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Saving My Villainous Husband

Chapter Text

Softly groaning, your eyes slowly flutter open, irritated by the bright light of the setting sun shining in through the windows.

“W-what?” You lightly murmur in sleepy confusion.

Suddenly you are fully awake as the unfamiliar setting around you shocks you to your core. Shooting straight up in bed your eyes dart in every direction.

Where on Earth are you? The room around you seems something straight out of a fantasy. A vast room made of marble walls and floor, embellished with gold and dark emerald furnishings and tapestries. Even the bed you woke up on is fashioned out of gold and dark green silk bedsheets. The energy of the room exudes extravagance and luxury.

But what are you doing in a place like this? Closing your eyes, you try to think of the last moments you can recall before waking up here.

You were driving home from the theaters after watching Avengers: End Game. It was late at night since you had gone to see after getting out of work. Your manager had pushed her work onto you, forcing you to stay overtime to finish up the financial report that was necessary for tomorrow’s meeting. It had dampened your mood quite a bit but still, you had been eagerly waiting to see the movie all day, and finally being able to see it had lifted your spirits.

As you processed the movie driving home, one thing above all else bothered you about the movie, in particular your favorite character Loki. He had died a heroic death in Infinity War and in the middle of End Game he escaped alive. But the Loki who escaped wasn’t the same Loki who died. The Loki who lived through his mother’s death and slowly stepped towards redemption in Ragnorak and Infinity War was gone. The Loki who escaped had yet to experience any of that and was never going to now. He was stuck as a villain or anti-hero. Yes, you had wanted Loki to return in End Game but not like this. Why couldn’t have redeemed Loki fight alongside his previous foes and his brother to defeat Thanos? Then maybe leave with his brother after everything was done to continue on his path towards redemption?

Overall, you enjoyed the movie but that one thing with Loki remained in the back of your mind bothering you as you processed the rest of the movie. After that, all you remember was stopping at a four-way stop, your light turning green but as you drove forward the car to your right didn’t stop, plowing right through their red light. Within seconds you were directly slammed into. Every inch of your body screamed in pain as your consciousness slowly faded.

Then you woke up here. Logical conclusion, you should be in a hospital but this looked far from a hospital room. Heaven, maybe? The view around would certainly fit the image better. Had you really died?

You sigh as you open your eyes and slowly slip out of bed as you make your way towards a full-length mirror on the opposite side of the room. It’s not like your life had been anything spectacular or important. You lived alone in an apartment that didn’t allow pets, and worked an office job because it paid decently. You hadn’t had much of a social life and you hadn’t spoken to your family in years so you doubt anyone would genuinely miss you. Maybe Heaven wasn’t such a bad alternative after all.

Halting in front of the mirror you yawn and stretch before immediately freezing. Your eyes widen in shock as your reflection stares back at you.

“I’m gorgeous?!” You exclaim. The face and body reflecting back at you are completely foreign. The only way you recognize it as yourself is because the girl staring back at you mirrored everything you did. “And young.”

The body you now possessed had to be no more than the age of 16 or 17. What on Earth is going on?!

You rush to the balcony, flinging open the doors causing your hair to get drift upwards in the wind. You stare out at the vast world before you, and to your further surprise, you recognize something in the distance. A long rainbow bridge- the Bifrost. Are you in Asgard?! It looks exactly like the one in the Thor movies. What is going on?

“Finally up, I see,” an emotionless voice calls out as someone approaches behind you.

Whipping around your eyes widen once more, “Loki?!”

The young teen crosses his arm, shifting his weight to one side and scowling a bit before sighing, “Yes, who else were you expecting to see in our chambers? Hoping it was Thor?”

“What? No. Wait, our chambers?” You respond in utter confusion.

The young Loki frowns some more, “How hard did you hit your head tripping down the aisle?”

Suddenly memories that shouldn’t exist rush into your mind. Your new name is Kara, a daughter of a low ranking noble who was sold to Odin to be his eyes and ears on Loki. The Allfather had the two of you wed. And embarrassingly, as you were walking back down the aisle after the ceremony you tripped over your gown and hit your head rendering you unconscious.

What on Earth? This makes no sense. Kara didn’t exist in the movies much less Loki being married. What is going on? You try to collect your thoughts.

“So we’re married...?” You ask him.

“Unfortunately,” He mutters icily.

You chuckle nervously. Of course, Loki wouldn’t like you. You are Odin’s spy and he probably knew it.

Loosely crossing your arms you softly sigh as Loki turns and walks off back into the bedroom. Looking back once more at the world before you, you decide to accept things at face value. Until this proves itself to be a dream you won’t treat it as such.

You died in a car crash. Somehow that reincarnated you to the world of the MCU, and you became a completely new character named Kara who is now Loki’s wife. Why and how, you have no idea, but those probably aren’t things you can figure out right now so best not to waste time pondering on them.

One thing’s for sure though. If this isn’t a dream, you will use this opportunity to do everything in your power to prevent Loki from becoming the villain.

Chapter Text

“What did you just say?” Odin’s eyes narrow as he coldly glares at you.

Mentally rolling your eyes, you unwaveringly stare directly back at him. “I resign from being your spy. Now that I am Loki’s wife, my alliance shall be to him and him alone. Being your spy would only hurt Loki and that is the last thing I want to do.”

“He neither loves nor trusts you,” Odin keeps his cool but remains icy. “Why would you swear your complete allegiance to him when I can give you so much more?”

“He’s my husband and I am his wife. Simply for that reason alone,” You reply without the slightest hint of being bothered. “Besides, love and trust can be earned over time. But I won’t achieve it if I remain your spy.”

“I don’t think your family would be happy to hear about this, Kara,” Odin states, reminding you of all the benefits that are currently being supplied to your family in return for your services.

You pause for a second. Kara’s family, low ranking nobility who were on the verge of bankruptcy. An abusive, alcoholic father who dwindled the family’s resources on gambling. A mother who was strict and overbearing, caring only about wealth and status. A younger brother who belittled and bullied his older sister who was meek and untalented in comparison to himself. Not one of them loved Kara. Erik, her younger brother, was the apple of their mother’s eye, excelling socially, academically, and physically. The only thing Kara had going for her was her looks in the eyes of her family. They were exactly the type of people who would sell off their daughter/sister for personal gain.

A smirk creeps across your lips; something that shocked Odin. “I don’t consider those people family anymore. Loki’s my family now. I don’t care what happens to them if you withdraw your support.”

Odin purses his lips, “You seem very different from when I first met you.”

You shrug innocently, “I no longer have those three weighing me down. And you can’t get rid of me so I am confident.”

“What makes you think I can’t replace you?” Odin taps his fingers on the arm of his throne.

“One, I am technically royalty now and the public knows it. Me mysteriously disappearing and hastily being replaced would be very questionable,” You tell him before flashing an innocent smile. “And two, I have Lady Frigga’s protection. I just got done speaking to her before coming to you.”

“You came prepared then,” the Allfather grumbles.

“Very,” You deepen your smile.

A deafening silence spreads across the throne room. Though his face reveals no emotion it’s clear the Allfather is less than thrilled about this development. But with Frigga backing you, you feel confident enough to stand before Odin in defiance. Besides, you still have one more ace up your sleeve that you are sure would cement the case in your favor.

Exchanging your innocent smile facade for a serious expression you once more hold Odin’s gaze, “If you don’t accept my resignation then I’ll tell Loki the truth of his origins.”

It was faint but you can sense the King flinch. “What are you talking about?”

“Loki, he’s a frost giant, isn’t he?” You answer.

“What blasphemy are you spouting!?” Odin booms. “Loki is my son! The second prince of Asgard! Watch your tongue!”

“I am not disputing either of those two facts. Adopting a frost giant and treating him as your son is truly benevolent of you, your majesty,” You respond flatly before deciding to add an extra little line to prick his conscience. “I too acknowledge him as a rightful heir of Asgard who is just as worthy as Thor to ascend the throne in the future.”

“And how did you come across such information?” Odin’s gaze narrows in suspicion showing no hint of bother, “I doubt my wife trusts you enough to reveal such things.”

Though you figured this question would come up you really wish it hadn’t. It’s not like you can just say you saw it in some movies from your past life. You really hope Kara’s lying skills are convincing enough, “I saw it while he was sleeping. The magic hiding his appearance wore off a little when he was unconscious.”

Odin’s expression sours, “Who are you?”

A grin happily flashes on your lips, “Loki’s number one fan!”
___

“Once more,” her Majesty repeats firmly.

Loki grits his teeth but obeys. He closes his eyes searching deep inside himself beckoning desperately for his magic to come to him. His forehead wrinkles as he tries to concentrate as sweat begins to drip down his face. Why isn’t the magic responding to him? Even with the most talented magic user as his teacher, his own magic failed to cultivate beyond the basics. Why is he stuck while Thor’s making leaps and bounds under his father’s tutelage? Is this really the limits of what he is capable of? At this rate, he’d never stand by his brother’s side as an equal. He’d never make Father proud like he was of Thor.

ANSWER ME!” Loki screams internally.

A gentle hand rests on his shoulder.

“Let’s take a break,” his mother smiles softly snapping him out of it. “Besides, you have a guest.”

In frustration, Loki’s eyes flash open. His glaring gaze shifts to the uninvited presence disrupting his studies. Kara, his wife. The young prince can’t help scoff in his head. What a joke.

He isn’t blind to why you are here. You ate Odin’s eyes and ears, keeping tabs on him in order to feed Father information. Why else would a daughter of fallen nobility be wed to the second prince of Asgard if not to spy on and shackle him? You were the perfect candidate for Odin who favored Thor. You had no money, prestige, or influence. Nothing that could possibly assist Loki’s own ascension to the throne. Meanwhile, the eldest son remained unwed and free to choose any woman he wanted.

“I brought refreshments, your majesties!” You greet them, curtsying while maintaining a firm grip on the silver tray in your hands.

Frigga smiles softly, “No need for formalities, dear child. We’re family now.” She reminds, taking one of the goblets off the tray you’re carrying.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” You smile back, eyes stealing a swift glance at Loki. It is obvious your presence bothered him; that was to be expected. He isn’t blind to the reason Kara was placed by his side. Getting him to trust you would take work. That’s why every interaction with him from here on out is vital.

You pick up the remaining goblet and hold it out to him, “Here you go.” You flash a warm smile, “I hope your training goes well.”

With his mother in the room, Loki can’t refuse the drink from your hands. He accepts it begrudgingly not saying anything.

Hugging the tray to your chest you give them one last smile before bowing slightly and taking your leave.

Chapter Text

It is later that evening. Loki hadn’t returned from his training since you dropped off the drinks. You wouldn’t be surprised if he is avoiding being alone in the same room as you as much as possible; probably waiting until you are asleep before returning to his chambers.

Sleeping since you arrived in Asgard has been a little difficult. It's all been a lot to take in. Especially with the mannerisms and pretending to be Kara. You have Kara’s memories but acting like someone you’re not is difficult. Thankfully there is some overlap in your personalities that you don’t seem obviously out of place to the casual observer. Rejecting Odin is probably the most out of character thing you’ve done so far as Kara.

Bluffing mannerisms are a bit trickier. You know the bare basics from what you saw and read in movies and books but that is about it. You've been trying your best just to mimic others for now, but the fact that you can’t dance or select the right fork at a banquet might raise suspicion later on. Maybe you can ask Frigga to give you some pointers.

