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Loki had won; he had everything he had ever professed to want, the power, respect, and adulation of millions. This entire realm was his and his alone. Thinking back on it, those victories should have tasted much sweeter.

Yet he was only ever able to truly bask and take his success in for the first time long after, when he got Thor to say those simple words to him, short but full of feeling and genuine emotion.

“I’m proud of you, Brother.”

Loki had quickly become addicted to having Thor act so ‘brotherly’, and encouraged the behavior as much as he could.

Those big blue eyes (too blue) would look at him with such adoration and trust; it helped him through his minor failings as he fumbled to adjust to his new responsibilities.

“It’s alright, you’ll do better next time.”

Thor actually seemed to value his talents, now.

“You’re really coming along with that spell, show it to me again?”

Loki wanted to stop the control he had over his brother, wanted the things Thor told him to be real.

“What did you want to do tonight? We can do something together if you’re not too busy.”

Loki wanted his brother to value his opinion.

“What do you think we should do?”

Every once in a while he thought that maybe he should ease the control off a bit, just a little bit so Thor would really be the one acting like this to him of his own free will. He would be brotherly because he wanted to be, not because it was expected or because he couldn’t help it. It was with a sick dread that Loki would quickly shoot his own idea down.

‘Little liar, must you lie even to yourself?’ a part of him would sneer in disgust at such thoughts. And it was true; he didn’t need the lie to go that far in order to be happy. Loki really shouldn’t be so greedy, lest he lose what he had only recently gained.

Thor, his brother, was there for him. He would laugh and talk and spend time with Loki without needing a reason. There was never a condescending word, never was he forgotten or disregarded in a rush of activity. Thor was still as radiant as always, resplendent in his glory - outwardly undiminished by Loki’s hold over his mind. It made it much easier to believe that everything was alright. Because everything was alright. It was as it had always been meant to be.

“You would never abandon me?” Loki would occasionally ask. This was still a deep fear, one that had crept even deeper and lodged itself securely around him upon learning of his origins. And to his everlasting delight, Thor’s response never deviated.

“No matter what, we are brothers. Your place will always be beside mine, as mine will always be beside yours.”