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Hesitate

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Loki was terrified.

He would never admit that, of course, but he could feel pure fear running through his veins.

As if being ignored by Thor wasn’t enough, he’d gone through excruciating pain throughout the whole day.

 

 

Never doubt that I love you, he had said.

He had followed this declaration with an act of sabotage on Thor’s coronation.

It’s for the good of Asgard, he told himself.

Even he didn’t believe that.

 

 

“If it’s any consolation,” he whispered to Thor, after the disaster, “I think you’re right. The Frost Giants managed to get in once, who’s to say they couldn’t do it again? Perhaps with an army next time.”

”Exactly!”

He could have stopped there.

He would give anything at all to go back and shut up right then and there, but he had to push.

”But there’s nothing you can do without defying Father.”

Thor’s eyes lit up, and that’s when Loki knew he had made a terrible mistake.

”Nonononono, I know that look, don’t even think about it,” he hissed, grabbing at Thor’s arm.

”But it’s the only way to show father!”

”It’s madness, Thor!”

Maybe, just maybe he could have stopped him from going, then his damn friends showed up.

 

He hated himself for even daring to approach his brother, but he tried his best to hide that feeling as he muttered to a palace guard to alert Odin to their activities, then followed after Thor and his friends.

Somewhere deep down, he felt that Heimdall knew it was him. Knew he had committed treason and endangered them all. Knew he had cost two innocent guards their lives.

His voice died the moment Thor yelled, "Enough!"

He felt weak because of that, and it was made worse by Heimdall's unmoving stare, not to mention Volstagg's snide comment (which was ironic, really, given his own history of impolite remarks).

 

When they landed in the crisp snow, the trickster immediately noticed the others hiding their shakes.

Loki couldn't blame them - in fact, he wondered why he wasn't shivering himself.

He would soon find an answer to that question.

 

Volstagg's shout didn't help — it actually did more harm than good, distracting Loki long enough for one of the Frost Giants to grab onto him.

The God frantically pulled his arm back, but to no avail, as the giant held a firm grip.

He watched what had to be some trick of the light, or perhaps the Jotun's evil magic, as his armour shattered and a stream of pale blue crawled up along his skin.

The giant looked torn between letting go, purely out of confusion, and grinning evilly at the prince.

Loki felt his breaths get quicker and more shallow as he tried to wrestle his arm free.

Eventually, he remembered he had a weapon, and stabbed the giant right through the chest before stepping back quickly.

He was so focused on trying to figure out what the hell that thing did to his hand that he didn't hear the shouts of retreat, or the footsteps sneaking up behind him.

 

The next thing he knew, he was being restrained by large and stiff blue arms, carried through an army of the Giants.

He heard yelling from the warriors and one man speaking in a calm, deep voice.

But as he was brought out to the front of the crowd, he realized it wasn't a man, it was one of the Giants — and oh, god, it was Laufey.

”Looking for this?”

The giant who was carrying him spoke up and smirked, holding up Loki for all to see, a rag covering his mouth.

The prince struggled and made muffled protests as his brother's eyes widened.

”Loki? That's impossible, he's—” 

The blond froze as he turned and realised that this was no trick; they really had Loki.

”Let him go,” he growled, ”and maybe I'll consider not blasting you all to ash.”

The Giants laughed. ”A tempting offer, Odinson, but I'm afraid we want something more.”

At that moment, a bright light fired into the ground and a figure on horseback rode out.

”Father!” Thor cried. ”They've got Loki, we'll finish them together!”

”Enough!” Odin demanded. ”You are in dire peril when we return, boy.”

He turned and faced the sea of blue. ”Laufey! Return my son at once!”

”Allfather,” Laufey chuckled. ”You look weary. I'll return him when you give back what is rightfully ours.”

At that moment, Loki realized that the giant, in his shock, had dropped the rag, and so he let out a yell.

”Let me go, you brute! I'll have your head for this!”

The giant scowled. ”You talk too much.”

”I beg your—mmph!”

He was silenced as a blue hand clapped over his mouth. He saw Thor's fingers tighten around Mjolnir's handle, and he could have sworn Odin looked frightened for a moment.

”Laufey—”

”Silence, Odin!”

Loki clawed at the hand on his mouth, only to have his own hands snatched away and gripped painfully tight, returning them to that same blue from before. He let out a muffled cry and blinked back tears.

”He's one of us.”

Suddenly he was let go, but his relief was short-lived as he was thrown onto the icy ground between the opposing groups and he gasped in pain.

”Loki!” Thor cried, dropping his hammer and running to his brother before anyone could stop him. ”Are you alright, brother? Are you wounded?”

He wrapped his arm around the crying god's torso and used his free hand to stroke his hair gently, protecting him from the yelling that was now going on between the two leaders.

”Thor, I—”

”Shh.”

”I-I'm a—”

”Ssshhh.”

”I'm a monster—”

”Don't. Don't you dare think that way.”

