Summary: For a prompt on NorseKink:
Loki had every intention of wreaking havoc upon Midgard the moment his suicide attempt had failed. Really. He'd planned on setting cities ablaze, smashing buildings, pillaging, all of that good stuff.
Too bad he hadn't planned on the place being so FUN.
Destroying City Hall? Maybe if he can squeeze it in between ikebana and his Thai cooking classes. Oh, he tries for the whole supervillain thing, but is it really his fault that he really likes going to yoga and hair products that don't require massive amounts of oils that leave him feeling greasy? Is it really his fault that manicures are so damn RELAXING and that those little Asian ladies in the salon are so charmingly adorable? Besides, his therapist says that all the rage is unhealthy.
TL;DR Loki gets a therapist and finds Earth hobbies that he enjoys in between bothering his brother and his friends.
Disclaimer: Ahahahahahaha. No.
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Diamond
AN: So, this is it. The finally chapter. It's been a hell of a ride and never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that this story would become so big and that people would enjoy it so much. From the bottom on my heart, I'd like to thank all of you, everyone who read, everyone who favorite, everyone who reviewed. You really kept me motivated and wanting to post this, and it's because of you guys that this became so huge.
Some of you have said that this was like therapy to you and honestly, you have no idea how touching that is for me. That this could help someone who was hurting in any way, make something a little better, just…it blows my mind.
So thank you. I love you guys.
ALSO. Because I don't want to wash my hands of this universe, I will be taking one-shot requests. I can't guarantee that I'll take them all or when they'll be written, but I will be taking them. So leave a review, shoot me a request, and if it's fun, maybe you'll see it posted up on my account here.
"Hello, Loki," Doctor Moran greeted Loki as he entered the room. The first thing she noticed was his clothing, not so much nicer as it was more, almost the way he'd been dressing when he'd first come to see her: not a bit of extra skin showing, as if the extra clothing would act as a shield.
The second thing she noticed was that instead of coming in the way he always had, he hovered for a few extra seconds in the doorway, just peering inside without approaching.
The third thing she noticed was that once Loki did come in, he had a very familiar figure attached to his hand.
"This is a surprise," she said delicately but with the warmth of welcome, watching Loki shift anxiously on his feet. Thor at his back did the same, giving his hand a deliberate squeeze.
"Thor has expressed interest before in accompanying me," Loki said quietly, tentative and shy in ways that he hadn't been in ages, "I have consented. If it isn't a hindrance to you…" He trailed off and met her eyes, watching like he wasn't sure what he was going to get in terms of her reaction.
"If you're alright with it, I'm alright with it," Caroline said, half breathless with something light and almost giddy. This wasn't something that she would have ever, ever expected. For Loki to be comfortable with her was one thing: she had never let him down, she was mortal, and she was his. Thor had the capacity to hurt him like she couldn't, and for Loki to feel comfortable enough, safe enough to bring him with him to a place where he was often his most raw and vulnerable… Had she not been in a professional situation and had Loki not still been standing there looking terrified, she might have wept.
As it was, she got to her feet and smiled widely, approaching to give Thor's hand a firm shake.
"It's good to see you again, Thor," she said, watching Loki out of the corner of her eye. "You are welcome here." She turned to Loki and offered him a gentle look. He relaxed minutely. "I'll be right back; there's only two chairs. Hold tight, okay?"
Loki nodded, his fingers still curled around Thor's larger ones, and Caroline left the room to find another chair.
It wasn't the only reason, though, and she knew she made the right decision when she returned.
In the time that she'd been gone, Loki had lost some of the tension around his eyes and the two men were standing by the familiar chair that Loki was so fond of, warm, worn leather and slightly lumpy seat and all. The one she'd brought in was a little nicer in terms of wear and tear but Caroline had a feeling that she knew which one that Loki would prefer.
