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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.

The Dream of the Apples by Guardian, thor/loki + avengers, NSFW, torture, hurt/comfort, evil!odin, 62.4k wip
    Loki cannot escape his cell in Asgard, but when he sleeps he can be at Thor's side, and perhaps those fleeting visits are all that he has left to cherish.
    Chapters 01-17: I will mention a few caveats about this fic before I properly start, because there are just some things you need to roll with--like, how Thor is on Midgard despite that Loki has just been returned to Asgard, that this fic has evil!Odin (not that we see him in the chapters, as of the time of this rec, but given the punishment he inflicts on Loki....), that Loki's punishment is way harsh and disturbing, that this isn't precisely apologia fic but that this Loki is a lot nicer (but given his circumstances, I can buy this as a mixture of calming down, saying "fuck it" and just going with what he wants/that this doesn't matter, and something else that's hard to explain) and it is a whole lot of Loki Whump designed to make the readers feel for the character. And occasionally little things like why would Tony have to do the dishes after a meal with the Avengers? He's a billionaire, he'd have a full time waiting staff...? I mention these things because they're aspects that I would want to know about ahead of time, and if you vibe with my recs, you may want to know about them as well. That said, holy shit, I tore through this fic like it was delicious candy, pretty much all in one sitting because I could not put it down.

I love that Loki spends his sleep dreaming, which somehow transports his astral form to Midgard, which he can only visually interact with, so it forces him to spend more time actually talking with Thor and the other Avengers. He's put there at a time in his punishment where a lot of damage has been done to him, where he's had a lot of his defenses broken down, so he's still kinda off his rocker, but he's a lot closer to the Loki we saw in the early Thor movie, shown over a span of time long enough that you can see the other Avengers begin to kind of like him, they can see the intelligence and wit that lies beyond Loki's madness, you can see Loki opening up to them and Thor because... well, the fic never mentions it directly (and bless this author for that, because it works so much better that it's not explicitly stated by any of the characters) that Loki clings to these kinder moments because his reality is so painful and terrible, which allows for him to open back up to Thor, who loves him so desperately, which progresses their relationship along.

I love that, for a good chunk of the fic, it almost could have been gen, which is how I like my Thor/Loki fic to start out, when I'm reading get-together fic, that it works as a familial relationship that segues well into a romantic one. I love that there's really not a lot of angst over the two of them realizing that they love each other as more than brothers (there is some, but not so much that took away from the flow of the story), that most of the angst comes from not being able to touch each other and then, later, the massive, massive damage that's been dealt to Loki because of all of this. It's the kind of progression of their relationship that I eat up like it's candy because, oh, the characterization is so very solid and the author does a fantastic job of not skipping ahead too quickly, but also not dragging it out forever.

One of the hardest things in a fic like this is pacing it so that the reader doesn't get bored with the build-up, but also not getting there too quickly, because then it's not satisfying. I was perfectly satisfied with the pacing here, because all of the scenes that came before had a point--whether to build up feelings between the characters, whether to have Loki become more friendly with the Avengers, whether to just show the passage of time (therefore, giving the characters time to process everything), or whatever else. It's long, but it needs to be this length to justify everything that's happening here. Not that it's not still really disturbing and you just have to... roll with the MCU being as harsh as the mythology is here. That's not necessarily going to be for everyone, I might even have given it a pass myself, but, well, I wanted a nice, long Thor/Loki fic to read and I wound up really adoring this one and, oh, the author does really well with the faux-Shakespeare dialogue and I enjoy the team scenes and most of the violence is off-screen, so this was about the max of what I can tolerate, but it was really, really worth reading. And, yeah, it's a WIP, but I'm glad I waited until now, because it ends in a pretty good place (I would have pitched a fit if it hadn't! because this fic definitely got to me) and, oh, I had shitloads of feels over this fic. I want more of it, but I'm also satisfied with what it is as of this moment.

....no, I lie, while I love that the author is taking their time with the relationship (as they should!), if I don't get a sex scene at some point in this fic, I'm definitely going to be mad. Or more of Loki working with the Avengers! I want it, okay.
    Chapters 18-19: Once again, I want to mention ahead of time that this is a much softer Loki than usual, but Loki's been through enough shit and had enough of his anger drained away, that I can buy it here. There's a lot of soft touching and sweet terms of affection and Loki letting Thor help him with things, but it's also in the aftermath of torture and the new stages of a relationship and Loki adjusting to figuring out where to go from here but not in an angry way and he's starting to come around, so his trickster, mischievous nature is starting to come back to him. For all that he lets Thor pick him up, he's also a gleeful dick to Tony in retaliation, which was delightful. For all that he's weak here, he's obviously annoyed by it and wants to do things on his own and refuses to stay down. And the author continues to be really good at writing in such a way that it gives me a ton of feelings on his relationship with Thor, I just sink right into the new chapter and don't come out until I'm finished and then start pining for more, because the prose is so solid and the author does really well with the faux-Shakespeare dialogue, and that was a really nicely done sex scene, which was all about Loki not being fragile and both of them really wanting each other and Loki knowing exactly how to wind Thor up so he gets what he wants. That is always really good for me. This chapter is basically a continuation of Thor getting to take care of Loki like he wants, Thor being direct and honest about how much he loves and wants Loki, Loki interacting with the Avengers and everyone being snarky but in a happy way, and then porn. All my faaaaavorite things.
    Chapters 20: This is another set of chapters that I'm glad I waited for two updates for before sitting down with to read, because I think they read better together. As I think I've mentioned before, by this point... the fic has inflicted a lot of hurt on Loki, much of it off-screen, but it was pretty intense and severe, so the last several chapters have been pretty much pure comfort to balance it out and that is what I like to see from h/c fic! If I'm going to read about Loki torture, I want there to be a point about off-setting it with a whole lot of comfort, the kind I can just revel in for chapters and chapters at a time, because that does not get old for me. It's not necessarily going to be for everyone, it's got a lot of tropes and cliches in it, as well as the Avengers being a very close-knit family already, the Avengers doing household chores, etc. But those things aren't bad, I really like them a lot! But they are something I have to be in the right frame of mind for--though, when I am, they are wonderfully comforting and I can wrap myself up in them and be happy for awhile. That's what I was looking for and that's what I got from this fic.
    Chapters 21-26: I waited a bit to catch up on these chapters, to let the fic build a bit and so I wouldn't be so wary of the direction it was heading in and that was a wise choice on my part. These chapters read well together and, plus, you know, it's always fun when you have a bunch of fic to catch up on at once! I think these turned out to be some of my favorite chapters yet, because they contain everything I enjoy about this fic--Loki with the Avengers, Loki healing, Loki finding good things for himself, Loki being difficult to read and seemingly doing impossible to understand things, things I wondered how much were just being thrown in for the sake of keeping the drama up, but made sense once I realized what was actually going on. Because that's Loki for you, really. And the author did a lovely job of it, of making all of this necessary and giving me an enjoyable ride along the way. The author does a lovely job of balancing out fluffy things that seem like they're there just for the sake of fluff, but actually having a point to them and you eventually understand just what's going on with the characters and I adored that. I adored that, once again, I can trust this fic to have a point to what it's doing, both with the angst and with the fluff, that it will balance out in the end or have a reason for being there.

From this point on, I'll be extra SPOILERY about the contents of these chapters. Frankly, I skimmed ahead myself because I wasn't sure I wanted to read deathfic, so I wouldn't mind spoilers, but not everyone is the same way. I actually do suggest reading these chapters before this rec, as I liked not knowing where things were going (I will only say that, yes, things are still happy and good) definitely benefited me far more than I expected them to! But here goes with the rest of the rec anyway.

And I'm really intensely glad the fic didn't go the route of killing Loki (as much fun as it would have been to see Thor storming into Hel to get him back) because I so enjoyed what happened here instead--Loki had to go back for what was his, to leave Asgard behind after he'd done so. I'm delighted that I didn't figure it out until they were going out to see the beast, which was in the shape of a giant wolf and then, ohhhhhhh, that totally, totally makes sense now, especially Loki's interactions with Bruce's kitten and why that suddenly jolted him into realizing he had to go back! I love that I felt the other characters' confusion at Loki's sudden about-face, but looking back? Yeah, that makes total sense. I love how much I already adore Loki's kids here as well, that my fannish heart goes out to Fenrir and everything he's had to suffer through, but that the fic will make up for it with a ton of love and affection (and food!) from Loki and the Avengers. I love that the reunion scene between Loki and Fenrir was perfect, the tension building up to it, then the reveal and the way it played out, it was extremely satisfying.

I also love this fic for the little details, the way the faux-Shakespeare sounds really good with both Thor and Loki, the way Loki has regained so much strength and you can tell he's truly on the mend now, the way he loves his children so very much (Loki with his kids and with the Avengers? Holy shit, give me that forever!), the way the fic addresses Fenrir's size and finds a really neat solution to it, those kinds of details are a delight in fic! And and and! Tony's input is always a delight, there were a handful of times when I just had to outright grin like a loon when he said something especially funny. Or when Loki had to scold Fenrir for being so unruly! The way Clint took a shine to Sleipnir! There are just so many things about this fic that make me delighted and happy, about the family being created here and the joy to balance out all the darkness that broke my heart before. While I know it has to eventually end at some point, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be content with how wonderful the journey to happiness is.
    Chapters 27: I read this chapter pretty much as soon as it was posted, but did I forget to do a rec for it? Shame on me. Because I totally made one of those happy flaily gestures over it and snatched it right up. And this chapter is very... comfortable and settled and good. Things are happier in everyone's lives, Loki and Thor have settled into these new lives, Loki's children have begun to settle and problems are solved and there's amusement in things again--like two Norse gods being heavy bastards and really enthusiastic bastards so they end up breaking furniture or there's a stable built for Sleipnir that's customized to him and even Loki picking out a better wardrobe for when on Midgard full time. It does read a lot like an interlude but one that is so very welcome after everything that's happened, one that's just nice and everyone is cute and domestic and that was fucking earned. ♥

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!

The Road to Redemption is Pitted with Potholes by TamrynEradani, thor & loki + steve & loki + other avengers, loki redemption, culture shock, 36k
    Loki is on Earth serving out his punishment, and he has to contend not only with a foreign planet, but being a hostile. He learns the meaning of love from the children he visits at the orphanage, the meaning of family from Thor, and how to be human from Steve. Somewhere along the way, he also learns how to be himself.
    Note: This is a sequel to Cultural Differences, which I do recommend reading first, but it's not 100% necessary, as you could probably glean what you needed from the fic itself.
    Loki Redemption fics with the Avengers are one of those things that I will always, always want to read and snatch up whenever I can. I've been reading this fic over the last few days and it's one of those that I both didn't want to stop reading once I'd gotten started, but also kept forcing myself to put it down, lest I tear through it too quickly. The fic is plotted so well that it became an effort not to just tear through it because I always wanted to know what happened next. I hate fic like that because it's always over too soon, but love it because it's also the most satisfying. I do have one caveat about the fic, which is that this Loki isn't really angry anymore and is much more open to putting himself at the mercy of the Avengers, he's genuinely trying to follow the rules. This works here, because he's had time to sit in a cell and cool off, because he accepted death as his fate, so a second chance (one that hinges on Thor and what it would do to Thor to have to be the one to carry out that sentence, should Loki turn again), and he's very Loki otherwise.

