Thor’s not sure how he would describe the moment where Thanos’ bloodthirsty eyes lose their shine and dull into a lifeless grey. He feels nothing spectacular. He looks at the gaping hole in Thanos’ stomach, drags his eyes towards where Thanos’ arm slid away during combat.
Such a victorious moment and yet Thor can summon nothing more than the perfunctory it’s done.
They repossess the stones so that the souls sucked into the gauntlet may escape. On the cliff in Vormir, Thor looks away when Steve and Tony realize what it means to become worthy of the soul stone. He doesn’t listen to the conversation that follows.
He does, however, listen to the silence — the sound of a body falling, falling, falling — and then he steps forward and places a hand on Steve’s shoulder. Thor has seen enough death but even he is not so heartless as to ignore the broken sobs Steve tries to hide.
(Thor thinks of the first time, when Loki let go of Gungnir and Thor watched as he fell into the abyss, the agony, the fucking — the agony.)
No words need be said. No words can be said.
Steve looks over the precipice of the cliff and stares down at the shattered body below. Thor doesn’t try to stop him, simply looks down with him, memorizes the irregularly twisted limbs, the pool of blood, the content look on Tony’s face.
A true hero, he thinks.
Wanda disappears. Thor knows not where. He doesn’t press; he barely knows her, as is, but the haunted look in her eyes when she’s resurrected speaks volumes.
The youngest one — Peter — crumbles when he hears about Tony. He’s inconsolable, locks himself into a room in the tower, refuses entry to anyone who comes near. Thor grows impatient after several days — he tries, is the thing, he tries so hard to be patient — but eventually he forces the door open.
Peter looks up. He’s lying on his bed, curled into a ball, and he looks absolutely awful. Any impatience or irritation Thor felt disappears and, feeling his shoulders drop, he makes his way to the bed so he can perch on the very edge.
For a while, neither of them speak. Peter looks away and resumes his earlier position and Thor looks around the room and sees trays of untouched food. He stares at Peter’s form — skinny, pale, trembling — and retrieves one of the trays. He wraps Peter in a pseudo-headlock and begins to force-feed him. Peter splutters and kicks out but Thor shushes him, makes calming noises, and eventually Peter is collapsed, limp, against his side, crying softly and chewing the food Thor presses to his mouth.
(Nick Fury orders each of them to attend counseling sessions. After several weeks, half of the team adjusts to new meds. Thor, immune to Midgardian medicines, engages in dialectical behavioral therapy. He’s surprised by its effectiveness.)
Carol Danvers arrives like the sun forcing its way through an unconquerable thunderstorm. She kicks ass, she takes names, she flings Thanos around like he weighs nothing and then, after, she stands aside, keeps her distance.
Thor feels her eyes on him. A lifetime ago, he would have flirted with her, would have invited her to bed — but he’s tired, he’s so tired, and all he can think about is loss. Carol looks at him like she understands.
“War fucking sucks, huh,” she mutters, once, as they both watch the SHIELD clean-up crew scrape alien viscera off the pavement. “Never gets easier.”
Thor had grown up spoiled, is the thing.
He never wanted for materials; as the shining Son of Odin, Prince of the Nine Realms, Golden Heir to Asgard, and God of Thunder, he never found himself lacking, whether it be with physical goods or physical needs. There was always someone or something willing to satisfy him and he grew up believing wholeheartedly in his and his family’s own eternity.
Frigga dying knocked his world askew. He had no time to grieve before the battle against Malekith intensified and then he was holding Loki’s corpse in his arms, sobbing, begging him to stay alive, and then Jane’s hand was on his shoulder, insistently tugging him away as the land around them began to shudder and quake.
Thor never had time to mourn. Ultron posed a threat against Midgard and Thor answered the call. He ignored his own demons and protected Midgard, as he would, again and again, without question — Midgardians, he thinks, humans are so full of life, so full of spirit. He adores them. He relates to them.
And then Thor departed to investigate his dream, and then — then it all came to a head. It reached its own end. Eternity, Thor thinks, how foolish — everything has an end, an eventuality, and — and —
— Loki breathed his last mere moments ago but Thor feels as though he’s cold, already. He’s touched so many corpses in his life but this feels different, this feels — he traces Loki’s cheek with his finger and Loki feels so dead, he feels so fucking dead, dead in a way that no illusion could convince him, he feels like a fucking corpse and Thor inhales, suddenly, strangled —
“No,” he breathes, “no, no, no, no, Loki, oh, no,” and he sobs, he roars, he muffles his cries into Loki’s cold chest and thinks, But I had yet to say I forgave him.
I didn’t yet tell him I loved him.
Did he know I’d do anything for him?
It isn’t easy.
Steve retires. He disappears. Bucky picks up the mantle of Captain America and he fights with Falcon by his side, the two of them working flawlessly, fluidly, until Thor feels like he’s intruding whenever he catches them interacting in private.
Peter focuses on school. Asking him to retire would be futile. He deals with his own shit but when he needs it, Thor appears.
Thor isn’t sure where to go, from here.
He swings Stormbreaker, idle. Sets it down. Strips off his armor and puts on a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants before he settles onto the couch to watch Cupcake Wars.
Okay, he thinks. Okay.