When Leah woke up she found Loki staring attentively at her. “Hi!! He cheerfully greeted her.
“Um …hi?” Leah answered feeling a bit awkward.
“How are you feeling?” Loki asked her
“Spent” Leah confessed, even if she had slept a couple of hours she really didn´t felt rested.
“I guess I would feel that way too if I´d cried that much.” Loki reasoned.
“Oh, god!” Suddenly she remembered and covered her face ashamed. “Don´t look at me, my eyes must be all red and puffy.”
“Yes, just like your nose” Loki replied, as soon as he had so Leah snatched the pillow from beneath her and used it to hide her face. “Oh! Come on! It´s not like I hadn´t seen you like this before. As a matter of fact I´ve seen you worse.”
Leah loudly complained with a whining sound as she turned around hiding her face in the bed while still holding the pillow over her nape. She knew exactly what he meant, the first time he visited her she was heavily drunk and it wasn´t the only time he saw her like that. “I´m such a mess!” she exclaimed embarrassed at the memories.
Loki made his best effort not to burst laughing, when had she become so self-conscious? Maybe she never cared before because she thought he was a dream. With a big grin he approached her and in a swift move pulled her out of the pillow and into his arms. “That may be true, but you are My Mess” Without further words he kissed her. Leah gasped surprised at first, she blinked her eyes a few times before the depth of his kiss swooned her; as she closed her eyes and surrender he suddenly broke contact leaving her feeling dazed.
“I cooked something for you” He proudly volunteered as he retrieved a tray from the night stand on his side of the bed. “I didn´t knew what you might have a craving for so I made you some waffles, eggs and bacon, chicken with fires and of course strawberries.”
Leah looked at the tray amazed “Wow, you really cooked allthat?”
“Of course I did, why you look so surprised? What did you thought that I magically appeared all my meals.” Loki inquired.
“Well … to say the truth, yes. That´s what I thought.” Leah confessed while scratching the back of her head nervously.
“That would be a waste of my magic, why would I use my magic on that when I´m perfectly capable of cooking for myself” Loki explained her a bit offended by her answer.
“I´m sorry. I didn´t knew. I just … never mind.” As she tasted her first bite she was pleasantly surprised. “Mm, this is really good” She quickly complimented him before taking another bite, she didn’t know just how hungry she was until she started eating. “You are full of surprises” She added as she stuffed her mouth with a strawberry. “I´m starting to feel like I really don´t know you.” She confessed before taking another bite.
“Well, we can get reacquainted if you want.” Loki shamelessly pureed in a flirting tone making Leah choke on her food.
As she coughed trying to get her breath back Loki quickly told her. “I was only kidding, are you all right?”
Leah nodded her head affirmatively while she took a sip of her orange juice still coughing.
“I promise I´ll wait until you feel ready, all right?” He volunteered.
“Ok” Leah answered still trying not to cough; he had caught her completely off guard.
“Clint told you?” Leah asked as soon as her cough subsided. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Loki knowing.
“Yes, he told me everything. I wished you had told me … I didn’t knew what to think about your behavior, if I had … “Loki was telling Leah when she suddenly interrupted him.
“I didn´t wanted you to know, I wished I had forget about it. I can´t understand why of all things that I can remember. “Leah wryly admitted.
“I wish I could give you an answer to that” Loki acknowledged
“But you can´t” Leah told him.
“No, and I can´t undo what Doom did to you either. But I want you to know that you don´t need to feel ashamed, you did nothing wrong. It was not your fault.” Loki volunteered while looking into her eyes.
“I don´t know.” Leah confessed.
“Well, I do” Loki confirmed. “You don´t have to hide this sort of things from me. You can talk to me about anything, don’t you know? Can we agree on not hiding things from each other? No more secrets?” Loki inquired while holding her hand.
“I … I´d like that.” Leah agreed nodding her head before looking into Loki´s eyes as she told him. “ I don´t know what I would do if I didn´t had you to help me get through this.”
Loki warmly smiled at her as he answered. “Leah, you risked more than your life for us, don´t think I´ve forgotten about Doom´s menace. I know you saved my life right there. Do you really think I could leave you alone to deal with this?”
