Finna waited patiently by Loki’s bedroom door, knowing that he, Thor, Sif, Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun would be returning shortly. They had gone to fight off a group of raiders, and she was supposed to help Loki get ready for their welcoming feast tonight. Their return was scheduled for two hours ago, yet they still were not back. She wanted to sneak off to curl up and read a book somewhere, but Eir had scolded her harshly the last time she’d done that. Finna just had a strong passion for reading and writing—she loved escaping in fantasy worlds. Romance was her favorite; perhaps that was because she longed to be in the place of the heroines she read so often about that always found love in the most unlikely of places.
Just as she began to pull out her small, leather-bound notebook, she heard the familiar sound of clanking armor come from around the corridor. She sighed and folded her hands neatly in front of her, just as a lady-in-waiting should. A small smile tugged at her pink lips as she saw Loki coming down the corridor. Growing up, they’d been close, but as the two of them got older, their places in the Asgardian social hiearchy became clearer, and they grew distant. Of course, he’d acknowledge her presence with the occasional small nod and smile, but they didn’t talk and laugh together like they used to. Finna missed that, she missed her friend.
The smile on Finna’s face disappeared when she got a closer look at Loki and saw how badly he was bruised and scratched. Normally, he’d say hello to her, but he was silent and nearly emotionless. She opened the door for him, and she followed him inside.
"You can go now," he said curtly as he began to remove his armor. Finna approached him, saying nothing, and began to help him remove his armor. She wanted to say something, but she knew that anything that would escape her lips would sound foolish. It was hard for Finna to talk to people nowadays, especially Loki. There was something about him that just made her analytical mind go completely blank. "I don’t need your help."
Finna looked up at him with a soft, kind face and chestnut brown eyes. “Y-you’re hurt, Prince Loki,” she said quietly. “It’s my duty to help you.”
”And is it not your duty to also do as I say?” he snapped, his emerald green eyes nearly boring holes into Finna’s skull. Finna looked down.
”I-I suppose…” she replied. “At least let me stitch you up.” ”I said that I do not require your assistance.” ”P-p-please, Prince Loki,” she said softly as she pulled out a needle and thread, “let me help.”
Blood was quickly staining through his green tunic, yet he still denied her help. Loki shoved Finna away, causing her to stumble backwards onto his desk, where his dagger lay. Finna cried out in pain as the blade sunk into her skin, wrapping her hand around the skirt of her dress to keep pressure on the wound.
”Finna…” Loki began to say.
Finna bit her lip and held her head down to stall the tears that were threatening to spill. She was hurt, more emotionally than physically. “I-I-I’m sorry, Prince Loki,” she apologized before dashing out of his room. She picked up speed when she heard his footsteps behind her. Tears streaming down her face, she ran around the corner and exited the palace through the servants’ quarters, disappearing into the cool, summer night.
Although his wounds were causing him great discomfort, Loki ran after Finna, determined to find the girl. He had wanted to explain things to her, but he remebered that they weren’t children anymore and that he could not allow himself to develop romantic feelings for a maidservant. Of course, those were the words of Odin, and after Jotünheim, he couldn’t bear to meet the man’s eyes. Everything that he had known, everything that he was told, it was a lie. He could worry about his family issues later, though. Now, he was focused on finding Finna, and he could less if Odin thought that things were too personal between them.
The gash on his chest was bleeding even more profusely, but he paid it no attention. The only thing on his mind was the black-haired, brown-eyed beauty. He had to find her; he’d spend all night looking for her if that’s what it took. As he stopped to catch his breath, he heard a soft, sorrowful sound coming from the courtyard. His eyes, already adjusted to the darkness, made out a petite figure sitting on one of the benches, their back falling and rising to indicate that they were sobbing.
"Finna," Loki muttered. He slowly made his way over to her in an attempt to not startle her. She was a shy, fragile thing, though when they were children, she had been more fearless than Thor. He wondered what had caused the sudden change, what made the girl suddenly stop smiling, what ceased the funny jokes she had once shared with him. The more he thought about it, the more he felt responsible. "Finna," Loki repeated, only louder this time.
Finna’s head whipped up at the sound of Loki’s voice. Heart pounding, she jumped off the bench and began to run in the other direction. She didn’t want for him to see her cry—it was improper. She already knew she was going to be in trouble for allowing Loki to chase after her when he was still wounded; she dreaded facing Eir, the head maidservant, for she knew that Eir would not hold back criticism of any sort, and she also knew that Eir sometimes expressed her disappointment in…physical ways.
Finna continued to run but was stopped when she ran right into something, causing her to fall straight on the ground. She broke the sudden fall with her hands, but this only caused her injured one to hurt even more.
"Are you alright?"
