Chapter 23: My Lady

Chapter 23: My Lady

My lady, he’d called her, the endearment falling from his lips without thought. Looking at her now, standing tall in the face of those who had wronged her, a slight tilt to her lips as she looked at him with that mischievous gleam of anticipation in her wide, innocent eyes… She had never been more his than in that very moment; here, as she unashamedly ditched her morality, giving him tacit permission to seek vengeance on her behalf.

It was not in his siren’s nature to harm others, not even those who had trespassed against her. At first, he’d viewed this as a weakness, but he’d come to understand the strength it took to restrain herself in such a manner. He’d come to appreciate how if not for the gentle nature of her heart, then she would have never found enough space in it to welcome him. If not for her enduring kindness, they both would still be utterly alone.

In the end, how could he begrudge her warm and forgiving character when it benefited him so greatly? It hardly mattered that she would restrain herself from meting out cruel punishments to those deserving of her wrath, he concluded. He was more than capable of doing it for her.

It would be him to strike the blow, true, but they alone would know how she appreciated his ruthlessness on her behalf. Only Loki would know the hidden splinters of ice embedded within her warm heart and he relished that fact. Every part of her beautiful spirit sang to those around her, but he was the only one who could reach the dark corners of her soul the light feared to tread. Those, too, he would claim for himself. He intended to own every last inch of her decadent soul. Everything that made her who she was would be his to savor: her fearless heart; her annoying sense of right and wrong; her secret desires to punish those who had maimed her; her burning need to protect those she loved…

Because if it had been my mate, I would not have risked him for anything. I will die first.”

Her declaration had burned through him like a brand to his soul and he knew, unequivocally, that his mother had been right. Damn her, but she knew her son very well. Better than he knew himself, it would seem.

“And just who, praytell, are you?”

Loki’s eyes turned away from his siren to fix the so-called king with a mocking grin. Isabella’s anticipation increased at the sight of it, causing the grin to widen further in a way Loki knew made him look quite mad, indeed.

“The Volturi memory is not nearly as long as claimed to be, I see,” he said, purposely not answering.

Then he dismissed him, casually strolling further into the room without deigning to give him a second glance.

Isabella silently giggled at the cut direct and Loki’s breath hissed inward tellingly. She was intoxicating when she was like this. The tickle of mischievousness dancing along their connection while humming through his limbs started an aching fire of want in the pit of his stomach. Oh, how he wanted

“Ah, here we are,” he breathed, stopping beside the Cullens.

What a pathetic lot they presented, these creatures who had so wounded his Isabella. They’d carved her to pieces in their ignorance and selfishness, and it was not to be borne. Defeat and depression radiated off them, and he found their very existence to be distasteful, a complete affront upon his senses.

He took his time to stare down his nose at each one of them. Starting with their spineless leader, he strolled down the execution line and dismissed one after the other as pathetic, until he drew to a stop at the last of them. The one who had unwittingly changed Loki’s course, delivering him straight into the arms of his siren.

“Edward Cullen,” he stated flatly, looking down at the copper haired man-child. “We meet at last.”

“Who are you?” the boy glared, eyes turning black as he looked up at him.

He can read minds, Isabella warned in his head.

Not yours, he told her, smirking as the vampire’s ire increased tenfold. And certainly not mine.

“Well?” Loki began, an air of expectation around him. “I’m still waiting for you to kneel.”

“Enough!” Aro shot to his feet, growing even more irate when Loki kept his focus on Edward and continued to ignore him. “I demand answers – Isabella!”

“I’m terribly sorry, Aro,” Bella demurred, sounding anything but. “I’ve kept you waiting on my answer, haven’t I? I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request,” her lips twitched with an inside joke. “I’m not particularly a fan of dying either, you understand, so it appears we’re at an impasse.”

“Seize her,” Aro hissed.

Loki tensed, every fiber of his being urging him to move to her defense, but he managed to suppress the instinct. While his eyes remained trained on the pathetic vampire before him, from his peripherals he witnessed a startlingly large guard creep up behind Isabella, his expression marred by a wicked sneer.

