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Villain

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“Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a man who was especially good at being a villain. At first, this distressed him. Not because he didn’t want to be a villain, no, but because he didn’t want to be perceived as such.”

 

The tall, thin figure in the elegant black suit smiled down at his prisoner. “Then he came to a realization. People love a good villain. If you’re charming enough, believable, and - here’s the key - if it seems like you could be redeemed, then the masses will fall at your feet, and thank you for the privilege.” He chuckled, a dark laugh, calculated to stir the blood. “It doesn’t matter if that potential redemption is anything more than a mirage. If you can bring tears to your eyes on command, give the illusion of vulnerability, then you have the universe - the multiverse - at your command.”

 

He tapped a long finger to his lips, then gave another dazzling smile. “Illusion is incredibly powerful. I know you realize that, though I have to say I don’t think you ever used it to its full potential. But the ability to project one image while maintaining something completely different is incredibly useful. Who would look at me and think ‘yes, that man holds half the world in his hands’? It’s ridiculous.”

 

“Why are you telling me all this?”

 

“Because you understand, of course. There are so few people even capable of understanding. It’s just a pity that I had reach across the barriers of reality to find another.” He chuckled again. “I suppose I’ve always had to do that.”

 

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

 

“Don’t you? I think you’re lying, God of Lies. I think you know exactly what I mean.” The tall, thin man with a killer’s smile reached into a pocket of his bespoke suit, and drew out a gold ring set with emeralds. He tossed it in the air then caught it again. “You didn’t get this for yourself. I’m certain you added the bit of magic which makes the stones impervious to damage, but this was made for you.” He held the ring up between long fingers. “Acquired on your behalf by someone who knows exactly who and what you are, and - you believe - loves you despite that.” He grinned and slipped the ring onto his own left hand. He held it up to the light, so that the emeralds sparkled, and admired the effect. The ring fit perfectly.

 

“Give it back.”

 

“No.”

 

“Give it back now!”

 

“Do you seriously think you can intimidate me?”

 

“I don’t care who you look like, you deranged mortal, that ring is mine and you will give it back.”

 

“Deranged? Now that hurts.” The man in the black suit affected a pained expression, then laughed. “I did think I might be mad for many years. That my dreams were all a delusion not a sign of the vast, complex nature of reality itself.”

 

“Dreams?”

 

“Ah, now I have your attention. Good. Yes, dreams. Your lover - fiance? Husband? Yes, husband. He isn’t the only one of us who travels to other universes in his sleep. Ever since I was a child, I saw my other selves throughout the multiverse. Not that I knew it back then, of course. All I knew was that when I dreamed I was powerful, and in my waking hours I was helpless. For a long time, I thought everyone’s dreams were like mine. That everyone went to other realities in their sleep, but no, it was just me.” He leaned in, close enough to kiss. “Do you know how frustrating that is, Loki? Do you know awful it is to realize how different you are from everyone around you?” He leaned away again, and looked down his nose at the captive god. “What am I saying, of course you do.”

 

Loki snarled. “Why did you bring me here?”

 

“Changing the subject are we? Very well. I brought you here, across worlds to my domain, just to see if I could.”

 

Loki smiled. “Now who’s lying?”

 

The other man gave another dark laugh. “Fair enough. I’m afraid I’ve rather broken my favorite pet and I need a new one. Perhaps you’d like the position?”

 

Loki lifted his chin, a challenge, though a pointless one. “Would it make any difference if I said no?”

 

“No, not even a little. Actually, no, I take that back. It does make a difference, but it doesn’t change one scrap of what I’ll do to you.”

 

Loki shivered. “What happened to you?”

 

“What happened to me?” The other man’s eyebrows went up. “You think something terrible happened to me? That I was abused as a child, or had my heart broken one too many times, or someone I loved died a horrible death?” Again that dark, terrible laugh. “No, I’ve always been like this. You understand, I’m sure. Some of us are just born to hold power. Born with the will needed to rule the foolish masses. What’s the line? ‘It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.’”

 

Loki’s eyes went wide.

 

“Oh yes, you didn’t really believe, did you? Now you do.” Tom laughed. “Yes, I am the same as your dear husband, though not exactly the same, obviously. I just took to the role a bit better.”

 

“You’re mad.”

 

“Is it madness to embrace one’s true nature? To be the monster everyone sees when they look at you?” He gripped Loki’s chin with more strength than a mortal should have. “You failed, puny god. You thought that just because you’re a monster, that meant you would win. No. You failed because you are weak. Because you couldn’t think beyond your own mad snatch for power. Because you didn’t strategize, you didn’t think things through. Because you cared about what happened to your brother. Because deep down you are a sentimental fool who just wants daddy to love him.” The slap across Loki’s face rocked him far harder than it should have. Both because the human in front of him wore Loki’s lover’s face, and that he had the strength of a super soldier.

 

Or a god.

 

“You’re so confused. I can see the thoughts in your eyes. ‘How can he be like this? How can my love… My beloved be like this.’” Again, Tom laughed. “Oh yes, I’ve seen through your eyes, and your lover’s too. I know your life. Pitiful.” He curled his lip and turned away. “All that power gone to waste. You could rule your world, but no. You’re content to live a quiet life. Well, as quiet as an actor’s life can be.”

 

Loki must have made a noise, because those mad, pale blue eyes flew to his face again.

 

“I’ve watched you for a long time. Seen your lives together and apart. You’re a god, and yet you allow yourself to be ruled by a human. He never forced you to your knees, you put yourself there.” He sat in Loki’s lap, legs straddling his hips, arms over the god’s shoulders. “I think that you like it there on your knees. That you enjoy giving yourself over to someone weaker than yourself.”

 

Loki turned his face away. It was all he could do, bound as he was. How a human could have found chains strong enough to bind a god - let alone lock his seidr away - on a world with so little magic was beyond him. But bound he was, magic and body both. Chained to a metal chair bolted to the floor in the middle of a nearly empty room, being tormented by a man who looked just like his husband and almost exactly like himself.

 

“Am I distressing you? I’m so sorry.” Tom kissed Loki’s cheek, then whispered in his ear. “Of course we can dispense with all of this if you just agree to stay here with me.”

 

“You’re mad.”

 

“Possibly.” Teeth came down on Loki’s earlobe, just edging into pain. “It’s actually of no matter to me if you agree to stay or not. I’m perfectly content to break you at my leisure. I have all the time in the world, after all. Nobody is coming to save you. You’re mine.”

 

Loki shuddered. Despite the fact that he did not want to be here, that this man had kidnapped him and had him trapped, this was still Tom. This was still his husband, sitting in his lap, doing and saying things much like his own Tom might. Different things, but it was the same voice, coming out of identical lips. Saying and doing things Loki would very much enjoy in a different context. It was very hard not to react in the way he normally would. Part of him was reacting the way it normally would.

 

“Oh yes, you do want this, don’t you? You crave the control.” A hand slipped up into Loki’s hair, soft and gentle, long fingers against his scalp. But that gentleness was an illusion. Tom gripped a handful of Loki’s hair in exactly the perfect spot and yanked. Loki’s throat was bared and a jolt of lust went through him, as it always did. “You play at this, with the safety of knowing that if you want, it will stop. If you say the right word, your Master will let you go, and turn into your beloved husband again.” Another hard pull and Loki gritted his teeth against the sounds that threatened to spill from his throat. “What’s your word? Tell me.”

 

“No.”

 

“I have to assume that you’re being stubborn, since only idiots use ‘no’ as their safeword.” Another yank. “Tell me.”

 

Loki spoke through his teeth. “No.”

 

“Mmmm, I wonder if I can get you to say it, if I try hard enough. Not that it would do you any good.” He scooted forward on Loki’s lap, close  enough to make it clear that this warped version of his lover was enjoying himself immensely. Loki suppressed a another shudder. “Have you ever used it? Has he ever driven you so far that the pain was too much? You are a god after all, you should be able to take a little pain, a little abuse. You’ve been beaten by gods, super soldiers, and giant green rage monsters. What could a single mortal do to you that you couldn’t endure?” The mortal licked a wide stripe along Loki’s throat. “I don’t think you’ve ever said it. I don’t think you could. Your ego wouldn’t let you, even if you were driven beyond the point where pleasure and pain part ways. I think that he made you come up with a word that you’ve never even used.”

 

“You’ll regret this.”

 

Tom threw his head back and laughed. “Do you know how many people have said that to me over the years? I have never had a single regret.”

 

“Liar.”

 

Another slap rocked Loki in his seat. His lip caught against a tooth and sliced into his skin. How was this mortal so strong? Loki looked up at the man who looked so much like his husband. His eyes were wide, lust-blown pupils surrounded by a thin ring of blue, but so empty. It was only when they played like this that his own Tom’s eyes were empty. Only when he let the darkness loose.

 

This version didn’t seem to care about anything. Anyone. His eyes were always empty.

 

Empty, but beautiful.

 

Those beautiful eyes focused, down, on Loki’s mouth, and they lit up with a glint of life. The next second, Tom kissed him. The hand in Loki’s hair made him unable to  move away, he couldn’t even tilt his head to avoid the predatory mouth on his. He tried to bite the mortal’s tongue as it invaded his mouth, but the other was too quick. He bit Loki’s lower lip, teeth sinking in just short of breaking the skin, then he pulled away. Tom grinned down at Loki, a smear of blood on his lips. He licked the blood away and his eyes fluttered shut for a moment, a look of bliss on his face.

 

A long ago conversation Loki had had with his own Tom came to Loki’s mind. The first time they’d played at pain and control so long ago.

 

“Your blood tastes like magic. I could drink you down and burn with it. I could take your power and rule this world.”

 

“What have you done?” Loki’s spine crept. “What did you do?”

