When I had woken I was in a different room then the one at Banner's home, but I knew that I wasn't back in Asgaurd either, no we had made it to Stark's home in the Bahammas, we were safe at last but for how long? How long could I stay here before SHIELD or the other Avengers find out where I am and come looking for me. I know it's only a matter of time before they come knocking, before they come to drag me away to lock me away in an icy cell, bound and gaged, tortured for who knows what I've done this time. I just wanted to be free for a moment, to be able to calm my racing mind and find comfort in the doctors hospitality, not this. I didn't want to be on the run once more, didn't want to be hunted like the wild animal I had become to them.
Maybe it would be better that way if I did just give this all up. I didn't want to cause Bruce any more problems then I had done so already and I didn't trust Stark at all to keep quiet about my being here. But how much more torture could my body take? How much more pain before I went mad, before I lost it all again? Was it better to give up and go back to Asgaurd and just except whatever punishment was being planned for me? Or maybe it was better if I just killed myself, I could save everyone all the trouble of just ending all their worries myself. That why they wouldn't have to search for me, drag me back, punishment, they wouldn't have to keep going through this cycle they could all move forward with their lives never once having to remember me, smiling when the day came around to celebrate the day of my death, rejoicing that they no longer have to deal with me. Maybe it was better that way after all, everyone else would be happier and I wouldn't be troubling anyone anymore.
The sky was a bright blue and I could hear the soft singing of the birds outside. The sun light up the room and I felt warmth wrap around me and yet I didn't see the sky, didn't hear the birds, or feel the warmth. No I saw only darkness, heard their cruel luaghter, and the freezing cold of the stone cell that had suddenly taken over. I had been asleep, had been dreaming the whole time of being free. You'll see any moment now the guards will come by and laugh as they beat me, taking great pleasure in causeing such pain it was all a game to them. A game to see who could hurt me the most. I felt tears sting my dry eyes, I didn't want to cry anymore, I didn't want to hurt, I didn't want to go on.
"Loki? Loki are you ok?"
No it had been a vision for the warmth returned, the birds sang, and the sky was clear outside the window. I had zoned off, I was in Starks room, I was hiding, I was safe. In front of me stood Banner, concern in his eyes hoping that I was indeed ok but all I could manage was a slight nod.
"HAHAHA. What a joke no one's going to come save you."
"You're weak, a fool, just give up no one cares about you."
"NO! Shut up."
I looked up at the doctor once more, he moved in closer and was now by my side. I had screamed for no reason, he couldn't hear the voices, couldn't see what I saw, he didn't know what was wrong.
"Loki tell me, what's wrong?"
I wanted to tell him, wanted to pour everything out after all didn't he say that I could tell him anything and he would listen to me? But what if they were right? What if he really didn't care and was only acting to be nice, he probably already called the Avengers and they were now on their way here to apprehend me and drag me off to Asgard where my dream would become real. Tears threatened to brim but I wouldn't let them, I didn't want him to worry about me, didn't want him to keep pretending.
"There's no reason to keep this act up Banner. Please just tell me the truth." i asked
"Loki I truly am your friend this time. I'm not going to let them hurt you." he took my hand in his "Please believe me, you really are safe now."
It was all lies, no one has ever cared for me this long so why should he keep acting? I stood distenceing myself from him, I stood infront of the mirror looking at the monster that the world knew me as. I saw it, saw what they did. The piercing green, the dasterdly smile of chaos, saw the lies going through his head, the blue tinge of a frost giant, it was all there. The terrible monster that parents told their children about at night, that was what I was and that was all I was capable of being right? This was what I suppose to be, a monster but it didn't feel like me.
"That's not who you are Loki." I saw banner approach in the mirror. "Your just lonely, an outcast, your just like me." I saw the monster everyone saw him as, the ripped cloths, the green hinge, the anger in those eyes, together stood to monsters that scared the world and yet those weren't who we were.
Banner was nice and kind, he was hospitable and cared. Nothing like the monstrosity that had beaten me into the cold concrete relentlessly, a cold-blooded monster. Maybe I was the one who was wrong this time, prehaps I'm not this monster standing before me but the innocent prince I once was when I was younger. Maybe I was always him and this monster was just my imagination that had taken over my body forming me into this beast.
"Banner what do you see before you?" I asked
"WHat do I see? I see two people fighting different battles on a similar war field, two comrades against the world that's been pushing them down into the ground. I see a strong prince who's been through hell and a doctor who's given up once to many times."
"I see a boy pretending to be stronger then he is and his friend standing by his side." I turned to face him "Why are you doing all this? You could just hand me over and get me off your hands."
