The days went by slowly and stressful wondering if he'd live or forever sleep, he had after all lost a lot of blood when we finaly got him here but he was still breathing so maybe there was enough hope there that he'd wake up but then he'd have to face the dreaded choice of whether to stay or return home? What if Thor came for him before he woke up? How could I keep Thor from taking Loki from me? I couldn't I knew that not even Hulk was a match for the gods strength but still I would try and I would fight him, keep him from talking Loki away after all he wasn't ready to face more pain, wasn't ready to face his father's cold judgement and I doubt I could convince Thor to see what Odin has done to Loki, that he didn't deserve the punishment that he received.
It was getting late I knew that and I hadn't slept well in days but that didn't matter I wanted to stay by his side in case he woke up that way he would know that just as I had promised I was still by his side as I always would be. I heard the door open and turned to see Tony walk in.
"I'm leaving for a while you should get some rest." he said
"Where are you going?"
"To SHIELD, they threatened Pepper and her family and if I didn't go and give them a worthy explanation of our betrayel then they would kill her. I know they wont but still I'm not taking chances. Let Jarvis watch over him and get some rest ourself, how long has it been since you last slept?"
"A few days. But that doesn't matter I have to be here in case something changes, in case he wakes up I want to be here."
Tony came over and I felt him rest a hand on my shoulder.
"Bruce it's late get some rest. Jarvis watch over Loki and let Banner know if there's a change in anything right away don't hesitate or try any tricks this is seriouse."
"Of course sir I'll let the doctor know of any changes right away."
"Good." he looked back at me "Get some rest Banner."
After he left I decided to trust that Jarvis would alret me and went upstairs to try and sleep though at first it was almost impossible and I found myself constently calling Jarvis for news.
"Perhaps these might help you doctor."
The desk drawer next to me opened and inside was a small bottle with my name on it and inside were sleep pills. I hated those pills they were always used against me and usually I would be mad that Tony had them or just the sight of them really but instead I was glad that they were there in my hand and I was glad to fall into darkness and not be haunted by dreams of a bloody, dying Loki in my arms or Thor taking him away. No this time Loki was happy and we were together, he had decided to stay with me never wanting to leave for he has never felt so happy before and to see him smile and so full of life it didn't matter if it was a dream or not, it was a possible future, a future that I would do anything to make true but first thing I had to do was to save him from not only death but also from his own demons but I was up for the challenge of saving him, I had saved myself after all and even though I was alone I was going to be by his side every step of the way.
When I woke up I felt calm, happy with what I had seen that night, happy that the sun was shining, happy that I had woke up before New York's streets became noisy and busy. Jarvis had nothing to report so I went and made some tea wanting to enjoy the morning while it still lasted. I went out onto the balcony and stared over the railing looking down at the few people who like myself were enjoying the quite morning but what really caught my eye was the view in front of me. The sun slowly rising over New York harbor, the light bouncing off of the windows, as the sky light up in several colors before it faded into blue. There was only one thing that would make this morning better and that was if a raven haired, emerald eye god was here by my side to enjoy this beautiful scene.
"Then perhaps you should turn around."
I knew that voice and as I turned there, leaning against the door frame was that very god.
I found myself almost speechless to see that he was alive and seemed well, my heart jumped with excitment to know that I had just saved someone, that I had given someone another chance at life again. He made his way over to me and leaned against the railing looking over the harbor as well, his eyes deep in concentration as they took in the scenery.
"It's truly a beautiful sight wouldn't you agree Banner?" he asked
"Yes, it's truly beautiful." cautiously I took his hand it was smooth and soft in mine and as I looked up into hie emerald eyes the world seemed to stop.
"Banner? Doctor Banner? Earth to Banner."
I opened my eyes as I heard Jarvis screaming my name, it was a dream, a day dream. Loki hadn't woken up, no if he had then Jarvis wouldn't have called me. But there was urgency in the way he called and I ran to the medical room where Loki was and I saw that his breathing was labored, heart was racing, he was sweating. He kept mumbling as though he was in a nightmare, I rushed to ease his heart-beat as well as his breathing.
