Who: Thor, Loki What: brotherly chat about Stormbreaker, lost Asgardians, etc. When: After Valkyrie's arrival Rating/Warning: Green.
Thor had put off this conversation long enough. For months now, Loki had bothered him to find out what happened prior to Thor’s arrival. The King of Asgard had stubbornly refused to say anything, other than it had no bearing unless he could leave Midgard.
With Valkyrie’s arrival though, he could put this off no longer. If she said something to Loki before he did….well, the results wouldn't be good. And how could he hope to teach Loki to do away with his deceits, if Thor himself continued to hide things?
Waiting until Darcy stepped out, it was Thor’s turn to visit his brother's quarters. “Loki,” he called outside the closed door. “I would speak with you.”
Loki was going through some of the relics and trinkets from his dimensional storage space, cataloging them and their inner workings for posterity. He had quite a lot of things, by the looks of it, but none of them larger or heavier than the thickest book in his library (a book of lore that was so big, that he had to hug it in his arms to move it to and fro). His door was open and he was sitting at a large ornate desk, golden objects scattered across it in various states of disassembly. A large book was open, and the pages already covered with runes and diagrams.
With his attention on pulling apart a little orb, Loki replied in a low murmur, "Yes, do come in. I'm not at all occupied with anything."
Ignoring the comment, Thor walked in. Loki was always busy with something, so Thor didn't mind interrupting. No sense in beating around the bush, so he looked at Loki and said, "Valkyrie has returned. I believe now is the time to share that which you have been asking for. I'm ready to tell you what happened prior to my arrival."
Loki stared at the orb for a long moment, although his fingers and magic had stopped moving through the pieces. He sat them down and appeared to draw in a deep, silent breath, before turning in the chair to face Thor. He knew that Valkyrie had returned, for he had greeted her. But he wasn't certain what she said to Thor, if there was any new information, and so he was willing to feign ignorance.
It wasn't hard to fake that this her return was welcome news, because it was. He was hopeful about having the closest thing he ever had to a friend back with them but was disheartened that she didn't remember him or the recent trouble they got into. Hopefully, that sarcastic comradery would still be there. And he wanted to know what happened after he had died....no, he wanted to know how his brother fared after they parted ways once and for all. Loki sat up a little straighter in anticipation, steeling his resolve.
"Yes, please do," he made a motion with one hand over to a nearby chair, against the wall by the desk. "Or if you wish to pace, the floor is yours. Have at it."
Taking his younger brother up on his offer, he started to pace, and talk. Pace some more. Talk some more. There was much to say, and the fact that Thor had kept it all bottled up probably was the reason he was reaching his breaking point lately.
The chance meeting with the Guardians. The dying neutron star. Hoping Val made it safe with their people. Regaining the Bifrost and fighting in Wakanda. The disappearances. After several minutes of non-stop talking, he sat down heavily in the spare chair.
"So. There you have it. I failed, Thanos won, half of the universe gone in seconds." He unconsciously clenched his right hand, wishing dearly for the weighted comfort of Mjolnir. "I tried though..." He stared out the window, looking anywhere but Loki.
Loki looked aggrieved to hear such a tale - who wouldn't? - but soon he also looked like several ideas were formulating. He looked cunning. As all good Tricksters should look, when they contemplate undoing the work of Mad Titans that liked to crush throats.
"...brother," he ventured, softening any of the usual bitter edge to his speech. It wasn't the time, and he was actually very touched that his brother went that far to get revenge for him, for Heimdall, for the Asgardians that died. "If this universe is a copy, near identical, as is said? Then you can right this and be successful. It is likely the forges of Nidavellir have already fallen cold And the Dwarves fallen as well. But if things are nearly identical...theeeennnnn....all instances which soon happened thereafter should be as well."
He stared at Thor, as though hoping he wasn't beating himself up so much that he would miss what was glaringly obvious: Get Stormbreaker.
A good advisor knew when to let a king think they were coming up with the idea themselves. And a good (sometimes that's debatable) brother knew that it might lure someone out of a dire mood.
Thor looked at Loki, brow furrowed, fist under his chin, elbow firmly planted on the armrest. "What are you saying," he asked in wonderment, processing out loud. "That in this...this universe, Stormbreaker is still waiting for me?"
Of course. And the space captain..he had a ship. Thor had forgotten to ask Val if she had hers too, but there was hope. And if there was even the slightest glimmer of hope, Thor clung to it desperately. There was time. Thanos hadn't come fully into power yet. They could do this. He could save everyone. Jane.
"I could still forge my ultimate weapon..."
"...and strike fear into the heart of Thanos. Not the axe, Thor. Fear. Aim for the head," although chiding, Loki was also smiling. There was a sliver of hope that he too was clinging onto.
"This means we can save what remains of Asgard's people," he continued, "to bring them here as you intended. We need only see to the state of the forge, and get this weapon of yours. And then we need get our revenge. For that, I gladly offer my aid. I do hope Valkyrie remembers the location, too. If not, and she is yet to dream of it, then we may require patience or one of her rare moments of sobriety."
Loki stopped and shook his head, and there was a fond expression as he thought of having his partner in petty crimeraging alcoholicinfuriatingly rudefriend back again. What was truly inspiring, was knowing that his brother went to such lengths to avenge all of them. His dreams were dire, but Darcy still awoke from nightmares about people being blown away like ash. At least his brother had tried to prevent it, even if it was all for naught.
"For what it's worth? Thank you, Thor. For...trying."
"How could I not?" Thor's mind was racing. He'd ignored these memories for so long... too long, really. And what if he had merely prolonged the inevitable by not speaking up sooner?
