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Underground by Margo_Kim, avengers + loki, steve/tony + clint/natasha, tony & loki, some thor & loki, dark!thor, post-apocalypse, avengers!loki, 60k
    Five years ago, Thor's Chitauri army decimated the Earth. Now what's left of humanity lives in bases under the Earth's surface, safe from the toxic atmosphere. Tony likes to think that humanity's adapted pretty well. After all, they have movie nights and dances; they're doing better than could be expected. But when he learns that the little world of safety and stability they've carved out is about to be slowly but surely destroyed, the New York Underground is left with only two options--fight or flight. Tony knows which one he wants. If only Steve weren't on the exact opposite side. Meanwhile, Natasha wants whatever option will save Clint, Pepper wants whatever option will save the base, Maria Hill wants whatever option will save everybody, and nobody's exactly sure who Loki's trying to save, but everyone's hoping it's more than just himself.
    Xparrot recommended this fic to me, which I would have passed over as I thought it was primarily Steve/Tony-focused, and there wouldn't be enough Loki for me. And, perhaps, for those that really don't care for Tony-centric fic or really hate the pairing may still yet want to skip this one, I admit that I skimmed any scenes that were just about the relationship, but it was less central to the story than I'd originally feared it would be. I still read 95% of this story, as the majority of it is about the world they're living in here, this different and horrible world that they don't know any different from, and it's utterly engrossing. I could not stop reading! The author has a brilliant Tony voice, absolutely everything about the way he spoke and the way he approached situations, the level of disaffection vs genuine care was perfectly balanced, and every scene he had with Loki was utter fucking perfection.

This Loki was incredible all the way around, there was nothing taken away from the sharpness or the jagged edges to the character even when he was on the good guys' side here, so many lines that had just nearly putting down my reader because I was giggling (his scenes with Tony are seriously a thing of perfection) one moment, but then having to step away for awhile just out of sheer feelings for the bitter weight he carries. The scenes after Sif arrive were incredibly hard to read, but in the way the author intended, especially given how this was all set from Tony's point of view, yet the author never made it feel limiting or like the narrative was cheating to get in all that it did. I was so pleased with how vital Loki was to everything here without the fic feeling like it was playing fanservice to the character or even dismissing Thor's importance to the story.

I was a little afraid while reading, I admit, but it was overwhelmed by how much I loved how fucking terrifying this Thor was, one who did not hold himself back, one who razed worlds and used a fuller scope of his powers. They were right to be terrified sometimes just of his name, the author really made that work. So, my fears of how I wouldn't believe this Thor was possible were put to the side for awhile... until the backstory started unfolding and then, oh, I was hooked, because the full story just punched me in the feelings like you wouldn't believe. The points where this fic made me cry were the ones between Thor and Loki, the resolution so satisfying but so wrenching all the same. While I might not recommend it solely for their interaction, as it's brief in the overall scope of the fic, I do count it as one of the major reasons I so enjoyed this fic.

At its heart, though, it's a fic about Tony Stark and the relationships he has with everyone around him and their struggle to survive this world they find themselves in. The author does brilliant things with Maria Hill, possibly one of the best versions of her I've read in a fic like this, and I actually really loved the remnents of the Tony/Pepper relationship, one that was real, but I understood why it didn't survive into this new world, and their something-like-friendship was still felt. She was still important and that delighted me. The horror of the world they inhabit, the scope of the background world that was built here, the details that worked seamlessly into the narrative, all the epic shit that happened, both on-screen and off, the incredible final battle scenes, all of it was breathtakingly so good. Especially the ending. I don't think I was making coherent noises by the time I was finishing this fic.

J'entre dans la légende by fallintosanity (yopumpkinhead), avengers + loki + thanos, wakfu crossover, canon divergence, action fic, implied torture, 117k
    Loki is bound to deliver the Infinity Gauntlet to Thanos. But he knows as soon as Thanos has it he’ll destroy the Nine Realms and rule whatever’s left. It’s hard to be a king without a kingdom, so Loki has no intention of letting that happen. Thanos may be a titan, but Loki is still the God of Lies and Mischief…
    I've been reading this fic off and on for a few months now and I've finally finished it! It's not that it was a bad fic that it took me so long, just that it's one of those that... it was an intense ride and each scene had so much happening that I felt satisfied by just reading a chapter or two, as well as... this sounds like a back-handed compliment, especially on a genfic which works best as gen the way it was... but I still would read this fic, especially once it got into later scenes, and just desperately crave Thorki fic. It's a compliment because the writing of that relationship was the kind that got to me in such a thorough way that it really hit my fannish heart. So, if you're like me, I would suggest having a few pwp fics onhand to help with the cravings, but if you like them as purely brothers, then this fic is going to be really good. For a fic that initially had me worried about how the Thor&Loki relationship would play out, because they were distant to each other at first and I wasn't sure how important that bond would be by the end, this is actually one of the most moving fics I've read for them in awhile. It's not meant to be solely focused on them, but it's one of the major themes, so it's worth reading if you're a Thor & Loki fan!

Especially by the end, when the fic is ramping up into its climax, once the necessary revelations have been made, this fic is so good for the Thor&Loki feels. I'll admit, it veered too far into Loki apologia/favoritism territory by the end for it to be perfect, but I also freely admit that the fic brought tears to my eyes and that I found the balance between Loki's damage and his intentions to do better was really well done. This is a Loki who is trying to save everyone, but who is still broken and vicious, who is poisonously angry and hardened against so much of the rest of the world. This is a fic about how damaged Loki is and how that's not fixed by doing the right thing (though, maybe eventually, one day, he could heal, which I think will be the focus of the sequel fics) and I really liked that about the fic.

The fic does everything else right, too--the use of the Avengers and Asgard and Thanos was all brilliantly done, the kind of solid storytelling that screams of professional level writing and pacing and structure to me. The crossover with the series Wakfu is beautifully done, the two series fit seamlessly together, so that even the OC that Loki is paired with actually works. The character is necessary and she doesn't take over or crowd out the established characters or their relationships with each other, so I recommend reading even if you're not usually a fan, because the OC doesn't actually take up that much space. Everyone in this fic gets their crowning moment of awesome (though, Thor and Loki get the best ones, especially oh man Thorrrrrrr), because the fic does a fantastic job at juggling a large cast and making each of them relevant to the story. The voices for each of them are very solid, everything works here and it really is one of the best Thanos-dealing fics I've read in the fandom.

The sheer scope of this fic is incredible as well, both for just how much happens and for the reach of it, how many places this war spreads to and all that has to come together to stop it. At its heart, it's about Loki and Thor and the Avengers and the world of Wakfu, but it goes beyond that as well into the other Nine Realms. It's one of those fics that I inhaled the last third of the fic practically in one sitting because I could not stop reading it, because it was just so very much what I wanted out of this fandom and the plot fic potential possible here, and found myself so very envious because, ahhh, what I wouldn't do for a brilliant fic like this in the Thorki fandom, too. But I will totally take my genfic and eagerly start reading the sequels next and heartily, heartily recommend this to anyone looking for just plain good fic in this fandom.

God in the Machine: The Marachek Protocol by Mythtaken Identity (VR2LBast), natasha + avengers + loki, mild background pairings, egyptian mythology, action scenes, 99.6k
    All is not right after Thor left for Asgard, taking Loki with him. Tony Stark discovers an alien parasite invading the networks of his tower and attempting to make its way out into the rest of the world. Only one viable solution has been suggested, but it might be a case of the cure being far worse than the disease...
    Rec #1: I've been reading this fic for the last week or so, but every time I got close to catching all the way up, the fic would update again! While I'm not sure if the fic is already finished and just now being posted or if the author is still writing, the updating pace has been at such a good clip that I would still recommend this even though it's currently a wip. I also recommend it because this is one of those fics where... I've read over 80k of this fic and it really does not feel like it! The writing is paced beautifully so that everything just sails right along, where I will sit and read 10 or 20k at once and not even feel the time passing. The action is engrossing and the fic blends together Egyptian mythology beautifully with the Marvel movieverse. The fic also does a solid job of giving different Avengers their moments of awesome, which is why I'm recommending more for Avengers teamfic/plotfic than for Thor-centric reasons. Which is why I picked the fic up in the first place, of course, because I remember liking everything I've read by this author and there were intriguing Thor & Loki scenes in the beginning, but it's not centered on them.

If I had to pick a central character, I would say it's Natasha, really, and that's part of why I love the fic so much, because she's awesome and human and scary and terrifying and yet still relatable. The fic does a lovely job of balancing bamf!Natasha with human!Natasha, while making all of it feel very organic to the storyline. It made sense to me that she would find herself at the center of all this! But that doesn't mean that Thor or Tony don't have their important moments, too, because this is about the Avengers as a team. I love how none of it feels bogged down, either, that the unwinding of the plot is just as interesting and sharp and fresh as when I first started reading, which makes me feel like this is a fic that really knows what it's doing.

The other thing that I really love is Egyptian mythology! That fits with the MCU! And feels like these are gods here! They're not gods in the same way that the Norse characters are gods, but it doesn't leave the other pantheons feeling disrespected, just that they're... different. Neither is better or worse than the other, which is something I love, because I'm emotionally invested in the already established characters, so I don't want to feel like they're not important or heavy hitters, but neither do I want to feel like they wouldn't have the ability to just come in and put this fire out, but... don't. The fic manages really well on that aspect, when Set is unleashed on Midgard and is a truly terrifying enemy, all the more so because he's not unfriendly about it. There's an aspect of him being off, in a way that is unsettling, but also fascinating. And then more of the other Egyptian gods are introduced and it just works really well!

I'm probably writing a terrible rec for this, but I'm greatly, greatly enjoying it! Even if it's not your usual set of characters to read about, I would recommend this one if you like genfic at all, because it captures so much of what I enjoy about epic plotfic and crossovers and weaving together of different mythologies and excellent use of detail and truly epic in scope enemies to fight that are still possible to eventually defeat. And it just goes so fast that you'll hardly even notice you're reading it. :D
    Rec #2: I'm honestly not sure why this fic doesn't have more comments or kudos, whether it's the length or the difficulty in describing or tagging it indicate what it's about or the egyptian mythology crossover or what, but it's such a shame, because it's one of the best things I've read lately! I've done recommendations for the fic before, but chapter 23+ hadn't been posted yet, so I wanted to do one more to cover the entire fic, especially since the last third of the fic is even more engrossing than previous parts! Whatever reservations you might have about the fic, I genuinely think that they're not terribly important ones, because this is a team story and everyone gets their moments of awesome, the two worlds are blended together beautifully, and the author knows how to pull off everything necessary to make a fic like this work. But the best thing is that you'll swear it's not almost 100k long because it absolutely does not feel like it! It didn't even feel like half that to me, while I was reading, because it just so smoothly sailed along!

