mjolnir_retriever: Thor yelling angrily with hammer outstretched (RAAAAAAAAAAARGH)
Thor, son of Odin ([personal profile] mjolnir_retriever) wrote2012-09-20 06:02 pm

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Loki opens the Bifrost. Speeding along the bridge, Thor can see it locking into place, hear the hum of machinery, see the bright lance of its power spearing through the sky and into the void.

I have to destroy Jötunheim, Loki said, but he can't possibly mean this. Can he?

By the time Thor lands in the doorway, the Bifrost control room has been transformed. Heimdall's sword Hofuð must be in its socket, but he can't see it. It's been buried beneath a glittering structure of magic and what looks like ice -- a huge twining tree, like a bizarre parody of Yggdrasil, twining up towards the ceiling, locking every possible control under a thick frozen layer. Frost giants' work, or Loki's, or both? It doesn't matter. Loki will undo it, or Thor will smash it to bits.

"You can't stop it," Loki says. There's a terrible, brittle satisfaction in his voice. It puts a chill down Thor's spine, though not enough to quench the crackling furnace of anger inside him. "The Bifrost will build," Loki says, as if he's tasting the words, "until it rips Jötunheim apart."

Killing Jötuns in battle -- even foolhardily, even in great numbers -- is one thing. But this is another. This is the destruction of one of the Nine Worlds of the cosmos.

(And if he's thinking of Diana of lost Themyscira, a little, and exile under a foreign sky, and of Ellen Park's burnt-brown wasteland with its own history lost... well, there are many things Thor has come to understand more thoughtfully, in these past weeks.)

Horror is in his heart, and bewilderment, and mostly rage. His grip shifts and tightens on Mjölnir's handle, and Thor rushes forward. If the controls are buried under ice and sorcery, well, brute force should do the trick. A good swing or two should smash through, and then --

Another blast from Gungnir knocks him flat and skidding away, nearly back out the door.

Loki means this.

Barely days ago Loki was trying to talk Thor out of a vengeful raid on Jötunheim, and now he's coldly fixed on destroying the entire realm, and he lied to Thor's face about Odin's death, and none of this makes any sense.

"Why?" Thor rasps, shoving himself to his feet. He gestures behind himself with Mjölnir incoherently: towards Asgard, towards their parents' palace, towards Odin and the dead frost giants and their entire lives together. The Bifrost hums its steady progression towards overload. "Why have you done this?"

"To prove to Father," Loki hisses, "that I am a worthy son." The venom in his voice is horrible to hear, and it makes no sense at all. Tricks and spells or not, Loki has always been a worthy son, always been brave and beloved -- by Odin, by Frigga, by Thor. But Loki is nearly vibrating, not with temper but with the kind of vicious spitting fury that takes years to build. "When he wakes, I will have saved his life. I will have destroyed that race of monsters. And I will be true heir to the throne."

Thor never even thought he wanted the throne.

But it doesn't matter; they can talk about matters of succession later. They can work this out. "You can't kill an entire race!"

Loki -- Loki who jests and teases and pranks, but who has always tried to talk Thor down from his hotheadedness when matters are serious -- just stares at him. "Why not?" he asks, like it's a question, like war and long-distance obliteration are the same thing. Like Thor is being stupid about a question set by their tutors. Loki laughs, and it's a bitter, brittle thing, gone on the breath that brought it, as he takes the first step towards Thor. "And what is this newfound love for the frost giants? You could have killed them all with your bare hands."

Only all the ones that met him on the field of battle. That's honorable, that's fair, no matter how stupid Thor was to start that battle at all, and he has no idea what to say to a Loki who doesn't see that. He feels lost -- and he wants, with a fierce simmering frustration, to throw Loki into a wall until he's shaken back into the brother Thor knows how to deal with. "I've changed," is what he manages, half-relevant but true.

Midgard, and Milliways, have changed him.

"So have I," Loki spits, and Gungnir whips up; Thor's head snaps to one side from the force of his brother's strike. "Now fight me."

Thor's fist clenches around Mjölnir. But he doesn't lift his hammer, not even when the next spear-strike knocks him skidding across the polished floor. This is his brother. His brother, who with every word makes it clearer that he is not well, that something has gone terribly and mysteriously wrong.

"I never wanted the throne!" Loki snarls, stalking forward as Thor starts to push himself upright. If he were younger, he would sputter but you just said--, but he's not a child now, and this is not one of their simple childhood arguments. Every ranting, venomous word Loki utters makes this worse. "I only ever wanted to be your equal."

They're brothers. Loki is weaker and smarter and Thor's beloved brother, and just days ago they were laughing together before Thor's coronation, and he doesn't understand any of this.

"I will not fight you, brother!" he roars back.

"I'm not your brother," Loki enunciates, cold as Jötunheim's ice. "I never was."

"Loki," Thor pleads. How do you get through to someone ignoring such basic reality? "This is madness."

"Is it madness?" Loki is trembling: his body, his voice. "Is it? Is it!?" There are tears in his eyes and there's nothing rational in any of this, and Thor doesn't know what to do. "Come on," Loki spits, and this is nothing like sparring, this is nothing like arguing; this is like watching something shake itself apart. "What happened to you on Earth that turned you so soft? Don't tell me it was that woman."

Thor shifts his weight, uncertain. Does he mean Jane Foster? Or Sif -- who is Loki's dear friend too -- or something else, something imagined and irrational as all the rest of this? Whatever Loki thinks he sees, it makes his eyes light up in raw, vicious satisfaction.

"Oh!" he crows hoarsely. "It was! Well, maybe when we're finished here, I'll pay her a visit myself!"

The decision isn't conscious. It's a primal, blind upswelling of rage at all of this. Listening isn't working, arguing isn't working, and he cannot -- he cannot -- stand here and listen to his brother descend into filthy threats and base dishonor to himself and to all of their family. Thor's roar is an inarticulate bellow of frustration, and he charges forward.

Loki meets him with his favorite acrobatic leap and a vicious downward stab of his spear, and Thor parries it with a smash of Mjölnir as he has hundreds of times in friendly fights, and this, this Thor understands.

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