Odin was sure Loki was attempting to protest with his punishment, but the binding around his mouth did not allow him to make more than muffled grunts and distressed, high pitched whines from the back of his throat.
“Father, I do not think this is wise,” Thor began quietly, bounding up the steps to mutter in his father’s ear, but Odin waved him away with a forgotten hand.
“Nonsense,” Odin snapped, single eye boring in the trickster at his dais. ” You will be his watch guard, his Keeper. I can think of no greater punishment than for Loki to be pestered by you like of Old. Now, return to your chambers.”
The pair slowly trudged up the rounded staircase, winding the ancient halls familiar to their feet till they were faced with the gilded gates of Thor’s bedroom. Throwing a tentative glance to the captive behind him, the thunder god opened the door with the little grandeur it deserved, opening it only wide enough to allow himself and Loki pass, and then closed it with a soft click. Loki was rooted to the marble floors, unmoving even when Thor began to remove layer after layer of armor till he stood shirtless beside his bed.
“Loki,” Thor called and the defeated disaster jerked at the call, eyes wide. He could not not respond when called. Oh, this was punishment indeed. To be a the bidding of the biggest oaf in all of Asgard. Fabulous. “Loki, come.” Loki’s feet moved without his own doing till he stood before Thor, much too close for comfort. “Here, let me take this off.”
Reaching around, he undid the chaffing chokehold with uncharacteristically gentle hands, allowing one to settle in the curve of his brother’s neck beneath the stringy wisps of Loki’s black hair.
“It is good to have you home.” Loki merely grunted and rubbed at his jaw. “Come, lets get you healed and bathed. Looks like you haven’t bathed in months, which is impressive, even to me.”
“Oh, shut up.” Loki hissed, shoving past Thor to the pools in a room adjacent and shut the door with a slam. Thor chuckled, but waited patiently till Loki emerged in clean clothing that would normally sit beneath his armor. Settling down next to Thor on the bed, Loki observed his sleeping sibling with lazy interest: there were a few scrapes along his brow; heavy bruising flushed along his collar and down his chest; and the shadowing along his right eye betrayed a coming black circle in the following hours. Shifting him upwards till his head lay across his lap, Loki was not unaccustomed to this closeness, back in the times of Old, when he was a Prince of Asgard and not a Prince Abandoned. Bowing his head, he allowed all the pain, all the guilt, all the humiliation of hurting the one person he loved above all flood his features, if only for a moment. Allowed himself to feel remorse for his actions while no one was looking, for to the world he would appear proud, self-righteous, and arrogant, but to Thor -but to Thor he would grace him with his real feelings from now on, when he slept, so that he could say he told someone. Told someone that he, indeed, was sorry.