“I suppose all of Mother’s possessions have been dealt off to Valhalla,” said Loki.
When the word ‘Mother’ slipped from Loki’s lips, Thor didn’t understand why he felt more at a loss than relieved.
“Yes," said Thor.
“Her spells and books?” said Loki. When Thor watched him, he scoffed. “Don’t think me as foolishly soppy as you are, Thor. I would have benefited from them if they weren’t shipped off to Norns know where.”
“Yes,” said Thor.
“Her ornamental daggers?”
“They would have looked nice embedded in your liver.”
Thor did not react. Loki looked down at his thin hands upon his lap. Long tapering fingers—Thor always thought that Loki had inherited them from Frigga in their youth. Not that it was relevant anymore.
“And her hairpin?” said Loki.
All of a sudden Thor had the image of a very young Loki sitting on Frigga’s lap, pulling out her butterfly hairpin until her hair was undone and fell upon her shoulders like a rose-scented avalanche, how Loki waved it in the sunlight so that the butterfly looked alive, how Frigga laughed and hugged him so close that Thor, watching from the outside, would not be surprised if she swallowed him, enveloped him with her own body and bore him as a baby again in her stomach just so that they could last together even longer.
It became harder to breathe.
“Yes,” Thor said.
Loki scratched at the stone bench. His dark hair shielded his face.
“And all her tapestries?” said Loki.
Thor felt the tapestry under his armor suffocate him. It became a part of his attire as easily as his cloak. He thought that the pattern was imprinting itself on his chest like a tattoo, until he could feel every thread of those dead children eyes.
“All of them,” Thor said.
Loki did not look upon him. Perhaps he would not see Thor’s lie.
“Loki,” said Thor.
Loki turned away. Thor could not see if he breathed or shook. In that moment he wished he never said with such finality how everything of Frigga’s was gone, because surely Loki would not be so silent if he did not. Frigga was Loki’s mother as much as she was Thor’s in the end; he knew Loki knew this.
Thor looked away. The breeze stirred the simple flowers in their nests. The sight of them made Thor’s breath hitch, as if something surprised him at his ankles. And suddenly, as if his insides were worn and thinned, needing to be patched with needle and rags.
“This place is peaceful,” said Jane. “It’s too bad the world isn’t.”
Thor bent low to cup one of the small lily heads between his fingers. The head popped from its stem easily—the single petal unfurled like a scroll he couldn’t read.
“They have flowers like this on Earth,” said Jane. “I’m surprised they are here too.”
“What are their names?” said Thor.
“Calla lilies,” said Jane. “They’re called calla lilies.”
Thor pressed it against his lip and tried to taste the name. Frigga’s tapestry was still folded against his chest like a flag, a security blanket for a grown man. Behind him, he heard the grasses stir with Loki’s prowling.
“They’re beautiful,” said Jane. “I think they’re one of my favorites.”
“Are they?” said Thor. He couldn’t stop hearing Loki’s pacing that upset the grass.
“Yeah,” said Jane. “Roses are overrated, but these are so simple. Like little cups.”
The wind tugged the petal from his fingers and spinning into the air. He remembered a little Loki with his arms full of lilies, running down the hall to find Frigga as fast as he could. He remembered his younger self screaming at Loki, saying stop, stop, you can’t, you can’t.
“They remind me of my mother,” Thor said.
Jane turned to him, her eyes soft. Thor hadn’t mentioned Frigga ever since her death. It was not his place to mourn, as the future king of Asgard. But with Jane, he was safe.
“Do they?” said Jane.
“She hated them,” said Thor.
Jane pursed her lips, finger grazing Thor’s wrist.
“She once told me they reminded her of when her little brother died,” “They had these flowers at his funeral rites. And they make her think of that ever since.” he said sadly.
“I’m sorry,” said Jane.
Thor smiled without actually smiling. “I don’t know why you’re apologizing to me.”
“What are you talking about?”
It took Thor a moment to realize that Loki’s rustling pacing had stopped behind him. Thor risked taking a glance behind his shoulder toward Loki. Loki stood stock still, eye fixed upon something on the ground as if he had been cursed into stone. The sound of his voice was stony enough to convince Thor so.
“Has she never told you?” Thor said to him. He had long known the answer.