Staring out at the Asgardian night sky as you lean over the balcony railing, you let out a long sigh before throwing your arms up in the air in and stretching.

“You’re not asleep yet?” a familiar voice suddenly calls out from behind you. Did the kid ever use the door like a normal person?

“Can’t,” You reply, turning around smiling softly at Loki.

“Don’t tell me you were waiting up for me,” He scowls in unmasked disapproval.

“That might have been part of it,” You admit, “but that's not all of why I can’t sleep. And it’s also not for the reason you think.”

The young prince doesn’t respond. You can’t tell what he is thinking. Even as a child, Loki's already achieved a perfect poker face. Considering who it is you aren’t surprised though.

“If I’m that much of a bother to you I’ll go lay down on the bed and close my eyes,” You say heading back towards the room. Getting to the balcony door you pause and turn back to look at him, “How’s your training going?”

“Why?” Loki whirls around and snaps at you. “So you can report things to my father? I saw through you the moment we met! I’m not naive.”

You are a bit taken aback. It's a bit shocking to see him snap so easily. Guess he really is still just a kid at this point.

“I’m not going to report to your father... not anymore,” You tell him. “I cut my ties with him earlier today.”

“Are you stupid?” Loki shoots back icily, staring at you in disdain and distrust. “And why would I believe you actually did that? You gain nothing. I'm not going to suddenly love much less care about you in the slightest just because you cut yourself off from Father. If you’re not completely stupid, why would you cut yourself off from the benefits of working under the most powerful man on Asgard?”

You sigh, “I know, but I have no desire to be the Allfather’s spy. I don’t need the benefits; I’ve lived with much less than I have now. Besides, as I told your father, the second I married you my allegiance shifted from him to you.”

“I said I wouldn’t care for you,” He repeats sternly.

“I have no expectations for you to. But I genuinely am on your side,” You reaffirm. “It’s my life; I can choose my own allegiances. Not you, not my family, nor the Allfather can decide that for me.”

Silence. Loki purses his lips not responding. It’s as difficult as ever to tell what he’s thinking.

“Good night, Loki,” You drop the conversation, leaving him alone on the balcony.

___

“Kara!” an angry voice shouts as pounding footsteps hurriedly approach you from behind.

A pit grows in your stomach. You guessed this would come the moment you left Odin’s throne room in defiance. But why did it have to happen when you were alone in the middle of the royal gardens? No guards and maids to assist.

Kara’s body flinches and trembles reflexively upon hearing the familiar voice and tone. Taking a deep breath, I try my best to mask the visible anxiety and fear.

Turning with a forced smile on your face, you greet your brother, “Good evening, Erik.”

Before you have a second to react, Erik grabs you by the hair and yanks hard, tightening his grip.

“You b*tch!” He shouts in your ear. “How could you do this to us?! Your family! You wouldn’t even be in this position if it wasn’t for us!”

“R-rather bold of you to act this way towards a royal,” You seethe through clenched teeth.

For a split second Erik is taken aback. He’s not used to Kara speaking back to him. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to shake him off.

“Oh please, they don’t care about you. Everyone knows you’re just a puppet, a tool, for the real royals,” He scoffs flippantly, shoving you to your knees and reinforcing the grip on your scalp. “Now you better get back to your job as “royal”, getting down on your knees and begging for the Allfather’s forgiveness as soon as this is over!”

“I refuse,” You glare at him defiantly, your tone icy.

“Did being a princess for a couple of days give you a big head, sister?” He asks, painfully twisting the hair he had a grip on. “Don’t forget you’re nothing more than a pretty face! You owe us for getting you where you are! Because of your selfish stupidity, we lost everything! Our nobility and possessions were stripped from us! I got kicked out of the academy! All because you thought it would be funny to piss off the king! Fix it now or else!”

Hatred courses through you. Kara’s hatred; your hatred on her behalf. Her family is utterly despicable, and there is no way you are going to give them what they want. Deep down you aren’t Kara; the fear her family instilled in her no longer shackled this body.

“No,” You refuse with a chilly iciness. “I’m not going to be Odin’s spy. Loki deserves someone better than that.”

The anger evident in Erik’s eyes boils over, “Well let’s see how much Loki cares about you after you no longer have that pretty face of yours!” He snaps.

The first punch lands on your lips; a stream of blood instantly trickling down. The second on your left eye causing your vision to blur. Your body restricts as your eyes squeeze shut bracing for the next impact. But it doesn’t come.

“What do you think you’re doing to my wife?” Loki's voice rings out.

Chapter Text

Eyes flashing open, your mind races the comprehend the scene before you. Erik stands frozen in fear, his grip loosening completely on you. Loki holds his fist suspended mid-air as he stares him down; his sharp emerald eyes trained like daggers on Erik’s own.

Next thing you hear is a loud crack and an ear-splitting scream of pain as Loki twists Erik’s arm behind his back way beyond its breaking point.

“I don’t like it when people damage things that belong to me and my patience is wearing thin,” Loki seethes through gritted teeth. “So I’ll ask you again. What are you doing to my wife?”

“N-nothing!” Erik stammers in complete and utter fear.

“Look at her face! Does that look like nothing to you?!” Loki snaps.

“I- I-” Erik musters pathetically.

You swallow. You have no interest in helping Erik, but you didn’t want to let Loki do anything he’d regret, “Let him go Loki. Please. He’s not worth it.”

Loki’s eyes snap up to yours. He says nothing, but it’s clear through his anger he’s a bit perplexed.

“He’s not worth it,” You repeat, trying to keep cool for the both of you. You are just as- if not more so/ furious at Erik but priorities had to be made. You stand up, briefly dusting off your gown, “I am grateful for your interference, but I think it’s best if we hand him over to the authorities from here. He can be arrested and tried for attacking a member of the royal family.”

“Isn’t that a little ruthless? Isn’t he your younger brother?” Loki asks, though his tone and glint of amusement in his eyes reflect that he holds no objection to what you’ve suggested.

You hesitate for a moment before settling on what you want to say, “I have a new family now.”

___

To your surprise, Loki didn’t leave your side as soon as Erik was handed over to the palace guards. Now the two of you are back in his chambers, and Loki is attempting to stop the bleeding from your lip with a damp cloth while you sit on the end of your bed and let him. Several minutes pass in silence as Loki makes no attempt at conversation.

“How did you find us?” I finally ask. “I find it hard to believe you just happened to be walking by.”

“You’re right,” He admits, “I wasn’t just walking by.”

“Then...?” You push further.

“I was watching,” He sighs indifferently.

“How much?”

“All of it.”

“And you only stepped in after he hit me twice?” You frown.

There’s a long pause before he finally decides to respond; his eyes fixating solely on nothing but the cloth held up to your lips, “I couldn’t before that. I wasn’t physically there.”

“What do you mean?” You inquire, a twinge of anger escaping in your tone.

“Since the day you told me you gave up on being Father’s spy I’ve been spying on you myself,” He confesses though there’s no sense of guilt in his confession, “with my magic I can create illusions or copies of myself. I had a copy of myself following you around from the shadows. I share a collective consciousness with my copies so whatever they observed so did I, even if the real me is not physically there. I hurried over to the gardens as soon as it started and intervened upon arrival.”

You say nothing. Your anger fizzles out.

“You’re welcome by the way. If I wasn’t spying on you things would have turned out much worse than a black eye and busted lip,” Loki continues, sounding a bit irritated.

“What? Am I supposed to thank you for spying on me? I already thanked you for intervening,” You retort back. “It’s ironic considering how you don’t want me spying on you. Which I’m not.”

He pulls the cloth away from your lips. Whatever is running through his thoughts right now is just as much a mystery to you as ever.

“I know,” He breathes. “I think today made that very clear given that Father seems to have withdrawn his support from your family.”

“So you believe me now?” You ask probably a little too hopeful sounding.

“About not spying on me, yes,” He answers. “But I still don’t trust you. What is your goal? A life of luxury and prestige?”

“I don’t know about luxury and prestige, but a peaceful life does sound nice,” You reply, relaxing a bit and reflecting on the notion. You watch him carefully, “But my main goal is to make you happy.”

“And that’s the part I don’t trust,” Loki returns your frankness. “You barely know me. Why would your goal be to make me happy? Are you that delusional that you think I’d fall for you?”

“No,” You purse your lips. “I’m not expecting love. Eventual friendship would be nice, but I’ll settle with civil acquaintances and/or allies.” You softly chuckle at the thought. “I have my personal reasons for wanting you to be happy. And I don’t think now is the time to share those reasons.”

Loki opens his mouth to pry more when a loud banging on the door beats him to it.

“Loki!” A young man’s voice shouts out. “Mother said to come to family dinner.”

The second prince clicks his tongue in annoyance, rolling his eyes.

You smile softly to yourself, happily amused. “I guess we should get going,” You tell him upon standing up.

The two of you walk to the door, Loki opening it for the both of you as you join Thor out in the hall.

“Oh, Kara, I was looking for you too,” Thor smiles excitedly upon seeing you. “I wasn’t expecting to find the two of you together. Wait, what happened to your-” He examines the cut on your lip and the darkening around your left eye. His eyes shift to Loki with a glare. “Did you hurt her?!”

“How dare you accuse me of-”

“It wasn’t him, Thor!” You interject, cutting off Loki and purposefully positioning your body between the two brothers. “Loki would never do that. It was- It was my brother. Loki was actually the one who saved me from anything worse happening. Don't jump to baseless conclusions before getting the full story, Thor,” You finish with a brief chastisement. You did your best not to come across as harsh though.

Thor blinks not used to anyone but his mother and brother chastising him. He blushes slightly in embarrassment adverting his gaze. He glances shyly up at Loki, “Sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed. Of course you wouldn’t have done that.”

“It’s fine,” Loki mutters, pursing his lips. He adverts his eyes from Thor. You guess it probably stung Loki to have his older brother accuse him of doing something like that.

Reaching out you take one of their hands in yours, smiling warmly at the brothers, “Come on. We shouldn’t keep your parents waiting.”

Neither brother says anything as you lead them by hand towards the dining hall, but the tension between the two does seem to lax by the time you get there.

Chapter Text

Since the incident with Erik, Loki's attitude towards you has subtly changed. It’s not that he started being friendly; it’s just that he stopped being hostile which is at least an improvement. He still doesn’t go out of his way to hang out with you, but he’s no longer actively avoiding you either. Most of your conversations have been restricted to small talk though. He seems to have changed his mind about prying into your motives.

The main issue now is that you’re bored. Being a princess with no real power or responsibilities didn’t give you much to do. But it’s not like you to just sit around and do nothing forever, so lately you’ve been coming up with ideas and strategies to avoid the future where Loki becomes the villain.

Loki also didn't raise any complaints when you started using the desk and supplies in his chambers. Thank the stars because you’ve been using up a lot of parchment and ink as you’ve spent the days coming up with a gameplan.

First things, first you need allies. The first person you naturally turned to was Frigga. Having the most powerful woman in all of Asgard as well as Loki’s mother is a major asset. Besides, you had always adored her in the movies anyways. It would be a lie if you didn’t admit you had secretly wished you in the past that your mother had been more like her. Even to Kara, she’s been incredibly kind and accepting. And this time around, you are going to protect her too. For everyone’s sake not just Loki’s.

But for that, you need more than just the Queen. Outside of Thor and his friends, Loki doesn’t appear to have any friends of his own. So you'll have to turn to the one person you know who does have personal connections.

