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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.



The Saga of Loki and the Wyrms of Titan by Goblin Cat KC, thor/loki + avengers + thanos, 26k wip
    Loki does what he does best – make trouble and have someone get him out of it again. With a dungeon escape, trolling the Avengers, and thwarting an alien invasion.
    There's no way I'm going to be able to remember everything I wanted to say about this fic, which is frustrationg because this is so much the post-Avengers Thanos fic that I want so far! But I guess the best way for me to describe my feelings about this fic is... this is a weird image, I know, but every once in awhile, I read a fic that gives me the mental image of myself grabbing great handfuls of the story and chomping down on them, inhaling scene after scene because it's so good and I can't stop. How many times I meant to put the fic down for a bit, but, oh, just one more scene, just let me get through one more conversation, then I'll stop.... I read through all 26k words of this and, yeah, okay, it's not finished yet and I'm going to be clawing the walls for the rest of it, but I absolutely do not regret starting this fic at all.

Everyone is exquisitely in character--well, mostly it's Loki that the story spends the majority of the time with, but there's also several scenes with Thor and appearances by the other Avengers and Fury, all of which the author just absolutely nails down beautifully. The premise of the fic is that things are more complicated with Loki, that his true motivations and reasons haven't been fully unveiled yet, but now that he's escaped Asgard and is on the run from Thanos and working to keep building up the Avengers, he's in over his head and certain things become a lot more apparent. Like Loki may still be a little shit, but their goals may not be entirely different. And, oh, this fic absolutely does not forget that Loki is unhinged and dangerous and damaged, even while it's also exploring how desperately he wants Thor to protect him again, to be safe with Thor. Every scene he shares with Thor is so incredibly emotionally satisfying for how stubborn Loki is, how one wrong thing sets him off again, but also Thor is starting to put more of the pieces together (especially as Loki's motivations are being revealed) and his determination to help his little brother is perfect. There's a scene where Loki is wounded and Thor has picked him up to carry him to safety and is going to feed him a golden apple to help him heal, where Loki tries to refuse simply because Loki is stubborn and Thor just presses on with him anyway, force feeding him (by taking a bit of the apple himself and kissing Loki to press it into him, then holding him until he swallows), in a way that was so perfect to the character, that that's when I knew the fic had me.

The relationship between them isn't smooth or suddenly perfect again, because there's still that tremendous weight of everything that's happened between them, as well as the reveal of Loki using the Avengers to defeat the Chitauri and Thanos doesn't suddenly make everything good again, because he's still lost and still vicious and the old wounds are still there. But there's also comfort, and Loki finally having shelter from Thor again and, oh, my feelings on that were just ridiculous. Add in that the plot is fascinating, the other characters are pretty great (Tony gets a couple of pretty choice lines as well), Thanos is genuinely terrifying, and, basically, I want to shove this fic at everyone and make you all read it with me because I have been waiting for this fic. Even if I'm going to go claw at the walls for more of it now.

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.

Rise From Ash by Mikkeneko, avengers + loki + other asgardians + thanos, some tony/loki, mildly nsfw for violence, some pyshical + psychological torture, angst, avengers!loki, 98k
    When Loki's world falls apart around him, he learns that sometimes you do get a second chance.
    This is one of those fics that... I have my caveats about, which I'll get to in a moment, but I don't want to start this rec out with anything other than praise for the incredible things it accomplished. It was a hard fic to read at times, because this is truly a story about Loki descending into madness, it's a fic that truly does justice to the ideas it wanted to focus on, and it's an incredibly intense ride. There are many, many ways in which this fic is brilliant and I want to get to all of them as I go through this rec. But there are a few things that held this fic back from being perfect, most of which come down to the characters and the characterization. The focus on Loki as the central character and the absolute hell he goes through because of the time loops is brilliantly done, which may be why the rest of the characters pale in comparison. Some of them are great fun (I especially enjoyed the use of Clint and Jan, both of their friendships with Loki were delightful!) but Thor felt off in nearly every scene he was in, the initial reunion scene between him and Loki felt very flat, and I couldn't quite put my finger on why. The more Steve was written into the story, though, the more I felt like... it was almost a fanon problem? They felt like they were influenced by the fandom, rather than the canon. Especially with Steve's speech patterns and the way Thor interacted with Loki.

The other thing is the Tony/Loki relationship is definitely used as a prop in the story, rather than something that felt organic to the writing. The fic recognizes this right from the beginning, given the author's notes, that it's not the purpose of the fic, but the more you get into the story, the more you understand why that is, why a pairing was necessary, why Tony/Loki is the best choice for it, even as it never fully clicks because it's situated in the middle of this otherwise incredibly well-told story. The ending is also immediately apparent as soon as you end the first chapter/start the second, where this is all circling around to. And, again, part of that is that it stands out more because the rest is so brilliant. And my purpose isn't to knock the fic, but rather to point out things that might have other people pause and I want to encourage them onwards, because the fic is so very worth it.

Now, all that said, seriously, this fic is brilliant in the main focus of its goals--to show the utter hell Loki lives through between Thor and The Avengers. It's incredibly engorssing, once I picked it up, I read the first two chapters (which were all that had been posted at the time of my reading) over the span of a couple of days, which was fast for me, because I was doing a lot of other stuff at the time, where I just could not put it down. It was always "just a little bit more" to read, until I was reading probably 10k words with the intent that I would put it down any second now. It's marvelously paced, each loop that Loki goes through is fully fleshed out so that you understand why it was necessary, why it was so... each loop had Loki really, geneuinely trying. Each loop was a genuine attempt that wasn't half-hearted, each time it showed the lengths he went to and the plans that he so meticulously put into place, even while each of them failed and you understood why. In a way, it made the fic exhausting to read, especially knowing where all of this was heading towards, especially because each time, more of Loki's emotional stability was stripped away.

