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An hour into the reassurances and flippant conversations, Thor realized Loki was nowhere to be seen. Earlier his brother had made a brief appearance on the main deck, crossing in front of Hulk and standing beside Valkyrie without so much as flinching. Thor had been impressed. And, given the circumstances of Odin’s banishment and Loki masquerading as him for two years (on top of countless other disasters), Thor could understand his current absence. And yet, an uneasiness tightened in his chest.

Thor stood from his makeshift throne, nodding to Heimdall, before stepping down into the crowd. The Asgardians watched the son of Odin with weary eyes and heavy hearts. Thor had nothing more to offer them except results, which would be found on Earth. They were now refugees. Reality was bitter and bleak, but his father’s words rang in Thor’s ears; “Asgard is not a place, it's a people. And its people need your help.”

He continued to gently weave through the Asgardians, listening as voices and music faded into the background. Normally Loki would be out in the crowd, somewhere, soaking up any attention his deed had bought him. Surely his brother was here gloating, or at least plotting? Still, Thor couldn’t find him. What if Loki had sent an illusion of himself to stand in front of the crowd? What if he’d taken off once more?

A surge of panic suddenly shot through him. Thor felt his muscles clench at the thought of yet another one of Loki’s infamous departures. All along the scene in Thor’s quarters had been for the sake of peace. Perhaps Loki sensed Thor’s anger, and truth be told Thor was still very, very angry about the whole ordeal. But…hadn’t the destruction of Asgard cemented Loki’s fate with Thor and the rest of their people?

“Odinson, what are you on about now?” Valkyrie asked from somewhere beside him.

“What?” was all Thor could respond with and look back at her. She had been trailing him the whole time, tactful as ever.

“Do you always ponder so publicly? Here I thought Banner was easily read; you’re brimming with worry,” she said and shook her head. Thor half-laughed and brought his gaze back in front of him. Together they made their way through the crowd. “Too much commotion to take on for the dear Laufeyson? I’m a bit jealous, found him in a particularly stocked room with all sorts of wines and beer.” She looked up at Thor as they walked together. Around them the chatter and music continued. “Not that I can talk I’ve got plenty of making up to do myself. If I had his sorcery I’d have stayed away. These drinks may, however, convinced me to turn away from apprenticing the next demon.” She raised a mug full of liquor for good measure.

“Ah, well, Asgard needs the Valkyrie now more than ever before,” Thor smiled as they reached the edge of the crowd. Beyond them was a main hallway, large and wide, with countless passages and lifts leading to different parts of the ship. Thor paused with Valkyrie there. She smiled up at him, sipping on what was not her first beverage of the night.

“Your brother jarred some memories I wished to keep hidden,” she admitted. Thor stilled and turned to face her. Her expression was sad, pained even. “I knocked him out, so we’ve split even on our endeavour…. Well, somewhat,” the Valkyrie continued and scrunched her nose. “But I do wonder if he’ll be up for this. As a warrior I understand why he’s hidden himself in his current state, but he shouldn’t keep using his sorcery like that. It’ll prove more dangerous in the end.”  

“Loki’s certainly not the most popular amongst our people,” Thor said and looked back at the crowd of Asgardians. “I suppose the illusion that stood up with us said as much. Though, I doubt anyone but us and Heimdall noticed. And my brother’s help seems to have swayed some of the hearts of our people. I mean, where else would he go, truly? There’s a reason Odin said Asgard is a people, not a place. My brother is of Asgard, this is his place. It matters naught where he’s hiding right now, he always turns up. Not that I’m counting on that going smoothly either. I know my brother.” Thor looked back to his friend and smiled. “Hopefully he won’t stay hidden forever. I’ve half a mind to bring him out here to help navigate a more certain course with Heimdall. He’s been thrown into a black hole at least once.” Thor nodded her a goodbye and headed into the main hallway.  

“Find him? He’s been in your room ever since we left Asgard,” Valkyrie called.

“Right,” Thor called. “Or perhaps he’s hiding in the shadows listening to us. You never know with my brother.”

Thor looked back to find her with her head cocked and lips pursed to the side. The god stopped in his tracks, wordlessly waiting for an explanation. Something was indeed wrong.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

Loki hissed as he mended himself. His pale reflection in the mirror bore a history of scars mixed with fresh gashes and cuts. There was one particularly nasty wound that needed immediate attention. If that damn scrapper hadn’t barged in perhaps he’d gotten a quicker start. His magic had held up the mirage just long enough for him to exchange a set of quips with her, before she’d gotten bored and left with some of the room’s liquor. Thankfully Loki had stored the Tesseract in one of his isolated pockets of time and space, keeping it out of sight and safe for the time being. But in his current condition he couldn’t summon the containment device even if wanted to.    

What a life he leaded. Loki paused to studied himself. The jagged, dark gash ran from across his left breast and diagonally to his right hip bone. The wound was deep as well, but not enough to kill. At least, he hoped as much. The logistics mattered less and less as the bleeding refused to slow. He briefly pondered ripping linen from the bed to his left and using it as makeshift gauze.  

Normally Loki could magic his way out of anything, wounds and all. He had been beaten, bore broken bones and survived his share of lashings, but this was a semi-direct hit from Hela. The wound was still fresh, intense and throbbing. He could clearly see dark red muscle peaking from underneath ripped flesh. But his pain level had become another issue as well. Loki closed his eyes, one hand bracing himself on the metallic table in front of him, the other gently guiding circular motions up and down the injury. Small whips of healing touched the gash, but they alone weren’t enough. His strength was fading, small waves of magic trickling less and less from his fingertips.

“Brother,” Thor’s voice interrupted the ritual, causing Loki to jerk and hiss. His eyes flew open and he turned to Thor. In three strides his brother was in front of him, pity and worry etched into his dirtied face.

“If you care to come back once I’ve finished, I’d greatly appreciate it,” Loki managed. He stood a foot from Thor, shoulders rigid. Loki still had his pride, after all. “I take it that the scrapper---Valkyrie, Brunnhilde, whichever she calls her self---is more observant than your average disgraced drunk.” Loki watched Thor’s eyes flicker at the insult. Childhood banter and prodding never ceased between them, at least not while Loki had any say about it.

Thor strangely chose to remain silent and let his good eye cast up and down Loki’s form. The pity and worry turned to a flash of unease when Loki’s breath involuntarily hitched. Quickly, Loki turned back to the mirror. “In a thousand lifetimes, I’d never have thought Asgard could fit on a stolen ship,” Loki mused. It was becoming more difficult to stand, but he could last another few minutes before he inevitably excused himself. He shakily grasped at his discarded tunic and gear.

“Only the son of Odin would manage such a feat. Albeit, I doubt the stories will look back fondly on my part,” said Loki. He was still the feared monster, no matter how he dressed the recollection up. Still, there were plenty of shadowed nooks on this ship that he could crawl into. He’d done so much the majority of his life, why would now be any different?

“I’m relieved you’re still here,” spoke Thor quietly. “We’re so few in numbers now.” Loki half-listened, head bent down to inspect his belongings. Thor’s figure in the mirror stood motionless. “What I said, back on Sakaar, in the lift---”

“Was true,” Loki interjected, shaking out his tunic. Dark red and brown with little hints of blue-greens, shredded bits. Loki sighed. His retired leather garb remained neatly folded on the table, also in dire need of repair. At least his pants held up.

“Yes,” Thor replied, surprised.

Loki smiled and kept turned away from his brother.

“I hold no ill will towards you for that. At the end of the day, you’re you, and I’m me. Our paths diverged a long, long time ago. Your observances truly amaze me, and I mean that with every ounce of my being,” Loki said and fiddled with a loose thread on his tunic, watching as his pale fingers and greenish thread blurred in and out of focus. Thor’s arm reached over his left shoulder and plucked his tunic from him. Loki exhaled his frustration through his nostrils.

“Now is not the time for games nor your foolish pride,” Thor said. And, he was right, of course, only Loki wasn’t about to admit that. “And,” Thor continued, “as I’m versed in the medics of combat and your trusted brethren, what say you to my help? Or what if I insist you accept my help, and in your damaged state, you put up no resistance? I give you my word to tell no one.” Thor wiggled his eyebrow at his last remark. Loki let out a wheezed laughed and looked back to his brother.

“Alright,” Loki replied, putting his hands up in mock surrender and turned to Thor. He watched his brother’s good eye scan his wounds, genuine concern taking over his face. “I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. Is that not a saying on your beloved Midgard?” he asked and leaned back on the entryway table.

“And as you once said; you must be truly desperate to come to me,” Thor said with what would have been a smug smile if he wasn’t so concerned. And Loki would have laughed at the audacity of it all, if only his chest wasn’t on fire.  

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

The new sleeping arrangement chosen by Thor wasn’t particularly comfortable; the bedding was lumpy, the mattress was made of foreign and overly soft matter, and the sparse pillows were overly stuffed and reeked of gasoline.

For all his complaints Loki remained silent. Thor, with only his left eye to work with, busied himself with wrapping his brother up. He sat on the edge of the bed, turned slightly towards Loki, warm thigh pressed against his. Gauze and ointment from Sakaar had appeared on the table closer to the door. Loki was sure it’d come from the scrapper and hadn’t been keen to have such foreign aide. Yet, Loki still remained silent. The ointment had eased only part of his pain, signifying that indeed serious damage had been done. He was too tired and worn down to complain. Perhaps all he needed was to rest on an uncomfortable mattress while floating in the middle of the galaxy.   