One of the best things this author does is that the sense of culture shock is very much here, in the way Loki really doesn't get how humans work. He tries and he's smart about it, he quickly catches on to things, but you often get the feeling that it's like he's doing math--he understands the theory of it, but he doesn't feel it. Which is at the heart of this fic, that Loki has to eventually grow into actually feeling empathy and not just being forever calculating. And I really intensely love that, especially when it's balanced with slowly forming or re-forming relationships with people that are so good for him and help him to learn to care about others.

In this fic, Loki starts out with working with children at an orphanage, practically stumbles over them by accident, and it really works for me, because the running trope in fandom of Loki being good with kids and having a lot of empathy for them, using that as a place to start building his character back up again is one of my favorites and gets right at my feelings. It helps that it's used as a starting point, that Loki genuinely cares about the children, but there are other things going on as well, including the absolutely SO FUCKING EMOTIONALLY SATISFYING relationship with Thor, who loves his brother so much and wants him back so very badly. I love that it doesn't come easily, that Loki is too used to hiding himself and there are still stirrings of resentment and anger, even as he's quietly terrified of what stepping out of line means for Thor. It would be heartbreaking, that it's fear that keeps Loki in line, except it doesn't stay that way, it's not what the point of the story is about.

This is a story about Loki slowly re-learning how to let his brother in, how he finally (if so very slowly) learns how to let Thor love him. It's a story about Loki forging a friendship with Steve as well (LET ME TELL YOU ALL MY FEELINGS ABOUT LOKI AND STEVE FRIENDSHIPS), learning to not just follow the rules, but to genuinely understand other people and caring for them better. Steve is such an excellent choice for this, the way the author has him as part role model and part parallel to Loki works wonderfully, it enhances everything else that's going on in the fic. I love that there are so many different things adding to Loki's relationships with other people and his learning to care, because they're all emotionally satisfying in their own way. But, yeah, okay, I can't lie, it's Thor&Loki that's the best here. When Thor thinks, at one point in the story, that Loki has died and is about ready to FLIP HIS SHIT about it, terrifying everyone around him, that was SO GOOD. When Thor tends to Loki afterwards, when he practically hovers in that way he has? SO GOOD. When Loki first starts opening up and being genuine with Thor again? UGH, SO GOOD. So many emotionally satisfying moments that I could just read forever. /ridiculous feelings about Norse brothers

Ask Me No Questions by Alex51324, thor & loki + bruce & loki + tony + other avengers, depression, 55k
    When Thor returns from Asgard to rejoin the Avengers, he brings Loki in tow--stripped of his magic and bound with a geas that allows him to speak only in response to direct questions. AKA, yet another "Loki lives with the Avengers; chaos ensues" story.
    I very nearly made an entire recs post just for this fic alone because, oh, man, if you ever want to know what my perfect genfic is, this is it. Loki with his magic stripped away, a truth spell placed on him, Thor takes him to live with the Avengers, and slowly they all learn to take small steps towards something better, until shit hits the fan and maybe Loki has come far enough to actually do some good again. I could hardly bring myself to finish this one, because once I did I would have no more and this was my happy place for several days in a row. I will warn ahead of time, the Thor characterization is a little Dumb Jock and things have a touch of crack to them in the early parts, but it's easily dismissed as how we're seeing Thor mostly through Loki's point of view, so of course he's going to come off as dumb, because Loki is not a reliable narrator. But, by the end of the fic? Oh, man, was I ever all the way onboard with this Thor.

Because this is a story that balances all the things I wanted from it--Thor, who genuinely loves and wants to believe in Loki, but also understands that his brother is not the same as he once was, that he will still do terrible things. It's a story that doesn't have Loki immediately settling back into sanity, but each step is a slow, slow crawl towards and there are set-backs along the way. This Loki is still angry by the end, but in a better place and they all can see it and, oh, that is so good for me. It's also fantastic the way he interacts with several of the Avengers, especially having a strong dynamic with Bruce. They're not friends, they're not kindred spirits, but they have an understanding, the fic playing beautifully on the idea of each of them being a monster and what that means to them, what they do with it. This Bruce & Loki dynamic is one of the highlights of the fic--though, the constant presence of Thor being in Loki's life, not quite suffocating, it's a good presence, but it also makes Loki furious at times. Perfect.

The fic is also perfect because it doesn't try to make Loki suddenly perfect, he's still a dick and they're still right not to trust him and Thor is a hero and he's not perfect but he's genuinely trying and just. as;dlfkjalskj I could keyboard mash for pages about how this fic hit all the right notes for these characters for me. But! It's not just characterization! This fic is clever, because TRUTH SPELL PLACED ON LOKI oh man and how he can't speak unless he's answering a direction question and the way the fic actually plays with that, both in terms of plot and detail. Then there's the comparison of Loki's magic to mortal science and I was just utterly fucking charmed by the way Loki describes things and the cultural differences, especially since we know so little of Asgard that we have to make things up wholecloth. But Loki trying to describe the ingredients necessary for a compound they're making? Sharp and clever and neat.

The dialogue is really good, especially once things settle down a bit and they sort of get into a routine, which is when Tony gets some great lines, but everyone in the fic is lovely. It's also a fic that deals with Loki's depression, in a way that felt very natural and organic to the story, the bursts of anger and restlessness and just... everything being distant and cold, in a way that felt really spot on to me. The sense of time that passes (as well as is shown, given that the fic is well over 50k words) also works really well for this, the use of so many different characters to show the various povs, the lack of neat resolutions or easy paths to walk, the clever use of details, the action scenes, the point of Loki finally taking some tentative steps forward again, the balance of damaged!Loki vs dick!Loki, the use of the truth spell, the complications on the way Loki communicated with others, the addressing of Loki's Jotunn nature, the addressing of all that internalized racism, the lack of neatly tied up endings, ALL OF IT, this fic was incredibly well-written and so emotionally satisfying. I can't recommend it enough, whether you're looking for Loki fic, Avengers team fic, or Thor & Loki fic.

Truthfully by Salazarfalcon, thor & loki + steve & loki + tony & loki + other avengers, therapy fic, cracky initially + later seriousness, 129k
    Loki had every intention of wreaking havoc upon Midgard the moment his suicide attempt had failed, it was just too bad that Midgard ended up being so distracting. Who knew that such a primitive society would have such a novel concept as therapy?
    Chapters 01-30: Over the last two days, I have read some shorter fics here and there, but the majority of my time? Spent on this fic right here. And I will get a few caveats out of the way--there are definitely moments when this fic edges into cracky territory and the fic often wavers in that direction throughout the piece, which is something you just sort of need to roll with. It's Loki going to therapy and sticking with it and finding new Midgard hobbies, like yoga classes and Thai cooking classes and getting his nails done. It almost kind of has to start out cracky! But the fic is aware of that, instead has fun with it, and then promptly decides to make this the most emotionally satisfying fucking fic I have yet read in this fandom. The fic is also very much focused on Loki's hurt and pain, not entirely dismissing his villanous acts, but also writing him as carefully not having murdered anyone (on Midgard), so there is a bit of apologia in here. Also, this was started/planned before The Avengers came out, so the fic doesn't take those events into account, as well as doesn't really include a lot of Bruce, Clint, or Natasha, since the author was working off Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America.

Okay, those are my caveats. You just gotta roll with them and take this as a divergent timeline or whatever. Because, as a Loki fan, this fic is honestly one of the most satisfying fics I've read in the fandom, because it does everything that I want a fic like this to do. It's not a quick or easy process, to have Loki come to terms with himself and his rage and his damage and his broken heart, it's been 100k of fic (that I COULD NOT PUT DOWN, jfc) and he's making progress, but he's hardly there yet. The therapist is an OC, but she's lovely and works very well in all the ways she's supposed to, firm and caring and guiding, getting him to slowly open up and make progress. It may have taken me a bit to warm up to her, but by chapter 30, I was definitely onboard with her character and found myself super fond of her.

But this is a Loki fic. For all that the author takes turns with the various characters' povs, this is about him and his isues and the Avengers slowly realizing what kind of person is really underneath all the polish and rage and coming to maybe kind of care about him. The author does an incredible job of keeping everyone so incredibly, solidly in character, especially Loki, who still has so much rage and sharp edges and that gorgeous way with words. And I enjoy Loki's interaction with Steve, the friendship they find themselves having. I enjoy Loki's interaction with Tony, whom he has an almost painful understanding with, a bantering, biting not-quite-friendship. But, oh, Loki's relationship with Thor. It always comes back to Thor. There are at least three scenes in this fic that are... you know the kind of scene you get at the end of a decently long, emotionally satisfying fic? Where all these truths come out after they've been built up to for so long? The kind that just rip your heart out because these are all the things they've needed to say to each other, the things they've needed to realize about each other for ages? This fic takes its time to build up to that kind of scene at least THREE TIMES with Loki and Thor. And it was satisfying as fuck every single time.