She was proven right when, after Thor had insisted on hefting it the rest of the way in amidst her own protests, Loki immediately claimed the one he was accustomed to, settling into it more delicately than he normally would. Thor flopped into the new one in a decidedly unprincely fashion, a perpetual contrast to his brother.
It had been a while since she had seen them together but Caroline was pleased to see that they looked so much better together.
Loki was nervous but it was of the situation itself, not of Thor. Thor, on the other hand, was clearly tuning in to Loki, attentive and curious and subconsciously tilting in his body towards him in a mirroring posture. Doctor Moran smiled and polished her glasses as she sat down in her own chair. The three were arranged in a triangle shape, each angled in to face the other two instead of two on one side and one on the other.
That would give them all a measure of equality and keep Loki especially from feeling like he had the potential to be ganged up on.
Once they were seated and settled, Caroline folded her hands and turned to Loki.
"How do you want to do this, Loki?" she asked, watching surprise and then a firm relief settle in his eyes, "If you'd like, I have some suggestions that you can think about. Or if you already know what you'd like, you can tell me."
"I would not mind hearing your suggestions," he answered quietly. He'd taken his hand back from his brother and had laced both in his lap.
Still anxious, then.
Expected, but something she definitely wanted to do something about.
"The first option is that we talk about the same things we normally do and your brother will be uninvolved. He may act as support for you and be an observer, but he may not be a direct participant in the conversation. Another is that we discuss some of the things that involve you both…the things that you'd still like to work out, that you'd like him to know, or if there's anything he'd like you to know. You would be equals in the conversation but I'd like for you to be the one to keep control and make the decisions here. This is for you; he is here to be here for you, and I am as well."
Some of the tension went out of Loki's face and his hands relaxed. His whole body seemed to unwind just a little bit, loosening and settling against the chair. He glanced to Thor, who silently raised his brows and gave a shrug.
Your choice, she read in his body language clear as day, Whatever you want, I'll do.
It made even her feel better about all of this. Not that she had any reason to doubt Loki and Thor didn't have a treacherous bone in his body, but when adding another person into the mix, there always ran the risk of Loki simply not being comfortable enough to actually say what he wanted. Caroline could do a lot of things, but she couldn't make him do anything.
The whole point was that he couldn't be forced and she didn't want to force him.
If Thor had seemed pressuring in any way at all, she might have reacted differently. As it was, she could only be pleased.
"I..." he took a breath, "I would like the second option."
It was Thor's turn to look as if he had just been clobbered in the head with something shocking and beautiful and he stared at Loki, eyes wide and a little shiny. Malachite green met thunder blue and the edges of Loki's lips tilted up.
"He wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut, anyway. Let's make it easy on him."
"You wound me," Thor rumbled back in reply, emphasizing the jest in his words with a wide smile.
"Alright, then," Caroline said, "That makes things interesting. Thor, what do you want out of this?"
The blonde man shifted in his seat to meet Loki's eyes. Loki, who was watching him with blatant curiosity as to what he would say.
"I would like to understand my brother better," he answered eventually, "We speak but often times, it is draining and emotionally painful and it is difficult for either of us to say what we would like. I am not the best with words and he has admitted to being prone to growing spines." Loki didn't deny this; on the contrary, he shrugged his shoulders in what could only be a slightly sheepish affirmation. "This is somewhere he feels safe and you have done well by him. It is my hope that perhaps you can do well by us."
The smile that played on Loki's face now, flashing whipcrack quick before being hidden behind a hand, was no smirk or leer but something outrageously soft, sweet, and showing more than any words could. He may have been prone to lying instinctively but when he wasn't trying, he was a ridiculously expressive man, showing in his body language what he wouldn't say with words. Caroline thought that that might have a good bit to do with just how much he lied; if no one bothered to read his body, why would anyone read his words? That smile held affection, all the affection in the world, and if anyone had doubted that Loki could love, that smile would have removed all doubts.
"That's a very mature mindset," she told him and cocked her head at Loki, "And you feel the same?"
