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Second Chances

Chapter 24

Loki quickly reclaimed his partner and whisked her out onto the balcony for some semblance of privacy. The room was truly heaving and while he did not mind the majority of the people avoiding him he was a little tired of the stares and whispered comments some apparently thought he wouldn't notice. They made small talk and Maia pointed out some of the lit landmarks visible from the balcony, but Loki's attention was all for her.
'You haven't listened to a word I've said, have you?' She asked as she turned to face him.
'Ask me again in your teacher voice.' He said quietly.
'Do you have a teacher fetish?' She smirked at him.
'I may be starting to develop one.' He leant on the wall of the balcony with his elbow and rested his chin on his palm, his other hand trailing up her bare arm. 'Your students must be the worst performing class within the school.'
She raised her eyebrows in surprise. 'My students perform very well, thank you!'
'I meant you must distract them enough that they learn nothing.'
'Nice save.' She stepped closer to him until she could rest her hands on his chest.
'It is what I meant in the first place.' His hand tracked from her arm to her shoulder and down her back.
'If my students failed every year I would have lost the job long ago, regardless of why.'
'Come now, you must have inspired many a schoolboy fantasy.'
'That's a horrible thought!' She slapped his arm out from under his chin and his head dropped comically.
'But I am sure it is very true.' He pulled her towards him. 'Once their hormonal eyes fall upon you I am sure literature is the last thing on their mind.'
'Yuck!' She pulled on his shirt. 'I bet you were a horrible boy to teach.'
'Had I had tutors that looked like you I would only have excelled in anatomy.'
'You're a pervert.' She said as he lowered his head.
'I am your pervert.' He murmured.
Loki sighed at the interruption. 'Yes, Steven?'
'Sorry to interrupt. Thor asked me to fetch you. He needs help explaining bilgesnipes?' They both looked at Steve in the doorway, looking apologetic.
'Ugh. Party tricks. Very well.' He turned back to Maia. 'Wait for me, buttercup?'
'I won't be far.' She promised.
He kissed her forehead and walked towards Steve as Maia enjoyed the view. 'Lead me to my fool of a brother.' Loki requested as he reached him.
Maia smiled to herself as she leant on the balcony wall and let her mind wander over everything, the sounds of the party, music and laughter, washing out of the door and dissipating into the night, fading with the sound of traffic. There were small groups seated around the large balcony but each kept to themselves and it was strangely peaceful, until one of the partygoers got up from the chair he had been occupying and started towards the door, nudging a table on his way. Drawn by the noise Maia looked around and the man made eye contact with her, a smile spreading across his face. Maia quickly looked back over the balcony.
'Please don't come over, please don't come over.' She repeated to herself but she already knew it was too late, before he leaned against the wall beside her, grinning inanely, the smell of alcohol rolling off him. She tried not to but she looked at him out of the corner of her eye as he leered at her.
'What are you doin' out here alone?'
'I'm just waiting for someone.' She said politely.
'Shouldn't be kept waiting.' He slurred as he touched her arm. 'Too pretty.'
'I have to go find my friend. Excuse me.' She gave him a wide berth and headed back inside, relieved to have got away. She glanced around the room and could see a large group laughing and she hoped it was Loki, or in fact anyone she knew at this point, and she made it partway there before her upper arm was grabbed and her progress stopped.
'C'mon. Dance w'me.' The drunk man pulled on her arm. 'You danced with half the 'vengers and none of them stuck 'round. I'm your best offer.'
'If you don't take your hand off me I will break your arm.' She said firmly.
He didn't seem to have any common sense left as he started to argue. She pulled on his fingers, trying to free herself, but suddenly Loki was there in a green and black blur, lifting the man off the ground by his throat, his hand snatched from Maia's arm.
'You did not seem to hear.' Loki growled, effortlessly taking the man's full weight at arms length and above his own head. 'Tell him again.'
'Loki, put him down.' Maia turned to him, aware that all conversation had died and they had everyone's attention.
'He needs to learn respect.' Loki spat without taking his eyes off the man, his face lined with anger.
'He will. He won't forget this.' She rested her hand on his chest. 'But let him down. Please.'
He finally looked at her face, finding it pleading him to do as she asked and he released the man without looking. He fell to the floor gasping, his face red, and he pulled himself to his feet.
'You are lucky my lady asked for mercy.'
'He's drunk.' Maia held Loki's gaze but the man didn't know when he should keep his mouth shut.
'Shoulda realised when you danced wi'em you were an Asgard whore.'
Loki started forward as Maia's eyes widened, but she kept her weight behind her hand, stopping Loki's progress. 'Let me.' She said and spun with her right hand drawn back. She stepped into the man, who was at least six foot, and hit him in the chest with the heel of her hand. His air left his lungs with a whooping sound and as he fell back Maia followed him, putting her foot on his chest. 'The next time you call a woman a whore you'd better be prepared to pay, one way or another.' She pushed down on her heel as he gave her scared eyes, but she didn't move yet. She had spotted security moving in and wanted to give them a chance to remove the man, or maybe they would remove her for violence, but as they reached her she heard Tony say; 'Get him out of here and put him on the block list.' And she finally stepped back, Loki coming and wrapping his arms around her from behind.
'Very well done, sweet.' He said quietly as Tony encouraged people to go back to partying.
'That was a-frickin-mazing!' Darcy hurried over with Thor and Jane not far behind.
'Oh my God, are you okay?' Jane asked, checking her over visually.
'I'm fine.' Maia smiled to reassure them, although the experience had left her a little shook up and Loki realised that.
'Your heart is beating like a caged bird.' Loki could feel it hammering through her back. 'Perhaps we should call it a night?'
'I think so.' Maia looked up at him.
'Let us say goodnight to Anthony and I shall escort you home.'
'I will make your excuses to him.' Thor stopped him. 'You deserve a reprieve, Lady Maia.'
'I think I deserve an ice pack.' She flexed her wrist. All the practice in the world couldn't prepare you for how hard a sternum was.
'I shall take care of it.' Loki promised. 'Shall we?'
She nodded. She wished them all goodnight and Loki escorted her to the elevators.



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