"Loki it's ok I'm here, everything's ok."
"No it's all lies!"
"Loki you're dreaming please wake up"
"No, no, stop!"
It wasn't working he was in a heated dream and it was scaring him, I had to wake him up, I had to let him know it was all a dream, that he was safe and no one was going to hurt him again.
"Loki please it's me Bruce your friend."
"I don't have friends!"
"I'm your friend, please wake up."
I took his hand in mine at the movement he calmed down a bit, it was working he knew that I was really here.
"Please wake up Loki don't listen to them I'm here for you, I always will be."
"No no there just lies."
"I'm not lying to you Loki I don't know what they're telling you but their only voices that are lying I know I battled them too. But I promise if you wake up then they'll go away because I'll be here to fight them away, I'm here to help you."
In his sleep he noded and his breathing calmed down drastically and as he opened his eyes he saw that just as I had said I was still there, still holding his hand in mine, still by his side as I told him countless times since we meet all those weeks ago.
"It's good to see you again Loki."
He looked around trying to remember where he was, confusion had taken over his face but I couldn't blame him the last place he could remember being was in that glass cell at SHIELD.
"Bruce how did I get here? Where is here?"
"I came and got you out of SHIELD, you were bleeding really bad so me and Tony brought you here to his house to save you."
"ANd where is Tony?"
"He left last night to go to SHIELD to explain why we rescued you."
"You fought them to save me? Your own friends for a lowly villain?"
"I told you that no matter where you were I would always come and save you, to protect you. I never go back on a promise no matter what it means I'll have to do in order to keep it so if I have to lose my friends to save you then that's what I'll do."
I let go of his hand and he turned his wrists over to examine the healed cuts that had caused him to bleed so much, they were now slowly dissapearing into his skin. He smiled at the sight of the wounds finally healing or maybe to know that he was still alive and at what I had done to save him. I sat down on a stool next to him as he sat up, the pain was slowly going away from his eyes and they began to sparkle under a new light, a happier light.
"You were right Bruce."
"Everything. There was a way to fight off the darkness and now I no longer hear them, I can't see any of it only where I am now and who I'm with. I like this new vision Bruce, I like it very much."
"I'm glade to hear that."
"What news have you heard of Thor?"
I knew that sooner or latter he'd ask about Thor, he'd probably wanted to hear that he was on his way to get him and take him back to Asgard but I guess that was good because I knew that I couldn't tell him that for it wasn't true.
"I don't know. I haven't heard or seen Thor since your invasion."
His smile faded and the darkness returned.
"Oh I see." he pulled his knees in closer to him "SO they truly have forgotten me then, I am no longer welcomed there nor here."
"That's not true Loki." I placed my hand on his shoulder "You are welcomed here maybe not everywhere on Earth yet but your welcomed here in Tony's home and your welcomed at my place too. This is a good thing that Thor hasn't been sent to take you back."
"Yes it is. It means that you can start over again and I'll help you. You can show everyone that you truly have changed and that you are sorry. You can show them that your no longer the villain everyone saw you as."
"Is such a change possible?"
"Of course it is, I did it but i was alone. Your not alone though 'cause I'm here and I'm going to help you through it each step of the way until they all see that you have changed and maybe you can even help us?"
I knew that it sounded all to good to him and that he still didn't believe that such good things could come to him, I was the same way too but I know that once you start believeing that good is possible even for a monster such as yourself then the darkness goes away and light comes in making everything clearer and brighter. I wanted to share that light with Loki, I wanted to show him that such a change was possible and I would always be by his side to help him, to pick him back up when he fell, I was never going to leave him or abandon him like everyone else had done, no unlike them I was going to stay with him and I would never leave him alone, he desereved that much at least.