The ending is pure delight as well, as the battle against Set ramps up and the Avengers scramble to pull all the pieces together that they need, to get the right information and put the puzzle together in just the right way. The ending did justice to the story that was built up before it, that there was an action scene that was pure fun to read about, but also it was about intelligence and cunning, that Natasha continued her role as being so vitally important to figuring all of this out. There was also more interaction with Loki towards the end, which was another delight for me, because the scenes with him always make me sit up and pay even more attention, especially when Natasha and Loki have a conversation, one that highlights the parallels between the characters, just as much as the contrasts between them. It's a gorgeous job of showing two characters who never tell the whole story, but without the scene feeling unsatisfying for it, which is not easy to do! There are even some genuinely disturbing implications written in, without making it feel forced or unecessary!

This is one of those fics that I just got sucked into, that the quick and clean pace of it and the straightforward style of prose utterly engrossed me, so that the focus was entirely on the plot and the story being told here. It's a story that feels to me very much like a professional novel would, a tie-in type of book, which I mean in the very best of ways. Everything feels so very solid here, it's an emotionally satisfying fic, and it... sort of reminds me of something a bit old school, in the way there used to be all these really neat stories told that focused purely on plot. There are some romantic moments, which I greatly enjoyed, but 98% of this story was all about the Avengers vs an Egyptian god and, boy, was it a blast to read.

The Calculator by katsu, thor & loki + avengers, plot fic, 38.9k
    It began with a calculator. A clunky thing, the size of what would be considered to be a laptop these days, with giant keys for punching in numbers and only four functions. But it was fascinating to a young boy that liked mathematical functions far more than he liked people.
    This is a sequel to Bunny Slippers, which would probably help to have read first, I think. This fic is the real reason I wanted to dive into this author's work, because I desperately need more ~40k fic in my life. I neeeeed it! And how I felt about the previous fic holds true for this one as well--beautiful writing, beautiful sense of comedy and the timing to make it perfect, a fantastic eye for detail and when to put them in, hilarious footnotes! But also this Loki is more... there's rage and elegance and appreciation for the finer things in life, which all fit with my Loki as well, especially the part where he's smarter than almost everyone else in every room ever, but this Loki is... a little more Joker than I usually see the character as being. He's gleeful and random, which... it's not a bad thing! Certainly, I rolled with it quite well and wound up enjoying the hell out of this fic, I saw where the author was coming from, and I was absolutely charmed by this Loki. He was poised and refined and so, so brilliant, always thinking, if bordering on manic levels of thoughts always racing through his head, and, oh, I was so satisfied with his relationship with Thor here.

But also this fic was satisfying because it had a plot and everything! Loki's up to his usual shenanigans and, for once, it backfires on him and he brings a robot to life and it sucks out all his magic, which means Loki has to deal with this shit with just his wits, which is still more than enough, but it also means the Avengers get involved, which means fucking Thor gets involved and it's a lot harder to shake him off, and, oh, Thor finds Loki HILARIOUS at times and I fully agree with this because, yes, I totally think Thor thinks Loki's hilarious when he's being an evil little shit on purpose. It's also in how this author uses Loki's magic being gone as a way to make him deal with his Jotunn heritage a bit more, uses it to show that Loki is not just defined by his magic, that it's only one part of him, uses the entire situation to show how Loki is full of just so much rage. Uses it to show that he has such anger at Thor, but also loves him so dearly. This Loki is a charming fucker and and and! Working with the Avengers! It was written before the movie came out, so it's not movie-compliant, but if you squinted a little, it could probably just simply take place in the future, a few years down the road. I really enjoyed this a lot, it was so nice to have a fic that was just FUN to read and sink into again today! And the author really is amazingly talented and, ahhh, I love this fandom a lot.

No Such Liberty by Xparrot, thor & loki + other asgardians + avengers + thanos, action fic, redemption fic, 147k
    Thor takes Loki back to Asgard in chains, but this does not mean that the god of mischief's schemes are ended, or that Thor has or ever will give up on his brother. But when Thanos threatens the realm to claim his lost prizes, on which side will Loki fall?
    Note: I don't believe I've done a rec for the fic as a whole, but instead wrote chapter by chapter recommendations (for awhile), which I do eventually want to pick up again. This fic is very dear to me, I was lucky to test read it as Xparrot was writing it and so I claim no objectivity at all, except I still think it's objectively one of the best the fandom has to offer. Certainly, this fic spoiled me for Thor characterization and the entire fic is so worth the ride. Even if you normally only read pairing fic, I still recommend this one for Thor/Loki fans!
    Chapter 01: Oh, you guys. I am going to write the worst recs for this fic. The absolute worst, because I'm going to have a hundred feelings all at once and I'm going to nearly keyboard smash my way through a rec for probably every chapter as it gets posted and flail wildly and nobody's going to take me seriously and I know all of that ahead of time, but, god, this Loki. This fic is going to be so good for me. Even when the first chapter is mostly just Thor and Loki showing up in Asgard again after the events of The Avengers movie, what this fic is already doing is taking its time to lay out the groundword of the aftermath--their arrival, Thor talking with Odin (and, oh, this Odin really gets under my skin, because I can't entirely blame him, but sometimes I worry so much about what's in his head...!), then Thor talking with his friends--every inch of this fic is already working towards getting inside Thor's head and trying to get him to understand Loki, showing that Loki is not so easily swayed, if only he were, because that would be so much easier, and even in just a few lines, just a sentence of description of when Thor looks over at Loki when they arriave, it says everything about Loki and what he is/isn't. It's one of those fics that seems fairly straightforward on the surface, but the more I read it, the more I realize everything that's going into it, the more that's being woven in that I never saw the first time around, and the more I love it.
    Chapter 02: Ahhh, the second chapter of this fic is so good. It's two scenes, both set from Thor's point of view (as the fic is a Thor pov piece), one with Frigga and then one with Loki. Both of the scenes put this dull ache in my chest while reading, an emotional weight there that comes from just starting to wade through the aftermath of The Avengers, of finding Loki back in Asgard for the first time, and how there's so much to untangle. This Frigga is absolutely gorgeous, the way she loves her sons so very much, even as she is ever calm and graceful, the way the slightest tightening of her lips, the way Thor hurts for her and for his brother, the sense of... just not quite knowing where everything went wrong or how to approach this. It's a stunning scene with beautiful background details of the world around them and their childhood woven in. It's the same for when Thor goes to see Loki for the first time since they came back and Loki is so... he's so incredibly hard to read, everything could have a dozen different meanings, and each one of them heavier and harder than the last. This Loki is stunning, he's graceful and deadly and all he has to do is stand there and tilt his head this way or twist a question around so that you have no idea what he means. It's gorgeous to watch Thor slowly start to try to parse Loki's words, that same heavy weight in my chest at how I just want things fixed already.
    Chapter 03: I loved this chapter because it does such a lovely job of building up the things that don't often get built in fic--the background world and the more mundane things like actually rebuilding the Bifrost--and yet does it in such a way that's both interesting and serves purpose! This chapter does a lovely job of showing how Thor has grown as a character, when he's in a situation where he has to be more diplomatic rather than a warrior, yet without sacrificing everything that makes him Thor. And I am delighted by how well rounded the dwarves and builders feel in this fic, because they actually feel like they have their own reasons and motives and personalities! And this chapter also starts to touch on Odin's role in all of this, who is so inscrutable and hard to read (which drives me up the wall because I just want my happy family back--!) and, when Loki picks apart the exact words Odin says to Thor, it's this... it's almost like this game of chess between two brilliant people, two people that are more similar than a lot of people seem to realize, two people who are out of Thor's league when it comes to logic. This fic does a beautiful job with that, does a beautiful job with showing Thor actually taking steps out of his usual comfort zone to help his brother, which gives me SO MANY FEELS, I just love Thor's character SO MUCH here, but also shows that Thor is growing into this even more amazing person and just... I really want to roll around in the feels with this fic.
    Chapter 04: This fic is RUINING me, you guys. Like, you don't even understand how badly. I fell in love with it because of the intensely fantastic Loki characterization, but where it really got me is in the way it slowly sneaked up on me with the Thor feels and, wham, all of a sudden I realized, whoa, this is actually some really thoughtful, incredibly insightful Thor characterization. This chapter isn't even really about Thor himself that much, but about Loki and the beginnings of his twisty and turny interactions with Odin and whatever it is that he's plotting to get himself out of trouble and yet it's still ruining me! Because this Thor is thoughtful while still being a warrior at heart, because he loves Loki dearly, but he hopefully knows better than to trust him. Plus, this chapter has some gorgeous delicate word choice from Loki, who really is a wordsmith here, who knows exactly the right thing to say to get the reaction he wants, who knows how to weave or undo a spell at the perfect time, and this fic has the single best use of "Laufeyson" I've yet come across in this fandom, because it makes sense here! Ugh, this is turning into my favorite Loki characterization and favorite Thor characterization in the fandom. Fuck this fic for being so good.
    Chapter 05: Yes. Yes, I am going to do separate recs for each chapter (despite that I've let the fic build up for a bit) because I am so dearly attached to this fic and it's one of my favorites and has been deeply influential on my thoughts/feelings on the characters in fandom. By which I mean, fuck, this fic is ruining me for Thor characterization in fandom! Though, this chapter really allowed Frigga a chance to shine, when she visits Loki in his cell and, oh, it's perfect, especially as seen through Thor's eyes, the way Loki is softer towards her, the way he'll accept things from her he won't for others, the way her words aren't twisted around by him, the way he makes his first semi-apology to her. You can feel the weight of emotion there between both of them, despite that they're both such elegant, reserved people and that's perfect. But this chapter sings in other ways, especially the little details being worked in, like Thor's remembering of when they shared a bed as children, with absolutely delightful Loki characterization even just in Thor's thoughts! Or how there's a sense of... even when Loki is right in front of Thor, it feels like he's slipping away and that's gorgeously done, too.
    Chapter 06: As much as I love this fic for the Thor characterization (and, boy, do I), I also love it for the Loki characterization! The way Loki... he has a way with words here, even at a distance, the way he can stir people up and throw chaos bombs into a situation while not even being in the room is beautifully done here. He doesn't even have to work terribly hard at it! They don't even have to know it's his influence! And that is what I love in Loki characterization in fic. That as well as the way the builders and dwarves approach him--thinking that he can only lie so much about physical properties of things, it's not like he can just make stuff up about basic physics, and that's where he gets you, I keep thinking, EVEN WHEN I AGREE. But also this chapter has some amazing Odin moments, who is almost as much fun to try and analyze when seen through Thor's point of view, because he knows some things about his father, but can't follow all the complex, twisty thoughts that must be going on in his head, which also adds further twistiness to the questions of Loki's motives, because Odin's vague answers are SO INTERESTING and they capture my imagination and I just... want to pull all the characters apart and see what makes them tick!
    Chapter 07: One of the other things I love about this fic is that it's so filled with background stories in Thor's thoughts, which accentuate the present, rather than getting the current Loki lost in the vision of the past. What I mean is... Thor is working to see Loki as he is now, he's so much more clear-eyed on who his brother actually is, but Thor is also putting this together with the memories he has of when they were younger and that is so much what I want. Not everything was terrible or a lie, not everything should be forgotten, not everything was untrue. So, Sif bringing up a memory that she's reminded of when watching Loki, it makes you question his motives now, what Loki is planning and plotting (because Loki must always be doing so), it left me with a sense of unease toward Loki's character even when I couldn't pinpoint what it was he was doing, but also worked to paint a fuller picture of who Loki is over the expanse of his entire life, not just that Loki and this Loki. Also, Loki showing more of his true self and thoughts (instead of being diplotmatic for once) around Thor? Yes, good for me, give me that. And, oh, be glad that chapter 8 has already been posted, because this one would have ended on a bitch of a cliffhanger.
    Chapter 08: This chapter is very difficult to talk about without getting into spoilers, but here goes! As I was rereading this chapter, the pacing of it struck me as being so well done, that this chapter has the kind of direction of story that makes a reader think back on everything they've read up to this point, it makes a reader desperately want to get inside Loki's head and examine every little gesture or word he's said. It's extremely satisfying--even if it's not something I can say I wanted to happen--because it was obviously inevitable and such an important turning point in the story. Rereading this chapter, I remember the first time I did so, how it was a bit confusing as to what precisely just happened at a certain point, but that I could trust the fic to explain it (and, oh, it will) and how much this chapter ripped my heart out, how it put tears in my eyes because I just cared so much about everyone here. And, oh, this fic has one of the best Frigga scenes I've ever read, pretty much.
    Chapter 09: And this is the chapter where everything falls apart, where there is so much hurt and heartache, it's a terrible chapter to be left on a cliffhanger for, but I know this author can be trusted to have written such a situation because she uses them to break the characters down so that she can build them back up. I don't mind angsty stories, I eat them up frequently! But the angst needs to have a point for me (aside from "they're a doomed pairing!") otherwise it's not satisfying--but, as painful as this is, and I believe it should be the nadir of the fic, there's a reason for it here. And that makes a huge difference to me. All the more so, because this is used as a way to show that Loki is Loki, that Loki will always be Loki and that one of the greater points of this story is that Thor has to see Loki for who he truly is, that he has to accept both the good and bad in Loki, if he ever wants a real relationship with his brother again.

