Nestled in the rolling green hills of Norway lied the foundations of New Asgard. A quant little village with a population of about five hundred, a far cry from the original country, but it would do. The buildings were all brand new and not much better than temporary, but they were built to resemble the ones on Asgard. The palace was considerably smaller and less grand, less gold than its predecessor, but it suited the king and his council just fine. The bifrost chamber was practically a miniature version of the old one, but the gatekeeper would tell you that he much preferred it over the original.
Heimdall found himself there now, standing at the edge of a cliff, not overlooking not the galaxy but an emerald ocean. A smile settled on his lips as he turned his gaze from realm to realm. He watched young frost giants play, no longer held under the tyrannical grasp of Laufey, old witches teaching young ones the tools of their trade in Vanaheim. When he got to Midgard, his smile faltered. He watched Thor, who sat alone in his chambers, still in bed. The king was often up much earlier than this, and his late rising concerned Heimdall. Thor looked awful, with his skin flushed and his shoulders shaking from coughs that racked his entire body.
Heimdall’s frown deepened. He decided that the realms could watch themselves for a few minutes, and abandoned his post. Yes, technically it was treason, but it wasn’t like Thor would banish him for it, so he kept walking towards the palace.
New Asgard was small, but that meant it was an easy walk from his chamber to the palace, something that had been a downside to his position on Asgard. Now, all it took was a short stroll through the pleasant countryside to reach the gates. A set of guards let Heimdall pass without question. The gatekeeper made his way through the doors and through the halls of the palace, heading straight for Thor’s chambers.
He knocked sharply on Thor’s deep oak door, and the sound echoed in the empty hallway. He heard a coughing fit get cut short, a very large thunder god hit the floor, then a door creak open. Thor was wrapped in a blanket, and wore a pair of Midgardian pajama pants low on his hips. His steady-growing hair was a wild mess framing his flushed cheeks.
“Hello, Heimdall,” he said cheerfully, his chipper voice in stark contrast with his haggard appearance. He smiled. “What brings you here?”
Heimdall crossed his arms and gave Thor a stern look. “Your brother is the god of lies and trickery, my king. Not you.”
Thor pouted like a toddler instead of a millennia old king. He slumped disappointedly against the doorframe. “Am I that obvious, Heimdall?”
“I’m afraid so,” the gatekeeper said with a nod. “Is it the flu?”
Thor bobbed his head. “Yes. The children I was visiting gave it to me, I believe. But I’m fine.”
“You are not fine,” Heimdall argued, “You’re ill.”
“Yes, I am,” Thor admitted, “but the final UN conference to decide whether or not we can stay is tonight, and it is imperative that I am there. No one is to know that I am sick.”
On any other day, Thor would have sounded every inch the king he was with that, but today he sounded a bit like a small child who didn’t want to miss show and tell at school.
Heimdall pursed his lips. Thor pulled out his puppy dog eyes (well, eye). Finally the gatekeeper sighed. “Very well, but you rest today.”
Thor looked like he wanted to agree, to crawl back under the covers and sleep for hours, but he shook his head. “I can’t. I have to start training with Brunnhilde and the valkyries.”
“You will rest,” Heimdall demanded. Thor opened his mouth to argue, but Heimdall shook his head. “No. I’ll take care of training.”
Thor sighed. “Okay. Wake me, though, Heimdall. I don’t want to miss that meeting.”
Heimdall nodded, gave Thor the most convincing smile he could muster, and lied right through his teeth. “Of course, my king.”
Heimdall, of course, had no intentions of letting Thor go to that meeting. He knew his king, knew that, left undisturbed, Thor could sleep for a whole day or more when he was healthy. With the flu, Thor could sleep for a month. He turned his gaze to Thor as he walked away from the room, and saw his suspicions confirmed. Thor had wrapped himself in a pile of blankets and fallen into a deep slumber. He even snored.
Heimdall strolled through the double doors that led to the den. Sitting on the couch, legs in the air, cape draped over his shoulders, dark tresses falling like an ebony waterfall to the ground, a book in hand, was Loki. The prince of Asgard lifted his eyebrows disinterestedly when he heard Heimdall enter.
“Hello, Loki,” Heimdall greeted, “you look comfortable.”
Loki scowled. “It helps me think.”
