Redemption

Loki had started living in Avengers Tower, and at first Thor was thrilled that Loki was living there and seemed to get along with his mortal friends. That happiness faded when it became clear that Loki wanted nothing to do with him. If they were fighting, he would help Thor, but other than that, Loki pretended Thor didn't exist.

The other Avengers noticed this, and attempted to rectify it. Every attempt failed- until Clint got the 'brilliant' idea to throw Tony into Loki's room and lock them both in until the situation was resolved. His reasoning? Tony and Loki had the most in common, so Tony was the best person to get through to Loki.

~XXXX~

Loki looked up from the book he was reading as Tony literally fell into his room. The door closed and locked behind him as he got up, and Loki was about to ask what was going on when Tony shouted through the door, "I will KILL you for this, Clint, do you hear me?"

"Yeah, yeah," Clint's voice said. Tony heard him walk away and growled.

"What is going on?" Loki demanded. "Why did Barton lock us in here?"

Tony sighed and said, "Apparently since the two of us are so similar, I'm the best person to get through to you about Thor."

"I sincerely doubt you will succeed in getting me to like Thor," Loki said dryly.

"Me too, which is why I'm pissed," Tony said. "But just out of curiosity, why DO you hate Point Break so much? Is it just because Odin liked him better for some odd reason, or is there more to it than that?"

"If I tell you, will you leave me alone?" Loki asked.

"Fine by me; I was planning to leave you in peace until Clint booted me in here," Tony commented. "I get the sense we'll only get let out if you tell me what happened, though."

Loki sighed and motioned to a seat. Tony took it and waited. Loki sighed again and said, "When Thor and I were small children, we were all but inseparable. When Thor was about eight by your terms, however, he found other friends among the warriors he trained with. At first I thought we would still be inseparable, but Thor changed. At the time, I was just learning how to defend myself, and I was still young enough that I liked to play games. When we were younger, Thor would play with me. After he met his friends, though, he no longer wanted to play games; he only wanted to spar and talk with his new friends."

Loki paused, and then continued, "After he met the Warriors Three and later Sif, Thor always turned down my requests for him to play with me. At first it was just dismissive- he would say things like, "Later, Loki," or "Not now, Loki." As time went on, though, and I continued to persist in asking him if he would play with me, he would play off my naïveté and innocence, challenging me to spars and saying if I won, he'd play with me. He would then proceed to beat me up, and laugh along with his friends when I lost the spar. No matter how many times Frigga or Odin remonstrated with him about this behavior, even when Odin beat him for it, he did not stop. He took pleasure in beating me up and humiliating me in front of his friends. At first I put up with it and kept trying, but after years of this, I began to lose my trust in Thor. That is where my trust issues started; with Thor beating me up simply because I wanted to play games with him. He has never shown any remorse for his actions, and even after I became stronger as a warrior, he and his friends continued to ridicule me, even though I was a challenge to defeat, and therefore they were unable to thoroughly beat me up as they did when I was a child."

Tony stared at him, horrified. "That's fucked up," he said finally. "Why the hell does he expect you to forgive him or even look at him twice after that kind of behavior?"

"Because he is an idiot, and believes it was not that bad," Loki said. "I was ruthlessly bullied, but he always claimed I was 'too sensitive'. I will still fight alongside him if necessary, but do not expect me to get along with him."

"Can't say I blame you," Tony said. "I'll tell the team that I refuse to help you two reconcile. If you ever choose to do it on your own, I won't interfere, but I frankly don't think Thor deserves your forgiveness if he bullied you that badly."

Loki looked at Tony, startled. After a minute, he said, "Thank you, Stark."

"Anytime, Reindeer Games," Tony said. "I'll leave you to your book- though why you don't just read on the Starkpad I gave you is beyond me…."

Loki snorted. "Some of us like real books, and this is one of mine from Asgard, not something from one of your bookstores," he said.

"You sound like Steve," Tony said, heading for the door. Finding it still locked, he said, "JARVIS, override whatever Clint did."

"Yes Sir," JARVIS said. The door opened a moment later, and Tony left. Loki barely noticed; he was deep into the book he was reading.

Tony went downstairs in a rather foul mood; Loki's story had not done his already bad mood any favors. He found the other Avengers –sans Thor, who was in Asgard at the moment- in the kitchen. Clint yelped when he saw Tony, and asked, "How the hell did you get out?"

"JARVIS, dumbass," Tony said irritably. "And after what I just found out, you can forget me EVER helping you get Loki to play nice with Thor. I gotta say, I'm starting to understand why Loki hates the guy so much."

