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in this twilight how dare you speak of grace?

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He comes in the night, and at first he just watches.

He sits on the other side of the window, crosses his legs underneath him, and watches. He says nothing, so nor does Loki, partly out of spite and partly out of curiosity. Thor has never been good at keeping quiet when he has something on his mind.

“If you’re going to keep staring, I might as well put on a show,” he drawls.

Thor says nothing, his eyes cold, but he hangs his head as though in shame. His cheeks are burning.

 

 

It’s been three months now – or he thinks it has. With nothing to mark the passage of time he has nothing to compare it to. He wrote it on the walls at first, with glowing green runes, but as the days and night went past without being able to watch the sun rise and fall he grew to think of them as taunting him, so he banished them without a word. Drew the lines on his body instead, clawing at himself with long fingernails, and laughed at his mother’s shade when it spoke to him of comfort.

When the guards go past, he puts up the last relic of his powers that they have spared him, and projects that same sardonic smile that he used to wear before the fall. Nobody, least of all the King, will have the privilege of seeing him broken, with ragged hair and bloody fingers and a terrible, terrible grin. But his reflection cannot lie to him, and he can see that the look in his eyes is the one his captors wore, when they started his ‘persuasion’, and it would scare him if he felt anything could.

If Odin doesn’t call for him soon he’ll go mad.

And that would be embarrassing.

 

 

Loki feels as if he’s been slapped in the face. There was a time when his brother would have laughed at that, his eyes darkening with lust until his breathing was ragged and he could barely stop his hands from slamming Loki’s head against the wall, pulling down his britches and riding him until he cried. Thor would have made him beg to come inside him, once, and had him spend himself at his brother’s command.

Now, though, he colours and looks away.

“You can hear me,” he snaps, and his eyes spark with the flame of madness. “It stops me touching you, not talking to you. Don’t act precious, little prince, it doesn’t suit you.”

“Don’t you dare talk to me,” Thor rasps, looking up, his eyes like ice.

 

 

In fact, the death sentence – for that is what it is, after all, even if Frigga has spared him the gallows and Odin has claimed this incarceration as mercy – comes, to his surprise, as a relief.

He no longer has to worry about scraping and bowing to the bastard who he once called father. He has no further need to panic that his mother will come and see straight through his magic for what he truly has become. He doesn’t need to worry about a mockery of a trial, or about trading information for his life, or about having to warn them, all of them, that the enemies he has made in his defeat will not be far away.

He doesn’t have to worry about anything, for there is nothing but the silence, and that is bliss. It quietens the fire roaring through his head for the first time since falling.

The first time he can remember.

 

 

“If I had your magic, brother,” Thor says, his voice low, “you would have no breath in your lungs nor tongue to give voice to your lies.”

“Then come in here and rip it from me,” Loki is surprised to hear himself saying. He wags a finger, though he barely has the energy to do so. Thor knew about the illusion within seconds, and Loki wonders how many others have been laughing at his pathetic attempts to seem sane. If he was, he supposes, he would have noticed.

 “You have no right to speak to me. To any of us.”

Thor puts his head in his hands and cradles it, heavy and weary. Not for the first time since coming here, Loki feels sick.

“Did I disappoint you, my prince?” he asks coyly. He sticks his tongue between his teeth.

Thor gives him a warning look.

“Not this, Loki. Not now.”

 

 

They do not tell him about Frigga until after the funeral, which hurts more than it has any right to do.

His face betrays nothing, just a little flicker, just a burst of light and a piece of furniture flung to the side, but within moments he has destroyed everything that he can touch and ripped out more of his own hair than he thought possible. Each of the books she brought for him is burnt and torn, the words replaced with the screaming of his own mind. He watches his hands turn blue as he burns his own skin in an attempt to feel anything but the aching, screaming loss that has come so suddenly into his life and now will never leave. He breaks his hand open smashing his mirror, and the shards seem to mock him as he watches the blood run down his hand with blank, empty eyes.

