Author's Notes: Fixed up some minor errors that were annoying me.
For a whole day, Thor argued with Odin and the other elders as to the appropriate punishment for the war criminal, his brother, Loki. The elders had wanted castigation appropriate for such a status. Retribution for his crimes would include such punishments as torture and imprisonment. Thor argued vehemently against this. As much as even looking at Loki, of late, made him want to punch something, he still couldn't bare the thought of his brother suffering. He could get through to him, he was certain of it. There was still a spark of his brother there, buried beneath the jealousy and pain. He caught it for a brief moment on earth, when he told Loki they could join together, to fight the invading army force. For the most finite of time, there was a sudden sanity in his brother's pale eyes, a realization of what he had become. Thor had almost believed that his brother would, in fact, relinquish the mad power that he held.
"Odin has already taken his power from him. He is no threat. Torturing him will gain you nothing. Hand him to me. I will show him that he is wrong, using caring and guidance, over pain and suffering."
The conversation continued, back and forth. The elders argued that it was too late. Loki's crimes were too severe. Thor reiterated his point. Finally, Odin ruled in favour of Thor. Loki would be placed into his care, until Thor saw him fit to be autonomous, once more.
When Loki was walked into the gladsheim hall to hear the verdict, Thor had hoped to see relief evident on his face. Instead, he looked at Thor with cold calculation. Thor felt his heart drop a little.
Both were silent, as they walked the great halls of Asgard to Thor's room. He recalled Jane telling him that when she was a child, she had shared a room with her sister. Thor had, at the time, thought this to be very odd, indeed. Now, the prospect of sharing a room with Loki dropped his heart even lower.
Sacrifice, he told himself. Sacrifice to bring back the brother that I love.
The slightly less deranged brother, that is.
The slightly less deranged very manipulative brother, who has always born the traces of jealousy towards me.
Thor clenched his fists.
All will be fine.
They reached the massive gilded doors and turned the knobs. As they stepped inside, he could see Loki taking in the four-poster bed with intricately carved marble bedside tables on either side. A marble chest of drawers, overflowing with Thor's various uniforms and dress clothes, sat along one wall. It was not much changed from when he was a boy. In those times, Loki would visit often. They would indulge in games of fantasy, visiting fantastical worlds, sword fighting for princess's hands, battling dragons and sea monsters. Every time, the story would grow from Loki's fertile imagination.
What has happened, in the years since, to bring us to where we are now?
Loki's hands were still held together by the handcuffs and chain, his mouth still closed by the metal gag. On Earth, the Avengers had been rather amused by the device. Tony Starke talked about Hannibal Lecter, a reference that went completely over Thor, and, evidentially, Steve Roger's heads.
"Allow me." He reached for Loki's face and unclasped the gag, throwing it on top of his cluttered chest of drawers. Loki rubbed at his jaw, staring at Thor with an unfathomable expression. The elder brother sighed.
"I should have done this a long time ago." He stepped forward and grabbed Loki about the shoulders, pulling him to him, and wrapping his muscular arms around him. For a moment, Loki relented, his face dropping onto Thor's chest. "It's alright, Lo-"
"Let go of me!" He felt Loki struggle against him, jerking back and forth like a fish on a hook. Thor released him, taking a step back.
"You sentimental fool!" Loki spat.
"At least I've got you talking." Thor grinned. Loki instantly closed his mouth, face darkening at falling for the trap.
"Fine…." Feeling an irritability that he suspected would now be a constant, Thor uncuffed one of the cuffs and brought it over to the chaise lounge by the side of the room, securing it to the leg. "This cuff is long enough for you to have… limited movement around the room. I'm afraid you'll have to sleep on the chaise lounge tonight, until I can come up with more suitable beddings."
"How thoughtful of you." Loki sneered.
Thor ran a hand through his hair. He suddenly felt rather constricted. Without saying anything more, he turned and left the room.
A little while later, after a long chat with Frigga on how to deal with his brother (which turned out not to be as fruitful as he'd wanted), he came back into the room. Loki was lying on the chaise lounge, a book in his hands. The author, Gilgood Savrax, wove rather a romantic tale.
"You certainly have a lot of brawn, brother. Your choice of reading material proves that." He threw the book across the room.
Mentally counting to five, Thor strode across the room and picked up the book, replacing it on the bookshelf beside the chaise lounge. He knocked Loki's legs off the lounge to sit beside him, determined to talk about the one thing that Frigga insisted upon.
"There will be some… rules, to this arrangement."
"Oh, enlighten me dear brother."
"Until I say otherwise, you are to wear the chain at all times. You are also to be with me, at all times, sit with me, when we dine. If you require anything, you will ask me and I will deem whether you are fit to receive it. If I have no need of you, then you will remain in here."
"Do you like this?" Loki's voice was suddenly barely above a whisper. "Having me chained, as your slave. You could do anything to me. Force me to do anything."
"Loki-" Thor started, warily, suddenly feeling out of control of the situation. His heart started moving as though mjolnir itself was hammering his chest. Loki grinned, slipping gracefully down onto his knees.
"Is this what you want?" Long fingers stroked up Thor's leg.
"Stop this!" He roared, shoving Loki backwards. His brother landed clumsily onto his rear end, laughing hollowly.
"You've desired me for a long time. Don't deny it, brother."
Thor clenched his hands, to cease the thundering of his heart. He felt his face flush.
"Here's your chance. You can have me in anyway you like. I have no power against your brute strength."
"Stop talking!" Thor suddenly found himself at the chest of drawers, picking up the mask, once more. The laughter climbed even higher, maniac, mad screeches.
