“You can trust me?” interrupted the Dragon. “You are a human being and you talk of trust. I am a Dragon who knows more of the human heart than you. Our bargain is our bargain, and by ancient oaths I must honour it. I will tell you something Jack Snap: trust only those you love, and for the rest, make bargains. You cannot trust the world, but you can bargain with it. Hear me, Jack: trust only those you love.”
“What do you know of love?” said Jack, who felt the Dragon asking the question.
“A great deal,” said the Dragon, “but it was a long time ago, when love and trust grew into the world as easily as trees and flowers. Now, it is otherwise.”
--“The Battle of the Sun” By Jeanette Winterson
The power in the staff made him sick with joy.
He was watching him closely, to see his reaction, so it was all Loki could do to school his face into a pleased twitch that revealed little (but not too little. There was something to be said about gratitude and he was grateful). He stroked the metal, listening to the hum of power and promise that sang to him. A deceptive melody, of course, given to trap and ensnare him into greater bondage. A child would know better.
He didn’t care. Not really. What’s another doom to the one he was denied?
It sang to him in his sleep. Sometimes it sounded like his mother and it was enough to hold it closer.
He woke up to Spock stroking his brow, his eyebrows knotted together in worry. Loki let the lie slip past his lips before he could think and Spock shook his head at him. There are songs and voices in his head that scream for murder and joy, and he was ashamed because they were sweet and wondrous voices, of worlds he knew and ones he had already forgotten. Loki remembered a planet where it always rained and never thundered. He remembered thinking how sad it must be not to hear the clap of thunder over one’s head.
Spock, though, always seemed upset over these stories and forgotten memories that rise with the tide of dreams. Spock, who always seemed to be begging him to let him in and ease the pain. Finally, it was Loki who pulled him closer and lied because it was easier to lie than to speak and it was easier to sleep with the sound of Spock’s breathing than his own.
Compromise was necessary for this to work.
He did not plan to stay long on the ship, nor did he wish to. While the technology was amazing, it seemed to him that a lot of children have come together to build a white metal box with lots of buttons to press out of glee. (The Captain had laughed when he said so and Spock looked most disgruntled). But Spock loved this ship (Loki never asked why: That was his bargain, his compromise) and Loki adjusted. He remained close to the Observation Deck, watching the stars, trying to remember the names of as many as he could. Spock found him there, for hours at a time, just watching the flow of space pass him by.
He murmured, putting his hand on his shoulder, “You expect to see something, Loki?”
Lie, lie, you are the monster of lies, Loki quenched the urge and finally said, “No. I like what I see.”
Spock sat down next to him, clasping their hands together (their fingers were long, deft, almost matching. It made Loki happy, to see them match) and watched the stars with him in silence and kindness. It was enough to make him want to cry, to rage, to beg Spock to leave.
Instead, he buried his face in Spock’s neck, when the light of stars becomes too much to bear.
Spock has a fascination with his hair that Loki never understood. Loki understands looking well, playing a part, knows how to work with perceptions of nature and etiquette, knows that having a silver tongue is only part of the deal.
Spock asked him once why he cared and he said lightly, “Frost Giants don’t have hair follicles.”
He kissed him, still brushing his hair back. Loki still doesn’t understand, but he doesn’t mind. There are plenty of things he will never understand (why Odin never said yes, why Thor mourned, why had the world changed) but he thinks he can live with it a little better now.
He longed for Asgard.
He’s scared to go to Asgard.
Sometimes he asked Spock out of cruelty, to make him stay.
Spock never would, never told him to stay.
It’s unfair; to go to a home and leave behind the person who can make one for him, Loki felt, but when had his life been fair?
Spock says, “Go home, Loki.”
Loki says, “Come with me.”
Neither of them budges.
At least it has been said and Loki kisses him harder for it.
Thor came for him (as always), dressed imperially and getting dubious looks from all the staff. Loki dressed himself with his magic, clasping Thor on his forearm. Thor doesn’t look pleased with this duty, even if his eyes light up at the sight of him. Loki sensed Spock shift behind him, knew that it felt too soon even when the date was decided, knew that Spock wasn’t sure what to say in such a public place. There were many lies in his head, many he tried to banish, and many he considered.
Instead, Loki took Spock’s face in his hands, pressing their foreheads together. He could cast spells of protection, of peace, of good and long-lasting life. He could make miracles. None of them would bring Loki back to the Enterprise for a long time. So he said, “Live long and prosper.”
And he did what he knew he could do best.
He let go.