Leah blushed slightly, he was right. “No, I´m sorry. I don´t know what goes through my mind lately.” Suddenly she turned serious as he asked him.” Loki, Clint said Doom killed me, is …. is that true?”
Loki´s expression changed to a somber one.” I´m afraid he did.”
Leah looked at him, she couldn´t wrapped her head around it yet. “Will you tell me what happened?”
Loki sighed, that was a moment he wished he could forget; as he closed his eyes he nodded affirmatively. “I will, but I need to know too.”
“What happened after you left?” Leah bit nervously her lower lip while she considered her answer. “You´re not going to like it.”
“Neither will you.” Loki volunteered with sorrow on his eyes.
“It might be a very long talk, could we see Eerika first?” Leah asked him in hope, she might not have the strength or presence of mind to do it later.
“Of course.” Loki agreed; it would be hard on her and seeing Eerika might help. “Finish your food first.”
Leah looked at the tray; suddenly she didn’t felt that hungry any more, as she opened her mouth to say something Loki cautioned her. “Don’t you even think on telling me you´re not hungry.”
“But …” Leah pouted.
“No, you need to eat.” He warned her with a serious frown. When he noticed Leah´s worried reaction he softens his demand. “Please Leah, you haven´t eaten since the attack. I´m worried about you.”
“All right” Leah agreed with a defeatist sigh, she hated the idea of causing him any pain. “Only for you.”
After she had finished her food they walked over to the nursery where they were greeted by Clint. “Look pumpkin, its mummy!”
“Pumpkin?” Leah turned to Loki with a questioning look.
“Seems Clint is getting awfully fond of Eerika, he´s even come up with a pet name.” Loki answered shrugging his shoulders.
Leah raised her eyebrows surprised. “Ok” She smiled at the memories of the day her daughter was born when everyone was competing for Eerika´s attention; for such a group of tough men they certainly turned to pudding for a baby.
“She just woke up” Clint told her as he approached them and gently placed Eerika in Leah´s arms.
“Hi love” Leah´s eyes glistened; for an instant during her struggle with Doom she really came to thought she would never see her daughter ever again.
“Maybe we should give them a moment” Clint suggested Loki in a low tone.
Loki nodded approvingly as he told Leah “We’ll be tight outside should you need us.”
“I know, I shouldn´t be crying. You´re going to think that I cry all the time, but I’m so glad to see you” Leah told Eerika as soon as they were alone. “I´m sorry it took me so long.” Leah confessed while tears rolled down her face. As she leaned to look to her daughters face a tiny hand reached for her “I love you too.” She told her full-heartily as she leaned down even further so Eerika´s hand would touch her face. She smiled how she could even consider the possibility of leaving them it was now beyond her comprehension. “Daddy is right, you know. Mummy isn´t all right now. But I´ll get better … I promise, whatever it takes.” She meant it, there was no turning back no matter how hard things were for her she had two very powerful reasons to overcome it. She would have to make sure to never forget it again.
“How is she?” Clint asked Loki as soon as they were in the hallway.
“She seems better” Loki acknowledged. “She even agreed to tell me about her fight with Doom if I tell her about … what happen afterwards.”
“Do you think she’s up to that?” Clint asked him preoccupied.
“I´m not sure, I guess we´ll just have to find out.” Loki volunteered.
Clint sighed, it might be too fast for that, though they couldn´t hide it from her either. “You´re probably right. Just don´t give her too much details.”
“I wasn´t …” Loki started to tell him when Clint interrupted him again. “Keep it simple, don´t say anything about blood and stuff.”
Loki looked at Clint shocked, as he disrupted Clint’ ramble he express his annoyance to such idea. “I´d never tell her that. What in Helheim makes you think I would?” Suddenly he remembers Thor´s colorful battle recollections “On second thought, don´t answer that.”
After a bit more than half an hour Leah came out of the nursery, she had feed Eerika and lulled Eerika to sleep. Loki was alone waiting for her; Clint had gone to the kitchen to fix himself something to eat. As if it were an old habit he had taken the baby´s monitor with him.
“I´m ready” She told Loki with a stern look.
“All right.” Loki agreed “We can talk in the study.”
Leash followed Loki to the study, it was filled with glass cases and book cases; she admired them briefly before noticing Loki had led her to a small living room placed on the left corner in the room.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Loki asked her concerned.
