Right. I work as a beta, but this is my first ever fanfic, so bear with me – the following is the product of a need to get extreme Loki fangirling out of my system. Watched Avengers on the 29th of April, and couldn't help imagining exactly what happens after Thor and Loki disappear off to Asgard. So this fic is written for all those people out there who know that Loki is the most intricate/adorable/brilliant character in Avengers. Oh, and I don't own the Avengers, so don't sue me!
Two figures stand in the glare of bright sunlight, one with a cape of regal scarlet, the other perpetually cast in half-shadow.
"You need not fear, Loki. Father will be glad to hear of your return." Thor fingers the handle of Mjolnir, addressing the young man with piercing green eyes.
The scathing look that Loki gives the Prince of Asgard betrays none of his emotions.
Thor's hand holds one handle of the Tesseract before him, his eyes expectant. Loki, deprived of words by the delicate metal binding his mouth, glares at the figures around him. A pitiful handful of mortals. An idiot clothed in ridiculous mortal metal, one that fights with primitive weapons – and red and blue spandex? His brother – no, no longer his brother – clears his throat slightly. Loki rolls his eyes, and an elegant hand reaches forward, grasping the Tesseract's handle.
An ethereal white curls around Loki, and the scene before him fades into the distance, as an ephemeral dream lost in the shades of time. In that one instant of privacy, when the power of the Tesseract shields his face from prying eyes, Loki allows his mask of indifference to melt away.
A whir of confused emotions and thoughts –
Asgard. Home? Sunrise on the citadel parapet. An old memory, scattered sunlight, father smiling at two little boys tumbling through the grass, one with hair golden, one with eyes green. But Father – Odin! What would he think, after all this time? Hate. Scorn. Or –dare I think– Punishment? No!
A thread of fear spikes, and Loki's eyes remain glazed with dread even as the white mist clears and his sight falls once again on the grand halls of Asgard.
Sunset on the citadel parapet. As the fire-streaked sky spins softly into dusk, an old man stands leaning on his golden staff, gazing into the reaches of the vaulted sky. The evening star rises, twinkling on the horizon. The king's posture is tinged with grief, and his mind sees farther than what mortal sight can perceive.
Then the world shifts ever so slightly, barely a whisper in a realm of silence.
Odin starts upright, displaying an unusual lack of calm. Can it be… He turns just as the gilded double doors slam wide open, a breathless servant skidding to a halt before the startled King. "Forgive my lack of decorum, sire," the boy gasps. "But the prince has returned – "
"The prince only?" Odin cuts in quickly.
At this, the servant, unintelligent though he is, understands. "The prince has brought a prisoner with him –"
He has no chance to finish his sentence. Odin brushes past him without a word, leaving the servant alone in the echoing hall.
The glare of light dissipates into a shower of silver dew, revealing Thor standing upright in the middle of the throne room, one hand holding the Tesseract, with Loki before him, bound and gagged. Something has changed in the moment spent between worlds, for he no longer stands with his head held high in arrogance. On Earth, he reigned among Humans. On Asgard, a prisoner next to a prince.
Loki's eyes hold despair and, of all things - terror. It suddenly dawns on him that his father may be sitting behind him. He releases his grip on the Tesseract and whirls with predatory swiftness to face the throne, cloak flying in a flash of gold and green. An empty chair.
Loki breathes a sigh of relief, just as a dozen hands grip his collar and make to slam him headfirst into the ground. He just manages to stop his fall enough to land on his knees instead of his face, the cuffs opening a small cut on his wrist where they scrape painfully across his skin. The small gasp of pain is muffled by his gag. Ah. Not a good idea to make sudden movements, then.
He holds his position, blood quietly dripping down his fingers, face expressionless. A second later, he hears Thor order his release, and the pressure on his head is lifted.
If Loki could voice his emotions, he would snarl at Thor right there and then for indicating that Loki needed his brother's pity. He far preferred the violent treatment over his brother's hypocritical mercy. All Loki can manage is to place as much of his anger into one malevolent glare, holding his brother's gaze outside of the thicket of gleaming weapons pointing at him from all sides.
Then Loki hears the doors swing open behind him, and his father's name proclaimed to the throne room at large.
Strangely, Loki, though before so anxious to face his father with a proud and unrelenting stance, finds himself all but frozen to the ground. Turn your head. His body refuses to obey him. Turn your head now! A muscle in his neck twitches.
Loki sighs in defeat and lowers his eyes to the floor, trepidation pulsing in tandem with his heartbeat.
Odin, having abandoned all kingly restraint, is pacing towards the throne room so quickly that he barely stops to straighten his expression into one of stern severity before the servant announces his entrance.
The scene seems to him as a moment framed in glass. His all-encompassing gaze sweeps across the room, tarrying briefly at Thor's minor stab wound. Then his sight falls upon Loki, who is kneeling facing away from the doors, and Odin's heart cries out at seeing his once-dead son alive before him.
Odin walks quietly over to where the brothers are, one kneeling, one standing. A pause. "Father", Thor acknowledges. Odin nods once. The spear-bearers part slightly to allow him to pass through, and he cannot help but soften his hard expression when his vision finally rests on his youngest son's face. Loki remains silent, and not a word escapes past his gag. His eyes are pointedly fixed on the ground before his cuffed hands, hands that are shaking ever so slightly.
