Author's Note: I never thought I would write this pairing. And then I watched The Avengers. Anywho. This story is part of an Alternate Universe set in modern times that I'm probably going to flesh out more in the future with prequels/sequels and such. I hope you lovely readers enjoy it and r&r is always welcome and lovely. xo.

Redemption.

It is the first time he has seen Loki in four years. It is the first time he has laid eyes on him since that day, still etched into his memory, when he had left for university, suitcase in hand, taking the first step on his path to becoming a full fledged member of his father's business empire. On that day, Loki had refused to speak to him, silently staring down at him from his bedroom window. Without concentrating, Thor can remember the sheer weight of Loki's eyes on his back as he'd departed without saying a word, the sting of the previous night's argument still fresh in his memory.

Four years. The memory still stings.

It's supposed to be a party to celebrate his graduation but it's quickly turned into a chance for his father to parade him before all of his business associates. Thor is sick of it within minutes. He's met all of these men before, when he was a child and their new found eagerness bothers him. Not one of them is genuine; their eyes are all fake, their smiles even more so. He merely nods, grins when it suits him and drinks the expensive wine in his hands.

Then, he sees his brother and he knows that he must get out of the room immediately.

Loki sticks out, just like he always has, lingering in the back of the ballroom, a full glass of wine cradled in his long fingers. His hair has gotten longer and his face has gotten sharper, like he's finally grown into it. Yet he's still much the same as he was when Thor left him; he's still pale as a ghost and his damn eyes are still that same venomous green, holding disdain for almost everyone they linger on.

Until they land on Thor. They shift just slightly, looking more like emeralds then poison and the left corner of his mouth turns up just the slightest, in a practically invisible smirk Thor recalls all too well. He swallows heavily, hands his glass off to a passing waitress and excuses himself. His father, caught up once again exchanging tales with one of his partners, merely waves his hand. Thor knows he won't miss him for awhile, which is good; he's not sure how long he'll be gone from the ballroom.

That all depends on Loki.

There's an unoccupied smoking room just down the hall and Thor slides inside, leaning against the wall. His heart is racing, thudding loudly in his ears and he shuts his eyes for just a moment, taking slow breaths. He should not be this worked up over Loki's presence but he can't help but feel extremely nervous. Even though the look Loki had given him had seemed like a good sign, albeit a wanton one, that meant nothing. His brother was a stubborn man, capable of holding grudges for a very long time and if anyone deserved to have a grudge held against them, it was certainly Thor.

When he opens his eyes again, Loki is leaning against the door, twisting the lock in his fingers. It isn't the first time Thor has ever seen his brother in a suit but it's the first time he's seen him in one that fits. He has to take a few seconds to take it all in, from the fitted jacket to the green tie haphazardly looped around his neck. He certainly doesn't look seventeen years old anymore, wearing a shirt that was far too wide for him to prom.

He looks... grown up. He is grown up.

"Hello Thor," he says, just a hint of a sneer decorating his lips. "Are you enjoying your party?"

"You know that I'm not," he replies, pressing his fingernails into the wall behind him. "I've never wanted any of this."

"Really?" Thor can't help but wince; Loki's sarcasm is almost physically painful to him, even if he finds it amusing when directed at others. "Then tell me, if this wasn't what you wanted, then why on Earth did you choose the path that would bring you precisely to this point?"

"It was what our father wanted," Thor says, swallowing heavily. Loki merely chuckles and finally takes a step away from the door, running his fingers over a nearby chair. Thor can't help but study his movements, can't help but remember when those fingers used to drag over his skin, scratching and bruising late at night. When he looks back up at Loki's eyes, he gets the sudden feeling that his brother has been reading his mind. Even though Loki is still looking at him with something akin to resentment, that spark of wantonness has reappeared.

"That has always been your problem, Thor," he says softly, scraping his nails over the polished wood. "You have always done what our father wanted, rather than what you wanted."

