summary; It was decided that as punishment, Loki's punishment would include wiping his memories and exiling him to Midgard. When the memory-erasing spell goes awry, Loki not only loses his memories, but also loses the ability to make any new ones. Fearful that his enemies would take advantage of this, Thor puts him into the Avengers' care until a cure to his condition is found. And so time goes on, but Loki lives each day as a loop, never able to recall anything that happened in the previous day.
a/n: so this idea popped into my head and wouldn't stop nagging me until I wrote it oAo
For some odd, inexplicable reason, Loki keeps waking up in the morning with an arm reached out to the empty space beside him, as if someone is meant to be there lying next to him.
It would take a few seconds for him to realizes that he's still by himself in his apartment. He would automatically withdraw his arm, but it would not stop his fingers from curling as if to hold on to the last essence of that phantom warmth.
Perhaps he had taken someone home with him, just the night before. Perhaps it was someone nice, someone he would have liked to get to know a little better.
And then Loki reminds himself that it would be futile, because it isn't like he would know, anyway, if the hands that caressed him had been gentle or rough. Nor would he remember.
Such are the woes of an anterograde amnesiac.
"How is he?"
"Well. He goes about the same routine, every day."
"I wonder if he tires of it..."
"If he does, I doubt that he remembers to feel that way. Wouldn't you say so, my prince?"
Loki's eyes flutter open, and the first thing he sees is his arm stretched out before him, reaching out for something that isn't there.
Strange, he thinks, but shakes it off and rises from his bed.
It's a beautiful day. He can feel the sun's warmth radiating through his thin curtains, and when he pulls them back, he is greeted by the sight of the children standing across the street, backpacks over their shoulders and looking eager for the school day.
A faint smile crosses Loki's face - sometimes it feels like he already knows those children, but their mothers are rather protective, and they shy away from him every time he goes out for a walk.
That's okay, though. Loki understands their intentions; if he had a child, he would want to protect them, too.
He manages to tear himself away from the window, making a silent promise to go outside later. It's been a while since he got some fresh air, and his apartment is insufferable in this summer heat.
He goes about the rest of the day: hopping into the shower and then fixing pancakes for breakfast. He has a plate of them ready when there comes a knock on his door.
It's three heavy thumps in succession.
(For some reason, it's oddly familiar.)
When Loki opens the door, he is met by a taller, broader, blond stranger. "Good morning?" Loki says, and it's more of a question than a greeting. He tries to act as polite as possible, but raises an eyebrow quizzically. "May I help you?"
For a few seconds (or maybe even a few minutes; Loki loses track), the stranger merely stares at him. His eyes are the bluest of blue - Loki cannot find any other sort of description. It's an intent sort of gaze, and his mouth parts and closes several times, as if he can't decide what to say. Finally, he says, "I have just moved here." The man gestures vaguely.
Glad that the man isn't anyone dangerous, Loki offers him a small smile. "Really? Are you 168 or 172?"
The man looks confused.
"Sorry, I guess I meant, do you live there," Loki jerks a thumb to his right, then to his left "or there?"
"Oh." The man shifts, and now he looks a little uncertain. "There." He points to the door to the left of Loki's.
He has an accent, and it's heavy on his words, leaving Loki to wonder if perhaps he's a foreigner. Although he can't quite tell what kind of accent it is, he finds it oddly...charming.
"I'm Loki," he introduces, holding a hand out for a shake. "Pleasure to meet you, neighbor."
The man looks down at his hand, and his expression turns...conflicted?
Loki doesn't have time to question it; the man suddenly turns on his heels and begins walking briskly down the hall, almost running. Loki stares after him, dumbfounded.
"Did you really speak with him?"
"Briefly. But as soon as he introduced himself, I could not help it - I ran. Gods, you should have seen him..."
Loki's fingers curl into the bedsheets, and that rouses him from sleep. His mind is hazy with sleep, but eventually clears enough for him to register the strange coldness of his bed.
He sighs, sits up. His hand drags deliberately down the empty side of the bed.
On his way to the bathroom, he passes his window. There are children standing on the other side of the street, schoolbags in hands, their lively chatter just barely audible through the glass. Loki smiles and thinks that perhaps he'll go outside later.
But for now, the heat of his apartment is insufferable, and a nice shower is in order; then breakfast (he's thinking pancakes); and after all of that, perhaps he'll drop by the park.
The rest of the day passes smoothly. He never gets the chance to go outside, but he tells himself he'll do it tomorrow.
More than once, Loki's attention gravitates to the door, but he can't quite figure out why.
"Not today, my prince?"
"No, not today. I fear... I fear my courage will break as it did yesterday."
"But what have you to fear? He is harmless in this state."
"I fear him because of that: he is harmless. He is so innocent, so oblivious - he resembles nothing of the merciless criminal he was. It is unnerving, to say the least."
