Okay guys, here's the last preset chapter for now. I do have one in the works, but it'll be some time before it's published.
NOTE: There's another dream sequence here.
I was in the hospital again.
Not the asylum, the real hospital from my first dream.
I panicked, I wasn't supposed to have dreams. Loki had made sure of it.
I wasn't in the hospital room like last time, no cribs or screaming babies. I was near the nurse's desk, empty, as the hospital had always been.
The lights were the same, dim save for the ones meant to lead me somewhere.
I followed it, deciding to just get the nightmare over with.
I was led down the hall, taken multiple turns until I came to a door.
The same door as all the other times.
I cracked it open, peering into the now familiar hospital room, my heart pounding, my breath beginning to come out in short spurts.
A panic attack.
I tried to take deep breaths, entering the room fully, creeping towards the crib.
Empty. That was a first.
I backed up a step turning around, falling backwards into the crib.
A woman as standing behind me. I couldn't make out her face. Like, her face wasn't obscured it was just...fuzzy like I couldn't determine what she looked like.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"Well, if you're not going to answer, I'm just going to leave." I tried to get up, but found I couldn't move. "What the-?"
"Hush now baby..." Her voice murmurs above me. It was soft and melodic, and I would have even said kind if not for the almost vague derangement in it.
"I'm not your baby." I said.
"Everything will be over soon." She crooned, as if not hearing me. At least in the asylum, I'd had a conversation with the doctor there. But this woman didn't really acknowledge me.
"Why can't I move?" I asked, trying to stand, but forced to stay on my knees.
"Gotta take care of you before the doctor comes," She whispered, her voice continuing to become more deranged.
"Take care of me? How?" I asked. "Hey, are you listening to me?"
Something flashed in her right hand.
I swallowed, suddenly flashing to my previous nightmares with the baby.
"She's coming. She's sending them after me." She mumbled to herself.
She kept doing that, scalpel just resting in her clenched hand.
"Who the hell are you lady?" I tried again.
Her words weren't making sense.
"This is the only way baby, you understand." She crooned at me.
"Look lady, you need a doct-"
"Hush now baby, don't cry." She whispered. "You know it'll only hurt for a moment."
I felt my heart jump into my throat.
What would only hurt for a moment? I glanced at the scalpel in fear.
My breaths were becoming shorter and quicker, heart erratic.
I tried to regulate. I was afraid what would happen if I had a panic attack in my dreams.
"Lady you need to let me go, I'm not your kid." I tried to move again, my knees frozen to the linoleum floor.
"Shhh we don't want them to find us. Not yet." She said, sounding desperate. "She can't have you, I won't let her." She raised the scalpel closer.
I felt every burning second as the scalpel connect with my throat and the woman slit it.
I heard screaming. Was it me?
I was vaguely aware of another voice trying to talk to me, but I pushed it away, my heart beating like I'd run a marathon. I wasn't supposed to have a dream, I'd been clean for a while now, why again?
I felt a hand on my back. I screamed and pushed at it.
"Hey, it's just me." A voice spoke softly near my ear. I froze, ignoring the tears tracking furious lines down my face. My mind was still muddled from sleep and the dream.
"L..Loki?" I wanted to kill myself for how my voice cracked.
"What happened?" He asked, hand coming to rest on my shoulder blades.
"I had a dream." I whimpered. "I...I thought...thought they were gone." I managed to choke through the tears.
I wanted to punch the wall. I did the next best thing, I lashed at a pillow and threw it across the room, screaming as it bounced off the metal wall with a dull thump.
"I need you to calm down." Loki whispered soothingly. He took my wrists, holding them gently as I panted, calming my heart. "You had another dream?"
"Tell me about it?"
"Why? Why would I want to relive that awful thing?" I clenched my jaw, fighting the tears still threatening to spill.
"Because sometimes it helps to talk, right?" Loki kept his own voice calm and collected, though I could hear an edge to it. I'd probably scared the man half to death, considering we were in the same bed and that was relatively close proximity.
"I was in a hospital." I mumbled. "And there was a woman. I don't know what she looked like, but she...she had the sclap—scalpel and I couldn't move and I..." I trailed off, hand going to cover my throat, practically feeling the cold blade against me.
Loki didn't seem to need anymore information, he tugged me closer until my head was resting on his chest, his hand gently stroking my hair.
"What are you doing?" I asked, my voice slightly muffled by his shirt.
"My mother would do this when I had nightmares." He spoke softly, chin resting on my head. "Is it working?"
