Hidden Within

Absentation

"I just don't understand why you have to leave."

"It's only for a little while, I promise Adey."

"You always leave."

The young girl wrapped her fingers around her father's wrist, pleading he not vanish yet again.The older man smiled apologetically and sighed, leaning down to plant a soft kiss on his daughter's forehead.

"Adey, it is my duty to serve the king. You know that."

The girl bobbed her head up and down, wincing at her father's words.

"Plus you have your mother, and your little brother."

The girl merely stared at the ground blankly, "But I'll miss you."

He sighed yet again – it seemed like he was always sighing lately – and stroked a hair back behind her ear, smiling wearily at her somber features.

"Do you remember what I told you?" His voice was gentle and soothing, settling the smaller Fire Elf's jitters and trembles.

The blonde-haired being nodded and wiped at her puffy, sore, red-rimmed eyes, "Yes."

"Tell me." He commanded softly, smirking in relief at his daughter, as her hardened features softened to a more relaxed appearance.

"Missing someone is your heart's way of reminding you that you love them." Adeline Crow grinned at this and couldn't help but brighten at the words her father forced her to remember.

He clapped a hand down onto her shoulder and smiled pleasantly, happy with his daughter's altered expression. "Good bye, Adey."

"Good bye, father."

The taller Fire Elf gave her another kiss on the forward and reached for the door handle, sending a small wave to her mother and little brother, whom was currently scooped up in her arms. Adeline's smiled faded as he tugged the door open, but she was relieved by his following words.

"Promise you'll miss me Adey?"

The blonde nodded and smiled contently, "Yes, of course."

"Then I've got nothing to worry about." He winked and swayed out the door.

Adeline knew now that he was wrong on this day; a man who was always so confident, extreme, and pleased with every little thing he came into contact with – he was utterly, and undeniably wrong. Because he did have something to worry about: the present threat of his unexpected death – as that was the very last day Adeline Crow spoke to her father.

ooo

Loki was growing tired of the number of times Darcy felt the need to apologize. He had dropped it a long while back, but every time she said 'sorry', the idea that Adeline Crow had been swiped from under her nose came rushing back into his mind again. He tried to shoo her, to plead for her to leave him alone, but this just twisted her expression into something more apologetic.

Jane had returned roughly an hour ago; Darcy sprinting to the door, whispering a few words, and then revealing a rather petrified Jane Foster at the entrance of her small house.

Thor then approached her, leaving Loki at the kitchen table, head hanging down on his palms in defeat and hopelessness while he gazed blankly at the wooden surface beneath his elbows.

It was cracked and fragmented, whilst still intact.Why was it still intact?It was old and broken.Fairly disgusting.It obviously needed to be replaced, refurnished, at least dusted off or scrubbed clean.It took Loki a moment to realize he seemed to be summarizing himself just by observing a brittle kitchen table.

He hadn't said two words since his conversation with Thor, outside in the uncomfortable blizzard of every-falling snow.

He was thinking. Thinking hard.

His older brother had blabbed on about plans and escape routes into Drengrheim, the Tiefling location, but Loki had merely tuned him out.He had his own ideas; his own thoughts and ways to release the woman he loved; yes, loved. He was pleased to find himself capable of it. Love.

But aside from that, the only word he could muster to describe his plan of action was rather threatening and entirely frightening: sacrifice.

ooo

Adeline waited. She waited and waited and waited and waited.

She also trembled in fear, and shook in anger. She didn't enjoy allowing words to affect her in such a way as the Tiefling King's had, but this was far from ignorable. She didn't even approach the thought aloud. She strayed away from it.

She tried to erase the images of a Tiefling swooping down onto her father's mangled position on the ground, trying to recover from an already painful blow, whilst he cowered in absolute desperation. No. Her father wasn't desperate. He was never desperate. He had the strongest will to survive than any she had ever met. He was absolutely inspirational in the way that he didn't care for panic, or worry, or fear.At least, that is what she always thought before she had asked him, some time ago – which now felt like centuries.

