Hidden Within

Competence

Both couldn't help but laugh. They were still laughing. Giggling irritable giggles and smiling too happy smiles. Not that it was a bad thing, but it was terribly embarrassing to nearly stumble into the small cottage, with three judgmental eyes glaring steadily their way as they did just that.

Adeline caught her breath, her large grin fading instantly as she gazed into the curious eyes of their audience. Loki was still chuckling, staring at the ground, and panting to register back a normal heart beat after all the running. Adeline quickly smacked him on the shoulder, and his head flew up to her, then to the three observers. Needless to say, his smile vanished as well.

Adeline was incredibly uncomfortable; Darcy's expression was a mixture of mockery and wicked enthusiasm, Jane was simply wide eyed, and compared to each other, it was the same for Thor. Adeline forced an innocent beam, and took a glance at Loki. He was blank, emotionless.

"Good conversation?" Darcy grinned darkly, and winked at a stunned Adeline Crow.

The warrior nodded, and cleared her throat."We were just talking about…my powers and-and,"Adeline stuttered and peered over at Loki for help, "And puzzles."He added with a small, crooked curve of his lips.

Jane shot a strange face over to Thor, who returned the look.

Darcy flipped her lip, in a sort of pouting expression, and took a step closer to the duo. "What kind of puzzles?"

Loki deadpanned, "Seriously? You're more interested in puzzles, over fire powers?" He groaned and swayed quietly over to the living room couch, where he hesitantly sat in the sofa chair.

"Oh, it's all interesting." Darcy fought back, "Just, somehow, I don't think your conversation particularly focused on your 'average' puzzles."

Adeline choked on her next breath, gasping for air at Darcy's accuracy.She quickly inched her way toward the kitchen, eager to get a glass of water, to ease the awkward tension in the room.

"You okay, Adeline?" Darcy smiled wickedly from behind her.

Adeline sighed and reached for a small cup, grabbing it out of the large cupboard. "I'm," She shook her head, "peachy."

Loki suppressed a scoff, and instead cleared his throat to mask the oncoming grin.

Jane finally took action, "Darcy, don't be a nag."

Darcy giggled, "I'm not nagging, Jane Foster! I'm simply inquiring."

Jane moaned in irritation and grabbed Thor's hand, "Can we go now, Thor?"

Thor chuckled and shrugged uncomfortably.

This caught Loki's attention. "Go? Go where?" Loki questioned.

Thor nodded swiftly and stepped closer to his brother, just as Adeline carried on filling her glass with clear, cold water."I was thinking, while you were conversing with Miss Crow, of returning to Asgard. Jane simply wants to join me."

Loki's eyes narrowed, and his brow furrowed. "Are you insane? We committed treason. Father would have your head."

Thor sighed and inched nearer to where his brother sat. "I do not think he would take such drastic action without hearing me out. I only wish to make sure Asgard is okay."

Loki scoffed darkly and shook his head, "Oh right, because you're Thor, Prince of Asgard. The king's favorite son."

Thor groaned, "Loki. It will not be this way. You seem to think I will abandon you. This will not happen, brother."

Loki's expression turned flat, and he fell incredibly silent. Adeline continued to sip her glass of water, making sure each slurp was not too loud.

"And you wish to go now?" Loki finally uttered, his voice soft for once. Adeline glanced at Thor. "As soon as possible."

Jane chimed in, "I thought maybe with me at Thor's side, his father would not be so harsh in taking action."

Loki chuckled and stared down at his hands, resting dimply on the armrests."Mm, maybe," He snapped sarcastically, "Or maybe he'll simply execute you both. Having Adeline at my side certainly didn't help my case."Loki was out of his seat in a second, storming towards his room.

Thor seemed as though he wished to interfere, to step in and fix the situation but he didn't. He simply turned to Adeline, putting his hand in the air at her ready position (ready to run after the man who had angrily left the scene), and she instantly caught the message. Give him a moment. Give him some time alone.

She nodded back to the other brother, and shifted in her position. "Are you honestly leaving to Asgard?"

Thor bobbed his head up and down. "Yes, I think it best."

Adeline bit her lip, "If I give you something, will you give it to my family?"

Thor smiled fondly and bowed his head in affirmation.Adeline beamed, placed her glass down, and hurried off to her own room.

~oOo~

Mom, Henry, Uncle Eric,

It's Adeline.I realize you are concerned, worried, frightened about where I am, who I am with, why the whole of Asgard is probably out for my blood.Honestly, with all that I did, I'd be insulted if they weren't.

Mother, you always told me that being different was a strength, that it would help me in the long run. I never told you how right you were.I am different, and if I wasn't, I would have never made it to where I am as I write this.Yes, I am a criminal now, and yes, I'm staying in a cottage with papers serving as the carpet and dishes stacking up in the sink to look like the bloody castle of Asgard, but I am happy.Happier than I have ever been.I never thought I would feel like this again.When Dad died, part of me vanished for a while there.He was my mentor; he was the part of me that held power. The Elf side.I thought I had lost that for so long. But I'm not so sure anymore.I've found my flame, mother.All because I'm different.If I wasn't different, I wouldn't have been assigned to the dungeons below Asgard.If I wasn't different, I wouldn't have met a strange, broken man and have had the ability to understand him.If I wasn't different, I wouldn't have made it here. To this beautiful, creative, new world.

You taught me that, and I thank you for everything. I am sure I will see you again, and Henry, and Uncle Eric.Just know that I am safe and I love you all.

Henry, be nice to your mother.Remember what I told you about dealing with bullies; fireball under the bum is the oldest trick in the book.Dad taught me that one.Promise me, Henry Crow, 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.

Uncle Eric, I only have one thing for you.Stay out of the cookie jar.You know what it does to your nerves, and you know Henry enjoys them,and frankly deserves them, more than you do.

All the best,

Adeline Crow.

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