“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.”