"Thanos! You have no need of my brother, let him go and I shall deal with him. Asgardian justice will see to it he is punished." Thor stood forward slightly, not taking his eyes off Loki, who was glaring back at him with those eyes full of self importance.
"And why would I do that? He is a much valuable asset of mine."
"You said yourself, he has failed you. There is no need for you to deal with him, I am offering you time." What was Thor thinking of? Why did they want to give their enemy time, and why not just let the monster deal with his minion; it was more than he deserved.
Thanos laughed, an evil sound that put even Loki's maniacal one to shame. "I won't touch Loki not until I make him kill you, slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear and then he'll wake just long enough to see his good work and when he screams I'll split his skull."
Natasha took a breath in, shock she never usually allowed to show on her otherwise chiseled face. The rest of the team turned to face her with questioning and worried gazes. "He said that..."
"Who?" Barton was closest to her, it was evident he wanted to comfort her but he held back, knowing now was not the time and she would resent him for it.
"Loki. He said the exact same about you, towards me."
"It just sounds similar because they're both murderous fucking lunatics." Barton shot the insult in the direction of the two crazed aliens.
"No, he said those words, exactly. 'I won't touch Barton, not until I make him kill you, slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear and then he'll wake just long enough to see his good work and when he screams I'll split his skull, that is my bargain you mewling quim.'" A few tears stained her cheeks, replaying the memory over.
"Mewling quim...he called you that. I have to hand it to you reindeer games, you got sass." Tony sarcastically clapped in Loki's direction, before having his hands slapped down by Steve.
Thanos smiled, before turning to Loki. He whispered something in the god's ear, so that none of them could hear. Loki smiled, his eyes glowing a brighter blue just for a few split seconds, before he nodded and walked towards the group, his sights set on Thor.
Whether it was fear, intrigue or sentiment, but Thor did not move, even as his evil ex brother came stalking towards him. Loki reached up and placed a gentle hand on Thor's cheek, a caring action to anyone not in the loop. "You always were the one I looked up to, my big brother, the one I knew i could go to, the one to protect me. And now....now it makes me sick! You babied me and treated me as the runt I was, I lived in your shadow, the younger prince that everyone knew would never amount to anything. There was no love towards me, only pity, even Mother did so to keep me at peace. Do not lie to me when you say you loved me, do not lie to me when you say I am your brother no matter my parentage."
Within seconds, the hand held on Thor's face seemed to shoot energy or some form of magic into his body, for he convulsed in agony, stood on the spot, not unlike a man on the electrocutioners chair. It did look like lightning being shot into the thunderer's body, but that could not harm him, he was the master of storms. His screams shattered the glass of the penthouse, caused cracks in the walls and reduced every non 'alien' person in the room to shivering wrecks on the floor, covering their bleeding ears.
The screaming stopped when Loki took his hand away from his 'brothers' face. A number of the team tried to get up and run towards the pair but a force field- likely put there by Loki or Thanos- stopped them in their tracks. Now, Loki produced a knife out of thin air, a beautiful thing from what could be seen of it, a dark silver, almost black number, inlaid with emeralds, with the form of a dragon snaking its way around the hilt. He first cut away Thor's cape, then stripped him of the top most part of his armour, leaving him in just his leathers. "I strip you of your armour, just as father did in your exile, you really are nothing more than a worthless, pathetic boy, who likes to destroy things out of anger."
Tony scoffed. "Sounds familiar." Loki turned to him. "All I'm saying is that you two are a lot more alike than you'd like to think."
"When I am done with him, you are next Stark." Loki turned back to Thor. Turning the knife over in his hand so the blade was in his palm (did that not hurt him), he hit the hilt with all his force into the soft spot of Thor's head, over and over again, moving to the temples and crown of his hair. Blood began pouring from the wounds immediately and stained Thor's face like the markings of battle ready soldiers. Before long- Loki seemed to be getting bored- he simply turned the knife over so the blade was pointing towards Thor's chest. The movement was swift and precise, an exact representation of Loki's own movements, with one short push, the blade entered Thor's unprotected chest. The weapon glowed a sickening green/gold colour, before blood began spilling from Thor's mouth. Loki released the knife, turned, and walked back to Thanos, pride swelling on his face.