 

Tom looked down at him and smiled. He held a blade in his hand now. One of Loki’s own daggers. “I do what I want. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

 

o0o

 

When Loki regained consciousness, he was in a cell. This was far from the first cell he’d awoken in, and it seemed likely it wouldn’t be his last. This cell had none of the comforts that Asgard had offered its disgraced prince. It was almost as large, and quite well lit, but there was no bed, let alone books to pass the time. Other than that, it looked much like his cell in the Allfather’s dungeon. It was one of many, though none of the others were occupied as far as Loki could see.

 

Loki stumbled to his feet and winced. Every inch of him hurt. He was naked, clothed only in his own tangled, waist-length hair. The realization of that his clothes were gone brought with it a vivid memory of his black jeans and jumper being cut away with one of his own blades, one that nicked his skin as it sliced through the fabric. Those wounds were now faded pink lines, healed by the automatic magical processes that had kept him alive through far worse damage over the centuries. Loki had no idea how much time had passed, but at least a few hours. That he still hurt after all that time spoke more to the damage done than his recuperative abilities.

 

He took another step and bit back a cry. He’d once flippantly told Tom - his Tom - that he could fend off any advances he didn’t care for, even armed ones. That hadn’t been entirely true, even at the time, but it seemed a cruel joke now. Although the violation hadn’t gone as far as it could have, Loki ached inside and out. Dozens of healed cuts scored his skin. His heart cried out at having a man whose face he loved, take something sacred from him.

 

“You should lie down, you’ll heal faster.”

 

Loki flinched. The rough voice was his own - or Tom’s - and came from across the way. That cell was dark, the only light shining into it coming from the corridor.

 

“Who’s there?”

 

“You know the answer to that.”

 

“Your pardon, but there are many possibilities. Come into the light.”

 

The dark, dry chuckle was his own, though again, that meant nothing in this context. “Believe me, you don’t want to see.”

 

“I’d like to make that judgement myself.”

 

“Well, you’ll have to take my word, since I’m afraid I can’t move that far.”

 

That was ominous. “Then tell me, are you one of me or one of him?”

 

“Once, I was Loki of Asgard. He calls me pet.”

 

Loki shuddered. “How long have you been here?”

 

“I’m not sure anymore. Seven years? Eight? Ten? It might as well have been a thousand. Too long.”

 

Loki’s eyes went wide. Travel between dimensions did strange things to time. But in his own personal timeline, eight years ago he’d been invading Midgard, scepter in his hands. But this other version of himself - assuming it was another Loki, not just his keeper playing with his mind - might have diverged at any point. “What happened to you?”

 

“I’m not sure how I got here. He says that His magic brought me to Him. Perhaps that’s true. But I arrived in this Midgard, not the one from my own universe. He… He said…” the other Loki’s voice cracked. “He said everything I wanted to hear.”

 

Loki’s mind raced. “You came to take the Tesseract? To lead the Chitauri to Midgard?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Loki nodded to himself. This made a great deal of sense, then something horrible occurred to him. “What happened to the scepter?”

 

“He has it, of course.”

 

“Then why…”

 

“Why doesn’t He just use it to control us? Because He likes it. Because He wants to see if a god can be broken by His will alone. To use the Mind Stone would be too easy. Cheating.”

 

“That’s… that’s insane.”

 

The other gave a dry, humorless laugh. “Welcome to my world, Loki of Asgard.”

 

“I’m Loki of Midgard now.”

 

“Really? Did you take over? Did your invasion succeed?”

 

“No. It failed. I’ve… My life has run very differently than yours, I think. Though we did end up with the same man - of a sort - in the end.”

 

“You don’t just mean ending up here here. You have your own Master?”

 

“I have my own Tom. He’s not my master, he’s my lover. My husband.”

 

The other Loki laughed. “You’re blind if you think he loves you.”

 

Loki surged forward and snarled. “He isn’t like this. He’s kind and accepting. He knows, he understands.”

 

“I thought… I thought He loved me, but it was a lie. Of course He knows, of course He understands, but that understanding has nothing to do with love. He puts on a kind facade for the world. It… amuses Him to be thought of as kind, empathetic, sweet.” That last word was spat out. “But it’s all lies. He’s the true God of Lies, not me. Not us.”

 

“My version isn’t like this. He’s a good man.”

 

“Really? Has never lied to you? Ever?”

 

“I…” This gave Loki pause. “I…” When they first met, Tom had hidden the truth from him. He had kept the secret of Loki’s own death from him.

 

“That’s what I thought.”

 

“But… he’s a terrible liar.”

 

“He’s an actor, His profession is nothing but lies. He can act like He’s lying poorly.”

 

Loki stumbled back a step. Away from the edge of his cage. Away from the terrible words. “No, it’s not true. He’s kind and gentle. He loves me.”

 

“Has he never hurt you? Never taken a blade to you skin? Never tasted your blood?”

 

“I…”

 

“How long have you been together?”

 

“Almost two years.”

 

The other Loki laughed. It was an awful, broken-sounding thing. “Only two years? It was five before I realized what He was doing. Five years of what I thought was love, but was, in truth, possession. He gained my secrets, learned my magic, and drank my blood for five years before I told him I would leave. By then it was far too late. He owned me. He owns me still.”

 

Loki shook his head. “No. No, none of that is true of my Tom. He is my beloved, he is wonderful and kind.”

 

The other Loki snorted, a sound of pure disbelief, but he let the matter drop. “It doesn’t matter, really. Even if what you say is true, you’ll never leave this place. He’ll break you like He broke me. Like He breaks everyone.”

 

Loki shook his head yet again. He had to get out of here. Had to get home. He reached out for the line in his mind, back to his beloved. The line which brought him here in the first place. It wasn’t there. No, it was there, it was just… blocked. He poked and prodded at the edges of his mind, tried to reach out over and over, but he was trapped. He struck out with seidr, beat the walls of the prison cell with magic and pure force, but it did nothing. Loki screamed his rage and frustration to the empty air and collapsed to his knees.

 

“I told you. You’ll never leave this place.”

 

“Shut up!”

 

His own, dry laugh echoed back to him.

 

Loki bowed his head and wept.

 

Chapter Text

 

Days passed. Loki was always taken from his cell while he was asleep. His captor would ask him pointless question after pointless question, just to see if Loki would answer. The god resisted as much as he could. Refused to answer, did his best to ignore the pain and pleasure inflicted on him. But his body’s reactions were beyond his control.

 

Loki tried to force himself to stay awake. Perhaps if he were to feign sleep, there was a point during transfer where he could escape? But somehow, his captor always knew. The first time Loki tried, a noxious gas filled his cell, and rendered him unconscious. It was only when true darkness came over him that he was taken.

 

When Loki next opened his eyes, he was chained to an elaborate metal contraption, suspended so that his feet barely touched the floor, arms stretched out to his sides. The torque stabbing into his back and shoulders was terrible. He’d lost track of the days, but this was the tenth time he’d been brought before his captor. The tenth time he’d been tortured by the man who wore a perfectly cut black suit, and his husband’s face.

 

“Ah, you’re awake. Good.”

 

Loki snarled.

 

“Someone’s cranky today. Was our playtime yesterday not to your liking? You seemed to enjoy it at the time.” A hand ran down Loki’s side, to his hip, then to his arse. It was a caress he did not want, but his body couldn’t help but react, just a little. “I’ll have to make you come a few more times today.”

 

Loki spat at his captor’s feet and received a sharp slap across the face.

 

“You’re a very badly behaved pet. I’ll have to teach you some manners.”

 

Loki closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see. He didn’t want to see those empty blue eyes light with a fire fueled by his pain. But it didn’t matter if he looked, he could still hear his lover’s voice.

 

“Oh Loki, you really should just give up. I know every inch of you, inside and out. I know why you’ve made every choice in your life. I know every place you like to be touched.” Nails scratched down the side of his neck, and Loki shivered. He’d never felt that before. Never felt anything but teeth and tongue - and occasionally a blade - on his neck, but that sensation was blissful. “You see? I see all too well.” A hand swept along his traitorous, thickening cock, and Loki trembled.

 

“I know you love to hear me talk to you. Your own voice speaking sweet whispers in your ear.” Throughout this whole ordeal, the other man’s voice had been perfectly calm, as though he was discussing the weather, but now hint of breath swept against Loki’s ear, sweet and intimate. “My love, my darling. My beautiful god. Mine.” The last word was harsh, and teeth came down on his earlobe, hard this time. Strong enough to break the skin. Loki winced, but wouldn’t give his captor the satisfaction of anything else. No sound emerged from his throat as a few precious droplets of blood were sucked away.

 

A moment later, his captor continued speaking, back to his lazy tone. “So, where were we? Ill mannered, yes. We covered that. Though I’m sure we can revise your ill mannered behavior at length. For one, thing, you really should look at me when I speak to you. It’s only polite.”

 

Loki kept his eyes squeezed shut.

 

“I’m certain that my old pet told you what I’m capable of, at least in part. I can make you do anything I want. But I do enjoy a challenge. I’m challenged so rarely these days. But I do not care for insubordination. You will open your eyes and look at me when I am speaking to you.”

 

This was a war, and like all wars, choices needed to be made. Was it worth the pain to fight this tiny, insignificant battle? There would doubtless be many more.

 

Loki opened his eyes.

 

“Good.” Tom smiled at him. “So very good.” The perfect lines of the bespoke suit pressed against Loki’s naked flank. Familiar, warm hands took hold of his arse and cock, massaging the abused flesh. “You see? I can be kind when I’m given what I want. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy this, is there? If you’re good, I’ll take care of you so well.”

