wordsworn: My clockwork heart counts the seconds; I have no time for anyone but myself. (Default)
★ Writing Journal for Alory Shannon ★ ([personal profile] wordsworn) wrote2011-12-12 12:37 pm

"Growing Pains" - Loki + Thor (AU movie!Marvelverse) - {Chapter XI}

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[A/N: Eh, I decided to split this chapter into two, since I’m done with the first half and haven’t been able to focus on the latter half just yet. Why make y’all wait any longer than I have to? Besides, ending with an unlucky thirteen chapters total amuses me. :3]

Link to this cross-posted in the comments of Round 1 @ [livejournal.com profile] norsekink.



{ .XI. } {In Which The Truth Finally Comes Out}

- ♦ ♈ ♦ -

It’s the better part of three days before Thor manages to find Loki again.

(“Fancy hiding in one’s own bedchambers! A trick worth remembering, that,” the elder prince had chortled over drinks much later on.

“Oh indeed,” Fandral had quipped with just the barest trace of almost-sarcasm--only almost because though they might disagree with him or despair of certain aspects of his plans, none of the Warriors ever really mock Thor. “Hiding in the first place someone would think to look because it is the first place, and as such is obviously too obvious to even bother looking in at all. Damned clever, that.”)

Thor knows his younger brother well enough to know that talking his way in is hopeless at this point; so he lets his muscles do the talking instead and forces the door, metal and wood both giving way before him.

And this time, Loki is actually still in his chambers.

He’s tired of running--he’s tired of most everything, just about--and he’ll be damned if anyone sends him scurrying from his own rooms ever again. So he doesn’t rise from his seat behind his book-covered desk when Thor comes barging in with all the grace of a hippo in high heels, doesn’t even raise his head, merely flicking a brief glance up at his foster brother before returning his attention to the tiny print of the volume in front of him.

But Thor won’t have that. The guilt he feels over their last encounter mingles with his frustration at not being able to work whatever-this-is out, his dissatisfaction with how little he’s seen Loki of late, and his concern over his brother’s welfare (which is rapidly devolving into true anxiety, nearly approaching distress) as well. Unfortunately, in Thor’s case this amalgamation of emotions produces something that most closely resembles anger; with heavy strides he crosses the room, coming to a stop directly in front of Loki’s desk.

“What,” the blonde warrior says with a forced sort of calm, the words coming low and slow as he pushes aside two stacks of books, both to rest his hands on the desk and give himself a clear view of his brother, “in the Nine Realms is going on here? What is wrong, Loki?”

Loki keeps his head down, keeps reading. “There are a great many things that are ‘wrong’ in this world of ours. Aren’t there, Thor.” His eyes flick up again, lingering for a brief second before dropping once more. “I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific.”

“You are avoiding us,” Thor says domineeringly, abruptly leaning back and away, crossing his brawny arms over his chest. “Is that specific enough for you, Brother?”

This time Loki doesn’t even look up. “Am I?” He turns a page, still reading, or at least pretending to. “I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about—“

“—DAMMIT, LOKI—!”

Already on edge as he is, Thor’s temper goes, and in a motion almost too quick for the (mortal) eye to follow, Thor’s foot lashes out, sending Loki’s heavy wooden desk skidding sideways to smash into the nearest wall…ten feet away. Books scatter everywhere, there’s a veritable explosion of parchment, and Loki’s inkwell capsizes, baptising the surface of his desk and the few remaining texts and papers still on it with ink. Loki looks on as the streams of syrupy black liquid fall in runnels to pool on the floor, his gaze dispassionate, disconnected; normally he would have lunged after them, intent on saving both tomes and transcriptions alike, but right now it is just so very hard to care. There is certainly little enough reason to.

Without the desk between them, Thor seems to loom larger than ever, his obvious agitation making his movements notably more expansive and aggressive. “I seek you out to speak of my sincere desire to mend whatever ills have caused this newly-formed rift between us, and you merely sit there, as if none of this matters to you in the least!” The heat fades from his voice, the thunder going out of him slightly as he seems to remember himself, what he’s really here for, and the fact that intimidation isn’t likely to be beneficial at this moment. “Tell me,” he says, his voice wavering with emotion as he spreads his hands in a helpless, beseeching gesture. “Please…tell me why, Loki. Why are you avoiding us?”

Loki sits silently for a long moment, staring down at his own hands, resting palms-downward atop of his thighs, seemingly deciding what to say. He’s so tired now, he almost doesn’t care any more--not just about literal physical things like the books and all those pages and pages of painstakingly-written notes, but about anything, everything, even hiding The Truth.