"But not entirely unpleasant?"
"No. Not at all."
Loki is awoken by a heavy knocking at his door. He shoots up in bed, blinking the sleep from his eyes and hastily combing his hair back. The knocking is insistent, and he fears it's someone important, perhaps the landlord, so he scrambles to open the door.
Instead of the landlord, it is this tall, broad-shouldered man with electric blue eyes and lips forming a tight line.
"May I help you?" Loki inquires, and then erupts into a yawn.
The other man's features soften immediately, as if he realized just how early it is. "Sorry," he utters, voice wavering, "did I wake you, Loki?"
Loki blinks. Rubs his eyes again. Queries, torn between wanting to feel amused or intimidated, "Do I know you, mister...?"
"Just call me Thor," the man says quickly. "There is no need for such formalities." He rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. "As for your name, I got it from one of the other Av- tenants. Tony Stark, I believe he was?"
Loki nods. "I see." He doesn't really know who Tony Stark is. He sees him from time to time, milling around and about, but he looks so tired each time. Sometimes Loki even catches a trace of pity in his gaze. He figures the man is simply troubled. "Are you new here, then?" He changes the subject swiftly. "The building rarely gets newcomers. Admittedly, there are nicer places."
"I like this one," Thor says with a shake of his head. "There's an...odd sense of...nostalgia, almost." His eyes constantly flit about Loki, and the latter can't help but feel under scrutiny.
"I suppose I must agree with you there," he acquiesces nonetheless, because Thor is right, to an extent. Loki steps back and opens the door wider, welcoming the other in. If they're going to be neighbors, they might as well be on good terms. "Oh, would you like to come in for breakfast? I've just made pancakes."
"Pancakes," Thor echoes, looking puzzled. "Sure?"
Maybe he's never had pancakes before, Loki muses, but the thought is so absurd that he pushes it away. "You'll just have to excuse the messiness around here - I keep forgetting to clean."
Thor smiles, stepping inside after him. "I understand."
Loki isn't sure how to react to the sad undertone of his words. Instead, he shakes it off with a smile in return, leading his new neighbor to the kitchen. "I hope you like chocolate chips..."
"Does the Allfather know you do this?"
"Do you think that it would honestly stop me?"
Loki is surprised to hear a knock at his door at seven in the morning. "Just a second," he calls to whoever it is, drying his hands and glancing in the mirror to make sure he doesn't look like he's just climbed out of bed - because he had.
When he opens the door, an unfamiliar blond stranger is standing there. "Yes?" inquires Loki warily, one hand on the door in case he needs to shut it.
"Ah- Did I wake you?" The man looks apologetic.
Loki chuckles sheepishly, running a hand through his sleep-tousled hair. Perhaps he didn't look as presentable as he thought, after all. "No, I was already awake." They stand there in an awkward silence until Loki tries, "I'm sorry, did you need anything?"
The man is looking at him intently, and Loki shifts under his gaze. He doesn't feel unnerved, though he thinks he should. Rather, he feels warm, treasuring the attention.
"I've just moved here. I was going around meeting everyone else, but I think you are the only one on this floor..."
"There aren't a lot of tenants around here." Loki shrugs. "Are you 168 or 172?"
The man looks amused now, for some reason unknown to Loki. "172," he replies.
"Nice to meet you, then, neighbor." Loki offers his hand along with a smile. "I am Loki."
"My name is Thor." The man - Thor - takes his hand and shakes it, and his grip is warm and strong and firm and familiar. He says unexpectedly, "You remind me of someone."
Loki hums in interest, cocking his head. "Do I?"
"Yes." He hears Thor's voice change ever so subtly. "You- You remind me of my brother."
"Really?" Loki picks at a strand of his own hair, noting the stark differences between him and this man. He is dark-haired, while Thor's hair is golden; he is thin and wiry, while Thor's shirt does nothing to hide the muscle underneath; he is green eyed, while Thor has the bluest eyes he's ever seen. "We look nothing alike."
"He was adopted."
"Oh, I see. Perhaps I could meet him one day."
"I think he would be fond of you," Thor says agreeably, "if he were still here today." He trails off after that, going strangely quiet. For the first time since he laid eyes on Loki, his gaze flickers downwards to the floor.
"Oh," Loki says, quiet, because he isn't sure what else to say. He feels a dull pang in his chest. He wants to classify the feeling as pity, but something tells him it's much more than that, and he wonders why he feels this much for a mere stranger. "I'm- I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Thor's hand comes down on his shoulder, and Loki can feel every tremor in his fingers.
Instinctively, he puts his own hand atop Thor's and squeezes.
Then Thor steps forward and he is holding Loki, an embrace that is far too intimate to be shared between two mere strangers, but somehow, somehow-
-it feels right.
. . .
