Loki, trying to forget
He can never go home.
Not because Asgard is no longer there; he truly cannot fathom a universe in which Asgard isn’t there, in its perpetual splendor – the realm eternal. But because the era in which he could have called it home is gone. Knowledge has stripped him of it. Home is now a state of ignorance, forever lost to him.
Or so he thinks, until he discovers an alternative.
For a long time, he vacillates. It is a vulnerability is he not in a hurry to subject himself to. But the weight of the knowledge of his own monstrosity is a heavy thing, and day by day he can feel himself cracking a little more. And much as he might perform at it, part of him fears the oblivion of madness. Surely it would be better to excise a part of his mind with precision, like a surgeon cutting away gangrene, than to let all his faculties fester?
He hates the lies, but he longs for them too. Longs not to know better, as bitter as he may be about being played the fool for all his life. And even as he’s tried to escape from the knowledge into the void, or into hel, it has always followed him back into the realms of the living. Death is no escape. But forgetting–
(He can never go home. But he can forget the reason why.)
The potion, it turns out, is a reasonably simple thing. It tastes foul, but it’s nowhere near as hard to swallow as the truth.
When he wakes, he does not know where he is.
He does not know how he got there, or why his clothes are strange, or his hair too long.
He does not know that creatures from the void between realms are hunting him.
(But the latter, he finds out soon enough.)
When they catch up to him, he stands and fights just long enough to realize he is outmatched; then, because he’s always been the sensible one, he flees.
He feels for the soft places in the weft as he runs; the fragile places where he can slip between worlds and evade his captors. But the terrain is unfamiliar and he is being chased by strange, chittering creatures who are heavily armed.
He finds a tear and goes to dive through it a second too late, and feels one of their weapons catch him right before he tumbles through–
– and falls –
- and lands.
He does not know this realm.
It is loud. The buildings are tall and gleaming, but made of steel and glass and brick instead of gold, and there is a patina of filth over everything. The air reeks with the stench of refuse and burning fuel. And it is almost enough to overwhelm the smell of burnt flesh and blood.
He staggers past mortal beings in odd garb, stuffing a hand into his tunic to staunch the flow. He needs help; he needs shelter; he needs to hide.
Somewhere, alarms shriek through the air. He isn’t sure if he was followed; he’s losing blood too quickly to think straight, and there’s no healing stones on his person. He isn’t sure whether or not he can trust this world’s medicine, though he may not have a choice.
Ducking into an alleyway, he lets himself sag against the side of a building in an attempt to catch his breath. His chest aches, and he can’t seem to draw a full breath – every exhale comes out wet and tinged with the taste of copper. A moment, and he’ll keep moving. A moment–
He wakes, and a man is standing over him. For a brief moment, he mistakes the golden hair and broad shoulders for Thor – but no, the hair is short, and the man is not so brawny as his brother. Though the stormy expression would give Thor’s thunderous moods a run for their coin.
“What are you doing here?” the man demands, coldly. It is hardly a pleasant welcome.
“My name is Loki, of Asgard,” he tells him, waiting for a flash of recognition; all he gets is a deepening frown. “I require… aid,” he pants. “Asgard will reward you well for your help. I–”
He breaks off with a cough, and something hot and bitter fills his mouth. Darkness swims in his vision. “Please,” he gasps, wetly.
The man’s expression grows troubled, and a muscle in his jaw bunches and loosens. “What happened to you?” he asks, a little gentler.
Loki laughs, as he has for days now of running wondered the same thing:
“I forget,” he wheezes honestly, before slipping back into the rising dark.