“The Other Guy” Would Like A Dance | Molly, Loki, and Bruce
Bruce stumbled through the forest blindly, sprinting through the trees as fast as he could. He had to get away from the castle; lives were at stake. Branches whipped his body and limbs cut at his face as his vision continued to close, leaving nothing but green where his sight should have been.
Bruce’s foot snagged on a tree root, and he pitched forward suddenly, crying out, in a voice very different from his own. There was an explosion of stars as his head smacked a rock, sharp pain and first causing his vision to fade completely. Bruce knew he was fading fast, and yelled in mindless defiance, forcing himself up to his feet, oblivious to the cavernous wound that had opened in his forehead after impact with the rock.
Bruce continued running towards where he thought the lake was. Suddenly, the trees were gone, and he was on the brief sandy shore. The sudden change in terrain caused him to fall again, sprawling face first into the sand, kicking up the fine particles in a cloud of dust.
And then, his nightmare was confirmed. A voice; solitary and confused, likely a good samaritain just out near the lake to clear their heads as well. Bruce managed to pick up his head as his body began convulsing, and saw a figure not so far away.
“STAY BACK!!” The words exploded from his mouth like a shot from a pistol, and Bruce vaguely heard himself scream them. The sound of his own voice at maximum was muffled, however, by the sounds of bones popping, muscles groaning, and seams ripping as his body grew. The world went dark, and Bruce knew no more; just green.
Loki vaguely saw a shape in the distance and started to walk towards it; only to stop, frozen in mid-step as the agonised shout reached his ears. It took him a few seconds to work out where he had heard that voice before, but then it came to him.
“Bruce…?” he whispered, ignoring the cry and taking a few more faltering steps towards the figure that seemed to be convulsing on the ground. It was only when he drew closer to the expanding mass of muscle that used to be Bruce Banner, that Loki remembered the rumours that had been in circulation around the school for some time, along with his conversation with the younger Slytherin previously.
He wasn’t sure whether to try and help, or how he’d even go about doing that, but he also wasn’t too confident in his abilities to get away unnoticed. He could always use his wandless magic to try and escape, but his illusion to make himself invisible only lasted while he was standing still, and the thing that Bruce had turned into looked as if it would be able to take out numerous clones in one swipe; revealing the real Loki.
Deciding quickly on a course of action, Loki slowly put down his helmet; sure that putting on the horns would only seem threatening to the creature. He held his hands out palms outward, and, inching forward, tried to see if it was possible to reach Bruce through speech. “Bruce… I know you’re in there. This does not have to end in violence. I know both you and I do not want any one to get hurt. But people are going to if you turn back to Hogwarts. Try and fight it.”
The creature’s convulsing grew more violent, the rippling of flesh and bone now looking more like sharp waves coursing through his body. It screamed in agony, shaking the leaves on the trees at the very force of its breath. It continued growing, until only tatters were left of Bruce’s pirate costume on the sandy shore, shredded beyond recognition.
The creature paused, breathing hard as the gut wrenching popping and tearing sounds finally ground to a halt. It was on its hands and knees, back rising and falling quickly as the creature gasped for breath, its transformation complete.
At the sound of Loki’s voice, its head snapped up, fixing eyes upon the young prince. The face, already twisted into a permanent green scowl, drew out an even deeper frown and snarl as the young wizard approached cautiously.
When it decided Loki had come close enough, it stood up quickly, pushing itself from the shore to its full 11 foot height, and roared a challenge at its foe, beating its chest with a fist. There was no recognition in those green eyes; just pain, and a rage teetering on the edge of mindlessness.
Suddenly wishing that he hadn’t abandoned his helmet, Loki swallowed nervously, brain trying to think of a way out of the situation. He didn’t want to run back towards the castle - the beast would surely follow - but neither did he want to wait around to become its personal play-thing. And it seemed as if his silver tongue was not going to get him out of this situation unscathed.
As the creature stood to its full height, all thoughts of a plan flew out the window. Panic overtaking his movements, he quickly held out a hand, flicking his wrist. In a green and gold flash, two more Loki’s popped up, surrounding the real Loki in the middle. Co-ordinating their movements, he sent the figures running towards the giant green monster, hoping that they would be enough of a distraction for the creature not to notice the real Loki cast a glamour over himself, disappearing from view.
Willing himself to stay still, he directed the clones away from the castle, praying that the beast would follow, giving him enough time to begin to make his escape. He had to warn someone, but that would be impossible if the creature was on his tail.
The creature snarled. It’s green tinted vision saw more of the puny whelp that it had originally anticipated. Screaming in rage, it moved into a crouch, almost like an olympic runner’s start, before launching itself at the clones.
The things were impossibly fast. At first they moved on their legs along the shoreline, moving away from the castle. The beast was much faster than they were, however, and soon they were simply gliding along the ground. The hulkish creature didn’t understand this turn of events, but would not be deterred by them. It had been running hard before; now it was sprinting.