Loki steps backwards and treads on a few shards he hadn’t noticed. He wrenches them from his skin and throws everything in the room at the glowing barrier with one desperate wail. That which doesn’t explode flies back at him, tosses him flying backwards to the wall, where he crumples, and sits, and screams.

 

 

“Why not?” Loki asks. He stands and pads towards his brother on his bloody feet, catlike and full of sinewy energy. “Are you ashamed?”

“Our mother burnt on the sea not two hours ago and you ask me if I am ashamed?” Thor snaps.

Your mother,” Loki corrects, almost out of habit.

Thor stares at him. He roars in fury, throws his fist against the barrier, and curses when it throws up sparks. Loki laughs.

“I think you’ll have to ask if you want to come in.” He points, bristling with fury, down the hallway. “Get the key from my captors. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to let you in for a brief intimacy.

“Speak to me like that again, and I’ll tear your head from your shoulders,” Thor snarls. He’s pressed up against the barrier still, head nearly resting on it, and his face is so serious that Loki genuinely takes a step backwards before realising that his threats are meaningless. He fakes another grin, but Thor knows it’s a lie.

Thor always knows that he’s lying these days.

 

 

“So now you see me as I truly am,” Loki says softly, slumped in a wall with his hair matted with blood from the day’s screaming. He looks up at his brother, pacing the hallway, and thinks, not for the first time, that not so very much has truly changed. He may be on this side of the barrier and Thor on the other; their mother may be dead and their father may not be his father, but the golden prince still towers above him in every respect, and Loki would still do anything, anything at all, to please him.

There’s black streaks on the walls where the furniture smashed apart. He sees Thor’s eyes trace over them, and allows himself a small smile. It’s not like they haven’t done worse in the past, and he considers saying so before seeing the hunger in that gaze and thinking better of it.

 

 

“Touch yourself,” Thor murmurs, just loud enough for him to hear.

Loki blinks at him. “What?” he asks, unsure if he heard correctly.

“You were so eager to play this game a moment ago, were you not?” His voice is cold again, cruel, back with the simmering anger that he came with rather than the outburst of fury. “I gave you an order, Loki. I’m sure you remember what to do with them.”

“Here?” Loki mutters, looking around himself at the ruins of his brightly lit, clearly visible cell. “Now?”

Thor stands back from the barrier, impassive. “Are you going to make me say it again?” he asks darkly.

For a moment, Loki considers telling his brother to fuck himself. Nothing would give him greater pleasure, at this moment, than seeing Thor wrongfooted; his precious brother so sure, so confident that Loki will do whatever he wants. But he’s betrayed by his own hunger. Somehow his hand still finds its way to the lacing of his britches, and he lowers them to expose his pale thighs as his long, bloody fingers wrap tightly around his cock.

 

 

Loki’s on his knees and he can barely remember how he got here. He’s got Thor’s hand on the back of his head, a calloused thumb stroking along his hairline, and he’s naked, hands behind his back, staring at the floor in front of him. Thor tangles his hand in his hair and brings it up with a short, sharp tug, and Loki can feel tears forming in reaction to the pain at the corner of his eyes.

They are young, and they have not been doing this for long, but already it’s more like home than anything he’s ever known.

Thor pulls at his hair again, and Loki’s cock twitches in response, stirring to hardness. It does not go unnoticed by his brother, who he hears laughing as though from some way away, soft and genuinely entertained.

“Well, I’m glad I amuse you,” he hisses, and then gasps when Thor backhands him across the face. “Fuck.

Thor pauses, hand raised to strike him again. “Was that too much?” he asks awkwardly.

Loki shakes his head frantically. “No, no, fuck – again,” he says hurriedly, looking up, meeting Thor’s eyes with a reassuring smile. Thor hits him, catching him just above the eye, and Loki blinks away a drop of blood.

“I said eyes on the ground,” Thor repeats. Loki smirks.

 

 

“This? This is what you want?” Loki mutters, stroking himself to hardness in the glaring light of his cell. Thor’s gaze is steady, and his blank expression impressive; for all he gives away he might as well be watching a particularly boring sparring match. But he isn’t – he’s watching Loki, mad Loki, wicked Loki, tugging himself off with clever fingers on his command.

