I wrote this in 2017-2018 as a first draft of what was meant to be a four-chaptered fic. Since this project will likely never be completed, I decided to publish this first version, only making a few alterations and corrections. I hope you enjoy!

Wense

I didn't sleep the night before.

Nor the one before that.

I was too busy intensely looking at the sky, contemplating the stars in search of a sign of his presence. The thought that he, perhaps, looked at those same stars was somewhat alleviating. The night, although warm, offered a break from the day's scorching heat, rather uncommon for a month of June. The hopeful butterflies in my stomach helped to soothe the heavy lead-like sensation of dread and misery that had filled me since he left. He never said where he had to go, nor why was his departure imperative. But I believed him. "Portals naturally connecting this world to others only open on days of equinox and solstice" he had said. Today would be such a day and I had to trust him.

Everything had begun nine months ago. It was October and I was a college student working as a barista at a local coffee shop to make ends meet. One morning, he had entered. A new face in the small dull town where I had lived for most of my life. He was wearing a long and very classy dark coat, unbuttoned despite the cold weather, exposing the dark suit he wore underneath. Around his neck hung a green silk scarf, perfectly matching his emerald eyes which held an unreadable expression. His skin was pale, as if he rarely got to experience the sun's warmth, and his shoulder-length black hair looked as if the wind had blown through it, a sight that would eventually make me hitch to run my fingers through his locks. I felt my breath catch in my throat as he made his way to the counter with the grace of a panther, capturing my eyes into his bottomless ones.

Days turned into weeks where he would come regularly, always sitting at the same remote table by the window. Food and drinks were rarely ordered, but I turned a blind eye to it. He would often appear deep in thought, his gaze turned to the plain landscape the outside had to offer. When he thought no one was paying attention to him, especially when he first arrived, I would sometimes catch him staring at the void, his face expressionless, a certain anguish apparent in his eyes. Not the type to enjoy small talk, he seemed to appreciate my quiet presence and started to grace me with his voice more and more often. He had proved most eloquent and quite charming, at times almost flirtatious, with a hint of mischief. When the shop was empty, we would discuss at greater length, exchanging ideas on various subjects. We would get to know each other without specifically asking about each other. Despite his gorgeousness, it was those moments where I would catch a glimpse of his personality that would make him truly fascinating to me.

One evening, the 20th of December, he asked me to accompany him for a stroll after my shift. As we walked side by side, he took my hand in his and stuffed them in the pocket of his coat, protecting them from the bite of the cold wind. I felt him gently brush his thumb over my knuckles in a comforting manner. Such gestures were something he had seldomly indulged in since we met. He then lowered his gaze to the ground and he started to tell me his story, providing answers to all of my unstated questions.

I watched him intently as he spoke. Small snowflakes landed on his dark mane, creating a beautiful contrast brought to my eyes by the dim light of the lampposts. It was one of those rare times, where he showed his emotions to me. His eyes were broken, angry and yet, filled with some sort of longing I couldn't quite place. At this moment, he was not the intimidating man I had met weeks ago, but a betrayed child who was hesitantly reaching for my hand while watching my every movement with distrust, as if afraid to suffer again. Before realizing what I was doing, I gently touched his jaw, his skin surprisingly warm for a "frost giant" as he had called himself. I couldn't help but brush my thumb across his lower lip.

He closed his eyes and covered my hand with his, wrapping his long, slender fingers around it and exerting a soft pressure on mine before exhaling slowly, as if to regain his composure.

"Please, say something."

I took one step closer to him; our bodies only separated by mere centimeters and finally voiced the thought that had kept my mind hostage for the past few weeks.

"I love you", I said softly, carefully observing his reaction.

His eyes snapped open and bore into mine with such intensity and determination I felt as if he was staring directly at my soul. I felt him surge in my mind, a foreign presence skimming through my current thoughts. And I let him. I was willing to give him anything. I wanted him to trust me. I wanted him. I loved him. All these thoughts invaded my mind as he searched for any form of lies in my eyes. When he found none, his glare was replaced by something close to astonishment before firmly placing his hand at the base of my neck and crashing our lips together. Everything seemed to shut down in my mind. It felt as if he had taken me to another dimension, outside of time and space, where I could only be overwhelmed be the sensations he brought me. His fingers gripped my hair, not to hurt me as much as to make sure I wouldn't vanish, the weight of his other hand against my waist, and his incredibly soft lips firmly pressed against mine. I could only wrap my arms around his neck, gently touching the hair at the nape of his neck, partly afraid he was an illusion that would vanish at any moment, and responding to his kiss like I had dreamed of it since the day I first met him.

