He Without Sin

Loki and Amora In The Tower

The atmosphere was distinctly uncomfortable when they reached the tower. Steve kept a protective grip on Amora, Skurge hovering near by and watching the man with a weary gaze. Natasha kept her weapon ready as she watched the gods distrustfully, Clint likewise looking on guard. Bruce seemed more disturbed at the injuries on both gods than nervous about the situation.

"Dr. Banner," Thor said in a quiet, but stern voice.

"Yes?" Bruce answered nervously.

"Will you please care for Amora's wounds." It was stated as a question, but it was clearly a command. Bruce hesitated a moment. "Do no worry," Thor said, looking sternly at the goddess where she was barely conscious in Steve's arms. "She will not cause you trouble."

Amora, in response to Thor's clear command, looked to Skurge and the man seemed to 'stand down.' Steve looked to Bruce as he moved to the elevator, clearly refusing to release her. The doctor followed with slight hesitance, standing as far from the other three as possible, as the warrior also refused to leave his lady's side.

Thor turned to Tony. "Where did you leave my brother's things?"

"What things?" Natasha questioned suspiciously.

Thor completely ignored her, gaze not even wavering from Tony, so Tony decided to follow his lead. "It's in the lab."

Thor looked at him expectantly and Tony took the first step into the elevator. When Natasha made to follow Thor glared at her strongly enough to actually stop her long enough for the doors to close. The trip to the lab seemed quicker than usual, probably thanks to Jarvis, and Thor stepped confidently into Tony's space, laying Loki a top one of the many tables. "Bring me Loki's things," Thor commanded.

Tony ran to get Loki's satchel and handed over to Thor, Loki's hand on Thor's arm stopped him from reaching within. Loki seemed slightly calmer now, even if he was still trembling. "It would be a waste," He choked out.

"Brother." Thor's voice was half a demand and half a plea.

"Amora can heal me once she is well," Loki explained.

Thor placed a hand on the back of Loki's neck, holding it there until Loki looked at him. "I do not wish to see you in pain Loki."

"Why not?" Loki asked quietly. Thor looked at Loki with shocked hurt and Loki looked away as he continued. "Do you not hate me, after all that I have done? Do I not deserve whatever punishment I receive? Are you not here to slay the monster in pretender flesh?"

"What madness is this, Loki?" Thor asked as he looked at his brother with horror. "Why would I ever wish to kill you? Why would I ever think you a monster? You are my brother!"

Loki's reply was almost a whimper. "But I am not..."

"What is this about, Loki?" Thor demanded desperately. "What has happened? Father kept me from visiting you, Mother set you free, and no one has told me anything! What is going on here, Loki! Why did you invade Midgard? Why this talk of monsters?"

Loki shook is head, eyes closed and let out strangled laugh. "He didn't tell you? Of course. Of course he didn't. Thor is not know, after all. Thor is never to know. Cannot have the favored son losing esteem for the All-father."


"And he sent him after me!" Loki continued without pause at Thor's objection. The younger prince curled up into a ball, despite the pain it had to cause him to move his broken limbs. "Why would he hate me so much? Why would he do this to me again? Why would he?"

"Brother?" Thor questioned, a heartbreaking look of confusion on his face. "I don't understand what upsets you."

"You never do," Loki whispered. "Because I'm not suppose to tell you. You aren't suppose to know."

Tony really didn't now what to do here. He wasn't sure whether he should leave the room or not. At least, not until Loki began to freak out. It wasn't hard to see that the man was starting to lose it and despite Thor's obviously good intentions, he was not helping.

"Hey, Thor. Maybe you should check on Amora? See if she's up to healing Loki?"

Thor looked reluctant to leave, but another glance at the panicking mess that Loki was becoming and he nodded. "I shall return soon."

Tony waited until Thor left before approaching Loki. He wasn't sure what to say or how to help, except to try and distract the god. He reached into the bag and pulled out one of the rocks. "So, hey," He began softly. "How do you use this thing?"

Loki didn't seem to be paying much attention when he replied. "You crush them over injuries."

So of course, Tony squeezed it, shocked to find how easily it seemed to crumble in is hand, and spread the dust over Loki's limbs. Loki seemed to shiver as his bones realigned themselves, the rips and tears in his flesh closed up, bruises healed, and the blood disappeared as the damage was corrected. "Huh." Tony hummed as he watched the dust disappear and the wounds heal.

"Why did you do that?" Loki asked tiredly. "Weren't you listening to what I told Thor?"