 

Loki fought the urge to close his eyes again. He’d been tortured before, though thankfully without the complications of sex. But that was before he’d come to this place. He’d been a willing sub - to borrow the Midgardian term - many times over the centuries. But this combination of unwanted pain and sex was… difficult.

 

In the past, Loki had used his body as a weapon to get his way. Seduced people to take from them whatever he wanted. Exploited weakness of others, sometimes in situations that he would otherwise find distasteful. But he had always found a way to make those situations work. To take his mind to a place where he was fucking - or more commonly, being fucked by - someone he wanted, not just someone who had something of value. Those times he had been in control.

 

Here, now, he was the farthest he could be from control. It would be so easy to just give in. To let himself be fooled into thinking that this was his husband, and they played at pain and pleasure in their London home. That this was his decision, not being forced on him.

 

It didn’t help that his captor’s voice was the same as his lover’s. That he clearly knew every nerve in Loki’s body and how to make them sing. Or scream.

 

But part of him would always know this Tom was not his husband, not his Tom, simply because their connection wasn’t there. Two years ago, long before they ever met in the flesh, Loki had tied himself to his mortal with seidr. That, along with their parallel nature, meant that their every touch sang with magic. They’d both grown used to it over the years. Loki might even have taken it for granted if they didn’t have another lover in their lives. If they didn’t - from time to time - dally with a third. Ben was Tom’s lover, for the most part, but the three of them were together nearly as often. It was mostly for Tom’s sake, though of course both Ben and Loki loved every moment of it. But Tom - Loki’s Tom - was melethril-o manui, a lover of many, by the reckoning of the light elves. Being with two lovers overloaded his mind in a way that was intoxicating to behold. He lost himself so completely that it would have been worth it, even if Loki had gotten nothing from the dalliances himself.

 

Loki realized that he was trying to distract himself from the here and now. From the silken hand on his cock, the sweet voice in his ear, and the hardness pressed to his hip. That might even work, to let himself imagine it was a previous, desired lover whose fingers were working him open. Not someone who held Loki’s life in his hands. Not a rapist who wore his husband’s face.

 

“Loki, I can tell your mind is wandering. That won’t do, you know. Who are you imagining is taking my place? Tell me.”

 

Loki shook his head.

 

“It’s not your husband, no. That’s too close.” Long fingers stretched him open, slipped up inside of him, and found his prostate. He did his best not to react, but a tiny noise escaped his throat. “Ah, there you are.” Again, pleasure jolted through him unbidden. “Tell me. Tell me who do you imagine will be fucking you?”

 

Again, he shook his head.

 

“I wonder… you’ve been through more than my old pet. You lived the life that he avoided by falling into my world, but I don’t imagine that made too much of a difference. I doubt you would have found pleasure in anyone’s bed during those years. You wouldn’t have had the time for it. I suppose you might have enjoyed the Grandmaster’s attentions, though I doubt it. Ah! I knew it. You did let him fuck you. Though I would think you imagined someone else in his place. Who was it?”

 

Loki tried not to squirm as long fingers brushed at his prostate yet again, while the other hand squeezed his cock. He had to think. This felt terribly familiar. He was being toyed with.

 

He looked up and met his tormentor’s eyes. “You already know, don’t you?” Loki’s voice came out breathy rather than firm, but he kept speaking “You just want me to say it. You think you know exactly who I would imagine in my bed.”

 

Loki had expected a slap for that, instead he got a laugh. “Oh very good, little pet. Very good.” His captor’s hands kept working at him. Loki’s traitorous cock wept under the other’s ministrations. “Yes, I know perfectly well who your last lover - beloved - was before me. Deviant that you are. Tell me, did you call him ‘Brother’ while he fucked you?”

 

Loki felt like he’d be punched in the stomach. The word escaped in a harsh whisper before he could stop it. “Yes.”

 

Tom laughed. “No wonder you fell in love with a man who looks just like you. After incest, what was even left?”  

 

Loki closed his eyes again. Oh Norns, why had he said that? Why had he admitted to this horrible person that he loved his brother far more than he should? That it was Thor’s voice he thought of, Thor’s hands on his body, Thor’s cock up his arse that brought him through those darker times. That it was his own brother that he still, to this day, would fantasize about when he was alone.

 

“Oh Loki, I’d forgotten how fun this is.” His tormentor’s hands withdrew, and Loki bit back a whimper. The sound of of a zip being drawn was not what he wanted to hear, but hear it he did. “Now, I’m going to fuck you and you will think of me. You won’t think of that oaf of a brother of yours, nor your sweet, gentle husband back home. You will think of me. I will know if you don’t. Am I clear?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Good.”

 

The chains that held Loki’s arms up and out moved, and drew him forward. He couldn’t look. Couldn’t open his eyes, but when cold, hard metal pressed into his chest, Loki whimpered. He was bent over something, it bit into his skin with icy blades. Warm hands spread his arse. Then he was impaled.

 

A soft “ah” escaped his mouth. It was too much, too soon, with little preparation, but at least his captor had taken the time to lube himself up. This was probably for his own comfort, not for Loki’s, but in this moment, the god was grateful for this tiniest of mercies.

 

Loki bit the inside of his lip to keep from crying out as a hand gripped his hair, arching his neck back. His captor’s other hand was on Loki’s hip, keeping him steady. The mortal withdrew, then slammed back again. This time, he couldn’t help but make a noise.

 

“Now, pet. Who is fucking you?”

 

“You are.”

 

“Not your husband, not your brother, me.” Another hard thrust rocked him forward into the sharp, icy metal.

 

“Yes.”

 

Again, he was pushed into the hard metal.

 

“I can’t hear you.”

 

“You’re fucking me, not…” The next thrust hit his prostate perfectly and Loki gasped. “Not my…” Again, and sparks of pleasure burst behind his eyes. “Ah… not my h...husband…” And again. “Ah… not my… ah... br... brother… ah!… you.”

 

“Yes, pet. Me.”

 

His captor’s voice never wavered, even as he fucked Loki into the metal bar. As though this was nothing to him.

 

“You are my pet, my toy. I am your new Master, and you will…” He laughed. A dark laugh that made Loki shiver. “You will obey me.”

 

“Yes.”

 

Over and over again, until tears dripped down Loki’s face. His cock ached with the need for release, the need to be touched. But no. He was just being fucked, prostate hit over and over again, but not enough to push him over the edge. Not enough to let the pressure loose, just build and build and build. He couldn’t think, could barely breathe. Whimpers of pain and pleasure mixed on his tongue. It had been so long since anyone had fucked him for this long without bringing him off. Maybe centuries. Loki was reduced to moaning, withing, mess, and yet, it still continued. Still the hard cock slammed into him over and over. Still the words of self-aggrandizement flowed over him.

 

“You are mine, you hear me? Mine. You will fall at my feet when I enter the room, present yourself for my pleasure. You will beg for my cock. You will plead for your release.”

 

Loki whimpered. That was all he could do.

 

“Do it. Beg me.”

 

He shook his head.

 

“Beg for me to touch you, and I will. Beg for me to let you come.”

 

“P...please.”

 

“Please, what, pet?”

 

“Please…”

 

“I won’t do it unless you say.”

 

“Please make me come.”

 

Tom leaned down and whispered in Loki’s ear, even as he continued to fuck him. “Good lad.”  

 

The hand on his cock felt like Valhalla, and Loki screamed as he came. The other’s hand moved away far too soon, but still, Loki shook. It took him a moment to realize he was no longer being fucked. That his arse was blessedly empty. For a moment, he felt like he was free.

 

Then his captor appeared in Loki’s tear-blurred vision. He still wore the perfect black suit, not even wrinkled by his exertions. One hand was on his proud, erect cock, while the other straightened his tie.   

 

“You thought I would finish in you, didn’t you pet? You’re not worthy of that. You’re a tool for my pleasure, not worthy of my come.”

 

How could his voice be so even? Loki was a breathless wreck. He blinked up at his captor and shivered at the cold smile on his face.

 

“Beg for it.”

 

“What?”

 

“Beg for my come.”

 

Loki’s whole body shuddered. He didn’t want this. Didn’t want any of this. He closed his eyes and shook his head.

 

The slap the rocked him in his chains was entirely expected.

 

“You will beg now or I will bleed you dry.”

 

“No.”

 

Since his eyes were closed, Loki didn’t see the blade, but it too was expected. He screamed at the long shallow cut along his back.

 

“Do it or I swear I will make you beg for death instead.”

 

He shook his head again.

 

Another cut and and another and another.

 

He might have been able to take the pain. The dozen thin cuts was nothing to being impaled, but… but it felt like he was being flayed.

 

“Please!”

 

“Say it.”

 

“Please give me your come, Master.”

 

His captor laughed and came all over Loki’s face. 

 

Chapter Text

 

The hard concrete floor was starting to feel like Valhalla itself. At least no one was tormenting him. But it was dark. Why was it dark? His cell was brightly lit, with nowhere to hide.

 

“You’re awake.”

 

Loki flinched.

 

“It’s alright, it’s me, not our Master. He put you in here to recover, not in your own cell. I’m not sure why. I suspect He thinks that this will be a lesson of some kind.”

 

Loki blinked. There was some light. It came from the corridor a few meters away, but it was enough to see the far-too-thin figure by his side. Loki had always been slim, much to his own displeasure. Thor outmassed him almost two to one, which at times was terribly annoying. At other times, it took his breath away. But even with his more sedentary Midgardian life, Loki was still well muscled. He and Tom sparred regularly, and often ran together. He kept up easily with his mortal, so it was mostly for fun. So, though he was thin by Asgardian standards, Loki was not skinny. The god by his side went beyond skinny; he was emaciated.

