"LOKI!"

Loki would have known that his older brother was distressed even if he hadn't heard Thor's powerful voice booming down the hallway. The sky outside his window, clear and blue but a moment ago, was suddenly overcast with dark, rolling clouds. That tended to happen when Thor got upset. Loki thought it probably had something to do with Mjolnir and its power. Loki closed his eyes, trying to gather the thoughts Thor's voice had scattered after diverting Loki's concentration rather abruptly from the thick, dusty tome he had been engrossed in, and heaved a sigh just as Thor threw open the door to Loki's room. Loki started to push back from his desk, grateful his brother had been thoughtful enough to leave his door intact this time. The last time Thor had come to find him in a moment of distress, Loki had been picking splinters out of his bed sheets for days afterward.

"Something bothering you, brother?" Loki said dryly as he turned to look at Thor. Any further words died on his tongue as he realized what Thor was carrying. It was the bloody and bruised body of a wolfhound. Loki felt his heart drop into his stomach. "Thor. Please don't tell me that's Bjorn." Thor's look of raw desperation answered Loki's question for him. Loki rubbed his forehead with a sigh, trying to quell the sick feeling in his gut. "I asked you not to tell me that."

"Loki…brother…help me. Please help him." Loki looked back at the dog and cringed inside. That dog meant the world to his brother, he knew, ever since Odin had given him first pick of the litter of the finest wolfhounds in Asgard for Thor's fifteenth birthday. Much to everyone's surprise, after watching the puppies playing and wrestling, Thor had not picked the biggest and strongest. Instead, he had picked what everyone had considered the runt of the litter. Later, when Loki had asked him why, Thor explained that though the pup had been the smallest and physically weakest, he had been right in the middle of the wrestling and had never once backed down. Thor had chosen him for his spirit and his intelligence rather then his strength…although that hadn't stopped him from giving his dog a name that meant 'bear'. The two had been nigh inseparable ever since.

"What happened?" Loki asked quietly, unable to look away from the dog's battered frame. Bjorn was still breathing, but only just, his tongue lolling limply from his mouth. Loki didn't know what Thor was expecting him to do. He was a magician, drat it all, not a miracle worker—or even a healer, for that matter! Thor gave him a blank stare for a few moments, making Loki wonder if he had even heard him. "Thor?"

"I…we went out hunting. I only wanted to grab a rabbit or something—but—in the forest—we startled a bull elk." Loki winced. Elks were usually placid herbivores, but they were big and you did not want to sneak up on one. Loki slowly rose to his feet, his magical studies forgotten for the moment.

"Are you all right?" he asked quietly. He was starting to realize that Thor was in a state of shock, and was just now noticing that his brother's tunic was torn and spotted with blood—whether his own or Bjorn's, Loki couldn't tell. Thor was also abnormally pale (almost as pale as I am, Loki thought wryly) and was trembling slightly. He also noticed that Mjolnir was looking a bit more crimson then usual. He reached out slowly to touch Thor's shoulder, as though he were approaching a frightened animal. "Thor. Are you all right?" he repeated.

"It's dead," Thor said flatly, his eyes flickering over to Loki's face. "The elk. I killed it. It charged, and Bjorn hurled himself between it and me—I think he was trying to protect me—I'm not sure what happened after that—next thing I remember, the elk was dead, and Bjorn—Loki—help…" Loki took a deep breath. Thor was definitely not all here.

"Sit," he commanded. He was one of the few besides the Allfather and their mother who dared to command Thor to do anything. Thor all but crumpled into the chair Loki had just vacated, still clutching onto the wolfhound as though he were afraid it would disappear should he let go. Loki tried not to think about the blood that was getting all over his furniture and how long it would take to clean afterwards, although he did take a moment to shove his magical text further up the desk and out of harm's way. He slowly knelt to one knee in front of Thor and Bjorn and reached out a hand towards the latter, brushing his fingers barely over Bjorn's fur while casting a quick Seeing spell over him.

The image that returned to him momentarily made his breath catch. So many shattered bones. So many internal injuries. He surreptitiously extended the Seeing spell to Thor, and was relieved when that at least came back relatively injury free. Why his brother always insisted on throwing himself into the most stupid predicaments was beyond Loki's comprehension. It was a good thing Loki wasn't a worrier, or else his elder brother would have run him ragged by now. As it was, he spent far more time then he cared for wondering what mischief his brother was getting himself into…and he was supposed to be the Trickster.

"Well?" Thor asked hesitantly. "How bad is it? How long will it take to heal him?" Loki looked up into Thor's eyes with a touch of surprise. Thor had absolutely no doubt that he'd be able to heal his beloved companion. Loki felt rather honored that Thor had come straight to him, followed by a twinge of resentment. Apparently Thor had more faith in Loki's skill then he did in the Palace Healers, even. But sometimes the younger man wished Thor didn't put quite so much faith in him. Bjorn was clearly on death's door, and Loki wondered if it would be even worth the effort to try. "Loki?" Loki closed his eyes and sighed. His brother's voice sounded almost fragile—and that just felt wrong. His brother just wasn't fragile. His brother was the Mighty Thor, for crying out loud. But now the Mighty Thor was candidly admitting he was helpless and was placing all his trust, hope and faith in his younger brother. That decided him. Loki straightened his shoulders and opened his eyes.

"I won't lie to you, Thor. He's in critical condition. But I will do all in my power to help him," Loki said firmly as he reached out to touch his brother's hand reassuringly. Hope and anxiety warred in Thor's eyes. "Now, I need you to put him on the floor." Thor's grip on the weakening dog tightened ever so slightly. He clearly wasn't fond of the idea of separating himself from Bjorn, even fractionally. Loki narrowed his piercing green eyes and tapped an impatient finger on his knee. "Thor. Do you want me to help him or not? I can't use my healing magic efficiently if you're grasping onto him like a clinging vine." Thor clenched his jaw for a moment, but finally complied with his brother's order and laid the dog on the floor beside Loki. Loki couldn't help noticing that the poor creature was too far-gone to even whimper at the pain he must be feeling. Thor hesitated only a moment before stepping back to give Loki room.

"Just…just be careful with him, all right?" Thor chewed nervously on his bottom lip. "It'll be all right, Bjorn…Loki will take care of you now. You'll be fine." Loki's heart dropped a little bit more at the raw hope in Thor's voice. What was he going to do if this didn't work? Blast Thor for being so abysmally trusting and optimistic! He closed his eyes and muttered a few Words of Power, feeling the healing energy begin to build up in his hands. He had always expected that he would have to use this particularly powerful spell on his brother someday. He hadn't expected to be using it on his brother's wolfhound. He pressed his hands to the dog's side and let the energy in his hands flow from him into Bjorn. He guided the spell with his mind as it knit up torn muscles and reassembled splintered bone. He could feel his strength and magic reserves draining quickly and could only hope they would last long enough. He had never attempted this strong of a healing spell before. Thor, in the meanwhile, hovered over his shoulder like a concerned parent.