Fireangel76

My Writtings

Month: October 2015

Another Kind of Deal

“You are late!” Fury greeted Loki as he appeared in his office.

“I was … delayed.” Loki told him in response.

“Leah?” Fury asked not even trying to hide his concern.

“Yes.” Loki dryly answered.

“How bad is she?” Fury asked again with a frown.

“I don´t know. She had a very bad panic attack according to Bruce; she seems better now but I thought the same the day before.” Loki bitterly admitted; why was he telling Fury that?

“You know we have specialists to handle this sort of situations; if you want …” Fury suddenly offered.

“Send someone to help her?” Loki interrupted him. “Not sure Leah would accept that; I´m not even sure I agree with that. It´s just that Brice seems to think she needs help´.” Loki ended still debating with himself; she was trying, but would it be enough? “Besides, I have something else to ask you first.”

“She wants to know about the mission.” Fury guessed.

“Yes.” Loki nodded in agreement.

“I´ll tell you what; I´ll make another deal with you, she can know about the mission if she agrees to keep the secret and … and here´s the big; if she agrees to see a psychiatrists.” Fury offered.

“Why the sudden interest in her welfare?” Loki replied angered. “If you cared you should´ve rescued her from Doom.”

“It´s not her welfare I’m interested about now, but yours.” Fury just dismissed his previous comment, following that line would lead them nowhere. “I need you focused and I don´t see that happening if you´re too busy worrying over her. There´s a psychiatrist who I think would be the best person to help her, he has dealt with sensitive cases before. He´s not a SHIELD´s employee but he does contract work for us from time to time.”

Loki listened attentively before asking. “If he´s not from SHIELD how can I know he can be trusted?”

“Would you rather I sent a SHIELD´s psychiatrist?” Fury questioned him amused by his reticent to accept.

“Probably not.” Loki admitted; if they were going to go to the mission together he needed to start trusting Fury, their lives might depend on it. ”Do you trust him?”

“Yes I do; he was married to one of my top agents, he´s been cleared by us and he knows the drill.” Fury volunteered.

“Really? To who?” Loki felt curious, the idea of SHIELD´s agents having families still puzzled him.

“Melinda May.” Fury told him.

“The Cavalry?” Loki asked surprised.

“Never call her that.” Fury advised him with a stern look.

“Why not? I thought it was meant as a compliment.” Loki questioned intrigued.

“It was; but she hates it. Anyway, do we have a deal?” Fury hoped he would agree; he needed Loki´s mind on the mission.

“I´ll tell her; if she agrees you´ll have a deal.” Loki responded.

“Seems fair. Now these are the locations of your team members.” He tossed Loki a file over the table.

Loki browsed through the report; as he memorized the locations he said to Fury. “They will want to know how much ae you willing to pay.”

“More than enough.” Fury replied. “Although Sandman might be willing to accept another kind of deal.”

“What do you mean?” Loki asked intrigued.

“In a way he´s not that different from you, he wants to keep his family safe; but he can´t do that if he can´t be with them. If he hesitates offer him a pardon.” Sandman seemed to have an act for being in the wrong place at the wrong time; from al the sinister six he was the least dangerous. That didn´t meant he wouldn´t keep an eye on him anyway; old habits are hard to break.

When Loki returned Leah was again half asleep in their bed, she seemed to shut down whenever he left. As she noticed him climbing on their bed she drowsily motioned him to her side, she ached for his presence as a sunflower aches for the sun.

“You are back.” She smiled weakly.

“Yes, I am.” Loki answered as he cradled her into his embrace. Was it his imagination? She seemed lighter. “Did you had dinner?” He asked suddenly concerned she had skipped a meal again.

“I wasn´t hungry.” She pouted; how did he knew? “It´s only dinner.” She added trying to dismiss it.

“I don´t want you to stop eating, you are breastfeeding you need all your strength.” Loki scolded her softly.

“I know.” Leah sadly admitted. “” I just …” She sighed. “How am I supposed to eat when I just don´t feel like it?” she had tried, she even joined everyone for dinner but she had just ended up playing with her food.

“Why don´t you feel like it?” Loki inquired worryingly.

“I … I don´t know. I just don´t.” Leah replied upset by her own answer; she just couldn´t see to be able, she sighed again as she cuddled against Loki. She wanted to sleep, to shut off everything, she felt too tired.

“But Leah, you know you shouldn´t …” Loki stopped in the middle of his sentence as he noticed Leah had already fallen asleep. He grunted displeased, he would offer her fury´s deal in the morning; and he hoped she would accept it.

Leah awoken early in the morning startled by a nightmare, she sat holding herself tight trying to calm her own heartbeat.

Loki noticed her sudden movement and sleepily sat too as he asked. “Nightmare?”

“Uh-hu.” Leah agreed nodding her head affirmatively.

Loki opened his arms. “Come here.” Leah accepted his offer gladly, she closed her eyes as she leaned on him; the warmth of his body was so comforting, she felt cold.

Loki noticed her shivering and rubbed her back gently “Are you cold?” I though your nightmares had stopped.”

“Yes, and they did. This one was different.” She confessed.

“Different how?” Loki asked intrigued.

“It wasn’t about Doom or the crash.” She volunteered. “I was with Eerika, we were alone. I was walking amongst some ruins, I think like in a warzone. There wasn´t anyone around, only sand and debrief. No signs of life except for us. I walked for what seemed hours, nothing … I couldn´t find anyone; then I heard some kind of animal stalking us. I ran but there was nowhere to hide; I fell and then … it caught us.” Leah cringed at the memory.

“It was only a dream, it can´t hurt you.” Loki tried to comfort her.

“It felt so real.” Leah told him. “I was so scared.”

“I know, I´ll never let you alone; Thor and the others all have promised to take care of you and Eerika while I return. You won´t be alone. I want you to feel safe again, that´s why I´m doing it.”

“I wished there was another way.” Leah acknowledged.

“There isn´t … I talked to fury.” Loki told her calmly.

“What did he said?” Leah answered anxiously.

“He says you can know about the mission if, first you promise not to tell anyone about it and secondly you have to go through SHIELD´s mandatory psychological examination and should you need it therapy.”

“What?! Why? I´m not crazy!” Leah exclaimed defensively.

“No one thinks you are, Fury just wants to make sure you aren´t a security risk. If you don’t want to …” Loki shrugged his shoulders as if he was dismissing the thought.

“No, wait! I´ll do it.” Leah volunteered. “But I have a condition of my own. I want Fury to debrief me, and he´ll do it before I take the examination.”

“Why would you want to do that?” Loki inquired nervously, he hadn´t expected that.

“I have my reasons.” Leah sternly told him.

“I don´t think he´ll agree Leah. Besides I can debrief you about the mission.” Loki suggested.

“No!” Leah nodded her head negatively. “I want to talk to him.”

“Leah, don´t be stubborn. You don’t need to talk to him!” Loki tried to convince her again.

“No, if he doesn´t want to talk to me he can shove his deal …” Leah was abruptly interrupted by Loki kissing her fervently. He laughed heartily at her puzzled expression.

“I never thought I would be so happy about you being so stubborn.” It was the first sign he had seen of her being herself.

“Why would you…?” Leah still didn’t get the source of his amusement; she wanted to talk to Fury and that was all.

“Never mind.” Loki told her. “I´ll talk to Fury.”

The easy way out

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.

