Chapter 38

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Loki thought everyone would be asleep when he went into the palace, it was very very early in the morning, the sun hadn't even come up yet. But Frigga had been up all night waiting for him, the guards had seen Loki leave and told Frigga about it immediately.
When loki came in it was dark and he didn't see her, he started to head to his room but she called him from behind.
"Loki" he nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard her, he wasn't expecting anyone to be there and was every startled. He was covered in blood now, both his own and the animals that he'd killed, but thankfully his coat had come off when the animal jumped him and it hadn't been stained with blood. He was just glad he had remembered to grab it before leaving. He pulled his coat around himself to hide the injuries and the mess of mud and blood, then turned around to see Frigga.
"I- I thought you'd be asleep" he said uncomfortably, his chest was burning with pain and he wanted to get himself clean and get to bed. He was tired and mentally worn down.
"I thought you were asleep too. And then a guard told me you left" she said, she sounded both hurt and frustrated, which confused Loki.
"I just- I needed-" he didn't want to tell her he had gone after the horse, she was obviously upset that he'd left and he knew the horse wasn't a good enough reason.
"Needed what Loki?" She asked, but he stayed quiet.
"Were you- have you been trying to run?" She asked. He kept leaving and disappearing, she was worried that he was trying to get away from them.
"Wha- no... no I wasn't trying to run I just- I went to find Sleipnir" he told her, hoping she would let him go to bed now that he told her the truth.
"You did what?" Now she just sounded mad "you could've been killed, or hurt, or gotten lost, why would you do that? You scared me to death, I thought you left and I was so worried about you and it's because you decided to go after a horse?" She said in a very annoyed tone, but Loki was confused. She's saying how worried she was about him and his safety, which implies that she cares about him, but then shes also mad at him?
"Don't ever do that again, you don't risk your life and safety for a horse. You are much more valued than that stupid animal and I don't ever want you to endanger yourself like that again. Do you understand me?" Loki wasn't sure what to make of her response, should he fear being punished? She seemed pretty upset at him, but he didn't think she'd punish him, especially if she was so concerned for his wellbeing.
"Are- are you mad at me?" He finally asked, he just needed to know what to do.
"Yes of course I'm mad at you. What you did was incredibly stupid" she said as she came over and hugged him, which didn't at all clear anything up.
"This isn't what people normally do when they're mad at me.." he mumbled when she hugged him, he tried not to think about the pain in his chest, but he was very tense.
"Well I'm mad at you because I love you and I worry about you" she told him as she pulled back, then when she saw his confusion she shook her head. "It's okay, I'm not angry at you" she said, he looked so confused by her display of feelings that she felt sorry for him. He didn't understand this kind of thing, probably because no one ever loved him enough to worry about him before... in fact, no one had ever loved him at all before.
"Just don't put yourself in danger like that again, alright? I don't want you to get hurt" she told him "now go to bed, it's late and you look exhausted" she instructed. Loki was still very confused but he was also very tired. He wanted to clean up and go to sleep, though he was afraid he'd dream about the arenas that laufey had always put him in, those memories had been infecting his mind ever since fighting the animal in the woods, and he knew they'd follow him to sleep.
"Yes ma'am..." he said with a slight nod as he turned to go back to his room.
"Loki" Frigga said, she felt bad hat she'd confused him so much, he didn't need more things to ponder and think about.
Loki turned around again and Frigga smiled slightly "I'm not mad at you, alright? I was just worried. Try to get some rest okay? Don't think too much" she told him. He just nodded a bit, he wanted to tell her that he wasn't going to be able to sleep, and that he was in a lot of pain, but at the same Ike he just wanted to take care of himself and get to bed without needed to explain things to anyone. So he just nodded and turned to go to his room.
Once he got to his room and closed the door, he threw his coat off of himself, then quickly pulled off his shirt. Mud and grime from his clothes had seeped into his open wounds and burned like hot iron. He quickly went to the bathroom and turned on the shower to clean up. Then he got undressed and stood under the warm stream of water, which was always calming. The water stung the wounds too, but it almost felt good, it was a cleansing sort of stinging. He stayed in the shower for a while as he tried to scrub himself clean, but it was hard to focus. Now that he was alone with only his thoughts, he couldn't get the images of Jotunhiem out of his head. All he could see was Laufey and his guests enjoying his misery, all he could hear was the cheering of the crowd and the growling of laufey's pets, and every scar on his body seemed to tingle with pain as he remembered how he was tormented by those creatures in the arenas.... after a little while he had managed to get all the dirt and blood off of his body, so he got out of the shower and dried off, and then put on some light clothes for sleeping in. His chest still stung when he got to bed, but the marks from the animals claws were only on the surface, so he wasn't  bleeding too much.
He laid down in bed and took a shaky breath, he was exhausted, but at the same time he couldn't sleep at all. He laid down and his body relaxed completely, he was so tired that once he laid down he didn't want to move a single muscle, but his mind refused to leave him alone. As soon as he closed his eyes to sleep he was assaulted by horrible memories.
He thought that maybe it was the beds fault, he always had nightmares when he slept in his actual bed, so he moved to the floor. But he still couldn't sleep. He felt like he was laying there for hours, he wanted so badly to fall asleep, but his mind wouldn't stop tormenting him. He tried to get more comfortable by getting rid of his shirt (which always seemed to tangle around him when he tried to sleep in it), but it still didn't help. It was a long time before his fatigue took over and he was forced into sleep, but even then he was attacked by nightmares.
It was late, Loki was tired from a long days work, his muscles ached from being beaten, and he could barely keep himself on his feet, but Laufey had held a huge party and his guests had requested entertainment, and he wasn't going to say no.
So Loki found himself chained to a post in the middle of an arena, he was tired and weak and his broken body would've collapsed on the ground already if it weren't for the chains holding him up by the wrists. Across he arena there was a wild looking animal, it was the size of a lion but was covered in razor sharp scales, had barbed claws and jagged teeth, and was looking at Loki like he was a meal.
And then there were the people. The arena was filled with laufey's guests, and they were all examining both the lion creature and Loki, they knew that a game was about to start, and they wanted to get a close look at the participants before casting bets. Whenever laufey announced that he was going to make Loki fight one of his pets, he'd let people cast bets on who they thought would win. Laufey enjoyed it because he could earn some money, and he also just enjoyed humiliating his son. He knew that he was stripping Loki of any identity, no one viewed Loki as a living breathing person, he was nothing more than another creature that Laufey had locked away, only brought out for entertainments sake.
The people would come to examine Loki and ignored his pleading for help. He couldn't fight this monster and he knew it, but no one cared, they just poked and prodded at him to see if he would be worth betting money on. Sometimes people even hurt him to see how he reacted to pain, then made jokes about how weak he was. As if it was his fault laufey never fed him, and beat him every day. They mocked him for being small, and when he begged for help they would laugh and ask why they would help a rodent. The part before the fight was almost worse than the fight itself, having people (who could all save him if they wanted to) gather around and touch him, mock him, or hurt him, was almost worse than trying to stay alive with laufey's pets.
After a few minutes Laufey called everyone out of the arena, the game was going to start now. The people all cleared out and Loki felt his heart rate increase, soon there would be nothing holding that creature back, his claws would dig into his flesh, its teeth would bite down on his limbs, it's scales would slice him to pieces as it devoured him.
The arena cleared, There was a second where the only sound was the growling and snapping of the monster, then both it's and Loki's chains were released and the monster lunged at him to claim its meal.

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