An untrained sorcerer would defend himself, instinctively. Often with deadly results all around.
But we’re not just talking about frostbite. “He walked into a trap,” Loki said, voice almost level. Damn it.
“Yes he did.” A blond man stalked out of the shadows, shades of green Loki himself would have favored swirling around him. A black cat rode his shoulder, shifting balance effortlessly as the blond leaned on his cane. “My, my, my. Tachyons, temporal distortion… I wonder. Is your current form due to temporal displacement, or some completely separate aspect of the protective spell?”
The pair had been standing right there, and he hadn’t sensed them. “What protective spell?” Loki demanded.
“Ah.” Gray eyes smirked under the shadow of a striped hat, as the blond raised a hand. “That would be… this one.”
Fingers drew across air, power waking power. Sun-gold runes blazed between them; seidr, Frigga’s own enchantments knotted about him like fiery lace.
Protect my heart’s son, sunlit power whispered to him. My Loki, my little sorcerer… find him safety. Find him healing. Find him home.
Old spells and new, woven around and through each other. Some ancient enough to touch the day Odin had first stolen him. Others so new….
This… this was cast when I was on the bridge, Loki realized. When I was fighting Thor. When I wanted him to kill me….
Isshin moved between him and the smirking blond. “Back off, Kisuke.” The doctor’s friendly voice had an edge of steel. “The kid’s had a rough night.”
“You and I both know that’s not a kid, Isshin.”
Green eyes narrowed. “And that’s not a cat,” Loki said sharply; he knew that eager sparkle in gold eyes. “And you’re not human. What are you?”
“Oh, I like this one,” the cat chuckled, deep and low. “He might even give you trouble, Kisuke. When he heals up a bit.” A black-furred spine arched, kneading a green-jacketed shoulder with glinting claws. “We’re exiles from another realm. Like you, I suspect.”
He was not going to flinch.
“Most of the time we blend in with the humans.” Gold eyes cut to Isshin. “Though some of us take blending in a bit farther than others.”
“Don’t go there, Yoruichi,” Isshin said tightly.
“Why not? It’s been a week, you’re all radiating enough grief to draw down a host of Hollows, and I’m tired of it. Protecting you isn’t quiet, Isshin! If you can’t keep your children shielded – and you can’t, can you? – then the Hollows are going to keep coming. And someone is going to notice. And then you’ll all be dead. Not just Masaki-”
Loki had heard that tone before. Usually before someone did something very bloody, and very stupid. “Don’t.” He reached for Isshin, and ignored how his hand was trembling. “She wants you to attack her.”
You could have heard a snowflake fall.
Loki smirked, taking in male and furry expressions. “What? No one’s seen through the voice before? Please.” He focused on Isshin. “If I know cats – and those who take the form of cats – she wants you to try hitting her. So she can dance around you like a shadow, and mock to her heart’s content.” That shielded, broken aura…. “What happened to you?”
Isshin eyed him, then nodded toward his clinic’s new skylight. “You’re not the first guy to go splat in Karakura.”