"What happened, Tony?" Steve asked.

"Turns out Thor wasn't always a nice person," Tony said. "In fact, from what Loki's told me, he was an outright bully."

"Are you sure?" Steve asked skeptically.

"Beating up your younger brother simply for wanting to play games with you counts as bullying, in my book," Tony snarled. "I'll be in the lab if anyone needs me." He turned and walked off, leaving the others in shock.

A while after Tony left, Steve said, "That doesn't sound like the Thor we know…."

"But Thor himself has admitted he wasn't always like this," Natasha commented. "And this was probably centuries ago; Thor could have changed a lot between then and now."

"Actually, he didn't change at all until his banishment to Earth," Loki said, stepping out of the shadows. "He just got worse as the centuries went on. I will admit that he has changed for the better since meeting Jane Foster and all of you, but I still want nothing to do with him. I would greatly appreciate it if you all stopped trying to rectify this situation. I will fight alongside Thor, but I refuse to acknowledge him as a friend or brother, no matter what you do to me."

"Jeez, what'd he do to you?" Clint asked.

"Stark did not tell you?" Loki asked mildly.

"He said something about Thor being a bully and stormed off," Steve said. "He also mentioned he's starting to see why you hate Thor so much."

"Are you certain you want to know?" Loki asked. "I can guarantee your views of Thor now will be forever ruined."

"We'll risk it," Steve said.

Loki shrugged and told them the same things he had told Tony. He watched their expressions go from mildly curious, to shocked, and by the time he finished, their expressions had firmly settled on 'outright enraged'.

"Sheesh…. No wonder you hate him," Clint said finally.

Loki merely nodded and left.

~XXXX~

When Thor came back a few days later, he found only Steve in the communal living room. It looked like Steve was waiting for him, and he looked troubled. "Captain, is something wrong?" Thor asked. "And where is everyone else?"

"Loki told us you were coming back today," Steve said. "He, Tony, and Clint are in Tony's lab, and Natasha is attempting to calm Bruce down. I don't exactly know what's going on in the lab, though."

"Sir, Agent Barton, and Mr. Laufeyson are currently plotting Mr. Odinson's demise, Captain Rogers," JARVIS said.

Steve sighed, and asked, "And Bruce?"

"Dr. Banner is calm, but says to warn you that if he sees Mr. Odinson, he is likely to transform," JARVIS replied. "Agent Romanoff is staying with him."

Thor was very confused, and asked, "What happened while I was gone?"

"Clint got the idea that since Tony has the most in common with Loki, that he would be the best person to talk Loki into liking you," Steve said. "So he locked the two of them in Loki's room. It backfired pretty badly when Loki told Tony a few things about his childhood. And since I'm the most levelheaded out of all of us and the team leader, I got elected to talk with you about it, as none of the others feel that they can be civil to you right now."

"What was it Loki told you?" Thor asked.

"Loki says that when you were children, you would tell him that you would play with him if he beat you in a spar," Steve said, locking eyes with Thor. "He then went on to tell us that you would beat him up and you and your friends would laugh at him for losing. He said that nothing your parents did curbed that behavior, and he was ruthlessly bullied throughout most of his life. I want the truth, Thor- did you actually do all that to Loki? The only reason I'm asking is because I have trouble seeing you the way you are now and reconciling that with you bullying your younger brother simply because he wanted to play games with you. The others have been convinced, but I'd like to hear your story too."

Thor sighed heavily, and without breaking eye contact, said, "Yes. I beat Loki up in every spar we had; he was never able to beat me, and I took advantage of that fact."

"Why?" Steve asked, his voice cracking slightly. He cleared his throat and asked, "Why would you do that, Thor? He was your little brother; if I had a little brother, I would do everything in my power to protect him, not beat him up and humiliate him."

"That, Captain, is what makes you a far better man than I will ever be," Thor said gravely. "My friends hated Loki; they hated having him around, and gave me the idea that led to the bullying. I was arrogant and spoiled; it never occurred to me that it was wrong, especially since my friends heartily encouraged it."

"Loki mentioned that your parents had issues with it," Steve commented.

"They did," Thor said. "My father would beat me when I beat Loki, and those were the only times my mother lost her temper with me. But I was stupid, and kept doing it. It was not until I came to Earth, and met all of you, as well as Lady Jane, Lady Darcy, and Erik Selvig, that I realized my actions were unacceptable, and I tried to change. I know it is far too late for Loki to forgive me; I bullied him for centuries, and while I would like him to see me as his brother, or at least as a friend, I know it will not happen. I appreciate that you all have made efforts to get us to reconcile, but I do not believe I deserve a second chance. I have hurt Loki far too much to be forgiven for my actions. You are right; I should have protected him from my friends, not bullied him along with them, but I did not, and that is what led to where we are now."

