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Private the dream is collapsing

Discussion in 'The Calamity' started by Thor Odinson, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Thor Odinson

    Thor Odinson Marvel Universe

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    PHASE 2, YEAR ???
    @Bruce Banner
    [​IMG]
    Thor opened his eye.

    He found himself standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the churning sea. Gusts of wind were whipping its waves into such a frenzy, it seemed as if there was more froth than water. Thor’s hair, at that annoying stage where it was neither long nor short, was swept this way and that. He grimaced and shoved hair out of his face, peering up at the sky with his one eye. It was dark, stormclouds rolling overhead.

    Why were the stormclouds so familiar? Thor couldn’t quite grasp it, understanding just out of reach. He huffed, frustrated. Why couldn’t he remember?

    He shifted his focus to his surroundings again, eye settling on the grass around him. It was green, impossibly green, and tall enough to reach his knees. He stretched his hand out towards it, the blades soft against his fingers.

    Memory slammed into him hard enough to steal his breath away.

    For a heartstopping moment, Thor thought he’d see his father standing there, just like in his other visions. Dressed in plain clothes, belying his noble origins. But no matter where Thor turned, his heart hammering against his ribcage, Odin Allfather was nowhere to be found. All that met Thor was the vast emptiness of his surroundings.

    Wherever he was, he was alone.

    No, not wherever he was. He recognized this place now. It wasn’t the cliffside where he and Loki had reunited with their father back on Earth. This was in Pandora, where Thor had called on his fellow Asgardians to honor their fallen people, to hold their last rites. Not a day had passed since then.

    What was he doing here again?

    He stepped forwards, unwilling to sit still. Not when the sky filled him with such unease, not when the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. There was a nagging feeling in the back of his mind, a feeling that he’d forgotten something important.

    But he just couldn’t remember what it was.
     
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  2. Bruce Banner

    Bruce Banner Marvel Universe

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    The world was probably ending. Probably. Bruce couldn’t really be sure either way, and while not knowing for sure did most certainly bother him. Bruce didn’t like not understanding things, not having a reasonable hypothesis for the outcome. It goes against every foundation of science he’s dedicated his life to after all. So yes, while not knowing what was going to happen bothered him-well, he was pretty lukewarm about the idea of the world ending.

    Most people when faced with the very real possibility of their own mortality or existence ending would be understandably stressed about that fact. It was human nature to fight against the idea of your life ending, to resist entropy. Even the most brilliant of human minds couldn’t really wrap themselves around the idea of their own non-existence.

    However, Bruce was observing the whole thing like one might view the prospect of gray stormy weather. Either it would rain or it would clear up-- either way, there wasn’t anything to do done about it either way. Either the world was going to end or it’d find a way to keep on turning, and in any case-- there wasn’t anything that Bruce could do about that. Brilliant as he was, he couldn’t fix this and Hulk was no help either, there was nothing to fight in this-- no bad guy to punch. There wasn’t anything except to wait, and wait and maybe-- just maybe, hope that everything turned out alright.

    Bruce had doubts about that bit-- the ‘everything turning out alright’ bit at least, but he always had so that was just par for the course for him. In any case, he endeavored to not get too worked up about it either way. There was nothing in his power to do about what was going on in Pandora. And for now, Loki’s wards and charms were holding up in a little bubble around the cabin which had kept him safe for the moment. So that was Loki, coming through on his word, so maybe the world really was ending.

    It was disturbing outside either way, the sky frozen at a weird twilight color like time itself had stopped. Inside the cabin, you could feel the Earthquakes and tremors but the bubble had kept them protected from the ground opening up beneath them so far. To be honest, Bruce wasn’t paying much attention to what was happening outside, he was a little more busy with what was happening inside the cabin.

    Loki had dumped an unconscious, seemingly comatose Thor off with him just after everything had started to get weird outside. Had mumbled something about being too busy to take care of his idiot brother, but he’d left him with Bruce and Loki knew, had to know that Bruce would do whatever he could to keep Thor safe. So-- obviously he cared, at least a little bit. Thor could nearly pass for asleep, with his peaceful stillness, except that Bruce has seen Thor actually asleep and there was always a decent amount of shifting for comfort, rolling unto one side or the other--- a little drool on his pillow which Bruce most definitely didn’t find charming. Alright, maybe a little charming, but he was taking that to the grave. Crush on the Thunder God notwithstanding.