It didn't seem possible, I thought for sure that I was going to die in that cell, but the voices proved otherwise for dead men don't hear them or see their fears, but surly I thought that it was all a dream still that what had happened between me and Banner, all that we went through I thought for sure that this time I would find out that it was all a dream and yet I was proven wrong for as soon as I opened my eyes he was there, at my side holding my hand and though I had not admitted it at the time I liked the feeling. But surly this time he was wrong, after all how could all that good be possible for someone like me? Sure he too was a monster but his was under control, his onyl came out when he was mad unlike me who had been born a monster and was a monster every day.
Did it hurt knowing that Thor hadn't come for me? Of course I though for sure that he would come and take me back, that I would face Odin once more, and that the cycle would just repeat itself, but at the same time it was good to know that he had not come for it meant that I could spend more time here with Bruce, that I was free for a little longer. It was also good to know that I was welcomed somewhere and that Stark and Bruce had fought their own friends and possibly lost them as well just to save me, just to save another monster, no no I wasn't a monster not any more and I had to start realizing that, I had to realize that I wasn't a monster but just as human as Banner was. Bruce led my to Tony's room where I decided to calm down in the hot water, hoping to ride myself of who I was in order to start anew.
Even though I knew very well that I couldn't wash away personality it still felt nice letting the hot water run down my skin, washing away all the dirt that had collected from the many years in prison, let it wash away all my doubt, the voices, I felt cleaner as though those few minuets under the water had actually cleaned away the person I used to be. But still I couldn't help but doubt what Bruce had promised me, was it really possible for me to start again, to become a different person and show the world that I truly had changed? It just seemed to good for me to be able to gain and yet everything that he has ever promised always seems to come true in the end when it's tested the most. I wanted to change and I wanted to show all nine realms that I had changed as well and even though I was no longer a prince what did that matter, what did I care now if I wore a crown or sat on a throne? I had friends, people who cared about me, a place where I was welcomed and wanted, I had found everything that I had ever wanted to gain in one place with one man who has never abandoned me and has always came back for me, stuck by my side no matter what, was there to pull me out of the darkness and scare away the voices.
I thought back to everything that has happened to me so far from finding out the truth about my heritage, almost destroying New York, imprisonment, helping Thor defeat the elves, back to imprisonment, meeting Banner, getting taken by SHIELD, rescued by Banner, helped by Stark, taken by the Avengers, and rescued by Banner. The good doctor has helped me quit a bit since I came down to Midgard only hoping to escape for one night never thinking that one night could led to all of this, that it could led me to finding everything that I had ever actually wanted to gain all but to be seen as Thor's equal which had been my true prize but that was my poisonious dream not taking a throne and now I was ready to give up on that dream for it had caused me far to much pain to be worth the fight.
I borrowed some cloths from Stark and changed my look just a bit so that I was still Loki but there was something off that made it hard to find the hurting prince only my eyes couldn't be changed and those who truly knew me would know to look in them and see that pain there and know that the man that stood before them used to be a proud Asgardien Prince. While I trusted Banner to help me through this fight that was slowly ending I still didn't believe that he could get the Avengers to except my change as well which was still understandable but I apprecited that he thought of such a thing. When I rejoined Bruce back in the living room he knew right away that it was still me and that was good as long as he still saw me that was all that mattered, it was everyone else that I was trying to fool.
"I see you've changed a bit."
"Yes, if I'm to stay here for some time longer then I wish to be able to blend in without being attacked."
"Smart choice. You really do look different but not to different, I like it."
He licked my change of attire, that was good I wanted to please him. I looked around the room and noticed Stark staring at me trying to piece the transformation together and I couldn't help but smile knowing that I had stumped him. But instead of trying to figure it all out he just shrugged his shoulders and got up walking over to join us.
"So what happened with SHIELD?" Bruce asked
"Not much they believe we're being controled somehow into believing that Loki's changed but I think we also have Natasha on our side the whole time she didn't look at me nor said a single word which isn't like her at all."