"No Loki. I really do know how it feels to be caged and hurt, I understand if you believe that I'm pretending to care but I really do care about you Loki. I want to help you, please believe me, no one's going to hurt you while I'm here." he took hold of both of my hands and our eyes locked on one another "I'm going to protect you and that's a promise."
He smiled gently and it was warm, friendly, and sincer so was the tone in his voice. I don't know what I was worried about after all hadn't he kept this promise to protect me so far? But still I knew that it was only time before I couldn't run anymore, before he couldn't keep protecting me, before I would be punished for nothing. It was always about time which was something I always had extra of for it was all that I had.
Time? What a strange thing it is, some have to little of it and some have to much, some days its slow and others fast. It's never constant enough to keep track of, while the digits of time are always the same the speed of time is never the same and it was time that I was now at the mercy of for only time would decide when I should be captured and how long my torture lasted, it could be merciful or relentless. Time? There was something about the word, something...strange. I shock my head refusing to linger on such a silly thought that required no concideration after all everyone had time so why should it matter how fast or slow the day went by for now I was safe and that was all that mattered.
Stark walked in and sat down on the bed starring at us trying to figure out why he was doing this in the first place and I didn't blame him if he was ready to call the Avengers or even SHIELD and revel that I was here. He'd probably say that I took control of him again into helping me and that Banner had voluntarily joined me in whatever it was that we were planning.
"I don't blame you if you wish to turn me over Stark. You do not have to help me if you should feel so strongly against it."
"No I trust Bruce and if what he's told me is true then I will help you, but I don't know how long it is until someone finds out where we are."
Time, there it was again. We could have a few days, a week, who knew how long we had to say that we were truly safe for the moment?
"But I'm sure it'll take them weeks to find out about this place not even Jarvis knows that I have this place so he's not here at all. Sometimes it's good to be away from everyone, you know?"
But it was too late, only after the words had already been said had Tony realized that I would know nothing of the feeling.
"No. No I don't know what that feels like." I said looking down at the floor.
"Oh, man I'm sorry I forgot about all of that."
I couldn't look back up at them I had spent years locked away from the world, the only time I was with anyone was being beaten that was it. After that I never wanted to see another person ever again I wanted to just deal with the silence and by myself with no people around to hurt me. Stark never knew what that felt to be betrayed by everyone around you and to be so afraid that everyone suddenly becomes your enemy.
"Tony maybe you should leave."
"No it's alright Banner."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I am fine just hurting as you noticed before."
I would manage the pain after all I had dealt with it for years now that I was no stranger to pain. But it seems that sometimes even the old friend had a few tricks up his own sleeve, tricks that in turn hurt me in the way that I had hurt so many others.
"So why exactly are you here anyways? After New York we all thought that you fell off the face of the planet Thor didn't even mention anything about you he even refused to answer any question that had anything to do with you?" Stark asked
Thor had refused to say anything about me? I never knew that he could have such a cold composure did he truly hate me that much for all that I had done to and for him? Had I not helped him end the war? Had I not in turn shown the depth of how truly sorry I was for all that I have done? Yet he still he hates me for it all because I was no longer the brother that he knew was that his resoning for this refusal? But never the less I told Stark of how I needed to get away from Asgard for some time, how I cam upon Banner adn his hospitality, as well as SHIELD taking me captive. It felt strange to be there placing my very life upon Stark's shoulders when I knew that he had ever reason to hate me but just like Banner he was willing to help save me.
"Loki do you mind if I talk to Tony for a moment?" Bruce asked politly
I just noded and walked out glad to be ride of the tension being built up.
After Loki left the room I turned to face Tony who seemed to be having a hard time piecing it all together.
"I know it's hard to figure out Tony but he needs our help. He's hurting, he just wants to escape is all."
"I know Bruce but what exactly did they do to him?"
"I don't know. I didn't think to ask."
What did they do to Loki that had caused him to seek escape back on Earth? All I knew was that he was in a lot of pain and was willing to put his very life in our hands, us two of the Avengers, two of the very people that were the reason that he was sent back to face his cruel punishment and now he was looking towards us for help, for protection. Loki had changed within those years, he had changed so much or maybe this wasn't change but simply another warrior falling on the battle field. That's what we were after all, we were soldiers fighting a brutal war that no one could see, they couldn't see us struggling, couldn't see the enemy advancing on us, couldn't hear the gunshots, but we could and maybe that's why he was afraid. He was afraid of losing the battle afraid of what would come next if he did lose and only now was he willing to search for help outside his own domain.
"Tony I know you don't like Loki and probably think it's best we give him over to Thor but you saw him, he's changed, he's scared and he needs us to help him."