“I told you not to speak to me,” Thor says after a moment, stirring himself to consciousness and straightening.

“Oh, fuck off,” Loki spits, clenching his hand tighter, increasing the speed of his strokes. “You want someone obedient, Thor, go and find someone who isn’t a madman.”

“You may be mad,” Thor says coldly, “but you still want me. You still obey me.”

Loki snarls, though he doesn’t stop, and his breathing grows ragged. Thor disappears up the corridor for a moment, and then he is back, a key clasped in his hand. He presses it into the stonework, where it disappears as if it never was, and then steps inside the cell in the second before the barrier springs back into existence.

Thor walks straight towards him, grips him by the throat, and lifts him bodily off the floor in one strong movement. Choking, Loki tries desperately to prise the hand away, to gain a moment to breathe.

“If I did not need your help, Loki,” Thor says coldly, “then all the love I bear you would not stop me, in this instant, from dashing what remains of your brains out on this floor.”

Loki attempts a response, but there’s not enough air in his lungs. All that comes out is a croak as his vision starts to blur at the edges.

“You’ll help me avenge Frigga,” he snarls, bringing Loki’s face closer to him. “You’ll obey my orders. We both know that you like that, after all, don’t we?” In one movement he throws Loki to the floor, where his brother gasps for breath, trembling. “And if you don’t, I will kill you.”

Loki looks at his brother’s feet and rubs at his throat. Nods, just once.

“Good,” Thor says. “Undress me.”

 

 

Thor’s favourite trick – because he’s always been good at tricks, has Thor, in his own special way – is to pin his younger brother against a wall somewhere public, and fumbling with his belt and britches, forbid him to come, and then get down on his knees and suck Loki’s cock as if his life depended on it.

He can hollow out those cheeks surprisingly well, takes Loki right to the edge over and over, and all the while his eyes remain cold, warning him that he won’t like what happens if he fails. His tongue is wicked and wet, dragging up Loki’s length and pausing on the slit at the head of his cock, and Loki hates him for it, even more than he hates himself for letting him do this to him. Thor is not meant to be able to be this clever, this cruel; it should be Loki ruining him, drawing away with salt on his lips.

Loki lets out a groan that he’s barely aware of and cuts it off as quickly as he can, biting down on his lower lip. Thor looks up at him, and calmly gives one short sharp flick with his fingers to Loki’s balls. Loki flinches, but manages – just barely – not to make any audible sound.

“Good,” Thor mouths approvingly. Loki feels a heat pooling in his groin and some strange warmth in his cheeks at the expression of pride on Thor’s face. He reaches down and grabs Thor, drags him up, and presses his lips to Thor’s, hungry and wanton and desperate for more of that.

Smiling, Thor pulls away, and pulls Loki’s britches up again with one hand.

Please,” Loki whispers frantically.

Thor looks pitying. He strokes one finger – that same one still wet with Loki’s precome – along Loki’s jawline, and grins when it makes Loki shiver.

“Later,” he whispers in Loki’s ear, “I will have you pay for that noise, Loki,” and yes, yes, later is very good indeed.

 

 

Thor commands him to undress, and he does. He’s slow at first, because he can no longer remember how long it’s been since he’s seen any naked bodies other than his own; the Chitauri don’t count, of course, because he neither knew nor cared if they were clothed when they were busy devising new ways to render his body as broken as his mind, and for the most part they wore what looked like masks anyway.

With the stripping off of his undershirt it comes back to him, and suddenly it’s as if the floodgates have opened. Eager, and yes, alright, perhaps a little desperate, he tears at his own clothes and then at Thor’s, ripping off the cloak and tunic with a need that he can’t remember ever having before.

Thor beckons him over and gestures to his mouth. In an instant Loki has reached up, gripped Thor’s chin and opened his mouth in a kiss.