And, yes, things are harder now because Loki is still so damaged and twisted up inside after the events of the movies, he's still so freshly wounded here, but... the other point of this fic is that, even when there are explanations for Loki's behavior, they do not excuse it. He is just not justified here. That also makes a huge difference to me! But the real reason this fic is one of my favorites is, for all that I love Loki, it's that Thor as well has so many important things to go through, he has to learn to think, to learn to puzzle things out. Loki is the perfect motivation for that, because Thor loves his brother so dearly and he has to work so hard to genuinely understand his brother, which is a natural extention of what was (hopefully) started in the movies. This fic gives me as many Thor feels as it does Loki feels, because I never side against him, no matter how much I desperately love Loki, and there is little that I want more than for BOTH of them to have to progress as characters.

And, one more thing, Frigga continues to be amazing here. I love her just for herself, because she makes me feel all these things for her character, for how much she loves both her sons, for how she loves Loki, but she also loves Thor, how she's refined and elegant, how she's regal and calm, but you can just feel so much right along with her. She's beautifully characterized here, but it's also in the way that she's used to show that there is more than one side to this issue. Little turns me off faster in Thor&Loki fic where one side is completely in the right and the other is completely in the wrong. Here, I understand where everyone is coming from and I love that Frigga is used to further this, that Loki is not justified, he's done terrible things that cannot be swept aside, but neither is he without explanation. This fic is ruining me for the rest of fandom, goddammit.
    Chapter 10: I realize that nearly all of this fic has been posted and normally I would read through everything that had been posted since the last time I did an update rec, but this fic is special to me so I'm going to do what I want, Thor. I will eventually do an easier to read rec once the whole fic is finished, but in the meantime I just have so many things to say that I'm going to do this for awhile. (Since this recs blog is my way of vomiting up my feelings, this works best for me.) One of the things that this fic taught me was that it's brilliantly structured, so that there is no point in the fic where my attention lulled as much as it might have, given that there are so many high points and exciting things happening, which is one of the things brilliantly captured in this chapter. Beyond this point I am going to talk about SPOILERS FOR UP TO THIS CHAPTER, which means you shouldn't read this if you haven't started in on the fic yet!

In the previous chapter, Loki made another grab for the Tesseract and came dangerously close to succeeding before they managed to stop him. After scenes like that, it can be difficult to go back to quieter events in the aftermath, unless the author takes the chance to really capitalize on what those events change for the characters. This is a major turning point for the characters and the plot, because Loki's motivations were revealed and this is what he was counting on and, oh, you can feel his desperation here when his plans have gone awry, in that way that's just the hint of mania leaking through that you know means there's so much more under the surface. And this Thor is exquisite in just how angry he is with Loki, how very close to the line of just being done with his brother that he is, except you can also feel the love underneath that. With most of the story, the focus is on Thor, but this chapter especially shows Loki and, oh, he's so perfect here. This is absolutely pitch-perfect post-Avengers Loki, that precarious balance between a master manipulator and someone who genuinely is on the brink of losing his sanity, someone who is all sharp edges and desperation even as he's brilliant. This is a Loki that you're always looking to see what's underneath everything, until you catch that glimpse of something so painful and heartbreaking that it just punches you in the feelings. There's one of the most powerful scenes for that in this chapter.

But there's also an action scene, where the fight between Thor and Loki is beautifully done and does justice to both characters and there's this sense of... this scene is almost cathartic, whether for the characters or the reader, to have some of Loki's anger finally vented and, oh, what's beautifully done as well is the progression of Thor's feelings. After Loki did such a terrible thing previously, how can they possibly go anywhere from there? But this fic achieves that and I cannot tell you how impressed I am by that.
    Chapter 11: For all that the central focus of this fic is on the Thor&Loki relationship, for all that the plot and the heart of the story revolve around those characters and their relationship with each other, this is also a fic about Thor as a character and the progression of character he undergoes. The fic never directly spells it out for you, but one of the best things is that you can feel that it is because of Loki that he goes through so much maturing, even if it's by painful means. You can feel that in this chapter, where they do not interact directly, where instead Thor converses with the dwarves and Sif instead, but his thoughts never stray far from Loki, nor is there any cessation in Thor's constant struggle to figure this morass out. Beyond this point I'm going to talk about SPOILERS for up through the chapter previous to this, so please only continue if you've already read that far.

In the previous chapter, the confrontation between Thor and Loki was about how Loki's plans have fallen to pieces and that causes Loki to spin out of control again, which shows more of the chaos that's roiling inside him and it gives Thor a lot to think on. That's at the heart of this chapter and I love that the fic does a couple of things with it--the use of his conversation with Sif here to parse the events of the previous chapter is lovely. It would be easy to be frustrated with Sif, who does not love Loki as Thor loves him, but if you think of her position, it's entirely understandable--I, too, am far less forgiving of those who hurt my dear ones than I am of those who hurt me directly. Sif's anger is at the burden this has placed on Thor and I can't help but understand that, even as I rather desperately want to leap to Loki's defense.

But it's this conversation with her that allows Thor to confess what happened there, when Loki goaded Thor into nearly killing him and just what that means and how deep Loki's damage runs. It's satisfying to see Thor realizing more of what's truly going on with Loki, learning to read his brother better than ever, but also just because it's emotionally satisfying as a dramatic twist to the plot. And that's what I love about this fic, there's so much thought and care in everything that happens, it always serves a purpose and moves the story along. The rebuilding of the Bifrost is focused on in this chapter as well and it's utterly delightful on a world building level, because I love that it makes sense that they would of course be working to rebuild it as quickly as possible, it lends a sense of a more fully fleshed out world and plot to this story. I love stories that deal with the culture and world of Asgard, to have them truly a part of a story that's still about the Thor&Loki relationship at its heart is just the best for me.
    Chapter 12: In a way, it's difficult to limit myself to one chapter per night these days, because I don't want to conflate the events of one chapter with those of another so I force myself to just one, because the fic is so well structured that, even knowing what happens, I just want to continue reading because I know that there will be more feelings just around the corner and each chapter is well designed to flow into the next. And I love that, even a couple of chapters after Loki's grab for the Tesseract and how that destroyed all the trust he'd built up, we're still feeling the aftermath of it so intensely, which I love because you can feel the nadir of that event slowly passing, that it's slowly smoothing out again, even if the fic keeps you devastated at just how damaged Loki is and how he really is like an onion being peeled back, both in terms of his lies and what he's covering up by acting like he's still together.

