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The Lost Prince of Jotunheim

Chapter Text

So this was considered as Odin's mercy was it?

Loki looked around bitterly at the cold and bleak expanse of Jotunheim where the Allfather, in his so called mercy, has deemed Loki is to spend the rest of his days until he repented.

Might as well be for life.

The Allfather had emphasized that once Loki was truly repentant of all his actions and learned some humility he would be welcomed back to Asgard with open arms by his family.

Lies.

All of it.

Loki had never been welcomed on Asgard, even back when it was believed by all that he was a prince of Asgard and the second son of Odin and Frigga. And he had no family to welcome back. Odin was never his father but the man who took a seemingly abandoned infant, considered a runt by other Frost Giants, to serve his own political purposes. Whatever those were. Thor, the brutish oaf and crown prince and heir apparent to throne, was never his brother. And Frigga was never...

No.

No matter how angry and betrayed Loki felt once he learned the truth of his heritage he could never be angry with her. Or hate her. No matter what Frigga was still his mother. But even she wasn't enough of a motive for Loki to want to return to Asgard.

Loki looked around his surroundings, still able to see signs of the destruction he himself had committed when he had opened the Bifrost in hopes of destroying this monstrous race.

No doubt they hated him here. The runt son of King Laufey. Left to die only to be taken in as the second son of Odin, their greatest enemy, and attempting to wipe them all out. Perhaps they'll want to kill Loki. Surely that's what Odin meant to happen to him when he seen him here. He would never execute Loki himself and risk angering Frigga, for if anyone where to mourn him it'll be his mother. 

"Well," Loki said out loud to himself,  wanting to be heard over the strong winds that were gathering around him, "perhaps that wouldn't be such a terrible outcome."

□■□■

Two years later

 

Once the Bifrost had deposited the large group off on Jotunheim Thor couldn't help the twist of guilt and regret in his stomach. If he hadn't marched into Jotunheim all those years ago, wanting to start a war, his brother would still be by his side and he wouldn't have fallen into a deep pit of darkness. Loki never would have learned, in such a surprising way, that not only was he adopted but a Frost Giant himself who had been cruelly abandoned. Loki never would have doubted his place in their family, or their love, and try to win their father's acceptance by seeking to destroy the world that had turned it's back on him. Loki never would have let go only to end up on Midgard and seek to rule the inhabitants with force only to be brought back to Asgard and banished to Jotunheim where he was lost to Thor.

His father had told him he was not allowed to contact Loki or try to sneak him out of Jotunheim. That Loki had a lesson to learn and perhaps the only way he would learn it was to see that Frost Giants, and himself, were not the monsters Loki believed them to be or that Asgardians believed and were taught.

Perhaps they never should have been taught that in the first place, Thor thought to himself as he looked around to the Avengers. He, Sif, and the Warriors Three had already traveled to Jotunheim before so they were all prepared for the cold and dressed for it. Though Thor doubt his friends from Earth truly believed him when he had warned them just how cold it would be and found himself amused when he noticed Tony and Clint shivering from the cold.

"You were both warned." Thor reminded them both before he set off, leading towards where he hoped they would find his brother. Heimdall had assured him that Loki was still very much alive, he just couldn't see him. It was disconcerting. Either Loki was being kept where even Heimdall could not see him or he was too angry at their father to let himself be seen, even if he was in danger and needed help. Surely Loki didn't think that he had been completely abandoned and that their father wouldn't send help should Loki be in danger. And even if he did think that he should at least believe that Thor would come to his aid.

"Is it always this cold?" Tony grumbled loudly as they all followed Thor.

"We did warn you when we fetched you all from Midgard to dress for the cold." The woman who had introduced herself as Lady Sif turned to scowl at Tony who did his best to keep a straight face when all he wanted to do was mock her. But he knew better then to annoy a warrior like her. It was clear that she was taking this whole thing serious.

"No one said this cold," Clint pointed out, he was only wearing a somewhat thick jacket but it was clearly not enough. "How could is this place anyways?"

"Colder then that area you call Antarctica back on Earth." Thor answered him and Tony let out a low whistle, turning to see how Bruce took that bit of information and could see the scientist in him wanting to know more and possibly have a closer look around. But time was of the essence and even Thor didn't seem in the mood to humor his earth friends. Then again from what they all heard this would be the first time in these past two years that Thor would be seeing his brother as he didn't even know much of what or how he was doing. Though Thor did also seemed to be the only one concerned. Lady Sif clearly thought asking Loki for help was unwise and didn't seem that concerned about what shape he was in, despite the fact that Loki was one of the princes of Asgard she was meant to protect. As for the Warriors Three... they all seemed to be somewhat curious, well it was hard to read the grim faced one, but Tony could see a hint of worry in the other two. 

As for himself and his fellow Avengers it was still unclear just why Loki's help was needed and if he could even be trusted after what he did to New York. But Thor had insisted.

"There's something up ahead." Natasha suddenly spoke up, just loud enough for the other Avengers to hear her. Steve noticed too. "Looks like a fortress, or maybe it's meant to be a castle." None of the Avengers saw anything strange about it, in fact they all saw it as a good sign. Even though the majority of them had dressed better for the cold then either Tony or Clint they were all looking forward to the shelter from what looked like a large upcoming storm. But they noticed the slight surprised looks on the warriors faces and heard the Lady Sif say to Thor that the castle looked to be in better shape. Thor did mention that his people had fought a war with the inhabitants of this planet, he hadn't said anything about how bad it had been. But judging by Sif's and the warrior's expressions the castle must have been in much too bad a state.

"Maybe Loki is the cause.." Thor wondered out loud.

"I can't see Loki helping," the blonde warrior, Fandral, spoke up, "he hates the Jotuns even more after finding out he was one." Thor said nothing to that but quickened his pace. Loki was behind this, that he knew. Surely that meant that Loki was well and safe.

"Hold on," Steve called out, stopping the other Avengers from going any further. "There's something moving up ahead."

At these words Sif and the Warriors Three pulled out their weapons, preparing for a possible ambush and fight. In the distance they could make out two large figures slowly approaching them and a smaller figure standing in between them. They didn't seem to be moving with much haste, they seemed rather calm, and as they moved closer Thor caught sight of a shimmery piece of gold and he loosened his grip on Mjolnir as he bellowed out, "Loki!"

The others stared at him but Thor paid them no mind as he waited for that smaller figure to come closer before moving out to meet him, ignoring Sif's hiss to be careful. It didn't matter what Loki had done. That last they saw each other they had fought. Loki was still his little brother and Thor wanted nothing more then to set eyes on him once again. Once he did he slowed until he came to a stop. Loki looked... different.