"Alright, then. I'm going to lay down some ground rules. The first is that when one of us is speaking, those who are not will do their best to remain silent until they are finished. That goes for you, Loki, and Thor, and for myself as well. The second is that there is to be a minimum of name-calling and heckling no matter the subject matter. You are both here to help and be helped and no one will be shamed for it. Loki will be the first to tell you that this is also draining and painful but if you're willing to continue, I will do my best to help. I need two things from you: I need your honesty and I need your trust. Can you give them?"
Thor nodded his agreement, looking a bit more nervous now but just as determined. This wasn't the kind of battle he was used to doing, wasn't used to fighting without moving, fighting himself as much as any opponent. Wasn't used fights that weren't fights, fights that were for healing rather than for winning.
He looked forward to learning.
"Loki, this is going to be a little different for you too. Can you give Thor the same trust and honesty you give me?"
It wasn't just a question so much as it was a lead-in because the answer was more than obvious in the way he shifted and avoided the blue eyes fixed on him.
"I can do my best to try."
"Your best is all that I'll ever ask from you. " It was something that she had said from the very first time they'd met and something she'd needed to repeat as often as Loki needed to hear it. Loki nodded without speaking, his expression steady. "Let's start with something easy—don't look at me like that, Loki, sometimes I do mean easy when I say it." That did nothing to change the dubious look that said he clearly didn't believe her. Thor just looked like he was preparing himself to be flayed or something equally manly. "When you two were growing up, did you share a room?"
"We were together in the nursery for a little while but we did eventually get our own chambers," Loki was the one who answered, "I am unsure as to how old either of us were; it was a very long time ago."
"You had just begun to read when I left," Thor spoke up suddenly, like it was a revelation or something he hadn't thought of in a very long time, "I was dexterous enough to do my own leathers and could run my own baths, while you had already taught yourself to read."
Loki remembered it well.
He remembered how proud Thor had been, how excited he'd been to get his own room, how he'd moved all of his things into his new bedroom with glee and refused to let anyone help him. Loki also remembered how miserable that night had been for him. It had been the first that he could remember being alone at night but he hadn't been expecting the waves of terror that had washed over him like a tide. He'd cried silently for hours. At the time, he'd simply thought himself the coward who couldn't bear to spend the night in the dark without his brother.
In retrospect, Loki had to wonder whether some part of him remembered what had happened the last time he'd been left alone in the dark.
It was a phantom chill and he couldn't get his hands on it, but it was there. It was still there, sometimes, when he sat up in bed out of nowhere and needed desperately to turn the lights on.
He watched Thor recount the story, finding something new and odd in his tone. He almost sounded… envious in a strange way that Loki couldn't quite decipher. What would he have to be envious about? His face must have said enough because it wasn't long before Doctor Moran was watching him closely, brown eyes intent and observant.
Thor quieted and Loki shifted in his chair, fingers tapping out nervous patterns into the arms.
"You were so happy," he admitted, finally, "I tried to be happy for you then. I did."
And he had.
Loki had said nothing all the days leading up to it, said nothing of how it frightened him for reasons he couldn't explain or understand, said nothing of how he wasn't happy about it at all. He had listened patiently while Thor had chattered about how much space it was and how it would be so much fun to have his friends all crowd in because there wasn't as much room in the nursery. That was what Thor had said but that wasn't what Loki heard.
All he had been able to hear was that there wasn't enough room because of him. All he heard was that Thor was happy to get his own space, away from him.
And he'd said nothing, just boxed it all up in that place where he stored everything else that made him scared and anxious. That box had always seemed so full, Loki thought, and the thought of that box overflowing scared him more than anything. How much could it take before it brimmed over and drowned him?
Loki knew exactly how much it could take.
All it taken was two words in the end.
"I didn't like it," Thor said quietly after taking in Loki's admission, "I didn't like it at all. I cried for a week."
