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A Courtyard of Black Apples

Author: ciaranbochna
Characters: Loki, Thor, Yggdrasil, OC
Fandom: Avengers movieverse
Length: 1933
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the world of the Marvel universe

Warnings: Grief, self-destructive behavior, mental instability.  Far too many sibling cliches and exposition. I have grave misgivings about this one.
A/N: Another prompt from  comment_fic - Conversations at the end. The theme was dialogue-only. This experiment brought to you by characters (and a writer) who rambles far too much, and too often.

“We were more than weapons to each other once. New scars to count with every word. His blades were more ragged than mine, but he never felt my sword until pain bled from his eyes. I was always sly with gifting pain. Receiving anything else. Well.”

Why do you chose this now? You have another millennia left. Yggdrasil and I can grant you more than that, if you wish.

“No, Borghild. You are a gift that I will not taint with my presence. Any more than I have by your creation. There were only ever three that cared if I walked the realms. You, Yggdrasil and…mother.”

“You are wrong as ever brother.”

“Seems I left the path open behind me. Any rabble could, and did, get through. I’d offer you a chair, but as you can see there are none in the courtyard.”

“Who were you talking to just now?”

“Myself. I do that often, as you know. There are always more than one of us here.”

“No. I know the difference. I can see it in your eyes. Who else is here?”

“How many children do I have Thor?”

“What does that--? Three.”

“Wrong! As ever. I have four. To introduce you properly I need to touch you.”

“Should I check your for weapons first?”

“Mmm. Not today. My blades are all turned inward.”

“Loki. We—“

“A moment yet. There.”

Greetings uncle.

”Whom am I addressing?”

I am Borghild. Child of Loki. Cared for by Yggdrasil.

I am also pleased to speak with you, son of Odin.

‘I. Am speaking. To Yggdrasil and--?”

“Borghild. Let me tell you why my child is such a gift. My father was Jotun, but my mother was Skuld. So, I can elude prophecy, and twist the loom here and there. Just enough to slip away. It gives me the ability to speak to Yggdrasil. Urðarbrunnr had a hand in my birth, as the well feeds the world tree. And now I can go—“

He is our family.

“I am honoured to meet you. They are protective, Loki. I was not expecting that.”

“You should have. Was mother any less? We spend much time together, the three of us, talking of the worlds. I am as fierce in their defense.”

“This place. How long has Borghild—have you—been visiting Petra?”

“Four millennia now. I first came here when the city was new. A hive of trade and art. I kept this courtyard secret for Borghild. The star and water for conversation, and I was...as near as I could be, when not in body.”

I am never far.

“Yes. Yggdrasil watched us well. They could always find me, just as mother could.”

“Why would you keep this secret? Did you think we would—that I would—condemn you?”

“Based on past experience—yes. Indeed I did. Besides, to have a place of my own, those I could call on when…”

“They were with you in your cell weren’t they? And with Thanos?”

“Yes. Though when all the pieces diverged and I could smell tangerines they were unable to find me.”

“Loki. I would have tried. Anything. Even after the horror you…We are still brothers.”

“Family. I have found new definitions for it. You. Odin. We are all edges. Designed to bleed. What favours have we left each other? In the beginning it wasn’t always so. I read to you once. Maybe twice. After mother forbade us from sitting on the library railings.”

“I remember. There is something in your voice, Loki. What aren’t you telling me?”

“I am sure there is something…askew. I am surprised you noticed.”

He is also your family, father. Love is within details they cannot ignore.

I’ve wondered if the ability to cause rage and pain is what qualifies people to be family. And acceptance from those who you chose, or choose us, is what brings…I don’t know the word.”

“I always offered you my hand, Loki.”

“More often it was derision, humiliation. Especially when in the company of your friends. Somehow I thought you would defend me. I don’t know why. None of that matters now. I think we should try something other than war. It may take a few years. Decades. There is a room next door if we need to work things out by beating each other senseless.”

“I do not go into every conversation intending to fight with you. But you just won’t listen!”

“Strange. I have thought you were the one who never listened to me.”

ENOUGH LOKI. Tell Thor why you are here.

“I did enjoy some of our fights, Thor. We were very good at violence. Though I suspect if we compared scars, mine would overtake yours. Some have yet to close. I created a rune for mother, you know. One day I may use it.”

“Loki, I am here now. I will do my best not to fight with you. But you have an annoying tendency to provoke me.”

“You are just so easy brother.”

“Did you just say--?”

“Have you had one of Idun’s apples recently? This past century?”

“Of course I have, as have you.”

“No, I haven’t. Borghild’s apples are as fine as any of Idun’s tree. There is one variety that my child has saved for me.”

“How did you manage to steal an apple to plant a tree? Idun always keeps the cores to replenish the roots.”

“Seeds are tiny things, Thor. They can be kept hidden easily. Idun and I had many conversations very long ago. What helps an immortal tree grow, the light it requires. I have always been curious. And charming.”

“But Borghild is more that Idun’s tree. It is sentient.”