It wasn't just the blue skin, the lines across Loki's body, or the red eyes. Thor knew what Loki was and half expected to see Loki donning his natural skin as it would no doubt make it easier for him to live here these past two years. What did catch him by surprise was Loki's overall look. His hair was certainly longer and Loki no longer seemed to care about slicking it back but simply let it fall into its natural waviness. That was odd. Loki had hated how soft his hair seemed to make him look which was why he wore it short and oiled it back. Loki was also simply dressed in tight black trousers and he had a billowy white fabric tied around his waist that resembled the loincloths the other two Frost Giants wore but still far too flowy and slightly longer. His torso and arms were completely bare and he was covered in golden jewelry. This was not the Loki he knew.

Loki and the other two Jotuns were finally close enough and Thor watched Loki closely. Seeing the way his eyes widened slightly in surprise before schooling them back into an indifferent expression as he took in the large group behind Thor. He watched as Loki stood a little taller, clearly intent in making it clear that he did not care that the majority of the people who were here did not like him. He simply wore a haughty look on his face and held himself with pride and Thor couldn't help but smile. That was still his brother.

"Odinson." Loki sneered and Thor's smile fell slightly. Right. So perhaps Loki was still mad. "What brings you here and why the large entourage? Surely I have done nothing wrong in these past two years that will require that kind of escort? Surely Sif and her lovely glare will be more then enough. And if not there's always Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg. They're always trailing behind you even if it means betraying Asgard's king. Then again, they only seem willing to follow you."

"We are not here to blame you for anything, brother," one of the Jotuns that had accompanied Loki made a sound of anger and dismissal and made as if to move towards Thor but Loki placed a calming hand on his arm and he settled back. Thor turned and saw Sif and the others, minus the Avengers, moving closer and he held up his own arm to hold them back. None of them were pleased by this, especially Sif, but they fell back nonetheless. "We've come to ask for your help." Thor continued as if nothing happened, though keeping a close eye on the Jotun who had moved out of the corner of his eye. Still focusing on Loki.

Loki let out a low laugh. "You've got to be joking." Loki said in between laughs. "You come here, to Jotunheim, where I had been banished to by your father for two years with no contact from any of my so called family, not even a letter! And now you come to ask me for help? Why would I help you, Thor? What could you possibly need my help for that you would even come looking for me with them?" Loki nodded his chin towards Sif, the Warriors Three, and the Avengers and Thor let out a long sigh. This was something he did not want to tell Loki in front of so many but he also knew it might be the only way to get Loki to agree to help.

"Mother is dead."

Chapter Text

There was nothing but the eerie sound of the cold wind blowing around them all after Thor gave Loki the news about their mother and they all watched him carefully. Loki seemed to be in shock, his eyes were wide and seemingly staring at nothing.

"Loki?" Thor took a step towards Loki, extending his arm out as if to pull him close, only for the two Jotuns to growl low in their throats at him and attempt to pull Loki behind them both.

"Don't you dare, Asgardian." The taller of the two hissed at Thor, unmistakable hatred in his red eyes.

Thor glared back just as fiercely, letting his empty arm fall but lifting the one holding Mjolnir higher. "He's my brother!" He shouted, hating these two random Jotuns who felt the need, the right, to constantly keep Thor away from his brother.

"What happened?" Loki interrupted what seemed to be an impending fight between Thor and the Jotuns, though not seeming particularly worried about it. He slipped past the Jotuns, ignoring their hisses to stay back, and walked closer to Thor, stopping when there was only a few feet between them

"There was an attack. They snuck into Asgard, looking for something they seemed to believe was there but even though father had heard of it he did not know its whereabouts." Thor began to explain and Loki quickly interrupted him.

"And didn't Heimdall see them approaching? Didn't he warn you all? Weren't the great warriors of Asgard prepared to fight and defend their home? I thought fighting was what all you Asgardians were good at. So tell me, Thor, how exactly did you let mother die!" Loki sneered, stepping closer to Thor until they were face to face. "How long has she been dead before you finally chose to tell me, Thor?"

"It has only been a single night since the queen has passed," Sif interrupted, her voice full of barely contained rage as she stepped beside Thor and pointed her sword directly at Loki, not appreciating the way he was speaking to Thor or about Asgard. "And I will watch how you speak. Don't forget Loki, you are nothing but a traitor who depended more on his tricks rather then learning to fight like a real warrior. You have no right to talk as if you are better when you have been banished for your crimes and you do not speak to Thor with that amount of disrespect. You have no right. I warned Thor that it was a mistake to come looking for you, that you would never have understood or cared-"

"Sif," Thor interrupted her tirade and pushed her sword down, "enough. I told you before we got here to stand back unless necessary. We are here to speak to Loki, there is no need to treat him as if he was the enemy."

"Isn't there?" Sif said, turning to glare back at Loki who wasn't bothering to hide his own glare and distaste. Sif ignored him and turned back to Thor, speaking to him in a beseeching manner. "Have you forgotten everything that he has done these past few years alone? The reason why he was banished in the first place? He is a traitor and he cannot be trusted, Thor! For all we knew he orchestrated this whole thing hoping that either you or the Allfather would be killed! He's stole the throne before, it wouldn't be beneath him to try again."

"You were a traitor as well, Sif," Loki reminded her coldly. "You and Volstagg and the others yet neither or you were ever punished and now you stand here, on my homeland, disrespecting me and speaking out of turn when you should hold your tongue and be silent!"

"It wasn't treason when you stole the throne from Thor." Sif argued, unable to help herself. 

"Thor was banished! The Allfather had fallen into his damn sleep! I did not steal the throne from anyone! Mother herself placed me on the throne as I was the second prince of Asgard and the only one able to take the throne when both Thor and Odin were not and she would not have left Odin's side. But none of you idiots bothered to learn that but merely thought the worst of me since I was not the king you four wanted to follow. I was not Thor." Loki hissed sneering at Sif and the warriors three before turning his accusing glare towards Thor. "We are done here." He announced abruptly and turned to walk back towards the two that had accompanied him.

"Loki wait!" Thor shouted. They weren't done. They needed Loki's help. "Loki!" He called louder and moved to follow. Loki turned back and waved a hand in front of him, summoning an invisible forcefield that Thor just barely managed not to run into and held it up. "Loki, please. We need your help."

"You always need my help and always except that I will gladly offer it to you after you've done nothing but pushed be aside! Not this time! You want my help then I suggest you do this right and ask for an audience with my father and I will insist you not bring in those four idiots for I will not stand to be insulted by them or their sense of idiotic superiority," Loki gestured towards Sif and the others before looking towards the Avengers. "I don't care what you do with them but I am done speaking to you."

"Your father?" Thor repeated blankly. "But father doesn't even know we're here."

Loki scoffed. "Not surprising but I wasn't talking about your father," Loki emphasized.

"But then who?" Thor asked, still not comprehending and seeming a bit annoyed that Loki still felt the need to refuse to call Odin his father.

"Are you that thick?" The taller Jotun spoke up once again, a mocking sneer on his face that looked eerily similar to one that Loki usually wore. "He's talking about our father. King Laufey of Jotunheim." Thor looked up at the Jotun, both of them, and only then did he truly let himself notice the similarities these two shared with his brother. Despite the size differences all three had the same sharp nose and cheekbones and thin lips as well as the same cunning and sharp look about them, they even wore the same mask of anger on their faces. But even more telling was the fact that they all had the exact same heritage lines as Laufey.

