In the end, S.H.E.I.L.D refused to hand Loki over to the Asgardians. Immediately a rift was set in place between the two realms, but after Thor admitted that he wasn’t certain as to all of the risks in transporting an unwilling and powerful prisoner through the infant gate, there was simply no allowing it. Thor was angry, but the Allfather and his people behind him were infuriated. They demanded that, even as a violent political prisoner, Loki was still of the royal family of Asgard and was to be treated as such.
This left Nick Fury in quite the predicament. He only knew of one facility, with one single cell, that was both well-equipped enough to satisfy the demands of Odin and secure enough to keep Loki from escaping. And it was occupied. Cringing at the idea of his prisoner sharing a cell, but seeing no real alternative, Fury made the call.
Loki was waning. Beyond the numbness in his extremities and the unbearable tightness of the mask around his face, he could feel it in his soul. The fervor that had started his original attack against Jotunheim and had continued into his invasion of Midgard, was dead. He was loathe to admit it, but Loki Liesmith was truly beyond the point of caring and had entered into a currently unreached level of exhaustion. He could not be trusted and so the doors could not be opened for him to be fed. Should they have been opened and his hands uncuffed, he still doubted he’d have any success at removing this infernal mask on his own. Not to mention, the itching, stretching burn of the stitches keeping his lips together.
What was supposed to be an overabundance of caution to transport him from Midgard to the dungeons of the palace in Asgard had been rendered void when a very angry newspaper editor had gone on a literary rampage about his deportation for sentencing. Damn whoever was responsible for the Daily Bugle! The Midgardians were calling for his head, but at this point all they’d receive was the shriveled up husk that once housed one of the greatest sorcerers of this age. Another sting of hunger racked him, feeling strangely similar to the nausea of haven eaten far too much in a short period of time. He was unable to stifle the soft moan from deep in his throat, but apparently needn’t bother. He was too weak to make a sound and there was no one there to listen anyway. After the death of one, Agent Coulson, only automated units designed by the Man of Iron were authorized to guard him. They wouldn’t fall victim to his words and without use of his hands, daggers, staff, Loki was the picture of defeat.
Four days without food, he could handle. Not with his stunning wit still in place, admittedly, but he’d done nearly that once on accident in his youth, wandering the wilderness with Thor. But, Niflheim and the ice therein was hardly short of snow to be melted, water to keep them alive. Loki had not seen another living being since he was locked in another chamber that was probably designed to keep the green Jötnar, Hulk, in his place. The automatons designed by the Man of Iron hadn’t so much as beeped since they’d taken their posts and the camera above him hadn’t even bothered to swivel, no incessant red light to let him know there actually were other beings out there, watching him. No indication that anyone in the entire realm remembered he was alive.
Loki succumbed, for the first time since entering the cell, to the overwhelming emptiness.
A violent smack to the topside of his head, avoiding the unforgiving metal of his mask, brought him back.
“Ah! See, good as new!” A voice, one he’d never heard before called out. A stranger watched him closely, a knowing smile on his face. Loki was immediately ill at ease. “Just the same, I figured he would be.”
Loki made a feeble attempt to shove the man’s hand out of his hair, but he was held firmly in place. Had Loki the energy to feel much of anything, he’d have been disappointed to note the man’s Midgardian dress. He wasn’t to be rescued after all. He wore a pair of rimless glasses and a black turtleneck over a pair of simple grey slacks. He wasn’t physically fit, but his air of authority and confidence screamed warrior. Midgardian military, perhaps?
“Stand up,” the man stated. His voice was gentle, but carried a hint that indicated he was quite used to being obeyed.
Loki considered using his last bits of consciousness in an attempt to batter the man to death with the cuff around his hands, but was instead completely bewildered to find himself following orders.
The graying man let out a wheezing laugh. “There we go, now. Walk then.” Loki towered over him, but it hardly mattered. He found his feet moving of their own accord, he found himself completely unwilling to go against this man’s wishes.
His dehydrated body, however, was a force completely its own. He collapsed into the hands of two previously unnoticed guards. They were heavily armed with faces as green as the Jötnar Hulk, and Loki pushed away from them, reminded all too vividly, through the pain of starvation, of his last encounter with the monster.
He hit the floor hard, but was simply hauled back up again. Without resistance and without his armor, even Loki had to admit that he could hardly be considered an adversary, or even dangerous for that matter.
“Don’t worry about them, Loki,” the bespectacled man behind him called out. Loki suddenly found that he wasn’t concerned at all. “They’re highly trained in dealing with unruly subjects, but quite respectful to those respectful of them.”
His legs gave out completely. He was useless. He couldn’t fight, couldn’t even walk out the door now if they opened it for him. He was a god. He, simply, didn’t deserve this.
“Thank you for keeping him in such great condition for me, Agent Fury,” he heard behind him as Loki felt himself lifted onto a stretcher by the green men, whose hands, he noticed, were all of normal shades found within the realm of Midgard. His mind wandered, slowly, over what could possibly cause a green face and normal hands.
He glanced down the hallway now that he didn’t have to put any effort into remaining vertical. There in the hallway he was injected with a number of concoctions, the one-eyed Fury staring down at him.
“We had no intention of the mask being long-term. He was supposed to return to his home,” Fury stated simply. He sounded exhausted. Loki could relate.
“Well, his home did such a fine job raising him before releasing him on the world the first time, didn’t they?” The shorter man sniped. Loki couldn’t begrudge him that. “Regardless, he will be kept perfectly healthy and amenable in my facility.”
“I have to warn you, Colonel, this one’s a new breed,” Fury replied, suddenly seeming as fond of his conversation partner as Loki was. “It’s not gonna’ be easy.”
The colonel merely smirked, raising a brow in challenge as he glanced down at the prisoner suspended by his guards on the plastic stretcher just below hip height. It was the first time that Loki noticed the Man of Iron, sans suit, lingering in just down the hall, watching the proceedings. “Lieutenant Lyman, would you mind ridding our new resident of any potential weapons.”
“There’s no need for that, we’ve got his weapons and his mouth is-”
“Yes, sir,” the soldier ignored Fury’s call and immediately unlatched his hands. In seconds they were free, but Loki was far too weak at this point to really consider an attack. It would only render him unconscious.
“Hey-hey! What the hell do you think-” It was the Man of Iron’s first words of the whole event, but the colonel waved a hand at him dismissively, clearly not interested in his input. Loki watched with glazing eyes until he realized why it was that Stark felt the need to speak up. The soldier reached forward and was attempting to undo his mask. Loki, feeling quite renewed, focused his eyes on Stark, not bothering to hide his delight.
The soldier, clearly unfamiliar with the device, reached a hand around the back of Loki’s head to feel for a clasp, brushing a spot on the back of his neck. Loki's neck exploded in pain.
He attempted to hiss through his coverings, but was unable. A feeble whimper escaped him.
“See there, does he sound dangerous to you?” The colonel spoke condescendingly back to Stark.
“We only got the thing on him because he was in a black-out concussive stupor! You’ll be as good as freeing him if you—that,” Stark finished dully.
In the midst of Loki’s pain, he’d not noticed the complete removal of the mask or the soldier’s removal of a rather large, but clear, knife from his pocket. Loki was too busy trying to deduce the strange configuration of the opaque knife before him to realize that it was slicing through the crudely implemented stitches on his lips. Rough fingers pulled on the remains and despite the incredibly pain, Loki was thankful to simply be rid of them. Perhaps he was losing consciousness again.
It seemed like the most logical of ideas before Loki came to the realization that not only was his mouth free to cast, but his hands were free to serve as the situationally necessary conductors. Given his level of exhaustion, Loki decided it was completely necessary.
The prince of Asgard threw up his hands and his mouth was half-way through an incantation before his mind had even decided on the appropriate curse.
There was a flurry of movement. The Man of Iron and Fury hit the floor at astonishing speeds and the single automaton of Stark’s that was still in sight, swiveled in its place, to face them. But, the colonel’s men did not move and the colonel himself merely smiled.
“No, Loki,” he interrupted. “Put your hands down.”
And he did.
