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Hellfire

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Oh merciful three Norns,

You know I am a righteous King,

Of my virtue I am justly proud

 

Oh powerful three Norns,

You know I'm so much purer than

The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd

 

Then tell me, oh wise ones

Why I see him dancing there

Why his em’rald eyes still scorch my soul

 

I feel him, I see him                                                                                             

The sun caught in his raven hair

Is blazing in me out of all control

 

Like fire

Hellfire

This fire in my skin

This burning

Desire

Is turning me to sin

 

It's not my fault

I'm not to blame

It is the Trickster god

That witch who sent this flame

It's not my fault

Against all odd’

You made the Liesmith so much

Stronger than this god!

 

Protect me, oh wise ones

Don't let this siren cast his spell

Don't let his fire sear my flesh and bone

Destroy my fair brother

And let him taste the fires of hell

Or else let him be mine and mine alone

 


 

 

Thor Allfather,

The Trickster has escaped

He is no longer at the palace

He is... gone

 

What?! But how, I...

Never mind it,

Get out, you oaf!

I shall find him.

I shall find him if I have to burn down all of Asgard!

 


 

 

Hellfire

Dark fire

Now Jötunn, it's your turn

Choose me or

Your pyre

Be mine or you will burn

 

Norns have mercy on him

Norns have mercy on me

But he will be mine

Or he will burn!

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

Burn

 

Loki stood tall as he gazed upon the golden throne. He held his head high, his hands motionlessly in front of him as they were bound in cold iron. The fabrics of dark blue and grey wrapped around his body formed a simple, almost peasant-like Asgardian outfit. His emerald eyes reflecting calmness, hiding the feeling of dread that stirred in his core.

It had been three months since he last walked these halls and laid eyes upon the throne. He was weary of the new King’s reign, of his pride and arrogance, so the raven had decided to flee from the Asgardian palace and seek refugee among its people. 

The new King of Asgard, Thor Odinson. 

As Odin and Frigga had come to pass, their spirits resting in the eternity of Valhalla, Thor had taken his place upon Hlidskjalf. It was his birthright, after all. 

Thor’s reign was inaugurated with a great feast that had lasted for two whole weeks. Asgardians would drink, eat, dance and cheer in merriment, all to celebrate a new heir, a new dawn. Drunk with power, with might, Thor quickly turned Asgard into a Realm of chaos, starting wars whenever he saw fit. 

Not being able to see his brother turn their home into ruins, Loki had tried to reason with the Thunderer. He had tried to talk some sense into him, tried to make him stop and see the errors of his ways, but it all fell on deaf ears. 

Loki had tried so many, many times and although his words did not come through, there was something else about him that had caught his brother’s attention. 

“Every good King needs a wise and beautiful Queen at his side. You, my dearest brother, would suffice perfectly.” 

The raven shivered as he heard Thor’s words echo in his mind, feeling the ghost of his breath in the nape of his neck, even now. The god of thunder had changed from that moment on, and even though Loki thought it was not possible, the god’s personality became even worse. Thor wanted Loki at his side at all times. He became easily jealous, obsessive even, imprisoning or executing those he deemed a threat to their relationship.

Friends, councilmen and even the palace staff had started to avoid the trickster, all in fear of Thor’s sickening jealousy. In the end, no one would even dare to come close to the raven, making Thor the only one he could turn to in his isolation. 

Loki managed to live with Thor’s selfish and obsessive behavior. He endured the way his brother would wrap a greedy arm around his waist, how he would shout at him if he was out of his sight for more than an hour. He even suffered through all the times his brother would raise his hand, beating him into submissiveness as Loki tried to deny what Thor wanted or even disagree on his choices or opinions. 

There was one thing, however, that the trickster simply could not bear. It happened during a chilly spring night, three months ago. The raven was called into the King’s chambers and beckoned to sleep in the same bed as his brother. Loki, not daring to defy his brother any longer, his body bruised and cut, reluctantly stepped into the bed and quickly covered himself in the soft sheets. 

“Let me look at your face, my fair brother, for I want to see it as I make you moan my name.”  

Thor had commanded his younger brother to undress and spread his legs, but the trickster refused.

Loki remembers his brother raise his voice in fury, how greedy and rough hands had tried to rip the fabric from his body. He still does not know how he had succeeded to pull himself free from his brother’s claws, but it was that night that Loki disappeared from the palace and fled into the safety of the dark Asgardian back alleys. He had survived on the streets for three months before being caught and brought back. 

‘All rise!’ 

A voice sounded loudly from the back of the hall, causing Loki to snap out of his memories. The four guards at the trickster’s side all stood at attention, their expression tense as the brim of their helmets casted shadows over their eyes. 

The trickster could hear heavy doors opening left of him, followed by the sound of familiar footsteps. He felt his heart beating loudly at the sight of his brother entering the hallway. 

The new King of Asgard sat down on his golden throne, his skin untouched by the continuation of time. His body strong, battle scars hidden underneath layers of thick leather, strong metal and the finest silk. His hair was golden, framing sun-kissed skin. 

Loki glared at his new King, brilliant blue eyes tainted with greed, power and wrath meeting his gaze. 

Thor tilted his head slightly backwards, haughtily looking down on his younger brother. ‘Leave us,’ his voice was low, his eyes still fixated on the raven as he addressed the guards. 

The four men did not dare to question the Allfather’s orders and bowed instantly. They dropped the heavy chains attached to the trickster’s cuffs and collar and left the hall as they were commanded. 

Loki gulped as he heard the door fall shut behind him, realizing now that the two of them were alone. 

Thor rose to his feet, slowly, and descended the golden stairs with nonchalant steps. ‘Loki,’ his low voice sends a shiver down the trickster’s spine as Thor walked around him like a predator, peering at its cornered prey. ‘My dearest brother.’ 

‘We are not brothers,’ the raven stated coldly, his chin held high as he refused to falter under the blond’s intimidating pose. ‘We were merely raised together, just another turn in fate’s twisted design. Nothing more.’

Thor stood still for a moment, his shoulder nearly brushing against Loki’s back. ‘Always the silver tongue,’ he grumbled. ‘Always such painful and sharp words.’ He wrapped an arm around his brother’s small waist and placed his free hand on the pale skin of Loki’s chin, pushing his chest against the trickster’s back. ‘Did you not know that our father-’ 

Your father,’ Loki quickly correct him instantly. ‘Odin and I, we are nothing alike.’

‘Oh, so that is what this is about?’ The god’s voice sounded light now, relieved and surprised, almost excited. He let go of the raven and took an almost playful step back. ‘You see us unrelated, simply because of our differences?’ 

Loki gulped, a thin line appearing between his brows as he knew Thor was up to something. He had to pick his words carefully, ‘We differ too much, Thor. Personality, appearance, there is nothing that makes us family.’ 

‘…I see,’ Thor breathed in the trickster’s ear as he placed a hand on the small of his back. He let his fingers trail up the raven’s spine, feeling the rough grey fabric under his fingertips. ‘It pains me to hear you say so, Loki.’ He moved his fingers gently over the exposed skin in the raven’s neck, messaging it softly as he felt the muscles in Loki’s shoulders tense. ‘However, I do think I can help you with this matter.’ 

‘Help m-?’ Loki was not granted the time to finish his sentence as Thor’s rough fingers tangle in his hair. The blond pulled hard, causing the raven to let out a sharp hiss in pain as he was dragged to his knees. He tried to tangle Thor’s hand out of his hair, his own lean fingers intertwining with those of the god, but he soon realized that he stood no chance. 

‘If it is merely your appearance that makes you feel like a cast out of this family,’ a wicked grin formed on Thor’s face as he kept pulling on the raven’s hair, tilting his brother’s head to look up at him. ‘Than let’s see if we can create some more resemblance.’

‘Thor-! W-what are you-?! Let go of me!’ Loki’s chest was heaving as he saw the blond raise his free hand like a claw, blunt nails directed at his pale face. The trickster’s eyes widened, panic washing over him as he looked straight into the god’s frantic gaze. ‘Thor, Thor- please, what are you-’ 

With a swift movement of his hand, Thor burrowed his fingers deep into the raven’s right eye socket, his nails hooking into the soft tissue of his eye. He grinned as he felt the warmth of the trickster’s body wrap around his fingers and started to laugh loudly as he heard his baby brother scream in agony. The raven’s destressed voice sends jolts of pleasure through Thor’s body. Loki was shaking in his hands, squirming violently and kicking his feet as he begged him to stop. 

The blond held on tight, the raven locks tangled around his fingers unmoving in his strong grip. He let his fingers dig deeper into the trickster’s socket, blood gushing from the wound he created and mixing with the tears that streamed down pale skin.

Loki’s mind went blank. He could not think, he could not control his body movements, his nails clawed into his brother’s arms, leaving deep, red lines across his tanned skin. He screamed, his voice hoarse as he had no words left to shout. 

With a rough twist of his wrist Thor pulled the organ from its place, soft tissue digging deep underneath his fingernails. ‘There,’ he nearly growled, his teeth bared in a wide grin as he stared into the emerald iris, blood dripping down his hand. He then turned his gaze towards his baby brother. ‘Now you are just like father.’ He let go of Loki’s hair and saw how the trickster collapsed, placing both hands on the dark gap in his face, ruby liquid staining his pale hands.

Loki gasped desperately, his chest heaving as he tried to stifle his cries. He was on his knees, his back arched as his head nearly touched the floor. He fought bravely but could not suppress his howling cries of pain. He trembled violently, nauseating waves of heat and cold leaving him both shivering and sweating. He then pressed one hand against his stomach, heaving bile. 

‘Now that those trifling matters are taken care of,’ The blond continued nonchalantly, ignoring the fact that his baby brother was shivering in pain and fear. ‘I believe it is time to discuss something more important. You see, Loki, you have rejected me in a most gruesome way. I offered you the King’s bed, I offered you the greatest comfort one could ever dream of, and what was it you did?’ He stepped in front of his little brother and crouched down, one arm wrapped around his knees, his free hand gently and amiably moving through Loki’s thick raven locks. ‘You ran. You rejected my love.’ 

‘..L-ov…e?’ Loki managed to utter through clenched teeth, his stomach turning into a tight knot as memories flashed before his eyes. ‘You… a-bused me,’ he hardly recognized his own voice as it was now hoarse and rough from screaming. ‘You hit me till my skin turned black, you cut me till there was hardly a drop of blood left in my veins. You killed those who merely looked at me! You do not adore me, you are obsessed with me!’ The trickster lifted his head and focus his vision, baring his teeth in rage as Thor’s face became visible in the blur of yellow, red and grey. His heart was beating loudly in his chest, his pulse drumming in his ears. He froze as Thor remained silent, his blue eyes empty and detached. 

‘…You think my actions were formed out of sheer obsessiveness?’ The blond eventually asked in a low voice, causing his brother to lean slightly backwards like a dog trying to hide from its abusive master. ‘You truly have no idea of what I would do for you.’ He yanked hard on one of the chains that were connected to the trickster’s cuffs, pulling his brother into his arms. He pressed his lips against those of the raven, his hand resting on the back of Loki’s head, keeping his brother from escaping his embrace. 

Thor licked at pale lips which were covered in tears and blood, tasting salt and copper mixed on his tongue. He ignored the stifled moan that vibrated in the trickster’s throat as he thrusted his tongue in, exploring every nook and cranny of the raven’s mouth. 

Loki pressed his shaking hands against the blond’s chest and tried to push him away, but Thor did not move. He felt his Seiðr raging through every fiber of his body in alarm, the only thing restraining his power being the heavy cuffs on his wrists and the collar on his neck. He gasped as the older god let go of his lips, only to press rough kisses against his jawline and down his throat. ‘Th-or,’ he let out a shivering breath, his vision blurring with tears. ‘Plea…se…’ 

The Thunderer did not respond to his younger brother’s pleading. Whether it was because he did not hear him, or simply because he chose to ignore him he did not know. He placed his rough hand against the trickster’s chest and pushed him on his back. He pinned Loki down by holding on to his wrists and stared straight into one emerald eye. ‘You are of unknown beauty, brother,’ he whispered roughly. ‘For me, and only me to behold. I am never letting you out of my sight again.’ 

Loki’s breath froze as Thor held both his wrists in one hand. Sparks ignited between the god’s fingers, leaving burn marks on the trickster’s blood-stained skin. He tried to move, squirming desperately now that he felt Thor’s free hand move down his waist and stop at the brim of his grey pants. ‘Thor, don’t. Please. I- I beg of you-’ but Loki’s cries for mercy were ignored. With his pants now pulled down to his thighs Loki shivered, feeling the cold marble floor against his bared skin. 

Thor grabbed his younger brother’s lithe legs, lifting them slightly so he could remove his pants completely. He pressed sloppy kisses against the raven’s cheek, moving his lips to his helix, only stopping to rip the remaining fabric from his brother’s body. The blond panted softly, staring down at the exposed body of his baby brother. 

Loki was perfect. His chest heaving with every shivering breath he took, the sharp edges of his collarbones clearly visible under his skin. His stomach flat and showing the delicate muscles that featured underneath. His seemingly endless legs stretched out and squirming underneath him. 

Thor eyed his brother with raging hunger. ‘For years I had to restrain myself, wondering what it would be like to feel you around me.’ He leaned forward, his lips stained in red as he kissed Loki’s cheek and licked the trail of blood till his tongue touched his gaping eye socket. ‘I have dreamed about you so many, many times.’ His voice was a rough whisper, his breath caressing the raven’s skin. ‘On your back as your slender legs rest upon my shoulders, my cock sheathed deep inside of you. First, you moan in shy breaths, as I move in slowly, gently. Your voice becoming infatued with lust as you beg me to pound into you, like the woman of easy virtue you are. You desire me, crave me, scream my name as I pleasure you in ways you did not even know you loved. The sound of our moans, the smell of our flesh, the thought of our purest sin,’ Thor let out a deep breath. ‘It is what I secretly think of during the bright of day. And it is what I so vulgarly dream of in the darkest of nights.’ 

All Loki could do was blink his one eye, tears streaming down his face as he stared absentmindedly at the ceiling. He opened his mouth and tried to raise his voice against the sick and twisted words his brother so obscenely spoke of, but he was unable to make a sound. The first noise he was able to make was a chocked-up groan as Thor lifted one of his legs and placed it over his shoulder. He heard Thor unbuckle his belt and impatiently move his pants down his hips. He felt his brother’s fingers moving like snakes over his hips, only to grab him roughly at his waist and to be pulled up Thor’s bared lap. 

Loki kept his eye on the ceiling, desperately praying to the Three Norns for this all to be a dream. A horrid, nauseating, petrifying nightmare of which he could not escape. 

A stifled sob escaped from the raven’s throat as he felt Thor’s already hard and leaking cock pressed against his rim. He wanted to scream and shout, to beg his brother to stop, but his voice had abandoned him. He gasped, his lungs burning as it felt like his breath was stuck in his throat. 

Thor shivered as he let the head of his dick press against his younger brother’s entrance, teasingly nudging the ring of muscles before pushing into him in a quick and powerful thrust. The sensation of his brother’s inner walls closing tightly around him left him gasping. The wet heat of his body wrapped around his cock made Thor’s world spin for a second. ‘Oh, dear Norns,’ he groaned as he stilled his hips, savoring his little brother’s body wrapped around him. ‘You feel so good, brother. You are so tight, and the heat…’ He did not finish his sentence as he did not want to waist another second on words. He moved his hips backwards, agonizingly slow as he moaned softly. Then, without any warning, slammed his hips forward, sheathing his cock deep inside his baby brother with great force. He repeated his movement, again, and again, feeling the perfect mixture of his pre-cum and blood from Loki’s torn walls covering his cock and down the raven’s ass. 

Loki’s world was spinning, his mind a complete blur as blood still trickled from the gushing wound of his eye. It hurt… Norns, it hurt. The moment Thor split him open, the moment he penetrated his body, never had Loki felt such a burning and sharp pain. It filled his core and left his legs static after every thrust. The pain waved over his body with each thrust of Thor’s hips, exploding in his head with a blinding whiteness. Loki found himself almost smiling through his endless tears as an overwhelming state of hope washed over him. A hope that his mind would let him drift off into oblivion, his mind blank, his vision black as his blood loss would carry him into merciful unconsciousness. 

‘Tell me, brother,’ Thor panted loudly, continuing to thrust his cock violently into his little brother. He wrapped his fingers around Loki’s jawline, forcing him to look him in the eye. ‘Tell me how good I make you feel, how you love riding my cock.’ 

The raven parted his lips but could not find any word to speak, his mind short-circuiting. He looked at his brother’s direction as he was forced to, though his eye seemed unfocused. ‘Th-o…r…’ he managed to lift his arms, the cuffs on his wrists feeling heavier than ever. He stretched out his hand, the tip of his fingers barely touching the blond’s cheeks. ‘Plea-’ He abruptly stopped mid-sentence as he felt Thor’s teeth digging into his skin. He shivered at the sensation, at the sight, of his brother biting his hand like a wild beast.

‘Loki,’ Thor moaned as he had never called out to his brother in such a filthy tone. He felt his orgasm drawing near and he gritted his teeth as he desperately tried to chase it as much as suppress it. He wanted to come so bad, to fill his brother with his hot cum and have him squirming, begging for more. Yet at the same time, he wanted to last, to keep pounding into Loki and savor every little response the trickster made. His panting, his shivering, even the terror-filled tears that trickled uncontrollably down his face. Thor adored all of it, wanting it to last forever. 

Loki winced. 

He wished for someone to burst into the hall and stop his brother. Somebody, anybody. His throat tightened as he came to realize how pathetically desperately he wished to be saved. 

On the other hand, the raven wanted nothing more but to endure this torment in solitude. He would rather die than let anyone see him like this; suffering, crying, helpless… raped. His cheeks flushed a bright shade of red as he hid his face in his bleeding hands in complete embarrassment. 

Norns, he was so ashamed… 

Loki’s mind snapped back to his harsh reality as he felt his brother’s hip jerk, his head spinning as he came to realize Thor was close.

The blond thrusted into his brother in rough movements, grunting lowly as the smell of sex lingered in the air. He filled Loki’s body with a loud cry, feeling lightheaded as he ride out his orgasm in his brother’s tight and bloodied heat. After a few seconds of panting Thor finally let go of the raven’s hips, admiring the blue and purple bruises that had formed on the trickster’s skin. He moved back, the sloppy sound of his cock being pulled from his brother’s hole sent a shiver down his spine. ‘You are so perfect, Loki,’ Thor’s voice was hoarse in the aftermath of his orgasm, his skin covered in sweat. 

The raven was a complete wrack, his hair sticking to his face, his lifeless body drenched in blood and sweat. Thor grinned at the idea that this was all caused by his hand. He leaned over his brother’s body one more time and whispered in his ear; ‘If you ever try to run from me again I will rain down every agony, every violation imaginable, upon you... I will parade your cold body from every realm, and feed your soul to the vilest filth in Hel, that is my promise.’ 

Loki remained completely silent as he struggled to keep his eye open, his mouth slightly ajar as he tried to breath in. He felt Thor’s lips on his forehead, sealing his fate with a kiss as cold as death.

He let out a deep breath, his world turning black as he was embraced by the mercy of unconsciousness.  

 

 

Chapter Text

Hi everyone, 

 

Just wanted to tell you all that I am actually planning on continuing this fic!

I don't quite know when I will be able to upload the next chapter but I just wanted to let you guys know as much :)

So... If you liked this fic please subscribe and you'll know when I will be posting the next chapter!

 

Thanks again for reading and have an awesome day! :)

Chapter Text

Loki sat outside in the imperial garden, a gentle spring breeze caressing his pale skin. It moved the branches of the cherry blossom trees surrounding him, the sound of the leaves dancing was the purest form of music. He inhaled deeply, closing his eye as he slightly tilted his head back, savoring the warmth of the bright, afternoon sun. He let his toes dig into the soft green grass underneath his bare feet, his boots neatly placed next to the wooden bench he was sitting on. 

His mind started to drift, taking him back to his most precious possession. 

His memories. 

He smiled as he envisioned his mother, her silk hair and kind smile radiating the warmth and safety that the raven god so desperately longed for. She looks at him. Golden eyes portraying a pure love that only a mother could cherish. He heard her voice, gentle and patient.

 

 

“Loki.”

 

 

The raven smiled as her voice filled his mind, swearing he could feel her soft hands resting on his cheeks.

 

 

“I am so proud of you, Loki. To gain control over your Seiðr at such a young age. You are truly talented. I love you so much, my dearest winter child."

 

 

The raven bit down on his bottom lip, his mother’s words of praise and love drawing a stuttered breath. 

His hands were folded, resting on the pages of an ancient book that was given to him by none other than his brother. The king of Asgard. 

Loki let his hand trail over the wrinkled parchment, the pages crackling softly underneath his fingertips. 

Thor would always bring him books from the realms and planets he invaded and conquered, presenting them as gifts to the raven, hoping it would sooth his longing to venture into the word on his own. 

The trickster nearly flinched, his nose slightly wrinkling as he felt something move against his legs. It was soft, warm, and as Loki opened his eye and looked down, he noticed the small creature that somewhat resembled a cat. It had six legs, its fur in gorgeous shades of green and brown, its large pupils encircled in a small ring of yellow. 

‘Why hello there,’ Loki smiled as he slowly reached out to the creature. ‘Aren’t you the peculiar one?’ He chuckled softly as he had seen the animal roam through the gardens before, though it had never come this close. The animal sniffed Loki’s hand, obviously doubting whether to trust this stranger or not.

‘Why would you choose to be here,’ Loki muttered as he was almost able to touch the creature. ‘When you have the freedom to go out there?’ He looked up and stared at the high and thick walls surrounding him. It looked so tranquil, but all Loki saw was his imprisonment, clear to see through this façade of security.

Thor had forbidden him from leaving the palace grounds, from venturing off on his own. Loki was not even allowed to go outside the palace during the cold and short days of winter, all because his brother did not want him to roam from his ever-watchful eyes. It would be too dangerous and too cold for him, according to Thor. 

A painful smirk formed on the trickster’s face. There is no such thing as “too cold” for a Jötunn, not even for a runt such as himself. He wanted to tell Thor of this, but never found the courage to go against his brother’s will. 

But now, with the arrival of a new season, of new life, Loki was finally allowed to feel the sun on his skin, to hear the wind whispering through the leaves, to see the bright blue skies with his own eye. He could experience it all, even if was behind thick, white walls. 

The raven let the tip of his fingers caress the creature’s silk fur. It leaned slightly into the touch, its lenient purring turning the trickster’s frown into a genuine smile. 

The gentle touch was short to last however, as the animal suddenly looked up, its dilated pupils contracting into small slits. It took a quick step back, hissed and then agilely maneuvered itself into the tall cherry tree.

Loki stood up and tilted his head. He was hardly able to spot the perfectly camouflaged creature and wondered what he did wrong. 

It soon became clear. 

‘Loki.’ 

The trickster tensed at the sound, his breath stuck in his throat. He felt a pair of arms slither around his waist and pulling him close. He remembered himself to breath and tried to calm his racing heart. 

He turned around in the strong arms and smiled. ‘Thor,’ he placed his hands against the god’s broad chest. ‘Welcome home.’ 

‘It is good to be home,’ the blond smiled and held his younger brother close against his chest. ‘I have missed you,’ he spoke softly, his words vibrating against the raven’s lips before he kissed him. ‘I was only thinking of you.’ 

‘And I feel honored,’ Loki hummed, forcing himself to endure. ‘Yet certainly your journey to our troops must have brought you more than this heartache?’

‘It has,’ the blond pressed a kiss against the raven’s forehead before letting him go. ‘As you know I visited our troops on the frontline of our battle against Denak and I just might have come up with a way to defeat his demonic troops once and for all.’

Loki closed his eye and breathed the god’s air. Thor smelled of sand, of sweat and of blood. The trickster could almost taste the battlefield in his mouth. The god of thunder had yet to take a bath, and Loki feared he knew the reason. ‘I see,’ he looked up, meeting Thor’s blue eyes. ‘So, one final stance and then this war will be over?’ 

‘And then, the planet of Algor will be ours,’ Thor smiled, holding his brother in his strong embrace again. ‘Asgard will be victorious. We shall be victorious. With you at my side, there is no one who will dare to cross our paths. No one who will dare to face our army, our einherjar, and no one who will question our supremacy.’ He then held Loki’s face in his rough hands, his thumb gently caressing his cheeks. ‘With you at my side, I shall be invincible. Now come,’ he smiled. ‘Join me in bath and I shall tell you all of my grand strategy.’ 

Loki followed the rough hand that held on to his own and guided him inside. He hesitated slightly as he had to take his first step out of the garden and back into the castle again. 

Thor did not seem to notice his brother’s reluctance, for he pulled the trickster inside without even looking at him. 

The raven let out an imperceptible sigh and followed his King. He did not want to look back. He did not want to see how the doors closed behind him, how his limited time of make-believe freedom was taken from him once again. 

Thor guided his younger brother through the large hallways and towards the bathing chambers, holding on to the trickster’s hand and not once letting go. ‘Careful, brother. There are stairs here.’ 

Loki looked down with each and every step he took as he still had a hard time adjusting to living with one eye only. Depth was one of his major problems, causing him to knock over his glass if he wanted to drink, to walk into walls if he wasn’t paying enough attention, or even to fall down the stairs. 

He stood still in front of the set of steps, cautiously lifting one foot while holding his brother’s hand for support. 

‘That’s it, easy now,’ Thor’s voice was soft, his focus fully directed towards the struggling raven. ‘I’ve got you, Loki.’ It took the two almost ten minutes to assent the simple structure, but the blond did not mind. He was patient, gentle even. Adoring how his baby brother leaned on him, how he needed him. ‘This is the last step.’ 

Loki straightened his back and wanted to walk again, trusting his brother to tell him the truth. He yelped however as he hit his toes against another step, making him loose his balance and cling on to Thor like an infant. 

‘Loki!’ The god quickly wrapped his arms around the raven, pressing him tightly against his body. ‘It’s okay, brother. I am here for you.’ 

Loki merely nodded as he gritted his teeth in frustration. ‘I thought you said-’ 

‘I told you to be careful,’ Thor shushed him, pressing his brother’s head against his chest. ‘Oh dear brother, this is why I cannot let you leave the safety of the palace. I should not even be leaving your side.’ He let his fingers curl through soft raven hair and pressed a kiss against his temple. ‘You do understand, don’t you Loki?’ 

The trickster gave a reluctant nod. 

‘Say it,’ Thor demanded coldly.

‘I-I understand…’ 

‘Good,’ The blond smiled and helped Loki back on his feet. ‘Now, let’s continue. You have already caused me enough delay, would you not agree?’

It did not take long before the two reached the steam-filled bathing rooms. The water was already hot, scented candles and incense burning, filling the air with the smell of mint and lavender. 

Loki helped his brother undress, starting by unhooking his flaming-red cape. He unstrapped his armory, revealing his broad chest. He untied his heavy boots, placing them neatly next to a marble bench and, finally, unbuttoned the black leather pants. 

The raven took a step back, the god’s clothes resting in his arms. ‘I will be waiting for you in the hallway. Take all the time you wish,’ he spoke shyly, averting his eyes from his brother’s sun-kissed body with a slight blush. No matter how often he had seen Thor naked, no matter how often they had shared a bed, Loki still found it uncomfortable to be in his brother’s company while he was completely naked. 

Thor, on the other hand, had never experienced shame through nudity. 

‘Nonsense, brother,’ He smiled and wrapped an arm around the raven’s neck. ‘You undress and join me.’ 

It was clear in the blond’s voice. It was clear in his pronunciation that it was not a choice, but an order. Loki carefully placed the thunderer’s outfit on a storage shelve and wanted to walk out of the bathing area and back to the changing rooms, but a firm hand around his wrist stopped him. 

‘You undress here, Loki,’ Thor ordered, a devious smirk tugging at his lips. ‘For me, and only me to see.’ He took a step back, enjoying his private show to the fullest. ‘Now, strip.’ 

The raven did as he was told, slowly stripping himself under his brother’s eager gaze. He automatically folded his hands in front of his crotch to cover himself, if only the slightest. It was ridiculous, really. He hated to face the truth, but Thor had seen him like this for more times than the raven would wished to admit. Naked, uncomfortable and so vulnerable. 

Thor hummed in amusement. ‘You are so pure,’ he grabbed Loki’s hand, their fingers intertwining as he guided him into the hot spring that was imbedded in the floor. ‘Even after all I have seen of you, after all the vulgar noises you have made at my hand,’ he sat down on a seat that was carved out of the stone floor and pulled his little brother between his legs. ‘You still cover yourself like a reticent virgin who is about to be deflowered after her first blood.’

Loki gulped and placed his hands on his brother’s broad shoulders, not knowing how to respond. He started to massage the tense muscles that lay underneath his fingers, working them lose with each skillful touch as the trickling of water filled the air. 

‘I merely lack the confidence that you so undoubtably have.’ He whispered softly, his eyes darting everywhere just to avoid the blond’s intense blue gaze. ‘My body is- is small compared to you… my muscles are strong yet not as fierce as yours. My skin…’ the raven looked at his hands, resting against the god’s chest, ‘it is like a ghost…’ 

Thor remained silent for a moment, his hands moving from the trickster’s waist to his hands and holding them in his own. ‘My dearest brother, you have beauty far beyond anyone’s reach.’ He placed a gentle kiss against the trickster’s knuckles. ‘Your skin makes the stars hide in shame, your lithe body leaves even the Ljósálfar of Alfheim to gaze upon you in wonder.’ 

To be compared to a Light Elf, Loki almost found some confidence. He dared to look Thor in his sky-blue eyes, but then looked away again, uncertain of how his brother expected him to respond. He knew Thor would not hesitate to punish him if he asked the wrong questions. He would strike him without holding back, wrap his hand around his arm till a bone would break or even press his thumbs against his throat, slowly suffocating him till he nearly passes out. 

‘S-so, tell me. What is this strategy you were speaking of earlier?’ He eventually settled on a response. Showing interest and stoking his brother’s ego was usually the safest way to go. ‘How are you planning to win this war against Denak?’ 

Thor let his arms hang over the edge of the spring and let out a content sigh. ‘I shall form a special unit which will lure Denak and his troops into the crevice of a close-by mountain range. Once his army attacks this unit, I will send in our Einherjar, and they will be able to overpower them from behind.’ Thor smirked, spelling out his tactic like it was an exciting and mystical saga. ‘They will be enclosed, with nowhere to run, left without any other option than to face their inevitable downfall. Our Einherjar will be glorious.’ 

The trickster sat back on the edge of Thor’s lap as he furrowed his brows and thought this through. ‘Thor… That special unit… Once they are cornered by Denak’s troops, they will have nowhere to go either.’ He looked up at his brother in horror, ‘You will send them to their graves!’ 

‘… Are you questioning me?’ The King leaned forward, his voice dark as his hand quickly wrapped around the younger god’s throat. ‘Let me ask you brother; Do you think of me as a fool? Senseless? Unwise?’ he growled, his jaw clenched, and teeth bared with every word. 

Loki gulped. There was no pressure in Thor’s touch, not yet. The raven knew how this could end were he not to choose his next words with care. ‘Of course not, brother,’ he managed to smile. ‘It is I who is the imprudent one. I merely wished to know more of your strategy. Of your intriguing thoughts, of your clever planning.’ He placed his trembling hands in the god’s neck, continuing to massage the spots he knew Thor loved. ‘Please, share your wisdom- your wit with me.’ 

‘… of course,’ The blond smiled. He let his hand trail from Loki’s throat to his chest and played with one of his nipples, a grin forming on his face at the sound of the raven’s soft whimper. ‘This unit will consist not of our own kin, but of mortals. Their lifespan is but a mere glimpse compared to ours. They are worth nothing, so what could be a more honorable way for them than to die at the battlefield of a King? Of a god?’ 

‘Mortals?’ Loki repeated cautiously as Thor’s hand moved in rough, impatient circles over his chest. ‘You wish to let Midgardians fight our battles?’ 

‘They will serve as a decoy, yes. Word has reached my ears that an enhanced Midgardian has been awakened from seventy years of slumber. It is said that he is some sort of- super soldier,’ He wrapped an arm around the trickster’s waist and pulled him close against his chest, his cock grinding against Loki’s thigh. ‘I have sent guards to retrieve him and a handful of insignificant mortals. They will form my special unit, with the superior soldier as their captain. They will serve as bait so that my army can overpower Denak.’ 

Loki remained silent for a moment as he let the King’s plan slowly sink in. Not only did his brother choose to massacre hundreds of lives, but he had chosen a race - a species so fragile they would not even be able to last for a minute. Denak and his demons will slaughter them within seconds and feast on their flesh. 

The raven sighed and looked up, his smile slightly trembling as he felt his brother’s dick harden against his inner thigh. ‘A strategy such as this,’ He leaned forward and kissed Thor’s lips. ‘it can only come from the mind of true brilliance.’

Chapter Text

The Mortal

 

The bathing room was slowly filling up with steam coming from the hot springs. Drops of water trickled down the marble walls and pooled on the cold floor.

Loki’s chest was slowly heaving as he was sitting on Thor’s lap, the humidity in the room becoming almost too much for him to bear. His hair was sticking to his face, a drop of sweat moving down his temple and mixing with the scented water. 

‘You are of inestimable grace,’ Thor whispered as he placed his hand on the Trickster’s cheek, his thumb caressing his lips. ‘Not even the skies are your limit. That is, if it was not for this…’ He tapped against the leather eyepatch his brother was still wearing, knowing Loki hated it, knowing it hurt. 

