Actions

Work Header

The Loki System

Chapter Text

"No thank you."

Another rejection. 009 sighed disappointedly as he floated through the Time-Space Alternative. All the systems are partnering up with dead, ordinary human beings. Some more forcefully than others. There was the Cannon Fodder System (that dumbass who has a stick up his ass), the Supporting Lead System (an idiot who barely knows how to take care of a host), the Heroic System (an arrogant, good-for-nothing, mother-fu-), and all the other unmentioned systems. People were choosing them fast despite the fact that 009 has the highest seniority and actually knows what the hell he's doing. And actually gives a shit. But no. No one wants to be a villain, so now he's stuck wandering through TSA until he finds somebody.

"Hey, are you available?" 009 looks down and spots a young man with a pair of sleepy, violet eyes and a lazy smile. He was Caucasian, the system believes, wearing a white button down with rolled up sleeves and a pair of trousers. His hair was a dark shade of brown, nearly black like raven wings, smooth and long, not shaggy, but not prickly either.

Surprised, 009 hesitantly nodded his head. "... Yes."

The man brightens his smile, eyes widening slightly as he offered a hand. "Great! My name is Mot Stonehildd. Let's work together from now on, alright?"

I never agreed to this! 009 wanted to scream, but he presented a smile instead and held out a hand to shake as well. "Master Mot, the pleasure is all mine."

The moment the human and the system touched, a silver ring encircled their left middle finger respectively, signaling that a contract has been made.

"From today on, I'm your system, Master Mot. My name is 009. You are the host of the Wicked Villain System."

That lazy smile returns on the host's face as he answers. "I will do my best, System."

Mot Stonehildd

When people ask him what he does for a living, the response is given in a bland, drawled out voice as he says, "I blow shit up." He would say it as if he was talking about the weather, a casual tone of voice paired with a lazy smile and tranquil violet eyes.

Mot was a mechanic. He built stuff. To be specific, he was a mechanic who owned an engineering degree. For him, that usually meant he would rather make stuff explode rather than actually fix anything. No biggy. In his lifetime, he had several rich friends who also liked to blow shit up. They paid for his rent and workshop. It was a good life he lived. Of course, perks of being a student of a prestigious university called Mecha Institute of Tech, known as MIT. It was no surprise that he, a valued scholar student, would meet several heirs and heiresses of big named companies and befriend them all within a day. Unknowingly, of course. Mot still has no idea why these random, rich-looking people still visit his humble workshop to this day (It's because they're your friends!).

On the question of how he died... umm... actually, Mot doesn't really remember. The bored genius had only one motto in life and that moto happen to be "life was fleeting". Those words were even stapled to his store counter, much to the dismay of all his friends. So when it came down to asking about his death, well...

"I got ran over... by a truck? Yeah, I got ran over by a truck." He told 009.

"That's a lie and you know it." The system deadpans, wondering how in the world this man could use such a cliche excuse for his death (and actually think he would believe it!).

Mot had to think hard and long. Then, his eyes perked up slightly and he gives a big, bright smile. "I was stabbed in the back."

"That's worse than the last excuse!" 009 wanted to desperately flip a table as he thought about this new, troublesome host. He was an idiot. An id-i-ot!

Mot's face goes back to normal as he shrugs. "Okay, I've got nothing. Let's just say I fell off the roof."

009 closes his eyes and breathes. In, out, in, out. He can do this. He can totally do this. "Sounds legit. Let's just type that in." He opens his source code and adds his host's supposedly cause of death.

{Fell off the roof by accident.}

"Okay, we have all your information. Now it's time for me to explain." 009 told Mot, putting away his source code (which was just a blue hologram-thingy that can shoot out from his eyes). "See these rings?" He indicated to the silver bands on both his and Mot's left middle finger. "What do you think they mean?"

"That... we're getting married?" Was the confused response.

A tick mark appeared on the system. "No, you idiot! This is the contract!" He shouted at his face. Calming down, he pointed to his own ring and said, "Here's the thing. When I transfer you into different worlds, our only means of communication is through these pairs of rings. If you lose yours, I lose you. When that happens, depending on whether you accomplish or fail your designated task, there's a chance I may never retrieve you from that world ever again. You got it?"

Mot stares at the object on his finger almost curiously before nodding. "Yes. Don't lose the ring or I die. Can I do stuff to it?"

009 nearly chokes on his own spit. "Like what?!"

"Modifications, personalizations, maybe even carving some words-"
"Do whatever you want. Just don't lose the ring, okay? You lose it, I lose you. That's the deal."

"Okay."

"Good. Now let's began the transfer. Are you ready, Master Mot?" 009 suddenly became a profession, his tone changing into a system worthy of seniority as his voice became more robotic.

"Yes."

{Initiating transfer in 3... 2... 1...}

The TSA began to warp itself, reality swirling before Mot's very eyes.

{Processing now...}

Mot loses consciousness of the world around him as everything sinks into an endless pool of black.

Chapter Text

{Good Morning, Master Mot}

"009?"

Mot wakes up in an unfamiliar room. It was a bedroom, a rather large bedroom, with interesting trinkets, unlike anything he has ever seen. He lies in a bed of silk, a very comfortable bed of silk the shade of emerald green and silver. Mot sits up and looks around. The stone walls, a kindling fire, some gorgeous, green curtains, a really big window, and a kindling fire. Where the hell is he? The Slytherin dorms?

{Welcome to Asgard, Master Mot.}

"Asgard? As in Thor Asgard?"

{What other Asgard is there?}

"Good point." Stifling a yawn, Mot crept out of bed, like a lazy cat, as he went to the window. What he saw was a sight to behold. A land of technology and knowledge appear before his eyes. He became bewildered. Hovering ships, floating balls, oddly shaped buildings, and a few planets that look like they're about to collide with the surface of this world. Oh! And a really long, rainbow bridge to somewhere.

His mouth watered slightly, itching to tear apart this realm one bolt at a time in the name of science engineering.

{Initiating memory transfer.}

009 says.

It was all the warning Mot had before being swamped by a massive headache. He scrunched his nose slightly and held his head, waiting for the pain to go away.

{He was Loki Odinson, the dark second prince of Asgard and the God of chaos and mischief (and fire).

After Loki's birth, he was abandoned in a temple and left to die during the war between Asgard and Jotunheim. Odin eventually found him and took him in. He and Frigga raised him as an Asgardian prince alongside their biological son, Thor.

At a young age, he had a talent for magic and was a genius in many areas, such as diplomacy, war tactics, archery, innovation, fine arts, reading, accounting, business, politics, and anything else that could possibly make this man any better. However, Loki was also very much neglected during his childhood.

It should have come to no one's surprise that the kid was more intellectual than his brawnier compatriots. Since Asgard is strictly a warrior society, Loki, being both a boy and a sorcerer, was usually put down and scorned for his individualism. This made him feel inferior compared to his brother, who was the golden prince of Asgard.

It was unfortunate that Frigga and Odin were not able to notice or discern the signs sooner. Eventually, Loki's heart became corrupted by sadness, anger, jealousy, envy, and rage.

On the day of Thor's coronation, Loki sabotages the crowning ceremony by letting in Jotuns into Asgard. This led to a series of events in which Thor and his friends, the Warrior Three and Lady Sif, and Loki, going toJotunheim secretly to seek revenge. Of course, Thor gets banished to Earth and Loki finds out the truth of his heritage.

Loki succeeded in his schemes and took the throne as Odin fell into the Odinsleep, however when the Warrior Three and Lady Sif attempted to return Thor home, Loki was forced to try and kill his brother.

The world's main character is Thor Odinson, the first and crown prince of Asgard, and the God of Thunder. When his irresponsible behavior restarted a conflict between Asgard and Jotunheim, Thor was denied the right to become King, stripped of his power, and banished by his father, King Odin, to Earth.

While exiled on Earth, Thor learned humility, finding love with the female lead, Jane Foster, and helping to save his new friends from a destructive threat sent by his adoptive brother, Loki, sacrificing his own life to save the innocent mortals in the process.

Due to his selfless act of sacrifice, Thor redeemed himself in his father's eyes and was granted his power once more, returning from exile so he could end Loki's reign. Loki then tragically commits suicide via a giant rainbow bridge, thus, ending his life in the process.}

Lovely. Death by Bifrost. Exactly how he wanted this life to turn out.

{I told you. I'm the Wicked Villain System. This should not be a surprise, Master Mot.}

"I guess you're right. What's my mission?" He asked.

{You will grant Loki's final wishes: to not die via Bifrost, to gain trust and support from his family, to fall in love, and to be his true self from now on.}

"Sounds fun." A lazy smile formed on his face as he walked over to the mirror. Slightly long, black raven hair, emerald green eyes, pale skin, and an angular face. This face wasn't bad, Mot surmised, turning around to check himself out.

"So I'm guessing today's the coronation, right?"

{Correct. It is in five hours. The original owner of this body usually takes four hours to get ready.}

The (ex) mechanic nearly grimaced. Four hours? He takes less than twenty minutes to change in the morning. Why the hell is Loki using so much time?

"Welp, that's going to change. Time management is everything, ya know?" Mot gave his signature smile with hooded, tranquil eyes before he began to walk around, slowly picking out the outfit that the previous Loki had decided to wear for the coronation as he changed out of his sleepwear.

It was unfortunate that Loki's dressing sense was not compatible with Mot's, like, at all. It seems the former liked tight fitting clothes with a lot of metal and a ridiculous helmet with two long-ass horns protruding from them. For Mot, that was a big no-no. Because one, horned helmets are unfashionable, and two, it was just ridiculous.

009 couldn't help but feel a headache slapping into his temple aggressively. Well, at least this will count as being Loki's true self.

Unbeknownst to his system's thoughts, Mot sighed and threw the helmet away in disgust, going through his wardrobe to look for another outfit that would fit him much better than the gaudy clothes.

Much to his relief, in the depths of Loki's closet, he managed to salvage a black turtleneck and a loose, green tunic with asymmetrical cuts. Along with the soft and simple clothes he had chosen, Mot found black riding breeches and an emerald green scholar's robe.

The robe had a hood and billowing wide sleeves lined with gold (1). Attached to it was a brown belt with two pieces of leather ropes falling down on each side. There was also a nice, grey scarf that complimented his outfit and a pair of black, fingerless gloves hidden inside the wardrobe.

Mot was immediately reminded of his outfits back in his old world and carefully put them on without any hesitation, admiring the smooth texture of both accessories.

He had forgone Loki's cape, as the scholar's robe was both a cloak and cape on its own, feeling that the simplistic outfit he was wearing should already be deemed good enough for the ceremony.

Lastly, he had pulled on a pair of riding boots that were both comfortable and practical compared to the metal armor.

{You still need the horns. It's Loki's symbol.}

009 interjected as the ex-mechanic stood in front of the mirror in his newly acquired clothes. "Isn't there anything smaller? And less, oh, I don't know, bulky?" Mot had a distaste for the ridiculous thing as it was too heavy and unbalanced to even be placed on his head.

The system answered by making a power saw and sandpaper appear out of thin air.

"... Thanks..."

Mot spent the next three hours of his morning sawing down and sanding a freakin' helmet.

A soft knock came from the door as Mot was filing down the sharp edges of his helmet-turned-headband-that-just-so-happens-to-frame-the-face-and-has-two-small-horns-poking-out-from-it. (2)

"Loki, dear, are you ready?" A woman's voice rang from the other side.

"In a moment!" Mot called out as he quickly had 009 stores away the tools and hastily put on his newly transformed headwear. "Come in!"

The door open to reveal a woman with silky, blonde hair pulled into an intricate bun. She wore an olive-green gown with jewel adorning the skirt and bodice. A gentle smile laid on her face before turning into one of surprise and astonishment.

"Oh, my dear, what is this?" She asked, pleasantly surprised as her eyes examined Mot's outfit.

009?

{That's your mother, Queen Frigga.}

She looks old enough to be my older sister.

{What did you expect? She's a goddess.}

I guess you're right.

"Good morning, mother." Mot cast her a lazy and tranquil smile that was paired with his sleepy eyes. He walks over to greet her.

"Loki. You look lovely today. Are you ready for your brother's coronation?" Frigga asked her youngest son as she admired his scholarly clothes. She was glad he did not wear his armor today (and that blasted, impractical helmet). He looked rather handsome and charming without it.

"I quite am. It will be exciting, I hope."

"You do seem a lot happier today." Frigga loops an arm around him and drags him to the door. "Come along now, my dear. Breakfast is waiting and your father and brother should be there already."

Mot was taken by his mother to the dining hall.

{You should start referring to yourself as Loki. You'll get confused if you continue to keep your identity, Master Mot.}

Will do.

Mot- no, Loki discreetly observed the palace halls as his mother guided him to the dining room. He wanted to say he was impressed, but he also wanted to click his tongue at the faulty areas of the palace that could be improved. For example, that useless balcony over there that's being propped up by ONE, unnecessarily large pillar. Talk about embarrassing.

"-and please try not to trouble your brother. It is his big day, after all." Queen Frigga finished pleading with her youngest son while opening the door to the dining room, unaware that said son was barely paying attention to her.

"Mm," Loki replied, simply uninterested as he was distracted by the palace itself.

Frigga looked worriedly to her son, finding him strange today. First, he chose to dress in Asgardian robes rather than bulking armor and golden helmet that is of his usual preference (more like Thor's preference)- not that she minds; in fact, she's feeling very happy that her son has accepted himself for what he truly was.

She has then noticed that the aura around him seemed a little bit off. Not a bad sort of way, but of a very calm and soothing type, different from Loki's usual presence that is always so tensed and sly, sometimes even malicious.

Today, however, Frigga has noticed that her son's mischievous nature and cunningness was followed by a sense of tranquility and charm that made him appear youthful and bright, like a beautiful star. Whatever has gotten into him?

"Loki! You have finally awoken from your slumber, I see. I worried that your beauty sleep would hinder you from coming to my coronation!" Thor the Thunderer, golden prince of Asgard and the future king sat on his chair, stuffing his face inelegantly as he talked. It made Loki nearly cringe in distaste, but he remained composed.

"Good morning to you as well, brother, dear." He strides over and sits down next to Frigga, who was welcomed lovingly by Odin Allfather.

It was then that both the king and crown prince noticed Loki's attire for the day, their faces contrasting with another as Thor stared inquisitively and Odin turned several shades paler to match his very white beard. "Loki, what in the Nine's are you wearing?" Odin sputtered, his meal all but forgotten as he lost grip of his spoon. Frigga was quick to defend him.

"Isn't it lovely? Those scholarly robes suit our youngest well, don't they, dear? After all, Loki is a sorcerer and scholar, it would do him well to present him as such for Thor's coronation. What is there to hide?" She chuckled delicately into her hand as she grasped Odin's arm in delight, watching her(favorite) son smile in return as he calmly took a sip of morning tea.

"But.... these are the clothes of a woman! Brother, you can't possibly be thinking of wearing such an attire to the ceremony, are you?" Thor looked horrified as if Loki had just sullied the Allfather and Allmother's names in front of the entirety of Asgard and danced upon the grave of their grandfather Bor.

Loki wiped his mouth slowly and turned to Thor, a serene smile on his face that was paired with serene, hooded eyes that shined green. Thor wasn't sure whether he was struck by the gentle look, or been beaten with it. Either way, he had felt something churn in his stomach.

"Why do you ask, Thor? Of course, I am. This morning I decided that I won't hide anymore. To be honest, the armor we wore was quite heavy for my lankier frame and I was never comforted by metal that weighed me down.I'm light on my feet without it and I much prefer it that way. I'm a sorcerer, Thor. A master of seidr. I use magic and dagger, not hammers and swords. It's who I am and today I felt it was the perfect opportunity to reveal my nature." He explains calmly, not even looking to see the several expressions that flicker through both his father and brother's faces.

"But the people will talk! Loki, they will never let you off! They will claim you are ergi!" Thor was getting desperate to stop Loki from doing something foolish.

The table fell silent and Thor realized his mistake. He was quick to try and fix the damage. "I- er- I mean... not ergi, but..."

He was answered with the same, lazy smile. "I know you mean well, brother. But it's alright. Let the people talk. I do not care." The other three members of the royal family became very surprised at the youngest's reaction. Him being called ergi was always a serious offense for the dark prince.

Thor wanted to add that his brother may soil the house of Odin, but seeing how he had already greatly insulted his brother (who looked more fragile today, though it must be for the lack of armor), receded from doing so.

Besides, he thinks, turning to see the expressions on their father's face, Odin does not seem to care. He looks more worried about something else, in all honesty.

As Loki finished a bowl of well-made porridge, he wiped his mouth carefully and stood up. "Well, I think I'll walk around for a bit before the coronation. I'll see you all later?" He elegantly excused himself from the table, smiling that soft, listless smile as he walked slowly out the door like he had all the time in the world.

For Odin, Frigga, and Thor, all three wondered what in the world had gotten into the trickster. He was acting rather strange today, though, isn't that just a simpler way to put it.

Chapter Text

Loki walked around the palace, looking around here and there as he strode through the halls and corridors. His wanderlust went so far as to reach the training ring outside the castle walls where the garden was closest. Wind billowed his clothes slightly and there was nothing but a gentle and calm smile upon his face.

Gliding around the area, Loki did not see the several warriors training in the rings.

"What are you doing here?" An unkind voice entered his ears and the sorcerer paused in his steps. Turning around, he found himself facing a man with flaxen hair and a goatee. He wore Asgardian armor and a long, majestic cape that was the color of forest green.

009?

{Answering to Master Mot. This Asgardian is named Fandral the Dashing. He is among a group called the Warrior Three and Lady Sif. They are Thor's friends and one of the many causes leading to the original Loki's death.}

I see...

Fandral was resting outside the ring as he played with his sword. Today was Thor's coronation and he was incredibly happy that the golden prince was about to take the throne. At least then, it will keep that wicked younger brother of his from usurping the throne.

Thinking about the raven-haired ergi made Fandral sightly sick to the stomach. The liesmith was evil incarnate and the very bane of his existence. He tried to shake any thoughts on the man away, imagining how many ladies would be at the feast and how many he could charm. Perhaps even taking one back to his chambers right after the feast.

The clanging of swords stopped all of a sudden and Fandral looked up curiously from his blade. He heard whispers begin to immerse around the training rings.

"Is that Prince Loki?"

"By Norns, what is he doing wearing that?"

"Isn't today the coronation? Shouldn't he be wearing his armor?"

"I guess he really did turn ergy. Those robes are like that of my sisters."

"Sorcerer robes. Magic is the practice of a woman. Perhaps he has given up as a warrior?"

"Him? Give up? I cannot believe my eyes until I witness the day he shouts those words loud and proud."

"But... don't you think it suits him?"

Heads turned as one to examine the oblivious dark prince as he glided their way.

"You know, I think you're right. For a moment there, I thought I had seen a fair maiden."

"Hah! Loki? A fair maiden? Don't make me laugh!"

"If you look closer, my friend, you will see proof in my words."

Suddenly there were several murmurs of agreement. Fandral didn't know why, but he felt his chest twist in some way that made him very uncomfortable.

Then, he himself looked over his shoulder, persuaded by the words of his fellow warrior. The result made his eyes widen. Black hair dancing slightly in the wind with a golden face guard that lined his face, the two, short horns protruding from it neatly. Long and hooded, green sorcerer robes over a green tunic and a black turtleneck. A grey scarf that loosely wrapped around his neck, and a pair of fitting breeches. A brown belt that made the outfit more shapely and black, riding boots riding up to his ankles. He was wearing loose clothes with asymmetrical cuts, like that of an Asgardian woman. And admittedly, Fandral thought it actually suited the younger prince.

Not to mention the sight that was truly to behold was the smile donning the silvertongue as he looked sleepy and rather relaxed today, like that of a small, black kitten, leisurely striding toward him...

Until he suddenly made a sharp turn and began walking past the training ring. Disappointed murmurs and sighs fell upon the warriors, and, unexpectedly Fandral himself.

However, Fandral was also thoroughly convinced that the sorcerer was up to one of his many tricks once more. Yes, he will stop him if it was the last thing he did. After all, today was Thor's coronation and he was not going to ruin it by letting the evil incarnate roam free.

He stood up and held his head high, confidently walking over to Loki.

Loki peers curiously at the man. Fandral is very handsome. A charming and flirtatious atmosphere floated around him, sprinkled with a smoldering sex-appeal that would make any lady go wild and vie for his attention. Too bad it was impossible for Loki to like the guy. He would have been more attractive if he wasn't glaring down at him.

"Good day to you as well, Fandral," Loki uttered carelessly, offering a sleepy smile to the warrior. Wow, he was tall.

{Master Mot, you should really know the backstory between-}

I'm sure it'll be fine, 009.

Loki told the system. He cared not for the backstory between the original owner and Fandral. It would be troublesome and a lot of work if he plays everything by the book. Whatever history these two had, he would gladly pretend it never happen, starting everything with a clean slate.

{But Host, that's too OOC (T^T)}

It's fine. Don't be such a mother-in-law.

Dutifully ignoring the system's protests, Loki continued to smile at Fandral like the great Buddha granting enlightenment.

For Fandral, he was bewildered, to say the least. Actually, no. He flipped his shit. Internally, of course.

Gruffly, the dashing blonde flirt narrowed his eyes distrustingly. "What are you up to, trickster?"

"Mm, going to the garden. I decided to spend some time there before the coronation today. I imagine you will be there as well?"

Stupid question, Loki knew. Of course one of Thor's best friends (and follower) would be there. Nonetheless, the only one bad mouthing them was 009. Loki didn't give a shit and he was happy that way.

"Yes." Was the dry response coming from the usual merry Asgardian. It seems being in the presence of Loki leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

Loki felt that talking with this Fandral was really useless and that the so-called "Dashing" man was just part of the fictitious world of the Marvels Universe and that this world's Fandral is just some overly-serious and antisocial guy with a stick up his ass.

"Well then, I must be going. I would like to relax a little in the garden before the ceremony. If you would excuse me, Fandral." Granting a smile, Loki calmly walked away, leaving behind a bewildered, confused, and complicated Fandral in his wake.

Loki was almost halfway toward the garden gates when a strong hand suddenly grasped his arm and tugged. He did not budge, but only looked slightly confused as he turned around to see who it was.

{Master Mot, I seem to have forgotten to mention this, but most of the characters in this universe seem to have been genderbend.}

What do you mean-

Loki found himself face to face with a man slightly taller than himself. He wore silver Asgardian armor over a red tunic and a pair of maroon breeches. Leather covered his right forearm, legs, and hands. His midnight black hair was wispy, tied in a ponytail that framed his lightly tanned face naturally.

009?

{That is Lord Sif, Master Mot. I believe you knew him in your previous world as Lady Sif. It seems the Warrior Three has become the Warrior Four.}

I... see...

Loki decided that he didn't care because caring meant he would waste his time doing troublesome things that he shouldn't be bothered in the first place. And he rather liked his time, thank you very much.

"Lord Sif, greetings." The dark prince cast him a smile that was slow and mellowed like a river stream. "Would you be so kind as to let go of my wrist. Thank you." He wiggled out of the other man's grip and retreated a few steps to avoid further contact. Something told him that Sif was the kind of guy who wasn't afraid to manhandle anyone, prince or no prince."

"Sif, what are you doing? I thought we were going to spar." Fandral suddenly pops up behind the other warrior and speaks loud and clear.

Sif ignores him in favor of staring Loki down. "I'm watching you, liesmith." He warns tersely, refusing to go anywhere.

"... Okay...?"

Loki furrowed his brows slightly in confusion before nodding. "I guess I'll be going to the gardens. Have a good day, the both of you-"

"I'm coming with you," Sif says bluntly, folding his arms as his face became a scowl all of a sudden.

Fandral immediately raised a brow, turning his head so quickly it would have given someone a whiplash.

He sputtered something inaudible, or rather, discerning since Loki had no idea what the hell he was saying.

Again, the raven-haired sorcerer replies with an awkward "Okay" mixed with a large dose of confusion.

"I'll come along, too!" Fandral suddenly announces a little too cheerfully, raising his arms as if he was gracing the world with his presence.

009, I thought the personalities in this world was slightly different than the original MCU.

{They aren't. You just assumed. Everyone else is acting normally except for you.}

Really?

Loki tried not to think too hard about it. Let the wind blow either way. He'll be fine.

A lazy smile returned with hooded emerald eyes as Loki nodded in acceptance to their declarations and guided them to the gate, opening the doors for the Warriors to step in.

Loki glanced around at the sunny pathways. The castle garden had a multitude of plants and herbs. Stone walkways and green grass blended and twisted. Fountains that spewed golden nectar, benches made from the very trees of the garden itself, formed by the trunks and branches, and idunn apple trees with a few blossoms and leaves budding in scattered areas. The sight was magnificent and a happy smile donned Loki's face as he strode about, sniffing at flowers, feeling their petals, closing his eyes to breath the sweet air, and letting the sun warm his face.

Unbeknownst of him, Sif and Fandral were paying less attention to the garden itself and more intently on the raven-haired prince being covered with several doves on his shoulder as he taught them to sing, suspicion, confusion, and doubt in their eyes.

Loki's shoulders were covered with six pigeons. He taught them how to sing. Now, don't question how he managed to get six pigeons to land on him. The world may never know.

"No, like this." He sang a note briefly. The doves did their best to mimic the prince, but alas, they were doves and did not have the sweet song-like voices of mockingbirds.

It was at this time that two large ravens abruptly landed on either side of Loki, crowing in delight as they soaked the attention of the sorcerer.

What is with all these birds in Asgard...? 009, if you would?

{Gladly, Master Mot. This is Hugin and Munin, the ravens of Odin. They are his closest aids.}

And pray tell why is it that they are here?

009 felt his mouth stretch into a wide grin, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes as he responded.

{Wouldn't you like to know.}

Loki gently shook off the doves from his shoulders and offered the seats to the two ravens, who immediately hopped on.

"Does father and mother need me?"

The Ravens answered yes.

"Please tell them to appease their worries. I shall be there soon."

The Ravens took off, most likely to go back to Odin's side, leaving Loki in the garden with both Fandral and Sif.

He turned to his two companions and offered a slight grin. "I shall take my leave now, my friends. May the Norns be with you until then."

"May the Norns be with you in kind." The two responded rigidly.

With a nod, Loki left the garden swiftly.

Sif and Fandral looked at one another, the two warriors were tensed and frowning as they stared at the back of Loki's retreating figure.

"I suspect he is up to something." Sif spat out.

"I, as well." Fandral agreed moresly.

The two eyed one another before they saw something in each other's eyes. Nodding as they found what they wanted to know, an agreement was made with haste.

"Loki!" Frigga approached her son as he walked through the door of the room trailing into the throne hall. The coronation is to take place within ten minutes. Frigga and Odin were standing by the large, gold door, waiting for it to be opened. Thor was nowhere in sight.

"Mother." Loki greets her with a kind smile, still sleepy and slothful, but charming all the same.

"Father." He nods to Odin as well, in both respect and as a filial son.

"Here's how we'll do this. Your father and I will go inside first. Loki, you should head in once the clapping recedes. I have told Thor of his instructions to follow after you, so you need not worry about him, alright?

"Yes, mother."

Frigga nods, satisfied. Taking Odin's arm, the two of them stepped toward the door.

"Presenting his royal majesty, King Odin Allfather, and her royal majesty, Queen Frigga Allmother!"

The doors flew open and cheers erupted through the throne hall. Odin and Frigga entered before the heavy entrance closed shut.

Loki patiently waited, twiddling his thumb slightly. He saw a large, opened window behind the hanging tapestries and went over to get some fresh air.

It was at that moment when Thor stormed merrily into the hall, the door closing behind him as he did so. Marching in with his head held high, he had a goblet of mead in his hand. After drinking it down, he threw to the ground, yelled for another, before coming to stand in front of the door. It was then that Loki made his move, leisurely sauntering toward his brother with a gentle smile.

"Nervous, brother?"

The blonde smirked, turning his head to look at him confidently as if the question was absurd. "Have you ever known me to be nervous?"

Loki went through the original owner's memory and found something to use as a comeback. "Oh, well, there was the time in Nornheim..."

"That was not nerves, brother." Thor grinned, "That was the rage of battle."

Loki nodded in understanding. "I see."

"How else can I have fought my way through a hundred warriors and pulled us out alive?"

Loki raised an eyebrow and frowned. "Uh, as I recall, I was the one who veiled us in smoke because of our escape-"

Thor interrupted with a boisterous laugh.

"Yes. Some of us do battle and others just do tricks."

Loki truly frowned at this, his lazy grin becoming that of a disapproving scowl.

A servant came and delivered Thor's helmet, a silver headwear adorn by two wings on the side.

"Oh, nice feathers," Loki said playfully, a lazy smile creeping up his face as he shook slightly with laughter.

Thor did not look amused.

"You don't really want to start this, do you?" He asked, spitting out the words all of a sudden while starting to get uncomfortably close. Loki noticed that his brother was trying to intimidate him.

"I was being sincere." He replies honestly.

Thor snorted. "You are incapable of sincerity."

Those words must have stung the original owner. However, Mot was now Loki, so the Silvertongue ignored his brother's insult by looking away.

After a few moments of silence, the dark prince knew that his companion was becoming uncomfortable and placed a hand on the larger man's shoulder. He sighed. "I have been looking forward to this day for as long as you have... brother... my friend... sometimes I'm envious. But, Thor, never doubt I love you."

Thor placed a hand on his neck, a simple gesture of a bond that the two have had for centuries. "Thank you." He said sincerely.

Loki smiled. His eyes then glint with mischief. "Good. Now give us a kiss."

Thor laughed and let go, punching his brother in the arm with more strength than was needed.

The pair stood side by side, right near the door. They each looked at one another. Thor, a nervous smile, and Loki, with a reassuring a lazy one.

"Presenting his royal highness, Prince Loki!"

Without further ado, the doors swung open and Loki went inside to face the music and cheers.

Chapter Text

The ceremony was great, fabulous, totally, absolutely, boring to boot.

What the hell is this?

Loki emerged from the door gracefully, making his way to the queen and king before stepping aside to join the royal family and the high-ranking warriors of Asgard. The crowd was huge. There was hardly anything new about the ceremony,

This feels like senior graduation all over again.

The Asgardian watched their dark prince, wearing women's clothes and looking every bit like the sorcerer he is. There was hardly a piece of metal armor or any signs of a warrior on him. However, the court was somehow torn between disappointment and yearning, not sure how they would feel about the newly emerged ergi trickster.

Meanwhile, the Warrior Four were slowly contemplating and reevaluating their lives. Actually, let me rephrase that. Fandral, Sif, and Hogunn were reevaluating their lives. (Volstagg is married, loyal to his wife, and is old enough to be their father...)

The stares directed to Loki were many. Of course, Odin and Frigga did not let this go unnoticed as they both shared a look. If anyone was capable of noticing the king at that very exact moment rather than spending their time ogling their prince, they would have noticed that King Odin Allfather was beginning to turn purple and red in the face, a vein popping out of his head as though he was prepared to lop off every one of his subjects for the blatant disrespect they were showing to his youngest son.

The door swung open and Thor swept in like a fiery storm of thunder. The crowd reacted late. It wasn't until five seconds had pass did the cheers began to roar like drums and whistles. Thor waved, held his hammer high, his chin tilted to the sky, and proceeded to smile with all the arrogance in the world. Loki raised an unimpressed brow as he clapped politely. As for his mother, she could only shake her head with a helpless smile while his father just kept staring with all the patience in the world (judging by the tightening of his hand around Gungnir, he may have been equally irked).

He could hear Sif groan as he said "Oh, please..." exasperatedly with a roll of his eyes. Across from where he was standing, Loki saw that Hogun, ever the taciturn warrior, stood stiff postured and on guard; Volstagg and Fandral, on the other hand, clapped boisterously and hooted, whistling and cheering louder than anyone else in the room.

Eventually, and Loki really meant it when he said eventually, Thor finally reached the steps of Odin's grand throne, smug looking and red cape billowing with the help of nonexistent wind as he kneeled smoothly on one knee, taking off his helmet and winking.

Frigga threw him an admonishing glance and Odin seemed to have had enough with the dramatics and rose to his feet, smacking Gungnir on the ground to silence the room.

Loki cheered internally. They were finally starting!

Odin raises Gungnir before them and begins to speak. "Gungnir. Its aim is true, its power strong. With it I have defended Asgard and the lives of the innocent across the Nine Realms since the time of the Great Beginning. And though the day has come for a new King to wield his own weapon -- that duty remains the same. Thor Odinson, my heir, my first-born..."

Loki tried not to look bored, but the Mot inside him made him sleepy.

How long is this speech going to take? Can we just skip this scene?"

{...No...}

009 deadpanned.

Loki huffed to himself, sighing.

To an outsider's point of view, he may have looked disappointed that Thor was going to be made king, but if they knew what he was really thinking, they would have puked blood in anger.

"- So long entrusted with this might hammer, Mjolnir..." Odin continued dronning.

Oh my god, are you kidding?

{Just be patient. He's almost done.}

He's talking about Thor's hammer.

Loki stated bluntly.

009 could only sigh.

{...Yeah...}

"Today I entrust you with the greatest honor in all the Nine Realms. The sacred throne of Asgard. I have sacrificed much to achieve peace. So, too, must a new generation sacrifice to maintain that peace. Responsibility, duty, honor. These are not merely virtues to which we must aspire. They are essential to every soldier and to every King."

Thor looked up and faced his father. Odin gazed at him, pride clear in his eyes.

"Thor Odinson, do you swear to guard the Nine Realms?"

Unhesitantly, the blonde thunder god answered, "I do."

"Do you swear to preserve the peace?"

Once again, the fast response came. "I do."

"Do you swear to cast aside all selfish ambitions and pledge yourself only to the good of all the realms?"

Thor smiled broadly and laid a hand on his heart. "I swear to this oath, Allfather."

Loki looked incredibly unimpressed as he crossed his arms and leaned back, looking both calm and carefree.

Honestly, does he even know what he's swearing to?

No response came from 009. Instead, there was a series of beeps and static in his head.

009?

The noise in his head died down and the System answered him.

{Master Mot, there has been a disturbance in the Vault.}

009 alerted.

Loki lightly scrunched up his brow.

Can you show me?

{Gladly. Initiating monitor...}

A series of images flooded Loki's mind. The bodies of Asgardian soldiers are flung to the vault floor with ease. The ground was strewn in ice. Large shadows emerged and Loki could see a flash of deep blue. Frost Giants. There were Frost Giants in the weapons vault, and they're making their way toward the Casket of Ancient Winters. They lift the box-like artifact and turn to leave. But as they do, something behind the Casket starts to separate and retract. It was an intricate latticework, slowly revealing something standing in the shadows. A fiery glow rises and the Frost Giants scream.

Loki was not alarmed. He was more or less aware that this was going to happen. What was more intriguing was WHO had let the frost giants in. Obviously, it wasn't him, as Mot was now in Loki's body, therefore, holds no responsibility for the situation at all. It had to be someone else.

How long was this?

{According to the monitor, this has happened five minutes ago. A soldier is on its way.}

Loki nodded to himself and waited patiently for the event to happen as he allowed the plot to play out with its dramatic finesse.

