|Ben Sorenson (agoodman) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2013-01-14 02:44:00
|Entry tags:||door: marvel comics, loki, thor|
Who: Loki and Thor
Where: Thor's cage
Warnings/Rating: Frustrated Norse bros.
Though the marks had healed, it didn't stop Ben and Thor from returning to the door every day, like clockwork, and crossing. Every day it was back to the same room, four stone walls and a window Thor could not break. The same bed and the same lack of earth and sky, the same forced solitude that made his skin itch. The journal worked though and while he did his best to keep in contact with those he knew on it, there was no news of Asgard. While Thor was sure she was safe, being separated from her and unable to return was not doing his temper any favors.
It was one thing to be apart from her while he was on campaign and needed elsewhere, but still able to return to the golden city. Being unable was something else entirely and he used that rage, fueled himself with it whenever he struck at the window or the walls, but neither yielded to him. Gritting his teeth, he tried once more, but again, no luck.
He was not meant to be kept captive within four small walls. Always a creature of action, the forced captivity had him turning inwards when he could not turn outwards. Ben suggested meditation, but after the first few days of having his thoughts chase themselves around his head, Thor said no more. There was Loki, leaving this place, and yet more Loki. His brother (Brother? Ben asked in his mind) and what the hotel had shown them on Christmas Eve. Loki was angry about something that he had said, about his desire to return to that place where Thor had never been born and Loki ruled Jotunheim as King.
Was that not what his brother wanted? To be King? Was there some crevasse that he had yet again missed? Thor would have thought that Loki wanted to return to that place but what he had said afterwards, the way his voice had gone tight and childlike -- as always, Loki was a mystery to him. Then there had been his kiss, that bruising, bloody kiss -- Thor licked at his lips, the tip of his tongue probing at the healed split -- and the touch of a very foreign Loki.
He knew where that thought ended and rose from the bed, stripping out of his armor until he was clad only in the light pair of pants he wore beneath his leathers. Though the marks had healed, they had left behind the shiny pink of scars, extending from his elbows, up his shoulders, and down his back to disappear into the waistband of his pants. In another few days, they'd be gone entirely, yet he could still feel the tightness in the skin, in the way it pulled as he moved around the small room. Caged need not mean inactivity, he reminded himself as he began stretching, then moving through those exercises that he could within a confined space and without Mjolnir in his hand.
Loki had taken his time coming to see Thor, spent his own days watching the humans fall back on coping mechanisms as familiar and ancient as the tides on this world, seemingly inexorable. Take their brightest lights from them, take their fire, and they clung to those points of light that remained. They were not unlike many creatures in this way. Fear of darkness - fear of that which is unknown. Such things were predictable, even understandable in lesser beings.
Loki liked the darkness. The nights even in this part of the world were long now in the winter, though growing shorter, and the darkness lasted for a long, long time. Without so many garish electric lights to pierce it, it became much like the world it had been - so dark in the night that every star visible from this small spinning rock was in startling view in the sky, and its moon shone down with delicate veils of illumination that did not even attempt to pierce the darkest places.
The world was better off this way. Better for Loki, anyway, better suited. When he was young, he had been relegated to the shadows without his choosing. Now, they were more natural to him than anything else. Their fault, for leaving him there so long.
When Loki finally returned to Thor, visiting his cell, it was only because he knew he would need to let him go, soon. Someone would come to rescue him, and good as his safeguards were, he could not expect to hold the Thunderer forever. Restoring light to this part of their world, however, they would find that a more difficult matter entirely.
The brick hall to the cell had no windows, which had given Thor nothing more to look at than brick and stone and more brick and stone. Loki heard sounds of exertion as he came closer, and when he found Thor in the midst of exercising, he was not the least bit surprised. He leaned against the wall across from the cell. He wore his usual clothes, but no armor, today, since there was no need. "Always the warrior," he said, wry. His voice carried with total clarity through the glass. If there had been any question that the small prison had been of his making, there wasn't anymore. "Do you never tire of throwing yourself about like that?" Loki said nothing of the marks on Thor's skin. He saw them, and catalogued them with his eyes, and felt a flicker of wicked satisfaction, deep in the pit of his stomach.
Thor heard him, there was no way not to hear Loki within this cell, but he did not stop where he was running suicides, back and cross the floor, pivot, run, pivot, run. Already he had been through sit ups and push ups, squats, the exercises he could do alone and unaided. On the last repetition, with his body sheened in a light layer of sweat -- testament to how long he had been doing this -- the scars in sharper relief with the deepening tone of his skin, Thor slammed his fist into the window that separated them hard enough to make it groan in protest, but it didn't break. It never broke.