“You’re right,” he says at long last, his voice quiet, calm, and utterly rational. “I have been avoiding you.” Almost absently he turns one of his hands over, studying his own empty palm with visible detachment. “Ever since our quest to Svartalfheim, I haven’t been fully in control of my magic. Recently, that control has grown even more tenuous. And if I should happen to be around other people when that control slips, someone could be hurt quite seriously.”

Thor’s laugh is strained, his smile equally so as he attempts to wave away Loki’s words. “We are your friends, Loki! Your boon companions, to be trusted through thick and thin, life and death. Together we have faced down innumerable foes—Demons, Dark Elves, Frost Giants, and countless other monsters, even a Dragon. We are warriors, brave and blooded all, and we will not blanch in the face of a danger presented by one of our own. We wish only to help you, never mind the risk.”

Something about the not-quite-smug but supremely self-assured note in Thor’s tone rankles Loki; he sounds like what he’s saying is simple common sense, like it’s completely obvious and wholly certain that their friends will always be loyal to them. It’s true, Loki knows, and that is why it rubs him the wrong way, because it is true…for Thor, anyway. They love him, they trust him unconditionally, and they would follow him to the ends of all Nine Realms and beyond without question…but for Loki there is nothing so certain, save mistrust and a constant wariness, no matter how many times he supports or saves them.

“No, Thor, I believe the others would mind quite a lot.” Loki can’t bring himself to say all of why, but that knowledge taints what he does say, and for some reason he can’t stop himself from adding, “And they would mind even more if they knew The Truth—”

Loki’s eyes go wide, his mouth closing with a clearly audible clack as he realises what he’s just said, how heavily he’s hinted about his deepest, darkest secret. Thor might not be among the brightest beings in Asgard, but even he isn’t so dense as to miss something as obvious as that, especially when he’s not only listening, but paying almost painfully close attention.

Sure enough, the thunder-god’s head comes up at that. “What? What truth?”

Loki knows he’s said too much, that Thor will never let this go now that he has a hold of it, but that doesn’t stop him from verbally scrambling to backpedal. “No, nothing, I simply meant—”

“What truth, Loki?!”

“Thor, there isn’t—”

“WHAT. TRUTH.”

“THERE ISN’T ANY TRUTH!” He hadn’t meant to shout, hadn’t meant to raise his voice at all, but he can’t ever seem to back down from a challenge where Thor is concerned, and Loki finds himself losing control yet again, albeit this time on a decidedly different front, one that is physical and emotional rather than magical and physiological. In an effort to regain some of that control, he pushes to his feet and whirls away, crossing the room, seeking to put some distance and perhaps a few more pieces of furniture between Thor and himself (since that had worked so well the previous time, as evidenced by the cracks in the wall and the ink-spattered books scattered about chaotically). “It was merely a slip of the tongue, I assure you, I don’t know—”

“LIAR.”

That single word is all that it takes to rock the younger prince back on his heels, his eyes going wide as something in his chest gives a painful, wrenching twist; for, as much trouble and mischief as Loki has caused over the years, never before has Thor thrown that word in his face like this, a blatant accusation. Loki’s latest denial lodges in his throat unpleasantly, and that sticking sort of feeling is enough to make his shoulders hunch, his eyes narrow, and his fists clench belligerently as he slowly turns back to face his ‘brother.’

Thor’s stance is equally aggressive, and for a moment it looks as if they might very well end up brawling it out right there, as they had many a time during their younger years.

“TELL ME! OR ALL-FATHER HELP ME, I’LL—”

“FINE!” Loki all but bellows, though his voice still isn’t nearly as loud and full and roaring as Thor’s, “FINE! IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW, I’LL TELL YOU—BUT OH, WHAT SHOULD I TELL YOU OF FIRST? OF HOW NONE OF YOU, MY SO-CALLED FRIENDS, TRULY KNOWS WHAT I AM? OF HOW I’VE HAD TO KEEP THAT SECRET HIDDEN FOR YEARS PRETENDING EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL, NOT KNOWING IF I’D LOSE IT ALL AND MY OWN BROTHER WOULD HATE AND DESPISE ME WHEN HE LEARNED THE TRUTH? And yet—” Loki’s voice falters, fails, falls in volume as a sudden flood of raw emotion drowns it. “And yet…spending every minute of every one of those days for all those years wanting nothing more than to tell you that Truth. Because this lie wasn’t at all enjoyable, and part of me…part of me wanted to know, wanted to see what would happen when you learned that I…that I am n-nothing more than one of those—those hideous monsters you so wished to destroy when we were younger. That truly, you and I share no blood, though I am the son of a king, and thus still a prince…but a prince of Jotunheim, not Asgard.” Those final few words come out dull and dampened, little more than a choked admission. By the end of it, there are tears in Loki’s eyes, and though he tries to blink them back, one still escapes to trace its way down one high cheekbone. “The Truth is,” he says, soft and slow but sounding just slightly steadier now, “I should not be named Loki Odinson…but instead Loki Laufeyson.”

