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Second Chances

Chapter 31

Maia was woken by the ringing of a phone, and found herself laid almost completely on top of Loki. Her head was rested on the front of his shoulder, their bodies flush to her hips where one hung part off him along with her leg, the other nestled between his own, connected like a jigsaw. Her hands rested on his arms, which framed her body, his fingers laced at the base of her spine. They had kicked the covers off at some point during the night but she was definitely not cold and he was definitely happy to have her there.
'That's your phone, sweet one.' He mumbled sleepily.
'Where is it?' She leant her head back and opened one eye to look up at him. He still had his eyes closed, looking for all the world like he was still asleep.
'Here.' He reached up, still without opening his eyes, knocked over the lamp in his blind groping, and eventually came back with her phone.
She looked at the display as she tried to roll off him but his arms tightened on her, preventing any thought of moving. 'It's gone ten.' She murmured before pressing the answer button. 'Hello?'
'Good morning, Maia, did I wake you?'
'Charles.' She said in surprise. 'A little bit. Yesterday was tiring.'
'I hope your new charge is not causing you any trouble?’
Loki chose that moment to shift her up his body just enough that he could kiss across her jaw distractingly. 'He is a trouble maker.' She glared playfully at Loki as she tried to pull away but he pursued her. 'He's not as bad as he makes out though.'
'That is true, he's not.' She could hear him smiling over the phone. 'I really just called to see how your first week has been? Several of the students have already asked when you are returning.'
'Never.' Loki murmured against her skin.
'Shut up!' She whispered harshly.
'Am I...interrupting something?' Charles asked uncertainly. He had never known Maia to have casual relationships, and if she had just woken...very unusual.
'Not...overly.' Loki chose that moment to flip her onto her back and press himself against her. 'I'll call you back.' She hung up and threw the phone off the bed. 'You little...' She didn't get the chance to finish as his lips were on hers and suddenly the last thing she wanted to do was argue.
Loki's hand slid over her hip and down her thigh to her knee, unnecessarily encouraging her to raise it as he continued to ravage her mouth. She made an incoherent murmur and he tore his lips from her.
'We have two whole days until our date, love. Whatever shall we do?'
She looked thoughtful for a moment and bit her lip. 'Each other?' She suggested and he couldn't stop the knowing smile that spread across his face.
'I do like the way your dirty mind thinks.'
'Very much.' He lowered his head again but the second their lips met once more the entire building was rocked by what felt like an explosion, the noise deafening as the window exploded inwards.
Maia let out a yelp of surprise but Loki reacted instinctively, wrapping his arms around her and rolling them back onto his side of the bed then off onto the floor for cover as what sounded like projectiles discharged into the room with high pitched whooshing sounds, breaking glass and wood joining the cacophony that already had their ears ringing.
Loki covered Maia's body with as much of his own as he could as alarms began to ring out through the building. He glanced at the door. He was certain they could make it out.
Pressing himself against her he put his lips to her ear. 'We have to get to the door. Stay low and ahead of me.'
She nodded and he helped her into a low crouch. They quickly made their way to the door, Loki throwing it open with his power as heat reached them and more mini explosions went off in the room where items were hit and destroyed. As soon as they were through the doorway Loki lifted Maia to her feet fully and began rushing her down the corridor, just as Tony stepped around the corner in his full Iron Man suit, making Maia jump at his sudden appearance.
'The attack is based on this side of the building, these floors.' Tony's voice came out of the helmet in an echoey way. 'Get central, we'll investigate.'
'If not for this blasted cuff I could aid you.' Loki stated, waving his hand so his lounge pants were replaced with his custom leather armour.
'Just get Maia somewhere safe.' Stark stepped past them as a roar erupted from the room behind them.
Loki took Maia's right hand in his own and pulled her towards him, his left arm around her waist to keep them evenly paced.
'Where are we going?' Maia asked as they took a right instead of a left which would have led to the common room.
'The stairwell. It is covered on all sides and from there we can get out, if necessary.' He shouldered the stairwell door open and urged her to head down.
'Loki?' Steve's voice came from below them.
'We're here, Steven.' Loki called back as Steve came into view in his full Captain America regalia, shield on arm, running up three steps at a time.
'Thor wants you to head downstairs. He's holed up Jane and Darcy in the basement, asked if you'd go down and keep them safe.'
'Stay out of the way, you mean?'
'Either way, I'm passing on the message. Here.' He held out his hand revealing two small earpieces. 'So you can stay in touch.'
'Wonderful. Do we know what we are dealing with?' Loki asked as they each took an earpiece.
'Thor said something about a, er, a drake?' Steve said uncertainly, as though he may have got the name wrong.
'A drake?' Loki said in horror.
'Drake as in dragon?' Maia asked in confusion.
