With a Grain of Salt

It's been only a year or so since Loki's war on New York. But a year is a long time. A very long time. And Mia has found he attack hard to forget. Now the Asgardian has returned to finish what he started and is planning on enlisting the help of Mia, whether she likes it or not.

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2. Involving Pursuit

Mia continued her flight until she had reached civilization. Bright lights of cars and buildings dotted the horizon in front of her, and she eagerly flew towards it. The idea of being in such a crowded city with others watching her made her a bit uneasy, but the chance of a meal and water was too good to pass up simply out of fear. But if Loki had been serious...if he would really let SHIELD onto her trail... She shook the idea out of her mind and forced herself to focus. At a moment like that, she needed to push those thoughts out of her mind. They weren't helping her. As she began to calm herself, she noticed the smoke fading off, revealing flesh. The adrenaline was wearing off. One minute Mia was in the air; the next she was dropping quickly. She flailed hopelessly from the backpack that dropped from her sweat-drenched palms and landed in the darkness between two smaller shops. Momentum flung her into an alley and dropped her onto the pavement, her body knocking itself against brick wall as she landed. She once again tried to ignore the pain. It could have been worse. She forced her body up. She felt something warm slowly drip and crawl down the crevice of her back. She examined her hands. The warm red liquid on her back was pushing itself from wounds on her palms as well. She cursed silently. Not only would she not be able to blend in, she would be all too noticeable. A loud, almost painful moan from her stomach silenced the thought, however, and she walked out of the alley. Not only was she hungry, but she needed to find that bag.

Normally, she would've been bothered by the fact that she had just walked out of safety, she couldn't blend in, and she didn't have a plan. But her lack of food and water was making it hard to think straight. She began to search nearby alleys for her fallen bag, but was soon sidetracked. She wandered aimlessly for a while, mesmerized by the bright neon lights that seemed to hover above her. Those lights mixed with the sweet warm smell of food that floated down the street created an intoxicating feeling within her. She found herself following the warm aromas over to one of the small shops on the street. One minute she had her face pressed against the cool glass of a bakery, watching the golden bread intently; the next she found herself inside the building, hovering over one of the loaves and on the brink of salivating. A fog had formed around her vision. She didn't see the other people in the shop watching her, and she definitely didn't see the shopkeeper standing just a few feet in front of her.

"Do you need something, sweetheart?" Mia looked up. The woman stood in front of her with an expectant smile frozen on her face and her features portraying an emotion Mia couldn't quite decipher. Mia opened her mouth to speak and was instantly surprised at how difficult it was. Her jaw cracked as her mouth opened and she could feel her dry skin struggling to move with her bones. Her throat ached. There was no use even trying to speak. The woman tilted her head, smile still in place, and began ripping a piece from the loaf in front of her. She handed the piece to Mia, who accepted it eagerly, almost ripping it from the woman's hands. The bread piece was gone in an instant. The woman returned from the back with a cup of water, which Mia drank quickly before handing the cup back. She looked up at the woman and nodded in gratitude before turning to leave. She paused at the glass door. A frail, bloodied face stared back at her, wide eyed. She suddenly recognized the emotion she had seen on the woman's face: pity. Pity on a weak little girl that couldn't care for herself. She tore her eyes away from her reflection and walked out of the shop. She would need more food and water later on, but all Mia wanted now was a to clean up. A shower would be too much to ask for, but even a hotel bathroom would've sufficed for her.

She continued her walk down the streets, the fog of hunger now a tad thinner. She was in no way nursed back to health, but at least she could think straight. She knew she was looking for a hotel. After a few paces, she was once again distracted, this time, not by lights or smells, but sounds. Footsteps. Mia cursed quietly. Of course he was following her. She knew it wouldn't have been that easy.

"I thought we were done," she said, turning. The older, black clad man that stood in front of her cocked his head in curiosity.

"Done with what?" he asked.

"N- uh nothing," Mia said, fumbling with her words. "I thought you were someone else." She turned to continue walking, a bit slower this time, and noticed that his pace still matched hers. He was intentionally slow, just as she was. He was following. She tested her suspicion, turning onto a street to her right. He followed. The sound of footsteps wasn't close as it was before, but she could see a reflection of him in the distance through store windows. She turned another corner to put more distance between them. Before she could calculate her next step, she was pulled into the darkness of a closed store. She watched through the window as the man looked around for her.

"Are you going to thank me?" Loki's voice sent a powerful chill through her. Words failed her, but she found it easy to tremble. "You're hungry and parched, but you can't do anything about it until you get somewhere safe, can you?" She stepped into her field of vision and locked his emerald eyes with hers. "I'm willing to exchange my services with yours." She looked out the window. The man would come back. He would notice she was gone. She returned her eyes to Loki, who watched her expectantly. She nodded. She could beat herself up about it later, but, at the moment, she was dying of hunger and thirst. "Good." He took a step forward and ran a cool hand through her hair. She let her eyes close for a few brief seconds. She wasn't going to lie; it felt good. But in a short moment, her head had been slammed into the nearby table and her vision had gone black.

A/N: Leave a review if you can. Comments help me improve.

I don't own anything belonging to Marvel.

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