Loki's recovery was long and complicated, not to mention painful.
He spent a whole week bed-ridden, recovering from the damage the pills and the curse had made (in his stomach, his lungs, everywhere). It was more serious than anyone had expected. The first days he couldn't even wake up without feeling dizzy and having the world spin around him. He could barely eat and was afflicted with fever, even if that started to die down with the days.
He also slept more, not having the constant nightmares haunting him. They were still there, but less often. And there were good dreams too, and days when he didn't dream. He could finally rest. Those horrible images were no longer there when he closed his eyes.
His mother, Frigga, stayed there four days, not wanting to leave her husband alone for too long in Asgard. Odin would be really angry, knowing how Amora and Thor had betrayed him, how he lost the battle...and he could take it out on anyone. Who knew what he would do f there was no one to stop him.
She, like Thor, was especially worried about the incident with the pills and the note. They had dismissed Loki's suicidal tendencies as something isolated, as a desperate move on a desperate time - but to have attempted to take his own life twice showed signs of a pattern. Of feelings that still lingered instead of disappearing. Thor and his mom had thought this feelings were long gone, and saw how wrong they were. The woman asked Bruce several times to be particularly careful with the issue. Bruce didn't find the courage to tell the woman that he was not a proper medical doctor, much less a shrink. He just promised to take care of her son, the best he could.
After a week Loki got out of the bed, slowly, but his movements were very limited by the cast on his arm and leg. To prevent him from destroying the casts again, Tony designed a special pair of crutches Loki could use even with his bad arm, and there was always an Avenger with Loki to help him out. To assist, to keep him company and to make sure he had no intention of harming himself again. No harm on being extra-careful.
He started repairing his relationship with his brother, after Frigga had told him of the harsh words Thor had told Odin in his last visit. How he was willing to abandon his claim on the throne, willing to declare war on Asgard if Loki was not un-cursed. Their relationship was different, strained. Thor didn't forget how his brother had tried to kill him i more than one occasion and Loki hadn't forgotten how Thor had abandoned him. But they had helped each, they cared. And with the Avengers' help they were slowly rebuilding those burnt bridges.
Loki clearly favoured Banner's presence to the rest. Something about being a monster with suicidal tendencies that made them bond.
His leg healed, as his other injuries did, slowly but surely, until he was almost whole again and there were only some scars and a slight limp to remind the world of what he'd gone through. But even if he was better and free and not alone, there was still an unspoken sadness about him, in his bright eyes. Some type of melancholy that never left him even when he was making jokes or laughing with the others.
A couple of months later, one morning shortly after he started walking without crutches, he was gone.
No note, nothing. He just vanished leaving no trace. Tony and Thor were worried that someone might have taken him for revenge - to make him pay for New York. Bruce simply thought he was gone to be free, free from people with whom you're indebted to, free from family ties and painful memories, free from having everybody's eyes on him. Off to a place where nobody knew him. Bruce knew of the pleasures of anonymity and after being hunted by security agencies it seemed pretty logical. Natasha suggested that he could have gone to get his magic back, somehow. It was also possible.
There was a wide search and reports of people who'd seen him all over the world, but no one ever could pin him down.
With time, other threats appeared and the Avengers continued their run without the helpful presence of the trickster.
19 months later
"I can't hold him down!" Tony yelled "The guy seems immune to my lasers!"
It was a crazed engineer in some sort of giant robot wreaking havoc in the city. Of course, they'd been called, but they never thought the guy would be such a challenge.
"And what do you want me to do?" Steve asked as he sheltered himself and tried to do the same with the unconscious bodies of Bruce and Clint, who had been taken down earlier in the fight. They needed more people, but SHIELD's regular agents had been no good.
Tony turned to Natasha, who was between the two of them, still up and standing.
"Tasha? Any brilliant ideas? We could really use one!" He said, while he felt the enemy shooting him. Thank god for the armour.
"I'm shooting everywhere but the damned thing doesn't seem to have any weak points."
Then they saw a dark figure coming at them from the sky, quickly.
