Chasing Demons

chapter7

(Bruce)

I didn't like seeing Loki so hurt it pained me every time he hid his face, started shaking, crying, it pained me to see what has become of the god I last saw. There was no connection between the two. The old god was dangerous, didn't care, crazy, insane, but Loki..he was gentle, caring, lonely, scared, I couldn't see that insane monster that I last fought in him now. His eyes was the most that changed, before they glowed emerald with hunger for power but now they were softer, more compassionet and they craved to belong and feel wanted. He only wanted to leave it all behind him and change who had become, he wanted to be different to know that he was just as human as everyone else.

As he leaned his head in close and our foreheads touched I could feel a slight chill and slightly shuttered under the sudden frost but it felt different then usual cold. This chill was warm and full of care, it made me feel happy and it was a new feeling. As I gazed into his bright emerald eyes I saw comfort and joy in them as though he was glad that I was the one that was there in front of him and not someone else, they were glad that they had found another set that cared and knew the pain. I cared greatly about Loki and to hear him say that he wasn't going to leave made me smile to know that he wanted to stay here, wanted to be by my side, that he wanted me to stay there by his as well. But I was worried by this feeling, it has only led me to hurt those I felt this way towards until I was left alone and broken because all I could do was hurt them, I couldn't care, couldn't be gentle, but that wasn't me that was Hulk and he was my own sin.

I wanted to be able to care like this again, wanted to show someone that I truly could care, that I could be gentle with such a feeling and Loki was the only one I felt this way about. I wanted to prove myself to him, wanted to do everything that I had promised him I would as if that would show him my own feelings towards the God. Yet whenever I gazed into him my heart beated with this feeling sending warmth throughout my body and all I wanted was to care, wanted to act upon such a strong feeling but I knew that with Loki I would have to be patient. he had been hurt far to often by to many people and I knew that trust wasn't something he was comfortable giving so to know that he trusted me was a great step and now all I had to do was wait until he felt ready to trust me further and I was willing to wait as long as it took. I didn't want to hurt him in any way or make him feel un-comfortable so I would wait, and hope that time would be merciful just this once to us both.

The day went by very slowly and both of us seemed to be on edge every now and then jumping at the slightest noise hoping that it wasn't the Avengers, Thor, or SHIELD. I never left Loki's side throughout the day, we just stayed in the living room sitting on the couch together not daring to leave or to be away from each other.

"Is it really possible? TO try and convince them."
"Of course it is it's just going to take some time is all but eventually they'll see that your different and then everything will be better."
"What do you plan to do should Thor come for me? When he's determined there's usually nothing that can stop him."
"Yeah I know the guys strong but I think I can take him. After all I did break into SHIELD twice and beat down all their guards just to save you I think I can take on Thor."
He laughed sarcastically not believing that I could on Thor and I knew very well that I couldn't but just to hear him laugh again was incredible and it was beautiful as well the way he threw his head back, the smile on his face, to see all the pain leave for a moment. I felt as though I had acomplished a miracle in itself by making him laugh.

"You are very funny Banner but I fear it will take more then wit to take down Thor." he held up his hand as a tinge of blue tainted his skin "However I've sparred against my brother enough to have a few tricks of my own."

His eyes filled with sadness again as the tinge of blue started to make it's way up his arm but maybe the sadness was also from remembering the past back when maybe he was happier.

"What if he doesn't come though?" I asked

"Then it will be better for us both should he not come for me. It will be less painful that way."
There it was again, that dreaded word that had done so much damage to us both. It was now our enemy as well as our own worse fear, afraid to feel pain, afraid to hurt, afraid of having to go through it all again. Something I had overcome already but something that continued to haunt Loki, something that was on a different magnitude to him then the basic definition of the word. I knew that he hated it more then anything in the universe possible even more then his captors or the very man that had put him there. I couldn't understand how Loki's father could put him through so much pain and not even care at all what happened to him, it seemed cruel and unthinkable to do. Sure the guy killed 80 people and almost destroyed New York and I could understand that he needed to be punished but was what he went through for the best?

"Loki what happened after Thor took you back to Asgard? What did they do to you?"

His hand dropped as did his gaze and the pain returned mixing with the sadness, I didn't want to ask him such a troubling question but I felt like I had to know just what happened, to know what I had helped make possible, what I had put him through.

"I'm sorry for asking you such a morbid question it's just that..."
"Do not apologize Banner it is quit alright for I knew that sooner or latter you would wish to know the truth about my punishment. There are two prisons on Asgard, one underneath the palace where most of the prisoners captured in war are held however there is another that is cloacked in the darkness on the dark side of Asgard and that is where the more dangerous go, those who's punishment requires such a hidden place to make it more secrete." he concentrated deeper in thought forcing himself to remember "I was taken to the lower vaults where it was darkest and hardly anyone was kept there unless your truly a great threat. It seemed like every few hours the gaurds would return and as I laid chained to the stone wall, weak, helpless, the took great pleasure in tormenting me in every way possible they didn't care if the broke me, didn't care how much blood I lost, just as long as they could have the pleasure of destroying me, destroying all confidence, they took everything from me that I had. Sometimes they threw poison at me, bound me and left me in the coldest months in Joutinhiem, everything they could think to make me suffer they did and during those years even my powers began to deminish." he began to shiver greatly at the thought of all he had gone through "But that was only the beginning, after spending about sixteen mortal years there my mother finally learned of my punishment and conivenced Odin to stop such madness and I was moved to a cell in the other prison though it made no difference for the guards there were just as ruthless with their own sick imitations of torture." tears fought to brim his eyes as he continued to shake closing his eyes. I didn't want to hear any more, I didn't want him to remember any more either for it was clearly bothering him . As I wrapped my arm around him as I knew he liked he rested his head on my shoulder terrified of those years.