"You're brothers." Thor said in a hollow tone, eyes seeking Loki who merely smiled nastily at him. Not denying it as he kept denying that they were brothers.

"Our father will be very delighted to hear your request." Loki hissed before waving for his brothers to follow him and all three disappeared in what seemed to be the blink of an eye. It was quiet for several seconds after they have disappeared before Tony decided to fill the silence.

"Well, that could have gone much better." Everyone turned to glare at him.

"You're not wrong," Natasha spoke for everyone, "but you should have just kept that to yourself. So," She said now addressing the others, "what do we do now? Should we just leave and try to handle everything on our own or still try to get Loki's help?"

"We need his help." Thor insisted, his back to the others as he stared off into the direction his brother had disappeared. "Loki is the only one who has the knowledge we need and the magical capacities we will most likely need. Without his help we will most likely fail." Sif sniffed at that but remained silent after a warning look from both Volstagg and Hogun and a hushed, "Not now, Sif." From Fandral.

"If you really believe we need Loki's help, Thor, then we should do what Loki and his, umm, brothers suggested and seek an audience with their father. Explain to him what's going on and request Loki's help." Steve said, walking up towards Thor and placing a hand on his shoulder. Thor turned to look at him and nodded.

"Aye. Perhaps we should have done that first but I honestly didn't expect to find that Loki was running around free or that he even seemed to have assimilated well."

Steve raised an eyebrow at him. "Were you hoping that we would find that Loki was being kept prisoner and that we would have to save him before asking for his help?"

Thor was silent for a bit too long before shaking his head. "No, I, I wouldn't want that. It was simply unexpected."

"Probably would have been better if we did have to rescue the Ice Prince. Then Xena here could have kept her mouth shut and not insult Loki in front of his obviously protective brothers who will pass it along to their father and we might not even get an audience with them." Tony said, inhaling loudly through his nose as he felt snot starting to drip. It was way too cold here and his nose was already becoming numb.

Sif shot a glare at him. "You don't know Loki like I do."

"Frankly, sweetheart," Tony turned to face her, "it sounds like you don't either. Sure, Loki has a rather large ego and a tendency to take things he shouldn't, including trying to take over a planet that's not his to take, but sounds like you'd hate him even of he hadn't done all that just because he's not Thor."

"Tony-" Steve started, though he agreed with Tony, unable to blame some of this newfound difficulty in their original plan on Sif for not keeping quiet. So he didn't really mind when Tony kept speaking over him.

"You know Thor wanted his help, that we probably do need his help since your favorite method of just fighting didn't work and yet you couldn't keep your mouth shut when you needed to. Not really setting up a good example of what kind of warrior you are."

Sif was fuming. But before she could say anything Thor started to walk forward and in a stern voice said, "We should go, it'll take a while for us to reach the palace on foot. We shouldn't keep them waiting."

□■□■

It was slow going, walking across deep snow and across ice that was not as cracked as Thor had expected. When last he was here with Sif, Fandral, Volstagg, Hogun, and Loki Jotunheim was showing how much it was suffering with the absence of the casket of ancient winters. It had been a very bleak and cracked realm. Large cracks all throughout the ice with several feet missing. The sky had been nothing but darkness. There were signs of destroyed villages and buildings, clearly abandoned, and there had not been much sign of life anywhere outside of the palace, and even that had been a bleak and ruined fortress. Though the deep and most damaged marks and gouged out areas Thor now saw he recognized as the results from when Loki had open the Bifrost in hopes of destroying Jotunheim.

Now though, despite the raging snowstorm and harsh winds it was clear that Jotunheim seemed in far better shape. It seemed to be, not exactly thriving, but slowly coming back to life and Thor couldn't help but frown as he remembered how, after Loki had fallen from the Bifrost and into the void, there had been no sign of the casket anywhere in Asgard's vault. Heimdall had informed both him and his father that he had seen Loki wielding the Casket before freezing him on the rainbow bridge and now, after seeing the way Jotunheim seemed to be coming back to life, Thor had a suspicion that Loki still had it when he fell. Perhaps that's how Loki had managed to save himself from facing the Jotun's wrath after opening the Bifrost on them for surely they knew he had done that as there were still lingering scars from that attack.

That should be a good thing, Thor thought to himself. He didn't want Loki to face further punishment or to be in any danger. But it was still odd and just a tad suspicious.

They met not a single living soul on their long walk to the palace, though there were even more signs of repairs on Jotunheim. Perhaps after all the centuries it's gone without the casket Jotunheim couldn't help but heal slowly. But heal it was. 

"Is that the palace up ahead?" Steve asked once the saw the tall and formidable looking ice fortress up ahead.

"It is." Volstagg answered as he was the closest to Steve. He Sif, Fandral, and Hogun had spread themselves out so that they were all standing guard in the back and sides with the Avengers in the middle of their loose circle and Thor up front, leading them on, as they were all still on the defensive for any unexpected attack.

"In that case," Clint spoke up, straightening up as he and Natasha had been having a silent conversation the entire walk up, "we should probably discuss now how we're going to present ourselves and exactly how much we tell this king and how to word our 'request' for Loki's help to better get it without much of a fuss."

"Like?" Steve asked, turning around to stare at both assassins.

Natasha answered him. "We should probably follow Loki's suggestion and not have Thor's friends walk in with us as that is a sure way to get no cooperation or even an audience."

"I agree." Thor spoke up from the front without turning back.

"Thor!" Sif and Fandral protested.

"It's for the best." Hogun said and Volstagg nodded along. "Sif did go too far, insulting Loki and therefore insulting the Jotun royalty, in front of his brothers no less. It's clear neither Loki or the other princes will be pleased to see us again and, if they told King Laufey any of what happened, neither will he."

"We stay outside, unless we are showed to a room where we can keep warm, but we do not accompany Thor or the mortals in the throne room itself." Volstagg added as he looked pointedly at Sif.

"And if Thor is attacked?" Sif said, squaring her shoulders and prepared to fight for the right to stand by Thor's side while on enemy ground.

"I can defend myself and we are not arguing about this Sif," Thor warned, his tone icy. "You went too far earlier and might have made asking for Loki's help all the much harder. Do not make it worse." Sif stiffened before letting her shoulder fall and remaining silent, not wanting to anger Thor further.

"Now that that's settled, how much do we tell this king. You haven't exactly told us everything that has happened, Thor?" Natasha said, her intent gaze focusing on Thor's back.

"It's better if I tell you all once we've got Loki helping us. As for what we should tell Laufey, I will handle that. He doesn't need to know more than is necessary."

"Should we walk in with our weapons ready?" Natasha asked next.

"No," Thor answered immediately. "We can carry our weapons but we should do our best not to seem threatening or Laufey will be less likely to see us."

