Author: ParlorGamesToMe PM
"From afar, Thor promised Loki, who lay deep in the dungeons, weighed down by iron, that it wouldn't hurt. He wouldn't let it. Rapidly and without pain, Thor would strike." After Avengers, Loki recieves a death sentence, one that Thor must carry out.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Family - Thor & Loki - Words: 2,381 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-11-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8310493
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thor won't do it.
His hands shake. Sweat drips down his forehead and soaks his clothes, and he can't help but feel like it will freeze solid. He wouldn't mind.
His brother stares back at him, resigned, his eyes filled with a stark singularity. He waits for Thor's final blow, for justice to be wrought, for the ebb and flow of his blood to cease. Loki waits, always waits.
Thor can't do it.
Frigga diverts her eyes, hiding tiny sobs. She stands erect, regal and unable to wilt in front of her sons, keeping herself from crumbling into pointed fragments. Mothers never expect to outlive their children. Odin's single eye rests elsewhere, but he does not cry out for the punishment to stop. Good kings must make sacrifices for the benefit of their people. And Odin is a good king. They stand together, a study in silent grief, already mourning before the end of it all. Steadfast, though, they wait for Thor to bring Loki where they will not pursue. Resolute, they are resolute, the word unsaid, the needed truths unspoken, everything will remain unspoken. Shhhh…
Blood for blood, the price waits to be paid, an apparition in the crowd with its hand outstretched. Countless bodies, so many skeletons, watch them raptly. Everything is tinted with red, the color that clouds Loki's vision. Thor's eyes rest on the crowd. For a moment, he can almost ignore the blade in his hand. Its weight draws him back as he walks forward, closer to Loki- he always had desired to be closer, hadn't he? Loki's thin, bloodied lips attempt to curl into a wry smile, as if he has forgotten. He winces. The stitches holding them together restrict any last words. The black threads are stained with crimson, the same color that dried down Loki's chin. Odin himself had sewn them together, hand shaking, cringing harder than his son. The grimace has not yet left Odin's face; Thor doubts that it ever will.
Thor promised to do it.
Normally, the duty would fall to Odin, All-Father, king of Asgard. After the trial, it had been decided that he would exact justice. Thor, ever the noble son, golden in the darkening room, instead pledged that he would execute the traitor. The words came off his lips, coiling in the air like puffs of smoke, acrid and bitter as they filled him. His father's stiff posture had relaxed, his relief palpable and sorrow deep. He hadn't rescued his son only to kill him. Odin, All-Father, king of Asgard, softened, limp like a rag doll. Thor stalked off swiftly, hand clamped to his traitorous mouth as he hurried far away, where the flickering, mocking candles did not observe.
It wouldn't hurt, not by his careful hands, Thor told himself that night, two evenings before the end. He tried to reassure himself, but the thoughts proved pervasive, worming inside him, tunneling further where he could not extract them. Past the halls and past the concerned gazes of his friends, Thor moved. Away from opened and shut doors alike, away from gory tapestries, away from guards. No matter how Thor tried to justify it, he couldn't. Couldn't stop Loki's chapped lips, sewn tight, from sneaking into the corner of his mind, nor Loki's proud eyes as he forbade himself from begging. Couldn't ignore the deaths his brother had caused, nor the concluding one that would finish the slaughter. Couldn't see the twisted, injured monster that had grown from his brother, the hydra with ever multiplying heads. Couldn't stop the jeers and hate of his people, the family and friends that called for Loki's final breaths. Just couldn't. Had Loki asked for mercy, had he attempted or even feigned remorse-had he never let go…
Thor shouldn't do it.
Two evenings before, he made his way around, everywhere but to Loki, feeling unwelcome and lost in a place he once called home. Something inside him urged Thor to head towards his brother, and that same instinct recoiled at the idea. Figments inside his mind argued heatedly. Thor refrained from listening, letting their irate chatter wash over him, narrating his journey to somewhere undecided. Astray already, while Loki still breathed in chains.
