This life, part 4
Pairing: Reader x eventually Loki
Word Count: 3788 (Umm oops?)
It was many hours that you let your anger and rage flow. So long that your voice was rough and your throat raw. There was now a fair sized clearing, made with your powers as you had paced on the edge of the water. No one had been injured, so your conscience was clear. Or mostly clear. You found it difficult to rid the scenes of Loki’s past from your mind. The screams were… They haunted you. How had he survived through such things? No, you could not think of it now. There was too much to do and just days before the Melee.
The Melee was the tournament of the Asgardian Defenders. Every five years it allowed the people of Asgard to see who was the best among the warriors that protected the realm and gave rise to those who might join the ranks. It culminated in the Last Battle. A free-for-all that did not finish until the last man or woman stood. Nothing else mattered to you but the Last Battle. All the other games were of little consequence. You had trained for the last years with the goal of winning. There had been a word to no one of this idea, for they would have all tried to change your mind. No woman had ever won before. However, you were no mere woman and you had worked hard for it. The plan was to do so without anyone knowing who you were as well as doing it without your powers. It was easy to see when you used them so you would be unmasked easily if you did.
Everything that had happened with Thor and Loki had been a distraction. Now you needed a distraction from them. From the way your heart ached remembering all the time spent together as children. How you and Loki would read for hours hidden away in the great libraries, or chasing Thor through the fields when he stole your secret training sword. Life had been easy then. Your parents loved you, your life had been completely planned out, and you were too innocent to know any better. Pain seared through your heart as you thought about your parents. It was hard to think about them and the events that lead to where you were now. It still hurt now. Anger and resentment started to build again. It seemed every time you thought about them it grew further. Some day you knew it would erupt into something you would not be able to handle.
Odin had made good on his promise and no one came to disturb your peace. For two days, you pushed your body further than you ever had. The training consisted of one sword and sometimes a shield. You were the only one to use two swords to fight, so you had to forego your second blade. It was odd not using both but it gave you the opportunity to develop a new style of fighting for yourself in the event you did not have the extra weapon. You felt ready for it.
The Melee was five days. The first day was celebrations and food followed by three days of the tournaments, finishing on the fifth day with the Last Battle. Once the fighting ceased the winner was proclaimed which lead to more feasting and drinking. A merry time was had by all. The previous Melee, you and Thor had gotten very drunk spending the evening torturing Loki with horrid Asgardian ballads. It ended with kissing Thor until you were both breathless.
You dressed in leathers and your dark cloak setting out towards the palace. The celebration was held just inside the courtyard of the main gates. Thousands of bodies were moving about drinking from large steins and eating. There were games and music scattered about. If the time had been different you would be settled with your friends drinking much and eating more, loudly telling stories. Volstagg would be have two maidens on his lap and Thor would be arguing with Fandral about something inconsequential. A pang of loneliness hit as you walked through the crowds. Still you moved on. Later with your own stein of ale, you heard familiar laughing on the terrace just above one of the stages. As you looked up you caught the eye of Thor, who had been watching you for a while from his perch.
It took everything in him not to jump down to see you. Your words though, ran through his mind, as did your face when you said you wanted to neither hear his voice nor see his face for some time. The group realizing his distraction discovered you looking up to them. They all quieted, though Hogun waved to you with a smile. You dipped your head to them before pulling the hood up over your head moving on. Thor hoped someday you would forgive him and he would have his friend back. Nevertheless, he would not press you until you were ready.
There were others eyes, watching you from afar. From the time you had entered the gates until now when you rushed off. Watching and studying the woman in the dark cloak. Learning your movements and gait, how you studied your surroundings searching out dangers. How different you had become.
You avoided the following three days of the Melee. Your heart could not take seeing your friends again, not yet. Preparing for the final day took too much concentration. Once it was over, win or lose, you would break the silence and hope for life to return to what it had been before Loki’s return. Walking from your home to the palace took longer than you wanted. But it gave you the time to plan the events that were to come. You were ready as you set your helm in place.
