The Ant and the Boot
Their screams rolled over me like a crashing waves, sending a thrilling shiver up my spine. They ran like scared animals, their flock dispersed to the winds as the scent of danger washed over them. I flashed a savage, triumphant smile. [i]I[/i] was what they feared, these petty, mindless creatures, not Thor or Odin. [i]I[/i] would make them all bow before me.
I grabbed one of them, a middle aged man in a suit, and threw him down upon a stone altar, apparently some kind of artwork. How convenient, how fitting that there would be an altar there for me to sacrifice my first human upon. I took out the device that the scientist Selvig had designed for me and bore it into the man's eye socket, holding him still as he thrashed and shrieked.
“It's working,” Burton said, his voice crackling in my ear. I didn't reply, too swept up in the moment of butchering these creatures.
They fled. The all fled before me.
But not for very long.
It was funny, even as I strolled outside with the rest of them they didn't even seem to recognize me as the man who just murdered two of their companions. It wasn't until I let the power flow up my scepter, let my armor return to my body did they stumble away from me in fear, falling over and trampling each other in their effort to escape. I sent up doppelgangers, the mirror image of me trapping them, herding them, into one place. I laughed, watching them cower and fall, clutching to each other like squabbling hands or frightened rabbits. No, they were smarter than that. They could listen. They could hear me. They could obey.
“Kneel before me,” I called out to them. They did nothing, their screams still too loud for my voice to carry over. I growled, anger flaring in my chest.”
“I said [i]kneel[/i]!”
I slammed my scepter on the ground, accenting my words. With that they all turned toward me, staring. Then, in groups, like stones falling into water, they fell to their knees until I stood over all of them.
It was so easy. It was just so easy.
I laughed, looking at their faces. My doubles shifted with me, daring them to move. They remained on their knees, even as I drew closer, even though I could see them trying to shrink back.
This is what [i]power[/i] felt like.
“Is not this simpler?” I called over them, waving my scepter, “Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity.”
They remained lowered before me, trembling and silent. Some whimpered, but they remained quiet, broken. They were my subjects. They could obviously all see the truth of my words, see that I was far superior to them. That was why they remained on their knees.
“You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel,” I soothed, watching their scared faces shift over the ground.
Then something happened that wasn't supposed to. A man, an old man, with hard eyes and a clenched jaw, stood up, chin held proudly in the air. He dared look me in the face defiantly, though he was weaponless and hopeless before me.
“Not to men like you,” he replied.
I laughed. How absurd, that he would compare me to his mortal rulers.
“There are no men like me,” I scoffed, shaking my head. His expression remained unchanged, hard and unyielding.
“There will always be men like you.”
This insolent mortal. This arrogant, ignorant human. I burned with rage as the mass shuddered with uncertainty, then, like some sort of bird rising from the ground, a lovely young woman stood up and faced me as well. She was dressed all in white and had a face almost as beautiful as those of the maiden's in Asgard, though that damned defiance was foreign to me. That, I think, was a quality given only to humans: the inability to comprehend when they had come face to face with their master.
I would not make an example of this lovely girl, dressed in flowing white. Not today. Instead I turned back to the old man, grinning widely.
“Look to your elder, people. Let him be an example,” I hissed, raising my scepter. For a moment I felt a twinge of guilt, saddened by the idea of getting blood on that girl's lovely white dress.
Then, just as I let my power surge out, a roaring fire of deadly strength, something fell from the sky. It met my power and I had only a moment to question before I was flung back, tossed to the ground by my own righteous fury.
The soldier stood up, his shield humming with energy. I stood as well, wiping blood off the side of my mouth. It had a metallic taste and was too warm against my skin.
“You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing,” the soldier said, cocking his head to the side. I laughed. Silly suit, silly shield, the stars and stripes of his country. I knew who this was.
“The soldier. A man out of time,” I laughed, lifting my scepter again. If he wanted to fight, then I would gladly fight him. He couldn't win against me. I am a god.
He just smirked, lowering himself into a crouch. The people around us began to shuffle back retreating from those more powerful than them.
“I'm not the one who's out of time,” he said coolly.
A ship lowered close to the ground, it's blades filling the air with a loud clipping noise. I looked up into the barrel of an armored gun, fastened to the belly of the aircraft.
“Loki, drop the weapon and stand down,” a woman's voice ordered.
This was too much. I flared with anger, lifting my scepter high. These [i]creatures[/i] would not be giving me commands. This was [i]my[/i] world now. I blasted the soldier to the ground, his stars and stripes skidding back against the stones where they belonged.
“[i]Kneel[/i]!” I ordered, raising my arm to attack him again. How dare they defy me. How [i]dare[/i] they defy their god.
“Not today,” the soldier growled, and deftly as a leaping panther he threw himself into the air, kicking my feet out from under me and sending my scepter skidding away.
I desperately needed a better taste in men.
I crouched down to the ground, shaken to the core by what I had just seen. What I had just done. [i]Had I really just stood up to a man who killed two people and could blast lasers out of his cane?[/i]
I was more insane than I thought. I shouldn't have drawn attention to myself.
I wanted to run. I wanted to look away. But I stood there, paralyzed by fear, just watching. The man, Loki, threw the American soldier about with his magic like a rag doll, but the soldier kept on getting back up.
I knew that shield. Captain America. That's who that was.