From afar, Thor promised Loki, who lay deep in the dungeons, weighed down by iron, that it wouldn't hurt. He wouldn't let it. Rapid and without pain, Thor would strike. His strength would do that- it would help him in that minute mercy, that facsimile of compassion. Loki did not respond.
Thor needs to do it.
The crowd gazes at him, expectant, not all of them ravenous for Loki's blood, but expectant nonetheless. They were promised justice, were they not? Loki blinks, almost unseeing, his right eye blackened by eager enforcers, a nameless group to Thor. They will not be nameless by the end, that throng pleading for him to execute the traitor. In his mind, Thor marks the figures that harmed his brother, making a list of those he will visit later on, once his belly is full of drink and Mjolnir rests in his hand.
Thor does not cry. His body screams out, but he cannot sob, not while Loki watches him so cooly, so readily, as though he had always known it would be Thor. As if Loki had never even accounted for victory by anyone other than his brother- and maybe, deep down, he had foreseen his loss from the beginning. He holds onto his strength, the quality that Loki always did deplore.
Thor will have to do it.
Loki's crimes are read out- syllables full of death, so much death, and Thor cannot picture his brother as capable of those deeds, even if the images dance around in his mind, twisting and turning and embedding themselves deeper. He tries to picture a different Loki, an alternate future with his brother grinning at his side, looking up at him, untainted. Thor pretends that this vision is something other than a fabrication, an impossibility that had never been. Anything to avoid the thing in front of him, festering as it breathed. He calls for a hallucination that refuses to arrive. The stench of rotting meat enters his nostrils; Thor cannot tell if he has imagined it or not. He longs to pray, to implore some higher being to spare Loki. Gods pray to no one, so his pleas remain unanswered.
Odin and Frigga and Thor, portraits of wretchedness unpainted, do not budge. Sif's eyes glimmer dangerously, betraying the sadness she pretends not to feel. No tears, not for Loki. He shall not receive that balm. Friends and family and subjects alike unite in their uncertainty, unsure of how to react in this essential time. Finding normalcy isn't an option. There is no standard to go by, so everyone's eyes focus on the traitor, and they play their roles without questioning. Loki avoids the crowd's unblinking observation, unwilling to conceive what they think of his decline. Grief and vengeance and justice and celebration and remorse and anticipation and loathing and regret and love and understanding and fear cloud the air; a hideous perfume intermixing, it enters unwitting lungs.
Thor knows how to do it.
He steps up to Loki, blocking out the broken creature before him. The final night before, when the Loki-that-was lingered in Thor's mind, shimmering static, a sleepless Thor headed towards the dungeon. The guards parted as he pushed by, wordless, new lines standing out on his face. They knew better than to try and stop him. One unlocked the cell door for him. The figure chained to the ground shuddered at the sudden influx of light. It- Thor tried not to personify his imaginings, not to project them upon the huddled mess of a creature- wrenched a heavy head away. No words. None for Thor, none at all. Bound by stitches, Loki's mouth couldn't even twitch with disdain. If he had any repentance, there existed no way to voice it. The door closed behind them, punctuated by the violently cavernous collision of metal against stone. A single candle, held by Thor, edged away the obscurity of illumination. He moved towards his brother who struggled against his chains, even then inching away from the one who loved him the most.
Initially, Thor was silent. His vociferous manner had been left behind, corroded by the days gone by. He placed the candle on the ground, daring not to shift closer to his brother. Instead, he sat down, resting, finally resting. His legs ached from traversing the castle. Ever since the sentencing, sleep had not ventured forth to shut his eyes. Studying his brother, Thor could discern that Loki, too, had not slept. Gathering up his courage, Thor mustered every ounce of strength, and touched the top of Loki's head as gently as he could, barely brushing the matted hair. He touched him delicately, that statue made from shards of glass, the thing that eroded itself away. Loki bit back a whimper.
Thor prepares to do it.