This chapter is pure Thor&Loki feels, with Loki's mind just being an endless series of more and more bags of cats, and there's this beautifully heartbreaking sense of just how chaotic it is in there, even to Loki. I love the way this fic manages to get me to enjoy Loki's vulnerability, because that's when you can get the best chance of getting real truth out of him, yet my heart still breaks for him, and it's all done in a way that I have the utmost respect for. These moments are so hard won, so complex and convoluted to how they get there, it's tiring just to think back on all that's happened to get them here. There's so much conflict here, in this chapter especially, but also in the fic as a whole. The entire thing is about conflict and the characters struggling through it--Loki's conflicting desires and conflicting signals that he gives out, sometimes on purpose, sometimes because he's not entirely sane, the conflict between those two things, and the conflict to understand him. There's also so much conflict in Thor, who struggles to figure Loki out, to figure out how to believe in him after all that's happened, then struggles to let go of him, because he wants to walk away and be done, if Loki is going to do such terrible things, but Loki being so broken and damaged, without that excusing his actions, but at least explaining them, that further feeds into the conflict and struggle that Thor faces.

It's such an endlessly complicated and complex story that's being woven here and this is a chapter that is much quieter, but is used to show the greater struggle for it. Loki lays himself bare more than usual, so very tired and unsure of himself anymore, heartbreaking in the way that he thinks he's truly lost and doesn't know where to go. There's an incredibly difficult conversation about what happened the last time Thor visited him, when Loki nearly goaded Thor into using Mjolnir to kill him, and whether or not he still feels that way, which had my heart twisting around painfully all over again, as you could feel Thor imaginging Loki taking his own life again, you could feel all the images that evoked in Thor's mind as well as your own, you could feel the clawing need to make sure that didn't happen.

At this point, I think it's only about a third of the way into the story and yet the pacing feels perfect, for how it's taken this long just to crack Loki open just this much, so of course it's going to take even longer to get him to start setting himself to rights. Plus, this chapter also has Loki sleeping against Thor's shoulder and the revelation of just what's going on when Loki sleeps and how absolutely terrifying that is to learn at this point, to wonder how long that's been going on, to find yet another piece of the puzzle of Loki's damage. And it's gorgeous for that.
    Chapter 13: One of the recurring themes in this fic is Loki feeling used by Odin to sharpen Thor into a better king, that Loki himself isn't important beyond what he can be used for Thor's sake and how difficult it is to show someone that that's not true, when they're set on believing it. The scene in this chapter, between Frigga and Thor, also deals with this, in parsing truth from the twisted version of it, because brothers inevitably shape who the other will grow to be, as that's the way of any relationship, which fits with the larger theme of this fic. That it's difficult to figure out where the truth of such a question's answer can be found, the struggle to find it reflects Thor's greater struggle to find the truth of Loki in amongst the half-truths. And it's all the lovelier for Frigga's interaction with her son here and how much she loves both of them so much.

There is also a delightful reveal here about an earlier scene and how the author clearly planned this ahead of time, the revelation being worked into the narrative in a natural way, that it would come up in this conversation. I adore scenes with Frigga in them, especially because we get so few between Frigga and Thor, where you can feel how caught she is between all these extreme players who are at odds with each other, but she loves each of them so very dearly. That Frigga is such a calming influence, that she has insight to offer that none of the others in Thor's life could offer, especially because Loki is not entirely unlike his mother in many ways, especially all those that are graceful and subtle, all of that is wonderful to read here and makes this chapter no less enthralling for me than the high action scenes.
    Chapter 14: This is one of my favorite chapters from this fic, because the two 'sides' of the chapter are both things that I love with a fierceness and also show off just how much thought and care have gone into this fic once again. The first half is a scene where Odin visits Loki in his cell and there's so much to pull apart in that scene, so much to really look at and think about and contrast and compare, with these two characters that the writing does justice to, especially given how twisty and complicated they both are. The author does a brilliant job of showing how complicated these two are, because everything has double meanings and they both have these labyrithian thought/speech patterns, you see how Loki is very similar to his father in this respect! At the same time, the author uses this conversation between them to show Loki's unravelling state, that he has so much less than usual to hold him together, that he flies apart so much more easily, when put against another wordsmith who has the power to pull him apart.

It would be easy to cast MCU Odin too far to one side or another, either too soft or too hard on his son, but this fic does a gorgeous job of constantly making you unsure of what's going on with him, that it's so complicated, because Loki is his son, but he is also a king and a steward for so many that he must be responsible for and Loki has brought something truly terrible to their doorstep. This is not a character who is perfect, he probably steps over the line here, but I cannot hate him for it, because he feels so very real here. He feels weary and tired and powerful and torn between love and responsibility and, if I am going to give Loki some slack for character depth, of course I would want to do the same for Odin, even if we are never really inside the character's head.

The other half of the chapter is a scene between Thor and Loki, after Odin leaves and Loki is more of a wreck than usual and, oh, oh, oh, this is why I read h/c fic, because the comfort afterwards is what makes it so worthwhile. When Thor sees Loki like this again, when he's been pulled apart enough that Thor can genuinely start to understand him, when this hard won insight into his brother allows him greater understanding of just how much Loki suffers (even as that does not excuse his actions!), it's heartbreaking and breathtaking. I love all of it for the character progression, how this is as much about Thor learning to think even more deeply about the world around him as it is about Loki coming back from the edge, that sometimes you have to be broken to set things right, and that's a painful process. But I love it even more for the way Thor comforts Loki here, that doesn't even need to be about my usual preference for romantic interaction between them, because it's just so damn emotionally satisfying that it doesn't need to be anything more than what it is.

But truly best of all? While this is a fic that makes me feel so desperately for Loki, that makes me want redemption for him, that makes me aches for what he's been through, that shows his situation was so much more sympathetic and complicated than people might realize... while it does all of that, it never takes away from Loki's choices or that he continues to scheme and plot and do terrible things. This is a fic that's about untangling everything with his character, set through Thor's character progression, but is about understanding, rather than excusing. This Loki made his choices and there is so much good still possible, but it's not going to be without bumps along the way that Loki's hand put there.

A Bright and Bitter Flame by forthegreatergood, loki & avengers + other marvel characters, some thor & loki, some loki & coulson, some loki & clint, fem!loki, divergent timeline, reincarnation, humor, action fic, aztec mythology, 243k wip
    Post-Thor, canon-divergence. Loki doesn't survive his fall from the Bifrost and winds up reincarnated on Midgard as a mortal magician named Lucy with no memory of her previous life. Her decision-making skills have not been much improved by the transformation.
    I am in the process of catching up on this fic, whereupon I will try to write a better all-around rec, but in the meantime, chapter by chapter recs as it was being posted!
    Chapters 01-04: This is another fic I read on a whim, mostly because I was curious how a reincarnated female!Loki on Midgard would go and I'm very glad I gave it a shot! While the fic does have a tendency to drop you into the middle of a scene without explaining what's going on quite well enough, most of it does eventually get sorted out and this fic does the two most important things it needed to do well. One, it has a great voice for Lucy, all sharp edges and quick witted tongue and badassery covering up the vulnerabilities underneath, she's both enganging and obnoxious at the same time. And, two, the building tension to when she meets up with Thor again is really quite delicious! I'm sad that it hasn't happened in the four chapters (as of the time of this rec) so far, because I really, really want to know how that's going to happen, but! There have been several run-ins with the Avengers and they are really quite glorious.

They annoy the crap out of her, she annoys the crap out of them right back. She strides the line between villain and hero beautifully, doing things for her own reasons, not inherently a bad person, but not altruistic, either. And, for all that the author dumps you into the middle of a scene, there is a lot of world building going on here, including Lucy's meetings with the head of Mimir that's given her some things to hand over to Thor and some hints about her past, but I love that her tough attitude and walling everyone off (which fits so well with Loki!) keeps her from wanting to seek these things out. I love how beautifuly snarky this fic is, there are so many great lines in it, and it's easy to see this as a Loki who's not quite the same as the Loki we know, but in a different life, he could have been like this. The sheer sense of fun Lucy has (even as you can just quite simply feel how unhappy she is underneath it, even when the fic never really directly tells you that) in the chaos around her is delightful and, oh, I really need this fic to update, at least until she meets Thor and we get that reunion.
    Chapters 05-08: I honestly don't understand why this fic hasn't gotten more attention because it's so much fun and I can't tell you how much joy I've been getting out of every chapter! I do have some complaints, with the way the author is a little unfocused, things aren't quite well enough connected to each other sometimes, and it leaves me wondering if I missed a chapter somewhere (the break between chapters 7 and 8 are especially bad for this, even allowing for how most of the story is from Lucy's point of view, just suddenly Thor's been hit with Amora's spell and, what, wait, when did that happen??), but everything else is just so much glee and hilarity! The author has a fantastic way of making everything snappy and high-energy, this version of Loki is just so damn charming and likable that you practically instantly fall in love with her. The writing is also not rushing through anything and, as desperately as I am clawing for it, I kind of love that it's been 27k+ words and we're still building up to the reunion between Thor and Loki. Which, by the way, have I mentioned wanting desperately? The author does a lovely job of putting it off but not making me feel like they're teasing me too much, I feel like, yeah, it would take this long to happen, especially when Lucy's not really keen on getting involved with the Avengers.

The other thing this author does really well is addressing (or at least touching on) how Lucy is both so very like Loki and yet so very different, especially in how they interact with others and the motives behind their actions. I love Thor not really being sure what to make of Lucy, I love that Lucy hasn't laid all her cards on the table with S.H.I.E.L.D. and just lets them think her powers came from a magic ring because it makes her life easier. It creates that delicious sense of the author thinking the characters' motivations through and giving me that sense of OMG PLZ LET THEM FIND OUT THAT'S GONNA BE SUCH A GREAT REVEAL. The fic has truly captured my imagination on that aspect (and the reunion between Thor and Loki, what that means for Lucy vs Loki) and the sharp, funny dialogue (any time Lucy and Tony Stark are in the same room, it's pure delightful banter!) and the action scenes and just... everything about this is really go go go go in a really good for me sort of way. I honestly can't say whether I like the action scenes or the humor/characterization scenes stuff better! That I get both is a joy.
    Chapters 09: I both love and hate this fic, which is reflected well in this chapter--I love it for the way the author makes me anxious for the plot events to explode, I love it for the build-up that has me genuinely antsy for certain things to be revealed or meetings to happen, I love it for the sense of fun and how I'm fascinated by the central character, who is so like Loki in some ways and so unlike him in others, which has been addressed by the fic, making me curious if that'll be touched on again later as well. I love it for the fun dialogue and the delightful Avengers team dynamics. I love that this can be a chapter that pretty much only has Lucy on a plane back to S.H.I.E.L.D. and yet it's still a joy to read because it establishes some world building in the background, with the magical shenanigans they've gotten themselves into. But, then, I also hate it, becasue now I have to wait for chapter 10 and I really want it right now. Especially when Lucy was so close to being able to keep up the lie of not having any powers without the ring, but that's kind of a lot more difficult now and a;sldkfja;lskj oh my god just give me the Thor&Loki reunion and Lucy's secret being spilled out everywhere and the joyful chaos RIGHT NOW, PLEASE.
    Chapters 10: I almost missed this update, despite stalking the Loki tag, somehow it passed me by. But then I saw ch10 had been posted and pretty much immediately dove on it, spending the entire chapter practically wriggling around in anxiousness to know what was going to happen next. I continue to both love and hate this fic for that--I love that it's gotten under my skin and I want to know where it's going, especially after this chapter, where Lucy finally saw Thor and realized what was wrong with him and the fic has spun off in an entirely new direction, with potential epic plot shenanigans about to happen and, oh, I practically daydreamed about what might happen next and what might come spilling out because of it, etc.

