Emily sighed as she put away her phone and looked up to see Loki stretching, preparing to spar with Steve. "They're on the way down. I wonder what's taken them so long?"
"Knowing those two, they probably got distracted by almost making out or something." Loki chuckled.
"Almost?" Emily laughed. "Why almost?"
"They always seem to stop right when they are getting somewhere." Loki shrugged. It's the curse of my above average hearing.
Emily raised an eyebrow at Loki. "Have you been listening to them?"
"Not listening in that sense. When they are on the couch and we are in the bedroom, I can hear them. I do my best to ignore them, but the walls are thin." Loki explained.
"I never thought they were all that thin," Emily pondered aloud. "Although you have enhanced hearing."
"They are thin for my hearing. When it's quiet, I can hear as far as the next apartment at times." Loki told Emily.
Emily blinked. "I didn't know anyone was staying next door," she commented.
"No one is officially staying there. Several different employees use it for discreet meet ups in the middle of the night." Loki explained.
"Meet-ups? Like one-night stands?" Emily asked.
"More like regular flings, but yes." Loki nodded. He looked over at the door just before Mary and Steve walked in.
"I might want to talk to Tony about that," Emily murmured as she looked over at Steve and Mary, quickly noting that Mary looked like she was glowing and that her bun was a bit haphazard on her head. Oh shit! She grinned wide, instantly knowing what had happened. "Well, you two are a bit late."
"They aren't hurting anything." Loki shrugged.
Mary blushed. "Sorry about that. We ended up a bit... distracted."
"I'd say," Emily said cheekily. "You can come sit by me while they spar."
Mary nodded and followed Emily while Steve and Loki went to pick out the training weapons they would spar with.
Emily bumped Mary's shoulder once they sat down. "Your hair is a little messed up their, sis," she murmured.
Mary blushed deep red. "It was a messy bun."
"I would believe that if you weren't the color of a strawberry right now," Emily countered.
"Things may have happened." Mary said softly. "We didn't plan for it to happen, it just did."
"Might have happened? Mary did you... did you have sex with Steve?" She whispered.
Mary blushed a deeper shade of red. "Yes... I know it's early in the relationship, but..." She trailed off, not really having an explanation she could put into words. "I love him, and he loves me."
Emily wrapped her arm around Mary and pulled her into a side hug. "Everyone goes at their own pace. There's no right or wrong. I'm happy for you both."
Mary smiled, happy that Emily didn't think badly of her. "I was shocked when he told me he loves me, but I couldn't be happier." She said, leaning into the hug.
"How could he not love you. You're one of the best people I know," Emily praised.
"Thank you, sis, that's sweet of you." Mary grinned. She looked up when Loki and Steve walked back in, each carrying a staff as their weapon for the match.
Emily smirked. "This looks like it will be interesting."
"Yes, it will be." Mary grinned. So will the shower after.
Steve squared up to Loki and got in a fighting stance. "Are you ready?" He asked.
Loki smirked and stood perfectly relaxed. "Ready when you are." He taunted.
Steve nodded before he began circling Loki, knowing that Loki would circle him in return. It took a few minutes until he found an opening and rushed forward with a side swipe.
Loki barely dodged the swipe, but swung around in an attempt to hit Steve in the back.
"You're quick, but I almost hit you." Steve countered and was able to hold up his staff just in time so Loki hit it instead of him.
"Almost isn't good enough." Loki chuckled. He took a step back and swung again, but this time at Steve's knees.
Steve's eyes widened as Loki was able to get one of his legs before he could jump out of the way. "Okay, but what if I move here?" He countered and swung towards Loki's ribs.
Loki tried to sidestep the hit but was hit with enough force to make him stumble leaving him vulnerable for a second, causing Steve to swing his staff around and tap the other side of his ribs.
Emily looked on with a furrowed brow. "Loki still isn't at full recovery," she commented.
Loki quickly recovered from the stumble and found an opening that let him swing around and tap Steve's arm. "Do you want me to do an exam later?" Mary asked Emily, never once taking her eyes off the match.
"You might have to, just to be safe," Emily answered as she watched Steve shake his arm from the sting then swing again.
Loki tried to step back but when the staff connected with his side pain shot down into his leg, buckling it under him. He fell to his knees, holding his side.
"Loki!" Emily scrambled to stand then ran to his side. "What hurts? Honey, talk to me."
Meanwhile Steve looked down in alarm. "I... I didn't mean to hurt him; I wasn't using all of my strength."