Loki jerked his head away in shock, his fingertips touching his eyepatch after which he quickly looked down again. ‘I cannot hide this, not even with my Seiðr... I have tried but-’ 

‘Take it off,’ the god demanded. 

Loki swallowed thickly, the heat of the bath starting to daze him. ‘I- I do not want to…’ He tensed as he felt Thor’s muscles straining under his hands. 

‘What was that now?’ Thor’s voice was low, a certain earnest in his words that left Loki shivering. 

‘I do not- I do not want to remove the patch.’ He tried to swallow down the shame that brewed in his stomach. ‘I do not wish to disgust you…’ 

Thor’s fingers dug deep into his brother’s small waistline, causing Loki to yelp. ‘Take. it. off.’

The raven’s trembling hands lifted from the water and reached for the piece of fabric that offered him his last covering. He removed the black leather and gulped, the wound that Thor inflicted on him now bared and for anyone to see. 

Thor pulled a nasty face as he looked at the gaping eye socket. ‘You truly are revolting,’ he stated coldly, the grimace on his face hiding nothing of his repugnance. ‘Look at yourself, brother. Look into the water,’ As Loki did not seem to do as he commanded, Thor grabbed the raven’s hair in a tight fist and yanked his face just above the surface of the water.

The trickster flinched at his own reflection. ‘Please Thor,’ he whimpered softly and closed his one emerald eye. The memories of Thor ripping his eye out and the excruciating pain that came with it still all to fresh in his mind. ‘Please let go of me…’ 

‘Look,’ Thor growled as he tugged at his brother’s hair until the raven did as he was told. ‘You see that, Loki? That is the reason why people are avoiding you. That is why people whisper behind your back. No one will ever see you as anything other but the pathetic grotesque that can’t even walk the stairs on his own.’

The thunderer smiled as he saw the water surface break and wrinkle with the raven’s tears. He wrapped his strong arms around Loki’s body and held him close. ‘You must understand, brother, that I am merely doing this for you. You must know how much I love you. How much I have to bear with to be with you. For without me, what would be left of you? Who would you turn to?’ 

Loki placed his pale hands against the blond’s chest, lost for words. He felt like he was suffocating, his body heavy against that of Thor. Whether it was caused by the god’s smothering embrace, by the heat and steam that came from the water, or by the mint and lavender that lingered heavily in the air Loki did not know. All he knew was that he wanted to escape, away from his brother, and away from his venomous words that filled his heart and left it to burn. ‘I wish to retreat to my own chamber,’ he stated softly as he quickly wiped a stray tear from his eye. 

Thor smiled amiably, his hands trailing through his brother’s hair and down his neck. ‘The truth is often painful Loki, I understand. But you must not hide from it,’ he gently cupped the trickster’s chin between his fingers and made him look up at him. ‘You might be nothing more than a shadow of what you once were, but you are still the Loki I have come to adore so deeply.’ Thor chuckled softly as he stared at his brother’s pale face. ‘Now, on more important matters, how long can you hold your breath?’ 

‘… I beg your pardon?’ the raven furrowed his brows and blinked at the sudden question. 

‘Do not make me repeat myself,’ the blond growled, yanking his brother’s head back by his hair. 

‘I-I do not know!’ Loki hissed as he squeezed his eye shut and tried to pry Thor’s fingers from his hair. 

‘Well, let’s find out, shall we?’ The dark smirk that formed on Thor’s face left Loki to shiver, fear drowning him. 

He did not understand what his older brother wanted from him, the crushing anxiety of disappointing him caused his heart to beat loudly in his chest. ‘W-what do you w-’ 

He squealed as Thor pushed his head under water and between his legs, pressing the raven’s lips against his already hard cock. 

The raven panicked, his mind blank in pain as he felt the aromatic water sting in his wound. He quickly understood what Thor wanted from him and knew that he had little choice but to do as the King pleased. 

He made a tight ring with his lips around the shaft of his brother’s cock and created enough suction so that this seal would not break. For if the seal breaks: water will pour in his mouth. Gushing in at the gaps and filling his cheeks. 

Thor braced himself against a rail as Loki wrapped his arms around his thighs. He moved slowly at first, making sure to keep the seal intact. He worked the head of his cock with his tongue, feeling that single lungful of air starting to burn in his chest. He moved further down. Taking the whole length of him into the back of his throat. 

Thor groaned at the feeling, his brother’s tongue moving swiftly over the length of his cock. He clenched his fingers that tangled in Loki’s hair and felt the tension rising in the raven’s body as he jerked his hips and fucked his face. 

Loki couldn’t hear a thing. The water filled his ears, his nose and his eye. Like sensory deprivation, it only highlights the sensation of Thor’s large dick pulsing against the back of his throat. Harder. Faster. He started to claw at Thor’s stomach, his lungs burning. He needed to breath. 

It was as if the blond could read his mind, for he was roughly pulled back to the surface. Loki coughed, splattered, his hands frantically searching for something to cling on to. 

‘Do you like that?’ Thor growls lowly in his ear, his blue eyes darkened with lust. 

Loki merely gasped, water escaping from his nostrils and mouth as he wanted to wrap his arms around the god’s neck. 

‘Tell me you like it,’ Thor hissed, his arms crushing the raven’s ribs as he held him in a possessive embrace. 

‘Y-yes, I like- ach!... I- I like it…’ he couched, a mouthful of water, saliva and precum dripping down his chin.

Thor pushed the strings of wet hair from the trickster’s face and squeezed his jaw till his brother was half-pouting and half-gaping at him. ‘Such a foul mouth hidden behind such a divinely appearance,’ he grinned. ‘Well then, better continue if you love it so much.’ He pushed Loki back between his legs without warning, this time keeping him under water till the raven had properly sucked him off. He closed his eyes, his body tensing as he chased his orgasm. He came in his brother’s mouth, thick ropes of white shooting into the back of Loki’s throat. 

Loki immediately resurfaced as his brother’s grip loosened. He coughed violently, Thor’s warm sperm burning in the back of his throat. He threw his arms around the god’s neck and clung onto him like a small child, tears streaming down his face. 

‘You have done so well, Loki,’ Thor praised him, lovingly stroking the trembling man’s back. ‘You have done so, so well.'

 

 


 

 

Thor was quick to leave the bathing rooms after he was done with his little brother. 

Loki, on the other hand, stayed in the hot spring, soaking for what felt like hours. His entire body was red by the time he got out, his fingers pruned. He clothed himself and made sure to join his King at the dining halls. 

He saw his brother chocking down food like it was the last night of his life. He drank one tankard after the next, his cheeks rosy as the mead coursed through his system. 

He was celebrating, the taste of victory so perfectly mixing with his steamed cinnamon apples and meat. 

Thor managed to explain how he had basically already won his war against Denak. How his plan was faultless and how his army would be triumphant. He laughed as he raised his empty tankard and shamelessly slapped the poor servant’s ass as she refilled it. 

Loki scowled, disgusted by his brother’s behavior, but – just like the maiden – was wise enough not to raise his voice. He took a few bites from his diner, the vegetables he used to love now tasting like ash in his mouth, their flavors long lost to him. He did not enjoy food anymore, he did not relish in luxurious wines like he used to. 

‘Tomorrow, my dear brother,’ Thor exclaimed as he wiped his grease-stained mouth on the table cloth. ‘Tomorrow the guards will bring us the one who slept in ice for seventy years. We shall receive the mortals at dawn, prepare them at noon, and at night,’ he grinned deviously. ‘At night, they shall have the honor- no, the privilege to battle a war for a god.’ 

‘They will die…’ Loki murmured as he took a sip of his mead. 

‘Ah, yes,’ The blond sighed dramatically. ‘Some of them shall perish, but it is a sacrifice that I am willing to make.’

 

 


 

 

Loki was early to rise the next morning, knowing that it would take him a long time to get his brother out of bed. 

Thor was sleeping next to him, his limbs tangled in his sheets, his mouth open as he snored loudly. The raven glared at him as yet another sleepless night has come to pass thanks to his brother. He threw off his blankets and walked toward the ewer and basin set that stood proudly on a dress table. He washed his face, grabbed a cloth and wettened it in the cold water. 

‘Brother,’ the raven whispered as he kneeled next to the bed and gently cleaned Thor’s face. ‘The time has come to wake up, my King.’ 

Thor merely grumbled and turned in his bed.

‘Thor, it is time to get up,’ Loki tried again. He shook his brother’s shoulder, ‘Come on now. We will be receiving a very special guest today, remember?’

It took all the trickster’s charms to lure his brother from his bed and to get him dressed. He’d rather let him sleep in and enjoy some time for himself, but he knew he would pay the price once Thor would wake up and notice that he overslept.

The two brothers awaited the arrival of their new “guest” in the great halls of the palace. Thor was seated upon the golden throne with pride, like his father and the great Kings before him. Loki stood at his side, his hands folded in front of him. He glanced at his brother from the corner of his eye, the aftereffects of the blond’s drinking exposing itself through the undeniable scowl on his face. 

Loki truly hoped that the Midgardian would meet with Thor’s every expectation, for he was certain his brother would have the poor creature’s head right then and there if he did not. 

Well, maybe being decapitated without having the time to figure what was happening would be bliss compared to what Thor had planned for the mortal. 

Loki snapped his head up as the doors of the hallway opened. A guard marched in, announcing the arrival of their guest.

‘Let him in,’ Thor’s voice was low and bellowed through the silence of the hall. 

Loki’s eyes widened at the sight of the new arrival. The male was blinded, a black cloth tied over his eyes. He had a strong physique, muscles straining as he fought against the chains that were wrapped around his body. He was wearing a simple outfit, a white form-fitted t-shirt and olive-green khaki pants. 

Four soldiers hauled him in, pulling at his chains and shouting at him to follow. But the mortal payed them no attention.

‘My King,’ one of the soldiers kneeled deeply before the throne. ‘We have succeeded in bringing you the Midgardian. We had him sent to our Healers. He is in good health, and will make a fine acquisition, though I would like to state a word of caution, for he is quite belligerent and unpredictable.’ 

‘The Midgardian was also carrying this the moment we found him, my Allfather,’ Another guard spoke as he stepped forward. He was holding a shield in one hand, its design simple yet effective. It was round with a bright red star in the middle which was encircled by blue, red and white. The guard had another device in his other hand, which the raven did not quite recognize. 

‘What is that device in your hand?’ Thor asked as he eyed the object with suspicion. 

‘We… We do not know, your Highness,’ the guard looked at the black device that fitted in the palm of his hand and flipped it over a couple of times. ‘All it has done till this moment is brighten arbitrarily. The Midgardian was unwilling to hand both items over. They had to be taken by force.’ 

Thor stared at his hostage, his eyes scanning the struggling mortal. The man was still fighting, though it was clear in his movements that he was starting to get tired. ‘Release him.’ 

‘… My King?’ The guard looked from the King’s stale expression towards the raven. It was only when Loki gave a hurried nod that the man stopped questioning the Allfather’s orders and grabbed the keys attached to his belt.   

The Midgardian seemed to gain a boost of energy the moment that his chains were unlocked. The rapid punches hitting the guard’s face the moment he could move his arms, knocking the man unconscious. 

The mortal removed his blindfold, his eyes immediately locking with those of the guard who was holding his belongings. He charged towards him, and Loki found himself amazed by his speed. 

It was not a fair fight. Not in the slightest. The man was strong, especially considering that he was a simple Midgardian. He fought against the guards that had guided him to the throne. Swift punches interspersed with fluid dodging and killer kicks. 

Loki was certain that the man would win, if not for the dozens of guards that stormed into the hall and forced him to his knees again. 

It was then that the raven finally got a good look at him. Not only did the stranger had a body that could compare to that of his brother, he also had golden hair and his eyes- those bright blue eyes as clear as Spring’s sky. He and Thor were so alike that it scared Loki. Still, there was something about this mortal that captivated him. 

‘Give me back my shield and my cellphone!’ The man demanded as he was on his knees. 

‘State your name, mortal.’ Thor returned as he instantly sat up straight in his Throne, meeting the other’s fierce and fearless glare. 

‘My name is Steve Rogers.’

Chapter Text

Steven Grant Rogers 

Steven of Midgard, born and raised in a place called Brooklyn, New York. 

The man whose eyes are as fierce as they are warm. 

The man who did not shiver or dread when he laid those very eyes on the King of Asgard. 

It had taken a total of six Asgardian guards to get him on his knees, and four more to keep him still as Thor had told him that he was going to fight for Asgard, whether he wanted so or not. 

Steven had protested, demanding to be sent back to his own city. The poor being did not even know that he was not in his own Realm anymore. 

Thor had merely grinned at him. He gave him no explanation, believing he owed him nothing. All the King had told him was that he was going to war for one night only and that, were he to survive, he would be sent back to his home. 

The captain appeared to be a clever man, for he had calmed down and quietly excepted his fate. There was determination in his eyes, a burning willpower that he would survive this one battle and that he would be home by the end of the day. 

The raven shivered at the cunningness of his brother’s plan. With the prospect of freedom, of home, prisoners always tend to work their hardest. Little did they know that they would not stand a chance against the demons that they were about to face. Little did they know that they would be slaughtered and devoured before the sun would rise from the East. 

All Steven asked for was his shield which he apparently had come to trust so deeply, and later for the other device that he had called “Selfone”. But of course, Thor did not grand him this. The only thing the blond was allowed was to be locked away in the dungeons and to await further instructions from there.  

Loki sighed as he let the tip of his fingers gently grasp the shiny metal of the shield. The bright star in the middle radiated pride, the small dents and scratches hardly noticeable underneath the colored circles. 

The guards had stored the captain’s personal belongings in a vault, and Loki was too curious to just let them be, gathering dust among so many other items that were seized by the order of his older brother. 

He turned his attention towards the device that was called Selfone and studied it carefully. It seemed to be made out of dark glass, a black material framing it. The guards said it would illuminate at random so Loki waited, patiently, hoping to see the phenomenon occur. 

But as after about half an hour of intense staring nothing had happened, he decided to take the device in hand.

The screen indeed lit up. ‘Face Identification failed. Access denied. Please stand still and make sure to look at the screen, Mister Rogers.’ 

Loki yelped as the device spoke to him and he nearly threw it against the wall. What kind of dark magic was this? Was this being alive? Was it dangerous and should it be locked away deep within the Asgardian dungeons? 

The trickster cleared his throat and looked at the screen again. ‘State your reasons, Selfone.’ 

‘My name is not Selfone, sir.’ The voice stated politely, causing the trickster to flinch nonetheless. ‘I am J.A.R.V.I.S.’ 

‘Jarvis…’ The raven repeated in a whisper. ‘I am Loki, prince of Asgard, son of Odin, brother of Thor. God of lies and mischief.’ He felt his heart drumming in his chest. ‘Now, Jarvis, you tell me. Why is Steven so fond of you? Why does he call you “Selfone” if that is not your real name? And what is it that you are exactly? Answer me now, or the consequences will be dire!’ 

‘My apologies, Loki of Asgard. But it seems like you are not authorized to receive such information. Please hand me to Mister Rogers or contact Mister Stark for further information.’ 

‘Wha-?! Wait! Who is this “Mister Stark”? Why will you not tell me-’ Loki nearly shouted but the device had already turned itself off. 

The raven grumbled some curses, tempted to slam the device against the table till it would speak again. 

He remained calm though, and took a deep breath, reminding himself that he was not a savage like his brother. He recited J.A.R.V.I.S.’ words in his head. He might not know who this Stark-person was, but he would be able to bring Selfone to its rightful owner.

‘Loki?!’

A booming voice echoed just outside the vault. Loki turned around with a gasp, finding his brother already standing behind him in the door opening, a scowl on his face. 

‘You were gone, I missed you.’ The god stated as he crossed his arms. ‘What are you doing here?’ 

‘I- I was merely,’ Loki stammered, Selfone still in his hands. ‘I… wanted to know what this device was. I wanted to know why it is so important to the mortal.’ 

Thor marched into the vault, his face nearly touching that of his younger brother as he came to a halt. He wrapped a hand around the smaller man’s wrist and slowly tightened his grip. ‘You do realize brother, that curiosity kills the little raven kitten, right?’ He murmured as his lips hovered just above Loki’s. ‘Do not waste your time on mortal toys, Loki. They are of insignificant matter to us gods.’

‘But this one spoke,’ Loki countered excitedly, much to Thor’s anger. The raven tried to free his wrist from his brother’s grip, but Thor was like a statue, cold and unmoving. ‘Jarvis? Jarvis, speak.’

Thor glared at the device in his brother’s hand from the corner of his eye, but nothing happened. He wrapped an arm around the trickster’s waist and pulled him tightly against his chest. ‘Are you trying to make a fool out of me?’ He hissed as his blunt nails dug deep into the raven’s side. ‘That would be rather ill-advised, you know this, don’t you?’ 

Loki gritted his teeth, Thor’s grip on his wrist becoming so painful that he let the device fall out of his hand and yelped. ‘I- I did not try to deceive you, I swear!’ He felt his wrist bruising, fearing that his bones will shatter if Thor would put any more pressure on it. 

The thunderer looked him dead in the eye, searching for any form of deceit in his brother’s words. It was only when he smiled and loosened his grip that Loki dared to breath again. ‘Oh my sweetest love,’ Thor hushed him, pressing rough kisses into the raven’s neck as he let his hands roam underneath the trickster’s clothes. ‘It is no wonder why so many think of you as insane. It is remarks such as these that make people whisper behind your back and avoid you all together.’ He impatiently started to tug at Loki’s clothes, greedy hands traveling over his pale skin as he panted in the raven’s neck. ‘Turn around. Let me show you how much I, and I alone, care for you.’ 

‘That is not necessary,’ the raven whispered as his throat constricted, placing his hands against his brother’s chest even though he knew that it was no use. ‘I believe you. You do not have to-’ 

But Thor already turned Loki around and pushed his little brother between his shoulder blades, bending him over the table on which the captain’s shield and Selfone were stored. 

Loki stayed completely frozen as Thor yanked his pants down, exposing his pale and unwilling ass. Screaming, crying, pleading, it has never spared him from this torture before, so why would it now? Loki found it easier to just remain quiet and except his brother’s love. All he could do was try to shut himself out, to search for a safe place deep inside his mind. 

A tear trickled down his face as his older brother pounded into him while pinning the raven’s head against the table. Loki tried to distract himself from the burning pain that knocked his breath out of his lungs with every thrust and decided to focus on the shield that was placed next to him. It looked so precious, so much dedication and craftsmanship put into it. Loki started to understand why Steven would want it returned. 

The shield was not enough. It was not enough to distract him, to block out the pain, to block out Thor’s low grunts. 

It felt like hours. It always did. But, just like every other time Thor would “show his unconditional love”, the session came to an ending as the blond’s hips started to jerk, his orgasm following soon after and filling Loki with his warm come. 

‘I am the only one who can love you, brother, the only one who could bear living with a Trickster, with a Silvertongue.’ he whispers in Loki’s ear as he pressed his chest against the raven’s back. He cupped his jaw between his strong fingers, his cock still sheathed deep within his brother’s heat. ‘Remember that well, Loki. You are never to stray from my side again.’

Loki hardly registered Thor’s words, tears blurring his vision. It was when Thor finally pulled his cock out of his body that he took in a sharp breath and embraced the pain. 

‘Now brother, come,’ the King tucked himself back into his pants and slapped Loki between his shoulder blades. ‘We have an army to prepare.’


*

 

It was when Thor had decided to take a quick nap after their lunch that Loki went back to the vault again. He managed to slip from his sleeping brother’s embrace and to sneak back to the storage. He picked Selfone from the floor and inspected it. It had not broken, no cracks were visible on the glass, yet, much to Loki’s discontent, it also still did not speak.

He wanted to grab the shield of the table and take it with him but knew he should be wiser. The captain could easily hide the J.A.R.V.I.S.-device in the pocket of his pants, but if Thor would see the mortal carrying his shield… 

Loki shivered at the thought of what his brother would do to the captain, to him. He hid the Selfone in one of his pockets, making sure he had both hands free to make his way down to the underground dungeons.

 

*

 

Steve had stopped yanking at his restraints hours ago. His wrists, his waist, his ankles and his neck, all bruised and red underneath the chains that strapped him to the stone floor. 

The captain had tried to observe his surroundings, but it was hard to see in the dim light of the torches that were hanging from the wall. Was he in Germany? Were these people from Hydra? He did not recognize a thing and could not find the iconic red skull with its six tentacles. Fury had already informed him that Hydra was destroyed, that WWII had ended, but if that was not the war he was supposed to fight for in a couple of hours, than what was?

The blond fell to his knees. He was tired, confused and completely disoriented. 

Those strangers, the men in armor came for him in the night. Steve was hanging at the bar with one of his new friends, a man named Tony Stark. They had fought against the intruders together, Tony armored in iron within seconds, while Steve relied on his bare hands. Yet in the end, no matter how hard they fought, Steve was taken away from his new home and his new friends, teleported into the night’s sky by a beaming light. 

Tony was kind enough to let him stay and offered him this new home in Stark Tower. He could live there together with his new companions; a woman named Natasha and two other guys named…

The captain shook his head as he desperately tried to recall his friend’s names. Ah, yes, Bruce and Clint. Each of them having unique skills and intriguing backgrounds. They were good soldiers, but even more so, they were good friends. Steve had been awake from his suspended animation for only two weeks, learning new things each and every day. Bruce had given him a brief history lesson on the seventy years that Steve had missed. Natasha had helped him shopping some new outfits that would make him look like a modern citizen instead of a hundred-year-old senior, all while Clint introduced him to his favorite place in town called Starbucks. 

And Tony. Tony was kind, and patient enough to teach him about 21st century technology. Computers, the internet and even simple devices such as a coffee maker. So much has changed. 

The blond sighed. If only he had his cellphone. He could call Tony or any of the others and ask them for help.

Steve snapped his head up as he heard footsteps closing in. They came from the other side of the heavy prison door, approaching slowly, or even cautiously.

The door opened, revealing the silhouette of a tall and slender appearance. Steve immediately jumped to his feet, his chains rattling heavily as he sought his balance. The blond squinted his eyes as the figure walked into the dim-lighted cell and recognized the man as the dancing light hit his pale and unlined face. 

A silence followed as the two eyed at each other, glaring like feral cats on the brink of fighting. 

‘Steven Grant Rogers. Do you have any idea where you are?’ The lean figure asked, but he continued as the captain remained silent. ‘You are in Midgard, Realm of the Æsir Gods and far from your home. Far from your precious Earth.’ 

Steve remained silent, still. 

Loki stared at the mortal, hoping for any form of reaction, but sighing as none came. ‘I guess it matters not,’ he admitted. ‘… I have something I believe is yours.’ He searched his pocket and revealed the small device he was hiding. 

This clearly piqued the captain’s interest as his eyes widened and his lips parted slightly. He wanted to take a step forward and reach out for the device but the chains bounding his body stopped him. Steve looked at his restraints and then back at Loki again, a hint of despair showing in his eyes as he was afraid that the raven would turn his back on him again without another word. 

Loki swallowed nervously. He could still return to his brother’s bed, he could still bring the device back to the vault and no one would ever find out that he was here. Thor would never find out that he was gone. 

He did not really understand his own motivations as he was walking towards the Midgardian. Maybe it was because he was curious towards the voice that identified itself as J.A.R.V.I.S. Maybe it was because he pitied the mortal and his inevitable fate. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because there was something to the mortal – to Steven – that drew him closer. 

Loki held out the device and Steve cautiously reached out to take it from his hands. But the god miscalculated the depth and let go of it to soon, causing it to fall just before the blond could grasp it. 

Steve tried diving after his cell phone, but it fell just out of his reach, his chains unforgivably reminding him of his restricted freedom. 

‘My apologies!’ Loki spoke quickly and picked the phone from the floor. His eye widened as he stared at it, his face growing even paler. ‘… I am truly so sorry,’ he mumbled as he handed Steve his phone which now had a crack in the screen. 

Steve quickly pressed the phone against his chest, clinging onto the device as if it would be taken from him again at any moment. ‘… Who are you?’ he eventually asked after a long silence.

Loki froze. His heart beating loudly in his chest. 

Someone talked to him. 

Someone asked him a question, expecting him to answer. Someone who was not Thor. 

‘I am Loki, Odinson,’ The god stated. ‘Prince of Asgard.’ 

Steve averted his eyes as he panted softly, trying to make sense of this entire situation. ‘You kidnaped me…’ His sharp blue eyes stared straight at the trickster again. ‘You took me from my home, brought my friends in danger. You want me to fight a war without even having me known who the enemy is or what we are fighting for.’ 

Loki did not reply. He merely listened, spellbound by the blond’s words, by his voice, by the attention that was directed towards him and him alone. 

Steve grumbled as the so-called Prince remained silent and he decided to ask him a straight forward question. ‘Why me?’ 

‘My brother sees you as key to winning this war,’ the raven replied a little to late as it only just dawned to him that the soldier asked him a question. He stared at the disbelief shining through the captain’s eyes and took a quick breath. ‘This “Selphone” of yours…’ he started, trying to change the subject. ‘It said that it is called Jarvis and that I should bring it to you.’ 

‘… I can keep it?’

‘Yes,’ The raven nodded slowly. He looked up, his body tensing completely as his eye widened in sudden realization. ‘I have to go now. Make sure to keep your Selfone hidden. Do not let anyone see you carrying it.’ 

It was a warning Steve would take by heart. He might have only been here for a couple of hours, but that was enough to make an estimated guess of what would happen to the Prince if anyone would find out he handed this to him. 

Steve stared at his phone for another second and then at the god as he was already walking away. ‘… Loki?’ 

The trickster stopped in his track. It felt… odd, to have anybody other than his brother call his name and ask for his attention. He looked over his shoulder, ‘Yes?’ 

‘Thanks,’ The smile on the blond’s face was slightly off as he held his phone up for a moment, clearly in conflict if he should be thanking his kidnaper at all.

Loki felt his cheeks slightly burning up and almost wondered if he was starting to get sick. He furrowed his brows in confusion and looked over his shoulder once more, his eye locking with those of the blond. ‘…You are welcome.’

Chapter Text

Loki’s mind was far gone as he wondered through the halls of the palace. 

Why were his cheeks rosy, still? Why was his heart beating softly in his chest? Why was there a fluttery feeling in his stomach, small and timid, but unmistakably there? 

Why was he blinded by sky blue eyes? 

At first, the trickster thought he had hit a new low. A new level of fear for his brother which left his body to react in ways it never had. Blue eyes were always on his mind, always peering at him, nipping at his soul and sanity.

But these eyes were different. They felt genuine and kind, meant for summer, while Thor’s were relentless and cold like the Eternal Winters of Jötunheim.

Loki eventually found himself in his brother’s chamber again. He closed the door as softly as he could, making sure not to wake the Allfather from his indolent afternoon slumber. He sat down on the edge of the bed, the mattress slightly caving under his weight. He glared at his brother from the corner of his eye, hating even the way in which he bathed in afternoon sun. He sighed and gently laid down next to him in the exact same position as before he left.

How he wanted to run. How he wanted to flee from the palace, from his brother, never to return. But he knew Thor would find him. He would always find him. And even the very thought of what his brother would do to him made his heart beat pump painfully in his chest. 

‘Loki,’ Thor murmured as he wrapped a strong arm around his brother’s waist, his breath hot in the raven’s neck. ‘Where have you been?’

‘I needed to use the bathroom,’ The trickster quickly lied. His slim body tensed as always at his brother’s voice, his muscles sore at the constant straining. ‘But I am back now.’ 

‘Hm,’ the short grumble the blond gave in return caused Loki to relax slightly, knowing that his brother was still half asleep. 

The raven closed his eye as he was swallowed into the suffocating embrace of the Allfather. With his back pressed tightly against the thunderer’s chest, Loki dreamed of those blue eyes again. He envisioned the captain, clear as day, on his knees in the darkness and cold of the dungeon, his body bound in heavy chains. He remembers even his scent, his voice and his smile. That warm, gentle and grateful smile. 

Loki shook his head, forcing the image to fade away. Thor would never forgive him for looking at anybody else but him, let alone talk, or dream. The trickster knew it was ridiculous, but he even feared the possibility of Thor finding out what he was thinking of. As if the Allfather could peer into his mind. 

Loki managed to find peace in the thought that it mattered not. After all, the poor mortal will find his end on the battle field in a couple of hours. The cold and forlorn plains of Algor shall bathe in Steven’s blood.

 

*

 

Steve stared at Loki’s back until the heavy doors of his cell closed again. His heart was beating softly in his chest, his hands clasped around his cellphone. 

It was dark again, the only light coming from the torches and now, also, from his phone. Steve looked at the device, whispering softly, ‘Jarvis…?’ 

‘At your service, sir,’ the artificial voice replied as it scanned the captain’s features and unlocked. ‘What can I help you with?’ 

Steve sighed in relief, the familiar sound of the device causing him to calm down. He smiled as he looked at the wallpaper, a picture of him and Tony close together, the playboy pulling a funny face while the soldier smiled brightly. He would be fine now. He could call his new friends, tell them he’s in this weird place called Asgard and ask them for help. All would be alright now. ‘Jarvis, I really need your help here. I need to call Tony.’ 

‘I am sorry, sir, but it seems like I am unable to contact Mister Stark right now,’ Jarvis sounded surprised at his own conclusion. 

‘You can’t…?’ Steve swallowed thickly, trying to keep himself calm. ‘O-okay, could you try and call Miss Romanoff for me then? Or any of the other? It doesn’t really matter who as long as I can contact anyone.’ 

The device remained silent for a moment, ‘You don’t have any service here, sir. I can’t even pinpoint your location.’ 

‘I am in Asgard. I- I don’t think it’s anywhere near New York, but Tony told me I was able to call him no matter where I was.’ Steve started to sound desperate now. He did not want to go war. He did not want to fight for his captor. If only he could reach his friends…   

‘I do not think Mister Stark included the possibility of you being far beyond the Milky Way, sir. I am sorry, but I cannot help you at this moment.’

‘I see…’ Steve remained silent, lost for words as his last hope of getting home was slipping through his fingers like loose sand. ‘They want me to go to war Jarvis, these Asgardians… I don’t even know why or who I am fighting against.’

‘There hardly ever are any legitimate reasons to start a war, but this might be a fight to end one.’ Jarvis said as he tried his best to console the soldier. ‘This might be yet another fight for freedom, for liberty. Just like during World War II, you might be part of something bigger than just meaningless manslaughter.’

‘But how can I fight when I’m not sure of that…?’ Steve sighed as he let his back rest against the wall and looked up at the high ceiling. ‘The ones who captured me brought me to their king. He said that he would let me go home if I would fight for one night… What kind of battle can be settled in just one night?’

‘I could not tell you, sir…’

Steve felt a shiver running down his skin, leaving goosebumps all over his arms. ‘I hardly stood a chance against those soldiers when they came for me in Tony’s tower. It was the first time ever since Howard injected me with the serum that I felt so small and so powerless.’ He gulped and nervously licked his lips. ‘I just can’t shake this feeling that I... that I won’t be able to make a difference. That I won’t be coming back…’ 

‘Unfortunately I cannot calculate the outcomes of this war for you, sir.’ Jarvis sounded remorseful, the cellphone softly buzzing in Steve’s hands with each word he spoke. ‘…You still have Nirvana on your To-Do list, sir. Would you like me to play you a track?’ 

Steve felt a smile tugging at his lips. He remembered when Tony gave him this phone, when he introduced him to J.A.R.V.I.S. The blond was skeptical, unfamiliar with the device and its many purposes and endless possibilities. How technology could have come this far yet remain safe to use was beyond him. Steve was uncomfortable with his new Stark-Phone at first but now, now he had felt so grateful to hold it in his hands and have it close at his side. ‘Yes, please.’ 

Steve closed his eyes and listened to the songs that Tony had recommended him. He wondered where his new friends were at this moment. Would they be concerned over him? Would they be looking for him? His first thought was to hope that they were not, for if he really was this far away from Earth they would never be able to find him, and their search would just be a waste of time. 

He pulled his knees up against his chest and wrapped his arms around his legs. He took deep breaths to calm himself and to focus on the battle that would come. All while a small, selfish voice in the back of his mind whispered for his friends to find and save him.

 

*

 

It was late at night as Loki sat in his open window at the top of the west tower, looking down at the courtyard. The mortals were gathered, herd to the front gate like a flock of meek sheep. He stared at their faces, pale in cold moonlight, as they were handed their gear. The raven scoffed, knowing that the old and rusty armory was meant as a false reassurance rather than for actual protection. 

The Midgardians looked so lost, so frightened, most of them having seen not enough Summers, while some of them had seen way too many. They were staring straight in the face of Death, all under the Allfather’s promise of home were they to return. 

Loki should turn his gaze from them, should know better than to let pity and guilt wash over him. But he could not help it. He could not help himself from searching the crowd, scanning their faces until he found the man he was subconsciously looking for.

Steven. 

He found the mortal inspecting the wooden shield that was pressed into his hands, a grimace on his face as he studied the Asgardian sigil that was burned into it. 

He looked calm, his blond hair hidden underneath his helmet, his Midgardian clothes partly covered by his armory. 

Loki stared at him, his heart beating softly in his chest. It was as if fate played with his unexplainable interest as for some reasons the man looked up and met his gaze. 

The raven gulped. He straightened his back and started to somewhat shift on his feet. Their gazes remained locked for what felt like hours until a firm hand slowly curled itself around his shoulder.

Loki gasped and turned around, meeting the eyes of his brother. ‘My apologies, my King,’ he quickly stumbled as he caught his breath. ‘You gave me a fright.’   

