Drabble: Blurred Vision
They sat in the healing room together, alone. The bite to Loki’s slender hand had been cleaned and wrapped, but no medicine had been able to close the wound, leaving it raw and itching. Thor held it closed in his larger hands, as though he could some how will warmth and wellness into the trickster’s cold and trembling body. Loki had always been cool to the touch. Now his extremities were freezing.
The sweat rolled slowly from his high brow, leaving his raven hair stringy. He kept blinking his sunken eyes, trying to focus through the cloudiness stealing over their usually vivid green hue. Thor looked on with bright, clear blues, only blurred by the tears that flowed ceaselessly in the silence. “I am sorry, Brother,” he murmured again. “I ought to have protected you…”
“Shhh, don’t, Thor. I brought this on myself. I have… never been wise… in my allies,” Loki smiled weakly, every sentence laboured, and not only because he was finding difficulty breathing. He was finding difficulty thinking. His mind slipping from him. The greatest horror the clever Loki could endure. He had entreated Thor to end him already, several times. The thunderer would not acquiesce. He would not lose his little brother any sooner than he was forced to do.
“I have… compelled so many others… to wicked greatness. …simply lurking in the shadows. …If I had foreseen this… I would have remained… in yours. …Brother,” Loki curled his fingertips about Thor’s hand, the movement almost a spasm, and breathed no more.
“…Loki,” Thor gripped the icy hand tight, grief welling, along with a terrible dread. It might be hours before the virus revived this corpse. It might follow as swiftly as Thor’s next breath. Still, he took the risk and reached out to his brother’s pale and hollow features, brushing his trembling hand over the papery lids of his eyes to see them properly closed. His fingers trailed along Loki’s jaw, thumb skating the liar’s lips, then bent and reached to the floor to heft the grim weight of Mjolnir.
As soon as he straightened, panic gripped him. Loki’s eyes had opened again, fixed upon him with pure madness in them. Thor stumbled back from the healing bed wielding the hammer now with the instinct of survival and the reflexes of a seasoned warrior behind it. The blow connected with brutal force at the temple, knocking the charging wraith to the floor.
Blood pooled quickly from the ruptured skin and broken skull, milky cranial fluids contaminating it as it stained the golden marble. Thor dropped beside the body, seized that hand again as an inarticulate and agonized cry ripped from him.
…and felt the thready heartbeat beneath his fingertips.
It was there only briefly, then gone. “Your last trick, Brother,” Thor groaned through a voice nearly too thickened to speak. “And fighting me to the very end. May it be in the halls of Valhalla when we meet again.”