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A Poison that Never Stung

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Loki whimpered. His whole body throbbed in pain, though his main focus was on his chest, each breath excruciating. The skin on the side of his face felt scraped raw from the concrete (that was probably littered with broken glass) and the coppery taste of blood was heavy on his tongue, making his stomach feel weak and roll.

Fuck his stupid, running mouth. Fuck. He took another shallow, shaking breath.

Hearing the scuffing of boots made him brace himself for another blow, his whole body clenched tight and heart thumping wildly in his ears as he waited. He flinched with each dull thud of body parts colliding together, realizing slowly that it wasn't him getting hit anymore.

He raised his head and peeled his eyes open. Before him were the two guys he'd pissed off, one was in a heap on the ground like Loki was, while the other was hoisted up by the collar of his shirt and being pummeled by a third guy. He was bigger than either of the other two, black leather jacket stretched tight over a broad shoulders and long blond hair tied loosely into a bun at the nape of his neck.

He dropped the other man to the pavement when he went limp in his grip, turning and walking to Loki. He shuddered and dropped his head, curling up automatically to shield himself. The third guy tugged Loki's hands away from his face. “Damn, kid,” he said as he carefully took a hold of Loki's chin and turned his head from side-to-side. Loki wheezed and winced from the pain.

Loki let out a weak yelp as he was suddenly pulled up to his feet by his shirt and jeans, the pain piercing and making his vision go white. He was dragged back into the bar, straight into the grimy bathroom and set on the counter, between the two dirt encrusted sinks. He forced his eyes open when he heard the paper towel dispenser give a metallic whine, the old pipes clunking loudly as the sink was turned on. Loki studied the face before him through the haze of pain and bad lighting as his savior dabbed a wet paper towel on his cut up face.

His eyes looked blue, as far as Loki could make out in the dim lighting. His thick eyebrows furrowed as he carefully wiped Loki's face, the creases between them deep.

“Hold that there,” he demanded softly as he pressed a clean sheet to a large cut on Loki's eyebrow. Loki reached up with a unsteady hand, swaying where he sat.

The man sighed. “You need to go to a hospital.”

Loki straightened and went still, eyes opening wide. “I'm fine, seriously.”

That made him laugh and shake his head. “Got a reason you can't go to a hospital?”

Loki drooped back down, grimacing at the pain in his chest. “I just don't want to.”

The man sighed again, turning away and pulling his phone from his pocket. “Hey Jane, can you do a tiny favor for me and swing by my place after your shift..? No, it's not for me. I just got this kid who got the shit kicked out of him and he doesn't want to go to the hospital... Yeah, that's great, thanks Jane.”

He hung up and turned back to Loki, shoving the phone back into his pocket. “Come on, kid, let's get you out of here.”

He pulled the paper towel out of Loki's hand, helping him off the counter top and dragging him back out of the bar. Loki remembered that he didn't have his bag with him and dug his heels into the floor, forcing the man to come to stop. Loki turned, narrowing his eyes and trying to remember where he set the damn thing. “My bag.”

“Where is it at?”

“I – Um.” Loki turned slowly, trying to see the black lump somewhere along the walls.

“Forget about it, kid. Someone's probably already went through it anyways,” he said, dragging Loki forwards again.

Loki's shoulders slumped. “I had my favorite book in there...” Loki shivered violently as they stepped outside and were hit by a gust of cold air. He also had his his favorite hoodie in there.

The other man guided him up to a motorcycle with gleaming red paint, the silver flecks sparkling in the light of the neon sign in front of the bar.

“I hope you're not about to pass out.”

Loki shook his head weakly in answer. He looked at Loki for a moment before pulling off his leather jacket and helping him into it. The leather felt indescribably heavy on Loki's shoulders, the whole thing sagging and drooping weirdly on his narrow frame. Loki watched as the man slipped on a pair of glasses and hopped on to the bike, starting up the thing with a rumble that made Loki flinch.

Come on kid,” he shouted after Loki just stood there and stared at him. Loki carefully climbed on behind him and fisted his hands into the thick cotton at the sides of the man's navy blue hoodie.

The ride was excruciating, the constant vibrations and bumps reverberating through his wrecked body made his teeth clench and eyes tear up. He sobbed in relief when they finally came to a stop. He let himself be helped off the bike and herded into the small, well cared for house they parked beside.

“Hard part's over,” the man said as he pulled his jacket off Loki and lead him to a old, but soft couch, laying him down on it before disappearing and reappearing with a few pills and a glass of water.

“It's just a few ibuprofen to hold you over until my friend can get a look at you,” he said when Loki eyed the pills suspiciously.