‘Not my intention, my love, I assure you.’ Thor smiled as he let his hand fall from Loki’s shoulder, trailing it over his lower back. ‘Are you bidding them farewell?’ he asked as he looked at his small Midgardian army. 

‘Yes,’ the raven turned his gaze towards the courtyard and saw how the guards guided the group towards the battlefield, like lambs being led towards the slaughterhouse. His eyes frantically scanned the crowd, but Steve was nowhere to be seen. ‘Or at least, I was…’ 

‘Your compassion is wasted on such simple creatures,’ the thunderer pressed a gentle kiss against his temple. ‘But I guess it is just in your nature to feel for those who are so like you. Lost, and in desperate need of guidance.’ He curled his index finger underneath his little brother’s chin and made him look up at him, a warm smile on his face. ‘It is so endearing.’ 

‘They will not be coming back, will they?’ the raven whispered breathlessly, too scared to even turn his face away from the blond. ‘You are throwing away their lives like they are mere scraps off your plate.’ 

‘… This is a glorious day, Loki.’ Thor reminded him earnestly, the fingers that once rested underneath the raven’s chin now tightly clenched around his jaw. ‘Nugatory lives will be sacrificed for greater goods. This night, this war, will end with the blood of the Midgardians.’ 

The Trickster felt Thor’s fingers tighten around his jaw, bruising his skin. He pressed his eye shut and hissed, ‘Thor, it hurts. Let me go.’ He tried to pry the King’s fingers from his jaw, his nails digging in his brother’s skin. 

‘I can see despise through your eye, Loki.’ Thor sounded remorseful, even through his clenched teeth, shaking the raven on feet at which Loki nearly lost his balance. ‘What would you have me do, brother? Would you have me sacrifice our own kin? Would you have me slaughter my own people?!’ He lifted his younger brother off his feet with ease and dangled his body out of the open window by still holding his jaw. ‘‘Cause that could be arranged.’ 

‘No!’ Loki cried out, his hands now clasped around his brother’s arm. ‘Please! Please brother! I am sorry for questioning you!’ 

‘Are you now?’ Thor asked mischievously, his voice low and soft. He loosened his grip on the raven’s jaw and was now barely holding him. ‘Have you learned your lesson?’ 

‘YES!’ Loki shouted as his fingers desperately sunk into the god’s arms. He managed to look down from the corner of his eye, and although depth might still be a problem for him, he could easily estimate that this would be at least a ninety feet fall. ‘Please, Thor! I am sorry!’ 

The Allfather hauled him back inside, locking his baby brother in his strong arms as Loki trembled violently. ‘It is alright, brother, you are safe.’ Thor whispered into his hair as he stroked his back. ‘I am here for you.’ 

Loki panted, his jaw aching as his hands clasped around the fabric of the King’s tunic, searching for safety. 

‘I would not have let go of you, you oaf,’ Thor chuckled lightly. ‘I would never let you go.’ 

The raven merely nodded, wanting to hide his face in the blond’s broad chest but felt Thor’s hands resting on his shoulders and gently push him back. 

‘Loki, as I have said many times to you, I am never letting you go. I want you at my side till the prophecy of Ragnarok shall destroy our world and take our lives.’ 

The raven’s brows furrowed as he wondered what his brother wanted to hear from him. ‘I know,’ He whispered, his eyes following the King’s hand as it moved from his shoulder and into his own pocket. 

The raven squinted as he saw Thor playing with something. It was small and squire, like a box… 

A box… 

Loki’s eye widened in sheer panic as his brother kneeled in front of him. He felt his heart drumming in his chest, his breath caught in his throat as he begged the Norns for Thor not ask the question. 

‘Loki,’ Thor smiled as he saw the trickster’s hands covering his mouth, tears welling in his eye. Norns he loved his baby brother. He moved his hand out of his pocket, revealing a small box decorated with the finest dark-green satin and golden stiches. He placed his other hand on top of the lid, ready to open it. ‘I want for you to m-’ 

A loud knock on Loki’s door disrupted the King’s sentence, causing the two to jerk their heads, Loki finally able to take his first breath again. 

Thor rose from his knee and marched towards the door with big, thundering steps, lighting sparking from his fingertips. ‘WHAT?!’ He roared, dragging the young servant into the room by her hair and discourteously throwing her at Loki’s feet. ‘State your reason!’ 

The girl that had knocked trembled heavily as she crawled back on her hands and knees, fearing the Allfather’s wrath. ‘M-my apologies, my king!’ She gasped as she bumped against the trickster’s feet and looked up at him, tears filling her warm, brown eyes. ‘I- I am so sorry. I truly did not mean to-’ 

Loki felt his heart sink at the girl’s whispered plea. He wanted to reach out to her, to help her, to stand up for her and tell his brother to calm down.

But he couldn’t. 

He wanted to open his mouth, but he froze the moment he looked into his brother’s enraged eyes. 

‘State your reason!’ Thor demanded, his steps growing bigger as he walked towards the poor maiden. 

‘I- I merely wished to inform you that the feast you have called for is ready, oh great Allfather!’ the girl bowed her head till in touched the cold, marble floor, her voice trembling in fear. 

‘Move,’ Thor stated towards his brother, who followed the order without hesitation. The blond kicked the servant on her back and held her down by her throat. ‘There is no reason to feast anymore,’ he hissed through clenched teeth as the girl started to cry and squirm under his grip. ‘And it is all your fault!’ He shouted as he reached for Mjölnir strapped at his side. 

The girl cried for mercy, for help. Her voice hardly audible over the sound of thunder which roared like a thousand lions in the dark skies.
Thor raised his hammer, lightning sparking violently from his clenched fist. 

‘No!’ Loki shouted, clasping his entire upper body around the god’s arm. ‘This night will end with the blood of the Midgardians, not of our own kin!’ He looked his brother in the eye. ‘You said so yourself!’ 

‘She has ruined everything.’ Thor did not move, his cold and wide eyes now falling on his younger brother. ‘There is nothing to rejoice!’ 

‘But there is,’ the raven smiled softly as he let his hands rest upon his brother’s cheeks, feeling his clenched jaws underneath. ‘Can you not see, my King? Like you said, this is a glorious day. A war shall end in victory tonight. Our enemy will find Death at the swords of our Einherjar, our army will bathe in their blood and Asgard shall rise triumphantly at the break of dawn. Pride and honor shall find our lands once again.’ He pressed his soft lips against those of Thor, gently wrapped his arms around his brother’s neck and whispered softly; ‘Now, tell me, brother, is there truly not a single spark of rejoice flaring in your righteous heart? Is this truly beyond celebrating?’ 

The silence that followed felt like an ordeal. 

‘You are right, my brother,’ Thor finally concluded as he lowered his arm. ‘We can celebrate, still.’ He smiled, the thunder that was roaring in the distance now ebbing away, causing Loki to nervously smile back at him.

‘Let us go,’ the raven whispered as he kissed his King in tender and long movements. He waited for Thor to fully relax before helping him rise to his feet. He felt Thor’s fingers greedily tangle with his own and let the blond guide him towards the grand feast. The door fell shut behind them, almost covering the muffled sobs of the servant girl as she had crawled in on herself on the cold floor and cried.

Chapter Text

Loki could not find any sleep that night, staring at the ceiling while his brother lay next to him. Thor was close, yet so far gone, smiling and humming as his dreams took him to glorious battles and promised lands.

The trickster got out of his bed, throwing the thick fur blankets that covered him to the ground. He aimlessly phased through their chamber, a hand running through his hair as he tried to understand his restlessness.

It happened before. Thor would do anything to win a war, sacrificing precious blood whenever he saw fit. This was nothing new.

Then why? Why was his heart racing? Why was his usually steady mind in chaos? Why were nights so quiet, leaving him with nothing but his thoughts? Something was on his mind, something that would not let him rest.

He let himself fall to his knees, his upper body resting on the bed. He was so tired, a crushing wave of homesickness washing over him. Homesick to times of old. Homesick to where he was still a child, playing with his older brother who he so adored.

He did not remember exactly when it was that his eyes had fallen shut, his head heavy. He peered through his lashes and found his thin fingers intertwined, his mind slowly memorizing that he had been praying and had profanely fallen asleep while doing so.

He stood up, feeling thousands of years old as his back protested heavily.

He then froze, holding his breath.

Someone was watching him, eyes following his every movement, hidden in the shadows of their room.

It was only when a loud screeching sound echoed from behind him that Loki turned around, his eye meeting those of Thor’s most trusted and probably most loyal companions. Huginn and Muninn, the large ravens that once served Odin, were watching Loki’s every move while resting on the bedposts, their heads tilting inquisitively from one side to the other.

Loki never liked them. Their large black eyes and spine-chilling screeches have given him enough sleepless nights when he was but a young child and had send him straight into the safety of his mother’s arms.

The trickster squinted his eye, noticing the drops of blood that were slowly dripping down Munnin’s paw. The creature did not seem wounded and Loki knew that it would never hunt without its master’s consent.

The large birds suddenly opened their beaks and screeched, their wings franticly flapping, black feathers fluttering through the air.

It was this that caused Thor to wake up. He jolted up in his bed, his drowsy expression soon making way for clear annoyance. ‘Loki? Wha-what is happening?! And- by Odin’s beard, what is that noise?!’

The younger god merely pointed at the creatures which were fluttering through the room. The ravens instantly calmed at the sound of their master’s call. They settled on each of Thor’s shoulders, and Loki could swear they were whispering, telling the god of what they have seen.

A smile crept up the blond’s face as he looked from his raven towards its paw, noticing the blood that was starting to dry. He rubbed the ruby-red liquid between his thumb and index finger and smelled it. ‘They have returned,’ he looked at his little brother through his lashes, his grin never fading. ‘My Einherjar have been triumphant.’

 

*

 

Loki remained silent as he followed his brother into the large courtyard. He had had tried so hard to forget about the lives that have been thrown away, the blood that has been spilt and the immortal souls that were now making their way towards Helheim. He wished he had forgotten.

They waited, Thor impatiently, in front of the palace for their army to return. The trickster heard their armory rattling from afar, their weary footsteps dragging through dust as they neared.

The gates of the palace’ courtyard opened, and the raven looked up from his feet, his eye widening as he witnessed that which he thought was beyond the bounds of possibilities.

There, supported by two Einherjar, was the man who was to guide the group of mortals into the darkest crevice of Algor, leading them to their grave.

Yet Steve was alive.

He was badly wounded, blood dripping from a large gash in his chest and down legs, pooling at his feet which he could hardly lift. He was pale, his helmet falling as he lifted his head and tried to inhale.

Loki shuddered, having to restrain himself from running towards him.

‘Well then,’ Thor murmured in surprise at the sight of his gathering army, a mixture of both Asgardians and Midgardians. ‘It seems like this mortal is not as useless as I estimated him to be.’

‘…They are in need of help,’ the raven stated after which he quickly kneeled for the King’s glaring eyes. ‘Oh great Allfather, let our Healers tend to the wounded. Let me help them and make sure that these mortals, these not-belongers, shall leave the Realm of the gods as soon as possible.’

‘You are too kind, my brother,’ Thor smiled, gesturing Loki to rise with a flick of his finger. The blond stepped forward and onto a small platform, making sure he was seen by all. ‘My Einherjar,’ he began, a beaming smile on his face. ‘This war you have fought not only for your King, but for the entirety of Asgard! For all the Nine Realms! It was by your hand, by your courage and skill, that the demons of Denak shall travel the long and effete trail that will bring them to the depths of Helheim!’

The soldiers started to murmur, the Allfather’s words and enthusiasm hardly reaching them anymore. The Asgardian army, once grand and powerful, was starting to wither. Loki could only hope for Thor to quickly end his talking, so he could call for the Healers.

‘Not only have the Nine Realms been rid of this plague, but Asgard shall be able to expend itself once more! Gaining land and gifting the planet of Algor with divine civilization.’ Thor smiled brightly. He closed his eyes for a couple of seconds as he bathed in morning sun rays, his army, his kin soundlessly listening to his every word. ‘We have lost many,’ he eventually continued. ‘Yet we have gained so much more. For Asgard!’

‘FOR ASGARD!’

The Einherjar shouted with what sounded like their last breath. Loki signaled a guard to call for the Healers and wanted to make his way towards the wounded soldiers, but a firm hand around his upper arm stopped him. He turned around, meeting Thor’s gaze.

‘Make sure that the Midgardians are disposed of immediately.’ The god murmured in his ear. ‘I will not have mortal blood staining the palace of our great forefathers.’

‘My King,’ Loki exclaimed in disbelief. ‘They are all in need of aid. If we send them back now, chances are that they will not-’

‘You have heard my command, brother,’ Thor interrupted him. ‘You best make haste, or I will have you on your knees, cleaning up each drop of mortal blood that continues to defile these grounds.’ He let go of his brother’s arm and walked away, only to turn around one last time just before entering his palace. ‘And Loki? Make sure that the one they call “captain” stays. I might have use for him, still.’

The raven stared in complete disbelief as his brother disappeared through grand doors, passing the Healers who were emerging from the palace. He shook his head, gathered a group of guards and ordered them to escort all Midgardians to Heimdall so they could be sent home.

He then turned his attention towards the one mortal who would not see the sun rising over Midgard today. Steve was placed to sit in a corner, his pale body resting against piled up crates.

Loki was quick at his side, his hands immediately pressing down on a gushing wound in the captain’s chest. ‘Steven? Steven, can you hear me? Answer me.’

‘We- we won,’ Steve’s voice was hardly audible over the chaos of the courtyard. ‘Those creatures- they had horns a-and claws.’

‘I know, I know, it is alright now,’ Loki tried his best to sooth the gasping blond, his hands covered in blood as he stemmed one of the wounds. ‘You have done so well, Captain.’

Steve looked around with rapid glances, his pupils delated as he tried to orientate himself. His eyes fell on what was left of his group of fellow men, who were being guided off the palace grounds. ‘I can go home now,’ he whispered, paying no attention to the raven god as he tried to get on his feet and follow the others. ‘He promised I could go home if I-’

The trickster barely managed to catch the mortal before he would fall to the ground, ‘Steady, Captain.’ He threw Steve’s arm over his shoulder and supported him. ‘I am afraid your return will have to wait. If I were to send you home right now, if you would use the Bifröst in your current state, you might not even make it to Midgard. Now come, I will bring you to the sanitorium. You can rest there and regain your strength. Convalescence can take quite some time, but I am certain your recovery will be prosperous.’

Steve panted, chanting a litany of pleads, begging the trickster to send him back home while his mind was fighting to stay conscious. His eyes fell shut the moment he entered the sanitorium, the overwhelming smell of herbs, balms and disinfectants hitting his nostrils.

Loki stayed at the Captain’s side for as long as he could. He had carefully placed the blond on a bed in the far corner of the hall, ignoring the disapproving scowls the Healers gave him.

He could not blame them. Why help a mortal if his own kin were in so much need of help… It was because of Thor.

Thor wants to keep Steve, Thor wants him to stay alive. It is Thor’s fault that he had tended to his wounds as best as he could. It was Thor’s fault that he was now holding the Captain’s hand, and it was Thor’s fault that he was so desperate for the mortal’s recovery.

It was all Thor’s fault… Though a soft voice in the back of his mind whispered that it was not.

Hours went by as Loki had taken a seat next to the captain’s bed, his brows knitted in concern as Steve’s face was constantly contracting in pain. He looked over his shoulder, noticing that only a few Healers were still patrolling the hall as most of the wounded Einherjar had fallen asleep, resting their weary bones.

The trickster then focused on the blond again. He held Steve’s hand in his own and brought it to his face, his lips brushing over the captain’s knuckles as he softly whispered a spell.

It was a hex that his mother had taught him long, long ago, when he succeeded in creating a perfect illusion of himself for the first time. The spell itself was ancient, as was the tongue in which it was spoken.

Loki’s Seiðr was playing through his fingers and sought its way towards the Captain’s hand. The green mist trailed over the blond’s skin and crept into his veins as the trickster continued to focus on casting the enchantment. Loki smiled softly as he noticed Steve’s face finally came to a peaceful rest, his pain ebbing away with each foreign syllable coming from the raven’s lips.

The trickster sat like this for at least four hours, his eyes closed as he focused on the spell like a form of meditation. He was starting to grow tired, the subtle but constant draining of his Seiðr was starting to take its toll. Yet he would not stop. He refused to stop.

It was the soft twitch in the blond’s fingers that made him look up.

Steve groaned, struggling to open his eyes. He turned his head towards the raven, gentle blue eyes veiled with disorientation. ‘Loki…?’

‘At ease, Captain,’ The raven managed to smile, his heart unexplainably beating softer in his chest at the blond’s voice. ‘How do you feel?’

‘Like I’ve been run over by a bus… and then thrown of the Empire State Building.’

Loki averted his eyes for a moment as he thought of this answer, but eventually just assumed that the captain was not feeling well yet. ‘Well, not to worry, you can res-’

‘What are you doing?’ Steve sounded almost panicked as he retrieved his hand, the chains of Seiðr binding the two immediately breaking.

‘I tried comforting you by casting an enchantment,’ Loki retrieved his hands slowly, placing them on his lap as he saw that the pain was already returning. ‘Can you tell me what happened? During the battle? Your survival, it-’

‘Wasn’t really planned, huh?’ Steve nearly snorted, his voice still rough. ‘Yeah, your soldiers, the uhm- Einherjar? They brought us to this barren landscape, in front of these caves and told us to wait there. The moment they left, I send a couple of guys into the crevice to explore it. We found an open space and decided to form an ambush from there.’ Steve swallowed thickly, ‘I wasn’t able to save them all, though. They were just civilians, they weren’t soldiers.’

‘You might not have been able to bring all of them home, but you did manage to save many.’

Steve scoffed at that but then grimaced as he felt pain flaring through his chest again. ‘…Did you just say you were “casting an enchantment”? Like, magic or something?’

‘I do believe “magic” would best explain my Seiðr,’ he held out his hands in which Steve hesitantly laid his own. The trickster murmured the spell, his Seiðr trailing the Captain’s skin again and bathing him in warmth and comfort. ‘I could stop it, if it is not to your liking.’

‘No, it… It actually feels pretty good,’ Steve closed his eyes and nearly fell asleep again, his voice still raw as he spoke, ‘So, what’s your place in this- magical world? I saw you with the King the moment I got here, and then again when we were sent off to battle. Are you his advisor or something?’

‘Me?’ Loki asked surprised, ‘Thor’s advisor?’ He then shook his head. ‘Dear Norns, no. A lot would be different if I were, though. Our people would not have to fear for the lives of their loved ones, we would not be at war unless absolutely necessary, and you…’ He averted his eyes, ‘you would not be needed here.’ He then took a deep breath and looked up again, strengthening his voice with indifference. ‘But Thor would never answer to me. He answers to no one.’

‘So… It wasn’t your idea to kidnap me and bring me here,’ It was more of a conclusion rather than a question. ‘You call him by his first name. Does that mean the two of you are good friends, or...?’

‘Friends,’ Loki repeated, his voice softer than he wanted it to be. Memories of old stirred through the back of his head, of times where he looked up to his brother, where they would play together and explore the forests together. A time where they were still children, where Loki thought the world of Thor. ‘We used to be, once,’ he admitted absentmindedly, ‘however-’

‘Loki,’ a pleased voice echoed through the hall.

The trickster abruptly let go of the captain’s hand, causing Steve to wince at the sudden pain flaring through his chest again.

‘I see you have taken care of the mortals,’ Thor smiled and closed in on his little brother, his arm instantly around his waist. ‘And how is our Captain doing?’

Steve managed to open his eyes as he panted softly. He was face to face with the towering King as he leaned over him, inspected him. He then looked at Loki and the arm that was wrapped possessively around his waist, figuring the two are lovers. So that’s how it is. ‘I’m doing good enough to get out of h-’

‘He needs rest,’ Loki interrupted Steve’s snarl, his shoulders hanging slightly as he saw pain written over the captain’s face again. ‘I deem it wise for him to stay here for at least-’ but the snap of Thor’s fingers caused him to stop.

‘He is a though man, he will be fine,’ The Allfather had gestured for two guards to rush at his side. ‘Bring this Midgardian to the dungeon. Lock him there till I have further use of him.’

The guards already moved before either Loki or Steve could respond.

Thor pulled his little brother a step back to let his men through, a grin on his face as his hand caressed pale skin.

‘Thor, you can’t do this,’ the raven gulped as he tried to remain indifferent, witnessing how Steve was lifted from his bed.

The captain, however, did not go down without a fight.

He managed to thrash one leg free from the guards’ grip, effectively knocking them to the ground with a low kick. He managed to stand on his feet, his hands balled into fists, upper body swaying as he started to feel light-headed.

The guards saw their chance and tackled him, pressing a hand against the fresh wound, taking advantage of the sharp and burning pain.

The scream that came from Steve’s throat as he hit the ground nauseated Loki to the core of his stomach. He closed his eye, trying to blind himself completely from the mortal’s struggling.

It was when Steve was turned on his stomach, when his breathing started to sound constricted, that Loki could take it no longer. ‘No, stop!’ he shouted, drawing all the eyes to him. His heart was beating heavy in his chest as his older brother glared at him, his blue eyes darkening with the promise of thunder.

‘Why should they stop, brother?’ the god asked, anger heavy in his voice.

‘B-because,’ the raven started, trying to stop his chest from heaving. He looked at the wounded soldier, the tension in his body slowly ebbing away as his clever mind reclaimed his calm composure. ‘Because I have use for him.’

Chapter Text

Loki felt the grip on his thin waist tightening, his brother’s fingers slowly digging deeper into his skin. He saw the guards hesitantly lowering their weapons which were still directed towards the captain and found the courage to speak again and repeat himself. ‘I have use for him.’ 

‘Do you now?’ Thor asked, though he sounded more annoyed than curious. ‘Care to enlighten?’ 

The raven looked at the captain from the corner of his eye, the unmistakable confusion and uncertainty clear on his face. ‘Of course,’ he turned his full attention on Thor and smiled, wrapping his arms around the god’s neck. ‘Algor now rests in the hands of Asgard, of you. This planet will need your guidance, your leadership to be able to rebuild again from the ashes of war, just like all other planets you have so bravely conquered.’ The trickster closed in on his brother, his smaller body pressed against rock-hard muscles while he let his head rest on Thor’s shoulder. ‘I know you will have to leave for a short while and I will have to miss you so…’ 

‘I will miss you as well,’ Thor stated with all his heart, his arms wrapping protectively around Loki’s waist. ‘There will not be a day where I will not think of you… However, I do not see what this has to do with the mortal.’ 

The Liesmith wrapped an arm around Thor’s shoulders, his other hand resting against his strong chest. He let his lips brush against the nape of his brother’s neck as he whispered, softly and almost frightened, ‘I will be so alone when you are gone… I am so scared, brother.’ 

These words nearly broke the Thunderer’s heart, his breath caught in his throat as he felt Loki cling onto his clothes like he did when he was still a small child. It was the first time in years that his brother had shown this much emotion, since he had spoken so openly. ‘Loki, I want you to look at me,’ Thor’s voice was soft. He placed his hands on the raven’s shoulder and pushed him back ever so gently, creating some distance so he could look him in the eye. ‘I will not allow anyone to touch you during my short absence, you have my word. I will double the guard, I will lock the palace gates for as long as is needed.’ He placed his hands on Loki’s pale cheeks, his heart beating softly at the fear written across the raven’s face. ‘The guards will protect you. You will be safe.’ 

‘Safe?’ The trickster looked upon the guards who were still holding the captain down, their gazes showing utter confusion as Loki turned his head and buried his face in the Allfather’s neck. ‘I do not trust them, Thor,’ he whispered. ‘I have seen their gazes when you are gone. They watch me as I read, they follow me when I tend to mother’s gardens. They spy on me when I am alone, bathing, their eyes filled with nothing but lust.’ 

Loki’s lips caressed Thor’s neck as he whispered this, his breath ghosting over the god’s skin. He felt horrible, guilt washing over him as his brother’s body completely tensed, his rage flaring through every muscle. Never had the raven’s heart felt this heavy when spreading his vulgar lies. 

‘Have they ever dared to lay their foul hands upon you, brother?’ 

The Allfather’s words were low and threatening, the promise of torture and death clear in his voice. 

‘Not yet,’ Loki cupped Thor’s face in his soft hands, his thin fingers caressing the man’s cheeks. ‘I ask of you brother, let the mortal protect me whilst you are gone. Let him be at my side, watch over me and help me find my way through the lonesome and isolated days of your absence. Let him be my guide, my comfort, whilst I pray to the Norns for your safe and erelong return,’ he pressed his soft lips against those of his brother, having to swallow down bile that was threatening to crawl up his throat. ‘Please?’ 

Thor remained silent, his expression betraying none of his thoughts. He wanted his little brother to be safe from greedy hands, to stay pure and delicate for his eyes alone. Loki was meant to be with him, they were bound, through fate, through love, and, when time was right, through marriage and descendants. 

Loki will be his and his alone. No one will ever lay their vulgar fingers on his little raven. 

‘Would you deem it wise to lay your safety in the hands of this Midgardian?’ 

‘Yes,’ Loki nodded. ‘He is the only one I can trust. He owes alliance to no one, the promise of home binds him to do as we command. Plus, he has shown us that he is quite skilled a fighter, if necessary. He is the only one I would trust.’ 

Thor turned his gaze towards the captain, who was still on the ground.

Steve tried to understand what was happening, tried to make all the loose puzzle pieces fit and complete the blurry picture in his mind. He just clearly heard the two call each other brothers, so is that is their relation? Are they siblings? but, if so, why did they kiss? Why do they cling on to each other, Thor holding Loki like they are lovers? 

The captain blinked in confusion as his eyes darted towards the floor. It was the strong hand around his arm that pulled him from his thoughts. He looked up, meeting the King’s blue eyes. 

‘It seems like I have need for you faster than I had expected,’ Thor yanked Steve up on his feet, earning him a muffled groan of pain coming from the mortal. ‘The Norns are working in your favor, Steven of Midgard,’ he smiled, helping Steve by contemptuously throwing him back in his hospital bed. ‘Rest for as long as you need. I will head for Algor once you have regained your full strength.’ 

Steve managed to press himself up in his bed, the wounds on his chest burning in pain as he watched the King turn his back on him. He saw how Thor grabbed Loki’s thin wrist, how the guards bowed their heads in what he could only describe as utter fear. ‘Hey, wait!’ he shouted, causing the Allfather to stop in his track. ‘Fight for one night, and if I return, I could go home,’ he snarled, gritting his teeth. ‘That was the promise!’ 

‘I know,’ Thor did not even turn around to look at him, but Steve could clearly hear the smile in his voice. ‘Rejoice, captain, for you have the privilege to reside among Æsir. You have been chosen by the god of mischief and lies himself to be his guardian. You should feel honored.’ 

Steve’s brows furrowed, his voice taken by confusion as he, yet again, only understood half of what the King was telling him. He watched as Loki stumbled to follow his brother close at his side, the guards instantly lowering their heads again. 

The god spared the guards a glimpse, who in return effectively shivered under the Allfather’s unforgiving eyes. Thor placed his hand on his most trusted weapon which was strapped at his side. 

‘Brother,’ Loki whispered softly, his voice faltering. ‘Come with me, brother. The captain will make a quick recovery, so I want all of you for myself till the moment you will have to leave for Algor.’ 

Loki gulped as Thor did not move, his fingers only clasping tighter around the grip of Mjölnir. The raven gently placed his hands around his brother’s arm, daring to ask for his attention. ‘Please, Thor? I wish to…’ His heart was beating loudly, almost painfully in his chest as he forced himself to say the words that would hopefully save the lives of these guards. ‘I wish to lay with you. On our bed, the floor, against the wall. I want you in every way imaginable before you leave.’ His hands travel towards the god’s stomach and down to the brim of his pants. ‘Fill me with your undying love. Please, brother?’ 

Relief and anxiety mixed in the core of his empty stomach as his false wishes seemed to draw the god’s attention. Thor’s grip on Mjölnir loosened and he smiled, ‘How could I ever refuse words so pleading and so honeyed,’ his voice was soft and gentle. He looked so happy, so content. 

Loki hated that look. 

Loki hated his brother. 

But he could do this if it would spare the lives of others, if it would save the lives of those he himself brought at risk with false words. He let his fingers intertwine with those of his brother and they continued to walk towards the exit of the healing halls. 

They were only inches away from stepping over the threshold when Thor swiftly turned around, Mjölnir in his hand. The jolts of lightning that sparked from the weapon illuminated the room, shooting straight through the hearts of its target. 

The guards stood on their feet for a mere second, their ears filled with static noise, their hearts stopped as if pierced by bullets. 

Steve watched breathlessly as their lifeless bodies dropped to the floor, a puff of smoke escaping from their parted lips. 

It all happened in a split second. 

‘Come, my dearest, baby brother,’ Thor wrapped an arm around Loki’s shoulder, pressing a soft kiss against his temple. ‘I promise to keep you awake and moan my name till the final minute of my leave for Algor.’ 

Loki trembled. In rage. In frustration. In utter disgust at both his brother and himself. He followed Thor like a lost and beaten creature, the grand doors of the sanitorium closing behind them.

 


 

 

Steve stayed in his hospital bed, the white cubicle curtains closed, separating him completely from the other soldiers, from the Asgardians. He stared at the ceiling, trying to wrap his brain around all the information he had unwillingly gathered.

Asgard.

Æsir.

Gods.

It was all so incomprehensible to him.

He closed his eyes and tried to focus on his breathing, wondering how his battle on the unfamiliar planet would have ended if he still had Bucky at his side. His chest ached, not only from the deep cuts which were healing slower than he had hoped but also from sorrow that washed over him. He missed his best friend, wishing he could see his face and hear his voice again now more than ever. 

But there was something else as well, another sensation which was not pain. 

A soft prickling had settled in his hand and ebbed into his wrist. It was warm and comforting, slowly pulling his attention from the heartache and pain in his chest. He looked at his fingers and saw them wrapped in a faint, dying mist of green. 

Loki’s Seiðr, still glowing faintly from his enchantment. 

Was he still casting this while being with Thor, doing whatever it was that the Allfather had promised Loki? 

It spell was soothing and somehow familiar. The blond twitched his fingers as if the raven’s hands were still wrapped around his own, suddenly wishing he was still sitting next to him.

Steve stared at the empty chair next to his bed, wondering what the trickster could possibly see in someone like Thor. He might have met him only twice, but that was enough for Steve to conclude that Thor was a selfish ruler who claimed whatever he wanted. Land, attention, lives. Thor’s behavior was destructive to all around him. 

Steve closed his eyes as Loki’s Seiðr softly burned over his skin, like a lighted candle, warm and calm, until sleep took him and carried him into rest.

 


 

 

He did not know what time it was when he woke up, but his rumbling stomach caused him to open his eyes. He tried to lift his heavy eyelids, judging by the darkness that it was already night. He placed a hand on his stomach as it cramped and growled, reminding the captain that he hasn’t eaten anything yet for over twenty-four hours. 

His mouth started to water when a certain smell hit him. It was the smell of something good, something roasted and spiced with all kinds of herbs.

The white curtain opened, and it was none other than the Prince of Asgard himself who soundlessly entered, carrying two trays of food. 

‘If it wasn’t for the smell I would have never noticed you dropping by.’ 

Loki jumped at the soft and husky voice, the trays he was carrying nearly falling from his hands. ‘Pardon the intrusion,’ he whispered, his heart beating softer as he saw what almost looked like a smug grin on the captain’s face. ‘I did not mean to wake you.

‘You didn’t,’ Steve shrugged as he sat op a little. ‘The food did.’

‘Oh, right,’ the raven nodded slowly and placed one of the trays on a nightstand. ‘This is for you. May it be to your liking.’ He wanted to turn away, but as the captain just stared with wide eyes at the richly filled tray he decided to explain. ‘I figured you would probably care for some food. The soup is made out of fresh mushrooms from the northern hills, the other vegetables are from our own gardens and the meat is cut from a bilgesnipe’s rib thus very rich in flavor and very nutritious. Oh, and careful with the mead, it is not meant for mortals, but it does go extraordinary well with the meat. You should try a sip.’ 

‘It… it all looks incredible…’ Steve stammered as he had never seen, or smelled, a meal like this before. He was used to growing up with what his parents were able to afford, which were mostly cheap and simple vegetables. Money became even more of a problem after his father died and it was just him and his mother, who barely managed to make ends meet. Still, Steve was happy and grateful, even during the Great Depression, in which both money and food were scarce. He quickly shook his head and grabbed the cutlery, wanting to dig in, ‘This meal is fit for a king,’ he joked, but then slowly looked up at the raven, who was now only carrying one tray. ‘…This was not meant for me, was it?’ 

‘It is now,’ the god shrugged indifferently. ‘Enjoy.’ 

Steve took a good look at Loki for the first time since they’ve met, noticing some details he had not seen before. The god’s fingers were almost bony, his sharp cheekbones highlighted by what little light that came from the torches hanging from the wall. There were dark circles underneath his eye and eyepatch, his hair messy even though it looked like there was a quick attempt to style it. And his clothes. He was not wearing the black and green leather uniform that he was wearing during the day, and without the dramatic cape and golden helmet he looked a lot less reserved. 

He seemed... approachable, in the soft fabric of a simple dark blue tunic, his bare feet against the marble floor. 

He looked almost human, were it not for that alabaster skin, perfect white teeth and mesmerizing green eyes. 

The captain quickly swallowed and blinked his eyes to pull himself from his thoughts. 

‘Loki,’ Steve started, noticing how the god’s clothes were at least two sizes too big for him. ‘This is your meal, isn’t it? I’m not going to eat your food.’ 