“No, but I think I have to.” Leah wryly told him.
“If it becomes too intense for you we can stop whenever you want.” Loki offered her.
“Thank you. But I´d rather do this just once.” Leah volunteered.
“Do you want me to start first?” Loki asked her.
“No, I think I should go first” Leah replied; then she bit her lips nervously while she tried to figure out how to start. “I´m not sure how to start.” She finally confessed to Loki.
“I´m curious, what would you have done if Doom hadn´t agreed to let us go?” Loki asked her trying to help her get started.
“Probably killed him.” Leah said without flinching, she had asked herself that question before and no matter how many times she thought of it she couldn´t find another solution. The alternative was too horrible to even consider.
“Then I´m glad he did.” Loki admitted.
Leah wasn´t sure about that, even if deep down she really disliked the idea of taking a life she felt inclined to make an exception for Doom. She also wondered that if cornered into a position where her family welfare was in the line again would be so skittish about it, probably not.
Without acknowledging Loki´s comment she started her recollection. “When the elevator door closed I got distracted, Doom seized that opportunity to knock me off him. I had lost my knife and bow, I couldn´t fight with my injured arm and had no escape route. Doom knew it too; he cornered me at the edge of the rooftop and …” as Leah continued her recollection Loki noticed that unconsciously Leah nursed either her throat, shoulder or ribs as if remembering the details actually caused her pain.
“…when I refused he … slapped me, just as Clint did yesterday …” She told him without thinking.
Loki widened his eyes surprised; Clint hadn´t mentioned such an event. “Wait! Clint slapped you? Why?”
Leah realized her indiscretion a little too late and cursed herself mentally for mentioning it. “I … said something foolish” She answered trying to dismiss it and hoping against all hope Loki wouldn´t ask her anymore.”
“What did you say?” Loki asked her, he just couldn´t understand why Clint had decided to hide it from him.
“I´d rather not say” Leah told him pouting. “He was right, I shouldn´t have said it.”
“I thought we had agreed on no more secrets between us.” Loki admonished her with a stern look on his face. Leah down casted her gaze, why hadn´t she kept her mouth shut.
“All right, if you´re not going to tell me I´ll ask Clint” Loki spat at her as he raised from the couch.
“No, wait!” Leah grabbed his hand anguished. “I will tell you.”
Loki sat down again to hear her answer.
“I … I told him that maybe … you and Eerika … might be better off without me.” She finally confessed feeling ashamed.
Loki couldn´t believe she had just said that, he felt angry, after all they been through, he had never been so angry at her before. “Why did you say that? Were you planning to abandon us?”
“No, I … I don´t know why I said it.” Leah lied.
“I don´t believe you” Loki affirmed. “You know very well why you said it. Tell me, were you planning on leaving us?” He gripped her wrist as he forced her to look into his eyes.
“No, no, that´s not what I meant; Loki please!” Leah pleaded as her eyes gleam with unshed tears, she had never seen Loki that angry before.
“Then what did you meant?” Loki asked her raising his voice.
“You should´ve let me die!” Leah whined as her tears over flooded her eyes running down her cheeks.
Loki let go of her wrist shocked. “How do you even dare to say that you selfish girl?” He chided.
“I didn´t meant to, I was hurting … I’m sorry.” Leah tried to apologize.
“Sorry won´t cut it this time!” Loki scolded her. “You think you´re the only one hurting here? Do you want to know how I felt when you died? As if someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest … and you dare to say I should´ve let you die.” Loki was so angry he hadn´t even noticed he was crying.
Leah felt her heart break when she saw the pain reflected in Loki´s face, she had never meant to hurt him. She tried to take his hand remorsefully as she implored. “Loki? Please …”
Loki retrieved his hand from hers. “I can’t talk to you right now … just don’t”. He told her while he looked away from her.
Leah couldn´t take it anymore and ran out of the study crying, she knew it was her fault he was so angry, he was right she had never considered how hard it had been for him, she had been so self-involved lately she had failed to think about him. She just couldn´t face it, she had to get away, run. She kept running as fast as she could without a destination, she had to keep running until the pain she felt had become numb.