I feel practically emotionally wrung out after reading this fic (to be fair, I read little else while I got sucked into this one) because the author does an absolutely brilliant job of bringing all the issues to the surface and properly dealing with them and showing that, no, one shouted conversation doesn't automatically fix everything. It's a step, but it makes you tired, too, and, ugh, so gorgeous. The voices for the characters are often just lovely, especially Loki and Thor, the way Thor just loves Loki so much makes me ache while I read this, it gave me nearly as many Thor Feels as it gave me Loki Feels. There is no scene in this fic that I don't enjoy or look forward to! Usually, I'm pretty focused on just one set of characters interacting or I want to hurry up through the talking to get to the action scenes, etc. Here, I'm content to let the author go wherever, if that means Loki wanting to hit something so Steve shows him to the gym, if that means another therapy session with Loki's therapist, if that means another heart-wrenching conversation with Thor about why Loki's so hurt, whatever it is, the author's pacing and choice of direction is all amazing. I'm even delighted that the author chose to keep this fic gen, despite that Loki's interaction with Tony, Steve, and Thor could all read as pre-slash. I'm delighted because it's not about that, it's not about kissing someone being the fix-it for everything, but instead it's about repairing relationships and Loki's own emotional processes. Just. Ugh. 100k of fic and it's nowhere near enough, especially when it's left on a bit of a cliffhanger. But still. The most emotionally satisfying fic I've yet read in this fandom and it makes me love them all so, so much.
    Chapters 31: Whenever I catch up with a long fic and have to start reading chapter by chapter, when they're newly published, there's always the risk that the inertia and momentum of the longer work won't be there in the chapter by chapter pieces. And that may yet still hold true whenever chapter 32 comes out, who knows. But this one? AHHHHH, SO GOOD. Loki has come so far by this point, but there's still so much rage and so many jagged edges and this author is not pulling any punches here, not when Loki's doctor has been kidnapped by Doom and he's furious about it, not when Loki reacts exactly as Loki would, using all that anger and rage to do something all the more dangerous. And I really love the second half of the fic as well (though, the first half with Loki is especially sharp--and, okay, I'm weak to Loki perspectives), with the Avengers actually putting a few more cards on the table about this whole situation with Loki and how they should approach it and maybe how things have not always been done the best, all while acknowledging that Loki is seriously fucked up and dangerous. Ahhhh, so good.
    Chapters 32+: An amazing anon pointed out that this fic was being posted to the kink meme first and I greedily snatched the newest chapters up and then waited a bit more before 66 was posted because I skimmed and saw OH FUCK NO I AM NOT READING UNTIL PART 66 IS POSTED. I am very, very glad I did this, it was worth the wait. Yet again, an update to this fic leaves me just as satisfied as the previous chapters, because it picks up with Loki going to Latveria to kill the shit out of Doom for having kidnapped his therapist and, oh, it does a gorgeous job of showing what an amazing bamf Loki is while still showing his progress over all the months of therapy. The way he's fighting for someone, while still dark and full of anger, is so much closer to the right reasons and that's not even the point! It wasn't about getting him to fight on the side of angels, it was just... about Loki healing enough that that's how it unfolded and I cannot express how important that distinction is and how gorgeously done it was. I could have cried for how touching all of this was, how touching Loki's conversation with Steve was, when he had to make a hard choice during the fight with Doom, how touching Loki's conversation with Thor was afterwards, how much I just felt for both of them and how beautifully satisfying their conversation was yet again. Thor being so tired and angry at himself for always having to be sorry at how he didn't really see things before, it could have been so terrible in a lesser writer's hands, it could have been about punishing Thor. Instead, it made him all the more sympathetic and amazing and wonderful. I just. Yes, I have all the Loki Feels in this fandom, but, oh, I have all the Thor Feels, too. And all the Steve Feels. So, so many feels. And tears. All of them.
    Chapters 32+: I feel as though, at some point, I should be less affected by the emotional resolution this story has to offer, that I should reach a point where I'm fully satisfied with the relationship between Thor and Loki here, rather than always yearning for more. But I have yet to tire of it! Especially so because this chapter has Loki in such a better place, even if not perfect, one that has been so very hard won after all this time, which all came bubbling up for me, as a reader. It wouldn't have meant nearly as much if the author hadn't taken the time to get them here. Instead, though, I was left with all the feelings as Loki prepares to move out, establish himself on his own feet again a bit, which Thor isn't precisely comfortable with, he'd rather keep Loki close, but, oh, that just makes this chapter even better, because they're both working on this and, ugh, hugs and feelings. Fuck this fic for giving me so many feelings.
    Chapters 32+: It'll be at least another week before this fic is updated (at the time I'm writing this rec, of course) as the author is going out of town for awhile, so it's nice that it left off on a really good, happy note. While the previous chapter was the one that I really needed to have before reading (as it wrapped up the majority of the action with the Avengers and Loki going after Doom), this one was the real capper. Loki is healing, both in body and mind, after such a long progress, and is actually seeing a chance at really maybe being happy and okay with himself. It's about finally getting a real chance to talk with Caroline, his therapist, and it's about rescuing a cake from the other Avengers who would dive into it if it's left alone with them, and it's about being happy, healthy, and whole. It's really nice to have that sometimes.
    Chapters 32+: This fic continues to give me so many ridiculous feelings and is the Loki-in-therapy fic of my heart, especially when Thor joins him for a session and it's been such a long road and they've come through so much that they've earned this much. And I love that, even now, even as the fic is winding down (*sob*), there's still so much there, so much they never really told each other, they never knew about each other--which is illustrated through a story of when Thor first moved into his own room when they were children and how each of them never knew the affect that had on the other. But it's also about how Loki feels closer to Thor, maybe not entirely open about it yet, but letting Thor see him more, enough that Thor can figure him out, can pull him inside and curl up with him and Loki allows it now. Just. Ugh. Feelings everywhere.
    Chapters 32+: This is the final part of this story and I'm terribly sad to see it end, but also... I'm terrifically glad that this story exists and that it ends with Thor and Loki, as it should. It's almost simple, as they walk around after their therapy session, not really needing words, just being near each other, just being brothers again, and that alone is enough to make me want to put a hand over my heart for the ache stirring there. This has been a long journey and I think someday I'm going to sit down and reread the whole thing, but for now... I'm content. I'm glad that this is how it ended, that it's about Thor and Loki in the end, that they're so entangled in each other, but it's in a good way here, there's still room for this in their lives. I could not have asked for more from this wonderful, wonderful fic.

The Poison Rain by Lizardbeth, frigga & loki, frigga & thor, thor & loki, odin/frigga, 36k
    Frigga and Thor battle Loki to save him from himself. Words are Frigga's weapons and love is her strength, and she will not surrender this fight.
    It would help to have read the first two stories in this series before this one, as they serve well as preludes.
    I have read the sequel fic Hail of Shadows, which continues the story and I do recommend it, I just haven't written the rec yet.
    I'm not kidding that I bawled my way through the last 20% of this fic. It's the most exquisite fic I could have asked for from this fandom since No Such Liberty, to the point that I'm afraid I won't be able ti write the rec for it that I want, as I was just immediately sucked into this story and could not stop reading it once I'd begun. The characterization and writing are utterly stunning for how they hit every single note that I could have asked for, there was literally nothing else I could ask for from a family feels fic! This fic showed the relationship dynamics between the four main family members all brilliantly, it was satisfying if you're looking for a Frigga & Loki story, it was satisfying if you're looking for a Thor & Loki story, it was satisfying if you're looking for a Frigga & Thor story, it was satisfying if you're just looking for good Frigga fic in general. It was satisfying for the utterly intense and wrenching way that you believed in Loki right along with Frigga's unwavering support, but you also saw him just as clearly as she did, that he was still fighting a battle of the mind and it had not yet been won.

That is the heart of this fic, the battle that Loki still wages even after being brought to Asgard, to either fall to the poison that invades his mind or fight back from it, to open so many old wounds, to risk believing in something again, to risk hope, or to just finally fall. This fic had my heart the entire time, it was utterly breathtaking how well the author touched on this painful struggle of Loki's, as well as how difficult it was for Frigga and Thor as they struggled to try to help him, as this story was as much about them as it was about Loki. The balance here is brilliant, every scene--every scene--added to the greater whole and had me on the edge of my seat. The brilliant use of details, the world-building with Thanos and the casual bits of technology or magic, further added to the greater whole. The fic never lacked for incredible pacing or the sense that every scene was as fleshed out as it needed to be. I'm really not kidding, either, when I say that this fic gave me everything I could have asked for from a family feels fic that was about Loki being brought to Asgard and his family refusing to give up on him, with Frigga leading the charge.

The Frigga & Loki aspect is what I picked the fic up for, and certainly her characterization is utterly stunning here, but I found that the Thor & Loki scenes were just as much of a punch to the feelings as the Frigga & Loki scenes. The characterization of him here is spot on, that this is the Thor I know, that balance between utter love and utter anger, that he holds himself back from acting only because he hasn't yet figured out which way to act, but you still feel the weight of his character. You feel the weight of them all, really. And, oh, when Thor finally unravels one mystery about Loki, the moment that things first turned so wrong for them all, the brilliant way the author unfolded the scene had me so wound up that I nearly had to stop reading for awhile, just to work through the feelings it gave me. And tears. So many tears. The ending is just pure tears on my faaaace, especially once Odin enters the picture fully. If you're looking for good Frigga & Loki fic, want more good Thor & Loki fic, or just want post-Avengers "Asgard tries to help Loki" fic, this one is an absolute-must read.

Road to Nowhere by Lise, thor & loki + frigga + other thor characters, thor 2 spoilers, action fic, quest fic, 27.2k
    When Loki turns up demanding Thor's help on a quest to retrieve the All-Mother from Valhalla, Thor isn't about to say no. But that doesn't mean he's forgotten anything, and what better time than a road trip through the backwaters of the universe for trying to talk things out?
    Post-Thor 2 fic can be difficult, which is why I appreciate it so much, especially when longer and plot-driven! And Lise does a wonderful job of all the world-building necessary for a fic like this, where each world feels like an entirely new one, each one is quietly disturbing and just... unsettling, in its own way, or else outright kind of horrific! These feel like the kinds of worlds that would be on the path to Valhalla. Plus, you know. Loki showing up to say, hey, yeah, not dead, let's go rescue mom from the afterlife, I am here for this, this is my jam. And it's such an incredibly satisfying and amazingly solid quest fic, where the fic blends the events on the trip and the things they meet along the way, and that sense of isolation throughout everything, like it's unsettling because there's always a bit of that sense of how easily you would get lost, and that's the kind of thing that should happen when you're retrieving someone from the dead!

This is also all woven together with the aftermath of Loki's actions (and "death") in TDW and at the end of the movie and with a road trip with these two brothers! I love road trip fic and I love action fic and I love quest fic and I love retrieving someone from the dead fic, which is all wound together with the emotional crap these two have to sort out. Which is why I liked that Thor makes a deliberate choice to hold onto Loki, rather than to punish him, because being angry at him will only cause Thor to lose him and he makes a choice here to focus instead on repairing things between them, without just being a pushover or letting Loki do whatever he wants. Thor is a fighter, he doesn't surrender, he pushes Loki and cannot be moved in his belief, rather than just letting it all slide, which is an enormously important difference with this character.

