She thought she was dreaming. She blinked and stared ahead. It was him. It was. It had to be. It could be no one else. The chaos of the New York air was still very much alive, and yet, she could not feel it. The wind blew slower and even the birds stopped tweeting. She walked over to the figure in the distance. "It's you!" she called out in pure disbelief
He hobbled across the rubble. When he came closer she noticed the scars and bruises which marked his skin; spoiling the once smooth canvas. He stood before her and pulled her into his arms.
"What happened?" she asked him worriedly. She tucked the stray strands of black hair behind his ear. Aliens. A rip in space. Chaos. Her mind frantically sieved through the myriad information.
He looked at her longingly; glad that she was safe. "I have failed," he said bluntly, looking almost... What was it? Agitated? Scared? Frustrated?
She put her hand to his face. "This was all you?" she asked him, her voice filled with concern, as she took a look around at the rubble and fallen buildings.
He nodded slowly; the movement slight.
She drew he hand away and shook her head, stepping away. "You caused all of this? All of these deaths? What of Thor? I thought you had changed."
He took a step over to her and held her hands tightly. "I am sorry," he muttered as he stared into her eyes.
"Loki, you have killed all of these people. Innocent people! How could you do that? I didn't think you would go this far!" she argued with him, trying, but failing, to free herself from his steadfast grip.
"That does not matter anymore. I have failed. Thor lives. SHIELD is still around and stronger than ever. Humanity will not kneel."
"Why should they? We do not want a ruler who is ruthless and thinks that his subjects are beneath him," she answered him, trying to retain her strength.
He considered this. "Asgardians, we can bring so much to humanity. And yet, you all deny it. I do not choose to kill. I do it because I must."
"No, Loki. You don't get it. You don't have to do anything. Everyone has a choice. And, you have made the wrong ones." At last, she manage to pull away from him.
"You have no idea what they have done to me. Hulk, he-" he drained off.
She knew she mustn't, but she felt the pity for him starting to appear again. She brushed a cut on his face and sighed, saying,"I know what they did. They broke you." She looked around at the cars with their horns blaring and the worried voices of people as they searched for loved ones in the devastation of the great city. "But, you set yourself on this path."
He took her hand and set it against his face. "You tried to stop me. Subliminally. If only I had let you, then perhaps I would not have thrown all this away. Taking out my anger on Earth... It wasn't right. And, for that, I am sorry."
"I know you are," she replied, her tone softening, as she allowed herself to stroke his cheek. "But, that won't bring back the people who have died at your hand. You spilled the blood of innocents."
"I am a monster," he said, his voice becoming thick. He combed his fingers through his hair. "Please... I would do anything not to lose you. Of all I know, it is you who I care for most. You have been with me when I needed you the most. Please, do not leave me now."
"I..." Her voice faded as the sound of SHIELD helicopters drowned her voice out. The trees around them began to sway and the grass shook.
He stood there, still. His black hair flew about his head as the helicopters finally came to settle around them. In amongst the trees, she could see Thor walking briskly. She looked over at him, pleadingly. He slowed his pace slightly and said something inaudible to Fury.
"Loki," she said softly. "You've gone too far."
A tear cascaded down his pale cheek and he let it fall to the ground. "Please..." he began. "I want you by my side."
"You have to go," she told him, looking at the swarm of SHIELD operatives closing in on them. "They'll want to talk to you, there's no doubt about it."
"And then I guess Thor shall return me to Asgard to keep as a... pet," he said with contempt.
"You have brought this on yourself, Loki. You have shown that you cannot be trusted."
"You trust me..." he said, though it was more of a question than a statement.
"I hope so," she replied.
At last, the soldiers stepped over and tried to take Loki away. He took them out with barely a movement. The reinforcements began to advance, but were paused by Fury. He watched the spectacle intently.
Still in shock from seeing Loki render the guards unconscious, she was even more surprised when she felt his lips against hers. Loki remembered why he loved her. It held there, that moment unchanging.
In the background, Thor was stood, almost paralysed by surprise. He didn't think his brother was capable of love anymore.
As Loki pulled away from the kiss, he met her eyes. "I am sorry, know that."
"I know you are," she whispered as she felt his arms around her once more before he was handcuffed and brought into SHIELD's custody.