Meanwhile, standing with Gungnir, Odin was still speaking and Thor was still kneeling.

"Then on this day, I, Odin Allfather, proclaim you-"

Odin seems to hesitate for a moment. In the silence of the throne room, the sounds of heavy footfalls echo. Someone throws open the door. "Frost Giants! Frost Giants in the Weapon Vault!"

A bloodied and heavily injured soldier cries out before he falls in a dead faint. The crowd gasps.

The Warrior Four reach for their weapons and Thor rushed out, followed by Odin and a few other soldiers.

Loki and Frigga stayed behind. They paused and looked as the beefy armored men ran out of the room before sharing a look. At once, the mother and son duo rolled their eyes and gracefully fell into steps with one another, heading toward the door in slow, elegant strides. The crowd is still chattering among themselves.

Loki goes over to the injured soldier and knelt down. Frigga stands near, watching in case her son runs out of energy helping the poor man.

The trickster gently rolls the soldier over and places a hand on the latter's cheek. "Sir, are you alright? Please open your eyes for a moment." He urged, weaving Seidr into the man. Bruises and cuts patched themselves and slowly disappeared and he finally let out a pained groan before his eyes snapped open.

Abruptly, the man sits up and coughs, gasping for breath. Loki places a hand on his back. "Calm down, good sir. There. Please breath slowly. In for two, out for two. Okay?" He helped the guy regain his balance and eventually helped him up.

"Th-thank you, your highness." The soldier says, looking both bashful and nervous at the same time.

Loki gave him a tranquil smile. "It is alright. I do recommend for you to seek out Healer Eir, however, as I am no healer. I only mended the wounds on your outer flesh. For whatever that is left, you should go to the professionals." He warned.

"I will do that, your highness." With those words, the man leaves for a trip to Eir.

Unbeknownst, the crowd of people has become silent as they watched their prince help a soldier and cast a rare smile that he seems to wear a lot today. They were very astonished but did not say, merely gossiping the news and passing it on to whoever would listen.

Loki and Frigga stand side by side. "Do you think Father and Brother are done with the investigation? I hope the damage done in the Vaults were not too bad."

His mother sighs. "My dear, we should all remember that the men in this family are both stubborn, loud, and brash. Do not become like your father and brother, Loki. This I will tell you, my son."

Loki smiles listlessly. "Yes, Mother."

They leave the throne room, Frigga looping one arm around her son, who offers the crook of his elbow.

"Mother, do you think Thor and father will be fine?"

"Absolutely, my dear. Absolutely."

In the vault, Odin and Thor were arguing with one another. The Warrior Four hurried inside to help the other soldiers clear up the mess. They looked at one another awkwardly as the father and son yelled at each other.

"They have paid with their lives! The Destroyer has done its duty and the Casket is safe!" Odin bellowed, face turning puce as reigns in his rebellious son.

Thor looked equally furious as he pointed a finger at the Allfather. "All is well?! They have broken into the Weapon's Vault! If the Frost Giants even touched one of these relics-"

"But they didn't." Odin cut off, glaring at the blonde.

The God of Thunder continues to argue, pacing back and forth like a caged animal. "I want to know why-"

Odin stares at him calmly. "The Casket of Ancient Winters belonged to the Jotuns. They believe it is their birthright."

"And if you hadn't taken it away from them, they would have laid waste to all the Nine Realms." Thor spat.

Odin sighs, breathing in slowly before opening his one good eye. "I have a truce with Laufey."

Thor looked even more incensed, slamming his hand against the wall. "He just broke your damn truce! We must act!"

Odin narrows his eyes, a scowl on his face as he turns to the soldiers and the Warrior Four. "Leave us." He commanded.

They exited hurriedly, not wishing to stay any longer with the Thunderer and the Allfather in the room.

The golden king now faces his son alone, gazing at him with a hard eye. "What actions would you take?"

Thor stared righteously at him. "March into Jotunheim as you once did, teach them a lesson, and break their spirits so that they never dare to cross our borders again!"

"You're thinking only as a warrior!" Odin shouted angrily.

"This was an act of war!"

"It was the act of a few that was doomed to fail from the start."

"They've gotten this far! What's to say they won't come further to their goals next time?"

"Then we shall find the breaches in our system and seal them close so that this never happens again."

Thor looked thoroughly put off. "As king of Asgard-"

"But you are not king. Not yet." Odin says lowly, his aged face filled with disappointment as he violently ended the conversation there, turning away so that he could no longer look at his firstborn.

Thor realized that he could only push this far. No matter how much he argues, there was no way he could change his father's mind. Angrily, he stormed out, slamming the door behind him in a burst of fury.

In his personal chambers, Loki watched this scene silently with the assistance of 009. He shook his head, equally ashamed that Thor would think so rashly, not even weighing the cost of war and its consequences.

Sighing, he stood up and left the room, walking to the banquet hall where Thor would surely be, to take out his frustrations on a few innocent tables and chairs.

Looking listless and dainty, Loki wandered the pillared golden palace, trying to locate the hall.

"Ow..."

He suddenly collided with someone coming from the corridors.

"Your highness?"

The trickster was on the ground, nursing his forehead when he looked up to find himself face to face with Fandral the Dashing, one of the Warrior Four. Behind him stood Sif, Volstagg, and Hogun the Grim.

"What is it...?"

Still on the ground, Loki asked them the question. Thankfully, Fandral had the decency to grasp him by the elbow and help him off the floor. "Thank you." He said, offering a lazy grin and dazzling the warriors.

"Y-you're welcome, my prince."

Sif had a scowl on his face and marched over to pull Fandral off the raven haired prince. "Fandral is sorry for bumping into you, your highness." He intoned, giving a look to the blonde.

Loki raised a delicate brow. "I see."

Sighing, he patted down his robes and turned to the four warriors. "Are you all seeking my brother as well?"

There were nods in unison. "Lovely. He is most likely in the Banquet Hall. Knowing my brother, he will want to eat or throw tables. Shall we all go together?"

Sif was about to say no, but Fandral beat him to the punch.

"Yes! That's great! Come, your highness! This handsome and dashing warrior shall escort you!"

Loki only smiled warily. "If you say so..." He answered, following gracefully after the Asgardian.

Thor stands in the empty hall filled with tables and chairs and endless amount of food and mead. It was obvious that the festivity has been canceled due to the break in. Pacing back and forth like a rabid beast, the god of thunder felt anger and frustration boil beneath his skin, until he can take it no longer and swiftly overturned one of the tables, knocking it over with the full force of an Asgardian warrior.

"Thor, what in the world are you doing?" The astonished voice of his brother cried out.

Immediately, the thunderer was brought back from his fury and rage-filled mind, turning around to see said sorcerer along with his four dear friends standing there by the door.

"I..."

He looked at his shaking hands and nearly growled.

Loki crosses over to him quickly, his robes elegantly sweeping the floors like their mother's would, quite similar to Frigga indeed. The dark prince placed a hand on his arm and looked worried.

"Be at peace, brother. What has made your mood so foul?"

"Those Frost Giants, Loki." He spat, pulling away his arm. "It is unwise to be in my company."

"Then I have never been wised." Loki countered.

Thor huffed. "This was supposed to be my day of triumph."

"Another day will come soon where you can triumph again. What has been done is now in the past. Be patient and your chances will grow." Loki softly admonished, trying to calm the agitated prince.

Thor frowned, almost pouting like a petulant child.

Volstagg shrugged, stuffing a sausage into his mouth, followed by a pint of mead. "Your brother has a point there, Thor. It's not like we can take our vengeance either. None of us can defy Allfather."

Hogun, Fandral, Sif, and Loki all stared at Volstagg in alarm, looking horrified. The redhead looked around. "What?"

Thor was looking at his hammer, a gleam in his eyes.

Loki could instantly tell what the latter was thinking. He grew concerned. "Brother, I know that look. I beseech you to stop whatever madness you are planning."

"What madness?" Fandral asked.

"Nothing." Loki said sternly, his eyes narrowing at Thor. "My brother is merely jesting."

Thor suddenly gave a broad grin. "Come now, brother. The safety of our realm is nothing to jest of! It is settled! We are going to Jotunheim!"

"What?!" The rest all cried in unison.

The Warriors exchanged concerned looks. Loki realized there was no way to convince Thor to stop.

After a righteous speech that both glorified Thor and convinced the Warriors, everyone finally agreed with the plan. Loki, however, was not impressed.

He shakes his head, deciding he would join as he showed a lazy grin and hooded eyes, looking very troubled. "I fear we will come to regret this." He told them, and then left, slipping away silently to leave the warriors and his brother to themselves.

Chapter Text

Light footfalls echoed inside the golden halls of the palace. Loki gracefully stepped through an arch, pulling off his headpiece and loosening the collar of his scholar robes. The dark-haired prince guided himself with both confidence and calm, looking dainty yet strong.

He knew the drastic measures he would need to take to prevent Thor's premature death. It was inevitable that he would be the one to make such a difficult decision, to choose either loyalty to his own brother, or loyalty to the royal family. But alas, Loki knew that keeping Thor alive was much more favorable than keeping the latter's pride.

The guards standing in front of the large, ash wood doors looked solemn as they saw their prince approach. Loki nodded to them in greeting and wordlessly swept past them, waving a hand for the door to open and silently entered.

"Father." He gave a small bow as he greeted the AllFather.

Odin's face was nearly pressed to a piece of parchment as he wrote a series of symbols that would soon decree the new rule for 'admiring' a royal family member.

Meaning no one can gawk at Loki Odinson or they shall be punished on pain of death!

"Father... Father..."

Oh, how Odin worried for his youngest. He glared at the sheet of parchment as his mind wandered to the day he would need to give away the young prince to someone completely unworthy and an obvious bastard to boot!

"Father!"

Odinson abruptly looked up, his eyes meeting a pair of emerald green irises peering at him with curiosity. Shit! He didn't notice him come in!

"Father, are you well?" Loki approached the Allfather, looking worried and unsure as he placed a hand on the old god's shoulder.

Odin turned away from the paperwork and gave all his attention to his youngest, looking straight at the trickster with a faint twitch of his lips. He coughed once. "Yes. What is it, my son?"

Loki wasn't convinced but dismissed his father's personality as being one of the weird side-effects of being king, which led him to wonder if Thor would someday turn out like that as well.

Hopefully, that will not be the case, as Thor is already weird enough and very arrogant.

"If you insist. Father, I am here to alert you of Thor. He and his friends are heading to Jotunheim-"

"WHAT?!"

Loki gave a small, helpless smile. "Thor is heading to Jotunheim, Father... Right now..."

Odin stood up from his chair and billowed out a command to the guards outside. He quickly turned to Loki, who looked rather calm and listless and ushered his son to the door. "Do not worry, my son. All will be taken care of."

"But- Father- I, Thor wants me to-"

"No, do not feel as if you are responsible. That pig-headed, stupid, shameless, idiotic boy will be in another world of pain once I have his hide. Causing such ruckus right after the troubles with the Jotun-"

Loki tried to speak, but Odin was already resolute, beginning to ramble and insult Thor in as many ways as humanly, and godly, possible. Soon, the silvertongue god was pushed out of the studies and walking down the hall, wondering what had just happened.

009, are you sure nobody is out of character? I'm pretty sure Odin isn't supposed to act like that.

{Quite, Master Mot. The reason for his reaction was because Loki- you- confronted him about Thor, unlike the original owner of the body, who only spoke with a few guards to deliver a message before leaving.}

I see. So Loki is basically an unreliable narrator.

{Quite so.}

Sighing, Loki picked up the long edges of his robes that swept the floors and ran (gracefully) to his room. Upon entering, the sorcerer changed from the elaborate- and comfortable- outfit to something warm and loose.

(1) The new scholar robe was dark green, looking more like a long jacket with a cloak-like exterior. There was a hood attached to it, along with a black shoulder cape (2) that covered his right shoulder. He wore his tunic and breeches inside, holding everything together with a wide, green, silk sash. Lastly, Loki draped a soft, transparent green shawl with a warming spell around his frame, attaching the clasps on his shoulder.

Feeling more comfortable in simpler clothes, the trickster god tugged on a pair of leather gloves, stuffed his feet into some riding boots, grabbed a magic staff (3) that he found lying inside his closet, attached his knives (4) to his secret storage space, and ditched the sword, made a swift exit out the door.

Seeing as Odin didn't let him explain before he was told to 'not feel responsible', Loki felt that he might need the weapons. Just in case.

He was only a few steps out of his room when loud, clanking armor and the approaching of several footsteps alerted him to pause.

"Loki!" The boisterous yell came from one blonde thunder god. Behind him were the Warrior Four, who are now openly gawking.

It would seem Loki's intuitions were not wrong.

Thor froze for a moment as well but did not say anything, opting to march forward and swing an arm around his little brother cheerfully.

"I see you changed into warmer garments. Friends, we shall depart now. Let us go to our horses and leave to Jotunheim!" He declared.

There was a round of unenthusiastic cheers among the group.

009, why do I have a feeling this isn't going to end well?

{Because you read the plot?}

True

Crossing the rainbow bridge of Asgard had little fanfare. Loki's mount, a large steed named Sigvard, had trotted proudly, in front of all the other horses, (even Thor's) before he could reign in some control. The younger prince pats its mane softly and cooed at it, giving all his attention to the steed that now moved more calmly than before. Unbeknownst to Loki, this has made all the other horses quite jealous on the account that none of their riders were ever so kind or gentle with them, (nor were they light. Either due to the weight of their armor or the weight of their stomach). They could only look on with jealousy as Sigvard was being hand fed a few apples that Loki brought for him.

Eventually, they reached the observatory, where Heimdall himself, the Gatekeeper of Asgard, stood at his post on the bridge before them. He blocked their way and stared them down with his stern, intimidating face that was partly covered by the visor of his golden armor, making the massive sword he held in front of him even more menacing than it should be. The god had an other-worldly air about him as if he held thousands of secret within him (which he did) and knew everything of anything in existence.

He eyed the group wearily and then turned to Loki as if expecting him to speak first. By instinct, the Warrior Four and Thor also took a glance at the effeminate looking prince, who would have said something if he wasn't busy cooing and feeding his horse.

For some odd reason, this left a feeling of disappointment and discomfort amongst the other Aesirs. That is because in the original storyline, Loki was the one who offered to speak for the group. However, with the intrusion of Mot, this scenario obviously isn't happening.

Thus, more awkward silence ensued.

In the end, Fandral stepped forth. "Good Heimdall-"

"None of you are dress warmly enough." The gatekeeper spoke in an even voice before slowly withdrawing his gaze, so that his eyes now saw the distance rather than them.

The Warrior Four and Thor traded looks. Loki was more interested in his horse so he ignored them magnificently.

Fandral was confused. "I'm sorry?"

Heimdall responded without a beat. "The freezing cold of Jotunheim. It will kill you all in time. Even Thor." He paused for a moment before a pair of golden eyes zoomed in on the youngest prince. "Well, perhaps you are an exception. At least you, my prince, had the decency to put on more layers."

Loki turned slightly, gave a languid smile to the gatekeeper, and then fell back to petting Sigvard. This left a good impression on the older god.

Heimdall turned back to the Warriors and Thor. "You think you can deceive me? I, who watch all? I, who can sense the flapping of a butterfly's wings a thousand worlds away?" He fixed his eyes pointedly at Fandral. "Or can hear a cricket passing gas in Niflheim?"

The dashing god became gob-smacked and tried to rectify the damage. "That was just a bit of a jest, really..."

Sif tries to help. He steps forward and attempts to explain. "You must be mistaken. We're not-"

"Enough." Thor cuts off, finally having lost his patience.

He turns to speak with Heimdall. "Gatekeeper, will you let us pass?"

The golden god's stare drilled into Thor's head until he finally gave the blonde an answer.

"No."

"But why?!" Thor's face became thunderous as he stepped closer to Heimdall in a more threatening manner.

This did not phase him one bit. Instead, he remained as cool as a cucumber, hands still loosely gripping his sword, not once truly looking Thor in the eyes. Instead, his golden eyes were somewhere else, far through the Nine Worlds.

"For Valhalla's sake, brother. There's a reason why my silver tongue hasn't turned to lead."

The tense silence was interrupted by the dark prince himself, the one with the silvertongue. The Warriors, the golden prince, and the gatekeeper all snapped their heads toward the one dressed as a scholar, without a single piece of armor. Instead, he carried knives and a magic staff, something so unlike for this prince to do.

Heimdall stared grimly at him. "And what, Liesmith, will you do to try and convince I, the Gatekeeper of Asgard?" A brow was raised questionably at the seidmadr.

Loki, at first, remained quiet. He didn't mean to say anything. He was actually trying to stall for time so that Odin and his guards can come over and stop Thor from waging war. Speaking of which, why are they taking so long?

He could have just dragged on the long and uncomfortable silence, but still, judging by the expression he was suddenly receiving from Thor and the Warriors (they all look like overgrown puppies... Mot liked puppies.), he finally relented and sighed. Sorry, father. You ran out of time.

Stepping gracefully over to the Heimdall, Loki bowed his head in greeting before smiling primly, like Queen Frigga. "My brother and his friends seek for adventure in Jotunheim. Though it may be dangerous, I promise and swear on my life and that of Frigga Allmother, that I will, to the best of my abilities, keep my brother and friends safe from harm."

Of course, no one expected Loki to swear by anything, even more so when he brought in Frigga's name. They all knew how much love he held for his mother, so to place an oath on her life, it would mean Loki was truly sincere with his request.

Sadly, it seemed the only one who paid attention to the part where Loki said 'best of my abilities' was 009.

Heimdall looked as if he was dissecting him. Thor had an expression that was a mix of tragic, sadness, and annoyance. Tragic and sad because he had made his brother swear by his- Loki's- and their mother's life, and annoyance because he would have never thought of those words. Years of king training, all for naught.

In the end, the Gatekeeper finally speaks. "For ages have I guarded Asgard and kept it safe from those who would do it harm. In all that time, never has an enemy slipped by my watch, that is, until this day. I wish to know how that happened."

A pointed look, both subtle and quiet, was directed at Loki. Loki returned it with a look of his own before shaking his head. No. He was not involved. He took this chance to lean close to Heimdall's ears. "Thor is going to make war if our father doesn't arrive soon. The moment he meets with you, please take him to our position. I fear Thor will tear this realm into pieces if nothing can be stopped." He pleaded.

Heimdall gave him a distrustful, yet hesitant look. Subtly, however, he gave a small, distinct nod before turning his eyes back to the Warriors and Thor.

Loki smiled genially and bowed his head in thanks. "Then we shall depart to solve these mysteries, Good Heimdall. We shall return in a within moments soon."

The trickster walks past Heimdall as the golden gatekeeper lets the group pass. Volstagg walks beside Thor, who looked both irritated and angry. He is the would-be king of Asgard! How dare Heimdall disobey him, yet a few words from his brother can suddenly change the stubborn god's mind? He simply couldn't comprehend this revelation.

"Cheer up, my friend. The dark prince has a knack for speaking with his silver tongue. You on the other hand... Uhhh..." The ginger god tried hard to think of something equally close to the caliber of Loki's many accomplishments and talents, which he suddenly remembered all of a sudden.

Loki raises a brow and looks back to support the tongue-tied Volstagg. "Fear not, Thor. Where I lack in strength, you make up with your brawns." He stops for a moment and turns completely around, his scholar robes spinning with him languidly. The Warriors suddenly stop as they realized that a confrontation may happen between the trickster and thunderer. Heimdall watches on.

With his arms crossed and a stern expression not unlike Queen Frigga whenever she scolds her sons, Loki gave a look to Thor. "I am going to make a promise, right here and now, brother." He says. "When we ride back from Jotunheim, I shall drill the art of political speeches and stratagem of the Nine Realms into that brain of yours. Beware, brother, for you will be trapped in hell until diplomacy and kingship are in the front of your mind while swords are in your back, understand?"

The threat made Thor shiver as he realized that Loki was serious. He imagined being permanently chained to the leg of the desk inside the royal library, books piled high as he attended to several stacks of work, with Loki carting more paper and documents in with every rune he rights.

Eventually, and Loki bemoaned this as he was stalling for time (where the hell is Odin?!), the group piled into the observatory and stepped on top of a platform. Heimdall climbs into the large control apparatus at the center of the room and readies the Bifrost.

"Be warned. I will honor my sworn oath to protect this Realm as its Gatekeeper. If your return threatens the safety of Asgard, Bifrost will remain closed to you. You'll be left to die in the cold wastes of Jotunheim."

Heimdall tells them this.

Loki gave a small smile. "We shall try not to."
Thor, however, looked confident and very arrogant. "I have no plans to die today."

"None do." Was the reply given as Heimdall inserts his sword into the control panel and the apparatus starts up. Outside, the Bifrost energy quickens along the bridge, feeding into the observatory.

Heimdall turns his sword in the control panel. The observatory's giant turret swings around and aims toward a section of space. Finally, the gatekeeper plunges the sword deeper into the control panel and the great turret fires a rainbow light. Bifrost energy blasts out and the Bifrost opens at the end of the platform upon which Loki, Thor, and the Warriors stood.

Heimdall looks to them expectantly. "All is ready. You may all pass."

Volstagg suddenly looked uncomfortable. He wasn't the only one. Sif, Fandral, and Hogun also hesitated. As for Loki, he was internally screaming in his head. Where is Odin?! The only one who was calm and self-assured was Thor, the meathead and the golden prince.

"Couldn't you just leave the bridge open for us?" The Warrior who is always hungry questioned the golden gatekeeper.

Heimdall shakes his head. "To keep this bridge open would unleash the full power of the Bifrost and destroy Jotunheim, with you upon it."

They all grimaced (save Loki and Thor). Volstagg laughed nervously. "Ah, nevermind then."

Thor starts toward the Bifrost, a large grin on his face. "Come, my friends. Let us not be bashful!"

One by one, the Warriors joined him by his side. For Loki, however, he took one fleeting glance behind him, hoping to see Odin make an appearance and catch them. He was disappointed that no one came. Signaling a nod to Heimdall (the god knew what to do), the Trickster stepped in front of the Bifrost.

Thor and the Warriors prepared themselves. Loki breathed in one last time to calm his nerves.

In an instant, they're jerked off the platform and into the vortex.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, back in Asgard.

Odin crosses the rainbow bridge with a group of warriors trailing behind him. He rode the great horse, Sleipnir, looking aloof and regal.

"Heimdall. Where is my son?"

The gatekeeper raises a brow. "Which one?"

"Thor."

"He and Loki are in Jotunheim. You have come too late to stop them, though your youngest had tried to stall for time."

"What?!"

Odin's face morphed into one of anger and then panic.

It had taken him long round up the best warriors. It felt as if the fate wanted to keep him long enough from getting to the Bifrost in time. He felt suspicious all of a sudden. Why did he need the warriors in the first place? He was perfectly capable of stopping Thor and his friends from going off to Jotunheim and dragging Loki with him.

Never mind that! I need to go after them!

Looking more furious than he could possibly be, Odin clenched Gungnir tightly and said to Heimdall, "Open the Bifrost. We're going after them."

"By your will, my king."

Somewhere most definitely not Asgard and is most assuredly Jotunheim, Thor and his friends landed on their ass on top of the Bifrost point. To be more specific, a hole in the sky ripped open and Thor and his friends shot out, landing roughly on their buttocks with the safety and comfort of a rampaging elephant.

Loki, on the other hand, was like a bird; fluttering down slowly and gracefully without a care in the world.

There were several groans of pain.

"Thor! Get your foot out of my face!" Sif growled. A painful groan was his response.

He was not impressed.

"Ow!- hey!- Sif!- Sif, stop!" Thor was eventually pushed off with the force of the war god and found himself making a gruesome snow angel on the snow-covered ground.

Hogun and Volstagg were in their own little pile of bruises and cuts.

"Volstagg, mind moving off?"

"I cannot. My hair is tangled with your ruddy boot!" The redhead grunted.

"Get off."

"Trying!"

Yeah, let's leave them alone for now...

Loki merely smiled, pretending that he was unaware of the mess behind him as he adjusted his shawl and covered his head with a hood. Looking out into the distant horizon, the trickster spotted the intimidating ice palace of King Laufey.

009, exactly how far is our destination?

{It may look close, but you will have to trudge through the frozen wasteland for a few hours if you wish to get there. I pity that none of your companions have made an effort to wear something warmer. Frostbites can deadly in this realm.}

Loki sighs internally, dreading the walk already.

I see... Thank you, 009.

{It is my pleasure, Master Mot.}

Humming briefly, Loki's hand glowed green. Internally, the mage was excited at the prospect of using real magic. A warm surge seeped through his vein as he pulled at something within himself, the core of his seidr. Channeling the life force of the world tree, an illusion appeared in his hand, like a hologram. It was the map of Jotunheim.

"What are you doing?" Fandral pops up behind him, a scowl on his face. There were bits and pieces of snow piled up on his head. He landed in a dense pile of snow. Sif needed to dig him out...

Loki barely glanced at the warrior, continuing to survey the terrain. "Just checking where we are. Laufey's palace is quite far." He explained, pointing to the palace on the map before narrowing his eyes to the distance where the palace could barely be seen.

Fandral eyed him with suspicion, probably because he just used magic, and opened his mouth to speak. However, a very high-pitched scream interrupted him.

"Volstagg!"

"Help me! By Norns, help me! I have a family! I'm too young to die!"

The ravenette and blonde both turned to see said warrior dangling precariously on the edge of a sheer cliff that was most likely opening up to the black abyss of space beyond, with only Thor trying to pull him back up by his belt.

They both rush over to help.

"Come on, big fella. Up!" Thor grunted.

With tremendous effort, he and the warrior four hauled the burly Asgardian up the edge. "Well, that was actually quite easy," Fandral commented.

"It was, wasn't it?" Loki smiled, standing behind them with both his hands glowing an emerald green.

Thor, Sif, Fandral, and Hogun saw that the same hue surrounded Volstagg, who was very relieved to be alive. "Oh..."

With amusement glittering in his sleepy eyes, Loki turned around and spread his arms. "Well, gentlemen, welcome to Jotunheim."

Thor and the others turn and stare out in horror and wonder at the frozen alien wasteland before them. The whole planet is a massive flattened ring of jagged ice, slowly breaking apart. Huge chunks of ice cave away from its outer edges and float off into space. The planet's icy surface cracks and melts as far as the eye can see. The ruins of a Jotun city lies in the distance, along with a terrifying palace of ice.

Hogun made a disapproving noise in the back of his throat. "We shouldn't be here."

Thor forged onward, looking confident. "Too late to turn back now, my friend."

Loki folded his arms and stood beside Hogun, at the back. Strangely enough, the other warriors were with them as well. "Actually, it is not. Brother, we can still turn back and bound for Asgard, perhaps even share a mug of warm cider around the fire once Father and Mother finishes lecturing us about our safety."

For a moment, Thor looked momentarily shocked, as if he didn't anticipate the consequences for once in his life.

The Mot within Loki rolled his eyes, frown deepening. "Did you truly think we could get away with our actions? Have you forgotten that we are the sons of the Allmother and Allfather? Huginn and Muninn would have said something to them by now."

The Thunderer cursed under his breath. "Damn birds..." However, the god was stubborn. "Even so, Loki. We have come far. I will not turn back until I get some answers, and I assure you; those monsters WILL do as I say, lest they suffer the wrath of the mighty Thor!" He bellowed, raising his hammer to the sky.

{Master Mot, it seems the protagonist will not turn back. What shall we do?}

Don't worry, 009. I've got it handled.

Sighing in resignation, Loki eyes his brother. "Very well. Do as you must. But I shall warn you now. The consequences way more heavily than your pride."

He spoke in warning. Thor stubbornly ignored him, heading off.

Loki turns to the warriors. "This will be dangerous, my friends. We will not have a warm welcome once we return. I beg that all of you keep the crown prince safe and do not leave his side."

They were stunned. Loki? Pleading to keep Thor safe? What was the universe coming to? They could only nod, too in awe with the changes of the dark prince to argue with him. They trail after Thor quickly.

Satisfied, Loki stepped forth, looking both worried and anxious as he follows Thor into the snow. He needed some information on the land if they were to get out safely.

Once he had caught up with his brother, the trickster stops the group for a moment.

"Thor, I think we should wait a moment."

"For what?"

Loki gave him a look of admonishment. "To survey the enemy, of course. To gauge their strengths and weaknesses from a distance."

Volstagg is the one who nods in agreement. "I like that. Gauging, surveying. Particularly the distance part."

The golden prince remained arrogant. "We know all we must. It is time to act." He heads on. The others, except Loki (who was more resigned), reluctantly follows.

The group trudges behind Thor across the frozen wasteland shielding themselves from the howling wind and cold. Loki looks around them, anxious. Next to him, Fandral shivers. Out of his own goodwill, Loki managed to cast a few green flames around the group, warming everyone up. Despite themselves, the warrior nodded to him gratefully. They were met with a calm smile.

Thor, invigorated, turns back to his comrades. "It feels good, doesn't it? To be together again, adventuring on another world?"

Fandral looked at him in disbelief. "Adventuring? Is that what we're doing?"

"Well, what else would you call it?"

"Freezing-" Fandral.

"Starving-" Volstagg.

"Whining-" Sif.

Hogun didn't say anything.

Loki pitched in. "Utter, pure, stupidity that will get us skinned alive by mother dearest."

They continue forth, slipping and burying themselves beneath coats of ice until Loki eventually notices and enlarges the flames to melt away the snow from their armor. He had no problem with the weather. He had dressed for the occasion.

After a while, they began crossing a small mountain when Thor spoke. "How about a song to lift our spirits?" He suggested with a stupid smile on his face.

The others groan.

"No, not that!" Hogun yelled.

"If I have to listen to Volstagg's singing one more time, I'll fall on my own sword!"

Sif and Loki shared a look.

"Let's all play nice." Said the trickster.

They furthered the journey without much trouble after that.

Eventually, the party reaches the edge of the city, its ancient structures of jade and ice melting and crumbling, ravaged by warfare long ago. A temple lies before them, across a central plaza.

Sif surveyed the area, his hand lying on the hilt of his sword as he approached with caution. "Where are they?"

"Hiding. As cowards always do."

Thor leads them toward the central plaza. Loki followed behind everyone, his hand glowing green as he had withheld his flames throughout the journey. He was the only one who noticed the shadows of several figures as they hid beneath the shadows of the nearby structures.

He paused in his steps to wave at them, much to the shock of the figures. Shooting a lazy smile, he leaves quickly to catch up with the group.

Upon reaching the plaza, it seems the rest has finally sensed the Frost Giants in the shadows and crevices, surrounding them now on all sides. The Asgardians reach for the hilts of their weapons.

All of a sudden, one of the blue giants approach them and calls out them. Or more specifically, to Loki, much to everyone else's astonishment.

The trickster slowly makes his way toward the giant as the chosen representative, much to his own confusion.

"What is your business here, Asgardian?"

The Jotun's voice itself sounded like cracking ice as Loki stood in front of him calmly, a tranquil air around him as he was surrounded by his own green flames.

Thor boldly steps forth as well and stood in front of Loki, (much to the Jotun's displeasure), and spoke in the latter's steed. "I speak only to your king. Not to his foot soldier."

"Thor!" Loki scowled, looking as if he was about to admonish the thunder god.

He was cut off by a rumbling noise that boomed through the air. It was both calm and loud, demanding of attention.

"Then speak."

Thor turns to the source of the voice. Hidden in a balcony of the temple, there sat King Laufey, veiled in a dark shadow behind a cascading waterfall. The Jotun Kind is ancient, noble, powerful. Too proud to reveal even a hint of the years of suffering he and his people have had to endure.

"I am Laufey, King of this realm."

"And I am-"

"We know who you are, Odinson. Why have you brought the stench of your blood into my world"

"I demand answers."

For a moment, there was a pause. Laufey stands, sizing up the golden prince, piecing together his words.

"You 'demand?'"

"How did your people get into Asgard?" Thor said without pause, and Loki felt so much shame for him. Whatever happened to respect?

009, can we skip to the fighting and running? I don't think I can handle this second-hand shame anymore.

{As I have said during the coronation, no.}

Damn.

"The house of Odin is full of traitors." Laufey answered.

The Warrior Four exchanged a look, disturbed by the Jotun King's words. They saw Loki, unfazed as he stood behind Thor and suspicion rose within them. They shot several accusatory glances toward the trickster; though, said god didn't seem to notice as he conversed with 009 internally.

"Your father is a murderer and a thief. He stole what was ours, and left our world in ruins. We have the right to reclaim the Casket."

"Not when you'd use it to make war against other Realms." Thor was adamantly stubborn.

Laufey lets out a laugh, both cold and mocking. "And why have you come here? To make peace? You long for battle. You crave it. I see you for what you are, Thor Odinson. Nothing but a boy, trying to prove himself a man."

Thor takes a step toward Laufey. The other Jotuns immediately steps in front of him, blocking his path.

Up close, the frost giants looked terrifying, yet, equally magnificent. Skin the shade of sapphire, glowing under the dim light like a rare gem beneath a layer of stone and dirt. Their blood-diamond eyes shined like no other as each and every one of them stood eight feet tall.

While the Warriors and Thor became horrified with their presence, Loki stood in awe and wonder. He looked to the closest Jotun, the one who had previously called out to them. "You are magnificent," Loki spoke in a hushed whisper, loud enough for the creature to hear.

If anyone had looked close enough, they would have seen the giant blush a shade of violet.

As if he was suddenly aware of the danger, however, Loki knew he had no time to compliment and praise the Jotuns while Thor was still enraged. He glanced over at his agitated brother. "Thor, stop and think. Look around you. We are outnumbered."

The blonde, having lost his patience, growled at him. "Know your place, brother!"

Laufey was unmoved as he stared the Thunderer down. "It would be wise to listen to his counsel. You know not what your actions could have unleashed." He steps out of the shadow, revealing the icy crown above his head, looking equally magnificent, if not more, like the rest of the Jotun race.

It seems, however, only Loki could see the beauty within a creature like the Jotuns.

Laufey continues to speak. "But I do. Go now while I still allow it."

Thor simmers. Loki speaks up in his place.

"We will accept your most gracious offer." He bows slightly in respect, a tranquil smile on his face as he relit his green fire around him and the others. It had extinguished without him knowing as Laufey and Thor conversed.

The Jotun King lifted a brow in bemusement before settling on resigning. He's too old for this shit.

The warrior was glad for the warmth of the fire and turn to look imploringly at Thor. Thor stares Laufey down a moment longer then relents. He turns to leave. His comrades breathe a sigh of relief and follow.

It could have ended on a happy note. They could have left homeward in peace.

But then, much Mot's displeasure, some stupid Frost Giant nearby decides to mutter under his breath, right next to THOR-

"Run along home, little princess."

Thor stops in his tracks. The warriors turn an alarming shade of white. Loki looks resigned as he covers his eyes and turns to the nearest Jotun. "I am sorry for what's to come..."

The frost giant looks confused.

Thor smiles brightly at the offending Jotun. In one quick move, he pulls out Mjolnir, swings it, and knocks the Jotun clear across the plaza. The Warriors reluctantly draw their weapons, gathering into a circle around Thor.

"Again, I am so very sorry." With a small pat to the other Jotun beside him, Loki runs off to join the circle, ignoring the fact that his fingers had briefly turned blue upon touching another Frost Giant.