Plus, there's also Frigga! And one of the most interesting takes on Hela in the MCU that I've seen yet! She, too, is unsettling and creepy in a way that left me bothered by her and... it's one of those things that so well done, so solidly interesting and suitably big in scope, that sometimes I forget which fic I read about this version of her in, because it seems like such a natural thing to me, the way she's written here. The whole fic is lengthy, but never drags and there's plenty of emotional resolution and, as always, Lise's Loki is a hot mess and that's why I love him so. I just. Plotfic! Roadtrip quest to get their mom back! Emotional resolution! World-building! This is all I wanted, ahhhhh. ♥

Overlapping Spaces by khilari, Persephone_Kore, loki & jane + thor/jane + other asgardians, mental health issues, 106.6k
    Thor returns to Earth a month after the Chitauri invasion to keep his promises -- to see Jane again, and take her to see Asgard, even if the rainbow bridge is still undergoing repairs. Not that Jane is complaining about watching the repairs. But she wasn't expecting Loki to be haunting the palace library, even in psychiatric care; and Loki wasn't expecting to make friends with Thor's mortal girlfriend.
    I've done min-recs for this fic before and I probably shouldn't even be attempting a full one now, as I'm still only 2/3rds of the way through it, but I'm doing a set of Jane-friendly recs and this is one of the ones I've loved a lot. And the reason I'm only two thirds of the way through it is because every time I pick it up again, I start tearing through the fic like it's the first bag of Halloween candy of the year and I can't stop, only to realize that I'll finish it at the rate I'm going and I can't hardly bear that. There are two things that really make me want to hoard and ration this fic, one of which is the developing friendship between Loki and Jane that's very nicely balanced and very much at the center of the story, even as other things are going on. The second is the way Asgard treats Loki, that they realize he has some very serious mental illnesses and they're doing their best to treat them, which is actually working, but of course it's going to be slow. I don't think I've yet found another fic that takes this path, in the depth and weight that this fic has given it. It's like... it's ouchy and the road to recovery feels like it's two steps foward and one step back, that it's crawling along, that there are so many dangerous things here and so much bitterness and anger... but it's also the fic where I really, really love everyone. I love how clear everyone is that they love Loki and want him to get better, that they're trying to respect his boundaries and yet they love him so much.

That Loki knows there may be things wrong with him, but it's a struggle to separate out the lies and the truths from what his fucked up brain is telling him, oh, it's something I never knew I wanted as much as I do and I'll probably never find another story quite like this one. Watching Loki struggle to figure out which of his memories are false, the struggle to deal with believing Thor simply because he's Thor and Thor actually doesn't lie and yet Loki's memories tell him differently, oh, it's heartbreaking and lovely. Plus, for all that it's centered on Loki and Jane's friendship, that it's about them also doing other things apart from each other and they both have relationships aside from this central one, there really is a satisfying amount of Thor & Loki interaction, because that too is such an incredibly vital relationship, it's just... so fraught with bad shit right now that it's incredibly slow going and they maybe need a bit of space from each other for awhile. And that's not bad! Neither of them is bad! This story is not about placing blame and that alone makes me want to love it forever and ever.

But it's also a post-Avengers fic that does a lot of world building and it's sort of amazing how much detail is worked into Loki and Jane's researchings, together and separately, and how the Dark Elves are written here, even if I'm not yet sure how all of that is going to work out. I can't speak for the ending, as I've not yet read it, and I admit that I start skimming emotionally when the Thor/Jane scenes come up, because it's when the fic focuses on the Loki stuff or Jane/her exploration of Asgard's technology and theories, that it's at its best, but! No matter the ending, the journey there has been wonderful and I love just how well all these characters are done here, including Frigga and Odin, who clearly care very, very much about Loki and want to help him get better, but aren't sure how to do that.

This is all while it's wrapped up in balancing personal issues with greater plot machinations, in balancing the feel of Asgard as an advanced alien race with their old world stylings, which is another thing that I will never get enough of. Give me the technology mixed with Norse myths with a new twist for this world, give me all of it! And so I picked this one up for the treatment of Loki's character, but wound up also sticking around for the background world-building, which was so very satisfying. If you're like me, read this one for the gen aspects, because the pairings are fairly minor and not at all the point of the story!

Godchild by griseldajane, thor & loki, de-aged!thor, some child in peril, 39.5k
    When Loki finds a de-aged Thor wandering alone on the battlefield, Loki takes the five year old child in and resolves to figure out how Thor was transformed and why...
    Chapters 1-3: Ahhhhh, de-aged Thor fic! I have been complaining for ages about the lack of it in fandom and, yessss, finally I have found a nice, long one to satisfy everything I wanted out of this concept! Only three chapters out of five have been posted at the time of this rec and I think it's a fair amount of time between updates, but the fic is already almost 20k words and has a truly satisfying amount of interaction between Loki and kid!Thor. I mean, sure, I want resolution and I'm clawing at the walls a bit for it, but you read this kind of fic for the interaction between Loki and a younger version of his brother, one that he can't help falling in love with, because they don't have the same animosity and history between them. Which is exactly what this fic provides in an immensely satisfying way. So, what you're picking up the fic for is already here in the absolutely charming interaction between Loki and his suddenly little brother.

The author does a fantastic job of not drawing anything out too far, there's always progress in each chapter, whether it's settling into this new life on Midgard while Loki tries to figure out how to undo this spell or if it's Loki working on this different kind of magic that's tangled up in Thor or if it's dealing with the issues that come from taking a thousand year old battle-hardened warrior and turning him into a child. This is woven together with Loki's slowly worn-away plans for manipulating this child Thor into being what Loki wants, so well done that you don't really even realize where it precisely happens, instead it's just... one moment you suddenly know that he loves this little brother, that he doesn't want to let go of him, doesn't want to lose him, doesn't want to hurt him. It's built towards with Loki being genuinely good with children, providing structure and encouragement and affection, especially with a child like Thor, whom he can't help but love.

And, oh, it's so good. It gave me all the family feelings I was hoping for, as they played together or learned how to cook together or Thor had a nightmare and Loki took care of him through it. I always love fics with Loki taking care of children, it's one of my favorite things in fandom, but here it's wound together with his complicated relationship with Thor and ahhhhh, I love it. Especially because you can tell that this is still Thor, who would have been such a little charmer and so good-hearted and a little mischievous and well. Clearly, I love him, too. This is in addition to the worldbuilding of magic and spells and how this is different from Loki's, how there's a thread in the story of Loki enjoying studying this magic almost purely for its own sake, which makes the story just that much more richly done.

At it's heart, it's a story about the cuteness of the brothers, about Loki learning to let go of some of his anger and coming to care for other people again, about the impact this will have on both their lives. But it comes with so many warm-hearted moments and plot shenanigans that it's just wonderful for what I wanted. I'm just going to go wallow around in feelings over this for awhile now, okay.
    Chapter 4: I deliberately sat on this update for awhile, because I knew it ended on a cliffhanger and I didn't want to get stuck clawing at the walls too badly after it. But I thought it was a surprisingly tolerable cliffhanger, actually! It's still interesting enough that I'm anxious for the next (and, sadly, final) chapter, but not so much that it's painful and would keep me from suggesting this chapter be read. Because this is the de-aged Thor kidfic that I've been waiting for and this chapter does a lovely job of letting me revel in more of Big Brother Loki (who is similar to Parent Loki, which is something I treasure in fandom) and the sweetness of that, while still moving the plot forward, with Thor's nightmares/half-memories still creeping in the background.

This chapter is all about prodding Loki into realizing his feelings and the ways he's changed in a more active way, in a way that he can't deny, instead of clinging to his hatred of Thor. Enough time has passed that it's justified here, that Loki is more comfortable with admitting just how far he's come, and the fic has done an absolutely lovely job of using Thor as a vulnerable child to capitalize on the foundation that was already there with the character, bringing it further into focus for the reader and the character. This chapter is all about giving the reader a lot of feelings as Thor and Loki work through a lot of the tangles in their relationship (as much as they can with Thor not really remembering himself) so that, when Thor does return to himself, things can't just go back to the way they were. And, oh, you combine that with the concept of de-aged fic in the first place (and all the adorable, heartwarming trappings of it, like protective cuddling and snowball fights and special pancakes for breakfast!!), and it's such a good read for me.
    Chapter 5: I know I read chapter 5 and I was certain I wrote a rec for it, but I cannot find it... well, suffice to say, it was a really fantastic ending and did justice to everything built up before this. As soon as I can find it, I'll ammend this post or else I'll write a better single rec when I do a reread sometime.

J'entre dans la légende by fallintosanity (yopumpkinhead), avengers + loki + thanos, wakfu crossover, canon divergence, action fic, some loki/oc, 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.

I Reach Out My Hand (and hope you take it) by fallintosanity (yopumpkinhead), thor & loki + other asgardians, wakfu crossover, 34k
    Thor is struggling to rebuild a life in the wake of the Infinity War, and to cope, for a second time, with the loss of his brother. Then he discovers that someone's stealing from Loki's rooms...
    This is a sequel to J'entre dans la légende, which should be read first.
    I greatly adored the main fic of this series, so I was very excited about a follow up fic that focused on Thor and Loki's relationship, which may be part of the reason why so much of it fell kind of flat for me. I nearly immediately turned away from this fic and stopped reading when it villainized Sif early on and there were a lot of points during the rest of the story where the Loki favoritism nearly became too much for me when it was so heavy-handed. It's an odd combination, that the characters otherwise felt so right to me, but the balance was so off. Literally everything revolved around Loki now and how he was the hero and right about everything and it completely failed to acknowledge any of Loki's wrongdoings, as well as everything suddenly became Thor's fault. He wasn't as smart as Loki, he wasn't as good as Loki, he wasn't as talented as Loki, he was being passed over in favor of Loki. I could buy Thor feeling guilt, but the sudden way he was no longer a good leader, that Loki should have been/was going to be king? That nobody really had any faith at all in him? No, it did a major disservice to Thor's character, as well as Loki's character.

In the main fic, the writing did justice to Loki's damage and how he was an anti-hero who was only beginning to heal, but one year later, all of that seems to have been wiped away, because Loki has a family and seems emotionally stable now. True, this is from Thor's point of view, so we don't really see Loki's thoughts, but it was frustrating, because everything else about the fic was so good! And I don't mean to give the impression that this isn't a fic I enjoyed, because I did enjoy it a lot! And I mention these things to encourage people to keep reading, if they might have otherwise turned away! When the writing focused in on Thor and Loki's relationship, it was absolutely wonderful. I really enjoyed the Thor characterization here as well, which I am routinely fussy about, especially when there's not much he can directly do and how too often it comes across as a bland sort of character. Here, instead the writing captures the balance between Thor growing more mature with how he's the type who does things, who doesn't just sit idly when there's something that needles at him. The scenes where he waits in Loki's rooms, the way he gets a bit of one over on Loki, those are where the fic absolutely sings and utterly worth reading just for those.

Ultimately, by the time I was done, I had a lot of feelings about the fic and the writing is, as always, incredibly smooth and well-paced, it's so easy to pick up and read. It's a fic that, at its heart, is about Thor and Loki's relationship, which gave me the emotional satisfaction I was looking for. I don't think I'll be reading anything more in this series, but this was a solid place to go out on, because it was over 30k of Norse Bro Feels and that is something I will always be delighted by. And also everyone really should read J'entre dans la légende, it's such a good fic.