"Not always," Thor reminds him and that spark grew brighter, in tandem with the resentment and anger. "There was a time, once, where I didn't care about what he would have wanted." So many images appear in Thor's mind at the same time and not one of them could be considered appropriate.

"Yes, but we were young then." Loki finally leaves the chair alone and approaches him, eyes bright and smouldering. "We are no longer children. We can't continue those games now that we've grown up."

"They were never games to me," Thor says, reaching out and running a finger down Loki's green tie. The tension between them is palpable now; Thor can almost taste it upon his tongue.

"Nor were they to me." Loki takes another step forward, his breath warm against Thor's mouth. This close, Thor can pick up on more details, each of which bring forward another rush of memories. He can smell Loki's shampoo, still the same after all this time and he barely resists the urge to press his face into his hair. He can see the almost invisible scar just underneath Loki's jaw, a result of him biting down a little too hard once upon a time. His heartbeat has picked up again and he's sure that his brother can hear it.

"Were there others for you, Thor?" Loki whispers, the words tinged with just a bit of malice. "When you were away. How many others did you have?"

"A few," Thor admits. He doesn't know the exact number, mainly because he was intoxicated for a number of them. "And you, brother?"

"Dozens, brother," Loki hisses, throwing the word back at him like it's the worst kind of slur (which, Thor supposes, it is to Loki's mind). "There were dozens of them who I had and who had me." Thor isn't sure whether or not Loki is lying but nevertheless, the statement does what it was designed to do. Dormant jealousy awakens in his stomach, making his throat grow tighter and his heart twinge with fury. He'd thought that his time away at school would help tame his emotions, help him to better control his longing for Loki and his anger towards any other who touched him.

He was wrong.

"Thor." Loki's fingers press hard underneath his chin, bringing his head back up. Loki's mouth is set differently now; it's the closest he ever gets to a genuine smile, even if there's still hints of a smirk playing around the edges.

"Not one of them was as good as you," he murmurs, trailing his fingers down Thor's jaw and over his neck. "Not one."

Thor doesn't know whether to punch Loki in the face or kiss him as hard as he can. Eventually, he goes with the latter; kiss swollen lips are a little easier to explain away than a broken nose, after all. The kiss is the last piece of the puzzle and with that, he realizes that his attempts to destroy his emotions for Loki have failed completely and utterly. His brother is right; of all the others he'd been with while at school, not one of them had felt as right as Loki did. The taste and texture and warmth of his mouth are all exactly as he recalls and they're just as addictive as before. That faint undercurrent of desperation is there as well, like Loki's afraid to let go of him.

Thor can't help but wonder if Loki tastes the desperation in his mouth as well.

"You left me," Loki whispers when he pulls away, lips glistening and red, panting.

"I know," Thor replies, his hands gripping Loki's shoulders, leaving dents in the pristine fabric of his suit. "I thought it would make this go away."

"It didn't." Thor is almost frightened by the sheer conviction in Loki's voice, his fingernails pressing into the side of Thor's neck. Just like that, however, that brief glimpse of anger is gone and Loki now looks like he's pleading, running his palms over Thor's chest, like he's reassuring himself that he's not dreaming.

"Don't leave me again," he murmurs. "Life is so boring when you're not around." Thor knows that it's the closest his brother will ever get to saying that he actually cares. He understands Loki's qualms about the word love; it has a lot to do with their father and the whole adoption fiasco they were told about when Loki turned fifteen. A lot of it has to do with Thor himself and that just adds to the guilt he carries around in his soul on a daily basis.

Too much guilt can kill you. And he doesn't particularly want to die young.

"I'm not going to leave again," he says, running his fingers through Loki's hair. He doesn't exactly know what he's getting into; though Loki is much the same, just older, there is still something slightly off about him. There's something unusual about how quickly he changes his moods, how he can make his eyes change in a mere second. He has a feeling that something deep inside his brother has contorted itself.

But he would worry about that later. Because he had a lot to make up for, going back four years to the night he'd looked into Loki's eyes and lied to him.

He figured there was no time like the present to start redeeming himself.