Light Bringer

Thor/Avengers Fanfiction. Set post Avengers Assemble.

Loki was imprisoned upon his return to Asgaard. Thor stands a daily vigil by his brother’s cage, only to leave heartbroken each evening when the God of Mischief elects to remain silent.
The people of Asgaard cry out for Loki’s punishment and Heimdall tells Odin that the people of Midgaard do the same.
The Allfather seeks the help of Synneva, an Asgaardian who was stranded on Midgaard when the Bifrost was destroyed.

Rated Yellow for safety.

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8. Instinct

Loki’s contribution to the campfire paled in comparison to Synneva’s. The god of mischief had managed a couple of handfuls of kindling and a few sickly looking branches, where as, his self-proclaimed guide had not only sourced triple the amount of firewood, but had also managed to track and trap their evening meal. 

For some reason, Loki had expected her to gloat or tease him about his haul. Instead, Synneva had thanked him for his efforts and set to work on the fire with no further word on the matter. 
Once the fire had been lit, Synneva had tossed Loki a blanket from the bag and plucked the dagger from her boot, skinning her kill with ease and dexterity. 
The trickster god spread the blanket on the ground and seated himself at the opposite side of the campfire to the woman. He watched her from across the flames, her eyes - now almost black in the firelight - never moving from the small mammal on her lap. 
After a short while, Synneva stood and draped the animal’s hide over one of the roots jutting from the embankment. She then knelt and proceeded to construct a rudimentary spit from the pile of branches designated as fuel for the fire. 
Only when the meat was set to cooking, did she look up from her task. Synneva met Loki’s eyes across the flames. He seemed to be studying her, watching her every move, perhaps searching for any idiosyncrasies in her actions, anything that he might be able to use against her. 
Uneasiness threatened, but Synneva turned her thoughts to empathy, realising Loki’s watchful eyes were probably more instinctive and subconscious; a defence mechanism.
Still, she thought it best to occupy his thoughts with something else for the moment. 
She cleared her throat, waking the trickster god from his thoughts. 
“It shouldn’t take too long to cook. It’s only small, but it’ll do us for tonight.”
The man across from her nodded to show he had understood, but allowed his eyes to narrow slightly in further scrutiny. The side of his mouth twitched as if he forbade a smile.
“How is it you come to be here, Synneva?” He asked, voice low and calm.
“What do you mean?” Came the reply. 
Loki felt anger rise in him for a moment, sensing the woman was avoiding his question on purpose. He calmed himself with a breath and tried again.
“What does your loyalty to the Allfather entail that you would happily exile yourself with a war criminal? What were you back on Asgaard? Palace guard? Healer? What?”
Synneva turned the meat on the spit, moving her eyes from Loki. She pondered her reply for a moment, reviewing the god of mischief’s question and taking note of the fact he refrained from addressing Odin as his father. 
Eventually, she saw fit to answer.
“Odin was good enough to have me in his employ at the palace when I had nowhere else to go…I was not a guard, per se -” Loki’s brow twitched a little, but Synneva continued unabashed, “ - nor was I a healer…I believe many would refer to my position as something of an ambassador, a Vizier perhaps.” 
“And this assignment?” Loki queried, watching as his guide began to strip pieces of meat from the carcass above the fire and equally distribute them between two small squares of thick embroidered cotton.
She kept one for herself and handed the other to the trickster god. He did not protest the offer, finding that the day had weakened him and he was in need of sustenance. For a moment, he wondered if the meat was poisoned, but then he dispelled his stupidity with a short shake of his head. What reason would Synneva have to poison him? She had said she was here to protect him and killing him would gain her nothing that he could see. 
His resolve to sample the meagre meal solidified as the woman across from him took a mouthful of her own and chewed it thoroughly. 
“Why exactly are you here?” Loki pressed.
“I told you. I am here to protect you; you are vulnerable without your magic and-”
“That’s not what I meant.” Interrupted the trickster god, allowing his expression to darken. He expected a sigh in defeat as Synneva answered him, but instead, she fixed him with a smug smile. 
“We met once before, Loki. Do you remember?” Came her response. 
The god of mischief was taken aback at this woman’s blatant disregard for his authority. She had said that she was not his guard and neither was Loki her prisoner and, in his mind that still placed him above her in rank, as it were. Yet, she continued to avoid answering his questions and to reply cryptically when she did. 
Gritting his teeth and deciding to play along to see what she was getting at, Loki gave a slow and calculated shake of his head. 
Synneva gave a nod that suggested she had thought as much and then continued. 
“Well, it was quite a while ago. I believe it was as the Allfather was deciding who to crown as his successor.” Synneva paused for a moment, not missing the momentarily grimace cross Loki’s features. “I happened upon you in the stables as I went to collect my horse. You were getting ready to go for a ride. You said you needed to clear your head. We spoke on magic for a short while, before parting ways.”
Synneva was satisfied to see recognition dawn in the trickster god’s eyes. 
“I remember.” He stated, thinking back on the conversation. He found it a pleasing memory, not anything particularly special or unique, but one that calmed him upon reminiscence. 
“You’re point being?” Loki ventured.
“My point is that I remember that meeting fondly. I thought well of you for it.” She paused for a moment to pluck another piece of meat from her cloth. After she had chewed and swallowed, she continued.