Broken

Thor and Loki returned to the Mansion reappearing in Loki´s study where he could restore his energy using the gems. They had a small talk before heading back, Thor didn´t liked the idea of Loki going on an undercover mission by himself but he had agreed to let him g on behalf of Leah´s wellbeing.

Loki was worried about Leah´s reaction once he told her about the deal he had stroke with fury; maybe he should´ve waited for her to get better before going to SHIELD, but he didn´t. It was dinner time already so they headed back to the dining room, they were all there except for Leah.

Loki asked Steve worryingly “Where´s Leah? Why isn´t she here?”

Steve stood up and took Loki out of the dining room. “She refused to join us, she claimed she wasn´t hungry; she feed and put Eerika to sleep before locking herself in your room. I´m afraid she´s still upset about your fight earlier; I tried talking to her but she just keeps acting as if you weren´t coming back. You really need to talk to her.”

“I´m not sure that talking to her will help.” Loki wryly admitted. “I stroke a deal with Fury … I will do an undercover mission for him in exchange for Leah´s freedom.”

Steve sighed displeased as he slightly nodded his head negatively. “When do you leave?” He finally asked him with a worried frown.

“In a week but I´ll be reporting to Fury on almost daily bases.” Loki lied to Steve, he needed to have a pretext for going out of the Mansion to convince the Sinister Six to join the mission.

Steve sighed displeased again as he placed a hand over Loki´s shoulder he told him. “Then I guess you should make every moment count; go to her I´m sure she´ll be glad to see you.” Then gave him a gentle push towards his room.

“I hope so.” Loki sighed worried as he walk down the hall, she had already been through so much, and now … he would have to put her through some more.

When he walked into his room after magically unlocking the door he found Leah half asleep curled up over the bed; she still had her clothes on and was tightly hugging his pillow in a desperate attempt to find some comfort on its familiar scent. She had been crying, the redness on her half closed eyes gave her away. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn´t even noticed Loki until he leaned next to her in order to look into her eyes. “Leah? You missed dinner …” He told her in a sweet loving tone. Leah looked up at him, for a second it didn´t seem she recognized him, her empty stare made Loki´s heart cringe.

“Loki? Loki!” She jumped up and embraced him tight. “I thought you weren´t coming back.” She confessed while new tears rolled out of her eyes.

“Don´t be silly! I will always come back to you.” He returned her embrace, he could feel her heart beating fast. “I´m sorry about earlier, I shouldn´t have snapped at you like that; I regret telling you that you were an arrogant child that …”

“No, you were right. I shouldn´t had tried to tell you what to do.” She interrupted him, her voice broke when she added. “It´s not my place.”

“What did you just said?” Loki asked her bewildered.

“It´s not my place.” Leah repeated shyly. “There’s no reason for you to listen to me.” She ended while bowing her head down.

Loki looked at her surprised; Thor had been right about one thing, but it wasn´t her heart that had broken, it was her spirit. She just had gave up, she had never done so before. It only made Loki feel even guiltier about what he had to say to her.

“No, Leah, that´s not true. I value your opinion, it´s just that sometimes …” He paused for a moment trying to find the right words when she interrupted him again.

“It´s doesn´t matter.” She dryly told him.

“But it does matter.” Loki spat upset.

“If you say so.” Leah weakly acknowledged, she didn´t saw the point any more, in her heart everything seem lost, even with Loki at her side she felt as she had already lost him.

“Leah, please. You are making this harder than it needs to be.” Loki tried to restrain his anger and hide it; he couldn´t decide if he was angrier at her for giving up or at him for putting her in that place.

“You talked to Fury….” Was her response, her worst fears were coming true, she could just feel it.

“Yes, I did.” Loki admitted, he would have to tell her sooner or later. “We made a deal”

“What sort of deal?” Leah asked him anxiously, if only she could stop shaking she wouldn´t feel so weak.

“I´ll do a mission for him and then he´ll drop all the charges against you, he´ll even provide protection for Eerika and yourself should we ever need it.” Loki informed her as he watched attentively her reactions; she had started shaking again, maybe he should´ve lied to her.

Leah closed her eyes trying to pull herself together as she opened them back she asked. “What kind of mission? Her eyes were overfilled with tears.

“Leah, please don´t cry. It´s just a mission I will be all right. You have nothing to worry about.” He lied to her, what else could he do?

“Is Thor going with you?” she asked next as if she hadn´t heard him at all.

“No, I´ll be going alone.” Loki bit his lower lip as he told her.

“Alone?” Leah looked up at him while she held her own hands trying to stop them from shaking. “Alone, why?” She asked again, her tears were running freely now.

“It´s an undercover mission, I have to do it alone.” Loki kept trying to reassure her. “I´ll be all right, you have nothing to worry about.”

The more Loki told Leah she had nothing to worry about the more Leah worried, she could feel her stomach becoming upset with nausea. She had tried to still her crying but she just couldn´t any more, he wasn´t going to come back, he was going to die and it was her fault. “Why did you do it?” She reproached him between cries.

“For you.” Loki confessed. “I can´t let you sacrifice everything. I can´t just stand by and watch you wither away.”

“Why not?” Leah whined. “We would´ve been together and alive, and now …” She couldn´t end her phrase she was crying to hard.

“Leah, stop it! You are overreacting! I´m not death, I´m not going to die. Everything is all right, you need to calm down.” Loki yelled at her upset, he just didn´t seem to be reaching her.

“Everything is all right?” Leah repeated in a hysterical laughter. Was she going crazy then? Was her mind so broken she couldn´t see that? Who would take care of Eerika then? With Loki gone and herself two steps from insanity. In that overwhelming instant the nausea she had been repressing became stronger; she fought the urge to vomit for a moment, but it was useless. She suddenly ran to the bathroom barely getting there on time to spill the meager contents of her stomach into the toilet. Loki had followed her the instant she sprang of the bed and looked at her both surprised and worried as she threw up.

“By the norns Leah! Are you all right?” He asked her as he knelt by her side trying to help her get her hair out of the way.

“Don´t touch me!” Leah snapped at him as she kept crying desperately.

“Leah, please! Let me take you to Bruce, he might be able to help you.” He tried to help her up.

Leah fought his attempt to pick her up with furious strength only to drop herself seconds later next to the toilet crying uncontrollably.

Loki looked at her with despair, she needed help but she wouldn´t allow him to touch her. He could try to force her but he was afraid she might hurt herself struggling against him. He couldn´t leave her alone to get help either. Teleporting her in that state might be dangerous; he just hoped there was still someone in the dining room, she didn’t had time for him to look for them all over the Mansion. With a frustrated grunt he closed his eyes as he chanted some magic words; in the dining room an astral projection appeared before Thor who was still dining animatedly. “Thor! Bring Bruce, she needs help. Hurry!”

Thor sprang out of the diner room, more than Loki´s words the anguished reflected both in his voice and his face conveyed the urgency of his plea.

In less than three minutes Thor, Bruce and tony busted into Loki´s and Leah´s room.

“Loki!” Thor shouted.

“Over here!” Loki replied, he had never felt more useless; when he returned to his body he had come back to a heart-breaking scene. Leah had curled in the floor, he could see her shaking as she kept crying her heart out.

“Shit!” Tony exclaimed, he had never seen her in such a bad state before, none of them had.

“Leah?” Bruce knelt by her side, she was having an anxiety attack, a very bad one. “Leah, you need help” He slowly told her, if she didn´t collaborated with him he might have to sedate her. “I need to touch you, is that ok?”

Leah agreed with a whimper.

