Chapter 82 - Epilogue 10
Sigyn awoke laid on her stomach, face snuggled into Loki’s chest, his arms tight around her. Her had felt heavy, her eyes were sore, but she knew all was okay, that they had talked and cried and had one another. She yawned, unsure whether she should try to go back to sleep or wake up further, but when Loki’s arms tightened around her, signalling his waking, she decided on the latter. His lips touched her hair softly before he pressed his cheek to it, breathing her in as he remembered where they were, in the Girls Only, No Stinky Men Allowed, On Pain Of Death lounge, having fallen asleep in one another’s arms after clearing the air between them.
‘Good morning, sweet.’ He murmured quietly, knowing she was awake, and she nuzzled into his chest.
‘And to you, Mischief.’ She sighed.
‘How are you feeling today?’
‘Like I have an emotional hangover.’ She admitted and his chest rumbled with a small laugh.
‘As much as a good cry can help its effects can be lasting.’ He replied. ‘Shall we sneak from our hidey-hole and find some breakfast?’
‘That would be good.’
‘Home.’ She smiled. She knew he meant the apartment here but home was anywhere he was, anywhere they were together.
He changed them from their sleep wear, her into jeans and a green sweater she knew she didn’t own and him into black slacks and green shirt. He held the door for her before taking her hand and heading back to their rooms, talking as they went.
‘If you need to talk more, sunbeam, do not feel that just because we had last night does not mean I wish for you to feel you cannot share more. I have no doubt at some time I will want to talk things over again, and I do not want you to feel you cannot do so in return. I am, and always will, be here for you, however you need me.’
‘You’re such a Silvertongue.’ She shook her head with a small smile. ‘But I will. Thank yo…’ She didn’t get to finish the word as he ducked his head as he turned, cupped her cheek with his free hand and kissed her.
‘Remember?’ He said quietly and she nodded.
‘Always.’ She knew they had a long way to go to recover from everything that had happened but he was trying, she knew he was, and he knew he was keeping some distance, being gentle, not to force the matter and therefore force her, but she equally needed him to know she realised that. Before he could pull away she threaded her fingers into his hair and drew him back to her, taking his lips with hers for a long, lingering kiss that took him wholly by surprise. His hand automatically swept around her back, holding her close as he raised their joined hands and held them to his chest. The gesture was a small one but it meant a lot to Sigyn and she slowed the kiss, separating their lips but not moving away. Her breath left her still parted lips in a shuddering sigh and she slowly opened her eyes and looked up at him.
‘Are you…well, love?’ Loki seemed uncertain, as though that wasn’t the question he wanted to ask but didn’t have the words.
‘Actually, I feel pretty good, considering.’ She smiled up at him and it brightened him no end, to know she could still smile like that.
‘And I feel like I could take on anything. Except you being an ass.’
‘No assery here, sweet.’ He raised her hand and kissed it softly. ‘It could be the effects of the apple.’
‘I hadn’t thought of that.’ She nodded as it made sense. ‘Maybe I need a high apple diet.’
‘Or just less stress.’
‘That too.’ She narrowed her eyes, as though she was concentrating. ‘I wonder how far that goes.’
‘The feeling. The apple.’ She closed her eyes for a second and opened them again, a grin spreading across her face as she stepped back. ‘Oh, quite far.’
She took her hands back and stepped out of his arms as he watched her carefully. ‘You’re looking particularly mischievous, love. What did you find?’
‘A little something.’ She stopped a meter from him and held up her fingers that had been in his hair, between them a room card key.
It was his turn to narrow his eyes. ‘Where did you get that, petal?’
She bit her bottom lip to stop a laugh escaping. This meant she had access to powers she never had in this body, and she was still conscious. ‘Your vault.’ She said in a laugh that sputtered out of her.
‘My…you minx!’ He made a grab for her as she squealed and turned to run down the corridor.
The fact she could access his vault did not worry him, what was his was hers, but to be able to be this playful with her again, to know nothing was too heavily damaged between them, it buoyed his heart immensely and he willingly gave chase as she had a head start.
