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In Plain Sight

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In the end, it doesn't matter where he finds Loki. What matters is that it's inevitable.

Loki fell. Thor has not stopped searching for him since.

He searches so long that several times he convinces himself he will fail, not because Loki is too clever to be found—but because he is nowhere to be found. There's no knowing where the fall from Asgard put him, what such a fall could do even to Loki. The thought is too painful to consider, and so Thor never considers it very long before resuming his search.

Loki lives. He exists somewhere for Thor to find, because the alternative is unthinkable.

Thor doesn't limit his search to living worlds. He knows his brother's cleverness, his sorcery. He knows better than to assume Loki will avoid a planet simply because it is incapable of sustaining life. But no matter where he searches, he finds no sign. Not even lingering traces to indicate where Loki may have set foot.

"It's pointless to search for him," his father says in the quiet of an empty banquet hall, long after the men have departed for sleep. The first hints of morning sunlight sneak surreptitiously across the floor, and Odin continues, "Your brother is far too clever to be found if he does not wish it. And if he wished to be found, he'd have revealed himself by now."

The logic is circular, but frustratingly sound. Thor continues searching anyway.

It's not guilt that drives him, though the guilt is profound enough. The thought of how enormously he erred, how deeply he must have wounded Loki to inspire such rage—such betrayal and, much as it hurts somewhere deep and vicious in Thor's chest to acknowledge, such hatred from his brother.

Because Thor knows Loki hates him. And considering all the years of arrogance, of prideful ignorance, of gloating condescension… how can Thor blame him?

Thor is different now. He's changed. But Loki is gone, and the knowledge is small enough consolation.

"You must stop torturing yourself," Sif admonishes him. "Pining away like this will accomplish nothing."

"I am not pining," Thor says, glowering at her until she leaves.

He is pining, though. He feels lost without his brother. He thought he knew heartbreak when he raised Mjölnir to sever the bridge—when he made the decision that would cut off the path to Earth for a dozen human lifetimes and ensure he never saw Jane Foster again.

But the ache of that loss fell pale and fleeting compared to the shattered denial that sang through him as Loki fell beyond his reach. Thor could pretend not to understand why. He could pretend it is merely the loss of a beloved brother that gnaws at him so—no one else questions the reason. They tread with careful deference, mindful of the closeness that always existed between the sons of Odin.

But this heartbreak is one that hangs heavier than it should, and Thor has no need to lie to himself. This is one secret that has always been easily kept. Thor has no use for denial—certainly not now, when he is most vulnerable to the fear that he will never see Loki again. Who is there to judge him for having the wrong feelings when he will never have the opportunity to express them?

His feet carry him without thought through the golden corridors of the palace, and Thor is hardly surprised when he finds himself stepping into his brother's abandoned chambers. Quiet. Untouched. His mother has insisted the space remain undisturbed, though she need not have bothered. Thor himself would happily break the hands of anyone who would touch his brother's sanctuary, even if it is all but certain Loki will never set foot in these rooms again.

Thor closes the doors behind him, as quietly as he can, and turns his gaze to the high-ceilinged space. The walls flow gold and fluid, twisting columns that rise high into the shadows. There's an enormous desk in one corner, gilt and smooth, and a bed tucked in a low alcove, surrounded by curtains and canopy. The room itself is dim—that is nothing new, Loki always preferred darker spaces, quiet corners—but the grim shadows feel smothering now, and Thor feels emotion rise to lodge uncomfortably in his throat.

Defeat. Failure. How can he bring Loki home if he can't find him? And always, always the niggling doubt—the fear that Loki is simply not there to be found.

Thor's eyes sting, and between one breath and the next he is on his knees. He swallows thickly, eyes raised to the ceiling as his hands clench into useless fists against his thighs.

"Forgive me, Brother," he whispers into the stillness.

"For which transgression?" comes the smooth reply, so familiar that for a moment Thor thinks he imagined it.

Then his gaze snaps down from the ceiling, to a spot where the shadows have shifted just slightly, and he finds Loki—Loki—watching him with an indecipherable expression.