“These supplies were taken from the holding cell. Gladiators sealed themselves up well with this. You should be back to causing mischief in no time,” Thor said distractedly. Loki regulated his breathing, taking in his brother’s hands and voice. The pain was still there, sending brief surges throughout his being. But Thor wasn’t wrong; the pain was beginning to lessen. “And now you choose silence for me,” Thor said from where he sat on the bed. He looked up at Loki, waiting for a response. Loki raised his eyebrows since shrugging wasn’t within his energy level. “If the pain isn’t behind your sudden change, then speak. Talk of anything and anyone. It’ll keep us both up.” Thor’s reasoning was sound. They had both been through the destruction of everything they knew.

Loki lay quietly on the bed for a moment, contemplating. He was no short of jokes, quips, or any sort of banter. There were plenty of embarrassing childhood memories to taunt Thor with, or perhaps bittersweet ones to stay true to Loki’s nature?  

And yet…

“Your Earth will not accept me,” Loki blurted out. Thor brother looked up from the fourth layer of gauze. Loki himself was caught off guard with his honesty. With everything that could have been said, he had turned to Midgard, to the fear of once again being rejected. “I mean, after all that I’ve done, surely you can’t think I can stay with you or Asgard. What, with my history being so colorful and all,” Loki said in haste.

But his words has struck at Thor, clanking against the chain that bound the brothers together.  

Loki watched expectantly as a sudden darkness clouded in Thor’s eye, like the first glimpse of a storm. So much for keeping the conversation civil.

“You underestimate the mortals, yet again. Compassion is not foreign to them, not even to the likes of you. Loki, you may…if you wish, you may leave at any point, least let me finish this dressing,” Thor replied, turning his attention back to the partially covered wound. “And I will be the one to have the final say on who or what is allowed in our home. If, that is, you do wish to stay with us, with Asgard.” Thor paused after he tucked the last of the dressing into itself, but only for a heartbeat. Loki watched as his brother straightened himself from where he sat on the bed.

Loki quietly brought his hands up and over the dressings, looking down to his hands as he slowly tested the weight limit. Thor remained silent as Loki carefully relaxed his hands on his mid-section. It was a start. The pain relief within the ointment had finally begun to work, and with the bound pressure from the dressings Loki felt his body begin to relax. He sighed and looked back to Thor. “Ever so valiant, so kingly, son of Odin. Your friends haven’t forgotten me, not after what I’ve done. Even that Midgard wizard knew better,” Loki said with smirk.

“And here we go again,” Thor slapped his knee, grinning. Sarcasm wasn’t Thor’s forte but Loki had come to appreciate his brother’s newly sharpened mind and tongue. It proved Loki wasn’t the only one unhappy or frustrated, and that Thor wasn’t simple-minded. If Loki could ever be honest with himself he would have known such truth long ago. “Me begging, you denying. We’ve come full circle again, haven’t we?” Thor asked and leaned forward over his knees.  

“Afraid so,” Loki said, eyes half-lidded. “Though I also enjoy our talks together. Ever so stimulating.” Something painful, perhaps a memory or thought, crossed Thor’s weary face. On instinct Loki frowned and reached out with one hand, beckoning. Thor turned from him and ignored his brother until Loki let his limb drop to his side.

“Thor,” Loki spoke softly, dangerously close to kindness and concern. “What is it?”

“I miss mother and father. I miss home,” Thor replied without hesitation, like it had been balled in his chest waiting for him to ask. Typical Thor-behavior. Loki watched as his brother stared down at his palms, opening and squeezing his hands. How they must ache after the battle they’d survived. “Hela, our sister, killed many. She…she killed Hogun, Volstagg, and Fandral. Heimdall can’t see Sif,” Thor laughed bitterly and looked to Loki. “He can’t see her at all. We don’t know why. I… I fear for her, so much. And I can’t…I can’t see either,” Thor continued and motioned to his blinded eye. “I’m like father now, aren’t I? Hela said so. After all I learnt, I never wished to be so close to his ways. Certainly not like this. And I’m angry, but it’s a different type of anger. It burns me, like watching Odin ascend to Valhalla.” Thor clenched his fists, allowing his fingers to dig into the top of his thighs.

Loki inwardly recoiled from the memory of Odin joining Frigga. The look on Thor’s face had covered most stages of mourning in milliseconds, but stopped at anger. If Hela hadn’t shown herself Loki wasn’t sure of where his brother’s actions would have led. Most likely a bitter, emotionally-charged fight that ended with Thor clinging to Loki and demanding to know why, why, why? As if Loki had any answers to give.

“I understand,” Loki whispered. Thor looked to his brother, mouth tightening into a thin, straight line. “I’ve felt it too, for years, but this…what’s happened…” Loki sighed, sleep creeping its way into his body. “A family in ruins, lies exposed. For me it was practically a repeat of what I’ve already suffered.” Loki glanced up to the ceiling, eyes fighting to stay open. He was drained, and not just from the latest battle.

“Brother, our family is not quite in ruins. You know this, yes? You had and will always have me,” Thor whispered. Loki felt Thor’s hand on his own, pressing his into the mattress. Loki stared up at the ceiling for one final moment before closing his eyes.

Thor quietly got up to remove Loki’s boots and covered him with a heavy blanket. Loki was still half-awake when his brother turned the lights off and left the room. He heard the door slide shut in one swift motion, the sound of his brother’s footsteps echoing far away. A dreamless sleep seemed all too good to be true.       

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

The room was still dark when Loki’s sleep was interrupted. As the bed dipped, sending Loki towards the middle, he was too startled to speak. But his collision with a familiar, solid warmth brought him back to his senses.

Thor.

And when the even more familiar sour stench of liquor flooded his nostrils, Loki all but gagged. Mixed with the smell of sweat, brimstone, and dirt, he was certain Thor was laying besides him. Old habits and all.  

“Brother, please, really,” Loki said and scooted to what was now his side of the bed. Ignorant per usual, Thor’s thick and heavy arm stretched across his chest, gently checking his dressings. Loki hissed, the bandages having partially fused to his wound.

“You always heal so fast. I’m glad,” Thor whispered. His voice was full of relief and sadness.

“And thanks to you, I’m awake now.” Loki was indeed bitter about that. The pain relief in the ointment was wearing off, it would be difficult to fall back to sleep. “At least my healing will double if I’m conscious. I can move to the table and mend some more,” he added and involuntarily yawned.

“You can’t hide your own tiredness, Loki. Accept my apology for the disturbance. There isn’t much space for me in this vessel, most of the rooms were for storage and have already been claimed. This ship is over full capacity,” Thor said and dragged his hand beside Loki’s head. Loki felt Thor’s fingers intertwine playfully with his hair. He’d intoxicated himself and crawled into bed, a lost child seeking his brother.

“I highly doubt that. There are ways to shift and shove, or have you forgotten? Memory loss is a side-effect of drinking, Thor,” Loki yawned again, settling back into the unfavorable mattress to continue the banter. “Such a strange, new world we’ve ventured into. I wonder what your first mate will say on this? Is that what Heimdall is now? You know he sees this, yes?” Loki asked, staring up into the darkness. His magic was coming back. Even slightly awake in the darkened room, Loki could make out his immediate surroundings, and he could sense other presences within a short distance. The eyes of Heimdall weren’t focused on them specifically, but he was always one keen to multitask.

“Loki, he’s seen everything since the beginning,” Thor said, face half-buried on top of one of the pillows. “And I need to tell you something.”

“I’d rather avoid drunken confessions in bed with my brother,” Loki protested, and he meant it. They were already in dangerous territory, navigating on spent fumes through uncharted space. Their destination wasn’t certain either. Midgard was a constant battleground on its own. Who knew what had happened while Thor and the beast had been absent?

“Well, I’d rather you know the truth, however ugly and unfavorable it may be, before you go,” Thor mumbled. His fingers suddenly tightened in Loki’s hair, and Loki let out a small hiss of protest.

“Enough, brother. Sleep,” Loki ordered. He wasn’t above using his reserves for summoning a spell, or at least grabbing a heavy object to knock his brother out. He’d done both before.

“I still think the world of you, Loki. I always will.” Thor was obviously not phased by his brother, if he ever was nowadays. Loki muttered his displeasure under his breath and attempted to scoot away to the edge of the bed. Thor would let him, but only after inching himself forward and kissing Loki upon his temple, bearded scruff and all. “There is good left in you. I’m certain of it,” Thor whispered before retreating back to his side.

Loki held his breath. He could never process his brother’s emotions. Study, yes. Manipulate, undoubtedly. But empathy? Feeling what his brother felt, especially in that moment? It was too much. Loki slowly let out his breath, feeling the ache from his injuries. He closed his eyes, shutting out the darkness with his own. Years and memories tugged at his heart. What could he say to his brother, so broken and beaten, obviously clinging to what family he had left? And what poor judgement on Thor’s part.  

Then, came a long, ungodly snore from beside him.

Loki laughed in surprise and instantly regretted doing so, recoiling and clutching his injured chest.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

Thor awoke to a blinding light and an achy body. He groaned and shifted in the bed, shielding himself with a hand.

“Look, the great king is with us,” chimed Loki. Thor squinted and spotted his brother at the entryway table, taking off the last of the bloodied bandages. “I’m not fond of this technology, as the lights only have three settings. The highest is needed for me to tend to myself,” Loki said. He proceeded to check himself over in the mirror and set the bandages to the side.

“Heimdall will need relief,” Thor said and abruptly sat up. Panic set into his chest. How long had he been out? Thor swung his legs over the side of the bed and bent forward to search for his boots. Loki eyed his brother as he felt down in search of his boots.

“I believe that scrapper has taken over, so your shifts are divided thrice. Heimdall came only an hour ago to check on us---well, you,” said Loki. He stepped back and began to conjure a healing spell over the largest gash. The edges of the wound shifted and shrank slightly, and Loki managed not to wince as his skin was tugged into healing. However, it was still at an alarmingly slow rate. Thor could clearly see raw muscle, as if the wound hadn’t healed at all. But how was that possible?  

