Thor: The King of Nothing.
Summary: "(An AU with Loki "surviving" Thor 2, and other major/minor changes) After saving his brother's life, Loki is unexpectedly granted a second chance- but with a catch: he will never be allowed to leave Asgard again. Now, trying to regain the trust of his father, brother, and former friends, while at the same time trying to keep his crumbling sanity and soul intact, his life has never been more difficult. But when he's forced to decide whose side he's really on when "home" is attacked by an enemy only he can stop, Loki may find that dying may have been the best thing that could have ever happened to him."
Warning: "This will be a relatively tame fanfic, with the exception of some blood, violence, angst, some language, a character death or two, and other adult situations. So, to be on the safe side, we'll be going with Rated T. I have watched both Thor movies and the Avenger's movie, but this does not mean that I am perfect and/or know absolutely everything there is to know about, and I'm bound to forget or misuse something. So, with that, please forgive me if I screw up, and just enjoy the story."
Disclaimer: "I do not own Thor. Please don't ruin my day by thinking I do."
Chapter One: A Life for a Life.
"Sacrifice is at the heart of repentance. Without deeds, your apology is worthless."
- Bryan Davis.
"See you in hell, monster!"
Everything around Loki seemed move in slow-motion as the blade that pierced through his back was jerked away, just as Malekith's Kursed soldier, Algrim, was sucked into a wave of pitch-black and crimson, smashed small, and crammed viciously into the abyss right before his very eyes, disappearing completely just as the ground rushed up to meet him.
The pain began the moment he hit the ground, but Loki did his best to not let it consume him immediately, even as the blood began to pool around him.
His vision was already beginning to blur and black out when Thor appeared, and he spoke two deep, long-since buried words as reality of what was happening began to dawn on him.
He was about to die.
"I'm sorry," Loki wasn't even aware of the sound of his own voice, raspy and thick, and had no idea how many times he spoke after that first time, but, in staring up at the stricken, pale face of the brother he'd declared he hated with his entire being, he couldn't begin to think of anything better, or even anything else, to say, "I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…"
Try as he might, Thor couldn't stop the terrible bleeding, and, after seeming to realize that it was a futile effort just as Loki had moments before, he just tried to ease the pain as best he could, embracing Loki and saying something that was totally lost on him.
He was going to die.
Have his eyes always been so bright? Loki wondered, absently, as his gaze wandered from Thor to the Human woman, Jane Foster, as she, too, appeared, Or have I just never noticed until now?
The pain grew worse, almost unbearably so, and Loki just closed his eyes and tried to block it out as Thor just cradled him, as if he were a child, fretting after a bad dream. By the time he could force his eyes open again, Jane Foster had knelt beside Thor and was watching him as well, her dark brown eyes, too, growing bright with tears.
He kept his eyes on locked on her's until she looked away from him and wiped her eyes, as if his gaze pierced her. Loki then returned his gaze to Thor, and, upon catching the word "father," the girl was forgotten as rage instantly got the better of him.
"I didn't do this for him!"
He'd done this, all of it, for Frigga.
And damn anyone who dared say otherwise.
Loki had no desire to be redeemed in the eyes of their father for this, and, even as he lay dying on this godforsaken, doomed planet, he realized that he never had any intention of being "forgiven" by the man who had so soundly lied to, and then rejected, him in the first place.
However, his anger with Odin faded as quickly as it had come, and he quieted, but his silence only seemed to fuel the pain behind his brother's azure eyes, which seemed to glow brighter and brighter the longer he stared down at him.
Then he said something- something that, again, was lost to the dying God of Mischief.
But, as his brother spoke, Loki finally saw what was making his eyes glisten as bright as they were.
Was Thor crying for him?
He, who had betrayed him?
He, who had hurt him?
For the longest moment, he wanted to give Thor one last biting remark about how stupid he looked now, and how stupid he was for not leaving him and going after Malekith when he had the chance, but as he kept staring into his brother's eyes, found that he just didn't have it in whatever was left of his heart to do something as cruel as that.
And somehow, he couldn't stand the thought of an insult being the last memory his brother would ever have of him.
