When first rays of dawn streaked through the small window I got up and crept my way downstairs and towards the door.
I turned and in the kitchen I saw Beth sitting at the table with light in her eyes and a smile on her face. I nodded and left the house heading towards the ever lasting darkness of Asgard for there Loki was waiting in a darkened cell, cold, alone, and hurting. I could feel it, I always could feel it when he was hurting and it was a surging pain this time, pain like I've never felt before and I broke into a run racing towards the darkness hoping to get to Loki before it was too late. Something bad was going to happen and I was running out of time to get to him.
"What are they doing to him? Hang in there Loki I'm on my way"
It's to late to save him
"No no it isn't to late"
How do you know he isn't dead already
"Because he promised he'd stay"
Ha he promised
He's the god of lies he's not going to be alive
"Shut up. Loki please I'm almost there"
The voices were wrong he was still alive I knew he was but then again they were also right that I was running out of time. As I entered the shadows I didn't stop running I kept going determined to reach Loki no matter how far I had to run I would get to him one way or another, I would kill whoever stood in my way from getting to him, I would destroy the very realm if I had to just to get to him, nothing was going to stop me this time from saving him, nothing was going to keep us apart. As I neared a steep cliff though I stopped for a moment to gaze up at the tower that stood before me, it seemed to reach into the very sky and dissapered into the darkness that surrounded it but I ran inside anyways.
"Loki where are you please help me find you"
Looking around I found several sets of stairs but I didn't take any of them instead I headed towards a wall at the end of the hall and ran straight through it finding a descending set of stairs before me and I sprinted down them smiling. I had to remember that this was Asgard, this was a darkened prison where the most dangerous of prisoners were held, this was a place where magic was common and so I had to think like Loki, well I probably could have thought like I was Odin but I'd rather think like Loki I always thought like him when I went to rescue him. Feeling his pain and seeing things through his eyes helped me understand the god and where he was, because he felt the type of pain that no one should ever have to feel.
At the bottom of the stairs I ran through the halls not looking in any of the cells to see if Loki was there I knew that he wasn't, I would have to go down several more flights before I reached him so I had no time to waste on sightseeing and none of them mattered to me only Loki mattered and I was going to save him. How could someone be so cruel as to build such a place as this? Did Odin realize what he was doing, did he even care? I didn't understand how he was even a king, a king is suppose to rule his people yes but he's also suppose to protect them and by giving punishment to a place like this wasn't right. As I ran down the halls all I heard was screams of torture, the smell of blood was overpowering, and there was pain and sadness radiating in the very halls and all I wanted to do was fall to the ground and cry but I couldn't I had to be strong and keep going I had to save Loki before it was to late.
I couldn't save them all I knew that but I could save the fallen prince, I could save an innocent man from a terrible fate a second time, I could save Loki just as I had promised him. I could prove to him that freedom was possible, that he could escape it all and that I was going to be there by his side through it all. Just thinking about the future gave me new strength and I ran faster down the hall and down the last flight of stairs but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. There he sat on the little bench hands chained behind him as where his feet, but the darkness had hide hie true condition, as I unlocked the cell and stepped inside I stopped and noticed hte small pool beneath him. Leaning down I saw it was a mixture of blood and tears only then did I notice he wasn't breathing as blood dripped down his arm and tears still streaking his pale face. I un-chained him and he slumped forward into my arms, his wrists completely cut open.
"Oh Loki what have you done to yourself?"
I could feel a slight pulse but it was slow and his breathing was labored but he was still alive but not for long.
"Ok Hulk ready to save someone again?"
Inside I could hear the monster grunt in agreement and holding Loki close in my arms I ran back out of the prison, once outside I stopped quickly when I felt Loki shift in my arms. His eyes were shut tight in pain and his wrists still bleed but I picked up speed once more and continued to run back into the city and out of the darkness. When I reached the little house that I had stayed in the night before Beth's eyes light up to see me standing there but she quickly ushered me inside seeing Loki in my arms. We took him upstairs into a seperate room that looked very similar to the medical room at Tony's home.
"What has become of our prince?" she asked
I had forgotten that Loki was a prince and figured many hadn't heard of his long punishment or that he had left Asgard for some time and only now returned. But when Beth looked towards me and horror had taken over her eyes just as Loki's often protrayed and so I told her about some of what has happened to Loki since he returned from the war on New York. She listened carefully as we quickly did everything we both thought of to save Loki. When our work had finished she sat down in a nearby chair exhuasted of her work.
"Why would Allfather do such a terrible act to his own son?"
"Because Loki was nothing but another stolen relic to him. I couldn't believe it myself when Loki told me what had happened to him."
"This can't be the same prince that came to me so many times for help." I looked at her confused "Magic had interested him and sometimes he would learn of a potion and come asking me for help, he was such an excited young boy. IS this really the same one?"