‘I have no need for your worrying, I eat plenty enough.’ 

‘Doesn’t show.’ 

Loki rolled his eye for a split second, but then just sighed, irritation and exhaustion shortening his patience. ‘Look, if you do not want the food be my guest, but don’t expect any other offerings.’ 

‘No, wait, that’s not it. It’s just,’ the blond quickly grabbed the raven’s wrist, his fingers easily curling completely around it. ‘I’m worried about you. You just look… very tired.’ 

These words, spoken in such a kind and soft voice, left Loki speechless. He could not remember the last time someone showed him this form of compassion, of care. It was such a ridiculously small gesture, yet it made him feel lost, uncomfortable, not knowing how to respond or what to say in return, so he just stared at his feet. 

Steve looked at the god, noticing his silent struggle and panic. ‘Hey,’ he gently grabbed the tray that the trickster was still carrying from his hands and placed it next to the one that was already on his nightstand. His fingers then cautiously touched Loki’s hand and he guided him to sit on the bed using that little contact. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. You okay?’ 

Loki let himself be guided onto the softness of the matrass as Steve sat up straight and pulled his feet up. The trickster’s mind was too much of a mess to take control, his constant state of alert crumbling down slowly with every passing sleepless minute. It was only when he looked up from his feet that he replied the Captain’s question, ‘Quite.’ 

‘Look, I’m no doctor but-’ 

‘But I look like I’ve been run over by a bus… and then thrown of the Empire State Building.’ There was a muscle straining at the corner of Loki’s lips which turned it into a silent smile. ‘Something like that?’

‘Yeah,’ Steve’s worried frown turned into a smile as he saw the trickster’s grin shimmering through his weary expression. ‘Exactly like that.’ He then grabbed his tray, not being able to resist the delicious food any longer and started to eat. He tried thinking of something to ask, something that would make Loki talk to him with more words than were absolutely necessary. ‘So,’ he started, quickly swallowing his food. ‘Your, uhm, Seiðr? How does it work?’ 

Loki looked up in surprise, of all questions he had expected the captain to ask, this was not one of them. ‘It, uhm, it works as some form of life energy. One needs to learn how to control it, how to make it one’s own, before putting it to practice.’ He gulped, fidgeting with his fingers as he figured whether to keep on talking while a constant fear of saying the wrong words gnawed at the back of his mind. ‘I-if a Seiðr barer is skilled in harnessing this energy it can be very powerful and destructive, yet at the same time-’ he looked at Steve’s hands. ‘it can be very gentle and comforting. It could even heal the deepest wounds.’

‘It sounds absolutely amazing,’ Steve smiled, though he wondered what made the god so afraid to talk. ‘You strike me as a smart guy. Did you learn this all by yourself?’ 

At first, the trickster spoke of words that would answer only and directly to Steve’s questions. However, their conversation slowly bloomed as the captain continued to show interest and patience, his voice soft, his eyes gentle as he allowed Loki to speak. 

Loki was nervous, almost flinching after every answer he gave. There was something about this mortal though that slowly made him feel at ease. Maybe it were his genuine questions, maybe it was the kind voice in which he spoke or maybe, just maybe, it were those ocean blue eyes in which Loki would gladly let himself drown.

Little by little, he dared to speak more openly. Of his mother who taught him these fine arts, of his father who did not approve and of his perseverance to prove all those around him that Seiðr could be just as lethal as a sword.

The subject might have never changed, but the openness in which Loki was speaking surely developed. 

It was only when the two heard footsteps coming from the other side of the curtain that Loki quickly jumped to his feet again, panic clear in his eyes. 

The white screen was pulled open, revealing an older, female Healer. She peered over her glasses at the soldier, who was still lying in bed, plate almost empty, and then laid her eyes upon the young red-haired girl at his side who was wearing the Healer’s uniform. ‘You brought him food in the middle of the night?’ she did not sound amused.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ the trickster in disguise answered courteously. ‘By orders of the prince.’ 

‘We do not take orders from Prince Loki anymore, you know this,’ the elder lady grumbled, clearly making some mental notes. She glared at the Midgardian again before turning around with a sigh. ‘Make sure to dispose of his plate when he is done.’ 

‘Yes, ma’am,’ the red-head bowed and waited for the woman to leave. She then turned around on her heal and looked at the completely perplexed captain. ‘Well, Seiðr can be used to disguise oneself as well.’ He smiled somewhat as he let his disguise fall, revealing his Æsir self again. ‘Well, I should be going, Thor is waiting for me.’ 

‘Wait,’ Steve called out but then closed his mouth for a moment. He wanted to ask him about the King, about Thor and their relationship, but something stopped him, a certain uncertainty which he could not quite explain. ‘…You sure you don’t want any?’ 

Loki stared at the fork that the captain was holding up, the last piece of meat stuck to it. The raven tucked his hair behind his ear as he contemplated the matter but then moved back to the bed. He opened his mouth, slowly, and wrapped his lips around the cutlery. He chewed the piece of food and swallowed, tears almost welling in his eye. 

For the first time in many years the food did not taste like ashen.

For the first time in many years it had regained its flavor and tasted like memories of old.

Chapter Text

Steve recovered faster than the Healers had expected, the natural balms and herbs used as remedy working wonders in combination with his super soldier serum. 

‘I would strongly recommend you to stay in bed, sir,’ a young Healer said as she spotted the captain, who was trying to sit up. ‘If you would like to use the bathroom I could give you a-’ 

‘No, thanks, I’m good,’ Steve gave the caring woman a quick smile, his feet dangling over the edge of the bed as he stretched his back. 

It had been three days since he last felt the floor under his feet, the once gaping wound in his chest stopping him from leaving his bed. But now, now he was fully healed, or close enough at least. 

It had also been three days since he last saw Loki, or the King. He wondered if the God of Mischief had come into trouble with the Allfather for giving him his meal, a heartbeat of panic shooting through his chest. 

He placed his feet on the floor, taking a shivery breath as he stood up and found his balance. His first careful steps were supported by the Healer, but Steve soon managed to walk just fine without her. 

‘Well, look at you. Already on your feet I see.’ 

The woman and the captain looked up, meeting Thor’s sky-blue eyes. Steve, however, was more interested in the raven god standing behind him. 

Loki was pale, even more so than the last time the blond had seen him. The black circles under his eyes were accentuated by the shadows that fell on his downward gaze. He looked tired, exhausted, that single shred of energy that Steve had seen in his gentle smile three days ago long gone. 

‘I’ve been in bed for three days,’ Steve straightened his back, his expression stoic as he felt a soft sting in his chest. ‘I think that’s more than enough.’ 

Thor glared at the captain for a moment longer, a smile soon taking its place. ‘You amuse me, Steven of Midgard.’ He placed a strong hand on Steve’s shoulder, shaking it in jest. ‘Well then, it seems like I will be leaving for Algor today since you are at full strength again.’ 

His grip on the man’s shoulders tightened, his voice softer as he spoke, ‘If anything were to happen to my brother during my absence, I will make sure you will never see daylight again.’ 

It was with this guarantee that Thor packed his belongings and headed for Algor, leaving Asgard for three full weeks. He had hugged and kissed his little raven goodbye, making him promise that he would think of him with every single heartbeat. 

Loki had sent Thor off from the palace courtyard, Steve loyally at his side. The gates closed immediately as the King was out of sight, making sure no one would enter nor leave during the Allfather’s absence. 

‘So,’ Steve started as Thor’s ship had completely disappeared in the sky. ‘I know you planned on me to stick around but-’ 

‘I have no need for you,’ the raven cut him short, struggling to find the energy to speak. 

Steve frowned as the trickster turned around and started to walk back into the palace. He decided to do so as well, following him through large corridors and up golden stairs from a distance. ‘Look, Thor said that if I didn’t-’ 

‘Thor is not here now, is he?’ Loki stopped at a large door and placed his hand on the handle. ‘Now, if you will excuse me,’ he turned around, eventually sighing as the captain’s deep blue eyes stared back at him in confusion. ‘Look, Steven, I am sorry for everything that has befallen you. I truly am. I shall try to deport you back to Midgard as soon as I can, but for now I... I cannot.’ 

‘Wait, you know how to get me home?’ Steve’s eyes widened in disbelief. He scoffed, placed his hands in his side and shook his head. ‘Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Why can’t you-’ 

It was when the god of lies collapsed to the floor that the captain stopped his questioning. He was on his knees and at the trickster’s side in a heartbeat, his arm around his shoulder as he tried to support him. ‘Loki? Are you okay? What’s wrong?’ 

The raven had closed his eyes, a deep sigh drawn from his lips as he laid his head to rest against the captain’s chest, feeling the warmth of his arms around him. ‘I am fine,’ he breathed, his heart beating softly at the concern clear in Steve’s voice. ‘I just... I just need to rest.’ 

Steve couldn’t argue with that. Loki looked exhausted, his body almost lifeless in his arms. He helped the trickster back on his feet, moving him into the room that turned out to be Loki’s bedroom. He let him sit on the edge of his bed, making sure the god had opened his eyes before letting him go. ‘You okay? Need anything?’ 

‘I am tired, not dying, captain,’ Loki managed to smile, though he immediately let himself fall back on his mattress. ‘I just need to rest... for a couple of minutes.’

Steve nodded in silence, ‘Want me to help you, or...?’ He asked hesitantly, gesturing towards the trickster’s clothes.

Loki, however, had already fallen asleep, his raven hair framing his pale face in peaceful rest.

Steve stared at him, at the morning sun rays that hit his softly heaving chest and at the colorless lips that were slightly parted. His hands hovered over the zipper that started at Loki’s left shoulder, uncertain whether he should help him undress. 

In the end, he just settled with placing the trickster’s legs on the soft mattress and gently covered him with the fur blankets that were folded at his feet. He looked at Loki one more time, his hand carefully moving a strand of raven hair behind his ear, before walking through the grand threshold and closing the door behind him. 

Steve spend the first few hours of his freedom roaming through the palace. He ventured through the royal gardens, inspected the towering walls and explored every hall and chamber he came across. He thought of searching for a way out, this seeming to be the perfect time now that the ever-watchful King and the Prince were both off his case. 

It soon became clear, however, that this was a quest soon to be abandoned. With but one heavily guarded gate for the passage of supplies opened, soldiers marching at every corner and all other gates sealed, Steve had nowhere to go. No way to escape.

The captain gave up after ten hours of searching for ways to leave the palace, considering that it was best to wait for the Asgardian Prince to help him. He waited, patiently, in front of Loki’s door, not knowing where else to go. 

But the trickster’s door remained closed.

Ten hours. 

Fifteen hours. 

Twenty hours. 

It was after twenty-four sleepless hours that Steve decided to knock on Loki’s door, entering even though, or maybe because, he heard no response. 

‘Loki...?’ He spoke softly, not knowing what to expect. It was when he saw the trickster squirming in his bed, legs kicking and head tossing and turning that he dashed inside. 

‘Loki,’ he called his name, strong and earnest, hoping to pull the trickster from whatever horror he was experiencing. ‘Loki, can you hear me? Come on, you need to wake up.’ 

Steve placed his hands on the raven’s shoulders, trying to pull him from his sleep. 

The raven instinctively wrapped his hands around Steve’s wrists, blunt nails scratching at his skin as he woke up with a startled cry. ‘Let go of me!’

‘Loki, relax, it’s me, Steve,’ he immediately pulled his hands back, holding them up as a sign of surrender while vicious red stripes marked his skin. 

The trickster breathed frantically, the nightmare that was still haunting him clear in his troubled eyes. He was hyperventilating, short breaths stuck in his throat leaving his lungs to burn. He started to claw at his clothes, every layer of fabric weighing a ton on his constricted chest. 

‘Easy, Loki, try to take deep breaths,’ Steve’s voice was calm, even though knowing the task he just asked the trickster to do must feel impossible. ‘That’s right, steady now. Try breathing into your stomach instead of your chest.’ His voice was so soothing, his hands so gentle as he placed his finger tips on Loki’s stomach. ‘That’s right, you’re doing great. Almost there.’ 

It took about fifteen minutes for the raven to regain his breath, his mind and his calm. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, sweat dripping from his temple and the nape of his neck, down the rest of his body. 

‘Here,’ Steve said as he walked into the trickster’s room again and handed him a glass of water. ‘You okay?’ 

‘Quite,’ Loki cursed mentally as he heard the soft quiver in his voice. ‘My apologies.’ 

‘That’s alright,’ Steve sat down next to him, oblivious in concern to the way their bodies touched. ‘Listen, I know nightmares can be horrible, I’ve had my share ever since I- well, let’s just say a lot happened... So, if you ever feel like talking-’ 

‘You ask of me to speak my mind, to vocalize my fears, yet you let out none of your own,’ Loki hissed sharply, his piercing green eyes staring straight at the man next to him. 

It was the small flinch that shot through Steve’s body that made Loki swallow, damning his silver tongue and conceited nature. ‘My apologies... again.’ 

‘That’s alright, again,’ Steve smiled, though he knew that the raven was right. How could he expect someone to open up to him if he himself would not speak? He looked at the trickster’s face, the strands of raven-black hair in great contrast to his pale skin. His hand moved, without his awareness, to gently tug the lose hair behind Loki’s ear. 

His eyes then suddenly snapped to those of the trickster, whose face had slowly started to turn red. ‘I- I think it’s my time now to say sorry, huh?’ Steve tried, adding a nervous little laughter. 

‘As you should. How dare you touch a god without praying for his consent?’ The raven snapped sharply, a soft chuckle following immediately after as Steve’s entire body tensed, his eyes wide. ‘I was merely speaking in jest, Steven.’ He stood up before the blond could answer. ‘I am going to take a quick bath. Feel free to help yourself in the kitchen or to use the bed in the room next to mine.’ 

It was the silent smile that Loki gave him over his shoulder before walking out his room that left Steve staring after him, his heart skipping a beat. 

 

*

 

Countless thoughts raced through Loki’s mind as he let his body soak in hot water, trying to physically rinse himself from his nightmares. He pressed his eye shut, blue eyes peering at him even as they were out of the palace and out of this Realm.

Thor was everywhere, his voice echoing in his mind, his eyes constantly in his sight, his touch ghosting over his skin.

He tried to breath calmly through his nose, tried to distract himself by thinking of something pleasant, just like his mother had once taught him. 

A soft smile. 

Warm hands. 

A kind and calm voice. 

The raven sighed in frustration, realizing that once again the mortal captain was there to help him. He gulped and held his breath, letting himself fully submerge into the water. His heart was fluttering in his chest, a fuzzy sensation in his stomach. Yet the scariest, most terrifying of all was the smile that was threatening to form on his face. 

Loki was not an idiot, he recognized the feeling of love and the warmth and comfort that came with it. He hated it. Hated how much he longed for it, hated how much he needed it. 

It was the memory of his brother flashing before his eyes that made him jolt straight up again, coughing and gasping for air.

He could not be in love with this mortal. Steve was nothing more but a kind smile, a warm voice, but most of all a welcome distraction that would leave him as soon as he would get the chance. 

Nothing more. 

Loki got out of the bathing room, dressed himself and went back to his bedroom, only to find the captain waiting for him, a plate with sandwiches in his hand.

 

*

 

After about an hour of searching Steve had finally found his way back into the trickster’s room again. The palace was huge, and the blond wished that he had a map of the place, though he had to admit that J.A.R.V.I.S. was a very good help, navigating him through the countless halls. He entered the raven’s bedroom, a plate of sandwiches in hand, happy to have finally found the right room. 

It did not take long for Steve to stand face to face with the god of chaos, his eyes falling on the simple, yet gorgeous dark blue and ochre tunic he was wearing. ‘Uh,’ he started after he finally came to realize that he had been staring, ‘I found the kitchen.’

Loki frowned at the plate that Steve held up, a questionable substance dripping from between the slices of bread. ‘What... what kind of concoction is that?’ 

‘PB & J,’ Steve smiled, but the god was still frowning. ‘You know? Peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I know it doesn’t look all that royally but it’s actually pretty good.’ He held out the plate, gesturing with a smile for Loki to grab a piece of bread. ‘Go on, try it.’ 

‘...If you say so,’ Loki hesitantly took the offer, brought it to his mouth but took a careful sniff first. ‘I do not assume the chefs made this, did they?’ 

‘No, not really,’ Steve shrugged, taking a big bite. ‘You said for me to help myself in the kitchen. So I did. I figured you would be hungry too, so I made some for you as well.’ 

‘You made this... especially for me...?’ Loki tried to fight the soft blush that was coloring his cheeks as the captain nodded with a smile, his mouth full of the Midgardian treat. 

The raven stared at the captain’s contagious grin, having to remind himself that Steve will be gone the moment he gets the chance. He shook his head and took a small, hesitant bite, expecting the food to unleash a wave of nausea in his stomach.

Except, it didn’t. 

Steve was right. Though the sandwich was far from anything he had ever eaten before, he did not feel the urge to run to the bathroom and get it out of his system. Maybe it was caused by the new and surprising flavor combination or by the strange texture in his mouth. 

Or maybe it was because he was in good company. 

He looked at Steve through his lashes, seeing how the captain almost greedily took his last bite. 

They ate the rest of their meal in silence, Loki, for the first time in ages, managing to eat an entire sandwich. 

‘That was quite the unexpected flavor,’ the trickster said as he opened the balcony doors adjoining his chamber. 

Steve stepped outside and took in the view, this new Realm, Asgard, displayed in front of him in all its ancient glory. ‘Is that a fancy way of saying you didn’t like it?’ 

There was something of a sly grin forming on the captain’s face and Loki could not help but chuckle at it. ‘Quite the contrary, I rather enjoyed it. You were right though, I would have never eaten it if it were not for your… culinary skills.’ 

‘Pfff, skills,’ Steve snorted, his eyes drawn back to the city that was bathing in the late afternoon sun. ‘I never really learned how to cook. At least, not how people cook now a days. I learned to boil everything and... well, that’s about it.’

‘Ah, that is right,’ Loki noted, curiosity playing through his words. ‘You are a man out of time, am I correct?’ 

‘Yeah...’ there was an emotion shimmering through the captain’s features which Loki could not quite grasp. ‘I fought in WWII, defeated the bad guy on a plane. It was en route to New York City and it was going too fast for me to think of any real plan to stop it. The only solution for me was to crash it in the ice.’ Steve looked at his fingers, fiddling nervously as the ice-cold water started to fill his lungs again. He took a deep, constricted breath, ‘That was over seventy years ago... I thought I’d die but it looks like I was wrong.’ 

‘Is that what your nightmares are about?’ Loki asked bluntly, though not in any way discourteously. ‘The war? The losses? The fear of dying?’

A shiver ran down Steve’s spine. The trickster’s directness took him a little off guard, his words sounding cold, yet his voice was as smooth as ever. ‘Uh, yeah... that’s- that’s basically it.’ 

‘... I am renowned for many traits and characteristics, yet being tactful has never been one of them,’ the raven admitted, now hardly daring to look at the captain as a sense of shame washed over him. ‘I just... I tend to forget an other’s feelings when I want to know certain information. I apologize for my lack of empathy…’ 

‘That’s okay,’ Steve gave him a half-sided smile, waiting for Loki to meet his gaze. ‘It’s actually kinda refreshing, I suppose. Tony and the others are always tiptoeing around me, they try so hard not to upset me and to get me used to this new world that, well, I guess it’s just nice not to be treated like fragile glass or something.’ 

Loki merely looked away from Steve, his hands clasping around the balustrade as he leaned on it. 

‘Where’s your sharp tongue now, huh?’ Steve chuckled lightly, nudging the trickster with his shoulder as he stood next to him. ‘I know that must’ve sounded funny.’

‘No, it- it did not,’ he mumbled. ‘It actually made some sense. You are rather clever, for a simple mortal being.’ 

The wide grin on Steve’s face left Loki’s heart to flutter in his chest. He swallowed nervously, his fingers fiddling, ‘I know that that you have questions for me as well. There is certain information which you seek, which you know I can provide.’ He cursed silently as he noticed his muttering. He straightened his back and decided to look the captain straight in the eye. ‘I will allow you to ask one, though I cannot guaranty my answer to be spoken out of truth.’

Steve nodded, finding it somewhat strange that Loki felt the need to warn him for his lies. Usually people would just pretend to tell the truth, smiling and laughing along to cover their deceits. But then again, the trickster was like no one he had ever encountered before.

He was silent and cunning, peculiar and clever. Yet most of all he was unique and kind. With eyes as green as the deepest forests, skin as perfect as porcelain and a voice as smooth as the finest silk. 

‘Steven?’

Steve blinked his eyes, snapping out of his thoughts as that honeyed voice called his name. ‘Hmm?’ 

The raven chuckled lightly, his skin glowing in the warm afternoon sun. ‘Has no one ever taught you that it is rude to stare?’ 

‘Oh, yeah, sorry,’ the captain scratched the back of his head, his eyes averting to the ground as he regained his composure. ‘Okay, so, there are a thousand things I would like to ask you about this place but there’s one thing in particular which I just can’t seem to understand… Now I know it is a very personal question so feel free not to answer it, okay?’ 

‘Not to worry, I do only as I please. You will know when I will not feel like answering,’ The arrogance and pride dripped through his words, a false display of control and calmness. Loki already feared knowing what the question would be about, and the very thought of even mentioning his brother’s name left his heart to pump loudly in his chest. 

‘Okay,’ Steve snorted, falling for the god’s perfect deception. ‘So, I was wondering, you and Thor-’ 

‘Please excuse the interruption.’ 

The British voice coming from the captain’s pocket startled both men, causing them to jump up, Loki instinctively taking a step back and creating some distance between himself and Steve. ‘Was that Selfone?’ 

‘Uh,’ Steve frowned at Loki’s pronunciation for a second but then grabbed the device from his pocket. ‘Yeah, I guess it is. You wanted to tell me something, Jarvis?’

‘Quite,’ the voice spoke, buzzing in the captain’s hand. ‘I have some news which I believe you will find most interesting.’

Chapter Text

‘I have some news which I believe you will find most interesting.’ 

Steve frowned at his phone, wondering what Jarvis could possibly have to tell him. ‘Uhm, okay,’ he looked at Loki, a smile instantly forming on his face as he saw the trickster’s eye grow wide with curiosity. ‘Tell us.’ 

‘I received a message for you,’ J.A.R.V.I.S. informed him. ‘It is from mister Stark.’ 

‘From Tony?’ Steve’s voice was instantly louder in both surprise and excitement. ‘Did he manage to contact me? Where is he now? Is he okay?’ 

Loki watched from the sideline as Steve paced back and forth over the balcony, almost reminding him of a puppy who was about to be given his first toy. He wanted to smile at Steve’s excitement but a heavy feeling imbedded deep within his stomach caused his expression to remain stoic. 

‘Tony?’ Steve called out as he put his phone on speakers. ‘Tony, can you hear me?’ 

Hey Capsicle.” 

‘Tony!’

Loki’s eye twitched at the overflowing joy and relief that was ringing in the captain’s voice. Steve looked so happy, holding the device like it was his savior, his last hope.  

The trickster remained at the sideline, eyeing the blond from the shadow in which he stood. 

‘Tony,’ Steve continued with a bright smile. ‘I’m so happy to hear y-’

“So, it’s now 01.33 here in New York City and it has officially been 27 days since you have disappeared,”  

Steve’s bright smile slowly turned into a frown as the billionaire interrupted him and continued talking. It soon dawned on him that the voice was a recording, a message which the playboy had successfully been able to send him. He let his back rest against a wall, listening closely to Tony’s voice. 

“Uhm… I really hope you will receive this message. I mean, I don’t even know if you’re… God, you better be okay.”

The captain gulped at the deep, almost desperate sigh that followed. Tony sounded exhausted, like he hasn’t had any sleep for nights and, judged upon the short time Steve had spent with the man, that was probably the case. 

“So, listen, Bruce and I have been working none-stop on trying to contact you. I haven’t seen Nat and Clint as they are constantly at S.H.I.E.L.D. doing everything they can to track you down. They’re a bit weird, but they’re good guys, I guess… So, anyway, there is just so much that we- that I can do from this end of the line. Well, I just want you to know that we are doing everything we can to find you. So, keep your head up, soldier. Help is on its way. We’re not gonna forget you, cap. I’m not gonna give up. Just know that, okay? We’ll see each other soon, Steve. Promise.”  

Death. 

That was all Loki wished for the man on the other side of the line as he watched Steve’s fingers curl around the cellphone. 

A slow and painful ending of life to all those who would try to take Steve away from him. 

Loki shook his head viciously at the sound of the captain’s voice, his heart beating heavy in his chest as his own thoughts dazed him.

‘Twenty-seven days…’ Steve muttered, though knowing perfectly well that he has only spend a week here, the concept of time working differently in this Realm not surprising him. ‘Jarvis, does this mean I can call Tony? Or send a message back?’ 

‘I am afraid not, sir,’ J.A.R.V.I.S. sounded remorseful. ‘Mister Stark modified his technology in order to reach out to your cellphone, yet, as he said, he is not able to adjust this device from where he is right now.’

‘I see,’ Steve let his head hang for a moment. ‘So, I won’t be able to tell him that I’m okay.’ 

‘No, sir.’ 

‘… Well, no point in dwelling on that,’ Steve pushed himself from the wall with a fresh burst of energy, knowing that his new friends are safe and doing well. He then looked at Loki, his head tilting as he saw the god staring in panic. ‘Loki? Hey, what’s wrong?’ 

The trickster’s eye snapped towards the captain as he felt the man’s hand rest on his upper arm. ‘I- I had this thought and it…’ he panted softly, remaining silent for a moment before continuing to speak. ‘It was nothing.’ He cleared his throat and straightened his back, his chin held high in his façade of calm and pride. ‘So, that was your friend Tony?’ 

‘Yeah,’ Steve smiled as he looked at his phone. ‘They’re looking for me.’ 

‘That I understood,’ Loki reacted with more bitterness in his voice than he would like to let through. He eventually sighed and tried to unwind his tense muscles. ‘He sounds like a good companion.’ 

‘He is,’ the blond smiled. ‘I wish you could meet him and the others as well. I’m sure you’d like them.’ 

The silence that followed had been the most uncomfortable moment Loki had ever shared with the captain. They merely stood next to each other, both uncertain of what to say, both staring in any direction accept towards each other. 

The trickster was the first to turn his gaze and saw how Steve’s smile had disappeared, clearly not knowing how to react to Loki’s change of mood. 

He sighed, coming to an understanding that brought both sorrow and peace to his mind.

Steve had to go. 

It was time for the mortal to be send home right now. If he would return to his own Realm, Loki would have less time to spend with him. If Loki has less time to spend with him, he won’t be able to get too familiar, too attached. ‘I will send you back.’ 

Steve looked up with wide eyes, ‘Sorry, what?’ 

‘I said I will send you back,’ the raven repeated loud and clear. ‘To Midgard, home. Your friends.’ 

The blond remained silent for a moment as he let this sink in. He knew he should be thrilled to finally go home, to see Tony and the others again, but there was something keeping him from smiling. 

He looked at the raven god at his side, at his eyepatch, his too thin waistline, and the way his entire body is always completely covered in fabric, revealing none of his porcelain skin accept for his face and hands. ‘But, if I go and Thor returns… I mean, I was supposed to stay with y-’ 

‘The Allfather is none of your concern,’ Loki gulped, his calm demeaner almost breaking. ‘I will- I will think of reasons for your disappearance…’ He quickly held his chin up high again, ‘Well then, if you would follow me.’

Steve hesitated for a moment, eventually nodding and following the trickster from a small distance. 

Loki guided him through the palace, but instead of taking the familiar stairs to the towers, he took a path, almost hidden, that led them down into the deepest layers. They walked further and further, the carefully pathed halls slowly turning into long forgotten passages, the grand torches illuminating their path gradually disappearing. 

‘Where are we going?’ Steve asked as they almost had to crawl through yet another narrow tunnel, insects swarming underneath their feet. ‘I can’t see a thing, there’s no light here.’ 

‘I am afraid I can do nothing more than to ask you to trust me,’ Loki mumbled, his fingers scanning the damp walls which were slowly closing in on them. ‘Do not worry though, I am here to guide your way. We are almost there.’ 

Steve nodded with a grateful smile, though he knew Loki could not see it. ‘These last passages we’ve been crawling through aren’t for public use, are they?’ The trickster in front of him remained silent. ‘Does anybody else know about them?’ 

‘I hope not,’ was the only thing the raven had to answer. 

They kept on sneaking through the darkness, Steve’s only option being to follow the prince blindly. He started to rethink his choice as time went by, as he felt yet another small creature slither over his back. He opened his mouth, wanting to ask Loki where he was taking him, but the only sound coming from his parted lips was a soft wheeze as the trickster had suddenly stopped in front of him. 

Steve bumped into Loki, his hands automatically on the god’s body as he tried to steady them both. ‘Sorry,’ he whispered in Loki’s ear, the almost claustrophobic tunnel leaving him with little room to move. 

Loki froze on the spot, an instinctive reflex as he felt another’s body pressed against his own, hands laid to rest on his arm and waist. 

He felt lost for a moment, panic threatening to raise his heart rate. 

‘Hey, Loki, you okay?’ Steve asked quietly, one hand now resting on the god’s unmoving rib cage. ‘Why are you holding your breath?’

‘I-it’s nothing,’ he said as he forced himself to take a deep breath, Steve’s gentle voice instantly calming the fear rising in his core. 

The captain’s body was warm against his own, his scent, subtle yet so unique, filling his lungs. Loki felt Steve’s hand still resting on his chest, moving along with his breathing.

The trickster frowned slightly, not understanding why he wished to close his eye and let the blond wrap him in his arms. ‘We are here,’ he said after clearing his throat, reminding himself, yet again, not to get attached to the mortal.

Loki’s fingers lit up in a green mist, writing a pattern into the wall that blocked their narrow path. ‘Follow me,’ he stepped forward and walked through the barrier, only to stop halfway and look over his shoulder at the captain. 

Steve stared, open-mouthed, at the magic displayed in front of him. Loki was only half visible now, the other half of his body seemingly consumed by the wall. ‘H-how do you- I- I mean-’ 

The raven smiled, ‘It is alright,’ he whispered, now seeing firsthand how Midgardians were so easily overwhelmed. ‘There is no reason to be so wary,’ he held on to Steve’s hand, letting their fingers intertwine. ‘Just follow me. I will guide you.’ 

Steve dared to step forward, following Loki’s movement and soothing voice. He hesitated for a brief moment as the tip of his fingers were consumed by the stone wall, but, with eyes shut tight and the raven guiding him, he found the courage to step through. 

‘There,’ Loki smiled at Steve, a feeling of reluctance dwelling in his chest as he let go of the man’s hands. ‘Was that so bad?’ 

The captain looked around in absolute wonder. He just walked through a wall and now found himself in what looked like a cave, illuminated by thousands of pastel-colored crystals. They were standing on a plateau which was roughly carved out of rock and were surrounded by bright-blue water.

‘Where are we?’ Steve asked as he walked towards the edge of the plateau and stared into the depth of the water. It was as clear as the crystals imbedded in the walls and Steve already saw at least seven underwater passages.

‘These were once the underground dockings for Asgardian battleships,’ Loki explained as he walked towards a large, cloak-covered item. ‘Abandoned, and now forgotten by all, these caves once served Asgard dutifully by providing perfect coverage and protection. Those tunnels you see underwater are all passages leading to different Realms.’ 

‘So one of them leads to Earth,’ Steve concluded as he stared into the water, mesmerized by its clarity and bewitching bright-blue and green hues. ‘If caves like these are so perfect,’ he muttered, ‘why did you stop using them?’ 

He did not realize exactly when a pair of lavender eyes had gazed back at him, hiding shyly in one of the many underwater tunnels. 

Steve kept staring, his mouth slightly ajar as the creature graciously moved towards him.

It was… a woman? 

No, not just a woman. She was a divinity. Her face so fair, her skin so pale. Her long, silver hair dancing through the current as she moved towards him. She was grace, in physique and in essence, clothed in white robes, a sheer veil covering her eyes and hair. 

She raised her arm, reaching out for him just underneath the surface of the water with a hand as white as snow. 

She was glowing, like a beacon leading the stray and lost to safety. 

Steve did not know when it was that he had fell to his knees, but he was grateful he had done so. He was so close to the woman as he reached out to her, his fingertips only a breath away from breaking the water surface. 

‘Steven!’ 

Loki roughly grabbed Steve by his shirt and pulled him back with a strong heave. He protectively wrapped his arms around the mortal, holding him tight in a grip that was not meant to let go.   

The captain, now pulled free from the deity’s hypnotic gaze, gulped, his eyes moving rapidly. ‘W-what happened?’ 

The high-pitched screech that came from the waters caused the raven to jump to his feet. He held up his hands, silver daggers resting in his palms and shining in insipid crystal light. 

Clawing its way out of the water came the deity, now unrecognizable as she was literally skin over bone, her now hollow eye sockets covered by a dark-brown veil. 

Steve stared breathlessly at the fight taking place in front of him, his heartbeat drumming in his ears. Loki was lithe, light on his feet, moving with both speed and precise dexterity. Though his thin and fragile body would not show, it was clear in his movements that he had combat training for many years. It made the captain wonder what the god would have looked like in the prime of his life. 

The fight did not last long as the sea creature soon crawled back into the depths of the cave, leaving a trail of water and purple blood from the wound Loki managed to inflict on her. 

‘W-wha…’ Steve gulped. ‘What was that? Was that thing a mermaid?!’