The courtyard had been cleared, with the crowd gathered on the edges. In the center were the three hundred participants. The Allfather, Queen Frigga, and Thor stood on the balcony looking down at the warriors. “Every five years we join together for the Melee. To celebrate Asgard and those who defend it. As we gather for the Last Battle, it will be shown who among us are truly worthy to be called Defender. Warriors are you prepared?”
The roars of affirmation echoed within the palace walls. It felt as though lightening had spread throughout those gathered. The excitement taking hold. Odin raised both his arms in the air looking over the crowd. “Begin!” He bellowed out.
Mayhem started immediately. Those who were not as skilled scrambled to find targets they believed were easy prey. Many of those fell within the first few minutes. Someone had grabbed your helm from behind trying to pull you down but a well-placed kick back caused the person to crumble holding his groin. You turned quickly, bringing an uppercut to his jaw, knocking him out completely. One down a few hundred to go. The action around you never felt like it slowed. Moving from target to target there was a path of bodies left in your wake. Just over the hour mark, the warrior group had dwindled down to twenty participants. These were the more skilled of Asgard and more difficult to defeat. The man you fought now was at least a foot taller than your frame and would have difficulty fitting through a door with the broadness of his shoulders. While he had the strength, his movements were slow. As he raised his axe over his head, you spun around bringing the back of your boot up to land just below the pit of his arm and the sensitive pressure point there. The man groaned as he sunk to his knees giving the perfect position for you to bring the hilt of you blade down on his head, causing him to fall the rest of the way to the ground.
You laughed beneath your mask, as three people had to drag his body out of the courtyard. Another fifteen minutes progressed and there were three of you left. By the look of the armor, you knew the identity of one man. The other you were not as aware of his skills so he became your first target. Running as fast as your armor would allow towards him, you held your sword out in front of you in threat. Seeing your plan he planted himself with sword raised waiting on your attack. However, it was his mistake as you rarely did was you were supposed to. Just before you clashed, you went low, sliding on one hip behind him. Turning to kick both legs out from under him. You laughed as he fell with a grunt. One swift punch to the jaw took him out of the competition, leaving you with one last opponent.
Jumping up you spied him standing across the courtyard eyeing you closely. He had watched you removed the last of the competitors with amusement. You stalked towards him with blade readied, he mirrored preparing himself. “I may enjoy beating you far more than I like, my Lady.”
Bloody hell, of course he would know who you were. Though, he had not said your name. “Come now, Uljar, you always enjoy the win. Whether it against me or anyone.” Uljar had taken command of the Defenders after your father had been removed. The two of you were friends and had many a day training together. He laughed from behind his own helm.
“This is true, I will try and go easy on you, that way we can enjoy a good celebration ale together for my victory.” Steeling yourself, you struck. The clash of metal echoed and the crowd cheered. Odin watched with great interest at the two as the fought below. Who was this woman, whose skill outmatched almost everyone else? His curiosity was growing.
You and Uljar battled on. He realized that your skill had grown as he had difficulty keeping up with your blows. No longer holding back, he forced what strength he had left. While you were beginning to tire, he was worse off. His movements were becoming repetitive, as he could not keep up with the changing of tactics. It gave you the opening you needed. He had been going after your sword trying to knock it from your hand, but you doubted he had thought past what he would do when got there. You stuck your sword into the ground and ran towards him. It threw his concentration off so that he did not expect you to use your whole body to knock him off balance. As he fell, you grab his blade as it clamored on the ground and held the tip to his throat. “Do you yield my friend?”
He laid there breathing hard looking up to you. It killed him to do it, but he held up his hands. “I yield.” The crowd’s response was deafening. The cheers and cries around you caused the largest smile to appear beneath your mask. You held your hand out for Uljar to stand. He took it before hugging you close. “You deserve it. You fought with more heart than I have ever seen.”
