When Loki awoke the next morning Leah was still asleep at his side, he looked at her worryingly; he didn´t knew how to help her. Bruce had laid a lot on his mind, even if he followed his advices he felt it wouldn´t be enough. If only Tony had let him watch the security footage; he might have a better idea of how to help her but … it might be another way. He was quite sure Leah wouldn´t agree willingly but she was asleep now and it was a rather simple spell. He adjusted himself in a way he could touch both her temples with his hands, next he closed his eyes as he muttered some ancient words while concentrating on the memories he wanted to retrieve. Suddenly a torrent of images flooded his mind, the hardest part was isolating the myriad of emotions that were connected to them; he felt in an instant all the fear, impotence and anger that Leah had felt. As he moved closer to the moment when Doom had tried to drag her to his aircraft Leah began to stir on her dream anxiously. Loki cut the connection abruptly wary of her noticing what he had done.
He leaned back on the bed pensively, how could he help her? Tony had been right; Doom had been extremely vicious with her. How could he ever make her feel safe after that? He now regretted going to Fury but he couldn´t undo it furthermore he´d probably do it again if he had the chance. Being cut off the entire world made Leah more vulnerable, the Avengers and he had been her safety net and sadly they had all failed her when it mattered.
Maybe if he … no he couldn´t but … if there weren´t any other solution? He just couldn´t allow her to keep falling into an empty void less swirl of despair, it hurt too much to see her like that.
After an hour or so Leah finally woke up, as she lazily opened her eyes Loki turned to look at her.
“How are you feeling?” He asked softly.
“Stupid” She answered with a sigh, she had meant to say crazy but she didn´t wanted to say it out loud.
Loki frowned before telling her. “You aren´t stupid, don´t say that. It was my fault, I should´ve waited until you felt better.”
“And when will that be?” Leah asked in hope he could give her an answer, even a lie would be better than uncertainty.
“I … don´t know.” Loki confessed.
Leah turned her head to the window disappointed before asking. “When do you leave?”
“In a week.” Loki unwillingly answered.
Leah sighed again, seven days; that was all, she didn´t wanted to waste time arguing any more. “I lied.” She suddenly told him.
“About what?” Loki inquired preoccupied.
“About not caring.” Leah turned to look at him, her eyes shined with withheld tears. “I don´t want to fight anymore. What´s done is done. I want what we had back even if it´s just for a week.”
“It will be for more than a week, when I get back we´ll have a lifetime ahead of us.” Loki said trying to cheer her up.
“A lifetime …” She replied pensively, if only …
“Leah, please I don’t want you to worry. I wish I could make you see that there´s no need for that.” He meant it.
“I wish you could.” Leah agreed, she knew he was powerful but not knowing what SHIELD mission was about frightened her.
She felt heavy, sore but even so she laboriously sat up. “I´d better feed Eerika.”
“Let me help you.” Loki offered. “I´ll bring her to you. Bruce told me you might feel … drained.”
“I do.” Leah confessed. “Thank you.” She gave him a small smile.
Loki smiled her back, he was about to walk out when he suddenly got back and kissed her softly but deeply, a sweet loving kiss to which Leah responded in earnest, she had missed him so much.
They both smiled sadly to each other, Loki leaned his forehead into hers. “We´ll figure this out, I promise. Just … please don´t give up. I need you, Eerika needs you, do it for us please. Not even death would prevent me from coming back to you as long as you don’t give up.”
Leah looked at him shaken, she tried to hold her tears in vain. “I´m sorry … I´ll try … It´s just too hard … I don´t want you to go, if there were another way.”
“If there were another way I wouldn´t do it, but I´m afraid there isn´t one.” Loki volunteered as he comforted her cleaning her tears with his hands. “I´m here for you now, I´m sorry we drifted apart. I … I´m not even sure why, it all seems unimportant now.”
“We´re just too stubborn.” Leah dryly told him, they had always been; it had help them stay together but this time their stubbornness had drawn them apart.
After they had breakfast Loki left Leah with tony while he went to talk to Thor, he had something important to ask him.
“How did you do it?” Leah suddenly asked tony.
“Do what?” Tony asked her back while distractedly reviewing the communication center planes he had laid over the table.
“Get better, to stop being afraid. You know … after the terrorists, how did you do it?” Leah asked again anxiously.
“Who said I did?” Tony replied turning his attention to her. “I turned into a super-hero and started blowing up bad guys as soon as I could. He shrugged his shoulders, he had got himself busy to stop thinking about it.
“I don´t think I´m up for that.” Leah acknowledged. “But either way that´s what I mean, you didn´t had a meltdown ….”
“Come on! You didn´t …” tony started to protest when Leah gave him a disapproving look. “…well, maybe a little.”
“Try a lot.” Leah suggested. “How do I stop it from happening again? I couldn’t stop myself last time; it was just as if I was stuck on a thought and everything else faded away.” She leaned down over the dinner table until she snuggled herself over it. She still felt exhausted, the smallest effort tired her.
