A/N: This idea has been rolling around my head ever since I saw the end of Thor, almost a year ago. But, I finally got around to it, didn't I? So, I present to you, THE LOST BOYS!
Loki was falling. There was no wind. No sound. No pain. Simply the never ending abyss, simply nightmare, simply darkness. His face was impassive as he tried to force the emotions back down his throat, trying to choke back the strangled sobs and tears.
He jerked his head to the side, and squeezed his eyes shut. Pointless to mourn. Pointless to do anything. Everything. Or was anything the same as everything now? Did pointlessness have a meaning?
The abyss made his head hurt with its endless possibilities.
Then, almost as suddenly as it had disappeared, there was ground beneath his feet. There was air in his lungs, light in his eyes, pain at his fingertips. He was being brought back to life? Or was he dying? He prayed fervently to the latter.
Surveying his surroundings, all he could make out was a barren plane of grey and white, rubble that lay everywhere, and a light dust coated his hair and face. Where ever he was, he assumed, it was a lifeless planet. Barren. A perfect start for a new life.
"Your helmet is fucking retarded."
Loki's head swung like a pendulum to face the man opposite him, leaning against a counter of some sort. His jet hair loose and sweaty, bare chested, masked, and a small black box tucked into the waistband of a pair of baggy grey trousers. "What realm is this?" Loki asked, his voice hoarse from lack of use, and from pain.
"Gotham city," the man said, pacing away from him. "You want a coffee? Do you know what coffee is? I've got freshly-ground, too. That shit's the good stuff."
The man's words were harsh to Loki's ears, like a mockingly childish imitation of his own speech. Midgard. Only they spoke like squawking birds. He began to push out of the rubble- it was not a planet, then. Simply a room. He had fallen through the ceiling during his descent. Suddenly, a steaming mug was thrust into his face, dark green emblazoned with a caricature of a frog licking its lips. Loki stared at it in bewilderment.
"This?" the man asked, tugging the mug away from Loki's gaze to study it. "This isn't my cute-frog mug. It's a friend's." After a pause, he handed Loki bag the mug. Loki did not drink. "Go ahead," the man said, moving over to sit on a chair so that his legs sprawled on either side of the backing, "that fall would've beaten the everloving crap outta me. And I'm me."
"I assume..." Loki trailed off, his tongue heavy and sticking to the roof his mouth. The man shook the cup, and Loki accepted it gratefully, the steaming liquid not entirely unpleasant. "I assume Midgardians do not typically offer refreshments to those who destroy their ceilings."
"Damn!" the man cried, sucking in a whistle through his teeth, the loudness of his exclamation startling Loki. "Three floors headfirst, and you talk like the kid of Byron and Billy Shakes."
Loki blinked. His head still hurt.
"So, you Martian? Alternate Universe version of me? What?" he asked, leaning back slightly to reach for another cup behind him, filled with what smelled of some sort of alcoholic substance. "Come at me, bro."
Loki's brow furrowed at the man's odd choice of wording. "I... I do not..." He repressed the urge to retch out the drink, the fatigue of the fall finally landing heavily on his shoulders.
"Hey, take it easy." Even now, Loki could tell taste the sarcasm in the air. "And, if you're gonna throw up, do it in th- oh, screw it. You already wrecked my house, why not hurl all over it, right?"
Loki said nothing, and sipped again at the scalding liquid. "Your name, mortal?" he asked, after a moment of deliberation. Words were becoming hard to form.
"The name's the Red Hood," the man said, getting up from the chair to pace around Loki. "And I don't recognise you. That's usually not a good sign. I know all the villains, every damn one."
"My name is Loki Odinson, God of Lies and Mischief, of Asgard," Loki said, and his brow furrowed as the words left a rancid taste in his mouth. "No, Laufeyson. Of Jotunheimr."
The Red Hood said nothing, but screwed up his mouth in contemplation. "So, you're a god?"
"In essence, yes."
"Huh. I approve in your sense of helmet, man," the Red Hood said, grinning. "I'd be wearing one right now, but some dude crashed through my ceiling, and presumably destroyed it."
"A thousand apologies," Loki muttered, his tone bitingly irritated. The creatures of this planet were impudent fools. "Now, perhaps you could direct me to the nearest Bifrost, and I shall take my leave."
"Bifrost?" the Red Hood sounded puzzled. "Never heard of it, man. We're on Earth, not planet of the Rennaissance Fair."
Loki frowned- he knew an insult when he heard one. "I thought you approved of my taste in helmeted headgear."
