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  • chipper9906
    26.10.2021 - 3 hours ago

    Heal The Cracks Within My Heart - Chapter 12: The Road Not Taken

    < - - - Previous Chapter

    WARNING: SPOILERS FOR LOKI SEASON 1 EPISODE 6 ‘FOR ALL TIME. ALWAYS.’

    Pairings: Loki/Sylvie

    Rating: General Audiences

    Chapter Word Count: 7,785

    Overall Word Count: 104,519

    Status: Multi Chapter Fic - In Progress (12/?)

    Chapter Preview:

    “Happiness,” Loki answers. “That’s what we were chasing, wasn’t it? The need for power, to prove ourselves as capable as others… all for that shiny dream of us sat upon the throne. King of the nine realms. And here you are, in that very position I myself fought valiantly to get… and you’re not happy, are you?”

    “Do not speak of what you do not know.” Any smugness or arrogance the other Loki had on display has been thoroughly broken down and wiped away. “Who are you to say if I’m happy—”

    “What did you have to give up?” Loki continued, despite the flush of anger that crept across his other self’s face. “What did you lose, Loki? Who did you have to sacrifice to achieve what’s brought you nothing but suffering anyway?”

    “This is not suffering!” The other Loki whispers harshly. “I am living the life of a king!”

    “Are you?”

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    * * *

     “Loki!”

    Loki barely hears the hushed whisper from next to him, the sound just about enough to pull him out from his forced sleep. A small groan involuntary escapes him as he comes back to consciousness, both the back of his head and his forehead throbbing with every beat of his heart, reminding him of just how exactly he ended up here….

    Loki blinks rapidly to clear his blurry vision, taking a few seconds to register that he was on his side, laid out on the floor of... ah. Yes, now that his brain was starting to switch on, he knew why he was getting such a sense of deja vu… Right over there, in the middle of this room, in front of the large glass windows that stretched across this entire room, displaying a rather stunning view of New York City? 

    Yeah, that was where he had the sense knocked out of him, or… into him, in a way, by a rather large, green, mean creature… Even now, his back twinged painfully whenever he thought of it. 

    “Loki!” Loki’s head snaps in the direction of the call of his name, regretting it almost immediately when his vision swims in response. He pushes down the bout of nausea that comes with it, forcing himself to focus on Sylvie’s -- now -- relieved face as she sees that he’s awake. 

    Instantly, he feels his stomach constrict with worry as he takes in the discolored bruises littered across her face, a few spots — such as the sharp angle of her cheekbone or her lip— were stained with blood, some particularly bad hits having split open the skin. 

    “You okay?” Sylvie asks. Loki’s eyes drop down to her hands, placed behind her back, restricted by some type of shackles. He frowns at the sight of them, moving his own hands only to realize that he too had had his hands tied up in the same metal contraption. 

    “I’ve been better…” Loki groans once again as he struggles to sit up with his hands tied up behind his back. “Gods, Sylvie, your--”

    “It looks worse than it feels,” Sylvie brushes off his worry. She then immediately contradicts this claim by spitting out a glob of blood with a pained wince. “Cut open the inside of my cheek… damn thing’s still bleeding.”

    “Well, in my defense, you did immediately start swinging with your sword like some sort of barbarian.”

    Loki never thought he’d loathe the sound of his own voice quite as much as he did right now. He closes his eyes with a tired-sounding sigh, opening them up again to see the last of the invisibility spell his other self was using disappear, revealing its smug-faced owner. 

    “It’s genuinely fascinating.” The other Loki steps over to Sylvie, crouching down in front of her. He cocks his head to the side, analyzing her like she was some sort of study piece to him. He huffs quietly in laughter, glancing over to Loki. “How did you do it?”

    “Do… what exactly?” Loki asks. 

    “Gain such avid loyalty.” The other Loki looks back to Sylvie for a moment, the fascination still etched onto his face. “Of course, you were unconscious for most of it, so you wouldn’t know, but this one…” The other Loki exhales sharply, shaking a pointed finger up and down at Sylvie. “It might just have been the most feral display I’d ever seen… You went down, hit the floor, lights out, and… she just lost it. Truly, that was a type of rage that, if I had actually been down there, I might just have feared for my life.”

    Sylvie shoots the other Loki a steely glare. “Must be losing my touch if you think you ‘might’ have feared that…” 

    “I’m sure the soldiers of mine you cut down would disagree,” the other Loki counters with a grin that makes Sylvie shiver in discomfort. “Speaking of, I should probably send out someone to clean up… whatever parts of them remained after you were finished.”

    “Why didn’t you kill me?” Sylvie challenged the other Loki. “Or ordered your goons to do it, since you didn’t want to go down and face us yourself. The opportunity was right there, especially after I took down some of your men -- or… whatever those things are.”

    “Oh, I was going to,” The other Loki assures her. Except… maybe assured isn’t quite the right word… “The second I was aware of your presence, I was ready to dispose of you, but… well, I couldn’t exactly go and kill someone who bared a shocking resemblance to myself, was being referred to by my name, and had my subjects convinced you were me, without getting some answers. And… as skilled as I am, I’ve yet to master the art of forcing answers from corpses, so…” Loki gestures to them with a swing of his arm and a much too wide smile. “Here we are!”

    “Wow…” Loki mumbles. “Even after victory — I assume, anyway — I would have thought…”

    The other Loki turns his sharp gaze to him. “You would have thought what?”

    “That--” Loki begins, but then falters. His eyes narrow and his brow pinches together, looking back at his other self’s antsy-looking gaze. “You know what? Doesn’t matter.”