"Yeah, but I don't really think she's gonna be up to stuff any time soon."

Loki pushed himself up and locked eyes with Tony. "You've been riffling through my things, Stark."

The accusation caught him off guard a moment. "Uh, well... You left it behind!" He tried to turn the words around on him.

"Yes, well, I was just a bit preoccupied at the time," Loki retorted. He wrapped his arms around himself. "My departure was not permission to riffle through my things. Have you no manners, Stark?"

"I've got the best of manners!"

"Sure you do." Loki sounded tired.

"You okay, Loki?" Tony questioned softly. It felt odd to be talking to Loki as his male self instead of Luna. It was odd to say his name, even.

Loki let out another bitter laugh. This one also tired and soft. "No, Stark. Not in the least."

The atmosphere in the med-bay was uncomfortable at best, but Bruce was trying to do his best to ignore it. Skurge immediately placed himself across the room, axe against the wall at his side, giving himself the best vantage to see the entire room, but staring intensely at Amora. The goddess didn't return the stare, but looked immensely relieved by it. The moment his eyes were on her, her body seemed to relax the slightest bit.

Amora turned a tired gaze to Steve. "Captain," she said softly. "Can you aid me in undressing?" Steve's face reddened and immediately began to stutter what Bruce assumed to be a rejection, but Amora continued. "Your healer cannot treat my words this way."

Steve looked torn between arguing to protect her modesty and helping her, but after a moment he gave in to the instinct to help. Blushing intensely, he asked, "Are you certain you want me to help?"

Amora's eyes lit up slightly as she nodded. "Yes."

Trying to keep his eyes averted, he reached out for the goddess, who immediately leaned her weight on him. Bruce had busied himself with gathering the supplies needed to clean and treat her wounds and was gathering them on a medical cart on the side of the bed. Amora's half torn dress had been removed by the time he turned back to her and even Bruce, with years of experience as a doctor and being professional, couldn't help but stare. The closest thing to rational thought that he could muster as he took in the sight of the beautiful, but wounded goddess before him was that Asgardians must not wear undergarments, seeing as absolutely nothing had been under that green dress.

Amora smiled tiredly at him, a bit more relaxed than the damage upon her should allow, and reached out to stroke his cheek. "Dr. Banner, I will make a much more attractive sight once clean."

That managed to snap Bruce out of it and he looked away, embarrassed. He couldn't remember ever acting so unprofessional, especially not with a patient so grievously wounded. "S-sorry."

"No need. The sight is meant to be enjoyed."

Steve was having just as difficult a time not staring at her, only he had the extra burden of acting as her pillow and holding her weight up while he tried to avoid the sight. She gave him the same amused smile she gave Bruce.

Bruce started cleaning away the blood from her face. Amora sighed as if truly relaxed.

"You, um, seem to be dealing with your injuries a bit better now," Bruce commented.

"You are a wonderful healer," She sighed. After a pause she corrected herself. "Doctor. A very good doctor."

"I've hardly done anything," Bruce said as he hesitantly moved on to the rest of her body. He was able to keep his staring slightly more under control this time, but he couldn't help... lingering... and then feeling extremely disrespectful about it.

Amora smiled as him as she raised her leg, resting her shoe clad ankle upon his shoulder and causing Bruce to flush more as he fought to look only at her face. "Could you remove this for me, doctor? I fear I've injured my ankle."

More slowly than he would like to admit, Bruce placed his tools on the table and took her leg gently in his hands, removing the shoe. Amora leaned further back on Steve, lifting her leg as she asked him, "Could you remove this one Steve?"

Blushing, he nodded and did so.

Amora locked eyes with Skurge a moment. "Are you well?" She asked in concern. Meeting her eyes, he merely nodded, still resting against the wall. She watched him a while longer, until he spoke.

"I am well enough for your needs, my lady. Mend yourself."

Satisfied with that answer, she turned her attention back to the mortals. She turned slightly to look Steve in the eye as Bruce still poked about her ankle. Smiling, she asked him, "Can you give back massages, Captain?"

"Yes," He answered.

"Would you? Please?" She looked at him through her lashes as his eyes became a bit dazed as he reached for her.

"Yes. For you," He answered her.

Amora sighed into the touch as she turned to Bruce. "Could you, maybe... my leg?"

"Alright," Bruce answered nervously.

Amora smiled and relaxed as she was massaged by the two men, Skurge's gaze never wavering from her person. It wan't true worship, at least not from the mortals, but it was close. It was reverent. It was good. She needed this attention after what she's been through. She felt far too weak...

