Warnings: starvation, healing, family of choice, hurt/comfort
Notes: Written for Round 2 of Dreamwidth's hc_bingo, the prompt being "hunger/starvation." Once again, this takes place in the same universe as "4 People and 1 Person" and "Resurrection."
It had been far too long since his last real meal, taken in the great halls of the palace prior to Thor's failed coronation. After that there'd been a few brief respites during the days of his brother's exile, but no true feasts. Then when he had fallen from what had never truly been home in the first place, he'd felt the raw edges of hunger begin to gnaw at his stomach, reminding him that he was still alive. That he still had needs that could not be ignored.
Yet Loki ignored them still, allowed that raw ache to define him as he worked hard at causing mayhem and mischief for not only his brother but those whom Thor had allied himself with.
For well over a year, he had refused to appease the ache that kept him from ever truly resting, ignoring the fact that he was starving himself of the nourishment that his body needed to function properly. He didn't realize until later that ignoring just one thing he needed, that not submitting to his body's pleas, had left him open to make a series of really shitty decisions.
On the plus side, those bad decisions – from possessing one of Thor's humans to trying to take on the entirety of the Avengers single-handedly to allying (if ever so briefly) with Doom – had lead him to a place where he could finally, finally do something right.
Coulson had offered him a spot amongst the Avengers. Loki had claimed to need time to make the decision, but his decision had been obvious to both god and mortal.
During what amounted to hospitalization in Tony Stark's Malibu house (seriously, why did the man have an infirmary anyway?), he'd taken the opportunity to observe the mortals that his brother had befriended. Stark was a sarcastic but loyal bastard, Romanoff was a more feminine version of Sif, Banner was very Zen, Rogers was the Midgardian version of Thor, and Barton was a cynic.
Despite these shortcomings, Loki found he liked them when they weren't all actively trying to kill one another.
He found that they were taking the time to watch and learn about him as well when Romanoff ("call me Natasha") marched into the infirmary with a bowl of soup, sat it on the table beside him, sat down, and proceeded to just start talking about nothing in particular until his attention slid from the laptop displaying her words to the food right beside it.
"When was the last time you actually had a decent meal?" she interjected at that point. When he didn't offer a good enough answer, the Lady Widow scowled prettily and insisted that he at least try to eat some of the soup.
Loki only managed a quarter of the bowl, but it was more than he'd eaten in nearly a year.
After that, at least one of his new teammates would show up at some point each day for food and conversation. Each one had their own brand of comfort food, which they apparently had no qualms about sharing. By the time he had recovered enough that his magic was able to finish correcting the damage to his hearing and he was able to drag himself out of bed, Loki had tried nearly a dozen foods that he had never dreamed of existing and decided that Midgardians knew what they were doing so far as food was concerned.
Stark was still pissed that the god of mischief had more in common with Banner when it came to food choice and insisted that vegetables weren't any good unless they were served on a pizza. Loki and Banner both ignored him.
Still, he was grateful for their acceptance, and the smile on Thor's face when he spotted his brother at the table when the group gathered that day for their evening meal was all the familial acceptance he would ever need.