Just as it had in Germany, the effort it took to stay his hand and temper paid off. She was moving without even seeing him, her lithe body twisting elegantly as she tossed him over one side of her hip with preternatural strength, slamming him down to the stone floor at her feet.

Her little band of Avengers had done one thing right by her, he ruefully acknowledged.

“That was rude,” she breathed, tapping the guard’s chest as one would boop a dog’s nose in warning. Rising up, she dusted her hands against her thighs with an affected air of ease.

“Indeed,” Loki agreed, though his eyes still bored into Edward Cullen.

Vicious satisfaction filled him at the dawning look of horror and confusion he saw there. Yes, his mind purred in satisfaction. She is not as you remember, is she? No longer helpless and weak. No longer ripe for you to prey on.

A strange sense of pride swirled within his breast. Behind him, his siren stood tall and proud like the Valkyries from the days of old. Her strength had stunned the room into silence and forced them to look at her, truly look at her, and see her for the first time. She would no longer be dismissed. They’d brought her into this world of monsters and abandoned her, but she had not withered and died without them. No, she adapted and changed. She grew strong and fierce, determined to protect herself against those who had so grievously wronged her.

Exquisite. She was the most stunning creature he’d ever beheld in all his centuries of existence.

“Wha- how? What is going on here?!” Aro hissed, his pitch so high the words sounded like steam escaping a kettle.

Loki smirked and tore his gaze away from Edward at last. “Enough,” he bit off, glaring at Aro as one would scold a child. Honestly, the man called himself a king yet he exerted no control over himself or his outbursts. He was entirely two dimensional and Loki loathed the fact he had to suffer his presence.

“You would do well to remember the ones you parlayed with to retain your seat of power, vampire,” he murmured, turning to face Aro more fully.

Deciding to show the petulant king just whom he was dealing with, Loki extended a hand out to the side and his disillusioned spear shimmered into existence within it. Rather pointedly, he brought the base of Gungnir to a thud on the stone floor, the mind stone briefly flaring to life.

The effect was instantaneous. Aro’s eyes widened and if it was at all possible, then his parchment like skin drained of all color. His shoulders fell and he took a step back, nearly crumbling into the throne behind him.

“Asgardian,” he breathed.

Where before the label would’ve set Loki’s teeth on edge, it now rolled off his back and had him baring his teeth in a shark-like grin of anticipation. How delicious it was to pull the rug out from under his unsuspecting foes.

The faint stirrings of curiosity flew to him, but he did not bother replying to Isabella. Soon enough she would learn just how entwined their histories were.

“Oh?” Loki tilted his head out mockingly. “So you do recall?”

Spine stiffening, Aro attempted to regain his composure as he perched regally on his throne once more. The effect was ruined, however, by his wide eyes staring unblinkingly at Loki.

“The Volturi remember their debts,” Aro stiffly answered, the very statement an inherent submission.

“We shall see if you do,” Loki allowed, delighting in the impotent rage burning in Aro’s eyes.

Let this be a lesson to you for coveting that which is above you, he ungraciously thought.

“I remember all too well,” Caius hissed, breaking his silence with a lethal glare. His entire body was coiled to spring, and yet he restrained himself, his hands clawing into the arms on his little throne. “Yet I don’t recall you.”

Loki grinned. “You wouldn’t. Amusing though you little vampires may be, I find you tiresome, and so opted not to suffer your presence. Now you must suffer mine. You’ll find me much harder to sway than my fool of a brother and his little friends, though.”

Silence again as they processed his words.

“Loki,” Aro breathed.

“I see my reputation precedes me,” Loki’s manic grin widened. “And you’ve recognized the symbol of the All-Father,” Loki twisted the spear again.

“We remember,” Caius intoned again, slowly easing his grip on his throne.

“Midgard has long been under the protection of Asgard,” Loki proclaimed. “Odin granted your kind leniency. He allowed you to keep the power you now carelessly wield with the understanding that you would oversee the creatures of your realm and prevent them from overreaching into the domain of mortals. But you have not done this, have you?” he asked rhetorically, glancing pointedly towards Isabella before returning his glare to the kings once more. “Centuries have passed since our presence in this realm and you have grown complacent in our absence. You are in violation of our agreement, vampire, and I have come on behalf of the All-Father to seek retribution.”