"Brother," Thor breathes, jaw slack with disbelief.

Loki stands in the shadows as though they belong to him, clad in dark fabric, the pale skin of his hands and face all but glowing in contrast. He wears no armor, no helm, no weapon.

"You should not have interrupted me," Loki says coolly. "I intended to be in and out without alerting anyone to my presence here."

"Then why have you shown yourself?" Thor asks.

Loki doesn't answer. And though Thor knows better than to trust even the most genuine-seeming of expressions, the instant of confusion that flashes—there and then gone—on Loki's face makes Thor dangerously certain his brother has no answer.

It's that instant of uncertainty that propels Thor to his feet. His breath is ragged in his chest, his flesh taut on his bones as he strides across the room, too fast for his brother to evade him. He sees Loki tense, as though for an attack, but he makes no move to defend himself as Thor closes in.

Loki emits a startled grunt of surprise when Thor's arms wrap around him—tight, suffocating . Thor ignores the way Loki's body turns even more tense in his arms. He ignores the tremble that might be fear and the way Loki gasps when Thor's hold turns tighter still. He buries his face in Loki's shoulder and ignores everything but the warmth of his brother against his chest, the life clearly beating in his heart, the undeniable reality that Loki is alive, that he's here, that for this moment at least he has allowed himself to be found.

"I've missed you, Brother," Thor breathes sharply, shakily, terrified at the unmarshalled chaos of emotions swirling higher in his chest.

 

- — - — - — - — - — -

Loki's breath freezes in his lungs when, instead of attacking him, Thor grabs him as though he never intends to let go.

He shouldn't have stepped out of his hiding place. He shouldn't have shown himself to Thor. He should simply have waited for his brother to leave, then finished gathering what he came for—the notes and ciphers hidden in this room, the spells he needs for everything that lies ahead—then left with no one the wiser.

Instead he finds himself in the untenable position of his brother's grasping embrace. Thor's arms are strong, painful where they hold him too tightly, but Loki pays the physical discomfort no mind. Bruises are nothing. They are irrelevant. They heal, quickly and without a trace.

The unexpected chink in his emotional armor is far more worrisome.

Loki doesn't know what he expected when Thor stepped into this room and closed the doors. At first he wondered if his brother somehow knew, though that theory vanished quickly. Loki doesn't know what possessed him to give himself away. An undeniable instinct drawing him forward from the shadows—a weakness he will have to analyze later.

And then Thor's movements, so abrupt and rapid they had to be an attack—

Which leaves Loki floored and confused, a sensation he dislikes immensely, as he has no idea why he now, quite suddenly, finds himself crushed against Thor's chest. Thor's breath is ragged and uneven, Thor's hands gripping too harshly, arms circling Loki with a determination that leaves no room for escape—not unless Loki wants to hurt his brother and, tempting though the prospect has been in the past, Loki finds nothing palatable in the idea now.

He wants simply to leave. To pretend this moment never happened, that the unshed tears in his brother's eyes were for anyone but him.

But Thor is holding him too hard—like something cherished—and dangerous doubts are beginning to twist within Loki's thoughts.

Loki hates his brother. His selfish, arrogant, vicious, dangerous brother. He hates him genuinely and fiercely.

But Loki also loves his brother in equal measure, proportional to all that hate, and the conflict leaves him frozen.

"I know you've been looking for me," Loki says, holding his arms stiffly at his sides—refusing to return the embrace. There's that much defiance in him at least.

"I could not bear to believe you were dead," Thor says, tucking his face closer against Loki's neck. Loki can feel his breath now, warming the flesh of his throat. "I knew you could not be gone."

"And here I am," Loki says with a grim smile. "Aren't you going to ask what brings me?"

"I don't care," Thor says—not the expected answer, and Loki's calculated smile falters. Fortunate that Thor can't see his face like this.

"You're a fool," Loki says. His voice sounds breathier than he intends. "Suppose I came to kill you."