"Then we walk in, present ourselves as a united but non threatening group, and respectfully make our request." Steve said.

"And help Thor deal with his newfound feelings of jealousy after finding out that his beloved little brother has two new brothers he prefers over him now." Tony added with another loud sniff, smiling when Thor shot him an annoyed glare over his shoulder before turning to face the front.

"Maybe you should keep your mouth shut from now on, Tony." Bruce whispered to him fiercely and Tony merely flashed Bruce a toothy smile.

□■□■

After walking a few more miles they were surprised to find a rather large village just outside the palace walls that Thor was sure was not there the last time he had been to the palace. But if just walking across Jotunheim's landscape and seeing life slowly return surprised him what he saw in the village astounded him.

It was like a frozen utopia. The air was clearer, the fierce storm they had just walked through stopped right at the outskirts of the village. The snow fell at a peaceful rate, blanketing the ice here and there in a way that reminded the Avengers of sidewalk separating grass. Though the village seemed small there was a flurry of people out, of giants out. Most of them were running stalls and they could all clearly see fresh seafood and few rare cuts of meat being sold and haggled over. There were even a few foreign looking vegetables and brightly colored fruit and even a small amount of sweets being sold as well. All food Jotunheim had been lacking for years. Centuries.

Children were running around freely, ducking behind stalls, wandering into the small, for the giants at least, huts before running out again with more children running behind. And even followed by strange and rather furry looking animals. Though some were recognizable as being similar to wolves and reindeer but not quite. Most of them smaller then the watching Asgardians and Avengers. But most were taller then even Thor already, though they still had the telltale signs of childhood softness around their faces. And even added softness from all the food they were no doubt getting.

"My, my. You certainly look surprised." A smooth, and somewhat mocking, voice echoed around them and they all turned to see Loki casually leaning against what looked like a hut dedicated to organic healing salves and such. "Was this not what you were expecting to fine here?"

"Jotunheim has changed much these past few years." Volstagg said carefully. Loki responded by giving him one of his sharp and amused smiles.

"So it has. Did you wish to see it falling more into ruin? Maybe that would have sooth you all. To see me residing in a dying realm with no real guarantee that I will be able to escape before it finally collapses so when you come 'asking' for my help you could all pretend that you were 'saving' me and I will come easily and willingly follow any of your rules or stipulations. After all, to you all I'm nothing but a menace and an untrustworthy and lying traitor and usurper. It must ruffle all your feathers to see us all thriving, most especially me."

"No one is saying that, brother." Thor started and stepping towards Loki who held up a finger and said, "I am not your brother." Thor looked irritated but also like he didn't want to argue this point right now and merely let out a long breath and eyeing Loki unhappily who still seemed more amused then anything.

"Does this mean we don't have to go talk to your father and you'll simply hear us out now that you're alone?" Steve stepped forward so he was standing next to Thor while the other Avengers and the Warriors Three turned to make sure Sif wouldn't start speaking, she huffed annoyed and merely crossed her arms, eyeing Loki closely.

Loki snorted, looking amused as he noticed the others staring at Sif in warning. "Of course not. My brothers have already told our father that you all were seeking audience with him. If you don't go now it will simply seem rude and be taken as an insult."

"Then why come out here alone?" Natasha asked though she stayed back.

"Call it simple curiosity." Loki shrugged but Thor was not fooled.

"You want to hear of mother, away from other ears."

Loki merely shrugged, a disheartening response, but he didn't deny it either. "Can you blame me. It's been two years since I've heard anything from Asgard or my so called family. No contact. No letters. Nothing." Loki hissed. "The last I saw mother, last I spoke to her I was in chains and being banished. And now, out of the blue, you come and tell me that she's dead and that you need my help. I can't help but wonder why?"

"As do we all, my prince, but seems to me that this conversation is for the king to hear first, Prince Loki." A deep and gravely voice spoke up, interrupting Loki and causing him to press his lips together in a thin line of agitation as he turned towards the Jotun the voice belonged to. The Asgardians and Avengers followed his gaze to see who had interrupted and were slightly surprised at the sight before them.

Before them, standing slightly behind Loki but perhaps a bit too closely, was a battle scarred warrior. Several scars covered the Jotuns body, cutting through his heritage lines and making his skin look much toughed and leathery, especially when comparing it to Loki's much smoother and softer looking skin. He was also a much duskier blue color and his face had a cruel and calculated look to it, though there was a softness around his eyes when he gazed at Loki.

But what truly surprised them was that this Jotun was several feet shorter then the other Frost Giants they have seen so far. He was still several feet taller then Loki, and themselves, so it was clear that he was not a runt. Perhaps just a stunted giant. But that made the scars covering him more impressive and the tough look about him. This was a seasoned warrior that had fought and won many battles. He was not to be trifled with.

Loki, however, seemed more irritated than impressed or intimidated by this Jotun as he stepped back from him and snapped at him for interrupting him. "I am aware of that, Thrym, and I have no plans to keep my father from hearing what they have to say. But I want some answers and odds are I won't get them when father sends them away which is why I need to speak to them first."

The Jotun, Thrym, smiled indulging at Loki. "Be that as it may," Thrym snapped his fingers and Loki looked even more irritated when a small number of larger Jotuns appeared, causing the Asgardians and Avengers to tense up and preparing for a fight. Thrym laughed at their reactions and Loki stared at them looking completely unimpressed. "The king is already awaiting for their arrival and he has already made it known that he does not want you to be alone while they are here."

"We mean my brother no harm." Thor cut in, annoyed that he kept having to say that and that Loki didn't seem like he was going to reassure the Jotuns of this.

This Thrym turned an icy glare Thor's way and Thor felt himself tense up further, wondering why this Jotun was showing him this much hostility. "King Laufey," Thrym began to explain, "does not wish to risk having his son, Prince Loki, being stolen by Asgardians again and will rather be cautious.

Thor bristled at the accusation, knowing it was false. His mother and father had explained everything to him after Loki fell into the void. Hurt and confused by Loki's actions and his words they had explained how Loki had been found abandoned and crying. Their father had saved Loki. And now that Loki had brought the casket back to their dying realm, now Laufey is claiming to care for Loki when it was already known that he had abandoned Loki to die. And still Loki remained silent. Thor had no plans to do so. "He was not stolen, my father, our father, took Loki in. He is of Asgard-"

"Your father banished him back to us, did he not?" Thrym cut in, placing a hand on Loki's shoulder that seemed a tad bit unnecessarily possessive. Loki shook himself out from under the hand and let out a long sigh, cutting in before Thor could start an argument or fight.

"Thrym, you speak out of line, that has nothing to do with them and I can fend for myself."

"I must follow my king's orders, Prince Loki." Thrym answered, still smiling smugly at Thor. "These guards are to escort you back to the palace where you are to wait with your father and brothers for these... guests to appear before you all. He has emphasized that though he is pleased with your skills he does not want you complicating matters with your magic. So, please, allow the guards to escort you back while I escort... them to the palace."

