Loki closed his eyes and dropped onto the couch with a deep sigh. He pressed his fingers into his forehead, gently massaging at the ball of tension. Life on Sakaar had been, well, not as great as before, but it was still better than what he had on Asgard.
At least, that’s what he told himself.
Korg, the gigantic pile of talking rocks, had saved him from the annoying electric disk that Thor had slapped on him when they had started their revolution. While he had been lying there, he’d considered a lot of what Thor had said to him, and while a part of him - the part of him that rebelled at the thought of Thor leaving him behind - desperately wished to rush straight to Asgard to help his brother, another part of him railed against the idea.
No, he had told himself, he wasn’t going to give into Thor’s whims just because. He’d done more than enough of that his entire lifetime. He had compromised in the end, and had sent Korg and his band of revolutioners after his brother, giving them directions to Asgard, and returned to the heart of Sakaar.
Life had been perfectly fine on the planet up until two days ago, when the Grandmaster, who he had rescued from being captured and beaten to death by mercenaries, had abruptly paled and disappeared. All the feelings about staying on Sakaar that he’d shoved to the back of his mind came bursting out once again. Because as much as he told himself that staying on Sakaar was the best thing he could do for himself and for his brother, he knew the primary reason why he didn’t want to go back. And it was the same reason that the Grandmaster had suddenly disappeared.
Loki gritted his teeth. The mad Titan had haunted him for years. He’d tried his best to scatter the stones that he’d recovered across the galaxy in hopes that it would slow the Titan down. When he ruled as Odin, he’d strengthened the defences of the Asgardian Vault, had made a trip down to Xandar (under a guise of course) and added his own protections to the vault which protected the power orb, had ensured that the Aether was delivered to the Collector himself and had made sure to keep a keen eye on Midgard, where two of the stones resided. As much as he hated the Midgardian sorcerer - Really? Calling himself the Sorcerer Supreme when he barely had any training? - he had to admit that the mortal did a good job of keeping the Eye safe.
Apparently, all of his efforts had been for naught. The fact that the Grandmaster vanished with such a panicked look on his face meant only one thing: the Collector was in trouble. Though this information wasn’t general knowledge, Loki knew of the relationship between the Grandmaster and the Collector. And he knew that the Collector being in trouble could only mean one thing, that Thanos had finally found the Aether in his possession.
Loki sighed again. Ever since the Grandmaster had disappeared, he’d been on guard. Life on Sakaar continued as per normal but Loki was - as the mortals said - waiting for the other shoe to drop.
And drop it did.
Early this morning, he was confronted with a blade to his neck. Had he not been somewhat expecting such a reception, the individual in question would have been met with a vicious curse. As it was, Loki had merely nailed on his mask of nonchalance, while his mind whirled at the implications of coming face to face with the Valkyrie once again.
This brought him to the situation he found himself in now.
“We only managed to escape with half of the Asgardian population that we managed to evacuate from Hela’s attack.” Valkyrie was saying, a look of utter distaste on her face as she spoke to him.
Her bitterness stemmed from the unpleasant knowledge that Loki was the only person left that she could ask for help.
“And you say Thor destroyed Asgard?” Loki asked defeatedly, rubbing his eyes tiredly. It wasn’t a surprise, honestly. It was such a Thor solution to just destroy his enemy and everything else in his path.
“Yes.” Came the terse reply. “Are you going to help or not? We don’t know where Thor is, and we need a place for the Asgardians to stay while we regroup.” The Valkyrie crossed her arm and scowled, “They’re your people asshole, the least you could do is help them.”
The dark look that Loki leveled at her sent shivers down her spine, but she straightened in response, willing herself not to show any weakness.
The heavy feeling passed when Loki looked away, rubbing the tips of his fingers together thoughtfully. “I need to find Thor first. Knowing the idiot, he will most likely be gunning after Thanos -"
“Are you hearing what I’m saying?” Valkyrie interrupted, her body tense with anger, “Thor was on that ship delaying Thanos and his people, he’s dead! The entire ship was nothing but wreckage, I know because I saw the damn wreckage. You don’t think that we didn't go back to search for Thor?”
Loki narrowed his eyes at her, “Thor isn’t dead, I would know that.”