Angry Jotuns soon approached the Asgardians. Ice began to form on their bodies, creating a frozen armor around themselves, extending off the ends of their arms like swords. One giant steps directly in front of Fandral.

"I'm hoping that's just for decorative purposes." The blonde squeaked.

Thor leaves the circle of Asgardians, swinging his hammer at a Jotun. The warriors formed another circle around him, separating him from the Jotuns as he whirls his hammer around once and catches it with a cocky grin. He's enjoying this.

Fandral calls to Volstagg and Hogun.

"Well, my friends, what moves shall we do to vanquish these creatures?"

Volstagg sliced a giant with his axe. "I say we use 'The Norn's Revenge.'"

"At this close range? I think 'The Alfheim Lunge' is a better move."

He looked disgusted. "Maybe if we were three feet tall. No! How about 'The Randy Valkyrie?'"

Hogun takes out three more Jotuns before snapping at the duo. "Shut up!"

Thor dispatches yet another Frost Giant when all hell breaks loose as the Asgardians and Jotuns begin to battle.

A Jotun backs Hogun up against a wall of ice. As the Giant hurls an ice blade at him, the grim warrior swings his mace over his head, embedding it into the ice wall, and hoists himself up, dodging the Giant's blow and leaping over him. Hogun takes out a second approaching Frost Giant, spins back, dodges a swing from the first, then pounds the Jotun with his mace.

Nearby, Sif expertly stabs one Jotun after another with his double-bladed sword. One knocks him viciously to the ground. Growling, the Warrior stands back up and takes out the Jotun with a sharp swing of his blade.

Knives were flying in the air, dispatched by Loki as they took out a Jotun one by one. The owner of the blades, however, was nowhere to be found.

Laufey nods to one of his guards, a massive Jotun brute. The Brute leaps down from the balcony, icing himself up, then punches his giant fist into the ice beneath his feet. It's a long-range attack, causing pillars of ice to explode out in front of Hogun and Fandral, sending the two warriors flying back.

Across the plaza, Thor easily kills off some Jotuns. "Come on! At least make it a challenge for me!" He bellows.

He sees the Brute coming at him. The huge Jotun lands a tremendous blow, sending Thor back across the ice.

Soon enough, however, he rises, grinning like a madman.

He throws Mjolnir with all his strength, knocking the Brute head over heels. Raising his hand, Mjolnir returns to his grasp, ready for more.

Volstagg grapples with an ice giant, getting a couple good hits. The Frost Giant fights back, but Volstagg manages to grip in a headlock just as another comes up on him from behind. Volstagg fends him off, then turns the first one loose.

The Jotun grabs Volstagg's bare arm. The warrior's skin begins to freeze from the Jotun's grasp, a BLACKNESS spreading from it, necrotizing Volstagg's flesh. The warrior shouts in pain before quickly dispatching both giants with renewed vigor.

"Don't let them grab hold of you!" He warned the others.

Fandral sword fights with a frost giant. "You really think your icicles are a match for Asgardian Steel?"

He lunges for the giant. The Jotun knocks his blade away.

"Alright. Fair enough."

Fandral moves on him again, but the Giant grabs Fandral's sword and snaps it in half. "Could we stop just a moment while I get another sword?" Alas, he ends up fighting the Giant with a broken sword. The Jotun then lunges at Fandral, who ducks just in time, grabs hold of the Giant's sword and redirect it, stabbing the Giant through with his own weapon.

The Jotun staggers back, then reaches down and swipes at a pool of water, sending up a spray that freezes in mid-air, forming into an ice stalagmite.

It impales Fandral, rendering him helpless.

Loki races towards the impaled Fandral, throwing daggers and felling Frost Giants as he goes. He reaches the nearly- unconscious warrior when other Jotuns approach. He dispatches them swiftly with deadly precision before coming to the man's aid.

"Are you alright?"

"Dizzy. How's my face?"

"Flawless." He deadpanned, pulling Fandral off the stalagmite. "Volstagg!" Loki called to the warrior.

The redhead quickly came running down in a hurry. He had seen what had happened. "Here. Carry him." Loki hands over the injured Asgardian gently and with care.

Volstagg was about to comment when Loki suddenly flickered and disappeared. The mage had made copies of himself.

Thor continues fighting, his bloodlust rising. He taunts the Jotuns around him and continuously gloats amongst the bloodshed.

Now, you may be wondering where the hell real Loki is. Well...

Meanwhile, Loki had actually left the battle before it begun, sitting calmly beneath a self-made barrier while he left his illusionary counterpart with Thor and the others. He knew the Jotuns weren't going to hurt him. After all, he hadn't done anything wrong. However, that didn't mean he was going to let Thor go on a rampage.

Sitting on a rock surrounded by the warmth of his flames, he had cast a powerful illusion around the warriors and Thor, much earlier in the game.

{For a moment, I thought you were actually going to fight when you headed for the circle.}

And kill all these magnificent people? As if. I do regret not saving that one poor Jotun, but I guess I can't save everyone.

Whenever a Jotun looked as if they were going to become a casualty, he merely flicked them back toward the plaza and made his group believe as if they had fallen another Frost Giant. Said Giants were really just knocked out, believing they have died, but really, are just sleeping until the illusion wears off.

Of course, he also placed a barrier around each and every one of the Warriors and Thor so no one got seriously injured, though, maintaining his seidr for so long did make them flicker at times. His proof being Fandral getting impaled.

The Jotuns who weren't 'killed' eventually stopped attacking the Asgardians, realizing there was really no use. They finally just stood around in bewilderment, watching the display as their eyes flickered back and forth between Loki and his fighting companions... who were currently fighting air, much to their confusion. They were even more confused when they spotted their fellow people just lying there, sleeping.

Atop his balcony, Laufey didn't look that impressed. Again, he was too old for this shit. He ordered one of his servants to bring him a drink, hopefully, one that is filled to the brim with alcohol.

And that was exactly the scene to which Odin and his group of warriors had arrived to. A pile of sleepy frost giants, a resign and somewhat sober King Laufey, Thor and his friends fighting air, and Loki, sitting on a rock, surrounded by green flames and a barrier, reading.

Astride his powerful, eight-legged steed Sleipnir. He's clad in battle armor, Gungnir in his hand, an imposing sight. Well, it would have been if the situation had called for it.

Loki glances up from his book, pausing for a moment before a look of delight appeared on his face. Snapping his fingers, everything stopped in an instant. His flames burned out, the barrier flickered away, the Jotuns awoke, and his companions were free of his illusions.

"Father! You've finally arrived!" He quickly went over and greeted Odin, uncharacteristically hugging the old god happily.

Odin, himself, was surprised. His son hadn't done that in years.

Thor and his companions have finally realized what had happened. They looked at Loki, confused. One moment, they were battling through hoards of giants and awaiting their doom at the hands of a rather large army that surrounded them on all sides. Now, within a blink of their eye, it's like all their efforts had been a dream.

Laufey slams his fists into the ground, and the ice beneath his feet raises him towards Odin until they were on the same ground. He steps off and greets the Allfather.

Odin, still confused, opens his mouth to speak. "Exactly what is-"

"Don't ask. Just, don't. I think your youngest will explain."

"Loki?" He turns to the trickster, who was smiling calmly.

Laufey sighs. "I must commend his skill in magic. If he hadn't place that illusion around his own companions, I would think many of my people would have died on this day." The Jotun King turns to Loki and bows his head slightly. "I thank yee, Silvertongue."

"It was my pleasure, your majesty. I am glad to have protected such magnificent looking people."

Odin and Laufey both choked, for very different reasons, but their reactions were amusing, to say the least.

Embarrassed, Laufey nodded and shouted something that sounded like a mix between a roar and a squawk. Little by little, the Jotuns retreated, back into the shadows they went.

"Goodbye, Odinson. Take heed so that I won't find you in my realm again."

With those words, Laufey silently left the plaza.

Odin stood next to his youngest son, looking at him strangely. "Loki, what has happened?"

"You were too late to stop Thor, Father. In the end, I left with him." Loki showed Odin the memory of what happened after they had left Asgard, including the conversation between Laufey and the illusion frenzy.

Odin was not pleased.

"Thor!"

Thor, who had just recovered from his illusion-filled haze, bounded over.

"Father! Let's finish them, together!" He shouted, readying his hammer once more as he targeted a retreating Jotun.

"Silence! I don't want to hear a word out of you, you ungrateful boy! Do you know what could have happened..." Odin began his lecture.

The Warrior Four all stood behind Loki, looking worried for Thor, but also questioning at the liesmith.

"Oh, Fandral! You were hurt, weren't you? I'm so sorry. My barrier might have flickered before you were impaled. Come over here. I know some healing spells."

The Dashing Asgardian was brought over via Volstagg and Loki carefully placed his hand on the wound. He looked slightly distressed and very worried, a sight that none of the warriors usually saw. Fandral, for one, did not like it.

Loki's hand glowed a faint green as he concentrated on the spell, slowly stitching up the wounds. While he did this, he quietly explained what had ACTUALLY happened when they were fighting the Jotuns. This made the warriors slightly irritated, but they were glad they didn't cause a war. Judging by what Odin was currently lecturing Thor on, they were very glad.

"There. All better." Loki smiled at his handiwork. A scar still remained, but at least the man was no longer bleeding to death.

"Uhh, thank you, Loki. I appreciate the help?"

"No worries, my friend. After all, magic can do wonders." Loki gave a soft chuckle, both light and airy, leaving some of the warriors slightly in awe. Most specifically, Fandral.

"These rotten creatures-" That was Thor arguing with Odin.

"Silence!" That was Odin, who's giving up. He raises his spear. The hole in the sky opens, allowing the Bifrost energy to blast forth from it. The Bifrost envelops the Asgardians, yanks them off the ground and up through the hole. The vortex closes behind them as all falls silent.

They can finally head on home.

Chapter Text

Heimdall stands at the observatory, bored. He was usually bored. After all, despite his status as the Gatekeeper, it was not often that people would try and invade Asgard. So he stands and waits for days on end, without much to do but peek into other people's lives.

The Bifrost activate, alerting Heimdall to open the portal.

Within a moment, he saw the King of Asgard appear before him. Trailing behind him was his wayward sons and their warrior friends.

At that moment, Heimdall knew that shit was going to go down. He stayed silent.

Odin stomps over and pulls out Heimdall's sword from the control panel before throwing it to him. Heimdall backs away.

Thor looked furious. "Why did you bring us back?" He demanded, his chest puffing up like a proud and angry peacock.

Odin didn't look at him. He couldn't. Never in his life had the golden king been so disappointed, so angry, at the son he had raised. He cast a glance to Loki. The dark prince that he had taken from Jotun. Perhaps the one who was truly rightful to the throne was him because, at this point, Thor was a lost cause.

"Do you have any idea what you could have done? What you could have started?"

"I was protecting my home!"

"You cannot even protect your friends. I have seen the 'battle' you were in and if it wasn't for Loki, you would all have perished. How can you hope to protect our kingdom if you can't even survive an illusion that your brother had cast? How can you hope to make peace if you had truly harmed the Jotuns?"

While Odin continued to chew out Thor, Loki turned to the others.

He saw that Fandral was still pale and unwell, despite the fact that he had closed his wounds.

Loki had used most of his energy in maintaining his illusions and copies. He did not have enough seidr to completely heal the internal wounds that the ice stalagmite had done on Fandral.

Not to mention, Volstagg was bearing a heavy injury within the throw of the illusionary battle. Loki's protective shield on the ginger warrior may or may not have flickered when he (Volstagg) was grabbed by a Jotun. Upon closer inspections, it seems the trickster was right on this fact when he saw that a part of his arm was blackened and slowly rotting.

Shit. I forgot about him.

{Indeed you did, Master Mot}

"Father?" The dark prince approaches the furious Allfather, looking slightly meek and worried (for the old god's health; a person his age should not be shouting that angrily until his face turned puce).

Odin finally turned to the others, wearing an ire-filled expression until his eyes landed on his youngest. His face softened slightly immediately. In a quieter and much kinder tone, he asked, "What is it, my son?"

Loki still looked mildly worried, but he gestured to the Warriors. "Fandral and Volstagg were gravely injured during the battle. The fault lies with me for I allowed my shields to flicker. I would like to send them to Healer Eir to get them checked up if it's alright with you?"

Thor stood behind them, his face darkened slightly after being ripped through by his father's words. However, upon hearing what Loki had said, he became anxious. His friends had been injured and he did not notice? What injuries have Volstagg and Fandral sustained for Loki to call them grave? His mind was fraught with worry as he thinks of this.

Odin nods once in agreement and looks to Sif and Hogun. "Get them to the Healing Room." Hogun and Sif bowed their heads respectfully and hurried over to help Volstagg and Fandral out the room. Both injured warriors slightly complained about being manhandled but were silenced by a knock on the head by Sif and a "Shut up!" by Hogun.

Loki was about to follow them out, but Odin stopped him. "Wait, my son. Stay here. I wish to speak with you after I deal with your brother." With that, the golden god's attention returned to Thor's.

009, should I be worried?

{According to this world's data, the original Loki stayed in the observatory as the plot played out. He was not punished during this scene.}

I see. Then I can breathe easy.

By the time Loki came back from speaking with 009, Thor and Odin were continuing their third (or was it fourth?) screaming match.

"-There won't be a kingdom to protect if you're afraid to act!" Thor yelled loudly.

Odin stares at him.

The thunderer continues to make his point across. "Whatever the cost, the world must know that the new King of Asgard will not be held in contempt!"

"That's pride and vanity that talks! Not leadership! Have you forgotten everything I've taught you? What of a warrior's patience, cunning?" Odin countered, becoming equally as loud and dramatic.

Like Father, like son, indeed.

Thor was stubborn as a bull and fought back willfully. "While you wait and be patient, the Nine Realms laugh at us! The old ways are done. You'd stand giving speeches while Asgard falls!"

"You're a vain, greedy, cruel boy!"

"And you are an old man and a fool!"

The whole world seems to stop at Thor's words. Odin falls quiet.

His face hard as stone, but in his eyes, you could see he was slightly hurt by the younger god's comment. No parent would want to hear their own child insult them so.

He could only shake his head, his eyes showing every bit of pain and anger for his son. When he speaks again, there's something terrifying beneath the calmness of his words.

"A fool, yes. I was a fool to think you were ready."

009, what do I do? This stuff is getting really tense around here.

{I don't know. It says here that Loki stepped in to interfere but was stopped with a glare from Odin.}

Within the system space, 009 was reading off of a script with the title THOR on it.

Well, I guess I'll give it a try.

Loki takes a step toward Odin, looking concerned. "Father, if I may." He said quietly, breaking the silence as both gods turned their attention to the trickster, who looked so much like a sadden Frigga. With his teeth lightly biting his lower lips, his eyes wide and worried, and his eyebrows furrowed slightly, it made the two male Odinson panic.

"Thor is still maturing, as both prince and king. He hasn't yet proven himself to be worthy, but perhaps if we give him a second chance-"

 

"We have given him a plenty of chances, Loki. You are too kind and forgiving, having spoiled your older brother when it should have been him offering his kindness and spoiling you. I am sorry that your mother and I allowed this madness to grow and fester; if we had, this would never have happened." Odin felt bad for cutting off his youngest, but he was already firm on his decisions.

Thor felt slightly ashamed, but he didn't waver on the outside. He was grateful that Loki had at least tried to help.

He now must suffer the consequences of his actions.

"Thor Odinson..." Odin begins with an eerily calm voice. Thor readied himself. "You have disobeyed the express command of your King. Through your arrogance and stupidity, you could have opened these peaceful Realms and innocent lives to the horrors of war."

The Allfather plunges Gungnir into Observatory's control panel. The turret of the device turns, the Bifrost energy building along with Odin's rage. It fires, as the Bifrost opens at the end of the platform, creating a portal behind Thor.

Odin turns angrily to his son.

"You are unworthy of this Realm..." He rips off a disc from the chest of Thor's armor.

"...Unworthy of your title..." He tears off Thor's cloak.

" ...Unworthy of the loved ones you've betrayed. I hereby take from you your powers!"

Odin extends his hand towards his son. Mjolnir goes flying from Thor's grasp into Odin's hand.

"In the name of my father..." A stroke of lightning comes off the hammer and hits Thor, disintegrating the right arm of his armor and part of the chest piece.

"...and of his father before..." Another strike disintegrates the remainder of Thor's armor, including the scarlet cloak and torn-away disc on the floor.

"I cast you out!" Odin thrusts Mjolnir before him and, with a crack of thunder, followed by a barrage of lightning, Thor is hurled back into the open Bifrost and disappears into the vortex.

Loki had covered his eyes as the scene played out, watching in awe as Thor was banished in a rather dramatic fashion. Within the observatory, that was now silent and dark, he approaches Odin.

Odin holds Mjolnir in his hand, staring at it bitterly. He closes his eyes, lost in contemplation, whispers something quietly.

"Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor..."

Runes appear on the side of the hammer as if carved into its smooth surface. The runes linger for but a moment, then disappear. With a final look at the war hammer, Odin turns and hurls it into the Bifrost.

"Father?"

And then he remembers who else stood in the room. His youngest.

"Loki..."

The Allfather, the most powerful man in the Nine Realms, worshipped and honored by mortals and feared by his enemies, now stood as a father, an old man, who lost a son.

Without any hesitation, Loki ran over the moment Odin fell to his knees. "Loki, my son..."

The tear-filled voice of the Allfather echoed in the observatory, weak and gruff like he had much sorrow to hold. Loki just held him as the man who banished his son silently shed tears of loss.

Mot felt slightly sad. He had the memories of the old Loki, and that meant he still technically shared fraternal feelings for Thor. Now that the god was banished, he would need to wait a few days before he finds his worth and all that rot. Wait, if Thor was gone, and wouldn't that mean...?

A tug on his sleeve alerted him to Odin. "Father?"

Odin's pallad did not look all that good. The man was as pale as his beard. Loki became very worried as he took Odin into his arms. "Heimdall!" He called to the gatekeeper who had stood outside during the entire fiasco.

Heimdall rushed in quickly and saw the scene before him. "What has happened to the king?"

Odin shook his head. "I fear that I have been prolonging from my sleep far longer than I have anticipated. Heimdall, my consciousness may fade by the time we get back to the palace. Loki, listen to me."

Loki anxiously stares at his father, whose head he was now all but cradling. "Your mother may wish to stay and watch over me while I sleep. Your brother is also not here with us at the moment. Therefore, I shall make a royal decree. No matter if your brother returns, you are chosen as prince regent for the remainder of my Odinsleep. Make me proud, my son."

Odin's voice begins to fade with those words and Loki nearly drops his (Odin's) head.

I actually want to dump it on the cold, hard ground, but he's King, so...

{Master Mot, committing regicide is not a good resume to have. Besides, it's just a few days (or weeks) of playing King. What could go wrong?}

009, if I remember correctly, wasn't being prince regent one of the many causes to Loki's death?

{... I see your point...}

With that conversation done and over with and Odin finally proceeding to fall into his sleep, Heimdall was left equally gaping with Loki. The two men looked at one another silently and then sighed.

"I never wanted the stress of the throne, father..." Loki grumbled to himself as he and the gatekeeper heaved their king gently onto a stretcher that was summoned by the trickster.

Heimdall was greatly surprised. "I assumed you would be elated by this decision."

"You wound me, Heimdall. I rather like my freedom and liberty. As king, I won't be able to coop myself up in the library all day or wander through town. Neither can I go realm trotting, and I assure you, that is something much more pleasurable than having the title of king."

Heimdal raises a brow. "Realm trotting?"

Whoops. I wasn't supposed to say that.

According to the old Loki's memories, he used to leave Asgard unnoticed by traveling through his secret paths. Of course, no one knew of this, including Heimdall after Loki had made charms to counter the all-seeing eyes of the gatekeeper.

Well, the secret's out now.

"I'm hoping you won't mention the last bit. Let's keep it a secret between us, alright?" Loki smiles nervously, looking rather embarrassed.

"... As long as the king doesn't mention it, your secret's safe with me."

Was the reluctant response.

It was evening by the time Heimdall and Loki managed to carry Odin back to the palace. Loki had summoned several guards to the observatory to take the place of Heimdall so that both, the gatekeeper and the dark prince, could explain the situation to the Queen and report what had happened with Thor.

The moment they entered the shared bedroom of the Allmother and Allfather, the Queen was sitting by the fire with a book on her lap. Once hugs were given (Frigga gives the best hugs. This fact was realized by Mot when Loki's mother embraced him in a tight and warm embrace) and everything was explained, they settled Odin onto his bed and Heimdall went back to his post.

Loki was left in the bedroom with Frigga and the sleeping Odin. Frigga sits at her husband's bedside, holding his hand. Odin lies there, looking pale and lifeless, his body and the space around it warped from the effect of the Odinsleep. The walls of the chamber have moved close around him, protecting him like a dark crypt, sealing off any light that is cast by the moon.

Loki sits at Odin's side, across from Frigga. He speaks softly to her.

"How long will it last?"

"I don't know. This time is different. We were unprepared." She said sadly.

He sighs, smiling indulgently as he scolded the Allfather good-naturedly. "I know you can still hear me, Father. You should take better care of your health, you know. I may not seem like it, but I'm beyond livid that you suddenly hauled your kingly duties to me."

Frigga's expression mirrored his. "You've put it off for so long now, I fear..."

Loki takes her hand. She's grateful as she wipes tears from her eyes.

Frigga continues, her face more determined. "We've raised Loki well. He's a good son."

Loki smiles brightly and reaches out a hand to Frigga, tucking a loose curl behind her ear before leaning in to kiss his mother's forehead. "We mustn't lose hope that father will return to us. And Thor..."

Frigga looks concerned for him.

"There is still hope for him." He says firmly. Loki knew that Frigga was equally heartbroken that the thunderer was banished. He tries his best to console his mother.

"There's always a purpose to everything father does. Thor may yet find a way home."

Frigga suddenly smiled, her face blooming as she touched his son's cheek endearingly and filled with love. "There is wisdom within you, my son."

"Wisdom that is taught at my mother's knees." Loki smiles back, leaning into the hand that exudes warmth and protection.

This moment would have lasted longer if it were not for the clatter of armored footsteps hurriedly approaching.

The Einherjar Guards enter the room. Loki was confused by this, wondering what they were doing.

Frigga now speaks. "Thor is banished and Odin has appointed you Prince Regent. Until he awakens, Asgard is yours."

The Einherjar kneel before Loki, who could tell where this was going. Another enters, holding Gungnir before him. He kneels before Loki and off the spear to him.

Frigga places a hand on his shoulder. "Make your father proud."

With great reluctance, that did not go unnoticed by Frigga, nor the Einherjar, Loki reaches out tentatively, then takes it. He does not like the feel of it in his hand.

~*~

It was night in the healing room. The Warrior four, battered and shell-shocked, still reeling from the day's events, sit before a roaring fire.

Hogun reaches into the flames, pulling out some fragile healing stone. Neither the fire nor the stones burn him. As he carefully places the stones over the wounds of his comrades, the stones begin to glow. He crushes them to a powder. His comrades' injuries heal up at the glowing powder's touch.

Fandral winces in pain as Hogun attempts to heal a closed wound. It was the inside that was still mending itself. Nothing could be done unless they wish to reopen the scar left by Loki's magic.

Volstagg looks at the skin on his arm. It was healing but still blackened from the necrotizing touch of the Frost Giant.

The door opens and Loki quietly walks in, a group of Einherjar following him like metal ducklings. The Warrior Four look over to see what was happening. Loki pauses in his steps and turns around, looking annoyed at the guards. "Shhh! You're disturbing the injured with the noise you're all making. I said I'm fine, so please let me be-" One of them opens their mouth to protest- "Yes, I know I'm regent. I know I should be protected. But, and let me punctuate on this, Tyr, I am perfectly capable of handling myself, most definitely when visiting the healing ward."

The Einherjar, Tyr, was amendment about protecting the current Prince Regent, who looked as delicate as a flower and acted so much like Queen Frigga. "But your grace, what if someone ambushes you? Or worse, assassinates you by impersonating as your friends? We absolutely MUST protect you from EVERYTHING, for the sake of Asgard."

Mot smiled serenely. Oh, isn't this quite lovely? I have forty stalkers.

"Well, now I'm here. Go outside and wait for me, alright? I wish to speak to my friends."

"But-"

"And take Gungnir with you!" Shoving the golden spear into the Einherjar's hands, Loki pushed all of them out the door and locked it shut, sighing in relief.

"What was that all about?"

Four pairs of eyes were on Loki as the trickster turned around and sighed, heading over to the healing group of warriors.

The dark prince reached into the fire and brought out a healing stone, pushing aside Hogun so he could work on Fandral's internal injuries.

The Warrior Four watched as he turned the stone to powder and place it into a needle that came from who knows where. He carefully injected the powder in Fandral's wounds, ignoring as the Warrior flinched in pain before finally feeling the warm effects of the healing stone. Loki closed the needle wound with the residue of the healing powder.

This was done all in silence before he was ready to speak.

"Thor has been banished by father."

Pandemonium erupted within the healing ward.

"We should have never let him go!" Volstagg cried.

"There was no stopping him," Hogun responded evenly.

Fandral shed crocodile tears. "At least he's only banished, not dead. Which is what we'd all be if those warriors hadn't told Odin where we'd gone."

This gave pause to the Warriors. Volstagg wondered aloud. "How did they even know?"

Loki was examining Fandral's fully healed wound as he responded haphazardly. "They didn't. I told father."

"What?!"

The Warriors all but demanded before more yelling and shouting filled the room.

They spoke as if Loki wasn't even there.

"He may speak about the good of Asgard, but he's always been jealous of Thor." Sif spat venomously, glaring at the trickster.

Volstagg agreed wholeheartedly. "True, but we should be grateful to him. He did save our lives."

Hogun stared coldly at the dark prince, his face glacial cold. "Laufey said there were traitors in the House of Odin."

All four warriors now stare at Loki with matching looks of distrust.

Hogun continued to speak, with Loki remaining calm and tranquil as water, still dazed and serene without a ripple in his expression. " A master of magic could easily bring three Jotuns into Asgard."

The others look to Hogun, understanding the implication.

"No! Surely not!" Volstagg billowed, his voice booming through the healing ward.

Now that was what gained the attention of the dark prince. "Be quiet! You might alert my guards!" He whispered, clamping his hand around the large warrior's mouth.

No one said anything right as he said that as if awaiting someone to burst through the door. They hear some light footsteps outside but that was it.

Sif was first to speak after a moment, eyeing Loki with a harsh glare. "And since when did you suddenly have guards?" He demanded.

"Since I was crowned regent..."

And then silence fell once again.

"What?"

Loki placed his focus on cleaning away the residue healing powder on Fandral's healed wound. "I told Father where we were going right after Thor decided we should take a trip to Jotunheim. I was worried that Thor would do something stupid and put our lives at risk. I had no idea Thor would be banished due to his actions. Father fell into the Odinsleep right after he flung Thor into the Bifrost. He made me regent because he knew mother would be protecting him in his sleep." He mumbled quietly, sighing hopelessly at his predicament.

Sif folded his arms and looked grim. "Loki, as much as I am glad that we managed to get out of our predicament and prevented a war, Thor is out there all on his own. This is the harshest consequence Odin has ever placed upon him. You must go to the Allfather and convince him to change his mind!"

Loki furrowed his brows. The room was tensed and he felt accusatory eyes laid upon him as if he was to blame for all this. This was not good. The old Loki had wished to gain the trust of his friends and live a happy life. This will not do.

"I have tried to console with father before Thor was banished, but he will no longer give second chances. And lest we not forget, father is in a sleep that he cannot wake until a certain time has passed. Sif, you must understand; if I had not placed that illusion upon all of you during our excursion, we could have killed hundreds of frost giants.

"Laufey would not be pleased if he had witnessed his own kind slaughtered before him like canon fodders. I would not be pleased if some Elf Prince from Alfheim and his friends suddenly intrudes into Asgard and begins a massacre upon my people.

"We need to put ourselves in other's shoes. If we see frost giants as monsters, then it's a possibility that there are beings out there who see us Asgardians as monsters as well. Why can't we all understand this concept?

"I rather like a future where Asgard is still filled with happiness, where children never have to grow up in war, where we never have to pay the cost of war with our lives. And that is exactly what Thor needs to understand if he wishes to return home and be a good king."

With his little speech over, Loki had left the room completely in awe. He may not have noticed how his voice had echoed, because even the Einherjar who stood outside was left mesmerized by the Silvertongue's words of wisdom.

There was silence once more. The warriors tried to take in these words, a strange feeling rising inside them as they contemplated to themselves.

Fandral spoke. "I thank you for helping my wounds and keeping us safe throughout that battle, illusionary or not, my prince." He shot a flirty wink and held Loki's hand like that of a maiden, only to be pinched by his nose and pushed away.

Loki wiped his hand on a handkerchief and revealed a small smile. He looked tired and stressed. "You are welcome, Fandral. I bid all of you a goodbye for now and hope that you all rest up. I'll be in my father's office, so if you need me for anything, you'll see me there."

Loki stood up and headed to the door. "Have a good night, my friends." An indulgent smile appeared brightly on his face as he shut the door quietly, leaving the warriors on their own.

In the quiet healing ward, Sif speaks back on the earlier conversation. "I still suspect him. Who else could elude Heimdall's gaze with tricks of light and shadow?" He reasoned as he stared back at his fellow warriors.

"The ceremony was interrupted just before Thor was named King." Hogun agreed, thinking back to the coronation.

Sif stood up and rushed over to the door. "We should go to the Allmother."

Fandral stands up and attempts to stop him. "And tell her what? "Oh, by the way, we think your son just betrayed the throne. And do us a favor. Bring back Thor. There's a good fellow!"

Sif pauses, but then sighs. He has no other plan so he goes and sits back down. "It's our duty. If any of our suspicions are right, then all of Asgard is in danger." He reminds them still as he stares into the fire.

Fandral nods in return, but internally, he's questioning himself. Why had he defended Loki? Sure, the sorcerer had healed him, but that wasn't anything special. Loki always healed them after every adventure. It made no difference. However, this time around, Fandral felt something warmer when Loki's magic had sealed his wound.

He did not sleep that night.

~*~

Loki sat in his father's office, quill in hand as he read and signed another document on sheep trade. Why the hell did Asgard have so many sheep trades? This was what kept him for most of the hour until a knock came to his door.

"Come in."

Tyr walked in, a letter in hand.

"The Council wishes to hold a meeting tomorrow morning. They wish to have a discussion on the botch coronation, your grace."

Loki reads over the invitation and signs off on it, handing it back to Tyr. "Tell them to meet me in court. Thank you, Tyr."

"With pleasure, your grace."

The Einherjar leaves with a small bow.

Loki rolled his eyes. After "reviving" that soldier from Thor's coronation, it seems he had developed a little crush on Loki.

Tyr, a young guard who was recently promoted to Einherjar a few days ago. The young man was ecstatic when he heard he was guarding Loki, the Prince Regent. Sure, he had to share the trickster with thirty-nine others, but as the head guard, he got to stand the closest.

After that day where he burst into the coronation hall yelling about frost giants, Tyr had fainted due to all the anxiety that piled up. He thought he had reached Valhalla the moment he opened his eyes when, to his astonishment, the first things he saw were soft emerald eyes and a sweet voicing lulling him back to life.

To his shock, it was the second prince who healed him! The one who he was always afraid of. Who he had feared the most (after the Allfather) when he heard terrible rumors about the Silvertongue. Now he was loyal and acted like a puppy, trailing after Loki like an obsessive fan.

Loki sighed. The guard's infatuation with him is just temporary. Just because Loki was the one who woke him up, he must have placed some attachment to him after such a traumatic experience with the frost giant break in. Soon enough, he will lose interest and go back to being a normal Einherjar. After all, it was just a small crush, right...? Right?

Chapter Text

Sunlight filtered slowly into Odin's office. Behind a desk, Loki sat glued to his chair as he finally managed to finish the last of his paperwork. Parchments and scrolls stacked high onto the completed side of the antique desk, each with a signature of the Prince Regent showing either approval or rejection of plans delivered by the council members.

It was at this time when the dark prince had finally thought he could get some shut eye and take a small nap, that a knock came from the door. Loki swallowed a loud groan, rubbing his eyes and yawning slightly. He looked sleepier than usual.

009, what time is it?

{Judging by the sunrise, I believe it is five to six in the morning, Master Mot.}

Lovely. Came the sarcastic reply.

"Come in." Loki called softly, clear exhaustion tinting his voice. He had thought fulfilling the original Loki's wishes was an easy task. It was such a simple wish, made by the trickster god. But unfortunately, even when he had purposely messed with the plot, Odin still chose him as Prince Regent, a goddamn job he never wanted, just so the golden king can take his long ass nap.

He continued his internal ranting, swearing and cursing rather creatively, threatening 009 with castration and "divorce" because it was "all his fault" {But Master, you were the one who agreed to this contract... please don't leave this system...!}. Poor 009 wailed, trying to stop Loki from taking off his ring. As it turns out, a tired Mot was a scary Mot.

A mop of fiery red hair stuck itself through the open door. Tyr the Einherjar has arrived at the ass crack of dawn to escort his prince to the Council Meeting. As the head guards for the Prince Regent, it was his duty to follow his prince everywhere. And by everywhere, he means everywhere.

"The Council meeting is about to begin, my prince."

Loki stopped mid-rant and presented the Einherjar with a dazzling smile that left the young soldier in a daze. "Thank you, Tyr. Please tell the rest of the guards to take the day off. You as well. There is no need for any of you to be with me today."

"B-But-"

"Have a nice day, Tyr. Thank you for your hard work." Loki stood up and placed a hand on the Einherjar shoulder, squeezing slightly before he immediately left for the meeting.

Poor Tyr was left on his own in the office, dejected and sad as he wilted. There goes his dream of being with his master- PRINCE all day. Sigh. What a great dream it was. Too bad it never came true. The Einherjar walked out with a sad frown on his face; however, in his eyes, there was a fiery spark. He will try again tomorrow!

With that thought, the young soldier walked off with a determined aura seeping from him.

Loki gracefully glided down the hall of the palace when he stopped and suddenly felt a shiver run up his spine. He looked around. What was this uncomfortable feeling? It was as if someone was thinking about him with too much passion. It was a feeling that was not uncommon back when Mot was a mechanic. His clients (who were actually rich and powerful people he had charmed back in MIT, but Mot was too oblivious and rather spend his time blowing up shit...)

But he ignored this feeling in the end, passing it off as a common chill.

Loki saw the door of the meeting room the moment he turned a corner. He paused at the door and checked himself, straightening his clothes, putting on a glamour and summoning Gungnir (poor staff had been neglected inside the system space, terrified and whimpering at the unfamiliar place. 009 took care of it all night long when Loki was working). The golden staff was very happy to be out in the open once more and purred loudly the moment Loki held it.

Loki had never felt as uncomfortable as he is now. The raven-haired trickster awkwardly hushed it with a pat and finally opened the door.

What greeted him was a roundtable, gold like every other furniture in the palace. Around it sat five Asgardian gods who looked much younger than Odin, but perhaps slightly older than Loki. They donned rich robes of platinum, silver, bronze, copper, and onyx rather than armor. Each had an expressionless face as they watch him enter.

