Chapter 80

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Loki was right, nothing went according to plan. The trip was only supposed to be a week, but it was going to end up being much longer. When they reached day five, they realized that they'd severely miscalculated; Thor estimated that it could quite possibly take twice as long as originally planned. When they realized that the trip could take twice as long, they were forced to cut their food rations in half, which was horrible, since the food supply was already being stretched too thin.
It was now day eight. Thor was keeping a close eye on Loki, he was worried that he'd collapse any second. When they realized that their food wasn't going to last, Loki told Thor to exclude him when dividing up the food rations, that he'd go the rest of the trip without eating so that the other men could have more food. Thor Initially refused, but loki made the compelling argument that he was used to going days without food, even when under sever torture. They argued about it for a long time, but eventually Thor gave in. He didn't like it though, and he watched over Loki twenty-four/ seven, making sure that he wasn't getting dangerously weak.
"Are you Okay?" Thor asked, Loki had stopped eating on day six, which meant he had gone two solid days without touching food.
"Yeah I'm fine, I've done this lots of times" Loki said back.
"Loki, you need to eat. We'll be stopping to make camp for the night soon, you can have my portion Alright?" Thor said, he knew Loki could go days, even weeks without eating, but he didn't want to ever see Loki starving again.
"I don't want your food Thor, really I can take it, I've had a lifetime of training for this" Loki said, but he sounded breathless, like it was hard for him to walk and speak at the same time. Thor was quite, Lokis sacrifice did make a difference, little though it was.
"If and when I decide it's gone far enough, I'm going to make you eat" Thor said, he wanted Loki to eat, but there just wasn't enough food, and Loki was willing to give it up.
"Yes sir, but we only have a few days left right?" Loki asked. Before Thor could answer, one of the soldiers came up to them.
"Sir, I think we should make camp. It's late, and we won't find a safe place to stay if we keep going" the soldier said. Right now they were in a forest. It wasn't a dense forest, it was actually pretty easy to get through, but if they made it out of the forest then they would have to camp out in the open, which was never a good plan.
"Alright, we can stop here for the night" Thor said. The soldiers all gathered into a large circle and began setting up their camp. Loki got a fire going so they didn't freeze, and Thor unpacked their food supply so they could all eat before turning in for the night.
"Are you sure you don't want to eat?" Thor asked Loki when everyone gathered around to enjoy a small meal.
"I'm sure. I'll tell you when it gets to be too much" Loki said. Thor hoped he wasn't lying, he hoped Loki would honestly tell him if it became too hard to not eat.
"Alright, please do" Thor said as they all gathered around to eat. They all felt pretty bad when they started eating and loki just sat there watching, but they were all sure to thank him for what he was doing. Loki tried took like he wasn't affected, but as soon as everyone started eating, he felt his stomach ache more. Thor sat down next to him, he could see that his hands were shaking slightly, he knew he was hungry and needed to put something into his stomach.
"Eat. You've done enough" Thor said, pushing his plate of food toward Loki.
"I'm fine, it's only been two days" Loki told him.
"Yeah, two days is a long time to go without eating anything. And I'm not blind, I know it's been a lot more than two days, you've been dividing your rations up for weeks. Even before we set out, you've been giving other soldiers your food for a long time" Thor said. Loki was quiet for a minute.
"Well I didn't think you knew that" he said.
"Yeah, I know. But I did know that, so now I'm ordering you to eat" Thor said. "My Mother paid good money for you, I'm not having you die on my watch. Also, you're my brother, and I love you, and I won't watch you starve yourself while I eat in front of you" he added.
Loki smirked a bit at the joke about Frigga, then gave up and  decided to eat a little bit of the food Thor was offering him. He was about to take a bite of his much desired meal when he heard a sound and perked up a bit.
"What's wrong?" Thor asked, seeing Lokis alertness heighten.
"I think I just heard something.. I'll be right back" Loki said as he put down the plate of food and stood up, walking away from the camp. Thor quickly got to his feet and followed him, thinking that his hunger was making him delusional.