"Then I would be dead a dozen times over by now," Thor says, still not releasing him. "Let us not pretend otherwise."

Loki breathes a frustrated sound, low and tight in his chest. Curse his brother for the fool he is. Curse the mindless trust that proves him right—Thor's guard is down. Loki could have killed him more than a dozen times over by now, weapon or no. He is always armed with his sorcery, and there are spells more subtle than the flashy attacks and illusions Loki favors in battle.

Anger surges in him at the thought—at the baseless confidence Thor seems to possess that Loki would never actually hurt him. Hasn't Loki proven otherwise? Hasn't he fought with all the anger and violence he would need to kill his brother, given the right opening?

"Let go of me," Loki growls, raising his arms, wedging his hands between their bodies and pushing with all his strength.

The effort doesn't move Thor far—it's not enough to make him loosen his hold or step back—Thor's pure physical strength far outmatches Loki's. But there's space between them now, however minimal, and Thor's eyes are clear as their gazes meet.

"What is it, Brother?" he asks, and Loki's jaw clenches.

He crafts his tone into something sharp and hurtful, lets a sneer curl at the corner of his mouth when he speaks.

"Haven't we been over this already?" Loki says. "I'm not your brother." His expression turns colder, a vicious mask calculated to wound and deflect. "I was never your brother. And quite frankly? I'm glad of it."

He's lying, but the words have their desired effect. Loki sees hurt and rage surge to the fore of Thor's expression. He feels Thor's already bruising grip go even tighter on his body, a prelude to attack. He can sense the promise of violence mounting in the room, and braces himself for the first assault.

But the attack never comes. Instead Loki gasps as Thor drags him closer—as Thor's mouth crashes against his own, all that rushing violence focused into a rough, needy kiss that catches him completely off guard. Shock makes him fight instinctively—makes him try to jolt free—but one of Thor's strong, enormous hands grabs him by the back of the skull, fingers fisting in his hair, even as Thor's other arm crushes Loki more solidly against his chest.

Loki's lips part on a startled sound, and then oh, oh that is Thor's tongue sneaking past. His senses spin, and for all his clever contingencies, Loki never saw this coming.

Thor's kiss is all plundering, greedy rage, and Loki feels a spark of heat uncurl in his own chest in response—an ember long buried, stubbornly forgotten, and his eyes fly shut, brows knitting with instinctive denial.

He's suddenly terrified. Not of Thor—Loki doubts he could ever genuinely fear Thor, no matter the harm his brother could bring him if properly provoked—but of that unwelcome ember sparking behind his ribs.

He can't want this—whatever this is. He's spoken the words denying Thor as his brother, but in his heart he knows better—he knows better, and there's nothing brotherly in the way Thor is touching him now. There's nothing brotherly in the way Loki feels his body beginning to respond, and he thrashes wildly, surprise gaining him ground where physical strength has failed. The kiss breaks sharply, and air rushes into Loki's straining lungs. He jerks free of Thor's arms—stumbles back several steps—and drags the back of his hand over his mouth.

"What are you doing?" he hisses, locking Thor with his sharpest glare. He tamps the dangerous ember down, as deep in his soul as he can bury it—he shoves it out of his mind, because Loki can afford no vulnerability, particularly one so dangerously seductive as this. He stares Thor down, waiting for reason to reassert itself.

But there's nothing of reason in Thor's eyes now. Loki's own eyes widen as he recognizes the brutal, focused ferocity on his brother's face—so similar to the battle lust that comes over him among his troops, when victory is in sight, and yet this is different. More intimate. More… hungrily possessive. Loki swallows, wondering how badly he's miscalculated.

Retreat seems suddenly the only viable option, and Loki uses a wordless spell to speed his movements—to let him vanish seamlessly into the shadows along the richly decorated walls.

"Ah!" he gasps, more startled than pained when Thor's hand closes around his arm, an unforgiving vice halting his retreat.