Brunnhilde snorted from the kitchenette attached to the living room. She shut the refrigerator, then chugged orange juice straight from the carton. Juice dripped down her chin. “I didn’t know you could think, Lackey,” she said, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
“You heathen,” Loki sneered.
Brunnhilde flipped him off.
Heimdall sighed. “Oh, how far Asgard has fallen,” he muttered, rubbing an oncoming headache away from his temples.
“What are you doing away from your post, gatekeeper?” Loki asked, using his magic to flip a page of his book while simultaneously shooting Brunnhilde the bird.
“The king is ill,” Heimdall replied, sitting down next to the prince. He looked over Loki’s hands to see the title of the novel he was reading, mildly curious.
Brunnhilde came and sat cross-legged on the coffee table, a frown on her lips. She cursed. “He was supposed to train with me.”
“Yes, but he is very sick,” Heimdall said, his amber eyes stern. “If I have anything to do with it, he will not do anything today. Understood?”
“Yes, Heimdall,” Brunnhilde and Loki chorused like school children. Heimdall settled into the couch, satisfied.
Loki tilted his head and placed a bookmark in the crease of his book. “Doesn’t he have a meeting with the United Nations this evening?” he asked.
“I was hoping you could help me with that.”
Brunnhilde chuckled. “That might be your worst idea yet, Heimdall. The UN barely tolerates Loki’s existence.”
“Loki is a shape shifter.”
Suddenly Heimdall’s plan dawned on the two of them.
Loki turned his body and sat like a normal person for once. He sat his book down on the coffee table next to the toe of Brunnhilde’s boot. “So, you want me to transform into my brother and pose as him at a meeting with the United Nations?”
“Yes,” Heimdall said, as if it should have been obvious. It should have been, really. Loki was rather intelligent. “That’s exactly what I want.”
Brunnhilde laughed again, then took another swing of her orange juice. It wasn’t alcohol (the three men of the house had forbade the stuff, all in the name of “concern for Brunnhilde’s life”, which she found to be utter bull crap, and frequently told them so), but it would do for now. It gave off the right image, fit her aesthetic.
“I would pay so much money to see that,” she chuckled, “Can I please come?”
“Oh shut up, you insufferable little—“
“You bloody, pompous, lying—“
“Children!” Heimdall bellowed, his voice ringing out in the room like a lion’s roar. “Quiet. Answer me two questions, please. Do you both care about Thor?”
“Do you want to him to go to a boring, stuffy, no-fun meeting when he feels like death warmed over?”
“Then listen very carefully to what I have to say...”
“So, lesson one in Thor school,” Brunnhilde said, pacing in front of “Thor” (who was actually Loki), “You have to smile.”
“Show me your smile,” Heimdall said from his perch on the couch. He gestured up to his own smile, like he was giving Loki an example.
Loki forced a toothy grin, but he appeared like the Cheshire Cat, all too eager to lead young Alice down the wrong path. Nothing at all like his easy going and loving brother.
Brunnhilde and Heimdall grimaced and shared a look. “We have much work to do,” Heimdall said sadly.
Brunnhilde gave him a solemn nod. “Loki, you’re going to have to think of a time when you were genuinely happy.”
“I can’t say that I ever have been,” Loki said, folding his arms over his chest. He frowned, unaccustomed to having muscle get in the way of a good arm-crossing.
Brunnhilde and Heimdall collectively groaned at Loki’s teen angst.
“What?” he cried, indignant. “It’s true.”
Heimdall rolled his eyes. “I can see everything, Loki, and I know for a fact that you were happy for most of your childhood.”
Loki pouted. “Name one example.”
“When your mother first showed you her magic, when you and Thor stole that blueberry pie when you were 422,” Heimdall said, ticking them off on his fingers, “that time you turned Thor into a frog—“
Loki held up a hand and scowled at Heimdall. He had an image to upkeep, and here Heimdall was tearing it down with both hands. “Alright, enough. I can smile.”
Loki-Thor flashed a winning smile and raised his eyebrows. He turned his head, giving Brunnhilde and Heimdall a view from all angles, then, through his teeth, “What do you think?”
Brunnhilde tilted her head and turned to Heimdall, who waved his hand. “Eh,” he said.