But that's also the reason I hate it, because I dive on each chapter and then it's a painful wait until the next one is released and I don't know how long the fic is going to be and it's eating at me! Still, it's worth it, though, for the absolutely delightful characterization and snappy banter/narrative in Lucy's head as she makes her way through S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, always with a quip ready, enjoying getting under everyone's skins, even as Coulson and Natasha aren't exactly big reacters. And that's what's so great about this fic, it blends that sort of OTT wackiness that's practically old-school comics with solid MCU-style characterization and it's just such a fun mix! And I need the rest of this fic right now, please.
    Chapters 11: I saw this fic had been updated and I pretty much pounced on it immediately, because I have no self-control when it comes to this story. I keep thinking, oh, I should let the parts build up for awhile, so I can read them all at once, but, yeah, that doesn't happen. Thankfully, each chapter is nicely long and they've come out quickly and things are getting so interesting now and this is probably my favorite chapter yet! This is where Lucy has to go find Thor in the underworld after his soul has been tossed in there, which means there's all this gorgeous worldbuilding wound together with Lucy's usual flare for style and dramatics, which I loved. I ate this chapter up like delicious candy just for that, because I fucking love snappy, fun, off the wall dialogue and I get a total nerd boner for building up mythology and the background world.

But what really got me in this chapter is that sense of tension building up towards something (I hope), where Lucy still doesn't really remember anything, but Thor clearly recgonizes her as Loki, and, oh, I ached for how much he clearly loved her, how he was so gladdened that she came for him to rescue him, that she forgave him, even as she had no idea what the hell he was talking about. The sense of urgency of their situation, the intense emotions that were being played with, the looming threat of bigger things in this place, oh, it was all so good for me. Favorite chapter yet.
    Chapters 12: This fic continues to have me completely in its snare, to update regularly with satisfyingly lengthy chapters, and yet each chapter does a fantastic job of making me claw at the walls for the next one. It's hard to believe the fic has passed the 50k words mark, especially since I have no idea if it's wrapping up or if still has a ways to go, but I sort of never want it to end! Despite that the few days' wait between chapters is tough on me, it's been an absolute joy every time there's an update and I practically dive bomb right onto it to read immediately. The cliffhangers are the kind that are a bit evil (and this one was particularly painful for me, because I need to know what's going to happen with Lucy and Thor) but in that way that I have to admire.

This chapter was a bit of an inbetween chapter, with Lucy settling back into her own skin after the trip to the underworld previously, while she has a conversation with Tony and Steve. The author takes this chance to do more worldbuilding, to work in more mythology, and I love that they're not just pulling from Norse mythology, but Aztec mythology as well! It makes the universe here feel even more expansive and interesting than just the Norse versions.

But this chapter is also a lovely example of what this author does so well--banter and conversations that aren't short, but don't feel like they're dragging, either. This chapter alone probably have 5k words of just talking and yet I still sailed right on through it like always, because it just rolls so smoothly along and is such a delight! Everything here is so charming and charismatic and funny! I continue to love how Lucy is (deliberately!) so different from Loki and yet I don't have a mental disconnect between the characters! And, oh, I really need that next chapter soon.
    Chapters 13: I knew I shouldn't have read this one right away, that I should have waited so that I'd be closer to the newest chapter being out (like what happened when I read chapter 12), but I just couldn't resist, not when the story is at the point of dealing with Lucy finally interacting with Thor, when they're both awake and in the same room and Thor knows that this is his brother, even if she herself doesn't know it. I have a whole lot of feelings for Thor's determination to find Loki again, that he has mourned his brother for two years now, and he's not going to just leave Loki. I have so many feelings for the way he sees Loki in her, in ways that no one else does, so it adds this lovely tension of how no one else really seems to really entirely believe that this is Loki (including Lucy herself, who doesn't believe Mimir about it, either) and, oh, while it makes the wait between chapters difficult, it's still so good.

And, as much as it drives me nuts not to get into everything right the fuck now, I do enjoy the pacing of this story, that nothing is unraveled immediately, that this chapter still has Lucy interacting with other characters besides just Thor, that there's still magical shenanigans for her to figure out and plans for her to scheme about getting out of here without a giant god of thunder and lightning following her everywhere, but balanced with the promise of more interaction between them over the next few scenes. Ahhh, each chapter sails by so quickly and I'm left writhing around for more and an inability to articulate what I love so much about this fic that it's driving me a little batty. But it's still so, so worth it.
    Chapters 14: Yesss, update! I felt like I waited forever for this one, even though it was actually only a few days, which should tell you a lot about how addictingly good this fic is. This was such an interesting chapter because it started touching on a lot of what's at the heart of this fic--whether or not Lucy is a reincarnated Loki. Thor feels she is, Lucy feels she's not, and the chapter does a lovely job of starting to poke at the ways in which they're similar and which they're different, which I am utterly fascinated by. The reason why Lucy works as a character for me is because the writing is deliberate in the ways it shows her being different from Loki (she's much less refined, she's more open about her feelings, she's not interested in power over others), just as much as she's similar (such clever word play, all that chaos she enjoys, such a brilliant, mile a minute mind), and it makes me wonder... well, how much would Loki have been different in other circumstances?

But it's not just the Lucy vs Loki thing, it's also that the fic does an excellent job of Thor's feelings for his brother, how much he desperately wants Loki back, how he doesn't want to give up this chance, how he doesn't want Loki to be angry with him any longer, wants to understand why Loki's so angry in the first place. The combination of the mystery of the character with those beautifully done feelings, all with the same manic, high pitched energy of the dialogue is a delight. Plus, the other Avengers often have important roles and, ahhhh, I love that! I love the author's Natasha especially (who pops up in this chapter again), but also the way Coulson and Tony are written is a joy, too. SIGH. And now begins the wait for the next chapter, boo.
    Chapters 15-16: I am both glad and mad at myself for waiting to read two chapters of this fic at once. Glad because I had twice as much to just sink into and mad because now I have to wait again and it was so much fun that it's doubly hard to let go. I do find myself hoping that the plot kicks back into action again soon, it feels like it hasn't progressed much lately, and I'm just clawing at the walls to find out when all the big shit is going to be figured out! I'm antsy because this fic has me so firmly in its grasp and is such an utter delight to read! But, also, these two chapters are a delight because they contain a lot of really good Thor&Lucy interaction, which is absolutely the highlight for me.

Lucy is a scream, no matter what she's doing or saying or who she's interacting with, the author taking care to have her interact with loads of different people. Tony is especially fun because they both can't leave each other alone! But, oh, I want a hundred scenes of Lucy trying to convince Thor that she's not his dead brother and Thor just not being able to be swayed, even as he knows that he has to tread delicately here. Little things like how he keeps touching her or the author weaving in details of how Lucy is clearly not just Loki pretending to be without his memories, which I like a lot because it makes me wonder and because I like that it's not entirely obvious just what Lucy is.

Basically, this was delightful fun, more delightful banter, more delightful feelings, and more not-so-delightful clawing at the walls until the next chapter comes out. Thank god the author updates quickly.
    Chapters 17: Another chapter that I read as soon as it was posted pretty much (I spend too much time on the Loki tag on AO3 but whatever it nets me fic more quickly that way) and I continue to have a lot of feelings about the events of this fic and where it's going and how things will eventually end up and the sense of... Lucy is such a different take on a reincarnated Loki and you still feel that even now. To the point that I sometimes wonder if the fic will even eventually have her be Loki at all! Sometimes I doubt it, despite the tags and the ways in which she is very similar to Loki and how I could see him becoming this new person without all the usual baggage he has. But it's also in the way that Thor is so desperate to keep her around, even to the point that it borders on throwing the weight of Asgard around, which I actually really fucking loved--because Thor is an alien prince and he does have a lot of weight to throw around, but also he's aware of that and tries not to abuse it. It's just that he really, really loves his brother and wants him back and he staunchly believes that Lucy is Loki.

The plot also starts progressing again here, with Lucy being moved now that they're fairly certain Amora will be coming back and Lucy also talks with several different people again and I find that her interactions with Coulson often end up being some of my favorite because this author plays them so well against each other! Coulson is so placid and nearly unflappable to her endless snark, which has an amazing dynamic. And I would really like the next chapter now, please.
    Chapters 18: Despite that I was practically kicking the underside of my desk in frustration as I kept an eye out for the newest chapter of this fic every time I checked the AO3 tags, despite that I knew I should let it sit for awhile so that the next wait wouldn't be so long, despite that I was already on the verge of sleep by the time I could sit down to read, nope, I went ahead and read it right away. I am both glad I did so and fussy waiting for the next chapter, as always. And, of course, I continue to love the way this fic unfolds, the way it just sucks me right in and it seems like hardly any time at all passes by the time I've finished reading it, and this chapter especially because the plot started moving again! Amora finally shows up and, of course, Lucy can't just keep her hands out of things, even when that means revealing some things she didn't want to have to do.