“Glad to hear you and Heimdall are on speaking terms. I still need to make an appearance,” Thor said from the bedside. Without thinking he felt for the eyepatch upon his right side.   

“Oh, yes, it’s still there,” Loki said and glanced from Thor and back to his reflection. “It’s all still there.” He motioned to his chest wound for good measure.

They remained silent, Thor planted on the bedside and Loki meticulously healing himself. His hand motions were slow, circular works of art. Thor had seen him practice the same method throughout their youth. First Loki learnt to conjure illusions, such as birds and snakes for pranks. Then came the self-copying, to the praise of Freida. Even Odin had been impressed with Loki’s illusions despite the mischief it often landed his sons. Loki learnt to heal himself and others as well, and he aided Thor and his friends many nights.

Yet some time after boyhood and before adulthood, Loki deepened his search for darker aspects of magic. Frieda may have not approved that part, but their mother often allowed her children to lead their own way. Frieda and Odin had spoiled Thor and Loki in many ways.

Thor stood up and stretched, cracking his back and neck in two motions. Sounds of machinery and chatter from outside blended together. The lull was short lived, as Thor approached Loki from behind.

“The less magic you can summon, the more scars appear,” noted Thor. Loki frowned and looked down at his chest, which bore too many scars to count. The large and ugly gash would soon be the latest addition. “But that begs the question, why not heal completely and rid yourself of these? I always found you more vain.” Thor stepped closer to his brother. Usually Loki would remain fully clothed and heal himself, but the severity of the wound was still too great. He took his garb up in the other hand, briefly surveying the severity to the fabric, before balling them up in one hand.  

“I suppose I very well could. And,” Loki paused and turned to face Thor, “I could bring full sight back to you. Wouldn’t necessarily be the easiest of tasks, you’ve lost complete sight on that side. Yet you know as well as me that solutions can be found. Your results depend upon how much you want it.” He brought a hand up to Thor’s face, cradling his wounded side. Thor leaned into the touch, allowing Loki’s thumb to rub over the smooth, alien eyepatch. They were both so different now. It frightened Loki to an extent.

“And that would disgrace all who have been lost,” Thor mused. “The memories of Asgard are alive in us. We wear the story of our people with pride. If we healed…it would be erasing what’s come to pass.” Thor took a step forward, closing the distance between the two. Loki looked to him, sharing a silence, before he brought his hand away from Thor. Loki then stepped to the side, to the wide window full of stars and galaxies.

“You never cease to disappoint me, you know that? The dramatics and earnestness, least I know I’m not stuck alone in my ways,” Loki said and waved a dismissive hand. Thor approached the mirror and inspected Loki’s tunic on the table. “True. Though we’ve changed, we remain the same as we’ve always been. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to be,” Thor said quietly. He tossed the tunic to the floor, behind Loki.

“See? We banter still?” Thor said with a smirk. Loki continued to stare into the abyss in front of them. He wasn’t fond of their predicament, not after being swallowed up by the universe so many times.

“Quite. Battling is what we do best,” Loki admitted. He leaned forward to steady himself on the table, and suddenly Thor once again was behind him. His large, calloused hands found their way to Loki’s hips. Thor ground against him, hard, aroused and hungry for more. The thrill of being touched rushed through him, but Loki kept his demeanor distracted.

“I’ll be gentle,” Thor said as his fingers began to knead into Loki’s hips. “Let me take care of you.” Thor’s voice was hushed, heavy with lust. Loki found himself with mixed emotions towards the sentiment.

“Brother, you’ve other responsibilities. I’m not so sure this is very kingly of you,” he mockingly warned. Truthfully Loki was right to warn him. The security systems to the doors were easily overridden. Anyone could walk in on them with time to recover, as the scrapper and Heimdall had demonstrated. But not everyone knew of them, surely not the beast. But what would Asgard think of the son of Odin laying with the son of Laufey? Aside from shock, betrayal, and outrage, Loki was sure absolute disgust would be written over their faces. They had been raised as brothers, and Thor would go to his grave claiming Loki as family.  

However Thor also didn’t doddle in such concerns. He kicked Loki’s leg’s apart, leaning forward over him. Loki felt a shiver creep down his spine. Thor’s lips were on his neck, threatening to bruise with each kiss. Loki’s cock twitched in his pants. They hadn’t touched for years now, Loki wasn’t sure what to do. Thick fingers dug and squeezed at his hips, causing Loki to jerked and arch his back. He ignored the shooting pain throughout his body from the chest wound and instead released the table to allow Thor to hold him. And Thor did just that, guiding him backwards and into his wide, warm chest. He had always been strong enough to hold both of them up. Loki let out a small moan as Thor’s hands crept down his sides. He could feel his brother’s arousal pressing against the clef of his ass. How easily they fell, no matter how many times, into the same cycle.

“It’s most certainly not kingly to take me like this,” Loki added. Thor huffed hot breath against Loki’s neck, pulling his lips off all at once.

“The decision of what is and isn’t kingly lay with me,” Thor said and turned Loki around in one motion. The hairs on the back of Loki’s neck stood up. Still wobbly, Loki caught himself by leaning back against the long table. “The path we take, no matter how often we diverge and wander, always meets at a point. Isn’t that so?” Thor leaned in, lips slowly pressing to that of Loki’s. His fingertips traced up and down Loki’s arms, summoning more goosebumps with every touch. Loki pulled away from the kiss, instead exposing his neck, a hint which Thor thoroughly understood. The kisses remained at the same strange rate, though; strong yet light, and painfully slow. It was far more sensual than it ought to be. Loki felt uncomfortable. His own arousal was beginning to diminish.

In all their years together, the hidden and hurried moments, Thor had never been this gentle. Submissive to Loki’s wishes, indeed, but never skirting along the lines of holding back. Whatever this latest encounter was practically insulting. Loki wasn’t unbreakable, but he also wasn’t broken. At least, not in the way Thor was treating him.

“Enough,” Loki whispered and slowly pushed Thor back. “Not like this. On the bed, now. Either that or this attempt is a mere distraction to derail me.” Loki watched Thor look at him. His good eye had darkened with yearning, pupil dilated and all. The room was suddenly still. Thor didn’t budge, bare feet planted on the ground.

“If you want to leave, Loki, you know I won’t stop you. I won’t,” Thor spoke quietly. Though there was no malice in his tone, something very real flashed in that eye of his. Loki’s heart beat against his chest. Things shouldn’t be as complicated as they’d become. “But I warn you; if you need remembrance of your place, I will provide as much.”

There he was, there was Thor.

Loki smirked and hiked himself up onto the table behind him, his injuries burning but his cock twitched at the excitement. “Oh, how I’d like to see the mighty try. So quick to threaten when you don’t get your way, evermore a child demanding his toy. Tell me, brother, what will you do to me?”

Thor took one stride and grabbed Loki by his neck, but before Loki could react Thor had immediately faltered. His brother’s grip lessened to a loose hold. Loki blinked and shakily exhaled. He was partially offended, partially confused now.

“Loki, no more,” Thor whispered and closed his eye. His hand moved to the back of Loki’s head, holding him there. Thor then sighed, defeated, and slowly bent his head forward. Loki’s eyes widened as his brother closed the distance between them. Their foreheads rested against one another and Loki wildly glanced around the room. Surely this wasn’t happening? A breakdown, from Thor Odinson, at such a lustful time? The situation was too comedic and outlandish to comprehend.

“I need this, Loki,” said Thor. He titled his head and caught Loki, lost in thought, by the mouth. His hands left his side and braced on the table behind Loki. The kiss was slow, testing. Loki, still confused, closed his eyes and immediately tried to deepen the kiss. He opened his mouth, tongue darting out to explore Thor’s, only to be met by calm, parting lips. Thor moaned into Loki’s mouth as he nipped Thor’s bottom lip, yet refused to press their bodies together.

Then, suddenly, Thor pulled away. Loki’s eyes snapped open at the lack of Thor’s lips. Their foreheads were pressed back together, Thor keeping his good eye closed. And all at once he understood; love. Thor needed love, to make love, to feel love, and had sought out the worst partner in the entire galaxy.

“I’ve been called deceitful, but this is something else. I’m not sure I like this new and improved king,” Loki muttered under his breath. Thor kept their foreheads together for another moment before using the table to push himself away. Loki watched his retreating form and hopped down from the table. “Oh, come now! What is this?” Loki laughed and motioned around the room. “Honestly, do you think to seek counsel from me? Me? I’m not on my deathbed now, and I’ve other realms to slink off to rather than your pity party!” Loki shouted. Thor kept walking away, broad shoulders astoundingly relaxed.  

“Then I suppose you might as well slink off, brother. For I’ve other places to be as well. If that’s the path you’ve chosen, I understand---” Thor stopped and looked back to Loki, sending a jabbing pain to Loki’s gut. Guilt was such an irritating emotion.

Thor peeled off his own garb and tunic in one swift movement, revealing his bare chest. He was bruised and cut up as well, but aside from his lost eye he could manage. Thor had always been more durable. “Though my claims make no difference, I do care a great deal for you. I understood that years ago after I came for you on Earth and you refused to return home. And still, I fought for you, for your honor.” Thor sighed and headed to the door. Loki watched as the smooth slab slid open.

“As if our situation could be boiled down to the simplicity of willingness and honor,” Loki said and frowned. “Which is why I always find myself elsewhere, Odinson.”

“Then I won’t keep you any longer. As always, I wish you well on your travels,” Thor gritted out and threw his tunic down. He exited in search of wherever the washroom was.

Loki listened to his brother’s retreating footsteps, anger and confusion shooting to his core. He wanted to pick something up in throw it, to scream, to disappear like he always did.