Bruce carefully brushed the hair out of her face before softly pulling her up, he could feel her shaking badly. He could hear her starting to gasp for air; he held Leah´s face between his hands and looked right into her eyes, she was beyond panic; he needed to pull her back. “Leah, you are having a panic attack, remember what I told you? I need you to help me, try taking deep breaths.”

“A panic what?” Loki inquired apprehensive.

“Tony, could you explain him? I need to concentrate here.” Bruce answered quickly.

“But …” Loki wanted to ask a million questions; starting with why he wasn´t giving her any medicine.

Leah kept becoming distracted every time Loki spoke taking her eyes from Bruce as her breathing kept becoming shallower.

“And take him out of here! We need her to calm down.” Bruce spat annoyed by the interruptions. “Leah, come on focus, you can do it! I don’t want to sedate you, but you need to calm down.”

“Come Loki, let the Doctor do his job, she will be all right.” Tony volunteered while leading Loki out of the bathroom followed by Thor.

As they both explained Loki what was a panic attack, the causes, the symptoms and the basic of what to do and what not to Loki sat heavily in the bed. If only he had knew all that moments before, he had told her all the wrong things. How was he supposed to know that telling Leah everything was all right would push her over the edge?

“What happened?” Thor inquired.

As Loki recounted them what had happened Tony snapped furiously. “You just had to drop that bomb on her right now, didn´t you? She was barely holding herself together. Now look what you have done!”

“It wasn´t my intention! I didn´t knew this was going to happen!” Loki defended himself.

Thor had to intervene pulling them apart. “Stop that this instant! You fighting each other won´t help her!”

“He started it!” Tony spat still enraged. “Why couldn´t you just wait?”

“Because I didn´t knew if Fury´s offer would expire, I had to find out what he wanted. She can´t live as a prisoner for the rest of her life; always looking over her shoulder. She doesn´t think I’ve noticed, but I see it every day, at first it was little things, unharmful comments but now she´s giving up.” His voice broke at that point.

Tony looked up at him concerned “What do you mean she´s giving up?”

“I told her some days ago she was an arrogant child who didn´t knew her place; when I came back tonight I tried to apologize and she said that I shouldn´t apologize because I was right. She would never taken that kind of crap from me before, she would´ve never let me see the end of it, and she just took it, that´s something she wouldn´t do … I´m losing her. Thor I can´t lose her.” He turned to Thor anguished. “She doesn´t even know how much I need her, I really can´t lose her.” He looked at the verge of tears.

“I know.” A small voice answered his desperate claim.

They turned around to see Bruce helping Leah to the bed, he had finally managed to calm her down.

“Leah, are you all right?” Loki hurried to her.

“I´m sorry.” She answered. “I´m not” She sighed. “I can´t stop it.”

“Yes, you can.” Bruce intervened. “You just need some help, and for the moment I think you need some rest. Loki could I talk to you for a moment? Tony, Thor; could you keep Leah accompanied for a moment?”

“Sure.” Tony answered as he approached Leah and help her sat on the bed. “Come on love, let´s get you comfy, all right?”

“Ok.” Leah agreed weakly, she felt totally drained.

As Bruce and Loki walked out of the room the dark haired god turned and asked. “Is she going to be all right?”

“I hope so Loki, the mind is a complicated thing, but if you add your upcoming departure to what happened with Doom and the fact that she´s barely given birth a week ago …”

“I know, it´s too much; maybe I should´ve waited.” Loki admonished himself mentally, why had he been in such a hurry?

“I don´t know if that would´ve made a difference. If it gives you any comfort I think that you were right to go to Fury, she can´t keep being locked up neither here nor in the Tower whether she realizes it or not it´s not good for her. But I´m afraid she´s going to need your help to get through this. A moment ago I had to threaten her with sedation if she couldn´t calm herself down, do you know what she said?”

Loki nodded negatively.

“She begged me not to do it because she feared you would be gone by the time she woke up.” Bruce regretfully told him. “She´s terrified about the fact you might leave and not return; and I really can´t blame her, unintentionally we´ve all reinforced the idea that neither her nor Eerika would be safe outside. She wouldn´t be able to follow you out of fear of endangering your daughter, in her own mind she is already trapped here, that´s why it´s so easy for her to accept remaining here.”

“What do I do? I just want her to get better.” Loki asked anxiously.

“I´m not even sure Loki, psychiatry isn´t really my area. She needs therapy but unfortunately I´m afraid we can´t provide it, at least not like she needs it right now. Unless …” Bruce stopped while considering his next words.

“Unless what?” Loki pressed for an answer.

“Unless you are willing to ask Fury to lend us a therapist” As he looked the surprise in Loki´s face he added. “I know, we wouldn´t be sure if we could trust him or her and there´s no guarantee Leah would accept anyway. Maybe we should try to sort this out by ourselves.” Loki had remained pensive considering their options, none of them appeared particularly helpful or hopeful. “Either way” Bruce continued. “You´re going to need to be very patient with her; even with her healing factor it might take her a day to get back to … let´s say normal. It´s not unusual that after a panic attack as bad as the one she just had that there´s some physical consequences; she might feel weak, tired, lightheaded but I´m more worried about her getting depressed. If she gets any worse I´ll have to medicate her.”

“Why not do it know?” Loki inquired, wouldn´t it be simpler?

“Two reasons, the first is that the solution may be as bad as the attacks itself because of the side-effects but most importantly is that if I gave her something she wouldn´t be able to breastfeed Eerika. And Loki, she needs that connection if we take that away from her we might be pushing her over the edge.” Bruce explained.

“This is all my fault; if I hadn´t saved her that day.” Loki felt overwhelmed, he had only brought trouble to her life.

“She would be dead Loki.” Bruce reminded him. “I know that if you could somehow spare her from suffering you would, we all would in a heartbeat. But sometimes life isn´t fair and we just need to accept it, make our peace with it and move on. She needs you to be strong for her; remind her why she needs to get better.”

“Will you take care of her when I leave?” Loki asked, fear was written in his eyes, fear of losing her.

“We all will.” Bruce reassured him. “Just make sure to return in one peace. And afterwards if everything is all right you might want to consider taking her away on vacations. I´m sure Tony has a dessert island on his name somewhere.”

“I wouldn´t doubt it.” Loki answered with a small smile.

“Me neither.” Bruce smiled back. “Stop looking so serious, if she sees you that worried she´ll get even more scared.”

“I´ll do my best.” Loki grimaced, it wouldn´t be easy.

When they walked back they noticed Leah had fallen asleep over Tony´s lap who absentmindedly stroked her hair gently. Thor was sitting beside them looking worryingly at Leah.

“Ahem!” Loki cleared his throat trying to get their attention, they had all got very cozy on their bed.

Tony looked up to see Loki´s confused glare and told him amused. “Sorry Loki, I´m just keeping your place warm. She just fall asleep.”

“It´s all right, I know you care for her.” Loki acknowledged before adding. “But if you don´t mind I´m quite tired myself” He wasn´t but he longed to be alone with her.

“Of course.” Thor agreed as he got up followed by Tony who gently placed Leah´s head over a pillow.

“You´d better take care of her.” Tony told Loki with in a stern tone.

“I will, I promise.” Loki answered with an equal stern look.

As soon as they left he slid in bed next to her; after making sure he wouldn´t wake her up he embraced her making sure to rest her head against his chest, she had once told him that his heartbeat was the most comforting sound she had ever heard. Bruce suggestion lingered in his mind as he dreamt of white sandy beaches.