It was clear to anyone what had happened, the blade was enchanted to kill even the strongest Aesir, it had pierced Thor's lung and he would either bleed out or stop breathing within the next few minutes. Loki spun on his heel next to Thanos, like a puppy to it's master and smiled at the fallen Prince.
"Well done my boy, you have done me proud. Now...." He stepped forward, placing a hand on Loki's face, not dissimilar to how Loki had done minutes before to Thor. "You may have failed me, but you did well." It was sort of sweet, in a none creepy as fuck way, how Loki looked happy, like he had finally accomplished something in life. Had Asgard really been that harsh to him?
Blue, the same blue as the Tesseract, shot down Thanos' arm and into Loki, causing him to flinch. His eyes grew bluer than any of them had ever seen before, before he slumped slightly, making himself smaller than they were used to. When Thanos let go and stepped back, Loki slowly looked up from the floor. They all drew in a breath; his eyes were green!
Mere seconds later, his eyes fell on the dying figure of Thor and the blood soaked dagger clattered to the floor as he dropped it in complete and utter shock. "NO! NO!" He tried to run forward, but Thanos grabbed his arm, pulling him back. He screamed, not out of pain but frustration and grief, almost as if the end result had been a threat all along.
"I warned you. If you fail me, i would take what you held precious, little one."
Loki continued to scream, tears flowing down his face, repeating Thor's name over and over again. "I'm so sorry! I'm sorry....sorry....."
"Ssshhh, ssshhhh now..." Thanos placed his hands on either side of Loki's face, much like a mother comforting their child, using their thumbs to stroke away the tears. He walked around the broken god, moving from in front of him to behind, but never taking his hands off his face. With one move, even quicker than that of Loki stabbing Thor, he snapped the neck of the adopted Odinson. Loki dropped like a stone, completely still on the floor, as unmoving as Mjolnir being lifted by a petty mortal. Now it was Thor's turn to scream, however much in pain he was, he still managed to throw his hammer in the direction of the Titan. It missed, of course, and put a new even bigger hole in Tony's interior than Loki's hulk smash had done.
"I hate to leave when the party is just beginning...but it is not yet time for me to stand against you. I shall give you time to grieve, for both Gods, before showing you how to really take over the world." He disappeared from the room, along with all his creepy companions, leaving a very deadly silence.
"He was under his control the whole time?" Bruce spoke out, almost sympathetically.
"We don't know that, it could all have been a trick." Of course Barton was skeptical.
"You saw it with your own eyes...Hawkeye!" Tony put emphasis on the name to elaborate his point.
"Do. Not. Fight....Please." Thor's breaths were coming in even shorter gasps than before, and stringing together a sentence, no matter how small, was becoming one difficult task. "Call for Heimdall, he shall send someone. Please allow my brother's body and mine to be taken back to Asgard, and please tell my Father the truth, so Loki is not thrown away like a traitor."
It was only 2 minutes before the life left Thor, but it seemed hours to the other Avengers. He slipped silently into sleep, saying Loki's name over and over again, but with a smile on his lips. "Maybe Loki was waiting for him?" Steve spoke softly as he laid the now useless Mjolnir on Thor's body.
"Yeah, and seems that no-one can possess the power of Thor if he's...passed on." Tony nodded towards the hammer that now weighed nothing more than a feather.
"What do we do now?" Natasha stood up and walked over to Loki, there was a sad look on her face. She was known to save anyone in peril, yet she missed the one staring her straight in the face.
"We lay them to rest, say our own goodbye's and then call to Asgard. It wouldn't be right to just send them off without giving our own sentiments." Bruce had joined Natasha, he had sensed a minute connection with Loki, probably because of the whole 'monster' thing, but now he wished he could have really gotten to know the god.
"And who in the nine realms are you?" Tony was staring at a young girl, maybe around 17, dressed in black, dark purples and reds, similar to the goths he saw at vampire weekends. It had been 2 days since Thor and Loki's deaths and the group were still grieving- weirdly enough, for both of the gods.
"You know about the nine realms?" The girl smiled.
"I know a bit, Thor taught me some. Plus it's more polite than saying 'oh my god' according to Pepper." He rolled his eyes at the thought.