'I fear...'
There was a huge crash and both Loki and Steve instinctively covered Maia from the shower of debris as Stark came through the wall at high speed.
'Okay. We have a real life goddam fire breathing dragon on our hands!' He yelled before flying back through the wall.
'Get downstairs.' Steve said sternly before running up the stairs and through the door.
'A dragon?' Maia looked at Loki in disbelief. 'Really?'
'It would explain the rain of fire.' He gave a small shrug before starting them down the stairs again. 'Mind your feet, sweet, in fact,' he stopped, lifting her into his arms without warning and she gave a small squeak of surprise.
'You could have just given me shoes.' She said, putting her arms around his neck as he started trotting down the stairs. She could feel the sheer inhuman strength in him but the speed at which he took the stairs still made her hold on.
'I shall once we are past most of the rubble.' He assured her and two floors down he placed her back on her feet. 'Would you rather an entire outfit, something more...you're bleeding.' He realised, as she bent to dust her feet clean, she had small bloody marks on her back.
She straightened and tried to look over her shoulder. 'I am?'
He wiped his fingertips over a wound on her upper back. There was very little to see once the blood was cleared. 'Not very deep, nor bleeding much. Perhaps you were caught by some shrapnel. I would rather not cover it until we are sure there is nothing imbedded.' He waved his hand and the slippers, or at least an identical pair, appeared on her feet. 'Let us continue and we shall worry about your wounds when you are safe.'
'When we're safe.' She clarified.
He gave her a small smile and picked a feather from the bed out of her still rumpled hair. 'Very well, we.' He took her hand again and they set off together towards the basement, listening to what was happening through the earpieces as they went. Thor and Tony were attempting to bring the beast down, there was little Steve could do while it was airborne and he ran past them again to get to ground level. Nat was coordinating evacuation through the underground garage with Hawkeye, who had returned just a few hours ago, and Falcon was about to join the fight.
'Thor?' Loki spoke as they rounded another corner.
'I am a little busy, brother!' His voice came back strained.
‘It is a fire drake? Correct?'
'Yes.' Was Thor's immediate confirmation.
'I can stop that.'
'Not with the cuff.'
'You mistrust me that much?'
'We all do, Mischief.' Tony added. 'Plus, rules.'
'What if we try together?' Maia suggested. The radio went silent suddenly and Loki pulled her to a stop.
'You cannot be put at risk like that.'
'But yesterday you showed me I can have control, and with your Jotun gifts and my ability to affect the cold we might be able to work it together.'
'Maia, I do not want to deplete you again so soon.' He said, using it to hide the fact he was horrified by the thought of her being anywhere near such a dangerous creature.
'Then don't. You must be able to channel what I have? Coax what I can do out of me, control it for me.'
'Like use you as a conduit?' Tony asked.
'If it'll work. You can't tell me with all that knowledge of magic you have you don't know how to use someone else's?'
'I know how, but I would rather not have to do so with you.' He argued.
Maia gave him a sincere look. 'Loki, there is a dragon flying over New York. We should at least try.'
'You are injured.' He tried one last tactic to get her to give up on the idea, reminding her of her injuries.
'You're hurt?' Steve asked and they realised they must have been busy when they mentioned it moments ago.
'Just a few cuts. I'll get them checked after. Please, Loki?'
'You want me to attempt to siphon off your power and use it? You are quite sure?'
'Positive. And if it goes wrong I know I'm in safe hands.'
'Let her try.' Tony said, followed by an explosion.
Loki sighed. 'Very well.'
'Where are you?'
'Fourth floor, Anthony.'
'Great. Go to the cafeteria balcony. We'll meet you there. Be ready.'
Loki pulled her hand and through the nearest door. 'You are certain you wish to try this?' He asked as they ran. 'Someone using your power can be...unpleasant.'
'Unpleasant verses a dragon attacking? I can put up and shut up, if it works.'
'I can make it work. It is a very old magical tactic, one few master on Asgard and fewer use. How do you know of it?'
'I don't.' She paused, puzzled. 'I don't actually know.'
He glanced at her. 'Let us add this to our list of things to discuss. Until then, allow me to explain how we will attempt this.'
'You nearly here?' Stark asked.
'Just one more minute.' Loki said before continuing with Maia. 'We shall start as we did yesterday; I call upon my power, what I have, with this damn cuff!' He said pointedly and Thor muttered something incoherent. 'Keep your eyes closed this time, concentrate on nothing but my voice to start. I shall talk you through the rest as it happens.'
'Got it.'
He stopped with his hand on the cafeteria door and looked down at her. 'Trust in me, love, and do not be afraid.'
'Afraid?' She smiled as much as she could, knowing she was. 'No, just makes a change to feel useful.'
