Child of Thunder - Mark finds himself in a golden city and with no other Rogues in sight.
AN: My gift for herbertwest for the Flash secret santa exchange on tumblr.
Mark was yanked in the sixth dimension.
(He'd felt the tug of time and been through the looking glass often enough to have proof of more than the normal three dimensions and as far as he was concerned, since he was the one being affected he could count them in whatever order he damn well wanted to).
McCulloch made a grab for him, but Mark was already beyond his reach, dragged backwards-sideways-upside-down through a rainbow-white beam of force.
Mark crashed to the ground, the momentum tossing him some distance from his landing spot. He barely had a chance to raise his head before something pulled at the very core of him, cracking his sense of self wide open.
The world around him was too bright. Or was it so dark Mark's eyes were playing tricks on him? Where was the wind and lightning? It should have responded by now. What else was Mark going to protect himself and get away with?
"–oth–! Wh– happ–!"
There was someone talking, or Mark thought there was anyway. Communication felt like an extremely novel concept all of a sudden. Hands held him down. Or pulled him up.
And finally, finally something slipped loose and Mark could breathe again.
Leaning over Mark was a blond man in armour and a cape. The man was holding Mark still, presumably to stop him thrashing about.
"Are you well?" the man asked, catching that Mark had regained at least some of his senses.
"Who the hell are you? Where the hell am I?" Mark demanded.
Instead of looking concerned, the man grinned. "He is well, Mother."
A woman came into focus. She was standing over both Mark and the caped man with an expression that reminded Mark of Lisa – mostly haughty, though with an undercurrent of concern and amusement.
"Let him breathe, Thor," she chided, "It was a powerful magic I had to break to return him to Asguard. It may take some time before his self settles."
Mark wrenched himself out of the man's – Thor's – arms and scrambled backward.
"Answer my question!" Mark demanded. "Where am I? Who are you? And where the hell are the other Rogues?"
Thor and the woman looked at each other, a silent question passing between them.
"This isn't the best place to discuss such matters," the woman finally said, "Thor, my private chambers, if you will."
"Aye, mother," Thor agreed, holding out a hand to help Mark to his feet.
Mark knocked it away, getting upright shakily, but under his own power. Given the current lack of connection to the weather here in this strange place, pride was the only thing he had left.
"This way, please," the woman said, an underlay of iron to her voice that made Mark realise that disobeying her wasn't an option.
With the curiosity that always got him into trouble (usually the painful kind) Mark followed.
Frigga – the woman had introduced herself on the way – lead them to a set of lavish rooms within a golden palace. Mark was starting to wonder if he was in heaven and how much he could cart off when he escaped.
"Sit," Frigga ordered. Both Mark and Thor dropped into nearby chairs. "I appreciate that you have many questions, Mark Mardon, but I ask that you allow me to explain before asking them."
"How do you know my name?" Mark – who had not introduced himself so far – demanded.
Frigga frowned at him, until Mark began to fidget and let out a quiet "yes ma'am".
"It begins," Frigga started, "With Midguard, as is often the case with these matters.
"Some three and a half centuries ago, my son was on a trip to Midguard. It's not uncommon, even now, for those of Asguard to spend time amongst the mortals. Neither is it uncommon for things to get a little out of hand... to put it delicately.
"On this occasion, a mortal woman bore my son a child. My family have many enemies and we feared for the child's safety. We could not let it be known that there was a child whose mortal blood would make him an easy target the nine realms over."
Mark could see where this was going and had to admit it was the most masterful prank anyone had ever pulled on him.
"The Allfather and I conspired to hide you in another realm, under a spell so that none could scry your true being or location," Frigga continued, "I had sensed there was trouble in your world, a crisis of sorts, and brought you back.
"I'm afraid the process broke the geas holding your other self down. You may feel disoriented for some time. Until you're well, you will stay here."
Mark had always chaffed when given restrictions, so naturally the first thing he did when Frigga laid down the rules was try to break them. There had to be a way out (aside from by the gatekeeper) and Mark was going to find it.
The weather wand had took some time, but it was responding again. It let Mark explore Asguard from one end to the other. There were plenty of sights and people to see, most of who recognised Mark as Thor's kid because he flew and sparked lightning when he was angry.
During one such exploration about a week in, Mark found Thor in the Bifrost gate – it had another name, but Mark hated even thinking the word – in discussion with Heimdall. There was a puppyish wistfulness about Thor, the sort that made Mark want to blast a tornado at him.
Mark caught something about a woman before Thor noticed him and stopped conversing with the gatekeeper. What followed could have been an awkward silence if Mark believed in those.
"Can you see my world?" Mark found himself asking. He'd been curious about that for some time and now was as good a time as any to ask.
"Yes," Heimdall replied, "And your companions too."
"They are alive then. This is good news!" Thor said with forced cheer while carefully watching Mark for his reaction.
"They survived the apocalypse?" Mark clarified, "Frigga said she pulled me away from something horrible. They made it through that?"