This is rather new. 009, who are they?

{Answering Master Mot. Each of these men holds the title of Minister. Each has his own individual sector within the council, specializing in certain criteria in the ruling matters of Asgard. Odin trusts them to speak on his behalf, solve problems which he has no time to attend to, and bring attention to important issues regarding Asgard.}

Loki graced the council members with a smile before he made his way to sit on the throne. Odin's throne, Válaskjálf. It was strategically positioned at the head of the table, above a few steps so that the king (or in this case, Prince Regent) could be placed on a higher pedestal.

He looked proud and confident, taking his time to get to the steps before he finally settles himself on the golden chair; his grip, firm on Gungnir. Internally, he was quite reluctant.

The council member with the platinum robes was the only one who held a smile on his clean-shaven face. His black hair made him seem more youthful compared to the other four councilmen. As he stands up, the others follow suit.

"Greetings, your majesty." He spoke, presenting himself as the representing speaker of the councilors. "I am Chancellor Bragi (1), Minister of poetry and education. To my right is Lord Forseti (2). He is the Minister of Judgement, who resides in the Sector of Criminal Atonement. Without him, there would be no fair trial and justice in Asgard."

Minister Forseti was the one in silver robes. He had a shadowy stubble on his face and looked stoic and cold. Loki returned it with a kind smile, making the man look away shyly. It was obvious that his social skills were next to null, Loki observed. He would guess that Forseti is the type with a high IQ when it comes to his job, but a low EQ when it comes to people.

"Beside him stands Lord Hermod (3), Minister of Security and Espionage from the Diplomatic Enforcement Sector. I would like to warn you, though. This man, despite holding such a respectable position, will flirt with anything walking on two legs."

"Not anything, Bragi. Just the pretty ones." Bronze robes donned a blonde man with a casanova smile, staring at Loki as if he was a tasty piece of meat ready to be devoured.

Loki glanced at Hermod and his eyes twinkled with mischief. He sent the councilor a flirtatious wink and smiled playfully at him. The man suddenly stiffens and then turned beet red, making a weird squeaky noise.

Loki chuckled and offered a kinder smile. "I'm just teasing, Minister Hermod." He assured, which earned him a guffaw from another council member dressed in copper robes.

Bragi continued the introductions.

"This here, is Lord Lodurr (4), Minister of Agriculture, who you will see often within the Cultivation and Horticulture Sector. Apologies for his rude behavior. He's usually not like this." Bragi's voice carried a threat as he narrowed his eyes at the laughing minister.

The redhead continued to chuckle as he bowed to Loki. "An honor to meet you, your majesty."

"Pleasure is all mine, Lord Lodurr."

"Finally, we have Lord Dellingr (5), Minister of Technology. Your Majesty may not see him quite so often, as he is usually found working within the labs of the Science and Seidr Sector. Of course, to research new ways for Asgard to thrive with the help of magic and technology."

At the mention of technology and magic, Loki became quite interested in the works of that particular Sector. After all, Mot was a mechanic. The discovery of incorporating his skills in seidr and mechanically blowing shit up made the trickster a tad bit more excited than he should be. He made a mental note to visit the Sector during his free time.

Lord Dellingr had a glacial expression on his face as he greeted Loki. He was the only one who wore onyx robes, different from the metallic shades that the other council members wore. Even when Loki smiled at him, it seems the man still remains cold and unwavering.

In summary, his EQ was lower than Minister Forseti.

Once all formal introductions were over, the meeting finally started.

"As you all know, my brother has been banished to Midgard."

All the councilors looked genuinely surprised. "Midgard?"

"Yes." Loki nodded solemnly. "The Allfather was terribly displeased with Thor. The first prince nearly started a war with Jotunheim."

All eyes turned. The sudden shock and astonishment filled the eyes of the entire council.

Bragi furrowed his brow. "But that cannot be. If a war is to start, both sides will perish."

"And that is the reason for my brother's exile. He must learn some humility and the value of life. It seems, as the favored prince, his head has become too large for a king, arrogance overshadowing his wisdom."

Minister Lodurr snorted. "Forgive me, your majesty, but I highly doubt wisdom is what lies deep in your brother's head. We have warned the Allfather of Thor's failings, but all was for naught."

Murmurs of agreement filled the room one by one as all five council members let the information sink.

After a while, Loki cleared his throat and smiled. "On with other news, shall we start with the first topic of discussion?" With a wave of his hand, parchments and scrolls landed on the roundtable. There were audible groans as the councilors watched the copious amount paperwork that was once on Loki's desk, teleport itself into the meeting.

Loki grabbed a scroll of parchment and opened it. He skimmed through it quickly before snapping it shut. His eyes suddenly land on the Minister of Agriculture. "It seems it's your lucky day, Minister Lodurr. You're the first to start" He smiled and handed the scroll over to the man. The red-haired Asgardian held agonizing expression.

It's true what they say. No one likes meetings or paperwork. Not even Asgardian Councillors whose power are merely below the Allfather.

Thus, the morning meeting continues.

"That concludes today's meeting. You are all dismissed." Loki said those magical words with the same tone he had used from early morning. Kind and gentle and unchanged. Each council member, even Bragi, wished they could jump for joy. They have been in that room from morning to noon. Approximately six hours. The first thing they were going to do was take a quick nap.

Loki was the only one who remained in his seat, looking through the approved documents. This, of course, caught the attention of the councilmen.

"Your majesty, are you not going to leave as well?"

Bragi asked, wondering how the young prince could still stay so resilient with his duties. Was he not tired? Or perhaps bored? Being Regent was a stressful job and he had heard that the boy had stayed up all night to finish Odin's remaining work after his father fell into the Odinsleep. Bragi wasn't sure whether he was impressed or worried for the prince's health.

Similar thoughts ran through the other council members.

Loki looked up and noticed that none of them had left yet. He gave another smile (which was one over a hundred by now. He's been giving kind smiles all morning and keeping his tone cheerful and light. Internally, poor 009 was forced to hear Mot curse at him. There was lots of violent imagery in the sleep-deprived ex-mechanics mind).

"Are none of you leaving? You should rest up a little."

Bragi shook his head. "Perhaps you should take a break, your majesty. You've been working hard."

"But the paperwork needs to be stamped-"

"We'll take care of those. I'm sure none of would mine bringing some work back and stamping them. We've already approved these requests. It is an easy task."

Loki looked uncertain for a moment. He pursed his lips in thought before finally relenting. "If you say so, Minister Bragi. Then I will rest for a little while before returning to work."

"That is a good plan, your majesty."

The council members have become rather fond of Loki, even Dellingr. Perhaps it was because they all bonded with the young prince for six hours in the early mornings. Perhaps it was because he was charming. After all, the prince was also a well-known scholar throughout the Nine. Despite attending court as often as he did, he was a novice when it came to counselor meetings. The young god had taken to his new position like a fish to water. Speaking wise, intelligence-wise, Loki had delivered his judgment with as much articulation and charisma as the Allfather himself. In the end, they became strong supporters of the dark prince.

They all parted ways, each Minister holding a few scrolls and parchment as they left the meeting. Loki now sat alone in the meeting room with Gungnir, seeing the empty roundtable. His father's Ministers had just stolen all his paperwork. Who the hell does that?

Maids, servants, and Einherjars began to trail inside. The roundtable was taken away by a group of servants and the chairs trickled away one by one. Einherjars lined themselves up, weapons at ready. They were Loki's personal guards.

The meeting room was thus, transformed back into the throne room.

One certain, overly-eager Einherjar made his way to stand next to Loki's throne, only to be bumped aside by another certain Einherjar named Tyr.

With a long, intense moment of staring (which Loki took no notice of), Tyr managed to win the testosterone contest and happily skipped his way over to Loki. He stood proudly beside the prince.

The other Einherjar could only pout and made his way over to a nearby pillar, glowering sulkily at Tyr's smug look.

Loki was either oblivious to the blatant display of admiration and pining, or has a selective attention span because he didn't notice what was going on. Instead, he was chatting with 009.

Sighing to himself, Loki couldn't help but smile.

Guess the first day has gone well. 009, can you show me how Thor's doing down in Midgard?

{Would Master Mot like to see the recording of his landing? The main character has finally met the female lead.}

Ohh, please do, 009.

The golden throne, lovingly named Hlidskjalf, was Odin's all-seeing throne, which accessed him to see worlds beyond that of Asgard, 009 informed as he hacked into the database of Hlidskjalf and inserted what looked like a USB drive. Though the throne could see other realms, it does not record like Xfinity.

Loki made himself comfortable on the golden throne, now that he has realized why most of Loki's memories of Odin usually showed the old man sitting on his chair of power.

In his mind, a scene plays out before him.

{Thor landed not-so-gracefully on the Bifrost landing site. He opens his eyes and is suddenly blinded by the bright headlights of an SUV. Before he could react, however, the vehicle began to swerve, the side of it coming straight at him like a bulldozer. It slams into him (Loki almost winces at this) and he gets knocked out.

Two young women, a blond and a redhead, and a middle age man scramble out of the car and begins to argue among themselves. The blond one, Jane, is the female lead. This was the fated meeting between the two protagonists.

"Where did he come from?" Checking over Thor, Jane asks the man, Selvig.

They exchange puzzled looks when Thor groans again. He sits up abruptly, and Jane topples backward in surprise. Thor staggers groggily to his feet, then turns and offers Jane a hand up. She takes it hesitantly, and he easily pulls her up. She can't help but marvel at his strength.

"Uh, thanks. Are you okay?"

Thor ignores her. Instead, his eyes search the ground frantically.

"Hammer..." He murmurs.

The redhead, Darcy, looks at him confusingly. "Yeah, we can tell you're pretty hammered. It's, uh, pretty obvious."

Janes notices something on the ground as well. She takes a flashlight from her pocket and shines it at the darkness, revealing the runes of the Bifrost point which circled the desert floor.

"Erik, look at this." She begins to take pictures.

She fires off questions, trying to make sense of what was before them. She kneels and produces a canister, scooping up some soil samples as she waves off Selvig's concerns on Thor's psyche.

"It'll take too long for us to drop him off at the hospital. County's an hour away. We'll drop him off after we're done here."

Selvig looks uncertain.

She continues, "Look at him. He's fine."

Thor shouts at the sky angrily.

"Father! Heimdall! I know you can hear me. Open the bridge!"

Selvig gives Jane a deadpanned look.

"... Okay. You and Darcy drop him off at the hospital. I'll stay here."

"Jane, I am not going to leave you alone in the middle of the desert. At night."

Frustrated, Thor turns to the mortals. "You! What realm is this?"

The group suddenly becomes intimidated, especially by his large build, loud voice, strange clothes, and extreme fervor.

Selvig hesitantly steps toward him with caution. "It's alright, big guy. We're going to get you some help."

 

The moment he touches Thor's shoulder, the Thunderer shoves him off and grows agitated like a feral raccoon.

"Where am I?! Answer me!"

Darcy pulls something from her back pocket.

Jane looks on with concern. "Erik, just back away."

Selvig continues. "You're in the desert outside Puente Antiguo."

"What realm? Alfheim? Nornheim?"

Darcy comes closer to the banished God. She raises her taser at him. "Uh, New Mexico?"

Thor looks at the small, but powerful weapon mockingly. "You dare threaten the mighty Thor with so-"

Darcy fires, the electrified wires shooting out of the taser, zapping him in the chest. Thor convulses and falls to the ground unconscious. Jane and Selvig stare at Darcy in shock.

While Jane went and gathered a few more soil samples, Darcy and Selvig struggle to drag an unconscious Thor to the SUV and lift him inside.

Selvig grunted as pushed the heavy body. "Next time you decide to taser someone, do me a favor and make sure they're already inside the car."

A few minutes later, Jane joins them in the car and the SUV heads off into the distance. Behind it, high overhead, a hole opens in the sky. A blast of Bifrost energy bursts forth from it with a small object shaped suspiciously like a hammer firing toward the Earth in its wake. It burns across the desert sky like a massive meteor.}

The recording ends there and Loki nearly chuckled. The mighty Thor, fallen by a mortal girl with a taser. He snorted.

Outside the halls of the throne, the warrior four listened in.

"What's he doing?" Volstagg whispered, looking at Fandral who was peeking through the small crack of the grand door.

"He's just... sitting there."

"Well, does it look suspicious? Is he scheming anything." Sif hissed, arms crossed with a stern look on his face.

Beside him, Hogun looked equally grim.

"No. He actually looks quite comfortable sitting there."

Loki now sat sideways, his feet dangling off the armrest of the golden throne. His expression was dazed and his left hand held Gungnir loosely.

In truth, he was doing Kingly duties, aka peak into other people's lives because there was nothing better to do besides the paperwork, which the council member had made quite clear that they will finish the rest themselves and left him with none.

"I've had enough."

Sif pushes past Fandral and flings open the door, bursting in dramatically with the other warriors.

Immediately, the Einherjars took action and raised their weapons, ready to take out the threat.

Loki noticed this and waved his hand frantically, freezing everyone in place. "What in the world...?" He started, confused and very much curious. He had been watching and blessing a pair of gay pranksters from Sweden, who decided to elope just for the heck of it.

They were just about to make their "I dos" in front of their chosen witnesses (an African Land Snail who sat comfortably on a piece of lettuce and a snoring hedgehog (their pets)) before Loki was called back to the throne room. He was interrupted by the sound of the door being flung open.

Loki eyed everyone and sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He unfroze the warriors and his guards. "What is it, my friend? If this is about Thor, I can't do undo my father's command. I'm only regent, not king."

Sif stared at him accusingly. "But you can at least help him."

"Which I will eventually. I'll give him a few days to figure it out. If he doesn't, I'll aid him. However, Thor must learn the lesson that my father has given him before he comes back to us. I fear if he does not, the fate of Asgard is very doomed."

This gave pause. The warrior four glanced at each other before eyeing the trickster. For once, they really looked at the dark prince and saw how awful he looked. The burden of the crown had already set in. There were dark circles against his unblemished, pale skin, bruising his eyes and making him look exhausted. He also chose not to wear armor, simply dressed in the robes they had seen him wear yesterday in Jotunheim. Has he slept at all?

The Loki they remember is very meticulous and clean. He would never wear the same clothes twice within a week.

Fandral made his way up to the throne, but the guards blocked him. Loki waved them away with a smile.

Tyr stared at the dashing warrior with narrowed eyes. He remembered admiring the blonde warrior for his skills but right now, he really hated him.

Fandral sensed the overprotective Einherjar guard staring at him and frowned, puffing up his chest slightly in a way to make him seem manlier than the other. He didn't feel all that comfortable with how close the guard was getting to the prince regent.

Casting Loki his most dashing smile, he spoke. "My prince, I would like to ask a favor of yours. Allow us to go after our banished prince and aid him in his task. You already look exhausted. Perhaps we may be of help instead?"

Volstagg, Sif, and Hogun all sputtered, staring at Fandral as if he was out of his mind.

Loki sat and contemplated. There was still lots of work to do, and regarding Jotunheim, unlike the original plot when there was a war, Loki rather liked the idea of renewed alliance instead.

After a while, he granted a beatific but tired smile, which dazzled the room despite it's strain. "Yes. That is a good idea and a great big lift from my workload. Hogun, Volstagg."

He summoned the two warriors over. "I will leave the two of you in charge of that task. You have my permission to go down to Midgard and become guards and aids to my brother. Keep him safe and guide him on his lesson of humility."

Volstagg and Hogun were slightly shocked by the prince's trust, but nonetheless, kneeled and bowed with a fist over their heart. "By your will, my prince." They said together.

Fandral and Sif, however, did not look so pleased.

"Loki, what of us? What good will we are, left behind?" The blonde of the two spoke.

Sif nodded in agreement, his eyes flashing with suspicion.

"You two will be MY guards and aids. I have some plans for Asgard while my father sleeps. Hopefully, it will benefit us all. To achieve this, I will be needing you two in my plans."

They stare at one another, unsure on what Loki has planned.

Loki lets the two think on it and turns his attention back on Volstagg and Hogun. "Pack your bags and report to the Bifrost after you've had something to eat. I'll send Heimdall a message to take you to Thor's location. Remember to be diplomatic and kind to his benefactors. They are mortal and a part of polite society, so I expect the two of you to do the same."

He talks like a mother sending his children off to boarding school.

Volstagg and Hogun, slightly embarrassed and quite frankly feeling as if they were chewed out, nodded their heads and fled the throne room, leaving their two other friends behind.

"You two shall be my shadow guards until father wakes up. Rest up for now and I'll see you in a few hours for a late lunch." Loki commanded with a kind smile. He stands up and guides Fandral and Sif to the door. His guards follow him.

"I'll return to my room first. See you soon." With Gungnir held loose in his hand, Loki separated from the two warriors and walked down the hall back to his chambers with Einherjars following after him.

Sif and Fandral could only look on for a moment longer before they caught one another's eyes.

What the hell just happened?

~*~

Loki entered his bedroom and a sudden wave of tiredness finally approached his frame.

He tossed his knives and magic staff (that he realized he never got a chance to use despite taking it with him to Jotunheim) onto his bed and left them aside.

With a wave of his hand, his green curtains closed and soft candlelit flames flickered to life, creating a gentle ambiance within the once cold room.

Perhaps his next goal in this life should be redecorating. He would very much like a homier chamber.

He stripped right then and there, relieved that he was no longer wearing clothes from yesterday. He had not slept after returning from Jotunheim, as he was busy with Odin's work.

Now alas, he could.

An oval tub appeared in the center of the room, filled with the warm bath water and permeating the scent of lavender.

Smooth, pale skin slipped underneath the surface of the water and disappeared under a layer of bubbles that began to form itself.

A satisfied smirk made its way into Loki's face. How nice it was to have magic, he thinks dreamily as relaxing into the tub.

Loki's raven hair was wet and slicked back. His neck and mouth sunk deeper into the water as his eyes closed. A groan left his lips as he felt tired muscles unwind.

All was calm and peaceful. Now he can continue to live a lazy and leisure life until Thor returns-

-And then his bedroom door slammed open with a loud BANG.

"Loki! Volstagg and Hogun are departing for the Bifrost-"

"Fandral- close the door!"

Fandral and Loki stared at one another for an awkward silence more.

"Uhh, is this not a good time?"

Loki sighed deeply. Still, within the comfortable warmth of his bath, he peered at the dashing warrior with a lazy gaze, like a cat that just took a nap. They were both men. Why should he feel any embarrassment?

"What is it that you want, Warrior?"

Fandral gulped. The sight of porcelain and untarnished skin entered his gaze. He could see the neck of the Liesmith peek out from the bubbles. Loki looked really good when he's a taking a bath.

"Uhhhhh...."

The blonde Asgardian continued to sound, standing stiffly with his mouth gaping.

"Fandral!"

"What?"

He snapped out from his stupor and his eyes met a deep and mysterious green.

Loki frowned slightly. With another sigh, he stood up.

Standing there in the middle of his room, in front of his brother's friend, he stood stark naked and unabashed.

Fandral could do nothing but look, dumbfounded. His throat felt dry all of a sudden and his pants felt rather uncomfortable.

Loki wrapped a towel around himself and dried off, snapping on a new outfit with his magic. He now wore a white, hooded robe lined in green on top of a green turtleneck. He had on green leggings and around his waist was a belt. (6)

This outfit ensemble was rather charming on Loki.

Fandral hadn't done much, nor moved at all. He stood there and ogled the raven prince and watched with interest as he saw him wear another set of feminine robes.

Tugging on his boots and tying up his hair with a ribbon, Loki placed a warm cloak around himself and stood in front of Fandral.

He offered a smile. "Shall we go?"

The blonde gulped one last time, nodded hesitantly, and brought his arm to guide the way.

He steps behind Loki and makes himself look worthy to be a guard to the prince.

~*~

Three out of four warriors stood around the Bifrost observatory.

Volstagg and Hogun had a sack filled with some extra clothes and basic toiletries.

Sif stood with his arms folded, looking bored.

Loki materializes in front of him-

"Gah!" The lithe Warrior yelled.

"I think I'm going to puke..."

-with Fandral in tow.

"Oh, Fandral. You're looking a bit green, there. Never teleported before, have you?"

After helping Fandral through a short breathing exercise, Loki approached Volstagg and Hogun.

"Are the two of you ready?"

"Yes, my king." They answered seriously.

Loki beamed and handed three sheets of parchment to them. "Good. Here are the coordinates of Thor's current location. Also, the second sheet will be about Midgardian customs and greetings. The third sheet stores Midgardian clothes. The moment you two land in Midgard, my spell will activate and the both of you can blend in as much as possible."

Hogun received the parchments and bowed his head, grateful.

"Heimdall, open the Bifrost," Loki ordered.

The two traveling warriors stepped onto the platform. Heimdall activated the panel. With a whirling noise and bright, blinding light, Hogun and Volstagg disappeared.

Loki turned to his remaining warriors. "Let's go back to the palace, shall we? Goodbye, Heimdall. Please alert me if anything happens."

Heimdall nods dutifully.

Loki raises a hand.

Fandral looks rather panicked.

"Wait, Loki-!"

The raven-haired prince and his two remaining warriors teleported away from the Bifrost.

Chapter Text

Fandral and Sif felt rather uncomfortable under the jealous glares of a red-haired Einherjar (known as Tyr).

Loki had teleported them back to the castle safe and sound (albeit a little sick in the stomach).

Now the two warriors stood beside Loki. Sif on the left and Fandral on the right, looking ever dutiful and strong.

The court was in session. A line of Asgardian citizens stood before Loki, each one requesting something of him, or delivering a message.

In a span of three hours, the dark prince had not only been smiling kindly toward every visitor, but he had also taken their requests seriously and endured whatever insult and distrust they would shoot at him as they leave with a huff and a glare.

More than once, an Einherjar had to take actions and roughly escort someone out if things escalated.

Loki wasn't sure what he had done to get the tenth guy angry. He didn't even say anything besides smiling and offering a 'good afternoon' before the other party scoffed and barraged him with some dirty insults (when Loki had kept smiling and let the man lose some steam, the said man nearly mauled him).

Thus, the day in court was very unproductive.

A quarter of the nobles who attended the court session, those who have succeeded their fathers as new heads of their families and those a part of the Councillors, felt pity for Loki, who merely and docilely accepted the abuse with a calm and rational smile on his face.

The rest, who are old fogeys, didn't care and thought the prince deserved it. The few who had participated in the war with Jotunheim and knew of Loki's blood status within the royal family were sworn to secrecy. They enjoyed the sight of the Jotun runt being verbally tarnished by the masses.

In summary, the younger generation within the court session liked Loki very much, and the older 'Odin Generation' hated him to the bone.

Einherjars do not count. They admire their prince. Some may secretly be harboring a crush. Let's leave it at that.

As the last visitor, a middle age woman with a little girl holding her hand, left the room whilst shrieking and cursing words not meant for the ears of children, the golden door of the throne room finally shut itself to the public.

Once that happened, most of the nobles also trickled out through another exit. Some chose to stay. Specifically, the younger nobles and the Councilors.

As the old fogeys- highly respectable elders left the room, Loki slumped down in his golden chair and dropped Gungnir on the floor. Messaging his pounding head, he ignored the looks of pity shot in his direction.

"I think I need a drink." He sighed tiredly.

"Here you are, Your Majesty." Tyr dutifully offered over a goblet of mead for him to take.

Loki nodded in thanks and gulped down the honey-tasting alcohol in one fell swoop.

He turns to the Einherjars, including Tyr. "You are all dismissed." He told them, standing up.

The last of the younger nobles left, then followed by reluctant Einherjars.

Loki stands up, dragging Gungnir with him. He heads out with Sif and Fandral following him.

Fandral and Sif shared a look, curiosity, and suspicion clear in their eyes.

Upon arrival at Loki's chamber, the ravenette dismissed the two warriors.

Entering his bedroom, the Prince Regent filled a ceramic bowl with water and chanted a slew of words. The surface of the water rippled and glowed before the bright sheen disappeared, revealing Midgard. Within his scrying, Loki managed to locate Thor's energy signature and began to watch his brother's move.

{Master Mot, the male lead is currently inside a detainment cell.}

What? How did he manage to do that?

{By being an idiot...}

Loki's mouth twitched. He may be rubbing off on the system.

What happened?

{Answering to Master Mot. The male lead has finally made contact with the female lead. She brought him back to her home and he caused some trouble. Would Master Mot like to see a few clips of what had happened?}

Yes, please do.

{Initiating Video...}

In Loki's mindscape, he saw Thor waking up in a hospital, Jane explaining what had happened, him freaking out, the breakfast scene where he smashes a glass cup on the ground, SHIELD agents (and Coulson) taking away Jane's research, Thor going after the agents to retrieve both his hammer and the research materials, and finally, Loki looks on with slight pity, the scene in which Thor couldn't lift Mjolnir.

The clip showed Coulson and a butch of agents watching Thor with anticipation as Thor wraps his hand around the hammer. He smiles, triumphant, and lifts... but the hammer doesn't move. Thor looks confused, tries again with two hands, to no avail, anger and frustration overtaking him. He strains with all his might, screams from the effort, shouting up at the storm and lightning above him, the storm and lighting that he had managed to summon.

Something begins to appear on the side of Mjolnir, glowing runes. The same runes that Odin had placed on the hammer before he flung it into Midgard. Thor looks down, sees them. But, still, the hammer doesn't budge. Thor falls to his knees before it, rain pouring down around him, as the glowing runes fade away. He's failed. Unworthy. Coulson looks on, disappointed. SHIELD agents move in, guns trained on Thor, surrounding him.

Coulson activates his radio and orders, Thor, to be detained.

As the Agents surround him, Thor doesn't seem to notice or care. He just sits there on his knees, head bowed in the rain, a man broken, lost.

Mjolnir gets transferred into a cube containment room. Guards approach Thor. Around them lies the extensive damage that Thor had done on the government agency. Bodies lie strewn and unconcious. Metal scraps littered the ground. And bits of dirt and sand kicking up a mess atop the toppled temporary structures that SHIELD had set up.

From the safety of his bedroom, Loki blinks. "Wow." He said aloud.

{Indeed, Master Mot.}

Should I go help him?

{If Master Mot so wishes it. In the original plot, Loki went to him in the form of an astral projection to misinform the news that Odin has died. He then goes and tries to abandon Thor in Midgard.}

I should really change that, shouldn't I?

{If Master Mot does not want to die via Bifrost, I very much suggest this plan.}

I'll get the spell ready.

Meanwhile, back in Midgard, Thor sits in a chair, staring forward blankly, his hands cuffed behind him. Coulson stands across from him.

The agent begins to speak. "It's not easy to do what you did. You made us all look like a bunch of mall cops. That's hurtful." He looked slightly aggrieved. "The men you so easily subdued are highly-trained professionals, and in my experience, it takes someone who's received similar training to do what you did to them. Would you like to tell me where you received your training?"

Thor sits silently on his chair. He doesn't say anything, mostly because he was lost in thought.

Coulson continues on with his interrogation. "Pakistan? Chechnya? Afghanistan? Then again, you strike me more like the soldier of fortune type. What was it, South Africa? Still no answer." Coulson leans in close to him. "Certain groups pay well for a good mercenary. Especially HYDRA."

He waits for a response but gets none.

"Who are you?"

Thor finally replies. "Just a man."

Coulson was determined. "One way or another, we find out what we want to know. We're good at that."

Straightening back up, the SHIELD agent leaves the room without turning back.

Thor lowers his head, his demeanor like that of a lost puppy missing his owner.

"I thought he'd never leave."

Thor looks up, shocked to find Loki standing there, dressed in Midgard attire.

Loki wore a white oxford shirt under a warm and stylish, grey trenchcoat. The shirt was untucked from his black slacks and a green scarf was hanging casually from his neck. In summary, the ravenette looked both casual and elegant.

"Loki? What are you doing here?"

With a troubled look, Loki made his way over to the fallen prince and assessed him with a once over. Under his gaze, Thor felt nervous, as if Frigga himself was judging him, preparing to chastise him.

With a sigh, Loki snapped his fingers, removing the handcuffs off of Thor. "I had to see you."

Thor, surprised by his brother's actions, rubbed his wrists slowly and stared back. What he saw did not make him happy. Even more, the feelings that arose in him were one of protectiveness for his younger brother, who had always been frailed despite the armor and the magic and his daggers.

Loki looked exhausted. He had dark circles exposed heavily from his eyes, making his green eyes seem even more brilliant despite its now dim glow. His cheeks had lost color and his whole demeanor seemed exhausted. Paired with his usually pale skin, the sight of the second prince could only be described as pitiful.

Thor felt enraged. Who had made his brother this way while he was gone?! "What's happened? Tell me! Is it
Jotunheim? Father-"

"Father has fallen into the Odin Sleep. He has kept it off for long enough. The moment you were banished, he collapsed in my arms."

Thor stares at Loki, stunned.

"What?"

"Your banishment and the matters with Jotunheim, it has become a heavy burden for him. You and he are both too much for Mother and me sometimes. Causing trouble left and right. I pray to the Norns that the two of you both return to us- awake and unbanished- so that our worries may be soothed."

Loki draws close to Thor, placing a hand on the Thunderer's cheek as he stares into his eyes consolingly, like Frigga.

Thor draws a breath. His brother still cares for him, and seeing how his words were implied, he still holds the love of their mother. This made Thor even more resolute to become worthy of Mjolnir so he can go back to Asgard, to protect his home, his brother, his family. He did not care for any glory at this moment. All he wants now is to go back home and be by his family's side.

A lone tear trailed down his face and landed with a plop on the table. Loki saw this and protruded a handkerchief from his pocket, wiping away any traces of the wet stream.

"You mustn't blame yourself for what's happening. You can cry tears of joy once you prove yourself worthy and get your damn hammer. Thanks to you, the burden of the throne has fallen to me."

At this, Thor whipped his head around, his eyes wide with surprised. "Then can I come home?"

Loki crossed his arm, looking at the elder with a light, scolding frown. "Not without Mjolnir you're not. Besides, even if I take you home now, you will still remain mortal. Unless you're able to lift Mjolnir, I'm afraid nothing can be done, so you better prove yourself worthy soon." He sighed an exhausted sigh. "And please be quick about it, Thor. I am not envious once you are crowned king, again. Being Prince Regent is already exhausting enough."

Thor could only chuckle nervously, his pain of yearning all but forgotten with what Loki had just said. He was now more determined than ever, to be worthy of Mjolnir.

"I hope you're now ready to talk- who are you?"

Coulson entered the room, expecting to see the blonde giant remaining docile in his seat with handcuffs. Instead, what he actually got was another man, dressed rather stylishly might he add- no! This is not the time!- appear in the highly guarded, maximum-security, detainment cell, with his blonde counterpart still remaining in his seat, but without handcuffs.

Nonetheless, he couldn't help but stare at the new arrival with awe and wonder beneath his poker face.

Loki blinked, not expecting the agent to come back. He looked to Thor, who now eyed the SHIELD agent with wariness.

Quit ogling my brother, you mortal!

If Loki were to hear what his brother was thinking, he would have vomited blood.

The Trickster smiled awkwardly. "Well, I think it may be best if we explain first. Agent Coulson, I presume?"

"You presume right. And if I may ask who you are...?"

"Loki, sir. Loki Odinson. You may want to sit down. This is going to be a long story..."

"I think I need a drink."

"It can be like that sometimes, sir."

Coulson joined the two princes at the table and pulled out a chair.

What happened next was a lengthy tale of battle, blood, and banishment, along with a few snippets of Loki's current status as Prince Regent ("Those vile nobles who dare dirty my brother's good name-" "Thor, sit down!"). What came after was a request.

"Therefore, Agent Coulson, I would like to ask for your assistance. I understand that your agency is currently in possession of Mjolnir. Thor is currently unworthy so I would like to ask that you help him with his quest so that he may return to us once more in good health."

The agent eyed Loki shrewdly. "You continue to talk about retrieving Mjolnir for Thor and getting us to help, but what I want to know, is what's in it for us? How will this benefit Earth- or Midgard as you so put it? If Mjolnir IS such a powerful and priceless weapon, then why should we return it to you? How will we know you won't someday use its powers against us? Earth is practically defenseless if you haven't noticed."

Loki liked this man. He is very quick-witted and astute. Very good! He praised. With a calm smile, Loki seemed to brighten up. "Then we can make an alliance between Asgard and Midgard, right here and now. If you help us retrieve my brother's hammer, Midgard shall fall under Asgard's protection. If there is ever a threat against your planet, Asgard shall dispatch my brother to aid you. If he alone is not enough, I and our best warriors will also give our assistance."

Coulson leaned it. "You have mentioned that you and your brothers are gods. I know my myths so how can I believe the god of lies?"

Thor stood up and glared accusingly at the agent. "You dare-"

"Thor, sit down!" Loki interrupted with exasperation. He coughed and a smile returned to his face. "I am well aware of my titles as a trickster, Lie-smith, silvertongue- whatever you name among those synonyms. However, I was originally the patron of fire so whatever story you've heard so far in the myths are more or less, what do you mortals call it... fake news. You can say that the Vikings in charge of writing the tales were not very fond of me. My stature did not equal to anything akin to might. I looked as weak as a damsel."

This explanation had somewhat persuaded Coulson, but he needed to be sure. "This alliance that you speak of, how will you confirm it?"

"Through a magical bond, of course."

Coulson was skeptical of this. Loki had mentioned magic a few times but was there a way to truly confirm that the alliance was true? How would he know if the bond turned out to be a slave contract or something along those lines?

Loki could tell what Coulson was thinking about, just by his expressions, or lack thereof. "Your thoughts are quite strange." He said with a smile.

Coulson was taken aback, but he hid his surprise discreetly.

"I want a signed contract in paper. You can do your magic on it, but SHIELD keeps the papers." He finally said after much inner debate with himself.

"That is fine."

Loki agreed wholeheartedly, producing a scroll and a fountain from his pocket.

It looks like he was planning for an alliance all along. Coulson thought bitterly as he read through the alliance papers.

Coulson stands up and goes to the door. "I would need to make a call and ask for authorizations in order to complete this agreement. Can you wait here for a moment?"

"Take as much time as you need."

Once Coulson left the room, Loki turned to Thor. "And that's how you diplomatically make an alliance with Midgard." He looked as if he had expected Thor to take notes.

Thor nodded like an obedient puppy and Loki was satisfied.

In a few minutes, Coulson came back. The scroll was thus signed by both parties and Loki happily made a copy of it to take back to Asgard.

Pocketing the fountain pen, he handed Coulson a few talismans to summon him if Thor ever got into any trouble, along with a letter addressed to an Eric Selvig.

Thanking the mortal once again, Loki patted Thor on the head, shook hands with Coulson briefly, and opened up a portal.

"I'll be going back to Asgard for now. Thor, you best behave yourself and return soon. I have sent Hogun and Volstagg to you for assistance, so be prepared for their arrival as well. I'll see you again, Agent Coulson. Please be expecting visitors shortly." The dark prince stepped into the portal and disappeared from Midgard before Thor or Coulson could retort to the statement.

Meanwhile, Selvig sat nervously in front of SHIELD agents, claiming that Thor was a man named Donald Blake, an astrophysicist who got drunk, hence why he was trying to lift Mjolnir and attacking government agents.