    “Hmm… I suppose it doesn’t,” the other Loki agrees. He stands up from his crouched position, clapping his hands together. “Let’s get to the whole reason I dragged you up here, shall we?”

    “You want answers?” Loki guesses. “Answers we were more than willing to go to you?”

    “Well, had to be sure I’d get the truth out of you, didn’t I? Down there, with your weapons on you and me not actually there… you could have told whatever lies you wanted. But now? Here, in this room with me, stripped of your weapons? I imagine you would feel more… inclined to speak the truth.”

    “Our answers will be the same either way,” Sylvie tells him. “Lying won’t do us much help.”

    The other Loki laughs full-heartedly at that. “I’m sorry, but… if I heard you two right down there, with you calling him Loki, then… I suppose you’re claiming you’re… me?”

    “That’s right,” Loki answers. 

    “Well, if you’re me, then I know more than anyone that lying most certainly will help. So what reason do I have to believe you’ll tell the truth?”

    “Because you said it yourself: you know more than anyone,” says Loki. “Very few are able to sense a Loki deceit — and who better to know when a Loki is lying… than a Loki?”

    For a moment, the other Loki just looked at Loki with that same paranoia-filled stare. Then, a small smile slowly crept onto his face as he stepped closer to Loki, copying his earlier move and crouching back down — this time in front of himself. 

    “I’ll admit, you have me intrigued,” the other Loki said. “Go ahead -- tell me something.”

    “I’m not the only Loki,” Loki told him. “In fact, there’s another one sitting right next to me.”

    The other Loki’s eyes swiveled over to Sylvie, glancing up and down before returning his focus to Loki. If he seemed surprised at Loki’s claim, he didn’t show it outwardly. 

    “I think I could buy that you’re me more than I could buy that she’s me.” 

    “Oh, believe me, it was quite the shock when I first saw her myself,” Loki said, getting a rather annoyed look from Sylvie. “The first few hours I knew her, I thought ‘…how could this woman possibly be another version of myself?’ Sure, we could both be egotistical at times, and share a similar fashion choice and love for magic, but… there are so many ways we aren’t the same. How could someone like me, who hungers for power and control, have a version of myself who wants nothing of the sort? Who would rather destroy that power and control than wield it?”

    “Aren’t you supposed to be convincing me?” The other Loki asks. 

    “Doesn’t make sense, does it?” Loki agrees. “I know it didn’t for me. You know, when I was searching for her… I was told by someone that she was the ‘superior’ version of me. And I didn’t get that. I… I didn’t get why that claim got under my skin as much as it did. What about her, made her better than me? Was she stronger, perhaps? Had a greater grasp on magic than myself? A master of mischief beyond my abilities, able to escape situations I never could?”

    “And is she?” the other Loki asked. “Better than you?”

    “Gods, yes.” Loki’s answer took both the other Loki and Sylvie by surprise. “But I couldn’t see that at first. It took me some time, but I realized it eventually. It… it wasn’t about if she was stronger than me, or better at magic, no. Nothing like that… Sylvie is better than me, because… the things she did? They weren’t for power. They weren’t to… to prove to herself or to anyone else that she deserves that power. She doesn’t want it.”

    “Oh?” Loki asks as he looks to Sylvie, voice brimming with both genuine curiosity and amusement. “And what is it you do want?”

    Sylvie took pause for a moment. That… that was quite the question, wasn’t it? It was the question. If you had asked her that before today, before meeting Loki and the events that transpired after, her answer was simple: ‘Kill the Time—Keepers. Kill those that took my life away from me.’ She supposed, if you wanted to cut it down to one word, it could be made even simpler: ‘Vengeance.’ But now, having got that revenge for herself, sat here with her hands shackled… well, you do hear the cliche that revenge is never what you think it’s going to be. It never solves anything -- Hell, it didn’t even feel all that good. It would be hard to, with the multi-verse cracking open before her very eyes. Any little ebb of satisfaction she thought she’d feel as the life drained from He Who Remains was overshadowed by this deep, dark, all-encompassing numbness settled in her chest from what she had done… of seeing that flash of shock and hurt on Loki’s face as she pushed him away. 

    Yes, she had wanted to kill He Who Remains. And she supposed whether that made her feel any better was another question in itself. But the question this Loki was asking her, after achieving what she had set out to do nearly her whole life, now… what did she want?

    “Peace,” Sylvie answered, then immediately shook her head. “No, no, I want… Calm. Stillness. I want to… to live. More than just existing, or surviving. I want… to be home, wherever that ends up being for me, and I want to live happy. I don’t want to rely on my anger, or the hate I felt, to keep me going. There shouldn’t have had to be something to keep me going, I -- I should have wanted to keep going, and now I… I’ve found that. I want… to know I won’t have to continue alone.

    The other Loki rocked back on his feet, looking to Sylvie thoughtfully as he pondered over her answer. “Sounds… unambitious.”

    “To you,” Sylvie fires back. “You had that, for a while. A home. A family. I know you can’t deny you lived most of your life comfortably.”

    “And why’s that?”

    “Because I can’t,” Loki speaks up, shrugging his shoulders when the other Loki looks at him. “Up until the moment we picked up that Tesseract that landed by our feet and were spat out in the desert, our lives have been the exact same. The life of a prince…”

    The other Loki scoffed. “The life of a lie.”

    “Okay, so we’re still upset about that…” Loki mumbled towards the ground. 