"Ok so there's possibly three out of seven Avengers who believe that Loki's changed. I don't like those odds Tony." Bruce said
I didn't like them either even if the Black Widow did believe that I had changed there still wasn't enough to prove that I wasn't controling anyone, perhaps I was wrong and I wasn't going to belong here much longer not without being hunted down nor could I start over here, no I wasn't going to be free that was still a distent dream that I couldn't make real.
"Hey don't worry pal we're not going to hand you over just because the odds aren't in our favor we'll prove to them that they're wrong about you, you'll see right Bruce?"
"Tony's right Loki we're not turning our back on you just because they don't agree with us. Like I've said a thousand times before I'm not going to leave your side, I'm going to help you through this and if that means that I make a few more enemies or lose some of my closest friends then so be it. I'm not going to let them hurt you anymore, as long as I'm here no one's going to lock you up in some cell, or torture you, or do whatever they did to you back on Asgard and if Thor comes to take you back then I'll stop him any way that I have to if you don't want to go back there and franckly I don't want you to leave. I want you to stay because I believe in you and I know that I can help you get through this."
I couldn't help but smile again it was the only way to hold back the tears.
"Thank you both I do not deserve such friends nor such kindness."
"Hey don't mention it and I couldn't say it any better then Bruce, we've got your back and no matter what we're going to get you through this together."
Sir you might want to leave now if you wish to meet Mrs. Potts for brunch
"Wow would you look at the time. I wish I could stay and chat but Pepper's helping me with filling a case against SHIELD."
"Just because of what they did to Loki?"
"Hey anyway to get money and I don't care what the public's going to say they broke in entrance, kidnapped the guy, and abandoned him in a cell where he almost killed himself, the guy hasn't caused New York any problems yet so yes I am filing a case against them for what they did and didn't they also knock you out for like three days that's lethal amount of narcotics and you could have died all because you were protecting him."
We watched Tony rush out the door to go meet his girlfriend to talk about getting back at SHIELD and the Avengers for what they did. Was this what true friends did for each other? Stick up for one another no matter what might happen? They truly did care for me and they were willing to do anything to help me through this never have I ever experienced such kindness and to think that years before these two were my enemies standing in my way of getting my rightful throne and possible to be seen as equal to Thor and now they were my only friends. I sat down and buried my face in my hands and like many times before I felt Banner sit next to me and place his hand comfortingly on my shoulder.
"I never meant for any of this to happen. I only wanted to escape it all for just one night."
"Hey it's going to be ok I know you didn't mean for any of this to happen and yet it did but you know what I'm glade it did. I'm glade that I got to fight to protect an innocent man and I'm glade I got to become your friend."
"Always so kind and honest but is there really any hope for me at all?"
"Of course there is. There's hope for everyone no matter who they used to be just as long as their willing to change is all that matters."
"What if I don't want to?"
Of course I wanted to change, I didn't want to be seen as this monster anymore. I didn't want to have to hid in fear or be hunted down, I wanted people to like me again. Yet I hadn't completely escaped the darkness and that questioned stuck in the back of my mind, what if I didn't want to change? What if I wanted to stay like this after all I couldn't really hurt anyone anymore only myself and by being alone no one could hurt me in return. But as I looked into Bruce's eyes there was understanding as if he saw my reasons for asking such a strange question even after I already proved that I wanted to change.
"It's up to you but if that is what you want to do then I'm always here if you need someone or change your mind but I think that you really do want to change and it is possible."
They'll be back wont they? THey always come back."
"SHIELD and the Avengers? Yes they'll keep coming back until they see that we were right as for the voices they will return once in a while but eventually they just give up all together."
"Is such a bliss possible for me though? After everything that I had done and all that I've gone through I doubt even I can get ride of them."
"Don't doubt so much Loki I think everything so far that you've doubted I've proven can be possible."
