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Loki stared at Orexein’s old face with a blank expression, unsure of just how he felt at that moment. Usually those familiar white eyes were a source of reassurance, but, strangely, not this time. Loki looked up to Orexein with a great respect, perceiving him as the father he’d never had. He consulted the man in every situation, no matter how small the matter, or seemingly meaningless the issue. Sable’s weak body cradled in his arms, his face wet with tears for the first time in, well, as long as he could remember, he pressed his fingers to her heartbeat, comforted to feel it beneath his tender touch. Black eyes at her white face, he breathed a longing sigh, teeth clenched together in deliberation.
Sable had done so much for him. She’d shown him love, had taught him to express himself properly, something he’d never truly mastered. From the first moment they met, there had been an undeniable connection between the two. Others cowered sheepishly upon their first meeting with him, but Sable… never. Not once did she draw away, or remove her ebony gaze from his. Of course, back then, he did not fully understand his feelings for her. She was a source of comfort, a helpful, reliable companion, ever-willing to offer assistance or an amiable ear. Best of all, he could call her a friend. Not many people received that luxury from him.
Just thinking about all the instances and moments they’d shared, he felt he could make up his mind without question - until a pang of intense guilt knotted his stomach.
The conflict raging inside him was unbearable, torn between Sable, and his own brother.
“I can’t,” he whispered with a quaking voice, eyes not moving from Sable for a moment. Tears slipped from his eyes. “I… I want to leave for her, but I just… I cannot.” Filled with shame, he couldn’t bear to look at her now, as if unable to face her.
Tilting his head, Orexein silently sensed the conflict in Loki.
“Mikado,” he breathed, placing a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “You feel you will be letting him down if you leave.”
Loki nodded, looking expectantly at his friend. Orexein was so wise. He always had the answer. Yet, this time, he received nothing but a sympathetic gaze. The younger man sighed longingly.
“He did so much for me,” he said softly, eyes closing. “I didn’t repay him.” He looked up at Orexein sadly. “I have to go through with this for him.”
“You don’t ‘have’ to do anything,” Orexein commented, his voice a crackled sigh. He rubbed his sharp chin with his fingers, trying to breathe away the stress of this situation. A cigarette was all he needed at that moment, consumed with concern for his friend.
“Yet, she has done so much for me, too,” Loki continued, forcing his gaze to her. His stare softened as his eyes met her face. Hundreds of moments sprung to his mind, each one fair reason for him to choose her. Embarrassed to give these sweet memories a voice, he stayed blank, shaking his head. “I can’t possibly choose.”
“No-one is asking you to,” Orexein insisted. He took a moment to locate Sora. A swell of guilt told him where the man was. Judging from that quaking energy, he wasn’t going to be coming any closer. Lowering his voice, the man continued. A sigh fell from him. “I know you didn’t want Sable to get hurt.”
Loki nodded, still without words. Orexein rubbed his creased brow, appearing awkward.
“Listen…” he began, in his time-cracked voice. “You do not want to see her get hurt.” A nervous smile gently appeared upon his lips. “Well, the feeling is mutual. I - Sable and I - do not want to see you get hurt.”
Loki gave him a stifled smile, overwhelmed at the emotion the ancient figure was showing. Neither was comfortable with expressing themselves, and, just like Loki, sentimental comments from Orexein were rare indeed.
Sora folded his arms tightly over his chest in a vain attempt to quell the pulsating guilt that grew with each heartbeat. Continuing on from where his brother had left off, Loki had brought chaos and destruction to the worlds. He had wreaked havoc wherever he’d gone. He had brought suffering to many lives, killed innocent people who had gotten in his - Mikado’s - way. And yet, looking down upon the once proud, fearless man, now sobbing forlornly over his beloved’s limp body, tenderly holding her close, Sora could not help but feel ashamed at what he’d done.
The feeling did not make sense to him. Sheer, sorrowful confusion was clear upon his face as he stood there at Riku’s side. The silver-haired man had risen to his feet, despite the earlier onslaught he’d received, and now, his eyes wandered over Sora’s broken form, head bowed in shadows.
Riku tilted his head.
“Something wrong?” he breathed, eyes moving to Sora’s. “Shouldn’t you be finishing the job? You’re so close!” He gestured to Loki with a nod, lowering his voice further. “You could kick his ass!”
Sora shook his head sadly, holding his hands to his face.
“I can’t,” he murmured, within a whimper. “I can’t do it.”
Riku raised an eyebrow, slightly bewildered. Sora had never looked so guilty in his entire life, eyes streaming as he watched Loki curled around Sable’s limp body.
“Why not?” he whispered back, concerned. Sora gave no real response for a few moments, lips quivering, yet refusing to let any words out.
“I… look, Riku,” he breathed, “I can’t do it.” He edged closer to his friend, quivering slightly. “Besides, I heard them talking. Loki’s considering giving up.” Riku’s turquoise eyes widened in the darkness.