‘That “thing” was Angeyja, one of the nine daughters of Ægir and Rán,’ Loki let his daggers disappeared in a green mist, his back now resting against the stone wall as his legs could hardly support him any longer. ‘She and her sisters are deities, her parents the god and goddess of the sea.’ The raven glared towards the water, making sure she was truly gone. ‘Ægir and Rán disapproved of Asgard using their waters to gain advantage during warfare, so they had sworn an oath that they would haunt and kill every soldier who would dare to enter their domain again. They are the reason we cannot use these underground dockings any longer.’ 

‘…Uh-huh,’ was all Steve could utter, still staring at the spot where the so-called deity had retreated. ‘So, tell me again; why are we here?’ 

‘To use the dockings,’ Loki answered calmly as he went back towards the large, cloak-covered item, feeling Steve’s flabbergasted gaze burning in his back. 

He grabbed the fabric and pulled it off, revealing the old and small spaceship that slumbered underneath. ‘This will be your answer, Steven. An old relic that will serve its final moment as your ride home.’ 

Steve stared as Loki fiddled with the control panel after which it levitated from the ground, gorgeous dark-blue strips lighting up and decorating the one-person device. 

Loki and Steve stood next to each other, admiring the artefact in silence.

‘The system is on auto-pilot. It is programmed to bring you home,’ Loki spoke softly. ‘All you have to do is take a seat and the ship will guide you away from here. No one will notice your leaving. It will be like… Like you have never set foot in Asgard.’ 

Steve heard the undertone of dismalness seeping through the trickster’s indifferent words. He looked at the spaceship and then back towards the raven, standing at his side. ‘You know… it is getting kinda late,’ Steve started, rubbing the back of his neck. ‘And, well, I can imagine that it must be really boring for you to stay here all by yourself, you know, with Thor gone and what not.’ 

Loki squinted his eyes in suspicion, not understanding why the captain was still standing next to him. ‘What is it you are trying to say?’ 

‘Well… I guess, maybe I could stay here a little longer. Keep you company,’ he suggested carefully. ‘Till Thor’s back.’ 

Loki’s suspicion now turned into a deadly glare, ‘Do you pity me?’ his voice was low in what Steve could only interpret as disgust. 

‘What? No!’ Steve held up his hands and took a step back. ‘No, Loki that’s not it at all, it’s just,’ he took a deep breath. ‘I’m actually having a pretty good time, hanging around with you and, if you don’t mind, I would like to stick around a little longer.’ 

Loki stared back at the captain in silence, his deathly glare turning into a frown of confusion. 

‘I guess I just don’t really want to say goodbye yet,’ Steve quickly added, though he felt like he was only making his case worse. ‘But, I can understand if you don’t want me to, so-’ 

‘You would stay here,’ Loki spoke softly. ‘Because you want to spend more time with me…?’ 

‘Well, yeah, that’s basically it,’ Steve smiled as he felt a blush creeping up on his face which he could not explain. ‘So, how about it? Can I stay a little longer?’ 

Loki managed to keep his jaw from dropping, his indifferent countenance returning as an automatic response. ‘Well, if you insist…’ He felt his blood rising to his cheeks as he mumbled, ‘I would not mind having to keep an eye on you for a couple more days.’

Chapter Text

 

 

The following days went down in peaceful quietness. Steve was always early to rise, starting his day with a twenty miles run, which, to much annoyance of the Asgardian staff, meant that he was merely running around in countless circles behind the palace walls. 

Steve marked six days that have gone by, each one following the same exact routine. Go for a long run, take a bath, have lunch, explore the palace, dinner and finally, at the end of the day, trying to relax by doing some drawing. It had started to become dull very quickly, especially since he now had checked the entire palace twice, but it was the best he could do with the limited freedom he had. 

There was a plus side however, for every dinner he would be joined by the trickster god.

Loki had started to open up little by little, sometimes even letting his voice be heard without Steve having to start the conversation first. He would always speak of small matters, like birds he had seen soaring through the sky or the flowers in his mother’s garden he had thought would not make it through the night, but miraculously survived. The captain normally would not care all that much for such simple subjects, yet he could listen to the raven’s rare words for hours on end. 

Loki spoke like these insignificant matters were the world to him, which caused Steve’s heart to grow heavy in his chest. He would just sit in front of the trickster, a feeling of content at listening to his voice, a feeling of warmth at watching him eat even the smallest of bites. 

They would just sit and talk till late in the evening, at least, up until now. 

‘So, should I wait for the prince or…?’ Steve asked hesitantly as a servant girl placed a big plate in front of him, revealing what the man could only interpret as the Asgardian version of pot roast. 

‘His Majesty asked us to inform you that he will not be joining you for dinner this evening,’ the girl answered courtly, proving her statement by not setting a plate at the trickster’s usual seat. 

Steve frowned, then wondered why this concerned him as much as it did. Life inside these palace walls was monotonous, each and every day going by in peace and tranquility. Loki should be fine, it is not like the god had an obligation to eat with him, anyway. 

Still though…

The captain looked at his plate and sighed, ‘Can you tell me where he is?’ 

‘I am afraid not,’ the girl placed a silver engraved tankard next to the blond’s plate, filled to the brim with ale. ‘He told us to leave him in peace. He does not wish to be disturbed.’

‘I see.’ The unease in Steve’s body only grew stronger, ‘but, I really need to see him, right now.’ He stated with as much authority as he could muster, gulping as the girl raised a questioning brow. ‘I mean, the Allfather has ordered me to watch the Prince. I can’t imagine the consequences if he hears that someone keeps me from doing so.’ 

He hated himself. Hated how he used the girl’s fear against her. Yet, it did give him the information he was searching for. 

‘He is outside, tending to the Allmother’s gardens,’ she answered him quickly and left with a tense expression before Steve could thank her. 

The captain made a mental note to apologize to the girl next time he would see her.

 


 

 

‘It seems like I have failed you once again,’ Loki muttered as he was sitting on his knees, a delicate ocher flower slowly withering in his hands. ‘I am so sorry, mother…’

The trickster looked up as the petals of a slowly dying wisteria plant fluttered in the breeze, creating a gentle snowfall off blue and purple. He had tried so hard to keep this enchanted garden blooming and flourishing all year round, just like the Allmother- his mother had done all those centuries before him. 

Unfortunately, much like Loki’s strength, his Seiðr had begun to diminish over the slow years of Thor’s rulership. No longer had he the energy to keep Frigga’s garden in its formal glory. No longer could he provide the trees and flowers with the mystical energy they needed to survive. 

He had failed her. 

‘Don’t feel like eating today?’ 

Loki’s eye shot open, though he was quick to maintain his calm demeanor as he recognized Steve’s voice. ‘No.’ 

He had planned to keep it at that but knowing that the captain was casting him those warm blue eyes filled with concern forced him to continue, ‘I… I am simply not hungry.’ 

Steve had to keep himself from interrogating the trickster god, knowing that the raven would just shut him out if he ventured any further on the subject. Loki’s eating pattern, or rather the lack of it, was always a sensitive matter. 

Loki’s shoulders were strained, his muscles tense underneath all those layers of fabric, a clear sign that he was not at ease. 

Steve wanted to ask so many questions.

He sat down on the grass next to the trickster, admiring the withering, though still beautiful garden. He eventually looked at Loki, ‘End of season?’

‘End of Seiðr,’ Loki answered solemnly, his fingers softly plucking at some blades of grass. ‘These gardens can only survive when provided with energy, with Seiðr. They used to belong to my mother,’ he lifted his head, meeting the captain’s gaze with a faint but sincere smile. ‘Raised by witches she was a very skilled Seiðr bearer. Her energy was so vibrant and warm a-and infinite. It was because of her that Thor and I could play in these orchards all year round, that these grounds provided us with oceans of the most colorful and exotic flowers and fruits.’ 

The bright smile that had formed on the trickster’s face abruptly faded, the love and admiration that strengthened his voice seeping away, ‘and now she is dead…’ His eyes darted up for a split second, as if utterly stunned by sudden realization. He gulped, though his mouth was dry, ‘It was her Seiðr that kept the flora alive and now that she has come to pass…’ 

‘The garden will die with her,’ Steve concluded, his chest aching softly at the raven’s solemn and exhausted words. 

‘I have tried so hard to continue her great work,’ He looked at his hands, his fingertips glowing faintly in green as dirt had started to collect under his fingernails. ‘but I can’t. I just- I do not have the Seiðr, the energy, to continue. The final evidence of her roaming this Realm will come to pass with her…’ 

‘… I don’t think that’s true,’ Steve eventually said as he had thought this over, causing Loki’s eye to snap straight at him. He knew the trickster was glaring, feeling his cold and almost resentful gaze.

‘What do you know?’ Loki hissed as Steve kept staring at the fruit trees surrounding them. 

‘This garden,’ Steve stood up and picked a perfect, shiny red apple. ‘It won’t be the last visible evidence of her existence.’ He looked at the trickster again, a warm smile on his face as he saw Loki’s frown of confusion. Steve placed his nails on the heart of the apple, easily slitting it in half and sat down again. ‘You are,’ he held out his hand, offering the raven half of the apple. 

Loki stared for a brief moment, hesitantly taking the piece of fruit with two hands, ‘me?’ 

‘Yeah.’ The blond took a big bite, ‘I mean, you’re here and, well,’ he gently placed one hand over that of the trickster, his fingers softly caressing pale skin. ‘I… see you, Loki.’ 

Loki remained silent as his mind abandoned him. These kind words, the tender warmth of another’s touch, he simply did not know how to respond. 

‘W-well, figuratively speaking, of course,’ Steve quickly added as he took the raven’s silent bewilderment as his answer. ‘I-I mean, you are her child and judging from how you speak of her I’d say you are her greatest work. Not this garden.’ 

‘I… I never looked at it like that,’ Loki spoke softly, his hand subconsciously moving to let the captain’s fingers intertwine with his own.

They sat on the grass in the garden till the sun started to disappear behind the palace walls, silently eating their fruit. Their entwined fingers never moving.

Steve watched Loki eat. Watched as the trickster took small bites, almost nibbling. It felt so wrong to observe him like this, yet the simple happiness of knowing that the god had eaten at least something hushed his guilt-ridden mind. 

Steve started to notice something else as well. He felt his heart beating in his chest at the sight of Loki licking the sweat and flavorful apple juice from the tip of his fingers, the raven’s tongue slowly moving over his thin, pale lips. The gestures, though small, managed to kindle a spark of interest in the captain’s heart. 

The blond forced his eyes to snap back towards the ocean of flowers surrounding them, his cheeks flaring as he felt a soft warmth brewing in the lower parts of his stomach. He gulped, desperate to distract himself. 

‘Is Seiðr really the only way to keep this place from dying?’ he had planned to ask the question a little more subtle, however, in his defense, it did feel like his blood was rushing from his head and straight down to his groin.   

‘I am afraid so,’ the trickster sighed, unaware of the captain’s arousal. ‘Though there are certain critters of which potions can be made. Fertilizing these gardens with such concoctions could help it sustain without Seiðr.’ 

‘Why won’t you try that?’ The thought of seeing the trickster using his powers and creating potions piqued the captain’s interest. ‘Don’t you know how to make them?’ 

‘Ha!’ Loki let out a short, haughtily laughter, a challenging grin on his face as he looked at his companion. ‘It is the simplest of potions, you dolt. The problem is that these critters can only be found in the southern forests, far beyond these palace walls. There is simply no way for me to obtain them.’ 

‘But it could save your mom’s garden, right? Why not just go out and get ‘em?’ 

Loki’s brows furrowed, watching the captain as if he had just asked the most ridiculous question. ‘Have you not heard a word of what I said? To find the right ingredients we would have to enter the forest, thus leave the palace.’

‘So?’ Steve jumped to his feet, the very idea of leaving this place, even for a short period of time, shot a boost of energy throughout his body. ‘You knew how to get me out of this Realm, I’m sure you know how to get us out of this palace.’ 

‘I do, that is not the problem,’ Loki’s gaze shot back to his fiddling fingers, his shoulders tensing again. ‘I cannot leave the palace, I… Thor has forbidden me from leaving. If he ever finds out that I have even thought of setting one foot off the palace grounds he will-’ The raven stopped, biting the inside of cheeks as he felt the captain’s gaze rest upon him, waiting to finish his sentence. ‘I am not leaving. I will stay here.’ 

‘Loki, don’t worry about Thor, it’ll be okay. He loves you, right? I’m sure he’ll understand,’ The blond crouched down, holding the trickster’s hands in his own. ‘Plus, it’s like you said when you tried sending me home. Thor’s not here now, right? There’s no way he’ll notice that we’re gone.’ 

Loki met the captain’s gaze, warm blue eyes staring back at him as his throat started to constrict, ‘I- I don’t know…’

Steve noticed Loki’s breathing pattern changing, his breaths now shorter and shallow. The boney hands that rested in his own started to feel damp and clammy, while the trickster’s features betrayed the feeling of nausea. ‘Loki, easy, calm down,’ Steve’s voice turned gentle, his tone softer as the first signs of a panic attack were no stranger to him. ‘It’s okay, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to. You can stay here and I’ll… I’ll just stay with you. I’ll be here by your side, okay?’ 

‘I am sorry,’ Loki managed to wheeze between his shallow breaths, his mind summoning every possible scenario of what his punishment would be were Thor to find out that he had left. The pain, the humiliation, the false and sickening words of love that would follow. ‘I am… I- I merely-’ 

‘Hey, shh, it’s okay. It’s okay,’ Steve wrapped his arms around the raven’s body, almost scared of breaking the fragile god in his embrace. ‘We can stay here, nice and quietly. We’ll… We’ll just watch a movie together. I’m sure Tony has found a way to put one of those on my phone.’ 

Loki wanted to look up, to ask what Steve was talking about but he merely nodded, feeling the captain’s hand rub in gentle circles over his back. His racing mind was starting to calm down, his attention fully focused on the captain’s soothing heartbeat as he laid his head to rest on the mortal’s chest. 

Steve didn’t move, holding the trickster in his arms until he was completely certain that he had regained his calm. He stood up as he felt Loki’s body growing heavy against his own. He held his hand and together they sauntered their way through the garden and back into the castle. 

They had decided to watch the movie on Loki’s bed after Steve had tried to explain what a movie was exactly. Steve asked J.A.R.V.I.S. to play “National Geographic’s Planet Earth”, as the raven had confessed he hardly knew anything about Midgard and its flora and fauna. 

It was a shame though that the trickster’s eyes had fallen shut after about ten minutes, his body sprawled entirely against that of the blond, his head resting on the captain’s shoulder. 

Steve carefully wrapped an arm around the trickster’s shoulders, pulling him a little closer as he thought back to the god’s panic attack. He wondered what Loki wanted to say, what Thor would do to him if he would leave this place. 

He wondered if Loki had ever tried to get away from Thor, knowing that the relationship between the two must be more than complicated. He let his head rest on top of that of the trickster’s, his fingers playing through ink-black hair. 

His blood froze as his fingers grasped the edge of Loki’s eyepatch, his stomach turning. 

‘What has he done to you…?’ he whispered under his breath, wondering whether the two gods truly loved each other. He placed his lips against Loki’s temple, barely being able to keep himself from pressing a kiss against his alabaster skin. He managed to grab a blanket and draped it over the raven’s body with one hand, using the other to hold him close. 

It did not take long for sleep to take them both.

 


 

 

Loki woke up to the sound of birds singing just outside his chamber’s window. It took him longer then he would have liked to notice that he was huddled up against the captain’s firm body. 

He looked at the man through his lashes, gulping as the mortal reminded him so much of his own brother. Golden hair, ocean blue eyes, vigorous body. 

And yet, sleeping and waking up in the captain’s arms felt so different. His muscles were relaxed, his mind at ease, the heavy feeling that always weighed down on his chest gone.

The god looked outside through the still open curtains as he considered to continue reading his book on ancient Seiðr just like he would do every morning. If he did though, he’d probably had to wake the blond, only now noticing how two strong arms were clasped around his shoulder and waist. 

A shiver ran down his spine as his still half-asleep brain started to imagine what Thor would do to them if he would find out. Loki knew he should not take any chances, his hand hovering over Steve’s chest, determined to wake him up.  

Or… 

Or he could enjoy his mortal’s company for just a few more minutes. 

Yes, just a few more minutes, Loki thought as he squirmed a little closer against the captain’s warm body. 

He sighed softly, the memories of his panic attack from the evening before flashing through his mind. 

He wanted to leave the palace, wanted nothing more than to roam through the forest and feel the fresh wind blow in his face. He missed swimming in the rivers, climbing the trees and gazing in awe upon the fantastic creatures that roamed this Realm. He even missed running for his life, beasts roaring and raging, tasting the dirt and grass in his mouth every time he had to dodge their furious attacks. 

He had grown so weary of living behind the palace walls for so many years. 

‘Looks like we fell asleep,’ Steve mumbled with hoarse voice, his eyes still closed and body slack. 

‘So it seems,’ Loki smiled, knowing he should move from the captain’s side, yet unable to find the will to do so. ‘Steven?’ 

‘Hmm?’ 

‘I want to go.’ 

Steve remained silent for a moment, the songs of the birds echoing in the room. ‘Go where?’ 

Loki pulled the blankets up a little, making sure the captain had his fair share before letting his hand rest on the blond’s chest, his nails gently caressing his skin. He took a deep breath and answered calmly, though determined, ‘To the forest.’

Chapter Text

It did not take long for the two to ready themselves for their upcoming adventure. Steve had snuck into the kitchen, grabbing two flasks of water without being noticed. One would think that such a thing is nearly impossible, yet being a Midgardian has always meant being unworthy of even as much as a glance.

Loki had ordered for a servant girl to bring him some fresh fruit, bread and cheese, informing her that he would spend the rest of his day studying his Seiðr, not wishing to be disturbed. The frown on the young girl’s face was one of skepticism, not because of the prince’s desire for isolation, that happened more often than not, but for the fact that the raven was actually asking for food. 

She wanted to venture, but knew better. The Allfather might have her head for being in the trickster’s presence for too long so she merely nodded and obeyed in silence. Even without the King present in the palace she still feared his all-seeing gaze. 

Loki managed to mutter his gratitude before the maid closed his door, his face buried in his book on ancient potions. He waited for the sound of footsteps to disappear and for complete silence to crawl back into his chamber. 

He finally looked outside, his gaze falling upon the Northern Mountains, their clear blue skies and misty peaks. He opened the window, gently, as if the glass would shatter at the lightest touch. A biting breeze howled through the mountains and nipped at his skin. Loki closed his eye. The seasons were changing, autumn was coming and so was the cold which he favored so. Much unlike his brother and his parents, he had never been able to stand the Summer’s heat for long. 

He drew a deep breath, exhaling through his thin lips as the calls of a Gyrfalcon beckoned him, its song echoing through the foothills. 

He wanted to leave this custodial, to escape from Thor’s grip and taste the sweet nectar of freedom even it was only for a short amount of time. 

A shiver ran down his spine, caused not by the icy winds but by the voice of his brother.

It echoed within the deepest part of his mind, clear and vibrant; 

 

“If you ever try to run from me again I will rain down every agony, every violation imaginable, upon you... I will parade your cold body from every realm, and feed your soul to the vilest filth in Hel, that is my promise.”  

 

Loki needed to remind himself to breath. He could still change his mind, if he wanted to. He could tell Steve that plans have changed and not owe him the slightest of explanation. 

He could just pretend this entire idea never existed and all would be well. 

He shook his head as if to clear his mind from a fog of fear. Thor will not be back for three more days, at least. No one will ever find out of his disappearance if he would go now and return before the setting of the sun. 

He was determined, his mind set. He will leave this palace, today. 

‘You ready to go?’ Steve asked quietly as he stood in the door opening, flasks filled with water in hand. A satchel filled with empty bottles for collecting bugs was hanging from his shoulder. 

‘Almost.’ 

Loki had ordered Steve to change into a simple, inconspicuous tunic, a dark grey cloak covering his face. He used his Seiðr to disguise himself, an easy yet affective trick.   

‘There,’ the raven neatly tucked a lock of blond hair back before pulling up the captain’s hood. ‘No one will recognize us like this once we are outside the palace walls.’

‘Right,’ Steve was grateful for the lack of mirrors in the trickster’s room, not really knowing whether he wanted to see himself in what felt like a renascence costume. ‘So, you know how to get us out, right?’ 

The rare gleam of mischief in Loki’s eye returned, grinning like a Cheshire cat as he leaned closer to the captain and purred, ‘You leave that to me.’ 

True to his word the god of mischief managed to sneak the two through hidden gateways and abandoned underground galleries. They resurfaced on the other side of the palace walls, their disguises helping them to blend in with the Asgardian people roaming the streets. 

Steve nearly forgot to follow the trickster, dazed by each and every beautiful building he came across. Houses, stores, banks and taverns, all buzzing with life as the Asgardian people lived through their everyday lives. Asgard seemed prosperous, a Realm flourishing of the spoils of war, its people without care and content. It made Steve wonder if they even knew the amounts of blood that have been spilt for their comfortable lives. 

It did not take long for Loki to maneuver them through the back alleys and towards the Southern Woods, unidentified and unnoticed. 

‘This place is amazing,’ Steve spoke breathlessly, taking in the lush and vibrant colors as they stood in a field of grass near the edge of the dense forest.

The treetops created a colorful roof of not only green and red, but also purple, blue and pink. A refreshing breeze moved through the yellow grass on which they stood, carrying not only leaves, but all sorts of insects and bugs the captain had never seen before. 

Steve looked at his side and smiled as the trickster god seemed equally overwhelmed, his body tense as he stared at the scenery in front of him. ‘We could stand here for the rest of the day,’ the blond started, in which he effectively gained the raven’s attention. ‘Or we could go in and search for those ingredients that you need for that potion.’ 

Loki remained silent for a moment but then smirked, ‘Just make sure to follow my lead, captain. Finding these critters will be easy, searching for a lost Midgardian however might be more of a… how did you once described it? Ah, yes, “a pain in the ass.”’ 

Steve could not help but laugh, the sentence coming from a god’s lips making it sound a little out of place but amusing nonetheless. He made sure to follow Loki’s lead, trailing over a path of orange sand and blue gravel. 

The trickster was quiet at first, and Steve let him. Loki seemed lost, not in this forest, for he took every step with determination, but in his memories. 

It was the sudden hand that grabbed Steve’s own that pulled him from his thoughts, every sense on full alert as Loki drew a sharp breath.

‘Steven, stay very quiet,’ Loki’s voice was a harsh whisper, his hand clasped around that of the captain as he froze. 

Steve did as he was told, standing close to the other while unmoving, ‘What is it? What’s wrong?’ He whispered so softly he wondered if Loki could even hear him, his heartbeat drumming in his ears as he wished, yet again, that he had his trusted shield at his side. 

‘Look,’ The raven pointed at a withering bush, its branches and leaves turning a dark shade of purple. He crouched, pulling Steve down with him, their bodies nearly pressed against each other as he made sure the captain could see what he was referring to. 

Steve squinted, then looked up in surprise as he saw something slithering underneath the branches. 

It was a reptile. A delicate, elongated, snake. Its large serrated scales bright pink with dark blue edges, its head ornamented with small white thorns. Steve stared with wondrous eyes, surprised at how well the creature was camouflaged despite its colors. 

‘Is it not absolutely fascinating?’ The trickster remarked, a genuine smile on his face. ‘It is quite a rare species, it hardly ever shows itself during the light of day. We should consider ourselves fortunate.’ 

‘Yeah, it’s- it’s actually pretty damn awesome,’ Steve chuckled as he finally figured to give up on finding any logic or similarities in a Realm thousands of lightyears away from his own. ‘So, should we catch it? I assume you’ll need it for that potion?’ 

‘I beg your pardon?’ the trickster could hardly pull his gaze from the creature to meet the captain’s, his smile fading as he wondered. ‘Oh… Oh! No. Dear Norns, no, I would never put such a marvelous creature into a stinking stew of filth and critters. No, it’s just… Thor, he loved snakes… when we were young we would just roam through this forest till we found at least one of them.’ He stood up, continuing to follow the path, Steve close at his side. ‘Sometimes, when we would find nothing, I would simply hide, turn myself into a serpent and show myself.’ A bitter sweet smile on the raven’s face returned, his voice heavy with emotion. ‘Thor would always pick me up and admire me. He would be so happy.’ 

‘Sounds like you and Thor really go back a long way, huh?’ Steve smiled as the trickster nodded, happily reliving what seemed like warm and carefree memories. ‘Listen, Loki, I know it’s none of my business but… Can I ask you how you and Thor are related to each other? I mean, I know I once heard him refer to you as his brother but then he also kissed you so… Did he mean brother in arms, or-?’ 

‘Yes,’ Loki had to keep himself from snapping, his lies coming naturally as he continued. ‘We both grew up behind palace walls and are childhood friends. Once we were old enough to enlist we fought the same war and got to know each other in… different lights, on the battle field.’

The Liesmith nearly let out a soft snarl, biting the inside of his cheek as he felt disgust clenching his stomach. He hated it. Hated how one name managed to cause his body to break out in a sweat, how one question brought his mind into a complete state of alert. 

But most of all, he hated how he lied towards the one person who meant more to him than he would like to admit. 

‘I guess I kinda get that.’ 

Loki looked up, one brow raised in skepticism. ‘You do?’

‘Yeah. I used to have this friend, we grew up together and he was just the greatest guy. Even when I had nothing, I still had him. When we both served in the army we… well…’

‘Did you fall in love with him?’ Loki asked bluntly, his curiosity once again getting the better of him. 

‘W-well, it wasn’t love, not really,’ Steve’s cheeks started to color in a soft shade of red as he took a deep breath to steady his voice. ‘There was this one time… He was held captive far beyond enemy lines and was already given up on. I started a rescue mission and when I found him he was strapped to this operation table, mumbling like he was in some sort of trance and I-’ 

Steve stopped talking for a moment, sniffing away the lump that had started to form in his throat. ‘I really thought I lost him, but he turned out to be alive. That night, when we were back at camp and alone, I… I kissed him.’

‘And then what happened?’ the question Loki asked was balancing between burning curiosity and poisonous jealousy. 

Steve chuckled, though the trickster could not tell whether that was out of embarrassment or at his questioning. ‘Bucky kissed back. It was… sloppy, but comforting. That night, when we were in our tent, we made love. It felt the same as that kiss, a bit strange, but not necessarily wrong. It took us a few weeks to figure out we were better off as friends.’ 

‘So he became a very valuable comrade to you,’ Loki spoke softly, relief washing over him. ‘Did you finish the war together?’ 

‘… No, he, uhm-’ the blond managed to swallow away a sob, the memory still too fresh. ‘He died. Fell out of a train while I… I really tried to save him, to grab his hand and pull him in but he fell…’ 

Loki remained silent, not knowing what to say. People said he had a silver tongue, blessed with the power of words to create perfect lies and deceits. 

Comforting someone however, has never been among his set of skills. 

‘It leaves a void,’ he eventually said, searching for the right words even as he spoke. ‘When you lose someone so dear, it feels like your world just shatters, every breath painful, every tear heavy with grief and guilt.’ He swallowed thickly, fingers fiddling with the brim of his cloak. ‘When my parents came to pass, I thought I would never smile again. I blamed myself, thought it was all my fault and I- ’ He stopped there, his lips still parted as if he wished to speak but the words would not come out. ‘Well, I am trying to convince myself that it was not. I have to learn to let go, to move on.’ He gulped and nearly whispered. ‘We both should, you and I.’

‘Which is easier said than done.’ Steve added as if finishing the raven’s sentence. There were still so many things he would like to ask, so many secrets the trickster was still hiding. But he decided to let them rest, to let the god speak on his own terms.

‘Which is easier said than done,’ Loki repeated with a grateful smile, his fingers cautiously searching for the captain’s hand. 

Steve did not say another word, taking Loki’s bony fingers in the warmth of his hand. 

They continued their stroll, enjoying the stunning surroundings, but most of all each other, in silence.

 

Unaware of the eyes that were following them.

 

Unaware of two large ravens looking down on them from the tree tops, spying, heads tilting inquisitively from one side to the other. They kept perfectly silent, observing, only to speak of what they saw to their master – the King of Asgard, Thor Odinson.

 

 


 

 

‘We’ll find our last ingredient here,’ Loki stated as the two came to a stop in front of a deep and dark cave. He ripped off a piece of his cloak and collected a thick branch from the leaf-covered ground. He wrapped the fabric around it and set it ablaze with a snap of his fingers to create a torch.

 

‘If you say so,’ The blond searched his satchel which was hidden underneath his cloak, pulling out one last empty bottle. 

The two had been searching the forest for hours now, the sun almost setting behind the trees. They had collected insects and critters in various locations, all unique, all squirming angerly in their designated bottle.

‘So, what are we searching for, exactly?’ Steve asked as he followed Loki into the dark and damp cave, its walls dripping with what the captain hoped was condensation.

‘A type of firefly. Not to worry, you will recognize it once you see it.’ The trickster’s pace accelerated, his steps growing larger in his excitement. He was almost there. Just one more insect and he could save his mother’s garden. 

He continued to follow the path that lead them deeper and deeper into the cave, Steve following suit.   

The blond did not realize when it was exactly that the air was starting to get thin, a nauseating stench filling his lungs. He had to concentrate on lifting his feet, making sure not to drag them through the sludge he was walking through. 

The smell was getting stronger as Steve tried to trace what it was. 

Something rotting, burned… Sulfur. 

Steve shivered, trying to match the scents and figure out what could cause them. ‘Think we’re almost there?’ He asked as he was panting softly, the tip of his boot hitting against what he was hoping were branches. 

‘Yes, almost,’ Loki held out his torch a little further, stopping in his track as their path split into four different tunnels. ‘… This way.’ 

‘You sure?’ Steve asked as he looked at the four tunnels, yet all he could see were their gaping entrances in the dim light of the torch. 

‘Do you doubt me, captain?’ He turned around, meeting the mortal’s gaze with a sly grin. ‘Well then, by all means,’ he held out the torch, waiting for Steve to take it from him. ‘Go on, lead the way.’ 

Steve merely sighed. 

‘No?’ Loki grinned as Steve shook his head and raised his hands in surrender. ‘That’s what I thought. Now follow me.’ 

The blond turned around one last time, hoping to make a mental note for when they would have to return, yet only saw darkness. ‘You’re a real jerk, you know that.’ 

‘Among many other things, yes.’ The two shared a smile and continued, walking closely to each other.

Loki had come to notice the change of air as well but decided to ignore it, blinded by eagerness. Just a little further, a little deeper, and they would find what they were looking for. 

It did not take long for the fireflies to make their appearance. Fluttering an dancing through the air, their green and yellow bodies faintly lighting up the hollowed space. 

Loki lowered his torch and stepped into the small swarm, his eye sparkling as if walking through countless stars shining in the depths of the night. ‘They are beautiful,’ he whispered breathlessly as he reached out to them. 

‘They are,’ Steve agreed even though his eyes were bound to the god himself rather than the fluttering stars. 

Loki indeed looked beautiful, his pale skin and raven hair illuminated by faint light. He truly was a divinity, like a mythical creature straight from a fairy book. Steve could not help but let out a sigh of admiration, of silent love. 

He watched as Loki patiently caught two of the creatures, securing them into the small bottle they had brought.  

His reverie came to an abrupt ending as the ground beneath his feet started to quiver, a low grunt echoing almost soundlessly through the air. 

Steve scanned their surrounding with military precision, every sense on edge, every muscle tense. If only it wasn’t so dark. If only he could see what laid beyond the faint light of the fireflies. ‘Loki, did you notice that as well?’ 

‘Notice what, Steven?’ The raven mumbled as he concentrated on the capturing another bug. ‘Be more specific.’ 

Another shockwave made the ground beneath their feet tremble, the low growl that followed penetrating deep into their stomachs. 

‘That!’ Steve gritted his teeth, his fists raised in a defending position as he once again wished he had his trusted shield at his side. ‘You can’t tell me you didn’t feel that!’ 

‘… I think we might have overstayed our welcome.’ Tension was clear in Loki’s voice as he closed the bottle and buried it deep into the safety of the captain’s satchel. ‘Come on, let’s get out of here before-’ 

‘Loki,’ Steve swallowed thickly, grabbing the trickster’s wrist as his eyes widened in pure disbelief, a shudder of panic running through his body. ‘What the hell is that?’ 

The two froze on the spot as they stared straight into blazing golden eyes. Winged claws as big as a horse cart crept into the faint light of the fireflies, followed by massive jaws that could easily devour the two with one single bite. Its head was gargantuan, armored with dark scales of iron and teeth sharp as swords. 

‘Wyvern,’ Loki managed to whisper under his breath, his legs turning to lead as he saw the beast’s skin flaring with fire that was building up in its chest. ‘Run...’ 

‘What?’ Steve already took a few steps back, hardly hearing Loki’s voice over the rumbling of the creature’s growl. 

‘RUN!’

Chapter Text

 

‘Wyvern,’ Loki managed to whisper under his breath, his legs turning to lead as he saw the beast’s skin flaring with fire that was building up in its chest. ‘Run...’

‘What?’ Steve already took a few steps back, hardly hearing Loki’s voice over the rumbling of the creature’s growl. 

‘RUN!’ Loki shouted, grabbing the captain’s wrist and pulling him off his feet, barely dodging the blast of fire that left the entire cave to heat up. ‘Run! Now!’ 

The two scrambled to their feet, running through the cave as fast as their legs could carry them. 

Steve hardly dared to look back as scorching heat followed them, illuminating the tunnels. He looked down, his attention caught by the squelching sound of his boots dragging through the stench. 

It was not mud. It was not dirt nor any other kind of sludge. 

