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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.

Domesticity by DaughterOfStarlight, avengers + loki, some implications of canon (mostly a loki-centric piece), avenger!loki, 64k
    Banished by Odin and hunted by the Chitauri, Loki is a political refugee and the Avengers are forced to offer asylum. Through science experiments, swing dancing, panic attacks, shopping sprees, and Asgardian politics, the enemy begins to look like an ally.
    I hesitated a bit over this fic because it's... it's much friendlier and softer than I usually go for, it's a fic that has Loki being granted asylum from the Chitauri with the Avengers and then becoming their friend very quickly, but... it's also 32k of fic (at the time of this rec) and there are a lot of scenes I liked in it! As the fic goes on, it gets friendlier and friendlier, but I quite liked the first half of the fic and how it was about Loki working through his issues and there were a lot of sharp edges still present and the author did a solid job of balancing his interaction with the various cast members. I wish there had been more focus on his relationship with Thor, because it's such a tangled mess (and I always and more of Loki-and-Thor), and that wasn't really addressed here, but I'm not recommending it in that vein. This is more of a Loki-with-the-Avengers story and you know how weak I am to those. But I really enjoyed Loki's scenes with Bruce and his growing interest in Midgard science and the way it could be melded together with his magic It's a fic that might not work for everyone, but I found that the first half of the fic was really solid and I had enough momentum to carry me through all 10 chapters that have been posted as present. I needed a longer fic today and I'm glad I picked this one up!

Better Teamwork Through Dragon Hunting by LulaMadison, thor & loki + avengers, avenger!loki, fluff, 21k
    One big redemption arc later, Loki is no longer the enemy, but Thor is pretty much the only Avenger to trust or like him. When Odin requests the Avengers' presence on Asgard he orders a very reluctant, resentful Loki to do it instead, since Loki has a very unique knowledge of the secret paths between the Nine Realms. Unfortunately, Loki generally takes the ... scenic route between dimensions. So he has to guide six egotistical, volatile superheroes through the Nine Realms and all its otherworldly dangers, and somehow get them to Asgard alive. Thor is delighted - inter dimensional road trip! Magnificent quests! The perfect bonding experience for his BFFs and little brother! Everyone else ... less so.
    Okay, this fic definitely starts out as cracky and it never entirely moves away from that, especially with Loki's characterization being so much softer and nicer than in canon. But! It's SO MUCH FUN and the author does a fantastic job at being charming and working with a larger cast and keeping them all balanced and then having them all go on EPIC ADVENTURES. And, eventually, Loki is kind of a total little shit again, which is delightful to see, especially when he's either telling horrible stories or when he's tricking them all into being on his side, but the best part is definitely the team dynamics with everyone and the sense of... this is a story that's not just on Earth, but travelling through various Realms and fighting fire dragons and meeting dwarves and trolls along the way. I dearly wish we got more of that sort of thing in fandom and this fic was really satisfying for it!

I used to be a god, but then I took an arrow to the eye by LulaMadison, thor & loki + clint & loki + avengers, fluff, avenger!loki, 9.1k
    Written for this prompt on Avengerkink: "One way or another Loki ends up more or less on the good guys side again. Working with the Avengers is his way of paying back Midgard for the lives he took, but Clint has his own beef with Loki. When Loki asks what price Clint would like him to pay for mind controlling him Clint repeats the whole arrow through his eye thing.

Loki agrees. It's a pretty fair price as far as he's concerned. He's not exactly looking forward to it, but hey, he'll have a family resemblance going for once. Whether or not Clint has him go through with it or changes his mind and asks for something else is up to you."

    This is the second fic in a series, but it reads well enough as a standalone, so it's up to you, if you want to read in order or not.
    I actually read this fic out of order (I read #3 before reading #2), so you definitely can read them in just about whatever order you want and I think I sort of like that I ended up doing it that way. Though, really, all you need to know for either fic is that Loki's had some time to calm down, get a bit of therapy (or the Asgardian version of it, anyway), so he's still a little shit, but a calmer, saner one and now he's working with the Avengers, who don't entirely trust him, but they're getting there. The fic happily embraces that it's meant for happier things, even as there's some occasional bits of angst (but it tends more towards fluffy angst than break your heart angst, which is much better for me) and that it's meant to be silly and light-hearted and fun. This Loki is much more interested in getting forgiveness than I might otherwise expect, the fic does toe the line of being borderline cracky at times, but it's always well-written, delightful, and has great gen team dynamics.

