At first, you had begun heading in the direction of your parents’ house, but you suddenly realized that if they had been upset earlier, you showing up on their doorstep inebriated was not going to help matters. So you changed directions, stumbling down a quiet side street and trying to put as much distance between you and the bar as possible, all the while glancing over your shoulder every couple of feet, paranoid that you’d been followed. You heard the sirens somewhere behind you for a few moments, making you let out a sob of terror, but they moved in the opposite direction, growing fainter and fainter. It occurred to you that you had forgotten to pay for yours and Loki’s drinks, but there was no way you were turning around now.
Finally, you couldn’t run any longer. Your legs ached from the exertion, and your lungs were burning. You wiped at your cheeks, trying to rid them of the tears that had already dried, and realized just how cold your fingers were.
Shoving them in the pockets of your jeans, you wished more than ever now for your jacket, and continued to walk, slowly now, for you weren’t quite sure where you were going. You were in a rather unfamiliar section of town, and there weren’t even any motels in sight. It was then that you remembered that Loki had your packs. He had opted to carry them, and when you had passed yours to him, he had made them both vanish into thin air, much to your surprise.
“Don’t worry, they’re still here,” he had assured you. “It’s a useful trick my mother taught me. This way you can carry anything with you wherever you go, and it won’t become a burden.” You had only shaken your head in amazement.
Now the thought of Loki brought fresh tears stinging in your eyes, and made your heart start beating harder. He had killed a man right in front of you, and all because he had dared to stand up for his friend. Granted, that friend had intended to rape you, but still. The last time you had seen Loki that angry was when he faced the Jotuns, and back then it had seemed justified and acceptable, considering your circumstances and surroundings.
But here on Earth… for the first time when you looked upon your husband, you had felt like you didn’t know the man that stood before you. And it had terrified you. Another thought that crossed your mind was, what had he done after you had left? Had he killed the other man as well? What about the police officers?
Sudden nausea welled up in your chest, and before you could stop yourself, you began vomiting violently into the gutter. Afterwards, you couldn’t be sure whether it was due to the alcohol in your system making you queasy, the shock of what had just transpired, or the immense stress you had been under all day. All you knew was that when you finally finished emptying the contents of your stomach, your knees gave out, and you collapsed right there on the sidewalk.
When you next came to, you became aware that something was off. The sidewalk felt far too soft. Snapping your eyes open, you practically leaped up, and instantly regretted it when the sudden movement and the light assaulting your eyes made your head feel like it was about to split in two.
Letting out a groan, you blinked around at your surroundings, recognizing them at once. You were in Loki’s bedchambers, but how?
“Loki?” you croaked, finding that your throat was scratchy and dry, and your mouth tasted terrible.
“Just me, Princess.” The female voice that spoke came from Queen Frigga, who was seated on a chair by the door. You hadn’t even noticed her there. She rose, and moved towards your bed, a strange expression on her lovely face.
“Where’s Loki?” you asked, and she handed you a cup of water from the bedside table. You drank deeply, finding the cool liquid refreshing on your raw throat, and waited for her response. She perched lightly on the edge of the bed, hesitating for a moment before replying.
“Loki did not return from Midgard,” she said slowly, her soft voice a tad shaky. “You are fortunate that Heimdall saw what transpired last night. When you fell unconscious, we sent Thor to retrieve you and bring you back.”
You felt panic well up in your chest, as well as the returning nausea from the night before.
“But where is he?” you cried out. “Is he all right?” Frigga laid a gentle hand on yours in an attempt to calm you.
“Still on Midgard, we assume, but we do not know,” she admitted solemnly. “He has disappeared from Heimdall’s sight.”
A thousand horrifying images filled your mind, images of Loki lying dead and bleeding in an alley, or locked in a jail cell.
“He has managed to hide himself before,” Frigga continued, as if sensing your inner turmoil. “The very fact that Heimdall cannot see him means that he is strong enough to cast the spell.”
