Author's Note: I'm a sucker for "redemption" stories, so I'd kinda like Loki to be saveable. Hopefully he isn't too OOC. Also- I've made Loki younger than Thor. I know the actor is actually older- but he seems younger in the movie to me.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie The Avengers and I'm not making any money from this fic
Warning(s): AU; discipline with a switch; some mentions of violence
Verse/Setting: Post-Avengers movie
Prompt: "Knocking the rot out of Loki" turns out not to be as hard as one might think; but when that's gone, what's left, and what's to be done about it?
Elements: 21, platinum, drain

FORGIVENESS

"For acts of treason, you are to be banished to the realm of Midgard; your powers blocked from you until you prove to be worthy of them once more." Odin intoned, coldly.

Loki looked at Odin, shock and panic breaking through the icy façade he'd been projecting through the majority of his trial. Had he not been gagged, he might have pled his case. He supposed it was lucky he was gagged, as it prevented him the embarrassment of debasing himself in front of them all.

Thor, damn him, looked at him with pity and no little bit of empathy.

Odin eyed his adopted son, not allowing his true feelings to show in his eyes; not that Loki would have noticed. The child believed him to be a heartless liar who had ruined his life. He could only hope that the exile would cause his youngest to think about his actions and reconsider everything.

"It is a more merciful punishment than you might have received. It is fitting that you live among those you tried to destroy- as powerless as they were." Odin intoned.

Loki's hopes were dashed as he realized that there would be no changing the god's mind. It was unsettling. He would have to return to those he had harmed most, and face them. It was easy enough to push the guilt down and pretend he didn't feel it when he was not faced by the results, but he wasn't so sure he could ignore the guilt once back in Midgard- Earth. It was hard enough to push down the guilt he felt about what he'd done to Thor, whenver he looked at him.

The Trickster cringed away when Odin stepped down in front of him, fastening a platinum collar around his neck. Loki took in a shocked breath, and then wilted as he felt a powerful drain from inside, causing him to fall to his knees. Odin removed the gag, as Loki no longer had power to use his voice in trickery. Then the guards grabbed him under his arms and began to drag him back to the cells as the one he'd once called father turned to exit- not once looking in his direction. Thor did give him one last, saddened look, before turning and following his father out.

####

When next he saw Odin (he refused to think of the god as his father) and Thor, they were standing at the gate next to Heimdall. Thor had taken his arm and motioned the remainder of his guards to back away. Loki had attempted to pull free from Thor's grasp, but the irritating man had only gripped him more tightly, and pressed closer to him so that their sides were touching.

Loki didn't want to admit that the action actually helped calm him somewhat. He'd done everything in his power to make Thor realize they were not brothers and to stop acting as such- but the blond was stubborn. Thor would not leave him alone in his quest to make Loki admit that they were brothers, and Loki had to admit to himself that he wanted to remain Thor's little brother. But just as he couldn't admit his guilt, he'd never admit to Thor that he needed him. He tried to focus on his anger toward Odin, the unfairness with which he'd been treated- anything but the demi-god pressed against his side.

Odin looked into his younger son's face, seeing the pride, the rebelliousness, and the jealousy. Not allowing a hint of the sadness he felt to show in his voice he intoned. "Learn well from this experience- you will not be welcome back until you have." With those words, Heimdall opened the gate.

Loki had expected to walk through on his own- so he stumbled in surprise as he felt Thor moving forward with him. "Wha…?" He glanced at the demi-god in confusion, but Thor was looking resolutely ahead, not acknowledging the unspoken question- and then they were falling toward earth.

####

Loki let out a relieved breath as his feet landed firmly on the ground, glancing at the demi-god beside him. Without his powers, he would have had a rather painful landing. Now that Thor had delivered him safely, he expected the man to turn around and head back. Only…he wasn't.

Thor was glancing around the clearing they'd landed as if looking for something specific. Then with a nod, he'd gone over to a tree and broken off a slender branch. Loki's eyes widened at the action.