Of course. Borghild is as I am. I was the teacher. All the paths are open to us both.

“Are you telling me that Borghild is a world tree? That is not possible.”

“You are smarter than I give you credit for. I must remember that. Yes, Borghild is a world tree.”

“Shut up. What other apple are you talking about?”

“You love the mortal, the scientist Jane. Yes?”

What has Jane to do with this?”

“Nothing. I am just making a point. Our lives are long. Five thousand years is intolerable to me now. I have been an agent of entropy. Destruction is so very easy. If you begin as nothing, and take yourself apart, you will find it easy to apply the same to the universe around you. Easy. The storm ravages but there is calm in the depths.”

“Brother. What is it that you need of me? Why did you leave the way open or tell me any of this now? I admit you have not lost your gift for storytelling.”

Father is tired

A child of fate, taught by two arcane mothers is not subject to universal laws of linear time, or the laws that govern reality.

“Are you speaking of prophecy? Ragnarok?”

“Not just that, brother. I will take this beautiful obsidian apple, and it will burrow time beneath my skin, anchoring me to a mortal life. As short as your Jane’s.

“Why would you do that? According to Yggdrasil and Borghild, you might live forever.”

“You and I have taken very different ways Thor. I wear my battle within, and I am only slighty mad. I have had death burning through my bones, even before Thanos. I should like to feel something else now.”

“But you don’t need to shorten your life to live it. We would find it if you let me walk with you.”

“Black holes are quite keen for company, did you know? They don’t swallow light, or time. They do love to weave it, however. Into the most wonderful spiral galaxies.”

“You promised to tell me what they said when you found a black hole. Why did you wait?”

“We stopped listening. Words, distance. A fair bit of both fallen between us. There are patterns that repeat. Black holes weave, my birth mother and her sisters wove the loom. The battles between you and I are much the same. Easy. What use are we without expectation of familiarity?”

“You’re stalling.”

“Probably. I suspect that you and the black hole I first encountered would get along quite well. It was full of purpose, fire. Wanted to get right to the point. You have learned patience, against your nature. You harbour a hopeful streak for most sentient beings, when you should leave the ashes as they lie.”

“I tried. You worked so hard to convince me that you were incapable of redemption Loki. That you were truly the monster that I saw in New York. When I traveled across the nine realms to contain the chaos you wrought, I imagined your face on every enemy I that fell before me. I forgot myself in rage."

“As you should have.”

No, child. Let him finish.

“Lectures again. I feel quite young. Continue Thor.”

“The temptation to gag you again is overwhelming.”

“One of my many charms.”

Father!

“Fine. I surrender for now brother”

“After---again you use ‘brother.’  I could not bury the images I carried of what you were. That my brother was not lost, not completely. I saw you waver on that cliff, on the tower of Stark. I could not convince my heart to abandon you as father did. We are brothers, Loki. I believe we were meant to be, no matter the whims of the universe.”

“Thor speaking about fate. That. Is…”

“Stop laughing! Or breathe. Please!”

“I don’t always need to breathe. When I drifted after I fell from the bifrost it would have been inconvenient. I let you come after me, Thor, because after I eat this lovely apple my time will be permanently shortened. For some reason I needed to tell you that there are a handful of days left to me. Strange to be whining about death already. It never mattered even before I sought it out.”

“You are determined? I cannot convince you to come back with me?”

“No. Do you want your trinket back?”

“What do you mean? The pendant Jane gave me!”

“That is the—no, try again brother. Catch!”

“You haven’t done that since were very young.”

“I don’t know what there is left for me, but I am exploring the memory of longing. I remember everything infrequently. Haphazardly.”

“Loki!”

Too late. It’s delicious actually. Not at all bitter, as in the tales. Something of Yggdrasil, Borghild and—Urðarbrunnr. Do try and find me. I would enjoy exploring the realms with you. Or introducing you to Hadur—my first black hole. Now, Borghild, Yggdrasil.”

“Tell me where you are going!”

“There is no thrill in a chase when you know the end, brother. Besides, I have always had faith in you. Buried under blood and razored steel. She was right.”

“Stay with me! Don’t—“

I will send you back, Thor, as father wished.

“Tell me where he has gone, I beg you.”

When he first visited my branches Loki spoke often of his forge. Begin your search there, son of Odin. Do not fail him again. He believes he will find death quickly, not matter his words. He grew used to solitude, but he does not seek alienation.

"I won’t Yggdrasil, Borghild. I will honour our bond, as we once did.”

***

Do you believe he can?

Yes, Borghild. He is nearly as clever as his brother. We can trust the paths to aid him.

We will make sure.

Yes. We will care for them. Their paths will curve inward, and return.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
caffienekitty
May. 22nd, 2014 07:48 am (UTC)
Lots of amazingness going on in this. Dialog fic is tricky to do, especially with multiple voices, and you've used it quite deftly here.

As to the too much rambling, stuff and nonsense! *hugs*
ciaranbochna
May. 22nd, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It was a welcome distraction.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )