When Loki finally regained consciousness, it was not a pleasant experience. The first thing he registered was pain. But rather than drop back into unconsciousness, he fought past it and slowly opened his eyes a fraction. Slowly his thoughts began to form in some kind of order and Loki blinked again when his eyes did not seem to work. Thankfully he was alone, and Loki furiously looked about the room he was in through blurry eyes. Eventually the world came into focus though his eyes were sore and Loki took in his new prison.
It was strange looking, for a prison cell. The bed he lay upon was soft and large, and the rest of the furniture was of a well polished dark wood. tall windows lined one wall letting in beams of sunlight and another door was open to reveal what looked like the makings of a bathroom. There was even a bookshelf though it was empty. The whole room gave off the feeling of being long empty until his sudden residence. The only thing that seemed to be out of place was a chair that sat beside the bed. It was empty now.
A plastic tube was stuck inside his arm, and he yanked it out impatiently, wincing at the sharp pain this action caused. Sitting up was probably a mistake, and Loki nearly blacked out from the effort. Still, he wouldn't be Loki if he wasn't stubborn, and so swallowing the sounds of pain that had suddenly leapt to his throat he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and tried to stand up. He was not prepared for the agony that overcame him when his feet touched the ground. Black spots edged in on his already shaky vision and Loki looked down to see his bare feet were wrapped in a white gauze. His arms were the same he realized and Loki inspected the burns underneath them for a moment while he recovered from his attempt.
Eventually he had to try again, and this time he managed to stay on his feet, though his legs shook with the effort. Hobbling over to the window, Loki discovered that it was locked and it was a bit of a fall to the ground below. At least in his current condition. A quick check of all the drawers and shelves turned up nothing, no weapons and no further information on where he was and who had brought him there.
The door to the room was not locked, Loki noted with a fair bit of surprise. Either those that held him were not aware of how dangerous he usually was, or knew exactly how weak and powerless he currently was and felt no need for further reinforcements. He wasn't sure what was better.
The hallway beyond was empty, though that did not mean that there could not be spells in place. Even still, there was little Loki could do in that case in his condition. And staying inside the room was not an option as Loki was not about to wait around for his captors to come find him.
Every step was agony, but Loki had a great deal of practice of ignoring the pain. Instead he focused on listening for any sounds or indication that someone was coming his way. Fortunately the hall remained empty. He tried one of the doors that he passed but it only contained similar decor as his room. He didn't bother with trying every window, it would have been a waste of his time and he could feel it running out. The tremors that had started in his legs had started to encompass the rest of his limbs as well and Loki had no idea how much longer he would be able to remain upright. What he needed was to find a place to hide, recuperate as much as possible and try to escape once he was a little stronger. It was impossible to think any further than that, it was so hard just to stay focused on the one task as it was.
Unfortunately his luck ran out before his strength did, as when he carefully turned a corner, a door opened and a blonde man walked out and spotted him. Loki did not know the man, but his mind seemed to recognize enough to know that he was an enemy and he did not give it time for thought. Loki turned and ran.
The man called out his name, and Loki could hear the sound of a pair of feet taking chase after him but Loki's legs were long and he easily took a lead. When he turned back down the original hallway, he dashed into another empty room and ducked to the side. The sound of pounding footsteps passed by and he knew he had fooled his pursuer. The trick was not likely to last long though, and Loki made for the windows. They were locked as well, but the night-table made short work of the glass. The sound of his escape was sure the attract even more attention, so Loki did not give himself time to pause before leaping to the ground below.
He nearly passed out again when his feet hit the grass, and he was forced to stop for a moment to fight for consciousness. Then he was running full tilt for the large stone wall that was on the other side of the enormous lawn. He heard the sound of someone hitting the ground behind him, and the following footsteps but Loki did not turn to check who was giving chase. He could feel his body slowing down, his strides becoming sluggish as the adrenaline that fuelled him started to run out. Then a hand was on his shoulder and pulling him back and down to the ground.
Loki's response was immediate and purely instinctive after hundreds of years of sparring with Thor and his friends. Loki spun around as he fell, kicking a leg out and sweeping his opponent off his feet. The same foot kept its momentum and swung up, around and then down onto the throat of his enemy, leaving the blond man stunned and gasping for breath as Loki scrambled away.
The wall was closer now, but for some reason Loki found himself gasping for breath as he ran for it. By the time he actually reached the wall, he had no chance of scaling it as he was doubled over wheezing and gasping. He had no idea what was happening, he couldn't be winded, even from that short run. It felt as though Mjolnir was on his chest once more and he could not expand his lungs enough to draw in air. He couldn't breathe!