But I love how you get this sense of how much extreme damage Lucy could cause if she wanted to, but that that's really not her gig, and that's perfect because Loki, at his core, is chaotic neutral. If you gave her a bit more discipline and elegance, it wouldn't be hard to see this as Loki, and I love that this version of the character isn't about the trappings of Loki's character, but instead you see it in the things she does/doesn't do and how she interacts with people. I love that I've spent more time thinking about Loki's character in a reincarnation situation because of this fic than I have almost any other, I think.
    Chapters 19: I have to admit, I'm a little confused about what's going on with this chapter, how Lucy's relation to Loki is or isn't clear--is it confirmed now that she is Loki? Or is it still a suggestion? That's generally my one caveat with this fic, that the burning questions that lured me into the fic (is Lucy Loki then? how is that going to affect her life? will she ever get those memories back? if she is Loki, how was she on Earth 20+ years ago?) are still vague, even after 80k+ words. That said, this fic still just sails right on along and has all these moments of Lucy doing her own thing, when she's angry she goes to blow off some steam (and once again we realize just how powerful she could be if she really were dedicated to being a villain, rather than chaotic neutral) and interact with the animals and I love that she's so firmly established as herself, instead of just being an extension of Thor's character. But this chapter also has the Avengers dealing with more of the realization of just what's going on with her and why they should maybe be a little more careful with her and more hilarity that's just... the day in the life of Lucy Jones! Who I sometimes think is pretty much like tumblr personified.
    Chapters 20: After the previous chapter, I was wondering where this fic would go, since so much seemed to be wrapping up, even if not fully resolved. But this chapter had more plot stirrings again and makes me think things will continue on for a bit more, which is weird to think, given that this story is already just over 90k words now (when did that happen??) and yet I'm enjoying the way everything unfolds. This chapter did two things I was absolutely delighted to see--one, Tony got in some good lines in the fic, which pleased me because, as much as I love Lucy's great zingers, I have sometimes felt that other characters have been overshadowed, especially someone who knows his way around a snarky comment like Tony Stark. But I was pleased with how he was dishing back out here, even as Lucy is still my favorite, of course.

Two, the second half of the story has Thor back in Lucy's life and apparently re-convinced that she's Loki and he wants to take her back home. As much as I love Lucy off doing her own thing and getting into whacky shenanigans (of which were in no short supply in this chapter!)(with bonus Rhodey along for the ride who made an amazing straight guy), when she's around Thor, that's when I sit up and pay even more attention! And, oh, I love their interaction so much, for all the ways Lucy can't just entirely brush him off, even as she doesn't treat him with any sort of reverence. And their interaction makes me so curious about the mystery of Lucy and Loki, because she seems so sure she's not, because Thor is thoughtful when hearing about her parents and her life growing up, more than just two years ago. I rather desperately want to know whether or not she really is Loki and I love the fic for making me question that, because I'm not sure I've yet read an amnesia!Loki or fem!Loki fic that's made me actually question it. Ahhhh, this chapter was so good for me!
    Chapters 21: The thing about this fic is that I always and forever have so much to say about every chapter and, when the author is on, I enjoy the fic so very much. I am getting to be a bit... at the point where I would like to see the fic really get into gear, because it's been 95k of words, but I feel like the progress isn't being spaced out well enough--which may be a product of reading this fic as it's posted, as fic often reads better and feels better when you read it all at once. The issue of whether or not Lucy actually is Loki is one I'd like to see more clearly addressed (as this chapter confused me and I'm not sure what the author is trying to tell the readers and what may just be badly phrased). At the same time, this chapter also had half of it devoted to Thor and Lucy's conversation again and, oh, I could read those two all day.

The best part of this chapter is when Lucy points out, as I've thought for awhile and was delighted to see make it into the fic, is that even if she is Loki, that's not going to gain Thor anything good. She doesn't remember him, she's a human, she's not a Norse god, so even if she is Loki, she's not going to suddenly have his memories or suddenly be him, it's not like their conversations would suddenly get any less awkward. But the dynamic between them is so interesting and I love examining for how they are and aren't like their previous selves, the author does such a fantastic job of keeping me hooked into this story with every chapter and always eying the date for the next one.
    Chapters 22: This chapter is a return to more of a "day in the life of" feeling than many of the more recent chapters have had. Which I'm torn about! I think the fic is at its best during these chapters, but my heart really wants the bigger overall arc stuff! My heart really wants to deal with Thor and Loki and Asgard and all of that. But Lucy is so great with Coulson, the author has a gift for writing their dynamic perfectly, making them excellent foils for each other and showcasing the best aspects of the writing. Nothing is ever so delightful in this fic as Lucy is spiraling off into another tangent while Coulson just placidly either lets her or nudges her back to the topic at hand. The other half of the fic is Lucy running off on her mission, which has her interacting with other characters again, ones who are good straight men to her fast-paced comedic demeanor, which I really enjoyed. But, I can't lie, Lucy and Thor interaction is still my favorite and I hope for more of it soon.
    Chapters 23-28: I semi-deliberately let these chapters pile up for awhile, so that I would have a nice long chunk of fic to read, partially to see if my feelings on the pacing being better when reading in large chunks was correct. It's hard to tell because, yes, these chapters read incredibly smoothly together, but they're also more focused on everything I wanted from this fic, where the plot is moving along at a really good pace again! And, let me tell you, this was almost 30k of fic lumped together that I read pretty much in one sitting and hardly felt the time passing because, omg, this fic is so good for me. I've become very fond of Lucy as this fic has gone on, I've become fascinated by her relationship with Thor and all the thorny complications there, and I'm really enjoying all the author puts into this fic.

In the last couple of chapters here especially, you can feel the plot taking further shape, when you start to put the pieces together and figure out what happened to bring everyone to this point and why they're all here and why certain things have happened, particularly how she went from Loki to Lucy. The author's use of Aztec mythology is especially great for the payoff, when you understand just why it keeps coming up and what Lucy's connection is to it and, oh, that's what I've been waiting for and it's a pretty great explanation. I really enjoyed the world building-slash-mythology that the author works in (Norse mythology is my favorite, but sometimes a variety is lovely, too), especially now that you can see the path the author has laid down.

But there's also so, so much good Thor & Loki interaction in these chapters, SO MANY HUGS, which are so incredibly satisfying when they finally happen, when you can feel the connection between them being built back up again, despite Lucy dragging her heels something fierce. I love that, for all that the fic is very talkative, for all that Lucy explains a ton of shit, the fic really is more about showing you the emotional beats of the story than telling you. The fic doesn't precisely do big, dramatic reveals, so if you go in here looking for major confrontations, that's not what this fic's style is like, instead it's more... there's a steady stream of chaos to everything surrounding Lucy, so you get your emotional satisfaction from that instead.

Not that Lucy doesn't interact with the other Avengers, there's a chapter where she has a side mission thing with Clint that's fantastic, they play really well off each other there, because this fic does a good job of balancing out Lucy's relationships with various people, not just Thor. Even if those are still far and away my favorites and these chapters were extra good for me because of the extra Thor being around. But, oh, the ending line of chapter 28. I told myself, okay, I'm going to catch up, then let it pile up for awhile longer again. BUT NOT AFTER THAT. As soon as the next chapter is posted, I'm reading that fucker asap because, wow, that was a really excellent cliffhanger.
    Chapters 29: There are few fics that have given me as much to sink my teeth into and discuss as this fic has. I think probably only No Such Liberty by xparrot has inspired more thoughts and copious amounts of word vomit from me. After the previous chapter's rather explosive events, it can be difficult to go back to the regular banter and I did find the scene with the Avengers was a lot slower for that, even as it gave me things to think about. The beginning of the chapter, however, has a Thor pov after his most recent encounter with Lucy and, wow, was that riveting to read, because of the feelings it gave me, but also on a character insight level. This is a Thor who's had to learn to start thinking more because he no longer has Loki to be that for him, which is good for Thor, but it also shows that he lacks the balance that Loki brought to his character. It's also a chance to get into his feelings on seeing Lucy as his brother, that he feels a sense of completeness when he's around her, even if some things are different about her than they were with Loki, especially in the way that she seems to genuinely want to keep everyone at arms' length, while Loki wanted someone to come after him. And it has feelings, so many feelings. These are the things I read fic for at a fundamental level and this scene definitely delivered on that.

But there's also interesting banter between Lucy and Coulson, which is probably the best relationship Lucy has with the other characters, aside from Thor. There's a placid quality to Coulson that plays off Lucy's manic conversation topics hopping really well! And, oh, how this chapter had me fidgeting and trying to figure out where the story is going, Lucy's relation to Loki and how the character's relationships would end up and I know a fic really has me when I want to write long essays about it and when it gets me to consider just how many things I want for the future chapters to contain! And I know a fic has me when I write two paragraphs for an update rec.
    Chapters 30: This chapter is two scenes that I looked forward to--the first half is a scene with Clint where Lucy finally gives him the magical quiver she promised him and it was a cute scene! But, oh, it's the second half where Sif tracks Lucy down and wants to help her for awhile, in order to get to know her better, which will allow her to present a better case for why she's not Loki, it's that scene that's the really interesting part of this chapter. I always sit up and take extra note whenever one of the Thor characters plays a bigger part in the fic, because that's when it gets into the epic shenanigans and I love that Lucy's continued denial of being Loki is now contrasted against how we know that she is Loki. Or was Loki. Which means that she may genuinely consider herself not Loki anymore or she may just no longer want anything to do with any of them, it's a lot of intriguing possibilities!

But it's also already delightful to have Sif's straightforward and no-nonsense warrior to play off of Lucy's manic chaos, as that's when the fic is at its best, when Lucy has someone that makes her as exasperated as she makes them! Which Sif does a great job of providing in this chapter, but also hints for where the story may go next, if Odin or maybe even Frigga comes after their lost child and, oh man, the author better not be teasing me about that, because I want Frigga to show up so badly. In a few chapters. I hope to enjoy Lucy and Sif going around on quests and what are probably magical errands for awhile, because that promises greatness, too.