    It seems to hit a nerve, the other Loki’s face darkening considerably. “Are you trying to claim that you’re better than me? That it doesn’t still bother you?”

    “Oh, so you believe us then?” Sylvie asks. “That we’re you?”

    “Not quite.” Loki dismisses her claim with a wave of his hand. “The pieces of the puzzle fit, that’s for certain. But… question is whether they were force-fit together to create the image you want me to see. For one—” The other Loki holds out his hand, materializing the two TemPad’s he had taken from them. “This… is quite the interesting bit of tech. Definitely not of Asgard’s creation and… doesn’t seem to be of Midgards either…”

    “It’s not of any of the nine realms,” says Loki, keeping a cautious eye on the other Loki as he jumps up to his feet, TemPad still held securely in hand.“It’s… not of any realm. It comes from a place that exists outside of everything.”

    The other Loki gives a high-pitched hum of enthrallment at Loki’s answer. He makes the two of them exceedingly nervous by tapping around on the TemPad’s screen, flipping through various options as he tries to get an understanding of the high-tech object in his grasp. “…Time Door?” The other Loki reads with an amused snort. “There’s an… odd clock face smiling at me here… Are you sure this isn’t a children’s toy?”

    “No, and please don’t bring out Miss Minutes here,” Sylvie requests of the other Loki. “It’s more tolerable sitting here talking to you than it is listening to her chipper nonsense…”

    “TVA…” The other Loki reads out loud, peering at the corner of the TemPad’s screen. “What is that? A realm? A being?”

    “An acronym,” Loki answers. “Stands for the ‘Time Variance Authority.’ They’re… the organization that dictated the flow of time. Every event that’s ever occurred was only allowed to occur if they wanted it to.”

    The other Loki laughs in obvious disbelief. “Well, that’s ridiculous. I’m supposed to believe it’s possible to have control over that level of power?”

    “I thought the same thing, funnily enough.” Loki packed as much sarcasm into his voice as he possibly could. “Even as they showed me reels of footage showing me my future… I still didn’t believe it. Of course, that all changed when I opened up a drawer and found infinity stones.”

    Naturally, this piques the other Loki’s interest. “Infinity Stones? That… that doesn’t make sense…” The other Loki looks away, staring into nothing with a deep frown as he thinks. His head snaps back over to Loki, the frown remaining in place. “Which ones?”

    “All of them. Multiples of them, actually. In fact, one of the workers said, and I quote — because I’ll never be able to forget this until the day I die — ‘some of the guys here use them as paperweights.’ And the best part? They were useless! Just like our magic was useless in that hellish place… The most powerful items in the universe reduced to… colorful gems that stopped papers blowing away…”

    If they didn’t have every bit of the other Loki’s attention, they sure as hell did now. The main concern the two of them had now was whether this Loki was actually believing any of what they were telling him. But they still had plenty of evidence to put forward, and judging by the way this Loki seemed hooked on their every word… it would probably be safe to say he was going to listen to the full story. 

    The other Loki switches his intense gaze between them, and the TemPad he held in his hand. He knocks it against the palm of his other hand as he thinks, inhaling then exhaling deeply as he de-materializes the TemPad. Loki and Sylvie’s eyes follow him as he makes his way to a rather lavish-looking bar tucked away in the corner of the room. He pulls out one of the stools from under the bar’s table, dragging it across the room in a way that creates the most obnoxious sounding screeching sound that has Loki closing his eyes and grinding his teeth with annoyance at himself. 

    When he opens his eyes again, it’s to see the other Loki had plopped himself down on the chair in front of the two of them, leaning back against the chair’s back with his arms crossed and staring at them both with laser focus. 

    “Come on, then,” Loki beckons. “Convince me. How do two versions of me get involved with an organization that is apparently powerful enough to damper the effects of the infinity stones, and then… end up in front of me.” 

    “It could take a while,” Sylvie warns him. “Don’t want to cut into the time for whatever duties you have as ruler of Midgard…” Sylvie raises a questioning eyebrow. “…Or ruler of the nine realms?”

    The other Loki immediately begins to laugh at Sylvie’s prodding questions, ducking his head as the last of his laughs trail off. “Tell you what -- you tell me your story first… and I’ll tell you mine. Deal?”

    Loki and Sylvie glance to each other, doing their best to bite back their laughter at the proposition. They knew better than anyone that this Loki was dying to tell them the story of his victory either way, so his offer wasn’t much of an offer in the first place. Still, it was a better proposition than… this Loki torturing them for information they wanted to give anyway. 

     “It all started with a portal, a few TVA soldiers, a stick that can slow down time, and a rather debilitating collar…”

    * * *

    The sun had already descended well past New York City’s skyline by the time their story was wrapped up. What should have been a city full of lights and noise was… rather dull. The odd scattering of buildings here and there had golden light spilling from their windows, but apart from that… there wasn’t much of anything that resembled the city Loki once knew, if only briefly. Without all that light pollution, even the stars were visible up in the night sky…

    Not that Loki or Sylvie were paying too much attention to any of this. Rather, their focus went towards the other Loki sat in front of them. He hadn’t moved much since they finished telling their story, apart from to continue chewing at the edge of his thumb’s nail — which Loki assumed was some sort of nervous habit he had picked up at some point. It was oddly… human. 

    “And… you claim to have seen Him again?” The other Loki finally asks, removing his thumb from his mouth. “Another version of Him?”

    “Well, it... it was kind of hard to make out who it was from how far away we were, but um… it certainly seemed to be, yes,” Loki answers. 