Loki said nothing. The tapestry under Thor’s armor felt like a badge. Or an albatross.
“We ought to get going,” said Thor. “We really should not tarry.”
He gestured for Jane to walk by his side. They had walked perhaps several meters before Thor realized that Loki was not following. He turned back toward Loki, who still watched the sun like he knew her. When Thor called out his name, urging him to come, Loki’s eyes met his for maybe a second, or perhaps truly an age.
Why did I never know?, said those eyes.
And said nothing at all the rest of the day.
“What is that?”
Loki’s voice was the needle that punctured Thor’s bubble world. Thor rose to his feet. Loki stared at the tapestry, his eyes sharpening with recognition.
“That’s Mother’s,” said Loki.
Thor hesitated before nodding.
“The one that she had since we were born,” Loki said.
Thor nodded again. Even if he wasn’t physically backing into the corner of the ship, he certainly felt like he was. He could practically see Loki picking at Thor’s previous comment of all of Frigga’s tapestries being burned and scattered in her funeral barge and finding the morsel of lie in it.
But Loki’s eyes weren’t on him, demanding no lies. They were frozen upon the frozen faces of those dead children (both dead now, both long gone and irretrievable, the sister finally rejoining the brother after all these years of waiting), slowly recalling that story he never heard and only stole from Thor days ago.
“Why do you have it?” Loki asked.
Thor did not fear the truth, the truth of stealing a keepsake as a memory. He did not fear telling the truth to Loki, who not only would always figure it out anyway but also knew every better and worse thing about Thor since childhood. But before he could utter a sound of that, he found himself telling a story he never knew.
“Mother gave it to me,” Thor said. “Before she died.” He swallowed. “She wanted me to keep it for my own.”
Loki’s eyes flickered toward Thor. Thor expected him to laugh scornfully, to scold Thor for such a weak and pitiful lie, to deem him a weak and pitiful liar as always, before wheedling the real story out of him. Because of all the tapestries that Frigga ever weaved, of all the arts she crafted, they both know that the very one that was being observed by Loki was the one she never parted with, never let out of her sight and possession.
“I see,” said Loki.
His voice was not mocking, icy, but quiet, almost inaudible. Without another word, he turned away from Thor and wandered to the side of the ship, seating himself on one of the steps before the steering helm a floor up from the main deck and saying nothing more.
Even if spies may be prowling everywhere, Thor couldn’t help but watch the small form of his brother all night. He couldn’t understand why Loki believed that lie so easily.
“Would you mind telling me about your mother?” said Jane.
The request made Thor shudder at first. He spoke of Frigga in passing without realizing it perhaps a thousand times on their journey, but now that Jane asked directly he felt very quiet. He wondered if Jane wanted to cut through the very solid silence that settled upon them during these long treks, or if he had unwittingly enticed her curiosity that he hardly felt qualified to satisfy.
“You’ve met her before,” said Thor.
“I know, but I didn’t know her much at all until she…”
Loki ahead of them stopped abruptly. Jane’s voice sapped away and she watched him warily as if expecting Loki’s daggers to shoot out from behind him like porcupine quills. Instead, he surveyed the area, the thick forest upon the mountainside, before trudging forward. Thor could tell he was listening.
“I’m sure Loki can tell you better than I can,” Thor looked ahead to Loki who was still within hearing. “She and he were very close.”
Loki pretended he did not hear. Jane bit her lip and Thor knew that the silent tension between the three of them was growing again.
“Loki?” asked Thor.
Loki only continued striding forward, his steps leaving crushed stems and leaves behind like breaking bones. Thor sighed; to merely hope that Loki would give in to something such as small talk was far too much to hope for.
“Did they not tell tales of her life during the funeral rites?” said Thor.
“They did,” said Jane. “But everyone’s stories about a person are diff—”
“They let you attend her funeral rites.”
Loki stopped in his tracks again. Jane nearly ran into him. Thor, at the sound of Loki’s tones, instinctively put a hand on Jane’s shoulder.
“They let you—” Loki turned around slowly, his shockingly green eyes fixated upon Jane. “A mortal who only knew her for a matter of days, who knows nothing of Asgard or her queen, who doesn’t even belong here in any way, shape, or form—they let you attend her funeral rites.”