But instead, Loki stared down at where his and Thor’s tunics lay. Red and green, barely touching, save for a few frays and stray threads.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

There wasn’t a singular shower, per say, rather a large communal locker room with a comically large drain in the middle of the slanted floor. Different parts of the curved walls were littered with rectangular storage compartments, at least over a hundred shower heads, and changing rooms. Soap dispensers aligned their self under the shower heads. The room was circular, with the color scheme of a sickly pale orange and yellow.

Of course the shower was half-full, which made it no less awkward than anything Thor had survived. Nudity was a thing he never felt particularly embarrassed about. Yet with the current aftermath, Thor wasn’t keen to feeling weary Asgardian eyes upon him. Or, any eyes upon him for that matter, not after what had happened between Loki and him.

Thankfully most of the patrons of the shower felt similar. A few brief nods of acknowledgement and Thor had wandered through the mist to a less populated area. He stripped his pants and boots, tucking them high in one of the compartments, and with a quick turn he had lukewarm water. Thor was uneasy with the technical settings under the shower head. If Banner were here instead of Hulk, he may have asked him about it. However Thor had swam in icy rivers, jumped over molten lava, nearly drowned in toxic swamps, so lukewarm discolored water wasn’t all that bad.

“Hey, buddy,” Korg chirped. Thor looked behind and through the spray of water at the approaching naked Kronan. “So, I was thinking, why not take a shower, right? And then, here you are. So, I reckon, let’s get our shower on, yeah?” Korg finished. Thor laughed and shook his head. He’d already seen the Hulk in the nude, so why not Korg?

“Idle chat in a public bathhouse. Completely normal,” Thor said and turned back to his water. He ran a hand through his shortened hair, idly grazing scabs and cuts. “So, Korg, how about this? A step up from the Grandmaster?” Thor inquired as best he could. A much needed distraction could help ease the sting set in by Loki. Thor pressed on the soap dispenser twice, watching an orange liquid pool in his hand.

“Eh, well yeah, definitely. I’m glad to be out of there. The Resistance truly paid off. Can’t call me mum yet, not till it’s safe, but I know she’s proud,” Korg said from beside him. “And, uh, well, Miek’s doing a lot better, yeah?”

“Is he now?” Thor said, rubbing his hands together. Minor cuts and scrapes stung at the introduction of soap, barely registering with Thor. He brought the suds across his forearms and to his neck.

“Yeah, well, he’s not dead so that’s great. I would’ve missed Miek. He’s my buddy, and I prefer him to not be dead. Ah, speaking of not dead, how’s your brother?” Korg asked nonchalantly, as usual.

“Huh?” Thor asked from beneath the spray. Korg turned his own shower on and leaned towards his friend.

“Your brother,” Korg enunciated loudly. A few curious Asgardians looked back at them, only for Thor to nervously smile. He wasn’t sure how to act in this scenario. Korg was pretty comfortable with whatever was happening and turned the heat up on his shower. Thor blinked and mimicked him, not about to miss a chance at hot water.

“What of my brother?” Thor asked. He bent his head down, letting the heat wash over him.

“Well when me and the others found him surged out in the Grandmaster’s landing deck, he seemed like a good bloke. And then, wham, we’re traveling through space to save you all, with him at the wheel. Couldn’t believe that Hela sliced him up like that. He leaped off the bridge tryin’ to dodge her and I thought, oh no, he’s gone. And then, nope, your brother climbed on back up and ran, something about Surtur, yeah? Really good thing he did there, your brother,” Korg finished. He ducked his head under his line of water, continuing to chat about the Resistance and the Grandmaster.

Thor was lost in thought. The blow had been Hela after all, how could have he had missed that? He hadn’t seen the altercation between his sister and brother, but if Hela could have taken Thor’s eye… No wonder Loki’s wound had been so serious.

“Pretty nifty conjuring your brother’s got, though,” Korg bumped his rocky elbow into Thor’s shoulder. “No one noticed, except that Heimdall. Oh, and Valkyrie. She’s at the helm now, in that chair. And I thought, wow, she’s smart. Miek thinks so as well. Guess that’s why he’s with her and the Champion fellow, Hulk,” Korg said and tapped on the soap dispenser.

“Right,” Thor murmured and looked down to his feet. The filth he’d accumulated for the past week or so whirled and spiraled away from him.

“Oh, hey, isn’t that your brother now?” Korg asked. Thor looked over to where Korg pointed, on the other side of the communal shower to the wide opening/exit. Loki passed by the gap, slowly. Thor watched his brother’s rushed but prideful steps.

“Man, he looks like he’s on a mission, right, Miek? Oh, Miek’s at the helm with Valkyrie,” Korg said to himself. The Kronan turned back to the shower and began to sing, lifting an arm up to scrub at collected rubble in his armpit. Thor watched Loki’s form disappear from his sight. What was his brother up to now?

“Right, excuse me, Korg,” Thor said and quickly shut off his shower.

“Yeah, that’s how it is, I know. Family stuff. Always gotta put family first, yeah? Though sometimes it’s a lot harder than you’d imagine. Old habits and all that. Like me mum and her boyfriend, who I don’t really like,” Korg toddled on, scrapping at his sides. Thor reached for a towel and began to drying himself.

“And what of old habits? What if you can’t break them?” Thor asked and shimmied on his pants, keeping his eye on Loki’s passing form.

“Well, uh,” Korg stopped and thought for a moment. Thor leaned against the locker and hurriedly forced his boots on.

“Mate, not sure what planet you’re from---oh, right Asgard, the place we just blowed up. Anyway, habits can always be broken, that’s not up for debate. The question is what are you willing to do to break them, yeah?” Korg said and looked to Thor.

Thor had no answer to give.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

The discreet storage room was literally on the other side of Thor’s temporary chambers. Loki cussed under his breath, chest aching, as he navigated through clusters of Asgardians in an array of passageways. He thankfully harvested enough energy to disguise his tattered clothes. He wasn’t healing at his usual pace, not at all. Something was actively preventing him. What had been in Hela’s weaponry? His nostrils flexed as he exhaled in frustration. Just a few more yards or so…

And then the floor started to vibrate.

By the time Loki had looked behind him, the Hulk was casually striding towards him. His eyes widened, reaching down for whatever daggers he had left.

“What puny god up to now?” Hulk asked. Loki watched as the beast carefully ducked under a large beam. Whichever civilians had been in the area quickly dispersed.

“Don’t you have some other hallway to stalk, possibly one that led to drifting into the abyss?” Loki asked. The Hulk frowned and curled his lips. Loki felt a sweat break over his skin, reeling between feverish and frozen.

“Ah, Loki, there you are!” Thor called. Loki peeked behind the Hulk, to which the beast mimicked and turned towards the other god. Thor was shirtless, towel around his neck, sporting his usual stupid smile. He was there to save Loki once more.  

“Hulk found him. Sneaking around for something.” The Hulk motioned to Loki with his head, to which Loki scoffed.

“Yes, well, that’s just his normal state of being. I’ve got him now,” Thor said and gently patted Hulk on his forearm. The beast scrunched up his face and uncomfortably moved his arm away.

“Weird gods,” Hulk mumbled as Thor walked past him. Loki began to complain but his brother hurriedly clamped a hand on his shoulder and steered him away.

“You’re hurting me,” Loki complained under his breath.

“Am not,” Thor retorted stubbornly.

“Are too,” insisted Loki, but Thor’s grip remained unchanged. The two continued down the hallway at a brisk pace, passing rooms full of the refugees trying to make the ship home. Families cooked, children ran about with makeshift toys, the old and sick were being tended to.

“Okay, now, which way to the room?” Thor asked and paused in a less crowded archway.

“What room?” Loki retorted defensively. Thor looked to Loki, his expression telling Loki just how obvious his patterns had become.

“On the other side, towards the south end on the bottom level,” Loki admitted, defeated and embarrassed.

“Well, let’s go,” said Thor, keeping a consistent grip.

Loki directed Thor down hall after hall, eventually arriving at the storage room. He hadn’t planned on it being so close to the warp core and other intricate power sources. The noisy contraptions, sudden heat, combined with Loki’s wounds were almost overwhelming.

“Here we are, brother!” Thor proclaimed over the noise and nudged Loki inside the dim-lit room. Loki straightened himself, adjusting his mock-clothing, and looked around. “Yes, brother, thank you. See that you keep that beast at bay, least till I have what I need,” Loki said without looking behind him.

Thor leaned forward, lips to Loki’s ear. Despite the noise Loki heard him perfectly well.

“I hope you know better than to try another misguided usurp, Loki. Make haste and do what you will, but leave our people, the Hulk included, out of it.” Thor pulled away, the door slid shut once more, and Loki was suddenly alone.

Loki swallowed a strangled moan as he staggered forward, grasping at a worktable. His illusion wore off, revealing his shredded garbs and his reopened wound, but a foul smell had begun to creep through the dressings. It wasn’t irony, like blood or a healing wound, it was an infection of some sort.

“Hela…what…” Loki asked out loud to no one. Whatever she’d laced her weapons in was toxic, to the point of halting his healing and turning infectious.  

Sweaty and tired, Loki allowed himself to slide to the floor. His focused his breathing and began to summon small spurts of healing magic. However, only shorted sparks and whips of empty air spun from his fingertips.

Loki cussed and leaned his head back, looking up at the flickering ceiling lights. He was surrounded by exactly what he needed and had no means to make any use of the supplies.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

Thor gave Loki ten minutes before he reentered, unsurprised to find his brother in shredded clothing and unconscious. Of course Loki wasn’t well enough to make such a trip on his own. Thor walked in front of him laughing a bit, kicking at Loki’s boot. But Thor’s smug smile and laughter disappeared when he saw how Loki’s wound had reopened. There was a fresh tinging of yellow around Loki’s wound. The edges dark red and brown gash were somehow darker, and the yellow infection had crept out past it, seeping into Loki’s surrounding paled skin. As Thor planted his legs on either side of Loki and squatted, the odor of infection reached him.