Odin raised his hands again to quiet those gathered to a dull rumble of conversations. “We have our victor. Remove your helm and tell us the name that will have ballads sung about for the coming years.” You looked over at Uljar and he laughed, holding his arm out in encouragement. Holding one side of the helm and mask, you peeled it from your head looking up to the Allfather, smirking at the surprise on his face. There was a collective gasp, then more cheering as everyone realize who were and what you had accomplished today. The cheers and screams of your friends could be heard over them all from one of the balconies. Frigga looked as a proud mother as she beamed down at you. “Lady [Y/N]… I believe you have shocked the whole of Asgard. The first woman to stand victorious in the Last Battle. Every realm from now until the end of time will know your name as a protector of Asgard. They will stand in awe of the name and be honored to witness your skill. Asgard I present you victor, Lady [Y/N] Theinndottir!”
The cheers began once more. For as much and as long as you had trained you had never given thought to what would happen if you were victorious. Now here you stood in the center of the celebration, hearing your name screamed to the tops of the towers. Unsure of how to proceed you waved to the crowd before walking towards the palace halls. You needed a moment to breathe and to be honest, the largest stein of ale you could find. Uljar followed you, slapping a hand on your back.
“You were amazing. No wonder you had hid your training. Have you been working towards this?” Nodding to him with a small smile.
“For the last several years I have. I was unsure if I could do it, but here I am. I believe I am still in shock.” He laughed as you walked towards the feasting hall.
“Everyone is in shock. Did you see the Allfather? I think there was a smile on his face. But you know what this means, do you not?” Glancing in his direction a moment before taking a filled stein from one of the drink maids and drinking long. Once you finished the contents, you took another walking towards a chair to sit in a far off corner. Uljar followed waiting for your response.
“What does this mean, Uljar?” You put you boots up on the table stretching out. Your body was going to hate you in the morn.
“What are the rules for defeating the captain of the Defenders?” With his arms crossed, he raised a brow as you thought of the answer. Your eyes went wide and you half spit out a mouthful of ale.
“No…” He laughed nodding slow.
“Yes, my Lady.”
“Bloody hell, that was not… I did not…” The laugh grew louder as you fought to find the words.
“Uljar I did not mean…” Holding a hand up, he stopped you.
“[Y/N] you defeated me solid. I am not upset. I want you to know that.” With a frown, you rested your head back against the wall staring up at the ceiling. The crowd was starting to enter the hall for their own refreshments.
“[Y/N]…” Looking up as your name was called, Thor stood several feet away, cautious to approach. “My father requests an audience.”
So soon. You groaned internally. With a nod to Uljar you stood before following behind Thor. The tension between you two was palpable but you refrained from speaking. He too, was silent, at least until just before you entered one of the private halls. “I want to say how proud I am. You deserved that win more than anyone I have ever seen. It was glorious to watch you tear through them all. I should have realized it was you, but I was too busy watching for you around the battle not knowing you were in it.”
You smiled resting a hand on his arm. “Thank you, Thor. I means much from you.” He nodded opening the door to the hall where Odin, Frigga and the rest of your group had gathered. They all clapped and cheered for you as you entered. However, quieted quickly when Odin looked around.
“Do you know why I called you, dear girl?” Had you stepped into another realm? Dear girl?
“I can only hope that is it not what I think, my king.” He laughed quietly.
“Uljar opened himself up for the defeat. With that defeat, opens up the rules of the Defenders. If the captain is defeated in the Last Battle, the victor may lead if they are found worthy. [Y/N] you are far more worthy than anyone. Not because of who you were bore from. But what you have done on your own. Would you lead the Defenders in the protection of our people?”
The pace of your heart quickened with the question. You could hear it in your ears over the silence of the room. Looking down a moment you bit your lip unable to decide with the weight of the gazes of everyone around you. “My Lord, my I take the day to decide. This is… a large commitment.”
Odin smiled bowing his head. “Of course, child. I await to hear your answer tomorrow. Tonight we celebrate.” Everyone cheered again, your friends surrounding you, hugging and congratulating you loudly. Frigga had to pry them all away to be able to hug you herself.
