He is my brother, Loki tells them, and despite the blood dripping down from his face he still looks rather elegant. A King, truly. And I shall not have mere mortals speak so poorly of him. He is my brother and he loves me.
Yeah? Tony hisses from across the table, face still blue from said brother, he has an odd way of showing it.
Once upon a time there lived two Princes within Asgard.
The elder prince, the prince of gold, was beautiful and strong, well loved within their kingdom.
The younger prince, prince of darkness and ice, was weak in body but strong in mind and heart. He was well received throughout the kingdom, as well.
They were both loved by their parents, smothered in gifts and kisses but, it never seemed that way to one of the princes.
The elder made friends easily, he excelled in his fighting training, he was the pride of Asgard. The golden prince.
The younger, however, had no friends and held no strength in arms. He found his way in books and scrolls, reading of magic and things of the past. Asgard loved him but, never as much as they did their golden prince.
Their parents, wise Kings and Queens they were, saw this and swept the younger prince up before it grew to affect him. They fed his love for magic, fed him affection and kept him by their sides as much as possible. Just because he was not as strong as his elder brother did not mean he was not loved.
They thought it smart. The golden prince had friends- the price of ice had none but his brother and parents- the golden prince would understand, yes?
They underestimated the jealousy of a child. Smart as they thought themselves to be they never noticed the seed of envy and hatred within the golden prince's heart.
An unfortunate mistake, in the end.
Thor is gold. Thor is the love of Asgard. Thor is the sun.
Thor is his brother, his protector, and soon to be king alongside Loki.
There is none that Loki loves more then Thor.
Loki is innocence, thinks Thor. His younger brother and always, always loved more by their parents. There was never anytime for he, not when Loki was sick or needed training. Father made time for Loki, never time for Thor. Mother made time for Loki's nightmares- never for Thor.
(He sees things how he wants to see, banishes memories from his mind and twists them to his own use until he can not recall the truth to them anymore. Loki may be the god of lies but, his brother is the god of denial.)
Despite this, however, Thor does not resent his brother.
There is none that Thor loves more then his brother.
And none that he hates more.
On their coronation day the Jotun come. The casket of winters is nearly stolen and his brother seethes with offense. He speaks of war- burning the Jotun from their homes- Loki speaks of diplomacy.
Diplomacy? Nothing will come from words, brother. What are they to think if Asgard's weakest son sends words across the realms? This was a slight to our name- on our coronation day, none the less. It is to be met with faces, let them know our rage, not with petty words on paper. They will think us weak, otherwise- And why should they not already? What with a man who can not lift a sword on the throne.
And Loki knows his brother speaks only from rage. Father has offended him, saying he was a mere child and Thor loves him, truly, he would never say such words. It his just his anger, his hatred. Loki knows better to dwell on it.
And yet, he does, anyway.
In the morning they find Loki and Thor gone, slipped away to Jotunheim to speak of diplomacy face to face.
Loki never notices that the smile on his brother's face- when he asks Thor to venture with him- is not genuine.
In the chaos, after they both lose their temper within Jotunheim, Loki is caught by a Jotun. He holds him tight and Loki's skin and blood go cold. Blue covers his arm, etches its way to his neck and face, and Thor saves him before the blue swallows him hole.
Loki thinks he's cursed, thinks the Jotun blood that coats him now will keep him cursed for the rest of his life.
Thor, despite what one may think of his intelligence, can put one and two together.
Thor knows the truth.
Father banishes him. Speaks of a lesson in humility. We have coddled you too much, my boy. I thought it to help you but, it did not.
He only takes Mjolnir away from Thor, enchanting it as so Thor will not be allowed to grasp her handle again until Father finds him worthy again.
The last thing Loki sees before the bifrost takes him away is Father's disappointed face and Thor's frown.
He does not cry. He thinks very proudly of himself for this fact.
(Loki is Jotun, he tells Odin. Aye. Laufey's child, Odin admits and Thor bristles. And yet you love him none the less? This bastard of your wife and Laufey? His father steps up, words are on the tip of his tongue, words to tell Thor the truth but, his son cuts him off once again.
You love him more then your true born?
Loki is your brother and my son, Thor, Odin says, and I have never loved either of you differently.
Thor's laugh is a dark, bitter rumble. It is the last thing his father recalls before the Odinsleep takes him.
Thor lets him sleep on the floor in the room of treasures until the guards find him.)
Laufey comes while Father sleeps, his and Thor's talk still fresh in his mind. Mother runs, runs for the guards and help, and Thor sweeps in to be the hero and beloved son he was always meant to be.