“Loki? Hey, Loki? Brother?” Thor asked and gently slapped him a few times. His face was sweaty, far too cool to be normal, but then again Loki was a frost giant. Suddenly Loki’s skin fluctuated, from pale white to dark blue and then back to pale white. That was certainly not normal, regardless of heritage.

At that point Thor should’ve called for help, for Heimdall, anyone. Instead, he panicked and picked Loki up all together. Before Thor knew what was happening or where he was, he found himself back in their shared quarters. He placed Loki down onto the bed and stripped Loki of his upper garb.

“Loki?” Thor called for him again and sat beside his brother. Loki unconsciously wheezed in response. Thor haggardly searched for the supplies in the room. What he found were different dressings and ointment from before, but how had he missed them before? Thor recognized this batch to be native to Asgard, but how could they possibly have gotten into his bedroom?

“I had leftover supplies from while in hiding. It’s not much, but it will do,” Heimdall said from the doorway. Thor looked up from beside Loki, hands hurriedly scooping out the ointment.

“Thank you, but what can we do? Heimdall, please. What’s Hela done to Loki? I haven’t had nearly the same reaction as he. What is this?” Thor felt his voice almost crack.

“Hela’s power was always great, but her cunning ways of war…that was what separated her from the rest,” Heimdall began and made his way to the other side of the bed. “Your father gave her the title ‘Goddess of Death’ for a reason. Her weapons were often laced with poisons and disease. After all these years I doubt she changed her tactics. It would explain how the others feel so quickly to her, precision and strength aside.” Heimdall looked to Loki, a look of sadness overcoming him.

“Why is it that I’ve yet to fall ill with what she’s done? What did she do to Loki?” Thor inquired, motioning to his eyepatch.

“You and your brother are not the same type of kill; your line flows from the Asgardians, Loki’s from the Jotunheim. Just as Hela couldn’t kill your father with those tactics, she would’ve had to come up with something different to end you. Loki, even with his teachings from Frigga, is still a frost giant. And Hela killed thousands of his kind for sport,” Heimdall said. He averted his eyes from that of Thor, already seeing a wash of raw emotion overtaking him.

“My brother will not fall to her,” Thor said and rose. “Not now, and not like this. I won’t allow it. What can we do?” Thor asked. Heimdall motioned to the supplies Thor held.

“The ointment is what our healers have used for thousands of years, and those dressings have been blessed just the same. Do what you’ve been doing; change the dressings one to four times by every sunset…or however we measure time in this craft. That’s all we can manage, unless we come across another vessel with supplies,” Heimdall said and looked up to Thor. “Think of it the same as any battlefield wound. If he keeps using his strength for what Frigga taught him, however, he’ll only make the injury worse,” Heimdall said and reached out to clasp Thor on the shoulder.

“The more energy he focuses in his sorcery, the weaker and more vulnerable he becomes,” Thor managed to say. Heimdall nodded and released Thor, allowing him to sit back down.

Heimdall brought water in a small bowl and helped Thor clean Loki, who remained eerily unconscious. The wheezing was only getting worse and though Thor only had one eye, he swore the yellow infection was spreading before him. Finally, after hurriedly drying Loki’s chest and midsection, Thor began to smooth ointment over the wound.  

He only noticed Heimdall had left when the door slid shut.

Thor tried to converse with Loki, even taunted and bullied him like when they were children. Halfway through a particularly bad wheeze Thor found his hands shaking.

He applied new strips of gauze and watched them soak up with a mixture of red and yellow immediately. Thor swallowed hard and steadied himself. He wasn’t about to lose his faith or his brother.

He applied layer after layer of dressing until the soaking slowed, gently applying pressure. Thor’s free hand felt for Loki’s pulse, finding it unsurprisingly all too rapid. Loki’s skin was also still coated with sickly sweat. Thor grabbed the towel off his bare shoulders and dipped it in water. Slowly, he dabbed the towel over his brother’s forehead and gently made his way down Loki’s face, neck, and shoulders.

“I was in the middle of slinking off,” Loki said suddenly, voice strangled. Thor paused and brought the towel from Loki’s shoulders, a smile tugging at his face.

“Yes, now remind me, which part of your plan involved passing out in a closet?” asked Thor. Loki scoffed softly and struggled to open his eyes. He found Thor’s face to be strained, almost startled.

“Oh, it must be bad. You usually enjoy gloating more than this,” Loki said and closed his eyes again. “Truth be told, this feels bad, so I’m not lost on your concerns.”

Loki winced as Thor brought the rag back, but didn’t complain. They remained quiet in the room for some time until Loki drifted back to unconsciousness.

Thor stayed up with his brother for several more hours, diligently changing his dressing and nursing him best he could. Throughout that time they had visitors; first came Korg with Miek, barring food that tasted of home. The Hulk bent his head in for only a moment, asking if Loki was dying. Thor didn’t really have a hopeful answer, but then Valkyrie arrived.

“Come on now,” Valkyrie said and pulled at the Hulk. “Back on deck with me, okay? I need someone to keep me awake.”

The Hulk nodded in approval and backed out of the room. Thor sighed and looked to Valkyrie. She was gorgeous as she was strong and resourceful. She turned to Thor and nodded, wordlessly assuring him the best she could.

Much later Heimdall came back, bringing Thor a plate of assorted cooked meats and vegetables and a bowl of soup for Loki.

"You're both still my responsibility," Heimdall had said. He sat with Thor for a bit, eating in silence. Though Loki took the broth easily enough in his unconscious state Thor found himself unable to eat.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

Loki groaned and shifted in darkness, chills overcoming his body. He called out for help, Frigga on the tip of his tongue, then felt a cup brought to his lips. Whoever was nursing him was kind enough to provide lukewarm water. Loki could barely swallow, drips of liquid trailing down his chin and pooling into his clavicle. Then, returned the cool cloth, ever so gently cleaning his face, neck, and shoulders.

“Sleep, brother, sleep,” Thor said.

And he slept. His dreams took him back to Asgard, but Loki found himself wandering an unrecognizable hall. The walls held illustrative tales of his life, sparsely lit with green torch fire. The floors were barren, with bits of dirt and rock being blown away by a unyielding breeze. Loki couldn’t see what lay ahead of the torches that lined the walls, and the torches began to grow in distance from one another. Soon all he could make out was a small portion of the path immediately in front of him. Still, Loki continued down the long corridor, the breeze shifting into a steady wind. The path grew with each step, his footsteps echoing. Loki stopped when the haunting sound of song reached him.

It was Frigga, unmistakably. And she was singing. The recognition was so natural that Loki broke out into a run. Wind suddenly whipped around him, throwing his long hair behind in and kicking up dirt and debris. His heartbeat increased, legs wildly taking him through the endlessly lit hall. The song grew louder, an Asgardian tune sung to him since he could remember.  

Loki opened his mouth to call to her, to beg for forgiveness, to scream for his mother, but then the voice changed, and Loki skidded to a halt in his tracks. A different, lower vocalist had taken over. The wind shifted once more, and suddenly Loki was fighting with stray strands of hair to see. Why was this voice so familiar? Who was it?

The song continued, with bits of hot blue and white lighting sparking from the torches, illuminating the green flames. Thor? Loki looked behind him, shocked to find a quickened approaching darkness consuming the torches and lighting. Time suddenly slowed, painfully so. Loki turned in one labored motioned towards the path ahead and tried to run. Thor’s song held the tune and feeling of Frigga’s, the sense of security, of family. Of love. But it was Thor singing. That was right, Frigga and Odin were dead---beacause of him---and his brother was all who remained.

Loki felt powerless as the path began to dim in front of him. His run was slowing down with each second. The torches were being consumed by the darkness at both ends. He was stuck between the two, all the while Thor’s voice drifted further and further from him. Loki felt choked, the floor suddenly giving way.

He was falling into darkness, as he always did.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

“Loki? Loki, wake up,” Thor’s voice commanded. Loki felt himself being slightly shaken and opened his eyes to find his brother leaned over him. His face bore the eyepatch, his hair darker and shorn.

“I hate falling,” Loki said hoarsely. Thor remained uneasy and puzzled but leaned back. He brought a cup towards Loki’s lips and urged him to drink from it.

Defiantly Loki shook his head, too weak to bring even a hand up to bat the cup away. Thor ignored his efforts and snaked a hand under his brother’s head. He easily tilted Loki’s head forward. Reluctantly Loki sipped the water, closing his eyes. The water was icy and hurt his throat, which he suddenly realized was raw and agitated. His body in general ached greatly; the infection still within his system. Loki felt tears sting as they spilled over and onto his cheeks.

“I’m here,” Thor said as Loki laboured to swallow. “You’re dressings have been changed a dozen times now, and you are getting better. Just stay with me, Loki.” He removed the cup from Loki’s lips and carefully wiped his face with the towel.

Loki opened his blurry eyes. He watched as Thor continued to wipe him down, the towel traveling down his chin to his neck. Thor looked like he hadn’t slept in days. His beard was growing, and though his hair had been shorn, it was sticking out at odd ends.   

“I love you,” Loki said suddenly and locked eye contact with Thor. His brother hesitated, bringing the towel away. “I’m also delirious, you wouldn’t believe the dream I’ve had, but still. I love you. I’ll say it again some time, when I’m not incapacitated,” he insisted.

Thor’s smile was pained at best. He didn’t believe him. Loki didn’t either, so he couldn’t blame him.

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

When Loki finally healed, it was at the slowest pace Thor had ever seen of him. In a way his suffering was a clear indicator of what Asgard would have to overcome. They’d lost their homeland, their power, their way of living. If things had went down differently, Loki would have very well healed on Asgard within a day or two at most and disappeared once more. At least one cycle had been broken.