If you're in the right frame of mind for this (and I definitely had to be, I'd tried the fic previously, when I was more into harsh, poisonous Loki, so it didn't work for me then, no matter how well written it was, until I was ready for something happier and more positive), it's an absolute joy to read, especially the little details the author works in! That Thor and Loki both have ridiculously huge appetites (which is my headcanon, too), that Loki is fine with losing an eye because it's the punishment set and he'll suffer through it to get his debt cleared, but that he'll regrow the eye anyway (and could do it faster with magic, but that's against the punishment, which just... sort of quietly broke my heart, that Loki is so used to this), and in the meantime has trouble with depth, and Thor helping him in the background. I can't say that the Thor&Loki relationship is the heart and center of this fic, it's more about Loki&the Avengers (with a lot of Loki&Clint), but the author definitely has a solid relationship between them that worked so well for me. The author does a wonderful job of having Loki interact with several of the Avengers, really, and you know how I roll around in delight at that, when it's well done.

There's also so much humor in this fic, especially with Loki trying to navigate having a missing eyeball and as;dlfkjal;skj the scene where Loki casually announces he has brain damage! I was kind of rolling around with lolz because it was just so perfectly... Loki, the way he did it. Or the discussion of what therapy was like on Asgard! Or Loki getting bored when he's unable to go out with the Avengers! The author does a lovely job of showing that the characters all have their darkness in their pasts, but making me laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy in the meantime. It's just such an enjoyable series!

Six hugs a day keeps the doctor away by LulaMadison, thor & loki + tony & loki + avengers, fluff, avenger!loki, 12k
    As punishment for his crimes Loki was sentenced to treatment by the mind healers, who unfortunately got all their information on family therapy second hand from Thor. After his treatment, and despite being a full time member of the Avengers, Loki isn't exactly feeling great. Tony, being the helpful and generally annoying guy he is, decides that all Loki needs to cheer him up is a distraction, so he talks Loki into teaching him magic, but not everything goes to plan.
    This is the third fic in a series, but it reads well enough as a standalone, so it's up to you, if you want to read in order or not.
    I enjoyed this fic from the beginning, this is at a point where Loki is more comfortable with the Avengers, so more of his natural personality (ie, being a mischievous little shit) is starting to emerge again and, thus, I think it made for a better read for me before the second story. Though, I will admit that it does take a little away from the progress of the arc of the series, but they do each stand well on their own, even as one of my favorite things about them is that it's not really about... it's not about a big event or a drama bomb being dropped in their laps, it's more about daily life and dealing with everyday things. Which sounds kind of dull, but the author just absolutely makes it sparkle, especially as it shows Loki interacting with various members of the Avengers! For the most part, the main interactions here are Thor&Loki and Tony&Loki, but there's a good amount of Bruce&Loki as well. I love, love, love that the author touches on the emotional issues the characters have, that Loki seems depressed sometimes, that Tony kind of understands what that means, and so he starts poking and prodding at Loki, starts bonding with him, starts opening up to Loki to get Loki to open up in return. By the time the end of the fic rolled around, I have to say, I wasn't prepared to be as emotionally invested as I was, but, oh, the author did a lovely job of having more going on under the surface than I realized!

Where I knew I was going to love this series was when Loki started kind of trolling Tony and Clint with hugs (which Loki actually likes, but also likes annoying other people) with Thor standing over them all to make sure they hug Loki properly and Loki's absolute grin at the whole thing. Hugs and Loki being a little shit at the same time? Yes, sign me up for that, that is what I want with my Loki&Avengers interaction! I love the author's way with putting in all these little details (when Tony learns magic, the list of things he comes up to do with it! adorable!) and how I just grin my entire way through this fic and, oh, oh, did I ever shriek with love at the ending (Loki being so Loki is so much perfection that I just want to smooch up on the author forever) because it was perfect. I can't tell you how much I adore this series for being hilarious, for having delightful gen interaction with the team, for just being so well paced and well-written that it makes my heart happy. I wish I could write a better rec for this fic because it gave me such joy, but, well, here, have some keyboard mashing out of love intead: a;lsdkfjal;skjsljk