Featherling by RoAnshi, loki + avengers + possible steve/loki, pregnant!loki, miscarriage, 27k
    While serving his sentence on Midgard, Loki unexpectedly finds himself in a "family way" - sort of.
    Chapter 01-03: This fic is, as the author's notes say, set in a future time where Loki is working with the Avengers as part of his redemption and is still resentful about it, but not quite hissingly angry about it, which is set up in a previous fic that has yet to be written. But it's not hard at all to navigate this fic, it stands well on its own, so don't let that stop you from reading this one! Especially because... okay, I picked this one up because, oh, hey, Loki finds himself with child while on Midgard and it's a redemption fic. Yes, sign me up for that! Which I definitely enjoyed, but the fic also does the best thing for me in Loki Redemption fics--it balances his various relationships with the other Avengers as well as the personal stuff he's going through. This fic gives me everything I want, from Thor being an important presence in his life that Loki's still working to learn how to re-accept, to the solid friendship he has with Steve, to the bantering snarky friendship he has with Tony, to suddenly finding himself pregnant and it's such a weird one that doesn't follow any rules, not even ones Loki knows, to Loki still having that bite to his character and the sharp edges that I love so much about it.

The characters are all nicely written, this feels like all the characters I recognize, if set a couple of years into the future to give things time to settle a bit. And I love what the author did with Loki's pregnancy, how weird it is and how he himself is just as mystified about it as everyone else, how the author puts in so many little touches of how he handles it. There's a lot of thought given to the different details here, really, from Loki working with Tony on various projects to the kind of magic he is/isn't allowed to use, and it's worked well into the fic. And, oh, Loki with his babies and how being protective of them and loving them so passionately doesn't take away from that he's a smirky little shit who deliberately grates on people's nerves and that is such a good Loki for me. I'm saddened that there are only three chapters as of the time of this rec, I would have liked to have kept reading the whole thing through because it's so delightfully well written, but it's over 15k words at this point and basically EVERYTHING I WANT OUT OF LOKI REDEMPTION + LOKI&KIDS FIC.
    Chapter 04-05: I've been catching up on some of the fics I've been reading and I saw this one had two new chapters and totally did that ridiculous clapping my hands with delight thing because I really enjoy this one and Loki's interaction with the Avengers and his complicated relationship with Thor and his developing friendship with Steve and seeing him as a parent. All of these things were well done in these two chapters and I really enjoy the way this author is writing Loki as a parent and the way he uses magic, but I think I was most especially delighted by Thor being totally territorial over his right as Loki's child's uncle. Yes, give me all the feelings of Thor being an adoring, doting uncle (and doting brother to Loki, when Loki will accept it) and being all NO MINE when Loki asks Steve to look after his daughter as well.

But there are also many other things I loved! There's at least one line that made me giggle out loud, Thor and Loki's reactions to his daughter are perfect, and Pepper is fucking awesome and she makes the world a better place in this fic. I love love loved that Loki's daughter already has a personality going, her interaction with Clint is hilarious (well, less so on Clint's side, who is a real dick to a child here, but I can also see his issues, so I don't entirely hate him, just that he deserves what he gets), though I hope that part is over or that Thor (or Steve) won't put up with any more of it.

Overall, this fic continues to be a really great balance between genuine emotional moments and silly humor that's kind of cracky, but those two elements work together wonderfully here. I'd have loved it just for the Thor&Loki interaction or the Steve&Loki friendship, but getting Loki with a baby just makes it that mucht more delightful. Ugh, I need more of this one soon.

He Ain't Heavy (He's Our Villain) by goodboots, avengers + loki, darcy & loki, background pairings, 11k
    In which Thor is foolishly loyal, Darcy still wants her iPod back, and Loki redeems himself, or something.
    The pairings labeled on this fic made me hesitate and nearly pass it by, but I decided to give it a shot anyway because "in which Thor is foolishly loyal" immediately intrigues in a Loki redemption fic. And I'm glad I did give this one a shot! The pairings are largely background, they're not really the point of the fic, so I encourage those who don't mind them to read anyway. Because this is a fic that has a lot of delightful stuff in it! The ending does descend into fluff in the last third of the fic (but you're kind of reading for that anyway), but the first parts of the fic are so sharp and so funny that I was completely charmed, having to stop a couple of times just to giggle for awhile

The fic also brought me onboard with the Darcy & Loki friendship, which is something that has to be carefully done for me, but the sharpness the author shows when setting the situation up is absolutely fantastic and the pacing is such that, even if it doesn't necessarily show you all of it, you feel the passage of enough time that it's understandable how Loki could go from so viciously angry to joining the second string of Avengers. In addition to this, it's a fic where Asgard loves him and I got the impression that one day he would regain all of that, even if he may consider Earth his home now, but also THOR LEARNING MIDGARD WAYS AND REFUSING TO LET HIS BROTHER NOT GET A FAIR SHAKE, omg bless.

Lost Boys by thisisnotwhoyouthink, loki + avengers + mild background canon pairings, pregnant!loki, 59k
    When Loki is captured by Shield, they discover a dark secret between Loki and Odin. A different take on Loki's 'monster' kids.
    Chapter 01-18: I am going to get the caveats out of the way before moving on to the rec proper. With this fic, you have to just accept a few things before you start--this is movieverse, but it draws from mythology. Odin is a collossal dick in this story. And Loki's kids are all ones he was the mother to, rather than just Sleipnir. You just roll with it. That said, holy shit, this fic sucked me in and wouldn't spit me back out, not until I'd read all 18 chapters that were available at the time of the rec, not until it'd consumed me while it had me in its grips. It's a combination of things, but largely that this fic played on my emotions beautifully, where Loki's children are returned to him one by one, and you understand just how deep the loss of them cut him and just how much he truly loves them. The characterization might not work for everyone, but I read between the lines that what was done to his children was a major exacerbation on his sanity and, with lives to care for that he truly wants to protect, his focus is shifted enough to make some major differences. For all that, though, I recognized this Loki very well--he's still acerbic, he's still clever with words, he's still as sharp and cutting as ever. And I am allllll the way onboard with Loki actually being really good with kids and, oh, it is so good to see him interacting with his kids and you can feel what a difference he wants to make in their lives.

I can't lie, I originally picked up this fic with the hope of getting maybe some Thor/Loki implications, but... the more I read, the more it didn't ultimately matter (and I don't think they'll head in that direction here) because Thor obviously cares very deeply about his brother and that emotional connection between them is what I really wanted. But it's more than that, too. Loki and his kids. Loki with the other Avengers, that he's forced to ask for asylum with. Loki's kids with the other Avengers. Loki's kids with each other. Their slowly blossoming individual personalities. All of it is built up gradually and is so good for me, because there were moments when I totally nearly got a little misty-eyed. Yes, I'm weak to kidfic, but the writing of this is really solid once the fic gets going and it played on my emotions in exactly the ways that it was supposed to, it built up this gorgeous story of Loki and his kids and their expanding world, it showed me all these amazing little scenes with the kids being smart little bastards or interacting with Steve and Tony and Natasha and Bruce in really sweet and often heartbreaking ways. It's... one of those fluffy angst stories? Or maybe angsty fluff stories? I'm not sure, but it really, really worked for me and I just could not put it down this afternoon.
    Chapter 19: Oh, this fic continues to be so very good for me. Loki with his kids and the slowly forming relationships with the other Avengers are a delight, especially when Loki and Bruce form a bit of an unlikely friendship and Loki is actually... well, not precisely nice, but this Loki is more caring (now that he's got his kids back, which I can believe was a lot of the reason he was so angry and bitter) and genuine. Loki and Bruce teaming up to dick around with Tony is A+++++ because Tony deserves it and then PEPPER IS AMAZING and I wish she were in the fic more. Not a lot actually happens in this chapter, it's more about the ever-widening scope of their world (including mentions of the Fantastic Four) and the kids starting to relax a bit, but it was still an incredibly welcome update.
    Chapter 20: This chapter... in a lot of ways, this chapter is the epitome of everything I would want to say about this fic. Its main focus is on Thor having a conversation with Loki about everything that's going on with them, about Loki's kids and why they don't seem to like Thor, about Loki's plans for the future, about their past in Asgard. And I look at this chapter and think, goodness, this Loki is so much softer and gentler than the Loki I usually seek out. He's sort of forgiving and in a good mood here! He's settled and balanced and caring. Oh, he still teases and has his secret smiles and only gives away what he wants to, but he is much softer here and yet... it works for me, to the point that this chapter nearly brought tears to my eyes, for how well the author played on my feelings for the character and all the shit he's been through, all the bitterness that he's let go of because he has his children back and where he wants to go in the future. This author somehow sells me on all of this and it might not be for everyone, it's definitely a warmer and fuzzier approach, but the feelings are no less intense for it, especially when, yes, the conversation touches on what assholes all of Asgard were to Loki and gives some satisfying resolution to the events that have led them up to this point. And I say this chapter is the epitome of this fic because I think it's the perfect example of what this fic does to me/my feelings and also it's the perfect chapter for whether or not you vibe with this story. p.s. Loki's kids are the cutest things ever and I looooooove kids, fuck anyone who doesn't understand my love for them. p.p.s. Thor really is a giant sweetheart and I love him, too.
    Chapter 21: Ahhh, this epilogue to this story is so cute! I'm sad to see this fic go, of course, but it was a very satisfying fic overall and it ended well and it was just... pure sunshine and warmth, as Loki finally has his latest kid, a little baby girl, and their family is complete. This chapter is set from Jorgumand's point of view, so it's much cuter and sweeter than even the previous chapters, but it's so darling! And the author even works in a visit from Hela, which I was delighted to see! I enjoyed how there was an almost otherworldly feel to her (given that she's dead and all), I enjoyed the kids starting to learn even more about magic now that Loki's magic was coming back to him, and I just. Enjoyed that this epilogue made me happy.

Quiet Poetry by FelicityGS, steve/loki, NSFW, fluff, 27.9k
    Sometimes, the best gift to give someone is a second chance.
    Chapters 01-08: I am primarily a Thor/Loki reader, but I think Steve/Loki might be my second favorite ship. (But, then, it kind of depends on what day you ask me on.) I've been enjoying this author's other series a lot, so I figured, sure, why not try this Steve/Loki fic as well? And, ahhhh, I read everything in one sitting and really wanted more because it's just so terribly good and perfect for what I wanted. This is one of those ships that I don't crave a lot of angst from, so being assured by the tags that this wasn't going to have any angst? Yeah, that made me want it all the more. And then the author does a really lovely job of giving Loki this new life on Midgard, after his punishment of having his magic sealed away and turned mortal, one that isn't that unkind (even if he thinks of it as such at first) and then... has this life being built around him. One of the most gorgeous things about this story is the OCs that are interesting and so very well used, not overdone or taking up space that needs to be focused on the main characters, but instead contributing to the story, furthering the plot along, and making the world feel that much more fleshed out.