The sound of the door being opened when Leah bolted out of the study alerted Loki who suddenly turned his gaze to find himself alone. “Dammit!” He coursed out loud as he rose in a hurry to follow her. His anger had made him forget about Leah´s current unstable mental condition.
Even if Loki was faster than Thor, the adrenaline made Leah run even faster than Steve, Loki couldn´t caught up with her, he would have to follow Leah until she got tired or stop. “Leah! Leah, wait!” He called for her several times without an answer.
Suddenly Leah found herself in what it seemed to be a dead end; then she noticed a door on the end of the hallway, without even stopping she pushed the door open. As she walked through Leah stopped surprised only a couple of meters from the entrance, it was some kind of interior garden, although a small forest might be a more appropriate description; she contemplated surprised the flowers and butterflies that covered the field.
“How did he …?” –she asked herself while looking up to discern the source of the light. As the sun shined bright through the glasses of the huge greenhouse the reflection stroke Leah´s eyes triggering a violent series of flashbacks, memories twirled in her mind flooding her with missing moments, she felt nauseous and disoriented, her head felt as if it was going to burst , everything started spinning, suddenly she collapsed on the grass.
It only took Loki a couple of minutes to arrive to the garden, he stopped at the entrance trying to figure out where Leah could´ve gone when he noticed her. “Leah! Leah!” He called for her anxiously. He knelt by her side while he made sure she was still breathing, relieved he tried to awoke her again. “Leah! Come on! Wake up!” There was no response, he cradle her between his arms, remorseful tears running down his cheeks. “Remember in your letter when you told me you could raise our daughter by yourself if you had to, but you much rather have us doing it together? I feel exactly like that right now, I´ve been feeling like that since Doom shot you. I would take care of Eerika if you were gone, but I´d much rather have you with us. Even if you never remember what happened, even if you are a mess, even if you drive me crazy with your foolishness. I don´t know what I would do without you, please just stay with me.”
A small weary voice answered his plea. “I thought I had already told you.”
Loki looked down to find Leah staring at him “Told me what? He asked with a smile, she was all right.
“That you won´t get rid of me that easy” Leah answered
“Leah! You remember!” Loki squeezed her tightly against his chest.
“Oww” Leah complained, his sudden movements made her feel dizzy apart from the fact he was holding her too tight.
“I’m sorry” Loki softens his grip on her. “Do you remember everything?” He asked Leah excited.
“I think so” Leah volunteered. “I remember your voice …”She told him as she raised her hand to touch his cheek. “ I remember your voice calling for me right after the light hit me and then it all went black.” Then she added. “I’m sorry I should’ve stayed away from the window.
“It doesn´t matter” Loki acknowledged. “Doom would´ve destroy the whole penthouse just to get to you.”
“That sound s bit extreme, but after all he’s one spiteful bastard.” Leah reasoned.
“He is.” Loki agreed. “Are you all right? Can you get up?”
“No, not yet. Everything hurts, especially my head. I feel like a rag doll.” Leah confessed. When Loki moved her in an attempt to carry her back to their room Leah complained loudly. “Wait! Please, can´t we just stay here for a while? It is beautiful … it´s been so long since I saw a tree up close.”
Loki frowned at first considering if he should just heal her, but voted against it, he should let her body recuperate naturally, he had healed her with his magic much often than recommended. “If you want” He told her while he carefully exanimated the back of her head, he found a bump. “You must have hit your head when you fell, that´s why it hurts” He explained her. “About that, I’m sorry I got so angry at you.”
“No, you were right, I’ve been selfish. I was feeling lost and I hurt you when that was the thing I least wanted to do and I´m sorry. “Leah volunteered” Besides if we hadn’t fought I wouldn’t have found this place and my memories wouldn’t had come back.”
“Now that you mentioned, why did they?” Loki asked with curiosity.
“The reflection of the sun bounced in some glasses, it made me remember …” Leah volunteered with a bit of discomfort.
“Ahhh!” Loki answered, maybe he should wait for her to recuperate before asking more questions.
“Loki? “ –Leah asked after a few minutes
“Yes” He replied while down casting his eyes to meet hers.
“I love you” Leah confessed.
“I know” Loki acknowledged while gently kissing her mouth.