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How To Be A Good Brother

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Half a dozen realizations hit Loki all at once. Overwhelmed by emotion, he sits down, buries his face in his arms, and sobs quietly. Consumed by his misery, he feels more than hears someone sit down next to him.

"Mr. Loki?"

It takes Loki a moment to place the youthful voice, as it is only recently familiar. He raises his head and, sniffling, wipes the tears from his eyes with his sleeve.

"Hello Spider."

"Mr. Loki, are you okay?"

"No." Loki is too miserable to bother even trying to lie. Still, he is surprised how easily the truth falls from his lips.

"What's wrong?"

What was wrong? The pure, genuine concern made Loki's heart even heavier. The boy was almost a stranger, yet for some incomprehensible reason, he truly cared. It was too much. Loki dropped his head and started sobbing again.

"Why, Kid? Why do you have to be so good? You know what I did in New York, but you don't judge me for it! Why? Why are you so nice to me? I don't deserve it! I don't deserve anything nice! I'm a rotten person!"

"No you're not."

"Yes I am! I'm a terrible person! Thor is right. I'm the worst. I know he never meant it as an insult, and it's just one of his stupid ways of saying he loves me, but it's true. I really am the worst! He's such a good brother. I couldn't ask for a better brother. Nobody could ask for a better brother! And I....I'm a terrible brother!"

When the boy pulled him into a hug and started stroking his hair, Loki just leaned into it and cried on the kid's shoulder.

"Mr. Loki?"

"You....You can just call me Loki."

"It's okay, Loki. It's gonna be okay."

"But it's true! I am a terrible brother! A few years ago, when....when I found out I was adopted, I was confused, and angry, and upset, and....and when Thor tried to tell me how it didn't make any difference, and I was still his brother, and he still loves me, I....I was really mean to him! I pushed him away, and....and I told him he wasn't my brother! And I don't even know why I'm telling you all this."

"Sometimes it helps just to talk."

Loki nodded, finally managing to stop crying and dry his tears, and gently removing himself from the kid's comforting embrace.

"I suppose. You're a good listener, Little Spider."

"Thanks. And you can call me Peter."