Countdown

“What do you know about Narobia?” Fury asked Loki as he settled in his chair.

“Not much, only that it neighbors’ Wakanda and it was ruled by Princess Xanda until General Cayman Okanjo overthrone her a couple of years ago, why?” Loki answered intrigued by fury´s question.

“Because that´s the reason I need you and the black operation team. When General Cayman took over he financed mining operations all over the country and found a rich vibranium deposit; that´s when he draw our attention.” Fury told him in a stern voice.

“All right.” Loki acknowledged.

“Okanjo sold us vibranium but unfortunately we weren´t their only party interested. It bothers me to admit they had fools us for a long time, it was just dumb luck that we found out a couple of months ago that he had allied with Hydra. Needless to say that Hydra provided Okanjo with all sorts of technologies, he went from being just another dictator to a serious menace. We are talking about state of the art weaponry, biological weapons, chemical weapons, mind control, and even a super soldier program. Their plan is to first invade Wakanda which will allow them to take a hold of the entire region expanding their power through the continent and eventually to the rest of the world.”

“It sounds like a job for the Avengers, why haven´t you assigned them this mission?” Loki inquired, there had to be more going on that what Fury had told him so far.

“Because it´s not a wreck their plans and bring them to justice kind of mission” Fury leaned over his desk before adding. “It´s strictly a cleaning operation.”

“No witnesses, no prisoners.” Loki frowned as he realized exactly what Fury was asking. “May I ask why?”

“That´s where things get complicated.” Fury volunteered. “When we bought their vibranium we unwillingly founded their operations. The World Security Council can never find out about this; they would try to shut us down and that includes everything SHIELD has ever had his hands on.”

“The Avengers.” Loki said with a frown.

“They have never liked us and they especially fear the Avengers; they only need an excuse to try to shut us down and I don´t intent on giving it to them.” Fury added decisively.

“I can´t believe you wanted Leah involved in this, do you realize she doesn´t have the training for this kind of mission?” Loki spat annoyed.

“Do you have a better solution? I can´t use regular agents because of Okango´s super soldiers, and I can´t call the Avengers due to the nature of the mission. So, who´s left? I had to come up with a new team, a super powered team to be exact, preferably someone unknown so if something went wrong they couldn´t be tied back to SHIELD. I don´t exactly have people lining up for this kind of job; ever since we found about Okanjo´s true intentions we´ve been searching but until now we have only found two viable candidates besides Leah and yourself.” Loki could hear the tension on Fury´s voice.

“And let me guess, they don´t have the required training.” Loki claimed with a grim look on his face, this business was going from bad to worst.

“We´ve been training them for a couple of months now.” Fury offered.

“But they are no near ready.” Loki knew a mission like the one Fury suggested needed people with years of experience especially if he wanted to walk out of there alive. “If I´m going to lead this team I´m not taking any rookies with me; they are the best chance of everything going wrong. Can´t you ask for Wakanda´s help? After all we are trying to prevent them from being invaded.”

Fury looked at Loki displeased “If I could just enroll Wakanda´s help, don´t you think I´d already done it?

“What about mercs?” Loki suggested, he felt they were running out of options.

“Do you know any mercs with that kind the kind of powers we need?” Fury asked Loki very interested on his reply.

“Not mercs exactly, but yes I think they could be just what we need.” Loki volunteered as he rubbed his chin pensively before answering Fury. “The Sinister Six.”

Fury pondered for a moment Loki’s suggestion. “I agree they are powerful, but do you really think we can recruit them for this mission?”

“If you can come up with enough money, I’m sure they will agree. Besides they already know how to work as a team, it will save us a lot of time and for what you have told me I have the distinct impression that´s the one thing we are running of.”

“Yes, we are. We don´t know the exact date but our reports indicate us that Okanjo´s forces are rallying on.” Fury agreed.

“Other advantage is that none of them would have any moral issues about the mission’s objective.” Loki added, although he wasn’t confident that that last statement applied to him anymore.

“All right, it might not be what I had in mind but I think it could work. But I have two additions to your team and they are not negotiable.” Fury informed him in a very serious tone.

“Who?” Loki asked annoyed.

“Doom and myself.” Fury plainly told him.

“Are you out of your fucking mind? I´m not working with Doom! He tried to kill Leah!” Loki stood up enraged. “I won´t do it.”

“I already told you it´s not negotiable.” Fury stood up too. “If you want me to drop the charges against Leah you will do as I say. I don´t care if you like it. He´s almost as good as strategist as you are, not to mention a powerful mage. We need all the help we can fucking get!”

Loki paced for a moment considering his options. “All right” He finally growled. “But I have some conditions on my own and they are not negotiable either.”

“What do you want?” Fury asked with a winning smug on his face.

“This will be the only mission I´ll do for you, if you ever need my help again you´d better call the Avengers. You will not only drop the charges against Leah, you will remove her and Eerika from any damn mission you can come up with in the future, I don´t care if the world is ending; you will leave them both out of it.”

“Eerika?” Fury asked raising his eyebrows.

“My daughter.” Loki dryly replied. “Furthermore if they ever need protection you´d better provide it, it doesn´t matter if it´s for something as trivial as a walk in the park or for a full-fledge invasion. You will protect them at all costs.”

“I think I can manage that.” Fury agreed. “Anything else?”

“If Doom double cross us I will kill him.” Loki added.

“If he betrays us you´ll have to beat me to it.” Fury offered.

“As long as he´s death I think I can live with that.” Loki agreed. “I know I´m going to regret asking this, but how did you managed to enroll him on this mission?”

“By telling him that someone else was going to beat him at the conquer Earth game; the arrogant bastard doesn´t like competition.” Fury answered with an ironic smile.

“No, he doesn´t.” Loki admitted.

“How long will it take you to gather your team?” Fury asked

“I don´t know their current whereabouts.” Loki answered, he had been off the game for a while now.

“I might be able to help you with that.” Fury told him. “You´ll have their current locations by tomorrow.”

“All right, since you can´t sent the information to Jarvis I´ll drop by tomorrow evening.” Loki informed him.

“What are you going to tell the Avengers?” Fury asked anxiously.

“That you want me to do an undercover mission in exchange for Leah´s freedom.” Loki answered. “That will keep them from trying to join in.”

“Well thought.” Fury nodded in agreement.

“You can save your compliments; it´s not like you gave me much choice. And I hate to admit it but you are right about one thing Okanjo needs to be stopped before he tries to invade Wakanda, if he succeeded on it he might become unstoppable.” Loki grimly added while he kept thinking about how to break the news to Leah, she was right about one thing, it was a very dangerous affair.

Walking into SHIELD

It had taken a while but by the end of the week all the Avengers were at Loki´s mansion, they were all eager to see Leah and Eerika. Bruce had taken a portable lab to make sure both of them were all right. Tony was setting up the mansion´s communication center so they would have an open untraceable line between the mansion and the Avenger´s Tower. The kitchen was now insufficient to host everyone there so they had to move to the main dinner room which became boisterous. Eerika was already a week old a good enough reason to celebrate, or at least it seemed that way.

Loki had been evading the subject of Fury´s proposal all together in front of Leah, but he hadn’t forgotten about it; he and Thor had been talking a lot since the bold god had arrived to the Mansion. After much debating Loki had decided he should at least find out what Fury wanted; if it was something either he or Leah would be willing to give he much rather have SHIELD covering their back than after them. Leah sensed he was up to something but decided to refrain from mentioning after their second fight over the subject. Neither of them would give in into the other´s plan. Loki´s complaint about her offering herself to Doom had finally taken its toll on that second argument.