The Unwinding of Loki by dvs, thor/loki + loki & avengers + steve & loki + other marvel characters, avenger!loki, divergent timeline, arranged marriage, action fic, 97k
    Unsure of his place on Asgard, Loki runs away to Midgard.
    This fic is now on AO3. I'm in the middle of rereading the whole thing, where I can write a better rec for it eventually! I do remember that it starts out as being rather silly and a touch cracky, but eventually gets progressively more serious and SUPER GOOD FOR ME as it goes along.
    Parts 01-36: NO WAIT GET BACK HERE THIS FIC IS ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD--!! I mean, I picked this fic up because it sounded hilarious and maybe kind of cracky but still funny and I'm a sucker for all these things and, yes, in the beginning it's pretty hilarious and has some crack in it, but then it starts getting kind of an actually really good plot going and Loki hares off to Midgard because seriously fuck Asgard and all their shit and then OH MY GOD IT'S SO GOOD. It's a slight twisting of the Thor events, so it's similar, which means the characters are similar, but just a few things different can make a huge difference, including Loki ending up with the Avengers! Which is so good for me because Loki is still a delightful but utter dick about everything, yet there's so much more going on and the characterization of him is fantastic. I love this fic because it doesn't back away from Thor not being perfect in the early part of the plot, that he's hot-headed and stubborn, it doesn't back away from that Loki is a dick who manipulates people even as he has so many other things going on, it doesn't shy away from really developing Loki's interactions with the Avengers, it doesn't make him work well with them, because that's not Loki's style. Though, it is his style to have really fantastic insights into them and, oh, the way he looks at Clint and Natasha early on is fantastic and I'm in love with his interaction with Steve. It doesn't shy away from taking the time to really build on his relationship with Thor, showing us how much they both love each other, it doesn't shy away from some of the best Laufey - Loki interaction in a plotful fic that I've read. It does a marvelous job of taking moments from the canon and spinning them just enough to create this new path for the characters. And, oh, boy, does it not shy away from making me claw at the walls for the next part--I want to know so badly what's going to happen! What's going to happen when Loki is eventually found to be on Midgard? What's happening with his odd reflection, who keeps whispering lines from the original canon at him? What's going to happen with Loki's interaction with the Avengers? Ahhhhh, I need more of this so badly because it's chewing on my brains already.
    Parts 37-44: Oh, sweet jesus, this fic. I am so scared that this fic is going to break my heart by the time it's done, because I've come to love it so fiercely and I want things to work out at least somewhat well and the possibility is there, but I'm so afraid that the author will take an even darker turn, because that possibility is there as well. And I almost turned tail and ran because, the one thing that makes me run away from a fic the fastest, it's anything to do with stitches. I'm pretty much NOPE I'M OUT any time I see so much of a hint of them, but... I loved this fic so much that I gave this set of updates a shot anyway and I'm glad I did because the author used it super effectively as an incredibly disturbing nightmare that haunted Loki, working in exactly the unsettling, painful way it was supposed to. So, I'm still onboard with this fic. I'm still anxiously awaiting the updates. But part of me is desperately in the corner biting her nails and worrying where this is all going and how much it's going to break my heart by the end.

Okay, all that out of the way, this set of updates was actually pretty great. The author continues to both keep canon close to heart but still divorcing it from canon in this really beautifully done way, where it's genuinely unsettling and creepy. Loki's reasons for running away just feel so... genuine here, that I can understand why he needed to get away from both Jotunheim and Asgard, even as much as he loves Asgard and Thor and his family. His establishing himself on Midgard, his semi-friendship with Steve especially, is just gorgeously done, because Steve is a great foil for a character like Loki, who's so direct and genuine that it eventually, slowly, subtly starts winning Loki over. The author's characterization of everyone is gorgeous and, oh, I am on pins and needles waiting for the actual Thor to show up again, in a way that borders on ridiculous, but I don't even care.
    Parts 45-53: This fic is possibly going to be the death of me. It's one that has the power to crush me, should things not turn out well and then I would have to go nearly drown myself in an ocean of my own tears or nearly bury myself under a mountain of porn. One or the other. But, oh, this update was so good for me, because the first part had the most amazing Loki being a little shit to everyone around him, fucking with them just because it amused him to do so, but then later chapters had these incredibly gorgeous moments between Loki and Steve, whom Loki almost seems to sort of like and is honest with, to some degree, and, oh, the insights into why this Loki ran away, because Thor was supposed to chase after him, was supposed to focus his anger and recklessness on him, rather than Jotunheim and bringing Asgard down with him. And then there's the other version of Loki that's still lurking in the mirror. And there's a gorgeous flashback to Loki's time in Asgard, with some really fantastic characterization, where Thor is too head-strong and full of himself and there's all these sharp edges between them and yet they find their way back to each other and, oh, I don't know what part of it is my favorite. All of it, I suppose. All of it is my favorite. So much so that I can't even write a coherent rec--this one is terrible and that should tell you what this fic does to me.
    AO3 Chapters 01-14: I am actually a little afraid of trying to write this fic rec because I honestly don't know where to start. I've been following this fic since it was only on norsekink, I used to check for more of it every day, and when it moved to AO3, I was a little wary it wouldn't stand the test of time when I decided to reread it from the beginning. I feared it would be one of those fics that only seemed excellent in the initial post-Avengers haze, where I read so much on norsekink and was so hungry for everything, but the thing about this fic is that it does start out a little silly, that it takes about 15k or so for it to shift into the next gear, but once it does, oh, man, does it ever stay there. This is an intensely gorgeous fic in both plotting and characterization, there is absolutely a story going on here that every step of the way shows. This is a different universe, where Loki knew he was a Frost Giant from a younger age and was betrothed to Thor, so that changes some things, but the fic is exquisite in showing how they are still the same spirits at their cores, for good and bad, even as it touches on the canon universe at several points to show... both the differences to this universe and what could have been. Things are not connected, but they're not entirely unconnected either, and when you write an alternate universe like that, it's a delicate process to maintain that balance, but this fic does so beautifully.

This is a Loki story through and through, but the Thor/Loki is threaded through it always, whether in flashbacks or from Loki's thoughts, the tangle of how he sometimes resents Thor, how Loki craves power, how he fears Thor's reactions to him having run away at a critical time, but even moreso how Loki loves him so completely, how Loki ran away at least partly because he wanted Thor to chase after him, because Loki is always forgiven and knows he's spoiled and loved. So, despite that Thor isn't directly in the fic much, the Thor/Loki is satisfying, the presence of Thor is still felt, and that's another perfect balance for me.

And that's only one aspect of this fic! It's also about Loki joining the Avengers, having an important friendship with Steve, while I never felt that he was taking Thor's place on the team, because he never truly fits in the same way Thor does, it always feels like it's missing something, even as Loki himself isn't missing something. It's hard to explain, just that the author does a beautiful job of it! And I love the Steve & Loki friendship here, it makes sense to the characters, they're both spot on here, and you see why it happens, why it works, and it's wonderful. But there's also Loki traveling around to various realms, plotting things, and it's just. Oh, it's beautiful, because it touches on the myths (and uses them in really cool ways, so you just don't know what's going to happen!) and touches on the way Loki comes up with these schemes and they're so twisty and complicated that you can be in his head and still not entirely sure of what his real motivations or goals are! And that is so perfectly Loki. Basically, this Loki is a complicated little shit that is spoiled and you sort of understand why, even as you want to shake him.

The fic also has one of the best Jormungandrs that I've seen in a fic yet--so legitimately terrifying a version here! There are great voices for all the characters, so sharp and clever, an excellent blend of Avengers and Asgard, of plot and relationships, of total quality fic and id-satisfying fic, of "I need the next part nooooowwww" fic. This is one of the classics in fandom for me and it absolutely holds up, it's in my top five of the fandom, for real. READ IT READ IT READ IT, it's everything I want out of "Loki runs away from Asgard because he's unsure of his place, half-joins the Avengers, shit gets fucked up, and then he has to plot to save it, despite that he's a dumb little shit that I want to strangle for being so dumb, please let him have a happy ending, also I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE REST OF THIS FIC OH MAN" fic.
    AO3 Chapters 15-17: I am in the difficult position of writing a rec for one of my favorite fics in this fandom, especially after all the words I've spent talking about it over the past recs and how I don't want to repeat myself, but all the things I've said still hold true. This is a gorgeous fic, the Loki characterization is different to canon in that he never walked the same paths, the same tragedies did not happen, yet he is pot on to the spirit of the character, in both the good ways and the bad. This is a Loki who is a liar and a manipulator to his core, but one who does it for those he loves, even if he goes a little too far at times. This Loki is not the same kind of hero we usually see, he lies and destroys, but for understable reasons and not without regret and that is perfect. The climax of the main enemy's fight reflects this, that the battle is fought in a way that could only be Loki's way of doing things, because that's how he's set up everything to be.

His friendship with Steve, his relationship with Thor, the interactions with Lafuey and Odin, they're all different here, but the fic completely understands the point of echoing canon, that it's used as a comparison and contrasts in all the right moments and I would recommend this fic just for the structure as much as I would for the content. But, oh, what good content it is, as Loki faces the threat of Jormungandr of myth and tries to trick his way around their fate, the elements of horror are genuinely unsettling as I read through it. T his is one of thsoe stories that has a tremendous scope, that uses both Asgard and Midgard so very well, that plays with myths and makes them fir the epic battles style of the movies. This is a fic that draws on moments of many of the Nine Realms, that has the proper scope for a story like this, yet never wanders. Each scene adds something, even if it's just taking Loki's temperature at the moment or if it's setting up shit that you know will come back to bite him in the ass later, but is still a necessary step.

This is one of the two best "Loki joins the Avengers" fics I've read and it's one of the best takes on Jormungandr that I've read and it's one of the best Loki fics I've read. As always, I mention that the beginning starts out a little sillier than the rest, but the fic quickly gains momentum and sharpness as it goes, so give it a bit and you'll get a gorgeous fic out of it! Also, as I was reading the final chapters, it struck me all over again just how funny the fic could be, that Clint got some seriously hilarious lines and Tony's voice was great and Natasha had my love and Loki always had a smart comment. I might have wished for more Thor at the end, but everything else is just so damn perfect and I have no idea if I love the ending as is or if I desperately want a sequel! But I do know that this is one of the fics I've been following for the longest time in this fandom and, while I'm sad it's over now, it was absolutely, completely worth the ride.

? Those Who Hunt Monsters by Zeta_Tauri, thor & loki + other asgardians, action scenes, mythology elements, 49.2k
    When Odin finds the abandoned Jötun boy in the temple, he has a choice. AU in which Odin is honest, Thor and Loki both know the secret of Loki's heritage, and everything changes while staying the same.
    This fic caught my attention for the intriguing summary, but pulled me in with the opening scenes of Loki as a baby being adopted into the House of Odin and how utterly charming everything was about it. I can't say that it was pure fluff even in those moments, but there was joy and love there, they fell in love with that baby before they had even realized it, and even as an infant, Loki had such tremendous personality. It kicked up all of my family feels emotions and that's the best part of this fic, really. This is sort of a blend between comics and the movies, an AU where Loki has known since he was a child that he's Jotunn, but is genuinely loved by his family. The story follows him as he grows up and that love never wavers from them, even as things fray around the edges of their lives, when Loki just never quite fits.

