Maddy was running. Away from something or towards something, she couldn't tell. It felt like she was running in a straight line one moment then suddenly she'd be running in circles the next. First big, wide circles, then tightening in until she was running almost on the spot. She didn't know why she was running, just that she couldn't stop with the terror that overwhelmed her. Just what was so scary?
Then she heard it – all at once. A sucking sound, endlessly cold; a child screaming; people speaking her names in different volumes. "Maddy," the smithy that once was her father whispered. "Thor's child!" screeched the Nameless, the Whisperer, Mimir. "Daughter!" cried Thor, in a half-strangled voice. "Modi," moaned Odin the All-father, speaking upon dead breath. "Maddy!" Loki murmured urgently.
Cool hands gripped her shoulders and she cried out. Loki's urgent whisper reached her again; desperately she groped for him in the blindness. She was surfacing, ever so slowly...
Waking with a jolt, mindbolt in hand, Maddy realised that the hands she had felt in her dream were still on her shoulders. Quickly, she lashed out, aiming for the throat of her captor.
"Maddy!" Loki sounded panicked. "It's just me! It's just Loki!"
Realising her mistake, Maddy quickly withdrew her mindbolt. "Sorry Loki. It was just-" she shivered slightly, "...just so real."
"S'ok – I get them too," he grinned. "Besides, the possibility of me losing my life is frequent enough that I'm getting used to the feeling of pure terror that comes only when one's life is endangered."
Maddy smiled a little in spite of herself and punched his shoulder lightly. "Idiot. What did you wake up one of the most powerful gods currently alive in the middle of a nightmare for?"
Loki chuckled. "Well, I've done stupider things – but not many, I'll concede." He frowned for a moment then, quick as a flash, reached out to Maddy's face. Before she could react, he had pulled his hand away, leaving a strangely warm patch on her cheek, despite his hands being cold. Ignoring that, Maddy noticed water on the fingers he'd put to her face and realised she was – or rather, had been – crying as a result of her dream. Angrily, she wiped them away, then closed her eyes and leant back on the rock wall behind her.
"That bad, huh?" Loki's voice came from beside her where he'd imitated her position against the wall. Maddy let out a sound that was something between a sigh and a huff.
"Why do I keep having these dreams-nightmares-whatever?" she grumbled. "It's all over. Dead and gone. Why can't my subconscious just let it go?"
Loki paused a moment, knowing he could be treading on eggshells. Thinking it the best approach, he laced his statement with a little humour where suited. "At the risk of my own life for the second time in as many minutes – is it really your subconscious that has the problem? Or do you think maybe you've yet to let it go?"
Maddy was about to glare in his direction, threatening what he claimed to be risking, but then the rest of what he said sunk in and she couldn't even look at him for a moment. She stared at the ground because she realised he was right. Goddamn stupid Trickster god and his stupid silver tongue...
"Well, have you?" she mumbled to the ground in front of her.
"I still have nightmares," he replied, simply.
Looking up at him again, she noticed the glazed look in his eyes as he seemed to recall said nightmares. Not sure as to why – or that any reason properly justified it – Maddy reached out and took his hand, squeezing it gently. She received a warm smile and a returning squeeze for her efforts at consolation.
Neither one wanted to go back to sleep and face yet more nightmares after that, so they didn't. They just sat and stared at the stars til the dawn broke and then watched that too – all the while not letting go of each other's hands.