By the time Thor arrived, she had regained quite a bit of her strength. She was completely leaned against Steve as he massaged her shoulders with one ankle on Bruce's shoulder as he massaged and tended to her leg and thighs. Thor took in the sight, but didn't comment as he sat to the side of her. Amora half looked away and didn't speak either.

"You are looking better, Enchantress," He said quietly.

Amora turned to look further away from him. "Please, Thor."

Thor sighed. "Enchan--"

"I shall beg you if I must!" She yelled. "Please, Thor, just speak my name. Just now, while I need it."

Thor rose and went to her side. Taking her chin in his hand, he turned her to face him, seeing the tears that glittered in her green eyes. "You are looking better, Amora."

She shivered slightly. "Thank you."

"But you are not this better," Thor went on. "Not with just this," He gestured to the mortals. "I know you, Amora. You need more than this."

Another shiver went through her at that. "This is all that I have."

"You have two mortals half under sway and this is all you ask of them?" Thor questioned.

"I didn't think that you would appreciate my bespelling your comrades," She admitted. "Well, anymore than necessary."

Thor moved closer to her, sweeping his finger gently through her now tangled hair and whispering in her ear. "You are beautiful, Amora."

The tremor that went through her this time was highly visible. "Thor--"

"You do not need glamour for that."

"But I--"

"Show me what he has done to you," Thor said. He pressed his forehead against her temple, wrapped one arm around her waist. "Show me, Amora. I must know what he has done."

Amora sighed and closed her eyes and the mostly healed visage that she had slowly placed over herself for the mortal vanished. Instead, every cut, tear, and rip of her flesh stood out in stark red contrast to the pale flesh. Bruce was slowing coaxing the bones in her leg back into place without having noticed. There was bruising around her neck and lip was split. Thor wasn't truly sure whether or not it was worst than the first time he'd seen it. She'd certainly hidden a few of the broken bones.

Thor traced his hands up her sides, applying enough force to slot bones into their proper place and ignoring the small breaths and whimpers that Amora made. "Tell me what happened."

"I felt that Skurge was in trouble and I went him," Amora explained. "He was guarding our home, but he... The Builder was waiting. He wanted me out the way and he wanted me as bait. For Loki."

"Why would he...?" Thor shook his head in confusion. His hands were still roaming gently over the injuries on Amora's form. He was still standing too close. Amora leaned into his hold, taking in all the attention afforded to her in this moment. The mortals had been a much needed drink, but Thor'a attention was always a fountain, a wave. Overwhelming and refreshing and beautiful. "This is too much."

"You are blind, my love," Amora whispered on a sigh. "It was never because of the All-father's word that he came. That was just the excuse. He just wants Loki. No matter what."

"Why?" Thor's voice was desperate.

"I cannot know that," She told hm. "Loki might not even know that. Not truly." She paused. "Did you come to help me? Or only to learn that which Loki will not tell?"

"Does the difference matter?" Thor asked her.

Amora didn't answer. She knew the answer was Loki. It was always Loki, after all. She would take any and all of Thor's attention afforded to her, was too weak for rejecting it to be a good idea even if she ever would, but there was a difference between the two. Thor was perhaps too foolish to know, to understand, or maybe he didn't take her feelings seriously enough to understand that it would be the difference, but it was there all the same.

One of those choices hurt, even as he helped her regain strength enough to heal. Amora tried not to admit it, but that was one thing she could always understand about Loki. Loving Thor hurt. It hurt. It always hurt. It hurt when he turned away from you and it hurt when he was too blind to know he was hurting you. And it hurt when you didn't know whether or not he was hurting you because of ignorance or cruel choice.


She leaned into him. "I will not tell you all of Loki's secrets."

Thor huffed a laugh. "Yes, I've learned that lesson well. But you will help me protect him?"

"Loki is my friend, Thor."

"Yes, I know."

Amora sighed. "You think me so selfish?"

Thor didn't answer.

That hurt and so she didn't speak either.

Despite both Hawkeye and Black Widow's strong and repeated insistence, Svadilfari had chosen to linger in the tower after the other's disappeared into the infirmary. The three were waiting on the floor beneath Tony's penthouse suite where they often gathered. The Vanir was leaning against the wall, staring out the window as the mortals kept their eyes on him.

"You know, Thor isn't going to be very keen on accepting your help after what you've done to his brother," Natasha said, breaking the silence.