Through it all Thor stands and stares and listens in sheer, utter silence, looking both startled and skeptical, but remaining quiet through it all nonetheless. But even as those last few words leave Loki’s mouth, Thor surges forward, engulfing him in a massive hug. Loki goes stiff with surprise, temporarily too taken aback to manage any sort of response, much less resistance; a second later finds him twisting in Thor’s grasp, trying to pull away, to escape, because it isn’t safe, it isn’t safe for Thor to touch him like this or at all really and even though Thor has been told The Truth and didn’t simply leave outright, that doesn’t mean he’s entirely okay with things either. For all Loki knows, Asgard’s first prince might not really understand what he’d just been told and he still won’t let go—

“…Oh, my brother…”

Loki goes still as Thor speaks, his struggles ceasing instantly at the warmth, the happiness, the relief in those words.

“Father would tell me nothing! I feared you had been mortally injured in some way, by the dragon perhaps, and that you were dying. I feared…I feared that someday I would look back on this and find that I had simply stood by and done nothing as I lost my only brother.”

We’re not brothers. The words that instantly come to Loki’s mind don’t make it past his lips, because while it is true, after all these years of growing up together it somehow isn’t as well. Lying doesn’t bother Loki in the least—he’s already long past having something so bothersome and amusing as a conscience—but even he doesn’t know if the words would be more lie or truth, so he can’t bring himself to speak them.

“It’s a secret,” he says instead, his words half-muffled by the way his face is still pressed hard against Thor’s shoulder. “You mustn’t tell anyone, only Father, Mother, and Heimdall know—”

Thor does pull back at that, looking unquestionably cross--for not being told, but even more so because—

“…So that is why Heimdall has always mistrusted you so?”

It’s almost more of a statement than a question, though either way Thor’s displeasure is readily apparent. He sounds--and looks--very much like he’s considering taking a swing at the Gate Keeper when next he ventures out that way.

A smile plays along Loki’s mouth at the idea, because it truly is a lovely mental picture, but now that Thor knows The Truth, there’s really no point to keeping much of anything from him, no reason not to explain the current situation fully.

“Well, now that you are aware of…the true nature of things, my explanation of my troubles should make a great deal more sense.” Thor nods as Loki pauses for a second, collecting his thoughts and deciding how best to explain this. (‘In small words, and as few of them as possible’ is a given, of course, but the specifics are still unclear.) “As I said before, my magic is out of control, and none of the Asgardian spells I’ve tried thus far have proved particularly helpful.” He glances to the side, at the scattered books and sheets of parchment languishing in drying pools of ink, his tone gaining the hint of an edge at the sight. “I had been researching a way to correct this problem, and though I have searched in vain for an alternate plan, the fact remains that there is only one way that seems at all likely of having a chance of success. And for that way to work, I will need help.” He looks up and over at Thor, gritting his teeth as he draws breath to admit his own weakness and his lack of ability to handle this on his own, to say your help, but Thor speaks before he has the chance.

“Then you shall have it, Brother. You should have no doubts about that.”

Loki lets that drawn and held breath go, exhaling slowly, silently, his eyes falling half-closed as he studies the blonde warrior coolly. “Are you certain? I haven’t even told you what we’ll have to do. It could be dangerous.”

“I don’t mind danger.”

“It could be very, very dangerous,” Loki says, pointedly repeating himself. “We could both die.”

Thor gives him a meaningful look as he settles a hand on Loki’s shoulder, grave and entirely serious. “You are my brother, and I owe you my life anyway. If it will help you, then I care not how dangerous it may be—I will not turn aside or take back my offer to lend you my aid.” A roguish smile breaks through that seriousness, and Thor’s large, meaty hand lifts to administer an affectionate cuff to the second prince’s upper arm. “Come now, Loki! Do not keep me in suspense! Surely you know by now that patience is not one of my many virtues. Tell me what it is we must do.”

The younger prince doesn’t move right away, taking the stinging slap to the side of his arm without flinching, looking steadily at his self-proclaimed brother, his expression one of someone testing the depths of a stream before attempting a crossing. “Very well then,” Loki says at last with the ghost of one of his old mischievous crooked smirks. “The first thing we must do for my plan to be put into motion…is to gain access to the Weapons Vault...undetected.”

- ♦ ♈ ♦ -

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