a/n: posted to tumblr a little while back, forgot I hadn't put this here
sorry for the lack of updates? ;-;
unedited; any and all mistakes are mine
We Stood To Fall
(and we fell hard)
the euphoria of falling in love for the first time.
. . .
"What am I to you?"
His voice was only curious. There was no danger, no sort of malicious intent.
Loki was fourteen and Thor was seventeen.
The latter countered with a question: "Does it matter?"
Loki turned his eyes on him. They were sharp and green and bright with an amount of intelligence and maturity that Thor didn't have when he was his age. That no one else has when they were at this age.
Loki was fourteen.
Yet he spoke with such conviction.
"Of course it does."
So Thor answered, "You are my brother."
There was a brief silence - then Loki posed another question, this time in a softer voice: "Is that it?"
There was a fight, just an hour before. But Thor didn't know that. Maybe he would have, if he'd asked about the bruise that was blossoming just underneath Loki's right eye, but he hadn't, so he didn't.
(Pity, pity, pity.)
(What are brothers for?)
So he said, "Of course" and then left to find his friends, leaving Loki to himself; didn't see the way Loki's fingers curl into tight fists; didn't see the way his eyes filled with tears in anger, frustration. He didn't see the way Loki's mouth curled into a sneer and he
snarls, voice dripping with venom: "What am I to you now, brother?"
It isn't right, Thor thinks, the way the bitter expression suits Loki so well. He is meant to smile and laugh as he used to, when they were younger. He is not meant for this.
(What are brothers for?)
Loki's fingers curl a little tighter into the torn up fabric of Thor's tunic - or, rather, the rag that is left of it - and he yanks him closer.
His eyes are still sharp and green and intelligent, and if looks could kill, Thor would be in Valhalla.
No, some part of him corrects, Valhalla is for the great, for heroes, and you are not a hero. Not after you hurt-
Loki still speaks.
He still demands: "What am I to you?"
Thor has an answer but he is sure it is not the one Loki wants to hear. He reaches up and grazes a thumb over Loki's lip. His own lips twitch up into a little smile, even though they're chapped from dehydration and the gesture sends pain registering dully in his mind. He murmurs, affectionate, "You are beautiful."
He gets a backhand for his troubles. His head cracks against the stone wall of his dungeon.
Loki remains in the cell with him for a few more minutes, and Thor cannot read his expression. His vision is still hazy from the blow.
Eventually, he hears the sound of Loki leaving, accompanied by the jangling of metal as his cell is shut and locked.
Perhaps he thinks Thor would still be able to escape, even when restrained with magicked bonds and drained of his strength?
Perhaps he thinks Thor still wanted to escape?
Thor knows that he will be back tomorrow, and some foolish part of him wishes to believe that Loki keeps coming back, that Loki is never gone for too long, that Loki hasn't put him out of his misery and killed him because somewhere down there, past the jumbled, broken strings of Loki's sanity, his Loki is still there.
And maybe, just maybe, he would be able to bring him back.
A wave of sudden nostalgia threatens to overtake him; he doesn't fight it. In the days -weeks? months? years?- he has been in this prison, he has learned to simply close his eyes and let the wave wash him out to the sea.
He can count on Loki to return in the morning and bring him back to shore, but for now-
He closes his eyes and he forgets-
-the fight, the defeat, the prison, the numerous dead innocents whose blood stain Loki's hands-
-everything but the sound of
soft cries, emitting from someone Thor could not see.
He had entered the courtyard to find his friends and was about to leave when he found it empty, but the crying made him stop in his tracks and turn back around.
As if the person sensed his presence, the crying stopped, but if Thor listened very carefully, he could still hear some sniffling.
"Who's there?" he called out to the trees and bushes, but of course, there was no answer, so he took the liberty of stepping off the path and searching for the source of the noise.
He would trip twice and his tunic would get caught in a branch four times before he finally found Loki sitting against a tree, knees drawn up to his chest and arms curled around himself protectively.
Green eyes - puffy and rimmed with red from his crying - turned on him as soon as he stepped into the clearing.
"If you're looking for your friends," the younger muttered haughtily, swiping a hand across his nose, "they are in the kitchen."
Thor ignored that and moved to sit next to him instead, lips drawn into a frown and expression genuinely concerned. "Who made you cry, Loki?" And with that concern also came a rising sense of anger, directed at whoever had dared to upset a prince of Asgard - and most importantly, Thor's brother.
"I wasn't crying," Loki denied, but the hiccup that followed gave away the lie.
(Not that Thor would have been convinced, anyway.)
