"What is it, Father?" asked Thor, in a genuinely puzzled voice. "A mirror?"
"Yes," replied Odin solemnly. "The Midgardian sorcerer, Dumbledore, has asked us to care for it."
The two of them stood for a moment and stared at the mirror: Thor with curiosity, and Odin with distrust. "It is called the Mirror of Erised," he told his son. "The Mirror of Desire. It shows one that which they most desire. It is a dangerous object, especially for the foolish people of Midgard. It is for that reason that it has been sent here to Asgard. We must place it somewhere safe. An empty room in the castle, perhaps?"
"I will see it done, Father," replied Thor. "I will move the Mirror myself." With little effort, the God of Thunder lifted the Mirror in his arms and carried it through the halls of the castle. Now
to find an empty room. This would be harder than he thought.
Up ahead, he caught a glimpse of a familiar green and gold robe. Loki! He would know if there was such a place in the castle. "Brother!" he called, running as quickly as he could toward his brother. Loki stopped, but did not turn to face Thor. "Brother, I need your help." Loki kept walking. "Brother! Please, if anyone can help me, it's you! I am looking for an empty room in the castle- a place safe enough to hide this Mirror."
Loki turned his head, his usually bright green eyes dimmer than Thor had ever seen them- and at the moment, filled with pain beyond imagining. Thor knew the reason: the silver muzzle clasped over his mouth. For a second, Thor believed that Loki would not help him, but then his brother nodded his head and with a gesture of his hand, bid Thor follow him.
He led him through dozens of corridors, many of which Thor hadn't been through in decades. Finally, he stopped at the end of a dark hallway, and pointed toward the door to their left. The room within was completely deserted- clean, yes, but there was not a single piece of furniture. It was the perfect place, thought Thor, as he sat the Mirror down on the floor.
Loki stared with a raised eyebrow toward the object, as if to ask, what is that? "It is called the Mirror of Desire," said Thor, answering the unspoken question. "Father says that it shows you your deepest desire. It was too dangerous to remain on Midgard, and so it was sent to us."
Loki approached the Mirror curiously, preparing to look into it. "Brother, Father says that it is dangerous. It would be unwise to-." Thor was too late, for his brother was already looking. Loki stood rigid, his fists slowly clenching and unclenching, as he stared at the only thing he'd ever truly wanted. He was standing with his father and brother, looking happier than he'd ever felt in his life. Odin turned to embrace him and the expression on his face was clearly that of pride. Thor clapped Loki on the back, smiling. Loki had finally done something right- something his father could be proud of. But that could never happen. It was just an illusion of the Mirror. Loki was sorry he'd looked.
"Brother?" said Thor. "Brother, what is it? What do you see?" Loki shoved him away roughly, as he pushed past him, determined to leave that room. "Brother?" Loki wished that he wasn't wearing that awful muzzle, so he could just yell at Thor to leave him alone. He obviously wasn't getting the hint. "Loki!"
Loki was almost to the door when Thor's voice called him back yet again. "Brother, I will tell you what I see." He sounded sad, and as much as Loki hated to admit it, he wanted to know what had made him so miserable. Loki stopped, and waited for Thor to continue.
"I see us as a family again
the way it used to be. Do you not remember, Loki? How close we were?" Yes, Loki remembered. "I see us, and Mother and Father. We are happy
smiling, embracing, laughing... Brother, whatever I have done to cause you to despise me so, please forgive me. I care not that you are not my brother by blood! It matters little! You are my brother and I
" He paused. "I miss you," he ended lamely.
Loki stared at him, trying to fight back the lump forming in his throat. Thor truly saw that in the mirror? He had to ask the question, the one that he'd been too afraid to ask for fear of what the answer would be. He became a frenzied animal, as he fought helplessly at the muzzle, trying to pull it off. "Brother!" Thor hurried to him. "Brother, stop!" He clawed feebly at the metal, not even noticing how much it hurt until his fingers began to bleed. "Brother!" cried Thor, as he brought his own hands gently to Loki's face. "Be still." His strength was enough to remove the muzzle, and as soon as he was free, Loki breathed in a deep breath of air.
The question, he remembered. He had to ask the question before his resolve failed him. "Have I ever made you proud to call me your brother?" His voice is weak, as it hadn't been used for several days.
Thor looked at him, his mouth agape. "I do not understand."
"Am I worth
anything? You know how the others feel about me. Have you ever taken any pride in saying, 'Loki is my brother?' Have you?"
He sucks in air relentlessly, desperate to keep down the lump that is growing larger and larger in his throat. He blinks furiously at the tears in his eyes.
Thor sighed, as if understanding for the first time why Loki was so angry. "What did you see in the Mirror?"
"That doesn't matter!" Loki retorted, aware of how frail his voice sounded.
"Loki, tell me."
you were proud of me." He looked Thor in the eye and said, a little quieter, "You are ignoring my question. I knew you would."
"Brother, I ignore it because you should already know the answer. You ask if I have ever been proud to call you my brother. Loki
I cannot think of a time that I haven't been proud. I have been disappointed in you, yes, but that does not make me love you less."
He was undone.
This time, he could not keep down the lump. He could not fight back his tears. His body shook uncontrollably, and though he struggled to maintain his composure; the more he tried, the more he fell apart. Thor was at his side in an instant. "Brother
" Loki closed his eyes, determined to calm himself; but the second Thor put his arms around him, he broke down entirely. He couldn't remember the last time he'd sobbed so hard. "Brother, it is alright. I am here."
They might have stood there for an hour, maybe two. Time seemed to stop for them, as Loki sobbed. However, when the crying ceased, they did not break apart. "Brother," murmured Thor, "can you forgive me for being such a fool?"
There was no answer, and when Thor looked down at Loki, he was sleeping. His head lay against Thor's chest, and his face was more peaceful than Thor had ever seen it.
Odin had said that the Mirror of Erised was dangerous. But Thor could never see it that way. Thanks to it, he had his brother back.