When a man with the power of Tony Stark calls a school and tells them to give two students an excused absence, one would think they would question him. However money keeps silence, Peter learned while Tony hangs up the phone after a thirty minute talk with the school’s office. Everyone was tired, slightly irritable, and above all, wanting quiet. Fury was not so polite to oblige them. He wanted to know everything. That included a case to keep him from locking up the very being who destroyed part of the city. Thor was tense before Steve requested him in a meeting. He asks Peter to watch Loki while he attended the forum. Thor was needing restraints when Fury demanded Loki be in his custody.
“He is innocent. No crimes are able to be remembered on his part so he cannot be punished justly.” Thor screams from the spot on the floor Steve and Vision were holding him. Vision looks at the man that had one eye.
“I have remained silent throughout this ordeal. Perhaps a second chance should be supplied to the child. Wanda was given a second chance and became a part of your Avengers initiative. Why can he not be granted the same?” The woman he spoke of, Scarlet Witch, looks to Fury with an opinion of her own.
“He does not sound evil. He appears to be hurt and lost. Is it not a job of a hero to help those that are needing guidance?” Her accented voice spoke with confidence. Fury was watching as his very team turns against his demands. Sam steps forward in his military fashion, standing at parade rest.
“With all due respect sir, this is not the first time someone is chasing a friend turn villain. I believe you are letting Rogers go after Bucky.” Steve jumps at the information. Fury rubs his head wondering why he chose teams who give him headaches so easily. He sighs, realizing that was part of their strength.
“Watch him closely. The young Loki may stay a free man but what are we going to do about the being in the Ravencroft Institute? I have already attempted extraction but my men disappeared then were found stitched together like Frankenstein.” He was ready for war at this point. Fury never took kindly to losing, no matter how small. Thor has by this point calmed down and was let up. He brushes himself off clearing his throat.
“We should be sent in. This being is strong. He holds magic and seems to be able to see everything on the island that which the Institute is placed.” Fury nods.
“Stealth seems near impossible then. If we send all of you into a full blown assault, you should be able to take him and keep the damage strictly to the island.” Vision steps forward.
“What if this life is taken during such an assault? Is there no way to keep this peaceful?” Fury ruffles at the idea. He never did understand Vision’s need to keep even the worst of scum alive if possible.
“This is not a share and care session. I want that alien taken care of no matter what. I am down one full team at the moment so I need you newbies to step up and take him out with Thor, Rogers and Stark.” Vision grows grim at the prospect. Tony clears his throat.
“So this secret meeting was great and all but perhaps it is best to now talk with the fly on the wall.” Tony gestures over his shoulder to the air vent. An attempt to cover a curse word could be heard and Vision proceeds to levitate up and help the individual out. Once Peter stands among the heroes Fury crosses his arms requesting an explanation.
“All of this has to do with me and Loki too. Whatever took us obviously wants him so why won’t you let us in on the plan?” Peter was flustered with all eyes on him and no mask to hide behind. Steve shakes his head despite the truth Peter was putting out. Sam addresses the elephant in the room.
“You are a kid and the last thing we should be doing is bringing him the person he wants.” Peter couldn’t deny that logic ignoring the kid comment. A part of him wanted to hide Loki. He did not want him to be forced back into the world he has been trying so hard to escape. The group saw the silent agreement and began planning their next move while Tony leads him to the door. Alarms sound in the room, echoing louder in the hall. Peter turns to the group for an explanation.
“I believe our patient is awake and causing mischief.” Fury states. The group runs out, Thor leading them to try and stop whatever Loki was up to. They enter the main room, glass walls letting in the morning sun. Loki stood, his blue body for all to see with just white pants on, in the center of the room. His head was down, looking to his hands. He flinches when Sam addressed him. His eyes search quickly, landing on Thor and Peter.
“I only wanted her to answer my question. I wanted to know where you were. I just grabbed her and-” His eyes were filled with fear. Thor understood. If Loki was in his Jotun form, he had frozen her arm. Thor walks to him, setting Mjolnir down in a sign of good intent. Loki steps back before he could get in arm’s length.
