There's no time for spells of protection or dramatic pushes away from danger. He simply takes a step as casually as he would walking through a door to come between you and the strike that would kill you.
If he is to die, there is no better way he can spend his life.
Loki stands in front of you and waits for the halberd to cut him half.
And he keeps waiting.
Seconds pass, heartbeats of opportunity are wasted. Fa'rey stands motionless mouth agape, hand still twisted around your stolen birthright and you stare back from behind Loki's shoulder realizing too late what he's done, what he meant to do.
Time snaps back into place, keeps flowing, dancers keep dancing and feasters keep feasting. No one pays any mind to the encounter at the door until you shout.
Loki stiffens, his senses returning to him, magic crackles on his fingers assured the summoning of reinforcements will finally trigger a fight. He was never ready to die, willing but not ready. Death can't have you and he doesn't want the specter to take him either.
But Fa'rey submits to the hands that seize her. She actually smiles with the grunt she makes as the guards force her to her knees. Some of the revelers gasp in shock, wondering what this woman has done to deserve such ill treatment, a murmur spreads through the crowd reaching the dais then Odin too lends his voice in objection.
"What in Nine Hels is going on?"
"Father...for a change I don't actually know."
Frigga wants to know though, is determined to handle this before the Jubilee is ruined completely. The crowd parts for her and Thor, the murmur growing into a din of confusion. Unsatisfied with his answer, Odin surges through the people ready to use even more force to get to the bottom of this interruption.
"Someone start talking right..."
"Silence husband. Not here." Frigga snaps her fingers sharply and a handmaid appears.
"Double the servants, call up the reserves. I want everyone in this hall with a chalice... no flagon of wine in their hands that never empties. Make them forget this incident."
"Yes my lady."
"Guards, we'll adjourn to the audience chamber. All of us. Go."
You are grateful Frigga has taken command, that someone has at all. Though you can hardly see for your pain, a moment or two longer and you would have shared some of that pain by introducing Fa'rey's skull to the priceless Asgardian marble.
You let Loki lead you away, numbed save for the split skull and the rage.
"Princess, wait. I want to come too."
"Stay here, Little Princess." Loki commands aware that whatever happens next, Fa'rey won't leave the audience chamber alive. You've killed in defense of your life, in defense of his too, but Fa'rey however much she's earned it, will be a murder committed in vengeance and he knows you wouldn't want her to see that.
"Keep an eye on the fool and the servant. We'll call for you when this is done."
You nod mutely flashing a smile of gratitude to your Prince and a smaller smile, one for comfort, to your little princess.
"I will be back soon." Your speech is halted and unsteady, like an overfilled cup you're trying to keep from spilling everywhere. There's too much in your head exasperated by blinding pain and clashing memory that only makes everything worse.
Se'risa is upset but musters a smile and nod, returning to Niti as a legion of servants arrive with the wine.
"Bar the doors, enter for nothing less than palace on fire." Frigga hisses to an attendant before the great doors of the audience chamber slide close, dreadful thud chilling most of the hearts who hear it.
Not yours though. And not Loki's.
They seat you on Odin's throne for lack of more comfortable seating. The King notices your listing walk and so allows this breach noting further that when his sons bring the woman before you, it looks as though you sit in judgement ready to weigh the merits of this woman's life.
And he can tell, from the cruel twist on your lips she has already been found wanting.
"Why are you here? Did you come to kill her and lose your nerve?" Loki barks.
Fa'rey gives that question thought but does not answer it.
"Too complicated a question, let's simplify it." The dagger he unsheathes is yours, slipped from the holster on your belt when you weren't looking. Your eternal game of back and forth and back again still on going. He's winning of course but you can't bring yourself to recall the score now.
You recall other things. The sound of screaming. Of Hava shouting you awake from your bed urging you to flee.
"Princess! Get up! You must flee! Now! War has come! GET UP CHILD!"
You also recall laughter, an elbow in your ribs and a filthy smile on a familiar face.
"Look at them mi'isah! Either one I'd like to ride all the way down the Rainbow Bridge."
Pain spreads, from your head to the scars across your body where she stabbed you, to the one under your breast that would have taken your life were it not for Hava and the magic of the prince beside you.
He is angry, livid. He's had his hands in your blood, watched the wounds this woman inflicted stitch under his power. You meant nothing to him then and he was content to let you succumb and in so doing would have lost the starlight of his life. He's angry he came so close to losing you before he knew what he had.
So he'll make her pay for it if you can't. He won't steal your vengeance outright but he'll take a bit for himself.
But before he compel an answer from her, your hand latches around his wrist and his rage calms to a simmer. You don't let him go either, sliding your hand down from his wrist to catch his fingers. If you let go, you'll be swallowed whole and lost to the nightmare that has lived behind your eyes since you fled home.
Fa'rey's face changes, she drops her head, shoulders shaking. She giggles and it hurts for how much it sounds like home.
"Every day for about forever I've practiced for what I might say to you if I ever saw you again in this life or the next before the demons take me to Hel. I prepared speech after speech, performed them in front of my... your mirror. And now that I'm here face to face with you, mi'isah, I can't think of what I meant to say except that I was right. I told you the quiet one was your type."