It was a pretty speech, Loki admitted to himself. Centuries ago, Asgardians had come and gone to Midgard more freely. In their sad, primitive minds, the humans of the time had equated them to gods, and so had worshipped them as such. His mother had thought it flattering; therefore, the Asgardians had come to look upon the quaint Midgardian mortals with fondness.

Provisions were made for their safety. Odin sent Thor to negotiate with the creatures who thirsted for their blood. A treaty of sorts was born; an agreement that would allow the vampires their natural diet while still protecting the majority of mankind from their bottomless thirst.

Let these fools think he had come on Odin’s authority seeking retribution for their over-reaching arrogance. Let them think that any hint of a lack of compliance would bring the full wrath of Asgardian justice down upon them. It made the task of usurping their guard for his own purpose almost ridiculously easy. Such simple creatures Midgardians were, immortals and mortals alike. There was no challenge in manipulating them anymore, he nearly dismayed.

You’re rather proud of yourself, aren’t you?

Well, there was still one challenge he had yet to conquer, he ruefully acknowledged. He turned his head slightly to catch Isabella’s withering stare. His siren would never be conquered, he suspected. She was the most vibrant star in the dark velvet of his night sky and her radiance would never dim. Envisioning it now, he saw the decades stretching out ahead of them spent in a constant struggle of wills. A push and pull that would always be, like the tide ebbing and flowing from one to the other. Inescapable.

Good, he concluded. Then I will never tire of her.

Swallowing twice, Aro was finally able to speak again. “But Isabella…” he trailed off, his gaze turning to the girl in question who merely smiled in a quiet politeness that only served to unsettle the room further.

Isabella’s amusement was palatable despite her annoyance at Loki’s affinity for playing games. His connection to the Volturi was feeble, but it was strong enough for him to exploit and so he would play his hand efficiently. Beyond that, though, some quiet part of him had to wonder…

Could this mutual tie to the Volturi between them, no matter how thin, been enough to have converged their paths in some other lifetime? In some other reality would Loki have come back to Midgard to deal with these vampires on behalf of Odin as he now claimed to be doing, and have found his siren then? A part of him thought yes, and he didn’t know what to make of that sort of optimistic faith, so he casually batted the thought away for perusal later.

Amusement at Aro’s cheek began to overtake his idle curiosity. Now was not the time for such introspection. Now was the time for action.

“You need not concern yourself with my Isabella,” he told Aro. He couldn’t resist the possessive dig even though he could not see Edward Cullen’s face. “She is above your station and no longer your concern.”

Loki’s eyes hardened as he turned to the Cullens once more. “She was never yours to begin with.”

Edward growled and leapt, but again, the quick reflexes of his brother held him back. Pity that. Usually he was the one advocating for subtlety, preferring a battle of words than to arms. As his gaze bore into the young vampire, Loki found himself thinking perhaps Thor had the right of it, after all. Maybe he should use his fists to conduct conversation more often.

Edward’s body was effectively restrained, but nothing kept his mouth from moving.

“You can’t have her – she’s not yours!”

Loki arched a brow, not even attempting to conceal his chuckle of anticipation. “Is that so?”

The blond brother holding Edward sucked in a wary breath and murmured lowly, “Think about this. Listen to my thoughts. I don’t think you want to do this, man.”

Much to Loki’s pleasure, Edward did not heed the wise words of his brother.

“NO! I did not sacrifice everything to keep her out of our world just to see her roped back in by this, this creature! I won’t have it!”

Flames licked across his limbs as Isabella’s fury once more subsumed her.

You won’t have it,” she breathed, each word a chip of ice despite the fierce rage swarming her. Slowly, she walked towards the Cullens, drawing even with Loki. “What in the world makes you think you have any say whatsoever in my life, Edward Cullen? You don’t even know me. You are nothing to me.”

Satisfaction swelled as her barbed words landed true, Edward flinching away from her as though physically struck.