"Who was it, brother? I will make them regret it!" Thor vowed with as much promise a twelve-year-old could manage.
"Was it Fandral? You shouldn't take anything he says literally - you're smarter than him, anyway!" Out of his four friends, Fandral was almost always the one who stroke up the teasing first.
"As if I'd listen to anything that dwarf-faced idiot would have to say," Loki muttered irritably.
Thor wanted to say something against that - Fandral was still his friend - but he figured it probably wouldn't help Loki feel any better.
"So who was it?" Thor persisted.
Loki sighed in aggravation. "It was you," he said dryly. "I realized that I was going to have to keep seeing your stupid face for the rest of my life, and I was struck with utter despair."
Thor frowned, shoulders slumping a little. "That's not nice."
"I was jesting." Loki nudged him in the side. "I really am fine," he added, pulling his sleeve further down his arm and tucking it under his knees. "I just fell, and my knee was hurting for a while."
"Are you fine now?"
Loki rolled his eyes, but a smile was threatening to play on his lips. "I promise."
Still unhappy, Thor reached out a brushed a stray tear from Loki's cheek. Then he enveloped his younger brother in a hug, because: a)it always worked for him when their mother did it, and b)if he could not get the truth, he should at least be able to indulge himself with this.
And besides, what were brothers for?
Loki squirmed in his hold at first, but it wasn't long until he gave up and accepted the embrace with a small sigh, nuzzling into his brother's arms.
Thor smiled into his hair and they both sat there, basking in the feeling of
arms being thrown around him, and Thor laughed as the sudden weight tipped him backwards on his bed, Loki astride him.
"I absolutely love it!" his brother gushed, cradling the sheathed blade to his chest. "You will teach me how to wield it, yes?"
"Anytime you want." Thor smiled at him, making no move to shift their position. He reached up to brush a stray hair behind Loki's ear, delighting in the way the now-fourteen-year-old blushed.
"Happy birthday," he said, smile never wavering.
Loki leaned down and kissed him unabashedly on the cheek, and Thor's smile widened impossible further when he heard Loki murmur, "I love you, Thor."
He didn't think there could have been anything better than the sound of
the breeze rustling the leaves on the trees. More and more of them fell each day as they progressed further into season of autumn. Loki liked to come out in the garden and try to catch them, so Thor accompanied him.
"Nine!" Loki called out. His tone was triumphant and mildly teasing. "How many have you got, Thor?"
It's a little contest they liked to play. Thor quickly counted how many he has. Before he announced the number, he turned his back on Loki and crushed a good amount of them. It wasn't until he'd scattered them to the ground that he turned back to his brother, smile small and sheepish, and told him, "Four."
(What are brothers for?)
It was worth it, just to see the way Loki's demeanor seemed to brighten up.
Thor wished that his brother doesn't treasure victory so much, but he supposed it was inevitable to develop when their own father showed such bias.
"You win, brother," he added, because he knew that Loki liked the verbal confirmation.
"It looks like." Loki nodded, and then his expression turned a little distant. "I tire of this game. Will you lie with me, Thor?"
The younger of the two sprawled himself on the grass, looking up as if to admire the sky.
Thor complied, sidling next to him. A few seconds later, he commented, "There is not much of a view from down here."
Loki only shushed him.
Thor propped himself up on his elbows to see why Loki was acting so strange suddenly. His brother's eyes were closed, a ghost of a smile hinting along his lips, and his expression was almost serene. Thor wanted to ask what he was thinking of, but he didn't want to break the silence.
So instead, he looked on.
If Loki noticed, he didn't open his eyes and tell Thor to stop staring.
The urge to lean down and kiss his brother was quickly rising, and Thor saw no harm in it. He had always seen their parents do it out of love, so should he not be able to do the same to his dear brother?
He maneuvered himself on top of Loki. The other popped an eye open, staring up at the older, a question forming on the tip of his tongue.
Thor quickly leaned down and planted a clumsy kiss on his brother's lips.
When he drew away, Loki was looking at him.
"Sorry-" Thor began to apologize, but Loki only looped his arms around his shoulders and pulled him back
down to the bed, yanking the sheets over both of their bodies.
Thor's bed was too small to fit two, but they managed.
"You owe me," Loki grumbled from where he was pressed tightly against Thor's chest.
Thor only grunted in response, arms locked stubbornly around Loki's midsection. His brother's mere presence was a great comfort itself, already chasing away the last few hues of the nightmare that still stray in his mind.
"You're cold," he whispered into Loki's silky black hair.
"And you're stiflingly hot," retorted the younger, but he burrowed himself further into Thor's arms.