And that’s how you wind up on the training field surrounded by sweaty teenage men. Most of which are a little too eager to show off in the presence of a pretty girl.

“Kara!” Thor beams, running immediately up to you as soon as he notices you heading towards him.

“Good afternoon, Thor,” You pleasantly smile back.

“Of course you already know who this pretty girl is,” a young, strangely familiar-looking boy quips, pushing Thor lightly on the shoulder.

“Why would any woman come to visit us when Thor’s around?” mutters another rolling his eyes.

“Speak for yourself,” chuckles a third. “Well, come on Thor. Aren’t you gonna introduce us? Or are you hogging her company all to yourself?”

This time you’re the one rolling your eyes.

“Settle down guys. It’s not like that,” Thor negates them. “This is Kara. My sister-in-law.” He emphasizes before turning back to you with a smile. “Kara, these are my friends. Volstagg, Hogun, and Fandral respectively.”

Ah. You remember now. The warriors three. Good friends of Thor’s. You can trust them.

“Nice to meet you all,” You greet, bowing with a slight curtsy.

“Loki’s woman?” Fandral asks, a bit shocked.

“Yes...” You respond politely. “Not the most delicate way of putting it but yes, I am Loki’s wife.”

“Sorry,” He blushes slightly ashamed.

The three exchange awkward glances with one another. Loki isn’t exactly the most comfortable person they enjoyed hanging around.

“Boy did he luck out,” Volstagg finally chuckles, shifting away from the awkwardness.

“I sure hope so,” You try to help carry the conversation. “I am hoping to become the person he deserves by his side. That’s actually why I’m here,” You turn back to Thor. “I was hoping you could do me a favor. After the incident a couple of days ago I think it’s best if I get a personal bodyguard. I don’t want to become an unguarded weakness against Loki. So I was thinking... You’re friends with Lady Sif, right? If you could arrange a time for me to meet with her, I’d be much obliged.”

“You want Sif as your bodyguard?” Thor raises an eyebrow. “Why her?”

“She more than capable for the position, and it would be nice to talk to another girl my age,” You recite the answers you had been preparing for this conversation. “Besides, you and Loki are my only friends since I moved into the palace. It would be nice to have a female friend too.”

Thor flashes a proud understanding grin, apparently satisfied with your answer, “You have a good eye in companions. Sure, I’ll ask her for you.”

You smile wide, taking his hands in yours, “Thank you!” You hug him. “Thank you!”

Releasing him, you run off waving goodbye to the group.

“How does Loki end up with someone like her?” Fandral questions in disbelief once you’re out of earshot. “They’re like night and day. She’s beautiful and sunny while he’s eerie and gloomy. She’d suit you so much better.”

“I don’t know about that,” Thor replies with a nervous chuckle. "From my perspective, they suit each other well."

“And it’s not like Loki has nothing going for him. He’s handsome in his own way and the second prince,” Hogun points out.

“Yeah, but between him and Thor who would you pick as a woman?” Fandral rebuttals. When none of them answer he rolls his eyes, “Obviously Thor.”

“Oh, bugger off,” Thor playfully locks Fandral in a chokehold with his arm, chuckling. “My little brother is awesome. And any girl who can see that in my brother has my respect. You can double your training drills tonight for those comments.”
__

In the end they all chose Thor. Every single last one of them has their eyes on him. Why should you be any different? You aren’t. You wasted no time going to his side.

Loki’s copy hides behind an archway pillar as you enter the wide-open field of the training grounds. Unfortunately, he can’t follow you any closer, or else he’d be exposed. For now, all he can do is observe from a distance.

His eyes follow as you make your way towards Thor. About halfway to him he notices you as well and comes running along to greet you with his three idiotic friends. Being around them was always weird. He knew they only hung out with him because of Thor. It’s not like any of them are particularly interested in being his friend as well. It's fine. He didn’t need them anyway. Dealing with one meathead is better than four.

In the shadows Loki’s copy unconsciously deepens his frown. You are smiling. Smiling at Thor. It bothers him. You are his. What belongs to him shouldn’t be so easily and happily scampering off to Thor whenever he isn’t around.

The copy stands there in silence, trying its best to read the group’s lips; attempting to decipher what they are saying but it's difficult from such a distance. Suddenly his eyes widen in disgusted shock as he purses his lips.

You are smiling from ear to ear, hugging Thor without a care in the world.

Elsewhere in the palace Loki purses his lips, pausing for just a moment in his stride. “So she’s just like everyone else.

Chapter Text

“Thank you for meeting me so soon,” You smile warmly, placing a cup of cocoa you brewed down in front of your honored guest.

The girl shifts uncomfortably on the couch. Out of politeness, she accepts the cocoa. “Of course. Thor asked me to. N-not that I wouldn’t have shown up if you had asked in person.”

“You can relax. I’m the one who has to do the convincing here,” You chuckle softly, taking a seat opposite of her on the other couch. Sipping your own cocoa you continue, “So, Lady Sif-”

“Just Sif is fine, Milady,” She interrupts.

“As you wish,” You smile. “As long as you call me, Kara.”

“I really shouldn’t, your majesty,” Sif quickly rejects.

“But you call Thor, Thor,” You say, tilting your head slightly.

“I- uh,” She sighs, “What do you want me with, Kara? We’ve never met before. Why would you want me of all people to be your personal bodyguard?”

Before answering you place your teacup down on the coffee table between you and look at her directly, “You’re correct. We’ve never met, but it’s not like we’ve never heard of one another. I’m Loki’s bride and you’re Thor’s friend. Beyond that, your reputation proceeds you. You are just as capable as any man to protect me.”

Sif's cheeks light up with the faintest hint of blush, “As much as I appreciate you saying that, you know I'm putting my support behind Thor and his ascension to the throne... Not Loki. Do you really want me by your side with that conflict of interest?”

You smile warmly, wrapping your hands around your cup, “You and I have something in common. We both want the men we love to ascend the throne because we think they’re the best choice. I’m not asking you to support Loki. Your only obligation would be my protection. You’re free to support whomever you want.”

The young warrior’s face fully flushes, “Y-you’ve got the w-wrong idea. I-I’m not- I don’t- I-”

“It’s alright. I’ve seen the two of you together from afar. I recognize the way you look at him,” You tell her reassuringly. “Your secret’s safe with me. Though if you do come under my service, I have no qualms with playing matchmaker for you,” You tease.

The girl across from you clearly isn’t used to having these types of conversations. She’s now completely flustered. You feel a bit guilty. You are more serious about playing matchmaker for her and Thor than she thinks. It's one of your ulterior motives for wanting her as your bodyguard. If you can avoid Thor falling for Jane, the chances of being able to save Frigga's life as well as Loki a ton of heartache and regret significantly increases. You won’t force the two of them together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give Sif and Thor little nudges here and there. Besides, you remember reading somewhere that Thor’s main lover in the comics was Sif and not Jane, so it’s not like there’s no potential between the two of them. You feel a little less guilty.

“Why do you even want a personal bodyguard?” Sif asks, recollecting herself. “Are the palace guards not enough?”

“I don’t think so. At least not for me. I’m currently in a cold war with Odin. From what I’ve observed, the palace staff has been ordered to refrain from aiding me,” You confess. “Maids don’t tend to me and the guards don’t follow me around. If I want help I have to get it by my own means or do things myself.”

“Loki hasn’t raised a complaint about that?” She inquires, confused and a bit impressed. What kind of person can remain in the palace while being on the outs with the Allfather?

“I doubt it. My affections for Loki aren’t exactly mutual,” You admit with a nervous chuckle. You pause for a moment mulling the thought over before shaking your head and continuing, “That being said, I don't want to become a weakness to him. I’m weak and have no aptitude for magic. It’s one of the reasons I was chosen as Loki’s bride if we're being honest here. I’m an easy target for Loki’s enemies, especially with no palace guards. I need someone like you to make up for my weakness, and you are my first choice for that. So if you’re willing, please become my personal guard.”

Sif stares at you silently. Are you really the same trembling girl on the verge of tears she witnessed standing at the alter by Loki’s side? Your eyes radiate with determination and earnestness. Sif likes that. She feels strangely drawn to you similarly to how she was drawn to Thor. Your potential is something she wants to observe.

“Milady,” Sif rises, getting up and kneeling before you. She bows her head, “I offer you my sword.”
__

If you didn’t know any better, Loki's avoiding you again. He’s been arriving back to his chambers at late hours since about a week ago. At dinners, he avoids your eyes, and the small talk amongst the two of you has all but stopped. And though you’ve raddled your brain for what on earth you did this time, nothing comes to mind.

Why does it feel like one step forward and two steps back in your relationship with Loki? You sigh aloud as you stare around at the empty chambers. Scootching out of bed, you smooth out your nightgown before grabbing the lit candle off your nightstand. If he isn’t going to come to you then you’d have to go to him.

Creaking open the bedroom door, you peer out into the hall. Dark emptiness spirals down as far as you can see. Nothing but the harsh whistling of the wind can be heard in the distance. Most of the time you didn’t mind, but it's nights like this you wish Loki hadn’t chosen to live the eeriest and most secluded part of the palace. Securing your candle closer to your chest for a ray of warmth, you tiptoe into the hall. The icy chilliness of the marble floor motivating your bare feet to carry you more swiftly down the corridor.

Winding down a couple of halls, you head towards Loki’s study. If he’s anywhere in the palace at night that’s where he’ll be. While others sleep, the second prince gets ahead in his work or self-studies. You wonder how much of the public knows how hard Loki works behind the scenes. Unlike Thor, he’s not out on the training fields with the other boys his age. And it’s not like Loki goes out of his way to make people like him, especially with that personality of his. He too easily slips into Thor’s shadow. Even when he doesn't mean to.

At the end of the western wing of the palace, light shines dimly through the cracks of a slightly ajar door. Loki’s study. So he is here. To your surprise though, as you draw closer you can pick up faint sounds of bickering from inside.

“Please, Loki,” Thor pleads. “You’d be doing me a huge favor. You know I’m not good at this stuff.”

“Not my problem,” Loki rejects immediately. “I have enough work as it is. You’re the one with the surplus of free time. You do it.”

“What’s the matter?” You interject yourself into the conversation upon entering.

Thor whips around taking a second to register your presence before smiling wide. On the contrary, Loki looks at you in surprise for a mere split second before adverting his eyes purposefully away. You know not to hope for his affections, but the latter’s actions still sting a bit.

“Kara, thank the stars you’re here!” Thor beams. “Maybe you can convince him for me!” He says, believing in you more optimistically than you believe in yourself.

“Convince him of what?” You inquire nonetheless.

“Father of wants one of us to take on the responsibility of managing the palace’s finances,” Thor starts to explain. “He said to decide which one of us is to take on this responsibility amongst ourselves. The choice should obviously be Loki. He’s better at this stuff. If I did it I’d make countless mistakes.”

“True,” Loki and you accidentally agree aloud in unison. The two of you share an awkward glance before he averts his gaze again.

“True,” You repeat, “Loki would be the obvious choice for this.”

Loki’s eyes snap up to glare at you for taking Thor’s side while his brother’s eyes light up with joy and relief.

“But,” You continue, “there’s probably a reason why the Allfather didn’t just go ahead and assign the job to Loki. He might be giving you an opportunity to step up and learn in an area that’s not your strength. Whoever ascends the throne either needs to be able to do this type of work themself or be able to pick someone who can support them in this area of weakness.”