He began to pull his brother up, only to retract his hand with a pained hiss as Loki touched it.

He immediately regretted it as he saw the look in his brother's eyes.

”Loki, I—”

”Boys,” Odin interrupted, riding up to them. ”We must go.”

”What am I?” Loki whispered, in a tone that broke the hearts of both his family members present.

”You are my son.”

”What more than that?”

Odin grimaced. ”Loki—”

”The casket wasn't the only thing you took from here that day, was it?”

The King remained silent as Thor looked at him in shock.

Laufey stepped forward and growled. ”So it was you. And here I was, thinking my son had perished in the chaos of the battle, when really you, Odin Allfather, had stolen him.”

Loki took a shaky breath. ”Why? You were knee-deep in Jotun blood, why would you take me?”

”You were an innocent child—”

”No,” the young prince began, standing up. ”You took me for a purpose. What was it?”

All eyes were on the Allfather and he remained silent.

”TELL ME!” Loki screamed.

Thor stared at his father, who visibly winced. ”I thought we could unite our kingdoms one day — bring about an alliance, bring about permanent peace... Through you.”

Green eyes wrinkled with disbelief as Loki heard the words of his so-called father. ”Wh—”

”But those plans no longer matter.”

The blond was about a hair away from slamming his hammer into his father's head, watching as his brother spoke again.

”So I am nothing more than another stolen relic? Locked up in your palace until you might have use of me?”

”Why do you twist my words—”

”You could have told me what I was from the beginning!” Loki said, his voice cracking with emotion. ”Why didn't you?”

”You are my son. I wanted only to protect you.”

”What, because I- I- I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?”

Thor felt his own lungs struggling as his brother sobbed, not even trying to mask the raw emotion he felt.

”The monster that you raised us to fear? The very thing you taught me to hate?”

Looking around at his friends' shocked and guilt-ridden expressions, Thor tried to speak.

”Brother—”

”You know, it all makes sense now, why you favoured Thor all these years,” Loki interrupted. ”Because no matter how much you claim to love me...”

He stared into Odin's eyes.

”You could never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne of Asgard,” he hissed.

For what felt like an eternity, the only sound once could hear was the wind howling, almost as if it felt Loki's pain.

 

”Heimdall,” Loki muttered. ”Open the Bifrost.”

 

Thor grabbed onto his brother just as the light fell around them.

Chapter Text

Loki saw that Thor was blinded by the light, unprepared for the sudden travel, and wrestled free from his grip, sprinting along the crystalline bridge as he cast a cloaking spell.

He had to get away, had to find someone he could confide in.

He froze in the middle of a pathway.

Mother.

He shook his head, correcting himself, Frigga, before turning toward her gardens and running past the citizens.

When he ran into her — quite literally, the momentum nearly sent them both tumbling over — her face was wrinkled with confusion and shock.

“Loki?” Frigga asked, seeing the cloak spell fade to reveal him. “Darling, what’s wrong?”

The young god curled into himself and took a shaky breath. “I have to talk to you, quickly. In... in private, preferably.”

The queen’s brows furrowed in worry. “Of course, dear, come here.”

She guided him to a seat and gently rubbed his shoulder.

“Was... was there ever any real chance that I could be king?”

Frigga was taken aback. “Darling, I didn’t think you even wanted to rule—”

“I don’t,” Loki snapped. “I never did. Please, Mother, just answer the question.”

She hesitated. “Well... Thor is the eldest, so it would go to him first—”

“Oh, please, don’t pretend that’s the only reason.”

“I’m... sorry?”

Loki scoffed and stood back up, walking a few feet away. “Everyone already knows most of the others. Yes, I’m younger, but I’m also a strategist.”

“So is your father.”

“Hardly. I don’t devour huge plates of food and drink full kegs of mead.”

“Have you ever seen Hogun do such things?”

“That’s different, he isn’t even of this realm! He fights with a flail! Speaking of weapons, I don’t fight with a sword or an axe or a spear or even a bow, I fight with knives! I use magic! Everyone calls me a coward or a cheat for that!”

Frigga winced. “Loki—”

“And,” he continued, voice trembling, “I’m a liar. Everyone calls me cynical, depressing, rude and far worse when I am honest, so I lie instead. Yet still I please no one.”

It was silent for a moment before Frigga spoke again.

“Your father isn’t always honest either, you know—”

Oh, lord. Stay calm, he thought. You can at least retain your dignity, if nothing else.

“—but it’s always for the good of the people.”

Never mind.

“LIES!” Loki hissed, turning to Frigga with teeth bared. “How could the people possibly benefit from me?”

“Pardon?”

”I am no son of Asgard,” he snarled. “Let alone its crown.”

He saw the panic rising in her eyes.

“Loki, I...”

At that point he couldn’t even think.

“You knew,” he whispered. “Of course you did, you’re Frigga, the queen, the brains of the royal couple.”

“What are you—”

“STOP! Just stop! I... I know you know. But please, just... tell me one thing.”

