She was the one that cut the strings.

She was the one that gave him another chance. She was the first to hear his voice in three years.

It was raspy and dry. He asked for water. She nodded her head and turned around to reach for the intercom. Before she could hit the talk button, a sob came from behind her.

Her arm remained in mid-air, and her brows furrowed. The sobs continued.

Natasha turned around slowly. She didn't really know what she was expecting. Maybe this was a plan of escape, maybe he was going to-

Or maybe he was just… crying. What a thought.

She felt a pang of remorse shoot through her chest, but it quickly slipped away. This was Loki, after-all. The very same Loki that killed eighty or so people in the span of two days, just because he could.

"Three years," he said softly. She doubted that he could speak normally after going three years without the use of his voice. "For three years, I've had nothing and no-one…. just myself, my own thoughts and musings…" he paused as she walked towards him. "The irony of this. You, the one who would care the least of my well-being, here to play the role of care-taker," he laughed bitterly. She said nothing.

"I never had a family… did you know?"

Natasha shook her head.

"The love of my life left me too."

Her mind immediately went on a tirade. That's your own fault. To love is to trust your heart to somebody. Everybody that knew anything knew not to trust anybody. Not enough to love, anyway.

But that struck her, though. She didn't see Loki as the type to trust anybody or anything. Loki, who took over the hearts of people to make them subjugate rather than striking fear into their hearts. He had been in love before?

"I could never be the best at anything," he continued.

"I was always second place, at most. Always behind Thor."

Natasha pursed her lips and took a seat next to him on the small cot.

"I-I just wanted someone to be proud…"

Loki went silent for a few moments before he turned, yelled, and punched a wall. A five foot think wall of solid concrete…

She knew that he wasn't the stronger brother, but the wall fractured slightly. She heard at least three of his knuckle bones break.

She visibly winced when he pulled his arm back and punched again. This time, the wall remained firm. The bones in his hand continued to break.

He pulled his arm back a third time and swung forward, but before his fist could meet the wall, she caught his arm.

"Masochism won't solve your problems," she said, shooting him a sideways glance. Why was she stopping him? Hell, it wasn't her problem if he decided to crack his skull too. She wasn't supposed to care.

"You need help… help from people," she said as her eyes wandered down to his battered hand.

"This coming from the queen of ice and lies herself? Tell me, Widow, who could-" he stopped mid-sentence and cried out on pain as she poked down hard on one of his knuckles.

"I'll help,: she said. But why? She owed himnothing. She was sure that her life would go right back to normal- assassination and infiltration missions every week- if he were gone. So why? She didn't know the answer. Not yet, anyway.

"Help how, you scarlet tart?" he demanded, "I see not how further injury would benefactor me in any-" she shot him a pointed look.

"I'll do it," she said, honestly.

Her eyes spoke volumes. Confusion and insecurity - she'd never gone out of her way to help somebody before. She didn't know what she was doing. But there was confidence too. The black widow never failed to accomplish a task, especially one guaranteed by her own word.

Loki remained silent.

"I'll fix you."