Sigyn was certain Loki could and would catch her, he always had, and she didn’t mind, tickling and kissing often coupled with a playful berating if she remembered right, but she had to give him a bit of a chase, she couldn’t make it easy. She had almost made it back to their apartment when she met Tony and Bruce unexpectedly and she swerved around them as they shouted in surprise, and suddenly her body didn’t seem to want to do what it was supposed to. Her feet seemed to be somewhere else than her mind and she tripped over them, stumbling with a squeak as she fell, managing to roll over her shoulder but her momentum threw her into the wall at high speed, crumpling into a heap with her hips above her shoulders. Bruce and Tony reached her before Loki rounded the corner and were helping her to sit up. Her vision swam slightly but she didn’t hurt, just shocked more than anything.
‘Easy, Cherry, you all good?’ Tony asked, with his arm around her shoulders, crouched beside her on the balls of his feet.
‘I think so.’
‘What happened?’ Bruce asked, turning as Loki turned the corner, his eyebrows raising in surprise at the sight before him, Sigyn sitting against the wall, which seemed to bear a significant dent, and Bruce and Tony either side of her, Tony holding her up.
‘Tripped on my own feet.’ She smiled sheepishly. ‘I’m okay.’
‘Sig?’ Loki dropped to his knees by her feet where her legs were drawn up.
‘I’m fine, really.’ She assured them.
Tony looked at her doubtfully and held a hand up before her. ‘How many fingers, Red?’
‘Three. Honestly, I’m good.’
‘Any dizziness or pain you get checked by medical.’ Bruce advised.
‘I will.’ She promised as they helped her to her feet.
‘You’re sure you’re okay?’ Loki asked, holding his hand out to her as she stretched her muscles in her back.
‘Really, I’m okay. Maybe a little embarrassed.’ She admitted.
‘Nah, that was the most stunning display of klutziness I’ve seen in a long time.’ Tony grinned. ‘If they gave prizes for it, you’d get first.’
‘How many fingers am I holding up?’ She turned and flipped him the bird, her cheeks scalding red at his teasing.
Tony burst out laughing. ‘The only one that counts, Scarlet.’
Loki wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close. She was trembling slightly with the shock of having tripped but otherwise seemed to be none the worse for wear, and he led her away, back down the corridor towards their rooms.
Bruce waited until they were out of sight then turned back to the wall. ‘This isn’t plaster, this is brick.’ He pointed out unnecessarily. ‘She should not have been able to walk away from that after leaving this big of a dent.’
‘Yeah, I noticed that too.’ Tony said thoughtfully.
‘Do you require healing? Seems you took quite a tumble?’ Loki checked again as they reached the door and she handed him the keycard.
‘I promise I’m alright, pride dented but that’s all.’
‘You have no need to be embarrassed.’ He assured her as he opened the door, allowing her through first.
‘I just fell upside down into a wall in front of two of The Avengers. You’re right, that’s not cringeworthy at all.’
‘I’m sure you were very elegant.’ He kissed her temple. ‘I will be back in a moment.’ He headed towards the bathroom and she set off for the kitchen, planning on making a start on breakfast. Loki had just started drying his hands when he heard Sigyn scream a curse word, a particularly harsh one, very loudly, and he rushed for the door, tugging it open, to find her standing before the refrigerator, and he couldn’t see what the problem was…until he got closer.
‘I swear, it just came off in my hand!’ She turned wide eyes on him and he realised the entire door was off its hinges, and she was supporting it with her body, her hand still on the handle, the other flat on it, helping take its weight.
‘I’ve got it, petal, don’t panic.’ He came up behind her and helped take its weight, lifting it away and forward. It wasn’t a light thing and he could only assume shoddy Midgardian workmanship, or… ‘Love, come sit down for a moment.’
‘We need to do something with the food, get it to another fridge.’ She complained as he pulled her by the arm to the table and chairs, taking the seat beside her as she still protested.
‘The food will keep for a few minutes, darling girl, just listen to me for a moment.’ He looked so serious it made her stop mid sentence.
‘What is it?’
‘Give me your hand.’ He held his up between them and she did as he asked. ‘Now, try and resist my push.’
