For this fic, I imagine Loki to have had a case of Stockholm syndrome (sort of), where Thanos twisted his emotions until he couldn't tell what was right from wrong anymore- just a bit of background there.
And also, background, there has been a war on Asgard for a week or so and this is the end of it, you can make up in your own head who/what the attackers were. :)
Loki didn't really have time to think, it all happened so fast, but he wouldn't have had it any other way. Seeing the last attacker heading straight towards his fallen brother, he jumped up and raced over before Thor could be hurt. The knife was aimed directly at Thor's heart and would have killed him within seconds. If he'd had more time, Loki would have pushed Thor out of the way and fallen from harm's reach himself, but because the thunderer was on the floor, he would not have been able to. Crashing to his knees in front of the fallen prince, he had just moments before he'd have been too late and Thor would have been killed. The attacker could not change his course and so plunged the small but sharp dagger straight into Loki's chest. With a cry of pain, he flung his own dagger into the man's head who died instantly.
"No." Thor said in a whisper full of shock and disbelief as Loki fell backwards into his open arms. "Guards, get a healer here now!" He shouted.
"There are none sire." A scared servant replied.
"What? Why?" Thor thundered back, rumbles echoing across Asgard as if in response to his anger.
"They are either dead or tending to other warriors my lord. We lost many of them in the battles."
"How many remain?"
"Just 5 my lord, and they are too far away to help." The servant was openly sweating and working their hands in fear.
"Send for one anyway...NOW!" Thor knew Loki had little time left, and so turned his attention on his brother.
Finding the entry point was harder than he thought it would be, for the blood was so great, it hid the wound. The knife had somehow been removed, whether it was by the attacker or Loki, but now sat inches away from the bloodied body. It had entered his chest and there was no doubt it had pierced his left lung, Thor did not need to be a healer to realise that. Turning Loki's body round in his arms so he cradled him over his crossed legs, Thor held him close. The weaker prince grabbed the front of Thor's armour and held it in a vice like grip, which grew in strength everytime a new wave of pain hit him. Blood was already dripping from his mouth and gurgled in his throat as he tried to breath. His breathing itself was raspy, already he was wheezing and could only take short, quick breaths, definitely not enough to get the air he needed into his lungs.
"Thor...?" Loki's voice was small and carried every evidence of the pain he was in. "I'm sorry..."
"Sorry for what Loki?" Thor tucked a small strand of hair behind Loki's ear and proceeded to move the rest of what had fallen on his face, sticking to the tears, blood and sweat. He then moved his hand over the wound and pressed down as hard as he dared, in order to stem the blood flow.
"For everything. For being me. I became the monster I was scared of, I became the thing I never wanted to be. I was so angry when I found out what I was that it kept me awake at night thinking I would become just like the Jotuns; blood thirsty, war mongers wanting power and everyone to bow down before them. I tried everything to get away from that but I still became one, I took a different path thinking it would lead me to a better life and it brought me right back to where I had always been. My place. I should never have been so stupid to think I could change who I was..."
"Loki." Thor said in a sympathetic tone.
"No Thor. I was a coward. I could not see what was right in front of me; a wonderful home, a happy life..." He looked up into Thor's eyes for the first time, fresh tears threatening to spill over. "...a loving family."
Loki took in a longer breath but creased up in agony. Thor placed more pressure onto the wound, but was scared he would damage Loki's chest more. The younger man began coughing violently, bringing fresh blood to his lips; already his face was deathly pale, his eyes were dark and sunken, and he shook, tremours racking his body. But he continued, Loki had always been determined, and not even dying would stop him.
"I was so scared. I did things I regret and I would never do them again. Then I did the thing I never thought I would do, I ran, I gave up. Hanging from the Bifrost I realised I would never feel right here. So I let go. I let go of everything; my life, my memories, you...and I did not care the fall would kill me, I just knew I could not last one day remembering what I had done. And it did not even take away the pain. I fell and fell and then he got his hands on me. I just wanted death to come and he wouldn't let me die. He would torture me day in and day out until I was on the brink of death and you know what he would do...?"
Thor shook his head, worried the moment he spoke he would burst into tears.
"...He would make sure I was on the brink of death and then leave me to heal, knowing my body would be repaired by the next morning. And then he would start over again. One time I did slip into Hela's kingdom and he dragged me right back out moments later."
"Hela's Kingdom? Why not Valhalla?"