“So it´s all right for you to willing fully surrender yourself to Doom but I can´t even talk to Fury. I am the one that´s supposed to protect you … you arrogant mortal child. Not the other way around! You should know your place by now!” Loki regretted his words instantly, he hadn´t meant to put her down; he just wanted her to allow him to protect her from any more battles. He was the more experienced one, he should be the one fighting their battles, not her. But even so he made no effort to apologize.

Leah just stared at him both hurt and angry before spatting furiously. “So I am beneath you.”

“When it comes to battles, yes.” Loki claimed holding her stare.

Leah knew he was right, if it came to fighting experience he was several hundred years in front of her but that didn´t meant he should dismiss her so easily. “Then I´ll just have to catch up with you.” She informed him angrily as she walked out of their room.

Later that day she had asked Clint to start training her again; this time for real. She was so pissed-off at Loki´s demeaning statement Clint had to ask Steve for his help; she needed someone who could spar with her at the same level.

During lunch an unintended comment from Leah unleashed their quarrel. “Yes, it´s too bad grandparents enjoy their grandchildren even more than their own child.” She had been thinking of her own parents, both of them had died in the crash, they would´ve loved meeting Eerika, she was sure of it. Loki would be very difficult to explain … but Eerika, they would’ve loved her open hearted.

She had barely ended her sentence when Loki spat enraged as he stood up. “That´s it! I´m done with you telling me what to do. We are not going to Asgard! And I´m going to talk to Fury regardless of your opinion.”

Luckily Eerika had been in Bruce´s arms the instant everything went wrong. Leah´s face grew red both with embarrassment and anger, he had never talked to her like that in public before. “Fine!” She yelled as she stood up rivaling Loki´s fury. “Do as you want, see if I care.” Next she stormed out of the dinner room.

“Fine, I will!” Loki yelled back as he stormed out on the opposite direction.

“Wait! Loki! Leah!” Steve called them back without any luck. “Dammit!” He stood up a at the same time Thor did.

“I´ll go for Loki.” Thor volunteered.

“I´ll go for Leah then.” Steve agreed then turned to ask. “Bruce …?”

“We´ll be all right, go.” Bruce answered.

After they both left Bruce let out a sigh, he look at Eerika who had started crying when all the shouting began. “Shh, little one, it´s ok. They will be all right, everything will be all right … in time.”

“You really think that Bruce?” Natasha asked worryingly.

“I hope so Nat. I hate to admit it but I think Loki is right, he should at least talk to Fury to find out what he wants. Leah had been cut out from … well, you know real life for seven months now, it´s starting to show whether she realizes it or not. Being locked in her isn´t good for her.”

“And I hope that once this nasty business is settled they still have a relationship to work on.” Clint told them concerned by the last turn of the events.

“Don´t say that Clint! After all that has happened do you think they would really break up?” Natasha asked in a worried tone.

“I don´t know.” Clint answered shrugging his shoulders. “Some things are harder to take back than others.”

“Don´t jinx them Clint, you are going to scare Eerika.” Tony said taking another sip from his glass, he was worried too even if he didn´t wanted to admit it.

“Leah? Are you all right?” Steve asked her as he found Leah in the interior garden, she seemed to be spending more time there as her relationship with Loki became increasingly difficult. She was sitting down resting her back on a tree with her head tilted up and her eyes closed. “Yes and no.” Was her answer; she opened her eyes to look at Steve. “I didn´t meant anything by it, you know? I was thinking of my own parents, not his. He didn’t had to yell at me like that.” Her voice sounded as sad as her eyes conveyed.

“Things hasn´t been all right between the two of you, am I right?” Steve asked her siting down by her side.

“He hardly talks to me anymore.” Leah confessed. “Would you please leave me alone Steve?”

“Why?” Steve asked her, she did seem like she needed to talk.

“Because I don´t want you to see me cry.” Leah answered fighting back her tears.

“Since when?” Steve asked her sympathetically.

“Since you all think I´m going to break down at the first sign of trouble.” Leah answered biting her lower lip, a single tear over flooded her eyes and ran down her cheek; she dried it out immediately.

“We are just worried about you, so is Loki that´s why he´s so angry at you.” Steve tried to explain her. “Try to understand, he just wants you to be all right.”

“I would be all right if he remained safe.” Leah spat as she buried her head between her arms that laid over her knees.

“Leah, we are taking about Loki, he´s one of the most powerful persons I know, you should really stop worrying.” Steve admonished her.

“I know, but my brain simply refuses to stop worrying Steve. I just managed to stop dwelling about the past and now I´m stuck worrying about the future. Why can´t he just let it go? I could accept living here if he just stayed with me.” Leah confessed, she started to feel like she was losing her mind.

“Leah, you can´t live here for the rest of your life, it´s not good for you. And Loki knows it.” Steve told her.

“Why not?” She asked in a half tone, she couldn´t hold her tears back any more.

Steve hugged her trying to provide some comfort. “Because you need to go out, to be around people, take walks in the park with Loki and Eerika, maybe even go to the beach, go to the movies, I don’t know all the things normal people take for granted. You did nothing wrong, you shouldn´t have to lose everything. Loki just wants you to have all that and more.”

“And I just want them to be alive and safe.” Leah volunteered in a whining tone.

“Leah, I´m telling you; Loki is a very intelligent and experienced warrior, you don´t have to worry like that for him, he has his magic back and he has two powerful reasons to vanquish any obstacle that may come up.” Steve kept trying to put her fears at ease.

“I don´t know … maybe one. I really don´t think he likes me that much anymore. Leah told Steve between sniffling’s. “And I really don´t blame him.”

“Leah, it can´t possibly be that bad.” Steve comforted her. “Every relationship has its ups and downs. It´s just a rough patch, you will put this behind you soon.”

“I hope so.” Leah answered drying her tears. “He´s gone right? He went to talk to Fury.”

“Maybe, he seemed decided. But don´t worry Thor went after him; he´l make sure he comes back to you.”

“What if he doesn´t? What if that argument were the last words we spoke to each other?” Leah sounded anguished, her imagination kept portraying the worst conceivable scenarios.

“I´m sure they won’t be; either way try to make peace with him when he gets back.” Steve suggested. “Do you know the old saying never go to sleep …“

“Angry.” Leah ended his phrase-

“Exactly!” Steve agreed cheerfully. “It might be an old advice but it´s a good one.”

“I´m sure is.” Leah acknowledged. “He accused me of being a … foolish child, maybe he was right. “ Leah didn´t felt like repeating Loki exact words.

“You maybe a child compared to him. Hey! Even I’m a child by Asgardian standards. But that doesn´t mean we are either childish or foolish. We just feel things differently, our lifespan is so short compared to theirs that I think we should hold each moment precious and not squander them. You know stop worrying about tomorrow and living in the here and now sort of deal, you´ll never know when your world is going to change.”

“That´s deep.” Leah exclaimed surprised at the sudden turn of their conversation, if only she could stop worrying about the future, if only she could find the switch on her head to make her stop.

“And true.” Steve added.

Even if she understood and agreed with Steve about everything; she couldn´t help feeling anxious but decided not to mention it to any of them. I can manage this by myself she thought, right?

“Loki! Loki! Wait!” Thor had to run to caught up with him, he was marching in a hurry to his study.