All was lost. His will to fight had left him during his period of starvation. His ability to fight had apparently abandoned him as well.
“Fuck,” he heard someone mutter.
Loki, longing for emotion of any sort, succumbed once again.
“I don’t know how you did it, Stryker, but that was damned impressive,” Fury admitted steadily. “Take him outta here.” He turned on his heel, swinging Stark around with him.
“What on Earth did they do to him?” Stark blurted, turning to attempt another glance down the hallway. “And where are they taking him? Thor’s gonna go nuts if he’s hurt.”
“A special serum of the colonel’s own design,” Fury explained tersely. “It keeps uncooperative people with special abilities under control. He’s taking him to a special facility where he won’t be able to hurt himself or anyone that matters.” Fury turned the corner, to enter the elevator, finished with the conversation, but Stark wasn’t having it.
“Wait, special abilities like the Captain or Thor? There are more like them?” Stark shoved himself into the elevator after the agent.
“A lot more, Stark,” Fury snapped, shoving the man out of his elevator. The doors closed before Stark could get out another word.
Loki slowly came back to consciousness. His mind was a bleary mess of thoughts.
“Ah, Colonel Stryker, this is new. What have you brought with you today?” The voice, clear, male, older. Loki didn’t recognize it. There was a blunt slam somewhere near him. He attempted to open his eyes, but was forced to squeeze them shut again.
“A dangerous, traumatized, psychopath. Your new cellmate,” the colonel’s cheery, smirking voice rang out.
“Lovely,” the voice replied, a bit deeper this time. “Where’s he to stay?”
“Another bed will be brought as soon as it can be made. Ah! He’s waking up already, tough as nails, this one,” his voice sounded menacing, maniacal.
Loki peaked his eyes open against the bright lights, slowly attempting to sit up. It didn’t matter. A hand inserted itself into his long hair and yanked him into a sitting position.
“Meet your new cell mate, Loki.” Loki gritted his teeth against the pain. Stryker’s other hand reached around to cradle his face roughly, facing him toward the old man in the chair across from him.
“Loki, this is to be your companion for the next indefinite number of decades, Erik Lehnsherr.”
So, this slammed into my mind and refused to allow me to sleep until I got it out. I'd love a little feedback. Thanks for reading!
EDIT: This story has been put on the backburner. Read at own risk.
Loki faded in and out of consciousness through the course of at least two meals. Calculating less than a day of unconsciousness, he deemed himself physically prepared to face his situation. He had never expected a life sentence. For some reason the idea of rotting in a cell for the rest of eternity had never really occurred to him. There was always the tiniest sliver of a dream of release and the resounding assurance that his death would be his comeuppance. He opened his eyes against the harsh light of his prison, confused that the cell appeared to be somehow floating. Midgardian witchcraft was a strange thing.
“I do hope you are planning to remain conscious this time, I’m growing quite tired living without a bed.”
Loki startled quite violently, having completely forgotten the other occupant in this strange prison. He went to reply smoothly, the decision to charm his cellmate made immediately, but his lips erupted in pain from the rough removal of his stitches. He slowly raised himself into a sitting position while tentatively brushing his fingertips against the scarred skin around his lips.
“They’ve brought breakfast,” the old man replied boredly, turning away from the scene and toward a small tray of food.
Loki slowly stretched his aching limbs, working his jaw and moving his lips over his teeth, bearing down mentally against the pain.
He moved himself down off the foot of the bed toward the small desk, now serving as a breakfast table and eased himself into a strange, clear chair next to his cellmate.
The serving sizes were miniscule, microscopic compared to the banquets of Asgard. The meat was one thin slice of something more grey than brown and from an unidentifiable beast. The tasteless vegetables fell apart in his mouth. There really was no point in chewing. He put the clear spoon back down on the table, not able to bear the pain of his wounds and the reality of his situation. He could see the man in his periphery, staring openly and unabashedly. They really were only inches apart.
Loki ignored him, glancing around at his strange surroundings. So often the buildings in Midgard struck him as being completely modern, as if the entire realm of Midgard existed centuries ahead of Asgard in terms of technology and architecture. But, he had made frequent trips to Midgard, and all other realms, for centuries. He’d seen it evolve. This room, this prison, however, was a giant leap in evolution. The clear, but thick walls, ceiling, and floor were nearly invisible. The small, rectangular room was suspended in an enormous, completely darkened room of black. He could see what only could be the drawbridge to and from the cell gathered on the other side of the giant chamber. Distantly, some guards stood armed. Some guards sat, staring. Their weapons were clear, nearly see-through. The toilet in the corner was the only opaque object in sight, the rest of it perfectly clear, light. Plastic.
“If you don’t finish your meal they will simply bring you less food next time, I suggest consuming all you can,” his cellmate struck him from his observances.
Loki spared only a glance to his face, before glancing down at his barely touched plate of an inedible meal. He spared a quick look to the empty tray across from him. “You eat it; I couldn’t possibly.”
He looked into the eyes of the man sharing his fate. He looked old, exhausted. The skin around his eyes was slightly swollen, making his eyes appear narrowed and red. He had grey-white hair, cropped short by Asgardian standards and no facial hair at all. His clothing, presumably a prison uniform, resembled something like the Midgardian straight jacket. A four digit number was emblazoned on the left side of his chest.
Loki glanced down at himself, bearing the same, white uniform.
Five digits, one more, he noted than his cellmate had received. He wasn’t completely certain, but he was quite convinced that the numbers meant the death of him. On paper a face can be replaced by a name, but a name is still unique, personal, and intimate. Numbers were cold and emotionless. Loki very much doubted that Prisoner 24005 had any future. 24005 wasn’t a king, wasn’t a god, wasn’t even Loki. For all being Loki was worth.
The old man sighed slightly, narrowing his eyes in what Loki was quite surprised to deduce as sympathy. “When was the last time you ate?” His tone was quiet, not quite sympathetic. Empathy, then. This was a man who’d gone hungry.
Loki gave a slight shrug, “I’m not certain what day it is.”
The other man nodded, standing slowly. Loki felt the urge to help him up. It was quite clear, however, that the man was perfectly capable of moving on his own, age belying his clear athleticism. The man just wanted his bed back. Loki felt a twinge of annoyance. He was the ill one here. The older man sat down smoothly, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and crossing them in front of him, staring Loki down.
“My name is Magneto,” he said simply, looking to Loki as if perhaps expecting recognition. Loki guessed he must have been well-known within his circle, testing to see if Loki was a member of that group. Loki’s mind drifted through the names of different famous gangs of Midgard. He wondered if this man wasn’t in the mafia.
“Wait…like, magnet?” Loki blurted, regretting the undignified slip of the tongue.
The man looked slightly annoyed, but managed to keep from rolling his eyes. “Yes.”
“For what reasons could you possibly have been named after a magnet?” Loki was fairly incensed. A name was important, after all. It could instill a menagerie of emotions in one single word that entire books of descriptions could not.
“Coming from the man named after a Norse god,” came the huffed, haughty reply. “It has to be your real name, considering Stryker used it. I’m assuming you have a brother named Odin and a nephew named Thor…” the man trailed off with a dark laugh and a shake of his head.
Loki tensed. He decided he hated this human. And Norse mythology.
“Are you English?” the man suddenly asked, seeming genuinely interested. Loki wondered if he was too ignorant to feel the tension in the room or was simply unaffected by it.
“Asgardian,” Loki answered immediately, ignoring the twinge in the back of his mind. Jötun.
The man’s eyes narrowed suspiciously, but he ignored it. “Mutant?”
It was Loki’s turn to narrow his eyes. “I don’t know the term…”
Magneto leaned forward off the pillow, toward him. He launched into a string of words, many Loki had never heard, but were clearly all of the same meaning. “Moo-taw, moo-ton-te,” there were a sudden dozen syllables he couldn’t comprehend. Finally the man grimaced through a, “moo-tont.”
“Is that German?” he asked quietly. Loki only knew a few Midgardian languages, most of them having died out generations ago, but he’d purposefully kept up with his German. The people from that area hadn’t been ones to worship him and his kinsmen as gods, but more modern Germans tended to hold serious respect and interest for Norse mythology.