"They live on their world as they ever have," Heimdall replied, "They still search for you from time to time."
Mark let out a surprised bark of laughter and turned to leave. He'd had enough. "They're looking for me? Hardly," he tossed over his shoulder.
"The mirror mage and the child trickster make the most effort," Heimdall said, "But all of them try if they have an opportunity."
Mark increased his stride. He knew the Rogues weren't looking for him. There wasn't any point in listening to these lies.
"Heimdall speaks the truth," Thor said, catching up to Mark easily, "What benefit would he gain from lying?"
"Shut up," Mark snapped, "They aren't looking for me! They would've found me by now if they were. A family of Rogues. Ha! What good is family?"
"My son..." Thor began.
"I AM NOT YOUR SON!" Mark screamed, knocking away Thor's outstretched hand. There was a crash of thunder, but no rain. Not yet.
Thor opened his mouth to speak again, but Mark beat him to it.
"If you really were my father, you wouldn't have left me with my parents – the ones who raised me worse than you'll ever know," Mark spat, "It's your fault! Memory spells or no memory spells, that had to have known! Why else would they have preferred Clyde over me? He might have been a scientist, but I was an artist! They had to have known I wasn't their son! They had to... I... It's your fault!"
Thor had a peculiar expression on his face, almost as if...
"DON'T YOU DARE PITY ME!"
Lightning snaked down and struck Thor, who had to take half a step back to brace himself, but nothing more. Damn him. Damn him and all the gods of thunder.
"Mark Mardon," Thor said heavily, once the ringing from the thunder had died down, "I believe it is time you met your uncle."
The prisons of Asguard were much nicer than Iron Heights. Neither had natural sunlight, but Asguard's were bright and warm, and whether it was because Thor was nearby or not, none of the guards were jeering at the prisoners.
"Loki, I would speak with you," Thor said, stopping in front of one of the cells. He was positioned so that they weren't easily visible by guards or other prisoners. It was the sort of thing Mark noticed, having played a part in more jailbreaks than he could count over the years.
"And what if I don't wish to speak to you?" the prisoner asked.
If this prisoner really was Thor's brother, there wasn't much family resemblance. Where Thor was bright and broad, Loki was dark and wiry – though given what he'd had seen of Asguard so far, Mark was certain that, even with his thinner frame, Loki could easily put him through a wall if he felt it was necessary.
"Then you perhaps you will speak with this man," Thor gave Mark a nudge as he spoke, except it ended up more like a shove and Mark stumbled forward.
"Who is..." Loki trailed off and looked at Mark in exactly the same way Frigga had. There was the family resemblance after all.
Loki laughed. "Your spawn? Is he not to your high standards? Have you come to foist him off on me?"
"I don't look anything like him!" Mark exploded, "Why would you even think that we're related?"
"The tangled web of a broken geas still enshrouds you," Loki replied, smirking as he studied Mark further, "Even if you weren't as thunderously brash as my brother, the spell tells all."
"It is not my intention to cast aside my son," Thor interrupted Mark's response, "Nor will it ever be. I came to seek council on a matter I have little familiarity with."
Loki laughed again, short and ugly. "Is he a villain then, this child of yours? No bright, brave prince for Asguard's throne? Have you come to show him where he'll be left to rot after he's disappointed you one too many times?"
"My name," Mark ground out, sick of being referred to by other monikers, "Is Mark Mardon. Stop addressing me otherwise."
"Such a plain name for your child, brother," Loki said, "Why not Tanngrisnir, after your goat? Tanngrisnir Thorsson has such a nice ring to it."
"Stop being difficult, Loki," Thor ordered, cutting off Mark's complaint yet again, "I wished for you two to meet and, though it may have been a passing dream, I had hoped you could help."
"Not scared I'll corrupt the boy?" Loki asked, with a grin that showed too many teeth.
"We need to get to dinner," Thor said, "Mother will be missing us. If you believe Loki will help you, you will be welcome here, Mark."
Both Mark and Thor were miserable at the feast. Mark pushed the food around his plate, not feeling like eating. Loki's words still rung in his head.
"You know what the pair of you need?" Fandral said brightly, "A quest! A deadly adventure with only your wits and your blade for arms. And it just so happens that the three of us," he gestured to Volstagg and Hogun, "Have just such plans. It wouldn't be difficult to adjust for two more."
"We do?" Volstagg asked Hogun in a way that was probably meant to be quiet. Hogun gave him a hard stare in reply. "Ah! Yes, we do!" Volstagg exclaimed, catching on, "A wonderful quest, to... uh..."
"Alfheim," Fandral supplied smoothly, "We leave in two days. You are both very welcome to join us."
The corners of Thor's mouth quirked up into a smile. And damn it all, but Mark missed a good heist enough to consider the idea.
And if that thought wasn't enough to make him want to reach for the mead and down it like tequila, nothing was.
"Back so soon? The merriment too much for you to bear?"
Mark threw his empty bottle at Loki. It bounced off the cell's containment field and shattered on the floor. A small puddle of honey-liquid pooled around the shards.
