Work Header


Chapter Text

Loki has always rather enjoyed the Midgardian concept of a soul. Having an innate part of your spiritual being located within you is a rather appealing philosophy, particularly for ones so limited by lifespan. As he lies curled in upon himself on the frigid tiles of his cell, he finds himself beginning to understand the idea more intimately than he ever would have liked to; the current vacancy within him feeling rather akin to how he imagines the sensation of having one's soul ripped from their body. In a way, he supposes his soul has been torn from him, his seidr is so inherently a part of him its loss would most certainly at least be comparable to the loss of a limb. A part of him suggests that he is lucky it is only a metaphorical limb he has lost; it could have easily been his life. It certainly was not beyond the scope of reason to envision Odin seizing this most convenient opportunity to dispose of his wayward son. Loki had actually been rather pleasantly surprised when the sentence had been announced. Perhaps the foolish man still held some fantastical illusion of a repentant and reformed Loki reigning dutifully over Jotunheim, forever compliant with the every whim of the might AllFather. 

Ha. That ship had long ago left the harbour and drowned itself at sea. Nonetheless, Odin had not been deterred by the irrationality of his thoughts, sentencing Loki to exile in Midgard to be guarded and minded by those who had defeated him. The Avengers. What a ridiculous name; he was almost certain it was the obnoxious one- Stark- who had come up with it. What other insufferable names would he be forced to endure throughout the period of his imprisonment? In just three short days he had already had numerous, presumably unflattering, nicknames thrust upon him- the thought of more was rather unwelcome. 

It could have been your head. 

Inwardly, Loki grimaces at the thought. Executions in Asgard are less than pleasant; rarely short and never sweet. The dungeons themselves are... unappealing to say the very least. He knows he is lucky to be receiving a chance at freedom, this is what he must focus on; the future he has been given, rather than the past he has escaped. Even if the tiles are just as hard as last time, the stone walls just as confining. It doesn't matter, he tells himself, in mere days he will be gone. 

He could have sworn he was once a convincing liar.

By the time of his departure, his condition has significantly worsened; when he reaches the daylight his eyes cry out in pain. Polished gold does tend to be rather reflective, and it seems intent on directing as many glistening beams into his weakened eyes. There is a shove from behind him, dropping him to his knees, though it was entirely unnecessary- it would do him no good to aggravate the AllFather while his punishment is incomplete. He musters what little resolve remains after his stint in the dungeons-he has no real concept of how long he spent stuck within those walls, his head- to meet the perfect blue eye looking down at his dishevelled self. He compels himself to hold the eye contact, swearing to not duck and hide like a coward. With so little left, he will take what dignity he can. 

"AllFather, you are looking positively radiant today."

Odin, King of the Nine Realms, does not bat an eye, his brow does not crease. Loki will not deny the sting his passivity brings. Here he kneels, having committed atrocities against not one, but two realms, and he remains unworthy of even the slightest acknowledgement. How he ever fooled himself into believing that Odin's attention could ever have been his is a mystery. 

"The prisoner is to be accompanied to the Bifrost, where he shall be passed into the custody of the Midgardian war-heroes, the Avengers. He is not be left unaccompanied until his transfer is secure, is this understood?"

As he refuses still to break contact with Odin, he can only assume the guards have nodded, bowed or saluted in affirmation. The parade of guards is unnecessary, he does not plan to resist, let alone escape, but he also knows that is not their only purpose. There is a reason he has been brought out, trimmed in chains and escorted so prominently. He is to be a warning, an example, a deterrent. Most likely, Loki knows the general public will have no clue the details of his true sentence, but the symbolism will be there.

The guards begin to drag him to his feet, and Loki realises he is yet to finished with the AllFather.

"Is that all you have to say, Father-dear? No final words of endearment and heart to your youngest son? Why this could be our final audience, it would be a shame to leave on such cold-"

A gloved hand muffles his final words, pulling him silently from the room. Upholding his oath until the end, his eyes do not leave Odin's apathetic gaze. As the throne room's doors close on him for what is perhaps the last time, cool metal is placed against his lips. As though the chains and the absence of his seidr are insufficient, his words must be stolen as well. The leather bit attached to the uru frame breaches his lips, the dry, sweaty taste filling his mouth. Loki loathes the muzzle most of all, not merely because of its ability to revoke his final defence, but the symbolism of it. Uru is such a rare metal, it is almost incomprehensible that the AllFather should have a glorified gag constructed from it; but when the perfect fit to Loki's jaw and the additional seidr-suppressing qualities, its purpose is plain to see. Odin has been awaiting this day for many a century. 

Oh well. The closure is nice.

The golden stairs outside the palace burn the bottoms of his feet, reflecting the shining sun above. As in the throne room, Loki endeavours to keep his head held high, eyes fixed directly ahead. Though he longs to maintain his illusion of strength, the churning emptiness inside him drags his vigour down. Besides, he does not think he can bear to realise the number of people getting a glimpse at his humiliation. If he were a better man, he would admit that a part of him deserves it. The gravel of the streets is substantially cooler than the simmering stairs, though the miniature rocks seem to take every opportunity to embed themselves into his exposed feet. At least the Avengers should reside indoors for a majority of the time; he can't imagine he'll get the chance to experience the outdoors any time in the next century, he might as well enjoy the fresh air while it is available to him. 

Surprisingly, it is the walk down the Bifrost with which he struggles the most. The surface itself is not problematic- rather the most comfortable so far- but the sight that greets him either side of the rainbow bridge draws the creeping tendrils of anxiety to wrap around his chest. It is impressive to see the Bifrost was repaired so quickly, though he knows it has only hastened the already superficial court proceedings leading to his charge. He remembers the ruined, brittle bridge, smashed by his golden shadow's noble actions. And he remembers the fall, the never-ending drop into madness and darkness and emptiness. It was almost like a dream, the things he saw, but the kind of dream that comes when one's body is riddled with illness, feverish and depraved of any common sense. How he wishes it were but a dream. 

His wish does not come true. 

Instead, here he is, shoved uncouthly to the ground, sprawled out like a broken poppet. He doesn't bother listening to the guards discuss his fate with Heimdal, he knows it well enough. The only thing he bothers to register is the swirling of familiar fluorescent light and the heavy thud as he lands face down on the ground, bound hands preventing him from steadying his fall. When he manages to pick his weary body up from the ground, he is greeted with the sight of five Avengers, Thor excluded, standing before him. The Hawk has his bow drawn, arrow aimed straight for his skull as the Widow roughly rips the muzzle off of him. Loki is almost tempted to goad the Hawk into firing. Almost. The guards announce the terms of his imprisonment and despite all common sense, he ignores their ramblings. He appears to be in the lounge room of Stark Tower, the very same one in which he tossed the irritating one out of the window. An interesting choice for the transfer, Loki will give them that. Once the guards leave in another dazzling display of light, the Captain seizes his already confined arms and pulls him towards a steel contraption he believes is called an elevator. All of the present Avengers follow them inside, crowding the already small space nicely. He tries to congratulate them on their excellent coordination skills, but his jest fails to illicit his intended response. Instead, all he receives are dumb glares. He repeats himself. 

"Excellent planning, it is almost possible for me to breathe."

It is the bearded one, Stark, who speaks up first. Yet he cannot decipher a fraction of it, the words blurring together in a menagerie of sounds. 

And that is when Loki comes to an extremely worrying conclusion. It is not just his seidr that has been stripped from his body. It is his AllSpeak as well. 

They have absolutely no clue what he is saying, nor he they.

This may yet prove to be a rather large concern.