Author's Note: I watched Thor [again] tonight, and I just couldn't resist writing...something. Just a Loki-centric drabble. I don't even know why I wrote it or why I'm posting it, but I figure that it couldn't hurt, right? (Then again, I am half-asleep, so my judgment isn't exactly the best right now.) I'm not even going to bother making excuses for this. k;asjlkdfjas;dlfjsakld;fajs how do I fanfiction? ;.; It should be longer. It should be more detailed. I should've tried harder to do Loki justice. But it is what it is and I should go to bed before I beat myself up about it too much.

Anyways, I'm gonna shut up now. Hopefully this will provide some enjoyment for someone out there.~

Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. I barely even own my own clothes.

For a few fleeting moments, the stars swirled around him—spiraling faster and faster until they became a glow of pink and yellow light that became steadily brighter until it was...gone. The stars and auroras, along with the glittering outline of what remained of the Bifrost, had steadily grown more distant until they disappeared altogether. In a matter of seconds, Asgard, along with everything that he had ever loved, however mistakenly, was gone—replaced by absolute blackness.

Darkness and deafening silence.

Loki tried to yell—tried to call out for his brother, for his father, for anyone. His throat, suddenly dry, stung from the force of his cries. No matter how loudly he felt that he was yelling, there was no sound. There was nothing. Thor wasn't there. The All-Father wasn't there. Only him, alone in the crushing blackness.

The only sound that he could hear was the resonating echo of Odin's final words to him.

No, Loki.

Pain shot down to his fingertips as his heart constricted in his chest. How he had been so foolish as to think that Odin would have been pleased with him had he succeeded in destroying Jotunheim, he would never know. No matter what he did—no matter how profoundly he destroyed the link between himself and his monstrous kin—he never would have been first in his father's eyes. Never. That spot was reserved for Thor, the true heir. The true Asgardian. The beautiful, powerful, golden-haired prince who had always been the proverbial apple of Odin's eye.

The opposite of everything that Loki was and would ever be.

In the absence of external stimulation, Loki was left alone with his thoughts—his regrets. He had never wanted the throne. He had never expected it, even after Thor's exile. Even as a child, he had known that he never had any true chance of becoming king, and he had resigned himself to that fact. For as long as he could remember—and he had quite a lucid memory—Thor had been groomed for succession, while he, the younger brother, stood by and watched. Despite his gift for diplomacy, his intellect, his level-headed approach to conflict—despite all of his merits, he had always stood in Thor's towering shadow, holding his "silver tongue" until it was needed.

Know your place, brother.

Loki barked a laugh; he was still unable to hear anything, but he barely noticed at that point. His place. Brother. Quite a joke, really, when he thought about it; and thinking was all that he could do. In retrospect, he realized that he had never truly known his place. He had no place. None. He couldn't return to Asgard, and he certainly didn't belong with the Jotuns. They wanted his head as much as anyone else did, if not more. They had left him, a defenseless infant, to die, and he had repaid them by tricking and then killing their king—his...father.

If anything, he belonged in the vault, strung up alongside the rest of Odin's war trophies.

Why must you twist my words?

There was no twisting those words. He had only ever been a tool—a vessel for peace between two realms. Nothing more. Odin and Frigga had raised him like a fattened calf, saving him for the right moment. Then what? Would they have sent him into the midst of the Jotuns, tasking him with the well nigh impossible task of preserving peace with the ice giants? Had they given him comfort and riches, fed him pretty lies just to rip it all away in the end?

You are my son.

Lies. Lies.

Make your father proud.

That had never been possible. Had he done nothing, Thor would have always been at the forefront, and his efforts to keep his idiot brother in line would never have been recognized. No one was ever proud of the small, quiet child when his bright, charismatic, flashy brother drew far more attention. Tales of Thor's exploits were told far and wide. No one ever spoke of the boy who turned wine to snakes. No one lauded tricks over daring conquests.