Jane said nothing. Loki’s gaze flickered toward Thor. The corner of his lips twitched upward in a terrible smile. It stretched like a raw wound still oozing with infection, painful just to look at.
“Then again, it makes sense, does it not?” said Loki. “What place does a prisoner have in the queen’s funeral?”
Before Thor could say anything, Loki broke away from them, entangling himself in a mess of trees in solitude. Jane let out a breath she must have held in when Loki showed sign of life.
“I’m sorry for that,” said Jane.
“I will talk with him,” said Thor.
“He might want to be alone,” said Jane. “I don’t think…I don’t think we will do him any favors.”
“He’s been alone for far too long,” said Thor.
He motioned for Jane to stay where she was while he caught up with Loki. The moment Thor was at least ten meters away from Loki, Loki snarled.
“Expecting me to run away?” said Loki. “Maybe you ought to use a leash like a proper beast handler.”
“I wanted to make sure you were all right,” Thor said. “Nothing more.”
“Very good,” said Loki. “Wouldn’t want me to lead you and your little Jane over a cliff in a fit of displeasure, now would we?”
“Not everyone has an ulterior motive to caring for something like you do,” Thor said behind gritted teeth.
Loki’s eyes flashed.
“Like me?” said Loki. “Well, well, well, this is a new stereotype for me. I’m the one who calls others family for another purpose? If that’s the case, maybe something of Odin has finally rubbed off on me.”
Thor felt as if Loki threw a large stone at his stomach. Loki sneered and turned away.
“Spare me your presence for just a moment, Thor,” said Loki. “If I have to deal with your constant idiocy, I swear I will explode.”
“Loki,” Thor said. “I’m sorry that you were unable to attend Mother’s funeral.”
Loki’s words were like nails dragged through Thor’s skin.
“Jane meant no mockery toward you in the slightest,” said Thor. “Please, do not direct your anger at her. If anything, direct it at me. I did not try harder to help you.”
“Oh, Thor,” Loki said, and his laughter sounded more like growling. “Thor, you fool, you flatter yourself in thinking that my every emotion, every drop of anger is because of you.” He spun around and spat toward Thor. It only made it halfway. “If that were the case, you’d be long dead.”
Thor did not flinch. In fact, he stepped closer. Loki reeled, as if Thor’s presence threatened to knock him off balance.
“Then tell me what is the matter,” said Thor. “If it is not anger toward me, then what is it? Do not bottle your hurt in like this. You can trust me.”
“Trust you?” said Loki. “Just like how everyone trusts you with their secrets, their soul, their everything until only you truly know that person? Like how your mortal whore does, or your sickening companions, like Mother, like everyone?”
In that moment, Thor understood.
He was certain that the tapestry underneath his armor muffled all sound else he would hear his own heart breaking.
But when he took a step forward, hand outstretched (to what? Hold? Touch? Pull forward like a child?) Loki lashed out at him with a jet of searing magic. Thor only had enough time to throw himself out of the way before the magic skewered trees.
Fearing for Jane’s safety, Thor pulled forth Mjölnir and rushed forward.
Loki wrenched forth another burst of power and shuttled it toward him.
Thor swung his hammer to meet it and it rocketed into the air, skewing the heads off trees.
He hurled Mjölnir at Loki, nearly catching his shoulder. Loki dodged and swiped. A deep scratch dug into Thor’s chest.
The forest exploded around them in sound, in lights and destruction. There was wild, green fire in Loki’s eyes. Thor couldn't begin to imagine what raged in his heart.
Jane screamed at them, trying to reason with them as the brothers fought and fought and fought as if they could squeeze an entire civil war of a nation into their two very beings.
Somewhere in him, Thor thought, He needs this.
Loki needed this.
And as Loki’s dangerously fatal blows grazed over Thor’s head, as with shaking hands he conjured his every fiber to pour out fire, Thor realized just how very broken Loki was to lose a mother not only physically but emotionally. To realize too late, by Thor’s casual words, that there was something of his mother that he did not know, something of the only person he ever truly trusted and felt loved by and knew that he did not know, and the fear that there were hundreds of thousand secrets that she kept from him. Until all he ever really knew of the only person he thought he knew was in actuality a façade, a mask, who never trusted him with her soul. And there could be no peace to be found—not when Frigga was dead and Loki couldn’t go back home and ask why not when he wasn’t even given the chance to say goodbye and now he was alone alone alone knowing nothing and no one not his father not his brother not his friends who did not exist not a single soul and they would never know him back.