“Are you German?” Loki pressed, receiving no answer for the previous question other than a tight nod.
“Are you trying to tell me that you’ve never heard of mutants and yet they’ve locked you up in here, with me?” Magneto looked completely incredulous, moving forward to sit on the end of the bed, looking at Loki closely. “Do you…” he started slowly, a bit confused over the matter. “Do you have any special abilities, special powers, Loki?” he asked imploringly.
Loki pushed his plastic chair a bit back from the older man. “I haven’t any idea what you’re talking about,” he stated clearly, raising his head a bit in defiance of the man looking down at him.
Magneto’s eyes widened and he nearly snarled. Loki was clearly locked in here with a madman. “The perfect punishment,” his cellmate stated quietly, shaking his head. “They’ve paired me with a human.” The last word was practically spat, a blasphemy.
“I am no human!” Loki snapped, suddenly standing. “I am Loki, Prince of Asgard and future king of your pathetic realm! You are to treat me as such.”
The man sitting in front of him suddenly wore a derisive smile. “Am I, now?” He was blatantly happy to have received a rise out of Loki, but seemed perfectly willing to continue the conversation. Loki wondered how long he had been locked in this cell. “I no longer bear any fondness for Germany, why?”
Loki turned slightly, feigning sudden and complete disinterest. “Oh, nothing. It’s just that any real German,” he paused. “of your age, anyway, would have had a little more education about the Norse gods.”
“Pardon me?” The man stood up from the bed and Loki could hear him walking closer.
“Many German officials made reference to the powerful god, Odin, during the last world war of this realm. I would have thought that would have been included in the education of a man of your extended-”
Loki never got to finish his statement. He let out a slight cry when he face connected with the clear wall. Standing, the older man was every bit as tall as he was. Without his magic, Loki was concerned to realize, Magneto was physically stronger.
“Release mppph!” Loki struggled around the hand that pressed into the fresh wounds of his stitches, pressing back into the white-haired man in an effort to relieve the pressure on his pained mouth.
“In the future, you will refrain from speaking on topics you simply don’t understand,” the clear, deep voice behind him stated. His opponent was perfectly calm. It unnerved Loki more. “Agreed?”
Loki struggled a bit in a futile attempt at freedom. He nodded slowly. There was a loud thud and Loki was drug to the floor.
In all the commotion, the extending of the plastic drawbridge had gone unnoticed and the entrance of the two large guards had been missed. A blow to Magneto had sent him to the ground and Loki with him. Large hands pinned their heads to the ground, the two prisoners lay facing each other on the floor. Loki watched Magneto, the powerful man not bothering to fight. Loki followed his lead. He could hear the hurried footsteps of a third person and boots obscured his view of his opponent.
His neck seared. Loki let out a faint cry, wondering why they’d felt the need to burn the back of his neck. Would this be the retaliation for every misdeed?
The boots moved. Loki didn’t know how to react to the sympathetic smile on Magneto’s face. He watched from his place on the floor as some sort of solution was dropped from a syringe onto the back of Magneto’s neck. The older man cringed from the floor. Was that what they’d done to him?
The guards moved off of their backs and he and Magneto slowly raised themselves onto their hands and knees. The guard between them dropped to his knees, seizing them both by the hair and yanking them to face him. His face was Hulk-green, denoting him as one of Stryker’s men. “Now, you two, are gonna behave yo-selves, ya hear me? No more fightin’ ‘tween ya. Matter o’ fack, you twos are gonna have a nice little nap at least until I get off duty.”
The guard dropped his hold of them; Loki struggled to interpret if the guard had even been speaking English at all. Regardless, he suddenly felt remarkably tired. Magneto, next to him, seemed to be of equal inclination, unwilling to set himself upright.
“Is your name really Magneto?” he questioned quietly. The man beside him jerked his head toward him. His exhaustion was winning out, but he shook his head. There was a forgiving smile on his face. Comrades, allies.
“Erik,” he whispered. The other man was suddenly yanked out of his vision. There was a ruffling of clothing before he heard him being unceremoniously dumped on the twin bed.
“That otha bed ain’t here, yet? How long could it poss-a-bly take?” --- “Yeah, put ‘em both there. See if I care.”
Loki felt himself being hauled up, closing his eyes for the journey. He practically landed on top of the other man, his left leg and arm tossed over his cellmate’s body. His chin covered the numbers on the man’s chest.
“Pleasure to meet you, Erik.”
He felt the man move his head back to look down at him, clearly having no idea how to handle the situation. He heard the guards leave. Loki felt drunk.
“What has caused the faces of Stryker’s men to become so discoloured? Are they a hybrid species?”
There was a long pause. Loki drifted nearly asleep.
“You’re truly not from around here, are you, Loki?” The man under him breathed. “It’s…decoration,” the man tried to explain. His muddled mind grasped at an explanation for a long while before finding it. “War paint.”
Loki nodded, gradually understanding. “But, who are they at war with?”
When Magneto was first given a number in the comics it was far too long to coincide with the numbers given at Auschwitz during the time Magneto was a prisoner. In a later comic he was given a new number that was actually plausible, but they reverted back to the longer number in the movies. The second number is now Loki's prisoner number. So, there. xD
I'm sorry that this chapter didn't have much action or, well, much of anything really. But, there had to be a first conversation and with two such extreme personalities, I didn't imagine it going very well.
This work is currently un-betaed. If there are any blaring mistakes, please feel free to point them out to me.
Chapter 3: The Once and Future King
Loki jerked awake to the sound of plastic trays with plastic utensils slamming a plastic table. It was all very redundant. He kept his eyes squinted against the light.
“Enjoy your nap?” The haughty guard’s voice rang out. Loki could see Erik scowling at him from the closest chair. The hefty man let out a cruel laugh. Loki did his best to not act embarrassed, the scene of last night returning to him.
Except it wasn’t last night, was it? It was this morning. Loki wondered how long they had been asleep and how Erik had managed to move from the bed, and out from under him, without waking him.
“Eat up, boys,” the guard turned around without a care, not even feigning caution.
“Thank you, very much, Mr. Laurio,” Erik called after him formally, turning to his meal. He went to pick up his plastic silverware before freezing and slowly turning completely around to face Loki on the bed. “Dinner, Loki.”
Loki wasn’t certain whether to process it as a simple statement or a command. But, Erik was watching him expectantly, waiting to eat as if Loki were the guest of honor at a fine feast. Loki slid his legs off of the bed and walked to the chair perpendicular to Erik’s. He noticed for the first time that both he and his cellmate were barefoot.
He sat carefully, placing the paper napkin in his lap and cutting into his bland meal with all of the pretense of a member of the royal family. He could feel Erik’s eyes on him. Loki glanced up and then back down again. This man, this entire situation made him uncomfortable. Despite fairly considering himself an intelligent man, nearly two thousand years of living, the education of a prince, and near endless traveling between realms, Loki was in a situation entirely unfamiliar. Everything felt foreign, sleek, and cold.
“What?” he asked, trying his best to keep his tone more inquiring and less biting.
“You really fooled me, you know.”
Loki looked up; his inquisitive gaze was met with a crooked, closed-mouth, but genuine grin.
“You. Are. a mutant,” he stated slowly, his smile fading into a pleasant, knowing look.
“I told you,” Loki snapped. “I don’t know the term.”
Erik gave him a pitying look before letting out a soft sigh. “You have special abilities, don’t you? You can do things normal humans couldn’t do in their dizziest daydreams?”
“Of course, I can,” Loki stated calmly, defensively.
Erik nodded once, placing the final bit of vegetables into his mouth. “Yes, otherwise there would be no reason for Stryker to drug you.”
Loki snapped his attention back toward his cellmate. “Is that what they’ve done? They’ve cast upon me some sort of Midgardian spell?”
Erik raised one eyebrow, amused. “I suppose you could call it that. It makes people,” Erik leaned forward as if instilling Loki with a life-altering secret. “People like you and me, obey.”