“It’s a little...unsettling, but it’ll do,” Brunnhilde declared with a shrug. “Now we have to move on to what you’ll be saying. Now, Romanoff gave me a set of communicators, so me and Heimdall will be with you the whole time. But you still need to work on how you talk.”
Loki laughed. “Oh, I’ve got this,” he said confidently. He squared his shoulders. “Hello, I’m Thor Odinson, here for Asgard. I’m unbearably kind and thoughtful, and would die for each and every one of you without hesitation.”
Brunnhilde face palmed, but had to begrudgingly admit that Loki did sound like Thor. And they all knew that Thor was kind and thoughtful and selfless, so Loki wasn’t entirely wrong. Not that she would ever dare speak this out loud.
“Please take this seriously,” Heimdall begged, his voice teetering on the edge of desperate. He pinched the bridge of his nose to ward off an approaching headache.
Loki humph-ed and his shoulders fell. “Alright,” he whined, “I am Thor Odinson, king of Asgard. I’m here to ensure the citizens of my country are well taken care of.”
Brunnhilde hummed and tilted her head. “I think that’ll work,” she said with a shrug. “What do you think, Heimdall? Heimdall?”
The gatekeeper had turned his gaze away from the room, and his face had flooded with dread. He snapped out of it. “He’s coming,” he said gravely. “Loki—“
“On it,” Loki said before shifting back to his own self. He walked into the kitchen and grabbed an apple right as the double doors swung open.
Thor somehow looked worse than he had before, now that he was dressed in casual workout clothes. His face was beet-red and his hair stuck to his forehead with sweat. He forced a smile that didn’t quite meet his eyes. “Morning,” he said, his voice rough.
“Thor, I told you to rest,” Heimdall scolded, his brows narrowed. “And here you are, not resting.”
Thor bit back a groan as he made his way into the kitchenette. “I did rest, Heimdall,” he argued, almost limping to the fridge, “I slept for a whole hour.”
Heimdall crossed his arms, annoyed with both himself and Thor. He should’ve known that Thor wasn’t going to do as he was told, the prince was just as headstrong and stubborn as his mother. “An hour is not near enough—“
Thor broke into a coughing fit that left him doubled over in the cool air of the refrigerator. Brunnhilde jumped off the coffee table and rushed to his side. She placed a hand on his back and helped him to the couch next to Heimdall. Loki shut the fridge behind them, his eyes, swimming with barely hidden fear, locked on his brother.
“Thor, this is ridiculous,” Brunnhilde said sharply, pressing her palm to his flushed forehead. She hissed and jerked her hand away. “You’re burning up.”
Thor slumped against the back of the couch, pouting. “Brunn,” he mumbled, reaching up to take her hand in his. His eyes fluttered shut.
Heimdall felt a little bit of relief. If Thor was already delirious from fever (as he so clearly was), it’d be easier to convince him to get back to bed. He met Brunnhilde’s concerned eyes and nodded towards the door.
“C’mon, Thor,” Brunnhilde said, gently pulling him into her arms. He melted into her embrace and didn’t fight her when she started carrying him bridal-style towards his room. He just rested his cheek on her shoulder and allowed himself to be cared for.
Once they’d disappeared behind the double doors, Heimdall turned to Loki. “Ready to practice and take this seriously?”
Loki sighed, taking a bite of a crisp green apple. “Yes, Heimdall,” he mumbled through a mouthful of apple flesh.
“Then change back and let’s get to work.”
It was a long and arduous process, but eventually, through blood, sweat, and many of Loki’s tears, Brunnhilde and Heimdall were satisfied that Loki could pass as a believable Thor.
They gathered still in the den. Loki dressed in a midnight blue suit. Brunnhilde was fiddling with the communication ear pieces Natasha had lent her for “special occasions”, and Heimdall was keeping an eye on Thor (who was out cold, and looking really cute all snuggled up in his blankets).
“Alright,” Brunnhilde said, standing up off the coffee table with an earpiece in hand. She reached up to Loki/Thor’s ear and gently inserted the communicator. She stepped back, put her own in, and spoke. “Can you hear me?”
Loki recoiled with a groan. He pressed a hand to his ear. “Bloody...ouch. Not so close, Brunn.”