Loki took them, guzzling down the water and not even particularly caring if he was getting drugged at that point. He laid back with a groan.

He sat down on the scuffed up coffee table beside Loki, empty glass dangling between his fingers. “What's your name, anyways?”

“Loki,” he answered softly. “Yours?”

“Thor,” he answered. Loki repeated it a few times in his head, making sure to remember it. Thor Thor Thor.

Loki dozed on and off to the sound of boots thumping softly around the house, twitching when there was a sharp set of knocks on the door.

Thor ran to answer it. “Hey. Thanks again for coming.”

“No problem,” came a woman's voice. Loki forced his eyes open as the two walked up to the couch.

The woman came and sat where Thor had before, while Thor hung back, hands pushed into the pockets of his jeans. Jane opened the bag sitting beside her hip, pulling out a small flashlight and shining it into Loki's eyes. “What's your name?”

“Loki,” he snapped, squinting and trying to swat the light away.

Jane just pushed his hands back down, checking both eyes again. “I'm Doctor Foster, or well, just call me Jane, since I'm technically off duty.”

Great,” Loki grumbled, blinking the spots out of his eyes as the flashlight was finally turned off.

“Where's the worst of the pain, Loki?” She asked, pulling out some wipes and a few large bandages from her bag.

“My chest,” he said with a slight wheeze as she went to work on his various cuts and scrapes.

Jane hummed and nodded, lifting his ratty t-shirt after she finished bandaging him up, carefully poking and prodding at his ribs, making him hiss and try to twist away.

“It looks like they're just bruised, luckily. It's gonna hurt for a while though.”

“Wow, brilliant fucking deduction, Doctor.”

He could see Thor covering his mouth and trying to hold back his laughter.

Jane just raised an eyebrow at him. “You might want to be nice to me, I've got the good painkillers.” She pulled some out of her bag just then, jiggling the bottle for emphasis. She twisted towards Thor and held it out to him. “I can trust you with these, right?”

“Of course,” Thor said with a smile as he took the bottle.

“He's just gonna need a lot of rest and ice, I think. Call me if anything gets infected or he keeps having trouble breathing.”

“Alright,” Thor said distractedly as he looked at the label on the orange bottle. Jane turned back and closed up her bag before standing. “Well, Loki, nice meeting you.”

Loki groaned and draped an arm across his face. He listened as Thor and Jane talked at the door, their voices too low for him to make anything out. He dropped his arm when the door shut, watching Thor slowly strut back into the living room and lean against the wall. Now that the rush of fear and pain had begun to subside, Loki realized with a start how hot Thor was. Jeans slung low on his narrow hips, the sleeves of his hoodie pushed up to reveal muscular forearms with thick veins running along them – Loki could only imagine what the rest of it was hiding. He had his thumb pressed between his full lips as he chewed on the nail and read the label of the pill bottle again. Loki licked his dry lips, raking his eyes up and down Thor a few more times, just to make sure he had it burned into his memory.

Loki had done quite a few seedy things since fleeing his last foster home months ago, all for far less noble reasons and with guys he would otherwise never give the time of day too. He could enjoy this, though.

Loki swallowed. He sat up slowly, his body protesting and making his jaw clench. He scooted to the end of the couch, closer to Thor, taking a deep breath to steady his voice. “Thank you for helping me. I think those guys would've killed me if you hadn't stepped in.”

Thor looked from the bottle to Loki. He said nothing and just shrugged a bulky shoulder.

Loki took that as his cue, ignoring the pain and moving the to edge of the couch, reaching for the buckle of Thor's belt. His wrists were caught in one of Thor's big hands before he could even start undoing the thing.

Whoa! What the hell are you doing?” Thor looked down at him with wide eyes, pill bottle still clutched in his other hand.

Loki blinked, the confusion probably plain on his face. “I – I want to repay you?” He hated how unsteady his voice sounded. And how Thor was looking at him like he'd just grown a horn out of the middle of his goddamn forehead.

“You look like couldn't be any older than fifteen and like you just got hit by a goddamn mack truck.

Thor released Loki's wrists and he yanked his hands back, cradling them against his sore chest, the rebuff stinging him more than he'd like to admit. “I'm 21,” he said petulantly, the lie slipping out of him easily, almost automatically.

Thor let out a huff of laughter, shaking his head. “Sure, kid.”

There was an intensely uncomfortable minute of silence before Thor sighed and asked, “when's the last time you ate?”

Loki glanced back up at him, barely able to look at Thor's face, the combination of pain and shame making his throat tight. He clenched his hands in to fists on his thighs. “I had a snickers bar this afternoon.”

