Author's Notes: Aaaaah I've had this fic on my computer for a while - since I saw Thor 2, basically - and felt guilty about it that I haven't done anything with it but you know what guilty or not I'm posting it anyway because I do what I want and I mean I have posted probably more questionable things. It is just that. I feel like I am participating in the heinous fridging of a female character and thus making myself complicit in some way.
Just as long as that disclaimer's out of the way (and the fact that I'm writing a fix-it in which Frigga is totally coming back because if other people get to be not!dead then sure as hell Frigga gets to be not!dead), here is the fic, with its gratuitous sad!Loki. I can't help it if I like the way he looks when he's suffering.
Lord, fandom, I am so sorry about my everything.
The queen is dead, the guard said. Loki raised his eyes slowly from the book, and closed it, movements measured, careful. He inclined his head, a fraction, in acknowledgment. My condolences to the family, the words welled up on his tongue, but he choked on them, feeling his throat close. So he said nothing, and the guard moved away.
He couldn't feel his own heart beating.
She isn't dead, was the first complete thought he had. They're testing you. That flaked away the moment he reached for it, though. The queen is dead.
Loki stood up mechanically and took a step toward the back of his cell, wondering who had remembered to think that he should be told. The queen is dead. He couldn't breathe. The cell around him was perfectly still and utterly silent, the only cage still intact. If that beast had only let him out like the others-
Don't lie to yourself.
Loki's hands clenched at his sides, a burst of power exploding from his skin that sent furniture clattering against the walls, and he didn't realize he was screaming until his throat started to ache. No one came to silence him.
His knees gave out before his voice, and Loki folded forward, body shaking.
The queen is dead.
Out of all of them, why did it have to be her?
I am never going to breathe again, Loki thought. Everything had gone soft, the edges of things less distinct, a little more distant, as though the world thought to keep him from cutting himself on them. But that was all wrong; the edges were already inside, ripping his entrails to shreds even when he held perfectly still.
Frigga had loved him. He could not deny that. Frigga had believed in him when no one else had. Taught him magic and combat. Even after his fall, she had defied Odin to see him, brought him books to shorten the hours.
Loki scrambled back in his mind, trying to recall the last words he'd said to her. He flinched when he found them, and forced himself, nonetheless, to pull them out and hold them burning in his palms. Am I not your mother? she had asked, calm and patient in the face of his temper.
No, he'd said, and meant it to hurt. You are not. But she had only smiled sadly and said – and said-
He made a small gesture, and the air coalesced into her form, shimmering slightly around the edges. "Always so perceptive," the illusion said. "About everything but yourself."
Loki slammed his hands against the floor. The illusion melted away and he half wanted to summon it back, but could not, could not quite, because it wouldn't be her, it would never be her, and it could mouth her words at him for eternity but it would never-
The last thing he'd said to his mother was to deny her. And he was never going to be able to change that.
Fury propelled him to his feet, his hand finding the chair toppled on its side. He swung it, wildly, and once he started he couldn't stop, couldn't (breathe) do anything but destroy, reducing the chair to matchsticks. It wasn't enough, though. It was never going to be enough, the fire burning in his blood was going to consume everything that was left-
Loki grabbed handfuls of his hair and pulled, rocking back and forth, choking on every wet inhalation, heart pounding useless, failure. It wasn't fair, it wasn't fair and Loki screamed again, hands balling into fists until his nails broke his skin open and his blood smeared red on the white floor.
Was it quick? He thought, voice breaking into empty, wracking sobs. Did she die alone? His fingers scrabbled at his chest, as if to tear out his own heart. He wanted it gone. Didn't want this. Had never, never…
A chunk of his hair came out at the roots, torn from his scalp. It hurt, but not enough.
You might want to take the stairs to the left.
Had he said that? Yes. Loki remembered, dimly, the flavor of bitter disappointment as the creature stepped back without breaking him free, but stronger the spiteful pleasure of picturing the havoc it would wreak on Asgard from within, Asgard that deserved to hurt.
But not Frigga.
Perhaps, he thought, staring at the shimmering gold barrier from where he was curled on the floor of his destroyed cell, if he had said nothing, Frigga might still be alive. Perhaps if he had not told the creature where to go, time would have been wasted, and there would have been more time for her to prepare, or get away, or something, something. If…
Loki clawed at his own arms, a small sound escaping his lips clamped together. He had not saved her, had as good as condemned her to death. If he had not-
It doesn't matter, a brutal voice said at the back of his mind. You did. And she is dead.
He kept thinking of spells, tales, fragments of stories, every one warning not to bring back the dead, and yet every fiber of his being insisted that maybe it could be done, and maybe this time, this time…but that was no use either, not without his things, not here, and he was going to be here forever, alone as his memories faded over the years, how long before he wouldn't even recall her face?
Loki surged to his feet, casting about for a pen, for paper. He couldn't find one in the wreckage of his things, and anger rose up like bile until he caught sight of the shards of the glass of water he'd been drinking when they'd –
He paced over, ignoring the way they bit into his feet, suddenly full of furious energy. Some corner of his mind questioned him dizzily but Loki ignored it, picked up a sharp piece and slashed it across his wrist. Fitting, he thought with a soundless laugh, as he began to work, even if I am not her blood, and never was.
But when he pulled his fingers away and examined the portrait in red, it looked wrong, nothing like her, and Loki swiped his palm across it in disgust, reopened the cut and tried again on another patch of blank wall.
He couldn't do it. Loki tried to summon an illusion of her to work from, but his hands were shaking. The eyes of his first attempt, smeared nearly out of recognition, seemed to look at him accusingly. You did this, they said, and Loki was suddenly struck with the vivid feeling that it was Frigga's blood on the walls, on the floor, on his hands-
Loki rubbed the eyes away, but he could still feel them there, staring, watching. He couldn't stop shaking. Mother, he wanted to say, but bit that back. You have no right. (The queen is dead.)
Someone, he wanted to scream. Someone come and-
(Someone kill them all, someone kill me, this was never what was supposed to happen, I should have stopped this.)
He sank down against the wall, shuddering, trying to inhale. However deep he breathed, it wasn't good enough.
He wanted to be hollow again.
Her funeral, he thought, eventually. They hadn't let him go to her funeral.
Loki closed his eyes, too empty to cry. What did it matter? None of it mattered. The dungeons were perfectly silent, emptied of the other prisoners, all of them dead or escaped. It was only him, here. He raised a hand, slowly, and let it fall.
His eyes opened on Frigga kneeling in front of him. "Am I not your mother?" she said.
"Yes," Loki choked out, his throat closing. "You are." Were.
Break open your rib cage and tear out your foolish heart. It would hurt less. Loki banished the illusion. "The queen is dead," he whispered, and swallowed hard, several times.
It wasn't enough. It was never going to be enough.