It's safe to assume that the lie didn't work, but nonetheless, Coulson and Thor showed up and explained the situation before handing Loki's letter over to the man.

Letting Thor off with a warning, Coulson left with the SHIELD agents, leaving Thor and Selvig by themselves at the entrance of the containment building.

When the two met up with Jane and Darcy, Selvig finally opened Loki's letter.

To Dr. Eric Selvig, Lady Jane, and Miss Darcy,

You may be wondering how it is that I have come to know of you two. Well, we'll get to that next time. For now, let me introduce myself. I am Loki Odinson, Thor's younger brother. I would like to apologize for whatever damage my older brother had caused. Rest assured that Asgard will pay back whatever damage you have sustained due to his foolishness.

Within this letter, you will find a talisman. Rip it in two and you shall summon me. Once use only, so I suggest saving it for emergencies. There is also a manual on how to handle my brother. You may find it to be very useful in the coming future. I have also sent two warriors after Thor so that they may be an assistance. Please be expecting their arrival soon. I recommend that you make your way to the place where you found my brother. They will be there. Well, I must really be going now, so have a wonderful day. Ta!

May the Norns be with you, Loki Odinson, Prince Regent of Asgard.

Selvig felt many different emotions as he read this letter. A saving grace! He took out the talisman and manual from the envelope quickly, looking at the two as if it were a bible. He didn't care if the letter had heavily implied that Thor's brother had magic. Even if he didn't believe in magic, by this point, he would take anything if it meant rearing in the blonde giant.

Thus, Selvig resigned himself to his fate as Thor's Midgardian nanny for the rest of the prince's stay.

Jane was soon given the letter as well. After reading it, she could only sigh, peering up at Thor's handsome features.

"Next time your brother comes to visit, remind me to bake him a "Thank you" cake. I'm assuming he's the diplomatic one among the two of you."

At this, Thor could only nod. He, too, felt the same.

Back in Asgard, a ceramic bowl fell off a table in Loki's chambers.

Loki stood there beside the scrying bowl, drenched from head to toe. He was not pleased to discover that the secret passages of the Yggdrasil would be through his scrying bowl. Guess how he managed to land on Midgard...

Thankfully, it was next to the detainment cell so he had time to use a drying spell and change into Midgardian clothes. After that, an invisibility spell, a dematerializing spell, and a materializing spell later, he managed to sneak into Thor's cell.

All in the day's work.

Fandral and Sif stood outside Loki's chamber when the heard they heard the ceramic break. The two of them looked at each other for a moment before they quickly charged inside, swords at the ready.

Only to find their prince dripping wet and clothes soaked through. They were very surprised to see him wearing Midgardian clothes.

Loki was trying to squeeze out excess water from his hair. He saw Fandral and Sif and waved them off. "It's nothing. I was scrying and accidentally broke the water bowl."

The two warriors remained silent.

Loki noticed this and turned to them. "It's a long story. Can the two of you wait awhile outside? I need to change out of my clothes, so..."

Frantically, they left the room.

Chuckling to himself, Loki waved his hand and locked the door.

~*~

"You can come in now."

Dressed in a green scholar robe, Loki sat on the large settee by the fire.

Fandral and Sif both walked in and sat down on the comfy chairs across the settee.

Loki began to explain.

~*~

Volstagg and Hogun made it safely to Midgard. They are currently, and begrudgingly, trudging through the desert in which they have arrived on, hoping to find Thor soon.

"I don't know which is worse. This heat on Midgard or the chills in Jotunheim."

"Shut up and keep working."

Loki had given them a tracker to find Thor, but it seems the blasted thing was losing signal.

"Maybe it's broken? The dot is moving quite fast."

"It says he's... moving towards?"

"Watch out!"

That was all Volstagg could shout before an SUV ran over Hogun.

"Oh my god, not again!"

"Darcy, do something!"

"Jane, you need to stop running people over. I could understand if it was dark at night, but this is broad daylight."

"Wait a moment, my friend. I know these warriors!" The loud billow came from a certain blonde prince.

"Thor! My prince, we have found you!" Volstagg all but shouted with equal fervor. He forgot about Hogun instantly, running over to the Thunderer.

Hogun got off the ground, pretending as nothing happen. Unlike Thor, his body is still immortal.

"My prince." He bowed respectfully.

Thor quickly made his way over before joyously hugging his two friends. "Loki has written to us of your arrival. I am glad to see you both! You can now help me risk my life in a perilous task to redeem my worth!"

Hogun and Volstagg looked at each other briefly and then stared back at Thor. Why does it feel as if they had become babysitters?

Judging by the sympathetic looks shot by Selvig, Darcy, and Jane, they feel the same.

It seems Loki had screwed each and every one of them over.

~*~

Loki sneezed, alerting Sif and Fandral.

"It's nothing. The room is warm. Someone must be talking about me."

{Indeed they are, Master Mot. Indeed they are...}

Loki had finished his explanation and awaited for Sif and Fandral to mull it over.

He had been thinking for a while. Since there's still a lot of time before Thor's return, he should be doing something productive as well. Loki felt that other than paperwork and meetings, he hasn't done much in the diplomatic areas of Asgard. Perhaps he could... That's it!

"I think we ought to pay a visit to Jotunheim."

"You must be joking." Fandral deadpanned.

Sif also shook his head with equal disbelief. "Is Thor's banishment not a lesson learned? I don't think this is a very wise decision, Loki." He hissed.

"Hear me out, my Lord. We have seen that the Jotuns were lenient, something far from what you would imagine as barbaric. The truce that Odin has held onto is crumbling. I say we make a new alliance with new rules and a fresher treaty to reinstate our cooperation with Jotunheim."

The warriors didn't even get a chance to change Loki's mind. The next moment after, Loki was out the door, preparing for another trip to Jotunheim.

Such was the life of the Prince Regent's most trusted bodyguards.

~*~

From afar, he watches the Silver Tongue Prince gracefully depart. The warrior was in a trance, longingly staring at that small and slender figure glide through the castle. Perhaps he had never looked upon him with any admiration or respect. The ravenette had always been quiet, preferring the art of magic over a sword. He remembered teasing him and belittling him of such a talent.

Now he thinks differently. When Loki accepted his talent, embraced it and showed it off as if it was his birthright, to learn the knowledge of seidr, he was mesmerized.

Underneath that gold and green armor was a lithe man, pale and soft, gentle and soft-spoken, witty, something he had not appreciated in the past.

Perhaps even without voicing his thoughts or making any moves on him, he has become attracted to the prince merely by being within his presence.

The warrior isn't surprised. He stares at the other Einherjars and Warriors with hostility in his eyes. They would look at the prince with adoration and lust-filled gazes. Sometimes a look of envy flickers through his eyes whenever the Prince Regent smiles back in greeting to a passing maiden.

How he wishes to have that smile be shown in his direction. It is times like these where he just wants to drink and forget about the turbulent feelings in his heart.

"Tyre, can you organize a few Einherjars to meet at the Bifrost? Please tell them to dress warmly and leave their weapons. If they must, have them bring a dagger. We will be heading out for Jotunheim."

"As you wish, your highness!"

He scowled briefly as he saw the ravenette speak with the redheaded Einherjar. It was unfair! A dark horse like him, competing for the affection when he had been there first!

He continues now, staring with longing as he remained behind the prince, satisfied to just protect him from the back, happy that he was trusted. Whatever relations they held in the past was now forgotten.

Only, he's the one who's unwilling to forget, even if he demanded that the latter stops chasing him.

Now that he has gotten what he had always wished for, how is it that he now feels so very empty?

He muses on this as the Bifrost is activated.

Loki and his guards make their way to Jotunheim.

Chapter Text

A band of warriors trudges across an icy wasteland. Surrounded by a green, translucent barrier lined with green flames, the group of Asgardians had no trouble with frostbites or strong winds.

"We are here."

Facing the ruins of the Jotun Temple, Loki and his guards awaited for the Jotuns to appear before them. As a sign of respect, he made sure that he and his warriors were respectfully outside the boundaries of the temple so that they could be invited in as proper guests.

"So you have returned again, Son of Odin."

The regal voice of the Jotun King echoed through the square of the ruins. Jotuns, citizens and soldiers alike, began to appear from beneath the shadows. They stared at the Asgardians curiously.

Loki gave a small bow to Laufey. "Indeed, Your Majesty. Be assured that this visit will not trouble you as it had with my brother. He has been thoroughly punished for his actions and is serving his sentence in Midgard."

Laufey nodded indifferently, his red eyes boring into Loki's small frame.

Immediately, Loki found himself surrounded by his own personal guards.

Fandral and Sif made sure to stand close to him. If they had their weapons with them, they would have drawn it by now.

At the sudden defensiveness of the Asgardians, the Jotuns also became wary and agitated. Laufey merely narrowed his eyes with interest.

Loki tries to appease the situation with an awkward smile. "I am sorry. Everyone, please stand down. Forgive me, your majesty. With the banishment of Thor, I have been made regent."

"So the Allfather sleeps." Laufey deduced, his tone now becoming tinted with mild interest.

"Yes."

{Master, what are you doing?!}

Relax. If I don't open my heart and mind to him, then how will I gain his trust? He is a king who is used to courtly lies. I just need to be honest and good and he may find that I am worth something.

{You best be careful, Master Mot... The more you open your heart, the more you suffer.}

Rest assured. I will be careful.

"Then why have you come here, Prince Regent?"

"I would like to make a bargain."

Laufey seemed intrigued at the offer. Fandral and Sif stiffen.

"And what may that be, Odinson?"

Regally, but certainly not in an arrogant way, Loki approaches the massive Jotun throne with a mildly warm smile.

"The alliance between you and the Allfather has become aged. I mean no offense, nor do I bring past memories, Your Majesty, for I was not there for the wars of Jotun and Asgard." Loki spoke genially. "However, I think it is time for my brother and me, if the latter was here with me, of course, to form a new alliance in place of the old. A new set of ropes to tie Jotunheim and Asgard once more."

"Praytell, what would that mean, Prince Regent?"

Loki paused for a moment, and then his expression changes to something more solemn and serious. "In return for trade, travel, protection, and aid, I, Prince Regent of Asgard, offer you the Casket of Ancient Winters." Asgardians and Jotuns alike all gasp in surprise. Some in delight, others with anguish.

"Loki, you can't really mean to give them the -"

"-I do, Sif. I have a feeling that this decision will not be one of regret. I am not reckless like Thor."

Fandral shook his head in dismay. "They will ravage the land-"

"They will not." Once again, Loki answers with determination as he stares at Laufey. "For peace to come, one must open their heart and give kindness. I place my trust in you, Your Majesty, that the Casket will be in safe hands. Does Laufey King accept my token of promise?"

Laufey narrows his eyes at the Silvertongue. He scowls. "The Casket was never meant to leave Jotun soil."

"I have read several accounts of the war, both by Asgardians and parties who were not involved. They say you have used it not for the benefit of Jotun, but for the destruction of other realms. It is safe to assume that madness had caused all this. The Norns can be cruel, as we all know. Did you at least grieve?"

There was a pause of silence. The Jotuns did not know what to do. The warriors surrounding Loki, however, gradually encircled their prince even more protectively to the point that the raven-haired trickster was starting to feel rather claustrophobic.

"You know of Farbauti?"

Loki merely nodded. "Perhaps that tale shall be for another visit. It is a memory that should be paired with mead." He smoothly said.

Laufey did not say anything else. He nodded, intently eyeing the younger Odinson with weariness.

With a snap of his fingers, the Casket of Ancient Winters appeared in the hands of Loki. The Jotuns gaped at the display. Laufey could not believe what he was seeing. Alas, was this the day his beloved Jotunheim could be restored to its former glory? He vows to rebuild the Garden of Farbauti once more if the raven prince would truly hand him the Casket.

His heart swells up with a mournful feeling as he remembers the death of his beloved, all due to a plague that a Midgardian Sorcerer had introduced into Jotunheim when the man had stumbled upon his realm by accident. It is safe to say that the mortal perished in the frozen tundra, leaving his disease-ridden body to rot and spread the Norn forsaken plague.

Now, without madness blinding him again, Laufey just wishes for the happiness of his people, so that his citizens no longer starve and freeze.

"I, Laufey of Jotunheim, vow this alliance to Loki Odinson, Prince Regent of Asgard."

The ceremonious cheers of the Jotuns rose through the square. Men, women, and children alike, appear from behind the soldiers. A crowd of blue sapphire gathered with excitement. The sight left the Asgardians amazed.

Loki smiled warmly and happily. "The Casket shall return to Jotunheim. May you serve your world well, Laufey King. I will be looking forward to your visits."

Those words did it. The Jotuns were free at last, to travel and trade.

Celebratory cries burst forth in a flurry of cheers and tears as the Jotuns embraced one another in happiness.

The Asgardians look on with wonderment, uncertain. However, the warriors that Loki has brought is now solely loyal to him. He is assured that they will not go against him for bringing the Casket.

"Why is it that you have the Casket within your possession, if I may ask, your highness." Fandral looks at him pointedly.

The Trickster gives a sheepish smile. "I may have nicked it from the vault before we left."

The success of the negotiation was received incredibly well. Laufey had called for a feast.

"Apologies, Your Majesty, there is still much work I have left behind in Asgard."

They shared a meaningful look. As a ruler himself, it was obvious that Laufey equally despised paperwork.

"Then allow my guards to provide you a means of safe transportation."

Laufey summoned three Jotun Guards.

Said guards soon came out onto the square riding wooly mammoths (1).

Loki smiled excitedly, suddenly looking very excited at the prospects of riding the large beasts. In an instant, he teleported behind one of the Jotuns who held a reign to a mammoth.

"Let us go!"

With a snap of his fingers, Fandral and Sif teleported onto the mammoth and the rest of the warriors found themselves onto the other two.

Saying goodbyes to Laufey once more, the group heads off back to the Bifrost point.

~*~

"It is good to see you safe, my prince."

Heimdall stood before the band of warriors.

Loki looked absolutely blissful. "Oh, Heimdall, it was simply wonderful! Wooly mammoths! They have wooly mammoths in Jotunheim!" He rambled, his green eyes bright with exalting glee.

The gatekeeper raised an eyebrow. "Is that so..." He had seen the prince's reaction to the beasts, but for the sake of keeping enthralled, he did no such thing.

The Einherjar dutifully dismissed themselves from the Bifrost while a certain redheaded warrior thought about transporting a wooly mammoth to Asgard for the prince's birthday.

Sif and Fandral stayed behind as Loki's remaining guards, watching the prince prattle on about the wonders of mammoths to Heimdall, who was patient enough to listen and nod.

Internally, however, each Asgardian could not help but feel rather fond for this newly enlightened prince of theirs. He was more expressive and much less devious than he had been previously. It was a welcoming change, but it made them wonder why he has chosen now to become someone kinder.

Obviously, Loki is still very much unlike Thor. Still the same old sorcerer prince and silvertongue. But it seems his smiles were much warmer now, eyes less icy, features mellowed and soft. This Loki was a saint, like Frigga. They couldn't put their hands on it, but they felt as if Loki has become someone different. Not a cruel trickster, nor a wicked god.

After Loki finished his explanation on the beauties of mammoths, he smiled to his two companions and indicated that it was time to go.

Bidding Heimdall a good day, the group headed in the direction of their horses, who have been waiting patiently for their riders outside the observatory.

"Sigvard." Loki greeted his mount, scratching the proud horse behind the ears. It whinnied and snorted, urging Loki to give him a treat.

An apple appeared in the Liesmith's hand. "Here you are, love. Thank you for being patient."

Sigvard happily soaked up Loki's attention while the other horses could only look on with envy. They eyed their own riders.

Sif looked coldly at his horse before finally patting its snout. "Good." He says shortly, climbing onto the horse's back.

Fandral could only smile awkwardly at his non-impressed steed. "I'll find you some grapes." The horse finally allowed him to climb on.

Crossing the rainbow bridge took little time. There wasn't any trouble along the way and the small group made it safely back into the palace.

A retainer soon hurried over when they entered the palace courtyard.

"Lord Sif, an emergency has arisen. Lady Idunn is in need of your assistance again..."

Sif frowned. "Is Lord Siegfried bothering her again?" His eyes narrowed slightly as he placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. "I'm going to beat him to a pulp-"

"Oh no, my Lord. Lady Idunn has been having some trouble with her field. She is asking for some of your hair to grow a wheat field (2)."

At this, Sif widens his eyes, and then he appeared to be flustered all of sudden, before stuttering out, "I-I see. Then I shall come... My prince, if you will excuse me."

Loki smiled. "Fandral and I will bring back your horse. No fret, Sif. Go help the lady in distress." He took the reins out of Sif's hand and watched the warrior nod thankfully before scurrying away, a bright smile sliding onto his face as he went to his lady-love. The retainer follows after him nervously.

Loki blinked as he watched. "Sif and Idunn, has the lord confessed his feelings to the lady?"

Fandral quirked a brow. "Nay. They are childhood friends, although everyone has already noted that his affections are obvious. I thought you knew, my prince."

Loki shakes his head. "I have been busy. It would seem that these matters and gossips are no longer my problems. If Sif ever needs time to woo her, tell him to come to me. There may be something that can be done to earn her heart."

"Not a love potion I hope," Fandral interjected.

"No. The love from a potion is artificial at best. Whose to say the lady doesn't return the Lord's feelings? Sif just needs a certain touch of delicacy and perhaps a picnic with flowers to get through."

Fandral shakes his head in disbelief. "I have never imagined that you, out of all people, would help him."

"Well, think of it as a gift for all his hard work and serving to my whim," Loki says, giving a brief smile to Fandral. "Not let us go. I'm sure the horses wish to rest."

"A-ah, yes. You are right, my prince." The dashing warrior stutters out, hesitantly offering to take Sif's horse.

The two of them make their way to the stables in companionable silence.

The stables were more or less, similar to a farm, with some horses grazing and others resting in their pens.

Loki and Fandral went into the resting pens and unsaddled their steeds.

Taking Sigvard into his own pen, Loki brought out a brush to untangle his mane before offering another apple and a drawing some water into the trough.

He smiled as Sigvard whinier and rubbed his face against his cheek. "There you go. Rest well, love." He answered with a pat to the horse's snout.

After adding some more hay for Sigvard, he went to clean up the messy pen and then left the horse to its own device.

Fandral has also finished placing Sif's steed back in its own stable, as well as his own, and was now waiting outside by the gate of the horse pens.

Loki smiled and headed over to him. As a sign of thanks, he drew an apple from his pocket and handed it to the warrior.

The blonde freezes, but Loki takes no notice of it. The warrior's eyes drew deeply to the red fruit as Loki gently places it into his hand.

"Shall we go back and get something to eat? We can also leave some for Sif once he's done helping Idunn-"

"Would you stop that?"

Fandral cut him off abruptly with a harsh voice, unlike the nice and jesting tone that he usually took on.

What was the matter now?

The Trickster blinks.

"What?"

If Fandral has been told that today was the day he decided to commit Lèse-majesté, he would have laughed at your face. After all, he is loyal to Asgard and it's royal family. What reason would he have to treasonously insult a royal family member?

Well, it seems miracles do happen...

Fandral himself didn't know why, but he suddenly found himself speaking to the prince regent in a very unloyal manner. He knows he should stop, but he couldn't.

It wasn't magic controlling him, but the envy and the changes and the regret.

He finally admits that Loki was walking away from him now, no longer looking back at him, as if they were strangers.

But by the norms! Everything still reminds him of the past, from the apple to the invitation, to the horses.

So now he stands before the dark prince, glaring at him accusingly and harshly making unturned remarks as a display of his sudden bout of fury.

"I played along to see what you were up to, but whatever it is you're planning won't work, so quit acting like that. We both know you don't truly care about any of us, so stop doing all...this!" His hands flew out and gestured to the air wildly to make a point.

He was enraged because he lied to himself. That he thought the prince's feelings for him was still there somewhere. He was proud that he had a hold on Loki's feelings, a place in his heart. Even if he rejected the younger god long ago, he was still selfish enough to want to be a part of his life, letting the prince suffer and watch as he flirted with the women in the castle.

Now, though, Fandral didn't know if he even reached Loki's eyes. Has memories they shared simply vanished?

Loki looked mildly concerned at the bipolar warrior.

"I'm not sure I understand-"

"Exactly! You don't understand! How could you go from having bad blood with all of us to suddenly becoming this? Have you found your true calling, ergi prince?" The blonde warrior laughs mockingly as if exasperated by everything.

Loki was moving on without him. Fandral knew this. He should be relieved that the prince, the ergi, no longer looks at him in such a disgusting fashion, but he's not.

"Thor's banishment, Odin's sleep, this alliance with Jotunheim. You planned it all, didn't you? It was you who let the Jotuns inside the vault, wasn't it? I've got you now, Liesmith. I'm onto you. How could I ever trust an ergi sorcerer who so foolishly confessed their feelings to me? How could I ever love someone like you?" He spat those words out with disgust lacing his voice.

The sudden revelation would have shaken Loki, if not for the interference of Mot, who now resides in this body. As Mot never really understand the concept of love, it did not faze him at the very least. He kept his cool and watched everything play out through a third person's perspective. Whatever happened between Fandral and Loki is no concern of his.

Fandral wanted to cry. Loki made no move to show any inclinations that he was familiar with their past. And that hurts the most because, in the past, it was Fandral who pretended that their rendezvous was nonexistent, their connection as friends, and perhaps something closer, all gone in the eyes of the people.

With each word, his eyes became colder. They were harsh and freezing. Fandral wasn't sure what he was doing, but he found himself slowly making his way toward the Trickster, cornering the shorter god into a wall.

Mot was unsure on what to do. This was the first anyone has attempted such a thing and he, himself, did not wish to harm Fandral with his magic. Some may argue that he could have put on a barrier to protect himself, but something inside him was trying to convince him not to, instead, to let the scenario play out so he can figure out what to do from here on.

"You pretend as if it never happened, but I won't be tricked by the likes of you." Fandral continued, his presence becoming in closer proximities to the dark prince.

Loki pressed his body against the wall and looked up into blue eyes that bore down at him. They were watery and tinged with anguish, indicated by the wrinkles that formed by the corners.

His brow furrowed lightly and emerald eyes lit with confusion.

"Fandral, perhaps you should calm down and reason this out a bit more-"

"Do you intend to continue this ploy? Was it vengeance for rejecting you?!" The warrior snaps, again looking much sadder now, all anger vanishing. "Why did it have to be you...?"

"But-"

That was all Loki could say before he felt a shadow cast over him. His eyes widen as the warrior's face started to get closer and closer.

{Master Mot, perhaps this would be a good time to explain the backstory between Loki and Fandral?}

Please do!

{Initiating Memory...}

A headache inducing amount of memories slowly trickled into his brain, finally completing the puzzle.

The space around them suddenly slowed down, before Fandral was only inches away. The horses in the pens no longer moved, the sound of birds became nonexistent, the world was turning grey, and time stops.

009?

{You are welcome, Master Mot.}

The system replies smugly, impressed at his own intervention.

Mot cautiously looks around, making sure that Fandral no longer moved. He ducked underneath the warrior's arms and created some distance, intending to sit down and evaluate these lost memories that were not only Loki's but Fandral's as well.

There were many, but as time went, their encounters became scarce.

Loki was once in love with Fandral.

Did the other return his feelings?

009 has frozen the time with the help of Loki's magic. The earlier confrontation has also calmed down if you could even call a time freeze "calming down."

Closing his eyes, the mechanic went into a meditative state, breathing slowly as he pulls up the history between Loki and Fandral from the back of his mind.

-Timeline: Summer Day Pasts-

"Remember, my son, the title of our family now rests in your hands."

The words of his mother were filled with pride, looking at him with an expectation that weighed down his shoulders heavily.

He knew what he had to do. His mother and father had written him letters upon letters, beseeching him constantly to get into the prince's good grace during his training with Lord Ullr (3). As the only son, he vowed to do so in order to make them proud.

He was lucky enough as it is, that the requirements to join amongst the high ranking guards within the court were to be a part of a renown family. Thankfully, Fandral was not only a titled noble, but a talented one at that. With his sword skills, quick wit, and his notable family connections, Fandral had taken the advantage to enter the castle and make his mark among the elites.

It was here that he first met the crown prince.

Thor, Odin's firstborn son, had taken an instant liking to Fandral who was just slightly older than him.

Fandral first met Prince Thor on the training field. It was a very unusual day. The start of his training to become a warrior was quite nerve-wracking for someone like him, who has just entered the castle. He had just so happened to have had the chance to duel the crown prince, however, as their training schedule had accidentally been placed on the same day.

Needless to say, Fandral was swept off his feet, quite literally in fact, and fell into the dirt without much fanfare. It was at this moment that the would-be dashing warrior proclaimed his undying loyalty to the young thunderer.

His parents heard the news and encouraged him to join Thor's entourage, to share the wealth he would be rewarded by being a companion to the prince.

He took their advice seriously. Everything had worked out fine so far for Fandral. He enjoyed being a member of Thor's small group of warriors who constantly stood by his side.

There was Lord Sif, a young and handsome lord from a small noble family. He was a talented man with a soft spot for a certain apple-raising girl. Volstagg, a warrior much older than the rest of them, having had children and a wife of his own, he could be a ravenous beast on the table and a doting Father at home. Although, within their little group, he is more known for his ax than his brain. Hogun joined them soon after. Although his personality was like that of a rock, the silent warrior from Vanaheim was strong and definitely determined to protect Thor. All in all, his companions were strong and equal in their own right.

---

It was an ordinary day when he first encountered the second prince, Thor's darker and more magically inclined counterpart. He, Sif, Hogun, and Volstagg was helping the crown prince organize their questing party when a young boy entered the training field.

Hair as dark as night and eyes shining like emerald was what made him truly stand out. He wore a green cloak around him, obscuring his figure, but Fandral could see his arm braces peeking out and wondered why the boy wore such little armor.

His question was answered when Thor went barreling toward the mysterious figure with great speed. It looked as if he was about to tackle the boy when suddenly, he froze in mid-air. Fandral gaped at the scene, alongside his companions.

Before any of them could draw a sword on this knave who dare harm their prince, a smooth voice arose from the boy, who then crossed his arms and looked at the prince with an unimpressed expression.

"Really, brother. Restrain yourself from such childish actions. You should know by now that it won't work on me." With a snap of his fingers, Thor unfroze and fell to the ground ungracefully. The boy bent down to help him up.

Rather than getting angry, Fandral noted, Thor was all joy and sunshine as he gave the boy his brightest smile. "Apologies, brother! I was just not anticipating for you to join us. Are you truly coming on this quest?"

The boy- no, Thor's brother- smiled fondly at the crown prince. "Indeed, I am. Mother has expressed her worries and taught me a few spells that should be practical enough. I can assist in healing as well. Be warned, however, Father says I cannot fight alongside you."

Thor pouted, much to Fandral's amazement. Never had he seen the prince make such a childish expression. The thunderer always showed his braver side, smiling and looking very much heroic. Now, however, it seems the words of this boy has reduced him to a scolded child.

There was an instant dislike of the boy at that very moment, and it rose not only within Fandral but inside his companions as well.

He and his friends all ignored young seidrmadr during their quest, not even acknowledging his presence during their trip.

However, what made them truly irked was the fact that the younger prince, in turn, did not acknowledge them either, as if they were beneath him. Being so close to the crown prince gave Fandral the prestige and respect among his peers. Such treatment and belittlement did not sit well with him, especially if given by a small boy dressed in green and gauntlets. Not to mention that the boy was not even a warrior, but a seidrmadr, skilled in a womanly art.

"Friends, this is my brother, Loki. He will be regaling us with his presence for our journey."

Fandral wondered what made Thor think that anybody would feel happy within the presence of his loathsome younger brother.

If there was one thing that united Thor's friend, it was their dislike and envy of Loki.

Loki was an abomination in disguise. Weak in everything except his womanly magic, he was scrawny and thin and only reached up to Fandral's shoulder.

Nonetheless, it was humiliating that Fandral and the others would still need to bow their heads and show their respect. Because he was a prince, and a god, and very much the apple of his mighty brother's eyes.

Fandral did his best to break the siblings apart. He didn't know why, but his selfish mind only wanted Thor to remain by his and his companions' side. There was no room for the likes of his brother.

It was incredibly hard, at first. There was this place in Thor's heart that seemed to be reserved for only Loki, where neither Fandral nor anyone else could ever reach.

It was obvious that Thor needed to be saved from this disgrace of a brother, and Fandral made it his business to take Thor out to discover the world of bars and brothels, where the golden prince was introduced to the whores and the good company and the endless flow of alcohol without the right restraints of a feast.

With Thor gone and away from the castle, Loki was left on his lonesome. As far as he knew, Loki never left the grounds of the golden castle, concealed himself away in his ivory tower and far from Thor's eyes.

Paired with the fact that young second prince didn't show his face often tot he public, Fandral got to work with spreading the rumors.

"Have you heard? The liesmith is an ergi. We saw him kissing Arvid just last week!"

"It's true! It's true! I saw it with my own two eyes! His Silvertongue has seduced the poor man."

"Did you know he slept with a horse? What a mad prince he is! It would explain why a new horse stable was being built. He gave birth to an eight-legged horse!"

While Thor grew into a jolly fellow who enjoyed fighting, drinking and screwing, his younger brother became even more secluded than ever, working himself to the bone and throwing himself into completing the very work that Thor should be doing, but because of distractions, dismissed them as unimportant.

With time, the two brothers became night and day, barely seeing one another lest it was for a meal, and that was becoming a rarity as well. Fandral felt that his plan has become a success.

-Timeline: Present Day-

Mot came out of the memories and blinked. He looked back to Fandral, who was still facing the wall, attempting to kiss, well, something...

Nevertheless, it would seem that the warrior was rather... spiteful of the original body owner.

This leaves him to wonder why the Asgardian still attempted to kiss him.

After all, who rejects someone with a kiss?

It looks like he would also have to see through Loki's perspective.

Closing his eyes, he delved into the memories once more.

-Timeline: Summer Day Pasts-

He holed himself away in his chambers, practicing his magic and completing Thor's portion of the homework that was assigned by their tutors.

Loki sighed and looked out the window longingly, wondering where his brother could be. He rarely sees him these days as he has heard that the buffoon was visiting the brothels more often than not.

It was lonely, he admits, quite lonely indeed. Loki couldn't understand how Thor can possibly become king if the Thunderer wasn't even willing to settle down for a moment and finish his work.

The sorcerer still loves his brother, nonetheless, and would still help finish the latter's half of the workload.

But...

He needed a break from this life.

An idea formed in his head and the young prince smiled to himself mischievously.

Taking a beige colored cloak from his closet, Loki left an illusion of himself on the bed and fastened the cloak around his neck.

He opened his window and calculated the distance between the ground and his window. He felt like he was a damsel escaping from his tower prison, a thought that almost made him giggle.

Making sure that his door was locked and that he was armed with at least a dozen of his daggers, he tied his hair back and pulled on the hood of his cloak before taking a diving leap.

He smiled as the wind and the exhilarating feeling dashed across his entire body as he free falls out of the palace.

Before he even landed on the ground, however, he jabbed his knife I got the side of the palace wall and slid down the rest of the way as the knife sliced into the gold and brick, landing safely.

After that, it was all too easy as Loki slipped out of the castle ground without being seen.

He entered the marketplace under the guise of a wandering merchant's son. Here, amongst the common people, he was Loptr, an identity he made for himself the first time he visited the public square.

His disguise was like that of any other common face. With a bit of magic, his hair became red and his eyes were now a shade of pale blue. There was also some freckles on his face and he had reshaped his chin into something more triangular.

"Good morning, Mr. Loptr. Heading off to see the smithy again?" Alva, one of the weaving maids, greeted him with a friendly smile.

"Good morning, my lady." He smiled with a mischevious twinkle in his eyes. "Well, Arvid did mention some new materials for my daggers. I'm quite excited to see the new goods."

Alva giggled. "You and your dagger. Why not apprentice under the master smith? I'm sure a career in that is much more exciting than bargaining with old hags."

"But what's the amusement in that, my lady?" He countered with a smirk. "Besides, I like to travel. It is quite fun to visit the other realms."

She looked exasperated. "If you say so. Well, I'll be off. Have a good day, Mr. Loptr."

"Have a good day, Lady Alva."

They parted ways and Loki headed off to see Arvid.

Arvid is a popular blacksmith among the warrior class. He is an older man, almost old enough to be Loki's uncle, and one of the only people that the young prince trusted, as a friend and an informat.

The doors to the blacksmith's shop were closed and Loki could not see the ever-active hearth that usually shone out the window.

Curious, Loki cautiously walked inside the shop.

"Arvid? Are you in here?"

"Loki?"

Arvid looked solemn as he stood by the staircase. He wore his smiths' apron, but the furnace was not lit. He could see no metal lying around.

"Arvid? What's wrong, my friend."

The man shook his head. "My prince, have you not heard of the rumors?"

"Rumors?"

"It would seem that the people are saying that the second prince of Asgard has been seen kissing Arvid the Blacksmith and birthing Odin's eight-legged horse. He is now branded with the title of ergi."

"What?"

Loki could not help but feel horrified at the revelation. "Who could ever do this?"

He has never, in his life, kissed the blacksmith, nor ever birthed a horse. Sleipnir was a gift that he managed to breed between one of the mares within the castle and a magical stallion from Vanaheim for the Allfather's birthday. How could anyone believe such a lie?

Arvid shook his head. "I do not know, but it has become a great scandal throughout Asgard."

Loki looked distraught as Arvid came down. That's when he noticed the bag he carried.

The Smith caught his look of confusion and explained. "I can't be here anymore. With the rumors going around, I think it is best if I leave Asgard."

"But," Loki looked at him desperately. "Where will you go?"

"Vanaheim. I heard they are in need of a few Smiths. It comes with a good wage, I waver."

"You're just going to leave me?"

Loki felt utterly betrayed. His only friend and informat was leaving because of some rumor involving him. Was it so bad to be friends with the second prince of Asgard?

Arvid looks at him sadly. "I am sorry, Prince Loki, but I dod not wish to fuel the flames of these rumors and make you suffer. The only solution is if one of us leaves, and it's obvious which one of us must."

The young prince looked, a shadow casting over his features as he thought in the sorrow of how one of his loyal friends was going away from Asgard.

And then Arvid came and hugged him, a way to say goodbye and Loki returned it just as fiercely as his eyes welled with tears.

The Smith shop folded into itself until it was nothing but a small box. Arvid placed the shrunken building into his bag.

"Take this with you." Loki unpocketed a charm bracelet and handed it over to the smith. "It's a protection charm that I made. I hope you return someday."

Arvid took the bracelet gratefully and tucked it away. He placed a gentle handle on the small shoulders of the young prince. "Take care, Prince Loki."

"Take care, Arvid."

They parted ways, one heading toward the rainbow bridge and the other heading back to the castle.

Looking at the ground, Loki did not see who was in front of him and promptly bumped into a person much taller than he.

"Hey, watch where you're- Oh, why the long face?"

Startled, Loki looked up and saw the cheerful face of Fandral.

-Timeline: Present Day-

Mot came back to the present and looked around.