Since Loki was well enough to be left alone Thor had joined Heimdall and Valkyrie in rotating shifts. He checked on his people and began implementing methods of communication between them and Earth. However, as Heimdall pointed out, something was blocking them from communication.

“I sensed it some time ago on Asgard,” Heimdall said beside Thor. They were alone at the head of the ship, staring at the seemingly same blank slice of space despite traveling for several days. “First I thought it Ragnarok, and Hela’s return clouded my judgement. The fault of this--”

“You did what you had to do,” Thor interrupted from his chair. He looked to the older and wiser man with certainty. “None of our people would be safe or here without you. Asgard and myself are in your debt, regardless of what you believe,” Thor insisted. Heimdall nodded and looked away. He never was one for accepting compliments.

“You still haven’t found Sif either?” Thor asked and looked forward to the stars and planets ahead of them.

“It’s a powerful, vast interference. I’ve…I’ve never sensed anything so unfamiliar and strong before. Whatever this entity is, it’s moving. I’m not sure where to, or if it’s even approaching us, but there is vast, dark power out there,” Heimdall finished and searched in front of him. Thor stood from his chair and gazed back to Heimdall.

“We’ll deal with whatever this entity brings us, if it even crosses our path,” Thor assured and nodded to Heimdall. With his shift over, Thor headed through the familiar crowds of Asgardians. An unsure sense of peace had settled over the ship. Their fear was real, palpable, and yet musicians played songs of hope and people laughed and sang. Deep down, Thor had to hold onto the belief that things would be okay--- not only for the sake of his people, but for his own sanity.

Thor broke from the crowds, moving swiftly through hallways and passages to what was dubbed ‘Captain’s quarters’ or something. Thor still thought more of it as his and his brother’s room, just like when they were boys.

Over the days of Loki’s healing he’d come to think on a lot; their parents, their childhood, even their relationship…whatever their relationship was. Had Frigga and Odin ever truly known their sons? Heimdall had, somewhat, and Thor was terrified to ask if he ever diverged exactly what he saw. Since Loki had healed, they’d only shared the same bed in shifts and bickered. Loki even ventured out of the room a few times to shower. Though, Thor only knew this from watching monitors Valkyrie had shown him. She discovered that monitor room and many more, effectively helping keep another eye on Asgard with Heimdall.

As Thor approached their room, he paused. He could hear something shifting and clanking inside. Loki was most certainly awake and mulling around. He leaned forward and rested his forehead on the smooth surface of the door.

Loki had proclaimed his love in a sense of delirium. Thor couldn’t hold that against him. It was true that Loki had never said those words to Thor, but he’d shown him in so many, many ways.

Their first time together had been years ago, long before Earth had formed into what they claimed was a golden age of technology. They’d been young, no longer children but not quite adults. Often they practiced and sparred together away from prying eyes. Brothers spent time together, and they were no different than any other Asgardian child (or so Thor believed at the time). Even in the darkest time of night, the guards stood aside and allowed them to venture deep within the sparring chambers.

During one particular session, something had gone terribly wrong. All at once casual fighting had shifted to serious fighting. Thor could blame adolescent competition, but that would be a lie; Loki was treated differently than him, sometimes more harshly, but in rare occasion favorably. Their mother was training Loki and other children in magic, which bothered Thor enough. He could barely stand reading and had no talent for casting or summoning. But what had caused him least enjoyment was the one fair-haired maiden who had received a flower from Loki.

The sourness of the display stayed with Thor, twisting deep within his stomach as he threw Loki about the room several times before roughly pinning him against the wall. Loki had stabbed him in the side in response. Thor recalled the shock, the act being more painful than the pain itself, the blade was small but proved a shallow warning. Thor remembered how Loki hurriedly healed him, as any child would have covered their tracks.

Thor remembered how they sat on the chamber floor, how his brother’s hands shook with panic and fear. He was always so fearful, so cautious. But, after he magically sealed Thor up, Loki’s demeanor changed back to cockiness.

“Am I to never have a bride, Thor? Always by your side, treading lightly, as you get swooned over by every maiden in all of Asgard?” Loki had demanded, hurt in his voice.

“I suppose,” Thor said. “I didn’t like…what you did.” And though that was the truth Loki appeared to be absolutely shocked and appalled.

“You didn’t like it?” he’d laughed, bitterly. “And do you think I like that every maiden within Asgard throws herself to the feet of my brother?” Loki had gotten in Thor’s face, gripping the collar of his garb. “I have to live with everyone loving you, everyone. You have no idea what that’s like.” Loki had crashed their lips together right then and there. And though Thor hadn’t expected him to do so, he pinned Loki down onto his back and kissed him as well.    

The rest was a blurry, pleasurable mess of a memory. They’d been so scared and unsure of their selves, kissing and feeling one another in ways neither had experience with. Thor recalled the awkwardness of walking home, of lying and pretending like no such deed had been done.  

Their escapades continued sporadically for years, the last time being the night before Thor’s coronation. As future king, he’d shown up in the chambers of his brother for what was his. That was the one he remembered almost for verbatim. Loki on top of him, riding him, head thrown back as he worked himself around Thor’s cock. Loki, stroking himself, moaning just how good Thor’s cock felt inside, how he never wanted to be apart from Thor, how Thor was also his and no one else’s.

But their past was a bittersweet tale of lies and betrayal. Even though Loki had seemed so devoted to Thor, he’d hated him. Perhaps apart of his brother would always hate him.

Thor brought himself back to reality. He peacefully inhaled and exhaled three times, clearing his mind of whatever intrusive thoughts lingered. Loki was his brother. Thor couldn’t change him, but by the gods, he could help him. Not only would that be what their parents would want, but it was what Thor wanted. Even if Loki left him at that moment, it would be for the best. And Thor would always be there for his brother, regardless of where he went.  

The door slid open and Thor walked through, finding Loki in front of the mirror, fully clothed. Loki looked behind him, grinning. Thor hesitated, a confused smile taking over his face.

“Ah-ha, wait,” Loki said and wiggled his index finger at his brother. He turned fully to Thor and summoned his upper garb away, revealing his fully healed, albeit scarred, chest.

Thor grinned and strode towards Loki, laughing. “About time, brother! Let me see you! This is wonderful!” Thor laughed and clasped Loki on his shoulder. Loki didn’t wince or jerk, green eyes clear and sharp as ever.

“I also retrieved what was needed,” Loki added and nodded his head in motion to the long table. Thor looked to his right, noting the array of weapons, clothing, and other supplies on top of what had usually been barren. Beyond that was the window and an endless vast darkness with specks of starlight. Thor tore himself from thoughts of the powerful entity and looked back to Loki.

“Right. That is truly something. You didn’t even venture out of the room this time, did you? I bet you sent one of your illusions, or even opened a portal directly here. I’m glad you’re back in health,” Thor said and kept his tone joyful, smile unwavering. “But now…I must speak with you about something,” Thor said, trying to keep upbeat but Loki wasn’t buying it. The narrow, chiseled face of his brother shifted to alertness. Loki quickly called his upper garb back and stood ready. Thor was glad that Loki was so good at reading body language. It made delivering such news all the easier.

“Something’s blocking Heimdall’s sight. We’re not sure of what it may be, but whatever it is, it’s moving quick, even for space travel…” Thor trailed off. He looked to his brother and then to the liquor behind him. He maneuvered around Loki and began pouring himself something, anything.

“And?” Loki continued from behind him.

Thor looked at the full glass and decidedly took a swig from the bottle. He looked back to Loki and wiped his mouth.

“And whatever it is, it’s powerful. We can’t contact anyone, not on Earth, not on Sakaar, not anywhere. We’ll handle it if it comes our way. There’s no escape pods, Loki. None. I’d personally suggest waiting on a passing ship if you’re leaving, though there haven’t been too many of those either. I’m not sure what else can be done.” Thor turned back to the liquor and drained the glass in one mouthful.

“There haven’t been any ships, Thor. I’m not about to spin eternally in space again, I’ve survived that too many times,” Loki said and crossed his arms in defense. Thor nodded, looking at his brother’s reflection.

“Though I wouldn’t expect you to jump ship with no ship to jump to, the idea of you spinning aimlessly in space is great.” Thor smiled at his brother, causing Loki to roll his eyes and walk towards the window. He stared at the stars while Thor finished the rest of the liquor in the glass. “Ah, yes, I suppose Earth will have to do. Still not your best idea,” said Loki as he dropped his hands to his sides. He then looked from the window to his array of supplies.

“Undoubtedly not my best idea,” Thor agreed. He placed the glass down to study his own face in the mirror, once more touching on his eyepatch. Though his eye long healed, it still ached with phantom pains.

“What would you have me do?” Loki cautiously asked. Thor thought on the question before shrugging. Not that it didn’t matter, but Thor knew what he was doing to do. He stripped himself from his upper garb and cracked his neck, tossing the article of clothing to the side. Thor then turned to their bed and felt Loki’s eyes upon him.

“You’re in full health, and if you so happen to find the strength to open a portal for yourself and your supplies, I would hope you’d send help for us. Though it’d be a lie that I wouldn’t miss you,” Thor paused to unbutton his breeches. “If you don’t mind, though, I need to rest. Or at least try to. Heimdall said I haven’t slept in over three days again, and that can’t be good for guiding our people.” The unbuttoned opening remained tightly in Thor’s grip, keeping his pants from sagging. Loki looked from him and back to the window.

“Of course. I’ll see that no one disturbs you,” Loki added. Thor smiled at that and headed to the bed, kicking off his boots and shimmying his pants to the ground. He stepped out of them, nude, and crawled under blankets that smelt of him and his brother. Thor let out a small groan and stretched and shifted onto his side so his back faced Loki. Not many would be so willingly vulnerable around Loki. Soon Thor found himself teetering towards sleep.