    “And what does He want? Same as the other?”

    “No clue,” says Sylvie. “But he really seems to want us out of the picture. Enough so that he’s actually jumping timeline to timeline himself to find us.”

    The other Loki stands from the chair so abruptly that it startles the two of them, both leaning back instinctively at the sudden movement. There’s not much they can do but watch the other Loki as he paces back and forth in front of the ceiling to floor windows, his arms tightly folded behind his back as he walks. 

    “After everything…” The other Loki spits, coming to a sudden stop and turning on the spot to face them. “That’ll be it? I’m not part of the timelines He allows, and I’m just… removed? Just like that?”

    “You and a billion other Loki’s,” says Sylvie. “Ourselves included.”

    The other Loki scoffs, muttering under his breath as he resumes his pacing. "Of course. Just my luck... You give everything to achieve what you set out to do, and now–" 

    Give everything? Loki did not like the sound of that. What did this Loki have to give? What did he have to give? What was everything to him? "... And by give everything, you mean...?"

    The other Loki stops his pacing once again, his eyes swiveling over to Loki at his question. "Oh, right, of course," he says with a short bark of laughter. "I was going to tell you my story, wasn't I? How could I forget..." 

    The more Loki sat here and listened to this other version of himself, the more he got the feeling that whatever events unfolded for this Loki resulted in him being... not all there... Or perhaps that's how a majority of Loki's are when left unchecked, himself included. And, on top of that, the only other Loki he's spent a large amount of time with was Sylvie, who quite clearly had her wits about her far greater than some of the other Loki’s he met in the Void... 

    “To tell you the truth, for a while I… I wandered in that desert. The locals didn’t know what to think of me, and any demands I made of them were just met with confusion.”

    “Did you…?”

    “Kill them? Enslave them? ” The other Loki guesses. No, I didn’t. They were of no threat to me, and… truth be told, they were of no use to me. I had been thoroughly beaten, my pride hurt, and being ruler of a small village in the middle of nowhere wasn’t going to do much for me.”

    “But you had the Tesseract,” Loki points out. 

    “Oh yes. I had the Tesseract.” The other Loki’s voice is dark and regretful. “I had an infinity stone in my grasp. Someone else knew I had it too.”

    The other Loki drops back down into the chair he was sitting in earlier, leaning forward as he continues speaking. “Let me tell you, if you thought what Thanos did to us was bad before? If you had experienced what he did upon learning of my failure…” The other Loki trailed off with a shake of his head. Loki had never seen his own face look quite so… haunted. His eyes held stories of the tremendous pain that must have been inflicted upon him. 

    “I may have brought him an infinity stone… but I lost the other,” the other Loki continues. “Stuck down on Earth, now in the hands of the rag-tag group of heroes that had defeated me and a section of his army. Clearly… we underestimated Midgards defenses… But you see, now I knew that. I had first-hand personal experience of the kind of kickback you’ll get trying to take control over the realm. I knew, now, of what it would take to win. Whether he liked it or not, I had valuable information… and Thanos knew it.”

    “So you went back?” Sylvie asked. “You tried again with… what — a different infinity stone?”

    “No,” the other Loki answered eerily calmly. “Not just me. Thanos didn’t just give me another chance… he offered up his own abilities.”

    Loki could feel his face pale at the thought. Earth wouldn’t have stood a chance… Especially with the world still recovering from the… from his invasion. They wouldn’t have even had a chance to study the scepter they had taken from him. They wouldn’t have even known the power that lay within it. No, if Thanos himself inserted himself into the fight… 

    That was it. 

    “I suppose he had assumed Earth was going to be like any of the other planets he had culled. Some resistance, of course, but… not one powerful enough to stop a God.”

    “Uh, come again?” Sylvie cuts into the story. “Did… did you just say ‘culled?’”

    “Yes, he…” The other Loki stops, taken aback by Sylvie’s confused expression. “You don’t know?”

    “Never got involved with this ‘Thanos’ guy,” Sylvie tells him. “My timeline branched off long before I ever got the chance.”

    The other Loki turns his questioning look over to Loki, mouth partly open with a finger pointing back and forth at the two of them. His face suddenly brightens with the ‘lightbulb over the head’ moment of realization, letting out a long, slow laugh as he claps his hands together. 

    “Of course… You know, I saw you together and I just… I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe we would let ourselves do that.”

    “Do what?” Loki asks defensively. 

    “Repeat our brother's mistake,” the other Loki responds with a knowing grin. “I mean, look at you… what’s become of you? You saw it happen to Thor, same as I, and yet… you went all soft.”

    “And so what if I did?” Loki counters with a hard glare. “Looking at you, I can see there are much worse ways to end up.”

    “You can keep telling yourself that.” The grin had yet to fall from the other Loki’s face. “Not so believable when you’re the one tied up though, is it?” The other Loki turns his gaze to Sylvie and, for the smallest of moments, his grin falters. “The same curse befell the both of you… You’ll realize it, someday. You’ll become each other's Achilles heel. The power that can be held over you when the other is put in danger…”

    “Is this… supposed to be advice?” Loki asks. 

    “A warning, really. Such as how keeping your past from her—” The other Loki pointed to Sylvie, but kept his eyes fixated on Loki. “Can only end poorly.”

    Sylvie looked over to Loki, only to find him unable to meet her gaze. He even had his head turned away from her, his eyes flickering between the ground and this other Loki’s much too pleased face. 

    “I’m not keeping my past from her—”

    “But you haven’t told her everything, have you?” The other Loki prods. “Why is that? Are you… oh, you are, aren’t you?”