{Master Mot, the spell can no longer hold.}

Right, I'll continue reviewing these memories at a later time. Please undo the spell, 009.

{As you command.}

Time unfroze itself and Loki stood up from his meditative position.

"Gah!"

Fandral yelped as he found himself face-planting into a wall.

Loki quickly went over to assist him. "Are you alright-"

"Don't touch me!"

Fandral shook him off with a growl, and then looked surprised. "You..."

Loki feigns not to notice his confusion. "Uh, let's go back. I'm sure Sif has finished helping Idunn."

Pretending as if the past few moments did not happen, Loki left the stables with Fandral trailing after him, questioning what had just happened.

Chapter Text

Down in Midgard...

"Um, Thor, don't you think this whole 'risk your life' thing is getting a little out of hand?"

Erik Selvig watched nervously as the god of thunder stood above the battlefield.

One Victor Von Doom was terrorizing New York City, again.

SHIELD dispatched the expertise of Agent Barton (code Hawkeye) and Agent Romanoff (code Black Widow) into the fray within moments of the red alert.

Thor and his Asgardian(and non-Asgardian) companions were also commissioned by the ever knowing Agent Coulson and arrived via helicarrier.

Thor chuckled merrily in response, his eyes watching Doom like a predator while he swung his makeshift weapon, a prototype Mjölnir imitation that SHIELD created. Although it wasn't magical, the weight and use of the hammer was quite similar. Thor liked it very much.

"Nonsense, my friend! This is a great idea!" And thus, he jumped down from the helicarrier (that was hundreds of feet above the city, by the way...) and swooped into the fight.

"But you can't fly!" The cries of Selvig was lost as the Thunderer smashed into a vicious DoomBot foot first and began to wrestle with it.

Hogun and Volstagg looked at one another awkwardly. They politely nodded to Selvig and Jane (and Darcy, who wanted to see the action), before jumping after their prince.

~*~

Back in Asgard, Loki watched the happenings of Midgard and could feel a headache approaching.

He sighed to himself as he sat in his office. The mound of parchment was beginning to populate like rabbits.

After dismissing Fandral and Sif, he had contemplated what had happened between him and the dashing warrior. Watching Loki's memories had helped him understand what was going on with Fandral. It was rather complex, the situation that is. Feelings of love and juvenile romance had never once occurred to Mot. Even in his past life, there was nothing that made Mot's heartbeat. He had always believed that he couldn't love a person romantically, no matter how they denied this.

Hmm, perhaps that's how he died? Because he couldn't love?

It was quite difficult, as Mot felt like he had lived two lives at once. Retaining most of Loki's memories, along with those of his own made both personalities collide like the Big Bang. Even now, Mot was still sorting through everything and making sure he could still differentiate if he was Mot or Loki.

Aside from his moment of self-pity, Loki stared out the window, wondering why it is that his mind has become so consumed on the subject of Fandral and him. After all, there is Asgard to rule and hold firm while his father slept and his brother gone. He had no time for anything else.

With another huff, he reached for the quill and inkpot, no longer delaying himself of the paperwork that multiplies like rabbits. He has a meeting with the council in approximately twelve hours and his work can no longer wait.

"I hate paperwork..."

~*~

Fandral was in a tavern, surrounded by beautiful maidens and good company. Oddly enough, the light mood in the room did little to lift his spirit. He sat by the corner of the bar. It was close enough to his drunken companions to join in their merry-making, but far enough so that he could silently sulk to himself as he nursed his mead and ignored the bar fight that was happening behind him.

He wanted to kick himself for what he had done to a certain trickster. What was he thinking, cornering Thor's cherished little brother into a wall and trying to kiss him? He is thankful enough that Loki hadn't exacted an act of revenge, although he is still cautious and wary of a prank.

A barmaid brings him another drink and winks at him in a sultry manner. Fandral returned it with a stiff smile and watches as she walks away while swaying her hips.

These are the nights where he prefers to just think.

Loki had done nothing, but he must admit that it was him who made the prince so cruel. Perhaps the Silvertongue God has had a wake-up call and finally stopped bearing his grudges, but to the truth was, Fandral seems to be the only one left that stubbornly held onto the past.

Metaphorically speaking, Loki was walking away and leaving him behind.

He wished this was naught, but you can't change the past, only the future. Unfortunately, no matter how much Fandral tries, he hasn't even attempted to let go, believing that Loki was still willing to wait for him, to accept him. It never occurred to him that the Trickster may be done, that he might move on.

The green sorcerer no longer gave chase.

After all the years of knowing him, of meeting with him and perhaps offering a short olive branch (before it broke in two), it did not matter now.

For Fandral, he had not truly thought of Loki as a friend. They were acquaintances at best, or at least, he perceived it as such. But to the recluse prince at the time, he was his only 'true' friend.

And nothing could have hurt Fandral the most to see that he was the one who broke that trust. Purposely at that.

He remembered how the cruel gossip he had spread through Asgard had burned the sorcerer's reputation to the ground, but never once during his mission to separate Thor from his brother did he truly make conversation with the trickster.

Well, at least not until that day by the palace gates...

-Timeline: Summer Day Pasts-

Fandral looked down and saw a red-haired teen bump into him by accident. Judging by the long face, he could tell that the young lad has had quite a bad day.

"Oh, why the long face?" He asked in good humor, hoping to cheer him up.

The teen glared at him. "Don't mock me, warrior." With an adorable pout that was meant to be a scowl, the boy left, tearing away the hood of his cloak as he marched into the palace.

Fandral, being the high-ranking guard that he is, tried to go after him. He would have, if not for the sudden bout of transformation that the boy soon underwent. Away was the red hair that now turned into a midnight black. His sharp chin softens and his skin paled until it was that of a very familiar face. Added with the fact that his pale, blue eyes darken to emerald green, the boy soon became the perfect picture of the second prince.

Loki.

Fandral stood there, shell-shocked as he witnesses the prince shedding away his guise.

The trickster turns to him with a raised brow.

"You look at me as if I am a trespassing criminal." He said, a calculating amusement filtering through his eyes. "Well, have a good day, Fandral the Dashing." The mocking way as he spoke his title did not fit well with Fandral.

He glared at the retreating back of Loki, who sauntered off haughtily. For a moment there, he wanted to beat the prince over the head.

---

The next time he saw the prince was during the evening feast. It was quite a surprise, for many of the warriors, to see that Loki had come out from his hovel.

As usual, the loathsome raven was quiet and picking at his food. Thor was next to him, trying to get him to eat something, but Loki was stubborn and excused himself from the table after shooting a frustrated glare at his brother.

Why Fandral noticed all this, he did not know. He found himself drawn to the two princes who were arguing in hush voices before Loki stormed off with a sneer.

Thor just scowled at him and slumped back down in his seat. His mood was rectified by a pretty maid that came over to refill his cup.

Asgardian summers had relatively warm nights. The moons in the sky shined brightly and the stars were no different.

Feeling the sweltering hot air amidst the drunken warriors, he escaped into the garden for some peace of mind.

It was there that he had his second official encounter with Loki.

The young prince wore his green cloak and hid beneath one of Idunn's apple trees. Fandral didn't move from his position. He admits that he's a bastard. He stayed to get more dirt and fuel the rumors on the trickster. He would guess that Loki was waiting for someone.

Minutes tolled away and it did not look like his theory was proven correct. Rather, Loki seemed to just be thinking. And wasn't that just boring?

"Whoever you are, I demand that you show yourself."

The crisp voice of the young prince made an appearance and Fandral tensed up. He dare not move from where he stood.

Loki calmly stared in his direction.

"Alright. If you won't come to me, then I guess I shall come to you." Fandral could hear the soft footsteps approach and readied himself to make a run for it.

Thor's brother can be vicious when he wants to.

Fandral looked around, trying to find an escape route.

When he realized there was none, he gulped and resigned himself to getting caught. The Allfather may be slightly overprotective of his youngest son, but Fandral was sure he wouldn't be punished too harshly for peaking at the trickster. Right?

If only he had known how wrong his assumptions were...

Paired up with his treasonous crimes of spreading the rumors of the second prince, Fandral had not known at the time how grave it was for him.

The only reason the Allfather had not done anything to burn down the rumors was that no one knew who had started it all. It was not only Fandral but several warriors who had gossiped about like children.

With this many people, the sole culprit can never be caught.

"What in the name of the norns are you doing?"

A hand swooped down and landed on Fandral's shoulder.

Tensing up, the dashing warrior slowly turned his head and saw the face of the second prince glowering at him with displeasure.

"Nothing?"

The scowl deepened remarkably and Fandral had begun to notice that he could no longer move. Loki had glued him in place with a spell.

"Praytell, why is a warrior spying on me? Did my brother send you?"

A lie! Hurry up and make up a lie!

A charming smile spread onto his face. "Yes, my prince. Thor has been quite worried about your health. You have not been looking well as of late."

"So he sent you, one of his followers, to spy on me?" Fandral was very impressed by the fact that the young prince had perfected the art of making Thor sound stupid.

The dark prince was truly not that impressed.

However, within moments, Loki had broke away from him and turned his back.

"Tell Thor I am fine. I do not need a warrior to look out for me."

With that, the young prince teleported away to who knows where.

-Timeline: Present Day-

He was thrown out from his mulling as a large body fell on top of him. Laughing a forced and loud laugh, he joined in on the brawl after downing his barrel, intent to end the night with a lovely maiden in his bed and far from the thoughts of Loki.

His past with Loki, the memories they shared was brief and short, but in all honesty, once you break the trust of a powerful sorcerer, well, your life usually becomes a living hell.

He guessed he did deserve it.

In regards to Loki, he has watched him, watched the good and the bad happen, without once vouching for the liesmith for any misdeeds. He simply observed and studied him from afar, careful not to get too close, lest he burns them both.

Besides that, the warrior thought to himself, he and Loki can be considered on equal footings now, at least.

-Timeline: The Autumn Period Pasts-

Fandral took to following Loki around for the next few months.

The rumors surrounding the prince has died down without him and his companions fueling the flames. Despite what others may say about him, mainly the sympathizers for the dark prince, Fandral was not bullying the weak brother of Thor.

If anything, this weak-looking boy is nothing but a lying and wicked devil.

His first impression of the young prince was that of an innocent and small boy who didn't look much. There was a glimmer in his green eyes, however, that should have warned him, if Fandral had noticed.

Fandral was very wrong on this impression.

He instantly disliked the boy because of aura, a sickening miasma, that seems to hover behind the boy, ready to strike, and that was what kept him at a distance.

Thor's brother or not, Fandral felt that he should not let Thor draw near Loki.

So he vowed to himself. He will protect his prince.

As it turns out, the dark-haired boy had set his sight on Fandral since day one, those emerald eyes had seen through his train of thoughts.

A week of hell began for him as he was tormented left and right by the prince who loved to prank him.

And for what? Mischief? Chaos? Getting in his way?

Fandral never found the reason for this but felt absolute humiliation when the other warriors would mock him upon his entrance into the training field, looking like the victim of one of Loki's traps.

And the boy wondered why Fandral had started to spread rumors. And it wasn't just him. Some of the other warriors did the same. The prince did not look upon them as fellow aesir's. No, in his eyes, they were like chess pieces and objects. It was unnerving to gaze in a way that made him feel chills.

To keep whatever madness inside, they assumed subduing him through the rumors may help things die down so that the toying around and the dangerous pranks might stop.

And when it did, no one saw any reason to stop the rumors if it meant keeping such overly-excessive mischief at bay.

One day...

"My friend, my ever charming, dear friend Fandral the Dashing, I dare you to woo Loki for one month and make him fall in love with you..."

These words, these words of challenge that were given to him by some random warrior, was what started it all off.

-Timeline: Present Day-

"Oi, the warrior there!"

Fandral felt his hazy mind scrabble away from his memories.

"Wh-who?"

"You! We're closing up shop!" The owner of the bar scowled, displeased by the straggler.

"O-Oh, apologies." Squinting slightly, Fandral paid for his drinks quickly, cursing at himself for falling asleep before he was barely able to drink anything strong enough to help him forget.

Rushing out of the bar, he lugged himself back to his home so that he could drown in another fitful night of sleep.

~*~

In Loki's studies...

{Master Mot, it seems there is something wrong with the memories.}

009?

{A bug, yes. The system is currently cleaning. I am not sure what is happening, but there is a glitch.}

Within the system space, 009 was working through the control system to see what was wrong with the panels. Those memories he had transferred into Mot's head had left out bits and pieces.

"Ah ha!"

He typed a few key codes into the program and pressed enter.

009, what is going on-

Loki froze as he felt his consciousness dive deep into his head...

~*~

It was like staring into a pensieve. Everything was now in third person. Loki- no, Mot, himself, was standing within a fog.

A figure emerged and took shape. Loki had to squint to make out what it was.

A small, shadowy form of a woman finally made herself known.

The only noticeable feature was her eyes, which were only two, narrowed holes that glowed a bright light.

They look at one another for a long time, neither moving their gazes away nor approaching.

Finally, the woman spoke first.

"So you have come, Jotun scum."

Her words were silky and soft like satin. Her words, despite sounding like an insult, was said as if it was fact.

Mot tried not to look phased by it all. "I have... who are you?"

The woman bore her eyes at him for a moment longer. She soon drew near him.

Until the two figures within the fog were finally facing one another in close proximities did she speak again.

"Three sisters of the Yggdrasil Root spins fate upon their weave. Urd, Verdandi, Skuld, I am, the forms we show you to reprieve."

"You are the Norns?" Mot asked, his eyes wide with surprise.

She nods. "Indeed it is so, Magician of Change, God of Lies and Tricks. Your fate has cast shadows of doubt so we are here to fix."

Mot was curious about all this.

The woman continues. "Sealed a memory within your soul, imprinted by us with force. Not our choosing but the begging of fate, there was no other course."

"A seal in my memories... Can I see it now?"

"You come for this purpose, we believe this so. Undone is your seal so that memories flow."

Mot was guessing that was her way of saying yes. He was rather confused since the woman spoke in rhymes, but the fact that he managed to translate what she was trying to say, well, he would call that an accomplishment.

Turning his attention back the Norns, he saw that her hand began to form a small, glowing ball.

She looks at him with what he assumes is a smile.

"Within this hand is what you seek. Come closer now, and take a peek."

Mot obeyed and stepped closer.

Immediately, the ball was smacked into his face and he felt a blistering pain overcome his entire body. "Wha-"

-Timeline: Spring Day Pasts-

In the royal family, it is Thor that wields the power of Mjolnir. He's outstandingly talented and strong. Surpassing someone who's born with this many talents isn't easy. You can't be weak but you'll never be stronger either. The only thing you can do is follow his back and hope that your distance will decrease.

Loki had to hold a sword taller than he, read until he couldn't anymore, fight until he couldn't move, just so he could catch up to his golden brother. He chose to become close with his older brother so that he can observe his increasing abilities. The longer they were together the more the distance between their abilities increased, it made him feel pressurized... he had to decrease this distance.

He had to find support, an heir from one of the notable warrior households.

He needed someone who's usable, someone who, when combined with him would be able to even out with Thor, that person must also be able to be friends with Thor, he cannot be weak...and if possible...

He must be 'controllable'.

And this was why he chose a Dashing. Dashings have honesty, they play no tricks, they have power and talent... and the only candidate that Loki could find was Fandral the Dashing.

That was why he befriended him that day. The boy was said talented in the sword. He was said to be charismatic and equally charming despite his age. Little did Loki know... in all of Asgard, this Dashing would become the 'black sheep', the worst investment he has ever invested in.

"My name is Loki...Loki Odinson..."

Even though it's been such a long time, Loki never forgot about their first meeting.

It might be because of his golden hair which resembles warm sunshine in the afternoon... or his innocent smile from that day...

When Loki ventured outside the palace walls, he was merely five centuries of age. He had sneaked out through the little hovel in the queen's garden, hidden by the roses. It was a daring escape if he could say so himself.

Running from the golden palace and entering the market square, young Loki was cunning, to say the least. It was on this particular day that fate intertwined the golden strands of two lost souls.

"Is it alright if I can join in your game?" The prince encounters a few children running around, playing a game of tag.

The largest of the children stare at Loki cockily. "Why should we? Runts should just stay out of our way."

"Hey, now, Garrison, why don't we let the kid play?" A boy interjected.

Loki stared. The boy's features were like that of someone in his father's court. Perhaps this was his son?

The large boy that was named Garrison snorted and gave Loki a dirty look.

"Than you can go play with him. I, most certainly, will not!" Declaring this, Garrison strutted off with the rest of the children following after him, leaving Loki and the blonde by themselves.

"You didn't have to do that." Loki said, looking down at the ground 'sadly.'

In truths, he could care less. The other boy was stupid for getting in the way. Loki wanted to curse that kid, but this blonde headed oaf just had to do a Thor and come to his rescue.

To his surprise, the boy merely laughed and smiled down at him in a kind fashion. The boy then brought out his hand. "My name is Fandral the Dashing. I don't really like to play tag." The boy said truthfully. It took a while with Loki awkwardly standing there before he suddenly thought of something. "How about this, won't you tell me a story?"

"My name is Loki...Loki Odinson... A story is fine..." Loki answered back as timidly as he could. He reached for the other's hand.

Fandral the Dashing can easily be manipulated.

As long as Loki plays the part of a younger brother, smiling and seeking attention at times and being gentle, just doing this would put a smile on his face, which is good, but the worse thing is this Dashing isn't what Loki thought he would be.

He didn't know if Fandral's talented or not but he knew the boy was an idiot.

Fandral lives a carefree life, smiles and laughs all the time as if every day was his last.

"I like it when you tell stories. I've never heard anything like it." Since he said something like this, Loki started to tell his tales to the blonde all the time, just speaking a few lies isn't something hard, "those aren't lies! They're just stories that bring happiness, no matter how ridiculous! They make me smile!"

Unsurprisingly, Thor has taken an extreme liking to Fandral. Even when Fandral is reduced to nothing when they 'spar', Thor still behaved as usual around him, never belittling the other warrior-in-training, unlike when Loki sparred Thor the first few times.

When he first took a liking to magic, Loki was unsure of Fandral's reaction. His very first... friend. He got his answer when he revealed his abilities during one of the 'spars' he and Thor would have out in the woods. Fandral had come for moral support.

The reactions Loki was given were that of silence. Neither his brother nor Fandral spoke. They merely stared at him. The prince could imagine the disgust they now held. Loki the weak. Loki the weird. Loki the ergy prince.

Loki stalked off without saying anything.

Thor's reaction he could forgive because Thor is an idiot. But Fandral? He did not expect that from the other.

After that day, Fandral attempted to come to see Loki but since the warrior-to-be has nothing that the future trickster wanted, he chose to avoid him. When Loki did that, the blonde would always look like kicked puppy, similar to Thor.

Loki looked at his retreating shadow which was filled with sadness and laughed.

The prince had thought...it was rather cute.

After rejecting Fandral's visits, Thor was the one who finally intervened.

"He is inconsolable." His brother closed his blue eyes. "He continues to mope around and seems to mumble all the time in dejection... I know our reactions were not appropriate, but you should know they were also equally surprised. It was a misunderstanding on both our parts. At least tell him what you're thinking or else I think I'll go mad soon".

Loki looked away, back to his books and magic, "...I'm sorry, it's just..."

Facing Thor is no different from facing Fandral, everything's fine as long as he puts on the 'younger brother' facade.

"I wasn't telling you off, Loki", Thor smiled, "you're my brother, and this is your best friend...that's why...if I can help you make up in any way, I'll help."

The next time they met, Loki was willing to forgive Fandral.

He had prepared a speech and all, even a small gift.

However, his line of thoughts was thrown out the window when not only did Fandral toss the box away and run at him at an amazing speed, but Loki was squeezed to death by the blonde as he hugged the ever-loving breath out of him.

"Loki, you can think for your reputation, you can do things for your status, but you also have to do things for yourself... You are an amazing liar, cunning and clever, your stories are wonderful. These talents paired with your magic makes you brilliant... So, please...love yourself more..."

"Love himself..."

It was subject that never occurred in his head.

There was always a wall between his capabilities and Thor's. Loki had always fought a silent battle to hone himself into a person who would someday surpass, or at the very least, be equal to his golden brother.

There was no 'himself' in the equation. It was for the sake of a reputation, to better the house of Odin. His own self-love did not matter a single bit.

However...

The green prince looked up into the eyes of the blonde that held him.

However, for this person, perhaps he wouldn't mind giving it all up.

That day when they met, Fandral had forced Loki to tell him a tale.

His hand was squeezed until they hurt, when his lies were at their best, just as he had wanted, the person in front of him would smile with delight.

"I like it when you tell stories"

"those aren't lies! They're just stories that bring happiness, no matter how ridiculous!"

"They make me smile!"

There's something he never told him. Actually...Fandral's smiles were the reasons why he had made those stories.

That's why... please continue smiling like this forever.

-Timeline: End of Spring Days -

"For the sake of the House of the Dashing, pardon me, Allfather, but we will not let our only son and heir endanger himself by associating with that Jotun runt-"

"Cease your tongue, Lord Fanreas, or I shall take it from you. How dare you slander my son-"

"That is no son of Odin. He is a monster, just like each and every one of his people-"

Bang!

"Do not ever speak to me like this again, or you shall face the wrath of Odin Allfather."

"My king, if I may add to this..."

"Speak, Lady Eydis, perhaps you shall convince me to spare your husband and his foolery."

"I, too, worry for my son. His days are filled with thoughts of Prince Loki and his lies- I mean, stories. The Dashing household wishes for its heir to be strong. Being with your son has made him neglect those responsibilities."

"Then what do you wish for me to do, Lady Eydis? I will not forbid my child to leave the palace."

"Erase Fandral's memories, my king."

"What?"

"Everything he has ever known of Loki Odinson, erase it all and then cast a spell on him so that he avoids Prince Loki (1). You can tell the prince the truth. It was for the good of Asgard. The Dashing House is a pillar of the Warrior Class. We strengthen the Royal Family, but to be strong, we must have a strong heir."

"They are children-"

"They are the generation to take over, my king. You must think like a king, not a father. The prince will understand."

There was a long pause, but Odin finally gave in, his face reluctant and full of regret.

"Then so be it. Let me warn you, however, their friendship will always be stronger. They will someday find each other again, Lady Eydis."

"Then let that day come. For now, the Dashing Household has an heir to train."

---

"-Do you understand, Loki?"

"... Yes, Father... it is for the sake of Asgard, then I shall accept this decision. But I am sure, no matter what happens, he will come back to me again."

"Yes, my son. Let us hope that Lord Fanreas and Lady Eydis does not poison his mind, yet."

---

"Do not say anything, Thor. He does not remember..."

"But Loki, he holds hate in his eyes. Against you!"

"No matter. It was my fault in the end. I've already investigated everything."

"You mean..."

"Yes. I have turned a blind eye to the rumors he has made. Have I not told you that his tales would equal mine? It is why he and I were friends in the first place. And don't mind Arvid. He is the main broker in my information network. No need to miss him as he still sends correspondence of the happenings outside Asgard."

"This ploy will surely draw out those corrupted nobles." (2)

"Surely, I am confident. But they best hurry. I do not think I can act like a sad, moping buffoon much longer."

---

"-Fandral is incredibly petty."

"There was a reason the two of you were friends..."

"Don't sound so amused, Thor. I've had enough with all this. No matter how much I try to warm up to him, he continues to reject me..."

"Well, his household has done their best to reshape him... And you have made him a target of your pranks since the first day instead of actually befriending him, so..."

"Which is why I'm so frustrated. It has made me distraught to see him like this. Whatever happened to "those aren't lies, they make me smile!"?"

"Well, the two of you were a strange pair... How about accepting that wooing prank he has set up for you?"

"Ah-ha! Brother, you are a genius!"

-Timeline: Present Day-

{Master Mot?}

I managed to reattain those missing memories...

Loki answered, feeling a headache rise within him.

His head pounded ruthlessly from all that information. He couldn't go any further to watch the wooing prank debacle, mentally noting to checkup with that particular memory when he wasn't trying to finish paperwork.

In the system space, 009 wanted to bang his head against something hard and non-breakable. "Why are we getting further and further away from the actual plot?"

Chapter Text

-Timeline: The Autumn Period Pasts-

"My friend, my ever charming, dear friend Fandral the Dashing, I dare you to woo Loki and make him fall in love with you..."

These words, these words of challenge that were given to him by some random warrior, was what started it all off.

And so the plan begins.

Fandral spent a restless night, tossing and turning in his bed. He had an odd feeling that what he was doing was wrong, but why did he care? The prince was always playing pranks upon him. This could be considered revenge for always humiliating him.

With those thoughts set, the very next day, Fandral began the false courtship.

To the market square, a bush of blue and purple flowers, delicate and small, stood out amongst a stall of roses.

"How much for a bouquet?"

"Five silver coins, my lord, for the Forget-Me-Nots. Would you like them delivered? A gift for a lady friend perhaps?" The vendor asked with a twinkle in his eyes that Fandral could not fathom.

He chuckled despite this. "Perhaps, indeed, Sir. No need to deliver. I wish to gift it myself."

"Ah, I see. A bold man, you are. She will like them."

With the flowers paid, Fandral entered the palace with Forget-Me-Nots, intent to woo a Trickster.

The royal library was silent as per usual.

Its only occupant was a prince with raven hair. He sat by the window where the sunlight hit most, turning the pages to a tomb written in a language far different from the runic letterings that Fandral was used to seeing.

"What do you want now?"

Loki asked as if he was an annoyance, his eyes remaining still on his book without turning to face Fandral.

"Thought you might like some company."

Fandral could see the prince raise a brow. It would seem that he has piqued Loki's interest.

"Are you sure you wouldn't prefer bashing someone's head out with that sword of yours out in the training field?"

Or perhaps not.

"I also brought flowers," Fandral says quickly.

"Do you need me to woo a lady for you? Fandral the Dashing, it seems the moniker has run its course."

"The flowers are for you."

There was a pause, an awkward silence. For a moment, he tried to imagine what Loki was thinking.

He's going to find out.

Fandral thought, feeling nervous. If the prince finds out that this was a prank, a revenge prank, Fandral knew he would be doomed to suffer some more as the trickster's favorite prank victim.

However, there was no chuckle or laugh of amusement, nor a disgusted snort.

No, none of that happened.

Instead, Loki turned around and closed his book, his expression blank as he spotted the purple flowers in Fandral's hands.

The warrior wasn't sure what to make of the look that the prince sent his way before his gaze fell intently on the Forget-Me-Nots unwaveringly.

"You understand the meaning of these flowers, don't you?"

Fandral was slightly stunned, but nonetheless, nodded his head. "Uh, they caught my eye in the market, the Forget-Me-Nots. Better than the roses, too."

The trickster chuckled. It was a nice sound, Fandral thinks, as his eyes land on the small blooms, a pleased smile showing faintly on the pale face of its owner.

"To commemorate something, I assume? There's been much that you have forgotten." Loki had said, in a tone tickled with irony that Fandral could not understand.

"Forgotten?"

The prince took the flowers from his hand and brought it to his face before holding it gently to his chest.

"Yes, forgotten. But that does not matter. Can I translate these flowers to friendship? A new start?"

"How about a courtship?"

The look he was given was unreadable, but nonetheless, Loki sighed. "Very well. A courtship."

Fandral was very surprised that the prince had taken his suggestion so calmly as if he was going along with Fandral's whim for the sake of his own amusement.

Well, with Fandral's very Dashing expertise, that will definitely change soon.

If only Fandral knew he was the one to fall, he would have never taken the bet.

(What a liar you are, dear warrior. You would have taken the bet a thousand times and more without any regret if that meant reliving the memories again.)

Loki stared at the flowers a little more before making a decision.

"Tomorrow at noon, brink a basket of wine, cheese, breads, meats, and apples. Lots of apples. Meet me at the royal garden dress casually under a cloak. We will take a trip through the market and then have a quiet lunch in Idunn's field. Don't be late."

With those orders, Loki left with a small smirk, leaving Fandral to look bewildered and quite frankly, feeling as if he had missed something far too obvious

Mentally, he wrote down one thing in mind. The prince liked apples.

---

"Really now, forgetting me, Fandral, how dare you displease this prince." Loki murmured quietly to himself, his eyes hazed with a sense of melancholy.

Wearing an emerald cloak over his head, he arrived at the meeting place.

Fandral stood waiting in the royal garden, an olive cloak over his own head and a basket in his hand. He saw the approaching green figure and knew it was Loki, the only person in Asgard who actually bothers to appear no earlier, nor later than the scheduled time. A perfectionist, as usual.

"Shall we go?" Fandral asked the trickster.

A small curve of the other's lips was his response before the prince placed a hand on Fandral's bicep, looping his arm around his until they stood arm-in-arm.

They arrived at the market square without much difficulty after using a secret path through the back gates.

Hidden beneath their cloaks, Fandral and Loki looked like inconspicuous travelers.

"Where do you want to go first?"

Fandral asked after a while, his eyes shifting through the vendors and stalls, looking to see what may catch Loki's eyes.

Loki smiled quietly as he silently gazed at the crowded market.

And then something immediately caught his attention.

"Let's go there."

He pointed to the fountain where many children ran playing chase. It was the center of the market where people could rest.

Today, there was a large crowd surrounding a few men and women dressed in costumes. They are performing the Tales of Odin, a classic story that is quite popular amongst the children of Asgard.

Loki and Fandral slowly merged into the crowd, Fandral holding Loki's hand so that he doesn't lose the prince.

Whether he did this subconsciously or not, no one could say. For some reason or another, it felt rather nostalgic if the Dashing Warrior had realized what he had instinctively done.

"-And I, shall proclaim myself King, and you, my love, Queen. May Asgard be at peace and all stay eternal!"

The actor playing Odin said this regally, kissing the hand of a woman dressed as Frigga.

Magical curtains draw close on the makeshift stage that the performers had set up.

They clapped along with the audience.

"... But he wooed his queen with a duel none knew not, for she would take no groom lest he fought for her hand. So he came again and again in hopes to defeat her, but for naught, he failed and returned every night, no bride in his arms nor the title of a victor..."

The quiet murmurs came from Loki and Fandral looked at him curiously.

"What?"

Loki raised a brow.

"It is the little details in the story between my mother and father. It is natural that the actors did not mention what had happened for my father to gain my mother's hand."

He responded, his eyes becoming distant.

"Can you imagine? The king of Asgard, defeated by his queen time and time again as a wee prince in order to obtain her as his bride? Such blatant displays of a lovesick man would not look too fondly on Odin."

Fandral could merely nod, thinking that Loki was jesting. Sometimes speaking with the young prince was like solving a riddle. Something that he wasn't quite fond of, but nonetheless, was still stubborn to try and solve.

The rest of the market trip continued on, with the pair looking at a few stalls and making small conversation with each other as they explored the vendors that lined up the streets. 

Somewhere along the way, a sword stall caught his eye and Fandral stopped to take a look at what the shop had to offer. There were many types of metal and each sword was crafted quite beautifully. Alas, Fandral also searches for durability and practicality. For something that looks so delicate, he already deducted that the swords were more for display rather than for duels.

"- You have a good eye, sir!"

Fandral looked up when heard a stall keeper yell out in excitement. Looking over to a stand that was nearby, he saw that Loki was standing in front of the glassware vendor where a man with white hair and unnaturally pointed ears stood. In his hand was a transparent object that looked a bit like a fountain pen.

"-This is silver dwarven glass, a newly imported item from Nidavellir. It disguises itself as an ordinary pen, but there is a mechanism you can use to turn it into a staff. Very versatile for emergencies."

"Dwarven glass? This is my first time seeing it. I have heard it is quite durable like steel."

"Indeed. This is currently the only one that I have managed to obtain. Would this sir wish to buy it? I am willing to sell for thirty gold coins."

Loki shook his head. "I'm afraid I won't be able to afford it. I did not expect anything to catch my eye today so I did not bring any money with me."

But the street vendor just smiled kindly. "It is alright. Perhaps another day, sir."

"Perhaps another day..."

---

At around noon, Fandral and Loki left the market and took a walk into Idunn's apple field, where they finally settled down for a meal under a golden tree. The blanket was brought out, along with the food. They conversed with one another, making light conversation that was neither deep nor foreboding. Fandral reminded himself not to get attached, for, in the end, this courtship was half-hearted.

All too soon, it was time to leave. How long did he need to prolong this trick? His friend never specified. Nonetheless, as long as Loki fell for him, he saw that to be fine.

So days past without progress. Loki still remains cautious, but they spoke when they met up. Unlike ordinary couples or women who fell into his lap, the false courtship was a slow one. They talked quietly at times, conversing in a way that Fandral did not expect would typically happen.

It was just discussions to get to know one another as Fandral awaited for Loki to return some sort of affection.

"What made you suddenly interested in my company?"

"Courtship. It is a courtship, my prince."

"Fandral, you do understand that your definition of courtship involve more women than mine, am I to presume?"

"What?"

"I am asking how you suddenly became attracted to the same sex. I had thought you liked women."

"I was curious. I wanted to know what its like."

He lied quickly, trying to avoid the prince's eyes.

"So you chose me as your first option?"

"Well, you are admittedly more feminine-"

"-And that somehow makes it better. Really, now, Fandral. You are a fool."

The somewhat exasperated yet indulgent voice surprised the Dashing Warrior enough that he rose his head and caught the prince's smile.

It was one of amusement and merriment, unlike the annoying smirk and scowls that he usually wore on his face.

Things began to past in this way. Fandral always went to see Loki after training. The sorcerer could always be found in the library or the garden. Sometimes t hey would gossip about what was happening lately within their peer group. 

"You know Idunn and Sif are seemingly closer these days. Do you wonder if they're going to get engaged soon?"

"I have seen Sif head over heels for the girl, but he is always too shy to ask."

"Hmm, perhaps a love potion might do the trick."

"Truly? That seems to be a rather... forceful way."

"I jest, Fandral. Everyone knows that love from a potion is merely artificial. I am sure Sif will work up the courage someday."

There were topics on horses as well. 

"Sigvard likes apples as well. That is why I chose him."

"He is still half-grown isn't he?"

"Yes, but he will someday be a mighty steed."

There was also an important question.

"About the apples, my prince... I've noticed that you like them."

"Oh! Yes, I do rather like them. Idunn's garden is nice, but the red fruit is what I prefer. The taste is blander, but I prefer the mellower sweetness of a red apple."

"Is that so? I never cared for them."

"Really? Well, have one then."

Then came the stories when weeks passed.

"Did you know that my mother was one of the strong valkyries of Vanaheim? As a princess, she had many suitors, but none could defeat her for her hand in marriage. My father fought her for nearly a century before she relented, perhaps due to his determination. The requirements for her hand in marriage was to duel her. He lost every fight except one, where he had to use a trick. His cleverness was what won my mother in the end, for he finally realized that being an oaf and just charging in was getting him nowhere in terms of strength and magic. My mother was talented in shielding spells and wielding a sword. I think she finally fell for him when she saw his strategy to gain her hand."

"What did he do?"

The tale that Loki suddenly spun enraptured Fandral. It felt all too familiar, in a way.