Thor just nodded, looking like he expected that sort of answer and shoved the pill bottle in to his pocket, clomping off towards the kitchen. Loki followed, hobbling behind and leaning in the entryway as Thor looked through his fridge.

“You like scrambled eggs and toast?”

Loki sniffed and nodded. Thor looked back at him, his face twisting into a grimace as he pulled out a carton of eggs and a stick of butter and shut the fridge. “Go and sit down, you're making me sore just looking at you.”

Loki made his way to the table nearby, the hard, wooden chair digging into his aching body and making him hiss. He pillowed his head on his head on his arms, biting his lip to hold back the tears as he listened to Thor cook.

He must've dosed off at some point, his head feeling fuzzy as Thor tapped his shoulder.

“Hey kid, eggs are done. Come on, wake up.”

Loki lifted his head slowly, wincing at the pain. Thor set the plate in front of him, holding a fork out to Loki. Loki rested his head in one hand, taking the utensil with the other. Loki looked at the pile of eggs and toast before him like they were a daunting task while Thor fished the pill bottle out of his pocket. He poured out a couple and placed them beside a glass of water set out just beside the plate.

“Eat first, then take those,” he said firmly, adding, “I'll set up the couch for you while you do, alright?”

Loki nodded numbly, poking at the eggs with his fork. Thor stood there staring at him for a moment before walking away.

Loki's appetite came surging in on the first bite, making the task of eating much easier. His plate was empty in minutes, along with half the glass of water before he'd even remembered the painkillers that were sitting beside it. He gulped them down with the rest of the water and sat back in the chair, already feeling slightly better from just the food alone. Thor came walking back in moments later, smiling at the sight of Loki's empty plate. “Good?”

Amazing,” Loki groaned. Thinking on it a bit, he didn't actually remember the last time he ate something that hadn't come from a vending machine.

Thor nodded and took his plate and glass back in the kitchen. “You want more water?” He asked as he dropped the plate and fork in to the sink with a clatter.

“Yes.”

Thor came back in with the refilled glass, wordlessly pulling Loki up from the chair and leading him into the living room. He helped Loki to the couch, setting the glass down on the water-ring stained coffee table and laying a blanket over him. Loki pressed his face deeper into the pillow, his eyelids already beginning to droop even with the pain.

“Those pills should really kick in soon.”

Loki nodded.

“Well, if you need anything, I'll be in my room.”

“'Kay,” Loki mumbled, tugging the blanket under his chin.

Thor's hand hovered above his head, hesitating for a moment before patting it gently. “Night.”

Loki just nodded again, his eyes following Thor as he walked across the room and shut the light off before walking through another door.

Loki woke with a dry throat, lead-filled limbs, and freezing cold. Spotting the glass of water on the table with bleary eyes, he snatched it and drank the whole thing in one long pull, feeling slightly less parched now, at least. He was still cold, the thin blanket tangled in his reedy limbs not helping him much. He managed to unravel himself after a few tries, moving with half-open eyes to the door Thor had gone through and making a beeline for the bed, shivering a little as he slipped under the thicker blankets. He scooted up close to Thor, curling in to a ball against his broad, warm back. He barely noticed Thor silently waking up, his whole body going still as Loki pressed his forehead to his shoulder.

Loki,” he said cautiously, his tone giving just a hint of warning. Loki shivered.

Thor sighed, his body sagging. “How old are you, really?

“Seventeen,” Loki mumbled, not even thinking to stick with his lie.

“Where are you supposed to be right now?”

Loki's face twisted up as his cotton filled brain very clearly remembered the tiny-ass room he was forced to share with a psychotic ten year old and a pair of four year old twins with a bed wetting habit, and the screechy voiced woman who constantly made him clean all their messes. He'd put miles and miles between them, and every other family he was forcibly shoved in to since he was 12. He didn't realize he was crying until a sob escaped his throat. “Don't send me back there,” he said meekly, wedging his face between the mattress and Thor's body.

Thor moved slowly, forcing Loki back as he rolled on to his back and lifted himself up on to his elbows. The details of his face were impossible to see in the dark as he stared down at Loki. He let out another hiccup of a sob, wiping his bandaged face roughly with the back of his hand.

Shit,” Thor breathed as he looked away, rubbing his eyes roughly. He turned on to his side, facing Loki now, and raked a hand through his greasy hair. “Don't worry about it, kid. Just go to sleep.”

Loki sobbed harder and nodded, curling even tighter into Thor as he looped his arms around Loki. He took short, stuttering breaths as Thor's hand ran up and down his back, the motion lulling him and making him calm down, his hard sobs eventually turning into sniffles that eventually led to him relaxing entirely. The world fading in to dark nothingness as he fell in to a dreamless sleep.