Brunnhilde shrunk back, stifling a laugh. “Sorry,” she said, softer this time. “But I guess that means it’s working.”
“It’s working alright,” Loki snapped, checking his ear for blood. He sighed when he didn’t find any. “What time is it?”
“6:30,” Heimdall replied, blinking away the image of a snoring Thor. “You should be leaving.”
Loki rolled his neck and groaned. “I knew I never should’ve started caring about my brother.”
Brunnhilde rolled her wide brown eyes. “We’ll be right with you,” she said, “Stop complaining.”
“I should’ve turned you into the oaf,” he said, sticking his tongue out.
Brunnhilde returned the gesture, accompanied by planting her hands on her hips.
For what was possibly the hundredth time that day, Heimdall sighed.
“Loki, go,” the gatekeeper ordered, glaring at the two of them.
Loki gave a long-suffering sigh. “Alright,” he conceded, stomping off towards the door. He stopped right before his hand reached the handle and spun back around to face them. His finger shook when he pointed it sharply at the other two Asgardians. “We speak nothing of this day.”
“Where are you now?” came Brunnhilde’s voice in Loki’s ear, now thankfully at a decent volume. Loki had just settled into the back of his escort’s car and was now watching the countryside melt into city.
Loki slid the glass pane separating him from the driver shut before he answered. “I’m in the car,” Loki said. He picked at the hem of his jacket, disgusted by the color. “Remind me again why we decided on blue?”
“If you’d gone in your usual solid black, you would’ve had to explain who you were mourning,” Heimdall dead-panned.
Loki sighed. “Right. How long is this drive?”
“Quit complaining,” Brunnhilde snapped. “The drive is short. Do you have your notes?”
Loki smirked, seeing an opportunity for some mischief. “What notes?” he asked, all innocence and smiles.
“Bor’s blood, Loki tell me you didn’t forget the notes,” Brunnhilde spat.
Loki chuckled. “I have the notes, Brunn,” he assured her, “Have a little faith.”
“I’ll have faith in you the moment you give me reason to.”
“I’ve now arrived,” Loki announced. His fingers flattened against the tinted glass of the limo as he strained to see the entire conference building. The place was bloody huge. At least forty stories. He reached for the door handle, only to have the door itself swing out of his grasp. He nearly tumbled out onto the pavement, but he caught himself.
“Woah there, Point Break,” the laughing voice of Tony Stark said. He dressed in a maroon sports coat and gold and red glasses, and he wore a friendly smile. Loki bit back a wave of disgust. “You good?”
Loki clambered out of the car and straightened his suit. He forced an easy-going smile. “I’m alright, Stark,” he said, clasping the man on the shoulder.
“Stark? What’s he doing there?” Brunnhilde hissed in his ear, “Thor didn’t say anything...”
“Uh-huh,” Tony hummed, eyeing him skeptically. Panic clenched at Loki’s heart. He’d figured it out already, the blasted genius.
They started walking towards the building like nothing had happened, so Loki hoped that Tony hadn’t actually figured anything out. The building was swarmed with press, flashing lights and shouted questions. Like an ant hill that someone had stepped on, freeing the hundreds of angry red beasts inside.
“Good to see you’re wearing that suit I gave you,” Tony commented, wrapping an arm around Loki’s shoulders. This was difficult, as Loki was much, much taller than Tony.
“Of course,” Loki said, fumbling only a little. Thor had never mentioned Stark giving him a suit, though he couldn’t rule out the possibility.
Tony hummed again. “Right. Okay, so remember what I told you. Smile and politely answer the easiest questions. They’re trying to rile you up, so just ignore them.”
Loki nodded. He needed that, so it was really good luck that Tony had come up. “Alright. I think I can do this.”
“That’s the spirit,” Tony said, slapping Loki hard on the shoulder. He dropped his hand to his side and adopted an easy going stroll. “Walk natural.”
Loki did as he was told and forced an impression Thor’s friendly grin. The reporters looked like rumor-hungry sharks in their feeding grounds, their glistening white teeth in the form of camera flashes, the need to eat him alive disguised as eager questions. He gulped.
“Thor! Secretary Ross says aliens such as you have no—“
“What is your stance on the—“
“...have any ill feelings towards Dr. Foster?”
Loki had to physically restrain himself from turning each and every one of the paps into frogs.