“I spent a lot of time around the palace and I could never fathom why people regarded you with such uncertainty. I even saw it in the Allfather on occasion.”
Synneva watched as Loki tensed and averted his gaze. The muscles in his jaw twitched in a way that suggested he was biting back anger. 
“But after we had spoken, I was no further in determining why. Granted, I could sense something different in you, but nothing that I felt would warrant fear. You had always seemed kindly to me, and despite your penchant for trickery, I always thought you less cruel than your brother…”
Loki turned narrowed, searching eyes on her and silence overcame the pair for a moment. 
“I suppose I just found it hard to believe you had done such terrible things.” Synneva concluded finally, staring intently at the florid tendrils before her. 
Loki scoffed, “You are basing your entire opinion of me on one conversation I can barely remember having?”
“No Loki…On my years of service in your presence.”
The trickster god’s expression darkened. 
“You are ignorant. You watched, but that was all. You supposed and surmised, but you cannot know all merely by observation.” 
Synneva gave a slow, calculated nod. “That is why I spoke with you in the stables, Loki. That is why I visited you in your incarceration. That is why I am speaking with you now.”
The god of mischief gave a malicious smile that Synneva decided she cared little for. 
“And what are your findings?” He asked in mock nonchalance.
Synneva cleared her throat and took a moment to collect her thoughts.
“I can empathise with you…I do not condone your actions, but I can perhaps see why they came to be.”
“Perhaps?” Loki picked up, cocking a condescending eyebrow, “You do not sound so certain.”
Synneva turned her gaze from the fire and fixed the god of mischief with sympathetic eyes. 
“The Allfather told me of your true parentage and also of how you learned of it. I can see how that could have affected you…” She let her voice trail off, watching the prince across from her attentively. 
“First, you had to come to terms with the fact you were rejected by your own kind…”
The trickster god’s gaze found the base of the campfire and remained steadfast.
“Then you had to come to terms with your own hatred taught to you of the Jotun. And finally, to have to assess everything the Allfather and Frigga ever told you and to find out they had been lying to you all along…”
Synneva thought she saw sadness in Loki’s eyes, but she could not be sure it was not just a trick of the firelight. 
When the trickster god remained silent, Synneva continued.
“I can relate, you know.”
Loki looked up, enquiring eyes meeting the woman’s across from him. His expression still, but volatile.
Synneva took a breath, casting her gaze downwards momentarily in reminiscence. 
“I was rejected by my true family as well. Cast aside because I did not appeal to them, because I was not what they had hoped I’d be.” 
The god of mischief gave a nod as if he had understood and accepted Synneva’s argument for her empathy. 
“I see.” He began slowly, “And I suppose you were adopted into another family?”
Loki watched as the woman gave a nod.
“You had siblings in this home?”
Another nod.
“And your adopted parents loved you all equally, despite the fact that you were not of their blood?”
A further nod. 
“Are you a monster, Synneva?”
The woman across from him gave a defeated shake of her head, knowing that she had lost the battle. 
Loki’s lips thinned to a triumphant smile.
“Then you are still ignorant.” The trickster god hissed, “Do not claim to be like me. You were never lied to as I was. You were never cast in the shadow of your siblings and never were you made to believe you were equal to them only to be swept aside at every opportunity. Your father did not steal you away in the hope that you, someday, might become useful to him and your brother did not toss you into an abyss when you tried to prove yourself worthy.”
Synneva shook her head imploringly, “Loki, this is-”
“Madness?” Interrupted the trickster god, eyes wild with fury. He stood, hastily casting the cloth on his lap into the fire as he did so. 
Synneva rose to meet his gaze.
“No, Loki. That’s not what I was going to say.” Subconsciously, she raised her hands in surrender. 
“But you think me mad.” Came the response, venom in each syllable. 
Synneva shook her head and rounded the fire slowly, approaching the trickster god with caution. 
“Listen to me…” She coaxed.
Synneva’s eyes widened as Loki lunged forth, taking her shoulders in a grip that might have been vice-like were it not for the fallen prince’s condition. She gasped as her back slammed against a tree trunk, but she did not fail to meet and hold Loki’s gaze as he leaned towards her. 
“You are nothing like me.” He hissed.
Synneva tensed her muscles slightly, realising that she could escape Loki’s grasp if she so wished. 
“Loki, release me. I do not want to have to hurt you, but I will.” 
The god of mischief bristled as Synneva’s face deadpanned. She did not fear him. She had no reason to. He was weakened. No match for her without his magic. 
Synneva felt Loki’s grip on her loosen, but she did not struggle free, choosing instead to watch for the trickster god’s actions first. 
Loki turned his gaze away and released Synneva completely. He turned his back on her, for a moment, before pivoting and striding past her into the depths of the forest. 
Synneva stared after the fallen prince resignedly, wondering if she had been ill chosen for this task. 
With a sigh, she turned back to the fire, dismantled the spit, carved up what was left of the meat and discarded the useless carcass. Stowing the leftover flesh and the animal hide in her duffle bag, she readied a makeshift bed in the shelter of the embankment and settled into a light sleep. 
Synneva did not dampen the fire, sure that Loki would, eventually, realise that it was foolish for him to be alone in this wilderness and that he would try make his way back as soon as he did. 
She was also sure that she would be able to hear him should anything unfortunate befall the trickster god. 
Or at least, she hoped…on both accounts. 

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