A/N: I recently went back and read my story "Abandoned" again, and I found I was very unsatisfied with it, so I decided to come back and rewrite it. The overall story is the same, but I added a lot more material, and tried to go more into Loki's struggle with reconciliation with his family.
Disclaimer: I do not own Thor.
A prison was a prison, no matter how comfortable it may be. A place for him to rot and be conveniently out of the way while the citizens of Asgard went about their daily lives, without sparing a thought for him. That was what Loki kept telling himself.
The room he occupied was small, but clean, with an actual bed, and, to his astonishment, books to keep him from being bored. Thor's doing, he learned from listening in on the guards, causing him honest surprise and dull annoyance. Thor still seemed to believe that there was some shred of Loki that would melt at the show of mercy. Of course Loki was glad for having a distraction available to him, but a cage was still a cage.
He had been placed here almost immediately after Thor had dragged him to Asgard. He had not seen Frigga or Odin at all; he had been merely forced away from Thor and lead to this room somewhere beneath the palace. He could still hear Thor's snarling protests upon Loki's arm being wretched away from him, his demands to know why Odin had not come to see them. Loki had been here about a week now, and no one had come, not even Thor. He had been forgotten. Abandoned. Again.
At that thought, as Loki paced around his prison, he heard the booming, angry, unmistakable voice of Thor, in a confrontation with the guards. He was demanding entrance to Loki's room, and the guards were (unwisely) denying him, saying they were under the orders of the All-Father to do so.
Loki processed this new information as Thor continued to argue. Thor wasn't allowed to come and see him? He supposed that was better off for him, he didn't want to have to deal with the high and mighty prince who could not accept reality, no matter how many times it had been drilled into him.
Unfortunately, the door did eventually slide open, after Thor said he would take responsibility for the intrusion or that he'd simply knock the door down, and Thor strode inside, brow furrowed in annoyance, his stern eyes falling on Loki.
"Disobeying the All-Father?" Loki asked, in a mocking tone.
"I am seeing my brother." Thor growled, halting, with his arms folded, in front of Loki.
Loki rolled his eyes and took a few steps back, wanting to stay as far away from Thor as possible. "I suppose I should give up on reminding you that we are not brothers."
"Yes. Because we are."
Loki sighed and shrugged. "See it as you like."
"Mother wants to see you." Thor said simply.
"Then why does she not come down here and threaten the guards for entrance into my presence?"
"Father forbids it."
"You came." Loki pointed out scathingly.
"Mother cannot simply-"
"Of course she can't! She fears Odin more than she values the sight of me, and she is the wiser one for it! What shall the glorious Odin All-Father do when he finds you have come to exchange words with the prisoner he himself finds so below himself that he cannot even look me in the eye before he locks me away?"
"I do not care what he does to me. I had to see you." Thor replied, as if were the most obvious thing in the world.
Loki shrugged again, beginning to pace. "Your decision."
"I wanted you to know that I have not forgotten you."
"Why? Everyone else seems to done just that." Loki drawled, refusing to meet Thor's gaze.
"I will not abandon you to be alone here forever." Thor's voice was rising now, but somehow the patient tone was still there.
"I am quite used to it by now, so you would be better off going about your business. It's not like I'm suffering."
"Used to it? Used to what?" Thor questioned.
Loki frowned, continuing his pacing and keeping his silence.
"Loki, used to what?" Thor demanded, coming forward to put a hand on his shoulder.
Loki gave a snarl and threw the hand off, storming to a corner of the room. "To being abandoned!"
"Loki, you have not been-"
"Everyone has abandoned me! The Frost Giants abandoned me! The All-Father abandoned me! Mother abandoned me! You abandoned me!" Loki turned, his green eyes wild, anger contorting his face.
"And I will never let that happen again!" Thor shouted. "The Frost Giants did not deserve you! I intend to make father give you at least some attention, make him realize he cannot ignore you forever! I will bring mother to see you! And I swear I will not leave you down here!"
"Liar." Loki accused, turning away, so that Thor wouldn't see the flicker of doubt in his eyes. Doubt in his own accusations.
"You know I'm a terrible liar." There was a light air to Thor's voice.
Strong hands grabbed Loki's shoulders roughly, and he was forced to turn and meet those ice blue eyes.