‘What?’ She frowned, not understanding.
‘Resist my hand as I put pressure on yours.’
‘Okay.’ She pushed against his hand as his tried to move hers. She had only had someone have her do this in physical therapy when she once got hurt during training at X-Manor, testing she held no weakness from an injury.
‘And the other.’ They swapped hands, concentration lining his face.
‘I didn’t hurt myself.’ She said quietly as he shifted their hold so it was more like they were about to shake hands.
‘Squeeze for me, beautiful girl, as hard as you can.’ She let out a small sigh but would humour him. She squeezed and his frown deepened. She shouldn’t be able to hurt him, but she was doing a damn good job. ‘Okay, enough.’ He looked up at her. ‘When you fell you say you fell over your own feet?’
‘Just tumbled over when I swerved around the science bros.’
He leant forward and stared into her eyes. ‘How would you feel about sparring with me?’
‘What, now?’ She looked at him in confusion.
‘Or this afternoon.’
‘Don’t you remember what happened last time?’ She asked him. ‘I hurt you.’
‘Marginally.’ He shrugged, his hand coming up to cup her cheek. ‘When you took the room card from my vault it was a simple thing?’
‘I…suppose. I could sense your vault was there and it seemed easy.’
‘Which could be the effect of the apple on your sorcery, enabling you to access it easier. Perhaps your strength has accelerated too.’ He glanced back at the refrigerator. ‘And your speed.’ He watched as the information sank in and her lips formed a small, soft and tempting “o” and he couldn’t resist leaning in and kissing her. ‘It is nothing to fear, my princess, but it is something to explore, to aid you learn your limits.’
She swallowed, her brain trying to comprehend that so much more could have changed, and she nodded. ‘You mean I just ripped the fridge door off?’
‘Perhaps. The hinges are definitely snapped.’
‘Shit.’ She breathed. ‘I can feel things differently, like power wise.’ She admitted. ‘I feel a lot more…’
‘Sigyn?’ He suggested and she nodded.
‘Sigyn.’ She replied. ‘Asgardian. What does it mean?’
‘It means things just became a whole lot more fun.’ He smirked.
They grabbed a quick bite to eat and he changed them again into work out wear and they headed to the gym, Sigyn being careful not to open any doors in case she really didn’t know her own strength. Steve and Sam were already in the gym, bantering as they sparred in the ring, hands bound and Steve holding training pads, encouraging Sam for each hit he gave, giving small tips. They finished what they were doing before turning towards the door, seeing Loki and Sigyn come in hand in hand. Steve called a greeting to them and Sigyn turned as though to leave, but her progress was stopped by the fact Loki was holding her hand.
‘No, I can’t do this with an audience.’ She said quietly but he moved to hold her around the shoulder, her chest held to his arm.
‘You’ll be fine, love.’ He said quietly. ‘Although perhaps this could work to our advantage.’
‘You’ll see.’ He turned her back around and smiled at the men in the ring. ‘Steven, I wonder if perhaps you would be willing to aid us.’
‘Noooooo.’ Sigyn turned again, trying to leave but Loki again stopped her.
‘Sure.’ Steve dropped the pads on the edge of the ring and ducked through the ropes. ‘What can I do?’
‘Sigyn would like to push herself, see what she remembers from the old Asgardian fighting techniques, however I would like to watch and add pointers. Would you partner her?’
‘No, it’s fine, Steve, really!’ Sigyn argued.
‘I don’t mind.’ He trotted over. ‘Just let me know what I can do.’
‘Simply protect yourself.’ Loki positioned her in the centre of the mats and backed towards the edge.
‘This is a stupid idea!’ She hissed at him as Steve went and got the pads again, Sam sitting on the edge of the ring and drinking from one of two sports bottles.
‘It’ll be fine, dove.’ He waved his hand towards Steve.
‘You want to warm up first?’ Steve asked as he slipped the pads back on.
‘Yeah, just give me a minute.’ She glared at Loki as she warmed up, a series of stretches and gentle motions loosening her muscles before finally shaking it all out and facing Steve again. ‘Okay.’ She nodded.