They land on the sheets in a flurry of kisses and roaming hands and soft murmurs of contentment. Clothes land in a careless heap on the floor and pillows are knocked over as Thor rolls Loki on his back, pressing him down into the mattress as he kisses him, sloppy and heated, on the lips. Loki arches against him, and they are as close as possible, yet somehow still so far apart.
When Thor spreads his legs apart and thrusts in, it hurts, but the pain is the good kind and quickly replaced by pleasure. Loki bites down on his knuckle to suppress a sob as Thor begins to move, rolling his hips into Loki's mercilessly.
Desperation hangs heavy in the air, and Loki's mind spins as he feels a calloused hand on his cock. It only takes two strokes before he's coming, pulling Thor flush against his body so that he pierces Loki impossibly deep.
Thor is whispering into his shoulder: "I'm sorry, Loki, I'm so sorry," and through the haze of pleasure, Loki barely feels the tears dripping down his shoulder.
"Forgiven," Loki utters back in a gasp, rocking his hips and trying to coax Thor over the edge with him. "Forgiven, Thor, always-"
"It went well, I presume?"
"...Shouldn't you already know that, All-Seer?"
"But you enjoy relaying the events, do you not? You enjoy being able to talk about him as if he is your brother once more, not a criminal?"
Loki wakes up on the left side of his bed, the sheets on the other side pulled back as if someone had lain there. His legs feel a little funny and in the bathroom, just before he gets into the shower, he notices a darkening bruise on the side of his neck: a hickey.
But Loki does not remember meeting anyone, more or less sleeping with them (not that he would ever, with someone he only knew for a day!).
There is not much other evidence to prove it, anyway, so he tries to forget about it. It's a wish that can easily come true by the next day.
"You know that we can't keep him here forever, right? The guys are getting pretty tired of playing pretend..."
"I promise that it will not be for much longer, Man of Iron. As soon as Father finds a cure for Loki's condition, he can return to Asgard. It is too dangerous to take him back while he is like this - people will take advantage of him. I have already failed him many times before; I will not fail to protect him this time."
"...I hope you understand that this isn't your fault, Thor. Loki did what he wanted to do, and that happened to meant wanting to take over the w-"
"Watch your tongue, Stark."
"Yeah, yeah. Sorry. All I'm saying is you shouldn't be beating yourself up over this, big guy. None of it was your fault."
"All Loki ever wanted was to be loved, to be accepted... I claim that he is my brother and that I love him, but I was not the kindest when we were young. Loki was always there for me, after every dispute, every battle, and I repaid him by neglecting him. I should have been there for him, but I was not.
"I regret it all, Stark.
"I regret everything."
A blond stranger stands at his doorstep. Loki regards him with some caution; he has not seen this man before, so how does he know his name? "Yes?" he asks curtly.
It is ten at night.
"You must remember me, brother." The man takes a step forward, easily nudging the door wider.
Loki stumbles backwards, eyes darting around for an escape route. His heart pounds loudly in his ear. "Get out of my home, please," he requests in the most even voice he can manage.
A madman, he thinks, taking in the stranger's disheveled appearance. His most striking features are his eyes, blue and wide and full of-
They are full of truth.
But Loki knows that he cannot possibly be speaking it.
The man is still talking to him, almost pleading, and Loki is only half-listening. He thinks he hears mentions of a thing called Asgard, of princes and kingdoms, of hunting and playing together-
He has backed himself into the wall now, and the man puts his hands on the plaster on either sides of his head, effectively trapping him. Electric blue eyes hold Loki's gaze, and they seem painfully familiar.
"You must remember."
Sometimes I'm envious, Loki thinks for some bizarre reason, but never doubt that I love you.
For a second, he thinks he recognizes-
"Thor?" he murmurs, voice wavering and uncertain.
He feels the man smile into his neck.
"I missed you so much," Thor confesses in a strained voice.
Loki's slowly arms come up to hold him close, accepting the embrace. He barely knows what's happening, but things feel right. This feels right.
"What's happening?" he whispers. Confusion laces his words, and he just wants an answer.
"Come with me." Thor pulls away, hands sliding down Loki's arms to intertwine their fingers. "I'll show you."
There is trust, resurfacing within Loki. It feels years and years old, like it has been present there his whole life. He assents and follows.
. . .
The children outside are not real.
He does not live in an apartment complex.
Tony Stark is not simply his neighbor.
This is what Loki finds out: He is under the care of an organization called SHIELD, kept in a single room with windows simulated with deceiving images of the outdoors.
"Outside," he rasps to Thor, and he's barely aware of the way he's clutching on tightly to the man's bicep. "Please, I want to go outside."
They are underground.
. . .
This is what Loki also finds out: he is a murderer.
. . .
Thor stays with him that night.