Team is a four-letter word by LulaMadison, thor & loki + tony & loki + frigga & loki + avengers, fluff, avenger!loki, 30k
    After some serious therapy, Loki has now been a member of the Avengers for 2 years, but when an attack by Doom leaves him gravely ill, his team mates have to fight to save his life.
    This is the fourth fic in a series, which can stand on its own (all you need to know is that Loki is calmer now and is an Avenger), but I think works better when read after the others, so you get a better understanding of the emotional progress.
    I started reading this fic before it was finished being posted and I had to genuinely consider whether or not to wait--the author updates quickly once a story is being posted, but also I really got sucked into the fic and didn't want to wait another day or two, when I was full of a lot of feelings about it! Thankfully, I didn't have to choose because the final part was posted tonight and, naturally, I snatched it up to read immediately. I wish I could do a better rec for this fic, because it's pretty much exactly what I wanted out of this fandom (amazing team dynamics with a focus on Loki's character, who is an Avenger now, Loki whump with the rest of the team caring about him, while he's still as prickly as ever, then getting into his issues and making me have all the feels, then more family feels, and then action scenes and, wham, excellent ending!) and I read all ~30k words of this practically like it was nothing because I just could not put it down. The author does an amazing job at writing prose that pulls you into the story and is so solid and so smoothly written that you hardly even feel the passage of time. Oh, what I wouldn't give for more authors like this in the fandom!

I think this fic is the strongest yet of the series, but I still still grant that this Loki is not going to be for everyone, that this is set two years after Loki has become an Avenger, so this is a happier, more emotionally healthy Loki, this is a Loki who has become part of the family that the Avengers have chosen for themselves, but I am absolutely over the moon for that here, with this author. It's helped greatly by how Loki is kind of a dick (the scene where Thor encourages Loki's dickery and finds it hilarious? quite possibly my favorite thing because, yes, yes, yes, Thor finds Loki hilarious!) and how he's still prickly about Thor's affection for him and has an insult-you-to-show-I-like-you attitude with both Thor and Tony, which, you know, give me that for always. This fic is also amazing because it's all about Loki's magic being turned on him, so he's in incredible pain for most of the fic, which he bears up under to the point where it's almost heartbreaking, because you quietly realize just how much practice he's had at bearing up under pressure and pain in his life. It's amazing because he refuses to be thought of as weak, because he very clearly isn't weak, the narrative is direct about that, even when he can hardly move or when he's collapsing and Thor has to be there to catch him and help him.

And, oh, the Thor&Loki aspect isn't always at the forefront of the fic, but it's woven into the heart of it, from when Loki lets Thor help him in ways he won't let others, when he accepts Thor's presence near him as he's in great pain, when he seeks his brother out when he can't sleep, all of that did my heart so much good. The bickering relationship he has with Tony is wonderful as well! The author has a gift for dialogue for these three characters especially, as well as a gift for showing how much pain Loki is in here the entire time without making it seem repetitive, which is no easy feat. Of course, if all that weren't enough (and it would have been!) the fic also has an amazing Frigga&Loki dynamic that did my heart so much good because, for all the pain and darkness and heartache they've all been through, Loki and his family genuinely do love each other, he loves them and they love him, and Frigga with the Avengers is every kind of amazing that it needed to be.

For all that I started this series, kind of expecting something that was just going to be pure fluff, I actually got a whole hell of a lot more than that. I got excellent dialogue, team family dynamics, an excellent group dynamic (both in terms of the Avengers and in the author knowing how to write multiple characters at once and their different dynamics with each other), a great Loki focus, and a whole lot of feelings. This is why sometimes genfic winds up being my favorite, because it's not distracted with kissing or sex to give an emotional climax (not that there's anything wrong with those, I love reading about relationships!), but instead about team, family, and action. All the things I read comics for in the first place.