‘I don’t know much about Asgardian fighting styles so if you want to just do a few practice hits first and I’ll try keep up with pad positioning?’
‘Okay.’ She repeated and clenched and unclenched her hands a few times before raising them in front of her, her feet spread in a stance with her right foot forward, then she put her arms back down. ‘I don’t feel right doing this, Steve. I can’t hit you.’
He smiled at her encouragingly. ‘Sure you can, you’re one of us and this is what we do. Just hit here, as hard as you can, so I get an idea of what you’re capable of.’ He patted the centre of one of the pads so she knew where to aim.
‘I’m thinking of your face when I do this, trouble maker!’ She pointed at Loki before bringing her hands up again. ‘Ready, Steve?’
‘In your own time.’ He bent his knees slightly and held the pads up for her level with his chest.
‘Fucking men.’ She murmured under her breath before letting it out, concentrating on her target, before drawing back her hand and stepping into the punch with her entire body, connecting with the opposite pad with so much force Steve’s casual stance gave him no resistance and he flew back several feet before hitting the mat on his back, much to Sigyn’s horror. She covered her nose and mouth with her hands after gasping so loudly it was almost comical while Loki laughed heartily from the edge of the mats. ‘Oh, God, Steve, I am so, so sorry!’ She raced over but he was already getting to his feet again.
‘No harm done.’ He smiled. ‘I wasn’t quite expecting that.’
‘Neither was I.’ She glared at Loki who was chuckling into his hand. ‘But a certain mischievous someone was.’
‘That was one hell of a punch.’ Sam said as he joined them. ‘Remind me never to get on your bad side.’
‘Doesn’t seem to have bothered him so much.’ She growled before stalking towards Loki. ‘Fine, asshole, you want to do this, we do this. Arm me.’ She grabbed the front of his t-shirt and dragged him onto the mats.
‘Now, now, petal, don’t take it so seriously. It was just a jest.’
‘That put Steve on his ass!’ She spun on him and held her hand out. ‘Sword, now.’
‘Whoa, sword?’ Steve stepped up to them with an alarmed look on his face. ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’
‘If Loki wants to test me like we used to on Asgard then this is how we do it, my way.’ She wiggled her fingers to remind Loki of what she wanted and he turned his hands, the replica of her original sword appearing in her palm. ‘You both might want to step back.’ She said without looking at Sam or Steve and they did so with a glance at one another.
‘You really want to do this, love?’ Loki manifested one of his daggers as he spoke. ‘We can start slower.’
‘Shut up!’ She snapped at him and swung her sword, curving it in an arc that had him raise his dagger protectively.
‘Oh, this does bring back memories.’ He replied as he blocked every stroke of her sword, allowing her to back him up a few paces before he caught her wrists above her head with his hands then ducking his head to steal a quick kiss. ‘Does it do the same for you, sweet?’ She growled frustratedly and raised her leg as she sent a burst of power through her arms, taking advantage of his guard being down from the jolt and kneeing him in the stomach so he released her and fell back. ‘Apparently yes.’ He shook his arms, ridding himself of the remnants of the power she had run through him.
‘She’s going to kick his ass.’ Steve murmured as they watched her again put Loki on the defensive immediately.
‘I don’t know, man, she’s so pissed she might make a mistake, and he’s just toying with her. He’s testing her somehow.’ He crossed his arms and leant closer to Steve. ‘Fifty bucks says this ends in really angry sex.’
‘A hundred says they don’t make it out of the gym.’ Steve replied with a small smile.
Sam gave him a mildly disgusted look. ‘Then why they hell are we still watching?’
‘Because I’m pretty sure the second we leave he’s going to take it further and she really needs to vent some steam. He might be testing her but she’s probably got a lot of pent up anxiety from the last couple of weeks. We’re giving her a chance to take it out on someone. Namely him.’
‘I guess it’s not every day we get to see an Asgardian God get his ass handed to him by five foot three of pent up aggression.’ Sam admitted. ‘How long do we give them?’
‘About another five minutes.’ Steve looked at him. ‘Then we put a do not disturb sign on the door and let them “duke it out”, so to speak.’