His good eye was close to being fully shut when Loki somehow teleported himself horizontally beside Thor. He stayed there silently, propped up on one elbow and studied Thor, who remained unmoved by the motion. “What is it now, brother?” Thor yawned and shifted further into his pillow. He was glad he was too tired to fight this sort of goodbye Loki had in store and closed his eye.  

“I love you, Thor Odinson; god of thunder and lightning, my brother, my only,” Loki said as if he’d said it a million times.

“And I love you, Loki, always. Goodbye--wait, wait,” Thor said, eye snapping open. Loki stayed propped up beside him, as if they were casually lounging back home. Thor on the other hand sat up straight and looked to his brother, hands ripping some of bedding in his haste.

“Now I swear I spoke to you on this matter before,” Loki said, mockingly disappointed. He kept himself propped up while his other hand mockingly drummed in thought against the top of the bedding. “No, I’m sure I proclaimed as much in that hazy fever. And here you are, naked, tired, trying to sleep. I could help with that, you know. You’ve always slept well with me.”

Thor’s mouth hung open, unsure of what to do or say, but Loki was suddenly sitting up as well and kissed him. Thor flinched at the sudden hot, wet sensation. The very taste of Loki had always been alluring. This time Thor felt differently. Loki was resilient per usual, advocating for sex as quickly and harshly as possible. Thor obliged, and how could he not? This was Loki's goodbye. And so Thor angled his head, quickly bringing the back of his hand up to stroked against Loki’s face. Loki sighed into his mouth, bringing his own hands up to Thor’s face while kissing Thor. Only, Loki was really kissing him. It felt as if he was treating the kiss like it may be their last, their only. And perhaps it truly was. Thor felt his heart flutter, tiny electric waves shooting through him. If this his brother’s goodbye, why did it feel so different from anything else they had done?

Loki broke the kiss all too soon, and Thor found their foreheads resting together. They kept their eyes closed, but a flustered rush of joy, panic, and lust ran through Thor.

“Loki, Loki I---” Thor was struggling more than ever, bringing his hand down from his brother’s face in shock. Still, he kept his eye closed, relishing in the sensation of Loki's hands on his face. He knew well enough that stuttering wasn’t a good response for their coupling. Loki was unbothered, and his hands stroking everything from his cheekbones and to his scruffy beard. “Do not lie, brother. I warn you. Answer me this; are you leaving? Is this your goodbye?” Thor asked in a hushed voice.

“No, not this time. Must I repeat myself, Thor Odinson? A thousand lifetimes could pass and I'd never find another as you,” Loki whispered back. A chill tingled Thor’s spine and he shivered. The two pulled apart, eyes opening to look at one another. Thor watched as the rest of Loki’s clothes disappeared in a green haze with one swift motion. Loki watched as possessiveness overcame Thor’s demeanor.

“It took you long enough to realize as much. Far too much time has passed since we’ve…done this,” Thor replied tactfully.

“Then, has the time arrived for you to correct that?” Loki mocked. He didn’t have to wait long for an answer. His skin, pale and decorated with scars, was soon beneath a favored pair of rough hands. Loki moaned at the touch, with Thor pressing Loki down onto his back and into the mattress. One hand firmly held him down as Thor spit into his other. Loki arched his head back as Thor rubbed a warm, wet palm against his hardening cock. Thor’s own arousal was unfathomable, quickly catching up with his brother’s.

“What…what shall we do?” Thor huffed, abandoning Loki’s cock to trace over the large, rigid scar left by Hela. Loki relaxed his neck and looked up at Thor, lips parting in thought. There was so much to do, so much time to make up for.

“Switch. You on your back, me on top,” Loki said and pushed at Thor. And of course Thor complied, kicking the semi-ripped bedding to the floor. He expected Loki to join him, but instead found the other demigod between his thighs.

“Eventually I'll be on top, I suppose,” Loki added. Thor gasped as Loki’s lips circled around the head of cock. He nearly lost control with the urge to thrust up into his brother’s mouth, it really had been too long. Thor stilled his body by sheer force of will and looked down at his brother. Loki’s head and body always did fit perfecting there, between his legs, sucking away. Perhaps he could lay back for just this.

“Ah, I see, I l-like your i-idea,” Thor tried to sound sure and witty, but it came out as a whine. Loki’s eyes flashed at him once before he wrapped a hand around the base of his cock. Immediately Thor threw his head back and moaned. Loki stroked him, perfectly matching each stroke with an accompanying bob from his head.

Thor felt his good eye roll upwards, he could feel power surging through him. Loki’s mouth was everything he remembered; skilled, determined, warm and wet. He opened his mouth to moan once more, maybe even to scream, but now all Thor could do was make little sounds of pleasure. Loki seemed to appreciate that and cupped his balls, squeezing them slightly. Thor let out a small plea, hips hitching up into his brother’s mouth. Though Loki remained unmoved by the motion and pressed Thor back down, but Thor wanted more. He was wrong, he couldn't keep like this.

“Brother, please, please, I want you---” he groaned at Loki, clenching the sheets beneath him. Loki paused and popped his lips off of Thor, still stroking him. Thor looked down at him then, at his slightly disheveled hair, his scarred skin, his own hardened, awaiting cock.

“What is it you want?” Loki asked, far too calmly for Thor’s liking.

“To fuck you,” Thor said in the least romantic, most genitive way possible. Loki laughed and sat back, causing Thor to give a small smile as well. But, he also knew that his brother was toying with him. In their game it was his turn to strike back.

“Now that really is your best idea,” Loki replied, demeanor changing to something darker, sultrier. Thor sat up fully and scooted backwards, towards the wall behind them, until he was leaning firmly against it. Loki followed Thor up the bed, straddling his brother in one swift motion. Thor’s cock rubbed against Loki’s ass, but Thor wasn’t having any of it; he grabbed Loki and pulled him even closer, fingers yanking Loki’s hair until his ear was beneath Thor’s lips. Loki yelped and gasped in surprised, a thin smirk replacing his shock.

“Spread yourself for me,” Thor whispered. He felt Loki go still, cock twitching beneath him and into Thor’s abs. “Now, brother. Do not make me repeat myself.”

Thor didn’t release Loki but did give him enough slack to lean back and summon a bottle of oil. Loki’s face was now flushed, and he shakily coated his long, elegant fingers. Thor’s grip remained unwavering as he continued to watch Loki. His brother leaned to the side, eyes flashing up once before he closed them and pressed two digits within himself. It took everything for Thor not to break then and there, to not grab Loki by the throat and fuck him senselessly. He wanted to, badly. But he knew what Loki wanted and needed as well.

Thor tugged on Loki’s hair and allowed him to rest his head in the crook of his neck. He could feel Loki's heart pounding against his chest, blood rushing through his ears. Thor watched as his brother then properly straddled his thighs and kept his face hidden, giving Thor a view of his work. All the while Thor was silent, cock aching, as Loki teased and spread himself for him. Thor watched and attempt sensual talk with Loki, though he was sure all that was coming out was how badly he wanted to fuck him. Loki was respondent and began to finger himself at a faster pace, reaching his spot and quivering at one point.

"Stop pledging and act," Loki gritted out. Thor immediately released Loki’s hair and brought his hands up and on both of Loki’s thighs. "As you wish, brother," he said as Loki clung to him. Thor gripped hard and slowly spread Loki further, eye widening as Loki let out a gasp and sobbed into his neck. Loki darted in a third finger into his hole. Thor groaned and felt his hips involuntarily shift, cock arching upwards.

“It’s been so long,” Loki said in between sobs. His chest heaved as he began to lose control, cock rubbing between himself and Thor, while Thor’s own cock began to leak pre-cum in protest.

A glint of lightning flashed before Thor’s vision. The missed years full of repressed dominance and lust suddenly crashed into Thor. He pulled Loki’s fingers out and firmly guided his brother closer, and Loki clung to him as he always did. Thor held one of Loki's thighs up and with the other hand fisted his own cock. Loki kept his head buried into Thor’s neck, whispering and sobbing. He felt Loki’s fingers digging into his biceps. Thor groaned and angled Loki over him, pausing briefly.

Fuck me,” a line Loki spoke clear enough for his brother to hear, and Thor felt himself become briefly lightheaded.

And then desperation overtook them both. With a combination of Thor hurriedly guiding Loki down while he thrust upwards, they finally met. Thor closed his eye at the sudden pleasure as Loki’s fingers and arms found their way back around Thor’s neck. His legs were bent and angled upwards, making it all too easy for Thor to lift him up and bring him back down. He did so repeatedly, thrusting his cock upwards in sync as best he could manage. Thor felt sweat break out onto his skin, and the pre-cum had slicked Loki's insides better than the oil ever could.

One thrust in particular sent Loki screaming, not enough to come, but enough that Thor repeated the same motion. Loki clung to him, sobbing, begging. He kept saying half words and phrases, but Thor’s own moans and cusses were overtaking the room.

The pleasure was rapidly building between them, Loki clearly not wanting to slow the pace. Normally Thor wouldn’t be bothered, but the quickness of his own approaching climax shocked and disappointed him. He had ignored his brother’s own needs and hurriedly pushed Loki off, so suddenly that Loki left dark claw marks on his neck and shoulders. Crisis averted, Loki dropped back ungracefully. Thor quickly made up for it by hiking Loki’s legs up and began to guide his swollen cock back in.

Loki was not pleased and looked to him slack-jawed and angry. He was about to spew some nasty line only to be cut off as Thor reentered him. Loki closed his eyes and hissed, gratefully laying back onto the bed. Thor’s hips found a familiar rhythm and snapped repeatedly, each one pulling a moan from deep within Loki. Somehow his long arms were back around Thor, yanking him down. Their mouths collided and Thor joined Loki in closing his eye. They moaned and begged into each others mouths, the bed shifting and jolting beneath them.

