just-before-the-light-fades-completely

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CHILD!LOKI X CHILD!OC - LITTLE ONE

The little girl looked from the window of her chariot. Her tiny hand pressed against the glass as she watched the world trot by her. Asgard was truly beautiful. She wished she was able to go out more. She tapped her fingers, almost as if she could touch the rays of slowly fading light. She was to have a play date with the princes and then attend the ball which was being held in honour of the eldest. She had never met them before, and just prayed they were nothing like her sister. 

“What are you doing?”

Speak of the devil. 

The small child turned her head slowly, meeting a pare of bland green eyes. The older sister glared, grabbing her hand from the window and forcing her to turn her body completely. Pushing her hood forcibly up, her father awoke. He scowled, looking at his youngest daughter, knowing she was to blame. 

“Keep your hood up and your mouth shut. You are not to show your face until we are in the palace, are we clear?” He snapped, dull green eyes creating a harsh atmosphere. 

“Yes, father” the little one nodded her head, bright blue eyes emotionless and hidden by her large black cloak. 

“What did I say about speaking?” He bellowed, raising his hand. The force of the chariot halting caused him to stop, glaring at the child as if to say they would continue this later. The door was opened and he left, straightening his silver armour chest plate. The oldest daughter was helped from her seat, giving the guard a sickly sweet smile, clearly forced. The youngest did not need help and simply jumped from the chariot, the guard slightly surprised at how she landed with cat like agility. They were led up the many stairs towards the castle gates, walking in a line of importance it seemed. 

The father was first, looking nervous and agitated, then the oldest child, scowling down at her regal looking dress, wishing it was a better colour rather than yellow, the youngest sister last, hood not hiding the view of the beautiful kingdom. Soon they were inside the throne room, kneeling at the Allfather, Odin. 

“You may rise” his bored voice bellowed around the room, his wife, Frigga, not flinching by this, used to it completely. 

“It is good to see you old friend” he added quietly, getting off from his throne to embrace the now standing father. 

“Come, we must discuss plans before the ball” Odin led the father away, the father giving one last warning glance to his youngest daughter. His look portrayed his words perfectly. 

Do not mess this up. 

“Aud, dear, I believe Thor is waiting for you in his room. You may run along, if you wish” Frigga smiled, gesturing towards one of the many golden doors. Aud, the oldest sister smiled, curtsying before stepping back towards her young sister. 

“Stay out of my way, you here?” She hissed in her ear, the pleasant smile not leaving her face, before giving her a kick on her small leg before scampering off. Frigga pretended to see none of this, her smile not fading. She waited until the child had left before descending down the steps towards the only guest left in the room. 

“I do not believe we have met before, child” she spoke softly towards the tiny cloaked figure. 

“I am Annette, your majesty” she curtsied, making sure her hood stayed over her. The queen smiled at the child’s manners, noticing how her now injured leg wobbled slightly. 

“There is no need to keep that up, your father is gone now” she whispered, bending down to her height and pushing down the hood. She was met by emotionless grey blue eyes, snow white skin and fading brown hair, that fell around her shoulders. Frigga smiled at the innocent face, knowing she would be beautiful one day. She did not however, ignore the faint bruising on her cheek. 

“There, much better” Frigga cooed, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. “Now, this is your first visit here, yes?"Annette just nodded. 

"Well, I shall leave you to roam where you like unless you are told otherwise” Frigga then stood up. 

“Now off you go, child. I’m sure Thor would like to meet you, and if you see Loki, tell him his mother is looking for him. If you need me, I shall be in the library” Frigga then walked away, leaving Annette alone. 

The little girl let out a sigh, her posture relaxing. She skipped towards a door, her foot steps silent on the golden floors. She would find a nice place to hide until it was time for the ball. She would then help her sister prepare and fein sickness so she would be excused from the dancing and merry making that would take place. She walked down the corridor, staring at her tiny feet. She did like her dainty little shoes, despite them being a hand-me-down of her sisters. So was her plain white dress and cloak. Not looking where she was going, lost in her own world of wonder, she bumped into something solid. She fell down, looking up, blue eyes wide. 

“Oh, I am terribly sorry, milady” the blonde boy apologised, reaching down to clasp her tiny hand. He would be no older than 100 years of age, yet despite this he was very strong, so taking her weight was nothing. 

“No, it is I who is sorry. I was not looking where I was going” she squeaked,bowing her head in embarrassment. The blonde let out a boyish chuckle, letting go of her hand as if afriad he would break it. She looked only of 80 years, her tiny features giving her age away. 

