Word Count: 2062
Pairing: Thor, Loki
Summary: Post Avengers. Thor gets a moment to talk to his brother
It would not take long now.
The thought gave Thor an unsteady feeling of nervous fear. He would face down any manner of beast or vile villain with no fear in his heart but what was about to transpire made him wish to postpone. It made him wish he had the powers to stop time in its’ tracks but that was not how it was and so he would have to face this new and uncertain future with strength and courage.
A soft rattle of chains behind him drew Thor’s attention from his inner thoughts but he did not turn. He dare not turn and set his eyes upon what he feared most. He straightened his back in defiance and determinedly looked forward as if his now silent prisoner were beckoning him.
It helped to think of him as Thor’s prisoner and not think of him by name or relation. Thinking of it in that manner gave Thor a reprieve from the guilt and the sad weight in his heart.
Whatever had gone wrong had been far worse than Thor had imagined. Far far more distance had been created between them than Thor had ever feared possible. Maybe a distance so vast they could never find each other again.
Thor turned his head and a sharp eye took in the sight of Loki, his brother, standing tall and proud as if he were not bound by strong chains and silenced by a muzzle clasped tightly over his mouth and jaw. Loki did not turn his attention to Thor but, like Thor had been doing, kept his eyes forward and will determined. Thor smiled briefly because it was a familiar state of being for his brother and it gave him a small hope that something of the Loki he knew was still in there.
“Why?” Thor wanted answers that he could understand. He wanted Loki to see the fault in his actions and to turn away from this path. His body followed his words and he turned to face Loki. “Why, brother?”
Silence, of course, answered him. Loki blinked at him with eyes that hid none of his animosity and rage. Thor remembered well when those eyes were kinder or maybe that had been one of Loki’s many illusions and deceits. Shaking his head, Thor banished the thought from his mind. This was his brother and he knew for certain that not all was lost within him.
He moved closer and green eyes took him in from toe to head and then turned away. “You will answer me.” Thor reached for the clasp on the side of Loki’s face and Loki flinched away from Thor’s touch. Chains rattled as Loki began to pull away and Thor grabbed his brother by the collar and held him in place. Loki turned his face away to insure their eyes didn’t meet. Thor ran a finger up the cold metal along Loki’s jaw and found the lock easily enough and as it unhinged itself he pulled it away from Loki’s mouth, holding it tightly in his hand to keep himself from pulling his brother into an embrace.
Loki tested the new freedom by opening and closing his mouth, bringing a hand up to rub the pain away. Thor waited, sure Loki would begin giving him his reasons but silence was once again the only answer he received. Quiet was one thing Thor was never the most proficient at and it upset his mood that Loki would hide in the unknown of silence now when Thor needed more than ever for Loki to make himself be heard.
“You will tell me why you have done these things, Loki. You will tell me plainly.”
It was a slow twist of his head and finally his eyes rolled up to look into Thor’s stony face. Loki was wholly unimpressed as he usually was; it took much to intimidate his brother. Amusement tinged his features and it was plain that Thor’s demands were of no concern to Loki. Mute still, Loki let out a bored sigh.
“I freed you so you could plead your reasons and you will not speak?” Thor wanted nothing more than for Loki to speak. To make him see what he was missing and how things had gotten to this state. “I want for you to make me understand. What was said on Midgard…” Thor lowered his head and felt a horrible tension in his shoulders but it was an ache that had been there for some time now and was of no concern now. “You can’t have meant all of what you said.”
Loki’s eyes searched Thor’s face but his lips did not move to argue against the questions and claims. Thor turned away from Loki and looked down at the contraption in his hand that had effectively kept Loki from speaking and trapping anybody else in his schemes. It was as though it was still in place over Loki’s mouth, keeping him from communicating in any form that satisfied Thor.
“If silence is what you wish for then you shall have it,” Thor moved to place the muzzle back over Loki’s thin lips.
He didn’t know if it was the fear of being confined again or not but Loki suddenly spoke in a rush. “Look at how your heart bleeds for them.” His voice was raw and cold, lashing at Thor as if a whip. “Look at how you lower yourself in order to stand at their level. Your love for them has distracted you and now here we are and you have no idea why. Clueless as a newborn calf. You ask questions you don’t want the answers to. Remain blind, Thor, it suits you.”
Thor had expected for Loki to accost him with words but that did not make the sting of them any less. His brother had always had a harsh and sly tongue but he never knew him to be so venomous.