"…I didn't know that," Loki replied, eyeing him through lowered, dark lashes. "You told me that you were up too late playing." Thor shrugged, a little sheepish.
"And let Father know that I didn't like being by myself after I had pestered him incessantly over it? He would have—" And Thor stopped because Loki knew exactly what Odin Allfather would have done or said. He could picture the look on his face perfectly, that expression of absolute disappointment that had always made him feel about three inches tall and about as powerful, because he'd seen it himself for days afterwards. Because it had taken a good amount of time for him to be able to hide how he felt and he had always gone conspicuously red around the eyes after a crying jag. "I shouldn't have lied to you about it."
"I cannot blame you," And he didn't, "Had I been able, I would have hidden it too."
"But you shouldn't have had to," Thor insisted, looking like he wanted desperately to get out of his seat, "And I shouldn't have had to lie. He yelled at you and you just stood there. And I just stood there and didn't say anything. You read books bigger than you were; you were practically a baby."
Loki bristled indignantly.
"I was not an infant," he grumbled.
"Well, maybe not," Thor amended, "But you were younger than me. And smaller than me."
And he shouldn't have yelled at you.
Loki was the first to look away.
"It is done and over with and one can only go forward. Still, it's—" he paused and mulled over his words, "A relief. To know that I was not the only one to suffer. Thank you for telling me." He reached out, fully intending to pat Thor on the hand, but his fingers ended up caught and laced instead in a hold he didn't really want to break all that much. The mood was heavy and Loki wrangled with the desire to lighten it. "Was I the one to introduce you to smoke sugar?" He asked suddenly, tapping a finger against his chin. Before Thor could answer, he turned to Caroline to add, "That reminds me, I believe I owe you some."
"I believe you do," she said with a smile and directed his attention back to Thor, who had begun to smile himself.
"You were," he confirmed, "Though most of it ended up all over my bedroom."
"It was your fault. You distracted me."
"You were showboating."
"I smell a hypocrite~" Loki sing-songed, "Was it a crime for me to see if I could blow sugar as well as I blew glass?"
"It is when the both of us ended up with sugar burns," Thor's words were reproachful but his tone affectionate, "I thought Eir was going to kill us."
"Only because she thought M—Fri— Mother was going to kill her." Loki stumbled over the address and felt better when he'd chosen, something settling into place that he hadn't known had been bothering him. He could call her mother. He could. "It was good before it exploded," he said not a little bit wistfully, remembering the feeling of holding that not-entirely-round little sphere in his hands, bubble-light and clear as glass, filled with smoke. He remembered how proud he'd been and how good it had felt to put that look of wonder on his brother's face. It hadn't just been wonder, it had been an honest pride.
This is my brother, it had said plainly. Look at what he can do.
Loki had not often seen pride and it figured, he thought, that he would not recognize it until almost too late.
"You were proud of me."
"I was. I am."
Loki felt something inside him twist and tighten like fingers on his throat and he squeezed the calloused fingers still curled around his with a vengeance. It wasn't enough, it wasn't enough. The silence of the room only worked to make his words more noticeable.
"I am proud of you, too."
When the two of them walked out of Doctor Moran's office later, they both felt raw and rather like they'd been scraped over a washboard.
Loki was quiet and pensive because that was just how he got afterwards, like he's used up all his words and all he wanted was for things to be simple for a little bit. Thor just hurt and it took about twenty minutes of walking before he felt even a little bit less like crying. For those twenty minutes, he couldn't understand why Loki does this, how he can take it, how he manages having someone pull out everything vulnerable that he wants to keep hidden.
And then he looked over to the man walking beside him. Not behind him. Not in front of him. Beside him, which is something that Thor hadn't realized was so rare. He was so used to seeing Loki's back walking away from him or not seeing him at all. Loki met his eyes but didn't say a word, let his face speak for him instead: quiet, upturned lips and a raised eyebrow, and Thor knew.
