“Sooner or later,” Kisuke said, grim as Ragnarok, “they’ll find him.”
“Think about your girls, Isshin.” The striped hat tipped toward Loki. “Don’t go anywhere.”
Cat and man disappeared into the shadows.
Disappeared to Loki’s eyes; from the tension in white-clad shoulders, Isshin could still sense them. Very disconcerting, that.
Finally Isshin let out a breath, and shook his head. “He wants you to bolt.”
“I gathered as much,” Loki said dryly. And he suspected there might be yet another layer under that; Kisuke wanting him to be contrary, and stay. A skilled trickster could work with either.
Other tricksters. This is not Asgard.
Leaning against the pillow, Loki arched an eyebrow. “The question is, why?”
“He’s a scientist.” Isshin scratched at wild black hair. “He probably wouldn’t hurt you. Intentionally.” He forced a grin. “Do me a favor, huh? Stay put, until you’re healed up enough to run for it.”
Loki blinked. That was one of the odder offers he’d had lately.
And… Isshin was trying to distract him. Again. “Shinketsu,” Loki said plainly. “Is that what you are?”
Isshin sighed, and shrugged.
Good as a yes. “And Ichigo,” Loki murmured. “But his mother was human….” Oh. “The trap was meant for Ichigo. But she sprang it.”
“Not for him,” Isshin said quietly. Painfully. “Not exactly.”
Truth. Loki waited.
A sigh, and Isshin snagged an odd wheel-rattling chair, sitting backwards on it to face him. “You don’t know what a Hollow is, do you?”
Loki shook his head. “I’m not familiar with the term, no.” Though he could hear the echoes of pain and danger and failure.
“When humans die, sometimes – a lot of the time – their soul doesn’t pass on right away,” Isshin said matter-of-factly. “They become ghosts.”
Ah. This was sounding a shade more familiar. “Unless they die in battle, and are Chosen to become Einherjar.”
Isshin’s second of silence spoke volumes.
Loki’s fingers curled against the sheets, as he tried not to feel betrayed. Tried not to feel anything. If he knows of Einherjar, he knows of the Aesir. And the humans had called Odin’s kin gods, and fair…. And now the lies begin.
“Huh.” Almost soundless, that wry amusement. “I wondered if you were a jotunn.”
He knows. Loki felt a flush of rage, heart pounding in his aching chest. “Then why would you bring a monster near your children!”
“Trust me.” Isshin’s voice cut like a scalpel. “You haven’t seen monsters yet.”
Certainty. Utter certainty, in a trickster’s face. Daunting. But he refused to be daunted. “Have I not? You have no idea what I’ve tried to do, what I’ve done-”
“You didn’t eat my wife’s soul.”