""Unfortunetly so, I couldn't believe he was the same god that had tried to destroy New York, I feel terrible knowing that I was part of the group that had put him in that prison the first time now I'm the reason he was returned there."
She placed her hand on top of mine and smiled.
"It's not your fault you just wanted to help him. I can't believe that Thor would let Allfather do such a thing though."
"Me neither but apperently we were both wrong."
"Yes, yes we were."
The little boy came running in but quickly stopped and carefully approached the bed when he saw Loki.
"Mommy is that the prince?" he asked scared
She picked up the little boy and placed him on her lap and looked down at him.
"Yes it is."
"What's wrong with him?"
"He's just sick is all and I'm going to help him get better. WHy don't you go play with your friends ok?"
We watched the boy run out of the room and heard the front door closing downstairs. I knelt beside Loki and held his cold, limp hand in mine, he looked to be sleeping but I knew that he was slowly dying and I was coming closer to losing him every second that passed.
"He'll be ok I swear, you wont lose him."
"Thank you very much Beth I appreciate this very much."
"No problem after my husband...I've made it my goal to save everyone that comes to me."
She left me alone with Loki and I looked back down at the sleeping god.
"She's been hurting too Loki, just like us but we have each other to heal our wounds. We have each other and we always will."
I rested my head next to him, still holding tightly onto his hand afraid that if I let go I'll lose him forever, I can't lose him not after everything that I promised, not after everything that we've been through. Never have I ever wanted to save someone so much before but I wanted to be with Loki, to make him happy, and never knowing pain ever again, the word would become foreign to him and it'll never bother him for the rest of our lives. Instead he'd wake up happy, smiling, knowing that he was safe and that nothing was going to hurt him or come and take him away, he'd be free of it all. We'd both be free of this pain, we'd both be happy that's all that I wanted was to be happy again and to show him that freedom was possible even for us monsters, that everyone deserves a second chance and that I was giving him that chance to change, to prove to the world that he was different now, to show the world the Loki that I knew and feel in love with.
He slept so peacfully almost like a child, eyes shut close, breathing slow, showing almost no signs of life the only difference was that he was losing life, slowly dying in his sleep not even aware of what was happening around him, not aware that I was here right by his side, he wasn't aware of how terrified I was of losing him again. I kept my head rested on his chest so that I could listen to his slow heart beating it comforted me in letting me know that he was still alive and that he'd be ok and sometimes I would feel the slight squeeze of my hand so I never let go hoping that one day that gesture would get stronger and this would be just a terrible dream.
"You should eat Banner. You need your strength."
"I'll be fine Beth, I'll be fine as soon as Loki wakes up."
She came in and sat a small tray down on a table.
"He must mean a lot to you." I could only nod "I'm glad he meet you, I've been watching him for a while and it's nice to know that there's someone that cares about him."
"You know?" I asked shocked that this poor women cared about Loki as well
"Yes I was part of the riot against that dreaded prison. It was a waste of energy to build and it's a crime against humanity. It doesn't matter if we're gods or not we're still human and that "place" is a crime in itself."
I agreed with her, I told her how I felt when I was in there rescuing Loki. Turns out she had gone there trying to ind her husband and went mad by the torture she had witnessed inside. She never told her son but her husband had been brutaly beatened in prison when he did nothing wrong but part-take in a past riot that happened a thousand years ago.
"Whenever he asks about his father I just tell him that he's in a better place now and that he no longer needs us. He's to young to understand what Odin's capable of doing that's why I always hoped that Loki would take the throne."
"Do you know what he is?"
"Of course I do he told me the moment he found out, poor boy was so upset he couldn't even go to Frigga instead he came to me. Honestly I still would rather have him ascend to the throne then Thor. I think Asgard could prosper from having a king like him."
She looked over at Loki's still form smiling to herself at the found memories of the past. This women had taken care of Loki when he was little and helped him with his powers, she believed in him just as I did, believed in the good, the bad, and yet still saw him fit for the throne even though that was now the one thing that he didn't want. But there was one thing nawing at the back of my mind.
"What if Thor should come?"
She began to laugh "Please Thor doesn't even know me nor does he know what Odin has done to his brother. He'd never come here looking for Loki." She went towards the door.
"It's hard to believe don't you think. That Thor would let Loki suffer this way?"
"That's where we have to disagree doctor banner for Thor is arrogant and often forgets about Loki, far to often."
WIth that she left the room and I couldn't help but think about what she had said about Thor often forgetting about Loki but I couldn't believe it. Thor always talked about Loki as though he was the only person that mattered. But then again she also said how Loki came to her and Thor didn't even know? I would never do that to Loki, I would always be with him, making sure he was ok. How could Thor even say he was Loki's brother when brothers look out for each other no matter what, it doesn't matter if they're adopted or not they should always stand by one another, always have each others back, and be there to pick them up when they fall down. Not abandon the other because they made a few bad choices, or forget about them when they need the other the most. This isn't what brothers do for each other, this isn't what friends do either.