You breathed a huge sigh of relief, but worry still nagged at you, worry for the consequences of last night’s events. Frigga seemed to understand this as well.
“Loki’s actions have alerted the humans to a possible threat,” she informed you. “I’m afraid that you also have not escaped notice. They are searching for you as we speak, and Loki.”
“But I didn’t do anything!” you insisted, horrified. “How could I be considered a threat?”
“Eye-witnesses saw you together,” Frigga said with a shrug, her expression regretful. “When faced with the unknown, humans seek any explanation they can find. They seem to think that finding you will answer their questions.”
“But they won’t find me,” you responded, shivering. “I’m not there anymore.”
“We certainly couldn’t leave you to the mercies of whoever might happen across you on that dark street,” Frigga pointed out. You had to admit that she had a point.
“So what can I do?” you asked, fixing her with a desperate gaze. “I can’t just leave him there! He was injured. What if they find him? What if he has to defend himself again?”
What if he kills someone else?
“Loki is strong,” Frigga whispered, giving your hand a squeeze. “He will heal from his injuries faster than a human might. As for what will happen if he is discovered…” The Queen trailed off, looking as troubled as you felt.
“I have to go look for him,” you stated resolutely, starting to climb from the bed despite your pounding headache.
“You are ill, you must rest,” Frigga pleaded, pulling you back down. You pushed her hands away and got to your feet shakily, swaying slightly and fighting down the rush of sickness.
“Bring me one of Idun’s apples,” you requested. “They have healing powers, don’t they?”
Frigga’s mouth pressed in a thin line, and her gaze dropped to the floor.
“That I cannot do, Princess,” she said apologetically.
“Why not?” you argued, staring at her in disbelief. “I was allowed one on my wedding day!” Frigga rose from the bed as well, smoothing down her dress.
“That was a special occasion,” she told you, pity lacing her tone. “It is typically against Odin’s law to give the apples of youth to anyone other than the Aesir. It is why Loki deserved punishment for slipping them to you in secret.”
“But can’t any exceptions be made?” you cried. “Loki could be in danger!” Much to your surprise, Frigga smiled wryly at these words.
“I think you and I both know that my son poses more of a threat to Midgard than the other way around. As it is, we can do nothing while Loki continues to hide from Heimdall’s watch, at the risk of drawing attention to ourselves.”
“Which is exactly why I should be the one to go!” you insisted. “They already know what I look like, and I’m human, so I won’t attract attention!”
“Mostly,” Frigga said with a smile.
“Not to mention,” you added, deciding to ignore that comment, “that if they are looking for me to find information on Loki, that mean that they know we’ve been separated, and chances are they’ll have some idea where he is.”
“You intend to play a double agent?” Frigga questioned, looking mildly intrigued. “That could be dangerous.”
“It’s more dangerous to leave things as they are,” you pointed out. “Besides, I’ve been practicing my magic. If anything goes wrong, I can protect myself.”
“As you did last night?” You could tell Frigga was sceptical.
“I wasn’t exactly thinking straight last night,” you reminded her, flushing with embarrassment. Frigga chuckled softly, and shook her head.
“This may very well be madness,” she said with a sigh, “but if you think that by doing this, you will be able to bring my son home, than I shall allow it.”
“Thank you, Frigga!” you exclaimed, throwing your arms around the tall, willowy woman, and earning a soft laugh in response.
“Be safe, (Y/n),” she warned seriously.
“I will,” you promised, as your eyes strayed to the chest of dresses by the bed, remembering the amulet that still lay hidden among them. For a brief moment, you considered taking it with you, just in case.
Just in case something was to go wrong, and you found yourself needing to use the full extent of your elfin magic. Or in the worst case scenario, your human, mortal body could become badly injured. Now that you knew the magic of the apples was no longer at your disposal, you felt the true weight of your mortality on your shoulders, and the question was raised; how much longer would it be safe to put off this decision? And how much were you willing to risk for the man you loved?