Author's note: It's been a while since the movie Thor came out, and I find myself (perhaps unhealthily) obsessed by it. So I'm trying some fic to get it out of my system, or at least give it an outlet other than repeated visits to the theater! I have ideas of making this into a series, if the muse strikes. Loki will remain the central character, with appearances by others.

A few notes before starting. (1) I've never read the comics. My only source of inspiration is the movie, specifically Tom Hiddleston's riviting portrayal of Loki. (2) I loved Norse mythology as a child, so I might draw some on that. (3) Obviously I don't own Marvel's characters or settings. I'm just playing in their universe. The story is mine, and if I ever end up making up original characters, they're mine too. (4) Constructive feedback rocks, and might influence me to write more. :)

Know Your Place, part one: The Fall

Loki was not thinking anymore. No plans, no mischief, no plots swirled through his normally busy mind. There was no time for anything but angry instinct, and so he acted. He leapt for his brother as Thor raised Mjolnir to deliver the final blow to the Bifrost, Odin's staff - his staff - raised to strike.

And then the explosion, multicolored light buffeting his vision just as violently as waves of force battered his body. He could see nothing; he could only feel the blows as he flew into the air, the force of it ripping the helm from his head, the staff from his hand. Loki reached out blindly, desperately, searching for an anchor in the chaos, some safe harbor in the Bifrost's final storm. A shadow solidified before him, the edge of the shattered rainbow bridge just out of his reach, and he fell.

Fear welled in him then, sharp and cold and crystalline in its clarity, and he flung his arms out desperately - and, miraculously, one found reprieve. He tightened his grip around the staff and looked up into his brother's face, and up further, into his father's.

Loki's heart leapt. Now his father would see, would know that he was just as worthy as Thor; perhaps he would see that Loki might even be the better son, the one who could think and plan and succeed through intelligence instead of brute force. He called out, baring his soul, telling the full truth of his hopes and dreams. There was freedom in the act, discarding the lies and pretense he was known for, because now his father would fully accept him as his true son. Hope and happiness kindled inside him, a warm glow that shone in his eyes like sunlight through green glass.

"No, Loki."

The gentle words were heavier than Mjolnir and crueler by far than the sharpest blade. The hope inside him shattered, its former warmth now blades of ice shredding and freezing his soul. But that was what he was, yes? What his father would always see him as. A frost giant's cast-off, a tool, a pawn. That was his fate, his place. He would never be allowed to be anything else.

But he could chose to be something else. Just not here.

Thor's eyes widened above him, understanding him only now, for the first time since they were children. It hurt almost as much as his father's rejection, and made it even easier for Loki to let go. For a moment he soared - perhaps this was what it felt like when Thor flew with his mighty hammer? Loki spread his arms wide, accepting whatever the unknown had to offer.

And then he fell, fell into the wake of the destructive force of the Bifrost. Pain lanced through him as its angry energies engulfed him, carrying him tumbling through the branches of Yggdrasil toward whatever remained of Jotunheim. No more graceful soaring now; Loki was buffeted and struck, bullied and shoved by the wild currents that held him captive. The fear that had melted away now returned to Loki in force. He could not, would not, be exiled there of all places. Never. Better Niflheim, better Svartalfheim, than the place he was born. The only place worse would be Asgard.

You are the master of unknown paths, he raged at himself as panic tried to rob him of the one asset he had left - his mind. Loki closed his eyes against the riotous energy around him, closed his mind against the firey pain tormenting his body, closed his heart to the weeping ruins of his soul, and concentrated. There was no up or down, right or left, not when he was tumbling through space. But the paths existed; he simply had to find them. He reached out with his thoughts, just as before he had reached out with his arms...

Nothing, nothing, blackness and ice, oblivion and fire. Walls that cut, sheer cliffs of roaring power, towering waves of acid. And all the while Jotunheim drew him closer, beckoning him home, whispering for him to take his rightful place on Laufey's throne ... on his father's throne. Loki's scream of rage was silent, but it stripped his throat raw.

And then there was a bright spark in the void, the tiniest of flickering hopes. He reached out desperately, latching his mind onto it like a falcon's talons into frail flesh. With the strength of his will alone he pulled himself toward it, battling the sucking power so intent on dragging him down to Jotunheim. It was agony, this tug-of-war between Yggdrasil and his soul, and he screamed again, frozen tears on his cheeks. Mental inch by inch, he dragged himself away until, an eternity later, he fell onto this new path.

It was light here, and the exquisite pain inflicted by the mortally wounded Bifrost faded into the throb and heat of simple wounds. Loki's green eyes fluttered as he wondered where he was going, and then closed as unconsciousness swept all thought away. It was no matter; the new path did not need its traveller to be aware. The current would sweep, as it always swept, toward Midgard.

(end part one)