The other avengers joined to room, pulling out weapons and aiming them at the slightly ghostly looking girl.
"I am Hela." When no response came, she continued, "The ruler of death, in sorts. It's a little more complicated, but to make it so your little minds can process it."
"So you're like Hades? Does your hair catch fire when you're angry?" Tony smiled, he had only watched Disney's Hercules a few days before with Thor, the look on the Thunderer's face was one he will never forget. "Who is this Zeus, and why does he think he can possess the same abilities as I?" "This Hercules is petty, I could take him down in one blow." " And we do not glow with power."
She rolled her eyes, already tired of their shit. Selvig stepped forward, "The legends say you are Loki's child, is it true?"
"Aye, though your stories are confused, he did not birth me and does not know I am his child. My mother hid me away before banishing me to the fate I now live. She was to relieve me of my punishment when I had learnt my lesson, though she died before she could do so, now I am stuck here for all damnation."
"Sorry kid, but your daddy's dead." Steve hit Tony, did he really not know not to piss off the ruler of the underworld (sort of).
"Do you not think I know that!? I rule the dead, I see everyone who passes into my realm. That is why I am here. Thor and Loki's times have not yet come, their stories are not over and no Titan can mess up the timestream."
They all looked at one another...aliens they could sort of get, but timestreams, underworlds....!? What were they in, some sort of mixed up Doctor Who/Supernatural episode?
"I believe you should check your cold compartments." Bruce looked around, good, everyone else was just as confused as he was. "Remember, please do not speak to Loki, or Thor for that matter, about my true parentage. Loki will be troubled, listen to him, let him speak, let him recover, and do not let Asgard take him away before he is ready." And like that she was gone again, her black hair and green eyes (really, how had they not noticed the female Loki look-alike before?) turning to smoke and trailing like ribbons in the breeze through the open doors.
"Sir, I am detecting heat signatures in the mortuary." JARVIS' voice suddenly rang out, causing them all to jump.
"What!?" Clint still looked up, what was he trying to find, a geeky british guy with wires and computers attached to every orifice, taped to the ceiling?
"Holy...Hela!" Tony sprinted out of the room, giggling to his own joke. The others followed.
A gasp. Loki shot up straight from the cold slab of rock his dead body had been laid on. His neck was agonizing but the cool temperature of the room he was in took it away with every passing second. How cold a room was it? It was almost as if he was in.....
"A freezer!" As he jumped down from the table, his legs gave way, of course his body would be delicate, he had been dead. His mind was going haywire, what had happened? Fragments of memory flashed across like lightning; Thanos, Tesseract, Midgard, Chitauri, Thor...blood....Thor's blood.
He ran to the door, trying his best to break out, but his magic was playing up, it wasn't doing what he wanted. He kicked and punched at the ice cold door and shouted until his voice was hoarse, and that was when he saw it. His strength began to waver and he dropped his head in shame, but there, a hint of blue. He did not wear blue, so what was it? Oh Valhalla, it was his hands.
Finding a frozen puddle, he stood over it and looked down at his reflection. There he was, the monster, staring straight back up at him. Eyes as red as blood, skin as blue as sapphires. He backed away, cornering himself, crying. He folded in on himself, falling to the floor, his head tucked in between his body and folded legs, shivering, not from cold, but from utter exhaustion and disgust.
"LOKI! LOKI!" He only just registered the distant shouting and banging. It sounded like Thor, but it couldn't be, it just couldn't be, he had killed him, with his own monstrous hands.
Go away. Go away. Go away.
"My friends, how good it is to see you. But I do not understand." Thor had been stood just behind the door when the avengers opened it, in complete disbelief; he was alive. First Coulson and now Thor!
"Yeah, neither do we buddy. A scary goth girl came and told us your time hadn't come or something, and then said to check the freezers."
Thor's look was almost comical, he looked just as confused as ever. Tony really had to start video-ing the day to day challenges of Thor and Rogers in the modern world.
"Hela." Bruce interjected.
"Ahhh." Now he looked sad, maybe he remembered Loki dying before he did. "And what of my brother?"
"Well...she said his time hadn't come either, so maybe he's alive too." Steve said it as more of a question than a statement, but it was enough for Thor, who pushed past them all and out into the hallway.