Thor frowns. He hadn’t thought about it like that. But even still, he didn’t want to do it. “Well, when I’m king I’ll just appoint Loki to do it for me. He can be my royal advisor.”

Loki’s glare shifts to his brother. “If you’re king,” He seethes.

A thick tension settles in the air. The two brothers now exchanging glares in bitter silence.

“If it’s not an issue with either one of you, how about I do it?” You blurt out, trying to quickly diffuse the situation. “I- I have the free time, and it’s not an unusual activity for a princess to do. Math has always been my strong suit anyway.”

The two of them stare at you. Thor’s eyes light up.

“Really? You’d do that for me?” He asks eagerly.

“Well, if Loki doesn’t have the time and you’re worried about making mistakes, I wouldn’t mind helping out,” You offer again.

“You want to be in charge of the palace’s finances?” Loki raises an eyebrow skeptically.

“Despite your most adamant beliefs about me, I don’t actually have twisted intentions,” You say more sharply than you intended to. Your words having an edge to them you aren’t used to. Maybe Loki’s distrust in you stung a bit more than you’d like to admit; even if you can rationalize it. “You can have one of your copies watch me as I handle them if you’re skeptical. I know you’re still spying on me.”

“I just might,” He replies coldly.

“Whelp, now that that’s settled, good night,” Thor ducks out of the study quickly before getting caught in the middle of a “couple’s” spat. Besides, he got what he wanted already. Better to leave before you change your mind.

“Why did you come here?” Loki asks pointedly. “I find it hard to believe you were just walking by.” He turns your own words back on you.

Chapter Text

“Please, Loki,” Thor pleads. “You’d be doing me a huge favor. You know I’m not good at this stuff.”

“Not my problem,” Loki rejects immediately. Is he really that stupid? If Father truly wanted him to do the finances then he would’ve just assigned it to him. No, what Father actually wants is for Thor to do it; he only left it up to them to decide so he could hide his intentions under the guise of ‘fairness’, “I have enough work as it is. You’re the one with the surplus of free time. You do it.”

“What’s the matter?” an unexpected visitor suddenly interrupts the brotherly squabble.

What are you doing here? You've never visited his study before. Were you sneaking around, searching for Thor late at night when you knew he wouldn’t be in their chambers? Loki adverts his eyes.

Meanwhile, Thor’s smiling like an oaf. It is apparent that he likes you. In what way, Loki isn’t sure yet. Thor tends to be very dense when it comes to girls.

“Kara, thank the stars you’re here!” Thor beams sickeningly. “Maybe you can convince him for me!”

“Convince him of what?” You inquire curiously.

“Father of wants one of us to take on the responsibility of managing the palace’s finances,” Thor starts to explain. “He said to decide which one of us is to take on this responsibility amongst ourselves. The choice should obviously be Loki. He’s better at this stuff. If I did it I’d make countless mistakes.”

“True,” Loki accidentally agrees aloud in unison with you. He blinks in surprise staring at you for a brief moment before gritting his teeth and adverting his gaze.

“True,” You repeat, “Loki would be the obvious choice for this.”

Thor’s eyes light up with joy and relief while Loki stares daggers into yours. How dare you take Thor’s side? You are his wife, not Thor’s. Are you that desperate to get in Thor’s favor?

“But,” You continue, “there’s probably a reason why the Allfather didn’t just go ahead and assign the job to Loki. He might be giving you an opportunity to step and learn in an area that’s not your strength. Whoever ascends the throne either needs to be able to do this type of work himself or be able to pick someone who can support him in this area of weakness.”

All at once Loki’s anger dissipates. He isn't exactly sure why, but genuine intrigue sparks inside him. It has to be the closest he's ever been to feeling admiration for another person. How clever of you. Not many are able to figure out Father’s true motivations like that. And what you said about the one who ascends the throne is true too. Surprisingly wise.

“Well, when I’m king I’ll just appoint Loki to do it for me. He can be my royal advisor,” Thor persists to opt out and take the easy way out. It is moments like this why Loki can’t fathom why Father favored Thor so much more. What is he missing that Thor has?

Thor’s words snap him out of his admiration, “If you’re king,” Loki seethes. The throne isn’t his yet; Thor needs to stop assuming the next king will be him. Why does no one believe he’s equally capable of ruling Asgard? Why is no one on his side?

A thick tension settles in the room. Loki exchanges glares with Thor in bitter silence. Which one of them is going to ascend the throne is a subject they rarely brought up with one another.

“If it’s not an issue with either one of you how about I do it?” You suddenly interrupt. “I- I have the free time, and it’s not an unusual activity for a princess to do. Math has always been my strong suit anyway.”

Maybe Loki was giving you too much credit earlier. The audacity of what you just suggested is borderline stupid. What idiot would entrust the entirety of the palace’s finances to-?

“Really? You’d do that for me?” Thor interrupts his thoughts, answering that question.

“Well, if Loki doesn’t have the time and you’re worried about making mistakes, I wouldn’t mind helping out,” You offer again.

“You want to be in charge of the palace’s finances?” Loki's voice drips in skepticism.

You, the least known person in the palace, are asking to be put in charge of the palace funds? Do you not know how many red flags that raises? And to think he thought you were clever a moment ago. You either are completely pure in motive, or you're a greedy leech poorly maintaining an innocent facade. Which one, Loki can’t decide.

“Despite your most adamant beliefs about me, I don’t actually have twisted intentions,” You rebuttal sharply. For the first time, your words have a bite to them. “You can have one of your copies watch me as I handle them if you’re skeptical. I know you’re still spying on me.”

“I just might,” Loki snaps icily.

“Whelp, now that that’s settled, good night,” Thor taking advantage of the opportunity to slip away, as if the decision has actually been made.

Typical Thor. Always creating a problem he has to clean up.

“Why did you come here?” Loki asks, letting him go to focus on the bigger issue here. “I find it hard to believe you were just walking by.”
__

“You’re right. I wasn’t just walking by. I came here to confront you about why you’ve been avoiding me again. Our relationship was improving. Why the sudden change back to before? I can’t think of anything I’ve done wrong,” You answer bluntly. You struggle to control your flustered frustration as you speak.

“You’ve done nothing? Are you serious?” He scoffs in disagreement. “You said you knew I was still watching you. Did you think you’re little escapades to see Thor went unnoticed? You’re just like everyone else, scampering off to his side.”

“That’s what all this is about?” You ask trying to fathom in your mind how just how stupid and wrong that is. “I went to Thor once! Just once.”

“And you got very up close and personal with him in the one encounter if I remember correctly,” He shoots back sharply.

“I hugged him. Platonically,” You emphasize. “He agreed to do me a favor and I was happy. I didn’t mean anything by it. Don’t tell me you were jealous. You said you didn’t care for me.”

“I don’t!” He snaps a little too quickly. The harsh reminder stings, causing your heart to ache in a way it hadn't before. You think it must have shown on your face because Loki hesitates for a second. He opts to lower his tone, “But for better or for worse, you’re my wife, and I don’t like what’s mine running off into Thor’s arms.”

You swallow. Your voice can't help but come out sounding a bit cracked, “I wasn’t running into his arms. I needed a favor and he was the only one I could turn to. Besides, I was doing it for you.”

“What?” He tilts his head slightly in skeptical confusion.

“I’m an easy target,” You explain no longer able to meet his gaze. “If someone wanted to get you through me it would probably be very easy. My body is weak and I have no aptitude for magic, so if I can’t guard myself then someone else has to do it. My first choice was Lady Sif, so I asked Thor if he could put me in contact with her ... But maybe the whole thing was pointless. If something were to happen to me you wouldn’t care... as you just reminded me. I- I just didn’t want to become your weakness.”

Loki purses his lips as the mask creeps back across his face. Whether or not he believed you, what he is thinking, what he is feeling; none of that can be deciphered. God. Sometimes seeing that blank expression is unbearable. You guiltily wish you could shatter it.

“Why would you choose Lady Sif, one of Thor’s best friends, if you really were on my side and not his?” He finally breaks the silence still questioning your intentions.

Shaking your head you take a deep breath just barely keeping yourself together, “No offense, Loki, but you don’t have any friends,” There's no malice is hidden in your words. “Neither do I. Who was I supposed to turn to?” You want to cry but not yet. Not in front of him. So you choke down your tears and muster out your final words. “Look, I know you’re used to people choosing Thor over you so the thought that someone, who was originally brought in to spy on you, trying to become someone you can trust is extremely difficult to accept. But I am trying, and I will continue to do so. But at the end of the day, I can’t help you if you don’t let me.”

This time you don’t wait for Loki’s silent treatment. Backing hastily towards the door, you grip tightly on the handle and pull open the door, excusing yourself.

Chapter Text

Loki didn’t return to his chamber that night. Which is plenty fine with you. One less night you had to pretend to be asleep, ignoring the stifling tension clouding the space between you and him. The morning hours crept slowly onwards. What little sleep you did get had been restless. When the soft light of the early morning sun peeks through the window curtains you roll yourself out of bed. Ironically, still more emotionally drained than physically.

“Back to the drawing board, I guess,” You mutter as you let your nightgown slip to the floor. Rummaging through your closet, you pick out a blush pink dress with minimal decor. You make a mental note to go into town and find a tailor. Most of the dresses you owned are impractical for everyday life since Kara’s mother mainly dressed her in things that would catch the attention of rich noblemen. If your wardrobe choices weren’t so small you would’ve burned most of them already.

After finishing getting ready for the day, you sit down at the desk as usual. You stare down at your notes feeling completely unmotivated after last night. Maybe you can’t change anything? Maybe once again, your only role in Loki’s life is to watch it unravel. Kara might only exist in this reality for the sake of accommodating your presence, but her role is the same as you had in your previous life, only an observer. The story will play out exactly like it did in the movies no matter what you try to do. You should’ve considered that possibility before. After all, this reality set you up in opposition to Loki from the start; maybe you aren’t actually meant to help him.

Your lip purses as you hold back tears. Your head falls into your hands.

“Hey,” a voice suddenly calls out from behind you.

You jump taken completely off guard. “Can you seriously not just use the door?” You ask sharply, whipping around.

“I could, but this is easier,” Loki quips, “...and more fun.” Clearly assumed and satisfied with your reaction. A smug grin dots his face.

“What are you doing here?” You cut to the chase. You thought you wouldn’t be seeing him for days. It’s even more surprising that he actively sought you out.

“I’ve come with a peace offering,” He replies as if that clears things up. With a flick of his wrist, a cake appears out of thin air and rests in his palm. “Chocolate with raspberry filling. Made it myself.”

“You baked me a cake?” You ask skeptically. “Why? W-what’s going on?”

“As I said, it’s a peace offering,” He repeats.

“Everything about this is suspicious. So very suspicious,” You remark, biting your lip. Did last night convince him to start actively scheming against you? Did he want you gone? “Why would you want to make peace with me?”

Loki rolls his eyes before swiping a finger across the frosting and popping some in his mouth, “It’s not poisoned if that’s what you’re thinking,” He sighs, setting down the cake next to you on the desk. “Look, after you left the study I spent the whole night thinking it over, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will give you one chance to prove yourself to me. As you stated, I don't have any friends- no allies. Unlike Thor. Maybe that's what I'm lacking. Thus I'm extending you a tentative olive branch. If you can handle the palace’s finances without any funny business then I’ll be open to accepting your help. But one missing penny, and I’ll personally make sure you join that brother of yours in his cell. Deal?”

