Disclaimer: I own nothing, all rights go to Marvel and Disney.
Fuel to Fire
Summary: While Loki sinks deep into his madness, encouraged by the whispers of Thanos and his own memories, the Avengers have to decide what to do next. As the people of Earth and Asgard make demands to secure the chaos god's punishment, none notices the growing shadow closing in on all of the realms.
No pairings. No slash. Angst. Hurt. Torture and selfharm or mentions of it.
AU ending of the Avengers. Possible mentions of Guardians of the Galaxy.
English is not my first language, sorry for any weird grammar errors and typos.
Thor stood silently, watching his brother on the surveillance screen in front of him. Loki hadn't done anything ever since they placed him in his cell – again. He just sat, staring into the nothing in front of him, his eyes blank and bright, his expression neutral. Thor knew that look. How often hadn't he seen it, how often hadn't he misinterpreted it. The insanity of his brother was nothing new, the thunder god had come to realize with great regret. It had been around for many, many years. Fuelled by Odin's and Asdgards favouritism of Thor. The only thing new was the mental break that had released the madness behind those cold, calculating bright green eyes. The calculating eyes of a genius.
The other Avengers and Nick Furry all watched Thor with a somewhat cautious distance. They hadn't voiced any objections when Thor had placed the muzzle on his brother and demanded that he'd been confined in isolation. "He will face Asgardian justice." the thunder god had told them.
They hadn't objected. Yet.
"So, care to elaborate?" Tony asked, stretching himself, never taking his eyes of Thor. The god turned, looking at the man behind the iron. "Elaborate what, friend Stark?" Tony waved his hand at the screen showing the god of mischief. "That. Your so called brother."
Thor's face grew dark. "Loki is my brother, no matter how little trust is left between us."
Tony sat up straight. "See, that! Right there. What the hell happened between you two?"
"What Tony means.." Natasha interrupted, folding her hands in front of her, looking Thor in the eyes ".. why did this happen? You seem to reach your hand to Loki again and again, with Loki biting it off again and again. If you were raised on Asgard, and live for as long as we are beginning to suspect – then why now? Why did he attack Earth?"
Thor looked uncomfortable, as he sat down at the table. The other Avengers and the few shield agents present waited for the god to elaborate.
"It's.. difficult for me to talk about lady Natasha. We live for many thousands of years, and yet it seems as if I've never really known my brother at all." he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.
"One year ago, when I was banished to Midgard.."
"You were what?" asked Clint, eyebrow croaked.
Thor blushed faintly, staring at the table in front of him. "Banished. By my father, Odin king. To learn me a lesson, one I was too blind to learn on my own."
"So he banished you to Earth? Why Earth?" asked Steve, looking questioningly at Thor.
"The people of Asgard has a lot of dealings with the other realms, save Midgard. I believe my father, by banishing me here, hoped I would learn values I was unable to learn in any other realm known to us."
The others remained quiet, mostly, for the rest of Thor's story. He explained in brief detail the events on Asgard, of Loki's attempt to destroy Jotunheim. And ultimately of his fall from the Bifrost.
Thor looked back to the screen, to look at his brother.
"We thought him dead. I had no idea a person could survive falling through dimensions and time.." Thor's voice trailed off and he cut himself off. "I should've looked for him. All of this is my fault."
"No Thor. This is Loki." Natasha interrupted, causing the god to look at her. Tony leaned forward, interrupting Natasha. "Point Break, if your father, the all knowing king of the entire universe, thought your crazy ass baby brother dead after that fall, why shouldn't you?" he reasoned.
Thor frowned. "Loki is perhaps a little unstable but.."
"Unstable? He willingly let go of your My Little Pony bridge to commit suicide, not to mention he tried to conguer an entire PLANET and you think he's a little unstable? Lord, I need a drink."
"Enough!" Fury barked, shutting Tony up. Thor got up and began pacing back and fourth.
"I should take him to Asgard. To our parents. The Allfather will know what to do.. and the Allmother..." Thor stopped short, his head bowed.
