I got bitten by a plot bunny, and this is mostly just a test chapter to see if people are interested in this.
I don't know why I like writing stories about damaged!Loki so much...
Loki stares up at Odin, and lets go of Gungnir, falling into the void, which soon swallows him up in its darkness.
He knows now, why Fath- no, Odin is not his father- always preferred Thor. He'd never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne. The only reason he took a monster like Loki in was for political gain with Jotunheim.
Monster, monster, monster, monster. He's the monster parents tell their children about at night, that he had nightmares about as a child.
Loki doesn't know how long he spends screaming in the void, but he doesn't die like he'd planned, not even as his body wastes away.
He longs for death as the void tears his mind apart.
There's commotion in the narrow roads of Kolkata as Bruce heads home at the end of the day. A car horn blares, followed by shouting, and he keeps walking, trying to shut it out. This is exactly the kind of thing Bruce actively tries to avoid, because shouting and stress are very likely to bring out the Other Guy.
He's managed to go around a hundred and seventy days since the last appearance of the Other Guy, and he really doesn't want to mess that up and go back to zero days since the last incident. If he sticks around, he may very well have a setback like that.
But right now, life is the best it's been for him in the past several years, which isn't exactly saying much considering he's spent who knows how long being hunted like a dog by Ross and the military.
Surprisingly, they've stayed off Bruce's back long enough for him to get some semblance of control over his life. In this thankfully Hulk-less time, he's managed to settle here in Kolkata, working as a doctor. He's technically not the kind of doctor he's working as now, but has picked up enough medical care to act as one for the people here. Bruce has always been a fast learner, both with medical care and, in his old life, science- especially nuclear physics and biochemistry.
There's no use thinking about his old life. And at least he's doing something good with his current life, helping people. It makes him feel a little bit less like the monster he can become at any moment.
Bruce even has enough money nowadays for a place of his own. A small place, granted, but it's infinitely better than sleeping on the streets. He's done that on more than one occasion while on the run, and he's slept in forests as well when trying to avoid being captured by the military.
It's nice, having a roof over his head, and having more than just the clothes on his back (and usually after the Other Guy came out, he didn't even have those anymore).
So when he hears the screaming in the street, Bruce tenses. He's still probably rightfully paranoid about the military showing up. But no, he should not be tense right now, it's the last thing anybody- especially Bruce himself- needs.
Given Murphy's Law, Bruce's life is probably going to go downhill soon, especially if the Other Guy makes an appearance. Hopefully that won't be now. He's kind of used to his life hitting rock bottom ever since that failed experiment, but he's not at rock bottom now and certainly doesn't want to fall down there again.
Bruce forces himself to take slow, deep breaths, planning to get out of here, but keeps his eyes open.
He doesn't see Ross' men anywhere, thankfully, but he should still probably get somewhere calmer. He was heading to his home anyways.
Even as he starts to walk away, he catches sight of what seems to have caused the commotion. Some kind of bundle is half hidden under a car, presumably the one that had blared its horn and evidently ran the thing over. There's a lot of black leather, some sort of green blanket, and some weird, gold pieces that look more like metal.
Bruce is about to breathe a sigh of relief, but then he realizes what the form is and his pulse spikes, heart racing. "Oh my god..."
It's not some weird bundle at all.
Or, it is, but there's a person laying prone in the bundle, curled in the fetal position, in the middle of the street, with their left arm and both knees still under the car's front right tire.
As Bruce hesitates, trying to calm down and begging that the Other Guy won't take charge, he knows he can't just leave the person. Throwing caution into the wind, he slowly approaches. The traffic on the very narrow street has stopped, even the pedestrians and bikers, and most are staring at the scene.
Despite the length of his long, lank, greasy raven hair, the person is indisputably a man. It soon becomes clear that the bundles are really the man's clothes.
He's mostly dressed in black leather. What was he even thinking, wearing that garb in this sort of heat?! It's completely insane! Plus, the clothes look very, well, different, something some of the onlookers are muttering about. There are bits of golden armor, and the green blanket appears to be a cape. Definitely not the kind of outfit Bruce would expect to see here, or anywhere aside from, maybe, the set of Lord of the Rings.
Bending down, Bruce only half listens to the car's driver's rant in Hindi (and Bruce's grasp of the language isn't enough to completely figure out all the angry comments). He gets the gist, and the driver is saying that the man had come out of nowhere.
"Did he fall?" Bruce asks in Hindi, which he's managed to partially pick up during his time here. He figures the man had probably just fallen suddenly in front of the car before the driver could stop, but the driver repeats that the man came out of nowhere, as if literally popping out of thin air (unless they're some kind of miscommunication here, which Bruce won't rule out).
Bruce turns his attention to more important matters, the man.
The man looks like he'd come straight out of hell.
Bruce's pressure spikes just a bit more with what he sees, and he forces himself to take deep breaths, relax, and view this situation with a detached, clinical eye. Getting emotional never helps with this sort of thing, and it's especially bad when Bruce is the one getting emotional.
He's obviously not a native here, just like Bruce himself, although this guy is even paler than Bruce. The man's skin is so pale that it's almost the color of paper and shiny with an almost continuous layer of sweat, making him look like he's made of porcelain. His cheekbones are extremely sunken.
He's clearly been starved. His bizarre leather clothes hang off his morbidly thin frame so much that they barely look like they ever would have fit him. His legs look even longer since they're stick-thin under the leather.
The man's green eyes are as vacant as a corpse's, open but unseeing and glassy, focused on nothing.
By his appearance, his starved state, the man may have even been dead before he got run over by the car. It would probably be a mercy if he'd been already gone, although life clearly hasn't been merciful to this man.
This man's fate makes the past few years of Bruce's life look like a picnic.
Bruce debates about what to do. There's no helping the dead.
Whoever this man was doesn't really deserve to have his body just left in the street like this to be crushed under even more car tires or stepped over by pedestrians. But what would Bruce even do with the body after getting it out of the street? If he dragged it off somewhere to bury it, people would probably think he murdered the man and was trying to hide the evidence.
Bruce thinks he sees a tiny movement under the chest, under the weird golden armor, and shakes his head. No, he's just imagining things. He's tired, after all.
But then, the man inhales, an unmistakable but shaky breath that sounds like a discount Darth Vader. The armor definitely puffs out a bit as he inhales.
Bruce blinks, massaging his temples, and watches as the man slowly exhales, making the armor fall sounding even more like Darth Vader. He doesn't make a move to try and free his left arm or knees from under the car tire, although he probably lacks the energy to do even that.
His eyes are still completely vacant, his mind a far way away. Assuming he hasn't lost it entirely.
Bruce tries to think of something more productive than repeatedly wondering how in the world is this man alive?!
Well, there you go. I honestly have no idea where I'm going with this, but I know I'm not abandoning my other story.
I'm really bad at juggling stories, so I have no idea how long it will take me to update this.