Please,” he babbles, unsure if he’s crying or if it’s just sweat on his skin, “Thor, please, gods – ”

“Don’t talk to me,” Thor grunts, sounding genuinely disdainful. Perhaps the disgust in his voice at Loki’s touch would hurt if it didn’t go straight to his already straining cock. “Get on your knees,” Thor adds.

Loki’s knees have hit the floor before he remembers to breathe.

“For all your pride and lunacy,” Thor comments, standing over him and pulling his head up by the hair, “you’re still a whore for me, aren’t you?”

That does hurt; burns, somewhere deep inside him, but he says nothing, just meets Thor’s stare.

Thor hits him, harder than he used to when he loved him, but the old familiar sting is a comfort. “I asked you a question.”

“And you said not to talk to you,” Loki scowls, spitting on the floor between Thor’s feet. “Try and remember your own orders.”

The slap that follows that would send him sprawling backwards if Thor wasn’t holding him upright, and it snaps his head to the side. He hisses out a noise of pain between his teeth.

“It’s not my fault if you’ve forgotten how to do this,” he murmurs.

“Apologise,” Thor says levelly.

A pause, and then, through gritted teeth, Loki manages a “sorry”.

Thor kneels down in front of him, keeping his hand on Loki’s head, and looks straight into his eyes. “And you’re supposed to be the one with the silver tongue,” he says, sounding unimpressed.

“Sorry, sir,” Loki snarls, wishing that Thor would just get it over with and fuck him.

He doesn’t. Instead he places one thick finger on Loki’s forehead and pushes, gently, until Loki lies back on the floor of the cell, surrounded by the wreckage he has wrought. Thor moves up him, straddling his legs, and grips Loki’s cock in one hand, holding up the other to Loki’s lips.

“Spit,” he orders.

 

 

Most evenings, they don’t go to each other. They can’t, not without drawing suspicion. So Thor grabs his arm in the corridor and murmurs an order into his ear, breath hot on his neck, and that evening Loki carries it out, whether it’s fucking his own hand or conjuring up a slender thread to restrain himself, to keep him from coming or wear like a collar while he sleeps. On the lucky evenings, they meet in one of their rooms, and Thor commands Loki to fuck him hard. Loki bends Thor’s legs up to his chest or ties them to his hands, and takes him spread-eagled on every surface available. He fucks him until Thor is screaming and can barely speak, and then, only then, and only sometimes, does Thor let him beg to come, weeping and exhausted and utterly, utterly wretched.

Afterwards, when Thor has managed to regain breath, he curls Loki up under one arm on the bed and plays idly with Loki’s softening cock while his brother whimpers and squirms and begs him to stop. Some nights Loki will lick his own seed from Thor’s fingers, and on others Thor doesn’t give him a chance to, dragging it through his hair and painting with it on Loki’s cheeks and lips.

It feels good, and if Loki occasionally feels something cracking, it doesn’t worry him over much. He’s spent a thousand years ignoring the twinges of resentment and fear; some strange worry, deep down, that he doesn’t think like the others. A sporadic screaming in the night that turns out to be coming from inside his own head and a memory that might be a dream of ice so cold that it burns.

It doesn’t matter, any of it. Because he has Thor, and he is Thor’s, and that’s enough for anyone.

 

 

Thor grasps him in his thick fingers and opens himself up with the other, grunting with the effort of reaching down.

“I could do that,” Loki hears himself say, running his tongue over chapped lips, his cock straining in Thor’s hand. Thor mutters something under his breath, and Loki, remembering in the dim past how this used to go, averts his gaze and whispers “please, let me touch you.”

This seems to please his brother, or at any rate, Thor smirks, reaches up, and pats him on the head like a dog. Loki squirms, because he’s still hard and that isn’t helping, and nor are Thor’s fingers starting to work him, his thumb running over Loki’s shaft.

“Please,” Loki says again, his voice hitching in his throat, a little more intense. It isn’t feigned. Perhaps Thor realises this, or perhaps he really just is that stupid, that eager to trust his brother again despite the protestations that things have changed, but he lets go and shifts up Loki’s body until he is straddling the other man’s waist, letting Loki, with slick spit-covered fingers, open him up further. Thor moans a little as he pushes his fingers inside and twists.

