Disclaimer: The characters portrayed herein belong to Marvel, Stan Lee, Disney (or so I'm told). In short, not me. I am making no profit from this work of fanfiction, unless you count enjoying myself immensely as profit, in which case, my intangible gains are substantial.
Author's Note: Having been incited to it by my enjoyment of 'The Avengers', I have finally seen 'Thor'. I liked it less than 'The Avengers', but nevertheless a few things in it sparked my curiosity, and other bits made me think "hang on a mo', when you look at that bit in the context of 'Avengers'. . ." and I've always been a reader of the Norse myths. This fic is the result of all of that.
AVENGERS AVENGERS AVENGERS
Loki had not, in the end, gotten that drink.
To be fair, nor had he immediately gotten the gag, though the manacles were more or less a done deal from the first moment of his captivity.
Both muzzle and shackles were Asgardian, of Dwarven make with Odin's enchantments woven through them despite the older deity's heavy-hearted regret - Thor knew - against just such an eventuality necessitating their use. But the Allfather, lamenting the circumstances though he might, was too canny and pragmatic a ruler to risk a world - or two, for that matter - on the whims of his maddened, mischievous, wayward younger son. As the invading army of Chitauri had demonstrated, his caution, though argued against by Thor, had proven him right. Despite his own hesitancy, in the end Thor could not fault his father's foresight, and had pulled out the enchanted bonds.
Still, though he fettered his brother himself, Thor could not bring himself to use the gag, at least not at first.
However, after his initial silver-tongued drollery, his brother had behaved in a manner most unlike himself. Though he tried to keep up the facade, it rapidly became clear that his early coherence, his sarcastic eloquence in the Stark building penthouse, was purely a cover.
Oh, the defeated trickster stood tall while his guards were in the room, arrogant, cold and unreachable. It wasn't until they left, that he seemed to shrink into himself, apparently insensate of the video cameras he'd been so quick to make use of as part of his psychological warfare on the carrier. Shaking and sweating, he seemed to battle with himself in the cell in which he was unceremoniously deposited.
And it was like this, shaking in a corner, clutching his head and quivering, that Thor found him, when he went to remonstrate with his brother one last time, to see if he would provide any information about his Chitauri co-conspirators for the mortal, Fury.
"Brother?" He asked, noting the chill sweat bathing the slight figure. Perhaps the green monster had hit him too hard, perhaps he was seriously injured, bleeding out in a mortal cell while his older brother had sat and eaten the strange meat with his Avenger brothers-in-arms . . .
But a hand on cool skin, before Loki flinched back from his touch, allayed his fears.
"I'm . . . I'm not your brother!" Loki muttered, seemingly half distracted.
"You are, whether birthed so or not, my own dear little brother. And you are going home with me." Thor said gently, his words meant as a balm, a reassurance.
"No!" Loki snarled, eyes flashing as the thunder god snagged his full attention, though the fresh beading of sweat on his brow dictated the effort which that took.
It was most strange, Thor decided, how his brother's eyes shifted in the cell's halogen light. Here they looked a murky blue-green. On the roof of the Stark building they had seemed a bright azure. At home on Asgard, he was sure, the multicoloured sky would return them to their proper rich emerald.
But his eyes aside, the twisted, half-mad half-terrified expression Loki wore was ill-suited to his face, and something in it knotted Thor's guts, making him speak more harshly than he might have wished. The resulting conversation was one he'd regret for an aeon.
"Come brother, you are merely frightened of Odin's Justice!"
"Of his revenge? why yes, I am. I will meet no 'justice' at his whim."
"Brother!" Thor sputtered, enraged, "Our father is ever fair!"
"You jest. Surely you realise that. Unlike you, I am not a favoured offspring: I will fair ill in his hands." Loki pointed out bluntly, either unaware or unperturbed by the literal thunderclouds gathering over the other god's head.
"He is fair to us both! I was banished and stripped of power at his order for my transgressions!"