Thor’s hands gripped at Loki’s hips, testing each angle again and again, until Loki broke the kiss and gasped. Thor looked down at Loki, who was now wide eyed, mouth half-open, and absolutely close to being undone.

“Is this your spot, brother? Glad I found it once more,” Thor murmured. Loki opened his mouth to retort but Thor reached down between them and gently stroked his cock. Loki let out a soft moan of approval and grinned mischievously. Thor laughed and increased his thrusts gradually, trying to match the speed of his strokes for Loki.

"I wanted this for so long, you've cannot fathom my yearnings," Loki choked out, grin disappearing. Thor actually could. He wanted Loki the moment Odin has cast him out of Asgard to the moment he discovered his brother was actually alive and well on Sakaar and every second in between. He was uncertain if there would ever be a time, no matter how many damsels crossed his path, that he wouldn't crave Loki?

Thor found himself hurrying all of a sudden, a rush of panic and lust and rage taking over. Small flickers of electricity spurted from his eyes and hands. How could Loki have done all this, to him, his brother, the one who truly love him? And how could he keep venturing off into chaos, right to the arms of other men and demons? Thor growled and slammed hard into Loki, sending a whimper out from the man beneath him.

"I am your king, and no matter what corner of the galaxy you find yourself in, you will remember who you belong to, where your place is and has always been," Thor said in a gargled, angered voice. Loki obliged and once again clung to Thor, legs spread, accepting his cock like that’s all he needed. And he wasn’t wrong; Thor Odinson was all he needed.

“Please, brother, please, please, please,” Loki finally said, voice cracking. Thor squeezed Loki’s cock and gave three long strokes, timing the last with a charged thrust of his hips. Loki stiffened and cried out, his tight ring of muscle spasming around Thor’s member. In two hot spurts Loki was undone, coating himself and Thor’s chests with cum. Thor had little time to marvel at his work and chased his own orgasm. Loki kept beneath him, boneless, succumbing to being used as his chest heaved.

"I'm close," Thor groaned. He planted his hands on either side of Loki, bringing himself down to messily kiss him. Loki lost himself in the kiss, arching his hips up as the pain and pleasure overtook him. Thor broke their kiss to cuss, hips beginning to sputter. He dangerously approaching his climax.

Loki smirked, quickly interlacing his fingers behind Thor’s head. Their eyes locked and Thor’s hips froze, fully immersed within his brother, as Loki leaned up and to speak into his ear: “I love you, Thor,” he said.

Thor buried his head within his shoulders, sending them both down into the mattress. Loki cradled him, making soft sounds of pleasure as Thor haplessly thrust himself into him. If there ever was a moment to live in forever, Thor wished it to be this one.  

Suddenly Thor let out a staggered moan, taken by surprise by the climax. He jerked back and out of Loki's embrace to hold himself up so as to not completely collapse. The warm, tingling, exhilarating sensation was overtaking him. Thor then bent his head down, shaking as his upper half steadied over Loki. Of course, Loki wasn’t keen on that and in one swift motion dragged Thor back down. Thor finished inside of him, shooting four spurts of hot cum and gasping mangled words.

Fuck, Loki,” Thor hissed and gave a few final languid thrusts into him.

Quite,” Loki hissed back, smug as usual.

They stayed like that, heaving, hiding their faces in one another, for only a moment before Thor pulled up and away. Loki watched as his brother removed himself, and by the gods, was Thor gorgeous. He was tan, naked, roughed up, and bore as many marks as Loki could leave on him. Loki lay back on the bed and beamed at him, bringing his hands up to fix his own ruined hair.

"That was a good idea," Thor said and smiled. Loki raised and eyebrow and Thor went back down to him, kissing his face, lips, chin, everything. And Loki allowed him, fingers running through his short hair, down his neck. As he began to mend and heal the damage he'd inflicted, Thor found himself licking his brother clean. Loki hummed in approval. 

“I love you as well, brother. I forgot to proclaim it earlier, and I suppose this time as well,” Thor said stupidly at some point after finishing the task. He was settled halfway next to Loki, arms wrapped around his brother's midsection, head resting between Loki’s underarm and face buried in his side. 

"Oh, brother dear, I had no means of knowing your undying devotion," Loki chided back. He brought a hand to the top of Thor's head and gently began to stroke him with long, cool fingers.

His last thoughts before succumbing to darkness were of Loki's touch.   

 

-0-0-0-0-

 

Unsurprisingly, Loki’s efforts had paid off. Seducing Thor had changed as much Thor himself had, and the newer tactics reflected that. Things were different, they were different, but Loki was pleased that he still had his brother wrapped around his finger. At least somewhat. 

Loki wasn't normally caught off guard by Thor by any means, but that had been long ago. He would never forget about what happened on Sakaar. Thor had spoken to him so earnestly, and without malice or anger. It'd caught him completely off guard. Thor had also been quick with seeking Loki’s help in destroying their home, and had welcomed aboard an alien ship headed towards the very planet he set out to control. Loki was still wrestling with how to overthrow the Avengers a second time. Thor wouldn't be pleased with that but would expect as much, and Loki detested predictability.

And then there were other things that stayed the same. Thor had passed out soon after their coupling, snoring softly in his arms. Loki could still put his brother to bed in the best ways. It was oddly comforting that in such a short period they’d fallen back into each other, even if things were still messy and unsure.

Now that Loki’s health was where he needed it to be, getting Thor to a better position and covering them both was a simple trick of the wrist. Thor remained sound asleep now laying the appropriate way. His head was on top a pillow, hands by his side, mouth open with each snore as he lay on his back. Loki adjusted the bedding, now mended, over them both. The room was quiet and decorated by the light of millions of stars. Beyond that Loki knew nothing of what awaited them, but the warm comfort provided by Thor was an agreeable distraction.  

Still, Loki found one thing off as he settled beside him; the eyepatch. Thor's other wounds, even ones Loki hadn't inflicted, had been healed and erased from his brother's skin. Loki's eyes narrowed in the dark. He reached for the eyepatch and gently removed the material from Thor's cauterized wound. Thor hadn’t wanted it healed before, but he’d think differently if he one day awoke with full vision. At least that's how Loki rationalized his guilt. Thor continued to snore peacefully beside him, and Loki sent the eyepatch to the table with liquor. Thor would definitely be able to find it as a keepsake.

Loki further narrowed his eyes at the injury. There was a marred hole on his brother's face, irritated and unsightly looking, with the same dark shade of red and brown on Loki’s chest. Hela had left them both with enough scars to last a lifetime, but Thor’s eye was the most painfully obvious. Looking at Thor caused a greater ache than his own injury from Hela, than the ache of losing either of their parents, than the ache of watching Asgard fall to ruin. He wasn’t sure why. All Loki knew was that he didn’t like it and needed to fix it.  

His index and middle fingers gently traced Thor’s eye, and soon Loki was making small circular motions, summoning up concentrated healing. It wouldn’t be easy, but done in small steps over the course of many weeks, possibly months, Loki would make this right.

“Don’t,” Thor said suddenly, waking from a dead sleep to grab Loki’s wrist. Loki stopped, startled, his green magic dissipating. Thor turned to Loki, half-awake. His functional eye squinted in the confusion of being woken up. “Loki,” Thor yawned, “Don’t take this one from me.”

Take this one from you, as if I were stealing? Did I hear this right? You truly believe yourself better with one eye. Typical, yet again blinded by pride,” Loki said and suddenly felt ashamed. He tried to wretch his hand out of Thor’s grip but his brother instead interlocked their hands and fingers. Still annoyed, Loki contemplated teleporting himself anywhere else in the vessel, but then Thor brought an arm under his side.

"You're not wrong; I've never seen so clearly before. I am better with one eye," Thor assured. In one movement his Thor pulled Loki closer so they both laid in the middle of the warm bed. Thor smiled and squeezed his hand affectionately, like they’d done countless times as children. On instinct Loki’s legs interlaced with Thor’s, reveling in the familiar coarse hair and skin and muscle.

“I can make this right,” Loki said, resting his head on Thor’s shoulder. “You must know, you’re even more ugly now, and that injury could prove a hinder both in courtship and on the battlefield. Just because Odin never had Frigga tend to his doesn’t mean I can’t tend to your scars.”

Thor’s brow further furrowed in confusion. He shifted closer, studying Loki’s face, then dropping his gaze down to his chest.

“Oh, so that’s what troubles you,” Thor said, releasing Loki’s hand to spread his own across Loki’s chest scar. “Listen well, brother; for the first time in many, many times of sleep, I can slumber soundly. You must know why. No? It’s because you are here and alive, and…” Thor paused, blue, thunderous eye snapping up to meet Loki's. “And it doesn’t matter, none of it. We’re family, so don’t question your worth with me, Loki. I don't weigh your cunning or magic as a bargaining tool for a family. Not after what we’ve been through. My eye will be remain gone and you will remain here. You can help me see in other ways, surely? You've done so our entire time together,” Thor added.

Loki tried to process what had been said, but before he could Thor had pulled him closer. He kissed Loki upon his forehead, whispering once more that he loved him into his skin.

And then Thor released him and turned onto his back, once again asleep. Soon the room was full of soft snoring.  

Loki lay awake for a while longer, thinking of the hidden Tesseract, of Frigga and Odin, of Earth, of the Avengers. Outside their room’s large window was the universe, or one of them at least. The path they had taken was uncertain. It was dark like his dream had been, cloaked like Heimdall’s sight continued to be. Loki shifted and rubbed his cheek against Thor’s shoulder, peeking at his brother’s sleeping form silhouetted by starlight. He brought two fingers up to Thor once more, this time over his slow rising and falling bare chest.

I really do love you, he traced in Asgardian.   

I'm here, he added.

If the two of them could face the loss of their parents, of their homeland, perhaps Loki and Thor could face whatever was next.

Scars and all.