“You need more rest Loki. Go back to sleep.” He shakes his head. He couldn’t get the black hand print out of his head. Thor steps closer before Loki could go back a step. He grabs his arm, Loki trying to snatch his hand away. “Stop fighting me. I told you, I would not care if you appeared blue. Come back to bed. The woman will be ok. She will just need treatment for frostbite.” Loki was still tense as Peter and Vision walk over. Their eyes saw past his blue body making Loki relax in Thor’s hold till he saw the black of his hand. He snatches his hand in panic but a red energy takes over his sight. He feels his body become warm again as he drops to his knees. Thor takes him in his arms, giving the group a look that spoke volumes. They broke apart, Steve and Tony leading Peter to the room just outside Loki’s. They sit him down while Thor puts him back to bed. When Thor emerges, he tells Peter a story as he sits in an opposite chair from him. It started in a time of war between two worlds. A baby being taken away to a home in Asgard. How the boy grew up and what happened once the truth was revealed. His two attempts to rule two different realms and what chaos was brought under such actions. Peter sat, unbelieving at first, till he finally realized, Thor could not show such sadness for any lie. He nibbles on his lip as he picks at his fingernails. Steve hears the thoughts in Peter’s head. He tries to ease them by breaking the stiff silence.
“We aren't saying he is evil. We just wanted to fill in some gaps for you." Peter was beyond tired. His mind reeling from the story.
"What do I do now? Are you going to take him away or something?" Tony sits on the other side of the kid.
"Why would we want to keep him here? He is trouble; you can babysit him for us." Steve gives him a "behave" look and Tony rolls his eyes, his intent to make the boy smile achieved. The boy was glad they could be a family a little longer.
"Hey are you hungry?" Steve asks to change topic not so smoothly. Peter's tummy growls in excitement. "Alright, let's get cooking. I know I saw a kitchen around here somewhere." Steve jumps up heading in the direction of the living area with the kitchen. Tony pulls him up whispering loudly.
"Hey kid, you want to try a drink, I can make a mean margarita." Steve whips around to glare at the man, taking the bait.
"Tony!" Tony just laughs and Peter shakes his head as they bicker over his ability to drink or not. Thor walks back into the room to find Loki awake again looking at his pale hands.
“Her magic wasn’t strong enough to keep me down for long. She gave me a nice dream though so I can thank her for that.” Thor stands in front of him about to give a speech of his worth and him not being a monster. Loki holds up a hand. “I’m not a monster. I was just in shock, I didn’t know. If I am to make things right, I need to make sure to control that ability or be more mindful. It’s my blood curse. I won’t hurt anyone else if that is not my intention.” Something in Loki has finally been pieced together, Thor noticed. Acceptance. Loki finally accepts himself and believes they do too. He wasn’t sure what led this to finally take place but Thor was just glad Loki was beginning to heal. Loki stands carefully and walks out of the room, Thor on his heels his stomach growling. The brothers find the room with ease. before entering Thor noticed Loki's exhaustion from the way he could barely walk. Thor knew that he needed a meal now after sleeping. Thor whispers to Loki.
“I am so glad you are safe and sound." Loki pushes him in mock annoyance before going over to sit beside Peter at the table. For so many people, Steve had put together a stew of sorts. Loki could not make out everything that was in it but upon consumption, he didn’t care it was so good.
"I was worried you know. Why do you always manage to get hurt every time we go out?" Loki shrugs with his mouth full. Peter groans. "This is why I didn't want you coming along but no, you just had to come." He lectures. Loki swats him away and takes his bowl after finishing his so quickly. Peter takes it back before he can eat it. Loki is about to snatch it again when Steve presents him with his own again.
"Thank you Rogers" He says quietly eating the stew with his original fervor. A man Tony was bickering with turns after Loki downs his second bowl, only now feeling a little full.
“So are we going to ask him what he saw? He knows what is in that building.” Stark chides the man named Rhodey, Loki hears him say, but another person speaks up.
“He is right though. We need to know.” His name was Sam. Loki listens to Steve chide him just as Tony did his friend. He felt coddled. Loki and Peter share a look.
