Standard Disclaimers Apply

~ Out of the Dark ~ By Icka! M. Chif ~

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Once, in a time not too far ago and not far enough yet, he hadn't been out in the sun and the light and the fresh air.

He had been at the bottom of the deepest ocean in Midgard, in the cold never ending waters for a long time, until it was almost all he could remember.

It was dark down there. And dirty, where he lay in the grime and muck that made up the mud that entrenched him. The dirt got everywhere. His scales, his eyes, his mouth until it was all he could see and feel and taste. Brown-Black dirt, Blue-Black water, Green-Black scales. Everything was dark.

His kin was there as well, in the cold darkness. Serpents of all shapes and sizes, a wiggling hissing mass wallowing in the dirt and dark brown mud, sometimes stirring it up and forming clouds that looked like things out of dreams.

He supposed that his kin should been a comfort, their squirming bodies reminding him he wasn't alone in his exile.

Should have been.

Snakes are cannibals.

He had watched as his kin had swallowed each other, smaller tails sticking out of the mouths of larger bodies. One must eat to survive. The strong survive. Life goes on.

There was no heat in the cold waters, save what he generated on his own. The larger he got, the more he could coil around himself, the warmer he could get. Smaller snakes would crawl into his mouth or coils for warmth. Sometimes they'd get crushed or swallowed.

He had raged for a while, trapped in the darkness. He cursed the names of the Gods for their petty fears, cursed the Odin for casting him down, cursed his own father Loki for standing idly by and doing nothing. And he had raged and he had cursed and all of Midgard shook from his fury.

Until one day when a voice had called him, one he had recognised from a long long time ago in vague memories he barely remembered. Anger had driven him to rise up, reaching up and up until he thought he was going to tip over, rising until his head reached the surface of the water and he breathed the night air for the first time in ages.

His Father had such kind eyes.

He'd been so enraged that he'd almost attacked and swallowed Loki. Then he had seen the lanky God's eyes, seen his expression.

There was power there, yes. Power that some said even rivalled Odin's. But he had stopped and he had hesitated not because of the power that was wrapped around him like an ever-shifting shroud, but because of the Pain there. The Loneliness of Isolation. The Suffering that made his own hurts ache not in Sympathy, but Empathy.

There was Pride there too. Loki was proud of his monstrous son, this giant serpent that inspired such terror in everyone else.

And he had closed his jaw, feeling very small, regardless of the fact that his Father was shorter than the length of his head. Loki had smiled and touched him then, his Father's small hand on his muzzle.

He felt Loved. His Father Loved Him.

For the first time in as long as he could remember, he was happy.

They talked in the moonlight, under the stars and in the wind until the sky began to change colours, the lightening of false dawn. Then his Father had to return to Valhalla and he returned back to the sea.

But he wasn't angry anymore.

Instead raging like had done before, now he waited.

Because he knew that this existence of cold and dark and dirt wouldn't last forever. Someday, his Father would return. Someday, he would return to the surface, where there was light and warmth and wind.

So he waited and he dreamt and he grew. He closed his eyes and remembered his Father's kind eyes and his brother's pranks and his sisters soft smile. He dreamed of them, alive and happy in the sunlight and the sky. And he was content.

He had hope that one day his Father would return.

One day his Father did return.

Cast out of Valhalla and cursed into a reduced form, his Father was barely what he remembered him to be. Gone was the arrogance and pride, to be replaced by humility, pain and confusion. His Father was now in sorely desperate need of similar comfort and hope he had once given.

Spells were cast, draining his already diminish Father as he joined him in Midgard, standing upright on two legs like his Father once had. Midgard proved to be a world beyond his imagination, very loud and crowded and complex in a way he had never pictured. It had taken several terrifying days for his Father to regain his equilibrium, from both the exile and the loss of energy.

That was when Enjaku Detective Agency was created and started, giving them both a purpose and a haven from the bustle of Midgard and the political aspirations of Valhalla. The name was his Father's idea, written one way it meant 'Little Birds', like little hopes. The hopes that they could find and repair for not only themselves but also the mortals around them.

Written another way it meant 'Death of the Buddha' or 'Nirvana'. And surely a Nirvana it was, a paradise more he could not have asked for.

It was bright, the sun making everything warm and friendly. Even at night, there were lights keeping away the dark that had once blanketed him.

It was warm, with fireplaces, furnaces, stoves, ovens and hot tea.

And it was clean. Not a speck of dirt or dust would intrude upon his home, not while he had anything to say about it. He cleaned and washed and scrubbed and polished until his entire home glowed. His Father laughed and found it amusing but allowed him to do as he bid.

He learned to cook, and took great delight in it, creating new smells, tastes and textures that not only made his Father smile in delight but also slowly replaced the memories and taste of mud and his kin in his mouth.

He also discovered the joys and delights of mail order. Instead of stretching around the world, now the world came to his doorstep. Surely there was nothing better than mail order. Even if his Father thought it was silly, but smiled indulgently at his enthusiasm.

His Father thought that a lot of the things he did were kind of silly, but he didn't mind. Because they made his Father smile. He liked his Father's smiles.

Because every time he saw his Father's smiles, he felt a bit better about himself, that he was returning a bit of what his Father had given him.

Such as a bit of hope during a dark period.

And the sun and the light and the fresh air.

~ fin ~