In the morning, Thor knew that the servants could very well see them in this position, most likely far too intimate for brothers at this age, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He reckoned they'd seen worse, anyway, and even then, none of them ever spoke out.
Because he wasn't exactly the most subtle, nor the most discreet, so he doubted there was really ever a time when they were alone - especially those times when Thor would
grab Loki from whatever festivity or event that was currently taking place and drag him back up to their rooms. But it was rare that they actually made it inside; Thor was impatient and Loki was more than happy to bask in the attention, and more often than not, it would end up with Thor pressing Loki against the wall, trousers down to his ankles, hips pinning his younger brother to the wall as he fucked into the lithe body with reckless abandon, Loki's throaty moans and whispers into his ear only driving him on.
"I love you," was whispered somewhere in between.
Thor wasn't sure who said it, or if it slipped from their lips simply because of the pleasure and actually had no meaning.
But the three little words was his undoing, and although they might have become lost in the tangle of kisses and flurry of movements, it sent his hips jerking into Loki one more time before he was finally falling into the sweet, sweet thrill of-
-and then, as he watched Loki's eyes flutter shut as he came to his own completion, sobbing out his older brother's name, Thor held him close and felt his beating heart against his own.
"-only want to make sure you're all right, brother."
Thor said these words in a strained whisper, his head resting against the wood of Loki's bedroom door.
"Leave me be," came the response.
It had been three days since he last saw his brother, and that was when Loki had stormed out of the throne room, fists clenched and footsteps loud and face set into an expression of grim anger.
Thor had followed him, only to have the door slammed in his face and refused entrance for a grand total of three days. (At least, so far. He had no idea if Loki intended to hole himself up in his room any longer. They were gods, yes, but even they had to eat, had to drink.)
(Thor had to see his brother.)
He called out to Loki again, but this time he was not gratified with a response.
Later that evening, he left to fetch some food for himself and possibly some to offer to Loki. When he came back, the door was unlocked, and he had burst in with relief warming his chest, only to find that the room was
empty, just like it had been for the past five years now - but that never stopped Thor from going in every so often.
Loki had left in an evident hurry; drawers were half-opened, whatever clothes he didn't decide to take along strewn all over the place. When Thor first walked in to find his brother missing, the window had been opened and winter's snowflakes were inviting themselves in, dancing in the air and falling to pile up on the sill.
"He will come back," Frigga used to tell him, voice soft and hand comforting as she stroked his hair, but nowadays it seemed like even she had lost hope.
But the worst part wasn't having to walk down that hallway every single day and be reminded that his br- that Lokiwas not there any more.
No, the worst part was the nightmares that haunted him every night in the form of a tall, dark-haired figure that materialized at the side of his bed. Loki, Thor would desperately try to utter, but his tongue always failed him, and he would be forced to lie there while Loki leaned down, skin slowly being encroached by blue, eyes
Thor faltered in his stance as those eyes stared back at him. Those irises, the same ones that used to look at him with such adoration and awe and love, now dripped with malice.
"What is the matter, Thor?" sneered his opponent.
Thor grunted and gave a hard shove of Mjolnir, sending Loki stumbling back. The other recovered quickly, regaining his defensive stance and wielding his staff.
Around them, the chaos of battle continued on.
"Brother," Thor said, and would have finished, please, end this, had Loki not snarled and lunged forward, staff twirling in his hands.
Thor struck back with Mjolnir, and sparks flew as the two weapons collided.
"I." Loki withdrew and struck again, this time aiming lower. Thor barely managed to sidestep. "Am. Not. Your. Brother!" He punctuated each word with a harsh jab, all of which Thor managed to avoid.
And it became a cycle.
It was always Loki who advanced and Thor who blocked his hits, sometimes countered - but never dealt blows hard enough to hurt Loki.
"Fight me!" the younger growled, frustration evident in his tone.
"No, brother." Thor gritted his teeth as he felt the staff slice his shoulder.
"Do not call me that!"
"I care not if you are Jotun or Aesir or even a mortal - I have loved you for millennia, and I will be damned if I stop because of something so trivial as race."
This seemed to falter Loki, giving Thor enough of an opening to knock the staff out of his hands and tackle him to the ground. Loki struggled underneath him, bucking and scratching and hissing curses. Thor set Mjolnir aside and captures Loki's slim wrists, pinning him effectively to the ground.
"Stop this madness, brother," he pleaded, and for a moment, he think he saw something like traces of tears in Loki's eyes. "
"No." Loki sounded weary, out of breath. A tear did trickle from the corner of his eye, slipping down a porcelain white cheek, and Thor wanted nothing more than to reach down and wipe it away.