With his path now lightened by the wyvern’s breath, Steve saw the blood that had splashed up against his legs, the rotting and decaying flesh of countless cadavers sticking against his boots. He looked at the walls and the ceiling, finding bloody and desperate hand and animal prints smeared all over.

‘Left!’ Loki shouted in front of Steve, pulling the blond around the corner just before large jaws snapped behind them with tremendous force. 

Rubble and rocks came down as the beast roared in rage, its horned tail moving like a thorny whip in search of blood.

‘Isn’t there any way we can fight that thing?! It should have a weakness, right?!’ Steve suggested, sounding more desperate than certain as the two kept on running for their lives.

‘You wish to fight that?!’ Loki shouted, wanting to slap the mortal on the back of his head if he could. ‘And how were you planning on doing so?!’ 

‘I don’t know! You’re the sorcerer, you know all these creatures!’ The blond held up his arm, barely dodging a falling stalactite that would have easily pierced his skull and split him in half. ‘You figure something out!’ 

‘Unless you have conveniently stored Gungnir in a place I do not want to know where, I suggest you just keep your bloody mouth shut and run!’ The raven cursed under his breath as he heard the dragon take a deep breath, readying itself to blast another wave of fire. ‘Dodge!’ 

Steve jumped to the side. He grabbed a half-burned and rotting skeleton from one of the crevasses, who seemed to have gotten stuck there when it was still breathing. He yanked it out and hid in its spot. He waited, his heart beating loudly in his chest as he tried to spot the trickster.

He could not see him. 

Steve shut his eyes tight and turned his face towards the wall, hoping Loki had found a spot to hide as the searing flames bursts through the tunnel. 

Sweat dripped out of every pore of his body, the heat almost too much as he tried to breath the blistering air. 

His heart stopped as he heard an agonizing scream. 

The fire raged through the tunnels for only a few seconds. Steve immediately jumped from his hiding spot only to find Loki clinging on to the burned skin of his left arm. The trickster had managed to find cover but had not been fast enough. The fabric of his clothing was scorched to his skin, his flesh blackened and blood gushing from the fresh wound. 

‘Loki!’ the blond was quick to support him, his arm carefully wrapping around the god’s waist. 

‘Leave me. It will heal,’ his voice was a low grunt as he spoke through gritted teeth. He did not want the captain’s help nor his pity, though he had no other option but to accept as he felt a searing pain coming from his left ankle with every step he took. 

Steve turned around, meeting flaming golden eyes that were closing in on them in the dark. ‘Shit!’ He held on to the raven’s side, making sure Loki could lean on him. ‘Come on, we’ve got to move!’ 

A final dash towards the end of the tunnel got the two out just before the wyvern could snap its jaws at them again. 

The beast burst out of the cave, its eyes squinted as it had to adjust to the bleached light of day, restless clouds covering the once warm and gentle sun. Its gaze fell upon the god and the mortal, standing in awe as they now finally got a good look at the creature. 

The wyvern let out a high-pitched screech, loud and overpowering all senses. Loki and Steve covered their ears in pain, birds fleeing from their burning trees.

The beast slithered its way forward, its claws digging deep into the dirt, its spike-covered spine arched. It growled, baring its teeth while its tail lashed through the bushes that were helplessly burning to nothingness.

The forest was on fire, its flames spreading, the trees like torches blazed with light.

The wyvern dashed forward, chasing its pray through the blazing wilderness, razing all that dared to stand in its path. It was close, its nose flaring in rage as it opened its jaws, ready to devour its pray. 

The clouds were darkening, drizzle falling from the skies. The forest quiets, its creatures remaining silent in search of shelter. Drizzle turned into rain, rain turned into a pouring downfall. 

And from the green vegetation, sheltered from the raging beast, came a mortal and a god. 

Loki and Steve panted softly, rain hitting their faces and soaking their clothes as they stared at the path of destruction the wyvern left behind. The trickster could not believe his hoax worked, that the beast would follow the illusions he had created when they exited the cave. He stumbled into the open, his ankle protesting heavily with every step he took. 

‘Think we lost it?’ Steve asked as the rain continued to wash away the blood that had soaked into his clothes.

‘Of course,’ the raven spoke casually, though still gasping for air.

‘Huh… Well, that could have ended worse.’ 

A muscle strained at the corner of Loki’s lips and before the trickster knew it, he was on the ground laughing. He fell on his back, complete exhaustion heavying his arms and legs. 

‘Loki!’ Steve crouched at his side and held him in his arms, careful not to touch his heavily burned arm. A confused frown formed on his face as the trickster just continued to laugh. ‘Are you alright…?’

‘I am,’ Loki smiled almost like a child, savoring the cold rain that fell on his skin. ‘I am so alright.’ He focused his gaze and stared straight into ocean blue eyes. ‘I have explored this forest, I have caught what I came here for. I have wondered, smiled and discovered. I ran for my life, felt the rain pouring in my face and dirt drenching my clothes.’ His laughter died into a soft chuckle. He placed his hand on the captain’s concerned face, his thumb softly caressing his cheek, wiping the blood from a large abrasion. ‘Why do you worry? I have had the best day of my life in over so many years and I owe it all to you.’ 

Loki moved his hand from Steve’s cheek to the back of his neck, his fingers stirring through wet blond hair as he pulled him closer. Their foreheads gently pressed together as he whispered, ‘Thank you.’ 

Steve closed his eyes, breathing Loki’s air. His lungs filled with the god’s scent, the warmth of his frail body seeping through his cold and soaked clothes. His heart was beating softly in his chest, the sound of rain oversensing his surroundings as he felt a pair of lips pressed against his own. A kiss, gentle, cautious, yet so very loving. 

The two remained silent, locked in each other’s arms and love, unaware of pitch-black eyes that stared at them. 

Eyes that would not judge, that would only observe.

Two large ravens had looked down on a mortal and a god, spying, heads tilting inquisitively from one side to the other. 

Two large ravens flew into the sky, their wings beating vigorously as they returned to their master. 

The kiss eventually broke as Steve was the first to draw a stuttered breath. 

Loki looked at the captain as if seeing him for the very first time, his eye scanning his broad chest, his perfect white teeth and gentle blue eyes in which he would so willingly drown. All while his hand was still resting on the back of the mortal’s neck, warm and damp from the rain. 

Steve sighed, his shoulders slumping as he averted his gaze. ‘Loki, I… I can’t do this. I’m sorry.’ 

Loki frowned, ‘…What?’ 

‘I- I can’t-’ Steve stumbled, sitting up straight to create more distance. ‘We shouldn’t have- I mean, you and Thor… I’m so sorry. You chose to be with Thor. You two are in a relationship and I don’t want t-’

Loki did not grand the captain any time to finish his sentence. He pressed his lips once more against those of the other before Steve could utter another word. 

It was not true. He did not choose Thor. He did not want to be with Thor. 

It was not true. 

The raven trembled, his arms and legs shivering beyond his control. His heart rate increased rapidly as he knew what Steve was going to say. He was so scared, fearing the mortal would leave him. Fearing his brother’s judgment, fearing the consequences of his infidelity. Yet he could not stop himself. 

He clung on to the captain, fingers digging into the man’s tunic as his hands searched for warmth and comfort underneath Steve’s cloak. His indifferent and collected demeanor collapsing like a house of cards. ‘Don’t let go,’ he whispered as his lips were still pressed against those of Steve, the loving kiss turning desperate. He felt so safe, so secure in the mortal’s strong embrace. He did not want it to stop. He could not afford to lose this, not now that he had dared to give into it. ‘Please don’t let go. Don’t turn away from me…’

Steve gently uncurled Loki’s fingers from his shirt and held his hands in his own. He pulled back and saw a tear of panic forming in the trickster’s emerald eye. ‘Loki… I want to stay with you, I really do. Who knows, maybe if things would have been different,’ He lowered the god’s hands and let go, guilt weighing heavy on his shoulders. ‘But… You are with Thor. I don’t want to be the reason why you cheat on him. It’s just not right.’ A sharp pain shot through the captain’s chest as he averted his gaze. How he wanted to wrap his arms around his small frame, how he wanted to kiss those soft lips again and yet at the same time he couldn’t. ‘I am really sorry.’ 

Loki parted his lips, wanting to beg the mortal to take him with him, save him. To take him away from Asgard, from Thor and bring him to his own Realm. A Realm where friends were searching for him as if they had lost family. A Realm where his brother would not be, where he could not hurt him, torture him till the last drop of his blood would be utterly spent. 

Thor had not killed him, yet. However, Loki could not shake the feeling that if he were to return now and his brother would find out about their little adventure, his last days among the living would be numbered. 

The god gulped, deciding to make a desperate confession in the hope that the mortal would save him. 

‘Steven, I… I need to tell you something important, about Thor and myself,’ His voice trembled, as did the rest of his body. ‘I am afraid I have not been completely honest with you. Thor- he,’ The raven fought to keep his tears at bay, his still infected eye socked stinging viciously underneath the patch as the memories returned, fear clinging around his throat like a noose, tightening with every word he spoke. 

‘Loki,’ Steve cupped his face in his hands, his brows knitted in concern. ‘What are you trying to tell me? Did Thor- Does he abuse you?’ Loki remained quiet, lips quivering. Steve took his silent tears as his answer, anger, disgust and frustration instantly raging through him. ‘What did he do to you?’ 

Loki shook his head, his paralyzing fear keeping him from forming any sentences, or even words. He wondered how it was possible for him to laugh at his heart’s content mere minutes ago. 

He could not tell the captain how Thor would abuse him. How he would bruise him, rape him or even threat to kill him. He could not tell him how utterly helpless he was. His pride, or whatever was left of it, would not allow him. He was so ashamed. 

‘It is something else,’ he spoke softly between sobs. 

Steve merely nodded, waiting patiently for the god to speak. 

‘We- we did not “just” grow up together… Thor, he is my actual br-’ 

He fell silent. 

His attention caught by a large raven feather that fluttered from the sky and fell into a muddy puddle. 

He looked up, his skin losing what little color it had, turning a deadly shade of white as thunder roared in the distance. 

‘I have to return…’ he mumbled, then jumped to his feet as fast as he could. He ripped the satchel filled with bugs and herbs from the captain’s body and threw it over his shoulder. ‘I have to go back.’ 

The god ran off as fast as he could, ignoring the sharp pain in his sprained ankle before Steve could even ask what was wrong. The blond jumped up as well, running after him, grabbing his wrist just before the palace walls were back in sight. 

‘Loki! Hey, wait!’ he got the trickster to stop, though Loki fought with all his strength to untangle his slender wrist from his hand. ‘What’s wrong? What were you trying to tell me? Talk to me, I want to help.’ 

‘No. No, if I would tell you… You will have to stay far away from Thor. I- I will have to talk to him, alone. Now unhand me!’ 

‘No! I won’t let you go alone!’ Steve’s voice turned more desperate now. The confusion and hurt clear in his sky-blue eyes. Hurt for being left out, for not being able to help. ‘Please, Loki, tell me what’s going on.’ 

The god looked at him, trying to get his heart to calm. He could not tell him. He never could. He knew Steve would do anything to help him, including confronting the Allfather. Thor would see him slaughtered. ‘… I am so sorry,’ he nearly smiled at his own stupidity as he came to realize he only had two options. Either he would tell Steve the truth and send him to an early grave, or… 

‘You have to leave.’ The raven concluded. ‘You know how to escape this Realm. Go to the underground dockings, take the spaceship and never return.’ 

‘Wha-?!’ Steve uttered, rain pouring down while Loki’s lips curled in a timid smile of utter gratitude. His eye softened, his shoulders relaxing as if he had finally found some form of peace. 

‘No… No! I’m not gonna leave you! Loki whatever it is you’re thinking of- don’t!’ Steve shouted, eyes then widening as the Liesmith dissolved into a green mist, his hand grabbing thin air. ‘Loki?’ he turned on his heel, frantically scanning his surroundings in search of the trickster god. ‘LOKI?!’

 

 


 

 

 

His panting could be heard throughout the entire palace as he was close to a panic attack, his skin soaked with rain and sweat. He left footprints with every step he took, his boots heavy with mud, blood and rotting tissue. 

Lost in his thoughts Loki roamed through empty halls, an ominous silence following him like a shadow. 

There was nothing he could do, realizing that the kiss he shared with the captain was a mistake. A brief moment of weakness in a battle of survival that he had been fighting for so many years.

He would lose Steve anyway, an inevitable fact. Either by his brother’s hands or by his safe return to Midgard. What else could he do but grand Steve one last chance to escape? What else could he do but laugh at himself for hoping anyone could help him. 

‘So you decided to return.’ 

Loki shivered as Thor’s voice thundered through the hallway, his heart beating loudly, tears threatening to escape. 

No greetings, no formalities. Loki turned around, meeting his brother’s dark and cold gaze, two large ravens resting at his side.

Chapter Text

‘So you decided to return.’ 

Loki shivered as Thor’s voice thundered through the hallway, his heart beating loudly, tears threatening to escape. 

No greetings, no formalities. Loki turned around, meeting his brother’s dark and cold gaze. He froze with fear, ‘Thor, I-’ 

‘You were supposed to stay here,’ The Allfather stormed towards him, steps big and heavy. He grabbed his younger brother by his shoulders, his fingers wrapping tightly around his skin. He shook him like a ragdoll, teeth gritted in fury. ‘You kissed him! You left, and you kissed him!’ 

Loki let out a sharp cry as Thor’s fingers dug their way into his burned flesh, his cloak covering the wound. ‘I-I can explain!’ 

The Allfather quickly let go, his eyes wide in shock. He looked at his hand, warm and wet with the trickster’s blood that had soaked through the fabric. ‘What happened to you…?’ He looked his baby brother up and down and slowly pointed at his cloak, ‘take that off.’ 

‘Thor, I-’ 

‘Take it off!’ He ripped the piece of fabric from the trickster’s body as he was too impatient to wait for his brother to do it himself. His eyes widened, breath stuck in his throat as he saw blood trickling down his arm and dripping from his fingertips. 

‘Brother listen to me,’ Loki spoke carefully, choosing each word with extreme caution. ‘It is not that bad, it will heal.’ 

‘You could have died…’ Thor whispered under his breath. His body turned static as he realized he could have lost his baby brother forever, joining his loving father and mother into the eternity of Valhalla. ‘How did this happen…?’ 

Loki frowned in confusion, as for a moment he swore he saw actual concern and hurt shimmer through in the Allfather’s eyes. It reminded him of his brother who he once used to know. Who he once loved and adored. ‘Thor…?’ He took a hesitant step forward, moving cautiously as if entering a beast’s burrow. ‘I am alright. I will be fine.’ 

‘Where is the mortal?’ Thor set a step forward and Loki froze. ‘He was supposed to keep you from harm, to keep you here! Where is he?!’ 

‘Thor, I truly regret leaving the palace without your permission.’ He had no idea where he had found the courage to speak, his voice hardly under his control as it wavered in fear. He had to change the subject, he had to get Thor’s mind off the captain. 

The trickster placed his hands on the Thunderer’s cheeks, smearing dirt over his sun-kissed skin. ‘I wanted to surprise you. To bring you a gift for your return, just like you have always done for me.’ 

Loki quickly forced on a smile as Thor remained silent, clearly waiting for him to elucidate. A shimmer of hope sparked deep within his core as he now at least got his brother to listen. 

All he had to do was lie. To trick his brother with words, like he has done so many times before. 

‘Mother’s garden, it is dying,’ he continued as he pressed his cold and soaked body against that of his older brother. ‘I wanted it flourishing for your return. However, just like you have said so many times before, I am weak. Too weak. I cannot sustain her work any longer. I have no strength left within me, my Seiðr barely enough to create the simplest of trickeries.’ He opened the satchel that was still hanging from his shoulder, showing with apprehensive pride all the critters and insects that were squirming in their designated bottles. ‘But I can still save it. I went to the southern forest and collected these to create a potion so powerful it will keep the garden alive for many more years to come. It has taken me all day, however-’ 

Loki wanted to continue, but the Allfather ceased to listen. He snatched the satchel from the trickster’s body, glaring at his baby brother as he held it up. ‘Have you lost your mind?! Do you truly believe that garden is worth all that to me?! That it is worth risking your life for?!’ 

‘The forest is not that dangerous, we went there all the time when we were mere children!’ Tears filled Loki’s eye, desperate to get the ingredients back. ‘We played their together! We fought together! Do you remember none of that?!’ 

‘You might have your tricks, but you lack strength. You do not stand a chance on your own. You went out without me and look what happened!’ Thor wrapped his strong hand around the wound on the raven’s arm, his fingers digging deep into his burned flesh causing him to cry out in pain. ‘You went against my wishes and almost got yourself killed! I could have lost you!’ He held the satchel up higher, far out of his brother’s grasp. 

‘Thor,’ Loki begged desperately. ‘Please, don’t do that… I beg you!’ 

‘Let this be a lesson for you.’ 

‘No!’ 

Thor threw the satchel to the ground, the sound of shattering glass echoing through the hall. Some of the critters and bugs that the raven had spent so much time collecting scattered away while others were heavily damaged, cut and maimed by the shards of glass. 

Loki fell to his knees, tears trickling down his cheek. He tried freeing a caterpillar from underneath the satchel’s strap, but it died as soon as it rested in the palm of his hand, its violet blood staining his skin. 

‘You have only yourself to blame, Loki.’ Thor crouched behind him, chin resting on the raven’s shoulder. He sighed and wrapped his arms around the raven’s shoulders to comfort him, pressing kisses against his temple, soft and gentle. His breath ghosting over pale skin. ‘Yourself, and that worthless mortal.’ 

Loki remained silent, his mind blank as Thor’s hands moved down his chest, only to rest at his hips. He could not stop his tears from falling as strong arms eventually wrapped around his waist like snakes, holding him tight. 

‘You will be punished,’ Thor continued solemnly. ‘You leave me no choice, I do assume you understand that.’ His hold on his baby brother grew a little tighter as Loki slumped in his arms. ‘As for the mortal…’ 

The Allfather let go and stood up, Loki’s watchful eye following him. 

‘I do not know where it is he is hiding, but I will guarantee you that I will find him. I will see him tortured, screaming till his vocal cords are torn and leave him contorted in his cell, never to see the light of day again. He shall burn on his pyre and I shall drag his soul to the deepest, darkest layers of Helheim.’ He raised his hand, Mjölnir dutifully meeting his grasp with a loud roar of thunder. ‘You will stay here. I will see to you once I have returned.’ 

‘…No,’ Loki whispered, desperate to get up. He had to do something, anything. He had to stop his brother at all costs… 

At all costs. 

‘No!’ 

Thor stopped in his track at the sound of Loki’s raised voice. He turned around, a dark expression resting on his face. ‘What was that?’ 

‘You will not spend your precious time on such a worthless little mortal,’ he gulped, trying to reclaim his calm demeanor as he sought for a plausible story, a perfect lie.

‘Thor, my brother, my king, my love,’ he wrapped his arms around the god’s neck, bile rising in his throat as he forced himself to continue; ‘My soon to be husband… It is true that I have kissed the captain, yet it is not what you think.’ He let his hands trail over the blond’s chest, his brother like stone under his touch, unmoving and cold. ‘I was enthralled by blond hair, bright blue eyes and a strong embrace. They belonged to the mortal, yet all I could think of… was you.’ Loki’s stomach cramped as he pressed his lips against those of his brother, ‘I missed you so. I sought solace in the mortal’s presence and enchanted him to let me do as I please. To let me leave this palace, to let me kiss him.’ 

‘You bewitched him?’ Thor asked, his voice betraying none of his emotions. 

‘Yes. It was the only way to get away from here as he would never let me leave otherwise. It was the only reason why he accepted my kiss.’ Loki knew he had gained his brother’s attention the moment Thor let out a restrained breath. He smiled, finding some peace of mind as he knew that Steve would be safe. ‘I was only thinking of you, my love.’ 

Perhaps he could spare the captain a gruesome fate. Perhaps he could flatter the Allfather and ease his wrath. He pressed another kiss against Thor’s unmoving lips, an imperceptible shudder following. 

Thor remained silent, though his eyes were burning with rage, with betrayal. He dropped Mjölnir at his side, the weight of it causing the floor to tremble beneath their feet. ‘Always,’ he growled through clenched teeth, his hand moving up Loki’s chest. ‘Always using your Seiðr for your own childish needs.’ He wrapped his fingers around the raven’s throat and tightened his grip till he felt his brother’s larynx underneath his thumbs. 

Loki gasped, in shock and lack of air. He tried to break free, squirming desperately as his nails clawed at Thor’s arms. He tried to inhale, lack of oxygen already burning his lungs. His head was throbbing, a feeling of thousands of needles stabbing, over and over again. 

He tried to raise his voice. He tried to plead. Yet all he could form were soundless gasps.   

‘No more,’ The Allfather’s words dripped with poisonous ire, his strong hold causing the trickster’s eye to turn bloodshed. ‘I will take from you your Seiðr! Your very voice!’ He shouted, voice bellowing through the halls. ‘Never again will you trick someone! Never again will you leave my side!’

Loki felt blood dripping from his nose. His vision turned blurry, black dots obscuring his sight. His body trembled in alarm, in fear. 

This would be it. 

His final struggle against Death. 

Thor let go of his throat just as Loki wanted to give into the forgiving embrace of his demise. A burst of oxygen moved through his windpipe, painfully, like sandpaper scraping over raw skin. It pierced his lungs, exploding in his head with a blinding whiteness. 

He coughed under Thor’s unforgiving gaze, hardly granted any time to catch his breath as his brother grabbed his wrist and started to drag him over the cold floor. 

‘W-where a-re we… going?’ The raven hardly recognized his voice as own, hoarse and barely audible. 

Thor said nothing, continuing to drag him deeper and deeper into the palace. 

They stopped in front of a large door that was the grey of unburnished silver, dull and spotted with years of neglect. Where there should have been graceful matching handles was only a square shaft of dark metal. 

Thor opened it with a rough push of his shoulder, using his weight to barge into the room. He let go of his brother’s wrist, the two now standing in the doorway.

Loki stood in silence except for his panting. The chamber was dark and humid, rodents scattering into the safety of faraway corners. He did not dare to think of what Thor was planning on doing to him, what tortures and horrors he had to go through to pay for his one moment of weakness. 

He dared to fully open his eye, expecting a dungeon filled with instruments of torment. 

What he found, however, was far worse.

He did not see a Witch’s Bridle, nor an Iron Chair. No tables displaying what revulsions could be bestowed upon him. 

The only object shining faintly in what dim light was present was a large birdcage made out of gold, barely big enough to contain one person. A device created during the ancient war between Asgard and Vanaheim. The Æsir had fought by the rules of plain combat, with weapons and brute force, fearing the Vanir who used the subtler means of Seiðr. 

This device, this cage, was designed for prisoners of war. It drains their Seiðr, slowly, agonizingly, driving those in its clutches to pure despair and insanity. 

Thor grabbed his brother’s hand so softly, as if Loki was made from the finest porcelain, delicate and fragile. He let their fingers intertwine, both staring as they stood in the doorway. 

‘…No,’ Loki whispered, shaking his head. ‘No. No, Thor, you cannot do this to me.’ Dread clenched his throat, the ghost of his brother’s hands wrapping themselves around his neck once more. He tried stepping back, only to be held by his hand in Thor’s iron grip. 

Thor did not say a word. He stepped forward, walking towards the cage as he dragged Loki along. 

‘No! Thor, please! Anything but that! Please!’ Tears rushed down his cheeks, his heart beating wildly like hellhounds locked and barking behind his ribcage. He leaned back, his boots scraping over the dusted floor as he tried to break free. He pleaded, screamed and shouted, words deforming by desperate cries.

But to no avail. 

The Allfather opened the cage with one hand, holding the raven in the other without effort. His expression remained stoic, cold and unforgiving. His eyes never turning towards the terrified god who was begging for clemency. 

Loki used his Seiðr, conjuring a dagger in his despair. He raised it, aiming at the artery in his brother’s arm. 

Thor easily caught his wrist, holding it so tightly that he dropped his dagger. ‘I am not at fault here, brother,’ the Allfather muttered as he pulled the struggling raven against his chest. ‘I am not to blame.’ 

‘Thor…’ 

It did not take much effort for the Thunderer to push his little brother into the small cage and shut its door. He locked it, giving it one rough yank to make sure it would not budge. 

Assured of its durability, Thor turned his back and walked out of the room without another word. 

‘Thor, no, please…’ Loki grabbed the bars of his cage, tears rushing down his cheeks. A dull pain crawled underneath his fingernails and crept through his fingers, moving towards his wrists and up his arms. It penetrated his skin, working deep into his joints till even the slightest movement of his hand caused a nauseating pain. 

He started to feel sick, his nosebleed worsening as the pain was spreading throughout his entire body. His Seiðr being drained from every fiber of his being, slowly, agonizingly. 

‘THOR, PLEASE!’ He slammed his fists against the tarnished gold, knowing his fate all too well. Knowing he was at his brother’s mercy. ‘DON’T LEAVE ME HERE! I BEG OF YOU! I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOUR SIDE AGAIN, I PROMISE!’

The Allfather turned around just before stepping through the door, meeting his brother’s gaze. 

‘Please,’ Loki kept pleading as Thor moved closer. He tried placing his hand on the god’s cheek, even though the bars did not let him. ‘I will never leave you again. I will never touch another again.’ He tried to smile through his tears as Thor watched him. ‘I will be good, I promise.’ 

‘You are the god of lies and mischief,’ Thor’s voice was heavy and cold with despise. ‘Your promise is of no meaning to me.’ 

The sound of the Allfather’s boots echoed through the damp chamber. It was the last thing Loki heard before the old door was slammed shut. 

He was alone, with nothing but this burning ache to keep him company. He tried to crawl into himself, but his cage would not let him, his knees and back pressed against golden bars as he tried to sit. 

He was alone, with nothing but the sound of his crying to fill the silence.

Chapter Text

His breathing was shallow, chest barely moving.

His pulse weak, a dull buzz in his ears. 

He wondered how long he had been screaming before his vocal cords gave in, damaged and raw. He wondered how long he had been locked away, all sense of time lost in his solitude.

Loki opened his one eye and stared at the reflection in the tarnished gold. A creature slumped between cold bars stared back at him. 

It looked enervated, a mere shadow of its former self. Its skin without pigment, pale and sickly in dim lighting. It looked so wary, its eye circled in black. 

An eye, once bright green and vibrant like an emerald, now dull and tainted red like a ruby.

Loki blinked, forcing himself to accept the image as his own. He looked at his fingers, unmoving and still intertwined with the bars as even the slightest twitch caused him to whimper in pain. 

He tilted his head, wondering if his mind was already starting to go as he saw his fingertips turn a deep shade of blue. 

A tear slowly streamed down his face as he felt his Seiðr being drained from spine and marrow, leaving him exhausted and aching. He stared in silent bewilderment as a thin layer of ice slowly formed on the golden bars underneath his fingertips. 

A simple breath felt like an eternity past so maybe Autumn had already gave way to Winter. He wondered why he was not shivering, why the cold would not touch him. 

And then he remembered, like a blade stabbing him straight through his head he is reminded of the horror that he truly is. The monster parents tell their children about at night, a beast who soullessly wonders through isolated plains. A Jötunn runt, spared from death, yet now forced to exist in purgatory. 

Maybe he deserved this fate. Maybe this is the price he has to pay for sending his parents straight into the ice-cold claws of Death. 

The trickster closed his eye, remembering all too well the day he saw his parents slaughtered. 

He was called into the living of the east wing, his parents awaiting his arrival. The raven instantly grew nervous as Frigga had beckoned him to sit across from the Allfather, Odin’s expression stoic as Loki quietly sat down.

“There is something we must tell you.”  

Odin had started the conversation, Frigga loyally sitting at his side, holding her husband’s hand. 

“You are our son, Loki, and we your family. You must know that.” 

Not even his mother’s sweetened words of love could prevent Loki’s world from collapsing. He was told he was a monster, a freak of nature, a beast of a different Realm. 

He was told he was a Jötunn. 

Found abandoned, left to die for he was too small for a giant’s offspring. He was Laufey’s son. 

Rage and disbelief had swallowed his heart and clouded his mind. Loki ran away from his home, his parents and his unknowing brother, and traveled straight towards Jotunheim. He sought for an audience with Laufey, demanding to speak with him. So many questions raging through his mind, so many emotions distorting his soul. 

He was captured and imprisoned before he even made it to their icy citadel. 

The Allfather and Allmother had to answer to the Jötnar King’s call, entering the Frost Giant’s Realm alone. No soldiers, no Einherjar, not even their first born was allowed to come. 

Of course, it was all a trap. 

It was after a long and brave battle against the countless Jötnar that the King and Queen had to give their lives. They were cornered, Loki shackled and crying at Laufey’s side as the Frost Giant neared to two gods. 

Loki had begged Laufey for mercy. 

He had begged the Three Norns for aid. 

He had begged his parents for forgiveness. 

Odin and Frigga merely smiled at him, portraying a love so pure only a parent could cherish.

Loki was sent back to Asgard after witnessing his parents’ execution, their decapitated heads bound to his shackles as he entered the royal palace. The Einherjar were the first to help him and free him of his bounds. Thor entered the throne room only seconds later, following the sound of panic and chaos. He stood, body frozen in shock, blood running cold as he saw his baby brother carrying his parents’ heads.

Shame and an all-consuming guilt washed over the young raven as desolated blue eyes stared at him. Loki waited for the Einherjar to release him from his chains, only to immediately run far away into the southern forest. 

And after that…

Loki shook his head vigorously, forcing himself to snap out of his horrendous memories. 

It mattered not. None of it did. Whether he would ever get out of this cage to see snow falling from the cold skies, whether his Seiðr would be returned to him or stolen forever, whether he would survive or come to death he could not care any longer. 

Death might even be kind to him. Comforting and peaceful. 

It would stop the insufferable aching in his body, it would calm his heart, his mind. It would take his breath and maybe, just maybe, it would take him to the eternal glory of Valhalla where he could be reunited with his loving parents. Where he could tell them how remorseful he was, how guilt had slowly been eating away at his soul. 

If only he would have drowned when Thor had forced him under water to pleasure him during bathing. 

If only he would have fallen when Thor had dangled him out of his window by his neck. 

If only he would have suffocated when Thor had wrapped his fingers around his throat. 

Loki stared at his hands once more. 

If only he could conjure a dagger to slice his wrists. 

The raven fixated his ruby red eye on his fingers and tried to move them. A green mist formed hesitantly in the palm of his hand, slowly taking shape in the form of a small blade. He drew a stuttered breath in relief, only to curse again as it disappeared.

Focus. 

He had to focus. 

He tried again, the pain in his body flaring as he fought for control over what little Seiðr he had left. 

He succeeded. 

There, in the palm of his hand rested his answer, his salvation. A small dagger, sharp and black mockingly showing his reflection. 

Loki knew he had to be quick and wasted no time. He placed the sharp end against the skin on his wrist, knowing all too well that he had to make a vertical incision. 

 

A kind and warm smile flashed before his eye.

 

 

“Loki.”

 

 

A voice gentle and loving ringing in his ears and calling his name.

 

 

“Loki.”

 

 

Blue eyes, beckoning. A safe haven to rest his weary soul.

 

 

“Loki.”

 

 

Steve.

 

 

Loki closed his eye, a final tear moving over his cheek as he pressed the tip of his blade deeper into his skin. He would never feel the mortal’s hands cup his own again. He would never feel his strong arms wrapped around his frail body, his lips against his own.

Loki would never tell him how much he loved him. 

The first drops of blood slowly seeped from the wound and dripped down his wrist. Loki uttered a deep sigh, his heart beating calmly in his chest. He was fine now. 

He was at peace. 

He stared at the carved blood vessel, mesmerized as the first small stream of red trickled over his skin. He wanted to drag the dagger further over his slender wrist, only to be stopped by a loud creaking sound. 

The doors of his chamber opened, disrupting his concentration and causing the dagger to dissolve into thin air.

‘Brother,’ Thor’s voice boomed through the silence, his boots heavy against the stone floor. ‘I have come to see how you fair.’ 

Loki did not acknowledge his presence. He panted, staring in absolute devastation at his now empty hands. 

A long silence followed, Thor standing with straightened back as he looked at his baby brother who was slumped in his birdcage, knees and back pressed against the bars as it was too small to lie down or even sit. 

A frown formed on Thor’s face as he looked at the trickster’s ruby eye and the deep blue shade forming over his skin. A side effect of this gruesome device was the explanation he chose to believe. He was the first to open his mouth as the raven did not even look at him; ‘I have been thinking, Loki.’

Still no response. 

Thor sighed and continued. ‘I believe it is time for us to be family once more.’ A shudder ran down the blond’s spine as a bright red eye was finally directed towards him, pupils dilated.

Loki did not dare to believe him. Was the Allfather, his brother, truly trying to suggest that the two should live as family again? No caressing, no kissing, no marriage and no… rape.

Just two brothers, plain and simple. 

Loki cursed the spark of hope that flared in his chest. 

Thor smiled, ‘I knew this would pique your interest.’ He took a step closer, his hands folded behind his back. ‘I know what possibilities you possess as a Seiðr bearer, brother, even when most of your power is taken from you. I know you can shape into any form you desire, whether it be god or beast, man or… woman.’ 

A shudder ran down Loki’s spine. He tried moving backwards as his brother raised his hands, his back pressed firmly against his cage as Thor tried to touch his stomach. ‘You possess the power to bear a child. With your Seiðr we will have a family of our own. You will give birth to our descendants, to a suited heir to the throne and we will be connected to each other through all of eternity.’ 

