mjolnir_retriever: Thor, Mjolnir in hand, wind whipping his hair around, staring at something huge and dangerous offscreen (staring into the storm)
Thor, son of Odin ([personal profile] mjolnir_retriever) wrote2012-09-20 06:04 pm
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Thor has fought his brother thousands of times -- in training, in play, and in real temper. They're both warriors, and Thor has never claimed to be a temperate man.

But it's never been like this, and not because Loki holds the king's spear Gungnir. There's a desperate, deadly edge to it. Thor is willing enough to fight, and frankly glad for the straightforward dialogue of strike and counterstrike and bruises rising, and at least Loki has shut up, but the viciousness hasn't left him. Thor is never quite sure from one moment to the next if Loki is going to break down weeping or stab him through the heart.

Or, well, try to stab him. Thor has no intention of allowing that. But never before has he thought that Loki might actually do it if he got an opening.

They fight, back and forth, and around them the ice-shrouded control room judders and sparks and buzzes with the building Bifrost energy. It's not meant to be connected this long. Whatever it's like here, it must be exponentially worse on Jötunheim where the Bifrost bridge connects. Thor needs to shut it off, before Jötunheim shakes itself to rubble. But he can't get an chance, and Loki is fighting with all his skill and a ferocious desperation besides, and Thor just wants him to see sense--

He's leaping at Loki, teeth bared and hammer smashing downwards with all the force of Thor's momentum and Thor's fury, and Loki rolls and fires another blast of Gungnir's energy, a full-force bolt. Thor could hardly dodge if he wanted to, but it doesn't occur to him to try. He just swats downward hard, smashing through the killing energy with Mjölnir's own, just as the Bifrost sparks in tortured overload, and the explosive concussion of all three sends both Thor and Loki tumbling head over heels along the Rainbow Bridge.

Thor picks himself up, a little dizzy and a little battered and a lot angry, with Loki's hoarse shout of "Thor!" ringing in his ears. Loki is --

Where is Loki?

There are hands clenched on the edge of the bridge.

Thor walks over, breathing hard, blood and emotions thundering in his ears. Loki stares up at him -- Loki, pale and scared and maybe (maybe) even something like sane again, dangling over the vast starry drop where the sea falls away into void. "Brother," Loki rasps, "please."

Thor does what he's always done, what he'll always do. He breathes out, and drops to one knee, and reaches down to pull his brother up.

Or, at least, that's what he thinks, until his hand passes straight through Loki's wrist. Loki's illusion wrist, with Loki's illusion of a scared face dangling below.

Thor spins, pushing himself to his feet, but he's only half-risen by the time Loki -- laughing wildly, snapping into visibility like a thrown dart -- stabs beneath his guard. Thor's armor catches the spear-point before it stabs too deep, holding off Gungnir's power with its own, and he grabs the haft in his free hand. But he doesn't have the leverage to heave it fully away, and the sizzle of battling magic is scalding his hand and his ribs. There's a fierce burning pain concentrated where Gungnir has sliced into his skin. Loki shoves again, hard enough that Thor lands heavily on his back, and Loki is laughing, laughing.

Loki has always loved to gloat. But this gleeful, gloating merriment, this laughter that bubbles up like magma -- this is different.

Another three Lokis flicker into being around Thor -- laughing too, the same vicious awful laughter -- and then more and more, dozens of copies of his brother, a dizzying crowd encircling him, all holding Gungnir and all hefting it to stab down, and Thor abruptly has no more patience left for any of this. "Enough!" he roars, the lightning of all his poorly leashed rage crackling through him, and thrusts Mjölnir upward with a thunderous, concussive crack.

The silence when Loki falls over is a vast relief.

Thor pushes himself painfully to his feet. The Rainbow Bridge is shuddering under his hand, and the entire spherical building of the control room is a maelstrom of whining, crackling golden light. Loki is sprawled on his back, winded and pain-dazed, and right now Thor can't bring himself to be sorry in the slightest. He stands over Loki for a moment that feels far longer than he knows it is, looking down at his brother's green eyes.

Then he bends and sets Mjölnir on his brother's chest.

Loki grunts with a small protesting wheeze, but Thor is already turning away. That will hold him.

All Thor has to do now is get to the Bifrost controls. Loki is pinned down; he can't budge Mjölnir, which means he can only lie where he is until Thor summons it away. Thor just has to push through the energy exploding out of the gateroom, so he can either turn off the controls unimpeded or smash through them. Whatever damage he does can be repaired, and the Bifrost controls are a better cost than an entire realm.

Thor sets himself grimly, and pushes forward.

He gets nearer, and nearer, and then his feet are sliding backwards. The force billowing out from the Bifrost whips his hair and shoves at his body, the way he thinks tornadoes perhaps feel to others. It crackles along his nerves, stings his skin, builds and builds with wild power gone far beyond anyone's control. The bridge is shuddering and the power-storm swelling, and each step Thor takes is gaining him nothing, because for every inch he manages he's pushed back just as far.

Loki is screaming cracked taunts somewhere behind him, but Thor is barely listening. He needs to get in. He needs to, and he can't, and even Mjölnir won't propel him through this kind of energy storm.

And Jötunheim is being shaken apart. All its warriors, killed cravenly by a force they have no way to fight; all its scholars and healers and farmers and children. The whole realm will be nothing but rubble before long, and nothing but asteroids after that. Thor is shoving himself forward with all his strength, all his power, and his breath is burning in his lungs and his injured side is a knot of pain, and he's accomplishing nothing at all.

"There's nothing you can do!" Loki shrieks, over the humming tortured gale, and Thor knows --

Thor knows he's wrong.

Thor knows, with a sudden distant certainty, that there's one thing he can do. The price will be terribly high, for all of Asgard -- but the alternative is to not pay this price and let Loki's madness destroy a realm, and that's unacceptable.

He holds out his hand, straight back, and Mjölnir smacks into his grip. Even if Loki started running now, he'll be too late to stop him.

Thor brings Mjölnir down on the bridge at his feet, twisting his whole body into the strike, and the crystals crack and groan.

Another strike. And another, and another, and another. The Bifrost whines nearer and nearer to overload, and Thor puts everything he has into each slamming strike -- all his strength and weight, all his anger.

Loki's disbelieving voice is rising behind him, furious and baffled (which would feel like fair turnabout to Thor, if he had more energy to spare) and completely missing the point: "What are you doing?" and "If you destroy the bridge, you'll never see her again!"

Thor promised Jane Foster he'd return. He's breaking his sworn word to her -- lovely, fierce Jane, who may never know why Thor abandoned her and her sky never reopened. The Bifrost is an intricate masterwork, and human lives are so short. "Forgive me, Jane," he rasps as he plants his weight one last time, readying himself, and slams Mjölnir down onto the weakened spiderwebbing crystal road.

And the air explodes.

For the second time today, Thor is tumbling like a thrown doll, flung through the air by the vast shockwave of the shattering bridge. The Rainbow Bridge has its own power, trapped in the shifting crystals of rainbow light, and it's been released in the least controlled way possible. The ocean ripples out in a vast wave -- more damage, when it hits shore -- and Thor has no idea if there's even ground left to land on, or if he and Loki will land in the sea. It will be a long and chilly flight in wet armor, especially if Loki decides to struggle again.

But he can be satisfied with this, at least: he succeeded. The Bifrost's great control room is falling to pieces as it topples off the edge of the world. Knocked out of its precise alignment, the Bifrost flickers and dies away, and its machinery falls into the star-strewn void.

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