The evilest of grins spread across its face as it chased the clones; it was going to kill them… and it would enjoy doing so. When all hope seemed lost for the shades, they suddenly changed direction…. and glided out over the lake.
The creature skidded to a halt, screaming wordless defiance at the escape of its pray. Pummeling deep craters into the shore in frustration, the shades only looked on as it roared and roared its rage away.
As ferocious as the onslaught on the ground was, eventually the creature began to peter out slightly. It narrowed its green eyes, concentrating in its targets; it was a creature of the kill, and it would not surrender. Crouching, it summoned all of the strength it could muster, and leaped high into the air, launching itself towards the clones.
Had the clones been sentient beyond what Loki’s magic would have allowed them, they would have recognized the immediate peril they were in as the creature flew towards them on a descending arc. Had they been material creations, they would have felt the crushing weight of the 800lb monster as it drove a fist through each of them, causing both to wink out of existence.
The weight of the creature caused it to sink nearly immediately; it could swim, yet swimming was not its intention. Once it reached the bottom of the lake, it pushed off the bottom with all its might, launching itself back in the direction of the shore where the shades had emanated. As far as it cared, it had killed the Lokis; and it was time to attack the castle.
Holding his breath, Loki had watched as his impromptu plan had worked. The creature had bounded after the apparations, passing within reaching distance of the real Loki. Letting the glamour slip, Loki had watched the clones’ progress for a few seconds more, enough time to lead them towards the lake, before sprinting in the opposite direction, back towards the castle. He didn’t have a lot of time; there was only so much his magic could do to keep the beast distracted, and the apparations could always disappear at any given moment given how much his concentration on their forms alone was wavering.
Loki could feel the slight tug of his magic in his mind; the two slender threads linking him to the forms which were now hovering over the lake. Hearing the creatures mighty roars echoing around the forest he was running through, Loki sped up, jumping over fallen logs and twisting to avoid the woody fingers that tried to cling to his clothing. Suddenly he was jerked backwards, his cape catching on a protruding branch. Crying out in shock and anger, the Asgardian yanked sharply on the material, causing a loud ripping sound to rent the air, before picking himself off of the floor and resuming his frantic running.
It was then that he felt it. The abrupt severing of those two ties between him and the clones he had magicked. Which meant the creature would soon be upon him, and upon Hogwarts. Bursting out from the tree line near the castle, Loki almost didn’t realise in his haste that there was someone scurrying towards him until it was almost too late. Skidding to a stop, mindless of how he must look and sound, he put a hand on her arm, pointing back towards the direction she had just appeared from.
“You’ve got to get away from here!” he exclaimed in between short, sharp gasps for breath. “There’s a Slytherin… Bruce… but it’s not- he’s a monster- Look, I don’t have time to explain. We’ve got to get out of here and warn the others!” He looked desperately at the girl he had nearly run into, tugging on her arm once more in an effort to make her move.
Molly was in tears as she ran from the hall, trying pathetically to keep up with Bruce’s strides. She couldn’t bring herself to shout his name for fear that he wouldn’t turn…did he still want to be friends with her? That other boy was only helping her through the crowd, he meant nothing to her; absolutely nothing. She made a mental note to explain what’d happened between them to Bruce when she found him.
Running quickly, almost blinded as hot, fat tears brimmed at her eyes, Molly soon found herself outside of the castle. Bruce was incredibly fast and, as she trailed behind, having to stop several times to catch her breath, Molly had to wipe her hands across her face and keep from letting out the full sound of her inner turmoil. So she was a quiet girl, a little mouse that nobody had ever taken notice of…and then Bruce; this good looking, clever, kind boy had seen her for what she really was, had appreciated her. She felt the agony of loss already in her chest, her heart was beating so fast, so hard; it was breaking.
Pushing herself on, Molly shivered a little in the failing light. Her sense of direction wasn’t at all very good but as she headed towards the darkened woods, she heard a great roar like a huge beast in pain. So much pain and anger. She winced and thought about turning back but she just couldn’t; not until she found Bruce. Her hair was hopelessly loose so she pulled the band out and let it flow down her back in disarray. Moving to the edge of the tree line, a figure came flying out towards her. Not literally flying but the speed of the boy was frightening. He clasped her arm, his eyes were so wide.
There’s a Slytherin…Bruce…but it’s not-he’s a monster-
Molly froze; her eyes keeping the boy’s gaze, “n-n-no, you have to take me to him! Now!” She struggled to free her arm but couldn’t; the boy was older and taller than her and his grip was strong. She pushed him aside though and managed to free herself just as she saw another, much larger figure moving in the darkness. A pounding of footsteps seemed to shake the roots of the trees and Molly looked up at the boy, unsure, before glancing back in the direction of the creature. A cold wind blew through her as it approached; the moon casting a faint light over its features. The face, though distorted with rage was, undeniably, Bruce’s.