"No tricks," Thor growls, and then he's shoving Loki against something hard and uneven—feels like sculpted edges digging into his spine—and Thor's hands on him are distracting, pinning him in place as Thor's mouth closes on his throat and sucks a bruising mark into his skin. Loki pushes against Thor's chest, unyielding planes of solid strength, then gasps at the crushing heat of Thor's body pressing all along his front.

He feels unmoored. He feels defenseless, and the sense of danger only mounts as Loki's body—normally beholden to his carefully measured control—decides it rather likes the things Thor is doing to it.

"Are you out of your mind?" he gasps, then bites his lower lip as Thor's knee slips between his thighs, offering sudden, uninvited friction. Loki's hips stutter forward, seeking and mindless, and he stills himself only with difficulty.

"Thor, stop this," he says. It's more an order than a plea, despite the position he's in, but his voice doesn't come out as commanding as he'd like. Neither does Thor yield to the demand, too busy mouthing at another spot on Loki's throat, planting a distracting bite just beneath his jaw and then licking the sting away with a surprisingly gentle tongue.

"Thor," Loki snarls, and for an instant thinks he's gotten through. Thor's thigh retreats from between his legs, Thor's hands draw back—it feels like respite—but a moment later the illusion shatters when Thor's fingers fist in the front of Loki's tunic and rip it abruptly to pieces.

 

- — - — - — - — - — -

Fabric tears so easily.

Thor's hands aren't gentle as he takes Loki's clothing apart—as he rends tunic and trousers alike in search of the bare skin beneath. Dark fabric falls to pool around Loki's ankles, frayed edges drape raggedly to unevenly frame Loki's chest and stomach, baring the long length of his throat and the dip of his collarbone. Thor wants to touch everywhere at once.

His brother's taste is in his mouth, the angry flavor of a stolen kiss, and Thor descends upon him again, thoughtless and eager, taking Loki's lower lip between his teeth before crushing Loki's mouth in a renewed kiss, deep and greedy and rough.

Thor's hands are restless motion along the skin he so carelessly uncovered. He curls careful fingers along Loki's jaw, a touch intended to be tender , but the feel of bare skin beneath his palms is too much, and his touch slides lower, frantic, exploring. Loki is hard now. There's no denying it. He's hard, and exposed, and Thor wants to touch—just as he wants to address his own matching hardness, to lead them both to the climax they need.

There's tension in Loki's body—lingering protest—and a distant part of Thor's mind knows that should matter.

But his focus is intense, his desire a flooding, rushing whirlwind of instinct, and he can't breathe for how badly he needs simply to touch. To touch, and to claim, and to hold on so tightly Loki can never vanish on him again.

These aren't rational sentiments. Thor doesn't have it in him to think about that right now.

They're both breathing hard when the kiss breaks, and Thor watches Loki's face from close, so close—close enough to see the way his eyelids tremble, eyes on the verge of opening but not quite managing the trick. Loki's lips are barely parted, slick and swollen from the force of Thor's kiss, and Thor can feel his brother's breath on his face. For a split second he can feel a tremor in the flesh beneath his hands.

Desire is too potent for Thor to maintain stillness more than a handful of heartbeats, and he presses a string of rough kisses to Loki's throat as his fingers slip low between their bodies and curl around the heated length of Loki's cock. Loki bites short a startled cry, and Thor gives a quick, rough stroke.

When Loki's eyes fly open, they're focused and clear. There's blatant challenge there—even riled and thoughtless with lust Thor can see it. It sets off a fresh charge of anger in his chest, something unmeasured and desperate, and Thor gives a throaty, inarticulate growl as he lets Loki's cock slip from his fingers and grabs him by the hips instead—guiding and shoving with bruising force until Loki is pressed face-first to the sculpted pillar at the foot of the bed where Thor has kept him pinned.

There's an awful moment where Loki nearly slips free of him—where panic makes Thor grab harder, harsher, and then he's pressing forward along the full length of Loki's back, leaning past his shoulder to nuzzle at his throat. Loki shivers then—not at the bruising hands, but at the nuzzling warmth—and Thor stretches further to bite at his earlobe, hard enough to sting.