I wanted to say no, I wanted to just be miserable at that moment, but if I was honest; Yeah, his hand in my hair was calming me significantly, and I could smell peppermints again. I closed my eyes, my breath timing up with his so that we were in sync. I just rested there, trying to banish the woman and the hospital room from my memory.
"Do you want to stay up?" He whispered, pulling back enough to look at me.
"...Yeah." I admitted. "I just want to lie here, I don't want to sleep."
"Okay." He murmured, allowing me to pull back. I lie back down slowly, lying on my side, facing him. Loki looked at me briefly, before holding his hands up, a book falling into them.
"Whats'at?" I asked, pillowing my head on my arms.
"Don't be a smartass." I grumbled, whacking him in the thigh.
"If you must know, it's a a copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream." He lifted the book up.
"You have a play by William Shakespeare?" I stared at it. "How?"
"We have been to Midgard numerous times. That's what the Bifrost was for." Loki said. "This is a very old copy, part of my personal collection. Thankfully I saved most of my books seeing as I have kept them in the void for some time now."
"Read it to me?" I asked.
"You want to hear it?"
"I've seen Shakespeare plays before," I mumbled. "Besides, it's something we both like, and it's something familiar to me as well as you. Why not?"
"From the beginning?"
"Wherever you want is fine." I said.
Loki flipped to a page, clearing his throat softly before reading. His voice perfectly fit the rhythm of the words, lilting as he spoke lowly. I listened, enjoying the timbre of his voice and they way he spoke each verse with such care. I tried to fight the sleep that was slowly pulling me down into its depths, scared that another nightmare would plague me. Loki's soft voice though, eased me into it, my mind filled with thoughts of fairies and potions.
I didn't want to get up. I wanted to just lie in bed and keep sleeping.
I cracked my eyes open, finding myself still lying on my side. There was something resting on my hand. I squinted as my vision focused on what I was seeing. Loki was asleep on his back, one hand holding an open A Midsummer Night's Dream against his chest, the other was resting gently on top of mine. He was definitely out cold, his mouth open just slightly, his body fully relaxed. I slowly sat up, gently moving my hand from under his, praying I wouldn't wake him up. I sat up and leaned over, gently taking the book from his hand, freeing when he shifted a bit. He settled down though, and I was able to place the book on the nightstand. I pattered towards the bathroom, hopping into the shower.
I was in there for a little bit, enjoying the quiet and the water. When I came back out Loki had shifted onto his stomach, still sound asleep.
I crawled back onto the bed, settling on my side and grabbing my sketchbook, doodling small, rough sketches, just to practice. I put my iPod on soft, for atmosphere.
I'd been sitting there for quite some time, having filled up a few pages in the book by that time, when Loki began to stir.
"Morning sleepyhead." I said, head bent over my book.
"What's timizit?" He mumbled, voice slurred. Damn he was such a kid in the morning, not at all the imposing force of nature he always acted like.
"Dunno." I rested the book in my lap. "I thought you could use the sleep though. You were up in the middle of the night reading."
"Right..." He muttered, slowly sitting up. His long hair was a mess of curls, his face half covered by them at this point. He rubbed at his eyes. "Damn I could go back to sleep."
"I mean you can, just don't expect me to save your ass when everyone asks where you are. You know I'm not telling them you're in my room."
"Wouldn't expect it." He said, getting out of bed, running a hand through his hair. He stretched, his shirt riding up a little. Well, good to know he's got muscle I guess. I blinked, looking away, I really didn't want him to think I was staring. I turned my attention back to my sketchbook as he walked by, heading to the bathroom.
"Who said you could use my bathroom?" I called out as the door closed. He popped his head back out.
"I'm using it." Before going back inside, the shower turning on a moment later.
I settled back against the pillows, continuing my doodles while he was in there. He was in there for a while, like, longer than I had been in there. Way longer.
"You shower longer than I do." I chuckled when he came back out, running a towel through his hair.
"Yes well I actually have hair."
"Oh wow, so clever." I rolled my eyes, running a hand through my half shaven hair. "Sorry that a creepy old guy cut half my hair off."
He just chuckled under his breath, putting the towel back in the bathroom. "Are you coming?"
"To breakfast?" He clarified, heading towards the door.
"Yeah but um...is it wise for us to both leave?"
He glanced back at me.
"I mean 'cause, you know what happened last time they thought we were in a room together."
He coughed, "Right. That little...rumor." He sighed after a moment. "There's not much either of us can do. I can't sneak back to my room, there will already be people around."
"Guess you're just gonna have to stay here forever." I shrugged, pulling my boots on and going to the door.
