Thor always came.

If there was any such thing as a universal truth, this was definitely one, and Loki knew it well. From their early childhood to their rowdy youth and well into adulthood, wherever Loki was and whatever he had gotten himself into – intentionally and otherwise – Thor always came. Sometimes in armor, Mjolnir in hand, ready for battle. Other times in casual clothing, his face lined with worry.

This time, Thor looked straight at him with eyes like lightning as he rushed forward, the very image of a warrior.

The door sliding open, Loki crouched down as if bracing himself for the impact as the other man charged at him – and then had to keep himself from laughing as the mighty god of thunder went straight through the illusion and tumbled into the cage of glass and steel, falling on his face as the mirror image dissolved.

Of course, Thor was on his feet in an instant, but it was too late. The door had shut again, the trap was closed.

"Are you ever not going to fall for that?" he mocked in a disbelieving, disapproving tone, savoring the glare he received at this jab on Thor predictability.

But he was predictable.

Loki was unsure whether it was Thor's upbringing: being raised as the oldest son, the crown prince, to always look out for and take care of others – or if perhaps it was Thor himself, acting out his own idea of what such a person should be like. Whatever the case, it made him vulnerable to chaos, and if there was one field in which Loki truly excelled, it was chaos.

The ring of the hammer against the glass echoed throughout the barren cargo hold and Loki could not help but flinch as the glass crackled and the grips holding the cage in place started to loosen their hold. It was a long drop – and yet nothing compared to his own fall.

From grace, yes, but also from his family and friends, from everything he had sought to protect – from Thor.

He stepped back, as did Thor who clearly understood the situation perfectly well. Loki gave a laugh, all the while hearing the voice in his mind, whispering. He had to get rid of Thor. He certainly could not let his brother out of there, but letting him stay where he was, for the others to find… well, that was not an option either.

"The humans think us immortal" he said, walking to the control panel, and remembered how they had once laughed together at this ridiculous, but rather charming notion. "Shall we test that?"

He reached down to open the panel that covered the button, but had no time to open it before the guard who had let him out of the cage cried out and fell down on the floor, dead. An agent, wielding a weapon. How dull.

"Move away, please."

Loki complied, a move which clearly infused the mortal with some sense of power.

"You like this?" he asked, stepping forward as Loki continued to step away from the control panel, hands visible in mid-air. "We started working on the prototype after you sent the Destroyer. Even I don't know what it does."

Clearly. Charging a weapon after threatening someone with it was remarkably counter-productive.

"Do you want to find out?"

The mortal would never see it. Loki knew that the scepter had gone through one of the lungs.

"NO!"

Thor's cry was truly that of a trapped animal. Raw power, trapped, unable to use his capabilities. Perhaps now Thor would finally know what that was like.

Loki let his illusion fade and the mortal fell to the floor, reminding Loki of a broken toy, limbs sprawled, breathing labored. Loki went past him without so much as sparing him a glance: the man was unimportant. Thor, huffing with anger, was the main issue.

There was no one stopping him now from approaching the panel again and open the hatch underneath the cage. He felt the rush of air and felt a similar rush in his veins, of danger, of doing something that broke every rule ever written.

His hand hovered above the button as he exchanged glances with his once-brother. Thor seemed to have collected himself, because he backed away as if trying to find firm ground to stand on.

The look on Thor's face as the cage fell was without equal. Surprise, as if he had thought Loki capable but not probable to follow through, and as if in that moment something had been lost forever.

It mattered little. Thor was gone, for now: Loki knew he would survive the fall. He was predictable in that way. He never stayed out of other people's fights or let Loki fight his own battles. He would always come to the rescue. He never gave up, and to this day, he had never given up on Loki. Even if that had possibly changed now, Loki knew that one universal truth.

Thor always came back.

And he had damned well do it, and soon. Brother, please