"Wh..what are you doing b…?" he stopped himself just in time to prevent himself from calling Thor brother.

"I am doing something that should have been done long ago. I had hoped it wouldn't be necessary- but I can see now that I was foolish to hope such a thing. You always were stubborn to a fault, little brother." Thor smiled humorlessly.

"We're not brothers…" Loki responded automatically, though there wasn't any real feeling behind it. He watched Thor warily.

"No Loki, there you are wrong. We are brothers- in every way that matters except one. And that one shouldn't matter." Thor looked at Loki with sadness tinged with longing. "You have always been jealous of me, and though I have done nothing to earn your disregard or your hate, you seem determined to give it to me. But I will not allow you to sever all ties and claim we are not brothers. Your attempts to do so end now, BROTHER!"

Loki swallowed nervously, glancing around for the nearest escape, but Thor was already beside him taking his arm in an unbreakable grip.

"What do you expect to accomplish by this? Do you think this will suddenly cause me to become 'good' again?" he tried for a mocking sarcastic tone, but to his chagrin he just sounded scared and confused.

Thor chuckled slightly, though the tone was far from amused. "No, Loki. I don't expect you to become good again. I already believe you to be such. It is you who are denying the truth in your heart and refusing to admit what you know. All I expect to accomplish by this," Loki gasped as the thin switch cracked against his backside with unexpected strength, "is that you will finally stop deluding yourself- even if you continue to try and lie to me. Which you can not do, by the way; I know you too well."

Loki was treated to one last sad smile before his world suddenly tilted and he found himself sandwiched against Thor's hard side, being held in place by an immovable arm- his own arms trapped against his body. His mind reluctantly flashed back to the last time he'd been in this position, nearly 21 years before, for ironically the same reason. Thor had never felt the need to punish him in order to teach him a lesson. When Thor stepped in, it was because Loki already knew the lesson, but refused to admit it to himself or allow himself to grow from said lesson. Loki groaned letting his head fall forward in defeat.

A quick swishing noise was all the warning Loki received before the next stripe blazed across his bottom, wrenching a pained yelp from him- despite his efforts not to make a sound. Yet another thing he wished he'd remembered about his brother- when Thor did decide to step in and punish, there was no chance of retaining any pride. Given that memory, he wondered why he didn't just submit now and save himself the pain- but despite knowing how useless it was, his pride wouldn't give in just yet.

Loki gritted his teeth and attempted to keep the yelps and gasps to a minimum, although he'd quickly given up on holding back tears. It just wasn't possible. Thor was relentless, the switch covering every possible inch of Loki's backside and upper thighs. Thor made certain that each spot received undo attention, more than once. Finally, when Loki was reduced to a sobbing mess, Thor finally stopped switching him and spoke, still holding him immobile against his side.

"Is there anything you would like to confess, brother?" he asked in a tone that indicated he already knew the truth. Loki, shivered, gulping in air as he tried to speak around his tears.

"Ye..yes! I…was…wrooong!" Thor waited patiently for him to continue.

"What I did …I can't…can't ever atone for it…I can't make things right!" he closed his eyes tightly against the urge to sob again. "And…I betrayed you. How can you want me as your brother? I don't deserve it!" he choked out, then went limp.

Thor carefully righted Loki, pulling into his arms and holding him tight against his chest.

"You are right, you can't change the past. But you can atone by doing what is right in the future. You will prove yourself worthy to father again. I will help you. But know that you are already worthy to me. Because you ARE my brother, I love you, and I forgive you" Thor whispered against the top of Loki's head before kissing his forhead.

Loki closed his eyes tightly and hugged Thor before stepping away and looking up into his older brother's face. He smiled brokenly, hope shining through his eyes. "I want to make you proud...will you help me?"

Thor clasped his shoulder with one hand, squeezing gently before directing him away from the clearing. "Always little brother; Always."

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