|loki laufeyson (toberuled) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2013-07-09 22:49:00
|Entry tags:||loki, thor|
Who: Thor and Loki
What: Talking after Loki finally wakes up from his coma thing.
Where: Asgard [Marvel Door]
When: Before the plot.
Warnings/Rating: None! Brotherly angst and some fuzzes!
The reopening of the Bifrost was met with good cheer, the people relieved to have that avenue open to them once more. There were realms beyond their borders, friends they missed, businesses to run, but with the opening of it also came news. Not only the news that Heimdall was no longer required to open and close the Bifrost, that any Asgardian could call down the rainbow bridge when they had need of it, but the news from without. Their lack of travel had been noted, by who and how far they had come was still being reported to him.
And while Loki was at least awake, it still took him a few hours to separate himself from his council to check. For days he had delayed this while Loki remained in the healing bed and now he couldn't delay any further. When all the reports had been made, when missives had been sent out to their allies to find out the truth and scouts to see it with their own eyes, the council had finally disbanded for the night and Thor was free to return to his own chambers for a short time before dinner was to be served in the main hall.
He had no idea if Loki would join him there or not, and at the moment, he was in no mood to attempt guessing at what his brother might want. In those few moments where they had spoken on the journals, his brother seemed different, but Thor had no way of knowing if that would last or if it was any true change or simply the effects of waking up after such an extended sleep. The only thing he did think to do before he arrived was to pick up two of Idunn's apples, freshly picked and ripe enough that it looked as if their skins might burst from trying to keep the flesh inside.
A few moments later. he was striding through the open door of his chambers to see if Loki had remained -- or if he had left and returned if he remained within. It was just as likely that he had left.
Loki had ordered the attendants out of his room not long after he'd woken up. They'd been reluctant to go, of course. They had a young prince in their care, fresh out of a coma and new minted from an older war criminal. As yet, no one knew what to do with him - no one knew how far he might be trusted. When they refused to go he only grew more upset, shouting orders for them to get out. Then a bowl of clean water beside the bed shattered, the shards just missing the healer's attendant standing beside it.
The head healing woman grew still and cold after that. She promised to send someone to check on him every so often, but she withdrew, taking her attendants with her. If he was healthy enough to use magic, even unconsciously, he was healthy enough to be left alone. When they left, Loki saw that there were still guards posted outside the door, both glancing back through at him as the door swung closed again.
Alone at last, Loki slid from the bed, testing his feet against the cool, burnished metal floor. They slipped a little at first before finding purchase, and he grasped at the wall until he was sure they would support him. He felt weak, and strange, and not a little sick. Having so much power course through his body had undoubtedly left some damage aside from the obvious, and it would take time to mend. Loki hardly cared about his physical state, however. Inside, his mind whirred, and he could find nothing to cling to. He made it out to the balcony before sitting down again, folding onto the floor, grateful for the shadowy quiet.
He remembered. He wished he didn't, but he did. He still had his memories of his last conscious day and all the days before that, all the years lived in Asgard and the eternity lived out in the coldest reaches of space. But the things he had done, the atrocities he'd committed, the lengths he'd gone for power and recognition, they made him want to curl up somewhere dark and never come out again. It felt as if he'd had two completely different lives. There was the life he'd led up until this moment, still young, still many years ahead of him before Thor's coronation became a reality and he was forced to face that idea that he might always remain the younger brother of a king. And there was the life led after this, growing older and colder and angrier. In that life, he had not snapped, not one day suddenly lost control of his faculties and gone insane. No, much more frightening, it had been a long, almost imperceptible process of warping, twisting under the pressure, small tricks and jokes growing more and more deadly, with an undercurrent of anger that widened and deepened with the years.
Emotionally, those memories felt different. The people he'd trampled and the pain he'd brought his family dug in sharp as barbs under his skin. It was like a particularly vivid dream, only waking up hadn't wiped those acts away. Maybe he was different now - maybe he was another person. Or maybe he was just another version of that person, rolled back to an earlier time, but still destined to walk the same dark path.
He couldn't know. In his short time awake, all he could say was that the healers moved around him like he might lash out at them at any moment, and the guards posted outside his room seemed wary of any violent tricks he might play to escape them. He had done things that had made them this way - he had never been popular at court, surely, but now he was distrusted. He was despised. These people would not believe that he was different. He could not even say that and be sure. All he knew was what he felt, and he felt like someone who'd woken sharply from a horror too terrible to contemplate, and found all their worst fantasies had become real.
