The silence between Thor and Loki continues, since his little brother hasn’t spoken a word since their return from Midgard. From time to time he sees Loki walking around the halls, his steps quiet and careful, posture slumped and ungraceful, unlike how he was before this whole thing started. Looking out into the horizon, Thor remembers his father’s words after laying his magic upon his brother, Odin’s face pale and weak and uncharacteristic.
“What is it, Father?” Thor had asked, kneeling down beside Loki’s collapsed form, seizing on the ground. He cautiously takes the slight body in his arms and holds him close, turning to Odin.
“His mind,” Odin whispers, focusing his gaze on Loki. Frigga is kneeling beside him, looking worried. “It has greatly scarred, darkened and…I—” he shakes his head, standing up. “These forces have used magic and shrouded both my sight and Heimdall’s, blinding us both from your brother’s plight. And for that, I am forever sorrowful…”
These words haunted Thor since he first heard them, to the point that his dreams become ridden with nightmares of what could’ve happened to Loki during his time away from Asgard. After the event, Loki spent weeks in the healing chambers, unconscious and pale, and so not like Loki. Loki never used to be stationary, to the point that he resembled death. When he awoke, Thor was grateful, but it was short lived.
His brother refused to speak to him, let alone meet his eyes. He refused to talk to the All Father as well, and only made his presence known if he thinks of himself alone in the halls or with mother, plastered against her side, like he used to be as a wee child.
Thor blinks out of his thoughts and turns, knowing he looks shocked as he finds Loki standing behind him. His face blank and skin paler than usual, an unwelcomed yet familiar sight lately, he stares at Thor, eyes rimmed with the dark sleeplessness. “Brother,” he whispers, his voice in awe, this being the first time Loki’s said anything to him at all.
Loki says nothing back, but he limps forward rather than walk, until he’s beside Thor, his eyes staring into the horizon. It is then that Thor notices that he’s holding something behind him, but he need not try and see it because Loki moves it, and is now looking down at it.
It’s Peter’s drawing.
“Why do you enjoy the company of humans more than gods?” Loki asks, his voice blank. It held no emotion, and not tone of mockery. Just blank, that Thor finds himself missing his brother’s former tone.
“I—,” Thor starts, before trailing off. “After my banishment, I was shown the kindness and patience of humans, and they have shown me humility.”
“That human girl,” Loki says, and Thor’s stiffens slightly. He remembers Loki’s words, of how he would pay Jane a visit himself. But before any of the ill feelings he once felt come once more, Loki turns to him and looks right into his eyes. That’s when Thor notices that his brother’s eyes are glistening with unshed tears.
“Where did I go wrong, brother?” Loki asks, before looking away and staring down at Peter’s handwork again, his index finger trailing the sides of the paper. “How come it took a human girl for you to become a better man, when all I did from the very beginning as your brother was to support you, always.”
Thor blinks, and then it comes back, the moment of the threat, more vividly now. Loki had tears in his eyes at the time, after finding out that Jane has indeed change him as a person. “Brother…” he chokes out, not knowing what to say, but Loki’s not finished.
“I’ve only wanted to be your equal,” Loki whispers. “But the more I tried, the more I fell into the ridicule of your brute strength, and to those of your friends. My love for magic, one I developed as a place of solace from your taunts, had become the source of even more humiliation. And no matter how childish and little, it still mattered. To me, it did, but that means little, doesn’t it?”
“Of course not,” Thor says sincerely, taking in his brother’s words. It brings back memories him and Sif, and the others rolling their eyes as Loki shows off his new spell, and praising him for it, through taunting. He remembers the withdrawn expression of his brother’s face each time, always immediately followed with a smile. Times where they would be out doing extraneous activities of physical prowess, and Loki would be lagging, and at times, left behind. “Of course not, brother,” he repeats, shaking his head. “I am sorry I have wronged you…”
Loki doesn’t say anything, but a tear drips down his cheek and onto Peter’s work. Immediately, he scrambles to wipe it away, cursing softly when it smudges a bit of the grass at the bottom of the page. Thor watches curiously as he then waves his hand, and nothing happens. Loki’s face falls further, and it is obvious that he has forgotten that he no longer has any of his powers. His hands start to shake and soon, his whole body.
“Brother,” Thor starts worriedly, laying a soft hand on Loki’s arm only to have it shrugged off violently, his brother flinching and lashing out, stumbling backwards. He’s still clutching the drawing in his hand as he nearly falls, before walking away from Thor completely, a limp still very much visible in his gait.
“Mother, I know not what to do,” Thor tells his mother, when he sees him. Frigga does nothing more but put a soft hand on his shoulder and kisses his forehead, before leaving him behind, walking towards Loki’s chambers.
When Thor visits Midgard again, Peter greets with a familiar childish giggle.
“Did you? Did you? Did you?” Peter says, over and over, as Thor holds him, laughing. “Did I what, Little One?” he asks, turning to Steve and Tony, who are both sitting at the kitchen table, nursing a mug each. Steve shakes his head.
“Peter,” he chides, giving his son a look that reminds Thor of his mother, when he’s stuffing his face at the dinner table. “Use your words.”
The child blinks, before making a noise of surprise. “Oh! Um, OK,” he says before turning to Thor. “Um, did you give my drawing to Loki, Uncle Thor?”
“Of course I did, Peter,” he says, smiling, knowing fully well that Tony and Steve are staring at him doubtfully. “He was still holding it when I left home today.”
Peter’s eyes widen and he looks like he’s just been told the highest honour possible. “Oh wow…” he says, before squirming to get down. When he does, he runs towards dads and squeals. “Did you hear?! Loki liked it!” he says, clapping his hands gleefully. Tony claps his hands as well, laughing and grinning.
