(What… what is this? Where am I?)
Loki awoke in chains as thick as those of Fenrir’s, and though his stomach rolled with each and every movement, he tugged on them violently. Head swimming, he tried to piece together the events that had led to this: Jötunheim, monster, Thor, throne, Bifrost, Odin, wormhole – ah. Death had been his intention, but who was he to argue with fate? Heavy eyelids finally forced themselves open, and Loki came face to face with a man-skeleton with eyes full of bloodlust and a twisted, toothy smirk. Loki skittered backwards despite himself, but he quickly recovered his courage.
‘How dare you chain me in this manner?’ he roared, a mouse in front of a lion, ‘I am Loki of Asgard, and you will be punished for your crime!’
‘And I am Thanos the Titan!’ it bellowed back, ‘and a whelp like you should mind your tongue before it is ripped out!’
Loki was shocked into silence for a moment, eyeing Thanos indignantly.
‘You- I am of the royal family, and Odin will send-’
‘Nobody will be sent; nobody is coming. Everyone in Asgard thinks that you are dead, and even if they didn’t, you are a traitor to the realm! No one cares for you now, boy-prince, if they ever did.’
Loki shuddered in the face of the truth. He had destroyed any hope of rescue with his own actions. Not even Thor would be looking for him now. He glared defiantly at Thanos, hands curling into fists.
Thanos’ hand cracked across his face with such force that it sent Loki reeling, his vision blurring and doubling. When he could see straight again, he unwisely opened his mouth once more, only to be punched roughly on the other side of his face. He heard a crack. He wondered distantly how long it would take for his cheekbone to heal with his-
He drew the power deep up from inside himself as he had done thousands of times before, and directed it towards his hands so he could make Thanos pay. He grit his teeth, forcing it forward, but his arms started to shake as it reached his wrists, and suddenly, defying his will, it could go no further. Loki let out a pained cry as he was forced to let the power snap back into himself, the pressure taking his breath away. Dimly, he noticed Thanos pick up his left arm, as if it was that of a marionette, and dangle it in front of his face.
‘These cuffs aren’t just for show, little Jötun monster. You have no magic here.’
Loki’s heart sank. He felt slick, warm blood trickle down his face and drip into his slack mouth, the bitter iron leaving him nauseous. Thanos was still smiling gleefully at him, and though his pride compelled him to fight him with his silver tongue, his self-preservation instinct prevented him from doing so.
‘So, here’s the plan, little monster,’ Thanos whispered, sliding his hand down Loki’s side intimately, a move that made him shiver in horror, ‘I have something that I need you to do for me. But I know you won’t do it yet, because you’re too stubborn. Until you agree to my demands, you are going to stay here as my pet. I am going to hurt you, and humiliate you, and use you for my pleasure until you break. And then, then, the real fun will begin.’
Loki swallowed heavily, heart fluttering against his chest like hummingbird wings. He dared not speak, but he used his eyes to convey the loathing he felt for him, the same eyes that made courtiers quail and guards bow to his will. Thanos’ own face darkened, and his hand shot out, curling round Loki’s neck in a vice-like grip.
‘You will be mine, monster. It won’t be long.’
The hand tightened, and tightened further, until Loki was choking and gasping for air, struggling weakly in desperation as his airway was compressed. Suddenly, Thanos let go, and Loki dragged in a ragged lungful of air so fast that it burned. He watched through half-lidded eyes as Thanos reached the door, and turned back, running a long, yellowed nail down the frame.
‘I will see you tonight, boy-prince,’ he purred lasciviously, before slamming the door behind him with a clang.
Loki slumped to the side and vomited.
‘His heart rate’s dropped a bit.’
‘Hmm. Yeah, it’s still pretty normal though. For a demigod. I think. Jeez, I’m flying blind here, Tony. ‘
‘Yeah, I know. But you did a pretty damn good job with his stomach anyway, so kudos to you.’
Lilting, vaguely familiar voices washed over Loki as he came to slowly. Groggy and disorientated, he tried to express his pain and discomfort with a whine, but no sound came out when he tried. His eyelids felt as though they were glued together, but he recognised the brightness that they concealed. He couldn’t be in Thanos’ dungeon any more. So then where was he? Panicking, he attempted movement in spite of his obvious injuries.