“I wish I knew what to tell you, I keep myself busy to avoid thinking about that sort of things. What are you really afraid of?” He asked her.
“I´m not even sure now, first I thought I was afraid of Doom, then of dying, losing Loki, losing Eerika. Maybe everything.” Leah sighed defeated.
“I don´t think so, I think you are scared of something in particular. You know Loki is a lot more powerful with his magic back, don´t you?” Tony asked trying to pinpoint exactly what was bothering her.
“But what if he lost it again?” Leah asked anguished.
“That´s what you are afraid of?” Tony asked her realizing that it had been that fact the whole reason she had got into the fight against Doom; the fear of Loki being helpless and alone while in his cell had drove her to risk everything. “Besides Thor´s shackles I doubt there´s something on Earth that could bind his powers again.” He tried to reassure her.
“Are you sure?” Leah asked doubtfully. “What if you are wrong? What if …”
Tony interrupted her. “Leah, just stop. You can keep thinking that way, you are only hurting yourself.” Tony walked to her side and sat on the chair beside her, as he placed his hand on her back he told her. “The battle ended Leah, you don´t need to protect him anymore. It´s over.”
She look up at him as she confessed. “I know, but I just don´t know how to turn it off. I keep expecting something bad to happen. I can´t shake the nagging feeling I should be prepared for the moment it finally does … I don´t know how you all do it. It´s just too exhausting.” Leah sighed as she rested her forehead in her hands before adding. “There will always be another mission and all I can do is to stay here whishing it´s not the last.”
Tony realized that moment that between other reasons that could´ve been the thought that had drove Pepper away. The soldier’s wife wasn´t an enviable position, always waiting for that dreaded knock on the door that would deliver the news that would end her world.
“I´m afraid that comes with the territory. Maybe you should revaluate if this life is really what you want; even if Thor and Loki decided one day to return to Asgard there will always be other battles to fight. It´s their way, you know that.” Tony suggested frankly, if she didn´t wanted that life there was no case on her suffering more than necessary.
Leah kept pensive, he was right; she had fallen in love with not only a god but a warrior. She couldn´t just expect him to forsake everything and stay at home, what was she thinking? “I wouldn´t know how to go on without him.” She acknowledged.
“Then you need to figure out how to live with him, battles and all.” Tony finally told her jokingly, if she was decided there really wasn´t anything else to do.
“You say it as it was easy.” Leah wryly complained; but she knew he was right she´d better find a way to come at peace with everything.
“Love, Loki may be many things, but I don´t think easy is one of them.” He told her teasingly as he patted her shoulder.
Loki finally found Thor in one of the training rooms. “Brother” He approached him uncertain of how to break to him the matter that had brought him there.
“Yes brother?” Thor answered lightly before noticing Loki´s troubled look. “Is something wrong?”
“Yes, no, I don´t know … could we go somewhere else to talk?” Loki didn´t wanted anyone else to walk on them.
“Of course, but what´s troubling you?” Thor inquired again worried something had happened.
“Walk with me and I´ll tell you as soon as we get to my studio.” Loki offered.
As they arrived to the studio Loki locked the door behind them, now they could talk without anyone interrupting them.
“Thor … I used a spell on Leah, a memory sharing spell and … I´m not sure she will be able to overcome … all that´s worrying her.” Loki confessed nervously.
“A memory sharing spell? How did you even convince her to do so?” Thor asked surprised, he wouldn´t has thought Leah would agree to something like that.
“I didn´t asked her.” Loki told him with a guilty look. “I casted the spell while she was asleep, she doesn´t know I know.”
“Loki, why would you do something like that without her permission? You know it´s not …” Thor began to scold the younger god.
“What? Polite? Right? By Odin’s beard Thor you sound like mother more every day! I don´t care about being polite, I just want to help her. Don´t you remember last night?!” Loki asked him aggravated by Thor´s scolding.
“I do remember last night, and I know it´s hard but you just can´t do whatever you want. You can´t keep going behind her back, she trusts you. What will happen when she finds out?” Thor snapped back.
“She doesn´t have to find out, as a matter of fact she doesn´t even need to remember.” Loki spat furiously at him.
“Loki … you wouldn´t!” Thor answered shocked.
“Why not? It would be easier for her. I just can´t stand there and do nothing. “Loki told him frustrated; why was he asking for Thor´s permission? Why did it felt wrong? It was thr right thing to do, wasn´t it?
“Brother …” Thor toned his voice down, yelling at Loki wasn´t helping. “You can´t do it, at least not without her permission. She will eventually realize she has missing days, didn´t you told me it had been bad enough when she only had missed a couple of hours? If I recall correctly she wouldn´t stop trying to remember what happened in that missing period. She´s stronger than you think, just give her time. She´ll get through this as she always has.”
“I don´t know Thor. When I met her she was drowning in guilt, pain and alcohol and even then I never saw her that bad, not like last night. I´m leaving in a week, how can I leave knowing something like that could happen again? Maybe if she didn’t remembered doom she wouldn´t be so scared.” Loki reasoned.
