Survival Pt. 4 (Loki x Reader)
“We’ve got approximately five minutes worth of a head start, that’s enough to sort most everything out. … Alright, we can afford to leave the blanket behind, although it would be helpful to have around … hm. Maybe we could roll it up and tie it to the top of your backpack like a sleeping bag. Then it could also be a cushion if you were to fall backwards. Yes, that’s what we’ll do. Alright, give me your … are you listening to me?”
The skin beside your thumbnail turns white and flaky, and your index finger cramps up in a hooked position. It draws your attention - the cuticle had been picked raw. Only at the sight and subsequent stinging of blood flow did you stop, and simultaneously hear Loki’s voice. He was standing above you, clearly annoyed.
“You’re doing it again.”
“Doing what?” you ask without looking up.
“Getting stuck in your mind. Stop it.” He crouches to your criss cross applesauce post in the house’s living room floor. Your gaze was glued to the loose board from the other night. Or was it last night? It doesn’t make a difference now. From this point forward this place is just a memory. Like all the rest.
“We have to go,” Loki insists. His tone surfaces a nasty resentfulness in you, and while you were partially aware that he was undeserving of it, that didn’t override it. He grabs the hand that you’re absently picking again and you jump, startled by the harsh touch. “What have you done? You’re bleeding!”
“It’s fine!” The nearing sound of inhuman croaks and moans drives your heart rate up. “It’s not a big deal!”
“It is a big deal,” Loki counters. “But we don’t have time to discuss that right now.” He snatches you to your feet by the same hand, plants his hands on your shoulders and stands directly in front of you. “We have to go.”
“I heard you the first time.”
His eyes darken. “I’ve said it thrice now.”
You squirm, wishing he would understand. Wishing there was time to understand.
“Get out of your head,” Loki demands, shaking your shoulders. You want to punch him, but he’d just counter it. What are you gonna do, argue for half an hour? Wait for the infected to get there and ask them why all of this is happening? You’re not stupid.
You nod and feel your lip quiver, seething at your body’s betrayal. Being made to feel like a child is enough, but then to look like one too. Why is everything so fleeting?
Why is it that even at just the thought of what humanity has come to, at the thought of the infected monsters coming to ruin everything you’re fighting for, at the thought that those monsters were once people but are now closer to brainless rabid animals, why when faced with the inhuman reality do the most human feelings emerge? At the end of the day, you are the child that just wants to go home. But it’s impossible. There is no home.
Loki hard set jaw softens. “Listen to me,” he breathes, and places a cold hand on your bare neck. His big, round eyes are almost blue with worry. “Although it may not look like it, we’re one step closer. We’re going to be fine, I swear to you.” With a gentle pull, Loki brought you to into him and rested your foreheads together.
It’s moments like this that you wonder if he’s been lying this whole time about not being able to read minds and see the future and such. In his words was conviction. It’s a quality Loki rarely exhibits with his usual “any way the wind blows” perspective. It reminds you that at the end of the day you share a common goal. You breathe deeply, grounded by the weight of Loki’s head against yours. The intimate gesture made you want to cry; it was a reminder for you to trust him.
You wonder how he always knows what to do, or what to say to give you the appropriate kick in the ass.
“We better go,” you croak.
He pats your shoulder. “You know what to do.”
The old routine kicks in. First and foremost: make sure your pistol and knife are on you. Save the rest of the weapons for last. Pack all the food. Sort what supplies you need and don’t need. (Which, in this case, everything is a need.) Pack the supplies as neatly as possible. Distribute the weight. Put on dry socks. Boots. Dry gloves. Then you place your long rifle in your backpack holster that you’d crafted from a belt, and Loki does the same with his crossbow. Do a quick sweep of the area with your eyes for anything you may have missed. The two of you do this separately.
The place is wiped clean, save for those stocked bookshelves. If only you could take the entire beautiful collection with you. In two steps you cross the living room, removing your backpack. Quickly you scoop up a few books with the most enticing covers at a glance. A voice nagged your mind that the weight of the books would pose a challenge and maybe outweigh the idea altogether, but in your heart you felt otherwise. The paper could be used for a fire at the least. Of course, if possible, you wouldn’t be burning any of them.
“They’re coming,” Loki says out of breath. “Hurry, we don’t have time!”
“I got it,” you call back, even though you’re merely feet apart. You can feel the herd’s stamping run through the floor boards, hear their widespread wails and screeching.
“Now!” Loki yells, opening the front door, squinting as he watched the oncoming infected. White light blinds you and cold wind bites your face. You wished you’d thought of putting on a bandana, but there wasn’t time. You run out of the cabin, leaving it behind.
Everything is white. Your feet weigh a hundred pounds each as they carry you through inches - hell, more like feet of unforgiving snow. Freshly falling snowflakes dampen your clothes; the icy air draws hot tears from your eyes. Or at least that’s the reason your brain convinced itself for crying. You ran towards the snowy hills, toward the frosted trees, toward nothing. You just ran. They were right on your heels. The ravenous sound of the herd was amplified in the wide open outside.