Thor takes, instead, to twisting Loki’s nipple until it is bright red, which leaves Loki gasping for air and whimpering like a child. He pushes in another finger, then another, until Thor is wide enough for him, though it’s rough going without any oil.

“Nervous?” Thor chuckles above him, as if he’s read Loki’s mind, and Loki shakes his head. They’ve done this before; the first time, in fact, before Loki knew what exquisite pleasure the pain could bring. Now, when he still has shards of glass in his feet and fire raging in his skull, what difference will it make to him?

“You should have come prepared,” he murmurs.

Thor strokes a strand of hair from Loki’s face, almost tenderly, and for a moment in those eyes there is something agonising, something broken – Loki looks up at Asgard’s heir and thinks, more in horror than in victory, I did that. His brother looks wretched, all the light in his eyes gone in one moment, and Loki imagines his mother sprawled out on the golden palace floor, Thor cradling her broken body in his arms, and how yet another betrayal must feel. Driven mad by the thought of it, he grabs Thor’s hips in his hands, shrugging off the gentle touch, and pushes himself deep inside him.

Thor cries out brokenly, half-screaming at the sudden invasion, but he regains his control within an instant and pushes down on Loki’s chest, restraining him with ease. “Stay still,” he growls. Loki, still defiant, bucks his hips up, driving himself deeper. Thor snarls and cuffs him across the face, leaving him reeling. When he comes back to his senses, Thor is riding him hard, holding Loki’s hips against the ground with his thighs, one hand on Loki’s throat. He sinks and rises over and over and over until Loki is sobbing, desperate to move, but he doesn’t.

After what seems like forever, Thor halts, with just the tip of Loki’s cock inside him, and waits.

Loki gasps. “Please, Thor,” he groans, “pleasepleaseplease – ”

“Say it,” Thor rasps, breath ragged.

“Please, sir, please let me fuck you,” Loki babbles without a moment’s hesitation.

Thor shakes his head and tightens his grip on Loki’s throat a little more. “That’s not what I want.”

“Then what do you want?” Loki yells frantically, because he’s going to go mad if he can’t move soon, will lose what is left of his already fractured mind to his halfwit brother and his stupid fucking games.

The eyes that stare into his have lost all that mercy, and are dark once more. “Say sorry,” Thor hisses.

Loki’s fingers scrabble for purchase on the floor, but all they find is a shard of glass, which he picks up and attempts to drive into Thor’s stomach, which is the only part he can reach. Thor bats it away as if it was nothing, and grips Loki’s hand in his, coating them both with Loki’s thick red blood. “Say it,” he snarls, driving his hips down so hard that Loki thinks the ground might break beneath them. “Say it, you childish, selfish -

“Sorry,” Loki chokes out. There might be tears rolling down his face, or they might be from Thor’s own eyes, dropping onto his skin with such force that they might as well be blows. His brother bends down closer to him, so that their chests are touching, Thor’s breath burning hot on his skin (and how, for all those years, did he not notice how sharply, painfully hot Thor’s skin was?).

Move,” Thor growls in his ear.

Loki pushes his hips up in relief. He can hear someone crying and hopes to anyone who might still be looking out for him that it isn’t him. He slams into Thor, rhythm erratic, gasping for breath, and after forever, Thor’s eyes roll back in his head. Loki doesn’t stop, because he knows what happens if he does, and he moves with Thor as the other man tenses around him and muffles the cry as he comes by biting down on Loki’s shoulder.

Loki screams.

Nobody comes running, he realises dimly through the fugue of sweat and aching need. Perhaps they think Thor is taking out some of that well-justified  and fully deserved anger on him, or maybe he’s just been screaming so much of late that they think it’s his own mind torturing again. He lets out a broken sob as Thor climbs off him, his seed having spilled over both of their bellies.