‘… way you can get those cuffs off him? If- hey! Did his fingers just twitch? I swear I saw his fingers twitch.’
Loki felt a presence move close to him, and he struggled to open his eyes. He squinted in the light, making out blurred shapes and colours.
‘Shit, sorry. Lights down a bit, please.’
Loki was grateful, though he couldn’t express it, when the brightness became more bearable, and his vision started to focus. Coherency returned to him, and he finally wrenched his eyelids open fully to see an awkward dark-haired man leant over him.
Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.
Heart thundering in his chest, he forced himself out of bed to a cacophony of beeps. Agony lanced through his stomach as he tore wiring and stitches alike in his desperation to get away from the Hulk-man who had beaten him into the floor at their last encounter. He heard the Hulk-man shout in protest, but he ignored it, and made a slaloming dash to the open door, only to slam into the hard chest of the American Captain. He struggled wildly but feebly, still under the influence of anaesthetic. The Captain held fast, however, and soon enough, he fell limp, bowing his head in submission.
‘Ha, look at that!’ the voice of Anthony Stark exclaimed, ‘Weak as a kitten!’
Loki froze and began to shake as Stark laughed, until the Hulk-man berated him.
‘Tony, stop, now!’ he hissed angrily.
Loki could only see the muscles in his neck cord and his fists ball, and his breath began to come in quick, short gasps. His knees weakened until the Captain was holding him upright. What did they intend to do to him, the unwilling destroyer of their people? His breathing became more and more difficult as he panicked, imagination shooting off in horrifying tangents. His vision tunnelled again, and he dimly heard the Captain speak
(‘Loki, we aren’t going to hurt you.’), before he knew darkness again.
The battle was almost over; at least in Thor’s eyes. It would be hard won, as they had lost many men, but the body count of each day was decreasing slowly, and Thor had at his feet a leader of the Chitauri army. The thing hissed and spat at him like an animal, but Thor ignored it, tugging on its bindings to force it forward into the throne room, where Odin sat imperiously. As they neared the king, Thor kicked the back of the Chitauri’s knees to force it to kneel, a sword pushed into its neck. Odin stood slowly and approached, expression contemptuous to the highest degree.
‘So. Your… people have decided to try and conquer my kingdom. For what reason is that?’
The Chitauri remained silent for a moment, until Thor clouted it roughly across the back of the head.
‘Thanos would like to expand his dominion,’ it spat scornfully, ‘and since we already have your slut of a boy-prince, your realm was the logical place to begin.’
Thor froze for a moment, and exchanged a stunned glance with Odin.
‘What do you mean ‘boy-prince’?’ he demanded gruffly.
The Chitauri grinned, displaying cracked, rotten teeth.
‘I believe Loki is his name, though ‘monster’ he is to us. But why do you care?’ it asked, eyes gleefully bright, ‘You never cared when we had him the first time.’
Suddenly, Thor felt as if a hand was cutting off his air supply.
‘The first time?’ he half whispered, pressing the sword into its throat until black blood trickled from where it pushed. ‘Explain!’
The Chitauri’s eyes took on a misty, almost nostalgic quality.
‘Oh, as if you don’t know! Before the attempt to take Midgard,’ it smiled, ‘oh, we had him then. We battered him and fucked him ‘til he wept. And then we bent his mind with the Infinity gem, so we didn’t have to get our hands dirty. ‘Tis a wonderful feeling to break such a pretty thing, though I don’t suppose you would know… or would you?’
Its mirthful eyes burnt into Thor, and it licked its lips obscenely, lost in some appalling memory. Then it turned back to Odin, who was deathly pale, gaping openly in horror.
‘… oh.’ The Chitauri tipped its head in question, ‘you didn’t think he did that of his own accord, did you? Ha! Such is the loyalty of the house of Odin!’
Nauseated and sickeningly guilty, Thor’s blood boiled at the disgusting revelations, and without further ado, he slit the creature’s throat, leaving it to bleed out on the throne room floor. He trembled as he looked up at his father, who stared with horror-filled eyes into the distance.
‘What have I done?’