But it's more than that, it's in the little touches in their lives, the way Loki dresses or the way Steve looks at the world, the points where their lives intersect and what they're each building around themselves (Loki being human, Steve being gay and not really wanting to talk about it with his other friends, both of them trying to adjust themselves) and why they can find this quiet space to actually realize they like each other and get along well. And it's so good, with Steve being direct and honest, which allows Loki to calm down and be a little honest in return, Loki being all elegant lines and grace and quick intelligence and curiosity about everything which Steve enjoys. And I love that this fic is so much about second chances, that it's about living, and the author does a lovely job of... showing the attraction between them, being a little softer about it, but not cliche. It's exquisite attraction between the characters because I can feel it in the little smiles or the way their hands touch, there can be a bit of shyness there, but just enough to be believable without stretching it too far. Ugh, now I remember why I love this pairing so much and will go pine for more fic for this ship.
    Chapters 09-12: Ah, I did not mean to let this one pile up as much as it did, I just got distracted for a bit and suddenly I had four new chapters to read at once! Not that I'm complaining, because this is one of those that I would read 100k for in one sitting and then whine for more. Ahhhh, I love this fic where Loki is mortal, where he has a slowly developing relationship with Steve, where the past is not forgotten, but Steve thinks he deserves a second chance and there are a whole shitload of feelings building up inside me here. Because this fic is all about how this pairing would work, how they do work together, how they balance each other out and fit surprisingly well together and enjoy each other's company and it's all about... it's about being happy and heart-warming. Even in chapter 12, which is angstier than usual, it's about wading through all the pain and exhaustion (physical and in their souls) to connect and see underneath the surface. It's all about the author writing things that I wouldn't necessarily think would work (Steve and Loki on a picnic? and yet it's not crack, but instead subtle and quiet and good and perfect and easy to see) and their progressing forward, cautious for how Steve doesn't move quickly but neither does Loki, both for their own reasons (being old-fashioned, used to being long-lived, not used to being pursued, having such tough emotional walls up). It's all about the little things in life that make up a relationship, leaving this fic to feel really detailed and weighty, despite that it's actually quite fluffy.

I enjoy this fic just for being a happy Steve/Loki fic about second chances and for being absolutely darling. I enjoy this fic for taking a pairing that I love dearly and making a serious fic about it, of which there is not enough. But I also love it for what's especially clear in chapter 12--there's a whole lot of baggage here, always. Most of the time, they can set it aside, put it to the back of their minds, and focus on the now, rather than the past. But sometimes it comes up and Loki is still brittle and angry and self-loathing, because sometimes it has to come crashing back into their lives, they can't put it aside forever. And that's necessary, but the way it was handled here was so gorgeous. For all that it's supposedly dipping back into angst, I actually found it rather wonderfully invigorating, because the author does a gorgeous job of showing that Steve notices Loki's shift of mood and what that likely means under the surface, which says so much about how comfortable they've gotten with each other. The author does a gorgeous job of showing that "Loki" and "Luke" are not separate, showing that the little quirks he has aren't just random details added in for nothing, but that they actually mean something. Ahhh, I just want this fic to never, ever end, even though I know it must someday. But I am going to enjoy the hell out of it until then. *__*
    Chapters 13-15: I am so very, very glad I saved up these finals chapters (even if I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened) because it's my shark week this week and, boy, did I need this. It's the final chapters and they read really well together as a group like this (and, boy, am I also glad that I didn't have to wait through a cliffhanger) and they're a culmination of everything the story has been building towards--that moment in a relationship where it reaches a certain point. It's sort of cliche to have a story end on an "I love you" and sex, but this author makes you feel it right along with the characters, it's not that the author didn't know what else to do with the characters or the relationship, but that the journey of falling in love and letting someone into your heart was the journey. The author made the build up and resolution to this feel completely natural and like, yes, that was the right place to stop. (Though, I'm hoping for follow-up stories, of course, especially ones that deal with the less than smooth parts that come after the first throes of love.)

This is one of those endings that I dearly wish I could be more thoughtful and insightful about when writing a rec for it, because it touched my heart so much, because it gave me such joy, because it was so beautiful to read and so lovely in characterization, that I want to be able to match even a little of that. Because I did love both characters so very much here and this is one of my favorite Steve characterizations, where he loves with such quiet passion, where he keeps his life private and it makes sense that he doesn't come out to his teammates, but there's no real sense of shame about it, he's just not ready. The author does a lovely job of weaving in little background details, especially how he's not really shy or virginal, but doesn't mind that others think him so, when it gives him a little more privacy and space--that fits so well with the character I saw on the screen. And this Loki is so much more settled, he's so much more like how his real self must be, now that he's had the time and breathing room to calm down, now that he's finally coming out of his shell and has this whole life of his own now. There are still so many jagged edges, but I love that this fic--this fic about falling in love and the sweetness of that--can be fluffy while still making me believe that, yes, this is Loki. Especially because, oh, demi-sexual Loki really makes a lot of sense for this version of the character and I was easily able to buy that in this story!

But I can't let a rec go by without mentioning one of the most satisfying things about this fic--the porn. The porn that was practically the entire last chapter, that was several pages long, rather than just a brief scene, even while it never felt repetitive or too drawn out. It had a natural grace and flow to it (not that the whole fic doesn't, because it really does) and it was scorchingly, scorchingly hot. It was beautiful and lovely and elegant and it was about how much they were in love and how wonderful it was and how Loki was just completely undone--which, seriously, is my favorite thing. When he can trust enough to let himself be open, when he can let someone freely touch him, when he can actually say what he wants, that's a wonderful thing. But when it comes with Steve's determination to make sure his partner is pleasured (so good for me) and Loki flourishes under the attention, that's so much of what I wanted for them here! It's not vague porn, either, it's descriptive and detailed, but without losing that pretty quality to it! And I mentioned that Loki nearly coming apart at the seams, nearly a wild thing under Steve as he fucks Loki, in all the best ways, that's one of my favorite things ever, right? Because, boy, is it. Thank god for this fic because otherwise I was going to have a pretty miserable shark week.

Project Loki by Sheyrena Wyrsabane, steve/loki + thor & loki + other avengers, 33.5k
    Loki gets hit by a spell that requires him to remain in close physical contact with Steve. Steve decides to use this opportunity to try and convince Loki that super villain might not be the best career choice.
    Oh, man, this summary got my attention as soon as I saw it and I had to read it, especially since it was about 33k words and AHHH I LOVE THIS IDEA. This fic does have a few caveats I would give--it's more tell rather than show than I'd like and it softens the edges of the characters, especially at the halfway point of the fic, when Loki is suddenly genuinely invested in proving himself to the other Avengers, in getting into their good graces, as well as a few too many drama bombs were thrown in for my taste. None of these were enough to keep me from finishing the fic pretty much in one sitting, though! And the author did so many things right, with Loki's interaction with the other Avengers, a situation that forced them all to be around each other (which, ahhhh, so good for me) and I actually like fic that's clearly meant to be happier, especially when the author did a lovely job of balancing Loki's growing relationship with Steve and how much Thor loves him and wants him around. I loved that Thor had a presence in this fic, even if he wasn't a major character of it, that that relationship was still important.

And I love that the fic took its time, so I got plenty of time of Loki with the Avengers, actually working towards being an Avenger instead of just not actively being a villain against them. Plus, there's cuddling in bed because of the need to be in physical contant, there's Loki struggling with trying to figure out who/what he wants to be, there's a dozen ups and downs in the relationship, sometimes Loki's fault, sometimes not, and I really enjoyed that give and take aspect here. This was a really fun, really satisfying read for doing justice to the concept, for being a well-paced read, in that it didn't add in a lot of extraneous filler, but instead felt more like a winding journey, which this kind of idea really kind of needs to take. It was just enjoyable and light-hearted (despite the fluffy angst) because you knew it would work out and, ahhhh, I do enjoy this ship.

I heard you killed your only friend last year by Lise, steve & loki, 3.4k
    It's not exactly how Steve was planning to spend his time.
    I don't know how I previously missed this fic (probably that I was still in my Thor/Loki tunnel-vision phase) but, oh, this is a lovely piece where an injured Loki ends up practically in Steve's lap, who can't help giving in just a little. It's always a tricky thing to write Loki with characters other than Thor, why they wouldn't immediately rain hellfire down on him if he showed up again, but the author does a lovely job of it, with keeping Loki's sharp, dangerous edges while Steve doesn't flinch away from them. Well, Loki looking like he'd been put through a meatgrinder helped, but still. The fic never forgets that these are dangerous people, that Loki has a lot of dark things pressing down on him, even as something slowly, maybe, partially starts to build between them here. And, oh, this Loki is so viciously angry, so much so that he can hardly see the forest for the trees of his anger, he can't see much of anything truly clearly, even as brilliant and sharp as he is. And I love that Steve doesn't immediately feel sorry for him, not precisely... or at least it's... it's not about that, it's not about feeling sorry for Loki, but instead what kind of person Steve is. I love that this isn't easy, but it is still an important moment and something has begun here. It's harsh, but beautifully written.
   

Disarm by Lise, steve & loki, 7.9k
    After their last encounter, Steve really wasn't expecting to see Loki again. Much less more than once.
    This is a sequel to I heard you killed your only friend last year, which should probably be read first.
    I think I may love the sequel even more, despite that it actually almost sort of feels like they took a step backwards here. Well, they took a step forward as well, probably gained more ground than they lost, but I love that it's not this perfect, smooth journey. That Loki is still viciously angry and Steve's not just going to give him a pass on all the bad shit he's done and the people he's hurt, even if he still wants something better for Loki. Their conversation is brilliantly written, it's breathtakingly good in the way they wind from one subject to the next and there are no softened edges here, neither in Loki nor in Steve. But it is giving them a chance to really see each other, the way Steve is starting to understand Loki a bit more and actually being able to read him better now and he's starting to see what Thor sees in Loki--and, oh, the brief mentions of Thor really did my heart good here. It's lovely how Thor clearly loves his brother, even when he's not actually in the fic, that's just the best icing on the cake for me.

But the most beautiful thing about this fic is that it finds a balance between Loki being ever the liar and showing both Steve and the reader a glimpse of what's behind those lies, even as Loki is so angry that anyone would think him weak that he can't see true reason. And oh oh oh the hint that Loki might have ulterior motives for not returning to Asgard, that (in the background) Thor has been thinking about all of this and that Steve thinks he might be right? Even as that doesn't negate any of Loki's viciousness? Yet I can still hope this fic is sidling up to something better for all the characters? Ahhhh, I'm practically twisting myself around in anxiousness for more! At the same time, though, this is a gorgeous set of fics that I think any Steve/Loki fan should read.

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.