“I don´t think Doom is what she´s scared of.” Thor volunteered.
“Is that so? Then tell me that if he hadn´t invaded the Tower in an attempt to kidnap her and Eerika she wouldn´t be so scared of me leaving on a mission.” Loki insisted.
“I don´t know Loki, but I do know that you will only end up hurting her if you do the deleting memories spell without her consent.” Thor told him with certainty. “You keep saying she´s too smart for her own good, she will figure it out, and then what? It´s not your place to make a decision like that for her, she might not forgive you. And what makes you think that deleting her memories will just set her right? You could be just be fucking her even more. Please Loki don´t do it.” Thor pleaded, he knew he wouldn´t be able to stop him if he decided to go through with it. “Just talk to her first, let her decide.”
Loki was pacing nervously while weighting Thor´s words. “What if she says no?” He asked anxiously.
“Then it would be her choice, and you will need to respect it.” Thor advised.
“But, what if it´s the wrong one?” Loki asked again. “What if something bad happened to her while I´m gone?”
“We won´t let anything bad happen to her … I won´t let anything happen to her brother, I promise.” Thor tried to reassure him, he had planned to tag alone on Loki´s mission at the last moment, but he understood now he was needed at Leah´s side even if it was just for Loki´s comfort.
“I don´t know … maybe I could talk to her, ask her what she wants, but if she gets any worse … I´m not sure what I´ll do.” Loki confessed.
After Leah had fed and lulled Eerika asleep in the afternoon Loki took her for a walk in the interior garden.
“This is nice.” Leah suddenly told him. “I know this sounds stupid, but I feel like we were on a date.”
“Well, we never really dated, so I guess you could call it a date if you want.” Loki smiled relieved to see her in such a better mood.
“I think I might” Leah jokingly answered. “What´s the occasion?”
“Do I have to have a reason to take you out for a walk?” Loki asked her being caught off guard.
His answer made Leah wary, it might not be just a casual walk after all. “No, and I might be wrong, but I do think you have a reason for this walk, am I right?”
“As a matter of fact …” Loki said scratching his nape nervously. “I want to ask you something…”
“All right.” Leah answered a bit nervous, what could he possibly wanted to ask her?
“If I offered you a chance to forget everything that happened since doom invaded the Tower until today, would you take it?” Loki told her while watching attentively for her reaction.
“What do you mean? How?” Leah asked puzzled while frowning deeply, she had never expected him to ask such a thing.
“There´s a spell I could use, it´s called a Deleting Memories spell. You wouldn´t remember anything I might even make you some new memories to replace the old ones.” Loki volunteered in hope she would accept.
“I … I … no, I don´t think so.” Leah answered bedazzled by his proposition as she shook her head negatively.
“Why not?” Loki asked trying not to sound angry.
“Because they wouldn´t be the truth” Leah quickly answered. “I thank you for offering, but I can´t.”
“Leah, why not? You wouldn´t be so scared any more, I would be able to leave feeling confident you were all right.” Loki volunteered.
Leah sighed as she tried to explain herself better. “I know I´ve been more a mess than usual.”
“That´s an understatement.” Loki interrupted her.
Leah ignored his comment and kept talking. “If you delete my memories of the last week you wouldn´t be only taking away the bad ones but the good ones too. And Loki … I really need the good ones; even if Doom hadn´t appeared and SHIELD hadn´t been after me I am … was … am still broken …”
“You aren´t broken.” Loki complained adamantly.
“You don’t need to lie to me about that, I know. There was too much I hadn’t faced, too much fear, too much pain, loss; even if nothing had happened those feelings would still be there. I know it doesn´t seems that way, I´m no near all right, but I´m trying, please let me try.” Leah pleaded, she was troubled she couldn´t denied it, but there were moments, especially when she was with Eerika where she felt that she might just pull through. “Help me get through this, not just erase it.”
Loki looked at her pensively, as he stared into her pleading bright blue eyes he realized he couldn´t deny her. It wouldn´t be right, she was in pain, she was struggling but she had just started to fight back, he couldn´t take that away from her.
Loki sighed as he embraced her while gently kissing her forehead before telling her. “I´m here for you; I just hope this is the right decision.”
“Me too.” Leah volunteered. “Loki, can you tell me about your mission?”
Loki stared at her surprised by her request.
“I just think I wouldn´t feel so scared if I knew what were you doing and where.” She shrugged her shoulders doubtfully.
“It´s not my decision, but I´ll ask Fury if I can debrief you. All right?” Loki offered.
“All right.” Leah accepted.
“Now, should we continue our walk my lady?” Loki courteously offered his arm to Leah as he made a small bow.
Leah blushed instantly taken aback by his sudden chivalry and shyly accepted his offer. “Yes my Lord.”
“My Lord?” Loki almost busted laughing.
“I don´t know what else to call you” Leah pouted ashamed. “I’m not royalty you know? This is too weird for me.”
“Then I guess I´ll just have to teach you in case you meet your parents-in law someday.” Loki teased her.
“Oh dear!” Leah looked slightly frightened of the prospect.