"Brother, stop this madness," Loki whispers.

Thor barely registers the words—and the intertwining rage and lust winding through him, heating his blood and speeding his heart, undermine any hope he has of stopping now.

"I've got you," he whispers, nonsensical, frantic, struggling not to grind mindlessly forward for any hint of relief from the hardness of his own straining cock. His hand drifts low, reaches the swell of Loki's ass, the intimate cleft at the base of his spine. "I've got you," he repeats, questing lower and, finding Loki's tight entrance, slipping one finger inside.

 

- — - — - — - — - — -

Loki doesn't recognize the sounds coming out of his throat as Thor's finger presses into him.

The touch is already setting off a deep ache, tight and intimate. Thor's free hand slips between the pillar and Loki's chest, then slides lower to settle possessively over the planes of Loki's stomach.

Loki's focus narrows, fixating on such a small few points of contact: Thor's palm pressed to his stomach, Thor's breath an unsteady heat against his ear, Thor's touch inside him, deep and deeper, opening him up and making him gasp.

Loki is no stranger to the intimacies of sex, but it's been well over a century since anyone touched him like this.

It's been well over a century since he allowed it.

Strictly speaking, he's not allowing it now, though his body welcomes the sensations greedily enough. He can't breathe through all the feelings Thor is knocking loose in his chest, the tightly coiled ember surging free of the shadows where Loki tried to bury it, slowly uncoiling into something dangerously like need.

He started out in control of this situation, didn't he?

There are fresh protests on his tongue, but not one of them finds voice as Thor slips a second finger inside him—as those rough digits curl and twist, determined to take Loki apart. Thor's arm is warm, unyielding steel around his waist, and Loki imagines he can feel Thor's heartbeat through his own spine, so closely has Thor aligned his chest along Loki's back.

He aches, and it's not enough, and in that moment Loki hates himself for needing this.

When Thor's fingers vanish—abruptly enough to draw a strangled shout from Loki's throat—Loki honestly thinks Thor will take him right there.

He's surprised, then, when Thor drags him back from the pillar instead. Rough hands, bruising fingers, raw strength as he turns and all but throws Loki down onto the bed.

There's no time for retreat—not that Loki is at all sure he'd have taken such an opportunity—before Thor is following. Thor's tunic disappears with an impatient yank, and then he's there on the bed, pinning Loki with the weight of his body, and the remnants of Loki's leggings are gone from around his ankles, leaving him in nothing but the shredded remainder of his tunic.

Thor's mouth, when he reclaims Loki's in another kiss, is fiercer than before. His whole body surges forward with the kiss, one knee slipping between Loki's legs, the other following, until Loki feels the stretch in his own limbs, the rough friction of fabric rubbing along the sensitive skin between his thighs. Loki bucks beneath Thor, then—not true resistance, but a test. A challenge. Rather than dislodging Thor's weight, all the effort earns him is a low growl, a nip of teeth at his lip, the jostling rush of Thor's hips bucking forward, eliciting an unwelcome groan from Loki's throat.

Loki's hands at Thor's chest, and the heat of Thor's bare flesh beneath his palms is maddening. Loki pushes, already knowing he won't be able to make Thor budge. He meets the delving press of Thor's tongue with his own this time, and Thor growls, the sound of a feral animal, and slots his mouth more firmly against Loki's, reclaiming command of the kiss.

This time when Thor's restless hands leave off their exploration of his body, Loki knows what's coming. There's the awkward fumble of hands in the overheated space between them, the raw rustle of fabric as Thor bares himself for what comes next.

Thor breaks from the kiss, and Loki hesitates. He doesn't want to open his eyes. Whatever he is to find waiting on his brother's face, he doesn't want to see it. Not rage, not pity, not the well-deserved hate he isn't supposed to care about. All those things could be waiting, ready to flash out from behind the roaring hunger of his brother's desire, and Loki doesn't want to see.