"Ah, so the gag was part of the fantasy? Now I understand!"
Thor threw the gag down, and turned back to his brother. He dug his fingernails into the flesh of his palms, in an effort to resist the temptation to use them on Loki. Anything to get him to stop saying such harmful words. Such… true words. No, such false words.
Loki now sat cross-legged on the floor, laughing uproariously. But there was something else, hidden in the depths of his eyes.
Thor felt his anger leave in a rush of understanding.
Loki knew his greatest secret. Perhaps that wasn't such a surprise. After all, he was known for his vast cunning and intellect.
Loki's fear was the surprising part. He was convinced that Thor had manipulated the situation, to have him as his ganymede. Thor felt his stomach twist with revulsion, at the thought.
This situation is far direr than I'd first thought.
"I will not harm you, Loki." He hoped he sounded reassuring. "The reason for these rules is because I don't trust you to not try and run away, or reacquire your power."
All humour suddenly left the delicate face. "Oh, I will reacquire my power. And when I do, I will make certain, to give back every ill done to me a hundred fold. I'll have you begging for death, anything to end the anguish. You might as well do what you will with me now-"
Thor felt the anger rise, once more. "Loki-"
"Because your feeble fantasies are nothing compared to my imagination. I'll torture you in ways that your feeble mind can't even begin to have a glimpse of. I'll-" He was cut off by the sudden metal clamping into his mouth. Thor buckled the gag at the back, and then moved away, putting some distance between them. Loki's eyes bulged. He could see his mouth working, as he attempted to remove the offending object from the vicinity.
"Now, finally, I get to talk. This isn't about me punishing you! I was the one who argued against torture and imprisonment. I want…" He knelt before his brother. "I want to help you! I think that you're still worth saving."
The struggling with the gag ceased, the pale eyes locked on his. For a moment, he read hope in the pale green depths. Or, perhaps that was merely his own reflection. Then Loki, looked down, bowing his head.
"And I apologize for hugging you, earlier. I just thought you… wanted one. Silly thought, really." He added, as an afterthought. "I will never so much as touch you again, without your permission, understand?"
Loki effected no movement.
"I'll take off the gag, but if you act up, then I'll be forced to put it on, once more." It felt like an offense to treat his own brother, this way, like a child. But then, he reminded himself, Loki was bringing it on himself.
Once more, he carefully undid the straps of the metal gag, and removed it from Loki's mouth. His brother was silent, as he placed it on the chest of drawers. This did not bode well. He could sense the great mind working.
"You're a fool." The tone wasn't spiteful, but rather matter-of-fact. "I've seen worlds you've never-"
"Yes, I've heard this before." Thor collapsed back down onto the chaise lounge.
"I will never be what you want! You have this romantic ideal of what you think I am. You always have! You have never seen how much I despise you! How much-"
"You think I don't know you? How you've always felt inferior, in dad's eyes, even before the revelation of Laufey as your father? How you yearn to prove that you're beyond how you believe people perceive you? No, Loki. It's you who doesn't know himself! This latest grand gesture is just another example of a maniac diva attempting to big note himself."
"Maniac diva?" Loki stood up. "Tell me, Thor, who broke every chalice, the night before his coronation? Who was the one who talked him down from his fury?"
"You're right. I was a vain, egotistical idiot! You were the one who proved it by allowing the frost giants into Asgard. I reacted exactly as you knew I would. Suffice to say, I have changed."
"Over the love of a woman you barely spent three days with, while on earth? You are pathetic!"
"You are wrong, Loki. That was merely a passing whim. I like her and will keep her safe. But Jane was merely one of a series of catalysts to who I am now."
She does not hold my heart.
He quickly banished the thought away. It was as nonsensical, as it always had been.
Loki quietly moved over and sat next to him. "I have known for a long time. The way you looked at me, at times. The struggle was so clear. Then, when I found out that Odin is not my real father…perhaps there could have been something between us. But it's too late, now. I have changed, too much."
"I must say, Loki, that your latest little extravaganza is proof to me how much you haven't changed. It was you echoed five thousand times over. The need to be the centre of attention, the ego masking such delicate esteem, the way you manipulated us to act exactly the way you wanted. Even the fact that you had to stage your little hissy fit on such a large stage. You were enjoying yourself immensely, I could tell. Too bad the rest of us weren't…no, come to think, Tony Starke seemed to be enjoying himself. As well as Bruce Banner, when he turned into that huge green-"
"Don't talk about that monstrocity!" Loki snapped.
"I mourned you. And now, you are back here, with me. I will not let you disappear on me again. I could not bear it a second time."
"Not even letting me leave your sight is taking this to a rather ridiculous extreme, wouldn't you say?"
Thor grinned, thumped him hard on the back. "I think I'll retire for the night. Would you like some pillows, a blanket?"
"I will take nothing from you!"
Thor went over to his bed and took a couple of the dozens pillows off it, plus a few of the many blankets and then crossed the room to the chaise lounge, throwing the items on, before storming back to the bed, once more. He quickly changed into his night attire, and then turned back to Loki. His brother had picked up the blankets and was staring at them with a somewhat puzzled expression.
"I'll… see you in the morning."
"You truly don't wish to… despoil me?"
Thor could only stare at him a moment.
What do you think of me, brother?
"Sleep, Loki, and be reassured that you are safe."
He climbed into bed and pulled the covers around him. On the other side of the room, he could hear Loki fussing about with his own sleeping arrangement.
Thor closed his eyes, wondering what the next day would bring.