And, beneath it all, there was the pain of a second truth he hardly knew how to begin to accept. In the years that had followed the year he felt himself to be, he had found that he was not his father's son. He had found that he wasn’t a brother to a king, not rightfully, not by blood. He wasn’t even truly Asgardian.
The balcony was out of sight of the rest of the palace. When he’d been younger, he’d often sat on the balcony outside his own room with a book and a tall glass of tea steeped from the grasses on the green hills outside the city, preparing for a future where he might someday be advisor to a king - where he might even be a king himself.
Now he sat with his forehead resting against his hands, and he did not weep. He wiped sharply at his eyes, and reminded himself that the only way he would make it through the years to come would be to stay stronger than he had the first time he had done this, to stand taller, to refuse to be affected. But the deaths. He remembered faces, expressions, the flaring of pupils of men and women as he'd killed them. He remembered prone forms that he'd walked over, bloody smears on Midgardian pavement, covered in sparkling stars of broken glass. The balcony only grew colder.
The empty healing bed seemed to be evidence that Loki did not remain within, not until Thor spotted the smaller form of his brother out on the balcony. It could have been a scene out of years past, with his brother smaller, thinner than he had been the last time that Thor had seen him, not a few days ago in these same rooms. Thor shut the door that lead from his quarter sto his private room quietly behind him before he walked across the same glossy, burnished floor that Loki had walked across a short time ago. Both apples were placed on his bed, the skins glittering before he stepped out onto the balcony.
It was colder out here than it should have been, his breath leaving him in a cloud of steam. Another time he would have spent a few seconds looking over the realm that he was now king of, enjoying every sight, every shadow, every bit of light that ran over the ground like bilgesnipe chasing away the darkness. But now, now his focus was narrowly on the back of his brother. "Loki," he said quietly, reaching out as he always did, as he could never learn not to do, and placed his hand on his brother's thin shoulder.
Like the healers, Thor didn't know what to expect of this Loki. Would he be like the younger brother of Thor's memories? The older brother that was a fractured, angry reflection of his younger self? Would he be altogether different, as foreign to him as the older Loki had become?
Loki didn’t hear his brother come up, lost in thought, and when his name was called he started, turning sharply to look. His emotions were a tumult, and it showed on his face - though Loki had always been a good liar, he was no longer so skilled at hiding what he felt. Even when he was grown his raw feeling had often shown through around Thor, despite how hard he tried not to let it.
He was frightened, and confused, and wounded. It was so much to take in so quickly, and now Thor was here. It seemed right that his brother should hate him, should be so tired of all the wrong he'd done, should wish only to condemn him to a dark dungeon somewhere in the bowels of the palace. That was not what he saw in Thor's face, and he remembered, then - only Thor had continually offered a hand he had always refused. Only Thor had continued to try.
A little of the fear of his brother being disgusted with him faded. Thor's hand was on his shoulder, and that had to count for something. He swallowed, and attempted to collect himself. His eyes were a little red, but he was hardly going to let himself seem like a child. He wasn't that young, after all. "Thor," he said. That deliberate hardening of his gaze, that had to be familiar from the person Loki had been once, and perhaps was again. Keeping his composure in all things - refusing to be made vulnerable to taunts or the disapproving looks of others, when he drew their gazes at all. He had set his jaw in just the same way when he was teased as a boy. "Has...has a decision of any kind been made of what will be done with me?" He looked down at his feet. "I will take whatever punishment is deemed suitable," he said, keeping his voice as level as he could. He couldn't look Thor in the eye, not yet. It was so strange to see him this way. Yes, he had always been the younger brother, but not so much younger.
Loki had always been a talented liar and Thor with little skill in deducing what was a lie and what was truth. Over the years he'd tried to find some way in deciphering, but the attempts were met with little success. What he had gotten better at was reading Loki's face, his eyes which seemed to burn with his seiðr, but now they only seemed bright as red-rimmed as they were before Loki's gaze went to his feet.
Younger, so much younger. If this was who Loki was now, could he be held accountable for the deeds he had done in his much older self? Would it have been right to do so? Thor gave a small shake of his head before he voiced a single word, heavy with his own thoughts, "No."