The ember in his chest has unwound too far to put away, a truth Loki can no longer deny, and he isn't ready to have it crushed.

There's the undignified sound of Thor spitting into his palm, an unmistakable shift of the weight between Loki's legs, and then Loki feels a nudging at his entrance. Obvious. Blunt. He braces himself as well as he can.

"Look at me." Thor's voice startles him enough that Loki instantly complies, cursing himself even as his eyes open and take in Thor's face.

But what he finds there is none of the things he expects. There's no pity, no hate, even the rage that brought them here seems washed out by something else entirely, and as quickly as he deciphers it, Loki's instincts tell him to reject what he's seeing.

But there's no denying the unmasked emotion darkening Thor's gaze—no mistaking it for something brotherly and proper, for simple kinship, or the devotion of a fellow warrior across a hundred fields of battle.

"Brother." Loki breathes the word on a ragged whisper. He's suddenly more terrified than he's ever been in his life.

"Yes," Thor says, and pushes in.

 

- — - — - — - — - — -

As couplings go, it's none too gentle. Thor doesn't try to marshal his thrusts—he doesn't take things slowly or give Loki time to adjust before Thor snaps his hips forward, burying the full length of his cock in his brother's body.

Loki's eyes unfocus, going wide and bright. His entire body stretches taut as Thor fills him in that quick, single thrust. Thor's hand moves in soothing strokes along Loki's spine as he draws back and out—as he bucks forward and slots right back in again, deep and rough. Loki curses in several languages simultaneously, and then they're moving in earnest. Rutting against each other, an uncoordinated mess as Thor drives deep into his brother's body—as he rocks his hips forward time and again, trying to achieve the impossible, to bury himself even deeper as Loki arches off the bed and meets every thrust.

He can't last long like this, and he's surprised when Loki beats him to the punch—when Loki's climax slicks both their stomachs, their chests, and Loki's voice gasps in low, piercing syllables Thor doesn't recognize.

Thor curls over Loki's body then, dropping his forehead to Loki's shoulder as he drives an increasingly unsteady rhythm into Loki's flesh. One hand curls around Loki's hip, grasping for leverage as Thor's other hand finds one of Loki's wrists and pins it to the pillow above their heads. He feels Loki's free hand card through his hair, then the surreal moment when Loki's arm settles around his shoulders in something that almost feels like an embrace.

That's all it takes to yank Thor over the precipice, one final thrust burying him deep and indelible as his orgasm rushes through him—as he spills the slick evidence of his climax within the tight heat of his brother's body.

He doesn't try to move after.

He feels empty of energy, drained in a way that only the most vigorous physical encounters ever leave him. His muscles feel sated and sleepy, lethargic, and the warmth seeping through his limbs is a pleasant sensation.

But it's not lethargy staying his movements or keeping his face buried in the crook of Loki's neck.

Reality is seeping back in with unwelcome swiftness, and what stills Thor now isn't satisfaction but shame. He can't move, can't speak, can't look, can't even pull his spent cock out of Loki's body without acknowledging what he's just done. His fingers tighten on Loki's wrist as rational thought returns to him in a rush, pulling him from the muddled haze of desire and leaving him reeling.

Thor's whole body trembles suddenly, sharply—with fear, with guilt, with the enormity of the violation he just inflicted.

He had no right. He's a monster. Loki will leave again, there's no doubt of it now, and this time he'll never return. Thor feels a physical twist of pain in his chest at the thought, and he barely chokes back the tormented shout that wants to yank loose.

Loki's voice is startling, and surprisingly calm.

"How long have you wanted to do that to me?"

"I'm sorry," Thor gasps instead of answering, shivering as the wave of shame crests inside him. "Brother, I did not intend—"

"I know," Loki cuts smoothly in, voice still calm and maddeningly even.

Thor's breath is unsteady, his throat tight with dangerous emotions—guilt glitters sharp in his chest, but not brightly enough to banish the sense of territorial satisfaction, or the lingering heat that still burns in Thor's blood.

"I cannot make this right," Thor whispers raggedly.