 

Loki looked into his own eyes, sunk into a face he barely recognized. Stark white skin and cheekbones that could cut flesh, all surrounded by a halo of matted black hair. This Loki looked like he’d been starved for decades. It was hard to kill a god with neglect - Loki himself had gone for months without food or proper rest and been relatively fine - but that’s what he saw before him.

 

“What happened to you?”

 

The other Loki laughed. “He did, what do you think?”

 

“But… How?”

 

“He’s been stealing my seidr for a decade. Drinking my blood, and draining me dry.”

 

Loki’s eyes went wide. “I didn’t even know that was possible.”

 

“As I told you, I didn’t even realize it was happening until it was too late.”

 

Loki reached out with a shaking hand and brushed his fingertips over his duplicate’s sharp cheekbone. “I… I’m sorry.”

 

The other Loki’s eyebrows went up. “You’re… sorry?”

 

“I am. I can’t imagine… I’ve been through Hel, but this… this might be worse.”

 

“You’re… not what I expected.”

 

“No?”

 

“From what He said, I thought… I thought you’d be... harder.”

 

“Harder? I was, perhaps. Shall I tell you what’s happened to me that you missed? Or did He tell you what happens?”

 

“He told me. Assuming what happens in the films is what happened to you. Though obviously you’re not dead.”

 

“Not dead several times over.”

 

The other Loki chuckled. “Yes. So, you failed to conquer Midgard, were held in the Allfather’s prison, escaped, only to return and take his place. Asgard fell, and you escaped yet again.”

 

“Yes. My understanding is that my life diverges from the films shortly after Asgard’s destruction. I took the Tesseract. It allowed me - through a very long chain of events - to come to Midgard yet again. Only this time, it was a different Midgard, one where all our lives were portrayed as film.”

 

“That happened to me as well,” the other Loki replied. “Only it was before I even managed to get my hands on the Tesseract. I arrived where I thought I should. In an underground base, but there was no Tesseract. No soldiers, just… me. It wasn’t even an underground base, it just looked like one.”

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“It was a set, a sound stage. It was the place where the film was shot. I arrived and saw myself. Except it wasn’t me. It was Him.”

 

“Oh.” Loki had seen his own Tom in his “Loki costume” on a few notable occasions, and it was always… dramatic.

 

“Indeed. We talked, at first. He was… empathetic. He understood my rage. Understood why I needed to prove myself. He proposed an alliance, of sorts. I would help Him take over His world, and we would rule together.”

 

Loki thought back to that time in his life. Such a bargain would have been terribly appealing. “And you became lovers.”

 

The other Loki nodded, just a tiny inclination of his head. “He seduced me. In all honesty, I wanted to be seduced. I wanted the love I thought I saw. I wanted the power that He offered as well. And for a while, it was - appeared to be - what I wanted. We built up an army, and took over the criminal underworld. This realm’s equivalent to Hydra, and all of the organizations like it. It was easy. This world has almost no magic, and its technology is pitiful in comparison to Asgard’s. So with the scepter and my magic, His knowledge and ambition, it was easy.”

 

“And He kept making films all that time? Kept acting?”

 

“Yes. I think it amuses Him. I know he likes being thought of as sweet and kind, all while portraying villains and fallen heroes. But it’s all a double-bluff. He’s far worse than any villain He’s portrayed. He once told me that He became an actor so that He could fool people into thinking He was human, not a monster.” The other Loki gave a broken laugh. “At times I think He said that to trick me into working with Him, to appeal to my own monstrous nature. Other times, I think it was the only time He ever spoke the truth.”  

 

Loki shuddered.

 

There was a long silence. It confused Loki for a moment, but then he realized that his duplicate had completely exhausted himself during their conversation. His eyes were closed, and he was breathing like he’d been running for hours.

 

“Is there anything I can do to help you?”

 

“Why do you care?” The other Loki didn’t sound angry, just tired.  

 

“Because… you’re me.”

 

“Ah. That makes at least a scrap of sense.” He shifted, just a little. It seemed difficult, like he barely had the energy to do even that. “I would ask you to kill me, but I doubt it would stick, even as drained as I am.”

 

“I suspect I could manage, but I'd rather not.”

 

“Mmm.”

 

Loki hesitated for a long moment, then shifted forward. The small movement reminded him his back was torn to ribbons, and screamed at him not to move any more than he had to. Still, there was precious little comfort in this place, and if he could offer consolation and receive some in return, it would be worth the pain. Loki gathered his duplicate’s skeletal frame in his arms and held him.

 

“What...?”

 

“Shh, be still.”

 

After a moment, the tension left the other god’s body and he relaxed against Loki’s chest. They were both naked, but the embrace wasn't sexual. It was simple comfort. Loki allowed a small trickle of seidr to flow into the mutilated version of himself. It soaked in, like water into a desiccated sponge. This other Loki was wrong; it would be child’s play to kill him.

 

“Why are you still alive? Why hasn’t He killed you?”

 

“I don’t know. He stopped coming to me some time ago. Perhaps He’s forgotten about me.”

 

“He hasn’t. He knows you’re here and that we’ve spoken.”

 

“I couldn’t say, then. I have nothing left to give Him, but He still feeds me. Perhaps He hopes I’ll recover and be of use again.”

 

“Perhaps.”

 

“Do you have another theory?”

 

Loki shook his head. “I don’t, but somehow that doesn’t quite ring true.”

 

“It hardly matters. I am here, as are you. He controls us. That is our fate.”

 

“I wish you were wrong, but I’ve found no way out of this place.” Loki sighed. “He’s blocked every exit I could find.”

 

They were both silent for a long time. Loki thought that the other god might have fallen asleep, but he spoke into the silence.

 

“How did you come to this place?”

 

“I… My version of Tom travels to other universes in his sleep, much as this one does. He’s become trapped on a few occasions, so I’ve learned how to travel, to follow him. We’re connected, he and I. I bound myself to him when we first met, and I can follow that bond.” Loki paused and took a deep breath. “I… he was away from home. Off filming across the world, and I received what I thought was a call of distress from him, so I followed and found myself here.” Loki sighed. It had been an obvious ploy, but one that he would fall for every time. “Once here, I was trapped. Presumably the magics He’s learned keep us both here. I can’t even get a message through.” Not that Tom would be able to do anything to help him. The mortal’s magic wasn’t powerful enough to do anything against an Infinity Stone, even if he was able to get to Loki somehow.  

 

“Our Master has learned to use the Mind Stone very well. Likely He’s calling on that to block you.”

 

Loki nodded and snuggled into his duplicate’s back. It was pleasant to feel the skin of another without the threat of pain.

 

Eventually they fell asleep, sharing what warmth and comfort they could.

 

o0o

 

Loki’s days blurred together. Perhaps that was for the best. His captor used his body, drained his blood and magic. Every time Loki thought he might have built up some kind of tolerance to whatever torment was inflicted on him, the madman came up with another.

 

He continued to share a cell with the crippled Loki, their Master’s “old pet”. They would sleep curled together in a corner, spend as much time in gentle contact as they could. Loki painstakingly detangled the other’s hair so that it hung in a waterfall to his knees. Or would have, if the damaged Loki could have stood. Once the black locks were smoothed out, Loki braided them back, and found it brought tears to his eyes.

 

“What’s wrong?” the duplicate asked.

 

“Do you remember, when we were young, Thor would let me braid his hair?”

 

“Ah. Yes.” The words were rich with understanding.

 

“It’s… knowing that I’ll never see my brother again, I’ve known that for a while. But that and knowing that I’ll never see my husband again either. It’s… it’s so hard.”

 

“I understand.”

 

“I know you do.”

 

The duplicate Loki shifted to face him. It was much easier for him to move around these days. He was still far too thin, still unable to stand on his own, but the magic Loki had been pouring into him helped. Of course, this meant that Loki had little seidr for himself, since it was steadily being drained by their captor, but it was worth it.

 

The duplicate reached out and ran his fingers through a strand of Loki’s hair by his face. “The first time we kissed was after I’d braided his hair.”

 

“For me as well.”

 

The other Loki gave a soft chuckle. “I felt like my heart was going to escape from my chest. I’d wanted it for so long. For him to look at me like that, for him to touch me like a lover, not just a brother. But he pushed his fingers into my hair and asked me if I’d ever kissed anyone. Of course I hadn’t, but Norns, I wanted to.”

 

Loki nodded and smiled. He mirrored his duplicate’s pose, fingers threading into long black locks, an echo of that scene from their long ago childhood. “I said, ‘no, Brother, I never have. What’s it like?’ and he said, ‘Like this,’ and kissed me.”

 

The other Loki nodded and turned his face to Loki’s hand, and kissed his palm. “Like this?”

 

Loki nodded and leaned in. Tilted the other’s face, just a touch. “Like this.” And kissed him.

 

That first kiss hundreds of years ago had lead to more tentative kisses, but nothing more with his brother in that moment. Loki had fled back to his chambers and brought himself off in record time. Twice.

 

Now… Now he was sharing a kiss with himself. It shouldn’t seem odd after everything else. Loki’d had sex with clones of himself. His own husband - given the right hair and makeup - looked just like him. He’d kissed another - very different - alternate Loki in the past. And their captor was nearly identical to them all, but… this was different than any of that. Despite their lives being identical up until a point, the last decade had shaped this Loki into a different person than himself, mentally and physically. But he was still Loki. More like himself than anyone he'd ever met.

 

The kiss was gentle, so very soft. They’d both had so much harshness thrown at them, that this soft, gentle touch was enough to bring tears to both their eyes. Loki kissed away his duplicate’s tears. Ran his fingers lightly over the other’s face and watched as he leaned into Loki's touch.

 

Loki placed another soft kiss on the other’s lips. “Do you want this?” It seemed so important to ask that. They’d both been taken against their will, used over and over. Loki might not have asked in the past. He might have assumed - had assumed - that his partner would so “no” if they didn’t want something, and not ever ask for a “yes.”

