The chains rattled and dug into his wrists with every crack of the whip against his naked back. The room was dim but not dark, he could see ever chain as it crisscrossed around the room, extra measures to prevent his escape. A muffled cry escaped his lips as the whip struck him between the shoulder blades and if it weren’t for the cuffs holding up his arms he would have fallen forward and collapsed.
The cuffs held all his weight right now, sending rivulets of blood sliding down his forearm to drip from his elbow and onto his spread thighs. He was slick with blood, the smell filling his nose, the sight of it seemed to turn his whole world red. Right now his whole world were the chains, the whip, and the blood.
“I’m so sorry brother,” a whisper from behind him, more remorse in that voice than Loki could feel in his entire body.
Loki felt no remorse, the feelings had been beaten out of him. All but anger. Another whip crack and he screamed behind shut lips, fingers curling around the chains and slipping as he tried to take some weight off his wrists.
“After this I am sure I can talk Father into… stopping this…”
If he could have he would have spit on the floor with disgust. Odin didn’t care about him, if he had his way Loki would rot in this miserable cell for the rest of his life. Some of his anger stirred as he recognized that Thor did not want that. Thor who took up the whip so someone else did not. It was too late for brotherly love, Loki was shocked to find that under all the anger he perhaps felt some regret. But only some… only a fraction.
Thor slapped the long whip along his spine and then dropped it. 100 lashes across the back. Loki had been crying with the pain earlier but now all that was left were the tear tracks down his face, he’d long since run out of tears. Thor knelt beside him and grabbed his face, wiping away blood and tears with his thumbs, ever so gently, “Brother, I never wanted to hurt you.”
It’s too late, Thor, thought Loki without much feeling.
Too late for apologies. Too late to give in. Loki was past help, he knew he was. So why didn’t Thor know? Stupid, stubborn Thor. His brother rest their foreheads together, his blue eyes closing as his thick fingers ever so gently worked the tangles out of Loki’s wild black hair.
“I love you, Loki,” words that were a whisper of air against his face. Loki let his eyes slip shut as lips pressed against his own, despite the twine that crisscrossed over them and sewed his mouth shut. When Thor pulled back he had Loki’s blood on his lips.
There was no sound in the cell but for their breathing and the unstoppable clinking of chains. Loki was too tired for this. He leaned forward and let his head rest against Thor’s shoulder, taking comfort while he could, in the silence that he could not control.
I do love you Thor, but you will never know.