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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!

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.

Avengers/Thor/Iron Man: Flying from the blast by belmanoir - [NOTE: This is a crossover with Kyle XY, but I don't think you need to be aware of the series, the characters can read like OCs and it stands well on its own.] I almost turned right the fuck around from this series because the first fic involved the snake and the venom and that's one of those NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, I'M OUT OF HERE buttons for me. But the second was Thor and Loki getting therapy! My weakness! So, I started on the second story, realized I probably needed a bit more build-up for Loki's willingness to go into therapy, went back to the first fic, skimmed cautiously like my life depended on it (it's not that it's not well-written! it's just that this is one of those tropes that I, personally, am not comfortable with, so my reactions here are mine, not a reflection on the author's talent), and the second half of it worked well for me. This fic series is... hard to describe. In some ways, this Loki is more willing to work with Thor, he agrees to therapy pretty readily, he gets drawn in, etc. But, in other ways, this is a deeply, deeply fucked up Loki, who hates himself and lashes out at himself, both with words and in the sexual situations he gets himself into. His relationship with Tony is such a complicated thing to put into words, I honestly can't tell if it's good for either of them or bad for them both. I can't tell how much they really care about each other or how much they gravitate towards each other because they each know exactly how to really twist the knife in each other, which is what they're seeking. I get the feeling that they're kindred spirits, that it's a necessary coping mechanism for them both, but it will be ultimately unhealthy to stay as they are. But I'm not sure.

At the same time, Loki's relationship with Thor is so complicated and tangled, but that's what gets me so hard sometimes that I could almost tear up with it. Their time in therapy is helping them, but--as the therapist warns--sometimes that means it seems like they're getting worse, because all their issues are being brought up to the surface and Loki just has so much anger and bitterness and self-hate. There's a moment in one of the stories that just punched me in the feelings especially, where Loki could only be honest with Thor when he phrased it like a manipulation, which is something I've discussed with xparrot before and agreed with her, that that's one of the most heartbreaking things about Loki. Insights like that, the ones that hit home in directions I wouldn't otherwise necessarily go, are what kept me at this series until I'd read all that was available. There are moments that left me struggling to get the lay of the land of this fic (how willing Loki seems in some ways, but how dark he seems in others), to adjust my thinking to this author's Loki (who punishes himself in more obvious, less sublte ways than he does in the movies), but I'm eagerly awaitng the next chapter and I find that I'm left with that emotionally exhausted feeling I should have when I've been put through the wringer because I care so much about this character. As terrible as that feeling kind of is, it's also what I read fic for. And, oh, it is definitely a delicious relationship he has with Thor and that's what I really want. (There is some Tony/Loki in this fic. There's also references to Bruce/Tony, Tony/Pepper, Bruce/Tony/Pepper, and Thor/Jane, but they're often blink and you'll miss them. This may also appeal to Thor/Loki fans, but their relationship is gen so far. This fic is NSFW for sexual content, but also self-hate, self-harm/suicide ideation, and consenual humiliation. At the time of this rec, it ended in a cliffhanger as well.)

The heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality and the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it by belmanoir, tony/loki + background other tony pairings, suicidal ideation, 4.5k
    Tony can't stop bugging Loki about the whole frost giant thing. He finds out something he probably should have already known.
    NOTE: This is the 12th story in a series of fics that you'll want to have read the others first.
    Okay, and then back to the heartbreaker fics, now that my world has been righted a bit more. And this Loki is still... this isn't precisely how I see Loki being damaged, but I still find him utterly fascinating and I still find the writing to be so sharp and cutting that it's a little breathtaking to read. What really struck me about this fic in particular is the way the author used Tony's pov on two of the people that he's closest to right now--Bruce and Loki--and realizing they're both suicidal in their own ways, that they both want to die on some level, and how that freaks him out and he doesn't really quite know how to handle it. It's dark and messy and painful, it's all wrapped up in the complicated things Tony wants for Loki, but doesn't necessarily need to be for Loki (ie, he wants Loki to be happy, but that might be different from wanting to be the thing that makes Loki happy, yet it's not that simple, because he wants to help and he wants Loki) and the author does a beautiful job of not untangling things 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..."
    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.

Cover Up the Sun by Mikkeneko, loki & charles xavier + various x-men, thor 2 spoilers, grief/mourning, self-harm ideation, crossover, therapy fic, 41.4k wip
    Following the invasion of Asgard by Malekith the Accursed, Loki seeks shelter in the one place in the Nine Realms he knows he will be welcome: Charles Xavier's School for the Gifted.
    This fic is a sequel to A Villain State of Mind, which should be read first.
    I wish I could write a better rec for this fic (and I'm hoping I will as it posts and I can do update recs) because it's so engrossing and so much what I think is good for Loki and how to re-establish himself, but I fear some detail is lost to me because I tore through the ending of A Villain State of Mind and this one over a short span of time because I just absolutely could not put them down. They're engrossing reads, for how well they're paced in both the smaller and larger scale of what's going on in them, and it's just... so much of what I want to see! I lost myself in this fic and the prequel for a long time and I love that this arc is a slow repairing of Loki, that there's been so far that they've come and yet there's still so much further left to go. The first fic is long, but it was only a week and this one acknowledges that and embraces it, where this is all about the beginnings of Loki find himself and figuring out what he wants and dealing with Frigga's death and everything else in him. Again, this is a fic about the interal goings on of Loki, for all that there's really interesting external stuff when he's interacting with various X-Men. And those scenes are great! They highlight a lot of stuff and show the progress of Loki learning to interact with all sorts of different people and different attitudes from what he's used to.

But the heart of the fic is still centered on Loki's internal struggles, both in dealing with his grief over the loss of Frigga (and of his entire home, in the sense that he can't go back there now), that this is a process that will not be easy or done in a rush. This is about one step at a time, that each scene is about Loki moving forward and trying to trust again and figuring out how to define himself through himself instead of through what others wanted of him or what he thought they wanted of him. When Loki begins teaching what he knows to the kids at the Xavier school, it's very fun to read about and it's neat to see these two worlds coming together! But the importance isn't on the crossover element, as fun as it is, but instead that it's Loki considering what he has to offer to others, that he feels valuable and that he can see this as a possible future for himself, rather than the same old cycle that he was previously trapped in.

And this is all important because this is at the root of Loki's problems--or at least at the root of what could be the solution to Loki's finding his way back to something better than what he is--in stepping away from his home and his loved ones for awhile, to process everything that's happened, to give himself breathing room for awhile, to just be, away from the demands of what Asgard would ask of him or what Loki thinks Asgard is asking of him. It's about Loki finding shelter from the storm of his emotions, without going too far into abused!Loki territory, and that's why this establishing is so good. It's an excellent crossover and I enjoy the interactions, but it's Xavier & Loki at its heart, it's a winding road to recover that's truly about the journey itself.

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