Thor knew and felt better because now Loki knew too.
There wasn't a particular purpose or direction in their walking. There wasn't anywhere to be or anywhere to go but it was nice to just walk. Sometimes Thor took a turn and sometimes Loki took a turn and neither of them asked the other where they were going. Maybe Loki knew but Thor certainly doesn't, but if he did then he was keeping it to himself. They're just two brothers walking the streets of New York and Thor marveled because Loki looked comfortable here, like he knew this place. He knew Asgard too but he never looked comfortable.
Loki's phone beeped once or twice, a cheery little melody. He didn't answer it but instead made quick work of tapping out a text message before cocking his head and asking, finally, the first words out of his mouth since leaving the good doctor, if Thor would like to meet up with someone for frozen yogurt.
He wasn't going to object.
Angelique was by far the weirdest girl Thor had ever met in his life and that said something, considering the women that Thor knows. She was brash and noisy and couldn't seem to keep her hands off of Loki, a gesture that he bore with surprisingly good grace. Thor wondered, idly, if it was because he just didn't mind it or if it was because he was used to it and made a mental note to ask, if he remembered to remember his mental note.
Loki told him that he knew her from something called yoga which, according to his brother's friend, basically entails twisting one's body into seemingly impossible shapes. Loki rolled his eyes but Thor can believe it, especially when Angelique ("Angie, Thor, Angie!") started grumbling under her breath about how Loki is impossibly twisty and must have a skeleton of cartilage, whatever that means. It did seem like something he would be good at.
Thor hadn't ever had froyo and he had no idea how he's gone so long in this realm without it. It was apparently a regular thing for Loki because he didn't think too hard about what he wanted (cherry yogurt with graham cracker bites, mochi, and diced strawberries) as opposed to Thor, who had no idea what he wants and decided that if it all looked good, it must all taste good too. It did even though Loki looked faintly nauseous at the sight of his paper cup overflowing with gummy bears and chunks of snickers and toffee.
It was too delicious for words and gone too soon, and Thor found it impossible to look away when it became clear how easily Loki's friend reached out for him to drag him into a hug that was mostly her squeezing him around the middle and once she was gone and it was just the two of them again, Thor dared to snicker, laughing all the harder at the look of righteous indignation on Loki's face. He went red and sputtered and threatened Thor with imminent death, which might have been a little intimidating (a little!) if not for the fact that Thor knew for a fact that he wasn't serious in the slightest.
For once, Loki wasn't serious and it was beautiful.
He wasn't guarded, wasn't wary, wasn't tense and anxious and vicious.
Thor didn't know how he managed to go so long ignoring him.
They kept walking together until the sun began to go down. Neither of them got tired from the exercise and really have just been wandering around for the last couple of hours. They didn't really say much; Thor was still thinking about the session they had earlier and in his experience, Loki always went quiet and considering after his as well.
And then Loki stopped, directly underneath the branches of a reaching oak, startling Thor into stopping short. He looked worried.
"Is this…alright?" he asked as if for once, the words don't come easily.
Thor knew that he was not talking about walking around the city.
He could be talking about a lot of things, really. His life, his situation, himself. Thor considered all of those options and gave the answer that he could apply to all of them without thinking about it.
"If it is what makes you happy, then I can only support you."
Thor prayed that it was the right answer because it was his answer and if it's wrong, he didn't know what he could possibly do. He realized, once again, just how easy it was to get it wrong and how very used to it he is, but it still stings and he doesn't want to be wrong, not here and not now. Not with Loki.
"It is not for me to say what is right for you," he continuesd, watching Loki's face, "Is this right for you?"
Loki laced his hands in front of him and tilted his head up to watch the sky, full of red and orange. He didn't answer for a long while but that meant little because Thor could as good as see him thinking. Finally, finally, his lips tilted up in a smile.
It was the right answer.
"You know," he said, "I think it is."
-the end does not exist-