Skin scorched and scraped, weathered, aching.
Loki fell on all fours, gasping.
Thor thought with a jolt of cold fear that his blow had come too close to Loki. He dropped Mjölnir and rushed forward, unable to breathe.
But Loki did not bleed, or clutch a wound. He gasped for air, shaky breaths, shaky arms, teeth clenched. If he wanted to shy away from Thor, he could not bring himself to do so. He held back tears that were too dry to fall, screams that were long muted, and he could only cry out like a lost child he once was centuries ago, when there was a mother to run to and hide within her arms, when there was no fear of being left behind for long.
Thor knelt beside Loki, afraid to touch him in case Thor’s very presence would send Loki flying away in fear like a bird. He felt so tired, and worn, and he might as well be broken too.
“Loki,” Thor said.
And he knew that he shouldn’t touch Loki, knew that Loki would not want him to, but Thor wished he could just hold Loki close. He could only sit beside him and let Loki try to catch his breath in the midst of his unshed cries.
“Loki, I don’t know if anything I can say will bring you comfort, but…” He swallowed hard.
Because where had they all gone wrong?
“But I know more than anything else that Mother loved you with all her heart,” said Thor. His voice shook. “She loved you so, so much. You feel alone now, and confused, and hurt, and I’m sorry.”
Loki’s breaths were thin hisses between his teeth. If he wanted to object, he had no voice to do so.
“And I confess,” Thor said, and his voice shook so much he could barely hear it himself. “I confess—I had taken pride that Mother told me of her past and not you. I thought for once she had regarded me with as much attention as she did with you.”
Loki made a sound that could have been laughing, could have been sobbing. It was hard to tell. Thor wished Loki would scream, yell, even attack, because if he realized that he had broken Loki again—as always—he could never forgive himself.
“I lied to you,” Thor said. These truths were ugly, these truths brought him so much shame, but Loki deserved to know them, deserved to know him. “I lied to you about the tapestry. Mother never gave it to me. I stole it from her bedchambers before they could take it away and burn it. I lied so that you’d think she favored me to give something so special of hers to me. I lied to myself to convince myself she would do such a thing for me. I wanted to keep it—her—all to myself, to be something special to her like you’ve always been, and I’ve hurt you now and I’m so sorry.”
Loki lowered his head until it nearly touched the forest floor, his shoulders shaking. If Loki hadn’t hated him before, then he surely would now.
Thor slowly reached within his armor and pulled out Frigga’s tapestry. When he held it out to Loki, Loki would not touch it at first. Slowly, surely, when all the bottled pain and anger and mourning was too much to bear, he reached out and clutched the very corner of the tapestry as if it was his last goodbye while he shook, and cried, with Thor kneeling beside him.
They stayed like so for a long time.
Surrounded Loki held his dagger tightly within his grasp as he smiled playfully to the dark elves around him with their guns ready. Two charged as he lunged forward and took them out with his dagger as well as his secondary dagger he had within his leathers. The other two fought forward and thought they had him but he stabbed them and his fluid like movements reflected Frigga's fighting style as he spun and stabbed an elf in the face. Within his anger toward Malekith and his followers he looked over to another who came at him, he easily snapped the creatures neck as he maneuvered around him to then be surrounded by the dead.
Loki saw from afar Thor being tackled by Malekith's monster Algrim, he rushed over to the scene. Leaving Sigyn behind as she fended well by herself.
Appearing behind Algrim he took one of the blades from the elves and struck Algrim from behind just as he was about to injure Thor greatly. Algrim paused seeing the blade protruding from his chest, Thor stared wide eyed at who might of done that. Jane stood a distance away unscathed. Thor scooted away slowly to get up from his weakened state, keeping his eyes trained on Algrim as the monster turned to face Loki who stared at Algrim amazed the monster stood still. Thor saw the world slow down as Algrim growled at Loki then grabbed the man by the shoulders and pulled him forward with such force that Loki was stabbed instantly by Algrims weapon Loki put in him. Thor watched in horror as Loki gave a light scream of shock as he felt the blade tear through his chest with such force his mind didn't register the pain until he was pulled away from Algrim then forcefully thrown away like a rag doll. Though Loki didn't leave Algrim to stand there to do more damage.