"You okay?" asked Bruce cautiously.
"I am well. Forgive me, but for this entire year we all believed Loki to be dead. And now I'm being given the opportunity to bring him home to our mother.."
"She'll know what he's done right?" asked Steve in sudden alarm.
"The Allmother knows all. She is blessed with foresight and will have have awaited my brothers return ever since he was unveiled from whatever magic that kept him hidden from Asgard's sight." Thor gave a weak smile.
"Until we know what we are dealing with, you are not taking your baby brother anywhere." Fury said, his voice cold. Thor turned to him, a challenge in his eyes.
"You want to keep us from our home?" he asked, the warning clear in his voice. The windows trembled slightly, and thunder could be heard in the distance.
"Hell no, I can't wait for you to get out of here. But somebody gave Loki that army, and I wanna know if they are planning any other tricks on Earth." Fury gave Thor a hard look.
"You mean well, but your concept of time are a little different from ours. If you go back to Asgard, who knows when you'll be back. I wont risk that."
"So Loki are your hostage until then?"
"Prisoner." Fury answered. "And you are our guest. We owe you a debt Thor, don't think we've forgotten about all you've done for us."
Thor looked uncertain, before bowing his head. "Very well. I will remain with Loki until you have to answers you seek."
Thor stepped into the cell area, with the door closing soundlessly behind him. Loki sat before him, on the floor, back to him. The thick glass wall kept them apart. Loki didn't even acknowledge him as Thor stepped forward.
"Brother." Thor said in greeting, not expecting any reaction. He waited a second or so, sighing before continuing. "I have spoken with the Avengers and their leader Director Fury. It was our understanding that I were to return to Asgard with you once you were captured. Those plans, however, have now been altered." Still not getting a reply, Thor continued, his voice sad. "You are to remain here, in the custody of the humans. They want to know what drove you to Midgard and to your actions against them.." At that, Loki turned his head and Thor cut himself off when faced with his younger brothers bright, hateful eyes. He'd forgotten about the muzzle. Thor gave a brief look at the camera, before opening the cell door. Loki was chained to the floor in the center of the cell, with chains crafted by the smiths of Asgard. They would hold his magic and with little room to move, it would be safe enough. Loki looked ahead when Thor approached him. Not getting his attention, Thor kneeled down, gently removing the muzzle from his brothers mouth. But even with the muzzle gone, Loki didn't reply.
"I won't let any harm come to you brother. But you will be punished by father when we return to Asgard. That I cannot hinder. You've tried to conquer a planet under Asgards protection. You've betrayed my trust, and that of mothers. There is little trust between us now, brother, and while I won't do you any harm now, I cannot promise the same thing should you ever attempt something like this again. But, until we are returned to Asgard, I will look after you, as I've always done."
Thor did notice how pale his brother was, and how his dark hair seemed to cling to his face and neck. He looked ill. Thor frowned and reached forward. Before he could reach Loki however the other slapped his hand away. The angry snarl on Loki's face caused Thor to stop.
"I don't want your pity, Odinson. I want you out of my sight! I want you dead!" Loki hissed, looking up. His green eyes gleamed in the translucent light.
Thor sighed, and stood up. Loki quickly followed, stepping forward only to be stopped by the chains. Loki looked like he was about to say something, before growling, tucking one time angrily at the bonds keeping him, before turning around.
"Be well brother. I will be back." Thor said soberly, before exiting the cell and closing the door behind him, leaving Loki, alone under the unnatural light.
The only thing to be heard in the cell was his own hollow breathing. Or was it. Loki looked around, feeling the eyes of others on him. Or maybe it was just his imagination.
He laughed, struggling against his bind. The magic chains. Odins handiwork no doubt.
The thought of the Allfather lit the fire in his eyes anew. He pulled the chains. When they didn't bulged, he pulled harder, furiously. How dared they bind him like an animal! He was a god!