Loki huffed but didn't argue or fight, merely answering, "Fine, I'll see you all at the palace. Well," his gaze swept over Sif, Fandral, Volstagg, and Hogun. "Not all of you. Thrym, those four are not allowed in the throne room. I don't care where you place them but we will not hear what they have to say if those four are present. Understood?"

"Understood." Thrym answered and only then did Loki let himself be led away leaving Thor and the others alone with the imposing Jotun who smiled unpleasantly at all of them. "Now then, shall I lead you all to the palace?"

Thor and the others couldn't help but glare at him.

Chapter Text

Thrym led them all quietly, and in no particular hurry, through the village. Natasha, Clint, and Bruce noticed how all of the villagers, even the children, were watching them closely. "They don't seem happy to see us," Bruce muttered a little uneasily, once again wondering whether it was wise for him to tag along. He had wanted to go and see another planet and how they lived differently from humans on earth, but now he worried that the Hulk might make an appearance and he had the sense that would not be a good idea.

Before anyone could answer him, if anyone had planned to, a snort from the front drew their attention to see Thrym observing them before waving a reassuring hand to the watching villagers. "They are not worried about you, just the Asgardians. The last time Asgard's crown prince came uninvited to Jotunheim he was trying to start a war with us. And before that their king waged war on us, stealing the Casket and our youngest prince." Thrym informed the Avengers.

"Loki was never stolen!" Thor responded angrily, offended by how this Jotun insisted on constantly speaking this lie. "My father found Loki abandoned and saved him. As for the Casket, he had no choice but to take it as we couldn't trust that Laufey wouldn't try to invade Midgard again or use it to try and wage another war."

"Asgard had already defeated us, King Laufey had surrendered, there was no need to take the Casket or keep it for as long as he did or for you to attempt to restart a war!" Thrym roared, turning back to glare at Thor before focusing on his task, he had been ordered not to start a fight, merely to escort. Thor looked as if he was about to argue, but shut his mouth when he felt a hand on his shoulder and heard Steve Rogers whispering in his ear.

"Now is not the time to start an argument, we still need to speak to the king and it wouldn't be wise to do so while you're angry. Calm down Thor." Thor did, but he glared angrily at Thrym's back as they drew closer to the palace. Like all of Jotunheim the palace showed signs of recent repairs and Thor still did not know how he felt about this. Though he felt certain that Odin never intended for Jotunheim to perish and that they had attempted to reconcile their differences after both Thor and Loki's attack on Jotunheim it still didn't change the fact that Loki had stolen the Casket from them. Asgard never gave it back and it was not for Loki to return it to them, but was Thor to condemn them for it? To condemn Loki?

This was a good thing... wasn't it?

"Alert the king that our visitors have arrived and seek audience with him." Thrym alerted the nearest guard before turning back to the Asgardians and Avengers. "All of you, follow me, except those four," he pointed towards Sif, Volstagg, Hogun, and Fandral and called out to another guard, "Prince Loki has asked that these four are to stay away from the throne room. Show them to one of our receiving rooms for guests where they may at least stay warm."

Thor gave them, mostly Sif, a look in case they planned on arguing. Thankfully, even though Sif still made a face, they stayed quiet and moved to follow the guard. Volstagg threw Thor a reassuring look, letting him know he'd keep Sif and Fandral in check. Thor was glad for that.

Once Sif and the others were out of sight Thrym threw the grand doors before them open and stepped into the throne room with Thor and the others following. Thor's eyes immediately searched for Loki, finding him standing beside, who Thor suspected to be, Byliestr. All three of them, Thor still refused to acknowledge Loki as a prince of Jotunheim even though he knew he was by birth but still unable to relinquish the idea of Loki being his brother and only his, stood tall with their arms behind their backs. They looked much the same as they had when they had first greeted the group and Thor could have sworn he recognized the look of mirth in Loki's blood red eyes. Still his brother then, finding amusement in watching Thor about to attempt to negotiate peacefully.

Thor turned his attention towards Laufey, still as sinister and cold looking as Thor remembered and he felt indignation rise inside him as he thought about how this man, this monster, left Loki to die and, most likely, took him back only because Loki now possessed the Casket. Yes. That's what must have happened. Loki had to reveal that he had it in order to save himself and to be taken in. But why was Loki playing along with their lies and accepting them? Even if he was angry at Odin he had to know that Laufey was the true monster here, the one who had never cared for him and abandoned him. Surely Loki hadn't forgotten about that.

But he couldn't think about that now.

Thor reluctantly got down on one knee, bowing to Laufey and kept his head down until he was sure the others had followed his lead before lifting his head to address the king as respectfully as he was able to. "King Laufey, we have come in behalf of both Asgard and Midgard to request for help."

Laufey merely looked down, focusing his gaze on Thor, before a sharp smile slowly spread on his face, reminiscent to the one that Loki usually wore when he was humoring him. In fact, Thor recognized that same smile from Laufey from when he had first arrived to Jotunheim with the Warriors Three, Sif, and Loki. And even though Laufey is much bigger and menacing looking and resembled his two oldest sons more then he did Loki... the resemblance was still there. How did any of them miss that?

Because Odin had kept the truth of Loki's birth hidden.

"So the boy who sought to start a war now wants help. And why should we help? If Asgard and Midgard are requesting help surely they are the only one's who are facing this danger, why should we concern ourselves with this. Especially when we are currently in the process of fixing our realm after centuries of being without the Casket, the very heart of our realm and the source of our power and all because of Asgard wanting to hold us under their power. We have only just started reparations, we have no need to offer help or to lend it. Least of all to the likes of you, boy." Laufey sneered at him.

"I understand that you must put the needs of your realm first and though you are right that only Asgard and Midgard are facing this unknown threat it might not stay that way for long. It could easily target Jotunheim and the other nine realms as well. And we only really need Loki's aid, not all of Jotunheim's." Thor quickly spoke and knowing that he was probably coming off as being slightly more brash rather then contrite and as much as he knew it would not help to gain King Laufey's help Thor could not help it. All he wanted was to grab Loki and take him far from here to where he'll be safe.

Laufey growled, low and menacing, as if sensing Thor's desire and he noticed how the two princes, as well as Thrym and the few guards that stood in the throne room, tensed up. Loki, however, seemed perfectly at ease at was staring down at Thor in nothing but pure amusement much to Thor's annoyance. He opened his mouth to shoot a remark at Loki only to stop dead at another growl from Laufey.

"You dare to think that I would ever let my youngest son fall into the hands of Asgard again after he has just been returned to us."

"Asgard is Loki's home." Thor cut in forcefully and stepping up from his position of kneeling on the ground.

"It was his prison," Laufey snarled, his eyes narrowing in his fury, "and he will never set foot on Asgard again or anywhere else where your thief of a father will lay hands on my son again. Leave. Now." The last word was said in an authoritative hiss. But Thor did not seem prepared to relent and before he could speak and anger Laufey even further Loki stepped forward.

