Title: The Winter Soldier
Author: Ash Gray Kitsune
Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers. I simply lust after Loki's costume.
Pairings: FrostSoldier...more later
Warnings: Graphic depictions of Loki's torture and starvation at the hands of the Asgardians, Logan's mouth, Remi's mouth.
Author's Notes: I'm writing this for, and because of, coldxasxice on tumblr, who plays Loki to my Steve, starsstripesandgarters. Also, for ShadowedHaloedAngel right here on . She's mah lady. :3
Summary: Banished to Earth, Loki, battered, beaten, and half-starved, is left to die in the frozen wastes for his treachery in Asgard and Midgard both...
The Winter Soldier
It was the cold that shook him the most. Always, the creeping chill of a dying season, the icy grasp of a dark heart too still to ever beat again. He might have retched, had there been anything in his stomach...Only the excruciating dry heaves came, though, and he knelt there in the snow, coughing up air and spittle for what felt like hours. In reality, he knew that he'd only been in the hellish waste for about a day, if that; Heimdall had tossed him out of the gate into the frozen night, and left him with little more than the rags he wore and a tattered cloak. Even Thor had...He wrenched his heart from that foul place, and tried to forget, for a moment, that he'd ever been...
"No!" Came the ragged gasp, torn from throat and soul, and Loki furiously scraped away the tears with one half-frozen hand, staggering to his feet. He set off at a limping run, determined to put as much distance between the gate's opening and himself as possible, and in the uncertain, fading light of the sunset, it was hard. He'd already bled from his torn lips down the front of his tunic, and it formed a frozen mask on his chin and lips, though most of what had dripped down his neck had broken away with the heaving. It was a garish display, thick, black-red blood staining his pale skin, highlighting the swollen bruises just now starting to soften around his eyes, his throat. Where he to look elsewhere on his body, he knew he'd find the same slowly fading marks, of rope and whip, fist and...far, far worse. At that, he had to pause, had to force himself not to void his stomach again. For all that he had done, yes, he could understand some of the punishment...but...he touched his lips, shakily and tears stung his cheeks, freezing in the growing darkness, and he sobbed, only once, clutching the cloak to his body as closely as he could.
Damn him...damn him...DAMN HIM!
The sun was just barely setting, setting the New York skyline ablaze with molten orange, and Steve sat back on the couch for a moment, savoring the sight from fifty stories up. The Avengers Tower wasn't the tallest building, by any means, but it was one of the strongest, mounted as it was into the very bedrock of Manhattan Island. Tony had truly spared no expense for both their comfort and their security; while he hadn't made everything an exact replica of each of their preferred home environments, he had taken great care to adjust his normal routines to match those of his new housemates. And while at first, Fury was skeptical...slowly, gradually, the team had grown together.
Thursdays, were a mixture of Movie Night, therapy sessions, and Nerf wars, sprinkled with baking cookies, making drinks, and getting plastered enough to cry on one another's shoulders. Mondays, Steve picked up donuts in the morning, while Tuesdays and Fridays, Coulson held training in the lower levels. Nightly, Tony and Bruce tinkered around their respective labs, and Clint, Darcy, and Natasha would watch old foreign films, bickering all the while in Russian. Steve would settle for drawing all of them, and truthfully, he enjoyed it.
But lately, he'd been finding himself more and more...well...taken advantage of. It seemed as though everyone in and out of the Tower who needed to vent would come to him, and without even so much as a by-your-leave, start talking about their troubles. Normally, he didn't mind; he'd be concerned, even, and offer solutions, sending the other on their way with a smile. As time wore on, though, he increasingly found himself cornered by the others, wasting hours upon hours listening and barely getting a word in, his drawings, his work, and his schedules left by the wayside. As both Captain America, and the Avenger's leader, he had an amazing array of things he absolutely had to do...and he'd started dreading the phone or the sound of a door opening, scuttling away to hide, or fleeing to his motorcycle to ride out into the city.
Today had been no exception; he'd listened to Clint complain about the cooking, Tony about the bots, Bruce about Tony, Pepper about Tony, and Natasha about Thor's Pop Tart addiction. All he wanted was a little peace, a little quiet...and a stiff enough drink to sit up and bark. But, he needed to get the weekly schedule posted to everyone's S.H.I.E.L.D. ID before he slipped out to the bar, and with a tired sigh, he sent the document on its way, rubbing his face with both hands before he froze at the sound of the door opening. The heavy footsteps told him it was Thor, and he wondered, blankly, if he could dash and hide before the big man saw him-
"Friend Steven." Oh, hell. Right. Thor'd gone back to administer the punishment his father had decided to Loki a few days ago...no wonder the Pop Tarts were missing.
"Hi, Thor..." He replied softly, shutting the laptop and shoving it onto the coffee table before he leaned over and patted the chair across from him. Might as well offer it to him; the Asgardian looked like death warmed over and refried. In this much, at least, Steve didn't mind helping; it was his job, after all, and Thor did not usually need much reassurance. But he looked ill, and ill-at-ease, as though the shadows that filled the room were too close for his liking. "Jarvis, can you bring up the lights a little?"