"Or you could see if there's anyone in the hall." Loki said, leaning against the wall.
"Fine." I grumbled, pressing the button for the door to slide open. I popped my head out seeing no one. "Coast is clear." I slipped out, Loki following a moment after. "If anyone asks, we happened to see each other on our way to breakfast."
"Agreed." He nodded, following me. A few people saw us on our way, nodding to me, or bowing to their prince. No one looked suspicious though, so that was a relief.
Breakfast was the usual boring drill. Kayin and Banner seemed less surprised to see Loki with me this time. Banner almost looked amused by it when I glanced at him.
Training with the kids was the same old drill too, becoming monotonous after a few weeks.
"Y'know what, I'm bored of this." I pushed off from the wall I'd been leaning against while watching the girls. "Let's do something fun."
"Fun? Like what?" One of them asked me. I saw Loki's head whip around, glaring daggers at me.
"Something other than this." I said, sitting on the floor, the girls all around me.
"I didn't realize we were taking a break." Loki came over, giving me a stern look. He'd put his leather armor back on before training began, and he looked imposing once more.
"We're stuck on this ship, I don't really want to do the same routine every single day." I said.
"Can we have a break too?" One of the younger boys piped up, looking at the sitting girls enviously.
"What? No, our job is to train you." Loki protested, giving the boys another stern glare. "Thor wants you kids to be trained fighters, that's what our sessions are for, not sitting around."
"When did you become invested?" I teased.
"This isn't a laughing matter, Eliza." He said, my name sounding beautiful in his accent.
...That...was very random. I blinked, realizing I'd only ever heard him use my given name twice. I logged that information away to mull over later. "Look, I just think we could all use a chance to have some fun."
"We had our fun back on Gethee." Loki said.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." I replied haughtily.
"Don't use your Midgardian sayings on me." Loki sighed at me. He looked around at the kids; the girls already sitting, and the boys all looking ready to mutiny and join our side.
"Fine..." He grumbled while the boys cheered and joined the circle. Loki went and leaned against a wall, watching us.
"What are we gonna do?"
"Can we play a game?"
These were among the things the kids asked me, most staring wide eyed at me.
"What do you guys want to do?"
"What's Midgard like?" One of the boys asked.
"Well it's big." I said. "And there's so many different kinds of stuff there. Animals, people, cultures, food. I don't know if I can even talk about all of it."
"Where are you from?"
"I'm from America." I said.
"Does Midgard have dogs?" A girl asked.
I laughed, "Yes, Earth has lots of dogs."
Somehow I ended up giving the kids a lesson on Earth culture and histories, though I tried to leave out most of the gory aspects of it. They'd learn more when they got there. I had a good time, answering questions and seeing them light up when an answer interested or excited them. The confused looks they had when I eventually ended up explaining french fries to them. That was a fun conversation. Loki had ended up sitting near the edge of the circle, listening while sharpening his daggers. He seemed uninterested, his face bored and distant. I'd probably angered him a bit, but I was sure he was just sulking because someone didn't listen to him.
"Can we do this again?" Anja asked as the kids rose to go to lunch.
"Do what?" I asked, picking up on of the younger girls who'd sat in my lap.
"Do fun stuff?" She asked. "All we do is have lessons, and learn to fight. It's fun, but I want to do other stuff."
"Maybe next time we can play a game." I said, as I followed the kids who were shuffling out, standing in the doorway as they all hurried on their merry way.
"If Thor finds out we weren't training, do you think he'll be pleased?" Loki sighed, coming to stand next to me.
I angled my head to look up at him. "I haven't known your brother long, but I'm sure he wouldn't begrudge the kids a chance to have some fun."
He rolled his eyes. "If you say so."
We didn't end up playing a game, but we also didn't get much training done the next few days. The kids seemed to enjoy the lessons in Earth culture and history, and we'd begun shortening training time to allow the kids a chance to enjoy themselves. Loki didn't seem to like it, but he hadn't tried to stop me since he first argued against it. In fact he generally sat near me, every once in a while interjecting with his own snarky thoughts or opinions on Earth. Most of which I either ignored or smacked him in the head for making. The kids were becoming more comfortable with Loki, enjoying anytime he'd create illusions for them to look at.
A few of them even ended up having some magical abilities. They begged their prince to teach them more, and if I hadn't known any better, I might have been convinced he flushed red at all the positive attention he was receiving. Our training sessions had morphed from just sword fighting and just fighting in general, to half the time being that, and the other half devoted to lessons and stories about Earth while Loki trained some of the children in magic.
