mjolnir_retriever: Thor bruised and vulnerable, looking downwards (battered and bowed)
Thor, son of Odin ([personal profile] mjolnir_retriever) wrote2013-02-01 01:21 am

(no subject)

It's a long, heartsick walk back along the Rainbow Bridge. Every step feels like a betrayal.

Thor doesn't look back. He keeps his eyes on his father's stiff straight back, and sees instead Loki's face twisted, Loki's body dwindling in the distance. There are no more tears in him; he's numb, disconnected from his own grief.

There's nowhere to go but home.

The streets between the bridge and the palace are crowded. Of course they are; the Bifrost exploded, and everyone must have noticed. Everyone will be wondering and worried, and none of them have any idea--

Thor feels his face set into stern, commanding lines and his shoulders go back. It's training taking over in the face of his subjects, that's all, and he can't care either way. He knows grief still etches his face, his tear-reddened eyes. He strides behind his father with Mjölnir in hand and his gaze fixed on the palace steps, and if anyone cries questions, he doesn't hear it over the general hum of irrelevance.

Frigga is waiting in the doorway of the palace, and the sight of her nearly breaks him again. She keeps her face controlled here in public, better than Thor has ever been able to, but he can't bear the stricken, searching look beneath the calm mask.

Odin halts at the top of the golden stairs, and turns back to face the crowd. Thor automatically follows his movement, and he can't help the irrational hope that flares -- maybe Odin spotted something, maybe Loki's here after all somehow, maybe, maybe -- and that almost instantly collapses into disappointment. And a stab of shame, because Thor had not even thought to address their subjects. "All is well," Odin Allfather tells the Asgardian crowd, and his voice is grave and sonorous and kingly. Thor stands by his father's shoulder, the crown prince's one step back. "You can go about your business without fear."

Nothing is well. Nothing will ever be well again, it feels now. But Odin is truly a far better king than Thor, because even now he remembers his subjects and what they need to hear.

Thor has no cause to speak, when the king has said all that's needful, and no words to say anyway. With Odin, in silence, he turns back to the palace, and lets his father lead the way to the door.

Frigga reaches out, and Thor lets her catch his hands; he squeezes them gently, avoiding his mother's eyes, and together the three of them pass into the great golden entrance hall.

There are servants here, and guards. This is less public than the streets, but not private at all. Ordinarily Thor ignores servants as unthinkingly as he ignores furniture, but not at times like this. Not with private matters. They can see him weep like a child for all he cares, but he will not say a word about Loki, and have it whispered and dissected and transformed into rumor in the servants' quarters.

"It is finished," Odin tells the room, still in his king's voice, as he sweeps along. Towards the family's hall, Thor recognizes, numb and distant.

Frigga casts a quick glance back over her shoulder, at the great golden doorway through which no one else is coming. "But--" she murmurs, and then her hand catches Thor's forearm and squeezes, hard enough to hurt even through mail. "My son," she says, low-voiced and pure queenly command, "where is Loki?"

Thor can't--

He can't--

"Loki will not be coming, mother," he rasps, a raw whisper that hurts his heart to say, and Frigga gasps like a sob.

Thor drops his hand to the small of her back and steers them both forward in Odin's wake.

Thor sits heavily in his mother's sitting room. It's an elegant room, all blues and silver and herb-scents. He feels grimy and heartsick and surreal.

Loki should be on this low couch beside him.

Thor bows his head and weeps, forearms on his knees, all the strength of upright dignity gone from him now. He tells his parents what happened, in as few words as he can; he can't bear to speak all of Loki's spit accusations and threats, but he tells of Loki's plan, of his madness, of the fierce horrible wildness that bore him along. He tells them what he did to the Bifrost, and why. His mother's hand rubs slowly along his back, and she weeps too as she listens, weeps and whispers "Oh my son, oh Loki."

His father sits alone, austere and aged in his grief. His few tears are done, but his face is grey and deep-lined.

"And then--" Thor says, and his voice does break into silence here, for a moment.

"And then he let go," he whispers.

And there's nothing more to say.

"We will speak in the morning," Odin says, at last. "Let the people wonder for a few hours. Rumors will spread whatever we say or do not, so we will gather ourselves before we tell Asgard it must mourn."

Thor presses a fist to his heart, accepting the dismissal with bowed head. He rises -- his mother's hand slides down to catch his for a moment, and drops away -- and turns away, summoning Mjölnir, and goes to his own chambers.

Servants watch surreptitiously as he passes through the hall, and whispers break out behind him. Thor doesn't look at them, and he doesn't slow.

He should go see his friends. Sif, Hogun and Fandral and battered Volstagg; they have no idea what happened, and they are-- were Loki's dear friends too. But he can't bear to say this again, and he can't seek comfort from them without explanation.

"Send a message to Sif and the Warriors Three in the healing rooms," he says to the hallway at large, pausing by his door, without looking at anyone in particular. "And to Heimdall as well." If he's awake to hear it. If he even needs to be told -- but it's a courtesy to tell even Heimdall the all-seeing. "Tell them that I am well, and that matters..." he forces the words levelly through, "have been dealt with. I will come in the morn to tell them further of this day's events."

He goes into his chambers, and closes the door.

He removes his armor. It's hard to put on and take off without aid, and he's exhausted, so he just puts a hand to Mjölnir's handle and banishes it. He'll put it away properly in the morning.

Mjölnir gives him back what he was wearing last. The strange, flimsy, foreign clothes of Midgard -- this afternoon, and so far away. Thor stares down at himself for a long moment, emotions knotting inside him. The clothes are ripped and filthy from dust and blood and smoke, but he folds them carefully -- the jeans, the t-shirt, the socks and underwear and overshirt -- and tucks the boots' laces inside, and puts them all away.

He binds the minor wound Gungnir left in his side -- a scrape only, really, though the king-spear's impact has left a large blossoming bruise around it. He bathes.

He has no idea how long he lies in the hot water, feeling occasional tears leak from his closed eyes to join the constant flow of clean water washing away his sweat and grime. The sweet scents of herbs and soap are distant and incongruous, relaxing his muscles without touching his mind. Behind his closed eyelids, he sees again and again Loki letting go.

My brother. My brother, how I have failed you.

My brother is dead.

His body is tired, but his mind will not rest. Thor lies in his bed, watching the dark ceiling unseeing, and all he can think of is his brother, and Midgard, and everything gone wrong.

At last he flings back the blankets. Mjölnir slaps into his waiting hand, and another thought replaces his sleeping clothes with his everyday armor.

He will go down to the training grounds, and the pells there. If he can't sleep, he can at least lose himself in battering enchanted stone. Maybe he'll even manage to stop thinking for a little while.