After everything that's happened so far I don't care if I never see any of the others , I'm not sure I even want to be apart of the Avengers any more. I know that might seem dramatic but I'd rather be there for Loki then be with people who don't see how wrong we were the first time, people who couldn't see that he was hurting, that he just wanted a chance to prove himself.
"I promise Loki I'll never be like that. I'll always be here for you."
Weeks seemed to pass by and slowly Loki seemed to be getting better, he was breathing more, his pulse seemed normal, and now all there was to do was wait for him to wake up and then we could leave this place and return to Earth where we could pick up where we left off. I liked the sound of that, returning to Earth with Loki and proving to everyone that they were wrong about the prince, that even us monsters could change, that we were capable of more then destruction and chaos, that we too could do good. That in the end we all can change even the damaged ones, even the ones that the everyone thought could never change, that they were stuck on being evil for eternity because of a few bad decisions or because of our past.
Like many nights before I had fallen asleep on Loki's chest but this time my dreams were haunted by a bloody body lying in my arms, tears streaking down blue cheeks as Loki begs me not to save him, not this time. He tells me that he's had enough and would rather die then live again, to many people have hurt him, to many have taken him from me but I didn't want to let him go, I couldn't I begged him not to leave to keep fighting that I could still save him after all haven't I always saved him?
"Loki please don't go." I begged him
"No I wont let you go"
Banner open your eyes
I did as the voice told me and as I opened my eyes this time I was comforted by glistening emerald eyes that sparkled in the low lighted room, his arms around me.
He smiled and noded, tears still in the corners of his eyes but he was alive and he was here at my side unlike so many times when it was me who would wake him from a terrible dream and have my arms wrapped around him comforting him.
"Thank you." he said his arms still holding me tightly "Thank you for proving me wrong and keeping your promise to come and save me no matter where I am."
We pulled away but our hands still held each other.
"I'm just glad that I got here in time to save you. I was terrified that I had lost you forever this time."
"Sorry for giving up on you so early."
"You should be sorry, scaring him like that I thought I taught you better then that."
I turned around and saw Beth walk in smiling.
"It's good to see you again, and I see your smiling again oh how I missed seeing it."
She just smiled and came over to him.
"How are you feeling?" she asked
"Alright, how have you been?"
"I've been holding on it's good to see you again Loki never do something like this again or I'll kill you."
"It's ok I don't think you'll have this problem again, I think I've bothered banner quite a bit already with this act."
"Sometimes I wonder if your trying to kill us both."
"Oh if I wanted that then I would have killed you the first time."
We started laughing and didn't notice that Beth had already left the room and had closed the door behind her. I turned back to Loki still smiling.
"Thank you for all that you've done for me Banner I truly don't deserve it."
"Shut up of course you do, you deserve this more then any one else."
"I don't want to hurt you anymore Banner..."
"You don't think you hurt me every minuet when you're not here with me? Loki I don't want you to leave I know I've said it before but I'm serious I want you to stay I want to be by your side. I want you to stay forever."
His eyes glistened again with sadness but they were a happy type of sadness that came with joy, I went to the other side of him and sat up on the bed next to him with my arm around him and our eyes meet once more.
"Do you really want me to stay with you?"
"Of course I do Loki I care so much about you."
He seemed to lean in closer to me and his eyes asked the very question that he said.
The gap between us close and our lips found each other, his were smooth and soft and I loved the taste of them. We pulled back for a moment and I swear my heart stopped beating as I stared into his beautiful emerald eyes.
My heart slightly raced as the gap closed between us and stopped when our lips touched I loved it, his lips were perfect in every way. Time seemed to stand still for that moment and I didn't want it to start again but as he pulled away my heart countinued to raced and I rested my head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arms tightly around me. Banner had loved me the same way I loved him, he wanted me just as much I as him.
"Please don't leave me again Loki."
"Why would I leave everything that I've ever wanted?" I looked up into his eyes "I don't want to leave you Banner and I wont leave you, not ever again. I promise."
He smiled and his hand gently rubbed my arm and I liked the feeling of being wanted, or being needed and I didn't care if it was Banner who had given me such feelings, I didn't care if he was a mortal, I wanted to be with him and no one else. I would gladly give up my immortality and Asgardian citinzenship just to be with him and no one else.
"Do you think you have enough energy to get us back down to Earth?" Banner asked
"Not right now but in a few days I think I can make the trip."
"Then in a few days we shall leave and pick back up where we started how about that?"
"I think that sounds marvelous my dear Banner."