"It is the All-father's order that has me on this trail, not the crown prince," Svadilfari replied.

"Pretty sure Odin didn't want you to kill, Loki," Clint said.

"I would not have killed him."

"Wouldn't want him maimed either."

"You know little about the All-Father," Svadilfari replied quietly, smiling. Raising his voice slightly, he added, "It does not matter what befalls the second prince as long as I return him after."

Natasha faced him full on, then, eyes narrowed. "I know what you did," She told him. "Bet Thor would be pretty interested in knowing, too."

Svadilfari gave her another smile. "Oh?" He turned to face her as well. "And what is it that I have done? And when have I done it?"

"What you did to Loki," Natasha clarified.

The smile never left his face as his eyes met Natasha. "Is that so? Did he tell you?"

"No one had to tell me."

"Would you like to know?" He questioned as he walked toward her. "The second prince has such lovely eyes. Beautiful when filled with fear. So large and imploring. One of the greatest talents of Asgard, weak beneath me, unable to fight." He paused as he stood before Natasha, leaning down over her. "And he was so young, so helpless, no where to go, nowhere to run." Svadilfari reached out to stroke Natasha's cheek. "Just like you, small one. I bet your eyes could do beautiful things with fear. Won't you try for me?" He licked his lips.

He gasped suddenly as an arrow shot threw his shoulder and looked up to see Hawkeye notching another as he aimed higher. "Next one goes through your eye," He growled out.

Svadilfari glanced back toward Natasha before taking a few steps back. "You are just like the second prince, small one. You are wanting, just as he was. The similar eyes. A great well of strength, but oh, crack open the shell and such delicacies underneath." He visibly shivered. "I paid Asgard in promises to have him. Who would I have to pay for you? Shield?"

"GET OUT!" Clint yelled.

Svadilfari gave him another glance before turning back to her. He smiled, charming and sincere, before he disapepared.

Reluctantly, checking around the room first, Clint lowered his bow. "You alright, Nat?"

She nodded. "He didn't get to me."

"We should probably talk to Thor..." Clint noted.

"We'll give him some time to deal with Loki first," She told him.

"Yeah," He nodded. "That... was that... did he say..."


Tony was really at a loss at what to do with this situation. He wanted to comfort Loki and to question him with near equal fervor. He wanted to apologize for having looked through his magical diary boxes without permission, but also beg to keep them. He didn't exactly do any of those things, though. What he did do was to stand beside Loki where he was still sitting a top his work table and the god leaned against him slightly.

"Take your pick," Loki sighed. Tony looked at him with slight confusion and Loki went on. "Your most pressing question. Pick it, ask it, and I shall answer it."

He knew what he should ask. He should ask about whatever mysterious evil was coming to attack that Loki had spent so much time hinting about. That wasn't what he wanted to ask, though. His most pressing question had been bothering him since the day after the invasion.

"How were there so few casualties during the invasion?" Tony asked.

Loki looked at him with surprise, clearly not having expected that question. Slowly, almost in confusion, Loki answered in a matter-of-fact voice. "It was a farce."


"A ruse. Fake." Loki told him. He looked away a moment, then added, "Mostly."

Tony angled so that he was facing Loki. "Explain that to me."

Loki frowned as he explained. "My attempt to take over Midgard was merely a ruse. A test to learn the capabilities of you Midgardians. My desire to rule this planet was all faked." Loki closed his eyes and chose to return to his previous position, lying prone over the table. "The mind control was real of course, as was the portal. They were watching, so I had to give the impression of aid, but that was mostly to trick them as well. Most of the Chitauri were fake, clones of myself that I glamoured to look like them. I let as few of them in as possible and pretended the rest, had my clones clear out the area and focus mostly on damage, not death." Loki shrugged. "I did what I could."

That... that answered most of Tony's questions. But...

"Why?" He asked. "Why fake an invasion?"


"Yes, Loki," Thor's serious voice boomed as he entered the room. "I am interested to know this, as well."

Sitting up again, Loki avoided Thor's gaze. "I... You were not suppose to know."

"What am I not to know?" Thor demanded. "Who says you are not to tell me?" He walked toward his brother, posture half threatening.

Loki looked away, closed his eyes. His tongue was too heavy too speak, too leaden to spill Odin's secrets. There was still a loyalty in his heart. Even after all this... even after knowing that Odin would send Loki's nightmares after him.

Thor took hold of Loki's shoulders and shook him hard. "Who, Loki? You tell me!"