Reaching out, Odin lays a hand on Loki's shoulder. Loki flinches away from his grip and shuts his green eyes tightly. "Look at your father, Loki," Odin whispers, "You have written your own fate."
Slowly, agonizingly, Loki raises his head. And as he meets Odin's stormy grey eyes, both father and son start backwards in surprise. Loki does not remember his father's face as so careworn and lined, nor so etched with sadness. And Odin is forcibly reminded of Loki as a little child of five or six, when Thor had tricked his brother into believing that Odin had declared grave punishment for a small act of magical mischief on Loki's part. On that day, Odin had found little Loki hidden in the recesses of a darkened room, shivering with something other than cold, head bowed in dark despair.
And now, Odin sees that little boy hidden in the depths of Loki's gaze.
Something shatters deep within Odin, and he lets his voice boom out across the length and breath of the throne room, reminiscent of thunder in its power and authority, "Let everyone but Loki leave my presence."
"But father, I –", Thor begins in protest.
"Including you, my son," Odin interjects, "I will speak with you later. Make sure you have that wound treated." His voice is soft.
Loki and Odin remain still and silent among the movement of the departing guards, like figures caught in an edge of time. The doors close with an ominous click.
Loki makes to look up at Odin, only to be engulfed in his father's embrace. He recoils in shock – Odin was a father who raised his sons by the codes of honour and bravery, and was never one for showing affection towards either boy, much less embracing them. Loki's thoughts are a confused, scattered mess. Is this a prelude to my punishment? What is this?
He looks at his father with a questioning glance. He does not return the embrace.
Odin whispers simply, "My son." He releases his hold on him, only to notice the thin trickle of blood that pools on the cold marble near Loki's hands. Odin nudges the cuffs, and when they release with an insubstantial clack, he inspects the cuts with methodical care. Loki shifts his long fingers to rub his bruised wrists. "Do these pain you overmuch?" Odin asks.
Loki regains some of his old cynicism in his expression. His eyes flick to his metal gag in a somehow sarcastic way.
Odin reaches forward and takes the gag away. Loki's mouth immediately twists into a sardonic half smile.
"No," Loki answers shortly. Then, "Are you not angry with me, father?" His voice is bitter and scornful.
Odin shakes his head. "I am far angrier than you have ever known me to be, Loki. My anger at your actions, and what you did to your brother – and your family – fills me with indescribable pain."
"Then act on it. Punish me whatever way you will. Throw me into the dungeons, torture me, bind my magic. Perhaps that will ease your heart." Loki's tone is almost bored, but his eyes gleam with a dark intensity.
"You do not understand. I am angered by what you have done, but for some reason beyond my knowledge, I feel no inclination to act on it. That may come in time. But I am so, so glad to see you again, Loki."
Loki looks at his father levelly, and sees truthfulness in every line of his father's being. But he would rather that Odin had lied – for his world of carefully constructed secrets and lies that had been created since that fateful day on Jotenheim is beginning to break and splinter under his father's words. In his mind, Thor and Odin are subjects of mutual hate, a façade that never really existed throughout Loki's childhood, a life spent constantly as the second most important son. This is what Loki believes. Or believed? Some inner part of his soul wishes desperately for Odin's words to be true. But if it were, then the carefully structured hate that has fueled his actions for so long now will shrivel and die. I will have achieved nothing.
Loki's inner torment must have reflected on his features, for Odin smiles sadly, offering a weathered hand. Loki contemplates this for a second, then takes it with one graceful motion and allows himself to be helped to his feet. Odin strides past him to the edge of the throne room, where the last rays of the setting sun casts one side of his face in fiery shadow. Loki, after a pause, walks lightly across to join him in the half-light. Below them, stretching into the distance, lies all the glimmering glory of Asgard, shining like a beacon in the darkening night. Only the Bifrost Bridge is marred in its iridescent beauty.
Father and son stand in silence for a little while, a cool wind dancing about their hair.
Loki uses this time to think, and order his thoughts. His conclusions seem strange, even to his own mind. I do not hate my father. Thor, yes. But not my father. Perhaps one day I will gain what I deserve in regard to the throne. But this is not the right moment.
Odin's quiet voice breaks across his thoughts, "My son, look upon Asgard. All of that which is mine has always been yours. Thor may be soon be king in name, but you know that I have never favoured him over you, Loki. Can you be content with only this? For this is all I can give you. Do you understand?"
Loki replies in an even softer tone, almost a whisper, "Yes." And after a moment, "Father."
At this, Odin's face shines with hidden pleasure, "Welcome home, my son."
And Loki inclines his head in reply.
The sun finally sets over Asgard, plunging the two figures into darkness. For the while, Loki's mind is still. My opportunity will come. Patience.
And father and son are silent in the flickering light of the stars above.
How do you like? *Cocks head and grins hopefully* I hope Loki doesn't come across as too OOC. I sort of wanted to see more of his *cough* sensitive character in Avengers, so this fic sort of wrote itself this way. And I KNOW Odin is probably extremely OOC, but, well, I only had limited information from watching Thor. Review please – thank you!