I didn't think Captain America would be able to do it. Loki was just too strong. I cast my eyes about wildly, trying to think of a way to escape before the worst happened. [i]Where was Prosper?[/i] I cast my eyes about, but I couldn't find them. Most of the others had run already. They were the smart ones. Only a few remained, too scared to move.
I watched Captain America fall to the ground. Loki lifted his scepter, smiling savagely as the gem began to glow with fiery blue light.
It was about to be over. It was all about to end and I was still here.
Then Loki was blown off his feet in a flash of white light, body sent skittering over the stones in a rap of tearing fabric and screeching armor. The air, dead silent save for the sounds of battle, filled with the sound of music. Not just any music, but the well loved chorus of [i]Shoot to Thrill[/i] by AC/DC. A red and gold form blurred overhead, whirring with mechanical grace before landing silently on the ground.
Ironman had arrived.
Everything after that happened too fast for me to understand it. The space in front of me filled up with blue and white lights, the sound of the tearing sound barrier filling the air as crackles and pops of flame erupted into life. I fell down, scooting away across the ground until my back hit a cold stone statue. There I waited, shivering and transfixed, as raw power flowed in front of me in deadly force.
I had always flirted with the idea of being a hero, just like every little kid who's ever lived. It's rare that anyone gets that chance, though, and when it does happen you're never really expecting it.
That's why I froze when Loki's scepter skidded across the ground to my feet, its owner still standing with his back turned maybe six feet away. In this same moment I saw Ironman, arm held high, leveling a blast from that would surely splatter the remnants of Loki's head against the statue I was leaning against.
There really wasn't time to hesitate. Without thinking about it the glowing scepter was in my hands, and with one hard swing Loki was sprawled out across the ground, hitting the stones with a grunt of pain. The blast from Ironman's beam blew the statue I had been leaning against moments before to rubble, spraying me with jagged flecks of shattered stone as I was flung forward into the air to land at Loki's side.
I stared at the ground, eyes wide when I realized what I just did.
[i]I just saved the life of a psychopath.[/i]
I yelped as I was pulled to my feet, a cold hand gripping my arm, a colder blade pressing against my throat. I dared not breathe, trying not to swallow as I stood pinned between armor and the thin blade of Loki's scepter.
“If you try to kill me now,” Loki said slowly, panting, “then I will kill her. I will come into custody with you, but until Stark is disarmed I keep my hostage.”
“Fuck that, Loki, let her go,” Tony Stark's voice called from the suit. The blade pressed harder, colder to my throat.
“Don't test me, mortal.”
Captain America stood, lowering his shield to the ground as he faced Loki. Behind me I could hear the sound of the aircraft lowering to the ground, it's blades thrumming so loudly I could barely hear Captain America speak.
“We agree to your terms,” he said calmly, then turned to Stark. “Stark, land and disengage.”
I didn't think Stark was going to at first. He typically wasn't the type to follow orders. But he finally did, the lights of the suit going dark as he landed and the helmet raising to reveal his face.
“Done. Let the girl go, Reindeer Hat,” Stark said gruffly. The blade didn't leave my throat, but slowly, carefully I was pulled backward.
“Until we are flying and the suit is off completely I'm taking my hostage,” Loki replied.
My mind turned cold as I felt my feet walk slowly backward onto the entrance ramp.
It was that girl again. That damned human, garbed all in white. Her hair was also soft and lovely, so pale that it seemed almost the same color as her dress. She trembled against me, against the blade tipping my scepter.
My body ached. But if she hadn't knocked me down, there probably wouldn't be enough of it left to hurt.
What were these damned creatures, who stood so defiantly and fought so pettily, but then could save an enemy when they were sure to die? Who were these, that could stand against my rule when I was strong yet be my ally when I was weakened? What were these that were so conflicting in action that their motives seemed incoherent, impossible to decipher to a rational mind?
These were not the actions of animals. No animal would try to save the predator that hunted it.
I hated this pretty girl, with her soft skin and strong will. I hated her for showing that there was something that I didn't quite grasp, that I didn't quite understand. These simple, fragile creatures had proven themselves to have a depth that I never considered possible to beings of their pathetic strength. Who was she, this lovely little thing, to disprove a god?
Even after Stark removed the suit and we had flown high into the air I still remained hesitant to remove my blade from her neck. My quarrel wasn't with Stark, brash and arrogant and so simple minded a child could understand him. No, my quarrel was with this lovely thing, who stumbled back from me and faced me with wide eyes the color of waves breaking upon the rocks. This damned, lovely girl who could be so beautiful and so unreadable, like a marble statue lost in time. She collapsed on shaking legs into a seat, whit dress fluttering around her ankles like soft feathers. The soldier sat down next to her, resting a hand on her shoulder and murmuring something into her ear. The girl lifted her eyes slightly and from underneath those thick lashes I could see those shining eyes regarding me. Their expression, soft and delicate, remained everlastingly, infuriatingly, unreadable.
I turned my head away, not listening to Stark's loud threats. Without the suit he was nothing. His threats were idle ones.
Then the darkness outside the plane filled with white light, followed immediately by rolling thunder. I froze, fear creeping up my spine. Some old habits died hard, and this was one of the oldest of mine.
Thor had found me.
I had to watch this section of the movie so many times to get the dialogue right. I still remember that.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear what you think (also I'm fueled by comments), so please leave me some comments in the comments section with your thoughts.
Have a great day, and see you in the next chapter!