‘And we put in to have the gym steam cleaned.’ Sam suggested as they turned back in time to see Sigyn kick Loki in the chest easily, but he was evidently done letting her have the upper hand and stood his ground, catching her calf, but she seemed to preempt even that and jumped off her other leg, catching him in the jaw hard enough to make him let her go and she twisted in the air, landing heavily first on one knee then the other. He was on her before she recovered, his dagger at her throat, her back pressed to his chest as he held her still, and Steve tapped Sam, indicating they should go, silently sneaking from the room unnoticed.
‘I used to be able to stick that landing.’ She panted, her breathing coming heavy, her skin coated in a film of sweat at her efforts.
‘And you will again, sweet one, but I think that’s enough for now. You should be proud, as I am, of your efforts.’
‘You want me to zap you?’ She pressed her hand against his side and he chuckled.
‘No need, petal. I think you win this round.’
‘Get off me.’ She said quietly and he carefully let her go, moving back to sit on the floor behind her as she turned and sat herself, facing him. He was unsure how she was reacting, he knew he had perhaps pushed her buttons too far and too hard but it was a good way to get her to let go. ‘You won, not me.’ She swallowed hard, knowing she had let her emotions get the better of her, that she had let him rile her to the point where she had just wanted to wipe the look off his face and she knew now, better than ever, that fighting him wasn’t where her power over him lay. She rarely lost her temper and with him it was just a pointless exercise. For all her powers were returning, both physical and magical, he was still stronger in both ways.
‘This wasn’t a competition, sunbeam.’ He replied. ‘We are united, regardless of the situation. This was just a way of letting you lose your fear, to react naturally and see your true capabilities. I’m sorry if I pushed too hard.’
She shook her head. ‘You made me punch Captain America.’
‘All in the name of experimentation, love.’ He shrugged.
‘All in the name of your warped sense of humour.’ She corrected him. ‘Okay, so say the apple did more than we thought, say my strength has come back, and my magic, what now?’
‘That’s up to you, precious girl.’ He held his hands palm up in a modified shrug. ‘We need to help you tame them, to save any more incidents like the refrigerator, but you also have to decide if this is something you wish to pursue, to perfect and enhance what you have rather than just gain control of it. You have the potential to once again be all that you once were, if that’s what you want.’
She drew in a long breath and let it out through her nose slowly. ‘I’d like that. My body feels like,’ she raised her hand and turned it, power lighting it effortlessly as though she hadn’t spent the last decade or so being unable to do even such a simple thing, ‘it’s not Maia’s any more. It’s not black and white. I have splashes of colour that were Sigyn, that are Sigyn, and they’re blurring, like I don’t quite have the defined lines in place, but they’re there, just out of reach, I just have to find them. Then I’ll know who I am.’ She looked up at him. ‘Will you help me? But maybe not quite like this again.’
He rolled forward onto his knees and crawled towards her, stopping beside her and kissing her cheek. ‘There is nothing I would rather, dear heart.’
She opened her mouth to thank him then remembered his request, and leant forward, cupping his cheek in her hand and kissing him firmly, just the pressing of their lips but Loki saw this as progress, given how tentative their relationship after the last few days events, and when they parted he looked at her in something close to wonder.
‘What was that for?’
‘Just expressing my gratitude.’
‘You remembered.’ He grinned at her.
‘Took me long enough.’ She smiled in reply.
Several weeks and a good many doors later and Sigyn finally had the hang of her newfound strength enough to be sparring regularly, her swordsmanship and sorcery also returning, until she was finally invited to join the team, much to Loki’s chagrin. He would rather she remained out of harms way but he knew that wouldn’t work now as it hadn’t back when she had chosen to go into battle with them on Nidavellir, and he would be proud to have her by his side. In fact, it was on one of their battlefields, after liberating some scientists being forced to work for HYDRA, that Loki decided to honour a particularly quaint Midgardian custom of getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him. Again. Natasha clipped him on the back of his head as she walked past, telling him this was neither the time or place, but Sigyn didn’t care. That he had gone through the trouble and was able to conjure up a ring meant more to her than perhaps the team understood.