking her cold nose against the ridge of his neck."For you." She admitted; it was a strong enough reason, but she blushed as she told the more sound truth.

"And for me too."

With that, her world lit up in joy as Loki's arms wrapped tightly around her. Her eyes closed when he quietly muttered, "Thank you."

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