His vision started to darken, and Loki fell to his knees, one hand braced against the stone wall that kept him from his freedom. The last thing he saw before he fell unconscious was a pair of boots, running towards him.
Steve stayed close to Loki's bedside while Bruce re-wrapped his feet in bandages, cleaning the wounds as he went. The damage done to Loki's feet were bad, he would be feeling a great deal of pain when he eventually came around. An oxygen tank had been brought in as well, and was connected to the clear plastic mask that covered Loki's mouth and nose to help aid in his breathing.
Steve brought a hand to his throat, absently rubbing the spot that Loki's heel had collided with. It no longer hurt, but Steve really had to hand it to Loki, even crippled the guy could really fight back. Looking down at the injured god, he still couldn't believe that Loki'd had it in him to get that far.
Bruce finished the last bandage and sat back, looking over his work. "That should do for now. I'm probably going to see if I can up the pain meds he's on, because I don't think what we have him on now is going to be enough."
Steve nodded, but didn't take his eyes off of Loki. It was for this reason that he noticed the way Loki's face twitched. It was the only warning he got before suddenly long arms and legs were lashing out, kicking off the sheets and nearly knocking Bruce on his ass. Steve acted quickly, jumping up and doing his best to keep the thrashing to a minimum and pinning Loki's upper body to the bed. Loki countered by using his free arms to strike at Steve in all the soft spots, his eyes wide and panicked as he struggled.
"Knock it off Loki!" Steve shouted, straining to keep the weakened god in place. "It's ok! You're safe, no one is going to hurt you!"
But Loki wasn't listening, and it was only because of his weakened state that Steve was just able to hold him down. He kept trying to reach Loki, to make him understand that the threat was gone but Loki either didn't understand him or didn't believe him because he kept on struggling. Steve could only hold on until Loki eventually wore himself out which after a couple minutes eventually happened. Even after Loki stilled, Steve held on a moment longer just in case. His caution was for nothing, Loki didn't have any fight left in him. When Steve eventually stepped back, Loki was breathing hard, his eyes wide and focused.
"It's ok," Steve tried to placate him, raising his hands in a show of non violence. Loki's eyes shifted quickly from Steve to Bruce and back again, and he looked no less agitated. His whole body twitched when he realized that there was something on his face. His hands immediately went up to rip the mask off and Steve leapt forward to stop him.
"Don't," he said calmly, holding Loki's hands away even as the god struggled. "It's to help you breathe, it needs to be there."
The furious look that Loki gave him spoke volumes of what Loki thought of the mask but when Steve took his hands away, Loki did not reach to take it off again. Instead he kept his gaze bouncing from Steve to Bruce, clearly sizing them up and calculating whether or not he could beat them to the door. Even with the mask he could hear the slight wheeze to Loki's breath.
"It's called Asthma." Steve said abruptly, and Loki's attention focused on him. Steve put a hand to his own chest, "That feeling you had outside, where it feels like someone is sitting on your chest and you can't get enough air? It's something called Asthma. It's a… a sickness of your lungs. When you exert yourself, like sprinting for example, the airways leading to your lungs start to swell. It makes the air passages thinner and smaller, so less air gets in. There are other things involved too, but thats what happened when you made a run for it outside." Loki was completely focused on him now and his words. "It's because of the heat of the room that Shield kept you in. The humidity got into your lungs and caused some infection. The asthma was the result of that infection." he sighed and met Loki's eye regretfully. "You've been rescued from Shield, and Bruce and Tony have been doing everything they can to repair the damage you've suffered, but the asthma is a permanent problem. Your burns are healing and they will go away, but the asthma won't. I'm really sorry Loki."
There was no response, Loki continued to stare at him until Steve began to feel a little uncomfortable. Thankfully that's when Bruce stepped in, gaining the god's attention and asking him questions.
"Loki, do you know who we are?"
There was no response, verbal or physical and Steve and Bruce shared a look. Deciding to cover all of the bases, Bruce then explained who they were, about the Avengers, about the alien invasion and how they discovered him in Shield's care. He didn't go so far as to tell Loki that they thought that he was innocent, instead he leaned more on the fact that torture of any sort to anyone was not acceptable. Loki gave no reaction to his words, in fact he seemed almost lethargic after all of the struggling. Steve watched as the dark haired god turned his head away from them as his eyelids began to droop. Steve could only hope that when Thor got back that he'd be able to incite a reaction from his brother.
Yay! Loki's awake! And not at all a happy camper! What did you guys think? Please let me know! Next chapter we get a nice good look into Loki's head and what really happened to Loki in the void, and Thor comes back!