Who: Valkyrie, Loki What/When: tense convo after these texts. Rating: Green, some language
It wasn't long before Loki finished the mac and cheese that Darcy had shoved in front of him. Somehow, he managed not to nod off face-first in the bowl, because it had been a few days of healing on and off. At least things were mostly set in now, and there was less cause for concern, other than pain and discomfort as the last of the wound mended back together.
Loki lightly rapped on the door before entering, leaving the door ajar so that the dogs could come or go as they pleased.
"You are looking much improved," Loki said, sitting in a chair by the bed, leaning forward so his elbows rested on his knees, hands clasped together. "What is it that you wished to speak to me about?"
Valkyrie had been thinking about this for as long as she had been lucid enough. Ever since she had joined up with these people, the only constant had been failure. She had stopped Hela from gaining power but couldn’t save Asgard, had fallen to this stupid ass planet and failed at being both a guard to Thor and an asset to calm down the Hulk. She couldn’t imagine the destruction that had caused. And all she had remembered, upon being shot and falling backwards for what felt like an eternity, was what had happened to her battle sisters. Her first failure.
Now, lying here motionless with a gaping hole in her body that was bigger and fiercer than anything she had ever suffered, Val had decided this was too much. At least when she had been wasting away on Sakaar no one had been hurt due to her failures. Then again, loads of people had been hurt due to her efforts, so that couldn’t be repeated either. But surely there was a place out there where she could go back to being nobody, of whom no one expecting anything, and by whom nobody needed fear being hurt.
She snickered humorlessly when Loki said she looked improved. She didn’t feel improved at all, quite the opposite. “You can open portals, can’t you? Can you open portals to other worlds?”
Unaware of her line of thinking or her thoughts about perceived failures, Loki's eyebrows knit together and he frowned, concerned over what she was getting at. He had his own long list of failures to content with, so it was often difficult to drag himself out of his own pit, where such thoughts were weighing him down and threatening to bury him, entirely.
He also didn't want to give away the extent of such a capability, as it was tenuous at best, without a known path. Or paths he had already taken, for that matter.
"It is much more complicated than it sounds," Loki said, his expression as openly wary as his tone of voice. "Why do you ask?"
This wasn’t going to be easy, but Valkyrie had thought of that, too. She hadn’t had the presence of mind to conjure up an alternative plan yet, but if Loki was too adamant in his refusal to help her then she would have to figure it out. Still; first, this.
“I understand it’s complicated.” She told him, sighing. “But I… I need to leave. Loki, I need to go and you’re the only one who can help.”
Swallowing, she inhaled sharply and began talking again before he could get a word in. “I can’t stay here. I don’t belong here. I don’t fit in and I don’t do well and I want to leave. If you want me to beg, I will. If you want me to jump through a thousand hoops I have no choice. I just need to get off this stupid planet before more of this shit happens.”
There were quite a few things that Loki wanted to say, his lips parted as he paused and listened to what she was saying. He wanted to protest, he wanted to tell her it wasn't possible, and he wanted to cover his and Darcy's rears from the terrible plan that they shared. Most of all, he wanted to say that the number of people he considered a friend was very few, a number that could be counted on only one hand. That was not something he was willing to let go of.
He stared at her, wide-eyed and regretful, before whispering, "I can not. No amount of begging can change this. I simply can not do so. Besides, where is it that you would run to? Do you think that the threats that are out there would somehow overlook you, wherever it is that you hide while trying to drown your sorrows?"
Frowning deeply, Valkyrie adamantly refused to entertain Loki's judgment-charged questions and accusations. Not only was she still too tired to explain herself fully, she felt that despite Loki being completely wrong about why she wanted to leave, asking for a favor did not automatically grant him the right to her full disclosure. Clearly he hadn't been listening fully if he thought she was running away out of fear and not leaving because she felt out of place. Besides, it didn't matter what he thought, she felt guilty and shitty enough already that changing his mind wouldn't matter. He thought her a coward and a drunk. So be it. Made things easier.
“I don't need nor did I ask for your judgment. If you cannot do what I asked then I am sorry to have bothered you, and I thank you for coming anyway.” She faced away from him, expecting him to get the cue to leave.
If that is what she thought, then she fooled herself into thinking she understood him at all. Rather, he was too familiar with guilt and anger, and its insidious side-effects. Whereas before he had looked upon her as a friend and had shown regret that he couldn't help her, now he looked resigned, as though he should have expected this. He was only wanted as long as it was of some use to others, and he should know his place otherwise. Her dismissal filled him with an sudden ice cold fury that he thought had been buried and forgotten.
Further complicating this was there was only one realm he knew the way to, and the paths to Asgard (and thus to Sakaar) were obliterated, long gone. Above and beyond that fact, she was attempting to shirk her sworn duty and that was to be his brother's guard.
"My judgment." He scoffed out loud, and the sound held no mirth at all. "If only I had but a speck of power left to my title, I would forbid you to leave your post."
Despite his anger, his voice was infuriatingly calm as he stood up, "You must speak to Thor. Even if he gave you leave, I am unable to give you what you ask. The paths I once tread upon are severed. I do apologize if this offends you."
Even if Valkyrie stubbornly refused to face him, Loki inclined his head politely toward her and turned to make his way to the door. He would suffer no further insults or slights. And should she try to leave, she would find one of his illusionary doubles sitting in the chair he just vacated. Even if she was willing to set aside her tasks because of a setback and wounded pride, he was told by Thor to heal her. And he was going to see that task was done.