The silence broke. Thor spoke, his voice light, tone so fragile. Loki, fragile as a baby bird, focused not on Thor's voice, but on his own broken bones, on his unquenched thirst, on his cuts, on his hunger, on the stinging that had not left his lips, on any facet of pain other than his brother's tenderness. Fevered apologies, a string of regrets, came out of Thor's lips. One after the other, and Loki desperately wished to stop him. To join him.
And Thor, as if sensing the keen need arisen inside brother, stopped. No more apologies, no more lingering on what was. Instead, he started again, his voice breaking. He spoke of glorious battles, of delicious feasts, of gilded memories, of brothers unbroken. He spoke so clearly that Loki heard the clang of swords, savored roasted meats and sweet pastries on his dry tongue, saw the vivid imagery, felt his brother's embrace. Loki stared at the ceiling, unseeing. Thor spoke and he listened. The stories came out lyrical. Thor's voice possessed a sense of music that filled Loki up and swept him away. His aches shriveled up, becoming a pile of dried organs and dusty bones on the stone floor. Thor-that-was and Loki-that-had-been took the night for their own, invading in the most beautiful way. Thor did not need to tell Loki he forgave him, not while the stories conveyed his unstated message. The brothers-that-were, together forever only in the most fantastical stories, bound them in a better place. He spoke, saying nothing. Thor did not tell Loki the remaining thing that nagged at him, did not declare his love for his brother. The words lay on his tongue, stagnant. He did not tell Loki he loved him, not because his brother couldn't speak the words back, but because he feared what lurked within Loki's heart, even then. So, instead, he made a shroud of memories, wrapping it around Loki's body, sending him off prematurely. He spoke, just spoke, and let the stories invade the room. The night passed quickly, far too swift, unmerciful. The guards opened the door the moment morning hit. Thor pressed a kiss to his brother's head, the message of atonement and absolving melded together. He did not wish to see Loki again.
Thor should do it.
That final night, Thor had woven tales about Valhalla. And truly, some part of him had known where Loki would go. He threw that barbaric notion aside- that Loki deserved darker shades cast upon him. No, instead, he told Loki of the endless feasts, of the camaraderie, of the constant glorious battles, of the jubilance that couldn't possibly await him. What an adventure to be had! All for Loki, his destiny soon to be discovered. Loki had places to go, though Thor hoped that he had not lied about them. He desperately hoped for a grain of truth to be found in his speech. Loki, at least, had appreciated the falsehoods; perhaps, Thor had picked up his younger brother's talent, something to carry on afterwards, the worst sort of tradition. Neither acknowledged the more likely possibilities.
His fingers trace the blade, testing its sharpness. He will not let it hurt. One small mercy- better him than anyone else, for he doesn't wish to prolong the suffering. Only he possesses the strength. Thor gulps. Loki fixes his eyes upon his brother, unable to focus on the waiting crowd, on the people who once loved him, or at least, what they pictured him as. Thor does not notice the blood trickling down his fingers. The cut doesn't pain him.
Thor shall do it.
Thor gathers all his strength for the final time, hands clenching the hilt of the axe. Blood runs down prematurely, anticipating the final result. Thor considers mutiny, clings to the desire, but then chases it from his mind. If he does not slaughter his brother like a sacrificial lamb- lambs are innocent creatures, Thor has to correct himself- there are many more who will eagerly strike the blow. He shudders at the thought of Thanos' vengeance. It must be Thor; in the end, for eternity Thor, Thor and Loki and Loki and Thor- all their journeys have lead them to this revolting present. Thor strikes, forcing himself to concentrate, lest he ruin the job.
Loki's head falls; it falls, it falls, it falls, hitting the ground, oh, dear brother, it falls, eyes open wide. They blink, they blink, staring at Thor from beyond the grave. In that moment, they fill with terror, unable to close, staring so intently, focused on Thor, only Thor, just Thor, it was always Thor. The axe clatters to the crowd. Blood runs down his arms and pumps through his veins, so austere in disparity. Loki is dead, dead, dead, unburied, severed, headless, and completely dead, gone somewhere Thor longs to follow. He will not embark on this adventure.