You could feel how much care this was done with, how the author did the work necessary to take you through the journey with Loki, so it really earns that deliberate emotional exhaustion it evokes in the reader. And with a lot of stories, I hear "it was emotionally exhausting" and I'm like n o p e, but that's not how I mean this, because I think the emotional exhaustion is the point, it's another of the things that makes this story worth reading. It helps, of course, that there's a stinger scene after all the author's notes, that both was perfectly written so that I could just picture the whole thing and it got me incredibly excited about how everything could just snowball from there. It's perfect for what it means for the ending of the story/what the future of this universe might hold, as well as for making the whole thing feel like all the hardship may yet still be going somewhere.

Because the scope of this fic and all those hardships truly are epic in this story. The use of Thanos and Nidhoggr are brilliantly done, this is one of the best Thanos fics I've read in the fandom and they are truly terrifying here. Both of them are used very well in the story, especially for how they often loom in the distance rather than are directly involved--though, when they are, the writing does justice to how awe-inspiring and horrifying they are in person. No matter how many times Loki thinks about them or meets them again, they never lose that edge of how huge and menacing they feel, the undercurrent of Loki's PTSD is always felt and it's so razor sharp in a way that I can't put into words. There was clearly so much planning put into this fic and it shows, not in a way that you feel lectured to, but that this shit was nailed down and carefully crafted with each step of the way.

And because of that careful crafting, one of the most interesting things to see is how Loki went from the character he was in Thor to The Avengers along a different path than usual, so you can see why this Loki really seems to have this belief that... no one he hurts matters, that nothing he does has any consequence, because of what he's lived for the past several years. It's never directly stated in the fic, it's in the author's notes more clearly, but you feel it in the story, how the character shifts in personality and beliefs, the way all the good and bad things that happen to him are shaping him. You also feel why he seems so isolated and why he doesn't reach out to others, why things become like ideals or theoretical concepts in his mind, rather than having actual emotional connection. Well, there is still some, the conversation between Thor and Loki in antarctica got me, because you really felt the weight of their history together and felt that sense of being torn, that Loki wants to reach out, but doesn't quite know how and the timing of everything always seems to be against him.

I really do recommend this fic, even if the size seems a bit daunting, because it'll go fast, the writing is incredibly smooth and polished, making it an engrossing read. It does have a fair amount of Loki favoritism to the detriment of other characters, but that's part of what the fic is about, this is very much a Loki fic and, taken in that vein, is really an excellent fic. I'm putting this in with the FrostIron recs and genfic recs because, really, it's more of a genfic story than anything, but the Tony/Loki relationship should appeal (and hopefully not bother those who don't care for it) if you like it. But, really, this is a Loki story that's an absolutely fascinating read, for the emotional wringer of it, rather than in spite of it.

Great Ruins of an Unremembered Past by Lise, loki + thor + frigga + thanos, mildly nsfw for violent imagery, violent imagery + gore/torture, 8k
    There are a lot of things Loki would like to avoid. Imprisonment for life is one. Sleep is another. And under that, a whole lot of others.
    Well. So, this fic made me cry by the end of it. It's a brutal exploration of Loki's pain and issues and self-hatred and fears, tackling the kind of things that usually make me run screaming from a fic, done in such a way that I just could not look away from them and the author truly doing justice to just how horrifying a place Loki's mind is. Lise is not kidding when she says that Loki's a goddamned mess, but she writes him in such a way that it's utterly believable that he's not entirely evil and not entirely good, that he does monsterous things and continues to spit poison at everyone but also it's so very easy to have sympathy for him, that perfect balance that punches me straight in the feelings. The way she writes him interacting with Thor and Frigga especially are just breathtaking, the emotional connection he has with them (and I, in turn, have with these characters) punching me in the feelings so hard that, by the end of the fic, everything was built up to the final scenes just masterfully and put tears in my eyes as well. This is a brutal read, but that's what you're going to get when you're in Loki's mind, post-Avengers, and this absolutely delivers.

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.

Turn A Corner In The Night by eyeus, thor/loki + thanos + other asgardians, NSFW, 11.5k
    “I will be Loki’s champion,” says Thor. His voice rings through the great hall, regal and bold, every inch a king in bearing. Every inch a fool. Thanos’ lips curl back from wide teeth, a grotesque mockery of a grin. “So be it.”
    I feel like I should have a better way to tag a fic than "Thor fights as Loki's champion and then claims his brother and then fucks him" because I really need that to be a thing in fandom, okay. It's just, oh, man, Thor fights Thanos as Loki's champion! I did not know how much I needed this until I got it. Especially because it's all about working things towards teh better, that Loki is loved and cherished even while he's still prickly and often does not understand the idiots around him. Plus there's an epic battle, which I love because fight scenes, yes, give me those! And then there's really hot, satisfying sex that's a mix between rought and sweet. It's full of love, but it's not gentle and, oh, that's right in my wheelhouse! There's a bit of fluff here, but it's the kind that's about being fun. Just, ugh, everything about this sailed along and was just so good for me.

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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