Val’s laugh was bitter, almost mocking. “My post?! The one I failed when your brother got shot you mean? The one I keep failing when I can’t even manage to make a couple of soldiers stand down or use the influence I have over the Hulk to protect this place we’re trying to make home? That post?”
It wasn’t about him; it was never about him. Loki was shifty, and hard to get along with, but he was a friend. That only made things worse. “Alright, I thought I’d ask. It doesn’t offend me but obviously my decision offends you. I am a drunk, I am all that you say I am. Happy now?”
She watched Loki walk towards the door and huffed. “I saw her, Loki. I saw it all again. It begins to feel eerily similar, it begins to feel like it wasn’t Hela’s fault but mine. Failure follows me around unless I’m scavenging people for a crazy megalomaniac. I’ve been down this road before and I’d rather die than see you all fall in front of me like they did. Like she did. I humbly apologize if this offends you.”
From his perspective, Loki considered he had some shared experiences. So it was a mutual condition, and it was taken every bit as personally as she was doing by blaming herself. But sharing said experience with someone as stubborn as he was, mired in their own self-loathing and refusing to listen if he had attempted to explain, wasn't going to work out. He hadn't the patience for such things...along with being shifty and hard to get along with. Oh, and another thing for that list of negative personality traits: temperamental.
His double was staring at her from its place in the chair, with heavily lidded eyes and one eyebrow arched higher than the other. It sighed and then almost comically pointed over in the direction of the tangible Loki, who was stopped in his tracks. Loki, who appeared to be taking several deep breaths before slowly turning around, and staring at Valkyrie with barely contained fury.
"Yes. It offends me," he confirmed, his voice kept tightly reined in despite the burning desire for an impassioned tirade. "No. I am not happy. Everything you are doing at this moment, offends me. I am not the opener of ways, so that you may escape what haunts you, rather than come back to continue to fight. Your large green friend surely awaits you, and yet you wish to run. My brother needs your aid, so that others do not meet the same fate as you both. And yet you wish to run. This miserable realm needs protected, and you would run so that there is one less person capable of protecting it. Wounded or not, it is your duty. Failure or not, which was on both our parts, we did not shun Asgard in its final hour. Do not shun this realm Thor would have us call home, as well."
He clenched his fists so tight that his fingers ached.
"You are not the only one to lose someone they loved," he finished with clenched teeth. "You are not the only one that has failure shadowing your every step. Choose carefully your next words, ere I depart."
That door was two strides from where he stood, and yet it seemed so far away.
His double was creepy. Valkyrie attempted to shield her eyes from him as much as possible even as Loki unloaded on her in a way that, were he anyone else and her at her best, he wouldn’t have had the chance to do. She bit her tongue so as not to respond, simply let him speak and be done with it. This wasn’t going anywhere nice and Valkyrie had decided she didn’t need his particular brand of holier-than-thou judgment right now. Even if it was a mask he wore to fake superiority until he ceased feeling inferior.
Takes one to know one.
“All that I’ve said so far and you insist I am capable of protecting anything. It’s like I’m talking to your double who is also a mirror image and understands things the opposite of what they are, or something.” She muttered. “I’m not shunning the realm, you petulant shit I’m shunning myself!”
She huffed and dropped her arms, hands rolled into fists hitting the bed with frustration. “But I am the only one who sees it repeating and wants to not go through it again. If that makes me a coward then so be it, brave one.”
If that is what she thought of him, then Loki fully believed that the holier-than-thou judgment was a two way lane which she was had both feet firmly planted upon, also. He already wanted to be done with the condescension and disregard he spied in her after his refusal and explanation. He knew little to nothing about self worth, other than loathing and bitter sarcasm, and so he was utterly ill equipped to help anyone else. It was far from constructive, and he knew he needed to be removed before he could be of any use to anyone or anything else.
Didn't stop him from turning into a sassmaster, as that last strand of patience began to unfurl.
"Beg pardon? A brave choice?" He made a show of looking incredulous for a split second. "By all means, do not let me keep you from the task of further deluding yourself. Because, apparently, I am not the only petulant little shit under this roof!"
As there was nothing left to say or that might sway her thinking, Loki gave Valkyrie a curt little bowing motion and quickly departed, intent on going downstairs to cool his heated temper.
“If my choice is cowardly then the opposite of it is brave, by definition.” Val replied without heat in her tone. “I would rather another group of people I care about not die under my watch; sorry Loki.”
Her eyes then accidentally crossed the Loki double’s and after a moment’s intense hateful staring Valkyrie flipped him the bird with both hands before lying back down, snuggling up against Dido as best she could. If it meant she’d steal a car and drive as far away from here as possible until a ship crash landed on Earth and she managed to board it, then so be it. Might as well start burning bridges now though.
The double took in the rude gesture with a sigh, and even though the individual who created it was currently stomping down a flight of stairs, it was still a conduit for information and conversation.
After a long moment of silence, it spoke quietly and in a much softer tone of voice, "I am sorry for such an unsightly display. I wish that I knew of ways to rid others of the guilt they felt. Alas, I do not. Instead, I shall be back to heal you in an hour's time. I hope that is still acceptable to you."
Loki hit the bottom step and huffed out a exhale. His double, however, like some calmer aspect of himself projected outward, merely raised it's eyebrows and looked off to one side, quieting so that Valkyrie could rest.
When the double spoke Valkyrie gave a start, jumping up from the bed hard enough that it hurt her and scared Dido. She stared at the double with a look of disgust even as she listened to him. Alas, she had no diplomatic answers. “You’re a creep. This is creepy. But um… Okay. Sure. Do what you have to do.”
Carefully, Val pulled the covers over herself again and pretended to sleep because there was nothing else she felt like doing at the moment.