“Are you Annette?” He asked, stepping back to give her space. She nodded her head, sheepishly playing with her feet. No doubt this boy had heard many stories about her from her sister. 

“I do not know what your sister means, you do not seem the least bit tedious” His comment caused her to giggle softly, looking back up at the young boy with thankfulness in her light eyes. 

“Thor!” Barked a rough voice, the mood changing immediately “what are you doing?"Green eyes glared at Annette, her sister storming from the room she’d had appeared from. 

"Just, um, talking to Annette” he stuttered awkwardly, finding the need to step in front of her, as if he could take the blows which would be inflected. 

“Why would you want to do that? I do hope she wasn’t bothering you” Aud scowled, grabbing his hand and pulling him away slightly. 

“Go!” She demanded, shoving her little sister to the floor. Annette hit the floor with a thump, her head clunking off the hard floor. 

“Come Thor, leave the brat and play!” She stretched out her last word as she pulled him back inside the room before he could protest. 

Annette refused to cry, despite the dull aching over her body. Her leg was much worse now, she was barely able to put pressure on it. She must have gone over it whilst falling. She hobbled over to the other end of the corridor, worried her sister would come back out and do worse. She found a suitable corner, crawling into it and making herself as small as possible. She listened, her head turning from side to side for any sign of life. The coast was clear. She only prayed it would stay that way. Gently she placed her small hand over her slowly forming bruise, muttering a soft language under her breath. A faint blue glow came from her clasped hand, causing her to wince. Well, it was better than having a bruise. She held in a yelp, feeling her skin heal. She stopped gasping for air, realising she was getting no where. Annette tried once again, tears filling her eyes at the nipping sensation. The door next to her opened and she jumped, pulling her hands back fast. But evidently not fast enough. Frigga stared down at the child, eyes wide in shock. She had no idea that she possessed any magical ability. She was under the impression that neither child was like their mother, that their father’s genes out ruled their mother’s. Annette looked up at her queen, fear clearly seen in her tears. They rolled down her face as she shook. 

“Please, don’t tell” she whispered, afriad Frigga would yank her up, dragging her from the corridor and to her father. She could picture the beating perfectly, to every slap and snap of his whip. She would then be left in a dark room, hands put in special chains so she could not heal herself. She could feel the bile she would vomit forming, as she tried to crawl away, deeper into the corner. 

“A spell like that will do no good dear, though your skill is amazing from one of your age. Your mother displayed similar skill” Frigga bent down, showing the girl she meant no harm. Gently, she wiped away her tears, placing her other hand on her leg. There was a faint golden glow and as she removed her hand the purple bruise was gone. Annette smiled a soft thank you. 

“I have something I wish to show you, should this happen again” Frigga stood up and held out her hand. Annette took it, trembling slightly and Frigga made sure to take small steps, to not push the small child. Frigga opened to doors, smiling down at the look of complete wonder that appeared on the child’s face. Annette gasped at the sight. Tall book shelfs stood proud, filled with many a book, some small and old, others large and more colourful. The walls were soft green and vibrant gold, many wooden chairs placed around, most hidden from prying eyes. The overall place felt like a safe haven for her. She loved books. No. Adored books. 

Frigga walked in, knowing where to go, whilst Annette stayed back, afriad that if she stepped over the threshold it would all be a trick. Frigga brushed her fingers over the many spines, as if stroking a beloved pet. Her delicate fingers stopped at a particularly large book. She pulled it out, smiling at the faded green cover. She had read this book when she was much younger, and in turn, when he was of age, so had Loki. Now, the book was to be brought out again, to serve her purpose once more. 

“This is a very old book, and one which taught me all my tricks. Use the hours you have wisely, and I’ll make sure this book is here for your next visits” Frigga placed the heavy book in the small child’s hands, patting her back before leaving the room. Annette turned around to thank the queen, but found her gone, the door having closed quietly. She walked around for a moment, delving deeper into the room of wonder before finding a seat that was far away from the door, not wanting to be found just yet. 

It was beautifully intricate, vines carved into the wooden rocking chair, as if they really grew from it. It was her favourite of the ones she’d saw, and decided this one would do. She curled up on the seat, tucking her feet up as she got comfortable, the book acting like a blanket on her lap. She opened it cautiously, still expecting her father to catch her at any moment. When he didn’t appear in front of her, she turned to the first page and dove into the book. 

And somewhere else in the castle, there was a small prince, with the exact same idea. To escape this world for a few quiet hours, in his favourite chair, reading a new book his mother had bought him. As he passed her in the corridor, she gave him a knowing look, realising where he was going. But there was something else in her eyes, as if she was urging him to go there. Like there was something waiting for him in his sanctuary.