Of course he was right all that I had doubted such as him not reaching me in time, not caring, not being able to find happiness or freedom from it all and I had found all of that. I had found a friend, comfort, joy, and no matter where I was taken Banner came shortly after to save me even after I had tried to kill myself he was there and he held me comfortingly, didn't leave my side and was there to wake me from my nightmare bringing me back into the world. Then there was this feeling inside of me, I couldn't quit name it for it felt so foriegn and yet familiar at the same time but it hurt to feel this way as if the last time I did something terrible happened and I could never feel this again.
Then am I not your mother?
Now I remember, I felt this for the only person who had kept me alive for so long, the only person who cared for me.
It was I who had given up on her because of everything that I had been lied to about.
You might want to take the stairs on the right
It was I who had killed her. Killed the only person who had kept me alive, cared for me, I didn't mean for her to die and yet she did.
Your mother is dead
"You killed her"
"What a monster"
"What else could be expected"
I didn't mean to
"Does that matter now?"
"Of course not because you killed her"
"Your own mother"
"The only one to care for you"
That wasn't suppose to happen, she was suppose to live and I should have died during that war, she should have been alive and it should have been me to die, left in that barren land.
"You can't even die correctly"
"What a waste of space you are"
"How can you even claim to be of Asgard"
"No wonder Laufey didn't want you"
"You'll never belong anywhere"
No, no, no just shut up just go away. I covered my ears again hoping that would shut them out but no they only got louder and louder screaming at me.
"NO ONE WANTS YOU"
"JUST DIE ALREADY"
No please just shut up already, shut up and leave me alone. But there it was again, that strong comforting hand.
All I could do was shake my head as I tried to stand, shaking and almost in tears. I hated being so weak but they were right, I had killed her, just all the others that I killed, I was a monster down to the core and no one would ever want me but then there was Banner who had stuck to my side for so long proving to me that no matter how many times I said it he always came back, always stayed by my side, always cared about when no one else did. But was it safe to feel again? TO show such compassion in return when that very compassion had killed the only one to truly love me back, what if in turn I ended up killing Bruce? No I couldn't feel this way not ever again, I didn't want anyone else to die not by or for me it wasn't worth to have another persons life layed heavy on my heart reminding me of all the terrible sins I had already done, the very reason I had to freeze this heart and never use it again, I couldn't let anyone in completely and yet I wanted to, I wanted to let my heart feel again and I wanted it to feel the very warmth and comfort I felt from Bruce.
However if I was going to change perhaps I should allow myself to care again, it could help me become more human maybe to know that I could care and that I wasn't coldblooded or heartless but that was another thing I was scared of. I was scared of letting people in in fear that they'd only see weakness and then leave me there hurting even more. That they'd use that against me and I had already gone through so much pain already that I didn't want to go through any more. Bruce slide of the couch and sat next to me putting his arms tighter around me and all I could do was return the gesture and hide my face in his shoulder not wanting to let go in fear of losing him as well. This comfort, this friendship between us was all that I had left and I would do anything to not lose that too, I wanted to keep this, keep this warmth that I felt for it was a beautiful thing that ignited a fire within the cold and darkness opening my eyes to the light for the first time in forever.
"It'll be ok Loki I wont let go. I'll be here for forever just for you and no one else."
Tears had brimmed my eyes and began to lightly fall.
"Bruce I must admit that I am afraid. Afraid of losing you and this friendship that we share."
"You wont lose anything more Loki I'm never leaving no need to worry about that."
"Yes..I know but still I fear at what's to come if all goes as planned."
"The future? I don't know what's going to happen." we pulled apart but he kept his hands on my shoulders "But I do know that just like now we'll still be here and you'll be happy no longer knowing pain that's a promise that I'm willing to make and fight for if that'll mean you'll stay here as well."
I pulled him in close and leaned my forhead against his and gazed into those deep eyes of his, memorized by the light inside of them.
"Of course I'll stay."