 

“If you wish to forget this ever happened, we can go back. I’ll never touch you again, if that is your will.”

 

The other Loki gave him another soft kiss. “I do want you to. Please, it’s been so long since anyone has touched me. And it’s been far longer since it was a touch I wanted.” The next kiss was tearful and frantic. “Make love to me, please.”

 

Loki nodded and lay down on his side, facing the other god, and drew his duplicate down with a gentle hand. Now on their sides facing one another, they kissed again. Loki ran soothing hands over the other’s skin, as softly as he could. The other god mirrored him with shaking fingers. They kissed and exchanged tender caresses for an age, just for the comfort of gentle touch. Loki savored the feel of soft fingers in his hair, along his face, down his neck and chest. Soft, teasing touches, so very different than the hard, harsh hands of their Master.

 

Light, trembling, hands caressed Loki’s skin for what felt like hours. They were both hard by now, but neither did more than rock against each other. The other Loki teased his nipples until he cried out and thrust against the other’s thigh, head thrown back. Fingertips brushed along his side, and he writhed. Still, neither of them reached for the other’s cock. That was a final barrier that neither of them seemed confident in breaking.

 

So Loki asked. “I would touch you, if I may?”

 

“Oh Norns, yes. Please.”

 

He slid his hands down the other’s far-too-thin body yet again, but this time, rather than sweeping along his hip bone, Loki wrapped his long fingers around the other’s cock in a loose grip. The duplicated moaned at the contact and bucked his hips up, just a little.

 

Loki used every trick he knew, every way of touching he’d used on himself, but so slowly, to drag the experience out for as long as possible. The other Loki shook and cried under his hands, moaned and drew him into frantic kisses.

 

In a moment of frustration - he couldn’t quite get the right angle - Loki shifted so that he was wrapped around the duplicate’s back. “Is this alright? I won’t take you.”

 

The other nodded and Loki was finally able to get the angle he was looking for. Just the right grip on the other’s cock. Nobody had ever been able to do this for him. For some reason it was almost impossible to describe, or duplicate for another. But if he put his thumb there and wrapped his fingers here . Slide his hand up and down the shaft at exactly the right angle, exactly the right speed.

 

“Oh Norns, yes.” The other Loki moaned in his arms and pressed himself back. “Yes yes yes. That’s perfect.”

 

Loki grinned into his duplicate’s shoulder and thrust lightly against his arse.

 

“Oh, that’s so good. Ahhh, yes.” The other writhed in his arms and kept up a steady stream of moans and groans and whimpers. “Faster, please.”

 

“Do you really want me to go faster?” Loki kept the same, even pace. He knew that he must be driving his other self mad. When ever he did this to himself, it was over too fast. He couldn’t not speed up. This was so perfect, he just wanted to come, but if he could just keep it going…

 

“Yes. No. Ahhh.”

 

Loki enjoyed the writhing body in his arms. His cock slid slick and wet from his own precome against his duplicate’s arse. He wasn’t trying for penetration at all, just friction. It was heaven to be in control like this. To be able to bring pleasure to another in a way that was only possible for two of them.

 

“Oh Norns, please more.” The other’s voice was high and breathy. ”Faster. Ahhhh.”

 

That was the tone of voice he was looking for. Loki quickened the pace, both his hand and the gentle thrusts against his other self’s back. The duplicate’s voice spiraled up and up. “Aaaahh!” He pushed back against Loki’s chest, pressed his arse to Loki’s cock, and came screaming over his hand. Loki slowed his pace, just enough, just how he liked it, and took the other through a few aftershocks.

 

He was so close. He thrust against the duplicate shaking in his embrace, Once the aftershocks had calmed, he wrapped both arms around the too-thin god and pressed his mouth to the other’s shoulder.

 

The other Loki spoke in a soft, breathless voice. “Come for me, Loki. Come for yourself.”

 

A few, wild, sliding thrusts later, and Loki screamed out his own orgasm against the other’s back.

 

They breathed together for a long moment in silence.

 

“That was… I thought I’d never be able to enjoy myself with another person again.”

 

Loki chuckled. “I’m not entirely certain that this counts as having sex with another person.”

 

The other Loki laughed. “Fair enough.”

 

“Though given our particular proclivities, it’s not exactly surprising.”

 

“No.” The far too slender god cuddled against Loki’s chest. “Thank you.”

 

“Mmm… Of course. And thank you.”

 

They both chuckled and fell asleep curled together.

 

Chapter Text

 

Loki worried that he and the other Loki would be separated once their captor discovered that they we having sex. But He either didn’t realize that it was happening, or didn’t care. He might even have found it amusing that Loki’s narcissism had managed to gain a whole new dimension. But when Loki was taken again the next day, his captor said nothing. And when he was thrown back into the dungeon after He was through, it was into the same cell as his duplicate.

 

“Maybe He doesn’t realize.”

 

“I doubt that.”

 

“Maybe He likes it.”

 

Loki shrugged, the motion bringing pain to his exhausted body. “Does it really matter?”

 

“No.”

 

So they continued.

 

Loki had no idea how long he’d been here. Weeks, possibly months. Maybe a century. The pain from the bloodletting and torture had become a part of him, like his breath, or a second heartbeat. It was only in their stolen moments together that either Loki found any solace.

 

One day, the same as any other, they lay curled up asleep in the darkest corner of their cell. Without warning a massive explosion shook the world around them, knocking dust from the walls. Loki bolted upright and looked around. He could hear voices, shouting in the distance.

 

“What’s happening?”

 

Loki lay a finger over his lover’s lips. “Shh, I think the base is being attacked.” The words sounded impossible on his own lips, like a dream. At the same time, his warrior-instincts lit up. He scrambled to his feet and edged towards the door. “Stay back.”

 

The other nodded, and pulled himself into a smaller ball.

 

Another explosion shook the floor, this one much closer. A crack like a lightning bolt crashed nearby, and Loki’s hair stood on end.

 

Voices, much closer now.  

 

“This looks likely,” said one of the voices.

 

“What the hell? It looks like the dungeons on Asgard. That bastard is completely mental.” They spoke in  a loud whisper, like soldiers in hostile territory

 

The voices were identical. Loki looked over at his duplicate. They stared at one another with wide eyes. The voices were theirs. Or Tom’s. Was it their captor, playing with their minds? Was it yet another Loki or Lokis, lured here, as they were?

 

Loki pressed himself to the wall and looked out into the corridor. Two men came into view. One wore Midgardian combat fatigues, the other wore dark blue Asgardian style leather armor and carried a plasma rifle.

 

Both men were Tom. His Tom? The thought came unbidden to Loki’s mind, and he forced it down. That hope would poison him, if he let it.

 

The one in leathers had hair down to the middle of his back, pulled into a ponytail, and a full beard. The other in combat fatigues had hair cut short, swept back off his forehead, and was clean shaven. Their captor’s hair was shorter than either of these two. Short and perfectly coiffed at all times. Even when he’d been fucking Loki into the floor.

 

Another explosion rocked the complex, nearly knocking Loki to the floor.

 

The two Toms in the hallway looked up at the ceiling. The one in Midgardian clothing turned to the other. “Your boy better not bring the roof down on us.”

 

“Can you blame him for being angry?”

 

“No, but if he kills us, we’ll all regret it.”

 

The one in Asgardian armor laughed, but even this sound had a tense feel to it, an awareness of threat. “That’s what the Eye is for.”

 

The Tom in Midgardian clothes shook his head. “Let’s see if we can find the lights.”

 

“Over here, I think.”

 

They crept past Loki’s cell without noticing either of the gods inside. Loki edged to the back where his duplicate lay and crouched down beside him.

 

“What’s happening?” the other whispered.

 

“I’m not sure,” Loki replied in his own whisper. “We might be saved or completely fucked, and I have no idea which.”

 

The lights above their cell flooded on. The crippled Loki whimpered and covered his eyes with an arm. Loki shaded his eyes and blinked dazzle-tears away. The door to their cell slid open, and Loki was dimly aware that the nearby cell doors opened as well.

 

“I heard something over here.”

 

Two figures darkened the entrance to the cell, blocking out some of the blinding light.

 

“Oh God, Loki!” The Tom in Midgardian clothing surged a few steps towards them, hands outstretched.

 

Loki recoiled without thinking about it, ducked the blow that their captor would deliver, and sheltered his lover with his own body.

 

“Better give him space,” said the other Tom. “Them. Them?”

 

“What the hell is going on here?”

 

“Well, there are three of us here at the moment, why not three of him?”

 

“No, but… Loki? Are you alright?”

 

Loki looked up, still trying to protect his wounded duplicate. He looked back and forth between the two Toms by the door. Now that he could see them more clearly, he could tell the one in Asgardian garb was a little older. Over forty, by human reckoning. Older than their captor, older than his husband. The one in Midgardian cloths looked more like what he remembered from his own Tom. Those memories were dim, viewed through a gauze of pain and hopelessness woven by months of torment. Loki stared at the outstretched hands. The one in Asgardian armor had gloves, but the Tom in Midgardian clothing wore a pale gold ring on his left hand.

 

“Beloved?” The word caught in Loki’s throat.

 

The younger Tom made a strangled noise and lurched forward again.

 

Loki flinched away.

 

Tom stopped moving, sat on his heels and looked at them with tear-filled eyes. “Oh God, what has he done to you?”

 

Another explosion assaulted the world around them. Loki blocked the falling chunks of debris from hitting his lover’s body. A piece of concrete struck Loki’s back and he cried out. A wound on his shoulder open up again, and he gritted his teeth against the pain.