Mary hurried over right behind Emily. "It's alright, it wasn't you. It's just an old wound." Loki assured Steve. "I'm fine." Loki assured Emily. "Maybe we should just take a little break."
"Mary, can you check out his side please?" Emily asked as she helped Loki sit down. "You're not fine Loki, let Mary look."
Loki nodded and moved his hand from his side. Mary gently lifted his shirt and examined the scar that ran across his side. "The outer wound is completely healed." She told them. "I will need to do a scan to check the muscles and nerves, but I suspect they might just be weak still."
Emily nodded. "When do you want to do that?" She asked.
"I'm sorry Loki, really," Steve added.
Loki looked up at Steve. "It's not your fault." He said sincerely.
"I don't think we should wait. I can have everything ready in around forty-five minutes." Mary told Emily.
"Go ahead to the clinic. If Banner is here, he'll help you," Emily replied.
"It's not so much needing help. It just takes the machines time to warm up and get ready." Mary explained. She looked down and realized she didn't have her med bag for the first time. "I will go get him some ibuprofen to help with the pain."
"We'll meet you in the clinic, go ahead and go," Emily assured while Steve crouched down and helped Loki stand.
Mary nodded and quickly left the training room. "I haven't had any problems with my leg in a while. I had almost forgotten it had been hurt." Loki sighed, standing with Steve's help.
"It's okay Loki. You're mostly healed but there's probably weakness and partially healed muscle still," Emily explained.
Loki tried to take a step forward and found that his leg was sore and shaky, but that it would support his weight again. "This is extremely annoying."
"I know," Emily soothed. "You might need to do some exercises and work out your leg to get it stronger again."
"I wouldn't mind helping with that," Steve added.
"I'm open to anything so long as I don't need to run." Loki chuckled. He let Steve give him a bit of support as they walked.
Steve laughed. "It would probably be weight machines at first, honestly."
"That doesn't sound so bad." Loki agreed.
"It wouldn't be," Steve assured. "You'd be sore but that's normal." They left the training arena as quickly as they could and got on the elevator.
Loki leaned against the wall of the elevator. "I hate being sore. I thought it was over when my leg felt better." He didn't even try to push the button for the first time.
"You'll get there Loki, I promise. I know I've said that a lot but it's true," Emily said softly.
"I know I will. I got through it last time because of you." Loki said with a little smile.
Steve smirked and watched as Loki bent down to give Emily a kiss. "Get a room you two," he said playfully.
"You're one to talk." Loki teased Steve.
"Oh am I?" Steve chuckled, though a blush filled his cheeks.
"You forget that my hearing is better than yours. I could hear Emily and Mary talking before the match started." Loki grinned. He pushed himself off the wall of the elevator when it stopped.
Steve's cheeks turned impossibly red as he coughed and rubbed the back of his neck. "I really don't know how to answer that."
Loki reached out and gave Steve a congratulatory smack on the upper back. "It's nothing to be ashamed of." He chuckled, then his expression turned serious. "Mary helped save my life and as such, she means a lot to me. You better treat her well." He warned.
"I will Loki. I know you are close to her; I promise I will do right by her."
"Thank you. She is like a sister to me now." Loki admitted.
Steve smiled as the elevator dinged. "I'm happy for the both of you."
Loki stepped out of the elevator, relieved to feel his leg not shaking so much now. "I think the pain is going away." "
"I still want you to get checked out," Emily said. "You're not getting out of that."
"I'm not trying to get out of it. As much as I hate it, I want to get checked out. That was just a sparring match. Imagine if it was a real fight. I wouldn't stand a chance and that's not a position I can afford to be in." Loki sighed.
Emily rubbed Loki's back as they walked into the clinic. "We'll figure it out."
Mary walked out to greet them. "Alright, I have scrubs laid out on the chair, you'll need to change into those." She told Loki.
Loki looked over and grimaced at the color. "They are pink..."
"Sorry, it's all I could find that will fit you. It's just for the test though." Mary said apologetically.
"You won't be wearing them long Loki. I'll order gray in the future," Emily told him.
Loki muttered to himself and shimmered the clothes on. "We will never speak of this again." He told them, hating the look of the bright pink scrubs.
Emily pulled her lips in to hide her smile. "It's okay Loki."
"I see that look." Loki muttered.
"Come on, let's get this done so you can change." Mary said, trying her best to not chuckle. She waited patiently while Loki stole a quick kiss from Emily, then she led him through the other door to run the scans.
