Everything had gone horribly wrong. Loki claimed the mind of Stark. And soon after, the others followed. Each falling, one by one, to that wretched staff. Natasha was the last of the Midgardian warriors to fall, fighting to the bitter end. It wasn't until Stark, Barton and Rogers pinned her down together that Loki was able to claim her.
So when Thor landed on the deck of Stark Tower to face his brother, to demand he stop the madness he wrought, Loki was not alone. Instead of facing only one, he faced six. Even with the Hulk among them, it was nothing he could not handle. He'd faced a thousand Jotuns, each twice the size of Banner's current state, and survived. But these were his friends, his allies.
While he fought them off, trying to keep them away without causing fatal injury, he lost sight of Loki. He was losing this fight. He needed to risk it. He knew how they fought, what they could take. He smashed Stark with his hammer with enough force to throw the armored man off the tower. But before he could shift the momentum to Banner, something cold closed around his wrist.
He twisted, trying to yank his arm free, but another caught his other wrist. And as it closed, he felt something pass through him. A jolt. A disconnect.
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!"
Before he could demand further, cold metal was forced between his teeth, drawing tight around his face. His friends grabbed at him, halting his struggles as slender hands closed the latch. His heart sank. What had merely been a distance from his power, became something far more solid. A glass wall. He could sense it, feel it still there. But he could not reach it.
The devices he'd brought to block Loki's power, should he resist returning to Asgard. Now used on him.
"Take him inside," Loki commanded from behind him.
Hours passed. He could only watch, helpless, as the city burned. More and more of Loki's army descended upon it. Destroying it.
He was bound with thick leather straps. Guarded at all times by at least two of his friends. Should he try to leave, or even move, they were not afraid to use as much force as possible. He'd learned that when his first attempt fight them, bound though he was, was met with a blast from Stark's weapons. The next, one of Barton's arrows, mere inches from his face.
He had nowhere to go. No one to turn to. His only chance was to reason with his brother. But how could he do that when he could not speak? But what chance did he have? The moment Loki arrived, he would shove that staff against his chest and turn him into little more than another slave. Unable to disobey.
Loki strode into the room, pulling his helmet off. He was battle weary, but had about him the air of a confident general, recently returned from victory. He handed the helmet to Natasha.
"Bring him to me," the trickster commanded, motioning to Thor with his staff.
Thor was hauled to his feet by Stark and Barton. He refused to move on his own. Refused to obey his brother's command. "Damn, this is one heavy son of a bi--" His complaint was quickly silenced by a sharp glance from Loki.
They threw Thor at Loki's feet, the thunderer landing in an undignified heap. He started to get up, awkward without the assistance of his arms. Fury burning in his eyes.
"Kneel." Loki said, his voice cold as the world he'd come from.
But Thor did not listen. He continued to rise, meeting Loki's gaze, defiantly. He could feel burning hot tears on his cheeks, mixing with the half dried blood from his earlier fight.
Before Thor could fully right himself, before he found his balance, Loki pressed the blunt end of the staff to Thor's head. Forcing him back down to his knees. With his power so cut off, Loki proved superior in sheer strength for once.
"I said kneel!" He growled out between his teeth.
Thor struggled to pull away, to get to his feet, but the staff stayed firmly against his scalp, keeping him on the floor. He kept his eyes up, on Loki's face. Defiant and unafraid. This was the coward's way.
"Now I know what you're thinking, dear brother..." Loki said, practically purring with delight. He traded the pressure of the staff for grabbing a fistful of Thor's hair. "That I will turn your mind, as I have the others," He lowered himself into a crouch so he could press the sharp point of the staff against Thor's heart.
This was it. Ice clawed at him from the inside, but he refused to let it show. The heat of his rage melting the cold bite of fear.
"But that is where you are wrong." Loki tightened his grasp, forcing Thor's head back. The blade shifted, pressing under his chin. "I will force you to watch. Watch as your friends aid me in claiming not only this city, but this entire realm. And then, only then, when you are the last free creature on this wretched planet, will I claim your mind. And then, together we will take Asgard. And I will have my rightful place upon the throne!"
In seeing the malice and madness up on his brothers face with these words, Thor could no longer hide the fear that tore at him with vicious claws. He tried to cry out from behind the muzzle, demanding Loki stop this. It was not necessary. He could return to Asgard without harming anyone else. He pushed forward, an intent to tackle Loki as best he could. Violence being his only fall-back now that words had failed him.
He broke the grip on his hair, but before he could collide with his brother, he was struck across the face. The blunt end of the staff hit his cheek with such force, he was sent sliding across the floor.
"Contain him," Loki commanded, moving for the door. "Until we find a better means of control."