 

One of the Toms made a wounded sound.

 

“Don’t, he’s terrified of us.”

 

Loki glanced over and saw that the Tom in Asgardian armor was forcibly restraining the other one from coming nearer to them.

 

“But, he’s hurt.”

 

“He’s been tortured, you idiot, of course he’s hurt.”

 

“Fuck.” The Midgardian Tom stopped struggling to get to them and hung his head. “We’d better get your Loki.”

 

“Hopefully he’s done.”

 

“I rather hope he isn’t,” Midgardian Tom growled.  

 

The two Toms backed out of the cell. Loki heard them speak from the corridor.  

 

“You go, I’ll stay here.”

 

“If you think you’ll be alright?”

 

“Yes. They won’t hurt me.”

 

Loki had no idea which Tom had said which thing, but when he crept over to the cell door, the Midgardian leaned against a wall while the Asgardian was gone. Loki moved back over to his duplicate in the depths of their cell.

 

“Are you alright?”

 

The other god nodded. “I am. So are we fucked or saved?”

 

“I… I want to say saved, but honestly I can’t be certain. Can you stand?”

 

“Not on my own.”

 

“Very well.” Loki crouched down and wrapped an arm around his lover’s torso. “Put your arm around my shoulders. I’ll get you up.” A few weeks ago, if that’s how long it was, Loki would have been able to carry the other god easily, but he was so drained now. “Come on.”

 

“But… your back.”

 

“Oh come now, you’ve seen me with worse injuries.” He faked a strength he didn’t feel, because that is what his lover needed.

 

“Very well.”

 

Loki clenched his teeth against the pain and dragged his duplicate to his feet. “We’ll both feel better out of this cell.”

 

They took slow, staggering steps towards the door. As he approached it, part of Loki was sure the space between him and the corridor would stretch into infinity, or the door would slam shut as they reached it, and their captor’s laughter would echo throughout the complex. But the door was open. Stayed open even as Loki stepped through with his other self. They stood blinking in the light, neither quite knowing what to do now.

 

The Tom at the end of the corridor watched them with tears rolling down his cheeks, but he made no move to come near them.

 

Shouting came from the far end of the hall.

 

“Let me go, you insolent pup, I will flay you alive!”

 

Loki cringed and wrapped his arms around his duplicate, who whimpered against his chest.

 

Three men burst into the hallway. The Tom in Asgardian armor moved aside, and a figure flew past him through the air and crashed against the concrete floor. It took Loki a moment to realize that the man who had been tossed like a ragdoll was tall, and wore a bespoke black suit of immaculate design.

 

Loki’s captor didn’t look perfect any longer. His jacket was torn, His hair awry, and blood seeped out from half a dozen wounds. But He looked completely furious, and Loki stepped further away just on pure instinct. He pressed a kiss to the top of his lover’s head as the other god clung to him.

 

Yet another Loki entered the hallway. He wore black Asgardian armor and carried the Mind Stone’s scepter in the form of a staff. His eyes were solid black and bled green fire. The Eye of Agamotto hung around his neck in its bronze cage. He kicked their captor in the stomach. The human rolled along the floor and curled up around his core, and twisted against the pain.

 

The Loki with solid black eyes cast his gaze around the room. He saw the other two Lokis clinging together and scowled. He waved a hand, and Loki felt seidr weave into shape around him, its power prickling against his flesh. A moment later he was dressed in a green silk tunic and black trousers, as was the god in his arms. He’d been naked for so long that the silk and linen felt alien on his skin.

 

“Useless, craven, upstart mortal.” The armored Loki kicked their captor again. “You’re the one who will be flayed. How dare you lay a hand on an unwilling god? How dare you take what is not yours? All your power is stolen and as easily shattered as glass. You will suffer for your insolence.” Another swift kick saw the human writhe on the floor. “I have burned planets to a cinder for less of an afront. The only reason that you are still intact is so that your former captives can see what has become of you.”

 

Their captor snarled. “Don’t lie to yourself, you haven’t killed me because you don’t have the will. You’re just as weak as the others. Too soft to do anything but cry for daddy’s approval.”

 

The armored Loki screamed in rage and kicked the human again, his foot crunching against his victim’s rib-cage. “Every moment of pain you’ve inflicted on others will be meted upon you ten-fold, feeble mortal.” The armored Loki kicked their captor in the chin, then rested a foot on His shoulder so the human lay on His back and couldn’t move. “Death is too kind for the likes of you. If you think me soft, you will soon discover the depths of your mistake.” He swung the staff down, halting its motion just as the tip of the blade touched the center of the mortal’s chest. The Stone glowed, a flash of blue in the brightly lit hall.

 

Their captor screamed, and his eyes glazed azure as the Mind Stone took him.

 

He lay still and silent. His words, the effortlessly confident words that He had used to torment Loki’s body even as his hands had tormented Loki’s flesh, they had fled Him, now.

 

The armored Loki leaned down and set a hand on the human’s forehead. “I hope you enjoy the next ten years as much as I will.”

 

Their captor screamed.

 

And screamed and screamed and screamed.

 

There was another flash of blue, and three Loki’s and two Toms stood in a perfectly manicured garden by a beautiful estate home. Their captor had been left behind. They were free.

 

The crippled Loki broke down and cried, leaning on Loki’s shoulder. Loki wrapped his arms around his lover and soothed a hand down his back. “It’s alright, you’re free now. We’re free.” He kissed the other god’s cheek. “We’re free.”

 

Chapter Text

 

They found a pleasantly lit glade with softly rolling hills. Loki and his lover sat together; the other god clung to Loki as though he expected him to vanish. The armored Loki sat with the Tom in Asgardian garb. That Loki’s eyes were no longer solid black, and it made him seem gentler, less like a raging storm.

 

The last Tom sat on his own between the two sets of couples. He kept his eyes downcast and toyed with the electrum ring on his finger in silence.

 

Loki looked them all over. His mind reeled with confusion. “What… what happened?”

 

The silence lingered until the third Loki spoke. “You were taken two weeks ago, by our reckoning, though more time may have passed for you. Your husband,” here the armored Loki nodded to the Tom sitting on his own, “reached out to us when he found that he couldn’t get to you.”

 

Loki frowned at the other god. “Have we met before?”  

 

“You don’t recall? Amusing. I believe you two had taken to referring to me as ‘King Loki’.”

 

Loki’s eyes went wide. “You tried to kill us!”

 

The other’s eyes narrowed. “You killed my husband.”

 

“Well, yes, but…”

 

Loki’s current lover interrupted. “Could someone please explain?”

 

“It’s terribly complicated,” Loki replied. “But in essence, there was a great deal of killing over a misunderstanding and more than a touch of madness.” He looked back at the armored Loki. “You still hold five Infinity Stones?”

 

“I do.”

 

“Your pardon, but you seem a great deal more… stable than you were.”

 

The armored Loki laughed. “I must admit that I found killing Thanos extremely cathartic. And I’ve been blessed with a new lover.” He glanced at the armored Tom, who smiled at him. “We’ve been traveling throughout his universe for some time. When the World Walker reached out to us, we came to help.”

 

Loki nodded. He couldn’t help but look at his husband, who sat still and mute through the conversation. World Walker was a term that Loki had seen in ancient texts, but had never thought to apply it to his husband until after their encounters with King Loki and his Consort. Apparently Tom’s ability to travel between universes wasn’t as unique as they’d thought.

 

Silence stretched uncomfortably between them as Loki utterly failed to think of anything to say.

 

“Oh, yes. I have something of yours.” King Loki reached into a pocket and handed Loki his wedding ring. “I thought you would want that back.”

 

Loki stared down at the gold and emerald band in his palm. He thought about putting it on, but part of him rebelled against taking on such a sign of ownership. After all he had been through, the thought felt tainted. So he clenched his fist around the ring. He looked back up at the armored Loki. “Thank you.”

 

The other god nodded. “Of course. It was a pleasure to assist.”

 

The crippled Loki shifted slightly. “What did you do to Him?”

 

“I trapped your jailer a loop where he will experience every scrap of pain he’s ever inflicted on another over and over again.”

 

Loki shivered, as did his lover. They drew together more tightly.

 

“I thought it a fitting punishment. As I said, death is too easy for one such as he.”

 

Loki nodded. “It is fitting, yes.”

 

“Good.” King Loki looked around the group of them. “I may be able to assist you further, if that is your wish.”

 

“How?”

 

He looked at the crippled Loki. “I can restore your seidr and heal your body so that you can walk again.” His eyes traveled back and forth between the two former-captives. “I can also erase your memories of what has happened, if you so desire.”

 

The Tom in Midgardian clothing, Loki’s husband, spoke for the first time since they’d escaped into the green and sunshine. “Can’t you turn time back using the Eye of Agamotto? Make this never have happened in the first place?”

 

King Loki shook his head. “If I were to wind time back so far, it would simply create a splinter reality. This all would still happen, just to other versions of ourselves. Or perhaps it would still happen to us, and other incarnations of us would be created for whom it did not happen. The same holds for a more straightforward use of time travel. Time can only be rewritten within a few minutes, an hour at the utmost. Any longer, and a splinter reality is created.” He looked back to the other two Lokis. “The best I can offer is to heal the damage done to your bodies and minds.”

 

Loki nodded and looked at his current lover. “What do you think?”

 

“I… I don’t know.” The crippled Loki shifted so that he sat more on his own, and less leaning against Loki’s side. “That’s a decade of my life. Some of it… some of it might be worth remembering, but without the context of the rest… What will even happen to me now? I can’t go back to Asgard.”

 

“You can do anything you wish,” King Loki replied. “I can put you anywhere, in any universe. We can even find an Asgard which needs a Loki, if that is your will.”

