A/N 1: As often happens, I couldn't get this out of my head any other way than by writing it down.
A/N 2: have you seen the pictures of Loki from the next Thor movie? Yikes.
After I was beaten to a bloody, whimpering pulp by that 'dull creature', I was escorted ~ by the entire Avenger cohort ~ to the chamber which would serve as my interim prison, until my fate was decided.
As prison cells go, it was not inhospitable. I was provided a bed and a low chest of drawers and a window that looked out upon this world that I would have ruled absolutely; that I would have destroyed entirely.
I did not spend much time looking out that window.
For a while, a long while, from outside the room, I was subjected to the sound of thundering voices and stomping feet. They were arguing, no doubt, over what was to be done with me. I gave no thought to what the others might have in mind; Thor would have me home - to Asgard - and so to Asgard I would go, no matter anyone else's thoughts on the matter.
So, along with the thundering and storming, I was sure I could also hear some gnashing of teeth. I know too well the effect that my brother - that Thor - can have on those who do not agree with him.
At length, there was silence, or near silence. Murmured voices fading into distance. I knew better than to think I'd been left unguarded in my confinement. Not that I would have attempted escape – where would I go? Even if I could slip past that coterie of justice and vengeance, where would I go and how long would I survive before I found myself 'wishing for something sweet as pain…'?
No, whatever penalty was to be meted out to me by the All-Father, it would be paradise compared to the retribution waiting for me elsewhere, anywhere elsewhere, so I sat on the edge of the bed and nursed my injuries and bided my time until I should leave this realm and face all that I had lost.
All that I had, perhaps, thrown away.
Not too long into the silence, there was a knock on the door of this impromptu cell. A soft knock, a polite knock. A knock that requested and waited permission to enter.
"Yes?" I said, when I realized an answer was required of me. The door opened and I was surprised, I admit, to have Banner walk in. Equally surprising, he was carrying a tray of food and drink and he brought it in and set in on the chest of drawers.
I was to be fed. I was to be treated decently.
"Is this what they call breaking the short straw?" I asked, to cover my surprise, to mask what might have been unwilling gratitude.
"This is what they call being the only guy who can make you and your brother both stop and think twice." He answered. There was humor in the answer; it wasn't petulant or affronted. "Here, you might need this too."
From his shirt pocket, he drew a foil packet and set it on the tray. The only word on the packet that was significant to me was 'painkiller'.
"I'm to be drugged?"
"You were walking pretty stiffly when we brought you in here. I thought you might have a pretty good headache, too. That'll help."
"Why?" I asked, before I could stop myself. "Why would you want to help me?" I recovered my indifferent attitude before he could answer me though, and I asked, "Keeping the prisoner alive until he can be executed, is that it?"
"Look, I don't know why you did what you did, and I don't care." He did, at last, sound a trifle perturbed saying that. "You did what you did, it was wrong, and we stopped you. But I do know what it's like –"
He paused briefly and looked down and then up again. He took off his glasses and fidgeted with them. He had regained his calm demeanor.
"I know what it's like – for me – to have two natures inside of me, one of which scares the hell out of me and out of everybody who knows about it. I finally learned to control it though. Out of sheer necessity..."
He made a gesture of pointing at me with his glasses and he smiled as though what he said might be a kind of compliment. All I could think was that Thor had told them. He'd told them all of my shameful secret. My abhorrent past.
"But I learned to control it." Banner went on. "Or – rather, I'm still learning. I'll be learning for a while, but it's possible. It is possible."
He paused there, as though waiting for a response from me.
"He told you." Was all the response I could give. It came from a parched throat and an unwilling tongue.
"He told me. As far as I know, I'm the only one he told."
"Why? Why would he tell only you?"
"To help you. To find some way or hope or possibility of helping you learn to deal with – want to learn to deal with – the two natures warring inside of you right now."
"Thor would see me in a cage for the rest of my life." I said, my mouth still parched and unwilling. I didn't want Thor's pity. And I didn't want to acknowledge that it might be anything more than pity.
Banner put his glasses back on. He retrieved the foil packet from the tray and tore a corner off of it.
"I'll grant you that, right now, Thor doesn't know if he wants to beat you to death or hug you to death, but you're still his brother, and no matter what comes of all of this it, he's glad to have you back."
Sentiment, I wanted to spit out. Sentiment will be the death of my brother yet.
But I didn't. I couldn't.
Apparently no answer was required of me; Banner set the opened packet back onto the tray, then brushed his hands together as though he only wanted something to do with them and not because it was required.
"Well, give that a try." He indicated the food he had brought me. "Somebody'll be in to check on you after a while, if you need anything."
He turned to leave and was at the door when he briefly looked back.
"Let me know if those painkillers aren't enough. Thor said you have a habit of not letting on how bad you've been hurt."
And then he was gone and the door was shut and I was alone in my prison again.
I availed myself of the painkillers and water, and only contemplated the food. Like my 'cell', the food was neither grand nor punitive. I had been provided a sandwich and an apple. I didn't have a sense of hunger, but I ate what I'd been given, and drank all the water.
Then I stretched myself full length out on the bed and waited for sleep - or for Thor - to come and claim me.