No one is sure how it happened. One minute Thor and Loki are locked in battle, hammer verses scepter, and the next, there was an explosion and both men were flung in opposite directions. Loki managed to disappear along with his minions, before anyone could get to them and it was all over.
Thor got up slowly, then stumbled, but Steve and Clint were by his side and managed to catch him. They put Thor’s arms over each of their shoulders to steady him.
“Hey, buddy, you alright?” Clint said.
“I am alright, but Loki-”
“He’s gone,” Steve said, “it’s okay.”
“Gone,” Thor said, trying to stand on his own two feet again, trying to look around, “where has he gone?”
“Hard to say,” Clint said. He frowned at Steve in worry, but Steve just shook his head.
“Let’s get you home, huh?” Steve said instead.
“Yes,” Thor said, “I think I would like some mead and we shall have a feast!”
Tony landed in front of them then. “Did someone say feast? Post mission pizza? We all good?”
Thor took a step back, pushing Steve and Clint away, and summoned Mjolnir. “Metal man! You speak yet your mouth does not move!”
“Yeah,” Tony said, “That’s what the speakers are for.”
“You have invisible people speaking for you?” Thor asked, looking around, “This is most cruel! Why must they speak for you, and not for themselves?” He advanced at Iron Man, hammer raised, “how dare you enslave such helpless creatures.” He swung the hammer, Tony jumped out of the way, and the Hulk decided he’d had enough. He knocked the hammer out of Thor’s hand, and then picked Thor up.
Thor struggled against the Hulks fingers, and so Hulk roared at him and threw him across the street where he crashed against the wall. He fell and didn’t get up again.
Tony was the one to finally break the silence. “That was weird right? Even for Thor’s standard of weird.”
“Loki must’ve done something to him,” Clint said.
“Fucking magic,” Tony said, “better get him to medical, get him checked out.”
“I’ll get the hammer,” Steve said, “You’ve got Thor?”
“I’ll see you back at base,” Tony said. He picked up Thor and flew off.
Thor didn't wake up until the next day. Everything had settled down; the Hulk was back to being Bruce, Tony was locked away in the workshop trying to save what he can from his suit, and Clint and Natasha were sparring in the gym.
Steve was sitting by Thor’s bedside, sketching, when Thor woke up.
“Jarvis,” Steve said, “call the others.”
“Yes, sir,” Jarvis said.
Thor finally opened his eyes and turned to Steve. “Who are you?”
“Thor?” Steve said, “I’m Steve, and you’re in the Avengers Tower.”
“I do not understand,” he said, “where is Loki.”
“Loki is not here,” Steve said, “we don’t know where he is.”
“Is my brother lost?” Thor said, trying to sit up.
Just then, the others walked in, and Thor fell silent again.
“Hey buddy,” Clint said, “feeling better?”
“Yeah,” Tony said, “you owe us a feast.”
“Is this Midgard?” Thor said, “I do not understand.” He tried to get up again, pulled at the tubes plugged in his hand and under his nose.
The other Avengers looked at each other in confusion. “You’ve been here a while,” Natasha said finally, “a few months.”
“You feeling alright?” Bruce asked, “what’s the last thing you remember?”
Thor looked between the worried faces and focused on Bruce. “Asgard,” he said, “with the warriors three and the lady Sif. You must take me back to the bridge, Heimdall will help me back-” he pushed himself out of the bed, but was so unsteady he had to sit back down. “What have you done to me?”
“The doctors gave you some medicine to help you stay calm,” Steve said, “they were worried you would get upset and- and destroy some things.”
“They dare-” Thor started.
“Yes,” Tony said, “we all saw the footage of what happened last time.”
“This is bad isn’t it?” Clint said, looking around at the others.
“Very bad,” Bruce confirmed, “hey buddy, you wanna lie down and we’ll get the doctors in here, okay?”
“Do not speak to me as if I am a child,” Thor said, “I am perfectly capable of understanding your Midgardian language.”
“Sorry,” Bruce said, looking genuinely apologetic, and walked out of the room.
He returned soon with a doctor in tow. The doctor referred Thor to a psychologist who referred him to a specialist who still couldn't figure out what was wrong.
By the end of the day and several people helicoptered to the tower, all the professionals decided that there was nothing else they could do for him and sent him back to his room.
As the days passed, the Avengers tried to help him remember, but the more Thor knew of the present, of what had been taken from him, the less he wanted to know.