When he’d finally worked his way through the cloud of gnats that was the entrance, and when he felt like he could breathe again, Tony Stark was there to once again a steal the oxygen from his lungs.
“Let’s head to the bathroom, Thor,” he said, grabbing Loki by the back of his suit and dragging him towards a sign that said “restrooms” in Norwegian. Loki gulped again. A new type of fear took hold of him. He wanted to alert Brunnhilde and Heimdall to the situation, but he had feeling they knew.
“Maybe it’s something else,” she offered.
Loki gulped once more. She was never optimistic.
The bathroom wasn’t empty. There was a single delegate from—Loki read his name tag discreetly—Italy. They waited awkwardly for him to slowly, slowly wash his hands and leave.
“Lock the door,” Stark ordered. His cheerful disposition had vanished into thin air. Loki locked the door. The click of the tumblers sliding into place echoed eerily in the tiled walls of the bathroom.
“I can’t believe I’m about to say this unironically,” Tony muttered under his breath before leaning against the electric hand dryer and crossing his arms. “Who are you and what have you done with Thor?”
Loki didn’t answer, for he had no answer. He tried to think of a way out of this, but he couldn’t think of one that didn’t involve magic, which would automatically confirm Tony’s suspicions.
“Are you a scrull? Cause Carol said we should be on the lookout—“
Loki’s whole body recoiled in absolute contempt. His face contorted in an expression of such disgust that he wasn’t sure that he even resembled Thor anymore. Frankly, he was so angered by the comparison that his spell might have broken.
“I am most certainly not one of those vile, terrible, shapeshifting urchins,” Loki spat. His eyes rolled up to the ceiling. “Me. A scrull.”
Tony shrank back a bit, shocked, probably, to hear that come out of Thor’s mouth. “Then who are you?” he asked.
Loki rolled his eyes. “There are no cameras in here?” he asked.
With a long-suffering sigh that could only come from a centuries old trickster god, Loki transformed back into himself. Tony let out a startled curse, and Loki heard the distinct mechanical whirring of Iron Man making an appearance.
Loki sighed again. “Hear me out before you shoot me, Stark,” he said with a roll of his blue eyes.
Tony hadn’t formed the entire suit, just a gauntlet that was fired up and ready to turn Loki into a trickster god barbecue. “Where’s Thor?” he demanded, his voice furious.
“In Asgard,” Loki said. He held up his hands in a show of innocence. “He’s sick with the flu.”
“Right,” Tony said, unconvinced. He powered up another gauntlet. “You better explain yourself real quick, Reindeer Games—“
“Heimdall...” Loki murmured, “Can you show him?”
Loki watched as Tony’s body went slack and his eyes glossed over. He had to admit, he was often impressed by Heimdall’s powers. And often jealous. Tony was out for a full minute before he came back with a strangled gasp and a shake of his head.
“That was...” he breathed, taking in lungful after lungful of air, “that was intense.”
Undeterred, Loki asked, “So you see?”
“Don’t do that again,” Tony demanded, pointing a shaky finger at Loki’s face. “I get it.”
Loki smiled, then transformed back into Thor. “Now, let’s get back to the conference, shall we?”
Tony nodded. “Yeah, yeah. Let’s.”
Thor had too many friends, Loki decided. The oaf was just too bloody friendly. He’d met T’Challa Udaku, the king of an African nation called Wakanda. And a few other delegates from around the world that Thor was apparently chummy with. Loki wondered if there were many people that his brother wasn’t chummy with.
Loki supposed it might have been a good thing because it meant that Asgard had plenty of support in finding a permanent home on Midgard. 54 out of 117 countries had officially declared their support for Asgard, and others could be swung. That was the task of Loki (or really Thor), Stark, and the T’Challa that night.
Loki’s throat still ached from conversing with the over-talkative delegate from Mexico—who was a swing vote that Loki was hoping he’d swung—when the booming voice of Thaddeus Ross rang out.
“Thor!” he called, almost friendly. “Can we talk?”
Loki was forced to smile, nod, and turn to face the man. “Of course,” he said, even though he’d really rather not. Loki had never actually met the man, but he’d heard Thor and Banner complain about the one they called “Thunderbolt” (a name that Thor strongly resented). “Plan on changing your mind?”