 

“I…” the crippled Loki looked helplessly at Loki. “I don’t know what to do.”

 

“You can go back to Thor, if you want,” Loki said quietly.

 

“But, will he even want me anymore?”

 

Loki shrugged. “I don’t know, but I think it likely he will. He accepted me. He’s become less... inflexible over the years.”

 

The other god laughed and leaned on Loki’s shoulder. “Will you be alright?”

 

“I will.”

 

“Liar.”

 

Loki snorted. “I’ll be alright eventually.”

 

“Consider his offer,” he nodded to King Loki. “It might be best if you forgot any of this ever happened.”

 

“I’ll think on it.”

 

Loki’s lover turned to the king. “I accept your offers. I would find an Asgard in need of a Loki, and take your offer of healing, both of body and mind.”

 

King Loki nodded. “Very well.” He glanced at Loki, then back to the crippled incarnation. “You will want to say goodbye.”

 

He nodded and pulled Loki into a kiss. “Thank you for everything.”

 

“And you. Be well.”

 

King Loki got to his feet and scooped the crippled incarnation up easily into his arms. “We’ll be over that ridge. This will take some time.” He glanced at the armored Tom, who nodded and stood as well.

 

The three of them left Loki alone with his husband and a terrible silence.

 

After a minute of aching discomfort, Tom cleared his throat. “I’m sorry.”

 

Loki looked at him sharply. “What? Why?”

 

“I… I wasn’t able to get to you fast enough. I didn’t realize you were gone until you didn’t phone me back, and everything took forever, and…” He brushed his hand over the grass. “Another version of me hurt you. It’s… unforgivable.”

 

“I… yes, it is.”

 

“Whatever you need from me, love, you’ll have it. If you need to… to go away, or to erase your memory, even if you need to forget that I ever existed, I’ll support you.”

 

Loki imagined he could hear the heartbreak in his husband’s voice, but he nodded. “Thank you. I don’t know what I need, not yet. But I appreciate your… that you understand.”

 

“I understand in so far as anyone who’s never gone through…” Tom took a deep shaky breath and let it out slowly. “Just know that I love you, and that none of this is your fault, alright? You did what you had to do to survive, and find… find what comfort you could. You are completely blameless in all of this.”

 

A part of Loki was inclined to judge himself for what had happened. Despite hating every moment of his torment, his body had responded over and over again. He and his other self had spoken about this at length, so Loki recognized - at least, part of him recognized - that it wasn’t his fault. Someone who knew Loki’s body extraordinarily well had turned that body against him. In many ways, the tender relationship that he and his other self had struck up was a saving grace. Loki knew that his body still responded to gentle touch. That sex wasn’t ruined forever for him. The paths of pleasure and pain would always be scrambled in his mind, but that had been true since he was young, and he had come to terms with it long ago.

 

On the other hand, the man who had tormented him for… for too long, looked and sounded exactly like the man he’d sworn himself to for life. That Loki had planned on loving and living with for centuries.  

 

A man who might have been lying to him for almost two years.

 

Loki turned his eyes to his husband. Tears streaked Tom’s face; he looked utterly devastated. It seemed to Loki that the emotion he saw on his face was real. There was a light in this Tom’s eyes that Loki’d never seen in his captor’s. Life, caring, love. But Loki’s duplicate’s words came back to him. That it had been five years before he’d realized anything was amiss. That an actor could fake any emotion, put forward any facade he wanted. Then again, would Tom have made the offer to leave his life for good if he sought to control Loki’s actions?

 

Finally, Loki spoke. “I’ll try to remember that.”  

 

Tom nodded, and they fell into another awkward silence.

 

A few endless minutes later, the Tom who wore Asgardian armor came over the rise and sat near them. He set the plasma rifle aside and looked back and forth between the two of them. “I’m sure Tom hasn’t mentioned this to you - you’ve had other things to talk about - but we’ve met before as well.”

 

Loki blinked at the human. “Have we?”

 

He nodded. “You healed my mind several years ago, by my timeline.”

 

“Oh.” Loki glanced down at the mortal’s gloved hands.

 

Seeing the direction of Loki’s gaze, he slipped one of the gloves off to show a pale hand laced with scars. “See?”

 

Early in Tom’s wanderings through the multiverse, he’d run across a version of himself whose Loki had left and been killed by Thanos. That incarnation of Tom had been very badly damaged, both mind and body, and Loki had done his best to heal him. “Yes, I do. I’m glad to see that you’re well.”

 

“It took time, but yes, I’m well. A great deal of that is because of you two.”

 

Loki looked away. “Given that you were driven mad by another version of me, I’m not sure how much credit I can truly take.”

 

“That’s actually rather my point.” The older Tom tugged his glove back on. “When… when that Loki - the one I’m with now - when he came into my life, I hated him. I was still so angry with myself, and the Loki who’d left me, that I couldn’t help but hate him.”

 

Loki nodded. This made perfect sense.

 

“He stayed nearby for months and months. Left me alone, but let me know that he was there if I wanted him. It nearly killed him to do that. He became so distraught that his magic went awry and he nearly died. I realized… I realized that it wasn’t him that I was upset with. It wasn’t even the Loki who’d left me. I was so angry at the multiverse for giving me something wonderful, then taking it away again, that I missed the opportunity in front of me.” His eyes strayed to the hill where the remaining two Lokis were, just beyond their view.  

 

“It took us a long time, but we realized that despite both of us having been involved with other versions of each other, what we had was different. We were different people than our old lovers. His previous Tom had also gone mad, but in a different way than I had. This version of Loki lead a different life than the one I loved before. Different than you, different than the poor soul that he’s trying to heal now. We’re all so different from one another, but so similar.” He shook his head. “I wish I could go back and do a bit more damage to the Tom that hurt you, though I think Loki’s come up with the perfect punishment for him. I understand that you’re angry at him, angry at all of us, just for sharing the same face. Be angry if you need to be, but try to remember that we’re not all like him.”

 

Loki chewed on his lower lip for a moment, mulling over what Tom - this Tom - had said. “The Loki who… who was here before me, he said that our Mast… that the Tom of this universe seduced him. That their whole relationship was based on lies. He promised love and support, but took advantage instead. That He… He was after our power, our magic, nothing more. Everything else was a lie. He… the Loki that was here before me, he didn’t even realize until they’d been together for years that it wasn’t a relationship based on caring and love. But once the Loki of this realm stood up to Him, he was thrown into a cell and used only for our Master’s pleasure and power.”

 

Loki’s husband made a strangled sound and leapt to his feet. He stalked away, hands clutched in his hair. Once he was a good ways away from them, he shouted in rage.

 

Loki looked up. His beloved was a very gentle person, a streak of well constrained violence aside. He rarely shouted, and when he did, it was usually out of frustration rather than of anger. But Tom was furious now. Frustrated as well, yes, but that was rage that Loki saw. On one level, Loki was… relieved to see such a reaction. It had the feel of an emotion that had been suppressed, but was too strong to keep in. A true emotion.

 

Loki’s captor had rarely raged, and when He had, it came across as disdain or disgust pressed to the point of anger. Loki couldn’t imagine their captor being angry on the behalf of another, and that’s what he saw in his husband.

 

And Tom’s reaction didn’t make Loki want to cower in fear. It made him want to reach out and comfort the mortal, not hide from his wrath.

 

Loki hesitated, got to his feet, and walked over to where Tom paced.

 

The mortal spoke before Loki had a chance to open his mouth. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry I shouted. I’m sorry I frightened you. I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through this, I’m sorry I didn’t kill that bastard when I had a chance.” He glared at the lush green grass, as though the turf was responsible for his anger.

 

“Beloved, look at me.”

 

He stopped pacing and looked up. Tears streaked his face. “Loki, I don’t know what to do. I can’t fix this. I just want to… I want to do a great many things, but I’ll do whatever you need. I just…”

 

“Shhh, it's alright. I believe you.”

 

“You believe me?”

 

Loki nodded. “I do. I doubted. I did. I thought that perhaps… perhaps you had…” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “That perhaps you had manipulated me.”

 

Tom made another, desperate, anguished sound and shook his head.

 

Loki held up a hand. “But I do believe you. I’ve spent centuries learning to tell truth from lies. I’ve been fooled before, I won’t say I haven’t, but I do believe you.”

 

Tom shook his head again. “Test me.”

 

“What?”

 

“Look into my mind, or have King Loki do it. Test me to make certain that what I’ve been saying these past two years is true. I don’t want there to be any doubts in your mind. It’ll be hard enough for you to… to even look at me.”

 

Loki hesitated. To do such a thing - to reach into the mind of another like that - was a violation, thought he doubted Tom realized that. Loki would normally be able to do it himself, though with the state his magic was in, it would be infinitely easier with the Mind Stone. But still, it would be a violation, whoever did it. “I don’t want for you to have to do that.”

 

“Loki, I will do whatever it takes to… to allow you to feel more comfortable. You’ve been through something horrific, and if I can ease your mind, even a little, I will do it.”

 

“I… very well. If you wish to do this, I will ask my more powerful self to look into your mind. I would it myself, but I’m afraid that… that I’m rather drained of seidr at the moment. What little our captor didn’t take, I gave to my other self.”

 

“How… how did he take your magic?”

 

Loki looked down at his feet. “As you’ve noted yourself, there is magic in my blood.”

 

“He’s been… bleeding you?” Tom sounded horrified, but Loki wasn’t able to meet his gaze.

 

“He did, yes. Though that’s the least of His offences. At least that had a purpose.”  

 

“Loki…” His husband’s voice was an odd mix of sympathy and anger. “I… I’m just glad that King Loki was able to give him a fitting punishment.”

 

Loki shivered. “Could we not speak of something else?”