"Perhaps," Loki spoke, his eyes on his father, "before we demand their leave we should first ask them what danger they speak of father. And why they think my help is needed."

"Loki." Laufey spoke in a warning, but soft tone and Loki seemed heartened by it and stepped closer to his father's throne, closer then to where his eldest brother Helblindi was standing.

"We need only listen, it is no guarantee that I will go with them and offer them my aid, simply to make sure that the danger they speak of won't reach us here. Jotunheim is still repairing itself, it could not stand against an outside fight, should one come."

Laufey let out a resigned sigh, one that Thor recognized when others gave in to his brother's words, no matter how much they did not want to for they knew that what Loki said made sense. Laufey turned back to glare at Thor before letting his eyes take in the Avengers before focusing his gaze on Steve Rogers and choosing to address him. "You're all mortals from Midgard are you not? What is this threat and why come to us for help?"

Steve wasn't sure whether he was expected to stand up or remain kneeling but seeing as how Thor was standing and no one had seemed to take offense to that he stood up and nodded his head towards Laufey, letting his gaze sweep over Loki and his brothers before settling back on the giant king. "We are from Earth, yes, and what we understand the threat comes from someone who goes by the name Malekith."

"Malekith," Laufey interrupted and even Helblindi and Byliestr shot each other a questioning look, though Loki's face remained blank and neutral. "The dark elves were all wiped out by Asgard," here Laufey shot Thor another hateful glare, curling his lip in disgust, "The Golden Realm is always quick to put others in their place. Malekith is long dead and no threat, his very name nearly forgotten in the long and bloody history of Asgard's vanquished foes. Leave, now."

"They weren't all wiped out." Thor spoke up. "We were mistaken about it, confident that we had but several escaped and were hidden away. They snuck onto Asgard and attacked us, it seems while they were away they picked up a few new tricks and weapons that we were unaware of. They came in search of something they believed to be hidden on Asgard. They," Thor looked towards Loki and Loki met his gaze, his eyes tightening and his hands clenched into fists by his side as he could easily guess what Thor wanted to tell him earlier. "Malekith killed our mother."

Loki shut his eyes.

He felt... he felt conflicted. Frigga, like Odin, had lied to him about who he was. She kept the truth from him and he could not forget, or forgive that, even if she had said that she had wanted to tell Loki the truth of his parentage when he was still young for she hadn't. She simply took Odin's lead and kept him in the dark and when Loki learned the truth had simply wanted Loki not to question his place in their family as if it were that easy. As if Loki had not felt every day of his existence that he did not belong. Loki couldn't help but be angry at Frigga as well for, just like Thor, she had never once attempted to reach out to Loki here on Jotunheim. To find out the truth of what happened to him and he could not forgive her for that either.

But Loki still loved her. He still saw and felt that Frigga was his mother for she had always shown him more love then Odin ever had.

It was Frigga who had taught Loki his magic. To fight when he kept being chased out of the training rings by Thor and his friends and their instructors. Frigga who had praised him for his gifts and his abilities and his victories over Thor. It was Frigga who visited him whenever he had been injured on one of his trips with Thor and made sure to check on him until he was well and healed. It was Frigga who kept him company when Thor and his friends did not want his company and he was too stubborn to admit how much that had hurt him. It was Frigga who seemed most relieved to see Loki again when Thor dragged him back to Asgard in chains and Frigga alone who had looked crushed when Odin had given his verdict.

It was Frigga keeping silent and not attempting to contact him, no matter what Odin had ordered, that hurt him deeply for he felt that she should have either way.

Frigga was his mother and he wanted to avenge her.

"I'll go with you." Loki looked down at Thor.

"Loki." Laufey hissed.

"But I won't set foot on Asgard."

"There will be no need for that," Thor said to Loki and happily ignoring Laufey, "Midgard is Malekith's next target."

"Why? There's nothing on Midgard."

"That didn't stop you from trying to take over our planet." Loki heard Clint mumble and turned his sharp, red, eyes to look down on his former archer and felt his upper lip curling slightly. Seemed as if the archer hadn't yet pushed that aside, though he imagined that could go for all the mortals.

"Enough!" Laufey bellowed loudly and stood from his throne and Thor and the Avengers couldn't help but look wide eyed at his imposing height. All ten feet of it. "Loki, you are not leaving Jotunheim and I will hear no more of this. Thrym, take Loki to his rooms and keep him there. Guards, take these cretins and show them out. I want them all gone before the night falls." Laufey ordered.

"Father, wait!" Loki protested slightly in disbelief as Helblindi grasped his arm and passed him over to Thrym who quickly dragged Loki behind him and out through a set of doors.

"Loki!" Thor made to follow after him but two guards stationed themselves in his path and stared down at him with stony faces. Thor glared at Laufey, tired of these niceties. "You cannot keep him here against his will! Loki wants to leave and I will not allow him to stay here any longer with the likes of you."

Laufey made a low and menacing sound, practically a growl, before saying, "Careful little prince, or will you make the same mistake you made the last time you came to my realm and demanded things you had no right to demand?"

"Just as you have no right to keep Loki your prisoner!" Thor shouted and ignored both Steve's and Tony's attempt to get him to settle down. Natasha and Clint were both watching the guards with wary looks, they were not yet threatening them, but they had all stepped closer and Natasha could see them preparing to strike as soon as their king gave them his word. Bruce noticed as well and deeply wished he had stayed behind as he did his best to remain calm.

"My son is no prisoner here-"

"You left Loki to die!" Thor shouted even louder, shoving Tony and Steve away and stepping closer to Laufey. Both Helblindi and Byliestr stiffened and the guards pointed their weapons at Thor who paid them no mind. His gaze was on Laufey and Laufey only. "You abandoned him when he was nothing but an infant! An infant! You left him to die alone, frightened, and vulnerable and my father found and saved him! Took him into our home were Loki became our family! He is my brother and the only reason you took him back was for the Casket he had stolen from Asgard! If it wasn't for that you surely would have attempted to kill him again so don't you dare claim any concern over his well-being when you care not and are simply brainwashing him and forcibly keeping him here!"

A very strained silence settled heavily over the entirety of the throne room following Thor's outburst. Followed by the crackling sound of ice, seeing another layer of frost being added to the already frozen room and bringing the already low temperature down even lower. It wasn't difficult to see that the cold was emanating from King Laufey, and even his sons, and though Thor could hear the other's starting to shiver a little harder, felt the urge himself to shiver, he could not feel any regret for lashing out as he did at Laufey. Not when every instinct told him to run down any Jotun that stood in his way until he found his brother and took him away from here.

"I'm not leaving without Loki." Thor swore. He vaguely heard Clint swear as well somewhere behind him as well as the low murmur of Natasha's voice, he couldn't make out the words though.