"Father, how come you do not fear anything?"

It was after a particularly long battle, where she was practicing her combat skills, as the stronger Fire Elf helped to improve her flexibility.They had resulted to simple strengths, as he had nearly given up on his daughter's ability to control the elemental power of fire.Now they were merely lying sprawled out into the soft meadow of grass in the hills where they trained, whenever her father had time away from his duties.Her 'old man' didn't look at her when he uttered his simple response. He only stared blankly at the thickly clouded blue sky.

"Oh, I fear many things, Adey."

Adeline was entirely intrigued by this.

"What do you fear, father?"

It was this conversation that reminded the warrior, currently, of when she had first had a true conversation with the dark prince held prisoner.She had, in turned, answered, as her father would have, honorably and respectively.

"What are you afraid of, Lady Crow?"Loki had asked her.

"Many things."

"Like what?"

"Well." "Abandonment. Loss. Grief."

"I fear losing you, Adey; losing your mother; your brother, Henry. I fear what I don't know, what I don't understand. "

Adeline stared at the cloud above her, appearing so much like a bird soaring, its wings spread wide in an attempt to flee the great unknown."I thought bravery was always key. I thought, as a warrior of the king, you weren't supposed to be afraid."

Her father chuckled at this, "Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity, dear Adeline."

The young blonde smirked and narrowed her eyes at the drifting clouds. She waited a few moments before responding to his tease."So? Give me an explanation then, father." She mocked and he nodded, his skin brilliantly shining in the daylight, a light flame nearly visibly at the touch, clouding his aura in magic.

"I am strong because I've been weak. I am fearless because I've been afraid. And I am wise because I've been foolish."Her father grinned and sat up in the grass, sending her a wink as he got to his feet, "Experience is by far the greatest teacher, Adey."

Adeline could only dwell on the past as she sat there, struggling to snap herself out of painful, yet pleasant, memories.

She turned her attention back to the situation at hand.

Loki. How could she possibly save Loki? She couldn't stand just waiting; just waiting for something terrible to apply itself to her misery.

So she had to come up with a plan. She had to. But the only word twisting its way into any thought of a plan was simply heart wrenching, and utterly timorous. She tried to ignore it and continue on with her list of empty thoughts, but it kept haunting her, like a spirit on the lookout for vengeance.

Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.

ooo

"Perhaps we can convince father to-" Thor was violently interrupted by the being who had stayed eerily silent for the last hour.

"I do not need Odin's help!" He exclaimed, slamming his fist onto the kitchen table, sending Darcy quivering beneath her blanket on the couch, and Jane jumping so much that she dropped the pan she was currently frying an egg in for a nighttime meal. "I will do this without him!"

Thor leaned back against his chair's hard surface, and sighed loudly.

His brother couldn't be persuaded, but Thor had a plan of his own.He would get Adeline Crow and Loki out of Drengrheim alive.He was set on the idea.It was finalized inside his mind, and at the top of his list on importance.

He did not want to lose his brother.Not again.

Not when he was so close to getting him back.Back to his old self.

Before father had so stupidly conceived to informing him of his birthright and upbringing.Before Midgard had been sentenced to destruction by his very command.

He would get his brother back.He would. He was sure of it.

So, for now, he simply agreed.He did not inform his brother of his ideas, of his protests, of his judgment.He simply…agreed.

"Then what exactly have you planned to do?" Thor asked, eyes intent on listening to his brother's explanation; if he even had one.

Loki shut his eyes and shook his head. "We will need your friends for this one."

A/N: THANK YOU LoquaciousQuibbler for GIVING ME THIS: "Just did a little research... perhaps you should call the Tiefling world "Drengrheim.""Drengr" is the Old Norse word for warrior, so I think it would roughly translate to the world of the warriors...just an idea."

IT WAS A BLOODY GOOD IDEA. THANK YOOOOOOU!

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