Thor returns from Milliways
to Asgard, and the same instant he left. The portal works the same here as on Midgard, then.
He will have to speak to Heimdall about the place, and to his parents. Sometime.
Thor closes his eyes for a moment, in the hallways, with no servants looking. Then he goes down to the training halls.
He leaves Mjölnir on the floor. In this mood, on this day, if he starts to break things he may not stop for far too long. His fists alone, here in the middle of the night where none will see or hear.
(He breaks three pells anyway.)
He goes back to his chambers. He cleans his formal armor of the dust of New Mexico, the sweat and grime of his fight with Loki; he polishes the gleaming disks of his breastplate. Servants could do this work just as well, but Thor wants the work for his hands. He wishes it felt like more of a penance.
Morning comes, and Loki is still gone.
Thor skips breakfast. There's no joy in food for him right now. He goes instead to speak to his friends. (Their
friends.) To Sif, to Volstagg and Hogun and Fandral. To Heimdall, briefly.
He tells them, haltingly, of Loki's madness. Of Loki's fall.
It's awful telling it again, as he knew it would be. Every word is something he has to say, to acknowledge, to bring out again into the open as something that happened.
And yet it's a relief, as much as anything can be, to have his comrades to share his grief. Milliways denizens -- not even Diana, kind and noble as she is, and a friend already -- can't compare to the friends of centuries, friends who love Loki dearly themselves.
Odin summons Thor. He goes, of course.
There is something charged in the silence between his parents. Disagreement, he thinks; he knows the signs of it well enough. Odin's word as king (and Odin's stubbornness, like both his sons') usually carries the day, but Frigga has her own quieter stubbornness. It will come to resolution sooner or later, whatever the matter is, and Frigga may have her way after all.
But perhaps he's only grasping for the normalcy of argument. Loki is fallen, mad, probably dead. There is tension in every silence. A dozen times, Thor thinks for an instant he sees a dark slim shape in the corner of his eye, or hears a familiar tread, or forgets that his brother won't flicker into visibility to drawl something sardonic; a dozen times, he's wrong.
Odin Allfather speaks to the people. Thor stands behind him, in formal armor again, and Frigga beside him in her own most regal raiment, both of them sober and silent.
Every word Odin says is true. But the entire impression is misleading -- a rogue band of frost giants, the treaty that Asgard will hold to as long as Jötunheim does, the Bifrost controls damaged and the whole of it destroyed to prevent tragedy, and Loki Odinson lost to terrible mischance. Asgard is safe, Odin says. Asgard mourns, but it is safe.
When they speak to the court from the golden dais, immediately after, Odin gives a few more details, but the heart of it is the same. They will mourn, he says. Loki may by some chance live, but unless Heimdall sees him soon, they must assume him dead. He will be mourned as the prince he is: feasts celebrating his life, sober ceremony in sorrow for his death.
Thor knows this balance is as it must be. The people deserve truth, and only truth is honorable to give them, but Loki's private pain and madness is a personal matter, not to be shared with those who didn't know and love him well. Odin is wise to choose his words, and wise to be able to speak them as he does, as if there are no deeper secrets to complicate anything.
But Thor doesn't think he could speak so.
He holds his tongue, and none asks him for words, though they watch the faces of all the royal family -- the king, the queen, the only remaining prince. Loki's absence feels raw as the stump of a missing limb.
When he follows Odin and Frigga back into the semi-privacy of the hallway that leads to their apartments and his own, the doorway doesn't take him to where he expects.