“I could have done it father, for you!” Loki screamed, tightening his grip on the handle of his staff. He looked up, pleadingly, at his father, his eyes tear-stained and waiting…waiting for his father—for the AllFather—to agree with him…to say he knew, that Loki could have done it; could have destroyed Jotunheim for the better, to tell Loki that he knew he’d done everything for his family, that he loved Loki…that he approved, and that Loki was equal—no, better!—than Thor. Waiting for something, his heart twisted in his chest, beating rapidly as water washed down his face, waiting to be told that even despite of all his mistakes, and despite of the mess he’d made, the mess he made for Odin, for his father. He’d wanted to rid the galaxy of the monsters that had brought destruction to earth, to all the realms of any recollection that Loki was not of Asgard, and most of all, he wanted to make his father happy. He wanted to be equal to Thor. To prove his father hadn’t made a mistake in adopting him.
But he didn’t.
The Allfather only sighed, closing his eyes, slowly shaking his head, his face heavy with regret and disappointment, before saying words that struck him in the chest, slipping through his ribs like a thief, past his body’s’ defenses and puncturing his heart.
It only took two words.
And that was it. The tears ran dry, and his body felt cold. He’d done everything—everything he could think of for Asgard, he’d made it the realm to be feared, and respected, and he would have ridden the of their enemies—and it was all for naught. Odin had decreed his failure, and now he knew. He could never be Thor, never be as good as him, as strong, as well liked, or as loved as Thor. He would never be equal to them. He gave a telling look at the spear, his heart heavy, his blood racing through his head, veins pounding in his skull. His brother knew.
“Loki, no!” Thor yelled. It was too late. His hands were empty, and be fell, deep into the abyss of space that usually resided beneath the bifrost. Thor continued to scream, his hand still reaching out as his father pulled him over onto the bridge, his eyes wide with disbelief and pain.
Loki closed his eyes and waited to greet death.
He was jolted awake by a loud, echoing scream in a cave. His eyes adjusted to the slight darkness and he saw two men, one lying on the table (the source of the screaming), and the other, standing on his left, holding tools he was using to operate on the inside of the screamer’s chest. The operator took a damp cloth off the table and pressed it over the screaming man’s face in a whirl of movements, and the screaming stopped after a moment. The other continued his surgery, and Loki said nothing, only observing. He found himself particularly surprised that he was still alive; he felt certain he’d be suffering in some painful afterlife, not sitting in the dark cave of a different realm.
Loki’s placed his hand on the floor, only to quickly withdraw it in disgust, wiping the dirt off onto his clothes. He looked to see what he lied on: hay, and straw, with a ragged pillow stuffed from the same stuff underneath where he’d lain his head, an equally holly blanket was lying over his chest.
The cave itself was dark; light leaking pathetically from lamps that hung on the uneven walls of the cave. There were two other—beds, to use the word sparsely—lying near him, and there was a fire near the door, several filthy pots and pans lying near it. Loki nearly cringed, seeing how dirt encrusted everything was. He knew immediately he was not on either Asgard or Jotunheim, where the walls of the caves were not only jewel or ice encrusted, but glowed brilliantly. The cave he found himself in now was completely lacking in anything even nearly as spectacular, the walls sharp and rocky and dry. Scrap metal, loose papers, and various useless looking items littered the area, and the only thing that looked the slightest bit well-kept was the door—a large, thick, and impregnable looking block of metal with a thick glass window at the top.
It didn’t take a much thought to figure out that he was not only very much alive—he was a prisoner.
The operator sighed, wiping his hands off on another rag before beginning to put his tools away, washing his hands in a bucket and wiping them on the rag again. Loki closed his eyes and feigned sleep before the man could turn and look at him. He heard the man approach him and kneel, putting the back of his hand on Loki’s forehead. Loki fought the urge to flinch away from the man’s hands.
Loki opened an eye, watching the man carry the surgical patient and place him down on the bed next to him. He’s definitely younger than the second man, and it looks as though his facial hair was once cut into a style, having now grown out uneven. There’s a bloodied bandage wrapped around his chest beneath his ragged shirt, and wires protrude from under it, connecting him to a rectangular metal box. Loki watched him silently; his breathing alternates between patterns of normality and elevation.
The only sound in the room is the faint dripping from a corner of the cave. Annoyed, Loki drowned it out with sleep.
He woke up after what he could only guess was several hours. The bed next to him was empty, and he could hear the two men talking. He lifted his head up and looked around, finding them sitting on either side of the pot while the second man cooked; the first looks as though he himself had just woken up, hunched over, one hand buried in his hair as he ran his fingers through it, looking tired, dazed, and obviously just as out of place as Loki. Well. Almost.
“Ah, it seems our other guest as awoken,” The older man said. Loki felt awkward, vulnerable, and self conscious; he pulled the blanket above his waist and looked down.