    Loki grits his teeth, looking away from this other version of himself with a sharp, irritated exhale and a frustrated shake of his head. 

    “You’re scared to tell her, aren’t you? You’re scared that if she knows… she won’t love you anymore.”

    “She doesn’t lo—” Loki begins, but quickly cuts himself off. He closes his eyes, choosing to ignore the way Sylvie’s eyes were burning holes through his skull. “I’m not scared.”

    “Then tell her,” the other Loki demands. “If you won't, then I will. Either way, she’ll know. But I get the feeling you’ll deliver the news in a gentler way. You know, with your newfound softer side.”

    Loki forces down his annoyance at that comment. He slowly opens his eyes, hesitantly meeting Sylvie’s anxious and waiting gaze. There’s something close to understanding there. Something like assurance, that just maybe hearing this won’t forever tarnish the way she sees him. “I need you to understand. When Thanos found me, I was worse than dead. At least, that’s what I thought… If you had known the pain he inflicted… the misery… My mind was… no longer entirely my own. I was left numb, nothing but… nothing. He dug out all the worst parts of me and made them to be all I am. The man I was -- the man I became… he didn’t care of Thanos’s plan. He didn’t care of his life’s work. Thanos was obsessed with the idea of balance. There was only one way he knew how to achieve that. And… and what he wanted to do, it… What he wanted the stones for—”

    “Loki,” Sylvie says, soft, but with a firm bite. It’s enough to stop his hesitant ramblings. 

    “The way he would achieve balance… was by wiping out half of the population. He would go from planet to planet, civilization to civilization, pick out half at random, and... he and his army would cull them. With the stones, he would be able to perform such a task across the universe almost instantaneously. So… Thanos made me an offer. He would loan me the scepter and a small portion of his army, and I… I would invade Earth on his behalf. I was then to give back the scepter and the Tesseract to him, and in return... I was given rule over Earth."

    Sylvie did not react in the way he thought she would. There was no horror or disgust in her eyes, no look of disappointment that he's seen from others when it comes to his choices. She just... looks at him – her stare deep and with a frown of what Loki can almost trick himself into thinking is sympathy. 

    "Now see, that's what I was waiting for," the other Loki says, leaning forward with an eager smile. "Look at her, Loki. She's not angry, is she? She doesn't even seem all that shocked. Why is that?" 

    "Stop it," Loki spits out the command, glowering up himself. "I know what you're doing."

    The other Loki raises an eyebrow. "Pray tell."

    "You're trying to force a wedge between us. It's not going to work."

    "Now why would I do such a thing?" The other Loki asks with an impressive air of dramatics. "Why would I care if two lovers quarrel?" 

    "Because you're afraid. Here you are, having won the battle, perhaps the most feared being in the Universe recognizing you as more useful alive than dead... You had nothing to fear. Nothing, except, for yourself. And now here’s two of yourself, seemingly working together, and all of a sudden there's a threat to your throne and you don't like it, do you?"

    Loki knows he's right when that frustratingly smug smile finally drops from his face. The other Loki inhales deeply, leaning back against the chair. A muscle under his eye twitches uncontrollably, and Loki wonders if he's about to lash out or not.

    "Why isn't she angry?"

    Loki can only frown in his confusion. "...What?" 

    "You kept this from her, but she's not angry. In fact... she hasn't said much of anything."

    "I'm not playing your game–"

    "And yet, you can't stop yourself from wondering, can you?" 

    "Just say whatever the hell it is you want to say," Sylvie finally breaks the silence. Loki was just relieved that her burst of anger was directed at this other Loki, and not him. 

    "You're no fun..." the other Loki mumbles in disappointment, dismissively waving a hand at Sylvie. "I feel that, given he just told you the truth instead of me, that it should be you who returns the favor and tells him."

    Sylvie's upper lip curls in disgust as she lets out a sharp exhale of laughter. "I honestly don't know what it is you're trying to get at. This 'reason' you're looking for, the thing you think is going to drive us apart... It's not. It can't. If Loki can try and interfere with the one mission I set out to do my entire life, and we still find a way to come together again? Then..." Sylvie pauses for a moment, glancing over to Loki before she continues. "Then at this point, I'm convinced there's nothing that will split us apart."

    "How disgustingly sweet." The other Loki genuinely sounded like he might throw up. "All I'm hearing is you avoiding answering the question–" 

    "Because I don’t owe you a damn thing," says Sylvie, turning her head back to the other Loki. "But you know what? I'll tell Loki why his truth didn't 'shock' me or 'anger' me, because it really isn't the big 'divisive' thing you think it's going to be. If he asks, I’ll tell. But not to you. You’re not him.”

    “But we are, aren’t we?” asks the other Loki. “Isn’t that what you were trying to convince me?”

    Sylvie shakes her head. “You share the same name and the same face, but from what I’ve seen… that’s about it. You know, we all have our flaws, and as Loki’s, I think it’s fair to say ours are worse than others. And now, meeting you… I’m starting to realize just how lucky I am to have met my Loki.”

    “Are you… claiming ownership over him?” The other Loki asks, pointing to Loki. The other Loki looked about ready to laugh, glancing over to Loki, only to see that Loki had his entire attention focused on Sylvie. 

    “Oh for the love of…” The other Loki looked away from the display in front of him with a disappointed shake of his head. “I genuinely don’t understand either of you. You speak as if trying to claim that you’re better than me, but this?” The other Loki snorts in disgust. “How is this the better version of myself? Weak. Dependant on one another.”

