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Catch Me (I'm Falling)

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It took him a while to realize that he’d woken up.  Awareness of his body returned gradually, completing as he stretched his limps.  Obviously he’d been asleep a long time, from the way his muscles felt.  There was also something covering him, and from the feel of it, it was a blanket.  It seemed he was in a bed.

Loki looked around, but wherever he was, it was pitch black.  A cave maybe?  But why would there be a bed in a cave?  He blinked, but still he could see nothing.  It was all quite mysterious. 

“Brother?”

Loki started at the voice, recognizing it almost instinctively as Thor’s.  “Thor?” he replied.  Usually he would not answer his brother in such a friendly manner, but since they were both stuck in this dark place, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to take his brother’s help.  Thor was so inherently noble that he wouldn’t dare attack him when neither could see.

“Thor, where are we?” Loki asked, turning his head.  Of course, he could not see his brother.  “Why is it so dark?”

Without his vision, his other senses were heightened.  So he could easily hear Thor’s intake of breath, slightly shaky as if with tears, though of course the proud heir to the Asgardian throne didn’t cry.  That was absurd.

“It is not dark Loki,” Thor said in a low voice.

Frowning, Loki shot back.  “Well I do not know what you’d call not being able to see then.  It is, most certainly, dark.  Pitch black, actually.  I knew you were stupid but I didn’t-“

“It is not dark brother,” Thor cut him off, voice soft but firm.  “We are in the hospital.  It is bright.”

What?  That didn’t make sense.  Unless…

“Thor, what happened to me?”

There was no answer, other than another shaky intake of breath.

“Thor, answer me!  What happened to me?”

Again silence, until a choked voice emerged from the darkness.  “I am so sorry brother.”

 

Later they told him what had happened, long after his not-brother had left.  Nick Fury told him how one of Thor’s lightning bolts had hit the ground just a couple inches in front of him.  It had not hit him, thankfully, for even though he was a god, he couldn’t have survived that.  But it had been close enough, bright enough, to blind him.

The doctors at S.H.I.E.L.D told him that his vision would return, although when and where, they didn’t know.  In fact, it sounded as if they didn’t know if it would return at all.  And though it went unspoken, though they seemed confident, the thought chilled him to the bone.  That was saying something, coming from a Johtun.

 

“This way brother,” Thor said, large hand holding his elbow in a light but steady grip.  He was trying to be helpful, Loki knew, which was why he didn’t snap at him like he wanted to. 

“I don’t know where ‘this way’ is, brother,” he ground out between clenched teeth.

“Oh.”

One hand trailing against the wall was the only connection Loki had to the hallway, the only way he could potentially tell where he was going.  Thor was supposed to be leading him, but was doing an abysmal job.  It gave Loki a strange sense of pleasure, seeing how much of a bumbling fool Thor was.  Though his pride had been stung by accepting his offer to lead him to his room (offer, though there really was no way Loki could have said no), Loki at least received some satisfaction in knowing that he did not need to rely on his brother as much as he’d thought. 

After stumbling for the eighteenth time so far, Loki pushed his brother away.  “Useless!” he spat.  “I’ll do it myself!”

His first step on his own was terrifying.  There was nothing there to save him, nothing to catch him if he fell.  It felt as if the world would open and swallow him up.  As if, once more, the Bifrost would break apart and he would let go and he would fall. 

But then the ground met his foot and it was okay.  And so he took the next step, and the next, feelings more and more confident. 

Then he tripped.

All his fears came rushing back, and he was sure, so sure, that he would never meet the ground, that he would fall forever, become old and die in the void of space, never knowing warmth again-

And then a strong arm was wrapped around his waist.  Then he was being hauled up against a strong chest, one he hadn’t felt in so long that he’d almost missed it, though of course that wasn’t something he would admit.  Thor had saved him once more.  Despite himself, he was grateful. 

“Careful brother,” Thor murmured, his voice holding a hint of a smile.  “We would not want you to be hurt.”

“No, we certainly wouldn’t want that,” Loki muttered under his breath, pulling away from Thor, but allowing his brother to take his elbow once more.

“Come along brother,” the larger man said with a hint of a smile.  “I’ve got you.”

Loki didn’t know why, but those words made his stomach bubble with something that felt like happiness but could have just as soon been fear.  It was probably fear.  He hoped it was fear. 

He allowed Thor to lead him to his bedroom silently.  There were warm fingers curled around his thin arm, a steady wall beneath his fingers, and each step brought security, the kind he hadn’t known since those long forgotten days when he was a prince of Asgard. 

Though he couldn’t see, he’d never felt so safe.