It didn't stop him from trying, nor from glaring through it to his brother when it refused to bow to his will. "No," he answered tersely, hovering close enough to the window that condensation formed on it from the heat of his body. He did not tire of it, he would never tire of the fight that surged within his veins. The storm, Mjolnir herself might have been taken from him in this place of brick walls, but he still had that. "Let me out of here, Loki. I tire of these walls."
Loki’s mouth split into a grin when the fist hit the glass, eyes lighting up. A sight like Thor raging at him through his cage door made his heart swell in his chest, and he saw no need to hide his pleasure. “You never did like a problem that couldn’t be solved with brawn,” he said, contempt in the manic sheen behind his eyes. Everything that had happened in the forest over the holiday had only strengthened his resolve, intensified his energy and his will against Thor. He threw himself into his plot with the enthusiasm of a man possessed.
He did not even seem to ponder Thor’s request, just smiled, a smirk in the half-dark on the other side of the hall. “Why would I let you go? Why would I end your isolation of my own accord, when it is so pleasing to me to watch you rail against your captivity?” Loki shifted his shoulders in a kind of shrug. “You ought to thank me. I could have dropped you into a dimension under our own, where none would ever find you, and where time moves as slow as tree sap, and you would go mad from isolation and darkness.” He cast his eyes aside. “Or I could have sent you into the darkest parts of the universe, places where no thinking creature goes and returns, and leave you there to watch a horror show unfold unlike anything you have ever seen, where winds of ice and sound flake the skin, and scuttling creatures come to claim your eyes for their children, and your strength means nothing.” He turned his haunted gaze back, green growing darker and darker, shadowed. “There are places like that,” he said. He wasn’t smiling anymore. “Places only I know, where no one would ever come for you, or hear your screaming. There would be no sounds at all, no warnings, and your blood would float around you as it spilled like orbs of oil in water.”
Loki moved away from the wall, then, half inclined to walk away. He’d begun to lose track of his own narrative, there, for a moment, said more than he’d intended, and for a moment seemed pierced by his own words, disturbed by them, like a story that had become a memory partway through, uncovering what ought to be buried. He recovered it, after a moment, with a smile, as the next thought came, the reason he’d started talking in the first place. “I could have sent you to a place like that, but I didn’t. Because my eye does not stretch that far. And I would have liked too much to watch.”
As fierce as his temper could be, as unpredictable as it was sometimes, half way through Loki's narrative when story seemed to turn from possibilities to memory, the rage drained from his eyes and concern swiftly filled them. Where had his brother gone in those long months between his fall from the rainbow bridge and their meeting on Midgard? And in those long, dark months, what had happened to Loki? Who had laid their mark upon his brother in ways they should never have been allowed to?
"If some being laid their hands upon you, I would know it," he said lowly. If he'd had Mjolnir, she would surely be dripping spikes of furious lightning. As much as Loki infuriated him, whatever wrongs he had committed, and even now as he stood locked up by his brother's will, Thor would be the first to draw blood on anyone that harmed him. Some bonds, even when they were denied, could not be so easily broken. Not even with Loki's teeth bared and the manic gleam in his eyes could Thor stop.
Loki stared back at his brother, and his smile widened. "Would you save me?" he asked, voice a cruel mockery of pleading. "I stand here now, do I not? Whatever happened, or did not, I stand here now, and I stand here without an inch of your help." No, he did not need Thor's strength or his power to carry himself through, to survive every torture, to forge his own fate. Still, to see Thor react so viscerally to the suggestion of some harm to him was interesting. He would need to remember that, and use it. Because Thor would always try to help him, it seemed. Until he found that last thing that would push Thor across the edge, make him renounce him, Thor would always try to extend a hand to him. "You offer to help the man who imprisons you," he pointed out, clicking his tongue. "Some might call that madness."
"If you needed it," Thor replied, ignoring the mockery of a plea. His brother did not plead, even he knew that. He mocked, his words bit and tore, but they did not submit and Loki's requests for aid were few and far between, if they came at all. Thor leaned forward, both hands on the window and above his head as he stretched both shoulders and back. "You would be the one to come out," he said quietly. "And I would be one the one to repay what they had done to you." It was not aid he promised, but the protectiveness that could not be shook, a burr that dug too deeply to be removed. At the mention of his imprisonment, he leaned back again, hands naturally falling to his sides as he looked around the room that was his cage. It held him now, but it would not hold him forever. "A man raised by my side as my brother. Who showed you such places, Loki?"
