mjolnir_retriever: Volstagg, Sif, Fandral, and Hogun, with a rainbow arching over them (comrades in arms)
Thor, son of Odin ([personal profile] mjolnir_retriever) wrote2012-09-20 05:45 pm

(no subject)

Jane corners Erik as soon as he's sufficiently alert to embark on an argument of great passion and duration about what exactly the storm surrounding the Bifrost site was, and what the Bifrost is, and how the cosmos is arranged, and what the other scientists of Earth will accept and under what circumstances. The word evidence comes up a lot.

Thor drinks coffee, and (with the aid of directions and some discreet experimentation with the bright blue soap) cleans the dishes, and makes more coffee, and listens with half his attention. He has nothing to contribute to this discussion now. His knowledge isn't theirs, and he can't phrase what he does know in the language of Midgardian science -- and he certainly knows nothing of the politics of the scientific community. None of that is his work to do, in any case. He listens to the passion in Jane's voice, and the affection (paternal, he thinks once, and it hurts his heart) in Erik's, and the wry good humor in Darcy's occasional interjections. He will leave them soon, and perhaps not see them again outside of Darcy's Milliways conversations. He will hold to this moment, and the memory of his friends' personalities shining through: their friendship, their joy in their work, their dedication to seeking truth.

He's setting the coffee-pot back in its socket when there comes a sharp knocking on the glass doors. Thor's head turns at the sound, but it's not until a familiar voice rumbles "Found you!" in familiar satisfaction that he can believe what he's seeing.

It's Volstagg. Volstagg and Hogun and Fandral and Sif, all here, all beaming at him (even, in his understated way, Hogun the Grim), all gleaming in the glory of their warrior's armor amidst the dust and Midgardian lines of this town -- his dearest friends, here.

He's nearly laughing already for joy.

He hurryies across the room as the Warriors Three pull the doors open, opening his arms as his friends surge into the building. Vaguely, he's aware of the humans' shock, of coffee mugs dropped and wide-eyed stares, but he can't pay it much attention. "My friends!" he laughs, and Volstagg laughs too, embracing him in a quick hard clasp of friendship, his battle-axe held out from Thor's back and his beard and hair tickling Thor's neck. "This is good!" Volstagg exults, and every word is home too, in a way no accent of Earth or Milliways has quite been. "This is good!"

Thor's Midgardian clothes feel more flimsy and foreign than ever, against the feeling of home and rightness in his friends' armor and wool, the familiar smells of comrades and Asgard. He embraces them all in turn, while Volstagg remembers his manners (sooner than Thor, which would be a source of sheepishness if Thor could possibly be sheepish right now) and introduces himself to the bewildered scientists.

He wants nothing else than to be with them, to bask in this reunion. But --

But his friends are four of Asgard's fiercest and most valiant warriors. If they're here, then Asgard's defenses lack them. And right now, Asgard can ill spare any warriors at all.

Loki must have let them come out of love, beyond common sense. But Thor doesn't deserve such love and loyalty, not at Asgard's expense. It falls to him, then, to hold hard where Loki could not.

"My friends," he says, reluctantly, releasing Hogun. He clasps a hand to Hogun's shoulder, and leaves it there as his friends turn to face him. With the humans, Thor has held himself at a polite distance, in deference to both their short acquaintance and what seem to be the norms of this society; with his own friends, though, touch is unthinking and comfortable, no matter the stress and trouble. His comrades are all beaming still, happy and expectant, and Thor doesn't understand why -- can they truly be so forgetful of his crimes, and of Asgard's danger? "I've never been happier to see anyone. But you should not have come."

He expects to see sobering understanding, and perhaps Sif or Volstagg will begin discussion of some plan. What he sees instead is four expressions of bafflement. Sif and Volstagg trade bewildered looks, and Volstagg even laughs, the confused half-laugh of someone unsure if he's hearing a joke. It's Fandral who takes it upon himself to say, "We're here to take you home."

He says it as if it's that simple. As if it's sensible, as if it's possible.

Thor's hand drops slowly away from Hogun's shoulder.

It can't possibly be that they don't know, can it? That makes no sense. They are trusted warriors, they live in the palace, they're Loki's dearest friends too. None of this makes any sense.

"You know I can't go home," Thor says, slowly. He doesn't want to say it, he wants very little less than to say this, but they're still staring blankly at him, and he has to. "My father--" and his voice catches, betraying him, and he has to force the words through, "--is dead, because of me."

Now it's not just the Asgardians who are staring at him.

He swallows, willing them to understand, willing them to see why they must put Asgard first as their oaths have sworn them to, and not make him argue this. "And I must remain in exile."

Sif shakes her head, her black brows drawing together, and Thor's heart sinks a little. They do have a plan; they are going to make him argue for what must happen. "Thor," she says, and her voice is low and urgent and still bewildered. "Your father still lives."

Thor stares at her, while for the second time in a few days the bottom drops out of his world.

But --

But if --

Loki must have been mistaken. Loki must have spoken in error, when the worst was believed, before Odin recovered, or --

But even as he thinks that, Thor knows that it can't be true. Loki spoke of Odin's death, of Frigga's insistence on banishment, of truce and negotiation and consequences, and that can't possibly all be a mistake. Loki lied to him.

His father lives, and his brother lied to him.

"Loki," he says slowly, blankly, "said otherwise."

He doesn't understand anything about this. The others are just as shocked; he can see the disbelieving realization of betrayal dawning across their faces too, though in his heart the knowledge is simmering itself into a knot of growing fury.

He will let his friends bring him home. And then he and Loki will have words.

Thor turns towards the glass doors, seeing out of the corner of his eye his friends falling in behind him, following his lead -- and that's when the sky over the desert opens up.