The implications from that simple sentence were far too much for Loki to comprehend in just a short period of time. Loki sat quietly for a long time, long since given up the possibility of finishing his meal. Beside him Erik stood, moving toward the small bed. Loki watched him move toward the bedside table to snatch up a heavily worn and thick paperback book. Loki watched him sit sideways on the bed, placing the book in his lap. He was waiting.
Loki suddenly stood, nearly cursing the groan from his chair as it slid backwards on the plastic floor, undignified. He moved with purpose to stand directly in front of the older man, looking down at him.
“People like us? You’re not like me,” Loki didn’t bother to glare down at him, simply looked. He allowed himself to display the same amusement Erik had displayed before as if speaking to a particularly dim child.
“No?” Erik wasn’t in the least bit intimidated and that irritated Loki.
“Well, we are both beings of immense power, with, I imagine, great ambitions.”
Loki felt his eyes on him as Loki moved to casually lean back against the wall of the cell. He shrugged, giving the old man the benefit of the doubt. Like Erik said, if neither of them possessed impressive power than there would be no need for Stryker to place his spells on them.
“We are two intelligent creatures who know better than others what is best for them, even if they are too blind to see it themselves.” Loki glanced up at Erik, his forehead wrinkling. “Circumstances have had their way with us and the fates have not been kind, but we prevail, don’t we?”
Loki felt his eyes widen. What did this man know of the Norns?
“Others have stood between us and our goals, perhaps even in the name of righteousness, for the good of mankind. But we know, Loki. We’re capable of seeing the greater good and fighting for it, at all costs. We know the sacrifices necessary and we’re not afraid to make them!”
Loki wasn’t sure when Erik had been informed upon the bulk of Loki’s crimes or even when the older man had stood. They were face to face now, Erik’s deep voice calm once more.
Loki glanced down to the discarded book on the bed. The Once and Future King.
“We’re not so different, you and I.” Loki felt a heavy hand on his shoulder, but couldn’t draw his eyes away from the tattered book on the bed.
Erik moved away from him then, sitting down in front of his empty tray. Loki’s heart was beating fast. Who was this man?
There was a heaving noise as the plastic drawbridge was pulled out to meet the door of their cell. Loki watched carefully. If ever there were to be an escape, it would be through those doors. A rough hand grabbed a hold of his sleeve and yanked him down into the other chair.
Four guards each held a corner of another small, plastic bed. Loki glanced back toward the other one. The cell was small, clearly only meant for one person to live uncomfortably. The beds would be touching, Loki only hoped both would fit.
The guards made a great show of hauling the bed in. Loki wondered why they hadn’t just brought in the individual pieces and assembled it here, but felt no need to correct them. He glanced at Erik who gave him a meaningful glance, not quite rolling his eyes at the antics of the heaving guards. Two of them muttered under their breaths, grimacing under the weight of it, while the other two bickered fiercely. Loki recognized the same man, Laurio, who had brought them their meal. The other three were unfamiliar.
Once they finally had the bed in place, and decided to remove one of the bedside tables, Laurio turned back to them. One of the guards left with the table while the other two new ones inched carefully away from the prisoners.
Laurio laughed at them, sweating from the exertion of moving the bed and ripe with testosterone. Had they been in Asgard, Loki would have expected dual challenges to be bellowing from his mouth.
“What are you two afraid of? These two are harmless, aren’t you?” The fat man moved toward them. He was unshaven and stinking. Loki couldn’t help the scowl that came over his face. He hardly considered himself harmless. One of his hands rested over the back of his chair from where he had turned to watch the guards work and the other sat on the table. He felt Erik’s hand on his wrist. “What are you looking at, prince?”
Quite accustomed to such blatant displays of male dominance, Loki barely refrained from rolling his eyes before turning his back on the guards to sit correctly in the chair. Loki snarled aloud when a beefy hand caught him around the chin, much as Stryker had done several nights before.
Unlike that night, however, Loki was feeling much more like his former self. He yanked at the wrist of the laughing guard, but was unable to dislodge him. He felt a slight stirring of his magic, deep within him. It was faint, incredibly so, but it would be enough to toss back one out of shape human. He did so, only able to launch the man back the few feet required to drop him on the new bed.
The man let out a cry as if the white blast had put a hole in his belly. Loki stepped back into a defensive position as the other two guards ripped out long, thin clubs from their belts, raising them. The slight exertion of power had left him feeling faint.
Sirens sounded in the background.
“Loki, sit down!” Erik’s voice was insistent, worried. If it weren’t for the advancing men, Loki would have obeyed.
He was only able to step back once before the first guard struck out, missing Loki, but only narrowly. Loki’s vision swam and he cursed his lack of food intake. He heard the first blow before it struck him directly, down over the top of his head. When he opened his eyes he was on his hands and knees, vision swimming and head aching. There was another blow to the side of his head before he raised his hands in surrender only to have them beaten. He felt fingers snap and a forceful hand grab him around the back of the neck. He cried out at the burning sensation at the back of his neck, unable to catch himself on worthless hands as he was slung forward.
“You are never to use your powers again, ever! Do you hear me?!” Laurio was screaming at him, Loki was surprised he could even understand it at this point. The fourth guard had returned and the sirens had been shut off. Loki’s head spun.
“I said, do you hear me?!” Loki was barely able to nod before another blow knocked him in the stomach, taking his breath away.
“Good.” Loki was hauled up and he internally begged to be placed on the bed, but was only dropped in the chair. Loki’s head was pounding. “Now, since I was so kind as to bring you your dinner, the least you could do is finish it for me.”
Loki ignored him, realizing slowly that closing his eyes only made the world spin. Loki suddenly had a nose full of what could perhaps pass as mashed potatoes.
Loki jerked back, sputtering loudly.
“Eat it,” the man snapped harshly. Loki immediately went for a fork. The spell operated perfectly so long as the accursed party was actually physically able to do as told. Loki’s hands moved toward the utensils, but were unable to grasp at them. Loki glanced at his fingers for the first time, two on his left hand and three on his right lay crooked. One on each hand pointed blatantly in the wrong direction and the ring finger on his right hand bore exposed bone. He let out a soft cry as he felt his right hand grasp weakly at the fork.
Laurio laughed harshly, two of the other guards doing the same. Loki didn’t have the strength to hate them.
Loki placed both hands as carefully as he could on the table.
“I said, eat!”
Loki suddenly grasped again for the utensils, this time with more force. There was a faint snap from his right hand. Loki nearly fainted.
“Damn you, eat!” There was a hand at the back of his head, but it froze. Hands snaked out in front of Loki to grab his utensils. Loki did his best to calm his breathing, slowly looking up to see Erik diligently cutting his food into small bites before raising one to Loki’s mouth.
Loki wanted to ignore it, but he felt absolutely compelled to eat what was in front of him. This continued for a fair while, the majority of the tray emptied.
Loki heard three of the guards shuffle out silently, leaving behind only Laurio. Loki suddenly remembered why he’d refused the meal in the first place. Eating large portions at one time after a long period of starvation might be the instinct, but it could also kill you. Or at least cause extreme nausea. Loki looked down at the the thin slab of meat. Only about a quarter of it remained. He made eye contact with Erik, giving a subtle shake of his head. Erik looked wary, tired.
“Finish it,” came the snarky voice behind him.
Loki grimaced, but slowly opened his mouth, unable to bring himself to lean forward into the bite. Erik placed it in his mouth, using Loki’s bottom teeth to remove the piece from his fork. When there were only two bites left, Loki felt his stomach lurch. He rested his palms against it, attempting to focus on the pain in his fingers instead of the rolling in his stomach.
Loki quickly swallowed the other two bites, clenching his sore lips in between his teeth. He slowly placed his hands on the table in an attempt to steady himself, willing himself not to vomit.
Laurio snatched up Erik’s tray and went for Loki’s. He smashed Erik’s empty tray down onto Loki’s left hand. Loki cried out, feeling a sudden lurching in his stomach. He jerked his hand back and shoved back in the chair. He dove around Laurio toward the small toilet. Thank goodness for small mercies.