“P-please, Bella – you don’t understand,” he pleaded. “I lied – I love you. I left to protect you. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you.”

Loki sneered at his proclamation and Isabella gave a derisive scoff.

“Love?” she spat. “You don’t know the meaning of the word.”

“No,” he gasped, his hands grabbing at his chest as though to hold his heart together in the face of her rejection. “You don’t understand.”

Isabella’s head tilted as she considered him. Her anger retreated back just far enough for Loki to sense a new emotion swelling. Pity. Her blistering anger was being tempered by pity, but still she proceeded.

“I understand plenty, Edward,” she said, her tone a soothing balm over the wounds her words had, and were still, inflicting. “Because that’s just like you, isn’t it? To assume you know what’s best. To give me snippets of the truth and then watch me flounder towards conclusions. You say you love me. That you left because you loved me enough to give me a regular human life.”

She paused, taking a step in front of Loki and bending slightly to make sure Edward could not escape her knowing gaze. “And I believe you. I believe you think you love me; that you were doing the right thing by leaving. But you know nothing of love, Edward, and you never will until you pull your self righteous head out of your ass.”

“No,” he moaned, still gasping and pulling away from her as though her very presence scorched him. “You don’t mean that. You can’t mean that. Not my Bella. She would never.”

“Your Bella was weak and naive,” she allowed. “But she’s gone, Edward. You killed her as surely as Victoria killed Charlie. As surely as she murdered Renee and Phil. There is no coming back from that. You can only move forward, but you will be alone as you do. I will never again be at your side.”

“I can make it right,” he pleaded. “I’ll change you, never leave your side again. I can make things better. What we had – that doesn’t just disappear. I know we can have it again.”

Loki gritted his teeth at the very thought of another cold one sinking their fangs into his siren, but before he could speak, Isabella intervened.

“What we had wasn’t healthy,” she said, matter-of-fact. Straightening up, she looked down at Edward and tilted her head as he groaned in sorrow. “Surely you have to see that by now? It took me longer than it should have to realize it, but it’s the truth. I loved you, but I barely even knew the meaning of the word. In my inexperience, I lost myself. I sacrificed everything that made me me while trying to prove just how much I cared for you.”

She sighed heavily, looking away as though disappointed in herself. Another sigh and then she looked back down at Edward. Unflinching at the damage her words were causing, she gave him no respite. “And I believe there were things you did love about me – my silent mind, my sweet-smelling blood, how easily I conceded to your whims, how in awe of you I was… You valued those things and called it love, but it was a shallow imitation. You loved being loved. After a century of feeling you were nothing but a monster, it was a relief to have the little lamb say otherwise. But you were right in the end, Edward. You are a monster. Not because of what you are, but because of what you did. There’s no undoing that.”

“No,” he bemoaned, collapsing back against his brother, unable to stand under the weight of his grief.

“Of course, I’ll always love you… in a way,” she said, resolutely continuing on as if he’d never spoken. Loki recognized the turn of phrase instantly. How could he not after endless nights of being drawn into her nightmares and watching the very creature at her feet hurling them at her as if they’d been little daggers?

Safe to say Edward caught on, too, because his pitiful moaning increased, his hands raking through his hair as his entire body shuddered. His mouth gaped open in a silent, mournful cry as she burned him alive using his own words for kindling. Loki relished the sight, a strong sense of vindication on his siren’s behalf setting his own shoulders back as he stared down at the creature.

Isabella remained unswayed in the face of his pain. Her tone was cool, but firm. There was no quiver of doubt to give him one iota of hope.

“And I’ll make you a promise, Edward, just as you did to me. This is the last time you’ll ever see me,” she trudged on, using his own words against him. “I won’t come back, and you can go on with your life without any interference from me. It’ll be like I never existed, I promise.”

Each word struck true, Edward’s groaning increasing as he collapsed completely, hands grappling against the stone floor for purchase. He found none.