“Who imprisons you,” Loki repeated, his gaze boldly contemptuous. “Who says that I saw them at all? Perhaps they were figments of my fevered imagination. Everyone thinks I am mad, after all. Perhaps I dreamed them. Perhaps they exist only in the corners of my sickened mind.” He shrugged. “Or I may be telling you stories, Thor, conjuring visions, horrors for you to imagine me in to gain your pity.” He spread a hand. “Always the assumption I am the victim, rather than the perpetrator. Always the offensive sympathy before the revulsion. If anyone here is mad, it must be you.”
As often as Thor called Loki his brother, insisting upon that relationship even in the face of seeming madness, Thor knew he could not trust his brother. The places where Loki told the unadulterated truth were far and few between, one had to read between whatever lines he presented to see his truth.
Thor was not good at reading between lines.
He closed his eyes, called up the wild look in Loki's eyes, his tone -- it had escaped him. It was not a plan. Those places existed, just as he existed in this place by Loki's will, but there was still no revulsion, no inclination to make Loki an enemy instead of what he had always been to Thor. "Then why have you brought me here?"
Loki stared back at Thor. "You should know better than to think I will simply tell you the answer to everything," he said, and stepped toward the glass. He tapped his fingers against it in succession. "Maybe I simply wanted to force you to think on your mistakes. Allow you to pause and reflect. Isn't that what imprisonment is meant to be about?" As usual, there was no telling whether he was being truthful or not. “I could have tortured you,” he pointed out. “You haven’t asked why. Or have you even considered that fact?”
Thor knew better than to ask why his brother hadn't done something -- either he had no desire to do it in the first place, or (and only rarely) he hadn't thought of it to begin with and the idea was a fresh one. As Loki brought it up, he must have already considered it and put the idea aside. Or else he simply waited for Thor to torture himself with his own thoughts on the things that had been done in these last few weeks. "If I have wronged you then let me make amends for it. You need not make the mortals of Midgard pay for what I have done."
Loki stared at him. So, here they were. At the same impasse they always reached. Loki, on his end, pacing and snarling - Thor, on his, staring calmly, begging for answers. Here they were again, as they had been so many times since his fall. Here they were, and nothing, nothing had changed. He was beginning to think that nothing ever would.
He lifted his head, and looked at Thor, and then a decision was clearly made behind his eyes. Loki stepped away from the glass.
"It does not matter," he said, staring at Thor. He paused a moment, and there was perhaps even a hint of sadness in his countenance, mingled with the anger, the frustration, the resign. "It does not matter a whit. Nothing I do will change you." Loki turned, looking down the hall. His hands hung at his sides, fingers loose, the nails still marked Jotun dark, as they had been since the manacles had been put on him. He said nothing for another moment. The wheels were spinning, but he wasn't speaking. Then he shook his head, and the bristle almost visibly returned to his posture, in his tight shoulders and set jaw.
"I have a world to own," Loki said, and turned away from the cell. "What does it matter where you go, or what you do? What does it matter at all what you think, or what you say? How much time I have wasted," he told the empty hall. "How much thought." How much pain, how much rage.
He walked down the hall without another word. Five minutes later, the glass wall that hemmed Thor in disappeared without a sound. Loki was long gone by then, long disappeared, and nothing stood between Thor and the street several floors above, where the city remained dark, quiet, and shivering with fear.
There was no creature in all nine realms more frustrating than Loki. Thor knew his resignation, but it was that hint of sadness in his features that stuck in his skin, like a splinter that he could not remove, burying deeper so it would not be forgotten.
He did not know what Loki wanted. Change? For what? Once he had put his own pride before all else and now that had changed, he had placed Asgard first, and still his brother was not happy. Always, always Loki confounded him, giving him the tiniest slivers of a puzzle and expecting him to put together the answer from it.
And as he walked away (again!), his questions ringing in Thor's mind as he finally gave voice to his own frustration and bellowed, wordlessly, fists against the glass at his brother's retreating back. It left him panting, face flushed red beneath the blond of his beard and his brother was still gone.
He stayed there, watching until the glass vanished. There was no stopping him then as he grabbed his armor and left without a glance backwards. He would find his brother, he would have his answers, and he would have both the sky and Mjolnir returned to him.