Who: Wanda & Loki What: visiting during the haunting When: Saturday evening Notes: Backdated
The air felt heavy in the Avengers Tower, and Loki found it to be oppressive. It was like a veritable weight on his shoulders. He felt it as he watched Thor's furnishings move, although he and this much better version of his brother had a chuckle moving things back so that unseen hands could move them again. There was no disagreement about polter-ghosts existing. He'd been to Helheim when he was learning to walk the paths, and the ambience of that wasteland was similar. Hel was much worse and he, in his youth, was wise enough to go back the way he came and never go back again.
His older counterpart noted more than one return to Hel in warded journals, but Loki knew better. He knew better than to call out the shade haunting this place, for it felt as though his every step was being watched. Whatever it was, it was malevolent rather than benign.
He wandered through the residential floors that he was relegated to, a tall, thin figure clad all in black, moving as quiet as a shadow. This tower was vastly different to the one of his most recent memories. Half-mad due to the scepter and Thanos' influence, he was still struggling to come to terms with what transpired. This evening was no different, and his restlessness dictated that he needed another walk to clear his head of dark thoughts.
Having accessed the virtual assistant to find out who was staying in the tower, Loki stopped outside Wanda's door. He meant to check in with the talented young woman, to see how she was fairing after pulling a con job on Mephisto.
He lightly knocked on the door and stood back, hoping he didn't wake her and fully prepared to leave if there was no answer.
Wanda was inside the room, crimson wisps shooting to and fro, a flurry of baby cradle parts circling her as she determined where they all would go. The twins (due in February, but she expected to deliver end of January or at least she hoped considering this wide load she was carrying) had a nursery in the tower too. She’d decided upon the sun and the stars as a theme, but for that special time when they were very little, they’d sleep in the same room as her. Hence why she was putting together the cradles using telekinesis - but she gently deposited the wooden pieces back on the ground when she heard the knock.
A poltergeist infecting the tower wasn’t going to stop her from assembling either. Wanda had faced much worse, when it came to the supernatural.
“Coming,” she called, since it took her a little bit of extra time to heft herself off of her bed and waddle to the door. She was surprised, in a good way, to see who was on the other side. “Loki, hi. Come in - is everything alright?”
Loki smiled, and there was no trace of any mischief making. It was surprisingly kind. Apparently even the God of Mischief had a limit, and pranking mothers of any realm was one of them.
"Hello, Wanda," he said, voice smooth as silk even as he almost nervously glanced back over his shoulder toward the end of the corridor. It felt like he needed to keep an eye on a dark elf with an invisibility cloak, who was creeping up to knife him in the back. "I wished to check on your well being. As well as consult with you, regarding the...uhh...spirits in our midst, as it were."
He entered the room as she bid him to do, slipping past her both quickly and carefully. It was mindfully done, so he didn't brush against the swell of her belly, or jostle her in any way.
Wanda didn’t usually let people touch her belly - that all came about because whenever she was in public, she got so many ladies cooing at her and asking when she was due and trying to lay hands on her twin-bump, and she just wasn’t having it. However, she didn’t mind friends touching. She counted Loki among those.
She’d been feeling kicks too, little popcorn kernels, and it was such an odd feeling. Sometimes she was guilty of grabbing a friends hand (Stephen, she had done this to Stephen) and placing it on her belly excitedly so they could feel too.
“I’m well,” she smiled, sitting on the edge of her bed. “Tired a lot. And...heavy.” She felt like a beached whale, but let’s not split hairs. “But yes, this whole thing - I have been trying to communicate with the spirit, but can’t really pick up on much. It does not seem overly friendly though.” She felt chilly whenever she reached out to it, and was loathe to really push given her dealings with Mephisto.
He wouldn't take the liberty of doing so, not without her permission. He worried about the brush of another mind against his, the subtle reading of surface thoughts and intents with carefully woven spells he cast on himself long ago. He could use that to influence others, but it was nowhere near what Wanda could do. Sometimes he did so without thinking, and it was his reason for such care around her and her children. He didn't want to invade on her space more than he was already.
As he listened, he was idly rubbing and picking at the palms of his hands with his fingers. It was the only outward sign of nervousness he ever dared show, as though his hands were twitching to cast a spell or throw a knife.
At least Wanda knew what was prowling in their midst. Of course she did. The Scarlet Witch would sense such things, fleeting though they may be, the same as he and Thor would.
"However weary you feel now, when your children are born, it will be worthwhile. Your discomfort a mere memory, blotted out by overwhelming joy." He smiled back at her, standing before the foot of the bed. "The same can't be said for a spirit tha-"
BANG! It sounded like a clenched fist punching the wall by the door, followed by an eerie silence.
He eyed the door warily and looked down at Wanda, all without moving his head.
"...that is rather agitated, indeed," he finished. "Has it been bothering you within your chambers?"