Loki lost his entire dinner, slowly, into the toilet. He attempted to use his palms to keep his hair out of the way, but felt his wrists pushed aside. Loki slowly rested them on his knees, feeling gentle, if hesitant fingers pulling the roots of his hair back, forming a kind of headband around his head. Loki retched repeatedly, moving on to stomach bile before exhaustion finally overtook him. He felt his dark hair fall into his face as Erik moved him toward the sink, helping him to lean forward to rinse out his mouth with water from the faucet.
Erik walked him toward the new bed awkwardly. Loki laid down on it, not bothering to pull down the sheets.
“That was quite an impressive feat you achieved,” Erik looked down at him from the foot of the bed.
Loki couldn’t possibly imagine what part of that shameful display Erik was exaggerating about.
“That blast certainly put Laurio in his place,” the deep voice laughed lightly as if Loki hadn’t just been beaten to the floor in retaliation.
“That spell was pathetic!” Loki growled, teeth gritting against the pain, against the urge to weep. “I should have killed him…I can do so much more…”
“You’re a god among insects, Loki. Never let them tell you any different.”
They came for Loki early the next morning. He woke surrounded by a group of at least twelve, quite the feat in the tiny cell. His neck was searing before he had the chance to rub sight into his eyes, broken hands reasserting their presence.
Loki glanced over to Erik, the older man startled from his fitful sleep with confusion and trepidation in his eyes. They didn’t bother to drug him.
Loki slowly sat up in the bed, mangled hands raised in both defence and surrender. The first guard shoved him back down face first and assured him that, should Loki resist in any way, none of them would hesitate to remove him as a threat. Loki slowly nodded his understanding before he was hauled up.
“Where am I being taken?” he asked rebelliously.
The guard seemed a bit less petty than the rest or perhaps just wiser in his cruelty. “The labs. Now, don’t fight back,” he ordered.
Loki slung back around to look to Erik, not precisely certain whether that meant something benign or ominous.
Erik looked concerned. “For what reason?” Erik questioned carefully.
The guard, affixing cuffs behind Loki’s back, slung both himself and Loki around to face the man on the bed. A few green-faced soldiers had to shuffle out of the way of his dramatics. “Experimentation,” he stated.
Loki felt his eyes widen, but it was nothing compared to the look of pure homicidal rage that overtook his cellmate’s eyes. Loki wasn’t certain he’d ever seen someone react so simultaneously positively and passionately on his behalf.
“Don’t you DARE!” the man snapped out, lunging toward the nearest guard and sending him sprawling to the ground, shocked. The second guard attacked him first, sinking to the ground with a bloody noise and a groin injury. The third guard stepped back, wiser than his co-workers and pulled out a clear knife. Both Loki and Erik watched it carefully. The green-faced man gave a slow smirk and turned to place the knife at Loki’s throat.
“Your choice, Mr. Lehnsherr,” the guard behind him called out, sounding smug.
“It would be a better fate than what you’re planning!” Erik hissed, his eyes infuriated.
Loki felt the guard behind him shrug. “You are the expert on such things. Walk on, Loki.”
“You are evil, trivial creatures!” Erik screamed at them.
Loki turned on his heel, wanting nothing more than to destroy everyone around him. There was a crash behind him and a controlled yell.
“Lassen Sie ihn! Mörder! Sadisten! NAZIS!”
Loki couldn’t stop the stab of fear that shot through him. He felt himself walking straight across the drawbridge and into a bright, white room. It was the only room they could physically see from the cell. Loki glanced around, unimpressed. He was instructed to stop.
The guard spun him around and put his hands heavily on Loki’s shoulders, an action that would have provoked him to violence had he not been instructed against fighting. The guard suddenly launched into a quick, obviously practiced diatribe.
“You will not struggle, you will not use your powers, you will not hurt any living thing or damage any non-living thing. You won’t memorize your way to the labs or the way back. You will follow all orders and not speak unless asked a direct question. When answering those questions you will answer in Standard English.” He stopped, adding as almost an afterthought. “And every word from your mouth will be the God’s honest truth.”
A few of the guards couldn’t stifle a chuckle.
You will not breathe unless asked specifically to do so, living is only granted in extreme cases, and extreme punishment shall await you should you dare to think.
“Do you understand?”
Loki nodded once and was slung around away from the cell and down a bright hallway. Loki cringed against the harsh light, finding the entire scheme of the building utterly repulsive. He found himself thinking back to the iron mask that made it difficult to breathe and the wiry stitches that prevented him from eating. What worse could they do to him?
Loki’s eyes darted from hallway to hallway, attempting to take in where he was or where he’d been. It was all for naught. He felt himself growing more frustrated than nervous, the Midgardian’s spell working perfectly. He nearly growled, allowing himself to be led, not able to resist. Loki couldn't even estimate how long they’d been walking. Every time they took another turn the remembrance of the last hallway disappeared and the few faces they passed faded out of time and space. Loki gritted his teeth in frustration. They came to a halt in a large, dark room.
“Loki! My boy! It’s only been a few days, but I have truly looked forward to seeing you again!” a loud voice rang out. Loki looked around for Stryker, finally looking up to see him on a high balcony of sorts, looking down over the room.
Loki opened his mouth to reply, but once again found his best weapon stolen from him. He remained silent.
“It’s quite alright, Loki. You may speak freely,” the man looked down at him with a crooked, smile, not showing any teeth.
“I wish could say the same, Stryker. But I fear we haven’t really gotten to know each other.” It felt good to speak smoothly once again. The guard behind him unlatched his wrists and Stryker moved to the side and started down an open, metal, spiral staircase. It struck Loki as being the first metallic surface he’d seen in a long while.
“You will address him as Colonel Stryker or sir,” the main guard groused behind him.
“Then he will address me as Prince Loki or ‘your highness’,” Loki replied smoothly, but knew he could not disobey the order.
“Ignore that Loki, call me whatever you like,” the man waved his hand jovially, working his way down the steep steps. Never had Loki wished more for a single name to truly be damned.
He took Stryker’s momentary distraction to take in his surroundings. There was nothing said against him memorizing things other than his route. The room was large and incredibly dark compared to the sterile, blinding white of the rest of the building. There was one large slab of a concrete table in the middle of the room. If it weren’t for the restraints at each corner and the dozens of tubes and instruments surrounding it and hanging over it, it could have been mistaken for a tomb. Well, that doesn’t bode well.
On top of being poorly-lit, the room appeared almost dirty. Things looked grungy and had Loki been offered one of the non-existing chairs he certainly wouldn’t have taken it. It was not an atmosphere conducive to Midgardian science. Loki glanced around the room, noting the lines of small, metal doors by the entrance. He knew them to be used in Midgardian morgues, used to keep bodies prior to burial. Loki cringed, stepping away from them.
Stryker had finished his descent and walked toward him, hands at his waist.
“This doesn’t look like any laboratory I’ve seen,” Loki stated calmly, trying to keep the angry quiver from his voice.
“Oh, we’re not trying to build or discover anything in here specifically. This is just a testing facility, a place to collect…data,” Stryker nodded throughout the entire sentence, obviously quite impressed with his own cleverness.
“And what kind of data do you plan to collect from me?”
“Well, first we’re going to have you undress. Go ahead.”
Loki didn’t have the opportunity to refuse or even feign uneasiness before he lifted his hands to his buttons, unable to stop the soft cry that emanated at the pressure on his hands.
Stryker jumped forward with a look of disbelief on his face and snatched up both of Loki’s wrists. “How did this happen?!” he snapped, turning toward the main guard.
The guard stepped forward to peer down at Loki’s hands. His Asgardian, well, perhaps Jötun, healing factor was working at nearly full force. It didn’t stop both hands from remaining a dark, hideous purple. His fingers were non-functionally stiff, but only the ring finger on the right hand remained crooked, the bone just barely covered by a thin layer of skin.
“Loki?” Stryker asked, actually appearing concerned.
Loki contemplated the best thing to say without putting himself even more blatantly into the firing line of the guard, Laurio. He shrugged nonchalantly. “I was struck by a guard.”
Stryker huffed, dropping his hands in disgust. “Lyman, go! Look into…” he motioned down towards Loki’s hands, “this.”
“Yes, sir,” the man stated firmly, excusing himself from the room.