"I'm sorry Loki I had no idea."

"It is alright...Banner...I j..just never thought it would end."

We had made a terrible mistake of letting Thor take Loki back even if back then I was Loki's enemy if I had known that this was his punishment even then I would ahve been against letting him suffer in such a way it was cruel and brutal. As he told me what had happened I could feel the chains, the whips, the bitter cold, the tears, and heart ache, screaming for it all to end, to have mercy and kill me there. I was amazed that he had gone through all those years of such torment and still managed to live, still managed to stand. But those years had damaged him, they had taken everything from him and left him broken and shattered. I could feel my own heart shatter at the tale, at the pain, at knowing that this was his fate but it also gave me new purpose of proving to him that everything would be ok, of proving to him that there was hope for freedom and that I would never let him go no matter what.

I felt him return the hug and there we sat wrapped in each others arms holding on tightly afraid to let go and lose each other and lose this comfort and warmth. As the day slowly came to an end there was still no sign of Tony but I really didn't care where he was or what he was doing, I didn't care if he didn't return until next week I just wanted to be here with Loki, I wanted to protect him and as long as he was here and as long as he knew that nothing was going to hurt him that was all that mattered, as long as he was making this journey to recover from all that had happened then I didn't care about the rest of the world, I only had time for Loki.
"It's alright Loki you'll never have to go back there. I swear they'll never hurt you again."
"Why do you make such a hard promise to keep?"
"Because it's a promise I intend to keep you'll see Loki."

His arms dropped from around me but his head remained on my shoulder and I kept one of my arms around him protectively. I would do everything that I had to to keep Thor from taking Loki back and I would fight to the death to keep Loki safe, no one was going to hurt him, no one was going to take him from my side I don't care how many soldiers from Asgard come to take him back I'll stop them all before I let any of them take him away from me.

"You know they'll keep coming until they have me captured and sent away." he whispered

"Of course but even if they send you back to Asgard I'll find some way in and I'll save you no matter who tries to stop me."
"You are a brave man Banner but even if you could get into Asgard it will be hard to get me out."
"I don't care how hard it is I swear I'll always save you no matter where you are taken."

(Loki)

'Give up this poisonous dream and come home brother'

No Thor I don't want to

'You will come home and face your punishment'

No please I haven't done anything wrong

'You left us worried who knows what damage you were about to cause'

I wasn't going to no please I want to stay

'There's no place for you here monster'

'Yes just leave you freak'

'Who would ever care about you?'

"Loki wake up."

I opened my eyes, breathing hard, sweating, a lamp turned on and at my side was Banner like all the times before he was there to wake me from such nightmares and I always felt better waking to see him there with worry in his eyes and a comforting hand resting upon my shoulder. He cared, he said it many times in many different ways, they were wrong I knew he wanted me here, I knew he cared.

"Are you alright?"
"Yes, I am now thank you for your concern."

He smiled and got up to leave but I caught his hand not wanting the warm gesture gone and he stopped walking away.

"Please stay."

It was strange to ask such a thing but when he was around I always felt better, happier knowing that while he was there I was truly safe, he wouldn't let anyone hurt me anymore and I never heard them when he was there it was a bliss that I enjoyed. He pulled up a chair and as I closed my eyes once more I felt his hand take hold of mine as the same feeling of warmth and comfort raced down my veins and I knew that I could finally relax.

I feel into the darkness once more but this time I woke to a different scene, before me was no cell, no guards, no torment no instead I was back at Banners' house and he was there right beside me still holding my hand as he always did with light twinkling in his eyes. I had a new feeling inside of me, it was warm and gentle and it made me happy, made me wish it would never go away, that I would always have it inside of me reminding me that I could feel, that I did have a heart, that it was possible for me to change.

I didn't want to believe it didn't want to admit it but I knew the reason for why my heart beat like this, why I felt the way I did, I cared for the very man that was sitting by my side, the man that had risked so much for me, who had showed me that everything I doubted was possible that there was hope and that someone did care about me.

'I would break into Asgard and I would save you.'