"You can answer my question," Loki says, voice firm. Tone unyielding. "How long?"

Thor considers lying. He considers pretending the thought never occurred to him before. Perhaps this could all be a misunderstanding, a momentary loss of control for which Thor will always remain guilty but which carries no further implication than that.

But he's done enough damage already. Even if he could tell the lie convincingly enough to fool Loki—arguably an impossible task—the last thing he needs to do now is violate his brother's trust as well as his body.

"Forever," he admits in a voice dark with emotion.

Loki goes impossibly still beneath him, and Thor takes a steadying breath. He shifts, braces himself with his free hand—he hasn't yet convinced the fingers of his other hand to let go of Loki's wrist—and moves to belatedly pull out of his brother—

But Loki's arm around his shoulder tightens, his legs rise and wrap around Thor's hips, stopping him before he can do any such thing. Thor breathes a surprised grunt and goes still. After an elongated, awkward moment, he moves again—not trying to pull out this time, as he doubts he could manage the trick with Loki determined for some reason to prevent him—but to prop himself up on an elbow and look his brother in the face.

There's unexpected openness in Loki's eyes, and Thor doesn't know whether to trust it. He has to, he decides. Even if he's wrong, what other choice is there now?

"You never said," Loki murmurs softly, confusion and consideration heavy in the words.

"I never intended you to know," Thor confesses, just as softly. He hides nothing. He has no more need for secrets. He's already damned himself.

"Why?" Loki asks, brows knitting slightly.

"You're my brother."

"I was your brother."

The words spike an edge of Thor's previous anger, but he squashes the response. Loki is clearly not baiting him now, and there's a terrifying sadness in his pale eyes. It twists guilty regret deep into Thor's heart, and Thor shakes his head in denial.

"You will always be my brother." Complicated though that makes their current position. "The blood in your veins makes no difference to me."

"And… this?" Loki shifts beneath him, expression guileless and less than credible as the movement jostles Thor's cock inside him—as the shift of their bodies together makes Thor grunt and his blood begin to migrate quickly south.

"This was…not something I planned, if that's what you're asking. I never intended to touch you this way. Certainly not without your consent. I behaved unconscionably and without thought."

"You mean you lost your temper," Loki says, a wry note slipping into his voice.

"Forgive me," Thor says. But even as he speaks the words, he feels his body betraying him, arousal mounting in his blood, stiffening his cock where it's still buried in the tight heat of Loki's body.

"Can you forgive me so easily?" Loki counters, brow darkening with unhappy skepticism. "For all I've done? For all I might yet do if you risk trusting me again?"

"Are you saying it would be a mistake to trust you?" Thor asks, and he's fully hard now—it's all he can do to keep the thread of this conversation, to hold still and keep from jerking forward, from thrusting deeper.

"You certainly don't need a warning from me to know trust is a dangerous commodity," Loki says.

"And if I choose to trust you anyway?"

"Then you're more of a fool than I realized," Loki snarls.

"You ask if I can forgive you," Thor says, and now, finally—belatedly—he uncurls his fingers from around Loki's wrist and slides his hand higher so that they're palm to palm, so that he can twine their fingers together and see the warm look of shock widen Loki's eyes. He doesn't mean to thrust his hips forward, but Loki's legs tighten around his waist, urging him on. The silence smolders between them, and Thor pulls partway out, rocks forward again—watches the way Loki's eyes flutter shut and his teeth close on his own lower lip as he bites back a low groan.

Thor stills again. He waits until Loki's eyes are open and lucid, watching him. He waits until he's sure Loki's body is as interested in a second round as his own, and then longer, until the heat in Loki's eyes tells him it won't just be his brother's body along for the ride this time.

He rolls his hips forward again, a test, and instead of protesting, Loki's fingers squeeze sharply at Thor's hand.

"Brother," Thor continues at last, dragging them both back to Loki's question of forgiveness still hovering in the air between them. A tentative smile rises at one corner of his mouth, and he says, "I already have."