You do not have to walk on your knees by Lise, avengers + loki, 8.8k
    It's not that he's invested in keeping them alive. The idea of someone else killing them first, though, is a bit offensive. Or: a funny pattern starts to emerge between dire situations involving various Avengers. "When you started thinking that Loki might be looking out for them in some kind of weird, possessive, only I may kill you sort of way…that was a sign you’d been in this business too long."
    I intensely love 5+1 fics and, oh, this one was put to great effect, especially for playing on Loki's connections to the Avengers, each of these dynamics different from each other, and the brilliant way the author writes Loki. This is a balance between digging into the more redeemable things of Loki while not giving an inch on his utter viciousness and mixing it all together with how Loki is such a goddamned mess. I love all of this, every scene sparkles and builds up these connections, but, oh, it's when the tables are turned and Steve's genuineness starts to unravel Loki, that's when this fic really got me. Of course it would be Steve who lets him go, who isn't looking for anything beyond this, isn't looking for a favor down the road, isn't doing it just out of pity, but because he's so genuine with Loki and because he sees those complications in Loki. And, oh, this fic is just so sharp, it's practically cutting into my feelings the entire time, just... intese and incredible the whole way through, wow.

Kings and Vagabonds by spinstitcher, loki & sleipnir + other marvel characters, humor, adventure fic, 29.7k
    In the wake of the Chitauri Loki is stripped of his powers and banished to Vanaheim. Nobody tasers him, but there is an awful lot of singing and dancing. Accompanied by his eldest son, who happens to be a horse, Loki slowly begins to carve out a place for himself – one that isn’t Supreme Ruler of the Known Universe.

But there is another power emerging from the darkness; one that threatens the safety – and sanity – of all the Nine Realms. Loki may have given up his dreams of becoming Glorious Overlord, but that doesn’t mean someone else gets to take his place.
    I actually initially read this because the sequel was labeled as Bruce/Loki and I was really curious about that. But, oh, that's a sequel and this fic doesn't have any real pairings to it, so, okay, genfic time it is. Which I do think you need to know that it's balanced between being cracky and being more... plotful crack? But it's deliberate, which is what makes the tone of the fic absolutely shine and, oh, this was an absolute treasure to find! It's hilarious, when Loki is banished to Vanaheim and decides, fuck it, he's always wanted to never have to deal with people again and he'll become a hermit then. I loved the world building right from the beginning, the Vanir are an absolute scream when he does finally run into them, a great balance between being cracky as well as doing actually a lot of world building. And BONUS, SO SUPER GOOD FOR ME is that they send Sleipnir along with Loki! Who is an amazing balance between having his own personality and, you know, being a horse. You get both hilarity and Loki&his kids feels! It's pretty amazing.

I would have been content if that's all the fic had given me, because it was excellent, well-written, hilarious antics of Loki on Vanaheim creating this new life for himself. But, oh, then Amora shows up and is trying to steal the Norn Stones, which Loki gets pulled into, so there's an actual plot going on! There's magical theory and action scenes! All while still being hilarious! Naturally, this means he eventually winds up on Jotunheim, face to face with Helblindi and Byleister and I think, for now, this fic is my new favorite versions of the characters. Again, it's balanced between cracky (especially when ginormous Byleister sweeps his baby brother up in a hug and starts sobbing huge, giant tears for the brother he thought was dead, oh my god, that was amazing for me) and actual feels for the characters--I love love love that Loki actually finds a family, that they're supportive and caring and not all like Laufey.

And hell, even then, I would have been content for Loki to stay on Jotunheim, to have this new life built for himself. But the fic still wasn't done yet. Eventually, Loki has to go to Midgard, has to see the Avengers again, has to face Thor again. Which... also cracky, but also so many feels! Despite that this is a humor story (and, okay, I'll admit that I'm weak to Thor&Loki's relationship, so I get more wound up than others might), I had actual physical pains over how much I loved their interaction and how desperately Thor loved his brother and wanted him back and how Loki struggled with his new life and his old life. Once I started this fic, I could hardly put it down until I read all 30k words and I have to say, it did not feel that long, because it flew by far too quickly.

A Villain State of Mind by mikkeneko, loki & charles xavier + other mcu characters, crossover, some scenes of torture/gore, trauma, therapy fic, 54.9k
    Written for the Norsekink prompt: "SHIELD has Loki in custody, with the gag on to keep him from spellcasting, but they don't really know what to DO with him. They can't give him food or water or attempt to interrogate him with the gag on, and they don't dare take it off. Their solution? Call in a telepath! But Charles Xavier may find more things in Loki's head than SHIELD bargained for..."
    Chapters 01-02: As of the writing of this rec, I've only read up through part 2n/? and, while there are two new sections, this rec will not reflect them yet. I'm also going to start out this rec with a handful of caveats to get them out of the way first, because this fic is a bit of a departure from what I usually read (and, in some ways, is why I read what I usually read). I do not know if this story will end well, I skimmed the author's previous Loki fic and saw it did not end well and I was pretty much, "NOPE NOPE NOPE, not ever reading that." despite that I know the author is a fantastic writer. And this story is similarly painful in a lot of ways, it has one of the most disturbing descriptions of torture that I've yet read in this fandom and, if the fic were any less tempting otherwise, I would have been out of there at that moment. I generally don't buy this dark a past for Loki in the MCU, but the author actually does a really good job of getting me to buy it in this fic, which I usually can't see together with the MCU characters. And all of these caveats are mentioned because I have certain kinds of tastes (as in, I'm not much of a unhappy fic reader) and I figure those who use my recs will want to know these things ahead of time.

ALL THAT SAID, holy shit, this fic sucked me in anyway, because OMFG Loki accidentally gets dropped back on Earth, Thor is stuck in Asgard, S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't know how to deal with a god whom they can't trust to speak (and, in this fic, writing doesn't fall under their All-Speak), and they're at the end of their rope, so they call in Charles Xavier to help them out. And, oh, the characterization is gorgeous, the opening scenes with Fury and Xavier, both of them are pitch-perfect. And this Loki is so... this is a bit of a darker Loki, he's all rage and pain and fury and self-hate and horror, to the point that it made me a little sick sometimes (but I'm also sensitive to these things) and I find myself wanting so terribly to fix everything for him. The scenes of Xavier first establishing contact with Loki, trying to get inside the mind of a Norse god, finding out so many of the things that the movie never really had time to get into (like Loki being Jotunn and what that internalized racism means and the gorgeous parallels of Xavier having dealt with this from mutants who hate themselves before), including a really fascinating discussion about Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D. not being able to give each other enough information in the comments.

It's kind of amazing how smoothly these two universes fit together, how many parallels are drawn between mutants and Norse gods, how well Xavier's powers fit seamlessly into this universe. I mean, it makes sense, they're all Marvel properties and such, but it still kind of surprised me just how terribly easy this was to picture in my mind's eye. And the Xavier characterization is spot-on, I found him fascinating from the moment he picked up Fury's telephone call, to the casual way he uses his powers as he goes through the levels of the helicarrier--and the ways he doesn't use his powers--how the author balances that sense of him being a non-threat, a paralyzed old man in a wheelchair, against how Xavier is able to be so calm and non-threatening because you can't do shit to him given his powers. I am so very looking forward to more of the conversations between these characters and the unfolding of all the issues that are wrapped up in Loki's character, even if I'm terribly afraid of where this is all going, where it's going to end.
    Chapters 03-04: I was thinking, while reading the update, which is largely a conversation between Xavier and Fury, that a lot of fics would have me impatiently tapping my foot, waiting for the fic to get back to the reason I picked the fic up in the first place (in this case, Loki and Xavier interaction), but here I found that I was enjoying the scenes between just as much as the main selling point scenes! The author keeps the tension up, does a gorgeous job with Xavier's anger at the way mutants have been treated in this world and uses it to build up just why he connects so well with Loki, you understand why he cares so quickly about this person in front of him who isn't a mutant, why this situation pushes Xavier's puttons. And it's done in a way that's not over the top or too much, but instead is almost subtle in the way it builds up, with perfect characterization for both Xavier and Fury in that conversation. But also the little details with Loki (super hearing, his poisonous looks, the way his mental reactions are not the same as his outer reactions), how this is digging into his issues that I desperately wished the movie had had time for, maybe having a chance to actually get them out and do some good because, as the fic points out, with someone as long-lived as Loki, with someone as damaged as him, you pretty much can only go one direction or the other, there's not middle ground here.
    Chapters 05: Oh, this fic is going to be the death of me as I try to wait through the updates. At least the fic has been updated to say it's on chapter 5 out of 8 (assuming that sticks, of course), which helps, but I'm still going to be clawing at the walls a bit until this is done and I know how things are going to turn out for Loki. In the meantime, though, it's still an incredible look at conversations between Xavier and Loki, the kind that are intense as all hell, that even just reading a single chapter (even if it is a sizeable one) makes me feel like I've been through the emotional wringer as well afterwards. The author does such a gorgeous job of all the sharp little things people would think or feel in this position, there's something... I hate to say realistic about it, but that's kind of what I mean, if alien gods and superpowers existed. It's brutal, but in a way that I buy in this universe, one that leaves me aching for the characters and kind of in love with Xavier and how he really is trying to help Loki.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I like Loki or Xavier more in this fic, because they play off each other in that way... you sometimes have these half-formed ideas in your head that you'd like to see, but rarely does the writing actually measure up to those ideas. But here, oh, it's so well-written and so satisfying (even if I am terrified that it'll crush me), all the more so because you actually see the issues this kind of situation presents being addressed. There's something really terrifying about everything that's happening here, but also something really good. And, oh, the way Xavier interacts with Loki (especially when he starts to ask Loki about his family, about his mother, about Thor, the way he doesn't push Loki too hard) is beautiful. I love how much this fic is digging into Loki's character, how it's building a relationship between Xavier and Loki, and how, oh, it's such a good crossover between the two franchises.
    All Chapters: I've done recs previously for this fic while it was in progress, but I recently sat down to finish it off and then tear through the sequel (which I'll get to in a minute) and I wanted to write a rec for the overall fic/the ending of it. Everything I've mentioned in previous recs still hold true (there are some scenes that are difficult to read, I was very affected by the flashbacks with the dwarves and it was hitting the limit of what I could stand to read) and continues on for the rest of this fic. Though, I hardly know where to begin with this fic, because I feel like there's so much it covers that I want to talk about, all the slow building (or repairing) of Loki it does without needing to entirely fix him by the end! It's one step at a time and it's very aware that it's only a week for the entire span of this fic, so this is about the first flickers of something in him and about learning to take the first steps towards trusting someone again.