“Have fun reading dear” Frigga called, as she walked by him, patting his shoulder. The young boy gave his mother a puzzled look and carried on, not stopping to ask her what she was up to. She was often his partner in crime, and he knew that mischievous look all too well. Loki teleported into the library, too eager to start his book to be bothered to open the door. He tightened his grip on the book under his arm as he strolled down one of the many lains that led to his favourite spot, fixing some of the books with his magic as he passed. He stopped eyes wide when he noticed he was not alone. 

A young girl sat in his seat. Her light brown hair fell around her shoulders, grey blue eyes wide and soft peach lips parted in amazement. The book in her hands, Loki could recite from cover to end. It was a child’s guide to magic, and the way she had yet not noticed him, he could tell she was too distracted by it. Clearly, she loved learning such things. Her long lashes blinked as hair fell into her eyes, her nose scrunching as she tried to understand a longish word. Loki found himself smiling at her look of confusion as the word was mouthed a few times, as if she was testing it out. Her brow furrowed, her head shooting up as she mouthed it again, as if the clue to what it meant was around the room. 

Quickly, he made himself invisible as to not get caught. His cheeks were tinted pink, the realisation of what he had been doing hitting him. She shook her head, thinking there was no danger and continuing with her book. She smiled, relaxing. Loki found it cute when she smiled. She looked so at peace in that moment, and he wondered if he should make himself known. No. He would just wait until she was finished. She bit her lip nervously, putting the open book down and staring at her hands. Her head darted back and forward, from behind her and back again. Deciding it was safe, she closed her eyes concentrating. 

A soft blue glow covered them, a coolness filling the room. Not freezing, but cool. Something fell onto his head and he looked up, confused. Snow. Soft little flecks of snow. Beautiful. A joyful laugh filled the quiet library, catching Loki’s attention. 

The girl stood from his favourite chair, placing the book down carefully. She stuck out her small hands, loving the feel of the cool kisses placed on her. She giggled again, her cheeks turning red, clearly proud of her self. She walked right by Loki, still not realising he was there. She started to laugh and dance, skipping around and humming in between the little tinkling sound she made when pleased. The snow seemed to dance with her, copying her patterns, joining in on the fun. She closed her eyes, spinning, her nose pink from the cool drop in temperature. But the fun was short lived. 

The door opened with a bang, cutting of her spin. She gasped, meeting a pair of mean green eyes. Quickly the young girl ran, as the older stepped in, noticing the snow. She growled, eyed widening in hate as she ran after her little sister. 

“How dare you!” She bellowed, charging after her. The little girl found herself corned at where she had once been seated, the book she had reading in clear view. 

“Who gave you that?” The girl hissed, snatching the book and causing a disturbance to the rocking chair it was placed on. 

“Q-queen Frigga” the little girl squeaked. 

“You’re lying! She would never give a brat like you anything. You stole this! Theif! Liar! Murderer!” She screeched, her hand colliding with the small cheek of her little sister. The little girl grunted at the impact, falling back and hitting her head off one of the many book shelves. It toppled over, creating a loud crash and causing books to fly free. 

“Now look what you’ve done! Always making a mess! See what happens when you use your curse! Do you wish to cause this family more harm? More disgrace?”

“N-no” she whimpered. 

“You’re the cause of my mothers death, and don’t you ever forget that. Every time you play your little tricks, you’re endangering the lives of everyone around you. Do want to kill me?”

“N-no sister A-aud" 

"You are not my sister!” She slapped the girl again before storming towards the door “I’m telling father” she snapped before slamming the door. 

The girl crawled into a ball and started to sob. Loki stood, slightly shocked at what he had just witnessed. Slowly, he made himself visible. Not that it made much difference, the little girl could not see him, for her arms shielded her wounded face from sight as she hiccuped into her knees. Gently he got down on his knees next to her, making her aware of his presence. Her head shot up, eyes wide in terror. 

“No more” she croaked. 

“What?” He asked quietly, flicking his wrist and tidying everything. “No more beatings, please. I have learned my lesson. I won’t do it again. I promise" 

"What?”

“I know I’m a bad girl. I know I don’t deserve this life. Please, no more. I don’t want to hurt anyone else. Please, just lock me away” she was sobbing again, talking to herself more than anyone else. 

Loki fixed up the room silently as he listened to her tears, knowing he would sort it out once all traces of them being there were gone. 

“I am not going to beat you” her tears stopped for a second as she looked up. “No one is going to beat you” he added, gently lifting her from her position and into his arms. She curled around him as he sat, her nose snuffling into his neck, hands clawing on his back. He patted her head, rocking her back and forth. 

