Inspired by LDW's Winter Fanfiction Contest, Part I of IV: "Walls torn asunder and exiled into the shadows of SHIELD, the fallen prince scrambles for power and redemption in any form." Loki X OFC(Reader)
This fan fiction may contain spoilers, canon and also non-canon endeavours and history. Its contents will be derived, apart from the author's imagination, mostly from the movie!verse (Thor and The Avengers) with a sprinkling of comic!verse and Norse lore. With respect to the rules of the contest set forth by the tumblr blog, Loki's Dirty Whispers, the pairing is set thusly to fulfill that one guideline - all whispers used, of which there are only five throughout the piece at present, will be bolded in the text and also linked in the author's notes found at the end of every chapter. Regarding the original character pairing, even knowing that that alone has cost the author some readers, said character's description will be vague and generic enough so that any reader can imagine themselves in her place.
Author: Illusionary Ennui
Disclaimer: If it's not in the Marvel universe (movies or comics) or the wiki, it's mine or actual lore.
Chapter Rating: M
Chapter Warnings: Angst, Blood, a little Bondage, Drama, Violence.
Beta: Ms. Pagliacci
Chapter One: The Cost of Betrayal
Bound by more than pride
A solemn notion best forgot
Fury bleeds and seethes
"I don't like it." Clinton Barton fingered his weapon, the metal cold against the tips of his fingers where the holster didn't cover. God, he missed his bow. His poignant glare pierced fog of his breath to fall upon their charge, hating the frigid air even more. Deep in the under-city of Stark Tower, Loki of Asgard, bound and gagged as he had been when Barton last saw him, stood in a cell designed just for him. Even from the observation room, the agent could feel the deity's angered stare as one of the guards began to pat him down for concealed weapons, the Asgardian finery a treasure trove of hiding places. "I don't like it one bit."
"I've already got Stark bitchin' in my ear for commandeering his basement. You wanna be the one to tell Daddy Deity that he needs to pick his son back up 'cause you kids won't pretend play nice with him? "
Of course, he didn't. Barton couldn't help being a little intimidated when Odin accompanied Thor upon his return, arrayed in shining gold and wearing his power like a mantle of pride. What irked him now was what the king of the Norse gods left behind in Director Fury's care, one meant to serve the humans that he once tried to enslave as atonement. With nothing more than informing SHIELD's commander than that he had left his sons in his care, he vanished just as quickly as he arrived. Flashy bastard, I'll give him that much.
"You might want to pay a bit more attention. Looks like he's not going down without a fight this time."
Blinking, Barton followed Fury's single line of sight to the scene through the glass before he began running. Inside, one of the guards crumpled beneath Loki's manacled wrists before another flailed against the wall next to one of his fallen fellows, kicked away in wild rage. In the next moment, a third found the prisoner's chain looped around his neck The poor marine lashed out, blood trickling past his lips, but the noose only tightened. Death loomed until Barton was at Loki's back, one of the other guardsmen's larger guns in his hands, taken in an afterthought with consideration of his foe. Clubbing his assailant in the back of head with the butt the weapon, Loki collapsed at their feet in a despondent heap, his brow furrowed even in unconsciousness.
"Barely five minutes and he's already taken out three of our guys. Are you sure about this, Fury?"
"I'm never sure."
"What do you want me to do? Bend him over my knee? Give him a time out and think maybe he'll learn his lesson? Need I remind you that there's still a city with ruins in it just upstairs thanks to him?
Thor pressed a heavy hand to the glass, the one-way mirror giving him a glimpse of his brother as he slept and the prison SHIELD had given him. This was supposed to be their new home, but Thor could see the injustice between their treatments, shaming both of them. Around the would-be ruler of Earth, the quarters offered the barest comforts allowed a captive rather than the potential ally Loki was meant to be, its great expanse otherwise bare where Thor's own chambers were filled with luxuries. Within, a lonely table surrounded by a few chairs sat in the middle of the room, a meagre meal left untouched upon its top. There was bookcase, built into the wall itself, standing empty, given in the hopes of being filled to placate his brother's restless mind. Next to it pressed a dresser filled with Midgardian finery that Thor himself had chosen to suit his brother's taste in Midgardian fashion and a desk that bore nothing more than a single tome - the Bible, if Thor recalled, a work of fiction worshiped by many. Every creature-comfort had been provided along with privacy of his own facilities, yet it was upon the small bed wedged in the corner with a suit jacket draped over its edge that blue eyes fell.
Clad now in a simple white dress shirt tucked into black slacks, Loki lay quietly in his cell, unconscious and unaware. No belt was cinched about his hips a precaution made in light of the recent ordeal. A bare foot twitched and the Asgardian prince's eyes widened in hope, but his brother failed to stir awake. Thor then eyed the bruise from Barton's blow and felt guilt needle him. Still, the guards should not have had to pay the price for his negligence. Now he knew all too well that it had been folly to slink away to bribe one of SHIELD's agents for just the chance to contact his fair Jane Foster. How could he have known Loki would have acted so brashly; after all, had he not agreed to this banishment? His brother had been his responsibility and by his own hand, his honour became tarnished.
In this, he did not only serve the human's cause.
Resolve made clearer, the fingers of his other hand curled around the artefact that held his brother's power. Why had the All-Father trusted him with such a burden? Thor wondered as Loki's hostage magic pulsed against his palm. His love for his sibling would only prove to make the task more difficult. No matter how much he cared for Loki, being the one to preserve that which had been taken from him sundered the Thunderer's heart. Torn between duty to Loki as a brother and his duty to those Loki had wronged left him unsure of the path before them. Even now he pleaded to his comrades of the Avengers and to SHIELD with the desperate hope that they too would take up the yoke of his mission.
