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Mistakes And All

Author: Leopard
Rating: Moderate
Status: Complete
Preceding: Hold a Little Tighter
Succeeding: Someone I Once Knew

A Thor-centric short, set after The Avengers but following a completely AU storyline. Quite a sad AU storyline. I made myself sad writing this one. Based on Letters Home by Radical Face.

A messenger approached Odin and Frigga hesitantly, three neatly sealed envelopes in his hand. He announced himself. "Letters from the Prince, my King." 

Odin turned. "How is he?" Thor had been injured badly fighting on Vanaheim a few days previously and was being treated there. They didn't dare move him back to Asgard. 

The messenger offered two of the letters but held onto the third one uncertainly. "Pardon me, sire, but what shall I do with this?" 

"Who's it for?" The messenger shuffled uncomfortably. Frigga intervened. 

"Loki." Odin frowned, almost sneering for a moment. "Take it to him." Her voice was firm. As the messenger scurried away, Odin looked at her almost disapprovingly. "It is best that he knows. Thor is his brother." 

"You always were too soft on him." 

As they opened their letters from their son, the messenger made his way to the dungeons. 

Loki didn't look up as the door to the dungeons opened. He flicked through his book lazily as the messenger came up to his cell. "A letter has come for you." Loki smirked. He found it amusing that none of the guards or messengers knew how to address him any more: was he a prince or a prisoner?

Loki took the letter without a word, wondering what had earned him the luxury of being properly allowed something. He waited until he was completely alone before opening it. He recognised Thor's blockish but flowing handwriting at once. Why in Valhalla would he write a letter when could have simply come and visited?

This was soon made clear. "Loki," the letter read. "I know what you are thinking, but I'm afraid it it impossible that I come and visit you. It is hard to make it down stairs when you can barely stand, let alone walk." 

Loki could imagine Thor writing away in a healing room on Vanaheim and smiled. They were both caged now. Perhaps for very different reasons, after all it was probably hard to do anything but lie down when you had a stab wound in your chest. The idea of Thor being just as trapped as he was pleased him. The stupid oaf.

The idea that the full extent of Thor's wounds was not yet completely certain was not quite as entertaining. Undoubtedly, there would be a way for Odin to make his favourite son's injuries Loki's fault. He usually could, and did. 

But for once, Loki didn't care at all. Right now, he was more concerned for his brother. He could allow himself to be while no-one was watching, while no-one could see that he still really did care. He allowed himself to smile slightly too, Thor had obviously been bored judging by the length of the letter. 

Loki skimmed over most of the first page. It detailed how Thor had been injured and was mostly a monologue about fighting and how he had decided that war was terrible and pointless and how he'd been told off for writing when he should be resting and blah blah blah blah. It was so very typically Thor

It was when Loki turned to the second page that he started to read the words more carefully. "I'll be surprised if you haven't been bored out of your mind by this point and decided to give up and ignore me. That's okay. It makes me feel better to write to you anyway. I miss you, Loki."

Loki's eyebrows lowered. Thor had never been one for words and he always seemed to manage to get just the reaction he wanted from Loki. He was almost impressed and found himself wondering how many times Thor had written the words out, carefully planning what to say. 

"It's strange how much you miss when you can't do anything and you can't see anyone. At least, I suppose, everyone else could come and visit if they were allowed. The Vanir aren't letting anyone in at all, not even father and frankly I'm bored out of my mind. I empathise with you entirely now.

"I miss you. I miss Sif, and the Warriors Three. I miss mother and father. And then I have lots of thinking time now, so I find my mind wandering into memories and missing the days when we were only children. Do you find yourself thinking of all those days in the forest too?"

Loki looked away. He did. As much as he put on a face around everyone, the loneliness of his cell almost forced him to remember days gone by. Just as Thor was describing, he remembered days in the forest, fighting with swords made of branches and climbing the trees of their kingdom and ruling it all together as kings. 

How that had changed. 

I promise I shall come and visit as soon as I am able to. I did not realise just how lonesome being by yourself all day could be. I'm sorry I did not visit you before. I suppose I've been a bit of a terrible brother lately."