The more time Loki spent with them, the more I was seeing the softer side of him. He'd even begun to be more pleasant at meals with Kayin and Banner. The former happily surprised, the latter more reservedly so, but he seemed more relaxed.
I'd even seen him start spending more time with Thor, though I didn't know what they were doing. I didn't want to pry, besides, men should be allowed to have personal time with each other to hang out. As much as I was happy that everyone was getting along, and that Loki had finally started to warm up to his brother and their people again, I was a bit lonely because of it, that we weren't spending as much time together. I mean it was ridiculous of me, to feel that way. Loki and I had been forced to spend so much time together, yes it was natural to feel loneliness, but it wasn't like I didn't have other friends on the ship.
It was thoughts like these that caused me to jump when I pricked my finger hard. "Ow!" I pulled my finger away, sticking it in my mouth instinctively.
"You've been distracted today." Camilla hummed softly, not taking her eyes off her work.
How intuitive was this girl?
"I mean I usually am." I said, glaring at the pricked finger, as if had personally chosen to be stuck by my needle.
"Yes but more so than usual." She said, working on hemming a pair of pants.
I'd ended up hanging out in Kayin's studio, Loki working privately with a few of the kids who had become really good at magic. I'd begun spending more time with Kayin, Camilla and the other ladies in the studio.
"Is the prince busy today?" Camilla asked.
"Well I've seen you two together pretty often." She continued hemming. "I just thought it a bit weird you were spending more time here."
"Loki's been doing some other stuff recently." I shrugged, putting my scrap fabric aside. "Besides we don't spend that much time together, mostly just when we're training."
"If you say so." Camilla nodded, glancing at me. I didn't miss the amusement in her eyes, but I also refused to acknowledge it, returning to my work.
I mostly just picked at the fabric, more bored now than before. I preferred to just sit there and let the sounds of everyone moving around, and the rustling of fabrics lull me into a calm state.
I was calm and happy until the voices around me heightened and everyone suddenly seemed to become stiffer. I opened my eyes to see what had caused the change in atmosphere.
Loki had walked into the room.
I mean I understood why everyone shut up. He never came to this room, let alone willingly came around where the other refugees could easily be near him.
They seemed less upset to see him and just more nervous that their prince was suddenly in their midst. Most of the older women dipped into low curtsies, most of the younger ones following suit, though I noticed a few tilt their heads to look at him under their eyelashes.
Oh goodness gracious. I rolled my eyes, not even standing to curtsy. I just crossed my arms over my chest and my leg over my other in the manner of a guy. I saw a few of the women give me looks, but I just sat there. Kayin had also paused in his work, though he more just kept his head bowed respectfully.
Loki zeroed in on me, walking straight to the couch I sat on. He barely acknowledged the other women other than polite nods in return to their curtsies.
"Can I help you, your Highness?" I asked, my voice the picture of professional.
"I need you for a bit." was his only answer.
I could hear a few women mutter something, but I ignored it. "I suppose I can spare time out of my busy schedule." I glanced at Camilla. "Can we fit this between my four o'clock attempts at sewing, and my five o'clock staring into space?"
Her head lifted a little, a smile on her face. "Yes I think we can fit it in."
Loki looked like he was trying desperately not to roll his eyes, though I was sure I saw a curl in his face, like a smile.
"Well then, I suppose I'll be off." handing my cloth to Camilla, I rose to my feet, brushing past the prince and walking out.
He followed me a minute later, the almost frenzied voices of the women the last thing we both heard as the door shut behind us.
I was vaguely aware of Loki taking hold of my upper arm and leading me down the halls until we were in the alcove from a while back, with the large round window.
"What did you need?" I asked as I took a seat on the ledge of the window.
Loki sat across from me, stretching legs out next to mine. "Nothing, I just needed to get away from the council."
"Aww you missed me." I grinned.
"No, I just got sick and tired of being around a bunch of old men who glare at me every chance they get." Loki huffed, crossing his arms.
"So what I'm hearing is, ya missed me." I smirked.
His response to was to raise his hand and give me the finger, before looking out the window. We were quiet for a few minutes, enjoying the company.
"So, how's spending more time with Thor?" I asked.
"I'm trying to help him, be an adviser. He's told me that he appreciates my input, but the council would rather tell Thor what to do than let him think for himself, or even let me offer my opinion up."
"The council is just a bunch of old men." I said. "Your brother cares about your opinion, and I think that's what matters."
"Stop making sense all the time." Loki said. "I might actually begin to think there's a brain inside that head."
"Someone's in a mood." I laughed.
"Those women looked ready to tear you apart." He said suddenly.