“If you came to stop me you are out of luck!” Loki swiftly told him without stopping. “I´m talking to Fury today and that´s that.”

“I´m not here to stop you Loki, you know I agree with you. You should find out what Fury wants.” Thor volunteered “Though you shouldn´t had been so hard on Leah earlier; I´m sure her comment wasn´t supposed to mean anything.”

“I wouldn´t know; we hardly have spoken to each other the last couple of days.” It seemed longer he thought, how things had gotten so bad between them so fast?

Thor sighed, it was no secret they were having troubles but he had hoped they wouldn´t be so bad.

“Loki … the day we fought on Central Park. The day you told me about your feelings for her …”

“I remember.” Loki dryly told him.

“I never told you something that happened earlier that day. I was looking for Leah, she had missed breakfast and I was worried. I finally found her on the rooftop I could tell she had been crying; I offered to take her to Asgard again, to acknowledge her child as my own … she refused, we argued. Angered for her negative I asked her what was what she wanted. I can´t have what I want, that´s what she told me. I couldn´t accept that as an answer so I forced her to tell me what it was.”

Loki was listening attentively to his brother´s recollection puzzled by the relevance of his story.

“Between tears she confessed; I believe for the first time she realized that what she really wanted was you Loki. She wanted you even when she thought you were lost for her, even when she had no hope of ever seeing you again. Never form that moment on has she done or said something that has lead me to believe she has changed her mind about that. She´s just too scared Loki.”

“Scared of what Thor?” Loki answered annoyed. “She treats me as if I was useless, she would had let Doom rape her just to keep me safe. I just can´t allow her to keep doing that sort of thing, she undermines me.

“For being the smart one you are very dumb brother.” Thor told him with sympathy. “She´s scared out of her mind of losing you again, she would do anything to prevent that from happening. Love makes us do foolish things, do you really need any more prove of how much she loves you? She´s not trying to undermine you; she´s just too scared of the thought of living without you.”

Loki´s face frowned; had they been entangled on a grim contest about who would yield more for the other? Because the answer seemed clear enough, they would both forfeit their lives for the other. Why had they been fighting for?

“I called her an arrogant child who didn´t knew her place.” Loki confessed ashamed.

Thor looked at him surprised. “No wonder she is mad at you. You know you ow her an apology?”

“I don´t know.” Loki answered unsure, he did knew but he wasn´t willing to apologize just yet.

“Loki!” Thor scolded him.

“Dammit Thor! You are worse than mother … I´ll apologize when and if I want to.” Loki replied angered.

“Just don´t wait until you lose her to do so.” Thor replied annoyed by Loki´s childish reply.

“I thought you said …” Loki started to answered hurt by Thor´s statement.

“Loki, even the most fierce and strongest maidens have fragile hearts; if you are not careful you are going to break hers.” Thor answered patiently, that she loved him didn´t meant she couldn´t just stop.

“I …” Loki kept pensive for a moment, he had never intended to hurt her even less to do something that would tear them apart. “I probably should apologize when we return.”

“We?” Thor asked surprised.

“Of course, you didn´t thought I was going to talk to Fury by myself, did you? That … would be foolish.” Loki replied with a smirk on his face.

“You always knew I was going to follow you.” Thor reasoned laughing.

“Well, you are very predictable brother, shall we go? I want to come back as soon as we can.”

It didn´t took them long to arrive to the hellicarrier after they made a quick stop at the Avenger´s Tower to ask to Jarvis the current coordinates for the vessel.

“You took your time.” Was Fury´s words when he saw Loki.

“I´ve been occupied.” Loki replied dryly. “What do you want?”

“I think we should discuss this privately.” Furt suggested.

“Why would I want to do that?” Loki spat crossed.

“Because IU won´t tell you otherwise.” Fury replied calmly. “I understand you don’t truth me, but I´ll assure you if you agree to give me what I want I´ll make sure no one tries to take Leah from your side ever again.”

“I can do that by myself.” Loki replied vexed.

“But you must want something, otherwise you wouldn´t had come. Thor can wait in the control room. I´m sure he would tear the hellicarrier apart if we held you against your will.”

“You can be sure of that.” Thor agreed tapping Mjolnir with his hand.

“All right, Thor, would you wait for me in the control room? If I´m not back in an hour you know what to do.” Loki told Thor without losing Fury from his sight.

“I do brother.” Thor agreed as he walked out.

“As we are in a tight schedule let´s get to the point.” Fury told him. “How´s Leah?”

“Still recuperating.” Loki replied defensively. “What do you want?”

Fury looked upset, he had hoped at first for her to be in top condition after a couple of days, that until he had interrogated Doom. He know knew they should´ve intervened the moment they arrived; he hadn´t thought Doom´s twisted logic would make him interested in Leah in a more carnal fashion.

“Doom thinks she´s dead. And we allow him to keep thinking that. He won´t go after her again.” He reassured Loki.

“Why would you do that?” Loki asked intrigued by Fury´s apparent sudden interest on Leah´s welfare.

“I needed her and you to lead a black operations team; I didn´t counted on Doom … messing her up.” He confessed. “But I still need you both on the team. How long do you think it will take her to get back to her feet?”

“She´s not going to fight for you! I won´t allow it.” Loki answered enraged.

“Then everything is lost … it was a slim chance anyway.” Fury sighed disappointed.

“What do you mean by that? What´s so important you would dare ask me to let her fight again after Doom nearly killed her? And whyt do you need my help? Why don´t you just cal the Avengers?” He asked bewildered, Fury´s last statement worried him.

“I can´t ask them.” Fury replied disturbed. “They wouldn´t accept the mission anyway and if they did it would only destroy them. We need them, so I won’t.”

“And you want me to accept this mission and bring Leah with me, are you out of your mind?” Loki felt even more puzzled, what could be the situation that called for such uncommon procedures.

“If you let me talk to her I´m sure she would accept.” Fury volunteered.

“You don´t even know her!” Loki spat annoyed by his assumption.

“Maybe not personally, but all I needed to know I learnt from her fight with Doom. You might chose to ignore it but she reminds me of your friend Sif; and even of Steve himself. She won´t stop fighting no matter what if she thinks it´s worth it even at great personal cost. That would make her invaluable in this mission, and of course having super soldier strength and reflexes isn’t just a bonus.” Fury explained calmly.

“Even if I agreed with you, what makes you think she would agree to participate on your mission?” Loki asked intrigued.

“The greater good,” Was Fury´s enigmatic reply. “Besides, now that she´s a mother I´m quite sure she would like to keep this world safe for her child.”

That´s a cheap low blow, Loki thought but an effective one anyway. Playing with new parents emotions like that, whatever was happening certainly had Fury on edge.

“I don´t care how valuable or indispensable you think she is for this mission; I won´t take her with me.” Loki replied, he couldn´t deny Fury had stroke a nerve, keeping the world safe for his family was amongst his top priorities, that was one of the reasons why he had chosen to join the Avengers.

“So, you are joining this mission?” Fury asked pleasantly surprised. For a moment he had thought Loki wouldn´t agree to be involved.

“Don´t look so surprised, haven´t you just said so? There´s not much a father wouldn´t do to keep his child safe and for the moment Earth is our home. Now, will you just tell me what is this mission you claimed to be of the utmost importance?” Loki asked as he sat in front of Fury.

“Before I tell you, I need you to understand that you can´t talk about it to no one, only a handful of people know about his and I intend to keep it that way.” Fury told him with a very serius tone while leaning over his desk.