When Loki’s back hit the ground, Thor screamed. Loki laid upon the black sand when his body's reaction to the wound erupted, as striking pain tore through him. Gasping he tried to sit up but only go so far until he fell back against the sands in his own blood. Fear struck him as fast as the pain, stinging him for an eternity it seemed. His body shook in spurts of tremors to the fight it was making with trying to heal and the great damage to his internal organs, such as his lungs.
Clenching his teeth he tried to breath, his violent emeralds flashed at Algrim, the monster was to finish him but paused as a certain beeping caught his attention. Loki smiled, "See you in Hel...monster." Algrim looked down to the grenade shaped weapon that is its very own black hole, Algrim struggled to grab it and throw it away from him but it was too late. The weapon deployed and sucked him into himself and then he was no longer there. Loki saved his dear brother, Thor Odinson. No regrets.
When this visage of his double faded and the replica of his armor withered to reveal black, torn, bloodied leather, Thor sobbed.
When Loki lay there slumped to the ground and moved very little, Thor’s lightning was uncontainable.
The Dark Elves stood no chance.
Thor did not know what he destroyed as his fear blinded him.
Until smoke cleared, the crackling of lightning ceased, and the dust settled, and Jane was screaming his name. Sigyn was there by Loki's side shielding him from the winds and storm, tears streaming. Jane was calling to Thor to cease the storm as she was in a safe spot with Sifori near her.
If Malekith's force still stirred, Thor didn’t care anymore, he felt so defeated and upset he remained in his place, feeling his heartache.
Sigyn had rushed to Loki the moment she saw Loki struck. Her hands were now warm with Loki’s blood. Loki looked to Sigyn who was trying so hard to heal his wound, his hand shook as he rose it to place it on hers to tell her to stop. His other dipped in his pocket as he searched for something. A small act to her that he would share only to her. "S-S-Sigyn...please. Take this...and hold it within your hand in private. This is for you and only- gah!" he felt his body freeze even more, the cold crept so slowly but painfully, his voice shaking with every word. "Listen!...only for you. My m-memories. Just...just speak my name and it will release to you its secrets...this is yours, keep it. Release the spell when you're alone...no one else is to know, but you." he was at a whisper as his throat burned of dry blood and lack of moisture. "I...I lo-" his voice cracked causing him to cough and shiver there against the dark sands. Holding her hand he shook uncontrollably at this point as his eyes closed tightly in pain. "I love...you..." he whispered quickly for only her ears. Letting go of her hand he revealed what he had given her, the arrow head necklace he had given her so long ago and what she gave him back when she first saw him in his cell. He bestowed his memories upon it, in a spell only for her to release.
Thor lost count of how many times he said Loki’s name. He fell at Loki’s side, moaning with heartbreak at the sight of where the deadly blade plunged in Loki’s chest, he looked upon his brother’s far too pale face and shallow breathing. He looked to Sigyn as he then stared at Loki who was dying right there before their very eyes. The light was fading from Loki’s emerald green hues and Thor just wanted to demand to him why why why why why—?
-no, no, no, no -You fool you didn't listen." Thor choked back some tears through his frustration. He scooped Loki in his arms, holding him, wanting to just hold him. Like he had when they were so young. Hand holding the back of his head and his other over Loki's body carefully as he held Loki's side so he could listen to his brothers words.
"I know...I'm a fool...I'm a fool." Loki spoke between hitched breaths and agonizing vocals. Stating his last words of that sentence with such pain as he felt every fabric of his wound burn and ache. Thor's voice was soothing, "Stay with me, okay?" he pleaded for his brother to remain here, begging Valhalla not to take Loki just yet. Loki looked back at Thor he quickened his words knowing he was limited to so little, "I-I'm sorry...I'm sorry..." his voice gasped as he tried to take in breaths.
Thor held in his tears so tight, his voice quivered, "Shush, it's alright." he tried to smile then his emotions got the best of him, tears filled his eyes without falling down his face like a child. His rough hand touched Loki's face gently as he did so long ago when he was about to be bestowed the hammer and be claimed King as he awaited his recognition. He nodded to his brother who was gasping now, trying so hard to live for these moments cradled by Thor's strong arms. Thor sniffed and took a breath, trying to keep Loki calm, "I'll tell father what you did here today." he nodded to Loki several times making it mean more than it was worth.