    But almost passing for sleep didn’t make Bruce forget that he wasn’t really asleep at all. He’s stable but beyond that, nothing Bruce has tried has received a reaction. Bruce is worried about that more than he’s worried about the end of the world, so that sort of said it all, didn’t it? So Bruce just-- took care of him, watched over him, there wasn’t anything else for him to do and that right there was the worst part. Having nothing left to do-- no actions left to take, just the meager hope that somehow, everything would work out alright.

    He’d taken to the old lessons in meditation to pass the time, to lessen the helpless anxiety that kept building up in him toward some inevitable and probably terrible conclusion. Besides, comatose Thor wasn’t nearly as fun of company as normal Thor was.

    At a certain point, Bruce felt as though he had to clear his mind or he’d end up losing it, because what else was there? The embrace of nothing on his mind is soothing, he can just drift, and drifting was better than any of the alternatives. Bruce can just count his breaths, focus on his heartbeat, breathe out the stress and impotent worry and just forget, just for a little while of course. Bruce lets himself float in the feeling, let’s it carry him away.

    Until he starts...feeling things, sensations disconnected from his physical body, things that don’t really make any sense at all. The sounds of angry waves on a rocky shore, the shrill far-away cries of gulls, the bite of a hostile breeze. Nothing that he could rationally be experiencing, because he’s at home-- he’s at home in his cabin and he hasn’t really moved for at least an hour.

    Yet, when he opens his eyes, it seems like his mind has wandered far and away from his body-- without his permission. Is he asleep? Is he dreaming? He doesn’t think so but he doesn’t have any other explanation for this. Also, this is peaceful, for one of his dreams. Also Thor is there, standing in front of him, facing out to the vast ocean. Also, he knows this place. It was the location Thor had chosen for his lantern ceremony. Are they-- sharing a dream?

    That can’t be, logically Bruce knows that but this was Pandora and-- well, rationality need not apply here.

    ”Thor?” He called out, the words carried away from him on the wind.

    ”Am I-- or uh--- are we dreaming?”
     
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  3. Thor Odinson

    Thor Odinson Marvel Universe

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    [​IMG]
    Thor searched the horizon for answers to his confusion, but found none. Only, he heard a voice behind him just then, a familiar voice filled with confusion. He turned to find Bruce, dressed plainly with a bewildered expression on his face, like he couldn’t quite understand what he was doing here. Thor felt the same, uncertain as to what any of this even meant.

    Suddenly, he realized what he was wearing. Battle regalia, as if he were marching to war. But that couldn’t be right. There were no more wars to fight, nowhere to direct his rage. So much rage. He felt it at his fingertips, crackling like the very living storm that lurked beneath his skin. It yearned to be released, but something told him it’d do more harm than good. Perhaps the churning clouds above, or the boiling sea. Or maybe even the faint tremors beneath his feet. Their feet.

    Because Bruce was here too, but Bruce hadn’t been able to transform into the Hulk since coming to Pandora. While the Hulk could handle Thor’s lightning, he doubted whether Bruce could, and he’d rather chew nails than risk hurting Bruce. So he curled his fingers closed beneath his palms, willed the storm in his mind to settle. As difficult as it was, when his thoughts felt like such a mess.

    “If we’re dreaming, it’s not a pleasant one,” he replied, casting his gaze to the horizon again. How the sea raged, how the waves twisted and churned. How the storms above writhed and crackled, lightning streaking across the sky. It was a sight that made him think of death and destruction, of worlds being remade and—

    And rebirthed.

    He suddenly remembered lightning, remembered a scream. A man’s scream, a scream that’ll haunt his dreams. Gods, that scream. Thor’s skin crawled, bile rising in his throat as memory slammed into him once more. Lightning. He summoned lightning, lightning that Loki directed to — to Kal-El.

    Gods, he brought Kal-El back to life.

    “Bruce,” he said, voice wavering as he took several steps away from the cliffside. “Bruce, did I — did I cause this? Did I bring about...?” He couldn’t even finish the words, throat too tight to form words. But Loki’s last words rang in his head, made guilt squeeze around his heart.

    “You fool! Did you just bring about Ragnarok?”

    Gods above, what had he done?
     