It's a beautifully told story of winding back in the direction of canon, even with the changes to the storyline--as the summary notes: "Everything changes while staying the same." Which is accurate. Because he doesn't quite fit, Loki is still isolated and Asgard never really embraces him the way his family does. I love that so many of the early scenes are focused on Thor and Loki, that they're such darling little brothers, but eventually they start to drift away, even when they do still love each other. The pacing of this is lovely, it's not really about the end destination, as much as it is about the journey there, about Loki growing up, so don't let the WIP nature hold you back too much.

It's about Loki finding friends of his own (and I dearly love that Hogun and Fandral are friends with Loki first, that they're still more his friends than Thor's here, that the AU nature of this fic means those relationships could go anywhere) and finding things he likes (Loki on Midgard is delightful! I love how much is established in his life!) and the world building being done here is really solid and fleshed out, without being too much. And the fic really made me enjoy Fandral/Loki, the way it was built up here, the way it was surprisingly sweet and good! My only complaint is that I'm not fond of the way Sif is written, even if I understand the need for a character who reinforces Loki's tendency towards isolation, but it's balanced out by Odin being protective of Loki (and, oh, the gorgeous reason he doesn't step in, it makes perfect sense here) and accepting of him, even as he's wary of the kind of person Loki's growing into.

It's a long fic at almost 40k words and not finished yet, but it's one I found myself sucked into and it wouldn't let me go until I'd finished everything there was of it. It's one of those genfics that focuses on Loki's character and reminds me of just how much I really do love world building and alternate timelines, because it's not just about throwing the characters into a wildly different setting, but instead using it to give insight into the characters' motives and how they might be similar or different if things had just changed a little. At it's heart, this is a story about the characters, about Loki growing up especially, and I love that.

Trajectories by glayish, thor/loki + avengers + thanos, nsfw, action fic, 38k
    They would become two sides of the same spinning coin. For neither one could exist without the other, but neither would they stand side by side. Touched but never touched, they would fight in desperation. Together but apart, they would long with love. Brothers, standing back to back, Thor pointed towards the light and Loki spun around to live on the dark side. It would have to be enough. The Chitauri and Thanos capture Thor to cause Loki the most unimaginable pain. Loki joins with the Avengers to get him back.
    Chapters 01-04: I have been eying this fandom for awhile, trying to figure out where all the good Thanos fic is hiding and, ahhhhh, finally, yesssss, this is what I have been waiting for. Loki is taken back to Asgard, Thanos isn't done with him yet, but it's not in the way Loki things--they're not coming for him, they're coming for Thor. That is what will cause him the most pain, after all. I would have been happy if this was gen, but NOPE, I get Thor/Loki along with it! And not only is it full of Thor trying again and again to reach out to Loki, not only is it full of a gorgeous Loki characterization post-movie, but also Loki has to ask the Avengers for help. Oh, man, that was so good for me, you don't even know. Especially because he's working through so much shit, trying to keep Thor at arm's length because he's still a box of cats inside, something dark is still twisting him up and he doesn't believe anything better would ever accept him, but then there's the plot with Thanos building and the Avengers getting sucked back in and, oh, the pacing and plotting of this are delicious, because the author actually takes the time to build this story up properly. I just sunk into this fic as soon as I started reading it, it wouldn't let me go until I'd devoured everything there was of it so far (4 chapters at the time of this rec) and now I'm going to go claw at the walls and desperately wait for more of it. Because, oh, I will warn that ch4 ends on a rather brutal cliffhanger.
    Chapter 05: Ahhhh, this fic continues to be really good for me because it's building up to the climax of the story and the author does action scenes! Good action scenes! I have not found enough of those in fandom yet, so finding one that's set between Thanos' minions vs the Avengers and Thor vs Loki, ahhhh, yes, good. And what's really good--and sort of frustrating because asdl;kfjalskj I need the next part now, okay!--is just... everything that's between Thor and Lok in their confrontation while Thor is under Thanos' control. There's so much there and Loki is still so twisted around and angry and bitter and damaged but this situation is intolerable and it's cutting at him terribly, which makes me want to go read all the fluffy fic the internet will provide me with, but also I am enjoying this jagged edged relationship so much in this fic. The writing continues to be lovely, the cliffhanger is brutal again, and I'm back to clawing the walls while I wait.
    Chapters 06-08: It's a plotful fic about what happens post-Avengers, dealing with Thanos and the Chitauri and the threats they made against Loki. Chapter 5 ended on a hell of a cliffhanger, which these three chapters pick up from and, oh, the action just does not let up the entire time, both emotionally and physically. There are actual fight scenes! A truly epic battle against Thanos! The author does an amazing job of balancing all the team members, keeping a strong focus on Thor and Loki, but not forgetting any of the other team members and their roles in this battle. The writing is fantastic, it's the kind where I practically had to force myself to slow down because I was sliding into almost skipping parts of it because I desperately wanted to know what happened next, the tension and anxious feeling I had was totally delicious. And, of course, there was a very satisfying ending, it could only have ended the way it did, and the language of it was gorgeous and the feelings all tangled up inside me as Loki was faced with a possessed Thor, all the anger and hurt and desperation and fear and love and everything he went through. The ending may not have been perfect, but it was incredibly satisfying and, oh, this is a terrible rec for such a fantastic story, one that I've been pining for since I first walked out of the theater, and now I have it. I could not have asked for anything more from this fic, it gave me everything I wanted.

Loki's Lessons by WolfenM, thor/loki + fandral/loki (both implied) + other thor characters, pre-movies, adventure fic, 9.8k
    Thor, Loki, Sif, and the Warriors Three set out to Vanaheim to slay a giant spider.
    There are a couple of caveats to this story--too many epithets, woobie!Loki, Hogun and Sif are too harsh with Loki--but they are more than balanced by how things work out for the characters, the fic is entirely good-spirited about bringing everyone together, and making things better. It's a fun pre-movies adventure fic that focuses on Loki without sacrificing the other characters, especially Thor, who shines in that way that he always does in Loki's life, and Thor's love for Loki is constant, the balance between Thor/Loki and Fandral/Loki was exactly what I wanted, caring and understanding parents, and the hint of romantic relationships and a bit of Loki whump (of the kind that I eat up with a spoon because it's so tasty). There's also a bit of action and fighting against the spider, there's Loki trying to be stronger than he is because he fears being looked down on, there's Odin understanding that Loki needs a bit of a different approach, basically all the stuff that I wanted to read in a fic like this. I was surprised that it was ~9,800 words because it went much faster than that and definitely didn't feel that long! This is a delightful piece that just satisfied me today, the kind of woobie!Loki that everyone loves and adores that I enjoy reading.

Hail of Shadows by Lizardbeth, thor & loki + frigga & loki + thanos + malekith + other marvel characters, torture/loki whump, plotfic, redemption fic, 64.5k
    Outside the boundaries of the Nine Realms, beyond the protective embrace of the World Serpent, waits a figure of nightmare and shadow, who leaves only death in his wake: Thanos the Eternal. Even as Loki vows revenge, dark forces are moving. Frigga knows only her family united will withstand the coming storm, even as the fates seem determined to rip them apart.
    This fic is part of a series that should be read in order. Some of the fics are shorter (and more skippable), but at least The Poison Rain needs to be read before this one.
    I am honestly not sure how to write a rec for this fic, because it's just so massive and there are so many things I wish to discuss about it and I fear writing a terrible rec for it--or, at the very least, that so much happened in this fic that, by the time I got to the ending, the beginning seems like a lifetime ago. One of the best things about this fic is that the author has a great style, it's very easy to read and the prose is so smooth and well-paced that I slide right into the story, it never drags or feels bloated or too sparse or glossed over, all while feeling very dense, that shit happens in every chapter. I do have two caveats, though--one, this is the middle story of a series, so there's still so much left to and this fic does end in the middle of the greater story, even if it's a natural ending point for this fic. Two, occasionally this fic slips a bit too far towards making Loki the center of the universe, both in terms of plot and the characters all revolving around him and in the way he's the one doing stuff all the time. Otherwise, this story is stunning and an incredible read.

So much happens! Thanos is properly terrifying! A clever and interesting take on Sigyn! Thor's determination! Frigga's gentless but core of steel! Things are complicated on all sides, so many shades of gray! The use of the Jotnar! The world-building! In Asgard and Jotunheim and Svartalfheim! The span of four separate worlds! The gorgeous writing! I felt at times that I was practically gorging myself on this fic because it's so solidly written and plotted and structured, that it feels professional level for how satisfying the balance of plot and characterization was. This is one of thsoe series that I would recommend to those hungry for plot in this fandom, who want Loki redemption, but that it won't come easily, that it has to be earned.

It is Loki-centric (I'm hoping there will be more Thor in the squel, since it seems set up for that and, when Thor is on the page, he feels very solidly right to me), and there's also some Loki whump for those who enjoy that. I loved the development and twists on the Loki and Sigyn relationship, though, it's very minor and not at all the point, so I'm not listing it, as it's only sort of implied, they have so much other shit going on at the time. This was a great read and I desperately want more people to talk about the series with (as well as the previous fic, which should totally be read!) and the next fic in the series, ahhhh. This is a fandom classic for me already and I love how it does the work of dealing with Thanos as a truly terrifying threat and how Loki takes these small steps forward again and yet it never lets go of his rage or the bad shit that happens to him because of the bad shit these circumstances are.

I love this fic because it really understands Loki, it doesn't excuse the absolutely shitty things he's still responsible for, even when some of it was Thanos influencing him, that it never forgets that Loki is broken down to his foundation and that kind of repair will take time and never heal back the way it was, but that healing is possible. It shows the people around him being loving and supportive because they truly see Loki, and, holy shit, Frigga storming over to Svartalfheim because no way is she leaving her baby boy behind again, that was so goddamned satisfying, even as it's heartbreaking. The plotting and pacing of this fic are just incredibly solid and, oh, this is actually a terribly generic rec for a fic that I desperately, desperately want more people to read and that I wish I could give back more considering how many feelings and how much satisfaction it gave me. JUST GO READ IT OKAY.

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