Only with control can there be lies.
Wise Allfather has less incarcerated him, and more treated him as another erstwhile pet. The room is a faceted diamond turned inside-out, mirrors on all the walls and ceilings and floors, mirrors mirrors back and forth, more and more, deeper deeper—a trillion Lokis.
Reflect reflect reflect. Reflect.
Loki rams a fist sheathed in seiðr into his silent, snarling, polished-glass face. His hand bounces off, throbbing knuckles the only evidence of his effort. Sitting down he stares at the bruises that flower, instead of into his blank eyes.
A room of mirrors. What is this? A room of infinite truth? A place where his lies only scald himself? Soft cry of laughter. Oh but there is no truth to see, do you not know. Social contracts like arbitrary bridges to protect you so you can walk over so very safely and ignore the raging roiling seething river of chaos.
Loki leaps to his feet, summons a bolt surging into his reflection. His first attempt is a mere ember next to this, the air rent sharp and hot with unbridled power. But the mirror only absorbs greedily. There is not even ricochet. Odin has reduced this room to the equivalent of a padded cell. Loki smiles and crosses his legs again on the reflective floor.
Leaning over, he cups his hands and breathes on the glass, fogging up the perfect copy of himself, those frozen green eyes, and draws pictures in the condensation with his fingers.
He morphs his fingernails into diamond when he is finally sick of this. The slow scraping pulls weak squeaking shrieks from the looking glass, but again, not a mark.
It does not feel like his face belongs to him. A disconnect. Perhaps there really is another man on the other side, black hair clipped and tidy, thin pursed lips.
He looks oddly young today. He cannot stop looking. It is strange. So perfectly clean. Young. He has never noticed the shape of his nose before. Realised how slim he was. He does not look like himself. Feel like himself. Look away.
Again he catches himself looking and staring. He would look away, but there is not much to look at besides himself and himself and himself, smaller and smaller reflected inside, inside. His mind prickles. He covers his eyes with his palms.
But he does prefer his form, does he not? It is simply a little difficult to when the rest of Asgard looks at it in askance. He would rather be quick and lean than hulk as heavily as his muscle-bound brother.
He does like his body.
It is useful. Exquisite ceremonial armour failing to cover his legs, his torso, his throat—so vulnerable, so slight compared to dear Thor’s brilliance. Underestimation is a great weapon he has mastered. His figure flatters his deceptions, the insubstantiality lends to the most splendid mischief. He cannot imagine himself with Thor’s build, to become so brainless as to value physical training above all other development.
But he could stand to do more training instead of eating, and lounging around in the palace library. Like an elegant, refined court lady.
Loki’s fingers curl and in a singing tenor, he begins to recite childhood spells.
He can see whatever he wants. Odin has no say.
He transforms again, body organically twisting, stretching, shrinking until it settles comfortably.
A woman. Loki examines this face, softer, more pointed, eyelashes inky on the snow of skin. But imperfect. There is a slight transparency to those green eyes that reveal too much, too much. He changes back immediately. Now is not the time to master this unsatisfactory form. Not with the chance the Allfather’s eye is upon him. A woman’s body he is not close to, like Sif’s, he could easily manipulate, there would be no previous connection.
He relates too much to his female form he realises.
Loki hums tunelessly, sedately—that lasts all of two minutes before his is pulling and morphing-wrenching-ripping his body into hawk, fish, cat, spiderpanthersnakewolf. Get rid of the taste of weakness, get rid of the taste of un-control. He would tear it from his body, shred it sear it purge it all out. He transforms until his magic quivers and buzzes like insects under his skin, until his head is light and dizzy, and more and again, he cannot breathe, cannot stop. There is no wretched sense to any of this, nothing, nothing. When his body begins to feel too snarled, too knotted, then like it just might fall apart, he laughs and laughs and laughs himself to tears and nausea.
Father better have enjoyed the play. To release him now, before Loki Odinsson’s notoriously wicked boredom pent up further would be wise. Boredom, is what they call it. Quaint. Loki has not felt boredom in his life. But no one need ever know that. Neither the Allfather nor Gatekeeper can enter his mind, the only realm he reigns over in an endless universe filled with prying eyes. His one privacy, his last control.
He stares at his pale face for a long time after that, but there is still something off, wrong, even though he is certain he undid all the metamorphoses.
When Thor comes and lets him out, Loki will not open his eyes.
He controls the truth. For only with perfect control can there be perfect lies, there is no happy coincidence. It is not an amusing paradox that though his art is chaos, his presentation is obsessively meticulous.
He knows though. He knows that the only truths worth his time are the ones hidden within himself, but he cannot—he is not willing to pull it all apart lest the web disintegrate in his hands.
So he folds himself into his reflection, becomes it, and goes to and fro upon the earth, walking up and down on it.
Locked away in the SHIELD complex. No, not a containment chamber, not this time. They want to ask questions. He supposes he should revel in this but his mind is the strangest vertiginous whirl. He squeezes his eyes shut for a moment.
The mirrors can see through him.
They see. He sees.
Deface the face his face this face. He grins at himself. Sunken green eyes wild, slick sickles of black hair scathing his abraded armour. He grins at himself, grins at himself. Two-way glass, two-way Loki.
The mirrors can see everything.
Deface—screeching scrawling all over the clean glass, horrendous squealing noises, screaming screaming as he disfigures the interrogation room. Deface his face, this face. He does not want to see it today.
He is having gorgeous fun.
This is just like, this is just like his lies. Nothing, nothing different, just contort and twist and torture the truth. It is an art. His diamond fingernails gouge out his fractured glass smirk and those tiny tears in his green eyes, but there is blood, blood trailing down everywhere, red down the sharp cracks and perhaps, perhaps, he muses, the lacerations are not only on the mirror.
Loki distantly feels his knees buckle beneath him.
Shouting and sounds behind him, and muscled arms and untruths embrace him. It is a touch cold. He cannot stop trembling or breathing too hard and he does not open his eyes for Thor.