In awe, Loki watched her – his avenging siren, his Valkyrie rising up above the ashes as she passed her sentence down. There was a slight cruelness to her, a ruthlessness that he found positively beguiling. He’d been willing, eager even, to carve out the pound of flesh owed to her, but she hadn’t needed him to. Not really. His siren was beauty and strength. She was darkness and grace. She’d found her own balance between justice and revenge, and forced the line between the two into submission.

The image of her – perfect posture and head tilted back as she stared down at her foe – seared itself into him. This was her victory, but her triumphs were also his own. This moment was to be savored; his compassionate bond-mate wrangling her conscience and doling out justice, not with her fists, but with the vindictive cleverness of her words. Loki had always admired the power of words, appreciating their ability to wound without having to distort their truth. Watching Isabella now, he felt a new appreciation blooming as he witnessed their power to heal. Each word she spoke clearly brought back a sliver of the peace that Edward Cullen had stolen from her.

My lady, he thought again… The gods had surely crafted her with him in mind.

“There’s only one difference between you and me as I say this, Edward,” Isabella continued, her words a soft knife buried in his ribs, twisting. “I’m not lying. Unlike you, I keep my promises,” she vowed.

With that, she gave him one last dispassionate look before she took a step back and stood at Loki’s side once more. Her hellfire gaze raked the entire Cullen family over the coals as her mouth flattened, a sneer of disgust on the tip of her lips. She suppressed the expression and turned to Loki instead, her wide eyes gazing up at him.

A world of meaning flashed between them in that glance.

With all the grace of his royal station, Loki extended his arm out to her with a dignified murmur of, “My lady.” Without hesitation, Isabella accepted his invitation with all the poise of an Asgardian noblewoman, her hand resting lightly atop his forearm.

A strange fluttering filled his chest, some cocktail of positive emotions he was unable to name individually. It was a pleasant sensation. One he could get used to, though he’d never admit to it.

“Well then,” Loki breathed, returning his gaze to the broken heap of a vampire at their feet even as he continued to her, “What would you have me do with them?”

Her fingers twitched ever so slightly on his arm, the only visible indication she was surprised he would put their fate entirely in her hands. Beneath the surface though, he felt the steady current of surprisingly stable emotions flowing from her: relief and vindication. A glowing pride that she had faced down the ghosts of her past and stood up for herself, for the memory of her family.

And despite her next words, there was still a deep, quiet anger still simmering in the wounds they’d inflicted. It may have been lanced and no longer snarling with infection, but her anger at them would never dissipate.

“Their fate is irrelevant to me,” she finally said, the blatant dismissal of the entire coven making them flinch. Loki smirked. “Lock them up or gang press them into service. I don’t care which. I meant what I said about never seeing them again after this, though. Once we leave here, I don’t ever want to have think of them again, even though I am sure they will think of me often as they suffer their sentence.”

“To the dungeons, then,” Loki allowed, his eyes glinting in feral promise. Let them wither away for a century or two. There was time enough for him to extract his own vengeance after he had seen to the Mad Titan. Isabella had verbally flayed the boy alive and it had been beautiful to watch, but Loki would not be satisfied until he had his own due.

Yes, he thought. They would live a nice, long eternity with him hovering above them, constantly knocking them down each time they tried to haul themselves back up. The power of Isabella’s words had started the revelation of their many sins, but Loki would see that revelation haunt them to the end of days.

The entertainment they would provide would be endless.

“Lock them up,” he commanded imperiously. “And throw away the keys.”

There was a beat of silence, no guard moving to do as commanded. Loki’s eyes cut to Aro, glinting coldly as he hissed, “I will not repeat myself.”

Aro’s eyes widened. Shakily, he lifted his head and gave a jerky nod. The same guard that had tried to sneak up behind Isabella was joined by three others, and together they herded the Cullens out.

“Bella, my Bella…” Edward’s pitiful moaning trailed behind them.

“Gross,” she muttered under her breath.

Loki’s lips twitched and he abruptly decided a quick detour for the morning was required. He was tired of waiting to have her to himself.

“I require the use of your guard, pathetic though it appears to be,” he told Aro, his eyes flicking over to the vampire before they flashed back to Isabella. “Begin preparations for traveling to New York. I will give you further instructions after Isabella and I have a little chat.”