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.

stay with me, baby (i'm the fella you came in with) by elbe, thor/loki + avengers, NSFW, avengers!loki, fun!, 7.8k
    It was Thor's idea to join the Avengers. That doesn't mean Loki's got to like it.
    The fun part about this fic is in all the world-building it does, how it starts with most of the frame of the movie (taking out a few events to change the course of the characters' lives, of course) and then builds from there. The writing is a bit stiff, in the way it's almost a detailed summary more than a fic narrative, but the author does it with a lot of charm and joy and fixing things that I got pulled right into it and the sequel like they were nothing. It's fun to see Loki being drawn into the Avengers, being a bit more stable but still rather vicious in his own head, especially when Jane Foster comes around with her obvious feelings for Thor, who's already attached, thank you. Loki enjoying the chaos of that particularly drama bomb was a delight as well, because, yes, of course he'd laugh at everyone's reactions. But mostly I love this fic for being a happier version of events, for the brief mentions of porn that were super hot and lovely (and, oh, when Thor tells Loki that, when he returns, he's going to have Loki right there, in that room, that was hot), for just being a fun read tonight.

for you (i've waited all these years) by elbe, thor/loki + some tony/darcy + avengers, NSFW, avengers!loki, fun!, 6.6k
    Loki fights alongside the Avengers. The battle doesn't go well.
    This is a sequel to stay with me, baby (i'm the fella you came in with), which should be read first.
    As soon as I finished the previous fic, I picked this one up to read immediately after, of course. The writing is still a bit stiff (but getting better! this time it's more the odd turn of phrase here and there that doesn't quite fit Loki's voice) but the fic makes up for that by having a nice, long action scene! Action scenes in a fic that's really about the relationship between Thor and Loki! Plus, Loki with the Avengers, whom he's not particularly fond of, but tolerates and might eventually actually get along with! Someday. Ahhhh, that was good for me. I love that this Loki is so sharp and cutting and kind of a bag of dicks to most of the people around him, that he doesn't give a fuck what they think of him, that he does pretty much what he wants, that he's quite the badass fighter in the action scene. Plus, you know, Loki whump that's the kind I really enjoy (it serves a narrative purpose and doesn't take away from Loki's character) and, oh, the brief sex scene was lovely for the way it was so... Loki and the way he fucking loves Thor's cock, that he'd practically write poems dedicated to it because he loves it, all in that sharp way of Loki knowing what he wants and getting it. Especially when he can wind Thor up, who just is this incredible presence when he's aroused and that's what they both enjoy, when Thor's going to fuck him like no one else ever can. Yes, good. This was a lot of fun tonight.

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.

Life In Reverse by Lise, loki & avengers + other marvel characters, post-thor au, avenger!loki, violence & torture in some chapters, 115.6k wip
    Home is where you make it. Or, the AU where Loki falls to Earth after Thor, wanders around trying to work out what to do with himself, and somehow ends up working for SHIELD. (Mostly because supervillains are so plebian.)
    Chapter 1-3: Oh. So, there are only three chapters of this one posted so far and I don't think it gets updated frequently (but it's almost 9k words so far, so that's a good, solid amount) but IT IS SO GORGEOUS. It's an AU where, after the events of Thor, Loki falls to Midgard and lives a quieter life and will eventually join the Avengers. All things that could be kind of ridiculous and require a deft hand! But I think this author is writing my favorite take on this idea yet, because the scenes are absolutely stunning and the characterization and motivations are perfect, I believed this Loki would try for a more peaceful life, especially because this isn't necessarily a nice Loki (not at all), because he hates himself so much, but he's also still arrogant, even as he cares for some of the people around him. The author absolutely nails his character in these chapters, especially gorgeous are his scenes with Coulson, who's trying to recruit him and, oh, that's one of those matches that (again) requires such a deft hand, but this author does it. Loki's twisting and turning of words, all that leashed power he has, Coulson's poker face, the little tiny twists of expressions that they can both read, ugh, it was so good.