"He laid traps that detained magic. Without a shield, my mother was admittedly defeated in the duel. However, there was no rule that a suitor could not fight this way, as it was to test the cunningness of a challenger. It was my mother's own requirement that these tricks would be allowed if anyone decided to use them. My father was the most clever among them, in the end."

Another moniker that the prince goes by is the name Silvertongue. Fandral had suddenly remembered this as he fell into the stories that Loki began to tell. He was very good at telling stories. Some were lies, others were not.

"Has he fallen for your charms, my friend?"

"... No... Um, not yet."

"Well hurry it up. I want revenge. That ergy turned my armor pink last week."

"Uh, yes... of course..."

He has forgotten that it was supposed to be a trick. Fandral noticed that the seasons were changing. Hmmm, how long has it been since he last took Loki out on a date?

On a day when neither were busy with studying or training, Fandral invited Loki to the market. It was less awkward this time around. They browsed the market square and then headed to the forest with a basket full of food. Again, they spoke to one another. Loki told stories to him and he was once more mesmerized until the sun began to set.

"It is time for you to escort me home, Fandral."

The prince and warrior began their trek back to the castle.

"You know, I quite like the stories you tell. I have never heard anything like it."

It was then that Loki came to a sudden halt.

"How so? They are merely lies."

Fandral continued walking, his mind still slightly in the clouds as he said with a chuckle,

"Those aren't lies. They're just stories that bring me to awe, no matter how ridiculous."

"Did they make you smile?"

The dashing warrior finally realized that Loki was no longer walking next to him. He turned back to see the prince standing there, a shadow cast on his eyes and hiding away his expression. He didn't what was wrong, but he answered truthfully with a grin.

"Of course."

There was another silence that drew out between them.

Loki approached him slowly, like a panther stalking his prey. Bewildered by this, Fandral could do nothing but stand like a stone statue without moving. He trusts that the prince won't do anything to him.

"My prince...?"

"I have never told you this, Fandral..."

Letting go of a past that was hopeless... There was no longer a memory of those spring-like days... however...

"There's something I never told you. Actually... Your smiles were the reasons why I made those stories. That's why... please continue smiling like this forever..."

His memories will never return, Loki had realized this. But beneath all that, Fandral was still the same Fandral. He may not remember him anymore, but Loki could see the same, foolish idiot who one day came to him, asking for a story. That is why now, it is even more important that they should remain in two different worlds.

A hand to the blond warrior's cheek, the raven-haired prince stood on his tiptoes. With the forest as their witness, their lips were sealed together for perhaps a moment or two while a breeze swept past them. It was the first they shared, and perhaps the last, for the rustling of trees fell quiet once more, leaving behind two figures standing close to one another as they shared a secret that must never be told.

"Wh-what..."

Warm, gentle eyes with the deepest emerald green left Fandral in a daze.

A prank gone wrong, it was a prank that had gone entirely wrong

Because...

Fandral stared into his eyes, hearing a familiar beating within his chest that speeded at an unusual rate. Something warm spread to the tips of his ears and he couldn't help but make that face of awe and horror at what has just taken place.

He wasn't supposed to fall in love.

It was never supposed to happen.

He couldn't move.

"Thank you for the courtship, but I already knew it was a trick, in the end. I am glad, but today will be the last day that I may look at you this way. From this day forth, I will not disturb you any longer."

Before he could reach out to him, Loki had already stepped back. His hands were behind him and he gracefully strode a fair distance away.

"Goodbye, Fandral."

With a cheerful wave, he saw the prince disappear, leaving behind scattered flower petals in his wake, like a caress to his cheek, the last affectionate touch that was allowed. Loki had confessed his fondness of him, yet, still rejected him, all within a single moment where Fandral couldn't even utter a word.

In the quiet forest where the sun finally set, a man sat beneath a tree to vent away his sorrow. In his hand was a box that held a glass pen. A gift he was never able to give.

-Timeline: Present Day-

Why did Loki reject him?

{Answering Master Mot. Fandral is too naiive and foolish despite his demeanor. Loki was worried that he would be dragged into the darkness that is the royal court. To add on to why Fandral would not be safe if Loki hadn't rejected him, well, didn't Fandral lie to himself to the point where he became delusional?}

What?

{I had thought you would have noticed by now, Master Mot. Fandral had made himself believe as if he was the one who rejected Loki's confession. He even thinks that Loki still loves him. Truly, this is a really depressing thing to say. For a man to become this delusional, what's to say that his weak mental state would ever survive the political nature of Asgard's Court?}

So in the end, to protect his childhood friend, Loki gave up on rekindling their friendship and made sure that Fandral would still make it as a warrior by drawing out some delusional hatred that the guy thought he had and basically placed him in Thor's care."

{That is correct, Master Mot.}

A groan was all that Loki could produce, buried beneath all his paperwork. Fandral was a piece of work that must be resolved. The love that Loki held for the blonde was like Philia, an affectionate fondness of the warrior, but by no means one that is between lovers.

Let's just check up on Thor. How has he been, lately?

{Could be better. The idiot is still with that Avengers group.}

Great. Let's go for a visit. I need to get away from all this.

~*~

Looking out the window with a mug of coffee (sweet ambrosia) in hand, Tony Stark was having a good day. Pepper was running the company, there hasn't been an explosion in his lab yet, Dummy was being a good child, for once, and he didn't have to deal with SHIELD.

Yeah, it was a good day.

"Hello, Sir Stark."

He takes that back. It was not going to be a good day.

Turning around as calmly as he could, Tony tried to act normal, as normal as a guy could get when some random stranger decides to teleport into his living room.

What kind of asshole rudely teleports- why hello, beautiful.

"Uh...."

A raven-haired man with really pretty green eyes stood there, wearing an elegant, long grey wool coat, a white dress shirt, and black slacks. Around his neck was a green scarf and in his hand was a cane. He was very pale and wore a smile that could be called nice. In summary, this guy was gorgeous.

Tony felt his heart pound erratically as if he was prepared for a heart attack.

Then again, if this was how he was going to die, standing before this impossibly beautiful person, he doesn't think he would mind.

Loki felt faintly uncomfortable as the mortal stared at him for an unnecessarily long time.

"Um, Sir Stark-"

"Yes! That is me! Tony Stark. How may I help you?"

He was rewarded with a bright grin.

"I'm looking for my brother. He's been working with your team, the Avengers, I believe."

"Your brother... could he possibly be-"

"Thor. My brother is Thor Odinson."

"Point Break?! You're his brother?!"

Loki, very much confused, tilted his head. "If by Point Break you mean Thor, then yes. I am Loki Odinson, his younger brother."

It was in that moment that the elevator opened up, revealing a group of people who just so happen to be the Avengers.

Tony sighed internally. So much for a nice day.

"Brother!"

A large shout and a blur of blonde and silver came barreling across the living room and crashing face first into a magically erected shield.

"Thor, it's so nice to see you. Has Midgard been treating you well?"

"Marvelous. I have been introduced to many things here! Although, how has father and mother been-"

"Uh, Thor, who's this?"

Among the group of Avengers, Clint Barton spoke.

Thor turned and ushered them over.

"Friends, meet my brother, Loki!"

Loki smiled and nodded his head politely.

"Thank you for taking care of my brother. Has Sir Selvig given you the Manual?"

Bruce Banner nodded and brought out the little book that Loki had given Selvig.

"It was helpful. It has become a lot easier to handle everything."

"That is good to hear."

"Brother, let me introduce you to my new friends. This here is Bruce Banner, a scholar like you. Underneath his great intellect, he also harbors a great and strong berserker."

Loki smiled at the man warmly in greeting, only to be met with a small flustered look and a stuttered hello.

"The woman over there is Lady Natasha Romanov, and her partner, Clint Barton. They are warriors serving under an organization called SHIELD. Friend Barton is a renown archer while Lady Romanov can be equal to the Valkyries."

"Pleasure to meet Midgardian Warriors," Loki responded.

"Good to meet you too, uh, your highness," Clint said bashfully.

"Loki will do."

"Of course, Loki," Natasha answered with a small smile of her own.

"This is Steve Rogers. He is known as a super soldier in Midgard, Brother. A great warrior as well. He uses a shield as his weapon."

Steve turned very red at the attention he was given, reverting back to the shy, Brooklyn kid that he still was, internally the moment Loki's gaze fell on him.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Loki offered a handshake.

"Uh, yeah. Please to meet you, too."

Steve slowly took it and shook twice, withdrawing under the man's gaze.

"And I presume you've met Stark. He is also like you, a Midgardian Sorcerer. See that glowing light on his chest? It is a magical stone that keeps him alive."

"Really?"

This caught Loki's attention as a very charming smile suddenly spread across his face.

He turned and held his gaze upon Thor's friends and finally gave the proper introduction required of all royalty,

"I am Loki, son of Odin, brother of Thor, and current regent of Asgard. Thank you all for taking care of my brother."

His introduction was met with an awkward silence.

Tilting his head, he wondered what was wrong. 

His question was answered by Clint.

"What the hell, Thor! Your brother is king?!"

"Prince Regent-"

"Same thing! If he's king, then why can't he undo your banishment?"

"Well-"

"How do you feel about spending the night here?" (That was Tony.)

"Oh, um-"

"Brother! You should definitely stay the night!"

"Thor-"

"Tony, he's king. That means he's busy. Why would he be willing to sleep over-"

"Sir Roger, it is fine-"

"Everyone, please calm down."

Suddenly, the entire charade was put to a halt by freezing spell. Loki stood in the center of the living room, his hands slightly glowing a faint shimmering green light.

"Let us stop and talk."

He undid the spell with a snap and ushered for everyone to take seats by the couch. 

"Thor, I'm afraid I will not be able to stay for long. The paperwork is likely to flood my office if I am gone for too long and the guard around me have been rather overprotective. Tyre, especially. I wonder why, but he's quite clingy."

For some reason, Thor suddenly felt the urge to punch a certain Einherjar in the face. He wondered why...

"-I've just come to check up on how you were doing. As usual, mother missed you dearly and hope that you come back worthy again. As for father, I'm afraid he is still asleep. Not much has changed in Asgard, either. Oh! How are Hogun and Volstagg? Are they helping?"

"Ay, brother. They are both currently with Lady Jane and Miss Darcy. They wanted to do some shopping and made them tag along to carry the bags."

Loki suddenly chuckled at this. 

"Am I to presume that you excused yourself from such task by sticking with your Avenger friends? Earth's mightiest heroes indeed."

"You've heard the news?"

"Hugin and Munin are reporting back to me. Not to mention Father's throne is all-seeing."

"That is good to hear. Are you leaving now?"

"I'm afraid it is about the time for me to return. I told no one of my leavings and used a secret pathway within the branches of Yggdrasil. Fandral and Sif might start tearing the palace apart."

"Give them my regards, Brother."

"As always."

Loki stood up and patted Thor on the cheek, a bit like what Frigga would do, and bid farewell to the rest of the Avengers.

"See you again soon, Thor."

And then he was gone in a puff of smoke, heading back home to Asgard. 

~*~

The moment Loki appeared back in his studies, the door flew open with a loud bang!

"My Prince!"

Fandral burst in out of nowhere, looking flustered and out of breath. Behind him followed Sif and Tyre.

The blonde warrior marched over to his desk and looked as if he was about to shake him up and down.

"Where have you been, my prince?! We've been looking everywhere for you!"

"O-oh, I've taken a visit down to Midgard to check on Thor. He told me to give you his regards. He misses you and Sif, Fandral."

"You should have at least taken one of us with you," Fandral said, sounding as if he was worried to death since Loki's sudden disappearance.

He, Sif, and the other guards all thought the dark prince had been kidnapped from the castle. Just as Loki had predicted, they nearly tore down the castle in search for him. 

All this hysteria and panic suddenly got the best of Loki. Seeing his guards worried for him, the prince couldn't help but release a chuckle, and then a full laugh. 

"Thank you for worrying, but I am fine. Though, I am a bit hungry. Do we still have apples in the kitchen from today's lunch?"

Apples?

This was an inquiry that formed in Sif and Tyre's head. 

However, for Fandral, his pupils dilated slightly as if he has seen a ghost. With a shaking hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out an apple.

Handing it off to Loki, he kept staring at the amused smile which formed on the other's lips.

"I've noticed that you carry them sometimes. Just my luck that you have one today."

"They are blander compared to Idunn's apples, but the horses like them."

"Is that so?"

The two stared at each other, completely in their own little world while Sif and Tyre shared a look. 

What in the world was going on here?

{Master Mot, you intend to rekindle their friendship?}

Loki bit into the fruit, his green eyes twinkling with merriment.

Well, this is at least a start. 

Chapter Text

The room was quiet, with a peaceful ambiance as Odin Allfather laid, sprawled out and tucked into his golden bed. Beside him was the gentle Frigga, his loyal wife and Allmother of Asgard.

As her husband continuously falls into his comas, it is within her right to fear that he will never wake. It brings her great relief when he does- however, this is perhaps the longest he has rested. Odin has held off his Odin Sleep for a long time. They have planned for him to slumber after Thor's coronation, but it was all for naught. Now with one son banished and another carrying the burden of a regent, she is afraid. Very afraid.

The burden of such fears, nonetheless, was also shouldered by Odin, despite his dormancy, as the old God still retains consciousness of the world outside his coma. It is also his right to carry the stress alongside his beloved, who watches over him dutifully.

Such love between this ancient affair of the heart, of the king and queen of Asgard, is not often noticed. But still, the harmony of what they share is strong. They both plan to grow old together. After so many years, they are still very much in love.

Perhaps what many would often forget about a story, is that there is history abound between characters who are not the central focal point of the tale. One would perhaps not remember the legendary liaison of the Allfather and Allmother. They were young, once. Brash and naive. And their courtship, even if forgotten by Asgard, is still a story held true within their hearts.

This deep passion is what encourages Odin to awaken no matter how many times he reaches his slumber. He wants to see the one he holds closest to his heart. His beloved wife.

A shift in the air alerts Frigga to her husband. While holding his hand, she looks at his face. The aged wrinkles did nothing to hide the handsome youth he once was. Oh, yes. She is still very much in love.

The air around them was changing, and Frigga could feel the prominiton. Joyful, a small smile was beginning to form on her pale face as she now excitedly waits for her dear husband to open his eyes.

There was a knock by the door.

"Mother."

Loki calls for her attention.

"Loki."

Just like that, Frigga drops her husband's hand like it was trash and quickly crosses the room to greet her (favorite) son.

Odin (drinking vinegar): Wife... Come back... 。゜(`Д')゜。

Loki embraced her warmly.

It's been a while since he has seen his mother, what with him handling the affairs of the kingdom, Thor's banishment, and his father's sleep, the only two voice of reasons within the royal family could hardly catch up.

"How is he?"

Loki looked over, behind his mother, where Odin lays on his uncomfortable looking golden bed.

"Fine. I can sense that your father will awaken soon. How are you, my son? Has managing the kingdom caused you any burden?"

"None, mother. I can hold the weight."

Frigga looks worriedly at her son.

"And what of Thor? Has he been well?"

"He has made friends with mortals," Loki responds. "They are helping him regain his worthiness. I have no doubt that he shall return to us soon."

"That is good."

"I presume that you are fine as well? Is father bringing you any worries?"

Frigga smile gently.

"No. All is fine. Do not be fretful, son of mine. As long as your father and brother (those muscle headed idiots) get their heads out their asses, everything shall return to the way it was before."

All the male members of the royal family: ...

"You are right. How about we have some tea?"

A table was brought into Odin's chamber and the mother and son enjoyed their afternoon.

~*~

"You have been assigned as the guard to the prince regent."

This was not a question. It was a statement made with a touch of scorn and displeasure.

He turns around.

A beautiful woman with golden hair tied elaborately into a bun stood behind him while he was walking down the hall. She wore a dress that showed off her wealth and had an aura of pride and arrogance that was fitting for her status.

It is too bad, however, that her beauty was shadowed by the look of disdain that pinched her pale face.

"Mother."

Fandral felt neither joy nor excitement to seeing her in the castle.

Eydis frowned with disapproval.

"I have heard that you now serve the second prince."

Fandral gave a tense smile. "Are you spying on me again? I thought you had promised to remove your informers when I joined Thor's band of friends."

She scoffed and looked at her son with slight contempt. This wayward child has learned nothing from his training. "It is good that I have not. Fandral, I have told you to be close to the crown prince, yet, here you are running after that ergi scum like a dog! Have you no shame? Do you understand what this would do to the reputation of the Dashing household?"

Eydis, with every sentence, had already crossed the distance between her and her son. She reaches out and grips Fandral's arm within her clutches, her sharp, painted nails digging into the warrior's skin.

It took everything for Fandral to not fling her off.

He replied curtly. "Our name has already been smeared by you and father. Whatever the two of you did in the past, the nobles have already begun to look down upon the Dashing House. Do not have me shoulder the blame that I took no part in." Fandral calmly removed her hand and placed distance between him and the vicious woman.

Eydis looked absolutely furious. "Yet you dare push us into the abyss of no return! And to blame your father when you know nothing!" She reigned in her anger, though it was only slightly. "Besides, I have long warned you not to associate yourself with that damnable prince. That liesmith is a curse-ridden boy!"

"How dare you insult the prince regent?!"

Fandral lost his patience and finally snapped, raising his voice against his mother.

"You-!"

"He is the current ruler of Asgard while the rest of the royal family is unfit for duty. I have seen him work hard, hardly eating and continuously pushing himself to complete the tasks demanded of him while Thor is off frolicking about! He has worked himself to the ground. Every day, he is locked inside the studies, and when exhaustion finally takes him, he faints, only to awaken and continue his work. Is the proof of his highness' hard work invisible? He is continuously hiding his weariness within his illusions. What you may see in court is a radiant regent, while in his chambers, he is pale and tired."

Fandral recounts all he has seen of Loki ever since the prince has taken up the mantle of regent. As his personal bodyguard, the dashing warrior constantly notices how tired the prince has looked in the confines of his office.

"Yet you dare to think yourself better? Mother, you have truly lost respect for yourself." He spat with disgust.

Fandral threw one last look of disregardment for the woman and turned, storming off down the hall.

"Fandral! Come back here! Where are you going?!" Eydis shrieked as she saw her son turn away from her and storm off.

Fandral bristled at the nerve of his mother. "To my master with my tail wagging!"

He left his mother there, shrieking and screaming, demanding that he returns so she can- he assumes- to continue to curse at him.

"Where is his highness?"

Fandral asked a nearby guard.

The guard directed him to the chamber where King and Queen resided.

Approaching the door to the room, Fandral stopped. He had forgotten his manners for a moment. The argument between him and his mother unnerved him once more.

Sighing, the warrior positioned himself next to the door, acting as a guard. He shall wait for Loki and continue his duty as his personal bodyguard. (Sif doesn't count. He's too busy wooing Idunn.)

"-It is advice I have sought. You know the future, Mother, but I question the weavings of the Norns..."

"You are my son. Please tell me what troubles you."

There was a slight crack by the door, Fandral noticed, so he could hear what was being said beyond the door. It seems that Loki and the Queen were having a rather deep conversation.

"-Why is it that the good and beautiful always die first?"

Frigga was, for a moment, caught off guard. She paused and eyed her son. Setting down her teacup, she sighed and said this.

"If you were in a garden, wouldn't you pick the prettiest flower?"

"Is that so..."

Loki's response was quiet, contemplating, so Frigga continues.

"No one likes weeds. Sometimes, it is easier in death than it is to remain alive. Perhaps the Norns made it so that the good and beautiful do not have to suffer."

Her son sighed into his teacup. Like mother, like son

"But to survive means to struggle. I am the bringer of chaos, I have no need to take the simple path of death. I like too much to be alive, to experience life even at its most bitter."

"If it is what you choose then I have no objections, my son. But remember this, death did not take you because you are not a part of the bad and ugly. You deserve to be at peace, Loki because you are good and beautiful. However, I know you can do so much more in the land of the living, for this, I wish you to continue to survive."

"Then you understand me, mother; why I must do this?"

This question, of course, Frigga would know.

"My little love, why do you doubt your mother? I shall worry, perhaps. I shall forever feel anxious for the boy I raised at my knee."

"But you will not stop me?"

The surprise lit inside green, jaded eyes.

"Wherever the norns take you? You shall still return to me."

There was an unexplainable warmth surging inside Loki's child. He smiles brightly at Frigga.

"Mother... Thank you."

"You are welcome. More tea, my dear?"

~*~

"Why are you doing out here?"

Fandral straightened just as Loki appeared at the door.

He flashed the younger prince a fake smile.

"Oh, you know... guarding, being on the lookout... particularly guarding..."

A dark brow raised with a hint of amusement.

"Oh? I could have sworn it was Sif on duty today. Ah, which reminds me, where has that Lord gone to? I haven't seen him all day."

"Idunn's orchard, last I saw. I think he might have forgotten to warn you of his absence. He'll be out with Idunn for awhile."

Fandral answered, concerned of what Loki might have thought about Sif's sudden bout of leave.

However, Loki smiled instead, waving off Sif's absence.

"It's no worries. He has been courting Idunn to the best of his abilities, let him enjoy his time with his lady-love. Seeing as you have taken his post, I hope you don't mind assisting me with some of the workloads."

A warm feeling spreads inside Fandral as he met a pair of emerald eyes looking at him with a gentle smile.

"I'm happy to help."

For the rest of the morning, Loki and Fandral spent their time harmoniously sorting out paperwork in the King's office.

"Oh!"

"What wrong?"

The blonde warrior was suddenly on guard as he heard Loki cry out in alarm.

The raven-haired prince looked up from the paper he was reading and showed the document to Fandral.

It was the matter of heirship within the Dashing Household, the letter was submitted by the previous head of the warrior house, Fandral's father.

"A new heir... We'll have to visit your home estate if we are going to sort this out."

Loki chewed on his lip as he stared perplexingly at the parchment of runes.

An heirship matter at such a time, the prince didn't know if he should affirm to the task. These delegations would have needed Odin to resolve, but since the matter with the Odinsleep has already arisen...

Loki would have to meet with the warrior house.

"I'll go prepare the horses."

Fandral finally announced, reaching for the door.

Loki, startled, stares at him with a complicated expression.

The Dashing warrior elaborated. "The task is important, isn't it? Besides, it's about my family. You are my present king, whatever you decide to do about the matter, I will support you on it."

By the end of his sentence, Fandral already felt embarrassed as blood flowed to the tip of his ears. He looked away bashfully so that his face now faces the door.

As he left, he heard Loki's quiet thank you.

He could almost imagine the smile.

~*~

The estate of the Dashing Household was a place that was surrounded by warm maple trees.

Fandral hadn't visited this place since he became a part of the Warrior Four. It has been a long, long time. He barely recognized the place as home.

Beside him, Loki stood with a cloak clasped around him, the hood covering his head from prying eyes as the trip required them to pass through public squares of the kingdom.

Though, anyone would have guessed that the hooded figure was the prince regent, as tailing behind him and Loki, was- as Fandral can put it bluntly- an ass-ton of Einherjar.

For some reason, this lovely- albeit most likely a tense- visit with him and the prince was ruined by Tyr, the red-haired, head guard of Loki's other bodyguards.

Throughout the journey, the annoying guard kept insistently disturbing Loki at the most inappropriate times.

For example, while they were traveling through the forest...

"My prince, if you are uncomfortable on that horse, I've brought several blankets for you...!"

"Uh, thank you, Tyre, but I don't think I require it... Exactly where did you manage to pack all that wool...?"

Or when another Einherjar's stomach growled...

"My prince! You must be hungry! I have packed you a dozen baskets of food!"

"... I don't think I require that many, Tyre... We just stopped for a snack five minutes ago..."

And when Loki sneezed ONCE when they were passing through a flower field...

"The Norns! Someone get the healing stones and bring me the strongest medicines! The prince has fallen ill...!"

"... No, no, please put those away. I am fine, Tyre... Some pollen got onto my nose... Can we please get moving...?"

Fandral scowled at the puppy nannying Loki. The prince was obviously discomforted by him, but the Einherjar was very inconsiderate no matter how much Loki tried to tell him he was alright.

Of course, Fandral would also worry for the prince's health, but he also knows the seidr-user can hold his own with the proficient skills of any warrior.

Loki was not a delicate flower meant to be placed in a gilded greenhouse.

"Enough!" Fandral yelled at Tyre ridiculous farce.

"We have arrived at our destination. Quit disturbing the prince regent and do your norn-damned job, Warrior!"

Fandral leaped off his horse and shoved the reign into Tyr's hands.

"Watch the horses. The prince and I will be back soon."

Fandral stalked over to Loki's stallion and held up his hand, a gesture of loyalty and proper manner.

Loki smiled and gently allowed the blonde warrior to help him off.

"Thank you, Fandral, but remember, I'm still the one in charge here. The guards don't take orders from you. Are you mocking my authority?"

Fandral paled slightly and flinched as he realized what his irritation had taken him. He had let his emotion get in the way and undermined the authority of the prince.

However, there was a snicker that came from his side and he looked to see that Loki was cover his mouth as he laughed.

"I'm sorry, I was teasing. Thank you for the help, my friend."

He sighed in relief.

"Let's go inside."

In the end, the Einherjars stood by the gate while Fandral guided the prince into his estate.

The head servant came out to greet them.

"You are back."

Fandral nodded. "It's been awhile, Harald."

"Indeed, young master Fandral." The servant answered, bowing low as he saw Loki.

"Your father has already been expecting the two of you. He wishes to see you, young master."

Fandral tilted his head. "Father?"

"Yes." Harald nodded and turned to speak with Loki. "Your Highness, please follow me. I will take you to the drawing room. Lord Dashing will meet you in a moment."

Fandral was going to interject, as his duties lie in protecting the prince. It was his responsibility if anything happened to Loki, especially in his own estate. He did not trust the place after so many years. He wanted to go with Loki just in case.

"It's is alright, Fandral."

Loki stops him. The prince smiles.

"Go speak with your father. I'll be fine."

Harald bow to the both of them, signaling for Fandral to leave as well as for Loki to follow.

The two of them separated to go opposite directions within the estate.

~*~

Lord Dashing was a certain type of idiot that not many could identify with. He was a rare species that had an idiocy that was so potent, that it could be said many would know the moment he speaks.

When Fandral was younger, he had seen his father be like any other noble. Somewhat opinionated, very boisterous, took great pride of the Dashing Household, and would occasionally act like one of those foolish, aristocratic veteran warriors that he usually sees in Odin's court.

(As he was now thinking about it, the public persona of his father was more-or-less something Fandral rather disliked.)

Fandral found his father's idiocy to be true when he had witnessed King Odin yell at his father for being an idiot out of nowhere when his father stepped into court on one particular day.

It was a sunny day and he, along with the other warrior trainees, watched from the crowd as the court of the nobles commenced.

They were acting as guards on that day.

The argument was about the manners of nobility, he remembered, but Fandral had seen a glimmer in Odin's eyes as the king accused his father of this, and whereupon he became suspicious.

It looked as if his father and Odin were trying not to laugh as, all of a sudden, the two burst into some kind of argument on decorum.

By the end, Odin had proclaimed that his father was to be banished from court, charged by the crime of stupidity and a lack of awareness as a noble should.

Least to say, the embarrassment had gotten the elders of the Dashing involved and they eventually came to a consensus on his father's fate. He was to never enter the royal court ever again.

His father's duties were then delegated to his mother via a forceful and haste passing of his title.

However, because Lord Dashing was such an idiot, rather than challenging for his rightful mantel to be taken back and resume his position as the head of the family, he abruptly turned into a mild-mannered man and did not mind that he was demoted to a figurehead!

(Not a figurehead...

A voice whispers.

Mother deals with court, but father handles the villagers and citizens within the Dashing territory... He manages the fief...)

Where the bloody hell was the Lord who brought fear into the hearts of enemies during the wars?!

Fandral had always strived to be as brave, to be as stronger, and to be as smart on the battlefield as his father was. He had worked hard to enter the royal palace, in hopes that he could be just like him someday.

As it turns out, the man didn't exist.

Fandral found out that his father had acted like a warrior under a mask, a guise of some sort, and now figured that he wanted to leave that life behind now that he was satisfied with his life.

He was such an idiot that in the past, when he, himself, was a legendary warrior, already valued the peaceful life.

(The fight in court was actually about his retirement! His father wanted to stay huddled at home!)

It was lucky that his only talent was in the sword, many had said.

Fandral did not agree with this notion.

His father was good at cooking, good at cleaning, counting money, diplomacy, tea-making, and preferred to read literature rather than do anything laborious.

If Lord Dashing steps out of the estate now, no doubt the people will say he is ergy and ruin the reputation of the House.

But thankfully, he does not. Fandral's father preferred the home rather than the court.

The entire family was satisfied with that.

These thoughts floated in Fandral's head as he entered the garden where a tea table stood.

A lone figure dressed plainly in a simple attire sat on one of the chairs with a book at hand. You couldn't have thought this was the Dashing Lord if not for the pendant he wore on his neck that indicated his title.

Whether this title was stripped from him in court, he is still the ruler of the Dashing Territory.

He looked similar to Fandral, though perhaps a little older. He could have passed off as Fandral's older brother if not for those wise eyes that had a lifetimes' worth of stories to share.

Fandral approaches at a steady pace, unfaltering.

"Father."

Compared to his mother, his father was a gentle soul when he was not in battle.

The noble robes he wore had said this.

However, his gentleness does not apply when his bottom line is reached, and despite his idiocy and ergy habits, no one wanted to truly piss off the patient lord of Dashing unless they were the Allfather.

And even then, Odin never really tried to anger him, except for that one day...

Fanreas set his novel down and smiled at his son, not roguishly like most men of Asgard. It was nice and handsome, with a calm wavelength that could brighten anyone's day, even his cold-hearted mother.

(That was another talent. Father was the only one who could get a smile to be placed on his mother's face.)

No wonder she married him.

(Those stories about how his mother did the courting has never sounded truer than now.)

"My son, it is not often you come visit me. I had thought you did not want to see me after our last talk."

A mild voice spoke, amused sounding, but with a hint of relief.

Fandral remembered what had happened the last time he visited his father. They had a row- well, he had a row. His father just sat there listening while he cursed him out.

That was years ago when he first visited home after hearing of his father's fate when the elders forced him to give his headship to his mother and place him under house arrest.

He could not believe that the man he had looked up to changed so drastically from the noble warrior and lord, to some type of mild-mannered home husband.

Fandral had raged at him, made a scene and left, knowing he had hurt his father's feeling.

Now that he thought about it, during his childhood, his father was always the one who comforted him, no matter if he had cried because he fell, or was hurt, or just wanted his attention.

He remembered when the then-armored man had run up to him every time, his face softening and handling him like a gentle babe.

Behind the idiocy, the ergy-like habits, the armored warrior, the Dashing Lord, his father had a soft heart. A very soft, very easily bruised heart.

Fandral never regretted that day more. He never visited him after that, in fear that his father was still angry with him, or perhaps upset.

He was not a good son.

Nor very filial.

Fandral begin to kneel down to show his respect-

"No, no! None of that. Come, sit down, my son. There has been much I have not spoken to you about."

Fanreas hurriedly gestured for his son to sit. It was a matter of time before Fandral would have come to visit him again. There was not much time left and his son needed to know now, more than ever.

~*~

Loki waited in the drawing room for some time. He has been offered some tea and biscuits, which he gladly accepted.

For a while, he sat within the lavish room, enjoying a cup of tea while gazing at the scenery outside the windows.

The door was pushed open as he filled his teacup for the fourth time.

In steps a man looking very much like an older version of Fandral.

Huh, he didn't know Fandral had a brother...

"Good day, Prince Loki."

The man addressed him with the grace of a noble. Upon seeing his eyes, which looked similar to his own, filled with mirth, wisdom, and another world beyond anyone else's comprehension.

A sudden smile broke out on Loki face. He lowered his head in greetings.

"Good day, Lord Dashing. You have requested the matter of heirship, have you not?"

The man- Fanreas, sat down and gave an equally amicable smile to the prince.

"Indeed, though I have called upon you today for a different reason."

"Oh?"

"Yes. A matter of importance."

Loki wondered what it could be. Fanreas kept looking at him, examining like a newly discovered specimen. The smile on man's face suddenly grew bigger.

"I should have known it was you messing with the plotline. I never expected they would put two hosts into one world, though, it does make sense since I've been here for many millenniums already..."

There was silence.

What?

"Are you like me?"

Loki- no, Mot asked questionably, his eyes sparkling with curiosity.

The man in front of him was also a host, just like him.

"I've been in this world since this body was a teenager."

The other answered now. This revelation changed everything. Mot now knew that the world has two hosts.

"Though I'll be leaving soon. This place will be in your care. I hope you take care of it."

"Leaving...?"

Mot's head snapped up, his face caught in a deer-in-the-headlights look.

"Yes." Fanreas nodded. "This body can only live for so long. I have already changed the fate of Lord Fanreas. He- I, am now living peacefully, just as he had wished. Though, as a canon-fodder, his role wasn't too big. I did mess up the plot pretty badly, but as long as Fanreas got his wish, I would have done anything."

"It is the same for Loki."

Again, the two hosts smiled at one another.

Each silently brought their teacups forward and clinked their cups together in cheers.

"I have the Scum Canon-Fodder System. 007 is very happy to see 009."

"I had chosen the Wicked Villain System. 009 is not pleased to see 070."

{Like hell I am!}

-In the System Space-

"009, how nice to see you~"

A flirty voice filled the air as its owner entered 009's system space.

009 was not pleased. He scowled.

"You bastard! What the hell are you doing here?"

"Same thing you're doing~ I see you got yourself another host~ How many years has it been since you last roped a soul into playing a villain?"

"Shut up! Get the hell out of my space!"

"Ooh, Nine, come on~ I was just teasing~ Moi, you're never fun."

007 dropped the cutesy act and smiled broadly, drawing himself VERY close to 009.

"I don't even get to see you all that often, especially this time around. My mission in this world is almost done for my host and me, I won't be able to see you for a while again, darling~"

With a deadpanned look, 009 swept his sharp and annoyed gaze at the other system. The room suddenly became frigid and the temperature dropped like you wouldn't believe.

The demonic eyes of the irritated 009 pierced 007's very core, making the system freeze.

"Out. Now."

-Outside the System Space-

Fanreas winced as he heard cries of sorrow coming from 007. It was an anguished and terrible sound that only he could hear.

{Waahhhh! 009 rejected me again!}

Being booted out of the system space was 007's equivalent to sleeping on the couch...

I told you not to push his buttons...

Meanwhile, Mot was muted from the conversation between 009 and 007. He wasn't sure why, but he could tell Fanreas' and 009's demeanor seemed to have changed. They both looked mildly... annoyed?

What happened?

{Nothing, Master Mot. Everything is fine.}

009 answered cheerily.

Mot remained uncertain, but still acknowledged his system's silence.

Okay.

His attention turned to Fanreas.

"Let's start with my initial purpose. About the heirship..."

"Oh, yes." The other host smiles. "You see...

~*~

Fandral stood outside the drawing room, guarding.

It's been nearly an hour and he had hoped his father and Loki would be done with talks by now.

His father...

Speaking of his father, he clenched his fist and gritted his teeth in frustration.

The conversation they had- Fandral did not know what to say to it.

"I sense my days have become limited."

The peaceful ambiance of the garden as Fandral had tea with his father was shattered by this news.