Thor paused as he stared into the trickster’s eye, wide in terror. He gave him a quick smile, trying to reassure him; ‘Do not dread, Loki. I will not impregnate you till after our marriage.’ A grin formed on his face, hands trying to move through the bars and touch the caged creature. ‘I cannot wait to feel your curved form, brother. Or should I then call you “sister”?’ his voice changed, avaricious and dark with lust. ‘Your firm breast and elegant waist. I will spread your legs and kiss every sensitive spot till you beg me for more. I will have you moan my name as I thrust my cock into your wet, virgin cunt.’

There was no love in his voice, no warmth nor comfort. Words falling from his lips, a promise, a threat. 

The raven trembled on his feet, utterly dazed as his brother’s words slowly dawned on him. His chest started to heave, another panic attack threatening to cloud his mind. He shook his head vigorously and slammed his hands against the bars, his legs tightly pressing together in an involuntary response. 

‘Loki?’ Thor frowned as he took a step back. ‘What is it you are doing? Stop it!’ 

The raven parted his lips, wanting to shout at his brother but the words would not come out. He had no voice, no sound of his own. His vocal cords screamed raw and torn long ago. The thin skin on his hands started to tear up as he kept slamming them against his birdcage, blood trickling from the wounds. 

‘Loki! Cease your tantrum at once!’ Thor ordered as he got closer again, his fingers now wrapped around the bars as Loki’s blood splattered in his face and on his clothes. ‘Stop this madness!’ 

But his words fell on deaf ears. Loki gasped, taking frantic breaths as his panic wracked through his body. 

He could not take this anymore. If only his brother would have entered this chamber a few minutes later. If only he had the time to slice his wrists and end it all. He looked at his hands, colored red by his blood and blue for reasons he could not accept. He sheathed his fingernails underneath his torn skin, tearing it up further as he moved towards his wrist. 

He felt no pain, no agony as his state of panic dulled all other senses. He kept clawing, tearing up his arteries. 

‘Loki!’ Thor shouted at the top of his lungs, unlocking and opening the cage. He held the raven by his fragile shoulders and tried to pull him from his clouded mind. ‘You will listen to me, do you understand?! For once you will do as I say!’ 

Loki kept shaking his head, tears rushing down his face. He tried to continue his scratching but failed as the Allfather firmly held him in place. He could not fight him. He had no energy left to fight, not anymore. 

‘You will listen to me!’ Thor’s vision grew dark with panic, his fingers digging deeper and deeper into his brother’s shoulders. ‘I will not be ignored by you!’ The pain caused Loki to stop his thrashing, his arms hanging at his side in defeat and fear. 

Thor, however, was far from calm. ‘You will listen to me!’ He continued to shout, ‘I will never let you stray from my side again! I will not lose you again!’ He shook his baby brother like a ragdoll, his movement only stopping after he felt bone snapping beneath his fingers. ‘I cannot… Not lose you again… I cannot let you leave me again…’ 

Loki threw his head back in pain, silent screams leaving him as he felt his fractured bones move underneath his skin. 

‘… You have brought this all upon yourself, brother.’ Thor nodded as if convincing himself. He pushed Loki back into his birdcage and locked it. ‘If only you would just listen.’

He strode out of the chamber, steps big yet beaten, before throwing the door shut.

Chapter Text

 

 

Steve cursed, his back aching as he crawled through yet another narrow tunnel. 

It had taken him hours to find the secret passage which had led him to the other side of the palace walls, and now he still had to get into the palace itself. With guards standing on high alert at every gate and door he had no choice but to search his way through the labyrinth of underground tunnels which the trickster had so easily guided him through earlier. 

He decided to take a left, coming across yet another crossing which did not feel familiar. ‘Fuck,’ he cursed under his breath as he barely managed to dodge a cobweb. He looked down, noticing a shriveled creature, the size of his foot, dead on its back. Its large fangs were only seconds away from falling from its jaw, its eight hirsute legs curled around its body. Steve had to take a deep breath as he passed the being that was hardly a spider anymore, briefly wondering if he would meet the same fate in this cursed warren. 

If only he had paid more attention when he was still with Loki.

He decided to just keep walking, marking some of the paths by drawing arrows in the dust or sand that covered the floor. He was starting to get tired, sighing hopelessly as he crossed a path which he had already walked before.

He looked around, wondering where to go as the trickster’s words echoed through his mind. Loki had told him to leave the palace, to escape from Asgard and never look back. 

Steve gritted his teeth in frustration. He would never leave the god like this. If only Loki would talk, if only he had said what was troubling him. Steve could have helped him. They could have worked on a solution, maybe even talk with Thor or, if all else fails, escape this damn place together. 

It took the captain another three hours of constant walking before he finally found a mark that could help him navigate. He tilted his head, his attention fully drawn towards bloody boot prints that had settled on the dusted floor. They were Loki’s, no doubt. 

Steve followed the trail, his walking turning into a run as he started to recognize the path. He climbed up countless stairs before making it back into the palace, the trail of mud ending in one of the hallways. ‘Loki?!’ He shouted, but no answer was given. He tried catching his breath as he laid his eyes upon a painfully familiar satchel, surrounded by shattered glass and dead critters.

‘No…’ he crouched down, searching for what could still be saved.

The enhanced hearing of the soldier caused him to pick up a sound somewhere at the other end of the long hall. He ran towards the voices, took a corner and nearly crashed into two scullery maids. 

‘Where’s Loki?’ He demanded, his voice lacking its usual kindness as the two young women looked at him in shock. 

‘W-we do not know,’ the brunette answered, two empty tankards clasped in her hands.

Steve barely managed to keep himself from slamming the poor girl against the wall. He cursed underneath his breath and gritted his teeth, the maids warily keeping their distance. ‘I must speak with Thor.’ 

‘The Allfather does not wish to be distu-’ 

It was the captain’s fist crashing into the wall right next to her head that caused the young girl to fall silent. She hardly dared to breath, lips parted as she froze in fear. Deep blue eyes peered straight at her, demanding and shadowed with ire.

Steve didn’t have to say another word, for the girl pointed towards the grand staircase, her entire body quivering. ‘H-he is in his chamber.’ 

The man gave a quick nod in gratitude before sprinting up the stairs, ignoring the servant’s further warnings.   

Blood pumped wildly through his veins, his hands clasped into tight fists as the door to the Allfather’s chamber came into sight. It was covered in a layer of gold, its doorpost shining brightly with the finest ornaments. The captain narrowed his eyes, the splendorous display only fueling his anger.

He approached the door with big steps and pressed the palms of his hands against the shiny metal, ready to barge into the room. 

He managed to stop himself at the last moment, knowing that he had to stay calm. He had to clear his mind. 

He steadied himself, opened the door without a sound and walked inside. 

It was in this room that he found a god sitting idly upon a silk couch. A god who remained silent and sat perfectly still, his back towards the captain. 

Thor bathed in gold, warm afternoon sunlight caressing his skin and lightening his yellow hair. The Allfather’s head was hanging low, his elbows resting upon his knees and hands folded. 

Steve took a deep breath, wanting to ask Thor of Loki’s whereabout, but the God was the first to speak. 

‘Oh merciful Three Norns,’ the blond muttered, ‘You know I am a righteous King and of my virtue I am justly proud.’ 

Steve raised a questioning brow and glanced into the room, wondering who the god was talking to. It was only when Thor continued that the captain realized he was praying. 

‘I ask you for your help, your guidance and your forgiveness.’ Thor drew a stuttered breath, his muscles tensing as he continued. His words were slurred, his voice a soft mutter, ‘I have no other choice. It is not my fault, I am not to blame. I merely try to help him, save him from himself. He simply cannot see this…’ A moment of silence fell in which the god seemed to search for the right words. He eventually sighed, heavy and defeated. ‘Norns have mercy on him… Norns have mercy on me. But he will be mine, or he will-’ 

Thor’s eyes flew open as he heard the shifting of feet. He straightened his back, not turning around to look at the intruder. ‘He shall be punished for what he has done to you, captain.’ 

Steve’s blood instantly ran cold at the god’s words. ‘What he has done to me?’ he repeated, wondering how Thor knew it was him. 

The god let out a breathless laughter, small and barely audible. ‘You poor naïve thing. My brother had an enchantment placed upon you, one that you have failed to notice. Do not blame yourself for your failure, captain, I doubt any mortal could keep his trickeries at bay. Fortunately, I am mighty. His false words have never managed to effect me.’ He grabbed a full tankard of ale from a side table and chucked it down in big gulps. He then held it upside down, sighing as not a drop of liquor fell and threw it into a corner of his room. ‘I know this is unspoken of, yet still- still I ask of you not to think ill of my brother. He is… fevered in his mind.

Steve frowned, his eye twitching as he did not fail to notice the god’s slurred sentences and apathic tone. He hardly cared for the Allfather’s words as he sought the answer to one simple question; ‘Where is Loki?’

‘He is… far away,’ Thor pressed his back into the cushions of the couch. His head was heavy, mind dazed and swimming in the warmth of Asgardian ale. He stared at the ceiling, ‘My brother’s mind… is so far gone.’ 

The captain shuddered, wondering who was truly lost. He had to think of something, for he knew there was no reasoning with those drunk on mead and desire. ‘I have come here so I can continue to follow your orders, Allfather.’ He had to swallow his anger, his revulsion, as he walked towards the other. 

He slowly approached him and laid his eyes upon the dozens of empty tankards spread across the floor, the scent of alcohol heavy in the air. Steve’s mouth was dry, his muscles tense as he forced himself to stay calm. ‘I have pledged to you my undying fidelity. Now, I ask of you, tell me where Loki is so I can-’ 

‘Loki already came back to me,’ Thor hissed through gritted teeth. ‘Though he was not unharmed!’ His anger instantly slipped from his mind, his mood changing like a leaf dancing in autumn winds. ‘Well, it matters not. I have returned, and I am not planning on leaving.’ His voice was hollow, his body slumped as he had yet to meet the mortal’s gaze. The god managed to lift a hand in a sluggish gesture towards the door. He still failed to meet Steve’s gaze as he continued, ‘Farewell, Steven, son of Joseph. I have no use for you any longer, I hereby release you from my service.’ 

‘… No. Thor, I can’t go yet, I really need to-’ Steve fell silent as he stepped in front of the Allfather, his breath caught in his throat as he laid his eyes upon clothes stained red. Drops of blood were splattered across the god’s face, hands still dripping with ruby liquid. ‘…What did you do?’ he whispered under his breath but received no answer, the stench of alcohol stinging his eyes. ‘Where is Loki?!’ 

‘Did you know I have not heard my brother’s laughter in over so many years…’ It was a realization rather than a question. ‘Ever since that day- I made them pay for the horrors they had bestowed upon him.’ He swallowed and nodded heartily, as if he had to defend his actions before the mortal, as if seeking his approval. ‘They all paid, their blood painted the snow red.’ 

‘Wha-?!’ Steve sighed in frustration, wondering if he would ever get any useful information from the drunk god. ‘Who paid for what? What are you talking about?’

‘The monsters who killed my parents and tormented my little brother,’ he let his head fall back, golden hair falling over his shoulders. ‘The Jötnar, they drove Loki to madness, so I slaughtered them all.’ 

‘I think the only one driving Loki to madness right now would be you.’ 

The words left Steve’s lips before he could even think of stopping himself. 

‘…What do you know?’ Thor sat up straight, his eyes narrowed as he glared at the captain. ‘What do you know?!’ He shouted in drunken rage and jumped to his feet, barely able to keep himself standing. ‘You know nothing of me, nor Loki! You have no knowledge of what happened! How I saw my baby brother chained and pale as Death herself! How he carried the heads of my beloved mother and father!’ Thor ranted, hands slamming into the mortal’s chest as he pushed him back. 

The captain let him, his countenance reserved and patient. His eyes narrowed slightly, his heart beating painfully loud in his chest as the god’s words started to dawn on him. 

‘Loki ran away from home for reasons I still do not know! My parents went to retrieve him from Jotunheim and then they-!’ Thor stopped to take a deep breath, trying to calm his trembling body. ‘I had to rule Asgard, protect the Nine Realms and I-’ He gulped, tears burning in his bloodshot eyes. ‘I nearly lost my brother as well… For a crushing, paralyzing moment I thought I had lost everyone who was dear to me…’ 

‘What happened to Loki?’ Steve managed to swallow the lump that had settled in his throat, his voice hoarse. ‘Thor, what happened to the two of you?’ 

‘He was so shocked, so traumatized by what he had seen he-’ Thor quickly rubbed his eyes and fell back on the couch as his legs could no longer support him. ‘He ran away the moment the Einherjar freed him from his chains, running to a place I did not know where. He left me behind, to look after a kingdom in despair, a kingdom without King. To tend to my parents’ funeral while he-!’ The god pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes, fighting yet failing to prevent a sob from escaping his numbs lips. He let himself slide of the couch and fell on hands and knees, crawling as he sought for a drop of mead among the empty tankard, all while whispering; ‘I thought I had lost everyone…’ 

Steve’s jaw clenched, his hands formed into tight fists as he realized he indeed knew hardly anything about Loki, nor Thor. The story of these two gods, related in ways the captain did not want to understand, churned his stomach. The image of the Allfather brought to his knees by grief and sorrow caused his heart to beat softly in his chest. 

Thor bellowed in frustration as he found only empty tankards and threw an armchair towards the other end of the room. The furniture crashed into a wall and shattered to pieces as the god panted in defeat and misery. ‘I thought I had lost him! My scouts found him days later, in the southern forest, wrists slit. He had tried to take his own life and leave me behind…!’ 

‘… Is that why you don’t want him to leave you?’ Steve had to steady himself, to keep his voice from faltering as he tried to comprehend the god’s story. A colorful image of the trickster god came to mind, body laid to rest underneath old trees, wrists cut and red with blood. ‘Are you afraid he will try again?’ 

‘He had tried to leave me behind, alone,’ Thor continued, his clouded mind unable to progress the captain’s words, tears rushing down his face. ‘I have tried to reason with him once he was cleared from his sickbed. I have told him that he had to stay by my side! That he could never leave me again! But he- he wanted to go his own ways.’ Thor looked up, eyes spilling with hot tears as he sought for any form of solace from the mortal. ‘He wanted to venture into the world, into galaxies! To places I could not follow for I was bound to Asgard! Burdened to be its King! …H-he had- he had to stay! You have to understand…! He cannot leave me alone. I do not want… want to be alone…’ 

‘…I understand,’ Steve nodded as he approached the god, his hands held up in benevolence. What else could he have said? What else could he have done?

He found truth in his words; he did understand. He could imagine so very well the trauma and everlasting hurt of losing all those who are dear to you in a matter of minutes. His heart was still aching as he thought of his own friends, of the Howling Commandos, of Bucky... All lost. He could only understand the need to keep someone so dear to you from straying from your side. 

Thor had no time for grief, never had time to mourn the loss of his parents as nine Realms without Allfather leaned heavily on his shoulders. Steve breathed quietly, his brows furrowed in sympathy as he looked upon the broken god. 

Though little did he know of what horrors the Allfather had bestowed upon his younger brother. 

Steve crouched down in front of Thor. He grabbed the god’s hands and studied the dried blood coloring his skin. ‘Thor, you are right. I don’t know you or Loki all that well and I don’t know what’s going on between the two of you but… I really think you need help.’ 

‘What would you have me do?’ Thor asked desperately, tears drying on his cheeks. ‘He will not stay, only doing as he so pleases! I am merely saving him from his own stubbornness! From his selfishness,’ Thor pulled his hands free, an angry scowl forming on his face. ‘He would not listen to reasoning! He never has and he never will! This is-’ he nodded slowly and stared at his ruby stained clothes, body trembling. ‘This is the only way. If he will listen to reason, then he shall stay out of fear...’ 

‘…I see,’ Steve nodded, his voice hardly more than a whisper. His face contorted as the coppery scent of dried blood started to fill his lungs, his heart racing as he dared to wonder what the Allfather had done to Loki. ‘I understand, I do, and I think you are right.’ He had to stay strong as Thor looked at him, wondering and pleading eyes seeming to stare straight into his soul. ‘I- I think Loki should stay here as well, for his own good. And I think I should talk to him.’ As Thor kept staring Steve quickly added; ‘He has to know his place. Which is here, with you.’

‘My brother does not answer to mere words.’ 

‘Well, if he won’t answer to words then maybe he will to pain.’ Steve knew he took a massive risk. Either Thor would trust him and tell him where the trickster god was, or he would slaughter him for even daring to suggest hurting his younger brother. ‘Your lesson is well learned,’ he quickly added as Thor continued to stare at him. ‘I see now what I must do. For Loki’s sake, for yours and for all of Asgard. He must never set foot outside this palace again.’ 

A long silence followed.

‘… True companions are hard to come by,’ Thor finally spoke as he clambered back onto his couch, wary and barely conscious. His voice was rough though still so small, eyes staring blankly into nothingness. ‘Loki is in the Northern wing, just past the lower levels of the dungeons.’ 

The slant of Steve’s shoulders spelled a quiet despondency. How he wanted to ask the god a thousand questions, wanting to know everything about him, about his younger brother and their relationship. 

Yet now Loki was all he could think of.

‘He will never leave me again, Steven.’ Thor muttered as Steve had already turned on his heel. He let his head rest upon a pillow, eyes heavy as he sighed. ‘How I wish to hear his laughter one more time…’

 

 


 

 

 

Steve ran through hallways and down stone stairs, agilely maneuvering past maids and soldiers. He heeds them no mind, his panting echoing as he followed a trail of footsteps and dried blood. He felt the weight of his shield on his back, the precious item returned to him by orders of the Allfather. His heart was drumming in his ears, his body and mind in full soldier state. 

He came to an abrupt halt as the trail disappeared underneath an old and weathered door. 

‘Loki?!’ Steve shouted, hands banging against the door, yet no answer was given. ‘Loki?!’ 

He tried to push the doors open, but the sturdy material would not give under this brute force. He cursed and took a few steps back, grabbed his shield and barged into the room with all his weight and strength.

The light coming from the torches behind the captain casted an ominous shadow upon the dusted floor. The air was thin and heavy with the scent of mildew and blood, the familiar taste of copper filling his mouth. 

Steve’s eyes widened as he began to grow accustomed to the darkness, his breath stuck in his throat as the dust slowly settled. 

A body without movement was locked inside a golden birdcage. The floor and metal stained in red, blood dripping from hands and wrists. Lean fingers intertwined with golden bars, blue skin underneath bloodied fingernails. Pale and chapped lips slightly parted and an eye – one glazed, ruby red eye – staring without life.

 

Chapter Text

A body without movement was locked inside a golden birdcage. The floor and metal stained in red, blood dripping from hands and wrists. Lean fingers were still intertwined with golden bars, blue skin underneath bloodied fingernails. Pale and chapped lips slightly parted and an eye – one glazed, ruby red eye – staring without life. 

‘…No,’ Steve whispered under his breath upon seeing the unresponsive body, slumped in its cage. He froze, blood running cold as it felt like his heart stopped beating. ‘…Loki.’                         

It took him mere seconds to dash into the room, his fingers instantly wrapped around the golden bars. He bared his teeth, shaking the birdcage with all his strength. ‘Loki!’ He let his fingers intertwine with those of the god, a violent shiver rampaging through his body. 

The raven was cold as Death. 

Steve panted heavily, barely able to keep himself calm. He yanked at the small door and tried to open it, anger embedded deep within every strained muscle. It was in vain, a lock glistening in dim light, its rattling echoing through the chamber. 

He took a step back and took a firm hold on his shield, bashing the edge into the lock until it shattered. He threw the weapon down as Loki fell forward, straight into his arms. 

‘It’s okay. It’s okay now, Loki. I’m here. I’ve got you,’ desperation shimmered through his words as he held the trickster close against his body, on hand pressed against the back of the raven’s head as the other wrapped tightly around his waist. ‘I-I’m sorry I took so long. Please, just… please,’ he begged as he carefully placed the trickster on the cold floor. He let his fingers hover just above the raven’s wrists, wanting to check his vitals, only to freeze at the amount of blood seeping from the wounds.

He started to panic, his fingers running through tousled raven-black hair. ‘Loki, come on, look at me. Look at me.’ He cautiously placed his hands on the god’s cheeks as he barely dared to touch him, afraid to cause more harm. ‘No,’ he whispered softly as tears formed in his eyes. ‘No, no, no. You can’t do this to me, Loki. Come on!’ 

It was only now that the captain got a good look at the trickster. His skin was a pale shade of blue, dark and delicate lines adorning his face. His eye was red and dull, staring at the ceiling like a broken doll. 

‘Loki, please,’ Steve whispered as he quickly placed his index and middle finger on the god’s neck, searching for a pulse. 

Nothing. 

No, this could not be. Loki could not be dead. Steve refused to accept it. He held his ear just above the raven’s parted lips, hoping to hear his breath as his eyes were completely focused on his chest, searching for any movement. 

Still nothing.

Steve immediately tore the raven’s clothes from his upper body, examining his chest for any major wounds before starting chest compression. ‘Come on, come on, come on,’ he chanted with every push onto the trickster’s sternum. 

He quickly pressed his lips against those of the other, tight and desperate as he breathed air into his lungs. ‘I’m not leaving you here, Loki.’ It was a desolate oath, a form of reassurance to himself. ‘I’m not going home alone. I’m not leaving you behind, so you better-!’    

A voice started to whisper silent sentences in the back of his mind. It breathed words of blame, of utter failure. It told him how he was never able to save the ones he loved. How he had failed to protect Bucky and lost him to the icy depths of the Danube River and now, the great Captain America, loved and idolized by so many, failed yet again as Loki’s lifeless body rested at his feet. 

Steve fought to keep his tears at bay, to keep the voices of his past from taking control as he continued to perform chest compressions. His heart beat painfully in his chest, his body trembling with each ragged breath. He could still hear Bucky’s voice, screaming as he fell. His expression, a mixture of distress and defeat, still haunted him at night. He shook his head, forcing himself to focus on his bloodstained hands. 

Minutes ticked by, agonizingly slow, as the blond artificially pumping blood through the god’s heart. He soon realized he had to do something, he had to get the trickster out of this dark and rotting cell and search for help. 

But where would he go?

He could not leave Loki long enough to run back to Thor and ask for his help. Neither could he ask the guards, for he truly doubted whether they would listen to a mere Midgardian’s plea. And even if they would, even if someone from this damned Realm would help them, Steve wondered if he would ever be granted to see the trickster again afterwards. 

He looked at the god’s wrists and gulped as he remembered Thor’s story. What if Loki had tried to take his own life? What if he had planned on closing his eyes, never to open them again? Thor would never let Loki from his side if he were to find out… 

Steve cursed, wanting to scream at himself. Scream at how useless he was, how he had managed to lose yet another person he had come to love. He clenched his teeth till his jaw hurt and forced himself to ignore the lingering voices in his mind. He had to come up with a plan on his own. He could not rely on anyone else. 

At least, not from this Realm.

The captain’s bright blue eyes widened in realization. If he could not find anyone in here to help him, then maybe he should look somewhere else. He knew that on a different planet, a different Realm, friends were waiting for him to come home. Surely Bruce would help tend to Loki’s wounds, and maybe Tony would be so kind as to let the god rest in Stark Tower. 

The blond quickly shredded two large pieces from his cloak and wrapped them around the trickster’s wrist as fast as he could. He cautiously lifted Loki on his back, making sure to move him as little as possible. ‘You can’t die on me, Loki.’ He tried to speak with a steady voice as he wiped a tear from his cheek. ‘Just… hang in there a little longer, okay?’ 

He grabbed his shield and started running. He climbed up and down countless stairs, dashing through seemingly endless halls, passing by grand chambers and splendorous passages. His filthy boots tapped hard against the floor, staining the shiny marble with blood and sludge. 

The mortal cared not, the divinity of this palace only fueling his rage. 

Steve let out an agitated growl as he spotted two guards standing watch further down his path. The two Asgardians instinctively raised their spears and shields as they saw the bewildered mortal storming towards them like a rabid dog. 

‘Hey! Slow down!’ One of them shouted as the captain showed no sign of stopping. ‘I said slow down!’ 

The blond cursed under his breath, knowing the two would never let him pass. He made sure to hold Loki tightly against his back, feeling his blood soaking his shirt. He jumped up and kicked one of the guards with all his strength, crashing him into the other. 

The two Asgardians were only down for a couple of seconds, dazed in shock and pain. They quickly scrambled to their feet, pursuing their attacker. ‘Isn’t that…?’ one mumbled to the other as his eye got caught by the god of lies resting on the mortal’s back. 

‘Are they planning to escape,’ the other guard grumbled and grabbed a horn strapped to his thigh. He took a deep breath and sounded the alarm. 

The horn’s call, deep and powerful, echoed through the entire palace. Steve panted heavily, fearing what was to come. His stomach turned, every nerve on edge as an ominous silence followed. 

It did not take long before soldiers came storming from every corner, their shields raised, their spears and armor rattling like a thunderstorm. 

‘Ready the archers!’ 

A voice bellowed through the halls. The captain looked through passing windows as he kept running, noticing an entire platoon of bowmen gathering in the courtyard. 

‘Man the walls!’ 

Steve barely managed to dodge a spear which would have pierced his skull would it have found its mark. 

‘Close the gates!’ 

The command was followed by the sound of heavy portcullises falling shut outside, turning the palace into an inescapable fortress. 

Steve just told himself to keep moving, to keep running as fast as his legs could carry the two of them. He took sharp turns, choosing paths which would lead him to the long forgotten dockings. It was clear that the guards were not calculating for the captain to choose such isolated and ancient routes.

The blond’s heart was beating loudly in his chest, his blood rushing through his veins. He turned around just in time to see a wave of spears falling down on him. He crouched, knees scraping the floor as he raised his shield to cover the silent god resting on his back as best as he could. 

Spears came down like rain, colliding with the mortal’s Vibranium shield. Each single weapon came crashing in with a heavy blow, making it almost impossible for the blond to keep protecting the one he held so dear.

He quickly jumped to his feet again as the guards came closing in, feeling Loki slowly slip from his back. ‘Shit,’ Steve nearly crushed into a wall and stumbled on his feet to find his balance again. ‘I’m so sorry,’ he managed to wheeze as he was nearly out of breath, tears stinging in the corners of his eyes as he heard no response. 

His fingers dug deeper into Loki’s legs as he tried his best to support him. He just had to keep running. He just had to get them to the dockings where an ancient spaceship would take them to Earth. Everything will be okay once he had escaped this Realm. Loki will be fine once they would be reunited with his new friends. 

At least, that is what Steve kept telling himself, refusing to believe he was carrying a corpse. 

A smile nearly formed on the blond’s face as he noticed he was getting closer. Soon the tight and damp passages would lead him towards the enchanted wall which Loki once guided him through. Soon he would be able to go home. 

‘We’ve got him now,’ One of the guards grumbled as he saw the blond stumble upon a seemingly dead end. ‘Lower your weapon, mortal!’ 

Steve turned around and stared at the wall of soldiers blocking his path, pupils constricted with ferocity and rage. 

‘You have nowhere to run to, Steven of Midgard.’ 

The captain’s eyes widened as an all too familiar voice moved towards him. 

‘I suggest you release my brother right this instance,’ Thor moved through his army and stepped forward. His soldiers moved like chest pieces, every step precise and in union as they cleared a path for the Allfather.

Thor’s eyes were lit with wrath, with betrayal. His hand clasped tightly around Mjölnir, his body wrapped in shining armor, a flaring red cape draped from his shoulders. 

‘I can’t, Thor,’ Steve spoke determinately, gasping for breath. ‘I can’t let you lock him in this palace any longer. I can’t let you hurt him. Both for his sake… and your own.’

‘You know I have no other choice!’ Desperation and uncertainty were almost to be found in the god’s voice if not for his anger. ‘He would not listen to me! He never will!’ Thor gulped and bared his teeth. ‘Now, you will unhand my brother, and I will see to it that Death will take your soul without endless suffering.’ He raised his hammer, ‘Consider this mercy for your service during the war.’ 

The captain merely shook his head, ‘I can’t. You would kill Loki.’ 

‘Kill L-?’ Every muscle in the god’s body tensed, thunder moving through the clouds with the sound of a thousand roaring lions. ‘What kind of twisted mind game are you playing here, Midgardian?! You know what my brother means to me! You know I would never murder him!’ 

‘You may already have.’

Steve’s eyes were stinging with tears as the words parted his lips. Loki felt cold against his back and he only now realized he had yet to feel the raven’s chest heave for breath. 

A terrifying realization turned Steve’s body into stone. The possibility of Loki’s death was still something he simply could not accept. 

Yet it was a possibility he found harder and harder to ignore. 

Thor’s eyes widened in horror and shock. ‘You are lying,’ he whispered and looked at his baby brother. 

The dirty pieces of cloth strapped around Loki’s wrists were soaked with blood. His face was pale and red eye dull. 

‘Loki,’ Thor’s hands began to shake. ‘Tell this mortal he is deluded.’

No words came from the god of mischief as he rested in silence on the captain’s back. 

‘Loki,’ the Allfather’s voice boomed through the narrow hall. ‘Loki, you-’ He gulped, nostrils flaring as he took deep breaths. ‘You tell this piece of filth-!... Tell him you will be fine!’ Thor waited for a few seconds. His entire body started to tremble, his face slowly showing the uncertainty and devastation that held his chest in a painful hold. He then shouted with all his might; ‘Tell him!’ 

Steve took a step back as another painful silence followed the god’s outburst, tears rolling down his cheeks. He turned around and walked straight through the barrier which Loki had lifted using his Seiðr mere days ago. 

He heard the guards gasping and murmuring in shock before Thor’s heavy voice commanded them to follow. 

The captain had to squint his eyes as the bright, pastel-colored crystals casted their light through the cave. The water shone brightly with blue and green hues, purple blood, now dried, still stained the floor from where Loki had fought with one of the deities of the sea. 

He ripped the cover from the spaceship, its engine instantly starting at which the object began to hover. He opened the small door and cautiously placed the god in the one-person seat. ‘We’re almost out of here, Loki,’ Steve panted, voice soft and wavering as he brushed a lock of raven hair from the trickster’s face. ‘Just… just hang in there a little longer, okay?’ Tears blurred his vision as he pressed a gentle kiss against the god’s temple. ‘Just a little longer…’ 

Steve’s chest heaved softly as he fought for control over his emotions. His eyes were stinging, his breath harsh and uneven. 

It was the splashing sound of water that caused him to turn around.

There, staring straight at him, stood a man and a woman. Their bodies were nothing but skin and bone, their eyes gone, leaving empty sockets. Their clothes were soaked, only remnants of what used to be glorious garments remaining. They both wore a crown, the metal and ornamental gemstones unpolished and dull. 

‘I- I don’t want to fight you!’ Steve shouted desperately as he came to realize who the creatures were. ‘I just want to go home...!’ 

Ægir and Rán, the god and goddess of the sea kept staring at him. Their bony hands were resting on the swords they carried on their hip, ready to charge. 

‘I am not an Æsir,’ Steve continued to try and convince the two, his heart only pumping louder as nine deities crawled from the water and joined their mother and father. 

They must have been called out here by the horn that was blown by the guard that had chased them. It was a sound of battle, a cry for war. 

Steve remembered Loki explaining that the god and goddess disapproved of Asgard using their waters to gain advantage during warfare. They must have been here to defend their territory and stop the Allfather. 

‘I am not with Thor,’ the blond tried, raising his hands in surrender. ‘Please let me through! Please let me help him,’ he took a step to the side at which the eleven deities could see the trickster god strapped inside the spaceship. ‘He is a victim of Thor’s cruel hands, he needs help!’ 

The King and Queen looked at each other, their nine daughters patiently waiting.

It was the sound of an army breaching through the enchanted wall that caused them all to turn around.

Thor stood at the front, his eyes clouded with grief and madness, his hammer raised to charge straight towards the captain. 

Ægir and Rán looked at the mortal as they unsheathed their swords. 

It had been a long time since Steve felt so scared and so absolutely helpless. He knew he could never defend himself with only his shield at his side. He could never defend Loki. 

The blond gritted his teeth, his shield strapped tightly around his arm as he decided he would fight till his very last breath. 

He did not know if it was possible for the zombified deities to cast him a warm and comforting smile, yet Steve could swear he saw a glimpse of the gesture just before Ægir and Rán turned around and charged towards Thor and his army, followed by their loyal daughters. 

Steve stared in complete awe as the gods’ weapons clashed, battle cries and horrifying screeching filling the cave. A spear landed just before his feet, crushing the stone floor. The captain quickly turned around and ran for the spaceship. 

He tumbled to the floor as another spear pierced his leg. It penetrated his skin, moving straight through his calf.

Steve gritted his teeth, forcing down a loud cry as he pulled the weapon from his leg with brutal strength. Blood splattered from the gaping wound and across the floor as he threw the spear into the water. 

He tried to stand on his feet, but the damaged muscles caused him to fall again. He crawled towards the spaceship, dust entering his lungs, small gravels cutting his skin. He heaved himself into the device with a restrained growl, making sure to throw in his shield first. 

The blond panted heavily as the door closed behind him. He rested his weary body against that of the raven, the vessel humming softly as the auto-pilot took over. 

He looked outside one last time, watching as Thor came charging towards them like a wild boar, his hammer raised and charged with lightning.

Steve’s eyes fell shut as the god of the sea blocked the Allfather’s path. He let his body rest, his mind slipping into peaceful nothingness as the spacecraft plunged into the water, taking them home.

Chapter Text

‘Jarvis, you up?’ 

‘For you sir, always.’ 