"Enough of this bickering. You want to know I will tell you.” The four look over to the teens. “It was me. Except it wasn’t. I believe we were once whole and that we had separated in the fall. ” Loki gives Thor a pointed look, knowing he kept that from him. “He has all the knowledge of spells I should know without having to look deep within himself. He is therefore, more powerful than me.” Tony shrugs.
“We beat you before, we can do it again.” Loki ignores the comment, asking Steve for a small helping this time. He obliges the teen, flattered that he eats so much of his cooking.
“Even still, I won that match of wit yes, but I am certain he was not truly trying. He was toying with me. His real plan is still up his sleeve.” The room goes silent in contemplation. Rhodes speaks again.
“Then all we have to do is confront him now.” Loki stayed quiet. Peter looked to him, understanding a problem with that plan. They knew for a fact, no one goes in the institute without his say so. It was a fortress cleverly chosen to defend. The two look into the other’s eyes, a message being passed. They knew this was their battle. They would fight it with or without the Avengers. Peter leans closer, the group not knowing how to be quiet and were unable to hear their whispers.
“How do we go about this?” Loki wipes his mouth gently, now fully replenished from last night’s ordeal.
“We go there ourselves and take him out. I need to know something first so we need to try and get him to talk before we fight him.” Peter asks him what he needed to know. “I remember a few more pieces of my descent to Earth. I am certain that whoever had me, wants me back.” Peter nods.
“You need to know if they can find you and what exactly you are up against.” Loki winks, the Avengers quieting down. Loki looks at Peter’s watch seeing they had a few hours before school ended and nudges Peter.
“Let’s go take a nap before we head out.” Peter follows happily, waving farewell to the heroes as they get ready for their assault. The two were shown to a room that held bunk beds, military racks upon closer inspection. Loki smirks, betting his daggers on who usually stayed in here. Peter bounds forward claiming the top wrack as Loki lays down on the bottom. He wasn't really that tired but they had nothing t do right now that was better than claiming a few more hours of sleep when they never get such a luxury. He closed his eyes, the hallway light filtering through the glass door, and counted his breathing. One two, one two, was his mantra until the numbers faded into the darkness of sleep in his mind. It seemed that for once, he would escape the horrors of dreaming for once. That is until he felt a presence. Loki searched the all-encompassing darkness, hugging himself now on edge. He then hears a voice come from the fog in front of him.
"Hello little one. How have you fared since our fall?" The sound a mirror of his own like the last time it spoke.
"Who are you?" He calls. A figure steps out from the shadows and walks toward him. His appearance was deteriorated like before. Loki looked at him closely, now seeing bones here and there the skin being so thin and stretched. The being now feigns hurt.
"Do you still wish to deny the obvious? I am your hurt, your despair and your anger." The man chuckles without humor. "You call yourself by my old name. It is quite ironic that you have become a hero in my absence."
"What are you talking about?" The dying man closes the distance to grab his throat.
"You are too frightened by truth to understand what is in front of you. I am your true self. I am your only strength." He whispers in the teen's ear. "I am Loptr of the Void, carrier of darkness and pain." He nuzzles the teen's neck. The raven haired boy flinches away from the man.
"You are the reason I can't remember anything?" His smile is filled with sadistic intent. He waves his hand and a dagger materializes.
"You are a thorn in my side Innocence. You should have died in that alley, much like I should have died on the pile of ice as an infant." He raises the dagger. Loki kicks the grown version in the gut. He lets go and starts laughing maniacally. "You have some survival instinct in you. This should be fun." He growls the last part. Loki runs headlong into the darkness. He hears whispering and can feels things grabbing at his feet. Panic rises in his chest but he knows that there is no time to succumb to that. He is shaken as looks around panicked. No one is there. Then Loptr comes out to strike him down. He was thrown to the ground by the psychopath. Loptr licks his lips in anticipation.