“All right, I understand. Will you tell me in what kind of mess I got myself into?” Loki agreed annoyed.n

My Loving Muse

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Broken Oath

broken_oath

Bittersweet Reunion

“Do you really think she´s all right Loki?” Clint asked with a worried frown over his face.

“I don´t know Clint, it seems that way. She´s better at least, I think she doesn´t has any more flashbacks. But I´m still worried of such a sudden change.” Loki confessed she had gone from totally messed up to reasonable fine in less than a day.

“Well, ASD only last a couple of days, maybe she is better. I guess we´ll just have to keep an eye on her to be sure.” Clint suggested shrugging his shoulders, neither of them were qualified to asses her mental health. His expression grew serious as he asked. “Are you really sure you want to fdo this now? We could still wait a couple of days.”

“No, we need to know where we are standing. Besides it will only take a couple of minutes, we don´t even have to tell her.“ Loki didn´t wanted to tell Leah, she would worry too much; she might even beg him not to do it.

“She will find out, especially if you find Tony.” Clint pointed out, he understood the reasons Loki had for not telling her, but he also knew she would get angry at both of them without a doubt.

“I´ll deal with her later, how does your midgardian saying goes? Better ask forgiveness than …”

“Ask permission” Clint ended his phrase. “All right but if you find any SHIELD agents in the Tower forget about Tony and come back right away.”

“I will, don´t worry.” Loki told him with a smile, humans worry too much he thought to himself.

“Do you remember all the places Tony could be at? Clint asked him.

“His lab, the kitchen, the research level, the bar, Bruce´s lab.” Loki answered quickly “Science, food or alcohol, he seems one mind kind of guy.”

“Not really, he´s just a bit focused” Clint smirked. “Luckily for us, do you have your gems?”

“Of course.” Loki took them off his pocket and showed them to Clint. “I´ll be back in 15 minutes top.”

“All right.” Clint nodded affirmatively.

As soon as he agreed Loki had disappeared, he walked through the paths of Yggdrasil better known in Midgard as Ley lines. Everything seems duller, opaque, dim; it didn´t took him long to get to the Tower.

“All right, no guards, no soldiers, no agents. So far so good. ” He thought to himself as he walked through the shadows trying to find Tony.

He looked for him in his lab first, then Bruce´s lab and research level. Fortunately he found him as he walked out of the kitchen along with Steve and Bruce. Taking advantage of a momentary distraction of Steve and Bruce he slid behind Tony and placed his hand over Tony´s mouth preventing him of alerting the others as he pulled him into the shadows. Within the next second they had emerged in Loki´s mansion.

Loki released his grip on Tony who turned around bewildered.

“What the fuck?” Were his first words as he turned around assessing his situation.

Clint welcomed him with a smug on his face. “Hi Tony.”

“Don´t hi me, what the hell is going on? How did I get here?” Tony snapped confused. “And where is here?”

“It’s my house” Loki answered, he had been busy replenishing his energies with the gemstones. “I´m sorry for the abrupt interruption but we couldn´t risk it.”

“Risk what?” Tony asked while admiring his new surroundings, he had to admit Loki had good taste.

“What’s all that racket?” A woman´s voice asked all of the sudden, it was Leah who had heard all the commotion and came to find out the source of it. “Tony?”

“Leah!” Tony called her with a big grin on his face, she looked all right. He walked right to her and huged her tight. “I´ve been so worried for you.” He loosen his embrace to take a good look at her, besides looking a bit surprised she seemed fine. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, I am now.” Leah volunteered still recovering from her astonishment. “But how?” She looked up at Loki and Clint and gave them a disapproving glare, she would deal with them later.

“What do you mean you are now? I thought you weren’t badly injured. But don´t just look at me, tell me what happened.” He snapped at her anxiously.

“No, I wasn´t. Loki healed most of my injuries, I just had some …. Issues.” She suddenly felt too exposed, realizing she really didn´t felt like answering his questions, she looked extremely discomforted.

Both Loki and Clint picked up on her mood change and quickly intervened.

“She had ASD” Clint told Tony quickly. “It strands for …”

“Acute Stress Disorder I know, in case you forgot I was kidnapped by a bunch of terrorists once, I know about ASD and PTSD.” Tony lectured them. “How bad was it? Flashbacks?”

“And nightmares.” Loki added.

“I´m all right now.” Leah interrupted them annoyed about becoming the focus of their attention so suddenly.

“Are you sure?” Tony asked while observing her attentively, she did look a little weary but having a newborn baby could easily explain her exhaustion.

“I … think so.” Leah answered, she hadn´t actually given it much thought. She had just assumed that having the flashbacks gone and her memories back meant she was all right. She didn´t felt so scared or angry any more, although she had started to worry about their current situation. Had she just changed one prison to another? What if SHIELD tried to take her away?

Tony saw for a moment the doubt on her eyes but he was interrupted by Clint asking. “What happened with SHIELD?”

“Fury made a big scene but in the end settled with taking Doom under his custody.” Next he turned his attention back to Leah. “Are you sure you are all right?”

“I´m fine! Will you cut it out?” Leah suddenly snapped.

“I just want to make sure, you don´t have to bite my head off.” Tony complained irritated.

Leah felt trapped, unconsciously she placed one of her hands over the scar of her chest as she nervously fiddled with her clothes. Why did he had to keep pushing?

“Leah!” Loki snapped her out of her thoughts, concern could be heard in his voice.

“What?!” Leah asked annoyed.

“Leah, you are shaking …” Loki informed her concerned.

“I …” Leah raised one of her hands to test his claim, her expression changed from angry to surprised, she hadn´t even noticed. “I … I need a moment.” She told them as she walked away in a hurry.

“Why did you do that?” Loki inquired Tony furiously.

“I´m sorry. I just had to make sure.” Tony apologized.

“Make sure of what?” Clint asked intrigued.

“That she was well enough.” Tony answered with a sigh. “After everything settled Bruce and I took in the task of reconstructing Doom´s stay in the Tower, we wanted to make sure he hadn’t left any surprises behind. Unwillingly that also lead us to find out everything that happened when Leah was alone with him.”

“What do you mean? What happened? She claims he didn’t raped her, that he just … touched her.” Loki inquired anxiously, had she being lying about that?

“And that’s the truth, but it wasn´t just that he touched her, it was about the way he did it, the look in his eyes while he did it. I can´t tell you how relived we were when the taped showed us she managed to escape. And afterwards … I don´t care if she explained you what he did to her while they were fighting … it was just plainly vicious. I can´t explain it you would´ve had to see it. I am glad she is feeling better but I don´t see how could she be totally recuperated after that.”

“She´s stronger than you think.” Loki told him dryly.

“Maybe, but I had to make sure before …” Tony started to say.

“You keep saying that, make sure before what? Clint asked annoyed.

“Before I tell you the truth about what really happened with Fury.” Tony confessed.

Leah muffled a gasp, she was coming back after debating with herself; she had realized that the reason she had snapped was because she didn´t wanted to explain everything again, not what happened in the Tower, nor what happened in the Mansion the following days. She couldn´t help to feel her feelings and memories stirred again. She had grew comfortable around Loki and Clint, they already knew everything and they didn´t made her explain anything more than once, and because they knew everything that had happened they knew exactly what topics to avoid. She noticed they hadn´t heard or seen her and quickly hided inside one of the many rooms in the corridor, she was close enough to listen.