The way the author goes back and forth between the current time (where he's maybe considering joining the Avengers) and flashbacks to what he went through immediately after the end of the movie, the way it contrasts how he was then and how he is now, while also showing that he's still so wounded and heartbroken and tired, it's beautifully done as well. I absolutely cannot wait for more of this--Loki with the Avengers!! by this author, who already has me loving everyone that's shown up!!--especially when the author has a fantastic grasp on their dialogue and just. as;dlkfjalsjk the wait for more is going to be awful.
    Chapter 4: Speaking of things I have been waiting for an update for! Not that I was waiting that long, it just felt like forever. ;) But, oh, I continue to find this story so very fascinating, even when the chapter is really mostly just about Loki reading over the material sent to him by S.H.I.E.L.D., because it does a gorgeous job of showing just how frighteningly smart Loki is, to be able to read that (even if it's not very fun for him, but that he could read it, understand it, probably actually have it memorized) and how well he prepares for things. But the really gorgeous thing about this chapter are the little moments where his old life intrudes on his new one, whether because of a mention of the New Mexico incident in the folder or because he can't stop thinking about it himself, and how much that aches to read about. The author does an amazing job of making me hurt right along with Loki, for feeling so overshadowed, even when he realizes that half of it is in his own mind. It's a gorgeous blend between Loki trying very hard at this new life and still being haunted by the old one, which is a delicate balance to keep (especially without making it feel like it's just lingering/that it's just filler, which this chapter did not!), but this fic manages it beautifully.
    Chapter 5: This chapter brings in the first Avenger that Loki works with properly and, oh, this is what I've been waiting for! (As well as now I really, really need more of this one soon, naturally. XD) Because Loki actually has a much wider skill set than we see in the movie, turning that to use with the Avengers has such potential and we see the beginnings of that here, when Loki works with Clint. There's such a sharpness to the writing as always and I love that Loki's still difficult to work with here, because of course he would be at this point in his life, but I want to see how things unfold in the future. Plus, bamf!Loki! Who fights in ways the Avengers haven't seen yet, who has strength far more than a human and can take far more damage, but is more interesting for his sharpness of mind, his attention to details, and magiiiiiiiic. Having him work with Clint as the first Avenger he meets is such a great choice, a way to parallel and yet completely contrast The Avengers at the same time. So good! Now I want more! I hate waiting!
    Chapter 6: Ahhhh, this was such an interesting chapter! Not that the entire fic isn't centered around the concept of Loki interacting with the mortals under different circumstances than in canon, but this chapter really did an especially gorgeous job of showing that sense of how they surprise him and how he's not really sure how to deal with them. Loki's instinctual reactions to people turning their attention to him is not good, but it's done in a subtle way that shows just how deep his issues go and how Asgard really wasn't a good place for him (which isn't Asgard's fault and it's not Loki's fault, I don't think, it just is), but it's not... it's not all bad here.

When Clint thanks him for helping save him, it takes Loki a few minutes to realize that's what he's doing. When he talks to one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists, who's fascinated by his magic and wants to understand it, he's torn between it being pleasant to discuss magical theory and feeling like he's being made a dancing jester for their amusement again. And the narrative makes it clear that so, so much of that is that it's twisted up in Loki's head, not that that's how the universe treats him. But there's also a sense of Loki learning and potential for something so much better, right along with the gorgeous, gorgeous writing and characterization and slow building of relationships between him and the people around him and excellent use of OCs. This is one of those stories that I almost don't want to read chapter to chapter because the in between wait is terrible and also I just want to read all of it now, to sink into it and not come up for air until a few hours later, dammit.
    All: I've recommended this fic before, but not since I caught up with it, which I settled in to do recently! One thing you do need to know before going into this fic is that it's Loki-centric and he does take the narrative place of Thor, which isn't anything against the writing, but it can be hard to read for some Thor fans, so just a heads up! But it's a long fic and is a slow burn of Loki working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and slowly growing close to the Avengers after he fell to Earth post Thor 1. The lovely thing about the fic is that the length gives the story room to breathe, so Loki's issues are only very slowly chipped away at, in a much more real-feeling timeline. The whole fic, for all that it has plot here and there (good plot, too!), is really about Loki's self-worth and trust and anger issues, where it's an epic ode to what a mess he is and how painful he is to read about sometimes. In a good way, in the way the author intends!

And I really can't express how well the pacing of this fic goes, how the length is necessary, because it's about Loki's (admittedly eventful) everyday life and the encounters that are currently shaping him from who he used to be. How he is not entirely different from where he started 100k ago, but yet he is, in a way that's hard to put into words, which is entirely apt for the character, I've always felt. He's a mess and trying to sum him up doesn't really work and I felt that in this fic! It's definitely for those looking for Loki-centric fic, it's entirely about him, but he's popular for a reason and this is a good, long read for when you want that! It's also nice to have a good, long genfic to sink my teeth into and the Loki & Natasha scenes are a real highlight of the story, the way they dance around each other and yet entirely understand one another is absolutely delightful and spot on to read, the way the author sets them up.

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