dedication: to the salty array of miscellaneous bitches i call my family but mostly to Emily tho bc she puts up with my badly done wily schemes
notes: aka the au i wanted to write six months ago but was too chickenshit to begin.
title: saving all my summers for you
summary: Ava turns around. — Ava/Odin.
Ava turns around.
There is a screaming moment of something she can't quite name (fear, maybe), and then she stumbles backwards into Odin because she can't help it and her knees are giving out. Her back hits his chest. She doesn't register his arms coming up, doesn't feel his hands curling around her shoulders, doesn't even notice the way his fingers dig into her skin. There's pain, but it's a distant second to the horror that's screeching through her.
"Oh—oh my god—"
The demon looking down at her is huge. He is huge and he's got three red eyes and he is bared to the waist. He's huge and he's silent and he's wearing a mask of bleached bone that Ava knows, just knows, belonged to Wrathia's older brother. He's huge and he's purple-grey and he's wearing a necklace of alien bird skulls, their beaks long and glinting in the artificial light of TITAN'S headquarters like wicked-sharp fangs.
The screaming something? The screaming something is recognition.
And Ava knows him, knows him as she knows herself.
Pedri, she thinks, lightheaded, dizzy with it. That's Pedri. Oh my god. Oh my god. Wrathia is going to kill me.
"Odin," she whispers, "Odin, we have to run, we have to go right now—"
She feels his hands, then. He's solid, and she comes back to herself.
"Nothing," she says, "never mind, I was—I thought I saw someone I knew, that's all."
"Ava," he says, and it's strange because she can't ever remember him saying her name before now—she didn't even know he knew her name—and his breath fans across her neck, pools in the hollow between her collar bones. "D-do you s-s-see him?"
She goes very, very still.
"See who?" she asks. Pedri still looms above them, a dark seething splotch in the antiseptic blue light, and Ava—Ava can't help it, she presses back against Odin and her shoulders go up around her ears and she can't even breathe and there is nothing, nothing that is going to make this make more sense. There is nothing that is going to make this better, because she's trapped in some guy's arms and trapped in some god's crazed headquarters with all his crazed followers and trapped in some demon's bright red, three-eyed stare.
Everything is going to be awful forever, she's absolutely sure.
"Pe-Pedri," Odin says, and yeah, she was right, everything is going to be awful forever.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Ava says, but it's a lie, and it's a bad one Odin laughs in her ear, short, chuffing things, ending on a rasp that isn't entirely healthy—it's a smoker's laugh. How old is he again? Didn't he say sixteen? She thinks: sixteen is too young, nineteen is too old, who are you, who are you?
"W-w-well, that's a lie," he says, and he sounds so fucking smug about it that Ava can feel the rage bubbling beneath her skin.
"Shut up, Odin," Ava says, breathes out ash. "We have to go."
"He's coming with us," he says, almost too casually.
And Ava's not stupid, okay? She's not. Yeah, she can be slow, but who isn't? She's not TITAN material, and Gil's not here to see her be anything but composed, and so she spins in Odin's grip to glare up at him from behind her Weirdo Glasses. That it takes her away from staring at Pedri's alien… alien-ness, well, that's something else entirely, isn't it.
"Y-you h-h-have guck on your f-face," Odin says, a tiny little something curling at his mouth.
Ava wipes it away, irritable. Is it ever going to stop? She has better things to do than to have to be constantly wiping her face because Wrathia's Weirdo Glasses make her leak dark matter out of her eyes. Gross.
"Shut up," she says again. "I'm serious, we gotta find Maggie and get out of here, okay?"
Odin's face does this weird thing where the skin around his eyes goes taut like he's clenching his jaw, and his mouth twists.
"W-why save h-her? She's t-t-terrible!"
Which is true, Ava won't deny that. Maggie is terrible, and mean, and cruel, and a lot of other not-so-great things. But she's also lovely and sometimes she can be sweet and underneath all the awful, she's still the girl who knocked the bigger boys on their asses when they pulled Ava's hair.
"I have to. She's my best friend," Ava says, voice small, and it's not a lie.
Odin grumbles. There's no other for it.
"F-fine," he sighs, "b-b-but when she ye-yells, that's on y-you."
"You are a grouchy old man," she informs him, and tries to smile, tries to forget that Wrathia's dead husband is standing behind her. Tries to forget that Wrathia's dead husband is tied to Odin the same way that Ava is tied to Wrathia, and there's something else there that she can't quite figure out, something buried so deep, so deep.
"Zip it, k-kid," he says drily, and his arms tighten around her waist. He's so tall, and all her bones creak as he holds her, her ribs caged around a heart beating lava through her veins.
"I'm not a kid," Ava says, kicks at his shin but only half-heartedly. He didn't deny that he's a grumpy old man, which, good, he absolutely is. He's way more a grumpy old man than a creep, even though he kind of still is that, too. "Are you gonna put me down?"
"Y-y-your legs are short, it'll b-be faster if I j-just ca-carry you—"
"Put me down, or I'll scream," Ava says, and it's almost pleasant.
Odin squints down at her, decides that she's not kidding, and sets her down gently. But his hands don't leave her, and she might be—grateful, for that, a little. Being alone is hard, and even if he's kind of a freak and a literal old man, she trusts him, a little.
His stupid ship is the only reason she's alive, after all.
She casts one last look over her shoulder.
Pedri is still and silent and watching them intensely like they're the most important thing he's ever seen in his (after) life. Who knows, they might be, and Ava breathes in fast through her nose, pulls in the air like it's the last lifeline she's got.
You can do this, she tells herself. She jerks her thumb over her shoulder, refuses to look back. "Is he coming with us?"
"Yeah," Odin says, like, obviously the giant purple ghost-alien that's been following me around for the last fifteen years is coming with us, what do you think.
"Okay," she says. "Let's do this."
"Just. Just don't let me go, okay," Ava says, and takes his hand.
notes2: this is a very… experimental style, for me. be kind. also, who actually knows Odin's actual age? he's said both sixteen and eighteen in canon?