“What realm is this?”
The first man spoke for the first time. Loki noticed the wires were still connected to his chest, and that the box had moved with him, by the fire. “Realm?” He laughed. I think you mean; ‘where the hell are we’.” And Loki only frowned at the man’s obviously different way of speaking.
“Afghanistan.” Loki had never heard of the place, to be honest. He looked closely at the men, and it wasn’t difficult to deduce that while they looked like gods, they could be none other than human—which mean he could only be one place; Midgard.
“They keep saying you fell from the sky.” The first man said, looking at him as though he could figure out what they’d meant by staring.
“And what’s with the outfit?” The wired man asked, and he looked a little amused.
Loki frowned and turned to the older man, deciding quickly that he preferred him between the two. It was strange, thought, that not only would he not die after falling into the black hole…but to land in the same realm his brother had been banished to…it was an unusual coincidence. “What are we doing here?”
He opened his mouth to answer as the door opened.
“Follow my lead.” The older man said quietly, standing up slowly and folding his hands behind his head. They did the same. A tall man with a large, haggard beard stepped forward through the door and began to speak in a language he’d never heard before. The oldest of the three prisoners translated, turning; “He says welcome to the great Tony Stark, their newest and most humble guest, and that if you would like for us to be freed, you much build the Jericho missile.” He looked to a metal cone, lying on the floor, blue papers stacked on top of it.
Tony looked at their captor. “I refuse.”
The man smiled, turning around and nodding at people Loki couldn’t see before stepping further into the room. Two men followed him in, a large tub of water held between them. They placed it in front of Tony, and then grabbed Loki and the other prisoner and shoved them against the wall of the cave. The man who had spoken to Tony approached him, grabbing him by the hair and pulling him to his knees, smirking in his face before shoving his head under water. One of the other two men held his arms behind his back as he struggled violently against it, and after roughly sixty seconds they released him. “Will you now?” He spoke it in heavily accented English.
Tony spat water in his face. “Fuck you,” he replied, and they resubmerged his face in the water.
Loki watched it in silence while the man next to him yelled in their foreign tongue, only to have the man standing near them shove him hard into the wall, sending him to the ground, where he clutched the back of his head.
They pulled Tony’s face out of the water, and asked him the question again, and again, and Tony continuously refused. Loki closed his eyes, trying to focus on the three of them as he whispered the quiet words of a spell. Only, when he opened his eyes, nothing had happened. He hadn’t lost his powers, yet he was too weak to use them. He looked up, startled by silence, only to realize that Tony wasn’t moving against the guards anymore. They yanked his head out quickly, slapping him awake. Tony spent the next several minutes choking and gasping for air, the cave otherwise completely silent. When his breathing calmed down, the man asked again; eventually he doesn’t hear Tony’s struggles and when he looks up Tony’s feet stopped kicking. “Will you build Jericho?”
“Yes, yes he’ll do it!” Loki yelled suddenly, the words streaming out of his mouth without thought. Everyone turned to look at him, even Tony, who had to crane his neck to glare pathetically.
Their captor smiled. “He will?” He asks looking to Tony.
Tony’s eyes were foggy and filled with anger as he looked at Loki. Loki gave a pointed nod to their fellow captor, who was lying on the floor, bleeding and looking ready to pass out. “I’ll do it. I’ll build your fucking missile.”
The two captors by Tony stood up, tossing the disoriented engineer back as they left. “What did they do to Yinsen?”
“What do you think? They slammed his head against the side of the cave.” Loki grabbed his blanket, quickly ripping off two strips, dampening one in the tub of water. He pressed the dry piece against the wound, using the wet strip to clean up the blood around the wound.
“Why the hell did you agree?” Tony asked angrily, regaining a proper train of thought.
“They were going to kill you, and he was bleeding all over the floor. I had to do something, or the two of you were both going to die.” The older man woke, and took over pressing the fabric against the back of his skull.
“Yeah? I would rather die than build anything for those terrorists.”
Loki rolled his eyes. “A lot of good that would’ve done. It seems they’ve targeted you specifically to build this ‘Jericho’. If you had died Yinsen and I would be useless. I do not know even know what a ‘Jericho Missile’ is—nor do I know why I was taken captive. How do you know how to build one in the first place?”
“What do you mean you don’t know what the Jericho Missile is? Do you watch the news? I’m Tony Stark, owner of Stark Industries. That missile? I designed it, built it for the American military. And these guys heard about it, decided they liked it, and kidnapped me so I could help them destroy the world with it.”
Ah, destroying the world. Loki could relate to that—although, he’d never been stupid enough to try and destroy his own.
“Are we going to keep talking, or at least pretend to work?” Yinsen asked, standing up slowly.
Tony scoffed. “What choice do we have?”