"Thor, you were a full-grown man about to be crowned king when you defied his direct command, invaded a sovereign world, overthrew a treaty, single-handedly re-kindled one of the bitterest wars Asgard has ever fought, and then yelled obscenities at his face. Your banishment for that lasted a week, was to a pleasant, populated world with no grudge against Asgard, and the means of ending your exile travelled on the same Bifrost bridge as yourself!" Loki's voice dripped sarcasm, "a 'fair judgement' by Odin indeed. How very nonpartisan of him. Not the faintest hint of nepotism."
"So you acknowledge yourself that father is just and fair in his treatment of us!"
"Perhaps of you: Have you forgotten what happened, when I asked in all innocence, why I was forbidden seidr-casting when he himself had practiced it? I was chained in the dark, bound by the entrails of one of my own creations, while poison was poured in my eyes to burn out the words of the seidr I'd supposedly read, with my mouth sewn shut to stop me speaking the chants I had created."
"You created nothing! You stole those secrets from forbidden scrolls in the weapons vault!"
"Is that what they told you? At the time I didn't even know those scrolls existed! I figured out how to build those constructs by extending the principles outlined in our tutors' books and watching the Volur cast their spells!"
"You were eight years old!"
"Precisely! How is that a 'just' punishment for a childish little bit of intellectual curiosity?"
"No, brother, you lie with your silver tongue. No child could have created that Serpent, that Wolf, not without help!"
"Silver-tongued I may be, but once again you call me 'liar'! Why do you never believe me! Why do I even bother trying to speak to you?" Loki's shoulders slumped. "Have not my word for it then, since you will never take it. Heimdall sees all: Go, ask him what he saw that day. Then, if you're still unsure, inquire of the Guardian of the Vault if I ever went there alone as a child."
Loki turned away, a desolate defeat colouring his very being. "Even when they both answer in the negative, you won't believe me. You never do. You will take me back to Asgard, deliver me to Odin's 'tender mercies'. You will call yourself my brother - and a good brother - for doing so. You will do this, and be proud, and you will never care to wonder why I allowed myself to fall from the Bifrost bridge."
Still shivering and seemingly exhausted by the exchange, Loki turned away, slumping against the wall, eyes closing. His words struck deep though, a bitter blow to Thor's heart. Uncertain if he could sustain another, the god of thunder turned, rummaging in his belt, before bringing out gag.
Wordlessly, he slipped it onto his unresistant sibling, ignoring the flickering of eyelids as awareness resurrected itself. Disregarding the widening of green eyes that spoke to him of acute betrayal and hurt, a soul-wound worse than the one Loki's words had dealt, Thor had never felt so small.
"It's just until we get home, brother." Thor said, uncertain whom it was he was consoling. "Just until then."
AVENGERS AVENGERS AVENGERS
Please C+C: this is the start of a longer story arc, (well, this and the five pages of notes and snarky Loki-banter I've got stashed in my computer) and I'd dearly love to know what people think about it.
Seidr = spell craft/magic. In Norse mythology, usually practiced by women, with overtones of 'unmanliness' if men attempted it (along with reports of the execution of said men, so, y'know. . .a pretty frowned upon ability.) Loki uses allegations of Seidr-practice as an insult against Odin in the Edda Poetica, and other stories I've read imply that in at least some version of the Odin mythology, Odin's a skilled practitioner. I have no idea if this is canon in Marvel-verse, but I notice nobody other than Loki and possibly Odin in his Odinsleep seem able to use it in the Thor movie, so I figured maybe there'd been a few repercussions to Loki's gifts and his skill set development while growing up.
Volur = plural of Volva. The female shamanesses/sorceresses of Norse legend. Practitioners of Seidr.
The eye-poisoning, mouth sewing, entrail-binding episode does occur in Norse mythology, likewise Loki is known to have produced several offspring, including a wolf, a serpent, an eight-legged horse, etc. etc. all with some pretty impressive stories of their own. I've chosen to turn these into magical constructs rather than progeny, largely because of the directions I want to take the story in later. Again, I've no idea if these are consistent with Marvel canon.
Feedback would be much appreciated