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Voices in Your Head

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That’s a thunderstorm (or it might be the wolves)

Thor Odinson is born with the sun in the sky and light streaming through the windows. He’s born almost laughing with the sky in his eyes, and he’s born at home and he’s born under the proud eyes of his father. He is born already well loved.

He is their only child.

 

Loki Laufeyson is born with gleaming eyes almost a shade of green. His father is absent from the hospital room, and it’s cold, and lit by flickering electric lights. There's a storm roaring, and his mother hands him off to the nurses with out a kiss good-bye.

He is an only child.

 

Odin and Freya adopt a green-eyed boy because they think Thor would like a brother.

 

Loki grows up quiet and Thor grows up loud.

Thor is gleaming and bright and blessed with shining eyes, and he sits on his father’s knee to listen to the war stories. Loki grows up a little bit darker and his eyes a little bit indescribable, and he wanders the libraries in the echoing halls of the home. Thor steals the cookies from the kitchen on rainy days; Loki curls up in front of the fireplace with his books and his faraway stories. On the sunny days, Thor pulls Loki outside for hours of brilliant fun, and Loki hides from Thor in the attic where he never looks, so Loki can lay under the skylight and watch the sky alone. When Thor finds the attic, Loki disappears into the dusty depths of the basement library.

Thor meets Hogun and Sif, and Fandral and Volstagg, and they’re exactly the friends he was looking for.

Loki doesn’t need friends other than Thor because he likes being alone. Alone isn’t lonely unless it’s not a choice, and Loki chooses.

 

At 12, Thor is the big man in the house he’ll inherit someday.

At 10, Loki is quite sure he’s not always male. This doesn’t bother her.

 

At 13, Thor loves Loki, loves him like a furnace, but his brother is a little strange, and he agrees silently when his father tells him to stop being such a weakling. How’s Loki going to be a man when he acts like such a girl?

At 11, Loki seethes down in his heart and hates Thor more with every word, and she learns to lie with every word in Odin’s mouth. A liar should learn from a liar, after all (in his father’s closed study she’d found papers in a locked drawer and the pain had numbed his fingers).

 

At 13, Thor screams at his brother and thunder booms in suddenly cloudy skies.

At 11, Loki slaps her brother (for the first, and the last, time) and finds lightning cracking around his fingertips.

There’s lightning curling around Thor’s hands where they’re fisted and tendrils skidding over his skin, and Loki looks, and Loki runs. Thor yells after him, coward, and doesn’t see the lightning until he looks at the mirror on the mantle.

Thor's delighted.

Odin is proud his son followed in his footsteps (for Odin is the earth moving and the twisting of mountains). Loki is forgotten again, for she doesn’t mention that the lightning stayed for hours afterwards, and that every time he lays a hand on Odin she can move the earth.

 

The lying gets easier.

             

School goes by, measured in scores that aren’t good enough and measured by grades in the wrong subjects. Measured in bruises, and lab experiments, and alcohol fueled parties, and pretty girls. Measured in yells, and silence, and someone who should have your back but doesn’t, and distances now spanning miles.  It is counted in lies that get bigger and pranks that get nastier. It is tallied in night’s out with friends and promises forgotten.

At 19, Thor is moving forward, leaving behind the parts he doesn’t want, and he’s heading for war, like his father, for he is his father's son.

At 17, Loki is gone.

Some mourn.

 

Thor comes home, valiant and humbled and he remembers, standing in his halls, memories that shame him and a brother he should not have forgotten, and friends he is happy to see once more. There are scars on his chest and the beginnings of wisdom tucked away in his head. He smiles at his father and kisses his mother and pays his respects to the family grave.

On a frozen morning, Thor finds his father dead in his study, the red splashed over the books Loki used to touch, and the medal Thor had earned with a bullet, and the blizzard echoes his roaring. Odin’s death is from old debts and a dark past, and it is vengeance in a darkening heart that ends the storm.

Freya gives him her blessing, and he leaves with the knowledge locked in his father’s safe and his mother’s heart.

He hunts through the Isles and Russia and the sooty, heaving streets of China. In Mexico, in a listing hotel and Sif guarding the front door, his mother calls, and tells him, the Americans are offering.  

In New York, he meets them under the arches of the bridge and takes their deal when they promise him the end. The anger lurks down and deep in his eyes, and it is honor, he answers.

The hunt leads him back to Russia, than to Brazil and Canada and France, and than again New York and Sif stays with him, and Hogun and Volstagg and Fandral, and Thor mourns the loss of his brother who would have known how to end this.

There are more bodies, but this is for honor and Thor cannot stop.

It is New York, and they were caught, almost on purpose, and Thor isn’t breathing as he locks body to body with his father’s killer, and it all it takes is a metal pipe and the lightning.

In the end, the blood cools on his fingers.

In the end, he decides to stay and be his father’s son.

           

Loki leaves.

Loki leaves because she cannot stand the silence and the disappointment and the suffocation of his brother’s shadow. She leaves because it is boring, and he can’t stand to be bored. She leaves because he can and she can’t not.

Loki leaves because that is what he wants to do.

She doubts they mourned.

He finds herself in countries far away enough for scars to form, and the never thinks to go up; the deep and the dark call him with a siren song, so much to take and to steal and to blacken. Looking back was never an option.

So she falls, and laughs.

In England, he smiles, as there is a man that could be her father, a king to a crumbling kingdom. Killing him is easy, as simple as the throwing of a lie, and he kneels on the hard ground, hands fast around the not-father’s throat, skin stained with blood, watches as the life spills out.

Her hands turn blue and scarlet, and it’s the only gift his father has ever given her.

In the darkness with blood on his hands, and the cold a friend, she steals the skin of a woman-with-many-bodies to cover the gift; in the morning light, he leaves the many streets of London for the warped steel of America.

The darkness there is brilliant.  

And there’s a throne with perfect shadows spilling behind its arch, lovely, dark and deep, and she kneels again with hard stone beneath his knees and an infinity above her, and he smiles with the light drowning in her eyes.

He is a liar, and there is a kingdom to rule but there is no need for the crown. A crown is a target painted on the heads of fools, and she has never been a fool.

One day, he’ll rule the world.

 Here, she rules all of its darkest corners and those have always been the most fun.