 

“Of course love, whatever you want.” 

 

“I… I suppose I must ask, though I don't think it needed.” Loki looked up and met Tom's eyes again. “It doesn't bother you that I became involved with another incarnation of myself?”

 

“Of course not. It would be the height of hypocrisy of I did.”

 

Loki searched his husband's face for signs of a lie, but he saw none. “I thought as much, but I thought it best to… confirm that that's what had happened. There was no coercion in that relationship.”

 

Tom clearly heard Loki's emphasis on ‘that’. “I… didn't want to ask, but…” He trailed off and bit his lip. Tom clearly couldn’t put words to the terrible truth.

 

Loki answered the unasked question, gave voice to the awful reality. “Yes. He raped me. Many times.”  

 

Tom's expression again warred with itself. Rage and sympathy. “I'm so sorry, love.”

 

“None of this is your doing, beloved. You saved us.”

 

“Not fast enough.”

 

“You would have to have been very quick indeed. I suspect that you weren't even aware that I was gone until after He had already…” Loki trailed off. “At least we were able to assist another incarnation in addition to myself. Likely he would have died in those dungeons without my presence and your rescue. Eventually.”

 

Tom's eyes drifted to where the other two Lokis still were. “Yes.” He looked back to Loki. “He was worse before, wasn't he?”

 

“Much. When I first encountered him, he couldn't even sit up without aid.”

 

“Poor man. God. Whatever.”

 

Loki chuckled, and Tom grinned at him. “What?”

 

“You laughed. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.”

 

“Ah.” Loki again examined his husband for any sign of a lie and saw none. “Shall I make you happier?”

 

Tom tipped his head to the side and raised an eyebrow.

 

Loki uncurled his hand and slipped his wedding band back on.

 

“Oh, love… Thank you.”

 

Loki took a step forward and drew his crying husband into a tight embrace. “This will take time, my love, but I won't let that… creature come between us. You are the best thing in my life, and I shan't lose you.”

 

“You won't. Not ever.” 

 

Chapter Text

 

Loki watched with trepidation as a far more powerful incarnation of himself reached into his husband's mind. This might take hours or no time at all. The damaged Loki lay sleeping nearby, recovering from having his memory erased and his body restored. He was still painfully thin, but he no longer looked like he would cease functioning at any moment. Loki placed a small kiss on his forehead and turned his attention back to King Loki and the remaining Toms.

 

King Loki's new consort spoke. “I'm curious, how different is it to be with him,” he gestured to the sleeping Loki, “than him.” He nodded to Loki's husband.

 

Loki smiled. “Fairly. Imagine being with someone who had experienced every orgasm you've ever had and recalls how to bring them about perfectly.”

 

The formerly-mad Tom - as Loki couldn't help but think of him - raised his eyebrows. “I'm surprised you don't want to go with him.”

 

Loki chuckled. “It's also somewhat dull. We had little to speak of beyond our shared pasts and how they diverged.”

 

“Ah.” He grinned. “Good sex, but mediocre conversation.”

 

“In all honesty, we became involved for comfort’s sake.”

 

“That makes a lot of sense.”

 

Loki nodded. “And how have you been?”

 

“Well. We’ve been travelling. It’s been fascinating to see the universe.”

 

“You’re still practicing your seidr.” It wasn’t really a question. Loki could see the magic circulating in this version of Tom. It was strong, stronger than in his own incarnation. But that might simply  be because this version was older. Now that he had the time to observe, Loki could see that the crows feet in the corner of this Tom’s eyes were deeper, and that silver touched the temples if his long curls. It was actually quite attractive. It was also very different than the appearance of Loki’s captor. This Tom looked like a seasoned adventurer, at home in his Asgardian armor. That combined with the seidr, a cousin to Loki’s own, made him look more god than mortal.

 

“I am. Loki’s been teaching me,” he nodded to King Loki. “Though I learned a great deal from the humans of my realm before we met.”

 

“It suits you well.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

Loki smiled. “At least you’ve learned to take a compliment.”

 

Tom laughed. “I get them less often these days.”

 

The god’s eyes traveled over the deep blue armor. “I doubt that.”

 

“Well, my audience is smaller.”

 

Loki chuckled again. “Fair enough.”

 

Just then, King Loki stirred, and got to his feet. He dropped down beside them. Loki looked to his husband, who remained in a trance.

 

“Well?”

 

“He is exactly as he appears to be. He feels a great deal of guilt over what has happened to you, but it is misplaced, in my opinion. He loves you quite desperately.” King Loki smiled. “He is a pure soul. It was a pleasure to gaze into his mind.”

 

The tension that Loki hadn’t realized he was carrying left his shoulders. “I thought as much, but… well, I’ve been wrong before.”

 

“Indeed.” King Loki nodded. “Now, have you decided what you wish to do?”

 

“I have.” Loki nodded. “Can you… can you bring some distance to these events without erasing them?”

 

King Loki laid a long finger over his lips and was silent for a moment. “I can. It will be more difficult than removing the memories, but it will be possible.”

 

“Very well. I would have you do that, if you will.”

 

“As you wish.”

 

o0o

 

When Loki opened his eyes again, his head lay pillowed in his husband’s lap.

 

“How do you feel, love?”

 

“Better.” Loki sat up and stretched. It was full dark now, and light-bearing insects fluttered through the night. He turned to Tom, who looked at him with haunted eyes. “I still remember everything that happened, but it feels like it happened years ago, not yesterday.”

 

Tom nodded. “We’ll take things slow for a while.”

 

Loki nodded, then pulled his husband into a kiss. The first kiss they’d shared since his rescue. “Slow, yes, but not non-existent.”

 

Tom chuckled and returned the kiss with gentle one of his own. “Shall we go home?”

 

“Let’s.”

 

o0o

 

Thor had always loved the forests of Asgard, but these days, even the beauty of the wilds couldn’t cheer him. Still, his mother insisted that he needed to go out and at least get some exercise, so he went. The presence of others, even the Warriors Three, felt like sandpaper on his nerves, so he went alone.

 

He found a good campsite, one used by thousands before him, and built a fire in its circle of ancient stones. Thor sat staring at the flames and ran his fingers through his hair, along the slim braid by his ear. The braid that was half blond, half black. A sign of mourning to any who cared to look.

 

The silence of the forest - a silence woven of many quiet sounds together in harmony - was broken by a loud crack. A deafening split of the air, like one of his own lightning bolts. Asgard’s lone prince shot to his feet and looked to the sky. A pillar, like the strike of the bifrost - but turquoise rather than rainbow - shot down from the clouds, then vanished. It was no more than a few minutes away, at most.

 

Thor drew Mjolnir from his belt and raced towards where the light had struck. He knew these wood, so travelling in twilight was little hardship. He lept easily over fallen trees, the terrain of the woods no obstacle to his sure footing. He came to the clearing where the light touched down, and saw a figure, still and silent, in the center.

 

He knew not if this was friend or enemy, invader or miracle, so he crept forward, instinct warning him to be cautious. The figure could be a god, an elf, or a human, by their size and shape. Tall and thin. Dark clothing and pale skin.

 

Thor’s heart beat faster in his breast.

 

He drew closer, and the figure stirred. It… he made a small noise of pain, drew up into a sitting position and pointed his face to the sky. The twilight caught his features, so sharp, but so terribly familiar. If not for the control that was his from his warrior training, Thor of Asgard would have gasped.

 

“Loki? Brother, is that you?”

 

“Thor?” The voice was rough, but yes, that was Loki.

 

“It is you!” Thor took the last few paces at a run and fell to his knees at his brother’s side. “Oh Loki, I thought you dead.” Thor wrapped his arms around his far-too-thin brother and drew him close.

 

“I… Oh Thor, I’m sorry.”

 

“What?”

 

“I tried to kill you.”

 

“Well yes, but it was hardly the first time, was it?”

 

Loki chuckled and Thor’s heart sang to the music of the sound. “I suppose not.”

 

Thor drew back and looked at his brother. He was far thinner than the last time they’d seen one another, dangling off the remnants of the bifrost. Loki had always been slight, but now he was little more than skin and bone. His hair was also far longer. Rather than coming to just below his ears, it looked to be down to his waist. Possibly longer, since it was pulled back into a tight braid. He wore clothing that was unfamiliar as well. A green silk tunic, black linen trousers and low black leather boots. Much like he would often wear, but the garments themselves were unfamiliar. Not the clothes he’d been wearing when he fell. No armor, no sign of a weapon. “Where have you been? What has happened to you?”

 

Loki frowned. “I… I don’t remember.”

 

“No?”

 

“The last thing I recall was hanging from the bifrost, then letting go.”

 

Thor bit his lip. He hated that moment with a passion, but it kept intruding on his dreams, over and over. “That was over a year ago.”

 

“A year!” Loki looked down at his hands with wide eyes. “I… What’s happened to me?”

 

“I don’t care.”

 

“What?”

 

Thor took his hand. “I don’t care what’s happened to you, or where you’ve been. I have my brother back.”

 

“I’m not, you know.”

 

“Back?”

 

“Your brother.”

 

Thor shook his head. “It doesn’t matter what blood flows through your veins. You are my brother. We were raised as such, and I will always think of you so.”

 

“Despite… everything?”

 

Loki’s eyes were so terribly vulnerable. “Despite our parents’ lies, despite how… despite how I love you. You are half of my heart, Loki, and you always will be.”

 

“And you are mine.” Loki closed his eyes and leaned forward so his forehead rested on Thor’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry. I… I don’t remember where I’ve been, or what happened to me, but I know that I’ve missed you.”

 

“And I you.” Thor kissed the top of Loki’s raven head. The smooth, silken locks he’d buried his hands in a thousand times. “Come Brother. Let me take you home.”