"I will not abandon you Loki. Not again. Never again."
Loki felt irritated that he actually found himself considering Thor's words. Thor was indeed the worst liar Loki knew, and Loki knew him so well, knew when he was lying. And no matter how much he searched for them, he couldn't find the signs that were always present when Thor lied. So he just stood there, not bothering to fight off Thor.
Upon finding no resistance, Thor pulled Loki into a hug, and whispered. "I will come back as many times as it takes for you to believe me, I will do whatever it takes to make you believe me."
Loki didn't struggle, didn't try to pull away, but just remained in Thor's arms, limp and dazed. Possibly because he felt shocked that he wanted to believe Thor. And that he felt slightly less abandoned.
Thor kept his word. He came back every day, generally for a few hours, sometimes speaking to Loki, who rarely said anything or lashed out at Thor (but even then Thor didn't leave), or to simply sit with him.
After about two long months of this, Loki finally opened up a bit to conversation, if it could be called that, judging by the short and usually clipped responses he gave, but even that clearly pleased Thor greatly.
"I'm bringing mother tomorrow." Thor told him one day, sitting beside Loki on the floor.
"Why hasn't she come before?" Loki asked. "You've been coming so long."
"Well, to be honest, I thought it best that I spend some time with you first. It would have broken her heart if she'd come to see you when I started to." Thor's tone was as gentle as it always was.
A few weeks ago, Loki would have probably taken offense to this statement. Now, he accepted the truth of it. A few weeks ago, Loki wouldn't have cared. Now, he admitted that he couldn't stand the idea of causing Frigga more heartbreak.
"Will you be happy to see her brother?"
"Yes." Loki replied truthfully, for the first time not arguing with Thor calling him his brother. "Thor… I…" Loki trailed off, his pride and shame stopping the rest of what he wanted to say before the words reached his mouth.
Thor didn't say anything, he just waited.
Loki took a deep breath and forced himself to finish speaking the thought aloud. "When first you came here to see me, what you said to me… I desperately wanted to believe you, but at the time I couldn't. Well… You succeeded. I believe you now. I know that at least you haven't abandoned me, that you won't abandon me." Loki turned his green eyes back to Thor's soft blue ones. "Brother."
Thor instantly swept Loki up into the tightest hug the trickster had ever received in his life; so tight that it was almost painful.
Loki found he didn't care. Instead he wrapped his own arms around his brother, and buried in face in Thor's shoulder, not even bothering trying to prevent the tears of happiness, shame, and remorse that came to his eyes.
Frigga did indeed come the next day with Thor, and instead of scolding him, as Loki had expected her to, she instantly began fussing over him, saying he'd gotten too thin and that she would speak to the guards about giving him more food, that his hair needed to be combed and cut and that she'd see to doing that herself, asking him if wanted anything, and so on.
Loki couldn't be mad that Thor started laughing while this was happening, probably because of the dumbfounded look on Loki's face.
After a few days, Frigga came with hair grooming items and a pair of scissors, shooed Thor out of the room, and had Loki sit in one of the chairs in the room.
"Mother, I'm not a child. I don't need you to wash my ha-" Loki silenced himself immediately at the look Frigga gave him. The look he'd always received as a child when he had tried to avoid a bath.
There was silence while Frigga went about her work, with Loki simply sitting there, listening to the snipping of the scissors, and then unable to keep himself from relaxing into Frigga's touch as her fingers massaged his scalp as she cleaned his hair, and then she finished by toweling it dry and combing it back.
"There, that's much better. You look like a proper prince again Loki." Frigga said happily, her eyes studying Loki's face.
"But I'm not a prince, Mother." Loki replied, staying seated.
Frigga shook her head dismissively. "You are just as much a prince as Thor is. You always have been."
"I've never been a prince. I was not even worthy to be prince of the Jotunheim." Loki said.
Frigga pulled him to his feet, taking his hands. "They were not worthy of you, my son."
Loki swallowed. "Thor said the same thing."
"Your brother has become quite wise over the last year."
"Mother-" Loki's voice caught in his throat as he realized he had never stopped called Frigga "mother", because while he had effectively disowned Odin and Thor, in the deepest part of his heart, he had never stopped thinking of Frigga as his mother. Because that's what she was. His mother. "Mother-"
Frigga shushed him and pulled him into an embrace, and Loki just closed his eyes and took every ounce of comfort and warmth he could from it, as though he really were a child again.