Emily sighed and sat in a nearby chair to wait. "I hope he's okay."
"He is," Steve assured her.
It took almost an hour for the scans to be completed, but Mary finally came out. "Steve? Can you come help Loki walk out? Laying there so long made his leg tense up."
"Of course." Steve got up from the chair and walked into the other room to help him.
"Is he okay?" Emily asked.
"He's fine. He just had to lay very still so his leg is a little stiff." Mary explained. "Once he's up and changed, we can all go look at the images and see what's going on."
Emily smiled when Steve and Loki came around the corner. "How are you?" She asked.
"Sore, but otherwise fine." Loki answered. He shimmered back into his original clothing.
"We are going to go into the office right over there." Mary said, pointing to the other side of the room.
Steve helped Loki walk across the room and into the office so he could sit on the couch that was against the wall. Emily followed behind and quickly sat beside him. "Mary, what's the damage?"
"I will tell you in just a minute." Mary said. She sat at the desk and pulled the images up on the monitor. She looked at them for several minutes before saying anything. "Everything is healed, but there is some scar tissue where the muscles rejoined. That is not something we can really fix. Other than that, this nerve is very loose." She said, pointing it out on the screen.
"A loose nerve would cause a lot of pain," Emily stated. "Will he need surgery to fix it?"
"I don't think so. I want to try some strengthening exercises first. It takes time to build up nerves like this and surgery would only prolong recovery." Mary explained.
Emily nodded as she internally made notes. "If it doesn't get better with physical therapy, the only thing that would be able to fix it would be a surgery to fix the nerve into place."
"Correct, but let's not get ahead of ourselves." Mary told Emily. "It will take a few months of consistent exercises to know if it's going to help."
"Well Steve, I'll leave that between you and Mary to make a program for Loki. We can start it when we get back from New Years in Cancun," Emily said.
"We will put it together over the next few days. In the meantime, don't baby the leg. Walking through the soreness will help. Ibuprofen is fine for the pain though." Mary told them.
Emily gently patted Loki's knee. "I won't let him. I promise."
"The current soreness will go away in a day or two. The nerve is just strained." Mary added.
"I know the feeling," Emily commented as she automatically reached to rub her right elbow. "I still have issues with one of mine."
"Do you want me to take a look?" Mary asked Emily.
Emily shrugged. "You can if you want. The nerve has been subluxed for a long time."
"Has it been treated before?" Mary asked.
"I wear a brace sometimes. But that's it," Emily answered.
"Would you be willing to let me access your records?" Mary requested.
Emily nodded. "Feel free. You know where I normally go to the doctor when I need to."
Mary typed a few things into the computer then printed a sheet. "I'll need you to sign a release." She said as she handed the paper to Emily.
"Sure." Emily leaned over and grabbed a pen to sign the release form. "There you go."
Mary took the form and quickly scanned it. "I can send it off from my phone now. I want to see what it was like in the beginning, so I can compare it to now."
"Thanks Mar." Emily leaned against Loki and watched as Mary looked through files on her computer.
"We are done for now. It will take a day or two for them to send your records over." Mary told Emily.
"Okay. Steve, will you help me get Loki back up to the apartment?" Emily asked.
"Of course." Steve answered, staying close in case Loki needed help.
Emily turned and helped Loki to stand. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine and I want to try to do it myself." Loki said truthfully, wanting to prove he could walk on his own.
"Okay. We're right here if you need us," Emily said with a nod.
"Thank you." Loki told them sincerely. He walked a little slower than normal but was able to walk down the hall and to the elevator without help.
Emily smiled as she pressed the button. "You're doing great Loki."
"I was supposed to press the button." Loki mumbled. When the door opened, he stepped into the elevator and leaned against the wall.
"You don't have to get it every time hon," Emily commented as she and Steve followed him into the elevator.
"I like pushing the buttons." Loki muttered, deciding to pout.
"Do you want to push the button to our floor?" Emily asked.
"Yes." Loki said, then quickly reached out and pressed the button before anyone else could.
Emily smiled. "Don't be so disappointed Loki. You'll get better."
"I just like to push them. I have from the very first time." Loki admitted.
"I know you do."
Loki pushed himself off of the wall when the elevator stopped. "I'm looking forward to being back in the apartment." He admitted, still walking stiffly.
"I can fix a light lunch when we get back if anyone's interested," Emily suggested.
"I am." Loki said before anyone else could answer.