Ross chuckled. The United States was one of the countries who were against Asgard moving to Earth, all thanks to Ross. “Absolutely not, Your Majesty.”
“That’s a shame,” Loki replied, “We would’ve liked to trade with you.”
Ross wore a smug smile. “You won’t get the chance. You’ve been getting swing votes? Well so have I. I’ve convinced twenty delegates to join my side.”
Rats. Team Asgard (as Stark so affectionately dubbed them) had only managed to get confirmations from 17 delegates. Not that Loki would ever tell Ross this. “Good for you. Now, if you’re dead set on voting no, then I must get back to convincing others. I believe Belize has yet to be swayed.”
Loki turned on his heel without another word, but a hard grip on his shoulder stopped him. Dread swirled low in his belly. It had been hard enough to keep his anger and violent tendencies under control while just talking to Ross for a few minutes, he wasn’t sure he could handle prolonged physical contact.
Ross yanked Loki down to his level. “You’ve got a good front and a pretty face, but you’ve got nothing against me. Even if you scrap up enough votes, you won’t last a month.”
“Is that a threat, Secretary?” Loki growled. He had to admit that Thor’s deep voice was great for enticing fear in cowardly military men. He wondered if he could get away with a few sparks. He settled for making his eyes flash briefly.
Ross set his mouth in a grim line. “Its a promise.”
Not for the first time, Loki weighed the pros and cons of turning Ross into a fly. He figured the only real con was that his identity would be revealed, but that was only if everyone saw him do it. Perhaps he could lure Ross into the restroom or an otherwise unoccupied space. No one would know but him.
He thought of all this as he walked towards T’Challa and Stark. Maybe he could ask them what they thought.
T’Challa turned to face him first with a wide grin. “Your majesty,” he said, dipping his head slightly. Loki returned the gesture. “I convinced Rwanda.”
“Ross threatened war on Asgard,” he said in one breath. His heart was still pounding from anger.
“What?” Tony exclaimed, his eyes blown wide. The billionaire clenched his hands at his sides. “Where is he? I’m tired of his bull—“
“Calm yourself, Stark,” Loki surprised himself by saying. He supposed all that “Thor training” had paid off after all. He’d have to thank Brunnhilde and Heimdall. “It’s nothing I couldn’t handle.”
Tony sighed. “Yeah, you’re right.” He ran his hands over his hair. “I hate that guy. Say, you think your brother could...I don’t know, magic him into a frog or something?”
Loki wondered if he might have underestimated Stark. Had they met under different circumstances, they might have been friends. He chuckled. “Perhaps. Should I ask him?”
“That would be an insult to frogs, I think,” T’Challa joked, shaking his head.
Something beeped, signaling the end of delegation time. Loki’s A female voice announced, “Please return to your seats.”
“Showtime,” Tony whispered, doing jazz hands.
Loki’s heart nearly stopped beating every time a delegate said they opposed Asgard becoming a country. The way these things worked, each country’s delegate announced what they thought to everyone. Loki despised this. It made him want to jump off the rainbow bridge again.
He massaged his palm with his thumb and tried to breath steadily. Everything would be fine, he told himself. Over and over like a mantra. It wasn’t working.
“Calm down, Rock of Ages,” Tony said under his breath, “its going to be fine.”
“I agree with Stark, Loki,” Heimdall said over the comm unit, “We’re going to be fine.”
“Wait, did you...?”
“Of course not,” Heimdall scoffed, “that would be immoral.”
Loki rolled his eyes, but Heimdall had lifted a weight off his chest. “Thank the Norns.”
Sure enough, Heimdall was right. 98 out of 117 countries agreed to let Thor and his people stay in the land Norway’s government had set aside for them (which was really very generous and Thor had plans to repay them greatly). Ross was very clearly angry, but said nothing else to Loki, which might have been due to a bit of mind altering spell that Loki simply couldn’t resist casting.
Tony followed Loki out to his car, and shook his hand as he climbed in. “I hope your brother feels better,” he said, winking.
“Thank you,” he said. “For everything.”
“Any time,” Tony said, leaning his Want me to send some of that enhanced flu medicine by or do you have some?”
“Send it,” Loki said, pulling the door shut. He rolled down the window. “Say, how did you know it was me?”