"I agree with you Banner I'm just not sure what to think of it all. I thought Thor would protect him, keep him safe aprrently punishment there is worse then what's here."
"He told me that if we knew what the punishments were we'd think them inhumane. I don't know what they did to him but I want to help him heal."
"I agree Bruce." Tony stood and headed towards the door "Even though I don't like Loki at all no one should have to hurt that much. Not even someone like Loki everyone deserves another chance."
I smiled knowing that now we had Tony on our side I knew that within time we would be able to help Loki, we would become his friends, and we would protect him until it was all over. There was a moment of silence that fell throughout the house but it was short lived for within moments there was a terrifying scream. We sprinted out of the room and in the direction of the scream to find Loki on the floor curled up with his hands over his ears as if he was trying to drown out something that we couldn't hear.
"Go away, leave me alone!" he kept screaming and tears had rolled down his cheeks as I knelt beside him trying to get him to uncover his ears to wake him from his terrible dream.
"Loki open your eyes please it's me Bruce. It's alright your safe."
"NO! No, no more please. Stop it just stop it I can't take it any longer."
"Loki please wake up your safe now, your with me and TOny no ones going to hurt you." I tried again
"No it's all lies, it's just another trick. I wont believe it, I wont fall for it."
I didn't know what to do to wake him, I held the God closer more comforting trying to comfort him, begging him to wake to realize that he was safe, that we were here for him and no one was going to hurt him.
"Loki please you came to me several nights ago and I invited you into my home. I saved you from SHIELD and Tony redirected the Avengers away so they wouldn't find you. Please wake up it's going to be alright no ones going to hurt you not now not ever again. Not as long as I'm here."
Loki's breathing was heavy but soon I felt the God return the hug and there on the floor we sat in another moment frozen in time. When he seemed to calm down a bit we pulled away and I saw terror pure terror in his eyes, there wasn't room there for any other emotion he was truly terrified of whatever he had experienced while alone. He wiped the tears that had remained away and sat down still shaking terribly. Niether me nor Tony said anything giving the god a moment to take everything in to remember all that had happened and where he was.
Tony went into the kitchen to make some tea or some other type of drink while I sat next to Loki on the coach my hand resting gently on his back comfortingly.
"You must think me weak doctor. To let such silly things get the best of me."
"No I think your strong Loki. I don't know what it is that your fighting but clearly it's worse then I thought. What exactly happened any ways?"
Loki looked down at his shaking hands that had a light tinge of blue to them, he watched as the blue dissapeared before looking back up.
"I had walked into this room hoping to clear my mind while you talked with Stark but when I came in I found...I found Odin standing there." he pointed to the far window "He had that cruel smile, a look of disgust in his eyes and..and he told me all those words again just repeated."
"You're a monster. A villian, no one loves you nor ever could. He asked why I thought he never cared for me it was because I'm a freak, because I'm a monster who deserved to be punished. The room then faded into that terrible cell and the gaurds were there ruthlessly beating me again and again laughing as they always did. Luaghing because I was so weak, that I couldn't do anything to save myself that I would always be a monster and that they'd always be here waiting to punish me."
He began to shake again and his eyes glistened with pain this time to accompony the terror. I placed an arm around him comforting the god no deserved to hurt this much, no one deserved this pain especially not Loki no matter what anyone said or thought I now saw him for who he really was for he had been willing to diverge the truth to me. To know what I knew now about Loki felt like an acomplishment in itself, it meant that he trusted me which was something I knew wasn't easy for him especially not after what he went through but trusting me wasn't something many people were keen to doing because of what I was. But maybe it was because of that similarity within us that made us only confide in one another.
"Loki you don't kneed to go on if you don't want to. I don't want you to suffer any more."
He pushed the tears back and cleared his throaght but still looked down at his hands that had taken on a blue tinge once more. It was the skin of a Frost Giant, the skin of a monster that struck fear that was until the Asgardians had destroyed them in battle. Loki was one of them, he was their prince and all his life he had been lied to about the truth.
"I always hated the color blue." he said in disgust "It reminds of me of what I am, of the freak that I truly am, the monster that deserved this pain."
"No Loki you didn't deserve this."
"Banner you are kind but I killed thousands of your people within days and almost destroyed New York do not pitty me now for what has become of me."
My arm dropped from his back and rested upon his hands, the tinge of green from mine mixing with the blue tinge of his.
"We're just alike Loki. We're both seen as monsters but we aren't really like that. This is just how everyone else see's us but when I look at you I don't see a monster I see a soldier fighting for his life, fighting for a place to stand and belong, fighting for everything."