"Certainly, Captain Rogers." The room brightened, just enough to chase the darkness away, and Thor seemed to relax, though his eyes were still wary and unnerved.
"My thanks, Steve..." He started, his voice faltering as he wrung his hands, sitting on the edge of the comfortable chair. "I...a thing has been done. A thing that I think, I should have not allowed to go...to go as far as it did." Steve felt his mouth go dry, and for a moment, he prayed that Loki, terrible though he might be, had not died. He didn't know if Thor could ever have forgiven himself if he did. But his next words stilled the soldier, and filled him with a sickening dread.
"My brother, he...he would not stop fighting! He knew, knew what the Allfather's punishment was, knew what I must do, as both Odinson and warrior...yet he would not stand down! He wouldn't let me...he wouldn't let me reason with him! He had not eaten, had not drunk, had fasted in Odin's dungeons from the time I left to my return!" Thor was shaking now, with tears that would not fall...could not fall. He was too proud, too long a warrior to grieve, and for a scant moment...Steve pitied him. He'd learned early on that grief could be just as powerful a weapon as fear...and often, it gave you more strength for conquering it. But Thor couldn't understand that, not in all the years he'd lived; he hadn't ever been set against his own brother. Not like this.
"We fought, he with his magics, I with my fists, and in the end, his shields and spells could not cleave flesh, couldn't crush bone! I beat him, beat him as though my own life depended upon his fall! I beat my own brother, on my father's orders..." Thor looked as though he were about to burst into tears, but it was Steve feeling sick, his body stiff and frozen in shock as he felt the nausea pass in a wave over him. To admit to such a...barbaric act! Thor might have felt guilt for it now, but what was he feeling then? Steve knew too well the battle highs that the Asgardian tended to get when they were in combat...and ritualistic fighting had to have heightened that to a fever pitch.
Once, Steve might have understood it intellectually; before the Army, he'd seen some of the worst humanity had had to offer, or so he'd believed. Then, he'd gone to Germany. During an assault by the Howling Commandos, Steve Rogers had stumbled upon the true horrors of the second World War, had discovered just what the true evils of the world had to offer. He still woke up fighting from the nightmares; hundreds of thousands of half-clothed, starved bodies, sunken gray eyes and bloated corpses, black stripes, gray stripes, none at all. Women, children, all gassed, men beaten and forced to stand in the blazing heat and freezing rains for hours, whipped if they fell or even faltered. Children, used as experimental toys by mad doctors hell bent on establishing a racial dominance...
And that hadn't left him in seventy years of slumber. He had hoped, had asked that Loki's punishment be swift, but humane; had requested that he be forced to rebuild colonies or something of the nature, using his magic and illusion for good, for the betterment of others. Not in defending himself against his own brother and beaten to a pulp, starved of all things but the worst attention. Thor's voice jarred him from his thoughts, and he listened for a long moment, before his disgust turned to something far darker...something he recognized from long, long ago...
"...aye, and after that, after all that had occured...the Allfather demanded that his magics be stripped of him, and his lips sewn shut for the vile lies he told. The Warriors Three, my faithful friends, and Sif, the strongest of the Einherjar, they held his head and body still, as my mother passed me golden thread, and a steel needle, heated to a white hotness. His cries were...horrible. His eyes screamed, when his voice could no longer, and he tore loose of my friends before I had tied the last stitch. His lips torn asunder, his body wracked with pain, Odin threw him clear to the Bifrost, and there, Heimdall passed final judgment, sending him not to another world, but to here. To Midgard."
His body reacted before his mind could even contemplate his actions, and yet, he felt no remorse as his fist shattered Thor's nose, as his own knuckles cracked against the flesh and bone of an Asgardian Prince. He doubted he ever would, after what he'd heard; no matter how much Thor had loved his brother, no matter how much he'd championed Loki time and again...the fact remained that in the end, rather than outright refusing, as he should have done, he allowed himself to become once more Odin's precious puppet. Before, Steve could understand, could even sympathize with him. But...torture, beatings, starvation? Outright mutilation? Not even Loki deserved that. Especially not from his own brother.
Steve was up and moving fast before Thor even had a chance to cup his nose, his super speed something he rarely used. The soldier paused just long enough to grab his suit and steal away in the smallest of the Quinjets, thankful, at least, that he'd been alone in the Tower for the night. Tony and Bruce were at some Stark Industries convention, Natasha and Clint were out on a mission, and Darcy, Jane, Pepper, and Coulson were all at SHIELD headquarters, probably poring over Jane's research. No doubt, the gate opening twice would have attracted some attention, but given that Thor had returned, he doubted anyone would have been sent out to investigate the first. Besides...no one had used the trackers tuned to Loki's aura in almost a year, since he'd been taken into custody.
He activated his, and waited, patiently flying out of the city as he followed the glowing beacon north. It finally came to a halt over Greenland, and wouldn't be much more precise than that, unfortunately. No matter. He had another, secondary tracker...and this one operated on body heat and movement; two things that would be in scarce supply in the frozen tundra awaiting him.
"Hold on..." He breathed, and if it had all the fervent strength of a prayer...then perhaps a god really would answer.