‘Great,’ Tony huffed as he entered his workshop after his three hour leave, the lights turning up by 25 percent capacity. ‘I'd like to open a new project file, index as: Conjecture 11-3.’ 

‘Certainly,’ The artificial voice confirmed as he projected one of the playboy’s screens in midair. ‘Trouble sleeping?’ 

‘Sleep is overrated buddy.’ He rubbed his eyes, the magical sound of the coffee machine causing him to let out a gratified sigh. The smell of freshly grounded coffee beans filled his nostrils as he searched for a clean cup. ‘And don’t act surprised to see me. It’s not the first time I’ve rolled out of bed at 03.30.’ 

‘I am afraid I cannot argue with that,’ It almost sounded like J.A.R.V.I.S. would let out a sigh, but he just decided to continue with the new project. ‘Shall I store this on the Stark Industries' central database?’ 

‘You know what? Don’t.’ Tony sat down behind his screen, running a hand through his tousled hair. He mumbled softly at his own reflection staring straight back at him through his many devices and gadgets. His normally tanned skin was turning pale as it had been kept from daylight for about three months now. His eyes were circled in black, a constant lack of sleep keeping them strained and dry. ‘Just keep everything on my private server 'til further notice.’ 

‘Working on a secret project, are we, sir? Or would you wish me to inform the others as well?’

‘Nah, let’s just not, for now. I don’t really have anything to tell them, anyway.’ The billionaire opened a folder, showing countless files consisting of video footage, military documents and some S.H.I.E.L.D. intel. ‘Besides, there really isn’t anyone to inform at this moment, is there? Bruce’s asleep, Nat and… uh….’ 

‘Clint, sir.’ 

‘Oh, yeah, right,’ Tony rubbed his eyes till they were red, waiting for the caffeine to kick in. ‘Well, those two are investigating some leads on another Hydra base, so that leaves… The two of us, really.’ 

It had been three months since Captain America went missing. Three months since part of Stark Tower got blown to pieces. Strangers invaded the building and claimed “the mortal” as their own.

It all happened so fast. The billionaire hardly had the time to call his suit, watching almost helplessly as the men dressed in eccentric attire aimed their spears at the newest member of the Avengers. He remembered grabbing a large bottle of whiskey from a shelve and smashing it to pieces, using a large shard of razor-sharp glass as a weapon while his suit came flying in. Steve, on the other hand, fought with whatever strength he had regained since his cryosleep.

He remembered the hint of fear caught in those sky-blue eyes which only lasted for a split second. It was almost heartbreaking to see how quickly Steve’s entire state of mind could turn from carefree to full fight mode, trying to protect not only himself but Tony as well. The intruders managed to overwhelm and overpower the blond the moment Tony’s suit came flying in. 

Tony gritted his teeth in frustration, the sight of Steve fighting for his life all to clear in his mind. He had tried to chase them, flying after them and turning all power to his thrusters even before he was entirely wrapped in his red and golden armor. But he was too late, both Steve and the strangers had disappeared in a beam of bright and colorful lights which Tony could only describe as a rainbow. 

The Avengers had waited for days for any form of contact, a threatening videocall, a ransom note, anything. they were willing to pay every price, to agree to every condition as long as they could get their captain back. After that, Tony would have simply let it rain bullets, destroying everyone who dared to take their old popsicle away. 

No call nor threat came from the assailants. Not even a sign that the Steve was alive. Whoever the men with spears and shields were, they were not planning on letting the captain go. 

That was the last Tony had seen or heard from the attackers, and from Steve. 

‘Show me footage 6.8, start at 01:32,’ Tony ordered, eyes completely focused on the material that popped up in front of him. He re-watched Steve being dragged outside, caught on tape by one of the many video cameras. ‘…Rewind.’ 

‘Sir, you’ve examined this footage 31 times in the last three weeks,’ J.A.R.V.I.S. reminded Tony, though still doing as he asked. ‘I do not believe-’ 

‘There’s got to be something, J. Cap couldn’t have disappeared in thin air.’ He held his breath as the footage showed Steve disappearing in the beam of light. ‘Well… You know what I mean.’ He didn’t notice how he was nervously biting the nail of his thumb, completely lost in thought. ‘There has to be something I’ve missed... You know what? Open all files. Photos, videos, all of it.’ 

The AI did as requested, every document now projected throughout the entire workplace. Tony went through all of them, scanning, observing and desperately hoping to find a clue.

 

 


 

 

It was already the middle of the night as Natasha and Clint entered Stark Tower. Their bodies were soar, limbs heavy and muscles aching with every step they took. 

‘Who’s gonna tell him?’ Natasha asked after greeting Jarvis and stepping into the elevator.

The archer shrugged, immediately regretting the gesture as a sharp pain shot through his left shoulder. ‘Play rock, paper, scissors for it?’ he quipped though neither of them smiled. ‘I just can’t believe it. This is the fourth Hydra base we infiltrated and still no clue on the old guy.’ 

‘Maybe we’re searching in the wrong direction, maybe-’ the woman sighed deeply, running a hand through her red hair as the elevator moved up. ‘Maybe this is a whole new organization. Someone, or something, we haven’t dealt with before.’ 

They remained standing in the elevator just a moment longer, only to step out as the doors threatened to close again. They walked into the communal floor, spotting Bruce on the couch who was just about to take a large bite of his taco, piles of documents at his side.

‘Uh… Hey,’ the scientist waved a hand, realizing a little to late that he still had his mouth full. He wanted to smile, but his shoulders slowly slumped as he saw the defeated expression on his teammates. ‘Nothing?’ 

‘Nothing,’ Clint grumbled as he let himself fall on the couch, his muddy boots staining the perfect white leather. ‘Not even a hint.’ 

‘Maybe we should look at some other possibilities.’ Bruce scooted over, making room for Natasha who slapped the archer’s feet of the couch. ‘I think we should get Tony and get our heads together again.’ 

‘Yeah,’ Barton nodded reluctantly before jumping to his feet. He did not look forward to being the bringer of bad news, the last time their mission had turned out to be a complete failure Tony had locked himself in his workshop for six days straight. ‘I’ll go get him. Let me guess, he’s in his-’

‘Workshop. Yeah,’ Bruce gave him a melancholic smile. ‘I’ve tried to lure him out of his burrow with dinner just about an hour ago, but he won’t even look up from his new project.’ 

‘Another one?’ Natasha asked with furrowed brows, only to shake her head as the scientist nodded. ‘That man’s going to work himself to death if he continues like this.’ 

‘Not on my watch,’ Clint strode towards the elevator and headed towards the workshop.

 

 


 

 

‘Sir, agent Barton is here to see you.’ 

‘One moment, J,’ Tony mumbled as he adjusted his goggles and focused on the project scattered across his workbench. He fumbled with a couple of wires on what seemed like a pile of scrap, trying to connect them. ‘Just a little… and then it should-’ he shrieked, pulling back his hands as a spark ignited between the two wires. ‘Damn it!’ 

Tony looked up, hearing DUM-E move right next to him, a fire extinguisher clutched in its metal grip. ‘No! Don’t you dare-!’ Tony threatened, holding out his hand. But it was too late. The robot spotted the little puff of smoke coming from the new project and instantly covered the scene in a blanket of white. ‘Oh, come on!’ 

‘Come in?’ Clint quipped as he leaned in the doorway, a smirk plastered on his face. ‘Looks… promising.’ 

Tony turned around, a glare on his face which was as lethal as his weapons. ‘Funny,’ he snarled as he looked at the mess and rubbed his grease-stained hands on his shirt. ‘So, tell me.’ 

Clint did not have to say a word. Tony already froze for a split second before the archer had even opened his mouth. 

‘…I see,’ Tony’s lips pressed into a tight line as he nodded, already reading his answer from the archer’s face. ‘That’s just… absolutely fucking great.’ He grabbed a few tools from his workbench, intending to clean the place up. 

‘Tony,’ there was a certain tension in Clint’s voice as he saw the playboy pace around the room, his muscles strained as he searched for a towel to clean DUM-E’s mess. ‘Think you could join us upstairs? Bruce suggested we should-’ 

‘Jarvis, register me as an enemy,’ Tony dropped his tools and turned around, meeting Clint’s gaze though ignoring his words. ‘This is just a test run,’ he muttered as he narrowed his eyes. 

‘A test run?’ Clint repeated as he raised a questioning brow, having no idea what the playboy was referring to. ‘Tony, what are you trying t-’ 

The archer gasped as Tony threw himself shoulder first into his chest, knocking all air out of the man’s lungs. Clint stumbled and fell to the floor, eyes wide in complete shock as Tony straddled his hips and pinned him down. 

‘Have you lost your fucking mind?!’ Clint shouted as he easily wrapped a leg around Tony’s calf and switched their positions in a split second. ‘What the hell, Stark?!’

A rough push between the archer’s shoulder blades caused him to let Tony go. He shivered as cold metal expanded over his back and chest and wrapped him in a protective suit of armor in mere seconds. 

‘What the-?!’ Clint stood up, trying to find his balance as he looked at his black suit decorated with some thin purple lines. His attention was soon drawn to his left foot, white sludge slipping through the cracks. ‘Tony-?!’ 

‘Yeah, that’s the part I was working on and then DUM-E… Well, you saw what happened.’ Tony panted, a little dizzy as the archer had smacked his head against the cold floor. He got to his feet and ignored the struggling Avenger who was trying to get out of the armory. ‘Jarvis, give me the results.’ 

‘Deployment took 9.36 seconds, sir.’ The AI informed him, showing all information on a StarkPad. ‘Though I do have to add that Agent Barton was in the same room as Mark 8.3. during this so-called assault.’ 

‘So it would take longer if he were somewhere else in the building.’ Tony muttered as he played a little with the Mark’s holographic blue print. 

‘Not to mention the amount of damage brought to the building as it will have to crash through walls and doors to get to its destination.’ 

‘Hey!’ Clint shouted, finally gaining the billionaire’s attention. ‘I don’t know what’s going on here, but could you get me out of this fucking suit already? It stinks, it’s uncomfortable and it-’ 

‘-could save your life, when needed.’ Tony sounded a little irritated, a wave of his hand causing the suit to simply fall apart, revealing the flustered archer underneath. ‘Granted, it needs some improvement… Okay, a lot of improvement, but since Romanoff’s almost finished, I can focus my full attention to yours. So this,’ he gestured at the pile of metal parts which lay uselessly at Clint’s feet, ‘just might save your ass someday. You’re welcome.’ 

‘Wha-?!’ The archer stammered, making way as DUM-E came driving by with a broom, proudly sweeping up the loose parts. ‘Tony, I never asked for one of your fancy armors and I- wait, you already made one for Nat?’

‘Uh-huh. Next up is Bruce,’ Tony explained, already lost in his own world of tech and science as he displayed all blueprints with a simple tap on his StarkPad, a cold blue hue falling over his pale face. ‘I have to admit, creating a design for him was- a challenge, considering the giant green rage monster that lives within, but I think I nailed it.’ 

‘… Is this why you haven’t left your workshop in over a week?’ Clint raised a brow in disbelieve, pointing at all the models. ‘To work on this?’ 

‘Again, this will protect you guys when needed. I don’t see your problem.’ Tony’s voice was strained and filled with irritation. He did not even look at Clint as he reached for the holograms and made some changes in the designs. ‘Look, if it’s about the color I can always change that. This just seemed to fit you.’ 

‘Okay, this is absurd.’ Barton sighed and tapped his left foot against a wall, trying to get as much of the white powder from his shoe as possible. ‘Listen, we need you out there! We need you to try and- and locate Steve. Or find clues or whatever. I don’t need your armor, okay?’ 

‘And neither did Rogers!’ Tony finally snapped, crumbling the visuals and tossing them in a digital bin. He walked up to the archer, anger clear in his demeanor. ‘And where is he now, huh?!’ 

‘What’s going on here?’ Natasha had entered the workplace without making a single sound, Bruce sheepishly at her side. 

‘Tony, Cap’s disappearance has nothing to do with your suits!’ Clint couldn’t help but shout, frustration and constant uncertainty finally getting the better of him. ‘You can’t wrap everyone in iron hoping that it’ll keep them safe!’ 

‘Oh, you wanne make a bet, Legolas?’ Tony sneered. 

‘Guys, maybe we should just talk this out.’ Bruce tried as he removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. ‘I’m sure we could-’ 

‘And even if those suits are going to protect us,’ Clint continued, ignoring the scientist who just raised his hands and sighed in defeat. ‘What will your next step be? A suit of armor around the world?!’ 

‘Clint, Tony, you guys need to stop this,’ Natasha tried to intervene as she stepped forward. ‘You’re both on the same team. You’re both trying to help but this is-’ 

‘Don’t give me that bullshit, Barton!’ Tony barely managed to keep himself from punching his fellow Avenger. ‘At least I’m trying to-’ 

‘Excuse the interruption, sir.’ J.A.R.V.I.S.’ voice was hardly heard over the arguing team. ‘I have some news which I belie-’ 

‘Not now, J!’ The playboy snapped, holding up his hand to shush the AI while still looking at Clint. ‘I might not be able to protect the entire world, but I’ll be damned if I let anything like this happen to one of you again!’ 

This outburst caused the room to fall silent, the archer staring back at him in silent bewilderment. ‘Tony…’ 

‘If cap had a suit…!’ he continued uncomfortably, not truly certain of what he was trying to say. ‘If… If my suit was faster, better, then-’ 

‘You can’t blame this all on yourself,’ Bruce spoke quietly as he took a step forward, his warm voice seeming to calm his friend. ‘Tony, we all feel the same. We all feel responsible and we all want Steve back. That’s why we’ve got to work together.’ 

‘I know!’ Tony ran a hand through his hair as the harshness in his own voice seemed to startle him. ‘I know… I just want to-’ 

‘Sir, I truly believe that this is important.’ J.A.R.V.I.S. insisted, gaining his creator’s attention once more. 

Tony rolled his eyes, letting out a sigh so deep Clint would swear it could be heard throughout the entire tower. ‘What?’ 

‘An unidentified flying object has broken through the ozone layer. According to my calculations it will crash at the Northern side of Central Park within a matter of seconds.’ 

‘A U.F.O?’ Clint frowned and looked at Bruce. ‘Aliens coming to us now?’ 

‘Jarvis, what are we?’ Tony asked as he felt a headache coming up. ‘Area 51? Let S.H.I.E.L.D. take care of that shit before some cosplaying nerds start circling my tower.’ 

‘Wait, guys,’ Natasha stepped up and crossed her arms. ‘On all the footage… Didn’t it appear that Steve and those assailants disappeared in thin air? Like they were “beamed up?”’ 

Tony looked at her with wide eyes, ‘… Well shit.’ 

It did not take long for the Avengers to assemble and head out, following the coordinates

 provided by J.A.R.V.I.S. They soon caught sight of a large fire, setting the trees and grass of Central Park ablaze.

‘Fuck,’ Clint coughed heavily as he jumped out of the Quinjet, a thick blanket of dark smoke blocking his sight. An object, resembling what he could only describe as a spaceship, had crashed into dirt, leaving a crater.  ‘The hell is this?’

‘Jarvis,’ Iron man landed close to the plane, making sure to keep a safe distance. ‘Tell me what I’m looking at.’

‘Error. Unable to analyze object.’

‘Oh, come one!’ Tony grumbled, his HUD coloring red as the AI tried to see through the smoke in search of information on the strange object. ‘This isn’t magic, J. It’s technology. You’ve gotta give me at least something.’

‘Guys,’ the tension in Widow’s voice was clear to hear over their wireless earpieces. ‘I think I’ve spotted Cap’s shield…’ 

Tony spotted the weapon. It was half stuck in the dirt about two yards from the crash site, the Vibranium bright red as it was caught in the flames. He immediately sprinted forward to retrieve the item, only to let it fall from his hands as he felt the searing heat penetrate his armor. ‘Fuck!’ He shouted as the metal of his suit started to hiss. ‘But if this is Rogers’ shield…’ 

‘Then that means cap must be in there,’ Hawkeye stared at the ball of fire and gulped, Black Widow at his side. ‘How the hell are we supposed to-’ 

The loud roar of the Hulk caused the team to cover their ears. The green beast charged towards the crash, diving into the flames without hesitation.

It were the longest seconds the team had to wait before their fellow Avenger emerged, carrying not one but two bodies in its big and powerful arms. 

Hulk carefully placed both bodies on the grass, making sure they were at a safe distance from the crash. He looked at the archer and huffed, ‘Less talk. More action.’ 

‘Steve!’ Tony shouted, flipping up the faceplate of his suit and crouching at the man’s side. God, even the broad and strong Captain America looked small in the colossal hands of the Hulk. 

‘Rogers!’ He lifted the blond’s hood, revealing his bruised and bloodied face. There were scorched stains on the man’s unfamiliar clothes, pieces of his cloak already burned to ash. ‘Rogers, come on. Talk to me.’ 

‘This is not good,’ Clint scowled, his fingers wrapped around Steve’s wrist. ‘He’s alive but… God, what happened to him?’ he whispered as he spotted the open wound on the man’s leg. 

‘I’ve contacted Fury, he’s on his way.’ Natasha was already sitting behind the controls of the Quinjet, ready to take off. ‘Now get in here. We’ve got to get him to S.H.I.EL.D.’s infirmary.’ 

‘What about that guy?’ Hulk asked, pointing at the other creature he carried from the fire and had placed on the ground. They couldn’t see its face as it was covered by its cloak. Couldn’t even see if it was human. 

But whatever it was, it was in need of help. 

Tony held Steve in his arms, using the strength of his suit to lift him. ‘… Get him in as well.’

Chapter Text

The first thing Steve noticed before opening his eyes was the sterile and nauseating hospital scent. His fingers twitched, digging into a soft and warm blanket. He squeezed his eyes shut, the lights already too bright even as he had not opened them yet. He tried to move his left leg, a static feeling prickled through the damaged muscles, but no matter how hard he tried he could not lift it.

He heard the sound of a ticking clock mixed with a constant beep. It was far away, yet so recognizable. The sounds seemed to get closer as he heard a voice. 

‘Bru-… How’s th…e a-…. oing?’ 

That voice… it sounded so familiar. 

Tony? 

‘Is he-… yet?’ 

Steve tried to speak. His voice so soft he could barely hear it himself. ‘…n-y…?’ 

‘No, h-… unconsc-’ 

There was someone else. They were talking. ‘…To-ny…?’ 

‘Cap?’ He heard the shoving of a chair and instantly felt fingers wrapping around his hand. ‘Steve, hey, it’s okay. We’ve got you.’ 

There was both relief and concern shadowing these words. A warm feeling imbedded itself deep within Steve’s chest as he realized it was definitely Tony. He slowly opened his eyes, fighting against his heavy eyelids. His lips were chapped, mouth dry as he looked at the playboy. ‘Hey… T-ony.’ He looked over the man’s shoulder, a weak smile of relief on his face, ‘Bruce.’ 

‘Hey,’ Bruce smiled and practically flew towards the captain’s side, reading the information from all kinds of monitors. ‘How are you feeling?’ 

‘I…’ Steve looked at the ceiling, his head spinning as memories slowly faded in and out of his mind. ‘Whe-where’s Loki…? And Thor?’ He looked at the playboy sitting at his side. ‘Did we lose him?’ 

Tony frowned for a moment and looked at Bruce with a questioning expression.

‘Maybe Thor’s that other guy we found?’ Bruce suggested in a whisper as he kept a close eye on their captain. 

‘… It’s okay, cap.’ Tony smiled, trying to sound as reassuring as he could. ‘Thor is in the room next to you. He’s-’

‘He’s here?!’ Steve nearly shouted if not for his hoarse voice. He threw his blanket to the ground and started to scratch at his IV, trying to tear it from his skin. ‘He can’t stay here! We have to-! God, get these things off me!’ 

‘Woow, Steve! Easy!’ Tony quickly held on to the soldier’s wrists as Bruce tried to guide him back in his bed. ‘It’s okay, he’s unconscious. He won’t be doing anything.’ The billionaire’s heart nearly broke at the clear distress in the blond’s bright blue eyes. Steve still looked so young, lying in this bed, hooked up to all sorts of monitors. ‘It’s okay, Rogers. You’ll be okay.’ 

The blond slowly calmed, trusting his friend’s words. ‘Loki,’ He whispered softly as his head touched his pillow, his eyes closing as his world started to spin. ‘Where is… what happened to him, Tony?’ 

‘We found your ship, crashed, in Central Park.’ Bruce placed his notes and glasses on a nightstand before sitting next to the genius. ‘You were unconscious, we took you to S.H.I.E.L.D. infirmary. There was someone with you. Someone with black hair and blue skin.’

‘Loki…’ Steve let out a soft whine, his entire body bruised and soar despite the constant flow of morphine. His fingers twitched as a question burned on his lips. A question he hardly dared to ask, ‘Is he…’ He gulped, trying to control his trembling voice, ‘How is he?’ 

Bruce sighed and opened his mouth, only to be cut short by the playboy at his side. ‘He’s doing fine.’ Bruce looked at him with a frown, wanting to argue but Tony continued. ‘I mean, he will be. He’s unconscious now, but… He’ll get back on his feet soon enough. We only found the two of you, so, no Thor, apparently.’ Tony hoped that was a good thing. 

‘So, Loki is alive?’ 

The two held their breath for a split second, a shiver running over their back at the captain’s desperate and hopeful words. ‘Yes, Steve,’ Bruce spoke softly. ‘He’s alive.’ 

The blond’s lips formed a weak smile, ‘That’s good. That’s… so good.’ He sighed, his tense body finally relaxing a little as his eyes closed. ‘I’m so thirsty.’ 

‘Here,’ Tony grabbed a glass of water that was already on his nightstand. He made sure to place the white straw against the blond’s lips so his friend could take a few careful sips. 

‘There… there was an army,’ Steve stammered, his fingers digging into the sheets as he started to get lightheaded, feeling like he could fall out of bed at any moment. ‘and those deities… Zombies… and Thor- he- he- the lightning-’ 

‘You should get some sleep, Steve.’ Bruce’s voice was so gentle and kind. He grabbed his glasses and quickly scribbled something to Steve’s medical record. ‘We can talk when you feel better, but you really should rest for now. I’ll go and check on...’ 

‘-Loki.’ 

He looked up and nodded. ‘Yes, I’ll be back soon to check on you.’ 

‘I’ll stay with you for a little longer, you know, for good company reasons.’ Tony quickly offered at which Steve smiled. 

‘I’m just going to sleep, Stark, I think I can handle that on my own.’ He managed to open his sky-blue eyes once more and chuckled softly. ‘Don’t worry, I’m not intending to sleep for seventy years again.’ 

‘Oh, I’d kick your ass awake before I’d let that happen,’ Tony crossed his arms in an attempt to look offended, causing them both to smile. ‘Fine, refuse my most generous offer. But don’t come crying to me when you wake up without seeing the most handsome face ever.’ He quipped and gestured towards himself. His smile faded, however, as Steve hardly responded anymore. ‘I’ll let you sleep, cap.’ He stood up and placed a hand on the man’s shoulder. ‘Just call Jarvis if you need anything.’ 

He walked away, Bruce at his side as a weak voice called out; ‘Will do.’


Tony smiled and closed the door behind him.

 


 

‘And?’ Clint nearly jumped up the couch as Tony and Bruce made their way into the common floor. ‘How is he? Is he awake?’ 

‘Yeah, he’s awake,’ Bruce nodded. ‘Or at least, he was. He’s sleeping again.’

‘How’s he doing?’ Natasha looked up from her StarkPad and clasped her hands around her cup of tea to keep them from shaking. ‘Did he say anything?’ 

‘Only some weird shit about zombies and lightning or whatever,’ Tony snatched the coffee cup from Clint’s hands and took a big, frustrated sip. He only sniffed as the piping hot liquid burned his tongue and throat. ‘He’s probably hallucinating.’ 

‘Or in shock,’ Bruce added at which the team looked up at him. ‘I’ve done a forensic medical examination and inspected any physical injuries. His body is covered in bruises and cuts, he’s a little malnourished and there’s some head trauma most likely caused by the crash. What’s more concerning is the gaping wound on his leg and how it got there. There could be a very realistic chance that Steve is suffering from some form of PTSD.’

‘But with the serum-’

‘The serum deals with physical injuries,’ Bruce interrupted Clint. ‘There’s no telling what’s going on inside his head. Not for now, at least.’ 

‘… Any information on this guy?’ Natasha asked as she stared at her tablet again, monitoring the blue creature from her screen. 

‘Only that his name is Loki,’ Tony stepped behind her, his eyes fixated on the raven. ‘And that he’s important to cap. Probably helped him to escape.’ 

‘How’s this guy even alive?’ Clint grabbed a new cup of coffee. ‘He’s… almost like a breathing corpse. And even that he can’t do on his own.’ 

‘Jarvis told us that he detected two forms of life energy,’ Bruce explained as he watched Loki who was still in a coma. The tube that was place in the raven’s mouth and down his windpipe made sure he was provided with the proper amount of oxygen. The tube through his nose moved all the way to his stomach, making sure his fragile body was continuously fed. He was hooked to all kinds of wires, from the monitors for his heartrate and brain activity, to the needle of his IV in his right arm. ‘One life energy seems to be just like ours and one we still haven’t deciphered yet. Both levels are in extreme danger, yet they seem to keep each other active, somehow. It’s like… magic, or something.’ 

Natasha sighed and turned off the live-feed. ‘Magic, science, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we find out what happened and make whoever did this will pay.’ She stood up, her calm demeanor slowly slipping. ‘I’m heading to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. See if they have any more information on that spaceship.’ 

‘I’m coming with you.’ Clint followed her, only to turn around and look at the two remaining Avengers. ‘You guys staying here?’ 

‘Yeah, I want to keep a close eye on Steve and Loki.’ Bruce looked at his science partner, who held Natasha’s StarkPad in hand, fixated on the screen. ‘Tony?’ 

‘Hm? Oh, yeah, no, I’m staying here. Fury wants a report, better get working on that.’ 

You writing reports?’ Clint teased as he walked away with the Widow, ‘Guess magic does exist.’ 

‘Yeah,’ Tony turned his full attention back to the tablet, the live-feed switch from the stranger to the sleeping captain. ‘Guess it does.’

 


  

‘Loki’

 

 

‘Loki!’

 

 

‘Brother, wake up. wake up!’ 

Loki opened his eyes, squinting against the bright light of day. He laid on his back underneath an old tree, his fingers intertwined with soft grass. He tried holding up his hand to block the sunrays, only to frown at how small his fingers were. Much like a child.

‘Loki! Come on,’ a young boy called his name, casting a shadow as he stood over him. The trickster could hardly make out who was reaching for his hand, the only characteristics recognizable were the bright and carefree smile, and golden hair. ‘Come on!’

‘… Thor…?’ Loki asked in a voice so fragile and small it was hardly audible. He was pulled on his feet and only now fully realized the size of his young body. He was a child of five, maybe six years old. He looked at the boy in front of him with wide eyes, wondrous emeralds sparkling in warm sunlight. 

The boy, who could only be a few years older, had a tooth missing in his beaming smile, his energy matching his sonorous laughter as he excitedly jumped back a little. ‘Brother, come on!’ Thor grabbed Loki’s wrist and guided him through the flower-covered meadow, the Asgardian Palace dawning on the horizon. 

Loki simply followed, his mind racing as he tried to understand what was happening. Had it all been a dream? The discovery of his adoption, the death of his parents, the nights of crying and wishing for Death’s merciful embrace.

His older brother’s greedy hands and lascivious words as he violated his mature form. 

Steve… 

He rubbed at his eyes. Both eyes. 

Was it all nothing more but a horrid nightmare? 

The raven followed the young prince of thunder, running as fast as his small feet could carry him. ‘…Thor,’ he repeated in disbelieve, staring at his older brother’s back, a sight that he had grown so familiar with. The blond would always walk in front of him, always guide and protect him. 

A warm summer breeze caressed Loki’s skin as tears of pure happiness started to blur his vision. ‘Thor!’ he called out his name in relief, warmth and love, his smile growing wider with every step he took. He let his small fingers intertwine with those of his older brother, who he so admired, letting him guide him to wherever Thor saw fit. 

Thor would always be Loki’s sun. 

Loki would always be Thor’s shadow. 

Wherever Thor would guide, Loki would follow. 

Butterflies of all colors soared into the sky as the two brother’s ran through the pasture, the divine Palace nearing. The raven wondered where the blond would take him, if they would go on a new adventure, cause mischief, or simply had to get inside for lunch. 

Tears streamed down his face at the sight of a familiar smile, his feet coming to a complete stop. There was a woman sitting on a stone bench at the Palace gate, an old book resting in her hands. Her hair, blond and beautiful, was tied in a satin bow and flowed over her left shoulder, her smile welcoming as her husband’s hand rested on her back. 

Loki simply cried, meeting their gazes. The man was tall and muscular with eyes that held both strength and wisdom. Loki recognized the fine wrinkles that formed around the man’s eyes and nose as he laughed, the large hands that would hold him so carefully as if the raven would bruise with the slightest touch.

‘Mother,’ the child whispered under his breath. ‘Father…’ He stared as Thor had already joined his parents, looking back with wide blue eyes. 

‘Loki,’ the young blond came running back again and grabbed his hands. ‘Come on, Loki! Mother was just about to read us a story, won’t you join us?’ 

Loki nodded, tears streaming down his cheeks and body trembling. 

‘Loki?’ Thor sounded so innocent as he tilted his head in wonder. ‘What is the matter? Are you not feeling well?’ 

‘Thor…’ The raven threw his arms around the blond’s waist, crying his heart out as he buried his face in his brother’s chest. ‘Thor! Thor! Thor!’ 

The prince listened to his brother repeating his name, over and over, as if it was all a dream. The raven’s fingers were twisted into his tunic, scared that the blond would fade away the moment he let go. Thor smiled and simply wrapped his arms around his baby brother. 

‘I missed you so!’ Loki managed to cry out between his sobs, tears staining his brother’s tunic. ‘I was so lonely! I was so scared! I missed mother- and father! I missed you!’ 

‘I know, dear brother,’ Thor pressed a chaste kiss against Loki’s temple and held him closer against his body. ‘But it will all be alright soon.’ 

Loki’s breath came in ragged sobs and hiccups. He tried to collect himself, to get his breathing under control, only to hold his breath all together as the arms around him started to tighten. ‘Thor…?’ 

A fiendish grin formed on the blond’s face, followed by a soft and dark chuckle. ‘My dearest, dearest baby brother,’ the voice had changed, mature and dripping with greed. ‘Why would you run away from me?’ 

The raven jumped at the sudden change, his body now pressed against firm muscles. He tried to push the other away, but Thor held on to him like grim death. ‘No...’ He looked at his own body, frail, lean and full-grown. ‘No, I- I don’t… Thor, what is happening?’ He tried to look around, his vision blurry and depth perception slightly off. He tried to rub his eyes, his heart beating loudly in his chest as one of his hands got covered in blood. ‘T-Thor? What is this?! W-where are mother and father?’

‘They are dead, Loki,’ Thor shushed him, moving his hand through raven hair in an attempt to calm him. ‘They were taken from us.’

‘Bu- but… I-’ 

‘They were taken from us,’ Thor repeated solemnly, blame heavy in his voice. ‘And now, they are trying to take you as well.’ 

‘No… No, no,’ All hope and happiness slipped through the raven’s hands like lose sand. His body became unbearably heavy, his stomach churning painfully as he began to shiver. ‘I- I…’ 

‘It is alright, Loki,’ Thor placed his hand on the raven’s pale cheek and whipped his tears away. ‘I will find you. I will bring you home.’ 

Loki could do nothing more but cry, the sound of his sobs leaving him almost deaf to his brother’s words. He could not support the weight of his body any longer, his legs giving in causing him to cry in his brother’s arm like a ragdoll. 

‘I will never let you go, my brother, my beloved,’ a voice whispered in the raven’s ear. ‘You will be mine forever.’ 

The raven felt nothing but emptiness as his tears kept falling.

  

Loki…

 

He wanted nothing more but for his mind fall into oblivion, taking his body into a deep sleep.

  

Loki… 

 

He wanted his blood drawn from his body. His lungs twisted and mangled. He wanted his heart to stop. 

 

Loki…! 

 

He prayed for Death. 

 

Loki! 

 

The raven startled awake and stared at a perfectly white ceiling. His bandaged hands were clammy and tearing at the blankets. His pale skin was covered in a thin layer of sweat, every muscle, every bone, screaming in agony. His eye was wide open, pupil constricted, showing nothing but complete terror and disorientation. 

‘Hey,’ A voice sounded, small and hoarse, yet overflowing with relief. 

The trickster, petrified to make even the slightest movement, slowly turned his head towards the sound, eye still wide. 

Sitting next to him on a simple white chair was the mortal he had grown so attached to. Steve smiled at him, tears forming in his eyes. ‘God, I’m so happy to that you’re awake.’ The blond moved closer, voice wavering as he stared at the distant god. ‘You’ve been in a coma for months. I thought you’d never wake up… Do- do you remember who I am…?’ 

‘…You freed me- from my cage,’ Loki stated after some time had passed, his voice barely a whisper and raw. His throat clenched, vocal cords burning with every syllable falling from his lips. ‘You did not abandon me. You did not let me die.’ 

‘I could never. You’re safe now, Loki.’ Steve called full-heartedly, tears threatening to trail down his cheeks. He gently placed his hand on Loki’s, careful not to hurt him any further as he smiled in relief. ‘I won’t let you die.’ 

The raven averted his eye for a moment as he let his reality slowly sink in. He eventually stared at the ceiling again, eye nearly closing as pain and weariness consumed his body. ‘How could you be so cruel…’