He struggled with the chains until he could feel the skin of his wrist break, blood smearing the shackles and dripping on the floor. He felt the anger stroke his mind, cloud his thoughts. The hot boiling anger in him seemed to play tricks on his eyes.
He blinked. His blood was blue.
He stopped fighting immediately. Sweat was glistening on his temple, the salt stinging in the cuts around his wrist. He sank to his knees, shaking as he brought the bloodied hands to his eyes.
The blood liquid shined in the electric light. Loki swallowed. He was sure it had been blue.
Loki kneeled silently in the middle of the room. The whispers surrounded him, demanding his attention. Demanding his freedom. He ignored them. Freedom could wait. Freedom was an illusion. He stared blankly at the floor, unmoving. His bright eyes shone with a fever like daze, and he could see his hands shake even though he couldn't feel them. The blood – blue or red, he couldn't tell, continued to drip slowly on the floor. The bulding pressure in his mind though.. that he could feel.
'You think you know pain'
He did know pain. He, who had been lied to his entire life. He, who had fell through space and time. He, who had seen and done unspeakable things. He, who had been broken..
'You know nothing.'
He had fallen through the void for months, years. He, who had been king and Prince of Asgard.
He could hear the whispers around him. Or was it his own voice? Did he have a voice? Feel them stroke his cheek and his thoughts, gentle like a lovers touch and terrible like the blade of a knife. Loki listened to them. Welcomed them. He could feel the broken whispers working around his broken mind and heart, forcing the pieces further and further apart. He felt his lips form a smile. Or was he crying?
The voice yelled at him and he flinched, bowing down in submission. Loki remained on his knees, head bowed, for several minutes before the pain from his wrist began to overcome the pressure in his mind. He gave a inaudible sigh of relief. He was alone again.
"What's he doing?" asked Steve with a frown. They'd all watched the camera feed when Thor went to inform his brother of the change of plans. They overheard Thor's attempt to talk with Loki, the promise of punishment, only to wince when the trickster snarled and attempted to attack Thor.
"Thank God for magic chains from the Heaven." Tony mumbled in relief.
When Thor left they thought Loki would sink back into his submissive state. Therefore, when he continued to fight the chains after Thor had disappeared, the Avengers became unsettle. The continued struggle against his bonds, the hated expression on his face. The audio feed was little more than angry mumbles. They heard the word animal and god, both spoken with the same loathing Loki had used when he addressed Thor.
When Thor reentered the council room, he looked troubled. "Is he doing anything?" he asked, walking over and watching the screen from behind Steve's back. The captain looked at the thunder god. "He continued to trash around after you left. Not much else."
They watched in silence as Loki fought his bonds. When the blood started dripping onto the floor, Bruce looked away. Clint eyed Thor. "He's not insane enough to try and cut of his hands, are he?" the archers voice suggested he wouldn't put it pass the asgardian.
Thor shook his head. "He need his hands to perform his magic. They are more important than his voice, which is why I felt safe enough to remove the muzzle."
"Guys.." Natasha said, drawing their attention back to the screen. Loki had stopped struggling against his bonds. Instead he was staring at his hands, eyes wide and chock written all over his features.
He sank to his knees, and they could faintly hear his voice. "Nej.." he whispered, his voice having a slightly panicked note as he studied his hands in the artificial light. He brought his blood soaked hand to his eyes, his hands shaking violently. The Avengers shared a look. Fury seemed unimpressed by the whole situation, but Thor looked deeply trouble.
"Perhaps I should go to him.." he started, only to cut himself off when Loki snapped his head around, as if trying to locate somebody or something in the cell. But he was alone. The chaos god looked directly in the camera, his eyes glazed and unfocused. He snapped his head back, starring ahead. They could see his lips move, but no sound was heard. Loki remained on his knees, completely still. The blood continued to drip from his injured wrists. He slightly moved his head, as if to distance himself from something.
"Ég kender smärta.. èg falt gjemmen tid og rum.. du vet intet." the words were softly spoken, and meant nothing to the Avengers who all looked at Thor who had gone deathly pale.