One day Frigga didn't come. That hadn't bothered Loki at first; she could not always come, having to attend to her duties as queen. No, what had bothered Loki was the fact that Thor didn't come. Thor had come every single day during the long months since the day he had first managed to chip at Loki's hardened defenses.
This drove Loki to sit on his bed, hugging his knees to his chest, wondering why Thor hadn't come. Had something happened? Was something wrong? Or had he been abandoned again? Loki tried desperately not to consider that last possibility, but it nagged at him.
But finally, in the late hours of the night, somebody did come to visit, rousing Loki from a restless slumber.
Loki jumped to his feet in shock at the sight of Odin All-Father entering the room, his expression full of nothing but kindness. After a moment, Loki pressed his lips together in a thin line, attempting to show defiance.
"My son." Odin said.
Loki said nothing.
"I should first tell you that you actions have been kept secret. The people know nothing of what happened here or on Midgard. We merely said there was an accident involving the Bifrost and that you had been lost in it. Nothing of your life will have changed." Odin told him, in the tone of voice Loki recognized as the one he had used when explaining things to him and Thor when they had been boys.
"So you are here to release me."
"I never planned to leave you here."
"Then… this was part of a scheme. To make me repent, to mold me back into what I was. Lock me up, make me feel abandoned and utterly hopeless, and then send Thor and mother to make me feel wanted again." Loki accused, eyes narrowing.
"Your mother and brother knew nothing of this Loki. They acted of their own accord; I had planned to visit you myself, but I was seeing to the reconstruction of the Bifrost. The Bifrost had to be rebuilt before you could be freed. It was the only way of coming up with an explanation for your return, that Heimdall found you and we brought you back using the Bifrost." Odin replied, waving his hand as if to dismiss Loki's statement. "I should have known Thor would act on your behalf, and your mother. I'm glad they did."
"So… No scheme then?" Loki asked.
"No scheme. I am honestly surprised. It's true that you had to… undergo some changes before I could release you. I had thought isolation would do that, and that it would take years. I should have realized that wasn't what was best. Here it is, nearly a year after your return, and you are Thor's brother and your mother's son again." Odin paused before his shoulders dropped slightly, as if being relieved of a weight. "I am sorry Loki."
"Sorry?" Loki breathed.
"For the mistakes I made, where you were concerned." He didn't list those mistakes, he didn't need to.
"All-Father…" Loki couldn't quite bring himself to call Odin his father again, not yet, but maybe someday…
"I don't think either one of us want to stay here longer than we must. Your mother and brother are still awake, waiting for us. Shall we go?"
Loki paused, but finally came forward, not shrugging off the fatherly hand Odin put on his shoulder as they left his prison together, and which remained on his shoulder until they reached the chamber where Frigga and Thor waited.
Loki had argued for hours with Thor about the place Thor wanted him to stand during his coronation. "It's your day, you should be the center of attention."
"Absolutely not, it is an important day for you as well brother."
Loki relented in the end, like he almost always did whenever they argued.
And here he stood, beside Thor, beside his brother, as Odin declared him king from his place standing in front of the throne of Asgard. The throne that now belonged to Thor.
Thor climbed to his feet from his kneeling position, and, to everyone's surprise, instead of taking hold of Mjolnir and thrusting it into the air, he grabbed Loki's hand and thrust it into the air with his own. "People of Asgard! Today begins my reign! I will try to the best of my ability to rule as justly and wisely as my father did before me! To aide me in this task, I shall have my brother stand by my side as my advisor, and as my equal!"
Loki was glad when Thor let go of his hand as the cheering started. "When did you get so good with words?" He whispered.
Thor turned slightly, smiling broadly at him. "I learned from the best."
Loki rolled his eyes in half-hearted annoyance, a smirk tugging at one side of his mouth as he clapped Thor affectionately on the shoulder.
As the cheering continued, and Loki allowed himself to smile at the warmth that filled his heart, he glanced at Odin and saw him gazing at both him and Thor in pride. Saw his father gazing at both him and Thor in pride.
Loki would never again say or think of the word "abandoned" when referring to himself.