"I'm sorry," he said again, moved by his brother's concern- moved for what felt like the first time in many, many years- and gave his brother a weak smile, but even that small gesture faded as whatever remained of his strength dwindled and finally failed him, "I'm so sorry…"
Thor's embrace tightened, and the God of Mischief knew that his brother had seen the smile and understood.
Reality around him began to slowly fade out to black as he began losing consciousness for the last time, and Thor gently lay him down onto the bloodied sand, but despite the movement, Loki felt and heard nothing.
The only thing he could see clearly now were his brother's eyes.
Those eyes, formerly bright with pain, were now blazing in something other than sadness- something Loki recognized instantly as the look in his own eyes when he'd learned of his mother's death- as he, quite helplessly, watched his younger brother's final moments.
Is that anger in your eyes? Loki wondered as his eyes began to close, and as something within his brother's eyes flashed dangerously again, Will you hunt Malekith in your rage over my death now, just as I had over mother's? Will it be mine that will give you the ability to stop him?
Just as Thor blinked, Loki let go.
I'm sorry for that, brother, and for everything else, for all that's worth now.
And everything finally, mercifully, went black.
The All-Father stood motionlessly in the throne room, his eyes bright and angry. After dealing with and imprisoning Heimdall, he'd learned that the same had happened to Lady Sif and the Warriors Three; who admitted to breaking Loki and Jane Foster out and then helping them, and Thor, escape into the Dark World, intending on baiting Malekith out and destroying the Aether and the Dark Elf together, once and for all.
He'd sent soldiers into the Svartalfheim to stop them, though he knew it was probably too late, and he wasn't exactly disappointed when they ended up finding nothing, mostly because he expected it.
Or so he thought.
"We found a body."
How had he not seen this coming?
His anger was lost in a flood of conflicting emotions as he took in what they told him.
Thor and Jane, somehow back on Earth.
Thor had fought Malekith on Earth as the Nine Worlds converged together, and Odin knew his son would triumph, thanks in no small part to Loki.
Even after everything that had happened in the last year or two, Odin had never expected either of his sons to fall- especially Loki, despite everything he had done.
He was just too proud, and far too powerful, to be taken down.
But it seemed that he had been wrong about his second, adopted son on both accounts.
As the All-Father made his way down to the Bifrost, soldiers were already carrying Loki out. His unnervingly still body, which had reverted back to its natural, Frost Giant form in death, had been covered by one of the soldier's cloaks. By the time he'd reached them, people were already beginning to gather, each grimacing at each other over the God of Mischief's sorry state.
Even moving Loki into the Healing Wing proved to be difficult- there were still remnants of his power coming out in spastic, confused golden bursts, throwing the people carrying him off balance, throwing onlookers across the room, and generally making a nuisance of itself as much as it could.
As though even in death he was rejecting them.
But the most disturbing thing was looking into his son's last few memories.
Loki had moved faster than Odin had ever seen him move, brandishing nothing but the small knife he'd been given as he rushed forward to protect his older brother- the same older brother he'd challenged to battle and professed to hate time and time again.
He'd won against the Kursed Algrim, of course, but was stabbed in the back at the last second.
His last moments were confused and pretty much all blacked out, beyond all agony. Even his last emotions were turbulent, switching constantly between rage and confusion, sometimes changing within seconds, but the only discernible one Odin could sense was regret- but not for anyone but Thor.
Not for what he'd done, not for what he tried to do…
But for the brother that watched him die.
Odin returned to his own mind and stared down at the son he had adopted so many centuries ago. He knew full well by now that Loki wasn't alone in sharing the guilt of his disobedience, and nor was he fully responsible for his cruel actions. He had been vengeful, angry at not just Odin and Thor, but at the entire universe-
And more specifically, his place within it.
So, guided by that misplaced hatred, Loki lashed out blindly against everything he could reach, despite all that those he (probably) still loved (and vice-versa) did to stop him, hating everything with all his being and although he was punished severely for it, he still regretted nothing.
But that wasn't what Odin thought was the worst of it all.
It was how Loki died that plagued the All-Father.
He had selflessly protected his brother despite everything, and that, in Odin's eyes, deserved recompense.
Maybe even a second chance, if Loki wanted it.
A life for a life, by ancient rule.
That was fair, wasn't it?
... Wasn't it?
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