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the crooked kind

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The first time Loki dies, Thor screams and screams and screams until Odin, having pulled him from certain doom off the very edges of the Bifrost, clamps a hand over Thor’s mouth. His cheeks shine with remnants of tear stains but he doesn’t speak.

Thor rolls onto his side and vomits. All he can remember is the look on Loki’s face — lost, forgotten, resigned. Odin doesn’t speak. Thor is glad.

(It’s the first time Thor has ever looked upon a corpse and felt ill; how fitting, he thinks, that Loki’s corpse isn’t even beside him, but a fading memory, falling further and further into the void.)


Days pass in a haze. Thor doesn’t leave his bed. Handmaidens flit to and fro, arriving at the break of dawn with succulent foods that wilt in the meager sunlight Thor allows to filter into his room.

There’s a break in the monotony when Loki reveals he’s alive — Thor practically bullies Odin into sending him to Midgard — and the two of them tussle, for lack of better wording, ‘til Thor has Loki clasped in chains and presented ‘fore Odin.


What point is there in visiting?

Loki shows no resignation.

Thor herds him into his new lodgings and shoves him to the ground, merciless. He glares at him, ignores Loki’s searching look, and leaves. He finds himself outside a tavern and before he knows it he’s ordering several rounds of ale.

Sif appears beside him, followed shortly by Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg. “Thor,” Sif begins, intercepting the mug of ale that the barkeep slides his way, “perhaps you best take a break.”

Thor does not glare — he stares at Sif for a long, long moment, considers her words; she who has never misled him, she who has stood by his side longer than most. He remembers the early moments of their passion and how her dedication never wavered even as her romantic feelings for him declined.

“I suppose,” he admits.


The second time that Loki dies, Thor has no time to mourn.

He cradles his brother in his arms as Loki’s skin deteriorates to a sickly pallor. His brother gasps, chokes on his own air, and dies, slowly, in Thor’s arms, his dead, aimless eyes staring at Thor in an almost accusatory manner.

Thor screams — no, he roars, his agony shaking and splintering the ground around him for miles, yet. Thunder rumbles and lightning strikes around him until Thor manages to calm himself down, somewhat, and then he drops to his knees and heaves and heaves and heaves until he reaches some semblance of calm, of okay, of — of bearable.

Jane places her palm on Thor’s shoulder, her touch hesitant, afraid. Thor relaxes minutely and closes his eyes, resigning himself to the task at hand.


When they’re young, Thor drags Loki to Iðunn’s orchard and convinces Loki to assist Thor in snatching a handful of apples. “She won’t notice,” Thor reasons, “she has so many apples already, brother!”

Loki casts a glance at Iðunn’s farm and frowns but, upon looking at Thor’s eager look, finds himself wilting. “Oh, alright,” he says, pursing his lips, “but if we’re found — ”

“ — then I’ll submit!” Thor says, far too cheery. Loki stares at him and wonders how he manages to remain so optimistic, so — daring, he thinks, especially considering every single unauthorized hunt or adventure he goes on results in punishment, but Thor smiles at him with those damnable dimples of his and Loki summarily forgets every argument simmering in his brain.


The third time that Loki dies, Thor is hardened.

There’s no — there’s no — Thor doesn’t hold Loki as he dies. He strains against Thanos’ bonds, screaming into the metal gag shoved into his mouth, as Thanos tightens his grip around Loki’s neck, as the Titan stares deep into Loki’s eyes and then squeezes, a loud and sickening pop echoing around the room before Thanos casts Loki’s motionless form to the ground.

Thanos disappears soon after and Thor can think of nothing more than crawling towards Loki's corpse, of collapsing atop it, cradling Loki to his chest in an effort of providing some semblance of warmth.

“I’m sorry,” Thor gasps, as the ship begins to splinter and explode around them; he can’t even begin to think about the casualties, about Korg, or Valkyrie, or Heimdall. He cradles his brother closer and lets loose a sob, clutching at Loki’s chest. “Oh, fuck, Loki, no,” he heaves, “I’m sorry, no, no, no, no, no.”

I’m sorry, he thinks, I’m sorry for doubting you — I’m sorry for hating you — I’m sorry for never taking a chance, for never making an effort, for never believing — I’d take it all back, no, no, no —

“I’m so sorry,” Thor sobs, and then the ship crumbles, splinters, explodes around him, and Thor drifts, weightless, until the rabbit captain and his crew find him.


Thor waits.

A major battle is expected of him, yet, and he will give it his all — but he feels calm, almost, whenever he thinks of the after.

He’ll see his family again, he knows.

Thor tightens his grip on Stormbreaker. So long as he has weapon in hand, he’ll be fine.