Mercy

Finally, Loki sinks to his knees. He's already run a great distance. When he could no longer run he walked. Now that he can no longer walk, he simply waits and hopes that Thor isn't the one to find him. Loki's hands are shaking, his skin a dull shade of blue that his mind knows to be cold but doesn't feel.

He never shakes with cold.

His mouth is stiff, chapped, scarred. The air passing through it burns. The wound between his ribs forms a wet-hot throbbing that sinks and pumps sluggishly up to his brain.

Loki rests surrounded by white, remembers white, and ceases to consider white further as he falls forward. The mark he leaves on Jotunheim's snow is red.

It is not cold.


Sif finds him as a frost giant, an enemy, a coward, a traitor fallen. Her sword is unsheathed. Loki lies prone.

She knows he never smiled at her the same way after they sewed his lips shut. It shouldn't matter, with what he's become. With what he may always have been.

Once upon a time Loki used to steal her scabbards, her hair ribbons, bits of her food. Once he would laugh at her and she'd threaten to tear his tongue out and he would feign great offense while calling her a brute. Sif would smile between wolfish teeth, offering whatever he chose to see. She denied nothing.

It would have been a pleasure to tear his tongue out.

Now she kneels before the jotun who has become so caked in ice and blood even through armor. It is impossible to tell the extent of his injuries. She considers leaving him, a pathetic collection of flesh and bone to be lost slowly. Forgotten, buried by the storm. She could run him through. She could press her fingers to Loki's throat and hold tight until she feels the fluttering of his pulse stutter and cease beneath her. He is not her friend. He has not been her friend for a long time.

Sif traces the line of his brow with one hand, the angle of his jaw. Loki's exhales are fragile, shallow things. He does not stir, and her lips touch his brow.

Sif gathers the trickster god in her arms. She begins to walk.