Your momentum got too fast - a leg jutted out too far for a running step and you almost lost it. The other leg quickly compensated, and you bent at the knees and kept running - but the thought of almost falling and being left behind makes you come to a screeching halt. Cheeks burning from the cold, eyes struggling to stay open.
Where’d he go?
“Loki!” you call his name into the air. The whirling wind whispers an empty reply.
Looking around, your aching, shrunken stomach twists into knots. You’re blind. Nothing but white everywhere, and no Loki. Standing still allows the grueling weight of snow melt to set into your clothes. Desperately you scan the area, and turn to find a patch of tall evergreen trees nearby. At the moment you saw them, the falling of snow dust from low lying branches reels you in. Too high to be a deer. Too stealthy to be infected. Below to your right was the ever-starving herd, now somewhat dumbfounded at the bottom of the hill. The mere fact that they’re within eyesight and earshot makes you decide not to yell out again.
If that isn’t Loki in the trees, you’re in trouble. But he’s nowhere. What choice do you have?
Your fingers grip tightly around the handle of your pistol, feeling like icicles underneath thin gloves. You make way to the trees, mindful of the oblivious but keen infected, scanning your surroundings. No footprints. The branches remain still. When the gun’s barrel is close enough to touch them you quickly act, snatching a handful of branches away. A sweep reveals the hollow in the thicket to be empty, free of animal droppings or tracks.
Maybe it was just wind blowing the tree. Maybe it was a flying pig. Regardless, Loki had to be hiding somewhere.
The area had grown quiet, as if the herd had begun blindly searching for their prey. They were likely staggering around the cabin, using their highly developed echolocation to try to spot you. Luckily, their intelligence stopped there. The rest was eat, eat, eat. You considered whistling out for Loki, but refrained from it in fear of rousing the herd up again.
Great. Nothing in sight, nowhere to go, and no one to complain about it to. Where the hell is he? And why is he still hiding? you pondered, circling the perimeter of the evergreens. No movement, no sound except for the thunderous crunching of snow beneath your boots.
And then the sound of snow pluming around your head. Snow in your eyes, ears, on your neck. Chilling your spine, cushioning your elbows. Your mind whirring as you open your eyes and squint them right back shut at the the bright, vast blue sky. Then a tall, thin shadow obscures the light, and your eyes shoot open.
Loki was standing above your body, laughing.
You raise your gun to give him a glimpse of the afterlife. Or whatever Asgardians face after they’re scared to death. Only, your gun is gone.
“Looking for this?” he chirps and dangles your pistol above you like a piece of meat, interrupting your panicked shuffling to find it.
Disoriented, lopsided and homicidal, you spring to your feet haphazardly and prepare to unleash a volcano of profanity, but you can’t. He’s smirking. His cheeks are as round and rosy as a kid on Christmas morning - he even lends a hand to help you regain balance.
Every bit of air leaves your lungs in a scoff of disbelief. “Wha - why’d you do that?” you ask, then interject more forcefully, “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“Keep your voice down,” says Loki calmly, leaning in and commanding you with a firm hand on your shoulder. You sling it off, furious.
“Fuck you, I thought you were gone! I thought someone had taken you!”
“Yes, and if I had, you would’ve been taken as well.”
“You … you pushed me to the fucking ground!”
“Actually, I pulled you to the ground. From behind. It was a bit of a test of my ingenuity in the comforter blanket’s effectiveness of protecting your head in a fall. And I must say, I believe it worked quite well. Though I bet those books in your backpack proved to work against you, didn’t they?”
Your mouth hangs open as if to speak, but you’re so possessed by anger that no rational speech comes out. Hyperventilating, head shaking in denial, hands dying to punch him where it counts. How could he scare you like that?!
“Hey,” says Loki, taking one of your trembling hands. “Don’t take it so badly. If I were you, I’d be eternally grateful that it was me who caught you instead of someone else. Because it all comes full circle, dear. You mustn’t get so lost in your own mind. You have to be one with yourself, and be able to separate them when needed.”
He wets his chapped red lips and winks, crows feet crinkling around his big, round eyes. He was sincere, despite the condescending untertone in his voice. As much as it lit you up with rage, Loki had bested you. He’d not only proven a valid point of his own concern regarding the deficit in your caution, but he’d also brought something to your attention that you hadn’t fully considered; while you’re always subconsciously aware of your needing him to survive, you weren’t so aware of what you would do without him. Even knowing the cold fact that either of you could be killed at any time. That never completely processed before.
But frankly, it was never something you wanted to give a nanosecond of a thought, and you damn sure don’t want to now.
You extend the opposite hand to the one Loki’s holding. “I’ll take my gun back now.”
Loki is taken aback, his eyebrows raising in surprise as though he’d expected a more playful response - or even just something more elaborate. Which, normally, maybe you would’ve been. But clearly things are changing everywhere, and it seems you’re gonna have to change, too.
A strange, conflicted smile washes over Loki’s face, then he quickly straightened it out into a more distant look. Without breaking away from your glare, he plops the pistol into your hand with enough force to spring your hand downward.
You tuck the gun in the back of your jeans. “Lead the way.”
welcome to the apocalypse, dudes