|Enthrall Me With Your Acumen
Author: StrawberryFields4EverAndAlways PM
After his failed invasion of Earth and his trial on Asgard, Loki was sentenced to imprisonment at the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D., who determined he needed a shrink and delved into their database of exceptional people for a good candidate for the job. And that's how a young woman named Katy Szymanski got saddled with a job that feels like "The Silence of the Lambs". Eventual Loki/OCRated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Loki - Chapters: 4 - Words: 7,742 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 32 - Updated: 07-14-12 - Published: 06-23-12 - id: 8246634
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer and Author's Note: Do people ever combine these? Oh well, it seems I just did. I don't own, blah blah blah… But I hope I've done this right. It's hard to do a disease justice when you've never had it…
I had been visiting Loki on a daily basis for a week. It was clear that I was starting to appeal to his better nature, and he was apt to get to my worse one. I gave him something he'd desperately needed- someone to just LISTEN to him and sympathize rather than judge. And he- he brought out a side of me I'd never indulged before, a dark side. Every time Loki smiled at me, I couldn't help but smile back, and when I did, I felt almost like a conspirator in something wicked. With each passing visit, Loki felt less like my patient and more like my friend-that-I-wasn't-supposed-to-have. We were…I suppose you could call us kindred spirits.
However, he was still the god of mischief and I regularly had to shoot down his attempts to weasel information about my past out of me. But one morning, as I looked at my reflection in the mirror and pulled my hair back in a ponytail, I decided I had to let it out. How could I expect him to trust me if I kept big, important things from him?
"Good afternoon, Loki," I said, giving him a little smile, which he softly returned.
"The same to you, Miss Kathryn. And might I say that your hair looks most becoming when pulled back from your face." A bit of a look into his thoughts revealed that this was what he believed, but he was using it to get to me.
Slightly of its own accord, my hand flew to my ponytail, but I shook my head. "There's no need to turn on the charm. I'm going to let you know everything."
Loki raised his eyebrows. "And why might you be doing this now?"
I have a little shrug. "I just want you to feel like you can trust me. Completely trust me."
The fallen god nodded. "If you are so willing, tell me."
Much to his very-visible surprise, I shook my head. "I'm not going to tell you, since I don't know if I can. If YOU are so willing to let me run around in your head, I will."
Loki's skepticism was evident. "Although you have made a habit of intruding inside my brain this past week, this seems to be perhaps a little extreme."
I swear my exasperated eye-roll was completely involuntary. "Trust me on this. Basically, we'll stand there and watch it all happen. It isn't a big deal. In fact, the psychologist in me wants to call this a trust-building, empathy exercise." Of course, the "no big deal" part was a lie. I was terrified of this. It had been hard enough to live it once; to do it again was unimaginable. However, I saw how this experience could be potentially therapeutic to me, too. Maybe by sharing, I could better let go.
Loki nodded. "Alright. How do you intend to do this?"
I switched my cane to my left hand for the time being and pressed the palm of my right to the glass. "Do what I did. Make our palms match up."
Still looking skeptical, Loki did what I said and I closed my eyes. "I really need to concentrate. I've never done this through glass before." I was mostly talking to myself. I took a deep breath and focused all my energy into Loki's hand. A few tense seconds and a brief rushing sensation later, I was in.
Loki and I stood beside each other in my middle school cafeteria. He looked around confusedly. "This is madness," Loki murmured.
I chuckled, and I even sounded nervous to myself. "Your brain, my memories. Of course it's madness. Follow me." I knew where to go. I clearly remembered where I sat in seventh grade. Loki and I stood next to the table.
Two identical thirteen-year-old girls sat there alone, just as I knew they would. "Introductions," I said to Loki, pointing to the girl on the right. "You know me." I pointed to the other. "And…that's Karen, my twin sister."
Loki furrowed his brow. "Twin? You never told me of a twin sister."
"You'll see why it hurt too much."
We watched as my middle school best friend, Liz, came and sat across from Karen and my young self. I shuddered at the thought that what Liz had to say would change everything.
"Guys," Liz said, taking a piece of paper out of her purse, "Look what I found."
Karen took the paper from Liz and her face fell as she scanned its contents and the other me leaned over to look. "What?" Karen said incredulously. "Sign here if you think the Szymanski twins are fat and ugly'?"
Always the quieter twin, thirteen-year-old me whispered, "Everyone's name is on this."
Beside me, Loki was scowling. "Children are as cruel here as they are in Asgard." This statement was directed more towards himself than towards me.
Still, I responded with a simple "Mmhm," and the scene changed.
We were in my childhood bedroom. My young self stood in front of the full-length mirror in only her bra and panties.
"I beg your pardon, Miss Kathryn…" Loki whispered, and I could sense an edge of discomfort in his voice.
"Oh hush," I shot back. "This is important."
The littler me was pinching bits of skin between her thumb and forefinger, mainly from her tummy, but also from other parts of her body.
"What're you doing?" came Karen's voice from the doorway.
Katy looked up, startled. "Nothing."