“And how in the nine realms would you know? You've been stuck here on this forsaken planet drinking your way through your days! What, just because you’re brothers and you have this special connection -"
“Because I placed a spell on him idiot!” Loki snapped, “He won't die because my spell is meant to protect him. So the only reason why he wasn’t part of the wreckage is either because he left or someone else found him! And if Thor wakes up, there is only one person he will hunt for, in revenge for those who are dead.”
Valkyrie faltered, realizing perhaps for the first time that there was more to Loki and to the relationship he shared with Thor than she first acknowledged.
Loki took a deep breath, “I’ll assign an entire wing where the victors of the ring normally stay, get the Asgardians there and settle them in, it's not like you don't know the way. I’ll go find Thor, and then we’ll settle Thanos once and for all.”
“I’ll come with you.”
Loki shook his head, “No, you’ll stay here with the Asgardians. Korg is a nice person yes, perhaps too nice. But he is a stranger who has no ties to Asgard and no obligation to help her people. You on the other hand,” the god of mischief stood up and stalked towards her, his mouth twisted in a grim line, “You swore an oath to protect Asgard and her people. I’m asking you to respect that oath now.”
Valkyrie stared back at him, searching his eyes for any lies. Finding none, she nodded, hoping that he wouldn’t just screw them over.
Thor breathed heavily, glaring at the being who was responsible for all the death and destruction that had occurred. He had managed - barely - to shove Thanos away from Vision, the android crumpling to the ground, but the mind stone remaining in his head. The other Avengers had quickly taken Vision away while Thor kept the Titan occupied, but Thanos matched him blow for blow. Stormbreaker gave him an edge that just allowed him to barely be able to withstand Thanos’ attacks.
Now, Thor stood, shoulder to shoulder with his fellow Avengers - and some new faces - with Thanos on the opposite side, standing in front of his alien army. The Titan grinned as more ships descended.
Thor could feel the despair in his mortal shieldbrothers and sisters at the sight of even more enemies, but for him, they only filled him with even more rage and fueled his desire for vengeance.
The Titan gestured, and the aliens screamed and snarled, rushing forward again. Thor hefted his axe, his body crackling with the power of his element. Right before he leapt into the air, he felt an icy cold wind whip across his face. Startled, he remained where he stood, watching in confusion - like everyone around him - as the air grew colder.
A loud roar cracked across the field, and Thor watched with undisguised fascination as thick layers of ice swept across the army of aliens, freezing them mid-motion. Thanos raised his gauntlet, a shimmering barrier appearing right as the ice rushed around him, freezing his remaining children. The Avengers tensed, anticipating being frozen but Thor wasn’t worried. The ice stopped several meters from where Thanos was standing.
In the hush that fell over the entire field, the sound of ice crunching under boots echoed around the area. All their heads snapped towards the source of the sound, but only Thor had the slowly growing smile on his face.
From the depths of the forest, a figure strode out confidently, a pair of gleaming horns curving over his head. Two wickedly sharp daggers were held loosely in either hands. The figure’s cape fluttered behind him, a bright yellow contrasting starkly with the dark navy armor the figure wore.
Beside him, Steve hissed under his breath in recognition.
Thor allowed the blooming smile to mature into a full out grin. Something like hope burned in his chest, and despite what his fellow friends might think, Thor knew that there was one reason why Loki was here. It meant that Valkyrie had managed to reach his brother, and that his brother had willingly come despite what happened between them on Sakaar.
When Thanos turned to Loki, who had a devious smirk on his face, Thor felt a surge of protectiveness and snarled, leaping into the air and slamming into Thanos’ barrier in a split second. That drew the titan’s attention away from his brother, but before Thanos could retaliate, Loki suddenly appeared right behind him, his fingers digging into the barrier.
A heartbeat, two - the barrier shattered into tiny shards.
With the strength of the storm behind him, Thor swung Stormbreaker, blasting Thanos with a huge bolt of lightning, sending the Titan crashing into some ice sculptures of his army.
Thor glanced at his brother, “Shall we?”
Loki grinned in response, his daggers manifesting in his hands again, gesturing at the Titan, “After you.”
Thor laughed and leapt towards Thanos just as the Titan was getting up, the blade of his axe digging painfully into the titan’s armor. In the chaos of Thor’s frontal assault, Loki slipped between them and stabbed deeply into the area under Thanos’ arm. The Titan snarled in pain, but Loki was already whirling away, a hand brushing against the gauntlet. Thor jumped off the Titan, the two brothers diving to one side each as Thanos activated the power stone. The energy from the stone dug a deep groove into the ground, and Thor sincerely hoped that his friends had gotten out of the way. With little hesitation, he threw himself back into battle, always leading the frontal assault with Loki weaving in and out of the battle like the snake he loved to turn into.