That night, he took me to his apartment, a small dark studio in an old building where heaters didn't seem to work properly. He spent most of the night making passionate love to me and I made sure to return every gesture with just as much intensity. As I saw the hours pass, I knew he was going to leave soon; that the moment the first rays of the sun went through the blinds, he would be gone. Each time the horrifying truth came to my mind, I felt tears blur my vision and I occasionally left out a distressed sob. I was so afraid I would never see him again; that I was just a distraction and that he would move to another. Every time, Loki would wrap me tightly in his arms, kiss away my tears and whisper sweet words in my ear. He would tell me he loved me, that I was beautiful, and would promise me to come back at the summer solstice. He would then place open-mouthed kisses on my neck, leaving an occasional gentle bite to mark me as his and I would in turn show him the extent of my devotion, making his eyes shut tightly, his head slightly thrown back and his hands fisting the sheets. We ended up panting, our limbs tangled with each other. Exhaustion ultimately drove me to sleep, despite my attempts to fight it. When I woke up, my lover was gone. A note lay where he had been a few hours ago.

My beautiful Midgardian,

I had to leave, no matter how much I wished to stay in your arms forever. Please, don't cry, I'm not worthy of your tears, darling. Know that I shall return to you on the 21th June. Wait for me in the field near the abandoned barn where the ravens gather. I will send you a sign a few hours before my arrival.

I love you,

Loki

I would be lying if I said I didn't cry myself to sleep many times during his absence. I found myself craving his touch, his voice, his warmth, his presence. As soon as I closed my eyes, all I could see was his beautiful emerald ones. This treasured memory had helped me get through the most difficult nights. In a few hours, I would soon be able to admire him in the flesh for the first time in six months.

As sunrise drowned out the stars, I went back into my apartment and I prepared a small bag with the few possessions I wanted to keep. For some reason, I had a feeling that if he did come back, we wouldn't stay here for long. I waited several agonizing hours, all my senses alert, waiting for a sign I hoped I would recognize. As the afternoon progressed, I felt increasingly gnawed by anxiety. What if he wasn't coming back? I felt faint, almost sick as the unwelcome thought grew in my mind.

Suddenly, a sharp scratchy knock was heard on the window. As I abruptly turned my head towards it, I found a raven staring at me. Those birds didn't usually come to this part of town, preferring the fields. It cawed at me before flying away. Then, I noticed a single, beautiful red rose lying on the windowsill. My favorite flower.

My heart positively leapt in my chest, as a was overcome with relief. He was coming back. Lightheaded, my heart thumping in my ears, I quickly opened the window and gently brushed my fingertips against the petals, unsure if this gift was an illusion. When it didn't fade away, I gripped the rose tightly between my hands, holding it close to my heart. He had kept his promise! My soul sang with unparalleled euphoria as tears of joy ran down my cheeks. After a few blissful minutes, I became faintly aware of a pain in my hands. The rose's thorns had dug into the flesh of my palms, shedding droplets of blood, but I couldn't bring myself to care.

I grabbed my bag and rushed out, not even bothering to lock the door. I had waited long enough and was ready to leave everything behind.

I drove my vintage blue bicycle like hell was on my heels, forcing my legs to go faster, to get me on top of the hill as fast as possible. Clouds of darkness presented themselves to my vision, covering the horizon of this evening of the Summer solstice. The weather indicated to every Midgardian (as he called them) that a glorious storm was nearing. The usually very passing road was desert. Everyone seemed to be either at home or in one of the small restaurants that bordered every side of the street. The buildings were small enough to give the road sides a slight allure of desert plain, the grass burned by the sun. The industrial park was as calm as it could be and the few small trees on the sides couldn't hide the majesty of the dark clouded sky. I suddenly heard a low rumble from the distance and the ground began to tremble softly. I grinned and pushed at the pedals with renewed enthusiasm, eager to reach my destination. In a few minutes, I would be there. The soil grumbled and shook more and more as I got closer, compromising my balance.

Finally, I reached the field near the old barn he had mentioned in his letter. A slightly manic smile stretched my lips as I stopped, elated to see some kind of vortex start to from. Abandoning my bike, I rushed to the middle of the field where the portal opened.

Through it, I saw the shade of my beloved, a scepter in his hand.

He had always known how to make an entrance.