    “No,” Loki spoke softly, yet the single word caught the other Loki’s attention. “It’s not like that. I used to think that. Seeing what it had done to Thor and the way it had changed him… I didn’t understand it, either. Not until I was given the chance to experience it for myself.”

    “Is this the part where you tell me ‘the world shines brighter' and other rubbish like that?”

    “...No,” Loki repeated. “But she gives me something that I know all the titles and power you have never will.”

    The other Loki shoots him a disbelieving glare. “And what’s that?”

    “Happiness,” Loki answers. “That’s what we were chasing, wasn’t it? The need for power, to prove ourselves as capable as others… all for that shiny dream of us sat upon the throne, King of the nine realms. And here you are, in that very position I myself fought valiantly to get… and you’re not happy, are you?”

    “Do not speak of what you do not know.” Any smugness or arrogance the other Loki had on display has been thoroughly broken down and wiped away. “Who are you to say if I’m happy—”

    “What did you have to give up?” Loki continued, despite the flush of anger that crept across his other self’s face. “What did you lose, Loki? Who did you have to sacrifice to achieve what’s brought you nothing but suffering anyway?”

    “This is not suffering!” The other Loki whispers harshly. “I am living the life of a king!”

    “Are you?” Loki asks with a skeptical look. “If you’re ‘king of the nine realms’, then why are you living down here? On Mid-Guard? With the Chitauri as your only company -- ‘company’ being a generous word there.”

    “I… it was part of the agreement. Thanos wanted me to keep Earth under control, to prevent any potential uprisings before they get a chance to hinder his plans. It only makes sense that I stay here to do that--”

    “No. No, it’s more than that,” Loki disputed. “I’m assuming it’s more than just this city that’s so empty and quiet, isn’t it?”

    The other Loki looked away, standing sharply from his chair. He strode over to the large windows overlooking the city, resting an arm across it as he stared out to his kingdom. 

    “He did it, didn’t he?” Loki asks. “He collected all six infinity stones?”

    “Yes.” The other Loki keeps his gaze focused on the darkened city. “After gaining possession of both the mind stone and the space stone, it didn’t take him long to find and obtain the others.”

    “And now he’s left you to rule over nine realms struggling to cope with the loss of half their people. Ruled by someone who’s…”

    “Who’s what?” the other Loki snaps, finally looking over his shoulder to Loki. 

    “...Struggling to cope with their own loss,” Loki realizes. “When you said you gave everything… you meant that, didn’t you? Gods… what did you do?”

    “I tried,” the other Loki insisted, furious tears glistening in his eyes. “I left them alive. All of them. The Avengers were defeated, done, and I… I didn’t want him dead. I didn’t. I didn’t realize it until…” The other Loki’s voice cut off as his throat constricted. He cleared his throat, glancing back out towards the city. “Two battles on Earth… Even with the aid of Thanos and his army, they still put up quite the fight. They were defeated, but… Thanos wasn’t satisfied with that. He recognized them as the threat they were, and he… he couldn’t have anything risking his plan.”

    Loki stared at his other self in horror, knowing what it was he was unable to say in words. “You let him kill our brother? Just like that?”

    “Let him…?” The other Loki looked taken aback for all of about three seconds before his face reddened with the fury that overtook him. “I begged! I dropped down to my knees in front of his throne and I groveled at his feet! You think I just stood back and watched my brother be executed without a care?! I did all I could to convince him that Thor could be swayed, that he’d be a useful ally in the coming fights, but… but Thanos knew better. Thor would never abandon his beliefs like that. He always enjoyed being the hero…”

    “And that makes his death okay?”

    Somehow, the other Loki only gets madder. “Of course it doesn’t! His death is a guilt I must carry with me, amongst…”

    The other Loki tries to stop himself, but the damage is already done. “Amongst what? Amongst others? What do you -- oh…” Loki trailed off as the realization hit him. “So you lost more than Thor…”

    “I’m not talking about this--”

    “Did you do it yourself?” Loki asks. “Did you return to Asgard with Thanos by your side? Or was it just you who ‘achieved’ that goal?”

    “Be quiet.”

    “I thought it was bad enough that we were destined to be responsible for our mother’s death, but you? You’re responsible for the death of everyone who was ever foolish enough to love us.”

    “You don’t know--”

    “Perhaps I do have to give the TVA thanks. Not only were they responsible for introducing Sylvie into my life, but they stopped me from turning into you. One sole man who no longer feels like a God, ruling over realms that do not care for him, too ashamed to return home to the throne he dreamed of one day sitting upon. Do you fear the ghost of father, perhaps? Unable to walk those halls without being reminded of mother -- reminded that it’s because of you that she’s no longer there? Knowing that it should be Thor sat upon that throne, and now it’s yours… you finally realize you don’t want it, do you? You never did. You’ve achieved nothing but your worst fear. You, and only you, are the reason you shall remain trapped here, alone.”

    “I DO NOT FEAR BEING ALONE!” The other Loki’s yell almost seemed to shake the windows. Loki didn’t even bat an eyelid as he advanced towards him. “I AM NOT TRAPPED! I AM EXACTLY WHERE I WANT TO BE, YOU PATHETIC EXCUSE OF--”

    What the other Loki did not notice was the exact reason why Sylvie was being as quiet as she was. It was as the other Loki got close enough, his anger driving him towards the desire to use physical violence instead of his manipulative wit or even the safety of his magic, that she was able to pull her hands free from her restraints. She got to savor the briefest look of genuine surprise in this Loki’s eyes as her hand clamped tightly around his arm before they went blank, replaced by a green glimmer of her magic moving through him. Then, they both watched in relief as he tilted backward, Sylvie not trying in the slightest to soften his landing as he goes crashing into the ground. 