Karen stood next to her sister and looked at both of their reflections. "You don't believe them, do you?"
My younger self's eye-roll was identical to the one I'd thrown Loki just minutes before. "Maybe I do. Look." Again, the younger Katy pinched at her abdomen. Karen unconsciously lifted her shirt and did the same thing. "We should do something," little me said, and I wanted nothing more than to march over there, slap myself around, and talk these twins out of what they were about to get themselves into. Instead, I turned to Loki, who had a fascinating mixture of confusion and worry plastered across his face, and said, "If it's all the same to you, I'll just take us through the next two years in montage format."
Before he could answer me, I sent us through two years of anguish, moment after moment flashing past in quick succession. Fasting, counting calories, weighing ourselves, gazing at reflections. It was a vicious cycle, punctuated with other scenes, such as our parents insisting to themselves in a fit of denial that the extreme weight loss was just a phase or a part of puberty, Liz saying she didn't want to be our friend anymore because we'd turned weird, the time I'd gained a bit of weight and punished myself by slashing my arm with a pair of scissors. When that last one appeared, I grabbed my arm and felt the long, raised ridge of the scar. One of only a few solid reminders of my two years of wasting away.
After the montage, I settled Loki and I into a blank white space so I could explain a little. Loki was staring at me, at a loss for words.
"Anorexia nervosa. Karen and I both developed it. Basically, a physical and psychological condition characterized by distorted body image and excessive food restriction."
Loki scowled and shoved a hand through his hair. "I do not understand what you are showing me. It is horrible, and I…" He trailed off and his sympathy went unsaid, but I knew.
However, I still didn't want sympathy. What had happened to Karen and I was my own foolish idea. Then things got out of control and something bad happened. But I will never stop blaming myself.
Loki and I stood in my bedroom again, this time in the early morning. The alarm clock on the table between the beds went off. The other Katy immediately sprung awake and silenced the beeping clock, but Karen didn't budge, which was strange. We used to have a competition between us every morning of who would be the one to get up first and bash the "snooze" button. Karen's stillness was disconcerting.
Knowing what was coming, I covered my eyes with my hands, but I could still hear.
"Karen. Karen, wake up. This isn't funny. I'm serious. Wake up. Please." And then the screaming as I realized that my sister was dead. Her heart, unable to withstand the malnutrition any longer, had given out as in her sleep. The coroner would later speculate that she didn't feel a thing, that she had simply slipped away. This moment was horrifying the first time, and it was agonizing the second time. I mean, honestly, it was just about the closest thing one can experience to looking down at their own dead body.
Once the memory of Karen's death passed, Loki and I moved on to my stint at rehab. I was desperate for any sort of help, not wanting to end up like Karen. We watched Katy, the little, skeletal girl, get plumped up again and made better. However, they could not fix the fact that half of who I was happened to be gone forever.
Katy became particularly close to one of her doctors, an older man by the name of Dr. Felix Prudhauser. He was fond of chemistry and experimentation, and he called my fifteen-year-old self up to his office one night and began to speak very excitedly.
"I did it, Katy! I have created something that will enhance traits already present in the mind. My first successful experiment! Would you care to try it?"
Prudhauser had played to my initial weakness and groomed me to become his ever-submissive lab rat. I had been so thankful for his kindness in my time of need that I gladly accepted the injection in my neck.
The effects were immediate. As a twin, Karen and I had shared a somewhat telepathic bond. Now, this gift was extended to full telepathy. Always a bright kid, I became a genius. A history of sensitivity when it came to other people led into my ability to pick up on and learn other people's powers. My senses were always quite good, but with that injection, they became extraordinary.
However, before I could get used to my new mind, everything was a huge blur of sensory overload. Not entirely with it, I stumbled from Prudhauser's office, so caught up in trying to work out the kinks in my operating system that I momentarily forgot where the stairs were.
In young anorexia nervosa patients in particular, there is often reduced bone density. My bones were so weak, that when I fell down the stairs, my tibia sapped like a twig after one wrong hit. And my bones, as stunted and brittle as they were, would not remodel correctly. The leg would never work as well as it used to again.
After forcing myself from Loki's head, we just stared at one another from opposite sides of the glass. Finally, he cleared his throat and said quietly, "I appreciate your honesty, no matter how brutal. I see now why you had such apprehension when it came to what we just saw. I am sorry it happened to you, and I am grateful for the fact that you trusted me with this. There are very few who will tell the god of mischief and lies their secrets."
I knew my trust meant a lot to Loki. When almost everyone doesn't trust you, it feels good to know that someone out there does. In all, I felt that the trust-building, empathy exercise was a great success. There was so much I wanted to say to him, but I couldn't for the life of me get any words out. I could only nod silently, my head spinning and my heart aching.
Second Author's Note: There you have it. I hope Katy makes sense now. I think she does. Also, I hope I portrayed anorexia nervosa correctly. Like I said at the beginning, I've never had any sort of eating disorder, so I had no personal experiences to go upon. I only had reading I've done in the past along with some research. As always, reviews would be lovely.