(What were brothers for?)
"I never was."
And then a blow was delivered to the back of Thor's head, and the last thing the prince of Asgard saw was the clone underneath him fizzle into nothing.
The world went dark
and illuminates with a harsh, white light.
"Pathetic," he hears somewhere above him.
(You never learn, do you, Thor? You never learn that no matter how many times you wish to revisit the past, as if perhaps trying to change it, it will never, and reality will always be here waiting for when you finally get your thick head from out of the clouds.)
"You've returned." Thor's voice is hoarse.
A heartbeat of silence: Thor takes the lack of a response as a signal to keep speaking. It hurts to do so, his throat scratchy from dehydration, but he forges on. (Anything for his dear, dear little brother.) "Of course you have."
It manages to capture Loki's attention. In a flash, he's kneeling in front of Thor, gripping his chin tightly and forcing him to look into his eyes - and Thor can not help the sudden memory that flashes through his mind, of a gentler, affectionate touch, a soft voice murmuring, "I love you-"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
Thor smiles; his lips split. Blood drips in a thin stream down his chin, and he watches with a sort of interest as it stains Loki's pale skin.
It's a little curious, that although Loki had chosen to embrace his true heritage, Thor has never seen him once in his Jotun form.
"You would be beautiful, I imagine." He's rambling now, vocalizing any and all thoughts that happen to be coming to mind. "I would adorn you with jewels, and you would be a magnificent figure - no one would care that you are a Jotun, for you would be b-"
"Silence!" Loki almost shrieks it, striking Thor hard across the face. The sound of skin meeting skin echoes harshly in the cell. "You utter fool, how dare you-"
"How dare I what, Loki?"
Thor looks into those eyes: sharp and green and intelligent.
"I said, be quiet!" Loki fists the front of Thor's torn tunic and yanks him forward, at the same time reeling his hand back for another slap-
-and Thor manages: "How dare I think the best of you, though you have fallen so far?"
And he closes his eyes and waits for the blow.
(But it never comes.)
He feels the fingers uncurl from his shirt, and then the warmth of Loki's presence disappear as his not-brother straightens. He opens his eyes.
There is a tear sliding down Loki's cheek and Thor wants to break these damned chains if only to wipe it away.
Because Loki needs to know that he's remembered, that he's missed-
-because Thor realizes that after everything-
-after the harsh words-
-the vicious blows-
-he still loves him
"Let me hold you, brother," Thor murmurs.
Loki stares down at him, unimpressed.
"You will eventually kill me, will you not?" He's pretending not to see the hilt of the dagger on Loki's belt.
("I love you, Thor.")
"Indulge me one last time, Loki." And he smiles.
Loki leans down and
kissed him, all warmth and affection and
crumples to the side, a limp body just a foot away from where Thor still kneels.
The thunderer brings his freed hand to yank the chains off his other one, and the ones around his ankle are next.
When the bounds that used to restrain him are now nothing but mere pieces of metal littered across the gray of the cell floor, he turns to his not-brother.
He draws him to his chest, holding him
and in that moment, he forgets everything: the treachery, the war, the way his fist had felt when it connected with the side of Loki's face, the betrayal that flashed in Loki's eyes before they fluttered shut and he fell to the floor.
It has been a decade, but it is hard to forget.
"I love you, Loki," he murmurs into raven locks of hair.
"I am sorry," Loki returns raggedly.
Thor pulls away to look into his brother's eyes, expecting green irises shining, bright and intelligent, perhaps with mirth before playful, teasing words leave his lips but, as always, they are half-lidded and dull.
"Sorry," Loki still utters.
He is like a broken record nowadays.
"I am sorry."
He sees something like recognition flicker in Loki's apathetic expression, but it either doesn't last for as much as a second, or it never happened, only a part of one of Thor's many, wistful delusions.
The latter seems a little less likely when he catches Loki's eyes begin to brim, and he waits, waits for that tear he was born to wipe away-
-but it never falls.
"I will see you tomorrow," he promises.
"Sorry." Loki's eyes flutter shut. "I am so sorry."
And, as always, Thor assures him, "It's all right."
"It's always been all right."
Then he stands and leaves the cell, his chest tightening in the absolute worse feeling he's ever felt.
(At the same time the door shuts with a click, a tear slips down Loki's cheek, small, insignificant memories striking his mind as he remembers, briefly, arms that held him, so warm, so safe.)
(If Thor had seen it happen, he would not have wanted anything more than to brush it away. And he would have.)
(But he doesn't.)
(So he doesn't.)