“Well now. Here it ends.”
Thor stared up at the sky.
Even through blurred vision, through the blood that ran into his eyes he could see the vast night sky of Midgard. No stars shined. Thunderclouds blanketed the sky, dispersing slowly with no power to guide them. Some distance away, Mjölnir lay cold and dead; the link between them severed. It had known all along that he could not kill his own brother.
Loki did not share his sentiment. Pressing a hard-booted heel down on Thor’s broken chest he leaned over his brother, joyful wrath glinting in his eyes. Loki’s sharp-tipped staff pressed against the hollow of Thor’s throat with cruel intent.
“I suppose I can afford to be gracious just this one time,” Loki said wickedly, edgy with his victory so near. “Now tell me, Thor. Brother. Heir to the throne of Asgard. Have you any last words?”
Thor pulled a shallow breath into his lungs, blinking up at the hazy outline of his brother’s face in the darkness. What was there to say? That he was sorry, that he wished things had turned out differently? That Thor loved Loki even now, with his body shattered and a staff to his throat - that he would always love his greedy, cruel, broken younger brother? The words had already been said, a thousand-thousand times over. Liars never recognised the truth for what it was.
Thor held a heart full of regrets where Loki was concerned. But words held no sway with him anymore, and so there was nothing more to be said.
Loki’s smile slowly faded with Thor’s continued silence, his good humour draining away into something dark and tight and desperate.
“Nothing? The mighty Thor with nothing to say?”
A rush of breathless laughter escaped Loki, and he cast an eye around the desolate area as though searching for a witness to the occasion. But the dart of his eyes was wild, his smile more a vicious baring of teeth than anything resembling happiness. Loki had not expected this.
Below him Thor coughed, feeling bile and blood boiling in the back of his throat. Turning his head he choked and spat it out, breathing raggedly, knowing his strength had waned too much. It would not be long. He barely felt the fingers that swiped across his bloody mouth, didn’t register Loki kneeling beside him until a hand curved under his skull, turning his head to meet his brother’s gaze.
“You think I won’t do it—you think I’m not strong enough? Is that it?” Another laugh, or was it a sob? Loki trembled with terrible emotion, knuckles whitening as he gripped the staff, held it aloft and ready to strike.
“My entire life has led to this, Thor, to this moment. My victory over you. If you think I-I-I’m not going to strike, if you think—”
“Loki,” Thor whispered, the name bloody as it slipped off his tongue. “You have already killed me. Be at peace, now.”
Green eyes widened as they stared down at him and Loki’s fractured composure finally fell apart. The staff fell from his fingers, hitting the hard-packed dirt with a muffled clang. A searching gaze darted over Thor’s splayed limbs, his pallor, the blood.
“I did it,” Loki whispered, terrified.
Tear-bright, his eyes sought Thor’s. Sought forgiveness, sought safety and refuge and acceptance where he had only turned it away before. This was Thor, his big brother. Loyal, stupid, arrogant—and now, now, kind-hearted to a fault. Merciful. Strong. Warm and bright and everything Loki had hated—
“Please, I’m sorry. I…”
But as he stared down at his brother Loki knew there would be no forgiveness for him. Thor had died quietly between one breath and the next, slipping away in the ruin of his brother’s regret.
Be at peace, Loki thought, and laughed as he wept, forehead bent to his brother’s.
So Thor had a sense of humour, after all.