"And I see a friend someone who knows of this struggle, someone who is very kind and has so much more in life then he knows. Tell me Banner why have you helped me thus far, you could have turned me over to the Avengers or had left me with SHIELD and yet you came back for me. Why?"
"Because you came looking for a place to escape and calm your mind. That's what I had to offer but also because I want to help you Loki I really do, I care and I don't want to see you suffer any more then you have already."
"That is very kind of you Banner, I haven't had someone I could call a friend for many years, you'l be my friend right?"
I held his hand tighter and smiled as our eyes meet. "Of course Loki we're already friends."
At those words he smiled and all the pain and hurt left his eyes and was replaced with a much lighter, much happier element but it wasn't quite together enough to be called Joy or happiness, they just shone with a brighter light then before and that made me happy. I loved every minuet that I was able to make him smile I felt like I had just acomplished something amazing, something that has never been done before. I loved the way his eyes light up in the light when he smiled and I loved seeing the look of happiness upon his face especially after all the pain that he's been through.
Prehaps there was also more to the god that I loved but I could not see it upon the surface no this was a feeling felt deep within but it wasn't right and it was silly to dwell upon such a feeling I knew that already I had already been hurt for feeling this way before but maybe that was because it was with the wrong person, it was with someone who truly didn't understand what I was or how it felt to hurt, to know that everyone fears you because of the monster you were, they could never understand that feeling but Loki did. He knew what it felt like to be hated by everyone, to be a monster, to hurt knowing that there are people out there who want to see you locked up behind bars and tortured so that you've not only paid for your own crimes but so that they could keep you under control as well.
If anyone would know the feeling it would be Loki and right now he was broken and I was going to be the one to piece him back together to help him back on his feet, I was going to protect him, help him get through this.
"You have very beautiful eyes Loki." I said in sort of a daze
"W..Why thank you Banner."
Loki shifted uncomfortably on the coach and I knew that I had caused the tension.
"I'm sorry I didn't.."
"It's quite alright Bruce I'm just not use to such kindness, Most people just ignore me all together hoping that really I'm just a figmant of their minds which I guess they wouldn't be surprised if I had been just that. No one cares anymore for me they all just pretend that I don't or never did exist to begin with that Thor was the only son Odin ever had I pretty much no longer exist within Asgardian records."
"Then why do you stay there?"
"Because I have no other place to go. I can't return to Jotunhiem I'm to small to fit in amongst giants and there's no one else in any of the nine realms that would wilingly take me in."
"Loki you can always come to my home." he looked at my uncertain if he had heard correctly "You don't have to stay there if you don't want to you can always come to me. My home is your home, I would never turn you away no matter what, I promise."
"You are very kind and I do not deserve such kindness especially from you. Thank you for doing all of this for me I do not deserve it but I am truly glade that you are here by my side Bruce. I feel like you're the only one who would ever truly understand what this battle feels like and I like talking to you. I feel like I can confide any information to you and to be able to trust someone again means a lot."
Again our eyes locked on one another, our hands clasped tightly, and two hearts beating together never have I heard such melody within the moment of silence before.
I never thought that someone could actually come to still care for me, I believed that I was truly a lost cause to the world and was simply nothing more then just a memory of a fallen prince. That I had become nothing more then a simple myth, Banner was truly an amazing friend he was willing to do so much for me even after all that I had done yet here he was helping me through the dark, guiding me through and maybe the small light in the distance was the way out, the way back to how I wanted things to be.
I wanted Bruce to be there every step of the way, I wanted him to be by my side helping me make my way back into the world and the fact that he graceusly opened up his home to me for any time that I needed gave me new hope. It gave me a chance to truly change and to prove them all wrong that I did want to change, that I was sorry for all that I had done and maybe if they had just given me the chance that I had desperely begged for then I wouldn't be running, I wouldn't be here but then again that would mean that I wouldn't have struck up this great bound with Banner.
What I felt inside was something that I haven't felt since my mother was by my side, when she left everything died but now I had that light once more in the form of Bruce Banner. His eyes held a different light, one that couldn't be obsquered by dark feelings such as sadness as mine often portrayed, no and his face always had a friendly smile to help brighten up the room, his hands were strong but soft and fit mine perfectly and when he wrapped his arms around me I felt safe like no matter what would happen I was truly safe and nothing would hurt me as long as I was by his side and I loved that feeling of protection. It was something new and comforting, during my imprisonment I saw all of them as vile creatures and I never thought that I could ever learn to trust or even like anyone ever again but Banner was different he gave me hope, showed me that there were still a few good people in the world that would always be there to shine light on those who found themselves trapped by darkness, he would be there to take them by the hand and lead them out of the darkness into the light and safety.