“Good job, buddy. Now, remember what you gotta do now?” Tony says, and Peter stops, before nodding, with a slight pout.
“Clean my room,” he says with a dramatic sigh, and Tony laughs, patting Peter’s backside. “Off your little bum you go.”
“Kayyyy,” Peter whines out before doddling over to his room, Dummy right behind him.
Thor watches as the child disappears down the hallway with a soft smile on his face, before turning towards his comrades to find the two of them staring at him.
“What is it?” he asks softly, walking over to the table and taking a seat. Steve sighs, and Tony leans back, crossing his arms.
“Did you actually give Loki, murderous son of a bitch, a kid’s drawing?” Tony whispers, with a tone of disbelief. “Or did you just say that because you didn’t want to make Peter cry?”
Thor frowns further and shakes his head. “No, dear friend. What I told Peter was pure truth. My brother had it in his hands since he first got it, and had it with him too, when I last saw him.”
“Which was when?” Steve prompts, staring at him with an unreadable expression.
With a sigh, Thor shakes his head. “Three days before this,” he whispers, blinking. “He is not well…”
“You said that,” Steve whispers, and Tony just gives him a look. Then, Thor feels a hand on his shoulder and he unconsciously leans on it silently.
None of them notice the little boy peeking into the kitchen, a sad look in his eyes.
Just before Thor takes his leave, Peter gives him another piece of paper. With another drawing, but no message this time. It has a green blob with two yellow horns surrounded with rainbows and flowers.
“Rainbows make everyone feel better,” Peter says, as if it is a matter of fact, not of opinion. Thor laughs softly and nods, patting the child’s head gently.
“Indeed it does. Thank you, Peter. I will make sure that he gets it,” he promises, earning him an enthusiastic hug around the shins.
It becomes routine, just like everything else in Thor’s life lately. Loki still hasn’t said a word to him since their last encounter, and as much as it saddens him, he would never force his brother. Not anymore.
But the drawings keep coming, that Tony’s joked about Peter becoming just like Steve was back in his own time, a man of the arts, with his most prominent character, the “Blob Loki.” Steve reddened at the first comment, saying that it would not be a bad thing. Thor thinks so as well.
He scarcely see Loki in the halls, so he’s made a habit of leaving Peter’s drawings on the table by the fireplace, right next to the shelves that housed all of Loki and his Mother’s favourite tomes. At first, he thought he’d find it there again by the end of the day, but smiles in satisfaction each and every time he doesn’t see it when he checks. He just hopes that Loki has grown tired of this little game and have been disposing the drawings into the fire.
Soon, he’s placed more than two handfuls of drawings on the table, since Peter’s been giving multiples now, excited as always, each and every time. Every piece features the green blob, always surrounded by pleasant things. When Thor once mentioned Loki’s love for books, Peter drew Blob Loki amongst the highest shelves of books. Then another where Blob Loki seems to be sleeping in a giant, opened tome, something that makes him laugh.
“This is genius, Peter!” Thor says, laughingly. “My father once jest that if Loki had a choice, every item in the house would be a book, as he was frequently found sleeping amongst the library’s shelves when he was younger.” The proud grin that splits the child’s face brings him most satisfaction.
At the moment, he’s had just finished council with the All Father and was contemplating going to Midgard to visit Jane. It has been a while since he’s seen her, and he greatly misses her presence. But before he can decide further, he sees his mother walking down the halls, frantically turning her head.
“Mother?” he asks worriedly, and Frigga sees him and runs towards him as fast as she could.
“Thor,” she whispers sorrowfully. “It’s your brother.”
When he gets to the healing chambers, he father’s sitting by Loki’s bed, his hand on his forehead. It seems that his brother is unconscious, and according to his mother, wasn’t when she had come to get him.
“He just doubled over and started screaming, clutching his head,” she whispers, fearfully. “I didn’t know what to do, but your father…” she trails off, looking at Odin, whose eyes are closed. Thor walks over to the other side of the bed and sits by Loki’s side. He takes his brother’s limp hand in his and squeezes. There’s a black leather tome not like the ones he’s seen before. He frowns at it, and feels his mother come up behind him.
“I made it for him,” Frigga says, taking the book in her hands. She opens it and shows it to her eldest, and that’s when Thor sees it’s definitely not ordinary.
“I found them stacked on his table in his chambers,” his mother says, flipping through Peter’s drawings one by one. “He’s been collecting them, always looking at them while in bed when he’s too weak to get out of it.”
“What ails him, mother,” Thor whispers, feeling choked and helpless, before letting out a teary laugh when he sees the one where Peter drew Blob Loki with wings. His hand is still on Loki’s, squeezing it softly. Frigga doesn’t say anything else, and together they look up when Odin lets out a soft gasp.
Odin blinks and looks up at Thor slowly, his hand gently lifting from Loki’s forehead. His brother’s no longer grey, but he’s still very pale. With a mighty shake of his head, the All Father stands up and walks over to Thor, laying a hand on his shoulder.
“Watch out for your brother, my son,” he whispers, before walking away. Frigga smiles sadly and passes Peter’s drawings Thor, before following her husband.
For a while, Thor just sits there, with one hand on Loki’s and the other, flipping through the book. When Loki awakes, he does it so silently that Thor doesn’t notice until he sees Loki staring at him with half lidded eyes.
“Tell me about the young Midgardian, brother…” Loki whispers weakly, making Thor’s head snap up. He stares for a while, to the point that his brother repeats his request, this time, if possible, even weaker. Thor gives a small smile and squeezes his brother’s hand, before going in a whole tirade about Peter Stark-Rogers, adopted son of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.
And the whole time, Loki doesn’t shake off his hand.