He did not deign to stay and hear any response from Aro. The expectation that his order was to be followed without question was heavy and the implicit or else was sure to be enough motivation for the weakling king.

Smoothly, he guided Isabella out of their little throne room and navigated the halls unerringly back to the room they had passed the evening in. Her curiosity was bright, but he could also feel the slight trembling of her limbs. Adrenaline crash, he suspected, after dancing around the Volturi and facing that pathetic little coven.

Once he’d closed the door behind them, he turned to face her. Her breathing had picked up, but her nearly regal bearing was still present. Her eyes glittered as she looked up at him in silence, her shoulders and head tilted back and expression impassive even though her lower lip trembled ever so slightly.

She was still tense, he realized. Still expecting a battle of wits, this time from him, and was unwilling to let her guard down. As much as he would normally admire the instinct, he realized in this instance, he hated it.

She should feel safe with him, he decided, though he could not deny he’d rarely given her cause to feel as such. But things were different now. More different than he was willing to admit, but still could not refute. If there was anyone she should be able to trust implicitly and completely, it was him.

Conversely, it was the same for him. No matter what the future held, she was and always would be, his.

My Isabella… My siren… My lady

He was moving before he realized it, body surging forwards. The metal thud of Gungnir hitting the floor echoed as he gathered her up into his arms, crowding her towards the nearest wall. The line of his body pressed eagerly into her, her head tilting back as she made contact with the stone wall as her lips parted in surprise.

“Loki,” she gasped.

Unable to resist such an invitation, his lips crashed down to hers, finally rewarding himself for being clever enough to have ensnared such a perfect woman. Isabella responded in kind, her hands sweeping up his chest and moving into his hair. There was another metal clang as his helmet crashed to the floor, and if he would have once been offended at such blatant disrespect to a sign of his station, there was no such offense to be had currently as her fingers raked through his locks and tugged ever so deliciously.

He released her just long enough to move his hands to her thighs, hoisting her up for better leverage. She moved in unison with him, thighs splaying open to cradle him against her as her legs wrapped around his waist. One hand remained gripping a thigh as he snaked the other up to her throat, fingers smoothing against the soft skin there while feeling the racing of her pulse against his fingertips.

Never in his life had he felt this liquid fire of desire. It burned even as it soothed him, his body singing in delight at even the most base caresses.

Perfection, he thought as he pulled his mouth away from hers to trail his lips across her pretty little neck. She arched against him, head tilting back even further in offering. He smiled softly, tongue joining his lips as he obliged her.

Her hands moved to fist the leather of his vest, pulling him tighter to him. There was a faint sound of tearing and his ardor cooled just enough to realize what had happened. In her eagerness, she’d lost control of her strength and torn through the tough leather of his clothes.

She seemed to realize what she’d done the same moment he had, pulling away slightly to stare at her fists still gripping the torn fabric.

Tentatively, she released one hand and brought the tip of a finger to trace lightly along the skin exposed. Loki shivered and resisted the urge to return her favor with far less hesitation on his part. Instead, he allowed her curious caresses, enjoying the innocence behind her growing confidence.

Her touch grew more sure when he did not dissuade her. Slowly, she peeled back more of his vest only to freeze, a sharp zing of shock flowing between them.

Their passion now well and truly cooled, Loki pulled away a bit, looking down to see what had distracted her. Tiny, spider web-like lines of soft blue peeked out from above his torn vest. His breath hitched ever so slightly as her fingertips danced over the faint marks, her other hand falling away from him to rest on her own chest where he knew she had a matching set.

“I didn’t know you also had them,” she breathed, her voice turned velvet as it slid over him. “I guess I’m sort of glad for it. Means I’ve left my mark on you, too.”

She’d more than left her mark on him, though he dared not confess as much aloud. He could barely admit it to himself, but there was no denying how deeply she was embedded within him. It was something he exalted and lamented in equal measure.