They fit perfectly on the bed, Loki fitted tightly against Thor's side. Their fingers are still laced; Loki has yet to let go since Thor first held his hand.
"I don't remember anything," he admits, and his voice cracks, "but I feel things, I hear things. I look at you and I have never seen you before in my life, but, god, it feels like I've loved you for an eternity."
Thor's lips split into a small smile, unseen in the dark. "In a way, you have," he murmurs. "And I have loved you for just as long."
"How long have I been like this? How many days have I lived and do not remember?"
"A month, if I count correctly."
"Around thirty days, then?"
"And did you...did you visit me each time?"
Loki laughs, though his breath hitches a little. "I'm sorry. It must have been tiring to have to introduce yourself over and over again."
"You were worth it," Thor answers honestly. In his mind, he continues: I was able to fall in love with you over and over again.
"What happens," Loki asks, "when I do remember? What if I go back to- to how I used to be?"
Oh, how Thor would love to lie, but Loki has always been the more talented liar between them two. So instead of answering, Thor stays silent. He simply holds Loki, who in turn accepts the silence as an answer, as if somehow understanding.
"And... And what if I don't?"
It's an even more terrifying question than his last one.
"Then I will fall in love with you one more time," Thor decides on saying. He feels Loki's fingers curl a little tighter around his hand, and he smiles, imagining the blush that must be on his not-brother's cheeks. "Sleep," he says into his hair.
"I do not want to forget, Thor."
Thor surprises himself with how firmly he says this. He actually almost convinces himself, that fear dissipating for a brief, relished moment. He tilts Loki's head up, kisses him. Memorizes his taste. Repeats in a murmur, "Sleep. I won't be leaving."
Loki's eyes flutter open, and instinctively, his fingers search for something to hold on to. When his hand bumps what feels to be hair, he shoots up to a sitting position, eyes flying wide at the sight of another man sleeping in his bed.
"Who are you!" he demands, scrambling out of the bed.
The man rouses, eyes blinking open and slowly focusing on him.
For a second, Loki is enraptured by blue orbs.
"Loki," the man begins, and that uttering of his name slams will back into Loki's limbs. He grabs the nearest object, which happens to be a book, using it to gesture wildly for the man to get out of his bed.
"Who are you?" Loki demands harshly. "Why are you here? Get out!"
The man reaches for him, but Loki bats the hand away with the book. "Get out!" he repeats, shriller this time. Fear stabs at his heart, but it's not because of the prospect of finding a stranger in his bed - it's because the man's gaze is terrifyingly familiar.
"All right, all right!" the stranger concedes, rising from the bed.
Loki realizes that he is half naked. He tugs the collar of his own shirt away, inspecting his own shoulder. There is a bite mark there.
"Loki-" the man tries again, but this time, Loki throws the book at him. It catches the other just underneath his eye, and Loki hears him hiss in pain, hand flying up to hold his cheek.
The man does.
The door shuts behind him with a click.
Loki tosses the book aside and slides to the floor, holding himself with shaking hands. Tears are slipping down his cheeks and his heart feels as if something is missing from it.
Loki awakens to the sound of someone knocking at the door. His eyes open slowly, and he feels tired.
His arm is splayed out in front of him, slung across the empty right side of his bed.
Strange, he thinks to himself, and another insistent knock sends him scrambling to get up. "Hold on!" he calls to the door, rushing to make himself look presentable. It is seven in the morning, far too early for visitors, but perhaps it is someone important.
There are children on the other side of the street, backpacks shouldered and mouths smiling and faces excited for the school day.
On the way to the door, he trips over a box. I really need to remember to clean up around here, Loki grouses to himself, and then he opens the door. "Good morning," he says to the blond man who happens to be on his doorstep. The sight of him dredges up an unknown feeling in Loki's chest, and he blinks. "That looks like it hurt," he says without really thinking, pointing to the bruise under the man's eye.
It draws a laugh from the other. "It did. My lover has good aim."
"You must have upset her pretty badly, then," Loki muses, and he finds the tension leaving his shoulders. He feels at ease.
"He, actually," the man corrects.
"I'm sorry, I just assumed." For some reason, this all feels a little silly. Loki shakes his head to himself. "Oh, right- Did you need something?"
"I just moved in," the man replies. "I was told someone lived next to me, so I thought I would say hello."
"I'm glad you did! We rarely get new tenants here, even though there's lots of available rooms." Loki steps back, opening the door wider. "Would you like to come in? I was planning to make some pancakes for breakfast, and you can join me, if you want."
"If it's not too much trouble," the man tells him, stepping inside.
"No, not at all." Loki closes the door after him, then heads to the kitchen, beckoning the man to follow. "My name is Loki, by the way," he adds over his shoulder.
The man's eyes crinkle in a smile. (Somehow, it seems a little...sad.) "I'm Thor," he returns. "It's a pleasure to meet you."