"Odin!" Loki yelled. His eyes widened and he looked horrified at himself for the admission, but he spoken anyway. "He told me not to tell you! He said that you were not to know." It seemed like the floodgates had opened, because words continued to spill from Loki. His eyes were large and lost, as if he didn't know what to do, how to make himself stop, and he shook slightly in Thor's hold. "Father came to me in the void, a projection, he told me to come home. He said he needed me and gave me a task. You had become so fond of Midgard and he needed to know if they would prove to be a threat. He told me to test them. He said that you were not to know of it.

"He sent me... to the Mad Titan, told me that he was plotting something and wanted to use me to lure him out. He wanted the Tesseract and he gave me the scepter and sent me to Midgard to get him for him. And he was watching me and Odin was watching, so I faked the invasion, which brought the Mad Titan out of hiding and gave the Midgardians a chance to show what they could do, and then I shut down the portal before any real damage could be done and let you capture me because I just wanted to go home and--"

"Breathe, Loki!" Tony interjected.

Loki broke off abruptly to fulfill the command, taking in a ragged breath. The breathing half dissolved into sobs, but Loki tried to pull himself back together enough to continue speaking. "I know that Odin means to leave Midgard to it's fate with the Mad Titan and it's my fault that he's coming here, the All-Father made me lure him here, so I have to... I have to stop it... somehow..." Loki's eye traveled restlessly around the room before hesitantly landing on Thor. "Do you... do you hate me?"

Thor pulled Loki into an embrace. "You know that would not make me hate you, Loki. I know that father has always asked much of you. Why would you think that I could hate you?"

Quietly, so quietly it could barely be called a whisper, Loki answered. "I am Jotunn."

Thor pulled away slowly and looked at Loki with deep confusion and disbelief. "What?"

"I am not of Asgard," Loki whispered. "After your coronation, when we journey to Jotunheim, I learned the truth. The All-Father found me there. I am jotunn."

"You... you cannot be jotunn, Loki," Thor began in reasonable tone. "Because you are my brother."

"I am not your brother," Loki whispered in heartbreak. "I am a jotunn."

"No," Thor insisted, shaking his head. "My brother is not--" And Thor stopped his statement there, but one look at Loki's face said that it was too late. The damage was done. The heartbreak on Loki's face was unbearable and Thor was almost glad when he teleported so that he would not have to see anylonger. That thought lingered but a moment before Thor was calling out loudly. "Loki!"

There was no answer and Tony didn't know what to do with this situation, either. He'd gotten a handful of answers and two dozen more questions.

"Jarvis?" Tony questioned. "Can you get a read on Loki?"

"The younger Odinson disappeared with his cohorts from the Med-bay moments ago."

Alright. That was that.

Thor was still looking at the place Loki had been a moment ago, expression distraught. Lost.

As was his normal habit lately, when something concerning Loki came up that he didn't understand, he went to the boxes. He upended the satchel's contents on the table and reached for the green box. It sort of skirted out of his hand toward the edge of the table, rather fall however, the box lengthened until it reached the floor. It widened, height increased further, until finally the box looked more like a coffin.The door swung open and a replica of Loki walked out, smiling at Tony and laying hand on Thor's head.

"Thor, you big oaf! Haven't I taught you to keep your foot out of mouth yet?"

Loki, Amora, and Skurge arrived in Victor's lab, greatly disturbing Victor's work. Putting down his tools, the man was not even certain which part of the situation to address first. Normally, addressing the presence of an outsider would take precedence. Victor did not like others invading his personal space. At all. The lingering injuries that he could see on Amora were of some concern, though, and judging by how long they were gone, something had most definitely happened. Of course, Amora's unclothed state was something of a curiosity as well.

"Loki?" Amora was saying softly, trying to turn the other god to look at her. "Talk to me? What happened?" Reaching out to the god, she tried to pull him into her arms, which only resulted in the Trickster shapeshifting. Amora only blinked at suddenly holding an armful of serpent as it coiled up and around her. The look on her face was almost a pout.

Deciding that they were obviously well enough, if not all well, Victor decided priorities came first. "Who is this?" He demanded, gesturing at Skurge.

Amora looked surprised to find they were in his lab of all places, but didn't hesitate in answering. "This is Skurge," She told him. "He is my champion. He does anything and everything I ask of him."

"A servant?" Victor questioned.

"If needed," Amora replied. "A body guard, mostly. He fights for me. Always and no matter what."

Victor narrowed his eyes at that, though she likely couldn't tell beneath the mask. "I fight for you."

