This is it for the main story. Thank you to all who read, reviewed and made writing this story worthwhile.

The last chapter will be an Epilogue to round everything off, which i figured was the best way to do it.

Thank you all for everything :)

-TheLyonesse-


Chapter Twelve

Reunited

Scotland was rarely sunny, but today it was surpassing itself. The sun shone gloriously in the sky, basking the Great Glen in its warm rays; there wasn't a cloud in sight. Ava relished days like these, it meant she could go out and do her favourite thing; walk. She had walked the entire Glen, climbed every hill, and had even scaled the mountains. Today her feet were taking her along an already familiar path; treading their way through hip-high grass and ancient pathways to the field where she first met Loki. She knew that coming here wouldn't bring him back, that he wouldn't magically appear just because she was searching for him, but somehow being here brought her comfort; made her feel closer to him.

She made her way to the flattened patch of grass where he had told her his life story and led down, staring up into the endless blue sky. Alone with her thoughts, her mind began to wander. Seven months ago her life was boring, uneventful, and now things seemed to be falling into place. She had no control over her feelings, had told herself that she couldn't possibly love somebody after only a day of knowing them; it was absurd. Yet here she was, lying alone in the middle of their field, praying with all her might that he was going to come back, take her in his arms and sweep her away. She took a deep breath to calm the lump in her throat and closed her eyes to hold back the tears that were threatening to escape.

She thought of how lonely her life had been recently. Enyra had had to return back to England and with no family to speak of, she felt isolated. She thought of her family often; her mother would know exactly what to do to cheer her up.

The wind began to pick up and Ava knew enough to know that a storm was coming. Her grandmother had always told her that the wind carried all the messages she would ever need to know, all she had to do was listen to what it was telling her. She closed her eyes and listened, listened to the gusts as they whipped around her ears. The messages she heard were panicked and frenzied as the wind picked up pace around her. Familiarity settled over her; she knew this sort of wind, had only witnessed it once before…

Her eyes jumped open. It couldn't be. She must have been mistaken. Sitting up she allowed her eyes to scan her surroundings. There was nobody there; she was the only one for miles. Uneasy, she led back down and resumed her thinking, but the familiar peace felt broken. Suddenly the air around her seemed to vibrate…no…it was vibrating. The ground below her began to shake, forcing her to her feet. The blue sky had vanished and had been replaced by thick grey clouds that blocked out the sun. There was something in the clouds, twisting and spinning violently, growing ever bigger. It reminded her of a tornado…but they didn't happen in Scotland…She would have said her eyes were deceiving her, but the 'tornado' was clearly visible; the wind pelting her skin. In the middle of the tornado was an object suspended in the wind, twisting and turning with every breath of the gale. The object became more visible and Ava realised it was a person tumbling down the funnel of the storm, gathering speed. All she could do was stand and watch in horror as their inevitable fate played out before her.

No sooner had it started, than it stopped; the sky cleared and blue skies shone once again. All was still beneath her feet and the figure was nowhere to be seen… Had she dreamt it? Slowly she crept toward where she'd seen the figure fall, but the ground was empty; not a soul in sight. Ava debated returning to her spot in the grass, but her peace had been shattered. Exhausted and broken, she turned to go home.

Ahead of her, walking the long ago flattened grass path was a figure. It was walking slowly toward her. She assumed it must have been a lost walker and made her way to them to give them directions or offer hospitality. As she drew closer a sense of recognition washed over her. She knew that figure, she knew that walk… she knew that face. Seven long months had passed since she'd first seen that figure in this field… It was impossible; she told herself it was just her tired mind playing tricks on her.

But no, there he was, standing in front of her, intense green eyes searching hers. Loki was there, he was really there! She reached her arm out to touch him, it grazed his arm. He was real.

"Loki?" her voice was barely louder than a whisper, she still couldn't believe it "Is it really you?"

He merely nodded his head slowly at her as a dimpled smile spread across his handsome face.

"What are… How did ye…"

"My father sent me back… but I couldn't remember the way back to Tursa Cottage, I was hoping you'd come back here…and find me…" he looked shy, pink tinting his cheeks.

Before she knew what she was doing she threw her arms around his neck and pulled him close to her, hugging him tight. She felt the tears rolling down her face, she didn't stop them, and instead she embraced them. Why shouldn't she? She was happy, the thing she'd wanted most had returned. She felt Loki's arms embrace her, squeezing her tight. For a moment they were lost in each other, neither saying a word nor attempting to pull away. They were reunited and Ava prayed that they would never be separated again.

After a moment Loki pulled away and held her at arm's length, studying her face intently, concern etched onto his beautiful face. Ava was still crying, she couldn't help herself and made no attempt to stop the tears. Loki placed his hands on her cheeks and wiped her tears away with his thumbs; sending a shiver down Ava's spine.

"Don't cry Ava… I'm here… I won't ever leave you again"

Her world seemed to slow down, she was lost in his gaze, and she never wanted to leave. Her heart was pounding in her chest, threatening to burst out at any moment. The air around them cracked and fizzled with unanswered emotions. In a moment she was in his arms, her lips on his as she kissed him with the power of every tear she had cried over him. His tongue parted her lips gently, colliding with hers momentarily before she pulled away, breathless.

"I have missed ye, more than I could possibly put into words" she muttered quietly "I thought ye were never coming back… what took so long?"

At this Loki's gaze fell downward, he seemed pained and Ava instantly regretted asking the question. But she had to know.

"Tell me… please" she begged.

Loki did not speak. Instead he removed his coat and his shirt with trembling fingers. Ava's gaze moved down over his lithe, toned body. What was he doing? He raised his head slowly, his sad eyes meeting hers, before turning around.

Ava almost screamed at the sight, she was so horrified. His back looked like someone had started to gouge out chunks with a knife. What had happened to him? She didn't want to think about it. Her heart burst with sadness for this poor man and she couldn't stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks. She leant into his back and kissed every mark she could see, her fingers tracing them gently. He was trembling beneath her, his breathing heavy and laboured… Was he crying?

She turned him around to face her. His eyes were swollen and red and full of tears. Ava mimicked his earlier gesture and held his face in her hands, wiping away his tears with her thumbs.

"Does it hurt?" she choked, although she already knew the answer.

He nodded slowly in reply and she kissed him chastely on the lips, wishing she could kiss away the pain and trauma that obviously haunted him. But he had returned to her and she was determined not to let him go this time. She gently took his clothes from his trembling hands and dressed him, careful not to catch his wounds as she pulled the material over his torso.

"Come on" she said quietly, taking his hand in hers "let's get you home"