Comfort was not his forte, yet he still squeezed Loki's shoulder like their father had done to them when they were boys. "No decision has been made, Loki." Not while Loki was lying within the healing capsule and it was still not known who, or how, he would emerge. "They will likely want to speak with you before a decision is made about your trial." And even if the trial did happen, the punishment would have to fit for this Loki as well. "They will want to know what you remember."
"Remember?" Loki said, turning to look up at his brother. "I remember everything," he said, throat still thick in a thoroughly embarrassing way. "You can tell them that, if you like, or, if they want me paraded in front of them, I will go." He was angry, that much was clear, but at whom was less certain. "I can tell them that I know all the things I did, or...that I will have done. I cannot know what to call it, or how to explain it, only that these are not things I would do. I do not wish to do them. But I cannot undo them, either, for they have already happened, and I feel as if I am going mad." He took a hitched breath. "Which I will not allow to happen," he said, meeting Thor's gaze at last. He had to promise that. He had to promise Thor, and promise himself. It would not turn that way again. Even if it was out of his control, he would fight it with everything in him.
Loki took a short breath, and pretended he did not have wet eyes, and that he was not so raw. He pretended very hard. “You do believe me?” he asked. It came out so much more pleading than he meant it to, and he dropped his head again. “It is...I cannot get my mind around it. The people I have killed. There is nothing I can do for them. There is nothing I can do to make that right.”
Thor knew the anger, how often had he seen Loki's mouth twist with it? How often had it seen it shining in his brother's eyes? But this anger wasn't like that, this was unfocused and Loki, for all his lies, had never pleaded so honestly with him. Nor had he looked up at him with damp eyes, not in a very long time. And Thor, who was unskilled at comfort, still did his best to offer it as his hand moved from Loki's shoulder to his throat, his massive hand flush to the curve, fingers at his nape and thumb riding piggyback on the line of his jaw.
Did he believe? Could he? The best measure Thor had of Loki's lies were Loki's past actions and those were different enough now to make him think that more than his brother's age had changed that day out on the Bifrost. He had always wanted to believe the best in his brother and Thor could not deny him now, when that possibility was standing before him. "I believe you," he finally said, voice low like the rumble of earth or storm. "Their lives are already gone, Loki. Make your honors to them." And one day, he would have to make recompense to the communities of those whose lives he took. That was their way. "And I will do what I can with the kvidr. I will not let them parade you as a spectacle to behold." That was the only promise that Thor could make.
For now Loki's trial was confounded by the fact that this was, and wasn't, the same man that had done those things. Still, many had lost their lives, Jotunheim was still recovering, and Midgard was not likely to forget all the things that his brother had done to her people.
Loki did not move, did not lean into the comfort of his brother's grip on his shoulder, the reassurance that he was real and there and would not turn away in hate. "Honors," he murmured, his gaze darting over the view in front of him. What honors could he do to those who were already dead?
Loki straightened a little. Once he stepped outside again, it would not do to seem vulnerable in any way. They would all be taking the measure of him through it all, through the trial and through the days before and beyond it. Whatever decision was made for his fate, the people of this world would not forget the person he had been, might be, would be, one day.
He folded his hands together, looking up at his brother from behind strands of hair sorely in need of a cut, as it had so often was. Loki spent too much time reading and researching to keep track of such things, and it often brushed close to his eyes. "I have been offered a place to stay," he said, carefully, "On Midgard. There is a girl there, one of the people through these doors.." He rubbed one thumb over the other. "I can go there. Wait out the trial, away from here and people who...will know me. Who will have their eye on me, always." The shame and the inevitable anger that would burn in him were something best avoided, he thought. He couldn't mandate that the future change, but he could do everything in his power to stay away from the things he remembered curdling him so. "I have done wrong there, too, to Midgard and its people. By staying there a while I might try to offer some recompense." He kept his mouth still and straight. It was a responsibility, now, that he make things right, or try. Spending any extended length of time on Midgard sounded, frankly, irritating to the extreme. It was a good place to get away for short periods, but it wasn’t home and the people there were so coarse in comparison to Asgardian culture. Be that as it may, he owed them something. He was the only person who could begin to clean up the legacy of evil his older self had left behind.
Here, Thor was to be either brother or King. The King of Asgard could not let Loki escape to Midgard to hide, but the brother in him knew how Loki had chafed at being on Asgard, how it had eaten at him until there was little of his brother left behind and all was jagged spikes made of misery.