He holds Father's staff in his hand, a symbol of his kinghood, and he poises to strike Laufey- and then stops.
His anger bubbles over. Why should he save a man who cared for someone else's son more then his own flesh and blood? His father has wronged him once too many times. Thor's anger covers him like a coat, like a storm building within his chest.
Thor lets Laufey kill Odin.
The guards return to the golden prince of Asgard above Laufey, the jotun's blood coating his waist and the bed where his late father now sleeps in- eternally.
Frigga weeps, holds her boy close and kisses his tears away.
His, though, are that of rage, not of remorse.
Not of regret.
Never of regret.
He attempts to fetch Mjolnir for his brother. These mortals he is with- they are easily convinced to help him. Stupid fools, he thinks.
Midgard is beautiful, it is too bad it is covered with mortals.
Loki thinks he'd like it better if there were none on it.
His attempts to retrieve Mjolnir go sourly. He tells Jane to fetch help from someone, (the only mortal who is not an idiot here is Jane, it seems), if he does not return within the hour.
He does not return within the hour.
Or the hour after that.
He is caught by mere mortals, hauled to a chair and they speak to him, ask him questions over and over. He answers none of them- gives them not the satisfaction.
They leave him- merely for a few minutes- and when he is finally free of them, alone, the room sparkles and his brother appears before him.
I came to say goodbye, Brother, he says and Loki pales. Goodbye? Thor, please, tell me of what goes on, has Father recon-
Father is dead.
The words sink in, quickly, drag Loki down with them.
Laufey- His brother shakes his head. Your mistakes followed us home, brother. Loki squeaks, swallows the lump in his throat, and hides his face in his hands.
May I come home? The funeral- Mother must-
Mother forbids it. She is Queen now, upon Father's death, and she has said she does not want a bastard frost giant for a son any longer.
Frost giant? Loki's heart sinks, his shoulders heave and he can not speak.
I am sorry you had to find out this way, Brother, Thor continues and the golden prince leans in close to place a hand on his shoulder. I think she is wrong, Brother. Race of monsters or not- you will always be my brother and I will always love you. There is a ghost of a smile on his face, Loki does not see it. She can not be Queen forever, I will bring you home upon my coronation, I swear it.
And like that, his brother is gone.
Father is dead and Mother hates him.
Loki is trapped on Midgard.
It is strange, he thinks, how the god of lies can so easily fall for them.
Thor thinks that perhaps the Midgardians were wrong about Loki.
Mjolnir rejects him, will not allow him to touch her.
Thor comes home, King of Asgard, and decides he will have a weapon far superior to Mjolnir made.
Mjolnir was fit for a prince. This new weapon will be fit for a king.
Frigga sends the Warriors Three after Loki- secretly. Thor has forbidden his return but, in a time of mourning, a mother must have both her sons.
She is certain Thor will understand.
Heimdall's blood boils beneath his fingers. A Midgardian town burns far below, the Destroyer only stopped in its path of destruction by the magic of his younger brother.
He wishes to return home- wishes to face him.
Thor allows him to.
He learns of the woman during their fight. Sees her visage before his eyes and screams. He will kill her, laugh as he does so-
But no, a better idea enters his head and Loki wails as the bifrost crumbles beneath Thor's might.
He miscalculates the force of the blast- or he does not calculate at all. He sees red, sees red and leaps at his brother, aiming to pin him beneath him and make him see that he was the better son all along. All of Asgard thought this, why could his parents not?
Loki moves though, always fast on his feet, his little brother, and instead Thor sails over the crumbled edge of the bifrost. He scrambles for a hold, something to pull him home-
Brother! Loki cries, I am coming- I am coming!
And he will not be saved by the likes of Loki. Thor never needs saving. A King does not require saving.
The golden son of Asgard should not be saved- especially not by the sickly younger prince.
He lets go instead and laughs when Loki screams for him.
Loki and Thor do not meet again until after the void. After Thor holds the Tesseract and the blood of Midgardians underneath his feet. A man in metal armor screams at them and a man in blue screams as well. Thor laughs at them both, holds Loki tight by the throat and asks him how Kingdhood feels. Asks of Asgard. Of Family.
How is Mother?
He laughs harder.
He does not fight them- not much- when they capture him after the battle, merely traces a finger across the blood staining Loki's face and smiles.
Now there is no one to love you more then I, Brother, He says and Loki wonders when it all went wrong.
Stark speaks of alternate worlds, one day, where things are different. People aren't the same.
Loki wonders how his brother fairs in an alternate world.
Wonder how he fairs.
He wonders if it is better there.
If there are stories of golden haired princes and frost giant kings there, as well.
If Thor loves him such worlds, too.