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"LOKI!"

The wind whipped wildly around the both of them, clutching wickedly at the dangling god and pulling him away inch by inch. Thor was god of thunder, King of Asgard: he had faced many trials and tribulations before.

But this... this was different. He had never felt so mocked by his limits, by the reminder that he was but a tiny part of Yggdrasil.

Looking down into those familiar and beloved green eyes, usually sparkling with life and mischief but now filled with a calm resignation, Thor thought it would take a world - no, worlds - to not break.

"Don't you dare let go," he whispered fiercely, knuckles burning pale against Mjlonir. "Don't you dare leave us."

That damning look was still on Loki's face, and Thor wished for anything but that stillness - surprise, sorrow, even betrayal that his king had failed him so.

"Thor," Loki licked his thin lips and paused. "My king, my love, our children need you."

"SHUT UP AND HOLD ON!" Thor yelled with more fear than anger. "They need us."

At that, Loki laughed, a dry brittle sound that pierced his heart more than the raging elements ever did.

"And what good would it be if we both fell?" The dark head bowed for a moment, obscuring any expression on Loki's face. When he looked up again, there was a slight smile, one that reminded Thor of happier times when they would be sitting in a field, just the two of them.

"I love you," the slender fingers started to unfurl, one by one. "Goodbye."

"LOKI - No!"

"What is it, love?" A cool hand smoothed over his burning brow and Thor grasped blindly (desperately) for the beloved weight of his husband. Still there, still alive, his mind babbled gratefully.

Loki stilled as his king gripped him a little too tightly for comfort, but he sensed that Thor needed this.

So he continued to stroke the sweat-drenched back, subtly sketching calming spells as he did. Slowly, Thor's breaths begun to calm down, and his heart beat less fiercely against Loki's chest.

When at last his breathing had evened out, Thor's grip lessened and he pressed his lips against dark curls.

"I love you, Loki, and I will protect you."

"Of course, my liege." Loki wondered as to the sudden declaration, but then again, Thor could be unpredictable at times. "Sleep now. I'm here with you."

Keeping a tight hold on his beloved worn nightshirt, Thor gradually did just so.

When the morning rays warmed the king's skin, he shifted uneasily in his sleep, one hand still clutched in the faded nightshirt.

"Loki..."