“Someone get down here and undress him!” Stryker hollered up toward the second floor. It was the first time he noticed the half-dozen or so armed men standing above them. Another half-dozen people in white coats scurried into the room from an unseen door. The two women, both precise and dull-looking began to unbutton his shirt and pants.
Loki looked away from their ministrations and watched as Stryker moved across the room and behind a closed door only to return a moment later followed by an absolutely beautiful woman. She was dressed head to toe in black leather, her sleek black hair pulled back. Her pale skin was perfect, her eyes unnaturally blue. She could easily be Asgardian. Loki watched closely as Stryker whispered something to her and she moved to stand at the foot of the examination bench, unblinking. Loki followed her as she moved, unable to miss the round scar at the back of her neck. It matched Erik’s and, perhaps, even him. Loki knew she was being controlled as well.
Loki felt the jacket being pulled off of him and his thin undershirt lifted over his head. He stepped out of his trousers and his pants, not taking his eyes off the woman.
He heard Stryker’s amused voice as the grating man stepped into his vision. “She’s not interested, I’m afraid.” Stryker, wearing his customary black turtleneck and grey pants looked like a peasant next to her. “You see, even I’ll admit that mutants have their place…as long as they can be properly,” he searched for the right word. “Controlled.”
Loki met his eye. “Seeing as I’m not even certain what a mutant is, I can’t honestly say we’re at disagreement.”
The shorter man smirked at him, clinically taking in Loki’s naked form. Even as a runt among Asgardians and a practical dwarf to frost giants, Loki was still larger than most Midgardians. He looked at the fat, gray-headed man in front of him and wondered how one look from him made Loki feel so ugly.
“Come on, we’ll take all your vitals while we talk,” he led Loki to the opposite side of the room. Loki felt like tip-toeing across the dirty floor. Loki stepped up onto a scale.
“A mutant is exactly what it sounds like, Loki. A. mutated. Human. Do you understand?”
Loki glanced down at him with a nod, not appreciating the condescending tone. They measured his height and placed some sort of suffocating, tight device around his upper arm in order to check something. “How does their mutation affect them?”
Stryker raised an eyebrow, impressed. “You see,” he leaned in toward Loki, “these mutations give them the ability to do things others can’t. They can manifest in a thousand different, dangerous ways in the children of absolutely anyone on Earth, regardless of background, genes, or…creed.”
Something was stuck under Loki’s tongue. They measured every possible centimeter of Loki’s body. Bright lights were shown into his mouth, nose, eyes, and ears.
Loki’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean manifest? How does the mutation present itself?” he demanded.
Loki was pushed forward over a counter and felt two fingers probe at his backside. He slung himself around, lifting a hand to strike the healer that dared to touch him in such a manner before one of the green-faced men had shoved him back to the counter and his neck burned with the re-applied solution. The man rang out the same list of commands, verbatim.
“I…apologize, Loki. They should have at least warned you first. You may speak freely.”
Stryker’s candour confused him, the constant tests and invasions were weighing heavily on his nerves. He clenched his teeth when he was instructed to stand still. The healer finished her examination of his backside. Loki repeated his last question, his voice strained, as he leaned back up, wishing he had any form of clothing to pull around himself.
They led him back over toward the examination table in the centre of the room. Loki found himself frozen to the spot, remembering how desperately against this Erik had been.
“Lay on the table, Loki,” Stryker commanded jovially.
Loki laid down on it, carefully trying to avoid putting pressure on his fingers. He stretched out across it and felt his hands and feet yanked and secured into place, leaving him spread eagle.
“Mutations give normal humans unique abilities that make them dangerous,” his voice was high and condescending, as if it were the simplest subject on Earth.
Loki felt one of the nurses begin to mess with his right hand and futilely attempted to yank it away. “Examples,” he demanded.
Stryker shrugged, “some control the weather.”
Loki narrowed his eyes, carefully trying to avoid thinking of Thor.
“Some can shape shift, change their appearance. Some fly, some can heal, some can even tap into your mind and control your thoughts...but most...Just. Kill.”
Loki looked Stryker in the eye; the man’s tone had dropped. The unnecessarily cheerful man suddenly sounded ominous. The sudden change convinced Loki the Colonel may well be quite mad, but the man abruptly looked quite interested in Loki.
“Does any of this sound like you, Loki?” he leaned forward as if the answer could be read across his face. When Loki didn’t answer he leaned back again, “aside from the killing, of course.”
Alrighty. I know it was kind of a poor way to stop, but I started writing this chapter and it ended up about twice as long as I had intended and I had to split them. So, the next chapter is already written and will be published soon.
Again, this is un-beta'd. If anyone sees any major (or minor) flaws, feel free to let me know.
Thanks for reading.
Chapter 5: Humans
“Does any of this sound like you, Loki?” he leaned forward as if the answer could be read across his face. When Loki didn’t answer he leaned back again, “aside from the killing, of course.”
It was rhetorical, of course, but Loki knew better than to let Stryker know that a lot of it sounded like him, actually. Healing, flying, shape-shifting, illusions. Loki knew then that no protesting on his part would keep him from being considered a mutant. He also knew that the man to his left, despite his unnervingly friendly manner, loathed mutants.
There was a loud metallic whirring noise near his hand and he had no opportunity to look down before he began to scream.
A clear, clinical voice rang out. “We’ll remove tissue, nerve, marrow, and blood samples from both hands to see if we can determine what causes his rapid healing. Once we’ve isolated the chemicals, it shouldn’t take long to slow his healing rate back to normal.”
When Loki lifted his head to try to look down at his discoloured hands he felt his head yanked back and strapped down, unable to move up, down, or side to side.
“Calm down, Loki, honestly!” He heard Stryker mutter, hearing him walk around to the same side as the healer.
“How long do you think it will take?”
“We’ll probably be able to stop it before you take him back to his cell.”
“We want to run a large number of scans as soon as possible. Will that be possible today?” the woman asked.
“Of course, I don’t imagine he’ll be conscious for long. Once he’s out, take your samples and do your tests,” Stryker stated nonchalantly. Loki heard a creaking on the metal staircase and knew that Stryker was moving for a better seat.
A sudden thought struck him. If they were waiting until he was unconscious before they took their samples, why was he still awake?
Loki yelled suddenly, "cease!" Two long, curved metal plates were being placed at the base of each eyeball. Loki froze, terrified they meant to blind him.“Release me, you swine!”
The plates pressed in. He screamed, feeling them move centimetre by centimetre further into his skull. He felt his legs begin to thrash, attempting to draw upon any magic resting dormant somewhere inside his body. There was nothing. Inches in, devastating if moved the smallest amount in any direction, the plates were pushed back toward his skullcap.
He screamed and his vision spotted.
He wasn’t quite sure how much later it was when he came to, but he cursed his position. Still on the table, still strapped down.
It struck him that the woman above him, a different one this time, wasn’t a healer at all. This was a torture chamber. He thought back to Erik, wondering how long he’d been kept here or if lab on earth was basically synonymous with unfathomable pain.
Loki’s breathing was laboured, his jaw ached. He tried to squeeze his eyes closed, but even blinking sent his mind going fuzzy. He did everything he could to keep his eyes wide open.
It occurred to him, vaguely that there was a tube in mouth, twisting down his throat. There was another one up his nose. He struggled weakly. There were voices talking around him loudly, boisterously even. But, he only caught one sentence.
“Sir, his blood...it’s turned blue!”
Loki struggled more wildly this time, needing to be free. He felt skin be pulled off in thin strips from his calves. Another sample was taken from his temple.
Loki felt his eyes burn as they heavily began to close.
There was a pinprick in his arm and a sudden tremor racked his entire body. An incessant beeping in the background grew increasingly more rapid. His body continued to seize until he faded out again.
Falling from the broken bifrost had led to the most incomprehensible and encompassing time of Loki’s life. He drifted endlessly between nine realms and a thousand lands. The only worse thing that could have possibly happened to him in the end was to be pulled out of his breathless existence and into the grasping claws of the Chitauri. He felt himself fall back into that same abyss, the same floating purgatory and begged that whatever pulled him out had more mercy than his previous rescuers.