The use of Xavier's powers is lovely here, the two worlds fit together splendidly well, both seamless and interesting! It helps, of course, that they do occupy the same world in the comics, but there's always a challenge when they haven't been put together in the same movie universe (which this is written about), but this fic keeps the sharp and clever fun of seeing two worlds crossed over together while still having a point to it and giving great consideration to how they would integrate with each other. There's thought given to everything here, really, and I especially liked that it works on the idea that Asgard is not a bad place, but that it was not good for Loki, that this fic focuses on Loki himself and defining himself first, rather than the external factors in his life. It points out that there's really two choices with Loki--punish him or help him, which is something I've long thought.

Xavier is also incredibly thoughtful and given depth and I genuinely liked this Fury a lot! There are excellent building blocks for the story around the central characters, so that even when this is a story about Loki at its center, when he reveals his Jotunn form, I felt for him, but the Xavier aspect of that scene was the real blow to my feelings, where I got genuinely a little misty-eyed over it. And I love that this Loki is appropriately nasty in all the right moments, that he feels vulnerable or he's quick to believe the worst and so he lashes out, and sometimes those are genuinely cruel things to say, which the fic doesn't back away from. It's only because Xavier can read past Loki's projections, because he can read Loki's thoughts, that allows this relationship to be built the way it does, and that's why this is such an excellent crossover, because Xavier's abilities are so necessary here. The way he's used to cut through Loki's bullshit and examine his true motivations and feelings is so delicious because that's what you just want to do with Loki sometimes! To see beyond what he projects and cut away all the extraneous distracting stuff, to really dig into his character! Yet it's not used as an immediate fix it, because having someone in your head is pretty terrifying and it's such a careful balance not to abuse that power, to still build trust and to not rip someone open and make them too vulnerable! The fic doesn't use Xavier's abilities to immediately fix things, but instead to allow them just enough light in the darkness to begin the real work.

There are also stirrings of greater plot, there's mentions of what Thanos did to Loki and I liked the theories put forth here, all the more so because they're not used as excuses or even entirely explained because that's not what this story is centered on. Because this is a story about Loki, which means there are often biases and projections and unreliable narratives, even when you can see directly into his head, and what all of that says about Loki internally. Which is why it's so good, becasue it doesn't necessarily make Loki the center of the universe, but instead tries to start making Loki the center of Loki's universe for awhile, long enough to start repairing himself, and that's so, so, so good here.

the water's dark and deep, inside this ancient heart by artyartie, loki & child oc + avengers, fluff, 21.3k
    Loki has been a Prince of Asgard and a would-be conqueror of Midgard. Years after the movie, he's now trying to navigate the most challenging role he's undertaken yet: a single parent in Manhattan. Juggling play dates, elite preschools, and defeating the Avengers in time to pick up his little girl, Loki finds parenting has endless challenges - and unintended effects.
    First Rec from Norsekink: I pretty much sat down and read this all in one sitting, with only a brief break because I had to get up and move from one place to another. Otherwise? UGH, I COULD READ THIS ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY. The fic is slightly cracky, you have to just roll with Loki having a normal human kid and taking to the role of parent in a human way, as well as the Avengers willing to be a little more forgiving (because this is a lighter-hearted fic, for all that it has so many delicious sharp edges)... which isn't hard to buy because the author is really good at getting the spirit of the characters down and giving everyone enough time to mellow out. And, oh, the entire piece was wonderful. Loki as a parent, Loki actually interacting with his child, these are things that I do not see nearly enough of in fandom! The relationship he has with his daughter here is absolutely charming and delightful, it's wonderful without pushing too hard at it, so instead of making me feel like it's too sticky sweet, instead I'm just deliriously in love with everything here.

And I love that it's actually decently long without being stretched too far out, I love that the Avengers actually notice that Loki seems off and a;sldfkjal;skj the scenes of them arguing about it! With Thor staunchly defending his brother (while not being blind to what and who he is, but just... not being willing to put up with slights against Loki that are undeserved or a lack of respect for who he is) and the occasional moments of Thor being pretty fucking terrifying and how much he loves his brother! Despite that the fic isn't really about them, I was wonderfully satisfied with their relationship here, especially by the end. And I love Tony being insistent that, no, something really, really is weird about Loki here! And I fucking love that Loki is still Loki even when he's mellowed because having a kid does change you. It's cliche, but it's absolutely fucking true. The author uses it to great effect, having an occasional flashback to show Loki first holding her and how it wasn't instant love, how the author lightly touched on what this meant for Loki's own relationships with his family. Oh, I want more from that angle, I would love to see Loki and his daughter actually meeting the rest of his family, I want it so badly. But this was an absolutely fantastic read today and satisfied my need for Loki-with-his-kids that much more.
    First Rec from AO3 version: I have recommended this fic before, but I believe it was on the kinkmeme. This version has been cleaned up and has bits and pieces added to it, as well as I sat down to reread the whole thing, so, re-rec. I do what I want, Thor. Everything I said previously about this fic still holds true--it's such a fantastic read and I decided, eh, sure, I'll settle in to reread the 21k+ words of it which, despite that this is my second time through them, went by practically like they were nothing. This is still one of the most delightful fics I've read in awhile and it still just utterly charmed the pants off me! And I love that it could have been terribly cracky, but actually wound up being much more poignant and humorous than outright cracky, where the flashbacks show that it took time for Loki to mellow out into this version we see, that it took time for this little girl to worm his way into this heart and I really like the way the author framed it--skipping over the angstier parts (with some well-placed flashbacks to show that the journey was there, but that it's not the point of the fic) and instead getting right straight into the good stuff! Loki and a precious darling baby girl! Ahhhhh Loki with kids is one of those things I want to read more and more of forever, when it's so well-written and sharply funny as it is here.

I love Loki balancing having this entire separate life away from his career as a villain, that he arranges playdates and has human friends who aren't completely terrible and throws a Captain America-themed birthday party for his little girl (one of the best additions to the touched up version is a small line about why she's so fixed on her Captain America thing and, oh, my heart), all of which are just ridiculously touching, sweet, and well done. I would have read just for endless Loki&his baby girl scenes, really, but that Loki also has run-ins with the Avengers? Who are beginning to sense that something's not quite on the level here? Oh, yes, good. Especially Thor's relationship with Loki, forever defending him and nearly getting into arguments with the other Avengers when they would try to besmirch his brother's name! That is so wonderfully done, because Thor in Don't Even Think About Saying Shit About My Brother mode is one of my faaaaavorites, especially when it's followed up with Loki's whole host of issues with Thor, when he's obviously still tangled up about his feelings there, and when they're obviously still so important to each other, even when they don't have that many scenes together. The one they do have, though, just utterly makes me want to writhe around in feelings every time I read it, though. Every time Thor asks, when Loki so clearly loves his daughter of choice that he adopted, why would his own family (Odin, Frigga, and Thor) feel any different? RIGHT TO THE GODDAMNED HEART, that line is every time.

Basically, this fic takes what could have been a purely cracky premise and instead turns it into one of those fics that is probably one of my favorites in the fandom, one of those fics that gives me just about everything I could have asked for from it. I wish I could write a better rec for it because, ahhhh, I want everyone to enjoy Loki and his daughter and the sheer joy of this!

Thor's Days by artyartie, loki & child oc + avengers, fluff, 34.9k
    For a nearly immortal god, a year is nothing. For his little mortal daughter, a year is an eternity. And for the Avengers, a single year might mean a chance, however precarious, to redeem the unredeemable.
    This is a sequel to Mischief, Lies, and Other Hazards of Parenting, which should be read first. As well as this rec was written before the fic was finished!
    First Rec: There's only one chapter of this fic so far and that's almost painful for me because, oh, I want to read another ~20k words of this universe right now. Especially when it's already giving me feelings, as Loki sits down to help his daughter learn to read the days of the week, which naturally brings up a lot of feelings as they get to Wednesday (Odin's day) and then Thursday (Thor's Day), which his daughter doesn't really know about. And there's the feelings that that stirs up in me, but also the desperate, clawing need to know where this story is going, what this trial year (which is nothing to someone who's already a thousand years old, but will be forever for his human adopted daughter) is going to deal with, especially how much of his family is going to play into this. But already the author is doing a gorgeous job of how time passes, both too quickly and too slowly, which is always the case with children. Already, I'm fairly certain this is going to be an exercise in not attaching myself to the author's ankles as I wait between updates because, oh, I need more of it right now, please.
    Second Rec: When I sat down to read this fic, I remembered that the author had put up a more polished version on AO3 (instead of the original draft on norsekink) and decided, you know what would be an awesome decision? To reread that whole thing! And, boy, do I still love the hell out of that story and it reads so well, the kind I just got sucked right into and it felt like hardly any time at all had passed by the time I was finished with it! The sequel is just as lovely and fun to read, still with that lovely balance between Loki being a vicious little shit and a really, genuinely caring father to this girl that's wormed her way into his heart.

This time, the fic is more about exploring something a bit more sprawling, so you'll have Tony's viewpoint on second chances and how he knows they're important and how he got his own (and a second second chance, in a way), then you'll have Loki taking Kara Christmas shopping and snarling at all the other shoppers while still being completely adorable, and the author is fantastic at showing that Loki still does/says inappropriate things, but he makes sure Kara isn't affected or upset by them, and that's just more charming. There's also a flashback to Loki and Thor as children and then, in a scene that just gave me an intense feelings bomb like you wouldn't believe, Bruce talks to Thor about how Loki is changing and what that means for Thor, why he's both glad and disheartened by it.

I love fics that can make me laugh or make my face hurt from all the smiling by the time I'm finished, that can be that perfect balance between cracky humor and still being true to the characters. It's a difficult thing to describe what I mean by that, but when an author nails it, it's so wonderful.

It Isn't Always Easy by SouvenirsFamilier, thor/loki + avengers, redeemed!loki (sort of), 16k
    After the events of The Avengers, Thor returns to Earth – with Loki in tow. The rest of the Avengers are not enthusiastic about making him part of the team, but they don't have much of a choice.
    The writing of this fic is rough around the edges, but there's a lot of potential here and I really loved a lot of what the author did--especially with Loki's introduction to the Avengers, where he smiles in a way that's not at all reassuring, where his time in Asgard allows Thor to trust him, to have a handle on him again, but hasn't changed who Loki fundamentally is in a lot of ways. He does want the Avengers to like him, he's frustrated by the lack of trust, he dislikes that Thor's attention is on other people even more often now, but he's still kind of a little shit about it. The other thing the author does is bring in so many details of things I love--Thor and Loki having a sparring match that is an actual action sequence and makes the other Avengers realize, oh, right, Norse gods, then there's Thor giving Loki a cat that Loki actually comes to like because cats aren't terrible, there's Thor trying Indian food and Loki just smiles and waits for it--and made them delicious candy. I love that Loki may be more stable and somewhat nicer on the inside here, but on the outside he's still genuinely prickly and snide, which works really well for me. And I love the balance between something more obviously going on with the two brothers, but it's not entirely obvious yet, sometimes that in between space can be pretty delicious, too.

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