"What's he saying?" asked Tony.
"He speaks our native tongue.." Thor answered, but didn't elaborate further when Loki suddenly winced and bowed down, his dark hair hiding his face. When several minutes had passed without Loki moving or speaking, the Avengers looked at Thor. The thunder god had begun pacing again, a hand in his hair and worry in his eyes.
"Thor, what did Loki say?" asked Steve, repeating Tony's question. Thor stopped, looking at the still image of his brother.
"He said 'I know pain. I fell though time and space.. You know nothing.'"
Nobody said anything at this revelation. "Sounds like he's completely lost it." Tony supplied when the silence became a little too much. Fury huffed.
"As interesting as this is, the nucase have calmed down for the time being, but I am not letting him stay here. Last time he nearly caused this helicarrier to fall out of the sky. He's doing down to earth so he can't manipulated anyone into crashing this thing." Fury looked at the team in front of him.
"Where ever Loki goes, I follow." Thor said, the power returning to his voice.
"I expected as much. We don't exactly have any cells that can contain a magical freakshow from another planet so we have to come up with something." Fury looked at Tony. "But I bet you'll want to take up the challenge to build something for him?"
Tony raised an eyebrow. "Ehm, no? I'm getting dinner with these guys and then I'm clocking out."
"No. This isn't done yet Stark." Fury smirked. "It is Thursday - " at this Thor raised a surprised evebrow and looked at the others "and it's between 8-15. I'm consulting you. Now, where should we put a magical terrorist from outer space?"
Tony frowned. "You know, I dislike having my hospitality used against me." he informed the director, before looking at Thor. "Those chains, they will hold him correct?"
Thor nodded. "As long as what they are bound to are strong enough, he won't be able to pull free unless I release him."
Tony clapped his hands, standing up. "Great. I have a spare room – in fact several - you stay in it with him." Tony looked at Fury who wore an unimpressed look. "Satisfied?"
"Not really. You plan on bringing Loki to your own tower?"
"Why not? Granted, he kinda destroyed my living room – I'm sending your father the bill Point Break – but if those chains can keep him in place, I don't see why not. That'll keep him off the streets and out of your hair. Romanoff can swing by and interrogate him whenever she wants. My tower are as secure as it gets. Jarvis can keep an eye on him all the time." Tony smirked. "Bruce's coming to stay with me too. He can green up if we need Loki to remember who's in charge."
Bruce shook his head but didn't object.
"Not to mention you get to learn about his asgardian magic and space travel." Clint shot in, giving Tony an unimpressed glare. The billionaire grinned. "Oh yeah. That hadn't crossed my mind. At all."
"What of the Tesseract and the staff?" asked Steve. "They shouldn't be kept under the same roof as Loki."
"Agreed. You can keep those Fury – that should keep your council happy." Tony reasoned.
Thor stepped in. "I will bring both the Tesseract and Loki's sceptre with me when I return to Asgard. They are not of Midgard and are too dangerous to remain here now that the rest of the Universe has it's eye on you."
Fury glared at them. "Fine. The sceptre and the Tesseract are under S.H.I.E.L.D.S. control and Thor and the rest of the Avengers, you make sure Loki doesn't leave this planet until we know just what we are dealing with."
Tony clapped his hands. "Excellent! Now, shawarma?"
Updates will be irregular.
My first Avengers fic. I am terrified of writing this, most due to the amount characters and because of Loki's complicated personality.
Nej means no in danish/swedish. The norwegian/icelandic word is nei. Pronounced the same way.
Yes, I am arrogant enough to pretend that Danish (my native language) are the spoken native language of the asgardians – let's call it Aser (the danish word for æsir). I'm not planning on using it a lot, mainly when Loki or Thor want's to have a private conversation. And, I'll be mixing in a bit of Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic just for the hell of it – our languages are similar and I'm not arrogant enough to exclude them from our shared history.