"Damn it, man," protested the Red Hood. "Just allow me one moment to gloat over that amazing line I just threw? Please?"
Loki's brow furrowed, and was quiet. "A moment has passed," he said smoothly, and pressed his lips together. "I thought you approved of my taste in helmeted headgear."
"God of Mischief," the Red Hood said, his head nodding sagely. "Seeing it now, man. Seeing it now. So, what the hell're you doing in my house?"
"I do not know," Loki said, and placed the cute-frog mug on to a convinient boulder, hauling himself up from the rubble. "One moment I was falling from the Bifrost, and the next your hovel has intervened with my landing space."
"You talk pretty."
"So," the Red Hood called from over his shoulder as he walked towards what Loki assumed to be the main room of this hut. "You gonna be here long? Make yourself at home," he said, and emphasised the point by bodily tossing himself onto a paisley sofa.
Loki lowered himself gingerly onto the chair, wincing at the pain that emanated from about him. The chairs on this planet, he had to admit, were considerably better than the chairs of the Aesir.
"So, what's your story again? You said you fell off a bisexual? I do that too, sometimes. I don't blame you," the Red Hood said, and Loki pursed his lips. He was being mocked.
"I was in line for the throne on Asgard," he began slowly, the words falling from his mouth stiffly and unbidden. "My brother was made King in my stead, even though I was the correct choice. The only choice. He was far too impudent and impulsive to ever rule.
"I fell from the Bifrost when I had learnt that I was not loved by my father, and never would be. One can never love anything but their own child."
Loki's voice trailed off here, and he felt irritated by his weakness in front of this mortal.
"Yeah," said the Red Hood hoarsely, and then he cleared his throat quickly. "Yeah," he amended, his voice smoother, "love can be kind of hard to come by, can't it?"
Loki sneered, his lip curling upwards in disgust at the mortal. "How would you ever know anything about love? How dare you presume to know about me?"
The Red Hood shrugged, and returned back to his original question. "You gonna be here long? Because I got a couple of friends over, and they'll so get the wrong idea from this kitchen."
Loki blinked, glancing around at the debris. "How so?"
"You don't even want to know, man," the Red Hood laughed, and sighed almost a second later. "I've got a couple of issues myself."
Loki said nothing, but did not meet the man's eye. The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon, staining the room with its ochre glow. After minutes of silence, Loki glanced up at the man, who was staring off at a patch of wall contemplatively. "How so?"
"I'm sorry, what?" the Red Hood asked, jerking his head violently away. "I was off in my old dream world. You want more coffee?"
"No," Loki said, placing the barely-drunk-from mug back on the table. The frog grinned at him. "You wouldn't by any chance have any mead on you? Or perhaps absinthe?"
"Absinthe?" asked the Red Hood incredulously. "You drink that stuff? Isn't it, like, disgusting?"
"I relish the taste," Loki said, imagining the burn of the viridian liquid steaming down his throat brutally. "It is... rejuvenating."
"I'll keep that in mind," murmured the Red Hood, still bemused. "But all I've got is some coffee. And beer. I've got beer."
"No wine?" Loki asked, his voice falling to a slight whine of irritation. What he truly wanted right now was a wonderful, liquor induced stupor to cure his aching head. His aching heart.
"Sorry. Not all of us are classy S-O-Bs, y'know," the Red Hood said, walking towards an off-white metal box. "I'll get you a beer. Bitter or lager?"
"Just something drinkable, thank you," Loki said snidely, standing to tower over the mortal. The Red Hood, used to having people attempting to intimidate him, shrugged and grabbed a bottle from the fridge.
"Guinness," he said, thrusting the cup into Loki's palm. The iciness of the glass reminded him cruelly of the Casket of Winter, its pulsating power reverberating through his very soul. Baring his very soul. Suddenly, Loki didn't feel quite the need to drink himself into a stupor, and put the drink down with a violent smash.
"Jeez. Someone's touchy," the Red Hood smirked, and sipped at his own glass. "So, you said you were a prince?"
"I was," Loki murmured, and sighed. "Why do I tell you, mortal? You know nothing of my pain. Nothing of the feeling of a father letting you down, of dismissing you," Loki's lip curled, "of fighting you."
The Red Hood stood abruptly so that the chair he was lounging on fell with a resounding crash against the linoleum flooring. "Don't you dare tell me that I had a happy relationship with my father," he hissed, pointing the odd black box he had snatched from the waistband of his trousers at Loki's head. "Don't you dare."
Loki was slightly surprised by the man's reaction. "I take it you had a bad relationship?"
"Yeah. You could say that."