“Oh my girl, I am so proud. I could not be prouder if you were my blood. You deserve to celebrate tonight. Go to Sif’s and wash. There are clean clothes for you, as is fitting for the victor of the Last Battle.” She sent you off in the direction of Sif’s chambers. Those halls were quiet as everyone was gathered in the feasting hall and the courtyard. As you walked, you could feel someone about. Coming closer, causing you to stop and turn. No one was there.
“I know you are around. Show yourself.” A laugh echoed against the walls. One you had known all your days. Loki stepped out from the shadows dressed in one of his green tunics, reminding you of old times.
“You have changed, [Y/N]. I could always sneak up upon you as children.” Rolling your eyes you turned back towards the direction you needed.
“If you had not noticed there is much changed of me, Loki. If you will, I have to clean up before your mother will allow me to join the merriment.” He frowned walking quickly to match your strides.
“I am still trying to grasp all the changes in you. I hardly see the mere girl I left.”
“Yes, Loki you left. How are you out of the prison? Does Thor know?”
“Odin has granted somewhat of a reprieve. I am watched constantly, if I commit another error, I will spend the rest of my days below. Which I suppose I have you to thank.” You step had not slowed but you relaxed the tension in your body.
“I would not lie. Even after what you said to me I would not.” Loki stared at you curiously.
“No you did not. There is anger there I can understand, some of which I caused. But not all. No, not all of that is my blame. Thor would not tell me your story, why you have become this woman I do not know. What happened after I left, [Y/N]? I feel as though I am the cause for more than I know.” Thor had not told him. That was surprising. Though perhaps he felt the need to give you rest after what he had forced you to do. All the memories came rushing back, causing you to stop in the middle of the empty hallway.
“You want to know? To know all the pain that occurred after you called me your brother’s whore?” Loki flinched as you moved close; if you had been taller, you would have screamed it in his face.
“Tell me… Please.” You laughed an odd, cold sound.
“Fine, you can revel in it. After you died… which obviously was just another one of your tricks, we mourned. Even after what you said to me, I mourned my friend. In the weeks that followed my father became more restless. In his own insanity, he believed you were correct in your thoughts on how Asgard should be ruled. He fought with his closest friend, the king over it. I begged him to listen to reason. Odin was the king and should be followed.” The floodgates had been opened, and there was no way to stop them now. This was what you feared.
“Odin called my father a traitor and ordered he be imprisoned. As I begged Odin to refrain, my father screamed that I was no daughter of his. They dragged him to the cells; he cursed my name until I could no longer hear his screams.” Another laugh erupted from your lips as you thought of it. His screams had haunted you too, just as Loki’s did now.
“My lovely mother disowned me as well, with one slap across the face before the entire court. As I held my red cheek, your father decided it was time to degrade me further. He announced that I was the daughter of a traitor and no longer worthy of marriage to his son. That I was to remove what possessions I could from my family chambers and find refuge elsewhere. In the span of weeks, I lost everything. My family, the only path of life I was allowed to have and my home.” Loki stood there looking at the pain and defeat on your face. He held a hand out trying to comfort you but you pulled back quickly.
“Would you like to hear the biggest mess of all of it? Oh, I am sure you do. I found out later after I had almost killed Thor, that I have powers that I never knew of. We knew of my visions, but Valhalla there were so much more. My mother, my whole life had bound me. Every day she would force me to drink the horrid tonic, which she told me was to keep me healthy. No, it was not for health it was to bind my powers within me. So I did not become anything more than the girl who they were forcing a life on that I had no say. Without my mother feeding me this tonic daily, my powers broke through and I could not control them. Your mother was the only thing that saved me. She taught me how to control them. I will forever be indebted to her.”
“Now you know the story of this chaos that stands before you. Go Loki. Go enjoy the family that has welcomed you back with open arms.” You left him standing there in utter shock and pain. Pain for you, and what you had to deal with once he had parted. As you entered Sif’s chambers you sunk to your knees breathing heavy. You tried to push it all away, refusing to let it overcome you again. This was not how the victor of the Last Battle should be.
With a deep breath you stood, pushing down everything that had come to the surface.
“This is my night.”