Let Sleeping Gods Lie

Loki's been busted - after the events of 'Thor: The Dark World' - and Thor knows that he will be sentenced to death, if he is returned to Asgard. Therefore, he places Loki under Tony Stark's care at Stark Tower. The two seem like bitter enemies at first... but they have more in common than either originally believed.

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1. Chapter One: In the Dead of Night

Loki stared at the ceiling, unmoving, unblinking. He lay rigid and tense amidst the sea of creases of cream linen. The whites of his brilliant, green eyes were embroidered with the scarlet threads of severe sleep deprivation. The ghostly gloom of the moonlight, sneaked through the window and accentuated the pale glare of his malnourished countenance. The indentations of his face - cheekbones, eye sockets - seemed hollowed and skeletal. One would honestly think he was dead.

But he was not. He was, still, very much alive... and, still, very much awake.

At times such as this - 3:47am, to be precise - Loki would have nothing better to do than remember; contemplate the chaotic maelstrom of memories and moments, attempt to make sense of it all, attempt to - finally - pin-point just where it all went so, horribly wrong.

Ha. Futile.

Loki found his memories proved vindictive, torturous, little brutes. Rather than assist him - regarding collecting himself and putting the pieces of his psychological puzzle, together - reminiscence would, merely, enjoy making him writhe; saturating him with venomous rage... and loss and guilt and grief and anguish and hatred and envy and madness and abandonment and loneliness and crippling humiliation.

All of the above, basically.

Sometimes - well, most times - he'd remember his childhood; the simpler times. Days with innocence so pure, laughter so frequent and optimism so high, they physically pained his leaden heart, whenever he dared to think about them. But the pain was necessary; he needed - no, craved - some form of reassurance that he wasn't always this way; he wasn't always hated, jaded, emptied or so, bloody tired, either! Oh, how he missed the simplistic bliss of his youth.

Although, he'd recollect a certain similarity, between then and now; his dysfunctional relationship with sleep.

As a boy, Loki would be relentlessly taunted by horrid nightmares: some childish fears, others gut-wrenching tragedies, others just plain unspeakable. Night after night, his colt-like limbs would flail and shudder, his scrawny form would practically drown in cold perspiration and his screams would tear down the walls of the House of Odin.

And, then, there was Frigga.

Loki visibly flinched, as he remembered the moving affection of his mother, on such nights. Her unadulterated elegance and undying grace had always made her a paragon, in her son's eyes. She'd remain at his bedside, soothing him with kind words and a gentle hand through his sleek, ebony locks.

Loki allowed himself a nostalgic smile, as he remembered her angelic lullabies; her voice rich, pure and joyous, yet, always, soft as silk. Sleep might have actually blessed him, this night, if only his mother were beside him, now... to coo him that wonderful tune.

That precious, precious lullaby.

Loki liked that one best; he always had. He confirmed that was because it was unorthodox compared to other more traditional Asgardian folk-songs. Most of their silly songs rambled on about the "glory of battle" or "the grandiose of a feast" and all that animalistic tripe.

But not this lullaby.

Loki's lullaby told the tale of a child discovering the beauty of magic, after years-upon-years of Asgard paying no heed to ancient sorcery. Most Asgardians considered the use of magic an opportunity for treason and trickery; Loki, of course, was well-aware of the negative reception his antics had always received. He then discovered - many years later - that the lullaby was originally composed by Frigga, herself. A dedication to her son; not to Thor... but to Loki.

A sickening lump formed in Loki's throat; it burned by his Adam's apple, as it accompanied the searing sting of remembrance, of loss. It ached him to know how much he truly missed her; her death really was his fault. The guilt ate his insides, devoured him; fleeting images of his mother's corpse saturated his subconscious, infected his dreams. They tortured him in sleep, until he awoke in a cold concoction of sweat and tears. Clawing for breath, as his thin frame was racked by sobs, he'd be denied slumber, once more and grief would intoxicate him, forever a hateful venom.

How he missed her; the only being who's love he'd never doubted. The only being he'd - consistently - loved, in return. He never even got the chance, to tell her so. Frigga; she was gone. Now, that echoing song was all he had left of her...

That precious, precious lullaby.

He wondered - with untameable curiosity - whether he could scavenge for fragmented phrases and melodies, from the deep cru-cesses of his vast mind. His brow furrowed slightly as he tried to summon the lyrics from the echoes of his childhood. He began to sing, sweetly in the darkness; a tuneful whisper which vocalised his happiest memory:

"A long time ago, in our kingdom of war,

A force came to light, undiscovered before,

A secret discarded, but great to its core,

Was found by a child, he was brother of Thor.

The child was a trickster, but still he was wise,

He watched o'er his kingdom, with glee in his eyes,

His words were his talent, but worded no lies,

He knew of this magic, he heard of its cries.

The cries of such forces would play at his ears,

He gave them his counsel, he learned of their fears,

Such magic abandoned, for all of these years,

The prince gave a smile, he would dry all their tears.

He followed their voices, deep into the wood,

And bid them a promise, to do all he could,

He never sought malice, he sought only good,

He treated this sorcery, just as he should.

He lead them with honestly, never a ploy,

They played like a child, that hath found a new toy,

Such wisdom commanded, by only a boy,

Who nurtured such magic, to live within joy."

Loki sighed and closed his eyes, slowly; a tender wave of calm, caressed his sickened soul, for just a moment. He then allowed himself a warm smile, as he recalled the spoken after-rhyme his mother would chorus every night. She would chant it, sometimes; a desperate ritual to chase away his rotten dreams. Of course, such an act was to no avail - the nightmares would always find him - but he'd always appreciated the sentiment. He muttered it softly; his words drifted delicately in the night air, like flower-petals caught in a gentle breeze:

"Now, sleep in peace, my precious boy,

Sleep through dark, but seek your joy,

Keep your spells, for wisdom's sake,

And I shall hold you when you wake."

And then the guilt claimed him; once more nailed him to a bloody crucifix, composed of shame and agony. A single tear escaped his eye, as he stared into the ceiling, once more.

Sleep would never bless him. He did not deserve it, anyway.

He grasped the sleeves of his thin, white night-shirt, embracing himself in a feeble attempt to warm his frozen heart. He rocked gently from side to side - as if a babe in a cradle - as he struggled to regulate his erratic breathing.

There was nothing else to do.

He began his lullaby, again; his voice strained with sorrow, melody sometimes interrupted as he omitted an occasional sob. Once more, he was reduced to the pathetic child, he'd always been. The child no one ever really looked beyond. He would always be Thor's psychotic, insane, traitorous, maddened, envious, tearful, malnourished, lesser, childish little brother.

And with that burden brutally carved into his chest, he lamented his precious lullaby, until the dreaded dawn.

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