Since I adore Loki as a character and I don't like him as the bad guy I decided to write this. There will be Loki/Stark but Stark isn't mentioned in the first chapters. Hope you enjoy, folks!

DISCLAIMER: Don't own, Don't profit, Don't sue!

Loki thought of humans. Since the dawn of time they had invented new ways to maim one another. From the simplest of wooden splinters driven deep under fingernails, to intricate contraptions that required delicate handling or they would rip their victims apart with as little remorse as the men who used them. Knives, guns, whips, clubs; he would have taken any of them. He would have gone down on his knees and begged for a human torturer. His own race were cruel in ways the citizens of midguard could not even imagine. They attempted to control their inner monsters through conventions and treaties and politics. His race revelled in the letting loose the beasts who disregarded everything except the need to hurt simply for the pleasure gained from the act of torture. He was twisted and broken until he could scarcely remember his own name and couldn't understand the questions they threw at him relentlessly. They took him apart methodically and relied on the healing powers of a God to build him back up again. Every time he fell before them it took him longer to regain himself and scars that he didn't have the time or energy to heal twisted around his body. He realised with a numbing sense of dread that he would die here, in this frozen world where every thing around him was foused on giving him pain.

But he would die free.

For the first time since he was a child he was in control of his own body. He was almost terrified by the loneliness. The Other was gone. The one who had controlled him and shaped his every action and move was dead; falling before the might of the Avengers and the torture that meant his first taste of freedom in thousands of years was tainted by an agony he didn't deserve. 'It wasn't me' he tried to cry 'Listen to me. He is gone. I am not the one you seek'. But his reputation as the trickster, a reputation assidously cultivated by the Other, deafened them to his pleas. They demanded answers to questions he didn't understand. Despite the time spent under the rule of the Other he did not have the answers they wanted so they continued with their futile efforts to extract information that was not his to possess. He lost track of time as he was reduced into nothing over and over, then rebuilt in a process that grew progressively more painful and tortured. Eventually he gave up and willed himself dead. Anything to end his torment.

It was some time before he noticed that no one was touching him. His body was still contorted with agony but there was nothing causing new pain. The continious barrage of questions had stopped as well but he could hear one voice. Another God. He knew the voice but his fevered mind had difficulty finding a name. Fingers brushed over his forehead and he flinched away in panic, expecting more torture. Nothing happened and he realised with a start that he was leaning into the gentle touch, his body gladly accepting the kindness that had been lacking in his life so far.

"Oh, brother," he heard the whisper "What has been done to you?" The sadness in the man's voice surprised him. He wasn't worthy of it. He was about to speak up and tell the other God exactly that when he realised what had been said. Brother? A face rose in his mind and he forced his eyes open to see if this was the man he remembered as his brother. The wild mane of blond hair was fuzzy and he noted absently that he was no where near being fully healed. Even with blurred vision he recognised his brother's solemn face. Why did he look so sad? Was it Loki's fault? He remembered how the Other had turned him against his family. Maybe it was his fault that his brother was sad.

"Sorry," he croaked "I'm so sorry, Thor." He finally managed to find his brother's name amongst his scattered thoughts. He was unprepared for the feeling of being lifted and strong arms being wrapped around him. Every muscle in his body tensed, expecting new pain, expecting a trick. When nothing came he allowed himself to relax into the emrace of his long estranged brother.

"You have nothing to apologise for," he was told "Indeed I am proud of you, Loki, for enduring so long. I hope that one day you will forgive me for my part in bringing you here. Had I known their intentions I would never have delivered you to them." He sounded angry, Loki realised.

"Not your fault," he offered, hoping to provide his distraught brother with some degree of comfort.

"You are too forgiving," Thor sighed "They told me your words," he added "They did not believe you when you spoke of the Other but they were fools. I am pleased to have you back, Loki. When you are healed we will speak of it further but, for now, rest. I am taking you somewhere safe."

"Where?" the smaller God asked with the last of his strength but darkness took him before he could hear the answer.

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