Loki stared at Thor with a look that said, You know nothing of what I did today, his voice cracked with a gasp of air to keep him alive, his words that followed were heard clear as day, "I didn't do it for him," he shook his head lightly as he stared at Thor's deep blue eyes. Loki's voice was gone now. Only his continuous blinking and shallow breathes were heard as his body paled and slowly faded to grey. Thor's heart felt like it was being ripped from his chest. Loki didn't do this for Odin, or Thor, or Sigyn. Loki did this for Frigga, he obtained his revenge on the beast that killed her, dying in action though fulfilling his purpose here.
“You could have lived, Loki,” Thor cried. His eyes stung worse than the cuts on his forehead. “Why did you not choose to live?”
Loki laughed—or he would have, if his lungs were not cut. His eyelids were falling, heavy.
Thor was blind, dumb, and senseless in his tears, but he managed to pull out Frigga’s tattered tapestry from beneath his armor. It was singed at the edges, several cuts from where arrows tried to stop him, but it was still there and still in his hands. Slowly, more gently than he had ever been with anything else in his life, Thor wrapped it around Loki’s shivering form like a blanket. It immediately dyed red at the touch of Loki’s chest.
Loki was shivering uncontrollably now, even with the blanket. Thor held him closer, barely able to breathe as he cradled Loki like he was a child again, when they had met for the first time when Odin brought him as a small bundle, and Thor refused to let go of his new brother until they had both fallen asleep.
“I’m here, Loki,” Thor choked out. “I’ll hold you. Norns, Loki, please…”
Now, said Loki’s eyes, as if they could still twinkle with mischief in their slow, painful dying. This isn’t anything you should fret over.
Thor let out a sob and kept Loki close. His grief made his thunder cry, and rain trickled from the sky.
Loki gasped for breath, but little air could fill his dying lungs. Thor’s heart jumped because he knew that one of them will soon be Loki’s last.
But when Thor looked into Loki’s eyes, they were not the same ones he saw that hung over the Bifröst, that were so resigned and deadened that were followed by a resolute plunge. This time, Loki’s eyes shone—were they tears? Joy?—and Thor knew that Loki would soon be at peace.
“It’s okay, Loki,” Thor said. “I’m here. We will be here to the end. It’s okay, Loki, you can let go. I love you. I love you, brother, everything will be okay.”
A ghost of a smile fell upon Loki’s lips. He looked so small shrouded in Frigga’s tapestry, so small as he lay dying in Thor’s arms.
Sigyn gently brushed Loki’s hair like Frigga once did when they were both young. Perhaps, as he was dying, Loki’s sight would give away and he could almost believe that Frigga was with him again.
“It’s all right,” Thor said, and he tried not to cry. “I’ll hold you until you are sleeping. I love you, Loki. Tell Amma I love her. I love you.”
Loki closed his eyes, his head gently resting against Thor’s arm. Thor tried to keep his arms from shaking as he held on. He tried to pretend that Loki was only being rocked to sleep, that he would wake again in the morning.
Slowly, in the arms that had first welcomed him into Asgard, Loki took his last breath. His chest’s rising grew slower and slower until it stilled underneath his mother’s bloodstained tapestry, and the form that Thor held so preciously would soon grow cold.
Loki's body was so limp, so still, that Thor’s arms quaked. Tears streamed his face as he felt the world end right then and there. he screamed again, out of anger and sadness that his only brother was gone. Stripped from him so quickly so instantly, he did not ask for this to happen, he wanted Loki to wake up. Oh how Thor wanted Loki so badly to wake up. Thor knew Sigyn felt exactly the same.
Finally, Thor rose to his feet after holding his brother in his arms. Thor breathed freely, and he knew not whether he should continue to cry with joy because Loki has finally found peace, or cry because he could not find his own.
That's righ--that did not work...
I couldn't of--- I...Gah this hurts
See you in Hel...
--no, no, no, no, no --You fool you didn't listen...
Stay with me, okay?
Shush it's alright, I'll tell father what you did here today.
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