“... Yes, my son?”

He bit back the insensitive remark about referring to him as son again, shuddering with emotion.

“How do you truly feel about me?”

As soon as the words came out of his mouth, her arms were tightly wrapped around him.

“You are my son,” she whispered. “In any form, you are beautiful, quick-witted, agile, powerful, passionate, everything I wished to be when I was young and more. You’re Loki. Anything else does not matter, nothing will ever stop me from loving you.”

She allowed him time to react and return the embrace, stroking his hair as he buried his face in her neck.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

“You have nothing to apologise for,” she soothed. “Any wrongdoings have been on my part or Odin's.”

Frigga lowered them both to the ground so they were on their knees.

It seemed as if the boy was nodding off before she spoke.

“Loki, may... may I see you?”

He froze.

“But I don’t—”

“Please,” she begged, pulling just far enough away to hold his face in her hands. “I can remove the glamour, but I will do it only with your permission.”

He thought for a moment.

“... Alright,” he croaked.

Immediately, she grabbed his wrists — earning a surprised yelp — and whispered into the hold. She leaned her forehead on his hands as the pale mask faded and revealed that beautiful blue.

When she finally looked up, she gasped and covered her mouth.

“Mothe—”

“Oh, Loki,” she cried. “You’re wonderful.”

His nose wrinkled. “Surely you jest.”

The queen laughed and dried her eyes with her sleeves. “Shush, boy, you look marvellous. Your eyes are normally a lovely emerald, and now they are like the rarest of rubies.”

“Mother,” he whined, turning his face away.

“And your skin is a gorgeous cerulean,” she crooned.

“Mother!”

“Oh, and those ancestral lines frame your face amazingly! Much better than those silly frown lines.”

Loki huffed at that. “I only frown so much because my— because Thor and all his friends are such halfwits.”

“You’re frowning right now.”

“Mother!”

“My precious baby blue icicle—”

“I’m leaving.”

“Oh no you aren’t!”

She grabbed his arm and pulled him into a tight hug.

“Mother! Put me down!”

She grinned mischievously. “Would you rather I... tickled you?”

“Absolutely not!” Loki roared, eyes widening. “Release me at once!”

“Only if you admit that you are everything I say you are.”

“Mother, please, this is humiliating!”

“There’s no one around to see you but me, child. Besides, you find your little ‘get help’ routine humiliating, yet I still see Thor tossing you at the palace cooks to distract them while he gathers your favourite cakes and tarts.”

He stopped squirming. “You know about that?”

“Ha! I do now, silly boy. I have seen it happen only once, the other occurrences I only assumed.”

“Damn.”

“Your wits didn't come from thin air, son.”

“Could I possibly be released now?”

“Not until you say it.”

The giant buried his face in his hands and whimpered. “It’s embarrassing—”

“No, it’s true.”

He waited a moment and then groaned loudly. “I am beautiful, quick-witted, agile and passionate. I am Loki,” he mumbled.

“And?”

“And what? I admitted it!”

“I said everything.”

“... Everything?”

“Everything.”

“... My... my eyes are like the rarest of rubies,” he began, muffled by his arms. “My skin is a gorgeous cerulean, and these ...ancestral lines... frame my face amazingly.”

“One more.”

“You can’t possibly be serious.”

“I assure you, Loki, my arms will take a very long time to grow tired of hugging my son.”

He wriggled desperately to get free, but Frigga stayed true to her claims.

“I’m... I’m your...”

“Mmm?”

“... Little... baby... blue... icicle.”

Loki could have sworn he heard someone giggle, but the only person he could see was his mother.

When she let go, he made no move to escape; instead, he leaned back into her hold and took her hand.

“What is on your mind, son?”

He shivered. “I... I’m just glad that at least one part of my family accepts me for who I am.”

Frigga shook her head at this. “What are you talking about now?”

“I’m talking about how Odin already ignored almost everything I did from the moment I hit adolescence, in favour of Thor. And if something was wrong it was my fault. I could make a truly harmless joke and Thor would take it too harshly and hurt me; I would be reprimanded for provoking him. If I was disrupted in the middle of a spell, I should have concentrated harder. A maiden who I had never even met could slip and fall at the other end of the dining hall, and somehow it would be one of my tricks... You are a wonderful mother, yet I can hardly call him a father.”

The woman breathed shakily. “Oh, Loki, I’m— I’m so, so sorry, darling, I hadn’t realised just how neglected you felt.”

“Mhm... ’s not your fault.”

“That makes no difference,” she stated, pulling her son back up to the bench. “I allowed it to happen. Will... will you be alright here for a while, my boy? By yourself? I want to speak to... to my husband about this.”

Loki swallowed nervously and nodded.

Frigga gave a teary smile and pressed a soft but firm kiss to his forehead.

“Wait here, I shall return in a while.”

With that, she walked quietly out of the gardens, leaving Loki to his own vices.

 

 

. . .

 

 

Or so he thought.