'I don't care who tries to stop me I'll stop them all just to save you'

He really did care but was it the same way that I cared for him? What if he was doing all of this out of good nature and only cared for me as a friend? Oh what a fool I was for thinking that there could possibly have been more between us then just our sins and friendship I truly believed that there could be more to us, if only I hadn't lost my power to read peoples minds then I could see for myself how he truly thought of me and then would I be at rest knowing that he saw me only as a friend or possibly as something more. When I woke the first thing I saw was Banners eyes, staring down at me still so full of light and that warmth returned inside only to die as I wondered what he really thought of me but as much as I wanted to ask him I couldn't bring myself to ask the question.

He smiled and left me to get dressed the whole time my dream of last night ran through my head, him waking me from my nightmare, to dreaming of a peacful day next to him by ourselves with no worries about our enemies or being seperated, to waking up to see he was still there just as he had promised he would be. What was I thinking in the first place? Why would he ever care for me the same way I did for him? What reason did he have for wanting me even still here? I had to stop this, had to stop feeling or else I was going to end up broken again and this time I would have nothing for it would be my heart that shatters.

Yet he had promised me so much and the way he looks at me, the way he comforts me surly that has to be some sort of sign that there could be more to us and if there wasn't then maybe I was better off back home at least there no one could hurt me again, I could spend all day in my room and no one would ever care or notice that I dissapeared from the world I doubt it was even Thor who discovered I was missing, but then if it wasn't him then who else?

'Loki I want to help you'

Ah yes it had to be Lady Sif the last person to see me that night before I left, the last person to show any signs of care for me there. But not even Sif could drag me back to Asgard even if Banner saw me as nothing more then friends then I would be content with just that as long as I could stay here. As I entered the living room Stark ran out past me in a hurry to go somewhere which I was not surprised to see at all. I didn't care much for what Stark did at all only Banner mattered to me. As I looked around trying to find him my eyes caught on the scene outside for snow was lightly falling covering everything in a sheet of white. Could I finally stand out there without feeling pain?

Even though I had nothing but jeans on the snow felt soft and warm against my skin that was no taking a tinge of blue but it was that change that suddenly brought the pain. I could feel the bounds wrap around my hands and feet as I fell to the ground in pain, the same pain that I felt all those years in prison. I screamed hoping that would make a difference but I doubted it would for it seemed like not many people were out in the streets during such weather, I was alone in the bitter cold in pain, the world fadded away and all I saw around me was the snowy plane of Joutenhiem and I could feel the metal bounds harden and freeze against my skin which was now completely blue with the silver lines of a frost giant, revealing the true monster that crawled beneath my skin, the true monster of my heritage that had made me do all that I had done and even though it was this very monster that had saved my life from freezing it was still the very being that I was trying so desperetly to escape but I knew that if Banner saw me in such a form he too would come to see that I'm nothing more then this aweful monster and wouldn't want me around anymore.

"Somebody please help!" I found myself scream again not expecting anyone in Joutenhiem to hear me after all they were gone and even if there were some giants left they wouldn't help me they'd rather see me suffer and die as well.

"Loki."

I heard it the sound of worry and fear in someone's voice but who could be here? Surly no giant for the voice was much smaller, nor from Asgard for it was forbidden to return here (unless by punishment).

"Loki please wake up."

I opened my eyes to see Bruce kneeling in front of me with his arms wrapped around me protectivly as they always were. After remembering where I was I no longer felt the pain or the bounds but I did back away from Banner more in fear of what he was going to say about my true form but instead he just sat there saddened that I had backed away so quickly from him in fear.

"Loki."

"No get away from me I'm a freak."
"No your not Loki."

He came closer to me and grasped my hand in his, I didn't understand the gesture until I saw my skin turn back to normal at his touch.

"See your human just like me we both have monsters inside."

I stopped backing away and he took both of my hands in his and the blue tinge to my skin quickly faded away, he held on to me tightly and after a moment when he let go my skin was no longer blue nor did it change blue again and then did I feel the frost of the snow, it wasn't a bitter pain like before but it was chilling and only then was I glad of my true form for when it came out I could withstand any cold but without it I was freezing to the very bone. Banner helped me inside and handed me a nearby blanket which was very warm and soft.

"What were you thinking?" he asked with a slight laugh

"I wondered if I would feel the pain again from all those years or if I had truly overcame it sadly I was terribly wrong."
He came over and sat down next to me setting to hot cups down on the table.

"This is why I try not to leave you alone. You hurt when I'm gone and I promised you that you wouldn't hurt anymore."

"Yes I do recall you making that promise to me."

He placed his arm around me and as if it was natural I leaned against him resting my head upon his shoulder wrapping the blanket tighter around me. Bruce felt warm and soft and I snuggled in closer to him for it was a warmth that I longed to feel everytime he was next to me and wanted to feel when he was not. It was a warmth that I had never felt before until the first time Banner had comforted me and ever since then I always wanted to feel this warmth run through me, as I closed my eyes again I smiled gently and heard Banner laugh.

"You've changed so much Loki I like the new you."
I felt his hand rub against my arm and I liked the feeling I looked up and our eyes locked on one another as the room feel silent. They were so mesmorizing, so beautiful, I felt my heart race and my skin warm up at the sight. He was such a beautiful person everything about him was perfect and I couldn't have wished to be gazing at any other being besides Banner.


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