Laufey let out a low and long hiss that his eldest sons echoed with low growls before they both moved to step down towards Thor. Only to be stopped by Laufey throwing an arm out and beckoning with his head to fall back, his gaze never leaving Thor's. He pulled his lips back harshly from his teeth, looking nearly murderous with rage as long buried memories resurfaced, still far too fresh in his mind, leaving an aching pain deep in his chest. An old wound that still refused to heal. 

Memories of finding his mate bleeding and lying dead in the snow and their newly born son missing, believed to be dead as well. Mourning them both and knowing that their deaths came at the hands of Asgard and unable to do anything as the Casket had been taken and Laufey had signed a peace treaty. They buried his mate, Farbauti, alone as they had never found the body of his infant son. His infant son that Laufey had never laid eyes on. Had never gotten to name him or know if Farbauti had already named him. He mourned a son he never met because of Asgard and now their prince was demanding he hand over his son who was alive all these years, having been stolen and named by the Allfather. 

Loki.

His youngest son.

He was back in Jotunheim. He was learning the truth of his heritage and his people. The truth of who he was and what his role in his home realm and royalty is and what he meant to his people and family. Unlearning all of the lies the Allfather and Asgard had taught Loki throughout the long years that Laufey believed him dead. Loki was at last opening himself to the truth and becoming comfortable in who he really is and Laufey would not give Asgard any opportunity to erase all of Loki's progress simply because they still see some use from him yet. 

Laufey took a step forward so that he was practically looming over Thor and said in a cold voice, "I lost my youngest son to Asgard before and I will not lose him again. Especially as he had been banished from Asgard and we have no ties or alliance with your realm. As for Midgard, your father made it abundantly clear we were not to have anything to do with it and we will not. Handle your threat on your own, my son will have no part in this. We are done here." Laufey then made another gesture with his hand and all the guards immediately moved towards Thor and the others.

"We are not done here!" Thor protested as Steve and Tony held him back, furiously whispering at him to keep calm before he makes things work. Natasha took that opportunity to slip in front of them and called out, "Your highness, if I may, I would like a chance to speak with you."

Laufey considered her for a moment before signaling the guards to halt in their tracks, though keeping a wary gaze. He looked the Midgardian woman over briefly and saw in her that she was not to be underestimated. This was a woman who was used to working in the shadows, gathering knowledge others did not, and who dirtied her hands. There was a cunning intelligence in her eyes, one that reminded him of Loki. 

"Speak." Laufey commanded.

Natasha bowed her head in answer before speaking swiftly and precisely. "I understand your anger towards Thor and his home, I will not speak or argue on his behalf, but I will speak on behalf of Midgard and hope that you will listen to me." Natasha waited a moment and, despite an answering growl at the mention of Thor, neither Laufey or his sons made to interrupt so Natasha continued speaking. "It is true that we do not know what danger this Malekith poses as we have not heard of him, but you have, and so... can you honestly tell me that he is someone you should dismiss so easily? That even if he doesn't have his sight on Jotunheim yet that he won't eventually? Those like Malekith don't simply settle for less. Are you prepared to take that risk when your home is still recuperating?"

Laufey bared his teeth but he didn't disagree with her. Though it had been many, many, centuries ago Laufey still remembered when Odin's father had set out with the entirety of Asgard's army to defeat and eradicate Malekith and his dark elves. What Malekith was after... Laufey could not remember but he knew, even as bloodthirsty as Asgard was and is, they did not slaughter an entire race just to slaughter. And that Malekith managed to escape with his life was no small feat.

Laufey scoffed and sat back down on his frozen throne. "As you have said, Jotunheim is still recuperating, why should we help either of your realms? And why should I allow Loki to help, what help do you need from him?"

"We are not asking for all of Jotunheim," Steve stepped forward next to Natasha to speak now that Thor had calmed enough to simply glower as the king rather then continue shouting at him. "We know now that you are all busy rebuilding your home and we would not dare ask you to take your focus or resources away from that when we can still handle it. We simply need Loki's help. Your majesty." 

"Why?" Laufey hissed, growing ever more irritated that no one saw fit to answer him, "Why do you seek Loki's help in this?"

Natasha and Steve spared a quick glance towards Thor before focusing on the king again. Thor still hadn't explained why they needed Loki to them. He had simply come back to Earth, speaking of the danger, and insisting that they needed Loki and shouted over their protests that he had just set an alien invasion on them and it was still too fresh a memory to many. Especially Clint. And as much as they all liked Thor and trusted him... they couldn't help but wonder if his insistence that Loki's help was needed was purely a selfish desire on his part to seek his little brother out and pull him away from his banishment. A punishment many thought was too small for the crime he was being punished for.

Helblindi noticed the quick glance Natasha and Steve threw at Thor, his face crumpling in suspicious anger, but before he could speak up Thor did.

"Because he has valuable knowledge that we need." Thor sounded very stiff but he at least refrained from shouting.

"What knowledge?" Helblindi countered.

Thor threw him a quick glare. "None of your concern."

"None of mine-!?" Helblindi started when Laufey spoke over him, "Then my answer remains the same: no."

"We, the Avengers from Midgard, are asking for Loki's help. Not Thor or Asgard," Tony spoke up and moved so he was standing next to Steve now instead of Thor. "And I really think you should reconsider your answer."

Laufey narrowed his eyes as he asked, "And why is that?"

"Well, for one," Tony began, "unlike Thor we have no love for Loki so you can all be reassured that once Loki's help is no longer needed we will be more than happy to return him back to you."

"Or he can simply stay here and you can all leave and never return." Helblindi countered roughly.

Tony let a wide smile appear on his face as he pointed a finger at the eldest Jotun prince and said, "Consider it recompense."

Helblindi and Byliestr both stiffened and Laufey sat up straighter on his throne, sneering at Tony as he asked, "Recompense for what? Asgard had already dealt us a blow centuries ago when we had invaded Midgard long ago. Jotunheim owes no recompense to anyone."

"Loki, however, does," Tony added and when Laufey merely narrowed his eyes further Tony said, "guessing your precious baby boy mentioned his own attempt to conquer Earth. Or, uh, Midgard. Must be a family thing," Tony shrugged, "and last we checked he didn't really face any consequences from it."

"He was banished-" Helblindi started but Tony made a sharp noise to cut him off.

"By Asgard, not us. That was Asgard's punishment for him but, frankly, that doesn't seem like a very satisfying punishment after all the lives and damage Loki caused on, uh, Midgard and we don't feel like justice has truly been served on our side. But worry not big bro," Tony raised his hands up to show that he meant no harm by saying what he did and also chose to ignore the sound of Thor grinding his teeth behind him. Any family drama he felt he needed to settle he could do so with Loki and when they were no longer on this goddamned frozen planet.

"I'm not suggesting a harsher sentencing or anything like that, just a gesture of recompense in the form of Loki's helping us in whatever we need his help on and once we no longer need his help then we will consider everything between us good."

Laufey let out an irritated huff of air through his nose but he stayed silent. He could not deny Loki's actions on Midgard and yet....