How could they not when the All-Father himself had charged them with Loki's protection and reformation? Were not many of them - the assassins in particular - possessed of dark pasts like his brother? Shadowy records and bloodied hands wiped clean in exchange for service? Surely the kinship they shared would ensure their aid, particularly since he knew so little of their realm.
Tearing his gaze away from the glass, the warrior looked towards his companions, those gathered to discuss Loki's future among them. In mute determination, he judged their motives and reactions in hopes of understanding only to find them unwilling to meet his eyes. Fury merely scowled into his cup of coffee while Philip Coulson, recently released from his sickbed, kept to himself, his eyes glued to the tablet on his lap. Clint Barton, pressed close to Natasha Romanoff, seemed to avoid him altogether, a hint of anxious shuffling reminding him of the man's history with his brother. The Black Widow, on the other hand, radiated an eerie calm as she stared into the room beyond, her mask a perfect impasse.
"Forgive me, but my father has a reason for everything that he does," Thor said at last, his fingers again tightening on the amulet, reminding that he did them for all, not just for his own selfish whims. "It is his wish for Loki to serve his punishment here as an obeisance to those he has wronged. It is true that I do know he will not make this easy for us or himself, but I am willing to try - his allegiance far outweighs his enmity. Should that not be pursued? Perhaps someone in your company or of your acquaintance may be of some assistance, able to read beyond his fronts and lies?"
Upon hearing the Asgardian's words, Coulson shifted in his wheelchair and shot a knowing look as his superior's single eye narrowed.
"We may just have that tool." Gloved hands shoving into his trench-coat's pockets, Fury let out a heavy sigh. Something changed in the SHIELD director's stance that betrayed his veiled reluctance. Yet to Thor's pleasure, the man continued despite despite the looming sense of misgiving. "Granted, she's a bit of a recluse and useless in the field, but her history might be just what you need. Let's just hope Loki won't mind being touched for once."
Barton and Natasha Romanoff exchanged worried glances as Coulson and Fury forged ahead with an unspoken plan, each wary of something unknown to the Asgardian prince. Intrigued, Thor cocked his head and studied his companions for any hint of their thoughts only to find none. The three stood in silence, glancing from time to time at Loki and then between themselves, until Thor grew tired of the quiet and sought to wayleigh his curiosity.
"Nice enough even though she can't fight worth a damn - no coordination, but you can't sneak up on her, either. Well, us normal humans can't, anyways." Barton shrugged his shoulders as he crossed his arms, his weight leaning against the wall. "Suppose that's why we keep her around. You'll learn soon enough - sometimes I think she's a witch. Don't think even that snake of your brother could keep her out, not without his powers."
With a grand gesture of his hand, Barton pointed to the glittering amulet in Thor's hands, the prison for Loki's power, not unlike Mjölnir had been for his own. The barest touch and Barton reeled back as if burned, sticking his finger in his mouth out of habit as Romanoff snatched him away with a hiss aloud for him to keep his hands to himself.
"What the hell was that?" she asked with her deadly eyes burning in studious reform - anything that caused pain warranted a closer investigate. That was what she did as an assassin, a spy: she learned and countered in kind. Whatever she believed, to her, Thor held danger.
"Loki was born of Jötunnheimr, a land of darkness and ice. One touch of a jötunn's skin would burn anyone un-enchanted against such for within this lies his true magic, raw and untamed - perhaps this is how his magic has decided to protect itself."
Thor stared into the depths of the opalescent gem at the centre of the amulet, the silver filigree around it dull in the fluorescent lighting. It seemed to glow from within, its colours shifting - blue to green to purple, flecked with golds and whites - every shade imaginable flowing, whirling, ever moving. Such a small thing, a mere trinket, but within it roiled something greater - a deadly beauty set to , he held it between his hands as he would a fragile child.
"The Loki you see before you has been changed over the years, affected by the magicks of Asgard and its citizens, of our father. It is that which makes him into one of the æsir like myself. It also by the magic my father placed upon him as a babe so that he too might control his other form when he lets it surface - without it, he is free to master either, affected by both their strengths and their weaknesses. Even now I only can handle the amulet until I relinquish its keep, all thanks to more of the All-Father's magic upon me.
"My friends, believe me when I say that my brother is a good soul, but one broken by the past - although he and our father refuse to share all that transpired during his exile, I warrant that the scars run deeper than we can imagine. Can you not understand his plight? Yes, I would chance much pain and more for the sake of his redemption - he will always be my brother, no matter what he says. That is why we have come here seeking your help and that of this tool of whom you speak. Would you not offer him the same opportunity to redeem himself and wash his hands clean as SHIELD has done for you?"
Again, the assassins shared another wary look, their true thoughts masked behind shrewd expressions. Though the warrior prince's impassioned words struck home, Romanoff offered Thor nothing more to satisfy his questions and Barton had only an opinion to share: "No, no I don't. But I'm not the boss here and in this, I don't envy him, that's for sure. Your brother's not going to like this, not at all."
The Universe watched a child born into this realm with the name Aura Henley on its lips, her fate twisted by many hands. Many years later, this was her story - your story - as the Universe saw it unfold, the path shared alongside another's, the end yet undetermined...
To be continued...