“So I take Fury didn´t go away as peacefully as you just told us.” Clint told him plainly.

“No, he didn´t.” Tony confessed. “He did took Doom which kind of surprised me with his diplomatic immunity and all, but not before biting Steve´s head off for letting the two of you leave. As he walked away he told us that it was far from over. The next day we found out what he had meant; he had issued a warrant against Leah.”

“Don´t tell me he charged her for stabbing Doom.” Loki grumbled visibly irritated.

“No, he drop it. He probably knew he wouldn´t be able to make a case against her based on that. Sadly Leah gave him a better excuse when she raised her bow against him; the charge is assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon.”

“Fuck!” Leah reprimanded herself mentally, why did she had to do that?

“He´s just making up things, what the hell does he wants from her?” Loki was already pacing up and down the corridor crossed.

“I don´t know, but he left you a message.” Tony informed him.

“What message? Now, don´t tell me he issued a warrant against me for aiding a criminal” Loki snorted.

“No, he didn´t; surprisingly he has agreed to accept you as an active member of the Avengers. In his own words he told us. –Tell Loki my door is always open in case he wants to talk.-“

“That manipulative son of a bitch!” Loki spat enraged. “He knows I can´t let him arrest Leah”.

“I´m afraid he is counting on that. I know you won´t listen to me, but just drop it Loki. It sounds like a trap.” Tony volunteered.

“He´s right.” Clint agreed. “Capturing you is the perfect way to draw Leah out.”

“She won´t hesitate to deliver herself to SHIELD in exchange for you and Eerika walking free.” Tony told him with a stern look. “She didn´t even blinked when she mad eteh same offer to Doom.”

“She did what?” Both Clintg and Loki asked surprised.

“She didn´t told you that …” Tony said feeling uncomfortable, Leah would be furious at him for telling them.

“For God´s sake Tony, just spit it.” Clint raised his voice vexed by his revelation.

“He offered freeing Loki in exchange of her and Eerika going with him willingly.”

“We know that part.” Loki told him anxiously.

“But what apparently you don´t know is that she agreed to do so if he excluded Eerika from the deal.” Tony raised his gaze wary of Loki´s reaction; he looked shocked, he couldn´t help to imagine what could´ve happened if Doom had agreed.

“No, she couldn´t had said that.” Loki nodded negatively in disbelief. He knew she loved them, but to be willing to sacrifice herself like that … he had never imagined she would reach that far to keep them safe. And as a reward she now had a warrant issued against her.

“She did Loki. I don’t think I fully understood how much she loves both of you until I saw her doing it.” Tony confessed.

“I want to see that tape.” Loki told him with a stern look.

“I really don’t think you should.” Tony advised him.

“He´s right Loki, it serves no purpose. Besides think about Leah, she already have had a hard time telling us what happened; imagine how she would feel if you saw the tape.”

Meanwhile in the next room Leah was sitting crouched against the wall, her hands were over her head. Why did Tony had to tell them that? She had yielded even before the fight had started. If Doom had agreed everything would´ve turned very different.

I´m so death” She mentally told herself, she was sure Loki would definitely have something to say about it and he would be right; she really didn´t had time to think her offer through. What indeed could´ve happened if Doom had agreed? He would´ve had his way with her, that for sure. But they would´ve been able to rescue her before she got pregnant again, wouldn´t they? What if they rescued her too late? What could´ve happened? She would never agree to lose the child, no matter what he or she would still be hers, what would that make Loki feel? Would he accepted the child? “No Leah stop; you are giving yourself a headache” She sighed; why did they kept feeling they had to hide everything from her? “Because they don´t believe you are all right” She answered herself. “Maybe I should prove them I can handle this. If I´m going to get hell for offering Doom such a deal I rather it be now and I can´t let Loki accept Fury´s deal either … I got to tell them” She stood unwilling fully, it didn’t mattered if she was prepared or not; she just had to do it before she lost her nerve.

She walked in just as Tony was telling Loki “You can´t tell her, she will kill me if she knows I told you.”

”No, I won´t kill you but I wished you all stopped treating me like I´m going to break. I´m not as messed up as you think.” She dryly told them, she felt as if she was walking into her own execution.

“We are not …” Tony began to reply when Leah interrupted him.

“Yes you are. I understand why but you all need to stop, how can I get my confidence back when you don´t trust me?” She reproached them.

Suddenly Loki asked. “Leah, why you did it?”

“Offered myself to Doom?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Because it was the best alternative I had to make sure we all walked alive from it. Doom wouldn´t kill me, at least not while I was useful to his plans. On the other side you wouldn´t had stand a chance if he got you to Latveria; sooner or later he would´ve killed you.”

“What if he had accepted? Did you even thought of that?” He reproached her.

“Eerika would probably got a half-brother or sister.” She replied without looking him in the eyes.

“That´s not funny.” Loki scolded her.

“And I´m not laughing.” She replied as he looked up at him with a stern look in her eyes. “That´s the worst case scenario I can think of … nevertheless it wouldn´t matter if that meant both of you were safe.” She looked down again, Loki probably wasn´t done scolding her; she was desperately trying to steady herself for it when out of nothing he embraced her tight, she hadn´t expected that and stayed still as he pleaded. “Don’t do anything like that ever again.”

“I can´t promise you that.” She told him remaining still.

Loki broke up his embrace to look into her eyes, there was a sense of sadness in them but there was also determination. He sighed, he would do the same if he were able to save them even at the cost of his own life. “Then you understand why I need to talk to Fury.”

“Please don´t.” She raised her head instantly. “We already knew SHIELD was after me, that they have a warrant doesn´t change anything. Whatever Fury wants is more dangerous than SHIELD itself.”

“What do you mean?” Clint asked her, did she had an insight on what Fury wanted?

Leah bit her lips, she felt like a trapped animal, finally she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “If they had a recording form he stabbing Doom it can only mean they were watching the whole time … they seemed willing to let my die just to prove something. Whatever they wanted to measure me against is far more powerful than Doom. You can´t go Loki, I´d rather live within the walls of the mansion for the rest of my life.

“This house is meant to be a refuge, not a prison.” Loki told her “You will go crazy if you are forced to stay here.”

“Then patch things with Odin and take us to Asgard.” Leah told him with decision.

The three of them were shocked to hear her suggestion.

“But Leah, you hate the idea of going to Asgard.” Clint spat.

“I hate the idea of losing my family even more.” Leah answered.

“But you escaped being four months pregnant and with no money because you thought we would send you there.” Tony interjected.

“I know what I did Tony, it doesn´t change what need to be done now.” She told him.

Loki hold her by her shoulders and told her. “Leah, you begged me not to let them take you to Asgard, why would you change your mind now?”

“Because you need me to.” Leah answered with sincerity, even if she still hated the idea it would be safer than going to SHIELD. “If you could convince Odin I would go.”

“It´s not that easy.” Loki replied.

“I know it’s not, but maybe if Thor talked to your mother, maybe … maybe they could convince him, and if they can’t this house will be enough. We can come up with a believable explanation about why I don´t leave the house when Eerika starts school. Or maybe Tony can invent a camouflage device, you don´t need to go to Fury on my account.” She pleaded.

Loki looked at her still bemused by her suggestion; she kept offering herself in exchange for them, he just couldn´t allow her to do that anymore. But he knew that if he refused her plea that instant she would find the way to surrender to SHIELD herself. “I can´t promise you anything, but I´ll think about it.” It was the best he could offer her without lying.

The Sound of a Broken Heart

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