Loki snorted. This man thought he knew the pain. "Did your father lie to you about your heritage, convince you that you were a member of a family, before crushing your hopes and dreams before your very eyes? Did he?" Now Loki was standing, spittle flying from his mouth in his rage. "Did he plan to use you as a weapon, as a bartering piece? Did he withhold his love from you?"
"Did he let you die?" murmured the Red Hood, looking up at Loki. The Asgardian could not see the expression behind the mask, but he could tell it was one of rage. "Did he let you die by the hands of a mass murderer, and do nothing at all to avenge you?"
"No," Loki scoffed, and ran an eye down the Red Hood. "And, obviously, neither did yours, as you are standing here before me."
The Red Hood let out a dry laugh. "Yeah. That's a long story. I got brought back to life by some dude. Real weird shit."
Loki said nothing, and turned to the side. "I take it your father still scorns you?"
"You guessed that right," the Red Hood muttered bitterly, snapping his head away to stare at the window.
"At least you had a father," murmured Loki, thinking of Laufey, who had died at his hands in the throne room.
"Actually, I didn't," the Red Hood said, smirking slightly. "I'm adopted. The 'rents died in a circus accident, weird as it sounds. I became a ward of a rich guy, who left me for dead."
"Ah," Loki said, and nodded sagely. "But at least you were the first and foremost in his affection, whilst I had to contend with my brother."
"There was another before me, and another after. Whenever my older brother was around, he'd never notice me. He loved them more than he ever could me," admitted the Red Hood quietly, pressing his lips into a thin line. "It didn't take long for him to replace me, either." The Red Hood grinned evilly, and swiped his gun through the air. "So that's what I'm doing. I'm making him notice me."
Loki furrowed his brows, lowering himself down onto the chair. "How so? By dressing yourself fit for the masquerade ball?"
Loki's eyebrows shot upwards. "Killing?" he asked, bemused. "Surely that seems rather counter productive. Do you not need people alive to rule them?"
It was the Red Hood's turn to furrow his brows. "Who said anything about ruling?" he asked in confusion, but it appeared to be a rhetorical question, as he quickly continued. "The man who raised me is a pacifist, to an extent. He refuses to kill people, but continues to dole out justice. I simply kill the wrongdoer, and everything is happy-pappy."
Loki nodded. "So you are defying him. It seems rather petty for you to do so, Red Hood. A little child screaming out for attention."
The Red Hood shrugged. "At least he notices me now."
The words the Red Hood said were so honest and raw, that Loki saw for a moment himself in the man. They looked similar enough to be brothers, if behind the mask the Red Hood's eyes were green.
"I must return," Loki said, standing again. "I must take your words into account. And ponder them, very intensely."
"Thanks, I guess," the Red Hood said, smirking slightly. "And keep the mug. I don't want it."
"I'm afraid I must decline," Loki said, a light chuckle escaping him. "Perhaps I will see you again, Red Hood. Perhaps once I become ruler of the realm, I shall seek you out to be an advisor of the court."
"You're not trying to take over the world, are you?" asked the Red Hood, one eyebrow quirking upwards as Loki began to murmur the exact spell to take him to the Shadow Realms, where he was sure to find allies. "Because if you are, I'll have to take you down."
"Take over the world?" Loki asked once the spell was complete, a slight smile - the first and last smile for a very long time - crossing his face. "Oh, no, Red Hood. Not taking over the world. I am trying to be noticed."
And with that, Loki vanished from the room.
Father," murmured Loki, his green gaze burning as he felt the cold fingers of Odin pressed against his lips, the thread of Bestla at the ready. "Father, you took me in under the impression that I would do good."
Odin said nothing, but continued to thread the needle, the black streaming through the eyelet hole. Loki swallowed thickly, staring at it.
"After seeing all my destruction, the pain I have caused both you and the Midgardians, do you..." Loki trailed off, locking eyes with Frigga at the side of the room, refusing to look at him for fear of crying. "Do you regret loving me, father?"
Odin was silent, and pressed the needle deep into Loki's skin. The God of Mischief shrieked with pain, writhing from his father's hands as the needle slit through his lips, staining it with blood. The salt of the tears stung his cut lips, burning them with a searing pain.
When Odin stood to leave, Loki had his eyes shut, the searing pain of his lips not hurting half as much as the pain in his chest. His own father had done this to him. His own father.
Odin paused by the golden doors, hovering slightly. Then, his voice that was little more than a hoarse whisper carried out through through the throne room.
A/N: And... Done. Enjoy, leave a review, fave, whatever. :D