“Seriously?” he replied, prompting an assured nod from Sora - the man knew what he‘d heard. A sigh escaped him. “Sable must mean a lot to him.”
Personally, Riku could not really understand how anyone would love Sable - then again, his thoughts were rather biased, considering what the woman had attempted to do to him. He cared not whether she lived or died. Clearly, Loki did.
Loki’s fingers strayed over Sable’s skin, mind lost in thought, black eyes shimmering with new-found emotion. Not the usual anger - every person present had found it incredibly surprising that the man hadn’t set about ripping Sora to shreds with his bare hands - but with tender sentiment, aching to know that she was alright.
“I think you should leave,” Orexein suddenly suggested to him, a solemn look upon his face. “Just my opinion, of course, but…” He took a deep breath. “Sora came close to killing you just now. If Sable hadn’t been there - and, look where being there got her - I hate to say it, but you would have lost to him.” Usually, a comment like this one - even from Orexein - sparked anger deep within Loki. But, as the others could tell, he seemed as a different man at that moment. He didn’t inspire fear within them, not for a moment.
Loki nodded silently, without a response. By now, Sora was beginning to realise that he and Loki were, perhaps, not as different as they had first anticipated.
“Look,” Orexein sighed, croaky as ever, reaching into his pocket for a cigarette, “it wouldn’t…” He looked Loki in the eye. “It wouldn’t hurt Mikado if you gave this up. I mean, I think he’d be glad to see that you didn’t meet the same fate.”
“Yes,” Loki agreed, hair swathing around his face - and sticking to his tear-soaked skin, “but…” He took a moment to find the words he needed. He sighed. “I worked so hard… seven years, I have spent, trying to do this for him.” A low growl emanated from him. “It would make seven years of my life a complete waste.”
“That, and you’d have to swallow your pride,” Orexein smirked wryly. He lit the cigarette, breathing the smoke away from the others.
“True,” Loki mumbled musingly, the beginnings of a smile upon his mouth. “I think that - ”
He stopped, noticing the slight shifting in Sable’s expression. Slowly, but surely, she moved a little, black eyes opening as if opening for the very first time. A trembled whimper fell from her lips.
“L-Loki?” she whispered, voice quaking with pain - thought, the light of her eyes conveyed her delight in seeing him. Locks of ebony hair fell over her face as she tried - unsuccessfully - to get up. Overjoyed to see her awake, Loki smiled at her, sweeping the tendrils from her skin. Disorientated, her eyes darted around - before suddenly widening as she brought her hand to her buzzing chest. “What… what is this?”
The gentle pulsing felt so strange; and yet, so familiar. Loki smiled softly.
“You have a heart,” he whispered to her, leaving a feathery kiss upon her forehead.
“But… how?” she questioned. Another thought sprung to her. “Where is - Sora?”
Loki looked over his shoulder with an overwhelming scowl upon his face, teeth clenched together, eyes slit into a dark, blazing glare, one that sent a shiver through Sora’s entire body. Turning to Sable once more, he softened his gaze.
“Back there,” he said gently. “It’s alright.” He raised his voice, so that the man could hear. “He won’t dare to come any closer.” Sora shuddered at the words, goosebumps dotting his skin. “Not after what he did to you.” Sable seemed bewildered at this point.
“What? What has he done?” she said, words stuttering together into a rushed sentence. Loki tried to calm her.
“Don’t you remember?” he asked softly, concerned at her sudden amnesia. It was incredible to see the entire change in mood Loki underwent when talking to Sable, and Sora in turn; he went from a concerned, loving man, to a violent, raging beast. “Sora went to attack me with all his strength,” he placed a hand on her shoulder, “and you jumped in front of him.”
Sable took a moment to recollect all of this - a little easier than expected, given the short amount of time since it had happened. She nodded slowly, understanding, remembering her actions. Though, from the moment the blade struck her, she had no idea of what had gone on.
“You did it to save me,” he continued, a look of intense gratitude upon his moonlit face. He brought her hand to her chest once more. “Your heart returned to you for what you had done.”
If she was honest with herself, she would admit to herself that she’d expected this. For a while now, she’d sorely regretted some of the things she had done to impress Loki, and follow his wishes - trying to steal Taiko away being one of them. Not that she regretted doing it for him. With each day that passed, her love for him had grown stronger. And now, that she’d thought of sacrificing her own life to save his - her heart had returned to her.
She smiled at him weakly as he embraced her frail body, but her envelopment in this moment was short-lived. Nestling her head into his neck, she parted the hair from his ear.
“What are we going to do?” she whispered, her warm words falling into his ear. “Sora… he’s still here…”
Sighing, Loki pulled away from her, giving an unsure shrug. Orexein sighed, too, but edged a little closer.
“You love her,” Orexein breathed, noticing the anxious way in which he looked at her questioning gaze. “Surely, that is enough reason to leave. Do it for her.”
Crappy chappy alert. I worked so hard and it turned out bad. ;~;