Shadows of the Past

Escort

Loki rolled his shoulders, fussing with the way his duster was on him. It felt off. He reached up and fixed the collar, tugging it one way. There, that felt better.

The bar between the restrainer cuffs snapped onto his wrists could be dissolved away, leaving just the rings on his wrists to bind his magic. It was just as effective but this way he could move his arms. Since he was going to be marched to death row soon he had been allowed to put on his old clothes, including his favorite jacket, his duster Tilaria had made for him. To do that, he needed his arms free.

Not even Loki himself understood how he could be so calm. In a few minute he'd be escorted to his execution. He laced up his boots, mind blank. His hair had been messily cut short, exposing his neck for what was to come.

Thor had taken his muzzle with him when he had left after their fight so Loki had been able to breathe comfortably these past two days. It was, he supposed, a small mercy. He hadn't said a word since in case someone realized he was missing his muzzle and decided to go fetch it.

Subconsciously, he ran his fingers over his boots. The hidden blades in the heels were untouched. So was the magic that he had been storing in his duster over the centuries, using the crystalline thread as a medium. A lot of good it did him so long as he was cuffed.

Slítas was in his right sleeve, just like always, the cobra's head just inside his collar. At least there's someone on Asgard that hasn't abandoned me. He ran a few fingers down Slítas's spine. That's why you liked me wasn't it, when I found you as a child? You knew all along I was Jötunn all along, didn't you Slítas?

He lowered his hands when the cuffs started humming. His wrists snapped together sharply, the bar rematerializing. Slítas ducked further into Loki's jacket. One of the forcefields wavered and dissipated. Beyond it was Sif and two Blood Wolves Loki didn't know.

Loki made a show of apprising Sif. She was in a spiffy new white uniform, in armor with both blade and shield. The white theme carried over to them. "Nice outfit Lieutenant," Loki smirked, "a little tight." He walked over to the edge of his cell and stepped down.

Sif reached over and tightened his cuffs until they cut into his wrists. "If I could sew your lips shut as the Celestials did while you were their prisoner, I would. Seeing you beheaded will do nicely."

Loki, in response, leaned forward, took advantage of his close proximity to her and kissed her on the lips. Sif instantly jerked back and slapped him, color rising. "Bastard."

Loki bowed as well he could with his cuffs.

Sif turned away sharply, fuming. The two Wolves fell in behind Loki and Sif walked a few steps in front of him as he was escorted. This wasn't the first execution he was attending – though he had to admit he hadn't had such a unique view before.

He knew he would get to say a few last words before he was killed. The question was, what to say? As bizarre as that seemed, you'd be thinking oddly if you were going to your own execution. Should he say a curse? No, without his magic the words would be a hallow waste. Beg forgiveness? Ha, hardly. Maybe a promise that he would be back. Hel was Tilaria's foster mother and Loki himself was on fairly good terms with the Goddess of Death. It would well be in her power to bring him back. Even if Hel didn't it would certainly make Odin paranoid.

Their walk continued across the underground tunnels that led to the arena. Loki could see a doorway of light ahead, the way to the inside of the arena. Someone stepped out of the shadows ahead of them, walking towards the four. Sif let her hand rest on her staff, expecting trouble. She lowered her head when she recognized the intruder and bowed slightly, "my prince."

Thor glanced at Sif. "I wish to speak to my brother alone Lieutenant."

We're not brothers, Loki thought sharply. Without his magic he couldn't even tell if that was Thor or someone with a glamour. No, it had to be Thor, who else would bother?

Sif was caught. She had orders from Odin, but she didn't want Thor upset with her. Thor was still going to need a queen when he was crowned and it was going to be her, not some mortal concubine. One of the two Wolves with her was a sensitive and he nodded that it was the real Thor. Reluctantly, Sif walked back, motioning the other to do the same.

"Loki," Thor whispered once they were away.

"Don't start Thor just don't start," Loki warned. "I'm still rehearsing my last words." Loki tried to sound haughty without success. I can't even act! He looked away from Thor and whistled a few notes softly. Slítas obligingly popped out of Loki's collar, crystals a very worried yellow. "Slítas, go with Thor. I don't want you with me when… Just go with him."

Slítas flared his hood, unwilling.

Loki awkwardly raised his cuffed hands and pulled Slítas from his duster. Slítas hissed and clamped its teeth to the side of Loki's hand. Glaring, Loki held out the hand with the snake hanging from it. "Slítas let go." The snake tightened his grip, making a sound most similar to a growl. "Slítas…"

"Seems he's being clingy again," Thor said, voice neutral as he could manage. He felt himself smiling slightly at the normal occurrence of Slítas being overprotective.

"Stop smiling and get him to let go," Loki growled.

Thor took his hands form his pockets, something glittering as it clattered to the ground. Uh oh, Thor thought as he applied pressure to the hinge of the cobra's jaws. Slítas had no choice but to let go. He stepped back, cobra in one hand, and used the other to pick up what he had dropped.

Loki's eyes traced the movement. "You still have it?"

Thor hesitated, hand half in his pocket, and then held out the hand. In it was Tilaria's charm bracelet, the clasp still broken. "You risked a lot to get it to me, why wouldn't I have it?" All he thought of was that nightmare where he saw Loki take that curse to his chest, and how he had woken up with Loki's blood somehow on him. "I didn't drop it on purpose like I did the dagger. That time I was just trying to see if you really were a monster."

"And what is your verdict?" Loki asked, looking at the bracelet. The five charms were carved from jewels, but the links were made of the purest silver. Copper channeled normal magic; silver channeled Dark Magic, one of Tilaria's specialties.

"I'm sorry," Thor whispered.

Loki didn't respond.

He's too busy looking at the bracelet Thor realized. Even now, he still loves her. "Are you going to go out with a fight?"

Loki shrugged. "Tempting, but I can't use my magic. Against so many I will need to teleport. I-I can't. There is nothing I can do." He lowered his head and a drop of moisture fell to the floor.

Thor's eyes shifted to the red stain on the dirt floor. Blood. He stepped forward, hoping Slítas would behave himself, and located the source of the blood. Loki's restrainer cuffs had been tightened to the point of cutting his wrists.

Loki didn't look up. "Find her," he ordered Thor. "I couldn't, even when I was with the Chitauri."

Thor's next comment caught in his throat, "the-the Chitauri."

"They kept me in my cell for a few months until they were sure I won't try any sabotage. Eventually, they expanded it to the whole fleet to Chitauri Space. They live in their own, closed dimension. It's not very easy to escape from that."

Cell? Sabotage? Was Loki an ally or a prisoner?

"After a time I was allowed to accompany them on some of their missions as a viewer. I looked but I couldn't find Tilly. She's not in the Realms and she's not outside it. I know she's not dead though. I just know it, I can sense it but I can't find her." Loki turned away and looked towards the doorway of light that led to his death. "Since I can't look anymore, you have to."

"What?" Thor whispered, "Loki you're not dying."

"It doesn't look that way from where I stand," he raised his cuffed hands. "When you do tell her yourself everything I've done. Don't let Sif or the Wolves near her until you do. You-You'll get the details right…"

Thor touched the controls on the cuffs, loosening them so they wouldn't cut him anymore, and did one more thing – a split second decision. Loki always believed actions over words. How's this for actions? "Find her yourself brother, and tell her."

Sif walked back over, deciding it had been long enough. Thor set a hand on Loki's arm for a moment and reluctantly left, Slítas still on him. It was several minutes after Thor disappeared before Sif got orders to walk out.

Loki obligingly went along. The light was blindingly and he could see nothing but light as he walked through the doorway.

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