Frustrated, Thanos growled and the Aether flashed. Alarmed, Thor pedaled backwards, knowing that to get caught up in the Reality stone was dangerous -
Loki appeared in front of him, his hands seemingly catching the red tendrils.
“Loki!” Thor choked, but his brother ignored him.
Loki bared his teeth at Thanos and twisted his hands around the crimson tendrils, flinging his hands to either side in a tearing motion.
“Impossible...” Thanos sneered, disbelieving.
Loki grinned sharply, “I am the greatest sorcerer of the Nine Realms,” he hissed, his seidr curling around him visibly, “Manipulating a little reality is nothing but child’s play.”
In the end it goes like this:
Working in tandem, Loki and Thor slowly drove Thanos back, the god of thunder withstood the behemoth's attack, while the god of mischief and trickery slipped in and out of the shadows, turning the power of the stones back on their current user. It ends with a simple plan. Loki spotted an opening in Thanos' defence and exploited it. He comes up in front of the Titan's left hand, positioning one hand above the other with the palms facing each other and twisted -
A cerulean chest appeared in his hands, and Loki savoured the shock in Thanos' eyes as he flipped the lid open. The Casket roared with power and Loki kept it open long enough to freeze Thanos completely before shutting it, his arms a deep navy blue. Stepping aside, he allowed his brother to bring his axe down from over his head, severing Thanos' arm at the elbow. The thunder god growled and twisted the axe, swinging upwards.
Loki stepped to the side, nudging the Gauntlet with his feet as Stormbreaker's blade sliced cleanly through Thanos' neck, the alien's head smashing to the ground.
The seconds after that was filled with complete silence, a tinge of disbelief hanging in the air. He watched warily as Thor brought his axe down over Thanos' body over and over and over again until nothing but shards remained.
"Thor." He murmured, reaching out to press long fingers against his brother's arm, feeling the other god trembling beneath his hand. "That's enough."
Loki turned around, scowling when he realised that the Avengers were standing several feet behind them, approaching warily with their eyes fixed on him. Sneering, Loki eyed them, turning to subtly place himself between the mortals and Thor.
"That is my name, yes." He mocked, grinning as they tensed, aiming their weapons at him.
"What are you doing here?" Rogers demanded, his eyes flicking towards Thor momentarily.
Loki smirked, "Perhaps this is common on Midgard, but I would like to think you have a pair of working eyes and a functional brain Captain."
His smirk widened as the hero in question bristled defensively, the little spider assassin brandishing her weapon at him as well.
Before anyone could deal him violence, Loki suddenly found himself yanked backwards, his brother rising to his full height and glowering at his friends. With them sufficiently shocked at his willingness to defend Loki from them, Thor turned back to his brother.
Frowning slightly, he gave Thor a wary glance, wondering what the Thunderer was planning this time.
Whatever he had been expecting, he definitely did not expect Thor to drop his weapon and pull Loki to his chest.
The god of mischief was eternally grateful that his squeak of surprise had been muffled by Thor's armor. As it was, he froze, his hands in mid air as Thor gripped him tightly, burying his face into his hair.
"I was so angry," Thor confessed, uncaring about the audience that they had. "I was so, so angry when I realized that you didn't turn up on Asgard. I had hoped, wished that I had gotten through to you, that you would return to my side and fight beside me because I lied when I said I could let you go brother." The elder god shuddered and tightened his grip on his brother, "But I have never been more glad that you did not come back to Asgard," Thor continued, his voice low and broken, "because if you had been on that ship, Thanos would have killed you and I wouldn't be able to - I can't handle watching you die for a third time."
Loki closed his eyes and sighed, tension leaking out of his frame as he wrapped his arms around his brother, "Don't be insulting, you're talking as if I could lose to Thanos." He mocked, "I wouldn't. Clearly, in case you missed the entire battle earlier. In which case, the time stone is right. there."
Thor just grinned and squeezed his brother a little tighter, "I'm glad you came brother."
Loki rolled his eyes and quoted, "Because that's what heroes do right?"