    For a few seconds, Sylvie could only stare at the unconscious form of this Loki laid out on the ground, the only sounds in the room her somewhat labored breathing from the rush of adrenaline. It doesn’t take long for her to snap back to her senses, hurrying over to her Loki and getting to work freeing him from his restraints. 

    “How did you do that?” Loki asks over his shoulder, trying his best to wiggle out the restraints as Sylvie works. “I thought our mind was too well guarded for enchantment to work.”

    “Not always the case,” Sylvie answers. “There are times you can lose control over the walls in your mind. Exhaustion being one of them, or being under great emotional duress. Whether than be grief, or anger — anything that overtakes all rational thoughts.”

    The restraints finally break with a satisfying click of metal. Loki makes quick work of removing them from his hands, rubbing his hands over the patches of skin made raw from the restricting metals. 

    “But you knew that… right?” Sylvie asks, already dreading the answer she was going to get. “That’s why you were trying your best to piss him off… right?”

    Sylvie didn’t need to be a genius to figure out why Loki was averting his gaze. “Um…”

    “Seriously?” Sylvie stared bug-eyed at him. “Were you trying to piss him off just because?”

    “Not entirely,” says Loki sheepishly, only brave enough to meet Sylvie’s maddened gaze with a few brief glances. “I wanted… I needed to know if I was right… that the path I was led down would only end in misery.”

    Some of the protective anger in Sylvie dissipated, feeling the puffed-up tension in her posture slowly deflate at the self-deprecating way Loki was looking at himself. “And now that you’ve seen it?”

    Loki huffs. “As talented as we are with lying… I think we can both agree he could fool no one with those last statements.”

    Sylvie nods in agreement, glancing down to the Loki by their feet. “I almost feel sorry for him.”

    “Hmm. Almost…” Loki quietly agrees, stepping closer to the slumbering body. “But having been on his path… I know that the decisions that led him down it were made only by him. He - - I… have no one to blame but myself.”

    “Perhaps in this timeline,” Sylvie utters softly. “In his story. But not yours.”

    The corner of Loki’s mouth ticked up by the slightest, the sight of his small appreciative smile helping to make this dark city feel a little bit brighter. Sylvie’s hand seemed to move towards his of its own accord. Loki glances down in surprise at the first timid brush of her fingers against his own, his surprise only growing as she slips her fingers between his, her thumb gently caressing the raw skin around his wrist. Even though any contact on such sensitive skin should have brought more discomfort, Sylvie’s feather-light touches only seemed to soothe the burning pain wrapped around his wrist. 

    “I’m sorry,” Sylvie whispers, and once again Loki’s surprise doubles. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you the way I did, or… or said some of the things I said. I just… I’m not used to all this. All I’ve ever run on is anger, and I.. I’ve never had to dial it back. I’ve never had someone else in my life the way I have you, and… and I directed all that anger towards you, and I shouldn’t have.”

    “You don’t need to apologize,” Loki insists with a knowing smile. “The moment I opened that Time-Door, I accepted any and all blame you were going to place on me. To tell you the truth, I anticipated for that blame to go on for a lot longer.”

    “To tell you the truth… I can still feel some of that anger inside me for what you did,” Sylvie admits. 

    “As you should,” Loki replies so non-nonchalantly, it just makes Sylvie feel all the worse for the way she reacted. She wondered what exactly it was that made him so understanding, especially with her. 

    “Sometimes I wish you were more of an arse like him so I can keep being angry with you.” Sylvie pokes at the other Loki on the ground with the tip of her foot, who doesn’t so much as stir at the boot pushing into his ribs. “So, um… what I said about this other version of you being a lost cause…?”

    “You mean you being right once again?” Loki says with a tired-looking smile. 

    “So you won’t be upset if I said I don’t want this guys help even if he gives it?”

    “I’d be concerned if you did.”

    “And you don’t mind that I want to get the hell out of this place as fast as possible?”

    Loki answers Sylvie’s question by kneeling down beside his other self’s sleeping form. Sylvie didn’t have to ask to know what Loki was looking for as he searched in whatever hidden pockets were stitched into his leather armor. 

    “Did you, um…. did you used to wear this kind of armor?” Sylvie asks, peering down at the dark greens and black patches of leather that held a striking resemblance to her own armor. 

    Loki chuckled heartily at that, pausing in his search to glance at Sylvie over his shoulder. “Every chance I got. Why?”

    “Just wondering,” Sylvie answers with a shrug of her shoulders. “Looks good is all…”

    “Is that so?” Loki’s subtle smile widens to a much too satisfied grin. He turns his attention back to the task at hand, patting down his other self’s body in his search.“There you were, getting all agitated about me joking over me falling in love with an alternative version of yourself, and now--”

    “Appreciating his clothing is a far jump from liking anything else about this guy,” Sylvie answers with a glare and a nod of her head towards the other Loki. 

    “If you wanted to see me more often in my Asgardian leathers, you only need ask,” Loki throws in a wink for good measure, lifting out his hands to reveal the two TemPads he had recovered. 