“I thought you dead,” this seemed to upset the firm set to Loki’s features. “I thought you gone and to lose you to such anger, to so many misunderstandings… Loki, when we learned that you lived I begged father—”
“No,” Loki objected with such vehemence that it injured Thor’s heart to hear. Their father, Odin, was not the most soft hearted of the Aesir and even he made errors in judgment on occasion but how Loki could deny Odin had ever been a father to him confused and startled Thor.
Thor grabbed Loki’s shoulder in a tight grip, rattling Loki’s smaller frame, and continued before his brother could gather his thoughts enough to speak further. “I demanded to be given the chance to go after you, to find you and to bring you home. Your home, Loki. No matter the injuries your pride has suffered, this is still your home. I followed after you, brother, nothing more.”
Loki fell into silence once more as his eyes searched Thor’s own for a sign of something Thor did not know. What he found in the blue depths made Loki pull his back straighter, steeling his features into a firm frown. “And what did you bring back with you, my dear brother? What will you do with this thing that you have hunted and chained like a beast? What is to be done with Loki now?”
Thor blinked and his mouth fell agape for a brief moment in horror at how Loki spoke of himself, no, how Loki thought Thor saw him.
“It only seems fitting, does it not?” Loki raised his shackled wrists and smiled at the dark chains. “Now that the truth has been revealed for all to know.”
Wrapping his thick fingers around the cool metal Thor shook his head, leaning in closer to ensure that Loki understood the sincerity of his words. “These are not because of what you are but because of what you have done.”
“Come now, Thor,” Loki tilted his head and gave Thor a look that made him feel like there was some great mystery that had an obvious answer and Thor was unable to see. “It has always been about what I am. You’ve known all this time. How could you have not?”
“No, I have not. How can you think that?”
Loki lowered his hands while his eyes flared with heated anger. “You say you did not but that does not matter. I was raised beside you to give you nothing more than competition. To be the dark your light was compared to. To forever be your shadow and your opposite. That is what I am and that is why these are here,” Loki raised his imprisoned wrists again with a loud rattle of chains.
“How can you believe this?” Thor knew that this was a lie. Thor had never seen Loki like that, how could he have? Loki was always his brother, his blood, his other half.
“If you do not believe it then let it be known,” Loki’s voice was suddenly soft and light. He lowered his eyes and looked almost like he had lost all fight within himself. “If you believe me to be more than that then let me free of these so that I can face my punishment like a true Asgardian.”
Thor’s eyes fell to the restraints around Loki’s wrists and he took a breath in thought. It had been commanded that Loki be brought in bound and gagged, for Odin knew Loki’s skill at evading his guilt. Would defying this order be such a terrible thing, Thor wondered as his fingers once again fell to the metal. Loki looked sadly hopeful, his eyes shining in a familiar fashion that Thor remembered from days that had been better. Days that had been two brothers who cared for one another and could look at each other like that and understand the meaning.
He had always been weak when it came to Loki’s charms and it was no surprise when he decided to give in to Loki’s request. Thor pulled the small key from the back of his belt and missed the way Loki’s eyes narrowed, a hint of impatience at the corner of his brother’s mouth.
Before he could even place the key in the lock the door behind him swung open and a large figure of a man stood in it’s place, clearing his throat as to grab Thor’s attention.
“Odin, your father, the King has requested your presence as well as… Loki’s,” he said quickly and respectfully even if he named Loki with a frown that hadn’t been on his face before.
Thor’s chest heaved as he sighed then nodded his understanding to the man.
“Unchain me,” Loki said in a voice that was suddenly urgent. “You won’t bring me out there like this.”
Thor took in the sudden sharpness in Loki’s eyes and the hard line of his mouth. There was a dangerous tinge to the desperate way he raised his hands to Thor’s face.
“Unchain me, Thor,” he repeated.
Thor wanted nothing more than to do just that but he also wanted his brother back and the man standing in front of him was not asking for freedom to be what he once was, a prince and a brother, but instead wanted freedom to be something else, this something that Thor did not recognize.
“No, brother. I am sorry,” Thor’s voice was heavy like his heart as he raised the muzzle back to Loki’s lips.
Loki shook and tried to pull away but Thor held him steady with one hand on the back of his skull.
“No. You’ll regret this,” Loki hissed. Thor already did. “I will make you regret this.”
No more threats made it out of Loki’s throat as the muzzle snapped into place. Loki flinched as it pinched and locked his jaw closed. He made no noise once it was in place, knowing full well no words would make it past the barrier. Green eyes burned with hatred; burned into Thor’s memory.
“Come, brother,” Thor grabbed the chain between Loki’s wrist and it only took one tug to force Loki’s legs into motion. Loki did not protest or drag his feet but Thor could feel those eyes on his back. He could feel them like they were knives piercing his flesh and nothing had ever hurt so much as that.