Already Mark regretted wasting that last gulp.
"Truly, Thor's son," Loki sighed, "Always breaking things and blaming others."
"My brother's dead," Mark said. He rested against the wall, the sickly-sweet taste of the mead making him feel suddenly queasy.
Loki cocked his head, silent for once, waiting for Mark to continued.
"I don't know if it was by my hand, but it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been there," Mark choked. Talking about Clyde still brought a lump to his throat, excessive quantities of mead or not.
"Do you miss him?"
"Do you wish him alive and returned to you?" Loki asked, "There are roads to Helheim and Valhalla that even Thor knows."
"No!" Mark spluttered, then just as quickly, "Yes. Shit."
Loki was silent again, but at least he looked like he was listening to Mark.
"You know I had a son?" Mark said randomly, he could always blame the drink, or the fact that Loki could probably mind-control answers out of him if he wanted to, "He's dead too. Fuck knows why Frigga brought me here when I'm cursed to watch all my family die." Mark finished with a hiccough and wished he'd brought more mead.
"Clyde Mardon wasn't your brother," Loki said. There was something dark and bitter shadowing his face, the sort of twisted anger at the world that you could see on every Rogue.
"Yes he fucking was."
"Not by blood and that's what curses care about," Loki corrected smugly.
"Fuck your magic," Mark made a rude gesture. The pleased smile Loki was directing at him was enough to bring Mark's slurred thoughts to a startlingly sober epiphany.
"Stop that. I've worked with a trickster long enough to tell when someone's trying to avoid a topic," Mark said, "What the hell's bothering you about me saying that Clyde's my brother, even if he wasn't related by blood?"
"Your mortal mind truly is tiny if you think your notions are in some way upsetting to me," Loki scoffed.
"Insults, huh. If I was sober that might've worked" Mark frowned at Loki, "The Rogues were the best fucked-up family a criminal could ask for and like hell were they blood relatives."
"Blood is everything," Loki hissed, pleasant completely out the window and replaced with the unhinged anger that screamed 'supervillain'.
"I thought that for a while too," Mark said, nodding until he had to stop or fall over, "It's not really."
"You ignorant – !" Loki made a noise of disgust, "How dare you make light of the lies involved with such a farce!"
"Aren't you all about the lies?" Mark said, "Why's it bothering you so much anyway?"
Loki turned his head away from Mark.
"Just to be clear, I don't give a damn," Mark said, "I'm bored and there's only some much fun to be gotten out of detailing the horrible things I've done at dinner and watching people try to cover it up."
"I was right then, villain," Loki twisted the word, latching onto another topic.
"If the boot fits," Mark shrugged, "I'm not ashamed of it."
"And you're his son, so Thor can't get angry at you," Loki hissed with an empty grin, "The failing of the child are so often the failings of the parent. He must despise himself."
Mark straightened and focused a hard stare at Loki. With so many years of being a Rogue, Mark could clearly see what Thor and Frigga just couldn't.
"One day, Thor will die," Mark said starkly, "And you won't dance on his grave. You'll hunt down the being responsible and you. Will. End. Them."
Loki smiled, unholy fire dancing in his eyes. "And so will you, Mark Mardon."
"Goodnight, uncle," Mark said, starting toward the exit and nearly walking into a pillar, "Now where's the bathroom? I need a piss."
The dawn was bright, as everything was in Asguard. Mark had to wonder about building a city out of metal (so reflective McCulloch would love it) in a place that never seemed to have natural cloud.
Today was the day Mark, Thor, and the Warriors Three were going to head off to Alfheim. Mark had been kitted out with what Fandral referred to as 'adventurer's gear'. Mark was thankful of the thick furs, even if they were somewhat smelly, though he wasn't sure what use fifty feet of rope was.
"It's easy, Mark. Just put your foot on the stirrup and pull yourself over using the pommel," Volstagg explained patiently.
Mark eyed up the horse, not moving an inch toward it. It eyed him up just the same and snorted.
"I'll be fine flying," Mark said.
"For the whole day?" Fandral rolled his eyes, "That's no way to travel! It's far easier to be admired from atop a dashing white stead."
"...It's brown," Mark said, gesturing at the horse in case Fandral was looking at the wrong one.
"It's all in how it's told afterwards," Fandral retorted, "Get on."
Mark edged closer to the horse and followed Volstagg's instructions. He ended up on the horse, but it felt unbalanced and unwieldy compared to a good funnel of wind.
"To success and glory that will be told in tale for years to come," Thor boomed. His horse reared up and his cape billowed in what must have been a planned gust of wind. Every inch the hero.
Mark wasn't a hero. He would never go out of his way to save innocents or follow laws to the letter. He couldn't stop children from crying (since he was usually the one to make them cry). He needed to be around people who could take his abrasive attitude and give it back.
He might not be a hero, but maybe in this crazy space-Viking world there might be a place for him.
Now if he could just see about getting the other Rogues here too...