He’s giving you an opportunity. The terms seem harsh, but it may just be your only chance to gain his trust. You aren’t sure whether your role in this reality is that of an observer or an agent of change but you can’t give up. Not on him. Especially when you’ve yet to give it your all. You have to try.

“Deal,” You agree, swiping your own bit of frosting off the cake and tasting it; signifying the acceptance of the peace offering. Your eyes light up, “You made this?! It’s so good!”

“Yeah,” Loki chuckles amusingly, “well, my mother made sure my education was well rounded.” He materializes a knife, forks, and a couple of plates.

You watch silently as he cuts the cake; eyes entranced completely by his. There’s a soft happiness to them that you hadn’t seen before. He’s proud of his ability to bake and a bit gleeful to share it with someone. Since arriving in Asgard, this has to be the first time you've witnessed him genuinely smile.

It’s strange. You hadn’t known about this side of Loki. It wasn’t something showcased in the movies. It pricks your heart in a way you never felt before. For the first time, you aren’t just in love with the fictional version of Loki that you had fallen for in your reality, but also for the boy standing right in front of you in this reality. They are one in the same yet different ... Happiness is a good look on Loki.

Your heart skips a beat as the temperature in your cheeks rise. You realize you’ve been staring at him for too long so you quickly shift your gaze away from him, hoping he didn't notice.
__

The wind gently flutters through your hair as you sit reviewing the financial records. You've opted to doing most of your work outside to be more accommodating to your bodyguard's personal schedule. That way she doesn't have to give up her training hours while on duty.

“It doesn’t bother you that he’s watching you?” Sif asks, nodding over to the copy of Loki standing at a distance behind you.

The copy wears a smug grin. You’re pretty sure he’s enjoying annoying her, but honestly, you forgot he was even there.

“Not really,” You admit. “At least he’s open about following me now. Besides, it’s nice to take a glance back every once and a while to get a look at him.”

Sif gives you a disapproving expression, her nose wrinkling.

“What?” You smile, laughing softly. “I married a handsome man. He has a cute face. Am I not allowed to enjoy that?”

Glancing back you notice the copy’s face has reverted to its usual blank expression as if Loki is trying to refrain from commenting on what you just said. Though, who knows how intently the real him is actually listening right now. He could just be distracted by whatever the real him is doing at the moment.

“You basically just said that to his face,” Sif blushes from second-hand embarrassment. “I thought your feelings weren’t mutual?”

“They’re not,” You reaffirm slowly, “but that doesn’t mean I have to hide mine. In fact, I think it’s better that I don’t. Outside of the Queen and maybe Thor, I don’t think people express it enough to him that he’s loved. Unlike Thor, Loki works in the shadows. And he’s damn good at it. But unfortunately, that means most of his hard work goes unnoticed by the public.”

“Wow, you’ve got it bad,” Sif chuckles, shaking her head.

“Hey, I’m not the only one who has it bad for one of the Odinson brothers,” You shoot back. “Maybe you could benefit from being a little more forthcoming about your feelings too, Missy. Thor’s a great guy, but I can only imagine how dense he is about these things.”

“And that’s my cue to get back to my training,” Sif nods promptly avoiding the subject as she walks back towards the training equipment.

“You can run but you can’t hide, Sif,” You chuckle, leaning back on the bench you’re sitting on. You pick back up the report you had been last reviewing.

Chapter Text

Wait a minute. That shouldn’t be. Your eyes scan the pages more intently than before. It just didn’t add up. It's subtle and cleverly hidden but still there. You were an accountant for too many years for something like this to fly under your radar. Being an accountant had never been a fun job, but you were good at it and it paid the bills. Now apparently it’s your greatest asset.

“I’m going to need help,” You murmur as you stand up and rush off.

“Wait, Kara, where are you going?” Sif calls out from behind. She sheethes the sword she had been practicing with and chases after you.

You don’t wait. Not even slowing your pace as you wind your way through the corridors. Sif manages to catch up to you anyway.

“Loki, you need to see this!” You shout, bursting into his study.

His eyes snap up to you, clearly annoyed by the interruption. “Rather obnoxious for the early morning hours, aren’t we?”

“Don’t be such a prick,” Sif says sharply, earning her a silent glare.

“Sorry, it’s just I found something, and I think it’ll be of great interest to you,” You cut in, diffusing the tension. There are more important matters at the moment. You hand him the file you’ve been gripping, “It’s barely noticeable but traces of it are still there. I think someone’s stealing funds from the royal treasury.”

“That’s a very serious claim you’re making,” Loki stares at you seriously before glancing down at the file. His eyes flutter across the pages until they freeze on a particular section. “That math doesn’t add up.”

“Exactly!” You exclaim breathlessly.

“But this alone doesn’t prove much,” He shuts the file close in his palm, handing it back to you. “Mistakes happen.”

“But what if isn’t a mistake? You put me in charge of the palace’s finances. If I just brush this off as just a simple calculation mistake without further investigation I’d be handling my job very lousily,” You insist on the matter. “This needs to be thoroughly investigated. I need to comb through everything. It’ll take too much time on my own. I’ll need help. Your help.”

Loki stares at you without saying a word for what seemed like forever. Finally, he opens his mouth to deliver his verdict, “As you said, I put you in charge. This is your problem, not mine.”

“I think matters concerning the royal funds are both of our problems,” You rebuttal firmly, putting your hands on his desk and staring at him earnestly, “Look, I know you’re very busy but this is important. I’ll make you deal.”

Loki’s eyes smirk at you amused, “Now you’re speaking my language, darling~”

You grin, his enjoyment sparking yours, “You help me sort through everything and once I build up all the evidence, I’ll hand it over to you. You can then go to your Father and take credit for discovering and usurping the thief.”

“Intriguing,” He grins pleased. However, you both knew there would be a catch, “But let me clarify, you’ll hand over the evidence to me regardless of how much or how little I help. Agreed?”

“Deal,” You accept without hesitation.

“Wait, Kara, that’s not fair!” Sif interjects. “He could literally help with one thing, and you’d have to hand everything over to him with him receiving full credit.”

“You’re smarter than I remember,” Loki jabs, shifting his gaze towards Sif.

“And you’re more conniving than I remember,” She growls.

“Well, a deal’s a deal,” You shrug dismissively. “Let’s go, Sif.” You grab her hand and pull her out of the study, pausing only briefly to smile and wave goodbye to Loki.

“What was that?!” Sif asks in bewildered confusion as soon as the door shuts. “Why did you agree to that?! Why are you letting him get away with that?!”

“Sif, Loki’s testing me,” You tell her as you pull her along behind you down the hall. “The purpose of Loki handing over the palace’s finances to me is two-fold. First, so that he can confirm whether or not he can trust me. Second, is to prove that I can be an asset to him. I’m playing Loki’s game. I can either fall into the trap he’s set or I can rise above it. Making that deal was my first move.”

Out of the corner of your eye, you briefly catch a glimpse of Loki’s copy trailing you from the shadows. Sif doesn’t seem to notice. You continue to pretend like you hadn't.

“But why are you going so far for him though?” She asks, forcing you to stop in the middle of the corridor as she plants her feet firmly down on the ground. You lose your balance at the sudden involuntary halt, but Sif catches you before you crash to the ground; she steadies you on your feet, “This isn’t fair. You giving it your all with unfair conditions while he forces you to play his game and hopes for your downfall. He doesn’t care about you- about anyone. Just himself. He’s a conniving snake who tricks people for his amusement. Why do you have to prove your trustworthiness and usefulness to someone like that?”

“Sif,” You say sternly matching her gaze, “I told you, you are free to support whoever you like, but I’d very much appreciate it if you didn’t speak ill of my husband so easily.”

“S-sorry, it’s just that-”

“Loki isn’t the monster you think he is,” You interrupt. “He may be mischievous and cunning by nature, but those traits alone don’t define him. You mentioned that my situation with him isn’t fair. Is it fair that the Allfather favors Thor? Is it fair that Loki works twice as hard as Thor just so he can attempt to make his father proud the same way he is of Thor? Do you know why Loki wants the throne so badly? It’s so he can be recognized as Thor’s equal by everyone, especially by his father. He wants it’s so bad he'd do anything to achieve it. And yes, that may lead to actions I don’t always approve of; he is not without fault. But at the very least, I see and sympathize with where he’s coming from.”

Your bodyguard appears taken aback. She drops eye contact as she shifts uncomfortably. Maybe you were a little too stern. Her intent behind her words was to look out for you after all.

“Look, I’m not asking you to convert to team Loki. I think both he and Thor are capable of being great kings,” You continue more gently. “But if you could try to understand Loki just a little more it’d mean the world to me.” You flash a soft, reassuring smile, taking her hands in yours. You chuckle lightly, “Heck, you don’t even have to like him. Just understand.”

“I’ll... try,” Sif accepts.

Satisfied you start walking with her down the hall again, “And Sif, it’s alright if he doesn’t care. It’s an arranged marriage. I’m not expecting him to. He’s under no obligation to reciprocate any of my feelings.”

“But it would be nice,” She mutters.

“You’re right,” You admit before promptly cutting off your mind and your heart from that hope.

In the distance Loki’s copy stands still. He makes no effort to catch up. His body fades away giving up on its purpose.
__

“Loki, what’s wrong?” Frigga inquires concerned by her son’s rare lack of focus on his lesson. “What’s got your mind elsewhere?”

“Kara, she- Are you sure she doesn’t have any aptitude for magic?” He asks, trying to connect the dots in his head.

The Queen’s a bit shocked. He never brought you up. Whenever she had tried to inquire how you were doing and how the two of you were getting along, Loki had always been quick to dismiss the subject. She becomes pleasantly curious.

“No, she does not. If she did both you and I would’ve sensed it,” She answers, reassuring him. “Why do you ask?”

“She, ah- ... She,” Loki frowns unsure if he really wanted to talk about this or just dismiss it like he did everything else. But he is brain and emotions are jumbled; he has to get the bottom of this, “Well, earlier today she was telling Sif certain things that I overheard-"

Frigga crosses her arms, “Are you still spying on her? I warned you to stop.”

“Not the point right now,” He sidesteps, ignoring his mother’s cross gaze. “The things she said were in my defense.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” The queen raises an eyebrow. “You really should give her more of a chance. She’s a good girl.”

“Again not the point,” Loki reiterates with a slight edge. “It’s what she was saying. It’s like I was an open book before her. She knew me so well and said the things I’ve wanted to hear. But it doesn’t make sense. It’s not like I’ve been opening up to her or anything. How does she know?”

Frigga purses her lips. She knew but decided a long time ago that it isn’t her secret to share. The night of the wedding when Kara, the real Kara, tripped and knocked herself out, the queen felt Kara’s soul leave her body and be swapped with a new one. This new soul in Kara’s body immediately approached her for help. She knew things she shouldn’t know; it was evident even though you tried to mask it. But this new soul seemed bent on helping her younger son. For whatever reason this soul already loved Loki. And what Loki needed most in this world was to experience love from someone besides his mother, father, and brother. Nothing you said or did raised alarm bells so Frigga decided to let sleeping dogs lie.