"Loki come back here" Thor whisper shouted as Loki went deeper into the forest. Thor thought it was top level stupid to hear a sound in the woods, then go after it alone, unarmed.
"It's fine... go back to the camp" loki said. But Thor didn't like the idea of leaving Loki out here alone, he wasn't in good shape at all, and he wouldn't be able to fight off an attack alone. Also, he's chasing random noises, so Thor was starting to think that Loki had reached and passed his limit, and was just going crazy.
"Really Thor, I know what I'm doing, if I'm not back in five minutes then you can come after me" Loki said, turning to face Thor. Though he was a mess, he did look sure of what he was doing, so Thor gave in.
"You have five minutes" Thor said as he turned to go back to the camp.
Thor sat there waiting for loki to come back. He kept careful watch of the time, four minutes had passed and there was no sign of Loki. Thor stood up, ready to go out to retrieve his brother, when loki emerged from the trees and rejoined the camp.
Everyone stood up when loki came into sight, not because they were all as worried as Thor, but because Loki was splattered with blood.
"What happened?" Thor demanded. Loki held up some kind of animal, it looked like a big possum, but it had six legs, huge eyes, and slimy looking skin instead of fur.
"It bleeds a lot" loki said, a little breathlessly. Thor tried to catch up. So Loki had gone into the woods to kill this disgusting thing, but why?
"So you're covered in its blood, not yours?" Thor asked, wanting to make sure he didn't need to get Loki off his feet. But Loki nodded.
"That's right" he said, wiping the blood from his hand onto his pants.
"And what exactly is that thing? And why did you need to get it?" Thor asked. Loki looked down at the animal in his hand.
"It's dinner. I'm hungry" Loki said. All the soldiers simultaneously shared the same looks of disgust.
"You're not seriously going to eat that are you?" Thor asked, that couldn't seriously be Lokis plan.
"Well I'm starving, I haven't eaten in weeks, and I know how to roast these, so yeah, I'm going to eat it. But don't worry, I won't eat it in from of any of you" loki said, then turned around to go make is own fire a little ways away from them. At first the soldiers thought maybe he was kidding, but they watched him sit down and get a second fire going.
Thor wasn't sure if he wanted to go over and stop Loki, or if he should let him eat it. But Loki seemed to know what he was doing, so Thor decided to leave him be.
After a while everyone had finished their small meal. Thor went over to where Loki was sitting and sat next to him, really trying to ignore the blood that was on him.
"Feel better?" Thor asked. Loki nodded and wiped his hands on his pants.
"Yeah... a little bit.... it didn't taste as good as I remember" Loki said back.
"So you ate these on Jotunhiem then?" Thor asked him. Loki nodded .
"Yeah, Laufey never gave me any real food, so if I wanted to eat, I had to find rats or other critters that snuck their way into my dungeon" Loki told him. Thor looked a little uncomfortable, he was always grossed out when loki talked about his old life.
"Well drink some water at least. We'll be turning in pretty soon, and you're probably dehydrated" Thor said, handing him a canteen of water.
Loki nodded and took the canteen and drank some water.
"Thanks" He said. Thor just nodded.
"Sure. Get some sleep tonight, your watch shift won't be until early morning." Thor told him. Loki nodded, Kicked out his second fire, and went to rejoin the camp. Everyone was getting ready for a short nights sleep, so he set out his mat and laid down.
=*****=.
The next morning they all moved out early. Thor didn't want to waste any time, so they got up and moved out immediately.
They had only been walking for a few hours when Loki started to feel a familiar pain in his stomach. It wasn't a normal pain, but he recognized it, it was a pain he'd felt on Jotunhiem when he ate infected rodents. It was the feeling of a worm-like parasite taking over his insides.
"Thor, how long will it take us to get to the base?" Loki asked as he quickened his pace to walk with Thor.
"Hopefully only a few more days. Why do you ask?" Thor asked him. Loki shook his head.
"No reason, just curious" he lied. There was no reason to give thor another thing to worry about. Thor was stressed enough  dealing with the lack of food and his worn out soldiers, he didn't need to know that Lokis dinner the night before had been infected with a parasite, and that Loki could now feel it growing inside him.

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