Her legs twitched around him, and sensing her embarrassment, Loki slowly helped her unwind them. Despite the abrupt turn their amorous activities was taking, he still relished the feel of her supple body sliding down his own, his eyes devouring the self-conscious blush that heated her cheeks. She was an endearing contradiction at times, simultaneously demure and yet somehow unashamed… And he delighted in the knowledge that it was a combination of her innocence and unabated desire for him that made her so.

Refusing to meet his eyes, Isabella’s gaze remained locked onto the exposed skin of his chest, her fingers idly smoothing the lace-like pattern of lines that physically embodied their connection. The longer their skin remained in contact, the familiar pale blue ice of Loki’s lineage began to spread like a cup of watered down ink being spilled across paper.

Unable to help it, he jerked away from her touch. There was no refuting the truth of his lineage. He’d come to accept it, but the sight of it still stung. He hailed from the monsters his so-called parents had told him bedtime stories about. His birth father was the villain in the games of his youth played with Thor, both of them wanting to slay the Frost Giant king so that their people would know peace. Even with his anger at being denied the truth, his mind railed against the way the blue ice tainted his skin despite the power of Odin’s spell-work that concealed him as Asgardian. He was at odds with himself – wanting to embrace his heritage and force the All-Father into recognizing his power, but also ashamed of it. He was ashamed that as a Frost Giant he hadn’t been strong enough for Laufey, and as an Asgardian he hadn’t been good enough for Odin either.

Even more, he hated how the pale ice now contaminated Isabella as well, her delicate skin blushing blue whenever they maintained contact for an extended period of time. It was fainter than his, but there nonetheless. It served as a visceral reminder of how he had tainted her – how he, himself, was tainted. A monster. He was a monster and he had infected his siren.

“I never thanked you,” she said abruptly, her eyes catching his and holding fast. There was something deeply compelling about her gaze that cut through his impotent anger at being so at odds with himself.

Unable to find his voice, he merely quirked a brow at her to continue.

She smiled, her hands reaching out and pulling him back to her. If she noticed how stiff his posture remained, she ignored it, fingers tracing his skin once more.

“For whatever it is you did with that magic of yours after Victoria bit me. You saved my life, and I haven’t had a chance to thank you for it – so I am now. Thank you, Loki.”

“You are thanking me,” he repeated carefully. “For changing you into a-” monster, he thought, but found he could not apply the word to her, so he said instead, “-into something other.”

Her lips lifted in a smile again. “Yes. Whatever it is I am now, I’m still alive. I’m still me, and I know that could’ve easily not been the case. It doesn’t matter what I am, Loki – it matters who I am.”

An inkling of that addictive harmony from the other night began to swirl between them. How could she be resisted, his wondrous siren?

“I’ll make you a queen,” he found himself telling her. “People will pray for your smiles and fear your frowns. You’ll be the only person who’ll sway me to mercy.”

She smiled again, though he noted there was something decidedly sad about it. Like she was disappointed in his declarations, but somehow not surprised. Like he’d somehow entirely missed just what she’d been trying to tell him.

“One day you’ll learn that there is more to life than power,” she whispered, her hands still caressing his skin. “For my sake, I hope that day comes soon, but not soon enough, I fear.”

She pulled away with a sigh, causing him to frown.

“I suppose you have plans to see to with Aro,” she changed the subject, her frown deepening. “I’m going to change and rest a bit before we leave.”

Before he could say anything, she turned and walked into the adjoining washroom, the door closing behind her with an ominous click.

Why did he still resist her when all he craved for was to surrender? He stood there for some time, contemplating her words while attempting to reconcile the quiet devastation of his heart.

(A/N): As ever, thanks for reading. New York is coming up fast and shit is gonna hit the fan, because of course it will, lol.

I paraphrased quotes from the following: Pirates of the Caribbean, New Moon, Labyrinth, and Ever After.


9 thoughts on “Chapter 23: My Lady”

  1. i am shaking my head at loki…poor man just needs to open his eyes and realize what exactly she really wants. he is thinkign with his head and not his heart..i understand him tho. but still poor man

  2. I love how Bella is learning from Loki and her past horrific experiences to cut Edward down to size. Poor Loki is learning to adapt and learn from Bella too, but it is really slow. 🙂 Thanks for writing and sharing.

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