“Some people are very perceptive to others and their emotions, especially of those they are around,” the queen answers, removing any trace of untruth from her voice. Loki is sharp but even he has trouble deciphering his mother when she didn’t want him to, “Kara may be one of these people. I also get the sense that's she's a very empathetic person.” She pauses, "Loki, I'm not going to dictate your love life, but maybe you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth."

Chapter Text

The past few days you’ve been shutting yourself up in the royal library, combing through endless amounts of records. The traces of corruption were few and far between but you weren’t going to give up. You had to admit though, whoever was hiding their theft knew exactly what they were doing.

“It’s been three days, and he hasn’t even as much as shown his face,” Sif complains, staring helplessly at the stacks upon stacks of files you had piled up on and around the table. Detailed paperwork really isn’t her strong suit, but she attempted to read through a few files out of pity.

“I thought you’d be happy to not have Loki’s copy watching us,” You reply dismissively not looking up from the page you’re skimming.

“I mean that part’s nice but he agreed to help.”

“He still has the opportunity to. It’s not like I’m anywhere near done,” You remind her. “Besides, the main point of making that deal with Loki wasn’t actually to get his help, as much as that would be nice.” Getting to the end of the page you look up at her. “A wise person turns to people for the help they need. A wiser person chooses the right people for that help. There’s no one better in this kingdom for this task than Loki. I don’t have psychical strength or magic so at the very least I need to prove to him my brain can be an asset. Thus we’re playing a game of wits. How I go about this investigation is being equally evaluated as much as the results.”

“Wow, you two are making things way more complicated than they need be,” Sif exhales, shaking her head.

You chuckle softly, “And you and Thor tend to oversimplify things, solving most of your problems with brawn.”

“Touché,” She admits, cracking the smallest smile. “But come on. This is getting ridiculously unfair. Have you even slept these past three days? Be honest, do you even leave this library after I go home?”

You sigh, “I- ... Sleep has been alluding the past few days, I’ll admit BUT my insomnia has predated this.”

“That’s not good,” Sif stresses earnestly. “You’ve got to sleep or eventually you’re body’s going to give way.”

“Look, it’s fine. I had anxiety before coming here... to the palace,” You add quickly. “The insomnia is probably just an offshoot of that. I can manage it.”

“If that was supposed to reassure me it doesn’t,” Sif replies bluntly.

“I promise you, I’ll take a nice long nap after I get to bottom of this,” You tell her. A gentle smile rests on your lips, “I am genuinely grateful for the concern for me though. It’s been a while since someone actually was.”

“Fine. I’ll accept that, for now, " She gives in, "but only because I know even if I personally escorted you to your bed now you wouldn’t actually fall asleep."

You smile more appreciatively, “Thank you, Sif.”

“Whatever,” She mutters dismissively, rolling her eyes and blushing slightly. “I’ll go get you some more coffee.”

“Much obliged,” You chuckle before returning your focus to your file.
__

When you eventually look up again it must be the late evening you suppose. Sif is no longer nearby so she must’ve gone home, and she only did that at night. Otherwise, there's no other indicator of the time of day to be gleaned from the dark recesses of the library. You glance over at your empty coffee mug and sigh. Sif isn’t much help with examining files, but at least she's good at keeping you caffeinated.

Standing up you barely catch yourself from falling over, gripping tightly on the table’s edge for stability. All of a sudden you feel extremely light-headed. “What the-?” You groan and that’s the last thing you remember.
__

“I know the two of you have some weird scheming game going on but this is going too far!” Sif bursts into Loki’s study shouting.

He glares up icily at her. He really isn’t in the mood to be yelled at today, “Stay out of it, Sif. We had a deal between the two of us. I will only help when I choose to.”

“This isn’t about that!” She snaps barely restraining herself from yanking him up from behind that desk and hitting him. "You don’t even know, do you? No, you better not know anything because if one of your copies was watching her and you did nothing so help me!”

“What are you talking about?” Loki furrows his brow, confused. He had stopped sending copies after you since the day you made the deal in his study.

“Kara! I came in this morning to find her unconscious on the floor with an insane fever!” Sif exclaims enraged. “Do you know she hasn’t slept in four days?! In fact, she told me she barely sleeps period since moving into the palace. Have you ever even noticed that?”

He hadn’t. Reflecting back there had been signs of insomnia but Loki ignored them. He hadn’t cared.

Sif interprets his answer from his silence, “Dammit, Loki! Kara’s the only reason I’m restraining myself right now. We both know I don’t care for you.”

“Understatement,” Loki quips.

“Shut up!” She snaps. She isn’t in the mood to deal with his antics right now. “Listen, I don’t care about you but she freaking does! She cares a whole lot more than I think you deserve. And I’m telling you right now if you chase her out of your life it’ll be your biggest regret.”

Sif said what she wanted to say so she turns to leave. She didn’t need a response from him. Frankly, she didn’t want one. She needed to go let off steam before she punched him.

“Where is she now?” Loki inquires, just as Sif turns the doorknob.

“I took her to your chambers then fetched the royal physician,” Sif answers before deliberately slamming the door shut.
__

“You're like Thor, only if he was weak and had a brain,” Loki comments, appearing out of thin air by the bedside. “Everyone can’t help but love you. You’ve already got Sif under your thumb.”

He stares down at you. Whatever sleep your body is catching up on didn’t appear to be restful. Your complexion is sickly pale, your body is sweating profusely, and your expression is tense and distressed. Bending down and reaching out, the back of his hand comes into contact with the burning temperature of your skin. To his surprise though, your expression immediately relaxes upon his touch as if his palm is some form of relief.

“Why are you working so hard?” He murmurs softly. “Why do you care? I certainly haven’t given you a reason to.”

To say the least, you aren’t the person he was expecting. The fear that plagued your eyes and body when you stood by his side at the alter completely vanished after you had woken up after tripping down the aisle. It’s like you rolled out of bed a completely different person. Maybe finally being free of your wretched family gave way for your true self to peak through?

“Sif said chasing you out of my life would be my biggest regret,” Loki continues. “My mother thinks I should accept you too.” He pauses, struggling to sort out his thoughts and feelings, “Are they too naive or am I too guarded?”

He moves his hand up to your forehead. Strange? Your temperature seems to have dropped significantly compared to a few moments ago. Can a fever break that quickly?

“Well, at least you seem to be getting better,” He withdraws his hand. “I should probably fetch the doctor.”

He stands up straight, taking one last lingering glance at you before vanishing.

Chapter Text

“Could you slow down even a little bit? You’ve only just recovered,” Sif chastises in disbelief at your stubbornness.

“But I’ve already wasted too much time. I lost two whole days!” You shout back as you race down the corridors towards the library.

“Those days weren’t a waste!” She argues. “Your body needed the rest. It’s a miracle it only took you two days to fully recover.”

You screech to a halt, flinging open the library doors. Sif accidentally bumps into you not expecting you to freeze suddenly in the doorway.

“Kara, what are you-” She lingers off as she follows your gaze.

To both of your surprise, Loki sat in the middle of the library at your usual table flipping through files diligently.

“Well, are you just go to stand and stare, or you actually going to do your job?” He asks not looking up.

“I- I'm going to brew some coffee,” Sif quickly excuses herself.

You quietly step forward, taking a seat opposite of him. You move to pick up the folder closest to you but your eyes linger on Loki.

“How long have you been here?” You wonder curiously. Your eyes widen slightly as you bite your lip. You hadn’t meant to say that aloud.

“Someone had to pick up for your slack the past two days,” He answers unbothered.

“This whole time?!” You ask shocked.

“Hush,” He gently raises his finger to his lips still not looking up from his file. “It’ll be harder to focus if you continue on with this idle prattle.”

You nod hesitantly and obediently turn your focus to the file you picked up. Moments of silence pass as the two become productive.

Once more to your surprise, Loki’s the next one to break the silence. He glances over the end of the table, “If you’re hungry there’s something to eat over there.” He returns immediately to his work in no need of a response.

You look over. At the end of the table sits a chocolate cake. The same chocolate cake from before. The message is clear. A peace offering. A small smile can’t help but spread across your lips.
__

“Hey, Sif!” a familiar voice suddenly calls out from behind her. She nearly jumps which would’ve caused the coffee grounds she had been scooping out to spill out all over the floor. “Have you seen my brother? He wasn’t in his study like he normally is at this time.”

“And you thought you’d find him in the kitchen?” She turns around, giving him a doubtful look.

“It’s a possibility. He can cook, you know,” Thor grins happily.

“Loki can cook?” Sif gawks in disbelief. She never pictured either of the princes in the kitchen.

“Yeah, Mother tried teaching us both but it’s not my forte. Loki took to it though,” He answers. “So, I take it you haven’t seen him?”

“No, I have. He’s in the library. I would leave him be for a while though. He’s alone in there with Kara,” She informs him.

“Are they making out?!” He asks, taking Sif completely off guard.

“What?! No. Or at least, I highly doubt that,” Sif grimaces, shaking the mental image. “I don’t think their relationship has reached that level yet.”

“I'll never understand my brother sometimes. Why is he holding off? If she were my wife, I’d be all over her.”

“I didn't need to know that, Thor,” Her grimace deepens as her heart skips a painful beat.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” He apologizes quickly. “It’s just she’s a beautiful girl. Loki’s a lucky guy.”

“There’s more to a girl than her looks,” Sif says icily.

“I know that. It’s just- I mean that you can’t say women don’t also have their preferences among handsome men,” Thor replies. “The man you marry is going to be a lucky man too. You’re beautiful and could kick his butt. What man wouldn’t want you?”

“In my experience, not many,” Sif adverts her eyes turning back to preparing the coffee.

“Their loss then,” Thor grins obliviously. He does notice that the conversation has gone rather south though so he changes the subject. “So, I haven’t seen you around as much recently. How have you been? You and Kara getting along?”

“I’ve been good,” She sighs finishing up the coffee before turning back to him. “Kara’s also been good. She baffles me and can be a handful sometimes but she’s kind. I like her.”

Thor smiles wide, “You like her? Such high praise. I can’t think of too many people you’re particularly fond of. To think it’s Loki’s wife of all people.”

“Right!” Sif agrees pretty much as baffled as he is.

“Come on, Loki’s not that bad,” Thor chuckles.

“So I’ve been told,” She notes, rolling her eyes and picking up one of the mugs. She takes a sip of the freshly brewed coffee for herself before handing another one to Thor who accepts it gratefully.

“Hey, the Anniversary ball is next month,” He suddenly brings up. “If you don’t find a date by then I’ll keep my spot open for you. It’s more fun and less stressful to go with a friend anyways.”

He is being considerate of her. Sif likes this side of Thor the best. He may be a dense meathead with an inflated ego, but he’s considerate to everyone he comes into contact with- his friends, his brother, his people, complete strangers. He's as warm and bright as the sun; kind and inviting to everyone regardless of who they are. It’s why everyone is drawn to him. Why she is drawn to him. But his consideration sometimes stung because it reminds Sif that she is just like everybody else to him. She isn’t any more special to him than the Warriors Three.

“Sure, I’ll let you know,” Sif accepts the proposition, glancing down at the black liquid in her hands. “I should get going. I need to drop off this coffee to them before it gets cold. I’ll see you at tonight’s training.”

“O-oh, okay,” Thor nods, politely stepping out of her way.

Sif picks up the tray with the remaining mugs and leaves not looking back.