"You want to remember something; I will show you the fun we had with The Other." Loptr puts his free hand on his other. Loki thrashes as a rush of blinding pain goes through him and he is strapped to a table with hands moving inside his chest from a huge gash from shoulder to shoulder. He screams as a figure with blue skin sneers in ecstasy. Loki tried to get away, tried to fight back but he was frozen with only one word filtering through his mind. Master. Loki succumbs to the words in despair. He sees the man pick up a bucket filled with boiling water and he starts to tip it, causing the contents to spill into his would, filling his body. Loki couldn't scream. The element was constricting his lungs, unable to breath. He looks at the being once more watching him fade away. When he feels his lungs collapse, Loptr comes forward turning his head to the side. He saw the Ravencroft institute from a birds view. His eyes scanned the scene to see the Avengers going from all sides to the destroyed building. The water was drained from him, the pain subsiding with the one word leaving his mind now too. He was sweating from the ordeal, tears still coming down his face over his nose and to his ears. He watched as they all entered, unobstructed. They managed to get all the way to the solitary wing before Loptr made his move. A black shadow follows Rhodes from his part of the wing. He couldn’t even scenes the change in atmosphere, walking on careful strides. He was about to meet up with Sam when the shadow oozed from the wall the reveal black skeletal arms inching its way out from the white walls. Rhodes sniffed the acrid air then turns just in time to have his face grabbed by the thin fingers, pulling him through the wall. His screams of fear and pain are muffled by the strong hold. Loki watched as he inched into the wall till nothing was left. Sam looks down the hall just as the shadow completely disappeared. He turns the opposite way with no inkling of what just happened. Loki squirmed from his spot on the alter. Loptr smirks, petting his head gently. “Be still copycat. I will save the best for last.” Sam steps out into the open air, the rest of the hall destroyed till the next room. His foot lands into the grass causing a complete wave to spread through the rest of the area. He freezes, eyes scanning the area. The waves then go back around him, grass and leaves flying in the air. He swipes the air, getting ready to fly out. He sees a black figure turn to three around him. A sound of screeching birds fills his ears to the point they ring. He tries to fly but the beings strike his gear, breaking the wings in half. They run at him, as he tries to fight them off. They disperse on contact letting out black shapes of deformed birds circling and attacking Sam. His screams echo throughout the island till he disappears. Loki shakes his head, screaming. He feels his body shake, not by Loptr, by someone else.
"Loki, wake up!" He knows the voice. The vision subsides like mist. Loptr grs at him, scratching his body as he feels himself get pulled away from the universe they had dwelled in. Loki wasn’t even sure how long he was forced to stay in here when he wakes in a cold sweat Peter was pinning him down, eyes filled with fear. His chest rises, falls, in pants, his eyes alert.
"Loki, what happened?" his hold eases from his arms, probably a bruise forming on his arms. Loki eases himself up and looks around to be sure he is safe. He rubs his eyes to feel they are wet. He takes a shaky breath in and clears his throat, feeling the scratches on his chest that he did not sustain here.
“We need to go back now, The Avengers are dying.”
One after another. They fell. The nightmares took them into a holding of darkness till Loptr knew what he wanted to do with them. They stand as trophies along his wall. The only two left were Vision and Thor. Loptr growls at the red being. Nothing seemed to have affected him. He even stopped with the illusions and summoned things from the pits of Hel itself. He fought them easily, illusions and reality not being strong enough.
“You are a being of truth, you are not real. You have no emotions of fear.” Loptr stomped around like a child denied his toys. He starts ripping out his hair in anger. A bald spot forms then he freezes. It takes a few minutes till he continues walking, this new stride being one of calm refinement. “No matter, I will just get rid of you.” He flicks his wrist, a spell humming through his mind. Vision feels a push for a second then flies. He leaves the island, the pull from the spell not waning even after he leaves the island and starts to leave the city. Loptr smirks then laughs in glee, grabbing a knife. “Thor, I will make sure to save your decent for when copycat gets here.” He notices movement at the edge of his vision of his island and notices lights coming. He jumps in ecstasy, swinging the knife around dangerously. “Let’s end this dear little one. I will show him why I am the better one. He never should have uttered the spell to save you.”
Loki looks back at Peter now Spiderman. His bike was easy to find, a helmet harder to do so. Loki sighs at his new plan. He was not going to lose him. Loptr wanted all that made him sane, happy. He would not take Peter. He had so much to go back to. Loki presses the brake. Coming slowly to a stop. He waits till Peter swings beside him.