He awoke to what had to be the largest needle in all of Midgard piercing into his right hip. His scream was muffled around the tube. He could feel the offending weapon push straight into his hip bone, withdrawing the marrow from within.
The world faded, Loki lost all time and vision. He thought of his daughter and how he’d convinced her to erase his name from her books. He cursed every second he’d wasted on attempting to become immortal. His pained eyes closed and he finally, mercifully, blacked out.
It was easily the shock of his life that he awakened at all. He, once again, thought of his daughter. He’d have done anything to have been with her now.
Loki cursed Odin, Fury, Stryker, and Thor. He awoke strapped to a table. He whimpered, noting the soreness behind his eyes, but the lack of tubing in his throat.
“Relax, Loki! You’re all done!”
Loki nearly vomited on himself, clenching his lips shut to prevent it.
“Let him up,” Stryker growled. Loki’s eyes squeezed shut as he was yanked forward by his hair. His neck burned. He didn’t care.
The truth was that, while he felt as if he’d just done battle with a pair of war elephants, he also felt well-rested.
Loki looked at Stryker, confused. “How-” he started, finding his throat raw. One of the earlier torturers handed him a glass of water. Loki jerked his hand back away from her, barely registering the shattering of the glass on the ground. His glanced down at his trembling hand and nearly vomited again. He cringed and lifted the other to examine them together before glancing down at himself and biting down on his lower lip, hard. Blue, frost giant, jötun. The typical markings of raised skin in simple patterns across his chest and upper arms. His entire body was a light, frost giant-blue.
“Lo-ki,” Stryker admonished, jerking a plastic water bottle from the hand of a guard. He lifted it up, obviously offering to squirt some into his mouth for him. His fingers, despite their unnatural colouring appeared to be quite healed. Only the most injured ring finger was wrapped, along with the pinkie beside it, up in tape. Stryker caught him looking at himself.
“You’re just full of surprises, Loki. You may turn into one of my favourites yet,” he said as he squirted the water into Loki’s dry throat.
The glass was swept away and Loki was given his own white pants to pull up. Loki gave himself a cursory once-over as he pulled up his pants. Short strips of white bandaging covered two, long, sore wounds on each leg. His toenails had been clipped, his legs were now hairless, like most from Jötunheim. He leaned up, feeling a slight soreness in his penis. He growled. How long had he been here if they had felt the need to catheterize him?
“A new jacket will be brought to you this evening. I’m afraid the other was quite ruined. You’ve been with us for nearly over a day and a half, now. It’s almost bed-time again.” Stryker started off down the hallway.
Loki glanced down at the floor, quickly finding the bright white jacket against the grime of the floor. It was covered in a dark blue liquid, spattered along with the floor around it. It took him a long time to recognize it as his own blood.
He felt suddenly drained. It still ached to blink.
One of the guards stepped forward and Loki jerked backwards, bodily colliding with Stryker. Loki immediately jumped away from him, raising wobbly hands in defence.
“Calm down, and walk behind Lt. Lyman.”
Loki sat straight up and moved to stand behind the man, following him out as he started walking.
The walk back was short with Loki lost in his own mind. Every sudden movement made him jump, every new hallway terrified him. He found himself growing frustrated at his own weakness.
Finally, they reached the draw bridge. They stopped for some sort of inspection before solely Lyman walked him in. He was followed across the draw bridge, all of the humans seemed too uneasy to touch him. It was just as well. He entered the small cell to find Erik suddenly sit up from his position on the bed.
His face was painted over in complete shock. Lyman left them.
“Mys-” he cut himself off. “How, on earth, did you get here?”
The man stepped forward, his book dropping to the floor. He was no closer than ten feet from Loki before Loki jumped back against the door of the cell. “Don’t touch me!” he snapped.
Erik’s face dropped, but quickly regained a sense of total confusion. “Loki?” he asked incredulously.
Loki dropped to his knees in front of the toilet, spilling nothing but stomach acid into it. He hacked himself into exhaustion.
“Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise?” Erik mused, behind him.
“What?!” Loki screamed at him. Loki flushed the toilet, dragging himself into a standing position. He placed his mouth underneath the sink faucet, rinsing out his mouth and spitting several times. He felt like clawing off his own skin. “I am anything but pleasant.”
Erik looked him up and down in much the same fashion as Stryker had in the early morning before. With his naked, fit, Asgardian body laid out before Stryker, Loki had never found himself more self-conscious with his appearance. Here he stood, in front of Erik, a god trapped in the body of an unholy monster. Erik was watching him as if he were the most beautiful being in all the realms, as if he put Freya to shame.
Some of the adoration left Erik’s face as the man stepped toward Loki, but the knowing grin remained affectionate. “Have you ever looked at a tiger and wanted to cover it up?” he asked absently, as if recalling a distant memory.
Loki shook his head from side to side once, slightly. His brows knitted together. When Erik moved closer, he found no urge to move away.
“You are stunning, Loki,” the man whispered and kissed him on the lips.
Loki’s eyes widened, he heard the sirens begin to wail in the background. Chaos.
Loki smirked against Erik’s lips and placed his hands on Erik’s neck, dragging him harder against him.
The drawbridge creaked across to them and Loki felt Erik draw away, looking him up and down again. Loki glanced down at his blue feet, watching as they were the last of his body parts to fade back to typical Asgardian-colour, typical mutant-colour. He was back in his regular form and almost regretted it.
He and Erik moved to their respective beds. Loki thought of the last few times he’d woken up and was thankful his bed touched Erik’s. At least he had someone who would fight for him.
Two guards rushed into the cell, but there was no longer anything for them to police. Erik turned off his bedside lamp while Loki smirked at the confused, disgusted faces. As they turned to leave awkwardly, Loki turned to look at Erik, daring only to thank him with a weak smile. The man had already hidden himself beneath the thin sheet and turned away from Loki once more. His pained eyes slid shut, remembering the looks on the guard’s faces.
Perhaps he’d survive incarceration.
Mother would shake her head and leave to grieve and then Odin would turn to look at him, face horrible and angry or disgusted and devastated or mournful and resigned. Regardless, Loki never made it past this portion of the dream before waking.
The dream had seen Thor die a thousand ways in every realm; the confrontation with his parents had taken place in every room of the palace, tents on war campaigns, on the ice of Niflheim. Even Loki could recognize the dream as the blatant blueprint of his self-consciousness. Above all else, he feared Thor’s death, his mother’s distance, and his father’s disapproval. Now that Loki had learned the truth of his heritage, the dream, though unchanged in basic format, beleaguered him worse than nightmares of torture. He now knew that he’d never had to truly consider a life on the throne of Asgard. He would never fail his subjects; there was no one to rule. He dreaded the distance of a mother who could not claim him as her own. He feared the dissatisfaction of a man who had known of his true lineage and had spent a millennia waiting for him to present himself as useful or, simply, to crack.
As Loki lay in bed and contemplated the most recent reincarnation of the dream, he allowed himself to consider Thor’s part in his nightmares. Should Loki always bear the brunt of the blame for Thor’s death he might as well be the true cause. Loki rolled his eyes to dispel himself of these dark thoughts, allowing himself to indulge a little in the idealistic scheme of torturing Odin with the idea of losing his kingdom’s heir to the kingdom’s spare.
Loki opened his eyes slowly against the harsh lights of the cell, staring directly up from his position flat on his back, having lost the pillow to the cold floor sometime in the night. It was the first night he had been awake before the guard entered with their breakfast and certainly the first time he’d beaten Erik awake. Loki leaned up only slightly to look straight down over his feet and across the abyss to where the guards lay watching across the way from their cell, making certain that no one was on their way in. He slowly turned to observe the sleeping man beside him. Without his pillow, the other man’s face was raised above his and hidden mostly from view. His face was lined with experience and his pale silver hair reflected the fluorescent lighting. Even in complete slumber he did not look peaceful. His eyes rested shut, but his face was turned down in a frown and his brow was furrowed in what looked like frustration.
Loki slowly leaned up, careful not to make his bed jostle Erik’s, and turned around to sit cross-legged, facing his cellmate.
