|We were the whirlpool, we were the reef
Author: Min Daae PM
Thor is dead. Somehow this isn't an occasion for rejoicing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Loki - Words: 1,997 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 74 - Follows: 8 - Published: 05-20-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8133874
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Self indulgent angst is my favorite genre! ...and that is honestly all I have to say for myself.
He remembered being young.
Remembered going to his mother (because it was always his mother he went to, always his mother who would listen) and asking her with all the impassioned indignance of a child, why he could not do the things that Thor could do.
"Because you are different," she'd said, with all the patience in the world, and when he glowered at her pulled him up onto her lap and went on. "You and Thor are different only in that you fill in each others weaknesses. Where Thor is weak, you are strong. Where you are weak, Thor is strong. You are like…" she paused, a moment. "Two pieces of a two-piece puzzle. You cannot make the full picture with just one, and though they may be different colors, in the end they fit together."
Two puzzle pieces, Frigga said. More two stars, Loki had thought in the time since then, tugging back and forth, each straining against the other. Each burning, with hatred, with bitterness, with love.
But it was puzzle pieces he thought of now. Brightly colored puzzle pieces.
Bright like Thor's red cape strewn on the ground amid crumbled rock. Bright like the sun catching in his golden hair. Bright like the eyes staring emptily upwards.
And in the end it hadn't even been him to strike the killing blow.
Thor's comrades – his Avengers – would be here soon. Loki considered meeting them. Considered striking them now, in a moment of vulnerability, of grief.
The thought had no savor. No energy.
He left. Let them have the body. Little more than a shell, and empty now.
With Thor it had always been come home. When he beat Loki to the ground instead of striking the killing blow, it was please come home with me. When Loki was ripping Thor's heart to shreds with perfectly aimed verbal spears, it was Loki, mother misses you. A constant plea that said everything will be all right if you just and if Loki hadn't told enough lies to know them when he heard them, he thought he would have surrendered to it a thousand times.
You could go now. Bring him home with you this time. Claim you tried your hardest but it just wasn't-
Even the thought stuck in his throat. Asgard had never been home. What had been home was-
He'd found a quiet mountain, somewhere lonely and treeless, and was sitting on it, watching the sky. Imagined the Bifrost arcing down, the Warriors Three and Sif coming to reclaim Thor's body for a warrior's funeral.
Loki squeezed his eyes closed and banished the image.
He felt hollow and wrung out. There was a bitter taste in his mouth. Rejoice, he thought dully, your greatest enemy, Thor the Thunderer, is dead. That is what you wanted, isn't it? If it isn't…what did you want?
And the counterpoint, underneath: you were never anything without him. There is no shadow without light. What are you now, Loki Silvertongue? What are you now?
When they were young Loki had always been able to convince Thor of anything. And had, many times. It had been a game to him, to see how outrageous his lies could be and make Thor still believe him. He'd never failed.
"I hate you," he'd said, one day, and Thor had blinked at him.
"No you don't," he said with stubborn certainty.
"Yes," Loki had said. "I do. I hate how stupid you are and how you think everything can be solved by hitting it. I hate how loud you are and how crude. I hate you. I wish anyone else were my brother. Anyone."
Thor's expression had faltered. "Loki," he'd said, but Loki had barrelled on, determined.
"I'd rather have a Jotun for a brother than you." (He could still see the look on Thor's face when he'd turned and walked away, like he'd been kicked in the gut.)
It was the first time (one of the few times) his mother had ever spoken harshly to him. He'd gone to find Thor after and found him curled up uncharacteristically small in his room. "I was only lying," Loki said from the doorway, feeling sick in his stomach at how small and pathetic his big brother looked. "Thor, I was only lying to you. I didn't think you would believe it. I don't hate you at all. You're my best big brother."
Thor lifted his head and looked straight at Loki. He'd been crying. "That wasn't a funny lie," he said, and that was the moment that Loki realized no, it hadn't been. Not funny at all.
It still hadn't been funny, all the times he'd told it after that. The same lie. His longest. His worst.
You can't hate what's part of yourself, Frigga had said once, and that wasn't true at all, Loki could easily do that, but he couldn't hate Thor. Never as fiercely as he loved him.
Loki wondered if on Asgard Frigga was screaming, tearing her hair with grief. He dreamed of walking the secret paths with Thor, side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder.
They blamed him. It wasn't on the Midgardian news, but he had always had other ways of learning things.
Well, of course. It was the obvious conclusion. Apparently he left some kind of energy signature and between that and Thor…well. It made Loki want to laugh. He didn't, largely because he suspected it would come out hysterical.