"Monsters do not go to Valhalla, Thor. There is no excuse for what I did on Midgard, I was a monster. He turned me against the world, used my paranoia to make you all my enemies. He took my anger and stretched it until I would do as he commanded, not seeing the destruction I was causing and the pain I was dealing out. That person you fought on Midgard was me, but it was the manipulated devil of me, my inner emotions turned into darkness. And I am sorry I allowed him to do that, I was obviously weaker than I thought."
"No Loki. He was the monster, it was him who made you the person I fought against. Anyone would have broken under his torture, even father himself. I do not blame you, yes you angered me, and I wanted to see you locked away, but not once did hate cross my mind. I could not hate you."
Pain flared once again in Loki's face and he drew his head closer to Thor's chest, sobbing lightly into the now blood stained metal. It was a miracle he was managing to speak as much as he was given he had so little oxygen in his lungs, but he had always been stronger than he looked.
"Please apologize to the Avengers for me, tell them I would change everything if I could. I do not want them to think of me as that person, that monster."
It upset Thor deep down in his heart how often Loki was calling himself a monster, his brother was everything but so. "I promise, when I see them I shall tell them everything. I shall tell them the happy times we spent together and all the memories of when you were a hero, but most of all I shall tell them how you were the best brother I could ever have asked for." That was the first time Thor had called Loki 'brother' since his return to Asgard, and recognition showed in Loki's eyes. He was dumbfounded for a few seconds.
"Brother..." Loki whispered.
"Yes. The two Odinsons. The most annoying, reckless, mischievous pair Asgard has ever and will ever see. You remember what I said to you once? I will always be here for you, I will never let you go and shall not let any harm come to you." He pulled Loki closer and rested his chin on his brother's head, but not before kissing it. "I am so sorry I failed you. I did not do my job and I regret that the most. I mean it now, everything I said I mean...but I need you to hold on, because if you let go again, I won't be able to protect you, so stay with me Loki...please!"
Thor was now openly crying and did not even see Frigga, Jane and Selvig make their way up to the pair, standing a little behind to give them space. They had been told to stay away from the fighting, much to Frigga's annoyance, and had now emerged knowing all danger was gone.
"I am sorry Doctor Selvig. I never meant to use you as my weapon." Loki spoke up which only brought on a fresh bout of pain.
Thor turned and noticed the small group, tear filled eyes, and acknowledged Selvig nod. "I am sure you had your reasons." Anger lightly showing in his words.
"Aye, that my brother did. I need to explain things to you and my fellow Avengers once this is over. My brother was not quite behind all of his actions on Midgard." Thor added a firm stare towards his friends to get his point across that no-one was to attack his brother through words.
Loki shifted again in agony and squeezed Thor's front even more, pain clearly showing in his yell that now echoed around the great hall. Thor shrunk in on himself to create a cocoon like feel around Loki's shaking form, stroking his back where his hand held onto him. Loki's outstretched legs began kicking against the pain and he tried to fold in on himself, but caused more injury by doing so.
"Do not move brother. You will only agitate the wound more. I promise you, help is almost here. Just hold on." Thor knew Loki would not last long now, his eyes were barely open slits and his mouth hung open, grasping for the air it was not being allowed. He swallowed, his throat dry and hoarse, but began coughing again when more blood made it's way into his mouth.
"I know you will be a great King brother. You are strong, brave, courageous and know how to treat your people well. I thought you not ready all those years ago, but now I know that you are. Asgard is lucky to have you. As is Jane." Loki swallowed again, his voice now losing all bravado it had before. "Jane...look after him..."
"I shall Loki. I only wish I could have gotten to know you better." Strangely, she was crying and turned into Selvig's arms for support as she knew the inevitable was about to come.
"Tell mother I love her..."
"She knows Loki."
Loki shuddered in Thor's arms and began to still, now staring up towards the grand ceilings of the hall. "Thor...?"
"Mmhhmm." Thor's lip quivered from grief and it was all he could do to hold the complete breakdown he knew was coming.
"Always remember...I love you."
"And I you Loki. I will always love you. Always and forever."
Loki smiled lightly against the pain and one final tear streaked it's way from the corner of his eye, down his cheek and onto Thor's hand. The prince fell still. Reaching up, Thor used his un-bloodied hand to close the now vacant eyes of his brother.
Loki Odinson, the second Prince of Asgard...was dead.