"What?" I was caught off guard by the sudden change in topic.
"At least the younger ones did." He mused. "The older women just looked disapproving that you didn't curtsy to me, like a proper gentlewoman would."
"Do I look proper to you? "I gestured to...well all of me. "Or like a gentlewoman?"
"Perhaps if you took the time." He said. "In between your attempts at sewing and your staring into space, of course." I could hear the amusement in his voice.
"Y'know you're a funny guy when you're not trying to murder me."
"And sexy." he winked.
"Hah, think again." I rolled my eyes at him.
"The girls seemed to think so." He smirked at me. "They seemed quite upset when I ignored them."
"Then maybe you should show them some affection."
"They're only interested in me because I'm the prince."
"I mean that's definitely a factor, but if you think about it...you're a prince with no money and technically no kingdom." I shrugged.
"Never try to cheer people up."
"Hey I'm just saying!" I raised my hands in defense. "They're attracted to something, so it must have to do with that face of yours."
"I am irresistibly handsome." Loki grinned. "Aren't I?"
I flushed red. "Haven't noticed."
He winked at me. "Of course."
I flushed more. "Screw you, Loki."
"When and where?" He growled.
I almost choked. When did this turn into...whatever the hell this was?!
"Okay, I think you need to get some aggression out or something." I muttered, looking away from him and out the window.
"I'm joking." Loki said. "I make jokes it's what I do."
I kicked him. "Well...be...better next time!"
"Wow, what a good insult." He drawled.
I just frowned and looked out the window at the stars passing by. Loki amused himself by conjuring a small piece of paper and magically folding it into different animals. Like magical origami. I tried copying his hand motions in my lap, wanting to see if I could conjure anything.
"Be patient." Loki murmured softly, glancing at me.
"I know, I know."
He leaned forward and folded his hands over mine. "Try doing the motions with me."
We did that, his hands covering mine. Nothing happened at first, but slowly the piece of paper began to take a shape.
"Imagine something." He murmured.
I closed my eyes and thought of a dragonfly. I felt the tingling in my fingertips and cracked my eyes open just enough to see the paper folding itself into a dragonfly.
"There..." Loki whispered, slowly moving his hands from mine.
I almost laughed out loud when the paper kept its shape without him, though I could feel the tingling running out. After a moment the feeling stopped, and the paper unfolded, dropping into my lap.
"Better than last time." Loki said, lifting the paper from my lap and making it disappear. He moved his hands and conjured a ball of light. "Try catching this." He tossed it to my waiting hands, only for it to evaporate on impact.
"Shoot." I muttered.
"Try pushing the magic into your hands again, just enough to latch onto the light when it reaches you." He conjured more, waiting until I was sure I could get that feeling.
He tossed it to me, and I caught it this time, jumping at the slightly tickling feeling of the light.
"Good job, toss it back." Loki encouraged. I gave a little toss, watching the ball float back to Loki, who caught it effortlessly. We did it a few more times, until I tried to catch it and the light went out.
"Oh..." I frowned, trying to reach inside and pull at the magic. I felt...weaker there, more than before.
"You might have tired your reserve out." Loki said. "Magic can only work for so long. Like most things, you need to be well rested for it to work properly."
"Can we try more tomorrow?" I asked.
"As the lady commands." he said after a moment. He quirked his lip up into a faint smile, his eyes dancing. I felt warm and happy, not really sure why though. I brushed it off as aftereffects of the magic I did.
Loki gracefully slid off the ledge, holding a hand out to me to help me down. I hesitated, not because it was him, but mostly just because I wasn't really used to a guy treating me like a lady. At least not in the sense that guys often offered me their hand to help me down. Like I'd told Loki before; I wasn't exactly the most feminine of people.
I took his hand and allowed him to help me to the floor, even if I didn't actually need it. I offered up a faint smile, letting my hand rest in his just a bit longer before releasing it and walking down the hall. I frowned at the jump in my chest when he brushed up next to me, his long legs allowing him to easily catch my longer strides. I chalked the feeling up to just being hormones, natural reactions to being near an attractive man.
I mentally rolled my eyes, walking silently at Loki's side, wondering when things had become the way they were.
Alrighty there's that then.
I hope you all enjoyed, I know I did. Also let me know if you guys noticed the Aladdin reference I slipped in there.
Melkorkams25, ahhhhh I hope this is good! I promise I'm not quitting on this story, I just won't be updating as often now! I hope you enjoyed this chapter though, and hope you'll keep reading.
Thanks to all my faves and followers, you guys are awesome!
Until next time!