Mirror of the Soul (Loki x Reader)
Note: Reader has the power to see people’s souls when they look in their eyes but doing so almost kills them. During a party at the Tower, Loki comes over and interrupts the peace.
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“No thank you,” you said, not bothering to look up from your sketch. You’d chosen that dark corner of the room for a reason; the shadows were supposed to hide you from view of the rest of the parties guests and give you somewhere peaceful to hide away until everyone finally left.
So far the people around you had chatted and laughed, enjoying their evenings, completely unaware of your existence - a fact that didn’t bother you in the slightest. But now, the figure standing before you seemed intent on blocking your view of the room and wouldn’t leave without a moment of your attention.
You looked up ever so slightly and, keeping your voice as level as you could, told the intruder, "Whatever it is that you were going to offer me, I don’t want it. Keep your drinks, your compliments… I don’t want companionship, Loki.”
"You know who I am?“
"I know everyone,” you said, matter-of-factly. You had been living in the Avengers Tower for three months although admittedly you’d barely left your room during that time. Whilst you’d not actually met any of these people face to face, you’d read enough about the residents of the building to know who was who. A redeemed war criminal and a god from mythology was hard to forget. “If you don’t mind, I’d really rather be alone.”
Ignoring your words completely, Loki perched himself on the thick arm of the chair in which you had taken refuge and studied your sketch. His forehead crumpled as he tried to work out what the swirls of colour represented but, coming to no conclusion, he instead pointed out, “You’ve not made eye contact with a single person here tonight.”
"I just wondered why you’d bother coming at all if you had no intention of socialising.”
Uncurling your legs from beneath you, you rose to your feet and turned to leave. Loki immediately stood too, matching you in height - but only because you were wearing heels; normally he’d have had at least 5 inches on you. Keeping your unfocused gaze on the ground, not looking back over your shoulder, you mumbled, “Have a good evening, Loki.”
Having finally pushed your way through the crowd towards your uncle Tony, you tapped his arm and nodded towards the exit. He smiled understandingly and kissed your forehead, wishing you a good night’s sleep. You both knew how unlikely that would be.
A few hours later, needing a break from staring blankly at your computer screens, you grabbed a blanket and silently made your way to the kitchen, down the hall from your room. You switched the light on and set about making yourself a sandwich when you heard something at the door.
"Isn’t it a little late for a sandwich?“ Loki asked. You cast a brief look in his general direction and saw him leaning casually against the door frame. He looked good but you stopped yourself from studying him too deeply for fear of what would follow.
"I don’t run on a normal daylight schedule,” you pointed out.
"What do you do that requires such a strange timetable?“
Glancing over his way before letting your gaze fall again, you said, "It’s only strange because you follow a different pattern.”
"That doesn’t answer my question.“
"I know,” you replied, placing your sandwich on a plate and cutting it diagonally in half. Rummaging through one of the highest cupboards, you found a packet of biscuits and put a few on the plate. Loki didn’t say anything but he knew the packet actually belonged to Tony who had been hiding them, convinced that someone was stealing them in the night. Who knew he’d been right.
Having replaced the packet, you turned on your heels and headed out the kitchen without another word but, before you could make it two steps past the god, he caught your arm and pulled you back towards him. “You still won’t look at me.”
You stayed silent, really not wanting to go into the details. The last thing you wanted from Loki - from anybody - was sympathy or judgement. Gently tugging your arm free, you whispered, “I can’t.”
"Look at you! At anyone!” you hissed, far more aggressively than you’d intended. Taking a calming breath, you explained, “When I look into a person’s eyes, I see their soul. It’s too overwhelming. I don’t know how to control what I see.”
"Is that what you were drawing at the party?“
"Sort of. Even if I don’t make eye contact, I can still see souls as a light around a person. It tells me a lot about them. Kind or cruel. Brave or cowardly. It can be helpful in knowing who to stay away from.”
Loki didn’t respond and the silence hung heavily between you. It took you a moment but you quickly realised what was bothering him so much about this. He thought that your refusal to meet his gaze was a condemnation of his soul based on the glimpse you must have seen around him.
You grabbed his arm as he went to leave and shook your head. “Oh! It’s not what you think, Loki…”
He clearly didn’t believe you so, despite knowing that you’d regret it, you let yourself meet his dark glare. What you saw was almost indescribable. Your vision filled with colours so intense you feared you’d go blind in their majesty. Huge swirls of green and blue wrapped themselves around you, pulling so tightly that you could almost forget they weren’t really there. The vision was so dynamic, never once stopping in its ebbing and flowing as the colours rolled over you.
As you tried to push the colours away, you noticed cracks beginning to form in the vibrant ribbons. They grew and grew until the grey and black had tainted every single strand around you. It drained the energy from the swirls, leaving them cold and broken.
The emptiness started to spread through your own body and you could feel yourself shaking, unable to stop it. Your heart was pounding so quickly in your chest that you were sure it would burst out any second now. The pain in your head was so sharp it felt like you’d been shot. It took every ounce of your control - fuelled by an underlying current of panic - to push the visions away until all you could see was a never-ending blackness.
Opening your eyes, you found yourself in your bed. Tony was sat awkwardly in a chair beside your feet, his limbs hanging heavily as he slept. You didn’t dare look but knew you had other company too. Keeping your gaze on the ceiling, you said quietly, “It wasn’t because I thought I’d see horrible things, Loki. I wasn’t looking because every time I do it almost kills me.”
Without even thinking, you turned over and looked him straight in the eyes. Much to your surprise, you saw nothing. Only the beautiful emerald green of his irises. You tried to speak but no sound came out and you ended up gawping at the god. “I… I… How?”
"An illusion,“ he said, gesturing to his body with a strangely proud look on his face. Obviously, you would be proud if you looked as great as he did but you suspected that probably wasn’t the source of his smugness - at least not today. "My very clever solution. Illusions aren’t real so have no souls. You can look at me without fear.”
"I don’t fear you, Loki,“ you replied, a little too quickly. "Why would you do this?”
"I know what it is like to live in solitude. You deserve better than that.“A grin spread across his face as he added, "Plus, it will annoy everyone else when they realise I’ve gotten to know you before them.”
You scoffed, rolling over again so your back was to him. “Thank you, Loki, but right now I just want to sleep. I need to clear my head before I can really process this.”
A tingle spread across your head as Loki stroked your hair but before you could turn to him the illusion had faded. In that moment, Tony began to stir. He groaned as he stretched his arms out, shaking off the stiffness from sleeping in a chair far too small for him. “Morning, kid… How are you feeling?”
"I’ve been worse,“ you said, pulling the quilt over your face so you weren’t tempted to look your uncle in the eye. You let out a moan as you felt a sharp pain in your chest, momentarily taking your attention away from the dull thudding in your skull. "Damage report?”
"Loki caught you so there wasn’t too much damage. We ran a few tests, anyway.“ You knew his lack of further explanation meant the results hadn’t been good. The bed sagged under his added weight as he sat beside you. "No-one’s going to treat you differently here, Y/N. We’ve all suffered. If you let us, I’m sure we could come up with a solution.”
You were about to snap back that you weren’t a lab rat to be experimented on but held your tongue. He was only trying to help you live a normal life and if anyone could come up with a solution, it would be Tony…
Much to your uncle’s surprise you peaked your head out from beneath the quilt and nodded. Even though you kept your gaze away from his eyes, it was clear he was worried about you. “Thank you, Tony. I really would like that. But now? Go get some rest. You look awful.”
"So do you,“ he mumbled back, ruffling your hair as he left.