“I do not understand how Loki would have done this,” he said, one night while Natasha and Clint were with him.
“He fell into a bad crowd,” Clint said, “literally, don’t blame yourself big guy, you tried to save him.”
“Did we not try to console him,” Thor asked, “he is my brother-”
“I know it’s hard to connect the two images of what Loki was like before, and what we’re telling you,” Natasha said, “but the proof is all there.”
“If he was still that guy, wouldn't he have come to find you by now?”
Thor suddenly stood up. “I am done for tonight,” he said, “if you will excuse me.” And with that he left.
He knew what the Midgardians, the Avengers, said rang true, but he could not comprehend how his younger brother was capable of such destruction, of such hatred. He couldn't understand how he could have let Loki get so far.
He made his way to the roof, asking Jarvis to let him through with his string of numbers. He’d found the talking building to be strange at first, but as time passed it had been easy to become accustomed. Jarvis was polite and helpful, and he respected him for that.
There was a long chair there, and a blanket, so he stretched out and wrapped up in the thick material. Even the stars looked wrong here, but they were the most familiar thing in this world. He had asked Bruce to tell him about this universes stars but it was not the same. Bruce talked of science when all Thor had wanted were the stories.
Some time later, the door opened and Tony walked through to join him. “Hey,” Tony said, “what are you doing up here?”
“I thought the stars may give me some comfort,” he said, “but they are all wrong and not bright enough.”
“Yeah, the way the stars are organised depends on where you are, and this is probably not even the right universe,” Tony said, “and they’re faded because of the light pollution.”
Thor wasn’t sure what that was so he kept silent.
“Like,” Tony started, “there’s too much non-natural light, and it all comes together so that the land below the sky is too bright, which means the stars look relatively less bright.”
“Light pollution,” Thor repeated.
“Yeah,” Tony said, “you should come downstairs, Jane is coming soon, you’d want to meet her.”
“She is my companion?” Thor asked. They had spoken of Jane before.
“I think the term she’d use is girlfriend,” Tony said, “but companion works too.”
Thor was slowly getting his memories back. It was an arduous task and was frustrating for everyone involved. He would get flashes of memories, but he was unable to place them, and each time something was revealed about Loki, he was heartbroken all over again.
Jane had helped him all that she could, but had to leave as she had other responsibilities.
Thor took to spending most of his time in his quarters with all the things that had belonged to him. The doctors had said that surrounding himself with these things may trigger his memories, however it was not as effective as he would have liked.
When there was a knock on his door, Thor didn't really think twice about it. His companions always came in to see that he was alright, but they too had despaired at his lack of progress.
Tony was the one who was here now, which was a surprise; he was the first to stop visiting Thor.
“What can I do for you, Tony Stark?”
Tony shuffled his feet and shifted a box in his hands. “Can I come in?”
Thor moved aside and let the man of iron into his room. This was his fortress and he needn't ask permission.
“I made you something,” Tony said, “I mean, it’s not much, and it probably won’t help your memory much, but I made it and theres no point in me keeping it now that it’s done so, here.”
Thor took the box from him and opened it. Inside there was a metal dome with holes pierced in to it. There was no recognisable order to them and so Thor looked from the object to Tony. “Thank you,” he said, “though I am not clear as to the use of this metal ball.”
“It’s a- here, let me hook it up for you.” He took the box back from Thor and pulled out the metal object, unwinding a long wire and then plugging it into the small plastic wall outlets. He flipped a switch and the dome lit up.
“Hang on,” Tony said, “Jarvis, turn the lights off and the curtains down please, just leave Thor’s dome on.”
The room instantly became dark, except for the dome, and when Thor looked around at the pinpricks of lights all around his room he understood.
“These are the constellations as seen from Asgard,” he said, turning to Tony.
“Yeah,” Tony said, “you told me about them once, I had a diagram you drew, I know the doctors said you needed recent things to help-” But he never got to finish that sentence because Thor had picked him up and squeezed him into a hug.
“Thank you,” he said.
“It was nothing,” Tony said, voice muffled, and so Thor let him down, “I better get going, if you need anything just let Jarvis know, he’ll be able to help.”
“Yes, he is very helpful,” Thor said absently, still watching the stars.
“Okay cool,” Tony said, already on his way out, “feel better!” And he was gone.
Thor looked around at the familiar constellations, and ever since the accident, he was starting to feel better.