He paused, and then asked, seemingly at random, "Do you know why I call you Captain rather than Steven, and why I follow your lead so willingly?"

"No," Steve said. "Why?"

"It is because I recognize that you are a far better leader, and a far better man, than I will ever be," Thor said. "Loki was right on the day of my coronation; I was not ready to be King, and I am not sure I ever truly will be. If I cannot be bothered to protect my own brother, how can I protect Asgard? Or Midgard, for that matter? That is why I follow your lead, rather than asking you to follow mine."

Steve was silent for a few minutes, and then said, "I'm not really sure how I feel about you right now, but I'm willing to look past the fact you bullied Loki, as long as you don't continue. The others will be a harder sell- especially Tony. Loki told him this first, and he's been in a really foul mood since."

"I understand," Thor said. "Perhaps I should return to Asgard until everyone cools down."

"Captain Rogers, I would advise you to check on Sir, Agent Barton, and Mr. Laufeyson," JARVIS said unexpectedly.

"What are they doing?" Steve asked warily, sensing utter doom heading his way.

"They appear to be building a lightsaber while cackling maniacally," JARVIS said. "I have also alerted Miss Potts, who asked to be informed if Sir created a lightsaber, but she will not be here for a while."

"On my way," Steve groaned. "Thor, I hate to say this, but I think you should go back to Asgard until this blows over a bit. I have to deal with the morons in the lab."

"Very well, Captain," Thor said. He went out to the balcony as Steve headed for the elevator, and called for Heimdall.

Steve went down to Tony's lab and heard the maniacal cackling outside the door. He typed in his passcode, and the doors opened. Going in, Steve asked sternly, "Exactly what do you think you're doing?"

"We're building a lightsaber!" Tony said gleefully. "See, we were plotting Thor's demise, and then Loki mentioned that normal Earth weaponry wouldn't do anything to him. So we thought, and then I showed Loki my designs that I made a few years back for a real lightsaber, and he said we should try mixing magic with the designs, so we did, and now it's almost done!"

"You three are completely insane," Steve deadpanned.

"Really? We hadn't noticed," Loki snickered. "Please don't tell SHIELD yet; we were going to show off our creation at the next briefing."

"I'm starting to be afraid for the safety of the world," Steve commented.

"Don't worry, it's not a weapon of mass destruction," Clint said. "And we're only making one."

"Plus since it uses Loki's magic, no one will be able to replicate it," Tony added.

Steve could tell he was going to regret this, but still said, "Alright, but I don't want mass chaos or destruction from this, understand?"

The three saluted him and went back to cackling maniacally. Steve left to get headache medicine.

Two days later: The Avengers were called to a meeting with Fury, who started off by asking, "Do any of you know who's been impersonating Obi-wan Kenobi with an apparently REAL lightsaber?"

Steve whipped around and glared at Loki, Tony, and Clint, who all had innocent smiles on their faces. "You promised me NO CHAOS!" he hissed.

"Actually, we just saluted," Clint said.

Fury turned his one-eyed glare on Steve, and asked, "Captain, care to explain?"

"Those three built a fully functional lightsaber, and I told them I'd keep quiet if they caused no chaos or mass destruction," Steve said gloomily. "I thought them saluting meant they understood!"

"We understood just fine; we just decided to ignore the fact that we understood," Loki said calmly. "But don't worry, we only made one, and I doubt any mortals could duplicate it."

"Besides, all Loki was doing was entertaining people and giving out autographs," Clint added. "No harm done, right?"

"You three are benched," Fury growled. "Captain Rogers, as the only person on the team with anything even resembling sanity, please keep an eye on those three for me."

"Understood, sir," Steve said.

Fury nodded and turned to Loki, then said, "And as for YOU, no more impersonating Star Wars characters!"

"Oh, fine," Loki said grouchily.

A week later: "LOKI IF YOU IMPERSONATE KAKASHI HATAKE FROM NARUTO ONE MORE TIME I'M THROWING YOU IN A CELL!"

"You should be grateful I'm not impersonating Kyuubi."

Aaand that's all folks. Sorry I haven't gotten to the sequel of The Therapist yet; writer's block hit me. I hope you all like this story though, and please review.