"INCOMING!" yelled Tony, and they ducked just in time to avoid the mighty Thor who fell unceremoniously from the sky with his hammer following close. He'd been trying to get the man out of the robot but to no avail. He was awake, conscious but totally beaten, injured, almost unable to move.
"Thor! Not you too, buddy!"
The mad-man directed all the fire-power from the robot to the remaining Avengers. They were terribly outmatched and alone.
The situation was desperate.
And then a miracle happened.
The robot was shooting, but mysteriously none of its fire reached Tony, Natasha or Steve. It was all stopped by some sort of force field that had magically appeared and was protecting them. Then they saw with awe how the huge robot started coming undone. The pieces started falling to the floor, one by one, gently. Until there was nothing but rubble and the man was gagged and tied down by invisible ropes.
All very dramatic.
All very out of the blue.
And then he appeared, right in front of them, landing from the sky in a perfect superhero pose, the one and only - Loki, back in his leather black green and gold glory.
A sly smile.
"Did you miss me?"
There were many smiles, a loud "Brother!" and a snarky "Took you long enough!" courtesy of Stark.
When they went back to the tower and were settled again, Loki told them about his time around the world. Finding magic again (it was not his magic, it was Midgardian magic - but had behaved well enough) and then doing whatever he wanted. He'd been a vigilante called The black and green menace in Ireland, had lived as a magician in Australia for a while and had caused chaos in France by re-enacting the acts of Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief, (a literary character from early XXth century) and even leaving notes with his name. In Japan he'd been both robber and masked vigilante and they even made an anime series about himself called Tokyo crime wizard.
Life was good.
There was no mention to the darkness of past times, to the curse, to Odin and Asgard. Frigga had finally convinced her husband to simply banish Loki forever and let his sentence be served in Midgard. The old man had to agree, or else he would lose the small family he still had.
After that, Loki started working with the Avengers every now and then. He was not the most reliable ally, but was there when they needed him. Knowing that he still had a lot of enemies, he didn't wear his usual armour but opted instead for the more discreet clothes and mask of The black and green menace who hadn't been connected to him. Since he started working on Ireland, everyone thought it was an irish person, going so far as to say that "the green is for the green fields of Ireland and the black for the Guinness beer." So people thought the Avengers had a new Irish member. No biggie.
Until, a couple of years later, in a fight on Seattle, a man who was hid behind a trashcan recorded him in the middle of the battle - without his mask. Luckily the video showed him saving some kids.
The video of "the identity of the menace revealed!" was watched by twenty time million people on prime-time tv and then much more on the internet.
First it's the menace freeing two kids who had been held hostage.
Then a close shot of the menace, unmasked and battered, talking to the children.
"What are your names?"
"Well, May and Luke, I have an important mission for you, you're going to-"
There's a blast. The image goes black.
When it comes back, the kids are cuddled together, inside some sort of magical shield and Loki is bleeding.
Then there's another green blast and the video ends.
The tv program was completed by the presence of the parents of the kids and the kids themselves, who praised the menace to no end.
To top it all, Loki got injured in that mission and half the channels covered how the kids went to visit him to the hospital. How the rest of the super-heroes were by his side.
A bit excessive maybe, but it marked a new era.
A new era in which Loki was not a criminal, nor a prisoner.
He was a hero.
A/N: This is the end! Did you like it? The story as a whole?
This last thing was only a sort of epilogue, because the main plot of my story was with the "prisoner's disease", which was the thought curse, which was already dealt with. But I like sweet endings. And I liked the thought of Loki causing mischief throughout the world under different names and roles and recovering his magic by himself, without anyone else's help. Becoming his own person again after all the whump.
Anyways, thank you to those who have stayed until the end, who have been with me through all this chapters and made Prisoner my most popular story! (And I've been around for a while...) Thank you to those who favorited, alerted, reviewed, to the ones who came back, to the ones who shared the story... Everyone, THANK YOU!
And hope you enjoyed.
P.S. I've hidden a number of musical references through the story (pieces of lyrics, titles of albums...) if you find three of the ones I've deliberately put in there this author will write you a oneshot of your choosing for your trouble (could be an extension of something Prisoner-related or anything else Avengers related you propose. GAME IS ON!
Anyways, and for a final time,
You know you want to review!