'You have a good many uses.' He pushed the door open to find the place in disarray, food left half eaten, chairs tipped over, tables shoved out of place, and they picked their way towards the balcony. The sounds of the fight outside coupled with the panic of innocents and the odd rumble of thunder as Thor did what he did best, grew louder, and Loki deliberately put Maia behind him as they approached the open doors. He assessed what he could see before stepping out; Tony and Thor were trying to keep the drake's attention on them and away from doing more damage or escaping.
'Under a fire drake's chest, almost between its forelegs, lays the ignition for its flames. I shall aim there.'
'I'll have my eyes shut anyway, but can I look first? See what we're dealing with?'
'If you must.'
He let her duck under his arm into the chill air, and she looked up to see a burnished brown dragon about the size of a city bus, flying elegantly on enormous wings, snapping and shooting fire at The Avengers.
'Well, shit.' She murmured. She had seen things in her time at X-Manor but this about took the cake.
'Indeed. Thankfully it is a relatively small one. We are here, brother, Anthony. We shall take partial cover under a parasol and prepare.' Loki moved them out of the doorway to the first large umbrella, Maia wrapped in his arms in front of him.
'Give us the go and we'll corral this thing towards you.' Tony called over the comm. 'Thor, Falcon, you know what to do.' There were positive replies from them both. 'Okay, Mischief, it's all up to you two now.'
Loki didn't reply. They had made their way as close to the edge of the balcony as they could while keeping cover.
'Okay, love, here will do.' He slid his hands down her arms and laced his fingers with hers, his palms covering the backs of her hands. 'Close your eyes and listen, feel. We shall do this together.'
'Lay on, Macduff.' She murmured and he couldn't help but smile as she used the often misquoted Scottish play. 'Eyes closed.' She informed him.
'Very well.' His hands grew cold on hers as he called his Jotun form, and power tripped along her skin, light like a breath, but she shivered as he spoke, his voice rumbling through her rib cage and back. 'Feel the power and the cold, dear one, equate it to what is inside you. Find it, but do not release it. Tiptoe your way around its edges, tease it, but do not touch.'
'You're so poetic.' She said quietly as internally she did as he suggested, his power coaxing hers towards him.
'Warn me if you become too cold.' He whispered and she lowered her head in a part nod. 'I will begin to draw that from you, fear not if it feels unpleasant. I will do all I can to prevent it from being so.'
She felt her power seep outwards but not at her command as she was used to, more a siphoning, but rather than feeling bad it was as though Loki touched her in impossible places, a soothing and comforting mystical hand that passed through her. Her breath shuddered out of her and Loki squeezed her hands reassuringly.
Loki could feel her power entering him and the familiarity surprised him, so similar to something he had felt some time long ago, but couldn't identify. It buzzed through him like a long lost touch, and what power he had, welcomed it with open arms.
'Now, Anthony!' He yelled but Maia kept her eyes closed as she had promised, ignoring the sounds of the fight; ion blasts and lightning, rushing air and the screeching cries of the drake, as they got closer.
'Close down, love!' Loki said and she found herself shoved by him to the side, staggering to her knees as the power drain stopped and she dared to open her eyes, her own power ceasing without Loki calling it. Then she wished she hadn't opened them after all. She saw Loki finish his sprint to the balcony edge and time seemed to slow as Tony, Thor and Falcon coaxed the drake past them at high speed.
Planting his foot on the balcony wall, Loki launched himself into the air, coming close enough to wrap an arm around the drakes scaled leg, his momentum spinning him around until his back collided with its scaly flank. He heard Maia yelp his name but put it out of his mind, concentrating on what he needed to do instead.
'Brother, I suggest you have Heimdall ready with the bifrost!' Loki yelled through the comms.
'He is already prepared, but whatever you are going to do I suggest you do it fast!'
'Always in such a hurry.' Loki mumbled as he swung forward again, his left hand calling the power he gained from Maia, trying to ignore his blue flesh, and slamming it between the drake's front legs. He forced the power through the armoured skin easily as his hand grew colder, the drake letting out an agonised scream as its chest burned with ice, the scale blackening with freezer burn in a rush that soon encompassed both front legs and most of its chest.
'It's going down!' Sam's voice crackled over the comms just as Maia reached the wall around the balcony to see the drake beginning to fall with Loki still clinging to it.
'Get out of there, Mischief!' Tony yelped as Thor landed on the beast's back.
'Heimdall, open the bifrost!' Thor's voice came in Maia's earpiece and she could do nothing but watch as both Asgardians plummeted towards the ground with the enormous lizard still screeching its pain.
Suddenly, with a crackle of static, a cylinder of golden light descended from the sky, enveloping the three, then they seemed to shoot upwards and completely out of sight, the light disappearing seconds later.
Maia gasped. 'What the hell?'



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