Loki felt a lump form in his throat. Thor wasn't the terrible one really and they both knew it. He was. Loki half-heartedly wished that he had been able to say sorry first, sorry for all his misdeeds. It was probably his fault Thor was lying there bored stiff, for he had been the one to cause the havoc across the nine realms in the first place. 

Thor continued to apologise for a while, about all those times he should have stood up for Loki, and about how he had let Loki go, and about how he sometimes hadn't been as kind as he should have been. Loki found himself once again glad to be alone, a knot of guilt twisting in his stomach as Thor apologised for things that weren't his fault. No-one was supposed to know that he really did love Thor with all his heart. Certainly, no-one could ever know that the apologies made Loki want to curl up and cry. 

"I have asked father to visit soon, and I have asked mother to greet all my friends, but until I am well there will be no words between us other that these." Loki wondered how it was possible to put such a simple thing into so many words. He smiled, knowing that Thor was implying that it would take nothing short of a miracle for Loki to be allowed to visit Thor. 

The smile fell from his face as his eyes passed over the next few words. 

"The fact is, Loki, that these could be the last words that I share with you. They suspect that there are fragments of the blade still within me, piercing my insides, and unless they can be removed, the chances are that I shall never return."

No, that wasn't fair! Loki's eyes shone and frankly he didn't care if anyone was watching. Thor could be dying at that exact moment as he was sat helplessly. He resisted the temptation to rip the letter to shreds and burn them to ashes. He read on. 

"I do not want you to worry. It is not your fault. You, for once,, were not the one that drove the blade into me. If anything it is my own fault for getting in the way. At this point, you would tell me that I'm a great oaf." Loki couldn't help but smile a little, tasting the bitter tears sliding down his cheeks. 

"If this should be the last time words are shared between us - do not give me that look - I would like to tell you that I forgive you.  I forgive the stabbings, and the lying, and the tricks. It is perhaps hard to forgive the genocide of Jotunheim or the subjugation of Midgard, but I forgive you."

It wasn't fair at all. How dare Thor not have said any of this in person? But Loki couldn't be angry because he knew that it was hard to say things like that out loud. 

"I am at peace. If I do not return, remember that in the end I was not angry with you. We have all made mistakes, and though some of yours are really rather large, when I return I am coming straight to see you where I will tell you that you are forgiven until the words pass through your thick and stubborn skull."

Loki suspected that Thor had shed a few tears at this point too, judging by the suddenly shaky writing and the crinkle of the paper. None of his words would have given him away. Thor had always been good at hiding his pain. He was almost certainly in pain now. 

"I will see you soon, Loki. Do not ever forget that I love you dearly. -Thor."

That was the end? Loki tried to swallow the lump in his throat. Carefully, he folded the letter and placed it under his pillow. That way Thor's possible last words would not be lost or ruined. 

He banged on the cell wall for a good few minutes until a guard finally walked over. "I need paper." he demanded. 

"I apologise, but the Allfather had forbidden you to reply to the Prince."  

"What?" Loki was disgusted. Odin couldn't do that, Thor was his brother! He needed to tell Thor that it was all alright, he needed to tell his brother that he had listened to his words and that it was not Thor who needed to apologise, that it was he who was not worthy of forgiveness. 

The guard started to repeat what he said. "The Allfather has-" 

"Yes, I heard you, you incompetent fool! And I care not! I need paper! I need to write a letter!" Loki could feel the despair rising inside him as the guard disappeared. He did not return. Loki spent the next few days screaming and throwing things. 

Finally a different guard returned. "I bring news of the Prince."

Loki stood eagerly, desperate to know the news. "Yes, what of Thor?" The guard paused. 

"I am sorry to tell you that the Prince has passed away. The funeral will be tomorrow." 

No. That wasn't possible. "Go." Loki said, watching as the guard left quickly. 

Loki screamed and screamed and screamed until his voice was gone and his cell shattered, and then cried until he slept. He dreamt of darkness and fire. 

He was glad the next morning, when everything was in ruins, that Thor's letter was still intact. The last words of his brother. 

"It's okay, Thor." he whispered. "It's okay. I forgive you too. I forgive you. I'm so sorry." He was on his knees now, crying silently, the letter held tightly to his chest. 

"I love you, Thor, my brother. I'm sorry."