His eyes still felt heavy and sore. The pressure he put on his bandaged fingers caused his hands to tremble. As he crossed his legs, the strips of missing skin from his calves made themselves known, stinging like thick, paper cuts down each leg. He hissed loudly.
Erik jerked away, eyes immediately open and focused on him. He kept his head on the pillow. Loki nearly turned away in embarrassment, but knew he’d been caught.
Erik glanced him over and then looked down over his feet in the same manner Loki had earlier. “What troubles you, Loki?”
Loki quirked an arrogant eyebrow and straightened his back to appear larger than he was. He searched his mind for a question with which to sate Erik. “Was that the last of their...testing?”
Erik took the time to look him over carefully. His features filled with pity as they took in the scattering of bandages and, Loki assumed, bruised eyelids.
“I doubt it,” he said quietly.
Well, if this man was going to offer him his pity, he’d take it. If only to see what it would get him. Loki dropped his eyes to the thin strips on bandage that was barely visible under the line of his pants and began to fiddle with it, feigning nervousness.
A hand stilled his movements. Loki froze dramatically. “I am sorry there isn’t more I can do for you, my boy.”
The thumb began to rub circles on his bare ankle. Loki’s breath hitched only slightly before Loki had to force his features to passiveness to prevent an angry snarl. He knew when he was being manipulated and this wasn’t what it felt like. But, one look at the smug man told you he wasn’t anywhere close to being sorry for whatever put him here. Erik seemed potentially capable of great cruelty, but Loki had yet to feel like Erik would ever harm him. In fact, he seemed to go out of his way to prevent harm, for Loki anyway.
The thumb did not still and the hand tracked a bit higher, pulling the hem of Loki’s pants slowly toward his knee. For all the man’s slickness, Loki had yet to deem the sinister reasoning behind it. Erik had to want something in the long run.
For now, however, Loki was quite aware of what Erik wanted. The older man’s other hand suddenly rested on the top of Loki’s thigh, slowly sliding upward and inward.
Loki suddenly found himself actually frozen. He cursed his hesitation, uncertain how to react. A sexual congress would hardly be a miserable occurrence, but surely this wasn’t the final manipulation in Erik’s mind. There had to be an end game; there always was. But, it had to be more than sex. Erik was intelligent and, apparently (hopefully), quite powerful. For Erik’s only goal to be sex was...disappointing, really.
For Erik had to have a goal. He had no reason to defend Loki, to treat him well, to comfort him. Surely sex was just a potential added bonus, likely the result of prolonged isolation due to imprisonment.
Loki sucked in a loud breath when a palm was pressed up against a growing erection. He met Erik’s eyes, seeing them dance with amusement and concentration. Loki slowly leaned forward with the intention of slowly pressing his mouth to Erik’s when a loud siren caused he and Erik to leap away from each other, startled.
Loki jerked back, embarrassed he’d allowed himself to indulge so far. He placed his bare feet on the cold floor. He was instantly covered in goosebumps, thanks to the chill. He longed to pull the thin blanket over him, damning his soiled jacket back in the lab.
A plain-faced guard stormed across the bridge to the cell, carrying two trays and looking for all the world as if carrying their food was bringing dishonour and damnation upon his ancestors. The unkempt man dropped their trays unceremoniously on the small table before whipping out his thin club and walking straight toward Loki.
Loki jolted away from him. He put his back to the headboard and drew his legs up. He clenched his eyes shut and desperately searched for any waning tendril of magic he could find to protect him.
Loki’s eyes shot open and met the guards’s, both in equal states of disbelief and confusion. Both of them slowly turned to Erik whose hands were raised in surrender. Slowly Erik moved his hands to place them on Loki’s shoulders and pushed Loki downward. Loki slowly allowed himself to be pushed toward the bed to lie on his stomach.
Loki was actually relieved to feel the cursing burn on the back of his neck this time, thankful the blasted guard had not felt the need to force him down. After Erik was similarly cursed, the pair sat up in their beds, warily facing the guard he wore a face of absolute disgust.
“Eat and behave.” It was simple enough.
As the man left, Loki moved to sit down at his place. He heard the drawbridge slowly slide away from the cell.
“An old friend of mine, Xavier, will be visiting us soon,” Erik spoke plainly.
Loki’s eyes jerked up to meet his and he Loki nodded once.
“He is a good man,” Erik seemed to assure him. “You may trust him.”
Loki nodded again, getting a distinctly ominous feel from the proceedings. He turned back to his meal, only allowing himself to leave a small amount of vegetables on the tray and hoping the guards would not be too angered by it.
Erik gave him a significant look. You may trust him...he’s one of us. Loki realized the implications of the statement. This Xavier had to be powerful. Loki had gotten the distinct impression that he had visited before, so it certainly wasn’t an escape attempt. Regardless, it was always good to have allies.
They separated for a while. Erik relaxed on his bed and Loki sat up in his chair, deep in thought. They remained like this for several hours before Loki finally broke the comfortable silence. “Why did you kiss me?” he asked quietly. He was genuinely interested, but made certain to add a touch of vulnerability to his voice.
Erik looked up at him over the well-worn book. Its title screamed into Loki’s face, taunting him. Loki was the once and former and future king. The man seemed to ponder it a moment before answering with what sounded like great honesty. “Because your true form is beautiful.”
“And what makes you think that’s my true form?” Loki snapped, dropping the veil of vulnerability.
“I know others like you,” Erik placated.
“No, you don’t,” Loki stated quietly, but determinedly.
“You know,” the man started, sounding a little frustrated. “You making claims over what I do and don’t know, but I have seen many things in my life, young man.”
Loki sent him a condescending look. “You know nothing about me, mortal.”
Erik raised an eyebrow in both amusement and sudden interest. “Mortal,” he started, “is that one of your gifts, healing?”
Loki wasn't quite certain of the direct link between healing and immortality, but he nodded once. “At least until yesterday.” He held up his damaged hands for inspection.
“Do not dwell on that,” Erik told him. “Their hold cannot last forever.”
Loki was more concerned that they had a hold at all.
“Why do you think I couldn't know anything about you? Or that no one is similar?” Erik pressed.
Loki already felt annoyed with so many questions from a commoner, even if he was his only source of entertainment. He slid his feet to the floor and stood, wanting to put a physical sense of superiority into the situation. “Because I am not of this realm,” he stated, looking down at the man on the bed.
Erik’s eyes narrowed and he looked considering. “Where are you from, Loki?”
Loki stopped for a moment, thinking over his answer. “Asgard,” he half-lied. “I was raised in Asgard,” he amended truthfully.
“I’m not familiar with that region,” Erik admitted slowly.
“It is not a region, it is a realm.” At the blank look, Loki amended on the best Midgardian equivalent short of ‘dimension.’ “A planet...”
The older man looked incredulous. “What planet?”
“Asgard!” Loki huffed. Cultural and language differences were always such a bother.
“Should I have heard of this planet?” Erik asked, still sounding sceptical.
Loki thought back to his first conversation with the man. “My father, Odin, is king there. My brother, Thor, prince.” So, if it wasn’t exactly the truth.
Erik stared at him silently for a long while, no reaction given whatsoever. “You’re quite serious.”
Loki smirked, nodding once. He felt powerful and suddenly even more undeserving of his imprisoned fate.
“Do not lie to me,” the man snapped. “Are you the Loki of legend?”
Loki put out both of his hands and looked down to the man with a knowing smirk. He wished he had his armour about him, his horned helmet. “Yes,” he grinned maliciously.
Erik slowly sat up in the bed and walked toward him carefully. He certainly did not appear as if he was going to bow, but the mutant was obviously looking at him with new eyes.
“What say you?” Loki asked quietly as the man drew up close to him, nearly nose to nose.
The other man’s eyes were imploring, but Loki could see the revelation in them. Loki narrowed his own eyes in response. What was the other man thinking?
“I feel the tide turning our favour,” the man muttered cryptically, his lips brushing against Loki’s.
I want to apologize formally for the slow updates, but cannot guarantee anymore will come any quicker. Thank you for sticking with me!
EDIT: This story has been put on the backburner. Read at own risk.