Chapter Text

You lean back in your chair and exhale in excited relief. Smiling softly to yourself as you stretch your arms up in the air. Finally, you are done. All the evidence is compiled, and last night you finished up the last of the interviews with the possible culprits. It took until the early morning hours for you to get everything in order but you did it. Sif will be pleased; you don’t think she liked being confined to the library for so long. You make a mental note to get her a thank you gift for putting up with all of this for you.

Scooting your chair back, you stand up. Time to hand everything over to Loki. To your surprise, he helped out more than you thought he would. He dropped off when you started investigating the suspects, but thanks to him going through the files flew by. And you admit it was nice to spend alone time with him where you weren’t at odds. It even gave Sif more free time to train since she didn’t need to protect you when he was around.

The early morning light shines softly through palace windows as you step out of the library. The sound of your footsteps winding down the various corridors is the only thing that can be heard at this time of day. Even the birds thought it was too early to be up. You pass a couple of the palace guards on the way, but they neither move nor acknowledge you.

You knock lightly on his study door, waiting patiently for permission to enter this time.

“Come in,” the response comes swiftly.

“Good morning,” You smile gently as you open the door.

“Finished?” Loki raises an eyebrow, looking up at you. He stands up and moves to the front of his desk, leaning against it.

“Yes, and I know who the culprit is,” You affirm proudly.

Loki stretches out his hand, “Well, hand over the evidence then.”

You hesitate, “Are you sure you want me to? Or do you want me to save you the trouble of disposing of it yourself?” You glance over, “That fireplace looks like it could use some kindling.”

“And why would I want you to destroy the evidence I’m going to present to my father?” Loki crosses his arms; his gaze skeptical.

“Because you’re the culprit,” You answer him.

He frowns; his tone becomes icy, “Are you accusing me of stealing from the royal treasury?”

“Not at all,” You firmly refute, “in fact no one is the culprit in that regard. There is no thief.”

“No thief? Then where did the money go? And how then am I the culprit if there is no thief?” He interrogates, deliberately putting more pressure on you.

“The money didn’t go anywhere. I asked the Queen to verify this when all of the suspects amongst the palace staff fell out of my suspicion,” You push back, standing your ground without a second of hesitation. “Naturally, this conclusion left me with the paradox of no thief yet also a cleverly hidden trail of evidence of said theft. But then I thought, if the thief was fake then so could be the evidence. From there it became evident who was orchestrating this,” Your eyes flicker with excitement as you progress through your monologue. “Only you would and could send me on a wild goose chase of this caliber. This is the true narrative behind your game.”

Loki’s faux frown dissipates and is replaced with a wicked grin, “Clever girl~,” He praises. Sounding more genuine than you were expecting, causing your heart to skip a beat. He steps forward, snatching the file out of your hands and tossing all your countless hours of hard work into the dying light of the embers. The flames instantly blazing back to life.

“Sif is going to be so pissed when I tell her,” You chuckle, shuttering in relief as the feeling of a large weight being taken off your chest washes over you. You played Loki’s game and won. You’ve never felt more proud of yourself than you did in this moment.

“Oh, I’m sure,” He replies his eyes gleaming with amusement at the thought. Then he thinks about it. His expression sours a bit, “Wait. Are you actually going to tell her?”

“Yes. I mean there’s no way she’s not going to ask who it was after being stuck in the library with me for so long,” You point out.

“Well, I will now be actively avoiding her for the next week or so,” He states, chuckling nervously.

“Smart idea,” You nod and giggle, leading to a soft smile ending up on your face. You look down briefly pausing, lingering on the moment not yet wanting to ruin the mood. The smile fades from your lips as you look back at him, “So... where do you and I stand now?”

Loki purses his lips, “I- ... I think you’ve proven yourself enough for me to accept you as an ally.”

“Allies,” You murmur thinking it over. You let the smile slip back on your face, pleased, “Sounds good to me!” Clasping your hands together, you look around the room unsure what else to say. “I’ll, uh, get out of your way now. I’m sure you’re busy.
__

Loki watches silently as you turn to leave. Though he can’t place it, something didn’t sit right with him. Before he even realizes what he’s doing, he reaches out and grabs your wrist, “Wait.”

You turn back to look at him in innocent confusion. Crap. He didn’t know what he was doing any more than you did. He had nothing in particular to say to you; nothing in particular for you to do either. Why did he stop you?

“You haven’t slept at all, have you?” He asks, eyes glancing briefly at the sofa next to the fireplace. “And I doubt that that’s what you were planning on going to do. Sif will be even more pissed at me if you continue to lose any more sleep... because of me.”

Again, he has no idea what nonsense he's spouting. It's like his brain and body are on autopilot. His legs move on their own as he drags you over to the couch. All he can feel at the moment is this overwhelming need to not let you go. Sitting down himself, he pulls you down next to him, gently pushing your head down on his lap.

“Sleep,” He orders, immediately summoning a book from his desk so you don’t have a chance to object to or question him.
__

Sleep? How are supposed to sleep like this? What is going on? Loki is acting so composed like this turn of events is normal, but you on the other hand are losing it; your heart and mind racing a hundred miles an hour. This isn’t fair. He can’t do things like this without you jumping to conclusions that are really just your hopeful wishings. But... maybe... just this once... you can allow yourself to indulge in the moment. A reward to yourself for all your hard work.

The mixture of heat radiating from the fireplace and the coolness of Loki’s lap puts you at just the right temperature. Your body slowly relaxes as the exhaustion you’ve been ignoring for so long suddenly comes crashing down like a giant wave over you. Drowsiness consumes you, powerfully enticing your eyes shut as your consciousness slips away.
__

Not bothering to knock, Sif lets herself right into his study. “Loki, have you seen-?”

Holding his book in one hand, Loki lifts a finger to his lips, hushing her. He addresses her quietly without tearing his eyes away from the page he’s on, “She’s asleep. You and I both know how little she actually gets. I’ll tell her you came looking for her when she awakes.”

“You’re letting her sleep,” She questions in hushed bewilderment, “on your lap?”

“That would appear to be the case,” Loki sighs, glancing down at his lap.

To his surprise, you appear blissfully relaxed in this position. Very few people are genuinely so around him. He made people around him tense, and most of the time he liked that. Keeping people on their toes amused him and boosted his ego. But from the get-go, you’ve never treated him like everybody else does. You endured his defenses, played his games, and matched his wit. You see him in a way that no one ever has before. And if he’s being honest, that scares him. Why? He isn’t sure. He’s never been this confused about his feelings towards another person before.

Sif stands frozen in spot, completely baffled. The ice-hearted prince is letting someone rest on his lap. Never in a million years did she think she’d witness Loki being any sort of affectionate towards another person. Every day you seem to find a new way, intentional or not, to blow her mind. Just who is this mistress of hers who can sway Loki so much? Sif was definitely going to stick around to find out.

Chapter Text

Since the investigation ended, your free time suddenly opened up again. Loki entrusted managing the palace funds to you for real this time as a sign of good faith between you. Odin didn’t seem pleased with this turn of events, but between his Queen’s vocalizing her approval and his sons’ support, he didn’t outwardly object. All that being said, you faced a new crisis: ballroom dancing. The new focus of your time you when aren’t keeping up with finances.

Apparently, the anniversary of the Queen and King is coming up, and apparently, it’s a big deal. A ball is thrown followed up by a giant feast for the nobility. The common folk also celebrate by throwing a day-long festival for themselves. Long story short, it’s a major Asgardian event and you, a technical princess and member of the royal family, can’t dance.

Even Kara’s knowledge of the subject is limited. Though she had been technically nobility before marrying into the royal family, her family had been on the brink of poverty and losing their status. And since Erik showed more talent, all their resources were divided between their father’s alcohol and gambling addictions and Erik’s education. Kara’s education was neglected; anything she knew was self-taught which limited her to the basics. The only time and money poured into her were in order to doll her up; making her a more eye-catching prize for any nobleman willing to fork over the right price.

After Erik was locked up, her parents made no attempt to make contact with her. It’s for the best. So help them if you ever saw either one of them again.

But that is a problem for another time. You had three weeks left to master ballroom dancing. And you would not embarrass Loki by being a total klutz at the ball. You had to prove that you belonged by his side to the noble public; they would all be watching you. Many of whom secretly hoping for your failure. It’s what Odin wanted; an unsuitable bride that lowered his prospects of being king.

Thankfully, Frigga agreed to take some time out of her days to be your instructor. Plus, Sif offered to be your practice partner. Balls may not be her particular cup of tea, but she’s been to her fair share over the years upon Thor's invitation.

“Straighten your back and look over your partner’s right shoulder,” Frigga instructs, gently repositioning your body. “Now to the left, one, two, three. Right, one, two, three. Repeat.”

You swear both you and Kara were born with two left feet. Sif is definitely carrying the dance between the two of you. Your eyes constantly drift down to your feet desperately trying to not step on her toes.

“Maintain your gaze over her shoulder,” the Queen comments watching carefully. “Don’t overthink your footwork. Mirror her steps but don’t watch your feet. Eventually, they’ll memorize the pattern on their own.”

Your eyes snap back to where they’re supposed to be. It’s a struggle to resist the urge to look down. Anxiety starts to sink in, settling in your chest as a weird buzzy sensation.

“Switch to the box step, left. One, two, three, four,” She counts aloud, keeping the tempo as you perform. “Box step, right. One, two, three, four. Good. Now, Kara, step back with your right foot.”

You hesitate, mind all of the sudden struggling to remember your left from your right. Thankfully, you do end up stepping back with the correct foot.

Frigga continues, “Follow that with your left, making it parallel to your right. Then bring your right foot to the left. Now do the opposite, stepping forward with your left and then your right, once again making them parallel to one another. And finish with bringing your left foot to your right. Good,” She smiles pleased. “Now let us try it all again from the top.”

The anxiety starts to swell significantly inside you the longer you practice. This has to be done right. You have to do this right. Failure isn’t an option. You can’t fail. No misstep is permissible. Everything could unravel with the slightest mistake. You can’t make those mistakes. You can’t. You can’t!

As the anxious thoughts fly rapidly through your mind, you become more flustered actively working against what you desired. Sif’s breath sharpens as your heel drills into her foot.

Your eyes widen horrified, “I’m so sorry! I-” You misstep, rolling on your ankle. Desperately gripping onto Sif trying for balance, you end up dragging her down with you.

“Why don’t we call it a day,” Frigga recommends gently. “We’ll pick up where we left off tomorrow.”

“Sounds good,” You agree, voice just barely cracking.

Sif picks herself up off the floor then extends a hand out to you.

Avoiding her eyes you shake your head, “I’m just going to sit here for a minute. You’re free to go.”

Sif swallows watching you silently for a moment. She retracts her hand, “If that’s what you wish.”

The queen and her exchange glances of concern but settle on deciding you need some time to yourself. They politely leave you alone in the ballroom.
__

Peering through the crack in the door, Loki watches as you rehearse the steps you’ve been taught thus far. The silent observer takes notes of the sweat glistening down your face, the heavy laboring of your breathing, and the painstaking desperation and frustration haunting your face. He purses his lips as you trip over your own feet and crash to the ground. Lifting yourself back to your knees, you grit your teeth and clench your fists at your side. Overwhelmingly evident, being on the verge of tears.

“You weren’t at dinner,” Loki remarks, making his presence known as he enters and heads towards you, “Mother asked me to check up on you.”