  4. Bruce Banner

    Bruce Banner Marvel Universe

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    Bruce stretched his legs, or his dream-legs, astral-plane legs out in front of him-- the particularities of where he was or how didn’t matter, well, they did except Thor was right in front of him and awake, aware. Bruce let himself untethered and wander so far away from himself that he’s been able to find Thor. Or else, he had been drawn to him unconsciously-- like a magnetized particle. Too small and helpless and obedient to its nature and physics that he couldn’t really have ended up anywhere else.

    Such thoughts or contemplation would usually make him feel trapped, penned in in a way that he, he of all people just couldn’t afford to have. Bruce had learned hard and long ago that he was better alone, better without that kind of emotional baggage or commitment. Except for maybe how he’d gotten so tired of being lonely, and he’d let his damned guard down. Let it down enough that Thor had snuck in there and made Bruce feel like it was alright, to have a bond with him. Going to bed with him probably hadn’t helped discourage that idea, certainly. Casual as they called it or not. Bruce knew himself, he’d never been good at treating intimacy casually in his life.

    ”Pleasant is subjective,” Bruce mumbled, because it was and this was-- mild compared to the nightmares he conjured up in his own bone arena of a skull, where he was always a lone Gladiator against the dark of his own thoughts.

    It was good to see Thor, to talk to him, to encounter him as he should be-- strong and solid pinned to the horizon line between a stormy gray sky and a rough gray-blue sea. Not, still and quiet and laying there in Bruce’s bed-- peaceful like death. The thought of Thor dead was enough to send a shiver of dread down his spine, because he isn’t and he can’t be. And Bruce hates the waiting of it-- sitting there and hoping he’d be okay- and sitting there hoping the world wasn’t about to end so that there was a reason for him to come back in the first place.

    ”Anyway-- it’s your dream. You can change it.” Bruce suggests, settling a hand on Thor’s arm letting his fingers skim down to his wrist where he circled them around. Thor’s hands are clenched into fists so obviously he can’t hold his hand-- this was as close as he could get to that.

    Bruce blinks at Thor’s words both at the question and the fact that he’s pulling away from his touch. His confusion collapses, turns into a thoughtful frown because if Thor’s asking of course Bruce is going to try and give him an actual answer to it. Because it’s Thor whose asking and Bruce apparently just can’t help himself when it comes to resisting Thor. But then-- why would he particularly want to? He sighs and looks at the sky, it’s strikes of foreboding thundering.

    ”We’re in your head, Thor-- this is a space outside of reality. This is- shaped by you and your mood, so this storm is caused by the tumultuousness of how your feeling but-- the world outside?” Bruce sighs and fiddles with his glasses, nervous habit.

    ”It doesn’t look like this out there and it’s not-- No, Thor. You didn’t--end the world, okay? You can’t carry the fate of every world you end up in on your shoulders, you know? Even if they are huge and strong and nice shoulders, okay?” Bruce’s smile is small, as nervous as his fidgeting, wobbling just a little. Smiles don’t come so easily to him, even when he’s happy.
     
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  5. Thor Odinson

    Thor Odinson Marvel Universe

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    [​IMG]
    Subjective or not, Thor didn’t like this dream. It filled him with unease, with a sense of foreboding he couldn’t quite put his finger on until memory slammed back into him with enough force to drive the air out of his lungs. Even if it was just a dream, even if the way he felt like he couldn’t breathe was mere fantasy, mere fiction. He struggled to breathe all the same, only dimly aware of Bruce’s touch. But it wasn’t enough this time. It wasn’t enough to draw him out of his panic, out of... realization.

    “No, you don’t — you don’t understand,” he said, gripping Bruce’s forearm tightly. Bruce felt like an anchor in this place, his anchor. More of an anchor than Loki could ever be, as much as the thought sometimes filled Thor with shame. Shouldn’t he be able to depend on his own brother? But it wasn’t that Loki couldn’t be supportive in his own way, but he had far too many burdens on his shoulders for Thor to add to that weight. Bruce did too, but with Bruce it was just — it was just different. Bruce was gentle and understanding, but firm when necessary. Firm and lacking Loki’s usual venom.

    There was only so much venom Thor could take these days.

    Bruce was trying to be firm and kind now, and Thor almost wanted to smile at the compliment. But anxiety still gripped his throat in a vice, keeping him from fully letting go of his growing apprehension. Perhaps Bruce was right, perhaps Thor hadn’t caused another Ragnarok. Bruce was right, his fate couldn’t be tied to this world the way it was to Asgard. But that didn’t help the tightness in his chest, the way his throat seared with every breath he took.

