By The Willow Shade

A summoning gone surprisingly right leads a wayward god and a teenage girl down a road neither imagined they would walk, sparking an unlikely apprenticeship and an even unlikelier friendship. But can either survive when faced with the scrutiny and interference of misunderstanding minds?

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8. Chapter 7

    Loki missed Willow. A week into their separation he was ready to admit so aloud. He checked on her twice a day each day. It had become routine; the day felt incomplete otherwise. But it wasn’t enough. He missed teaching her, the way her face lit up whenever she got something right, the way she sometimes forgot her self-consciousness and cried out for joy and/or hugged him when the achievement was particularly big. He missed the way she got annoyed when he ruffled her hair yet unconsciously sought contact when she was distracted enough. He missed talking to her, listening to her ramble on about her day or vent out her frustrations over assignments she had trouble understanding and explaining what he could if the situation permitted.

 

    He missed her.

 

 

    Willow hadn’t bothered to go back to her house and neither of her parents tried to contact her to find out where she’d gone. If they even noticed she was gone at all. Not that she had expected them to; she had learned long ago that she could disappear off the face of the Earth and they wouldn’t bat an eye.

It took most of the week, but Willow slowly got used to the idea that she wouldn’t see Loki again until summer break. She still missed him terribly, but at least she could manage to get through the day without wanting to cry or anything like that. Since she was staying in his house, she was free to practice her magick whenever she wanted, although she was careful not to overexert herself; she had a feeling Loki was keeping an eye on her - she could swear she was being watched every morning and when she got back from school - and she didn’t want the first words she heard from him again to be a lecture on the dangers of over-wielding.

 

    All in all she was doing well enough, she thought, but she still would give just about anything to make the days go by faster. She wanted her friend back.

 

 

    Thor stood before his father in the latter’s private chambers, a troubled expression on his face; he’d just come from visiting Loki again - something he’d done every other day for the past twelve days, both out of duty and a desire to see him - and was giving the king his report.

 

    “We actually spoke today; a real conversation with minimal sarcasm and barbed remarks.” Thor said, still unsure whether to be pleased or worried by the fact.

The first few days Loki had been about as welcoming of his presence as Thor expected him to be, but as time went on he seemed to not mind it so much. Thor could even say he was glad for the company at this point, which spoke volumes to him of the level of desperation his brother was nearing; Loki never had taken very well to confinement, as long as he could remember.

 

    “And what did you speak of?” Odin asked, drawing Thor from his thoughts.

 

    “He wanted to know how the realms are faring, and of my recent battles in Alfheim and Nidavellir.” Thor replied. “And really anything beyond the confines of his chambers.”

 

    Odin hummed. “And the mortal; does he speak of her?”

 

    “More with each passing day.” Thor replied, adding bemusedly, “I begin to think that Volstagg was right after all.”

 

    Odin huffed a slight laugh. “He would be the one to notice it. But I wonder if your brother has yet.”

 

    “You knew then? That Loki does actually care for the girl?” Thor asked in disbelief.

 

    “Of course I did; I am not completely blind.” Odin replied matter-of-factly.

 

    “Then why separate them this way? Surely there were ways to keep Loki from causing too much trouble and still allow them to see each other.” Thor said, bewildered.

 

    “Because while I may not know my son as well as I should, I know him enough.” Odin replied. “When have you ever known Loki to truly appreciate what he has while the distraction of what he could obtain is within sight?”

 

    Thor furrowed his brows. “So in order to make him see what he had, you placed it just out of reach?”

 

    “A decision not made lightly.” Odin confirmed. “I know his resentment towards me has only worsened, but it is my hope that this will teach him to value what’s important before he loses it for good.”

 

    “A lesson that would perhaps benefit us all to revisit.” Thor mused.

With that Odin dismissed his eldest, silently agreeing with his words.

 

 

    On the thirteenth day Willow woke up feeling giddier than she had for some time. She moved to get out of bed and then fell off of it with a yelp when she couldn’t disentangle her legs from the sheets in time; she struggled to get up - fighting her hair and wondering if she should just cut it to a more manageable length before immediately dismissing the idea - until finally she was on her feet then rushed to the bathroom to shower.

 

    Today was the day. The day.

 

    As she ate breakfast - more out of habit than any doubt she’d be provided food in Asgard - she wondered how exactly she was getting to the Realm Eternal. It hadn’t really been discussed and she hadn’t been in any state to ask. She shrugged the though aside, figuring Odin would probably send Thor to pick her up; he was the only other familiar with the realm, after all, and she doubted that Loki would be allowed to do it. With that in mind, she grabbed a bag she’d found in Loki’s room (it was enchanted to hold more than its size suggested and she’d practiced her glamour spells on it to turn it blue as a joke) and went about packing a few things she wanted with her, mainly clothes and books; she didn’t know how long she’d be allowed to stay and she wanted some familiar things at hand.

She also grabbed Loki’s laptop and her music player (she still had plenty to share with him on that front) and was just placing them in the bag when she heard the sound of thunder coming from the yard. She only just remembered to turn away from the door and shield her eyes in time before a column of light and colour struck down, revealing a certain God of Thunder as it dissipated. Thor walked over to the back door and stopped suddenly as he met one of Loki’s wards.

 

    “Oh; hang on!” Willow called then rushed over after slinging the bag over her shoulder and walked outside.

 

    “Hello, Willow. We’ve not properly met; I am Thor.” Thor greeted with a smile, holding out his hand.

 

    “Yeah; heard of you. Hi.” Willow replied awkwardly, eyeing his hand warily before reaching her own towards it.

 

    “Well, then; I’m sure you are quite eager to depart.” Thor said. She nodded and he wrapped an arm around her waist. Once he was sure she was secure he looked up to the sky. “Heimdall; whenever you’re ready.”

Willow shut her eyes tight and buried her face in Thor’s chest then felt herself being lifted and transported as the Bifrost was activated.

 

    When they arrived in Asgard Thor released her, though Willow took a moment before stepping back from him, rubbing her eyes and blinking rapidly when she did.

 

    “T’was not that bad a trip, was it?”. Thor asked, eyeing her in concern.

 

    “Nah; it’s just... bright.” - Willow replied as her vision cleared. “Sensitive eyes.”

 

    “Welcome back, Willow.” Heimdall greeted with a smile.

 

    “Hi again.” Willow greeted back less shyly.

 

    “You should go; he is waiting. Not very patiently, I might add.” Heimdall commented.

 

    “Know the feeling.” Willow replied then turned to Thor and looked at him expectantly.

 

    “Right; let us be off.” Thor said then, with a nod to the Gatekeeper, led the way back to the palace.

 

 

    As they walked through the halls Thor chatted to Willow, asking her things about herself; he was very curious about her, and the hold she clearly had over his brother. He wondered if either of them were truly aware of it.

 

    Before they reached Loki’s chambers Willow turned to Thor. “Hey, can I ask you something?”

 

    “Of course.” Thor replied.

 

    “What does ‘lítið einn’ mean?” She asked.

 

    Thor looked at her curiously. “It means ‘little one’.”

 

 

    Willow’s steps faltered a bit and a look of annoyance crossed her face. “Right.” She said evenly.

  

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