Amora shrugged. "He fights for only me."

"You mean to say that I am not good enough to protect you?" He demanded.

Amora frowned. "You are the only one insinuating anything in this conversation, Victor."

"And you expect me to allow him to stay?" Victor asked. "You think you can invite whomever you like into my home without my say?"

"What say you then?" Amora questioned, crossing her arms over her chest. "You believe I will stay someplace where my champion cannot reach me? You believe I will stay where I am not protected?"

"You are protected!" Victor shouted.

"He is my protector!" Amora yelled back.

"You had no need of him before!"

"But I did," Amora said firmly. "And now he is here."

"What has happened then that you suddenly need this one to protect you?" Victor demanded. "What has kept you away so long and injured you so? What made you go after him in the first place?"

"Svadilfari attacked," She answered.

"And did he protect you from that?" He asked, grabbing her hand holding up her wrist where the marks from her bindings were still visible.

Amora pulled her arm away. "No," She whispered. "But neither did you."

"You think I cannot!" He yelled.

"I think that you are mortal," She said. "And Skurge is not. He can--"

"Doom is no mere mortal!" He yelled, taking a threatening step forward, but was held by Skurge. He pulled himself out of Skurge's grip, glaring at the man before turning back to Amora. "I could destroy this creature in an hour."

"And what would that prove?" Amora asked him. "It is no great feat to destroy allies! Enemies, Victor, that is what you should worry over. You waste away here while Loki and I protect you, you and Raven both, and what have you done that we could not do on our own? What use have you been?"

"I've given you a home!"

"We could have such a thing anywhere! We do not need to be here! Loki and I both have places other than this we could be."

"Then why return here at all?" Victor demanded. Amora's eyes blazed for a moment and she turned away, but Victor grabbed her arm before she do anything else. "I will tell you why you are here," He said in stern voice, tugging roughly on her arm until she turned to face him. "You return here because you know that you are safe. Nothing has ever breached these walls and come for you, has it?"

"Because Loki and I--"

"Has it?" He demanded louder.

"No!" She replied.

"You go after this creature and return to me bruised, fearful, and wonder why I do not want him to stay? Whatever you believe he is good for, he obviously has not done it. Why would I need a useless thing such as he in my home?"

"He is not for you, Victor!"

"He is in my home."

"He is not yours! He is mine! He is the only thing that is mine and you will not take that away from me!" Amora screeched.

"You do not need him," He insisted.

"Then what do I need, Victor? If you have so many answers, tell me what I need? What will make me feel safe? What will fight for me? What will worship me if not this creature that I own utterly?"

"What do you believe I am trying to do?" He demanded.

Amora took a step back at that. She looked away. "You do not understand..."

"Do not tell me what I do not understand," He commanded. "You think you can reside in my home, ensconced in my walls, and I not understand what you, what all of you, need! Mystique fears being used, being taken away, being weak, so I show her unflinching authority and she knows that I am a greater fear than any other and she knows she is safe from all else. Loki needs chaos, he needs a home. He needs these walls and his ploy with the Avengers and to change the way another creature exist in this world just so he can feed of the possibility of the change. You need the attention of powerful people, their loyalty. You need Loki to give you the time of day, Mystique's hero worship, you need to go out every other night and drown yourself in bodies and lust and false praise."

Amora's face flushed slightly and she took a step away from him, avoiding his gaze. "How do you know..."

"You think that I do not watch every single one of you?" He questioned. "That I do not pay attention to what you do when you wander Latveria? That I do not study what you do inside this castle?" He took a step forward and grabbed both her wrist and her eyes flew to where she could see his own through the mask. "You have my attention, Amora. What more do you need?"

"You won't give me what I need," She told him.

"Do not deign to tell me what I will and will not do."

"You could never give me what I need," She said again. "You do not even take off your armor."

Taking that as a challenge, he released one of her wrist and removed his mask, starring at her intently. "You are at fault if you need something here that you do not have," He informed her. "Perhaps if you learned to ask, you would get it." After taking a detailed look at her body, admiring and cataloging injuries both, he stepped away, replacing the mask on his face. "You may keep your pet if you so wish. But do not ever think that I cannot provide for my guest, Amora."

Victor returned to his work after that and Amora was left staring at the mortal for a long time after. Finally, the snake draped over her body slithered up and bit her ear, bringing her out of her trance. She glared at it, but turned on her hell to go to her room, motioning for Skurge to follow. Despite his having turned away from her, she could still feel the mortals attention on her and it made her shiver.

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