"It doesn't matter to me whether or not you all hold a grudge against Loki for his actions. Your tiny realm does not have the means to travel through the realms nor any true means to try Loki. And, no matter what Asgard is, they've already cast their verdict against Loki and will not care for yours."

"Then how about we strike up a deal? Or an offer, if you would prefer that. From us, not Thor or Asgard." Tony added in quickly before he could be dismissed. 

"What could you possibly offer that would be of any worth?" Byliestr spoke up, not bothering to hide the disdain in his voice as he stared down at Tony. "Anything we have need of we can do with the Casket, our own skills, and Loki's. We don't need anything from mere mortals who are only here through Asgard's gatekeeper."

"What about tech?"

"Tech."

"It's one of the few things you don't have, as far as I've seen, and I don't think you can get that from your Casket. And every thriving civilization needs to have developed their own technological advances and building tech is what I do. Let Loki come with us back to Midgard and he and I will both work together to design and build any kind of tech that he will feel will benefit your entire home the best."

"And you think that'll be enough to persuade us?" Byliestr snapped. "What exactly do you expect to be of use to us? You cannot build us a Bifrost."

"Like I said, I would be working with Loki and I'm sure he'll know what kind of tech would benefit you all the most in exchange for Loki helping us."

"Leave." Laufey ordered.

"Your highness, please wait-" Natasha started again but Laufey spoke over her.

"Return tomorrow and I will have my answer then."

"Father!" Helblindi and Byleistr protested but Laufey ignored them both and stood up from his throne, turning and already heading out as he said, "But we're done for today and I highly suggest that you stay away from Loki until I give my answer. Find accommodations somewhere else, neither of you are welcomed to stay here." Laufey disappeared behind the doors and Helblindi and Byleistr both shot them all angry glares before following after their father.

The Avengers were all escorted out by the guards and met Sif and the Warriors Three outside and Sif immediately asked, "What happened?"

"We are to return tomorrow." Thor practically growled as he continued walking and the others rushed to follow him. They made it to the outskirts of the village before it became clear that they might have trouble looking for a place for all of them to stay the night as most of the villagers had already settled in to take shelter from the incoming storm. 

"Should we maybe seek shelter in one of the caves, I don't think anyone will be offering all of us a place to stay for the night." Fandral suggested lightly.

"We can't, none of us are properly bundled for the cold and we will likely freeze overnight. Particularly Thor's Midgardian friends." Hogun shut down the idea quickly and said, "perhaps we should go off realm and simply return to Jotunheim tomorrow."

"I am not leaving Jotunheim without Loki, not even for a night." Thor said, still somewhat angrily. "And if we leave now Laufey will think he won."

"Because you did so well talking with him in such a calm and diplomatic matter. I simply can't believe that my father didn't go along with your demands." A cool voice spoke through the bitterly cold wind.

"Loki!" Thor's face broke into a huge grin as he and the others turned to stare at him. "Are you ready to leave with us, brother?"

Loki grimaced, crossing his arms over his bare blue chest, a large, pure white fur cloak thrown over his shoulders. The only protection against the cold he had. "We are not brothers, Thor, and no, I'm not going anywhere when my father has not yet decided for himself. I'm simply here because I knew none of you would be able to find a place to stay for yourselves so I'm here to help with that. Follow me."

"And we should trust you why?" Sif asked suspiciously.

"Freeze out here if you wish," Loki called back over his shoulder, already walking quietly through the falling snow, "I don't particularly care. But those who do wish to stay somewhere dry and possibly near a fire can follow me."

"A fire? Fuck it." Clint had already wrapped his hood tightly around his head but he was still shivering fiercely from the cold and his face, fingers, and even toes were already starting to go numb. So if he had to follow Loki of all people to get to some warmth then fine. Better then freezing. Natasha stared after them both before reluctantly following after them. Tony and Bruce followed after them with Steve trailing behind.

Thor had a hurt look on his face as he stared after them but made no move to immediately follow.

"Thor?" Sif, Fandral, Volstagg, and Hogun stayed back with him and stared at him to see whether or not he would follow after Loki and his mortal friends. But Thor merely stood where he was, frowning down at the frozen ground. He just didn't understand. None of this was supposed to happen and he couldn't help but be angry at Loki for being so difficult. For indulging Laufey and acting as if Odin, their father, was the one who was in the wrong. For being so willing to turn his back on them all.

"Two years with no contact from any of my so called family, not even a letter!"

Thor shut his eyes. He wasn't going to turn his back on Loki, not again. Loki was hurt and had done what he needed to survive but Thor would remind him that he still was family.

Shaking himself slightly Thor hurried to catch up to Loki and the others and saw that Loki was leading them all towards one of the more homier looking buildings, one that seemed slightly larger then what Thor took to be the houses. Loki approached the door and gave two quick knocks before stepping back and looking expectantly at the door. A short moment later the door opened to reveal an older Jotun with leathery skin and wrinkles, yet a warm look in his eyes as he spotted Loki and offered him a welcoming smile. A smile that turned somewhat bewildered as he spotted the mortals and then cold as he turned his gaze to Prince Thor and his warrior companions. He wore what seemed to be a robe over his leggings and, unlike Loki, he was wearing shoes. Possibly slippers.

"Prince Loki." The Jotun spoke warmly towards Loki who offered him a bright smile.

"Eivind. Pleasure to see you, I hope I didn't wake you or your husband."

"Not at all, my prince, not at all. I was simply helping my son to finish cleaning up in the kitchen but if there is something you need..." 

"Unfortunately yes, and I offer my deepest apologies, but I'm sure you have heard that we had some unexpected visitors today who spoke with my father earlier today." Eivind gave a brief nod and Loki shot him another smile before continuing. "Well it will appear that they are not yet done discussing whatever needs to be discussed and my father has invited them to return tomorrow to continue. He had, however, refused to give them rooms inside the palace and I was wondering whether you had some rooms to offer them? Three rooms should be more than enough, if you are willing."

A deep frown appeared on Eivind's face as he looked over Prince Loki's... "guests". Loki, sensing his displeasure, quickly assured him that no danger would befall his family or their inn and a couple of palace guards would come early the next day to escort them all back to the palace.

"Just for tonight?" Eivind asked.

"Just for tonight, Eivind." Loki assured the innkeeper, apparently. With a heavy sigh Eivind agreed and opened the door wider before heading to what seemed like a rickety wooden counter to get the keys to the three rooms Loki had requested. As Eivind did that Loki turned to face the Avengers, Sif and the Warriors Three, and Thor.

"Well, this is where I leave you."

"Loki, wait!" Thor reached out and gripped Loki by his upper arm. "I want to talk with you."

"We have nothing to talk about at this moment."

"How can you say that? After everything that has happened? Here, on Asgard, you, and mother. And you're just going to walk away when we can have a chance to talk privately." Thor's grip tightened slightly and Loki hissed, pulling his arm out of Thor's grip.

"You turned your back on me for two years, surely you can wait a single night." Loki hissed before disappearing out of sight.