Finna’s breath caught in her throat as she looked up to see Loki bending down towards her, his hand outstretched. She did not speak, and the only sound that could be heard was that of the soft rush of water coming from the fountain. The green eyes that Finna had grown to love locked with hers, but she couldn’t bear the painful thoughts of her childhood that they brought back; she darted her eyes elsewhere, pretending to be interested in something on the ground.
"You should go inside, Prince Loki," she muttered as she picked at a frayed thread on her dress. "The homecoming feast—"
Loki cut her off by putting a finger to her lips. At the feel of his soft touch, Finna nearly melted. “The feast can wait,” he said. He picked up Finna’s injured hand with great care, studying it thoughtfully. Finna wanted to run back inside, but for some reason, she could not will her legs to move—perhaps it was that they were tired of running. “I am so sorry, Finna…”
"D-don’t apologize…it’s my fault that I fell on that dagger. I’m just clumsy," she replied. She noticed that the bloodstain on his shirt was gradually increasing in size. "That needs to be stitched up."
"I’m just worried about you. What is wrong with me worrying about my Fin?" he asked, a smile playing on his lips. Finna’s head whipped up when she heard him utter her childhood petname. She slowly began to smile but stopped herself. Loki cocked his head a little. "What happened to your smile, Fin? What happened to your laugh? Where did my Fin go?"
Finna got up and gave Loki a sharp glare. Trying to get up with one hand had hurt, but she ignored the pain. “She grew up!” she exclaimed. She knew that Eir was going to give her a good scolding after this; the anger she had been holding back for so long just came pouring out of her mouth in the form of strong words and out of her eyes in the form of bitter tears. “We all had to grow up, Loki, and we all have our places in society. You are a prince…fall in love with a princess, or with a warrioress. I am nobody, I am just vacant space.”
Loki took Finna’s caramel-colored face between his cold hands. She tried to dash away, but he only pulled her close to him. After a minute of glaring at him stubbornly, Finna could not hold it back any longer—she sobbed against Loki’s chest and clutched onto him tightly, feeling small, yet safe, in his arms. Loki buried his face in her soft, sweet-smelling curls as he softly apologized over and over again.
Once Finna’s sobbing had come to an end, Loki lifted up her chin with his forefinger and wiped away her tears. ”I don’t care what anyone says, but I love you, Finna. Ever since we were children with wild dreams, I’ve loved you. But, becoming adults took a toll on our friendship, yes?” he asked as he gave her non-injured hand a small squeeze. Finna nodded, a small smile slowly making its way on her face. “Then, for just tonight, let’s be children again.”
"Can I at least stitch you up?" she asked a quiet voice.
Loki looked down at his wound. He’d been paying the pain no mind all this time…He nodded and sat down on a bench to let Finna close the gash. Finna knelt down in front of him and carefully rolled up his shirt so that she could see the wound. The sight of blood didn’t make her queasy or light-headed, unlike many of the other maidservants she worked with on a daily basis. She looped the thread through the needle and began to stitch up Loki’s gash, her hand moving slowly.
As she closed the gash, she hummed a soft tune; it was very familiar to Loki, so familiar, that as he heard the tune, vivid memories of his childhood came flooding back to him. The ones that stood out the most were of him and Finna as they raced each other throughout the forest and talked about their outrageous plans for the future.
Finally, when the snorts and giggles had come to an end, Loki propped himself up on his elbow and stared at Finna, taking in the girl’s beauty underneath the starlit sky. The moon reflected in her beautiful, brown eyes, and it’s rays shone down on her black curls.
"Let me see the ring, Fin," he said, breaking the silence. Finna slipped it off of her finger and handed it to Loki, watching curiously as he clasped his hand around it. She wondered if he was taking back the ring—was he taking back his promise too? "Close your eyes." Finna did as he said, her jaw clenched nervously. She flinched a little when she felt Loki take her hand into his and felt something cold put around her ring finger. "Open."
Once more, Finna did as Loki said. She immeadiately looked down at her hand to see that the flower ring had been replaced by an actual ring, the gem the same colors as the flower. It glittered in the moonlight, and Loki’s promise only rung louder in her ears, like large bells playing a song of promise and hope.
"Loki…" she said barely above a whisper. "I…this is so beautiful." She began to twist it around her finger nervously. "B-but, what if Eir or Lady Frigga finds out? What will your father say about this?"
"I couldn’t care less. I’m just glad I have my Fin back," he said with a soft chuckle. He pulled her close to him and slowly brought his lips up to hers. Finna’s heart pounded against her ribcage as the kiss became more passionate and Loki gently ran his fingers through her hair. Nothing had ever felt more right, nothing had ever felt more perfect until now.
And now would be forever.