Even when he kept Thor's excursions from taking tragic turns. Even when he negotiated Thor and his companions out of bloody, unnecessary battles. Even when his advice kept Asgard from turning on its head and burning to the ground.

Loki finally realized how pointless it all was. What did he care if Asgard burned to the ground? What did he care if Thor and his companions were slain?

In the darkness, he could see faded images of the great hall in the palace. The long dining table was overflowing with platters of food—roasted pheasant, boar, tender beef, and all matter of vegetables, desserts, and jugs of wine and mead. Not a single seat was left unoccupied, and every face was smiling. Laughter abounded, especially around Thor—the new king. Frigga's eyes were full of proud, happy tears, and Odin looked on with a satisfied smile.

There wasn't a single empty seat. There was no space reserved for him, and no one cared that he was missing. It was if he had never been there.

"I'm not your brother," he choked out, almost involuntarily. "I never was."

Freezing wind tore at his face as he continued to fall through nothingness. Which way was up, which way was down, where he was, where he was going—he didn't know. For the first time, he had no control over what was happening, and he was frightened. Shards of what felt like ice ripped through his skin, once more eliciting silent cries. His senses were on fire, and there was no way of telling if the pain would ever end.

An eternity could have passed, or it could only have been moments. There was no way to tell. The pain seemed to build continually, and the storm of voices in his head made him feel even deafer than before. Thor, insisting that the Jotuns must pay. Odin, explaining why he had taken him from the temple. Frigga, insisting that she had always wanted him to know the truth. Laufey, claiming that the All-Father was nothing more than a murderer and a thief.

And there he was, the son of two murderers. One had left him to die. One had told him nothing but lies. Neither truly wanted him.

It felt as if the shards were tearing at his heart as well as his body. As they stripped him of his skin, they also stripped him of his love, his hope, and eventually even his sorrow. All at once, the pain faded to numbness.

He heard nothing, he saw nothing, and he felt nothing.

Eventually, he even thought nothing. The voices quieted, leaving him with a strange sense of peace that quivered between foreboding and resolution. He was nothing, and he was returning to nothingness. Even a master of magic couldn't always cheat death, especially when he didn't have the presence of mind to set himself on a safe path through the realms. His moment of indecision—of weakness, as he looked upon his father and brother for the last time—had been his downfall. In Odin's eye, he had seen nothing but pity. Pity for a weak, worthless monster.

The fading image of that pity was suddenly joined by something else—something brown and green, approaching rapidly out of the blackness. Before he knew what was happening, he found himself lying face-down in what he assumed was dirt, from the rough feel of it beneath his bleeding palms and fingertips. He inhaled the warm, dry air too rapidly, and it quickly exited his lungs in a series of painful coughs, leaving him winded. Shaking, he managed to lift his upper body before falling back onto his side, then rolling exhaustedly onto his back.

At first, the light was blinding. Absolute black had become starkest white, and his eyes stung even more fiercely than before. Finally, white morphed into bright, cloudless blue, and his brown desert surroundings became clearly visible.

Midgard. By all appearances, the same place to which Thor had been exiled.

Loki's peace shattered. Laughter, practically manic, wracked his body. It was no happy coincidence that he had landed in the place so loved by his "brother." Without knowing it, he had been headed there all along; he had merely been too distracted to realize it.

Finally able to raise himself to a sitting position, he turned his head to the side to spit out a mouthful of blood. His whole body ached, but his mind was clearer than ever before. He had come to Midgard for a purpose; as always, he had a plan. Since his blind, foolish devotion to his father had finally been stripped away, he could see the whole plot as if it were lying in front of his eyes, inked indelibly into the most ancient parchment.

If he had no place, he carve one out of the foundation of the universe.

Both of you were born to be kings.

Thor could have his time on the throne of Asgard. He could savor it—relish his victory, bathed in the affections of his many admirers. It was only temporary, after all.

Before long, Loki would have everything, and everyone would take notice.