“I am sorry for bring you this far.” Peter looks at him strangely till he hears the spell. “leysa sasi skipa.” One line uttered too fast for him to stop. Peter feels himself be lifted gently and encompassed in a bubble of green magic. He was then taken high into the sky and there he sat above the clouds. He tried to break it with no such luck. Peter growls at his friend, never listening to him.
“I don’t want to be alone either you know. You better come back damn it.” Peter let that slip once. A loss of a brother weighing heavy in his mind if this goes south. Loki runs deep within the walls, sensing the anger from here. He called out to Thor, hoping he was not taken yet with no answer for the first five minutes till he ended up back at the solitary confinement door that held the very being controlling this whole game. Everything has worked out for him thus far. Loki’s hands shake in anger at his inability to stop this. Blood was on his hands with his weakness this time. He felt he could do nothing right. He always destroyed other. Loki growls, shaking his head.
“I will end this then. Alone.” He squares his shoulders. A spell for summoning a dagger gracing his mind. He was becoming whole again, yet he had no idea how. Stepping into the darkness Loki keeps his mind empty for the knowledge deep within himself. It floods his subconscious quickly. Allowing his body to hum in tune with his surroundings. His eyes were glowing from a spell uttered in his mind, able to see through the darkness to the room Loptr truly dwells in. He doesn’t see him in the shadows of the room. He wasn’t there. Something else was. He felt the tendrils of darkness reach for him. Loki jumped away, swiping at them, causing them to disperse. He looks past the creatures seeing a black goo come up from the ground for a thin arm longer than a normal humans to twitch out and slam on the floor, hoisting up the rest of its body. Loki flinches at the disturbing image. Black hair covers the face as it stands like a spider and crawls after him with surprising speed. He meets it with a dagger ready to stab it. The creature tackles him but he managed a stab to its shoulder. Screeches come from its hidden mouth, backing away from his fallen form. Loki stands quickly and kicks it in the face. It looks up at him with a half deteriorated face of a girl missing her jaw. A shiver runs down his spine. The being tries to come after him again, the dagger going deeper with the movement. Loki changes at will to his Jotun form, now used to the change. He turns his hand into that of a sword with ice and jumps high into the air. He felt his arm move toward the girl’s heart and stabs right through. The scream echoes loudly in his ears. Loki heard a banging on the door from the other side of the room.
“Loki, are you in there?” Thor calls desperately. He didn’t answer in hopes he will leave this god forsaken place. His back is stabbed while he begs Thor to go in his mind. Loki growls low, turning to see Loptr laughing low at the attack. He steps back with the dagger and disappears in a fire of black. Loki could no longer see the dark outline of the room. The darkness became alive. It moved under his feet, trying to devour him. Loki jumped off the ground humming a spell allowing him to hover just above. Hands covered in blood and insects start reaching for him, managing to grab the leg of his jean. He was pulled down into the grasp of the monsters. He kicks and stabs, the hands turning to ice from his skin, he manages to get up and continue his hover, holding his hands out before him. He focuses on turning the entire area into ice. He manages it, freezing the horror scene till it too was taken by the living tendrils. He looks for Loptr, ignoring the fear he forced to subside. He appears before him, inches from his face, blood covering his mouth.
“I will destroy all you hold dear.” He disappears once again, beings wrapped in bandages with bats coming out of the places the bandages did not cover. Loki gets ready for battle, but upon each strike of the creatures, they dispersed to surround him, scratching his face. He covers his face, attempting to think of a spell. One comes to mind and he growls it, causing a burst of clear water to wash the bats away. They fall to the ground drowned or crushed by the current. Loki could barely breathe from the exertion. He hears a banging on the door, Thor trying to break it down.