He'd just been so grateful to have his brother back, and then his mother. Selfish as it may have been, he was oddly comfortable. Yes, he was plagued most days with thoughts of his people, and seeing Valkyrie, hearing from her lips that their people were safe.,.
It almost brought him to tears. "You were right, brother. Something big is coming. And we could avoid it. I will need your help. No tricks or games," he added. "Just your sincere help." He bounced his knee for a moment, before continuing." Jane...someone need watch over her. I could not bear to lose her." Even if all they would ever have was friendship.
Loki sighed and looked as though he wanted to take up his pen and show that it was mightier than the sword, by jabbing it into Thor's incredibly thick skull.
"Do you want me to go with you to the forge," Loki said while going down the list, as though he was at his wit's end, "or do you want me to mind the palace? I do believe we have mother and Darcy to watch who you are pining over. And if you are gaining my help, do not delude yourself. You know that I specialize in tricks."
He was merely refraining from mean-spirited games, or anything worse. It was, as always, a temptation to do those things.
Loki wasn't often right, in Thor's opinion, but this time he was. It felt like everything he was saying lately was a contradiction. Of course he didn't want any harm to befall Jane, nor did he want to leave her without his protection. Even living apart as they did, he was confident he could reach her side in a matter of minutes, seconds, if she required it.
"You know as well as I that Jane heeds her own counsel. I do not know if I will be able to convince her to remain here during our sojourn to the forge." He wrestled a little with himself before sharing. "It....is one of the main factors why we separated. I leave too often, with no rhyme or reason to when I shall return. Leaving suddenly will simply prove to her that the barrier remains."
"Indeed. For my face remembers how well she heeds her own council, when she struck me," Loki replied with a smirk. "The matter is rather simple. You need only fetch the axe, and with it, you can not only help to fend off the Mad Titan, but you can be back by her side in an instant. There is no longer any need for you to remain separated overly long. You, as King, may choose your companions as you see fit. But if it were up to me, in your position? I would not bring Lady Darcy with me. Not to a place that Thanos had visited, so recently."
He gave Thor a look like he should know better, and it really was vaguely reminiscent of the sort of stare their mother would give them.
"Other than that, you are making excuses. I fear you do this in order to justify why you should remain naught more than friends. Thus I counsel you to speak with mother on such affairs or lack thereof."
Thor sighed. "If I speak to Mother, will you agree to let me deal with this in my own manner?". All this sharing and opening up was giving him a headache, on top of all the other things he had to plan now.
It wasn't that he didn't care about his brother's counsel, it's just that Thor had literally thought of nothing else for weeks and he couldn't handle it anymore.
Besides, now he had something else to think of. "Oh, and Valkyrie requires a place to live. I've offered her the guest quarters but I felt I should speak to you and Mother first."
"Yes," Loki said. Which meant 'no' because he is Loki. "And of course she may. I would insist any Asgardian who wishes to would live here with us. And definitely her. Although she may not recall me, it will good to hear her shattering glass and cursing once more."
As for matters pertaining to Jane, Loki was patient, because he knew that Thor was at least thinking about it, and that should be enou-----no, it wasn't enough. Hardly.
Loki reached up into the air and pulled a shimmering bright golden apple out of nothingness, then plonked it down on the corner of the desk.
He smiled sweetly and innocently, folding both hands together on the desk, like a little know it all. Which he is. Or thinks he is. Because he is Loki.
"Yes. I'm holding onto these. You're welcome. Do feel free to admit that I am the best brother in a time of need."
It was like time stopped. The shimmer of the apple was all he could see. Slowly, Thor rose from his chair and he walked closer to the apple, hisaout stretched like he wanted to touch it. At the last minute, he closed his fingers and brought his hand up to his face.
"Is that..." it couldn't be. Idunn's apple. "Why....why do you have that?"
"Because I am no fool," was Loki's all too calm reply. "You may think my plans madness, but I do try to take some steps to cover my steps when need be. I knew that if I was going to go walking secret paths and pulling schemes, I may have need of them. So I took two, when no one was looking. I hid them away in my keeping. And there they have been, since far before we left for the Jotunheim."
Where he found out what he was. And at that thought, Loki looked away, back to the tasks before him.
"I can keep it for you. Or you may take it, and do what you wish. I am saving mine, for when I know it is the right time. I advise you to do the same. Without making mention of it, so you know their heart is true. It is what the All-father would have done. A test. Of sorts."
"Yes," Thor said distractedly. This was one of the last barriers left, and there was the solution being handed to him with no strings attached.
"You keep it. I don't want it right now. I...don't know that I'm quite ready to even know about that." And that was the truth. Blood was rushing in his head, and he could barely control his own emotions, let alone ensure the weather was not changing. "Please. Put it away."
Loki, ever the meddler, sighed happily as he touched his fingers to the apple and it disappeared back into thin air.
"Well. I suppose it is food for thought," he joked, rolling his eyes a little bit. "I've already made arrangements for a weaker variety to grow on Vanaheim, but it will take a hundred years before any fruition. And let's hope I'm not smited again. That would be truly unfortunate."
For the first time today, Thor gave a chuckle. Not a loud one, but a chuckle nonetheless. Better to laugh than to cry, probably, which he'd be doing back in his room once this insane day was done. How much more could one person take?
"Brother, if you can survive Ragnarok, you can survive your relationship with Darcy. She's easily.....5 times scarier than our sister." He punctuated that with a nod. "Easily."
"Five times is far too low a number." Loki had seen Darcy's temper. It was fiery and tempestuous and glorious to behold. It must be, because there is a gleam in his eyes and it can only be described as wickedly gleeful. "Darcy is...fifty times scarier, at the very least."
After a few seconds to contemplate that, Loki gave Thor a smile and nod to let him know all was well - or would be well - and turned back to his work.