“It’s alright, little one, you’re safe now” he muttered in her ear. She chuckled slightly at her nickname, but concentrated on calming down. She sniffed again, taking in his calming scent of mint and something cool which she couldn’t quite pin point yet. He smiled slightly when she relaxed, standing. He could easily take her weight, though not as easily as his brother. His brother was known for his strength and heart, whereas Loki was well known for his many tricks and pranks. 

He could hear voices, so he quickly grabbed the book left carelessly on the floor and teleported them into his mothers room. She would know what to do. She always did. 

“Mother…” Loki started, as she spun round, slightly shocked by what she saw. Her youngest, lanky son, protectively clasping the little Annette, as she sniffled into his neck. 

“Oh my” was all she muttered before springing into action. 

She took Annette from Loki, setting her down on her bed. Quickly she tended to her wounds. A bruised cheek and bleeding head. She must have hit the bookshelf hard. 

“Will she be alright?” Loki asked, cautiously standing next to his mother, hands clasped. 

“Yes dear, just a little dizzy. But that will ware off in a few moments” she sighed, as the young girls head drooped. “Now, are you going to tell me what happened?” She asked, clasping it in her hands to stop the uncomfortable way it hung down in defeat. Loki began to explain for the little one, as he called her, but she interrupted. 

“Just my clumsiness, my queen. My magic got a bit out of control and I hit one of the bookshelves. I should have known better than to mess around with my powers. I must ask that you take to book back, so I don’t hurt anyone” the girl had her head raised by the end, eyes baring a look of embarrassment and innocence. She glanced at Loki, begging him silently not to say anything. 

Loki felt torn. If he said nothing, no doubt the little girl would be beaten, as she said. But he saw the desperation in her eyes. And if he told on her now, he may never be able to become friends with her. And he wanted that. The way she had danced in her glory made his heart swell, hoping one day she may give him the same adoration. So, he looked away, nodding his head. She closed her eyes, relaxing that he would lie for her. Well, for the moment at least. 

“I see” Frigga whispered, knowing all to well what had happened. But she knew the girl did not wish her to, so she shook her head, saying nothing else on the matter. 

“Well, you have good timing my dear. Loki, go fetch some maids for me dear, to help with preparing Annette for the ball” she turned to her son, Annette’s eyes widening. 

The ball!

“My queen” she interjected “thank you. But I am not feeling terribly well and I would much prefer to miss the ball tonight. However, I’m sure my sister needs my help so-”

“Nonsense my dear, this is your first ball is it not? No no, you must attend. Besides, I had a little chat with your father, and he can’t wait to see you in the new dress you were bought” Frigga turned to her, eyes speaking the words that she had her fathers permission. Annette nodded her head, looking down at her white dress in defeat. Loki then walked from the room, off to fetch maids as instructed. 

“Now, let’s get you into something more suitable” Frigga clasped her hands, the outfit floating into her mind. 

***

Annette hid behind the queen, nervousness building in her stomach. She wondered if she really had her father permission, or if the queen had lied. She played with the green hem of her dress in a nervous way, her black flats pushed together as if they were trying to hide under the gown. 

The dress was indeed beautiful, an emerald green with dark laced patterns. It would be something her sister would throw away, calling it grotesque. But Annette found it very captivating, green her favourite colour. Her hair was pulled up and off her face, in a small bun with green gems woven through. 

“Come along dear, the dancing has no doubt began” Frigga clasped her hand kneading her down many steps into a gigantic hall, filled with chattering people. Some were laughing, gorging on the banquet set before them, whist others danced merily to the music a small band were playing. 

Frigga gracefully glided towards her oldest son, Thor, planting a kiss on his blonde hair. 

“Oh mother” he grumbled, fixing it in aggravation to the chorus of laughter that followed. Loki smiled, but did not laugh, eyes on the small girl by his mother’s side. Annette looked around, the amount of people leaving her blood to run cold. So many people she could hurt. The thought of losing control made a tight knot in her small stomach. 

“Annette, I believe you know my eldest, Thor” Frigga introduced the two. Annette nodded, curtsying as he bowed. “And, you have of course met Loki” Loki bowed to her curtsy, before taking her hand and giving her a gentle kiss on her small knuckles. Their eyes met, and they stood frozen for a few moments, time slipping away. Thor grinned as Loki released her hand looking a bit flushed, whereas Frigga turned a blind eye, tapping Annette’s shoulder. 