    “Not the time for this,” Sylvie reprimands him, but the smallest of smiles on her face gave away any illusion of disappointment. “He might gain control over his mind again sooner than we’d like. He could wake up any second—”

    Sylvie couldn’t even finish her sentence before the sounds of rushing footsteps approaching the closed-door replaced her words. There was no time. No time for Loki to do anything with the TemPad’s in his hands. No time for anything but to let his instincts guide him to his feet, the both of them stepping closer to each other in an attempt to protect the other. They had no weapon on hand, no weapons in the room from the quick scan they did of the room. They had nothing but each other, and their magic.

    Perhaps it was the overconfidence talking, but… in Sylvie’s opinion? 

    That seemed more than enough. 

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  • bisexual-characters-nation
    26.10.2021 - 5 hours ago

    I saw someone say that Loki and Sylvie have an awkwardly written romance or smtng. This statement is simply lazy at this point and is just repeating the popular take of the Fandom's loud corners.

    But i don't get it, how can the main and obvious points fly over some people's heads who then go and talk so confidently about the series? Loki and Sylvie's interactions were supposed to be kind of awkward and they were supposed to be anxious around each other because:

    1) they literally started off as the enemies, Loki working for the TVA, the organization that obliterated everything Sylvie ever had and that was hunting her down, and Sylvie was Loki's "target". 2) they are the variants of the same being which is the unknown and weird territory for them to explore romantically. 3) Sylvie grew up all alone, deprived of an affectionate human interaction. She had no friends whatsoever. All she knew was a threat from others. All of this means her developing feelings for Loki are very new for her. She is very reluctant to put her guard down and let herself accept him as a friend and a potential partner. 4) Loki has had many lovers and has established the familiar relationships in his lifetime, but truly and selflessly loving someone and having them as a priority is new for Loki too. He understands Sylvie and is considerate of her trust issues. 5) the directing ensures that their blooming feelings are displayed in the subtle ways in order for us to understand their inner conflicts and to ensure "slow-burn" even though they get established by the end of the season.

    However, i also think its because people are so used to romances as seen through The Male Gaze. Lovie's love story subverts The Male Gaze, but it is not "A Reversed Male Gaze", if you know what i mean? Its all about the subtle intimacy. People are also used to this unrealistic idealized love stories where everything is perfect and the characters' first kiss looks so flawless, as if they have practiced it 300 times before.

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  • bigbazoxngas
    26.10.2021 - 6 hours ago

    if you put sylvie in the amora tag i hope your pillow is warm on both sides.

    #dont test me #loki series #the loki series negativety #amora #amora the enchantress #amora my beloved <3 #LEAVE HER ALONE #antisylvie#antisylki#anti sylki#anti sylvie
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  • discosylki
    26.10.2021 - 8 hours ago

    I cannot BELIEVE it took me this long to realize the parallels between the Sacred Timeline that is constantly ‘branching’ and needing to be ‘pruned’ and Yggdrasil, the ‘sacred world tree’ from Norse mythology that's considered the center of the cosmos.

    #i can’t believe they did that??? #that’s so cool #‘tHeY DiDnT pLaN aNyThInG’ #ya #either that or this is a really freaky coincidence #truly love this series so much #loki series#loki laufeyson#sylvie laufeydottir#loki parallels #he who remains #sylki #the sacred timeline #yggdrasil
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  • cutterpillow92
    26.10.2021 - 10 hours ago

    CUTTERPILLOW92 #GIFTOBER (25/31)

    A pity the old woman chose to die, don’t you think? She was in love.

    @giftober @mcuchallenge

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  • elementroar
    26.10.2021 - 10 hours ago

    Source: @LouisQuorra

    I just saw this and I can’t emphasize enough how accurate this is to my reactions (especially during the kiss).

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  • ingridgradient
    26.10.2021 - 10 hours ago

    Love is mischief, then?

    No. Love is what I feel now.

    And I feel it, too.

    Haiku for Sylkitober Day 26: Mischief.

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  • that-dam-account
    26.10.2021 - 13 hours ago

    Anti-Sylki haters

    Why do some people say Sylki is selfcest?

    They claim that Sylvie is Loki. SHE ISN'T.

    As weird as it sounds, compare them to blueberries and raspberries. The two fall under the same category: Berries

    But they are NOT the same.

    So Sylvie is only a female incarnation of Loki, but she is NOT Loki.

    Selfcest is if 2023 Cap suddenly had feelings for 2012 Cap (Horrifying ik)

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  • atimeforwolvesstuff
    26.10.2021 - 13 hours ago

    Sorry, but I have to share this. It's so funny.

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  • sylkithecat
    26.10.2021 - 13 hours ago

    SYLKITHECAT: 31 days challenge (23/31)

    “At night, I dream that you and I are two plants that grew together, roots entwined. — Pablo Neruda
    #sylki #stc: 102021 challenge #stc: my sylki post #pro sylki#dailysylki#pablo neruda#hiddlesedit#lokiedit#sylkiedit#sylvieedit#dailyavengers#lokitvsource#lokitvedit#marvelheroes#lovie#lovedaggers#hiddleston daily#dailyloki #so sorry if the text on the 1st gif is unreadable #fonts are never my forte (wow stc like making gifs weres yours) lmao haha
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  • odins-sonofmischief
    26.10.2021 - 15 hours ago

    REYLO | SYLKI (15/?)

    Death Star/Citadel battles
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  • bisexual-characters-nation
    26.10.2021 - 16 hours ago

    Loki when someone breathes the wrong way in Sylvie's direction:

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  • ao3feed-sylki
    26.10.2021 - 16 hours ago
    #sylki #sylvie x loki #loki x sylvie #sylvie#loki#marvel#disney#ao3 sylki
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