“No Thor, get out of here.” He screams in agony. He hears a crackling from the other end before the door bursts open, with lightning creating blinding light. Loki shields his eyes, his body trembling from the dread of what was to come. Thor looks around the dark area, vision landing on a bleeding Loki. He runs in, the door slamming shut behind him. Loki bites back a scream when he sees Loptr appear behind him. Thor turns before he sinks into black water. Loki sprints to his brother reaching for him in desperation, the black splashing onto his skin. Their hands lock and he manages to pull Thor out as he calls Mjolnir to help boost him away from the pit that was forming in place of the dark liquid. The gods run from the ever widening abyss till the ground under their feet falls out from under them. They fall till Loki’s back collides with a beam, red light flooding from below him. Thor catches himself before he falls on top of his brother on another beam above. Loki looks below them and sees flames with people covered in tar moving in a perverted form of dancing. Thor groans as he drops down to go towards his sibling, whose eyes were locked on the scene below. A crazy laughter reaches them where they rest between Hel and Earth.
“Welcome to our new home.” It screeches at the figure dives down, grabbing Loki’s arm. He yells in pain as he fights to not be pulled down with Loptr. Thor dives the short grabbing Loki right before he falls, bringing up the man who holds him too. “We are safe down there. It is the purest form of pain and suffering with no Master to fear. We do it to ourselves.” Loki couldn’t figure out why he wanted this. What was his purpose? He shakes his head as Thor steps in front of him.
“Why do you insist on suffering? I managed to make a life for myself why don’t you?” The being starts smacking his head, the words seeming to harm him in some way.
“No, there is nothing left, we must leave. There is nothing left. No one left.” Thor eases his stance, feeling regret for the other form of his brother. He shakes his head, eyes bleeding from him clawing at them. “We are nothing.” He whispers. Loki dives past Thor, grabbing the being before he attacks. A burst of power surges from them pushing Thor back and almost off the beam. Loki screams as the tendrils wrap around them and entering his mouth and eyes. Laughter mingles with his cries as he retreats deep within his soul once more, looking for his light. He finds her, standing like an angel before him, light radiating from her.
“Why must you feel so helpless? I am not your only light. You have your own and so much more to save you.” Loki shakes his head, feeling the darkness take his soul.
“Please mother, help me. I can’t fight this.” She shakes her head.
“Do you not recognize yourself?” She asks. Loki was lost till she shines too bright for him to see. He shields himself till it dims once more. He looks at himself, the picture of what everyone else saw before the fall. He was broken and yet strong. He held himself with such regality, Loki couldn’t feel pity for his injured state. He walks to him and tries to reach out for his hand but the light starts to dim. They look at one another with identical fear. “Is the one chance I had for nothing?” He asks. “You have so much light and you won’t use it.” Loki screams as it goes dark.
Thor was once again outside the institute with his friends knocked out around him. The sun was starting to set and his eyes moved higher to see a form falling from the sky. He looked harder to see it was Peter Parker. He calls Mjolnir but another figure flies through the sky, golden cape reflecting the dying sun’s light. Vison catches the falling boy easily and bring him down the were the group was now starting to awaken. They were jerking to consciousness, as if nightmares had plagued their sleep. Rhodes whipped his body till he realized there was nothing. Steve holds his hands up in protection till he too realized his safety was not at risk. One after another they all made this discovery. Thor looked around till he finally found the one being that mattered the most. Loki was asleep on the grass. He goes to him, shaking him gently to wake him. Peter gets out of Vision’s grasp and calls out Loki’s name. He didn’t stir. Thor was lost, he did not know what was happening. The group crowds around, realizing he was still breathing but was so deep in sleep he might as well have been. Vision kneels before the three brothers linked by a single love. He gently lays his hand on his cheek, searching.
“He seems to caught in an inner battle. He is asleep in order to quell the storm within his soul.” Peter shakes his head.
“He can’t. He has to wake up. We promised Aunt May we would get her the organic eggs.” Vision wasn’t sure why the eggs mattered, not understanding the second meaning it held for the two boys. He lays a hand on his shoulder.
“He will awaken in time. Just hope it is the Loki you love that has won and not the one we had come here to intercept.” Peter flinches at the possibility. Tony shakes Thor’s shoulder, the blonde turning to him.“We need to get out of here. Police are on their way and Loki needs a doctor.” Thor nods and gets ready to fly back to the S.H.E.I.L.D base. The Avengers follow at the same speed, with the ones who could fly helping those who couldn’t. A storm was forming opposite the sunrise. To the Avengers it felt like an omen.