Loki woke up, cold.
It was the cold that caused him to sit up, tense with dread, and look at his hand, pushing back the light covers of his bedding.
Normal. Pink. Nothing to worry about. He let out a breath he hadn't been fully aware he'd been holding in. Yet the fear wouldn't let go. It wasn't so simple.
First one leg made its way out of the bed, then the other, until both feet were on the carpeted floor of his room. He looked about him. Everything was as he remembered, nothing changed, still lived-in, recent memories, yet ones tempered by the all too real dream he had just had.
Unable to shake the feeling that something was wrong, or that something might be wrong, he found himself dressing, not in finery but in something easy to move in, although one look out of the window proved it to be still the middle of the night. He could not get back to sleep, not after everything. Strange, so strange, to think of it as such, such figments of his imagination that had inspired such horror within him.
His feet made no noise on the stone floor, his door no creak as it opened. Stealthily, he made his way to his brother's room, draped with as much red as his own had green, and was unsure whether he was disturbed or relieved to find Thor asleep, arms askew and half uncovered. At the very least, he was not snoring.
Unable to think of any other solution to his problems, Loki crept silently inside, and sat himself down just beside the doorway. He watched his blond brother sleep, gaze rarely leaving his form, watching as his chest rose and fell.
Eventually Loki realised that Thor's breathing had turned a little too even, but did not dare move, right up until the blond rolled over to face him, blue eyes open and alert.
Loki's breath caught again, hitched in his throat - those eyes. He remembered seeing many things in those eyes. And a thousand more since waking. But never except in his sleep had he seen the like, and so, afraid that Thor had also shared his dream, as was not impossible, he still did not dare move. If he did, Thor might react. The dream had not been pleasant.
"Brother," instead, came the even tone, alight with wary caution and hope, "you do not do such things unless there is good reason."
The words were measured, and slow, and pertaining to the here and now, but that did not ease his beating heart.
"You know very well that I do as I like. I may have re-coloured your hair as you lay sleeping."
"And yet had you done so, you would not have stayed, would you not? Nor would your eyes look so..."
"Yours are no better," came the rejoinder, immediately regretted upon the realisation that it ousted him. He looked away.
He did not see Thor frown. He heard, but did not see, Thor rise from his bed, and the slight shiver from the cold went unnoticed.
"Come, brother." A traitorous voice in the quiet of his mind suggested that Thor should not call him such, but why, why should he not, when the only evidence to the contrary was buried in the realm of sleep? "Wait for me while I dress; I wish to take us someplace."
Brows furrowed with suspicion but also curiosity, Loki rose and waited outside of his brother's room some few minutes before he came out.
When he did, Thor lead the way wordlessly out of the palace, and out, even, past the city boundaries. On horseback the journey was short, but by foot it took far longer, the horses of Asgard being the best that there could be.
He knew where they were going by this point, and a small frown grew into a larger one, confusion and wariness prevailing. They were headed to the Bifrost site-
No. The Bifrost was still whole. It had always been whole. Even though he remembered the storm and the shards mixing, and falling, floating into space-
A hand caught him, and he realised belatedly that his breathing had quickened. Phantom fear. Of a thing that had never happened.
The hand would not let go, and the eyes that Thor looked upon him with were full of worry. "We do not need to go on if you do not..."
"I am perfectly well."
Dubious, Thor let go. Determined to show him that he could back up his bravado, Loki walked on, noting as he did so that while it was starting to become light in the distance over Asgard, it remained dark and full of stars here, the only other light that of the Bifrost itself, the rainbow glittering away underfoot.
"Here!" He said. "Here we are. Are you happy now?"
In response, Thor sat. "Come, join me." He even patted the space of bridge to his side closest to Loki.
Rolling his eyes and resigning himself to the near transparent machinations of one not designed for them, he sat.
"It is good to see it whole again. Even if it were only something my mind came up with, to taunt me with bad outcomes. And," he said with an aside glance to his brother, "we are away from those who might ask what manner of things of which we speak."
"You do not consider any of it grown from truth, then?"
Thor took some time to respond.
"If it were, would it matter? None of those things are done, and as for the people... we are unknown to them."
"And you are still my brother, regardless what some dream may say on the matter. Even if said self's words and thoughts were true. Why should such a thing matter to me?"
Loki's brows raised.
"You are not the same brother who went to his room still cheered by the return from his latest adventure. I must wonder what happened to him."
A heavy fist hit out at a green-clad shoulder, landing lightly enough to not bruise, but that was also to do with how Loki had moved with the hit. Thor's face was given over to a teasing smile.
"He has gone nowhere but hopefully grown up! Perhaps he would have stayed had he not noticed you laying in wait in his room as though you thought him dead or befallen of some great ill." The smile eased, giving way to a somewhat more tender look. "If not for that, I would have passed it off for a mere bad night, and thought of it no more."
"And yet - what if it is true? What then? If in blood, I truly am not your brother, instead another's, and something else entirely? What then, Thor?"
"Then, you will continue to be my brother in heart, my first and only."
The conviction with which Thor said this brought some relief, some strength, lifted a weight from Loki's shoulders.
"And if - when - Father..." he faltered still. Did he still have the right to call Odin such? If he were not, in truth, his father?
"Father need not know... or at least be aware of how much we might know, at the very least."
"Thor! I wasn't aware that you could be so very... me!"
Thor huffed, and glanced sideways at the amused face of his brother. "I learned from the best, did I not? And besides. Never did I once suggest that you would not often have a great deal of convincing to do."
"That is true," Loki conceded. "That is true." They continued to sit there, and Loki idly gazed into the deep dark of space. "And now what? Do we wait, for some sign that events are beginning to unfold? Or do we act?"
"You know me better than any," Thor conceded. "I am poor at waiting and patience. I shall follow your lead."
"Are you sure that is wise?"
Blond eyebrows furrowed into a frown. "You distrust yourself? I have complete faith in you."
Loki leaned back, feeling the sheer, glassy luminescence of the Bifrost under his hands as he did so.
"Very well, then."
I have complete faith in you .
Loki was the god of lies, trickery and deceit. No one trusted him, not completely, not even Thor.
But maybe there was no one else to trust, with this.
So, he began to outline, slowly, a plan...
AN: All this come from one art, and one line.
'Show them what they could have had.'
I'm afraid I did it back to front, guys. ;-;
(I have no idea what happens next (no, really, nothing useful) and no clue for a (proper) title. Maybe I'll give it a better one later? Unless you like this one...)
EDIT: Yes, I did just rename the series title. Oh, well. This works better. Only time, I promise.
"He's waking up."
"Now? Damn. Timing."
"Yeah, it was one heck of a big hit to the head. You think he's going to live?"
"...Should do. It'd serve him right..."
"You would say something like that."
"You doubt me?"
"No. That's what I'm afraid of."