"Where is he?" He had already summoned Mjolnir, ready to break down any door that stood between him and his brother.
"Woah, woah calm down Hercules, he's right nextdoor." Tony smiled at his inside joke then pointed to the door right next to where they currently stood. Why he had even built mortuaries into his tower he never knew, just a spur of the moment, drunken idea probably.
There was no stopping Thor, without even thinking he began breaking the door down, shouting Loki's name. "Thor! Thor...there's a button, I just need to press the goddamn button....mate! Buddy! Come on!" There was no chance Tony was getting to that button. Though it did not matter anyway, for a short while and a few heart palpitations later, the door was reduced to a food platter. Thor stepped onto it and into the freezer. They all followed.
"Brother?" Thor spoke softer than any of them had ever heard, he placed Mjolnir on the ground and walked towards the terrified figure in the far corner.
"Hela was right, Loki isn't going to come out of this as peachy as Thor has done." Bruce whispered into the centre of the group, they all murmured agreements. Clint still looked judgmental.
"Brother." Thor finally reached Loki's side and laid a hand on his arm, he was freezing. Maybe it was his imagination but there was a hint of blue coming from his brother's face; it never occured to him it was the younger man's true form breaking through because of the freezing room.
"What have I done?" Loki's voice was muffled but it was clear he was sobbing. "I became the monster I feared I would become."
"No. He made you the monster. But you are not one now. You are free. Now come, please, let me help you." Thor began to pull Loki up off the ground, not harshly, but so much so that Loki could not resist.
"Sir. There seems to be 5 Chitauri in your bar area."
"Oh they better not touch my booze or they're gonna get the Highway to Hell." Tony began to walk out, already summoning his suit.
As the team reached the room, weapons at the ready, a huge sword of ice flew past them and into two Chitauri, killing them instantly. In awe, they turned around to see...well, they weren't quite sure what they saw. It looked like Loki, his figure, his clothes and his hair, but he was blue, bright blue- well bright but dark if that made any sense. His eyes were also blood red, which was probably the scariest part of the whole image.
A dagger of ice formed in his hand and he threw it directly at the Chitauri making it's way towards Clint, the creature fitted slightly as the dagger hit it's jugular, then fell to the ground.
"3 down, 2 to go." Tony muttered.
A ball of green fire flew from Loki's hand next, a stark contrast to the frost that seemed to be flowing off the blue form. It hit the Chitauri who burst into flames, running around in agony before being killed by his fellow soldier. The final Chitauri was bigger than the others, and Loki was already tiring, using this much magic and energy after being dead for two days was obviously tiring. The monster disappeared from view and reappeared in the gap between Loki and Thor, hoping to get him from behind, but Loki was quicker, he spun round and shot pure ice from his hands, freezing the beast in place. One small nod was shared between the brothers and Thor brought Mjolnir down on the statue, smashing it into a million pieces.
Loki began to fall slightly and Steve rushed a bar chair over to him before he could collapse in a heap. The god gratefully took it and sat down with both Thor and Steve supporting him.
"I think there is much to talk about brother." Thor said, though he looked up to the whole group.
"Yes, I believe there is. But first of all, let me say how sorry I am." Loki's shoulder was on Thor's, for he had fallen forward with exhaustion, yet he managed to raise his head to the Midgardians, nodding and with a very apologetic, pleading look on his face. The blue was already beginning to disappear, and thankfully, his eyes were now back to the shocking green they were before.
"No need. At least not right now." Natasha nodded back, again, with a little more emotion than usual. Whatever people thought of this woman was wrong, she did feel, she was strong and as much a human as Bruce, Steve or- god forbid- even Tony.
"Brother, those things I said, everything, I was wrong. You are not stupid, you are amazing and...." He grunted in pain but it was enough for Thor.
"Ssh, brother. I want no apologies from you. Do you need a healer?"
"No, I shall be fine within the hour."
"So then," Tony clasped his hands and rubbed them together, "You ready to kick some ugly purple Titan's ass with us?"
Loki smiled, that same smile he used before, the sneaky yet slightly sexy one that showed his shining teeth and sharp cheekbones. Then he nodded, raising his eyebrows, "Oh yes!"