Wanda started a bit at the loud banging noise, bluebird eyes squinting into an irritated slit. The spirit was listening, that much was apparent. “Not too much - I think it just keeps hopping around and bothering others more closely,” she mused. “Tony, Natasha, Thor...”
Whatever grudge the spirit had, it seemed to hold it most strongly against the original Avengers crew. Perhaps it was someone who felt wronged by them. Wanda wished she could ask, but all her attempts to talk were thwarted and she didn’t want to try other methods without Stephen’s guidance.
“I am probably going to create some safe spaces though,” she added. “Salt circles. Hopefully it will help others in the tower find peace of mind to know they have places to go. If you want to do it with me, that might be more efficient.”
The air felt heavier in an instant, and Loki was certain they were being watched. He raised a single finger to his lips, casting a spell of silence around them. This effectively bypassed Heimdall's hearing many times, for that skill was just as formidable as the gatekeeper's ability to see afar.
"Salt is effective, and yet it can be broken with one false step from the living," he said. He considered options before pulling a lump of silver and a delicate chain that glimmered like quicksilver from his pocket dimension. As he clenched his fist and opened his fingers again, the lump was shaped into a round loop, crossed at the bottom, the two smaller ends curling in on themselves. Along the larger loop were faintly etched runes for protection.
He put it on the chain and offered it to Wanda, the best he could manage without having a smith make it. "Wear this. It can protect pregnant women and unborn children from dark magic, among other evils."
The bubble of silence didn't stop the air from growing so cold, so suddenly, that their breath could be seen.
"It doesn't seem to appreciate the wall of silence," he told Wanda with a smile. "I could ward the threshold with blood magic in the form of a protective sigil. It might not fend it off forever, and those walking by will wonder why there is blood over your doorway."
The dreaded funny looks from the neighbors. Perish the thought!
Well, yes. Wanda was of the opinion that the living should stay away from the circles, then (or within their protective bounds), and not trifle in them. And she was also of the opinion that they couldn’t all just sit on their hands doing nothing, waiting until Stephen returned to babysit - she wanted to try something, rather than cowering. She’d do whatever she could to help, while at the same time exercising smart caution.
The appearance of the charm made her smile and she took it, placing the chain around her neck. “Thank you,” she said sincerely - because the last thing she needed was more trouble with dark magic, for her and her twins. “I also don’t mind blood in my doorway. I’m sure people have come to expect these strange things around me.” That was just a perk of having a Scarlet Witch living in the Avengers tower.
“Stephen will be back soon though. Hopefully we can all hold down the fort in the meantime.”
Loki smiled from her response to the necklace, but said nothing about his worries over the salt. Others could stumble through it, not appreciating the full importance, and one false footstep could open a vulnerability. He would leave that to her, since it was Midgardian magic and this was a purely Midgardian wraith in their midst.
"I will attempt to render it invisible, should I have some of the ingredients pocketed away." He paused, eyeing her as though curious and wary at the same time. "You trust him implicitly, don't you? I do find that curious. Surely you know that he is hiding more secrets than all of us combined."
“Stephen? I do trust him,” Wanda nodded. “He took me in when I first appeared in this universe, and immediately agreed to teach me to hone my power. I hadn’t had much training before that.” Steve and Natasha tried after she first joined the Avengers, they were both intelligent people, but there was also a lot they couldn’t help with - only someone who understood the burdens of magic would be able to assist in that specific way.
And regardless, at that juncture in her life, Wanda felt like she’d done more harm than good. She’d come a long way since then, and it was partly because of Stephen. “He is entitled to his secrets,” she added. “Though I also asked him to be the godfather of one of the twins. That means he’ll be changing a diaper or two, at some point.”
The thought made her grin a little impishly. He’d probably find some spell to do it without getting his hands dirty, but not even Masters of the Mystic Arts were safe from projectile baby poop.
Well. There was no sweeter revenge than that, he thought with a mischievous smirk tugging at the corners of his lips. Although it wasn't exactly surprising that a cursory brush against the Midgardian magician's mind was like trying to delve into a veritable pit of darkness. It was locked down tight, and Loki knew from experience that didn't happen unless there was much to hide...including what they were willing to sacrifice.
"You are incredibly talented. Remind me to speak to you about Berglind's Principles of Mental Illusions," Loki said, while walking toward the door and resting a hand there with the lightest tough. There was a slight tilt of his head as though silently sensing the goings on beyond the threshold. "I think the would-be predator has tired of the hunt. I will place a sigil above your door, and attempt to cast an illusion over, so none know it is there. Simply because others expect an oddity, does not mean one need suffer unnecessarily."
He smiled at Wanda before opening the door, "Thank you for offering me refuge."
“You’re welcome back anytime,” Wanda promised. “And thank you for the assistance with all of this...ghost business.” She couldn’t guarantee that she’d fix everything, but she’d do her best to pitch in - and it was nice to have someone else around who understood the ways of poltergeists, as much as there was to even understand in the first place.
So now it was just a matter of making sure nothing too awful happened, before her mentor returned.