Tony grinned and rested his hands on the window. “I suspected from the moment you nearly fell out of the car,” he explained, “but I didn’t buy that suit.”
Loki scowled and rolled up the window, nearly crushing Tony’s hands in the process.
When Thor woke the next day, he wasn’t expecting to find Loki, Brunnhilde, and Heimdall all scattered around his room in various stages of consciousness. Heimdall was wide awake, his golden eyes focused on some other realm. Loki was beginning to doze off in a chair next to the window. Brunnhilde was snoring in the bed next to him, her leg slung over his thighs and her arm wrapped tightly around his waist.
He jumped up. The UN conference. He’d slept right through it. Asgard was doomed. Once again he’d let his people down and now they’d have to find somewhere else to live. What kind of a king was he?
Brunnhilde stirred, probably woken by his hyperventilating and self loathing. Her little nose scrunched up and she lifted her head slowly off Thor’s chest. “Thor?” she mumbled. She rubbed at her bleary eyes.
Thor was momentarily distracted by how cute he thought she looked, and wondered how hard she’d hit him if he told her that. Then his current situation came slamming back over him like a baseball bat to the back of the head. “You let me sleep through the UN conference,” he said, as angrily as he could when his voice sounded like a scratched record.
“Yes, we did,” Heimdall said, blinking back to Midgard. “But everything is fine.”
Thor stared at his friend, incredulous. “Everything is—“ He broke off coughing, so hard that his chest ached. “—fine? I had to be at that meeting, Heimdall.”
“Thor was at the meeting,” Loki said with a sly smile.
Thor just gaped at him. His mind was still a bit foggy from fever. “You went, didn’t you? Disguised as me,” he said when it finally dawned on him.
“I did,” Loki confirmed, “and everything went swimmingly. Only one person threatened us with war.”
Thor’s one eye widened. “Ross?” he asked.
“Yep,” Loki replied, popping the P. “And I’m pleased to inform you that 98 out of 117 countries have agreed to let us stay on Midgard.”
Thor breathed a heavy sigh of relief. The thing that had been weighing on his shoulders for months since they’d arrived on Earth was now taken care of. He slumped back against his pillows. “I can never repay you all,” he said, shaking his head slightly. “Thank you.”
“Thank Heimdall and Brunnhilde,” Loki said, gesturing at the them, “I’d have never convinced anyone that I was you without them.”
“It’s true,” Brunnhilde mumbled, snuggling against Thor’s side. His arm came down to wrap tightly around her. “You’re warm.”
Thor laughed. “I’m burning up, actually. You’re going to get sick.”
Brunnhilde shrugged. “Eh.”
Heimdall rolled his golden eyes at the two of them. Loki fake gagged himself. “Come on, Heimdall,” the god of mischief said, pushing himself to his feet, “let’s leave them before things get ugly.”
“Loki,” Heimdall chided as Loki walked past him.
Loki stopped and leaned against the back of the door, his hand wrapped around the handle. “How about I take care of your kingly duties today, hm? I rather enjoyed pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes.”
“Everyone except Stark,” Brunnhilde countered, turning just so that her mouth was out of the cotton of Thor’s tee shirt. “He figured you out the moment he saw you.”
“Shut up, Brunnhilde,” Loki snapped, flipping her the bird. He started to head out the door, when Thor’s ragged voice stopped him.
“Do not try to take over the country, brother,” Thor called, pointing a stern finger at him.
Loki just laughed and shut the door.
Thor sighed and rested his blushed cheek on Brunnhilde’s hair. He looked up at Heimdall with a “What are you gonna do?” expression.
“I’ll keep an eye on him, my king,” Heimdall said as he stood to his feet. “Get some rest, Thor.”
“I will,” he promised, his eyes already dropping.
Heimdall smiled at the king who would never be anything more than the little boy who ran up to him in tears when he scraped his knee, the teen that hid his battle wounds until Heimdall was forced to doctor him up. Heimdall smiled at the king who he would always protect, shut off the lights, and closed the door. Warmth spread through Heimdall’s chest as he walked back towards the bifrost chamber, mulling over everything that had happened over the past day.
And then Thor’s...well...thunderous snores filled the hallways, and for the hundredth and first time in the past twenty four hours, Heimdall sighed.