    “I brought him back. I brought Kal-El back from the dead and—” His gaze swept up to the sky, dark and tumultuous, thunder booming loudly somewhere in the distance. “I called on something more than my power to do it.”

    Loki’s original plan had been to simply use lightning, enough lightning to power that bizarre machine in Kal-El’s ship. But it’d needed too much, needed — needed something more. So Thor had drawn on something he hadn’t even realized was there. Something that still thrummed beneath his skin, something that filled him with dread.

    Because if he was dreaming right now, if he was so aware of what was happening as to know this was a dream — though how Bruce was here, he couldn’t say — then that could only mean one thing.

    “I think... I think I have my father’s powers,” he finally said, voice quiet. Fingers digging into Bruce’s arm because he didn’t know how to feel about it. “I did cause this.”
     
  6. Bruce Banner

    Bruce Banner Marvel Universe

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    Having Thor touch him in return was an odd sensation, like completing a circuit and getting a tiny jolt of static from it, it didn’t hurt. It was like-- like he was clicking into place, like Thor had been subconsciously seeking out his presence and had drawn him in as he’d gone deeper and deeper into his own meditation. Like Thor had been calling him but he couldn’t hear him until the world around him was quieter. If that’s true then maybe-- maybe their connection to each other wasn’t nearly as friendly or as casual as either had been implying.

    Well, tell Bruce something he hadn’t known already. Bruce Banner as smart as he was, had a lot of failings as a person-- chief among them being his anger issues-- but a lack of self-awareness was not one of those failings. He’d known that his feelings concerning Thor weren’t nearly as casual as they were supposed to be. But that was what Thor had wanted and it was, it was fine. Better yet, it was something Bruce was capable of providing him with.

    But Thor was holding unto him with an air of desperation and Bruce is looking up into his face, watching the play of emotions. Oh, to have a face that open-- Bruce couldn’t imagine it himself. He thought it must feel awfully vulnerable, to be that raw.

    ”Okay then-- explain it to me. Just relax, we’ll figure it out, okay?” Bruce had no idea if he’d be able to help or offer any guidance at all, such were the issues when it came to Thor and his Asgardian things. Bruce couldn’t help because he was mostly clueless about Asgard’s science and customs. Still he gripped Thor’s wrists now, just a gentle squeeze to steady Thor, to remind him he wasn’t alone with the tumult of his own thoughts.

    ”More than--?” He asked, most rhetorically his mind already churning with the possibilities of what that meant really. Regardless of Thor, you know, bringing somebody back from the dead. That was a completely different feat and it was something that Bruce was going to unpack….well, not right now, certainly. The machinations of how exactly the brothers had managed it was something he’d be very interested in hearing more about, later.

    Thor had never been a shy Avenger, it was true and always had been. Though Earth had still been strange and new to him back in those early days of the Avengers. But, he’d been eager to learn and had remembered everything they’d all told him. As eager as he’d been to learn-- he’d been similarly enthusiastic to teach himself. He’d shared many tales both of his own exploits as well as stories of Asgard’s glory before his time. So Bruce knew a little bit, though only in the theoretical sense of somebody recalling a story they’d been told, not a scientist recounting data or statistics.

    ”Your father’s-- Oh, the Odinforce, right?” He believes that’s what Thor had called it.

    And all the pieces of that puzzle did make sense, Thor’s father was gone and Thor his chosen air so-- yeah he’d have naturally inherited the power. Though clearly he wasn’t yet aware of it or understand it all the way. He’d probably-- in his experience with utilizing such power, had reached too deeply-- drawn out too much of his own power. Had overexerted himself, like an athlete straining a muscle.

    ”No Thor-- you didn’t. The Odinforce couldn’t cause this, your father drew on his power probably hundreds of times in his what, 5,000 years of life? None of those brought about Ragnarok for your people or made it come faster. That’s not-- Odinforce is a lifeforce isn’t it? Tied to Yggdrasil, you said? What’s going on in Pandora, it’s destruction, it’s things crumbling. You didn’t. You couldn’t, destabilize the world.”

    ”But it does explain why you’re currently laying in my bed in a coma, dead to the outside world though.” His voice a little firmer.

    ”And worrying me sick.” He conceded after a moment and squeezed Thor’s arms again.

     
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