Instead he walked into a florist's shop and sent the Avengers a bouquet of lilies with a condolences card. I am sorry for your loss, he scrawled, and signed it with his name.
When they caught up with him it was Stark who yelled, "You'll be sorry for your loss," which was several steps beneath his usual wit but Loki supposed he could forgive that, considering. They had loved his brother. Everyone had loved his brother. He danced around them for a time but it grew tedious quickly and he slipped away.
Thor, you stupid oaf, Loki thought bitterly, walking the paths of Yggdrasil, you just had to die, didn't you? Just had to die and once again leave me holding nothing. Even if I die I will be following you. Your shadow. Always.
I am a puzzle without its other half, Loki thought, standing in the dark between worlds. I am a star careening through space without another to keep it balanced. I am.
I am Loki. (I am nothing.)
As a child, he'd had no taste for cruelty. It was an acquired taste, that particular flavor of bitterness. He remembered watching Thor make his first kill on a hunt, whooping with triumph at the sight of blood, and the nausea that made him want to look away as the creature struggled and thrashed through its last life's breaths.
He didn't let himself look away.
Loki remembered being sick when he'd made his first kill. Thor had laughed at him after, but it was Thor holding back his hair and patting his shoulder with a heavy hand that he remembered now. Thor's low, soothing voice like a vibration in his bones.
He went to Scandinavia because it felt a little like home and sat at the top of a waterfall, watching the water splashing over rocks far below. He thought about how as a boy Thor had been his entire world, and when everything had fallen down around his ears (just another stolen relic?) he had made Thor his entire world again, built up a fortress of hatred and bitterness on his foundation where nothing else would stand.
How the world loves to take from you, Loki Laufeyson. No use in a fortress without a foundation. No use at all. Toying with the Avengers didn't seem worth the effort. There was no cause he wished to align himself with. The worlds as a whole simply seemed…uninteresting.
All nine of them.
He always said you were melodramatic, a snide voice snickered in the back of Loki's mind. Thor had thought him dead and mourned (he claimed) and moved on. Was he truly so much less than Thor?
You were always, the same voice said, less than Thor. You always needed him more than he needed you. Light is still light without shadow. And light is a thing you will never be.
Loki gritted his teeth and dug his nails into his hands.
The Avengers found him again and came looking. He met Steve Rogers in a café, where Captain America (in full uniform) stared at him stony-faced as the rest of the restaurant stared at him. "Just you?" Loki said politely. "Sit down. The tea's quite good."
"You killed Thor," Rogers said, voice steely and pitched low, only for him. Loki could see him almost vibrating. Too many civilians, though. Civilians quickly attempting to abandon ship, but civilians nonetheless. Loki spread his hands.
"Yes, well. You know how these family arguments can get…ugly."
"What are you doing here."
"Drinking tea?" Loki said innocently. When he blinked, Thor's eyes were staring at him from behind his eyelids. Through him. Bright, broken, beloved Thor. Rogers' shield almost creaked with how tightly he was holding it.
"So that's it? You're going to hide behind these innocent people instead of facing us?"
"Oh," said Loki, "Well. If you wanted a fight you might have just said so." He finished his tea and stood up, spread his arms. "Well?"
He gave them their fight. They battled with all the rage and loss that only the truly self-righteous seemed able to summon. They were gratifyingly brutal. He swatted them down and they rose back up hungry for blood.
They don't want me, he thought idly as he caught and threw aside another arrow from Barton. They just want Thor.
"How could you kill him?" Rogers yelled, at one point. "He was your brother!"
I didn't, Loki wanted to say, very briefly. I didn't kill him. I wish I had. (I wish he'd killed me.) Instead he laughed, high and wild, and said, "Maybe that's exactly why I could."
For all that it was even less fun this time around, though. He left them and the smoking city they'd tracked him to and wandered the secret ways. Paused on the path between worlds and looked out at the void, let it make his head spin as his bones cracked back into alignment.
He remembered being young.
He remembered Thor leading him by the hand, bold and eager and always leaping into the water while Loki looked for the stepping stones. He remembered the light in Thor's eyes when he'd first held Mjolnir fitting perfectly in his hand, and wondered if the hammer wept for her master. He remembered so much (years upon years upon years) that he'd forgotten.
He remembered Thor dragging him up from the ground after a skirmish, saying better luck next time, brother. Remembered the look on Thor's face when he'd let go of Gungnir and started to fall.
Two pieces of a two piece puzzle. Two stars tugging back and forth.
Thor had mourned when he had fallen, and moved on. Loki couldn't work out what to move on to. The void tugged at him these days when he walked between realms.
Nine worlds and they all stretched out hollow before him.
Standing on the road to Alfheim, Loki wept, and the tears froze on his cheeks.