The God of Mischief tends towards the dramatic, leans over the fence separating lackadaisical morals and happiness to indulge in a little double standard to get his own way. Growing up in Thor’s shadow meant he had to reach further and further outwards to be seen, to be noticed.
It was almost inevitable he would stop running that razor sharp edge and tip into full blown evil.
Evil is subjective, though. What Thor considers evil, Loki feels is his birthright.
When does birthright become burden, or betrayal, or even brutality in the pursuit of glory?
Despite his hatred of all that Thor stands for, he still winces every time his brother lays disappointment at his feet and is unable to meet his gaze.
When Thor recoils with sadness at the loss of a friend born of family, Loki feels his heart contract and crack.
Some days Sam awakes to the sounds of those he’s helped into their ever after; they haunt him, they ring in his ears as if they were perched at the end of his bed, waiting for him to rise just so they can screech their hatred into his sleep addled mind.
As villainous actions go, Sam’s have always been one part misguidance, one part good intention, but as they say - the road to hell, whilst fun to triptrap along, is paved with intentions borne of faith in the idea that you can better a design set out eons ago.
Dean assures Sam that it’s all fast flowing water under a very sturdy bridge, but the younger Winchester doesn’t believe a word of it.
That bridge is rickety and full of broken struts, just waiting for a rotted through piece of wood to capture and snap his ankle.
Evil is a loose but huge concept, one that would blow the average Joe’s mind, but Sam’s never been average.
There’s a spark of something dark spinning within his soul, a kernel of pain that keeps expanding ever outwards.
One day, Sam fears that vast black nothingness will overtake his sorrow for all that’s gone before, and soul or no, he’ll be the thing Azazel threatened. A leader of an army that will overtake the world with it’s shaky grasp of morality and the ability to strip flesh from bone like peeling an apple.
Brothers are an interesting breed of infuriating creature.
Loki is evil.
Loki is death and destruction.
Loki is still his blood, despite the absence of any shared genetic coding.
Thor wants to believe that Loki will one day become who he was destined to be, but predestination is probably linked to those genetics Thor actively likes to try and ignore. When does nature versus nurture stop being an experiment and start ending universes?
And when will Thor be willing to admit, to himself if no one else, that the darkness he sees in Loki only worries him so because he can taste it’s counterpart on the tip of his own tongue?
Evil begets evil.
Love begets love.
When did love begetting evil become so tangible?
Thor fears one day he will reach out into the void and come face to face with his own long-cast shadow - if Loki isn’t already the very embodiment of that….
There are moments where Sam’s in a world of his own making, the nightmare of his imagination and memories mingled together, and Dean finds himself almost incapable of reaching out and offering respite and reassurance, despite his physical need to do so.
Not because Sam is an intrinsically evil human being, not because the actions that have gone before have tainted the here and now, because when Dean says all is forgiven, all really is forgiven.
The truth is what he sees playing out on Sam’s slack features is the mirror image of his own inner world.
When Dean told Sam he wasn’t sure if he could forgive or trust him all those years ago, there was a not so quiet voice in the back of the older Winchester’s head screaming hypocrite and running a video show of moments where he has stepped off the edge of reason, and called it justice.
Dean wonders, constantly, if his continued stance atop the moral high ground is simply because he doesn’t want to admit he’s just as much to blame for the actions of his baby brother that led to desolation and despair, or if perhaps Sam hadn’t walked those pathways, he might have.
It’s always easier to look outwards than inwards, especially when inwards opens up a nightmare vista Dean’s been trying to hold at bay for more years than he can count.
They don’t hate us, but they’re afraid they’ll become us.