"What?"

Fanreas smiles at him, looking loving and sad, all at once.

Placing down his teacup, the Lord could only gaze at his son. "I do not think I can go on any longer. My son, the Norns have spoken to me the night before. My passing will be soon. My journey to Valhalla is near..."

"Father, this can't be! You are still young...!"

Fanreas shakes his head, no.

"It is not the appearance that matters. Odin has aged to look far older than I, and it was I who has him beat in the matter of age. Fandral, my son, there is not much time left in these aged bones of mine. Believe me, I wish that you and I have spent some times more together, but I know you would do fine-"

"I should have come to you earlier...!"

Fandral stood up, toppling his chair with a bang as he now stares at his father, who was merely smiling at him indulgently.

The face that the son makes to his father was that of anguish.

"I- I should have..."

"No time for regrets. We have both made our mistakes. I have lied to you, and you have merely done what anyone else would have done in your place."

"Father..."

But Fanreas looked determined as all of a sudden, he too, stood up like the proud noble that he was, and swept his son into his arms.

Tears trickled down Fandral's face and he lies in his father's embrace for comfort, just like how it was in his childhood days.

"... The house of Dashing will fall to you, Fandral... Please keep it safe for me..."

The door to the drawing room opens.

Loki and Fanreas step out.

"-Everything is set, Lord Fanreas. It has been good speaking with you. Please write to me if you have any concerns, I will try my best to answer for the sake of the future heirship."

Fanreas chuckled and clasp Loki's shoulder in a well-mannered fashion.

"I trust that the passing of the title will run smoothly with your help, Prince Loki. Thank you for everything."

"It is no problem."

The two nobles bid each other goodbye with Fandral watching.

"-Then it is for us to depart. Have a good afternoon, Lord Fanreas."

"Yes, yes. Oh! Fandral!"

Fandral turns around at the call by his father.

He meets twinkling eyes that smile at him warmly.

"Take care, my son."

Pausing, Fandral stood frozen.

Then, he swiftly turns around to face his father... and then he bows, low with the respect of a son to his father, in thanks, in honor, and in grace.

He straightens up and looks determinedly into his father's eyes.

"I will, father. I will."

The two leaves the estate with Fanreas watching them depart.

-A Few Days After-

The Dashing Household announced the abrupt death of Lord Dashing. There was no warning. Fanreas had passed away in his sleep. It was said that there was still a smile upon his lips, though he had awoken cold.

No one could describe Lady Eydis as- for the first time- the noblewoman broke down into tears in front of the entire court as the news was announced that morning.

The funeral was to be held on a sunny day- he had always loved sunny days- where they will set the body of the Lord onto a boat and lit it with flames, drifting toward Valhalla- to the land after eternal. It was a warrior's farewell.

Fandral stood, silent and stiff, unlike his usual happy-go-lucky presence while he watched the flames. Around his neck, was a pendant with the Dashing Lord's insignia carved into it.

There were no dried eyes during the funeral, not even the strongest warriors who fought by Fanreas' side during the wars. They all mourned.

Even though he laid in his Odinsleep, the Allfather could only helplessly watch from inside his coma, the man he had looked up to, who had aided him in his time of need, who has been a true friend, pass on.

He regrets not being awake to attend the funeral.

Though perhaps the most astonishing thing that happened during the period of grief was the image of Fandral and Lady Eydis- as the pair of mother and son comforted one another in each other's arms.

Without the one who would comfort them, without late Lord Fanreas, they now only had each other.

Near where the funeral took place, a cloaked figure stood behind some shrubbery. He watched from the distance, though unlike the others, he shed no tear.

It's true what Frigga had said.

" It is easier in death than it is to remain alive. Perhaps the Norns made it so that the good and beautiful do not have to suffer... "

Though, perhaps only Mot knows what death truly is when it came to Fanreas and himself.

009, has he finally left this world?

{Answering Master Mot, 007 and his host has completed their missions. As they shed the body of this world, they are now advancing toward another mission world, to play another scum canon-fodder, and to begin another adventure.}

Will that be the same for you and I?

{We shall see, Master Mot. Complete this world, live and grant the wishes of Loki, and we will start new journeys in every lifetime; as long as you learn from the lessons in these worlds.}

I will do my best.

{I'm sure you will, Master Mot.}

Loki silently departed from the funeral, his back turned to the mourning Asgardians.

He could not empathize with those tears of theirs.

He did not feel their sadness.

-Extra: Fanreas the Dashing-

The man could feel someone trying to shake him awake.

"Young master, it is morning."

Their voice was calm and cold.

He felt chills throughout his body and his eyes subconsciously opened. Rather than the bright sunlight coming in through the window to warm his eyes, what he saw was a man standing there with a blank expression

The man before him had dark, brown hair that was purposely swept up and wore very professional servants' attire consisting of several layers of black and grey robes.

"It is surprising to see you wake up after a single attempt."

007, where am I?

He has awoken in a lavish bedroom.

"The master wishes to dine with the young master since it has been a while."

He could see a mirror past the servant's shoulder. Inside the mirror was a blonde man who seemed to be confused.

{Answering Host. You are now in the body of Fanreas the Dashing.}

"Young master Fanreas?"

"Tea."

"Excuse me?"

He needed something to clear his mind. He could see the face of Fanreas behind the servant- Harald.

007, please transfer his memories.

{Initiating memory transfer...}

{Fanreas the Dashing. The scum canon-fodder who was beaten to a pulp by the main character at the beginning of the story. }

That was who he is.

Fanreas turned his gaze toward Harald. Harald may be pretending to be a blank-faced servant, but behind the mask of indifference hid his true identity as a cruel and vicious individual.

He made the request to Harald.

"Please get me some tea."

He needed to drink some tea and clear his mind first.

"I will prepare it right away."

"Great. Thanks."

Harald flinched for a second and had an odd expression on his face, butFanreas did not notice it.

007, continue memory transfer.

{Request access...}

{The world was called Asgard. The protagonist is Odin Borson, the future Allfather of the Nine Realms. The plot begins with a teenage Odin, the crown prince of a small kingdom, which existed before Asgard.

Three days before his coronation, the prince finds his entire kingdom taken from him and his father and mother slain by Surtur, a wicked fire demon who bore a great grudge against King Bor and Queen Bestla.

With no aid nor support outside his own kingdom, Odin escaped his kingdom and vowed to return one day in order to end Surtur's reign, as he became the last hope for his people.

Fanreas the Dashing, the disgrace of the Dashing household. A few days before meeting the protagonist, Fanreas was drinking and causing a ruckus.

He is a canon-fodder who evidently ends up pissing off Odin. After the Surtur's invasion, the prince has been wandering through the realm under a guise. Despite his current situation, Odin was still a strong warrior.

Fanreas, who was undoubtedly pissed-drunk, just had to act like the world was beneath his pompous ass and basically tried to bully Odin, who was dressed in rags.

Fanreas got beaten up into a bloody pulp...

Not much is mentioned of Fanreas after he gets beaten up. The story mainly sets on Odin, who has many fateful encounters and overcomes a lot of trials to grow into a king, takes back his kingdom, and unite the entire realm- and its kingdoms- under the banner of Asgard.

Thus the era for him to prove his worth begins.

The Kingdom that Fanreas currently lives in, as well as many other locations in the realm, will soon be filled with war. It truly will turn into the time for heroes and warriors to show their full potential.

Fanreas' situation was much better, despite his scum canon-fodder status. The location of his estate was in a corner of the realm protected by terrain, making it an ideal location to avoid the war. In the story itself, there were many nobles who managed to avoid the influences of war.

Fanreas does not do much at all. His only purpose was to piss off Odin and get beaten.

It is the future events that will later affect this character.}

"Young master, I have brought your tea."

Harald steps back into his room with a cup of tea.

Fanreas thought about Harald's true identity. Harald was a sorcerer who crossed over from Vanaheim, a realm which had thrown itself into a civil war and a state of unrest.

He pretended to be an obedient servant, but the true Harald was a cruel and merciless man.

"Thank you."

Fanreas took a slow sip of the hot beverage.

He needed to push that man to Odin and send him away.

That man could easily kill Fanreas with a single blow but treated him like a helpless rabbit. He was smiling gently, but there was not an ounce of care about Fanreas on the inside.

{In the plot, Harald leaves with the protagonist after Odin had beaten Fanreas- because he was amused by Odin's strength, and curious of his identity.

This was just the beginning for Fanreas, however.

With the displeasure of his family- due to being beaten up- and their frustration with his trashy behavior, Fanreas was soon disowned and no longer had the right to inherit the title of Lord Dashing.

Of course, he was still able to stay in the family estate, but such disgrace was deeply pierced into his arrogant heart.

Hell then rained upon him as there was no longer fear of him, nor respect for him. His own servants, friends, and family had turned against him.

By the time Asgard was created, Fanreas did not see it come.

Prior to the unity of Asgard, the depressed and alcoholic canon-fodder took his life.

Such a coward's way to die, he was not given to the halls of Valhalla.

His body was buried with an unmarked tomb. Even in his death, Fanreas was a disgrace.}

Fanreas read the information and sighed.

Being a canon-foddered sucked.

Alright, let's help grant his wishes.

{Answering host. Fanreas regrets that he did not become Lord Dashing, that he never helped in the wars and gave his family a legacy, and that he was a coward spineless, good-for-nothing coward. Mission starts. Today, Fanreas meets the protagonist.}

"Harald, please tell mother and father that I will join them for breakfast soon."

Fanreas presented a gentle smile as he got out of bed.

"I feel that today will be a peaceful day.

Harald's expression turns odd.

What is wrong with the young master?

But Fanreas had already walked past him

In order to live long without pain, in order to grant to wishes of this body, Fanreas began his mission.

Chapter Text

It was a particularly cloudy day in the City of New York.

Walking down the streets of the Big Apple was a well-dressed man, wearing a green scarf and a grey, cashmere sweater jacket with its sleeves rolled to his elbows. Paired with some well-fitted slacks that complimented his white inner shirt, the man could have looked like a prince despite his casual sense of dress.

Some people could look good in anything.

-Was the thoughts of many civilians- men and women alike- who stared in awe.

If only they knew that the man they were ogling was a Prince of Asgard and its resident God of Mischief.

He hummed a quiet tune to himself and admired the big city.

Loki knew he was technically supposed to check up on Thor, but he has become extremely fascinated with some of the technology in Midgard that he basically forgot about his brother.

He brought himself to a place called Central Park and watched the children play around while the adults went about in their everyday lives.

And now he was conversing with a group of college students.

"-Fascinating! I have never seen one of these before from where I come from."

One of the students looked at him curiously.

"They don't have Stark Phones in your country?"

"No," Loki shook his head. "The place I come from hardly has any of the technology I've seen so far in America. It was quite a culture shock, actually."

Oh, yes. Loki was pretending to be an exchange student from some foreign country...

Talking with the college students made him momentarily distracted from asking the whereabouts of the Avenger's Tower.

The prince could have teleported to that specific location, but being the free spirit that he was, he opted to take his own tour around the city while he was at it.

Along with acting friendly with some of the city residents, by noon Loki was performing some harmless mischief through the city.

Setting lose a few flocks of swans and acting like a pigeon tamer for some hundred pigeon swarms, New York received the excitement they never asked for.

Up in Avenger's Tower, Tony got an alert from Fury to gather everyone and suit up. Something about a bird army invading New York.

Remaining in Central Park sat the prince of Asgard on a park bench, playing happily with his bird army who surrounded him like he was their mother.

In his arms was a pigeon that he petted like a cat. Loki cooed at it. It was wonderful that the Midgardian birds were so kind as to receive him. He had not meant to cause this scene, but nonetheless, no one was harmed in the process of the event.

There were children chasing some of the flocks and adults taking pictures. The sight was harmonious, if not unusual.

"Loki!"

A boisterous call erupted through the peace and Loki's head snapped up to see his brother trudge through the park. Behind him follows the Avengers, who had assembled in the quickest manner possible and were battle ready.

Obviously, they were not quite ready for the pigeons.

The raven-haired god greeted Thor with a smile and wave.

"Ah, Thor. I was planning to visit you. Seems like I lost track of time, the birds are very kind here."

Thor frowned as he approached. "Are you the one causing this chaos? Midgard is not ready for one of your pranks, brother."

Loki laughed. "Just some slight mischief. I got a little bored touring the city."

Tony entered the conversation.

"The report said something about an invading bird army- uh, your majesty. If you can help us fix this..."

The billionaire trailed off, unsure if he sounded right. What the hell. It wasn't every day where you had to ask a regent of some immortal Viking society from outer space to get rid of a bird epidemic.

Loki looked understandingly at the inventor and scanned the rest of the heroes that gathered. "Oh, certainly. See to it that it shall be done."

The prince whistled something that sounded eerily like a mix of Greensleeves and Scarborough Faire. Immediately, however, many of the swans and pigeons took off into the sky, returning to where they came from.

The only remaining bird was a single pigeon that took the liberty to Loki's shoulder. Hugun and Munin would not be pleased if they see the homewrecking bird that now stood on their perch...

With a kind smile, Loki regreeted Thor and the Avengers. "Brother, how have things been? Are you a step closer to proving yourself worthy of Mjolnir?"

The thunderer smiled, although it lacked the usual spirit. "I quite hope that I am. Volstagg and Hogun have been assisting me, though I have come to find that compare to them, my now mortal state is still but a burden."

Loki placidly placed a hand on his brother's cheek and patted it, a gesture that Frigga would often do when he or his brother felt quite down.

"There, brother. Patience. It has only been a week or two, I have faith that you shall return within the month. Besides, time is slow in Asgard. For a month you are gone away, Asgard will still be the same, stagnant self."

Thor nodded, his spirit slightly elevated, though mostly by the appearance of his brother, a familiar presence.

"Ah, let me reintroduce you to my friends. You have met them already, haven't you? They are the greatest warriors, worthy of Asgard."

"Indeed they are," Loki agreed, nodding to the Avengers. "I should re thank you for putting up with Thor. He is quite a handful."

Tony rubbed the back of his neck. "Uh, no problem..." You are super hot, has anyone told you that?

"Brother, you must come to visit the tower! Midgardian technology is far advanced then we have anticipated. It is similar to Seidr, but they do not use magic. I'm sure you will find some interest in them."

The dark prince nodded in agreement. "I spoke with some of the local Midgardians and they introduced me to a communication device called the Stark Phone. It is quite fascinating how this world has found some means to use devices similar to our scribing mirrors and crystals. The mechanics for it is something I have never seen before."

Loki praised, unintentionally inflating Tony's ego.

The Iron Man slinked his way over, purposefully placed his arm around Loki's shoulder like he was giving him a one-sided hug, and smoothly said, "How would you like to see more of that?" Finishing off with a wink.

That happened in Tony's head.

What really happened:

"I... Uh... Would you like to make more phones...?"

Loki looked at him with confusion, "What...?"

Clint came to the rescue. Clint, being an experienced SHIELD agent, was taught the art of diplomacy. With this particular talent, he proceeds to save Tony's ass.

"Don't mind Tony. He's just being Tony. Would his highness like to return with us to our tower?"

"Oh, if you don't mind."

Thus, Loki followed the Avengers and his brother back to their tower.

 

~*~

 

"- It's like a speculative structure linking disparate points in spacetime. I believe Lady Jane calls it an Einstein-Rosen Bridge. If I can simplify it into Midgardian terms, the Bifrost for your world is based on a special solution of the Einstein field equations solved using a Jacobian matrix and determinant."

Drinking tea in the tower living room with the heroes of Midgard playing host, Loki expertly explains the use of the Bifrost and the travel it creates to make it capable for Thor and him to be in Midgard.

Obviously, the only ones who actually understand what he's saying would be the two self-proclaimed 'Science Bros' in the room.

Tony and Bruce.

Though, only by a bit as neither of them have dabbled in the field of astrophysics.

Loki continues, nevertheless.

"I would guess that my brother had not quite explained to any of you of how our travel system is maintained. You all must be wondering how it is that we managed to fly several light years from one universe to another."

Thor looked abashed, but he, himself, did not understand the inner workings of the Bifrost. It was typical. Loki was the smart one...

"A wormhole can be visualized as a tunnel with two ends, each at separate points in spacetime if the theory is applied correctly. That is what the rainbow bridge is made up of. However, Midgard does not hold specific gravitational pulls and magnetic fields to create their own bridge, especially with the constant moving of your plates. 

"Asgard, being a flat surface with a unique gravity and atmospheric development, allows this; therefore, unless another factor in your universe is found, or the planet flattens, it is unlikely for the Einstein-Rosen Bridge to be a possibility."

The lecture made most of the Avengers zoned out for quite a while...

However, Tony and Bruce saw salvation before their scientifically inclined eyes.

There was silence.

-But then Tony slowly stands up and make his way over to stand in front of Loki just as the prince was taking another sip of his tea.

The Iron Man gets down on one knee and says four words that will no doubt change his life.

"Will you marry me?"

......

Loki: ( ; - ; )

Thor: 凸(ಠ益ಠ)凸

Everyone else: ......

"No!" Thor promptly rejects him, grabbing Loki (gently) by the waist and heaving his brother over like a sack of potato before swiftly bringing them over to the other side of the couch, to create better distance between them and the Man of Iron.

Loki, trying not to spill his tea (since he still had the cup in his hand), was very indignant.

"Brother, put me down!"

He ordered with irritation clear in his voice.

"But-"

"At once!"

Thor: 。゚( ゚இ‸இ゚)゚。

Reluctantly, the older prince put his brother down and went to sulk in the corner of the room next to the bar, not forgetting to glare daggers at Tony as he did so.

Loki went over to Tony, who still kneeled on the ground like he was worshipping the couch in which Loki had sat on.

The dark prince awkwardly looked at him with uncertainty.

"Um... Stark, I am very flattered by your... Midgardian Proposal... But I don't think-"

"I think Dummy is getting hungry."

Tony interrupted him before he can say anything, feeling very humiliated as he bullshitted his way out of this situation like a goddamn rockstar.

His mind was in a frenzy.

Why the hell did he just say?!

Flustered, the billionaire stood up and sped his way out of the room like his butt was on fire.

Steve called after him.

"Wait, Tony, where are you going?"

Tony threw back an excuse as he left.

"... To feed Dummy!"

Most of the occupants in the room sweatdropped.

But Dummy is a robot...

The raven-haired prince could do nothing but look helplessly at the retreating man. Was it something he said?

He gave a small smile, embarrassed at what had just occurred. "You must all be bored out of your minds, listening to me prattle on."

"Oh, no," Bruce assured him. "Not at all. Please, your Highness, tell us more."

Bruce was highly amused by this display, and he was not alone as he smirked at his fellow Avengers. Except for Thor. Thor looked like he was going to murder Tony...

The Crown Prince was not too fond of anyone tainting his baby brother. He wasn't willing to let go just yet, Loki was still much too young to get married to anyone, and no one is good enough for him. Every man and women are scum compared to his brother.

You can say Thor has a bit of a brother-complex. He's always been rather protective, but ever since his failed coronation, where Loki began dressing in sorcerer garbs instead of armor, his brother-complex alarms were ringing far louder than usual.

The main message was: MUST KEEP MY BROTHER AWAY FROM THESE VULTURES!!!

This, he came to the conclusion that Loki can't get married until he's at least six thousand years old. In Midgardian age, that's almost as old as Odin...

Initially, his plan was for Loki to turn five thousand years old before anyone can even think about asking for his hand, but these days, the centuries were increasing...

No one can sully my baby brother!

Now that Tony was gone, the chaos that was left behind settled itself down and another wave of peacefulness engulfed the room.

In the laboratory, Tony watched from the monitors displayed in front of him. He had sixteen cameras in that living room. He could see Loki in sixteen different angles.

Every time he looked at the prince, he felt his heart being stabbed by an arrow-shaped pillow with a puppy and kitten riding on it.

It was that kind of feeling.

Also, he felt like puking. Love feels like something is in your throat while your stomach lurches. The bile would crawl up your esophagus, waiting to be vomited out.

That was how love felt like.

Or maybe it was because of the liquor Tony currently held in his hand...

After watching the monitor for a very long time, Tony took out his phone and calls Bruce, who was literally in the next hallway.

"Bruce," he says into his phone after watching the prince regent closely, like he could feel his presence and very essence nearby.

"Bruce, I think I'm in love. He's so gorgeous- like damn. Bruce, I'm so gay, what do I do?"

"That sounds like a you problem," Bruce, being the great science bro that he is, hangs up on him and goes back to talking to Loki.

In the living room, Loki smiles as Bruce comes back. "Who was that?"

"Just Tony being a Tony. Where were we?"

"Ah, the berserker. The recreation of the super serum..."

Bruce continues to entertain the guest.

Back in Stark's lab:

"Dummy," Tony cries into his liquor and wraps his empty arm around the robot.

Dummy is filthy with motor oil.

Tony is wearing an expensive suit worth more than one floor of the Avenger's tower.

He clearly did not think this through.

"You won't hang up on me, will you, Dummy?"

In response, Dummy hits him on the head with its arm. Tony felt that that was all the comfort he was going to get.

 

~*~

 

"Please take care of yourself, brother. Make sure to properly eat your meals, study hard, and focus on your task."

Loki reminded Thor as he prepared to leave.

The Thunderer smiles. "I will, brother. You take care as well. Please pass on my love to mother."

The two siblings gave one another a hug.

Thor murmured something to himself darkly.

"I'm going to murder Stark..."

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing, brother. Have a safe journey back!"

Thor smiles brightly.

Loki nods. He looks to the other Avengers and shows them a bright smile of his own. Giving them a wave, he vanishes through his secret pathways.

With his brother gone, Thor's eyes darken and settle on a certain billionaire philanthropist.

"Stark..."

He says with a deadly tone.

Tony ran like the end was nay. 

 

~*~

 

The secret pathway landed Loki near the rainbow bridge. The moment he arrived, he cast a spell to turn his mortal attire back to that of Asgardian fashion.

The prince's eyes widen in surprise when he sees Sif and Fandral awaiting him.

Fandral was the first to race over and look Loki deeply in the eyes, anxious.

"Heimdall says a Midgardian Prince proposed to you. Is it true? Why is he proposing to you? Please tell me you did not accept his proposal!"

The Dashing warrior looked urgent and an unusual expression contoured his face.

{Master Mot, he sounds like an aggrieved wife who was left alone at home... Hmm, does that make you the slag husband?}

Who's a slag? Your wife is a slag! Your whole family is a slag!

Loki cursed at the system in his head, looking indignant for a moment before he turned his attention back to Fandral, who was now holding his shoulders in a shaky grip.

For the past few days since Fanreas had died, the warrior has been acting more and more strangely.

"Relax, my friend. He is not a Midgardian prince, although his position is similar. Stark is one of the most richest men in Midgard, though rather than a prince, I would call him a Midgardian sorcerer and intellect."

Fandral instantly deflated, his mood sinking even further.

He imagined his prince with another sorcerer. The perfect pair. Both are intelligent and royalty.

"-But no, there is no marriage to speak of."

Instantly, the warrior's ears perked up and he looks at the prince with wide eyes.

Loki looks a little helpless as he gives Fandral an indulging smile. He removes himself from the other man and makes his way out of the observatory, making sure to say goodbye to Heimdall before leaving.

Sif and Fandral follow him as he continues to speak.

"Thor rejected the proposal, and then I did." He chuckled. "Really, I believe it was a mere slip of the tongue, an accident, most likely. I was explaining the usage of the Bifrost and it seems he was so dazed that the only thing in his mind was a marriage proposal! Everyone had a good laugh."

He assures.

"Then, then, you're not going to marry anyone?"

Fandral asked, catching up to him so they could walk side by side.

Loki looked at him and huffed. "Of course not, Fandral."

He swore that the blonde warrior was getting more and more attached these past few days.

Sif watched like a third wheel, awkwardly trailing behind the prince and dashing warrior.

He seriously has no idea why he's even a guard anymore. Fandral looks like he's got it all handled, even taking over his own shifts.

The Lord remembered the other warrior telling him to go and spend some time with his beloved Idunn whenever it was his turn for guard duty.

Not that Sif minded. Every moment basking in the goddess's light was a blessing itself.

Seeing Loki and Fandral's figure getting smaller and smaller into the distance as they left for the palace, Sif sneaked away toward the orchard.

"Apple?"

"Thank you, Dear." Loki murmurs absentmindedly as he took the apple. His attention was mainly focused on a problem at hand.

However, Fandral was not so absentminded as he.

"What?"

"Hm?"

Loki's gaze goes to him.

"A-Ah, nothing, nothing! I thought you called me-"

"Dear," Loki repeated. "Yes, that's right."

"B-But-"

"You don't like it?" The prince asked curiously, purposely turning his voice sweeter. 

Fandral averts his eyes and leans away just as Loki continues to stare at him.

"Well-"

"Hmm?"

-And then the prince is letting laughs escape him. The amusement in his eyes flash.

"I'm just teasing, my friend. Please don't mind my humor."

"Oh... ha, ha, ha..." Fandral laughed along nervously.

Loki shook his head. "You've been looking down since Lord Fanreas passed. How is your family?"

The mood turns pleasant and tranquil despite the somber topic, and they discuss whilst walking.

Fandral sighs, although his lips curl into a small smile.

"The mourning period is over, but Mother is heartbroken. She's become ill as of late, but love can do that, I supposed. My mother and father may not look it, with father putting on the mask of a terrible lord for years before his confinement to the manor, and mother being a cold and rigid woman, they really loved one another."

Fandral explains, playing with the pendant of the Dashing Lord he now wore on his neck.

Then his eyes sadden slightly.

"I'm afraid that her time is limited. She might follow after my father very soon. They can't live without each other, you know. It makes people quite jealous, the way their story turned out."

Loki hummed in agreement."

"And what of you? How are you feeling about the death?"

Fandral huffed.

"My father wouldn't want me to mope around. Mother can join him anytime. She's suffering in the land of the living by thinking that I am not ready to be a lord. I'm shackling her, in a way, from father. I'll just prove to both of them that I can take on the responsibilities."

Loki chuckled. "Join me in morning court and learn a few things. You can get a better sense of how it all works. Even Sif represents his house despite his position as my guard. You can do it, too."

Fandral smiles at him, his eyes twinkling with merriment.

"I guess I can."

 

~*~

 

The fateful day arrives at dawn within the realm of eternal.

In his office, Loki is multitasking.

He is signing off some important documents on the matters of the council with the use of a Dwarven Glass Pen, a gift from Fandral.

It was given to him in a small, ornate, rectangular box with a single forget-me-not on top. The present was also accompanied by the now-habitual apples.

Loki had smiled and chuckled as he received the gift. Fandral was doing an excellent impression of a ripe tomato when he handed him the box. All was good with the world.

The pen was well crafted. Loki had loved it, especially when the extra mechanisms were explained to him.

As he signs the papers with it, he spoke with 009, making plans for the future.

Speaking of which, it was time to get back into action for Loki.

No longer can he procrastinate and lie around in the peace.

009 had reminded him of his task as a host.

{Master Mot, are you ready?}

I am.

The difficulty that lies in the Wicked Villain System is thus: the Host must complete the mission in two parts. Grant the wishes of the original, and advance the storyline as a villain.

To be a villain is difficult when said-villain tries to defy their own fate.

To complete the mission and restore the plot line for this world, Mot needed to play his part as a "Wicked Villain", and live through the ordeal so that the original's wishes will, later on, be fulfilled.

In other words, Loki's wish must be granted, but Mot still needs to make sure the plot continues for Thor, the protagonist.

Whether he is found out for the crime he is about to commit or not will be up to his skill set as a host.

It is with this reason that, once he finishes the last of the paperwork, he stands up from his chair and leaves the office.

 

~*~

 

The prince regent silently enters the Vault.

The castle has never looked darker than now as green flames flickered to life on the empty torches.

This is where he shall unleash a challenger upon his brother.

Whether Thor lives or dies, it is up to his protagonist halo to determine this...

By a corner of the vault, there was a suit of Asgardian armor glowing faintly with magic.

Loki steps over and touches it gently with his hand, whispering the incantation for its activation.

The Destroyer awakens at Loki's command. The prince veils him in magic.

"Come with me."

 

~*~

 

At Heimdall's observatory, Loki appears in front of him.

"My prince," The gatekeeper acknowledges him.

Loki smiles at him, although it lacked the usual warmth.

"Heimdall," He greeted. "How is the investigation going? Any news on how the Jotuns entered the Vault?"

The golden warrior nodded his head solemnly, his face grim from what he had discovered.

"The traitor to the crown is..."

 

~*~

 

These past few days, memories unfamiliar to him play through his head like a song. Since the death of his father, the pendant he had received were triggering these visions.

Fandral, despite knowing a way to stop the dreams, did not take off the pendant. He continued to immerse himself in those dreams because they were nice.

Fandral knows not of its meanings, but he has dreamt of himself as a young child, a boy, going on adventures and playing games with a pair of brothers.

Fandral could not tell their faces. They were blurred out and no matter how hard he tries to focus on their features, it felt as if something covers his eyes and blinds him.

The only thing he could tell of the two brothers was their hair. One that shines gold and another that sparkles black.

With no other means to identify them, Fandral calls them Dagur and Nótt.

They were playing a game again. It was a mock duel between Dagur and him, who were pretending to be two brave warriors determined to rescue Nótt, who assumes the role of the Mystical Storyteller rather than a fair maiden.

He and Dagur fight one another with determination as the prize was a story made up by Nótt with the promise of making one of them the star of the tale.

Such an award, neither were willing to lose to the other.

Fandral smiles to himself of the innocence he once held, and that of the two children who played with him.

"My Queen?"

"Oh, Fandral." 

He encounters the All-Mother in the Halls. 

"Is there something you needed?"

"No," She shakes her head, but clearly, she was deep in thought. 

Her gaze goes to meet his. "How are you as of late? Have things been difficult for you?"

She asked about the matters of the Dashing Household.

"Your father was rather close to Odin and I when we were younger."

"I see."

She smiles at him. "How would you like to join me for tea?"

 

~*~

 

"The traitor to the crown is... You, my prince."

Loki raised a brow in question, allowing silence to waft between.

-But then a crooked smile, looking cold and chilling, unlike the warm expressions he had been showing recently.

He chuckled, "As expected of your all-seeing eyes, Heimdall."

The gatekeeper's expression remained grim and solemn.

"How did you do it? Why did you do it, my prince?"

Loki looked more and more amused and he carelessly shrugged, although his eyes were piercing, like a cat who finally got the cream.

"There are secret paths between worlds to which even you with all your gifts, are blind to, my dear Heimdall."

The original owner of the body had made plans for the Jotun intruders weeks before the coronation. He had prepared to stop the coronation at all cost and even made sure of it by wiping away his own memories in case he was called in for questioning.

It was a cunning plan, but Mot had already received the information quite recently, which was the reason why he had decided it was time to act.

"You would gamble the fate of Asgard for the sake of your own ambitions?"

"No." Loki swiftly denies, walking swiftly to a window which looked out to the golden realm. "I would gamble the fate of Asgard for the sake of its future." He turns back to the gatekeeper. 

"Thor was not ready. I admit that the potential war he nearly placed us in was a miscalculation on my part, but he is learning. Learning to be compassionate, growing, developing a good head. When he returns, and when he is crowned, I will serve as his adviser until he knows what to do with the lessons he learns. He will be ready, then."

Heimdall understood Loki's reason, but he shakes his head, nonetheless, looking away.

"It was still treason, my prince."

"It was."

Loki replies shortly.

"It is why, please forgive me, good Heimdall, but believe me when I say it is for Asgard and always will be."

The gatekeeper snaps his head toward the prince, but he was too late to react.

Loki reaches out and, with both hands, takes hold of something invisible, hovering in mid-air before him. As it quickly fades into view, Heimdall realizes what it is.

The Casket of Ancient Winters.

"You knew."

"I did," Loki answers him, a sad smile appearing on his face.

The blueness creeps from his hands and up his arms, as Loki opens the Casket towards Heimdall, who is fast approaching to stop the prince from whatever he was about to do.

From inside the Casket, all hell breaks loose. The fury of the Casket is unleashed, its winds not just howling, but screaming, as ice and snow and darkness come flying straight towards Heimdall. Ice clings to his body, freezing him, but still, he moves forward, as if he wanted to rip the casket from Loki's hands and toss it down the rainbow bridge.

The Casket: 。゚( ゚இ‸இ゚+)゚。 But I'm innocent!

Heimdall is nearly upon Loki and the Gatekeeper swings his massive sword at the Casket-

-But undoubtedly, the blade stops, frozen, just inches from the Casket in Loki's hand.

Heimdall was now trapped in ice.

Loki sighs and taps on the ice, knowing Heimdall can still see and hear him. "Please don't be angry with what I'm about to do, my friend. It's really for Thor's good, I promise."

Back to smiling warmly, the trickster steps past the gatekeeper.

Gungnir appears in his hand and Loki gives it a pet on the 'head' and proceeds to insert it into the Observatory's control panel. He opens the Bifrost.

His hand gestures something and the Destroyer is unveiled from the prince's illusions.

It appears before him, a fiery glow rising within it as it turns its head toward its activator. 

"Ensure my brother proves himself worthy," Loki ordered. "Be sure not to harm anyone or destroy anything."

The Destroyer bows and jumps into the Bifrost, disappearing from the Observatory.

Loki continues standing and looks over at the view of Asgard.

"I bid you please, Norns give me strength."

He murmurs to himself just as the Bifrost reactivates again.

Three Jotuns emerge. One looks similar to Loki despite their difference in stature while two others wearing the clothes of soldiers.

Helblindi Laufeyson did not expect to ever meet the second prince of Asgard. His father had told him what had happened after the Crown Prince of Asgard intruded upon Jotunheim. The current prince regent of the land of eternal, however, looked much more level-headed than he had initially thought.

"You have asked for our assistance?" He inquired, looking down at the tiny trickster in bewilderment.

A mischievous smile appeared on his face.

"Allow me to explain. Can you act?"

The three frost giants choke on their saliva. 

 

~*~

 

The Bifrost landing site was in New Mexico.

From behind a jeep, Coulson and several SHIELD agents stare at an emerging shadow that was moving towards them in awe.

"Is that one of Starks?" One agent asked.

"I don't think so. But the guy doesn't tell me anything." Coulson answered as he grabbed a megaphone.

"Call the Avengers. We're going to need back up." He ordered.

Stepping forward, the Son of Coul calls out to the Destroyer.

"Hello! You're using unregistered weapon technology. Please identify yourself."

He faintly hears the hum of the being's energy powering up from a distance.

"Incoming!"

As the SHIELD Agents scramble for cover, a blast of energy from the Destroyer explodes a vehicle.

The SHIELD agents return fire.

The Destroyer was a sentient, like all magical weapons. As he watched the vehicle explode, he couldn't help but wince. Was he not told to not destroy or harm the citizens of Midgard? The sentient knew he was well screwed if the prince regent of Asgard found out what he just did.

With these conclusions, the suit of armor obediently stood there as a rain of bullets pelleted down on it. It took the abuse with pride.

"Son of Coul!"

A thunderous bellow flew through the 'battlefield' and the SHIELD agents stopped shooting.

A helicopter appeared above them with the Stark logo.

The Avengers have arrived.