"Who is it?" Thor asked quietly. If he was to let Loki go there, he would know that at least. His hand moved from Loki's shoulder to his chin, the skin of his hands rough but his touch gentle as he tilted his chin up to see his eyes not through a veil of ink black hair. This Loki gave away too much with his eyes, but when they were younger, Thor had not known how to read them. He was older now and perhaps, by some smiling hand of their father, a bit wiser. There was not cruelty there now, not the restless shift of thoughts grinding together to make something sharper, but the gears still spun, sprinting and slowing, sprinting and slowing. Everything was possible within this Loki: a return to his elder's madness or something better. It was the latter that Thor had always hoped for with his brother.
"If you wish to remain on Midgard for the duration of your trial, then go. But if you threaten them, I will come for you, Loki. And I will find you."
"Her name is Gwen," Loki said, careful still to proceed with caution. He didn't truly believe that Thor would turn on him now, but it was good to be careful. "Gwen Stacy." He tilted his chin under Thor's grip, and there was a little of the Loki he had been in the cant of annoyance his eyes took on. This was not annoyance that burst into hate, though, just the irritation of a younger brother being kindly manhandled by his older brother.
That threat, though, shattered his momentary confidence that things would find their way, that Thor would prevent the trial from convicting him for war crimes he remembered, but did not feel. Of course. He had yet to earn Thor's trust. How could he have been so foolish? He stared back, eyes closing off sharply in a way he could not yet fake convincingly. "I have no intention of threatening anyone."
The shuttering of those eyes was too much like the old Loki, whose eyes had not only been shuttered but were fiercely guarded by mirrored ice so thick that whenever Thor chipped at it, he was only shown another reflection of what Loki's pain. Not again. His gaze softened, the broad pad of his thumb stroking over his brother's chin.
"Sam's girl," Thor said with a small nod, the corner's of his mouth curling up slightly. The promise had to be made, from King to criminal. And now an oath from brother to brother. "I would keep you close if I knew it would be better for you." But Thor knew it wouldn't be. His shadow had only grown as he had, and now Loki was smaller than he was before. Thor could not let him fall into that place again, not when there was another choice. "Go, and find the man you want to be, brother. I will come if you have need of me, wherever you are. You are still my brother and none may harm you."
Loki did not want to seem visibly eased by those words. Even so young, he did want to be his own man, his own person, with a life and a list of accomplishments that were not always measured against those of his older brother. Yet knowing that he was not going to be abandoned, despite everything, was a comfort, and it was visible in the thoughtless unknitting of his shoulder blades. "Thank you," he said. His posture was still a little stiff, but the words were not. "You hardly owe me such fealty, after all I've done to you."
He turned his head under Thor’s hand to look up at him. “They may try to harm me,” he said, with a little more confidence, “But I think I can handle myself.” There was just a touch of humor in that, a flicker of confidence and defiance. He could be tough in a fight himself. It would take a good opponent for him to need to go running to his brother.
"You can," Thor acknowledged, the smallest of smiles curving his lips. "But because you can doesn't mean that you should have to." Loki could handle himself, just as the Warriors Three and Sif could, but that didn't mean that Thor would leave them to fight any battle on their own if they did not wish it.
The humor was the surest sign that this Loki was different. Thor couldn't remember the last time his brother looked honestly happy without having caused someone grief. His features held no anger, no worry, no penchant for fighting as his thumb brushed along the edge of Loki's jaw before dropping entirely. A slow drag of air inwards and he stood a bit taller. Even he knew that Loki needed to find his own way and whatever leniency he could get for him he would, but Thor would not pull him from Midgard to Asgard unless he had to. It was better that he spend his time wherever he could be happy. "Do you have everything there that you need, brother?"
Loki hesitated, then nodded. "I believe so," he said. What he didn't have he would bring with him. Books, for instance. There was so much knowledge in his head, but without the experience firsthand he would need to learn many things again, practice them again. Midgard seemed a suitable place for that sort of thing, the right place to cut his teeth while trying to do a decent thing or two. "Thank you," he added, when Thor's hand dropped away. He was grateful. How could he not be? To be allowed to do this was gracious in the extreme, and he knew what it meant. He would not forget that mercy, not any time soon. For although it felt par for the course with Thor, generally speaking, he knew that, in the past, it had not been so.