“You want to come?” Thor asks, kneeling beside him and looking down at his trembling, desperate brother.

He can’t even muster the energy to say anything. He just nods.

Thor looks at him with a hard gaze. “Well,” he says, sounding unimpressed, “we don’t always get what we want, brother,” and Loki loses it.

 

 

“Talk to me,” Thor says to him, the first time he comes to visit, when Loki is chained to the bed to stop him clawing at his own skin. “Please.”

For half a moment, Loki considers spitting in his face, or perhaps he actually does it – he can never quite be sure anymore. Either way his head rolls back and he laughs, wild and cold and lunatic. His whole body shakes with the laugh, hands trembling on the furs of the bed. Thor grips at his hand, tries to hold it. His calloused fingers seem to be made of ice.

Loki,” Thor whispers, around the lump in his throat. “You’re not well. Please.”

Loki hasn’t eaten anything for three days - not by choice. He threw it up when they forced him to, half from spite and half from necessity. His throat is so dry he can’t remember how it used to feel when he had breath enough to speak. Nevertheless, from somewhere, he summons up the will to speak for the first time since his quip on the floor of Stark Tower; he looks at Thor with bloodshot eyes and rasps:

I did this for you, you know.”

Thor’s eyes widen as if he’s been stung, and he jerks his hand backwards, standing and sending the chair flying. He stares at Loki for a moment, and Frigga, who is sleeping in the chair next to him with one hand on the bedframe, jerks awake.

“Thor?” she asks, blearily. “Did he say something?”

Thor shakes his head, murmurs something too frantic to be made out, and runs out of the door like his life depends on it. All the while, terrified he might come back, Loki laughs.

And he doesn’t come back until the break-out.

 

 

“Don’t you dare,” Loki roars now, seizing Thor by the throat, “don’t you daredare blame me for this. This is not me, you insolent little brat. I didn’t kill her. It was you – you were supposed to be looking after her – ”

Thor growls, and then Loki has been grabbed under the arms, lifted bodily from the floor and slammed against the white wall. “And what good were you in here?” he yells, the tears still in his eyes. “You think you have a right to criticise me when you watched this city burn? What was the last thing you said to her, Loki?”

Loki feels as if he’s been hit in the stomach. He meets Thor’s eyes with his own, and perhaps in that moment Thor realises what he’s said. His brother sinks forward, head hitting the wall with a gentle thud, and releases Loki from his grip. “I’m sorry,” Thor says, his voice breaking. Loki’s legs sag a little under his own weight, still dizzy from the exertion of the sex. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save her.”

“Don’t,” Loki says, shaking his head, looking away.

Thor’s hand tightens into a fist on the wall.

He grabs Loki by the chin and tilts his face up to kiss him. This time the kiss is hot and sloppy and wet, such as they’ve not had since they were boys, full of nothing but a need to feel each other, and Loki moans against his mouth. Thor’s hands don’t even stray from his cheeks and neck, holding him like a lover, but Loki’s cock is still hard, and when he whispers “please” again with their tears mingling on his cheek, Thor doesn’t hesitate.

“Come,” he murmurs. “Come now.”

Loki does. The rush hits him all at once; the relief of the orgasm cresting through him at the same time as the adrenaline and the beautiful feeling of being Thor’s again, of pleasing him. All of the desperation pours out of him as he comes against Thor’s thigh, and he cries out one final time, loud and broken and beautiful until eventually it turns into ragged, hoarse sobs.

Thor wraps an arm tightly around his shoulders and pulls him into a shaking embrace, and for once, Loki doesn’t resist. A hand settles, a comforting weight, on the back of his neck, like a collar. Like a reward for a job well done. The fingers curl in his hair.

Loki presses his head against Thor’s chest, buries it there, and breathes it all out.

“Good boy,” Thor says softly, making Loki shiver, “you’re good, you’re so good, my Loki.”

For once, Loki lets the lie slip without a comment. Because one of them here is good, and he is too good to deserve anything else trying to destroy him today.

For now, at least.

 

 

“I didn’t do it for him.”