“I will leave you in the care of my children. Just, stay near one of them, and maybe your clumsiness won’t harm you again” Frigga gave her an intense stare, hinting for her not to go off on her own. Annette nodded, bowing before Frigga departed. 

“I do hope you are alright, Lady Annette, and you did not get harmed from the incident this morning” Thor looked her over, checking for bruises. Loki’s eye widened slightly, at finding out something had caused her harm this morning, and felt like bringing up the fight from the library. But one glance from Annette and he closed his mouth quickly. 

“I am quite alright, Thor, but thank you for asking” Annette smiled her thank you, her light voice barely heard over the general noise if the room. 

“That’s good to he-" 

"Thor! Come dance!” Screeched a high pitched voice, clearly agitated. Annette stepped away automatically, Loki hiding her from view when he noticed her movements. Thor rolled his eyes, sighing, before putting on his best smile and running towards the impatiently waiting Aud. 

“She’s gone, you can step out now, little one” Loki murmured, turning his head round. Annette smiled, nodding her head and standing next to him. 

“Little one? You’re barely 30 years older, prince Loki” she replied in a cheeky manner. Loki grinned at her, hitting her arm in a playful way. She pouted, playing along, acting as if he’d stabbed her. 

“Just Loki. Prince Loki does not have a good ring to it” he sighed, watching the adults begin to dance, the music growing louder. 

“Alright, just Loki” she smiled, dodging his attack at her shoulder once again. 

“Care to dance, little one” he held out his hand. Annette just nodded, knowing he would never drop the nickname. She took his hand and he led her to a more secluded area, knowing some of the adults may step on her. They kept their hands clasped, her other moving to his shoulder as an automatic reaction. Loki placed his other hand on her waist, slightly alarmed about how much bone he could feel. Clearly her neglect had been happening for a long time. He tried to shrug it off, as she was not bothered, and led them in the dance. 

Frigga glanced out onto the ballroom, spotting Aud and Thor immediately. She was not graceful at all and kept standing on his feet. But Thor held his smile, praying for an interruption soon. 

“Just look at them, they get on so well” her father cooed, turning to Odin. Odin nodded, lying through his teeth as he met the raised eyebrow of his wife. 

Frigga scanned the room as they spoke, looking for her other son. Soon she spotted him. He was almost hidden from view, chatting very happily with Annette and causing her to blush. The pair were graceful, no stumbling or standing on feet. Annette seemed to keep Loki right, holding the beat, whist Loki led, making sure no adults hit them. 

Frigga smiled and gently tapped her husbands shoulder. 

“Dear, look” she pointed towards them. Odin smiled softly, noticing the way Loki looked at the girl. Loki was always very shy, and tended to say things he didn’t mean to get away from his problems. But he seemed content dancing with the small girl, more words leaving his mouth than ever before. The father of the girl noticed, scowling. 

“Oh, they do look cute” he cooed, but Frigga could sense the snarl in his voice. 

“She seems so graceful, much like her names sake, yet she told me her clumsiness caused her bruises. I do wonder what caused her to be injured. Pray tell?” Frigga turned to the father, her eyes sending him an icy glare. 

“She fell. Not looking where she was going. She’s a strange child, not quite right in the head. Always in her own world” the father lied causally. 

“Now, on to the more pressing matter. Marriage, you say. Between Thor and Aud” Odin stopped their conversation, not wishing to go to war with this man. He had many powerful allies. Then again, Odin was the Allfather. 

“Yes, this would be a great way to insure that Thor takes the throne, as you intended” Frigga turned away, the conversation hitting a nerve. She loved Loki deeply, and feared that if he found out the truth, she would never be forgiven. 

“Here are my terms, Aud will spend most her days in the palace so the two grow used to each other. In return, I will talk with my allies and insure no harm comes to Asgard” Odin nodded, about to shake his hand. 

“Wait” Frigga cut in. “I have a term” both men sat back, implying for her to continue. She ignored the glare she could feel, looking at her husband instead. 

“Annette shall also visit. If you intend for Aud to spend so much time with Thor, I fear Loki would be left alone. It’s only fair for him that he also has a person to play with” Odin turned to the father of the girls, agreeing with his wife’s terms. 

“Fine” was the short answer before the two men shook hands.

 Loki could feel his companion growing tired. 

“Do you wish to stop?” He asked, catching her attention. Her blue eyes drooped but she shook her head. 

“I fear that if I sleep, I will wake up and I won’t be safe. No. I must stay awake until we leave" she mumbled. 

“Will you come back?" 

"I do not know, Loki, but thank you for your help” she let go of his hands, the dance stopping. 

“Any time little one, I am sure we shall meet again” he kissed her hand before letting her slip away.