About to scramble up to your feet, he stops you raising his hand dismissively, “No, don’t get up,” He says before plopping down on the marble floor next to you. His eyebrow raises as he now notices the red stains on your heels. Without saying anything, he turns you towards him and takes off the heels you had been wearing, revealing bloody ankles. He summons a damp cloth, taking your right ankle in his hands and gently wiping it, “Why in the nine realms are you working so hard over a silly ball?”

You advert your gaze away from what he’s doing, ashamed that he’s seeing you like this. Your voice cracks, “It’s not about the ball.”

“Then...” Loki pesters not letting you off the hook, eyes completely focused on his handiwork, “what is it about?”

You shutter aloud, shaking your head. What are you supposed to tell him? That your anxiety has you obsessing over the fact that if you make one wrong move or if you don’t do enough, his life could end up spiraling into all kinds of suffering? That if you aren’t good enough to change things, he’ll grow up to be the villain from the movies? That if you can’t dance then you’ll be a source of public shame that will drag down his reputation, adding to Odin’s reasons why he can’t ascend the throne. No, you can’t. You can’t explain any of that.

“Do you know that the expression you're wearing at this exact moment is the same one I’ve seen in the mirror countless times?” He continues when you don’t answer. “Let me guess. For some reason or another, you feel like everything you’re working towards is going to crumble because you just might not be good enough no matter how hard you try?” He pauses switching the cloth over to your left ankle. “Every time Father praises Thor and fails to extend that praise to me, or I struggle to improve with my magic as Thor seems to make stride after stride in his training, I push myself the same way you’re doing right now. Mother says it isn’t healthy... but that’s never really stopped me before,” He chuckles softly.

Placing both your ankles carefully back down, Loki sighs and looks up at you, “Kara, you wanted my trust now I want yours. We agreed on being allies; you help me and I... I help you. Whatever you’re going through, you no longer have to do so alone. So tell me, what is this about?”

You curse to yourself as a single tear escapes from your restraint, slowly rolling down your cheek. You turn to look at him, mouth opening hesitantly, “I told you once that my ultimate goal is to make you happy. It’s the truth, you know? But sometimes the weight of all I have to do to ensure that is overwhelming. What if I mess up and I can’t (change your future)-? I can’t be not good enough, even down to the minute detail. If I can’t dance or conduct myself properly at this ball, as a princess of Asgard and your wife, then it will reflect on you. I don’t want to become a reason for you not obtaining the throne. I know that’s why your Father picked me. I have nothing to offer. No power, wealth, or magic. You gain nothing from our marriage; our marriage was made with the sole purpose of hindering you. I can’t stand that! I- I-!” You are full-on sobbing at this point, becoming more flustered as you tried to explain.

“Hey, hey, hey,” Loki coos, cupping your face in his palms. He starts wiping away the tears from your eyes with his thumb. “Calm down and listen to me. While I still have no idea why you’re this obsessed over my happiness, and I’ve gotten the impression you aren’t going to tell me, but you can’t work on that on your own. My happiness is also my responsibility; you don’t have to take everything on your shoulders. A wise person relies on others for help. Isn’t that what you told Sif?”

You exhale in an effort to calm yourself back down, nodding silently. Loki lets go of his touch on your face.

“And you’re right about our marriage and what it’s supposed to be,” He admits, “but you didn’t turn out how you who you were expected to. You’re awfully more clever than my father had hoped; and definitely not as submissive and obedient,” He chuckles. “Besides, if you can solve the truth behind one of my carefully devised fabrications I think you can figure out ballroom dancing.”

“Math and logic are much easier than dancing,” You mutter, a small smile cracking onto your lips.

“My brother would disagree,” Loki quips with a grin. He stands up, extending out his hand to you. “Come now. If neither one of us has plans to sleep tonight we’d better at least put the hours to good use. I’ll be your practice partner/instructor till the morning rays shine through the windows. Sound good to you, Ms. Ally?”

You stare at his eyes then at his hand then back into his eyes before taking his hand. He immediately pulls you up, stabilizing you on your feet.

“Sounds good, Mr. Ally,” You accept gratefully.

“Fair warning though, I am much tougher than my mother,” Loki informs. “My teaching methods tend to be rather strict and incredibly thorough.”

You grin smugly, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Good answer,” He returns the grinning smugness, kicking your heels out of the way, “Now let’s get down to business.”

“I’m seriously bad at this,” You warn sheepishly. “I brought Sif crashing to the ground with me earlier.”

Loki places your hands where they should be and straightens your posture, smiling amusingly at the thought, “I would have loved to see that. Not many people can bring Lady Sif down to her knees. But worry not. If you fall, I will catch you.” He chuckles teasingly. “And maintain my own balance.”

“Oh, I’m sure,” You quip as Loki leads you into the first steps. “That’s almost a pity though. Maybe I would like to be the cause of bringing both Lady Sif and the god of mischief down on their knees all in one day. My name would be notorious throughout the realm.”

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be giving you the pleasure of that,” Loki shakes his head lightly with a slight smile. “I’m rather confident in my dance skills.”

“We’ll see~” You reply flippantly. Your eyes matching his in pleasured amusement.

Chapter Text

“Very good,” Frigga smiles, pleased as you finish the routine.

“Naturally,” Loki boasts unashamedly. “I spent countless hours drilling everything into her. She had no choice but to get good.”

You roll your eyes, letting go of Sif. “Why yes and thank you my most excellent and very humble tutor. It had absolutely nothing to do with my countless hours of hard work.”

“Your words, not mine,” Loki smirks.

“Don’t you have somewhere else to be, oh-so-ever-busy prince?” Sif retorts, positioning herself by your side, arms crossed.

Loki’s eyes narrow in annoyance, “As a matter of fact, I do. But even I can cut out a little time to evaluate my handiwork.”

“You’re not the only one who worked with her,” Sif growls. “You did some night tutoring, big whoop. Her majesty and I did most of the work.”

And that’s where you step in between them, placing your hand on his forearm and meeting his eyes, “Loki, thank you for everything. It was honestly big help. If you have to go then you should. I don’t want to keep you. Besides, Sif and I have plans.”

“We do?” Sif asks confused.

Your gaze shifts to Sif with a slightly mischievous smile, dropping your hand, “Yes, we do. Speaking of which, you’ll probably want to go change. We’re heading into town.”

She stares at you skeptically, “O-okay...”

Both of them take their leave. Sif walking out while Loki simply dissipates into thin air.

“You handle them well,” Frigga breaks her silent observance. “It’s quite impressive.”

You blush slightly, “Thank you for your praise, Your Majesty.”

The queen smiles affectionately at you, making a warm feeling inside you bubble up, “I’ve wanted to thank you for a while now. Loki often lives in his father and brother’s shadow. I think he desperately needed someone who actually sees him too; someone in his corner beside myself. You have been that person.”

“I’m trying to be that person at the very least,” You deflect a bit, a happy sort of embarrassment staining your cheeks.

Frigga reaches out, softly brushing a lock of your hair behind your ear, “Well, I think you’re doing a wonderful job so far.”
__

“Do we really?” Sif complains as you drag her unenthusiastically along by her hand.

“Yes, we do,” You reaffirm to her, laughing softly. “Not only do I need a gown for the ball but also I need a completely new wardrobe. Might as well kill two birds with one stone.”

“I still don’t see why I too have to pick out a dress. I have plenty at home appropriate enough for the ball.”

“Two reasons,” You inform her matter of factly. “First, for my pleasure. I've never gone clothes shopping with a friend before so please indulge me. And second, and more importantly, because I’m going to make a hundred percent sure that Thor is wowed away by you as his date.”

“Wait, no, Kara!” Sif protests with a rosy blush, but you’re already stepping into the boutique where tons of noble girls are standing about, searching for their own dresses.

“With the ball in a couple of days looks like this place a hot spot,” You mutter before whispering into Sif’s ear. “Don’t worry. I’ve booked us the entire upper floor.”

She nods silently, following your lead towards the staircase. The women around you stare and whisper. Kara is a mystery to the nobles since she barely had a presence among them and never officially debuted into society and yet somehow managed to take on the title of princess. This sudden rise in ranks created a lot of bitter resentment directed at her; many of the nobility feeling their chances of marrying into the royal family unfairly snatched from them. Glares are mixed in with the stares.

You sigh internally as a woman either brave enough or stupid enough steps in front of your path. Just barely blocking you from ascending the stairs.

“I wondered who my father set aside the top floor for,” the woman speaks with a slimy, clearly fake, smile on her face. Her words have a poorly hidden bite to them, “Princess Kara, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Evangeline. Duchess.”

“Nice to meet you, Duchess,” You faux smile back though significantly more convincing than her. “Your Father owns this boutique? I’ll be sure to send my thanks for ducal household then.”

“How generous,” She muses dismissively. “You must be here to pick out dresses for the Anniversary ball.”

“Yes we are,” You answer simply, making a mental note to shop for the rest of your wardrobe elsewhere.

“I can’t wait to see what you pick out then,” Evangeline continues. “You can certainly afford the best of the best now.”

It’s a weak attempt to jab at the fact you only have money now because of your unequal marriage of benefits. Sif steps forward to ready to snap at her, but you raise a hand out stopping her. Evangeline’s veiled jealousy certainly isn’t worth the possibility of getting into trouble with a high-ranking noble family. Whatever you did would be reflected onto Loki; you had to conduct yourself properly. That being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t take a verbal jab back.

“Well, I’ve heard the dresses sold here are the best of the best, so I simply knew I had to come here in order find something my husband will be pleased with. He told me to spare no expense. Prince Loki really is kind and generous to me,” You reply, clasping your hands together and flashing a blushingly happy smile, portraying yourself as an innocent girl hopelessly in love with her husband who dotes affectionately on her.

“I won’t delay you any further then,” She sidesteps just barely out of your way. She’s still forcing a smile, but her eyes are now burning with hatred. “I hope to see again you in a couple of days.”

You take her hands in yours and smile wide, eyes sparkling at her, “It really was a pleasure to meet you, Duchess Evangeline! I’ll definitely see you again in a couple of days! I do so hope we can get along!” You wave goodbye, taking Sif’s hand once again, and head upstairs.

Best to play the idiot for now.

As the door closes behind you on the second floor, Sif stares at you looking seconds away from gagging, “That was the most disgusting behavior I’ve seen you display. Don’t ever act like that again in front of me. And the idea of Loki being an actual loving husband is just...”

You chuckle, “Sif, sometimes it’s in your best interests to appear naive. People will underestimate you and let down their guard. Besides, it would do me no good to stir up with trouble Evangeline. That being said,” You smirk, “I couldn’t let her off the hook that easily. Women like her are simpleminded. I knew acting that way would grind her gears.”

“Get that smirk off your face,” Sif rolls her eyes, shaking her head, “I’m starting to think you and Loki might be too much of a good match.”

“Aw, thank you!” You gush with a gleeful gleam in your eyes. You are enjoying teasing her a bit.

“No. That’s what I mean. Stop it,” She wags her finger at you, chastising. You have no idea how much your expression is reminding her of Loki’s. And one Loki is more than enough for her.

“Fine,” You softly giggle, shifting your gaze to the gowns on display around you. “We have an objective here anyway.”

Sif groans.

“Hush now,” You dismiss, walking towards one of the racks. “Now our dresses need to make a statement, especially to our dates. Thus we will be picking gowns that represent them. That means you’ll be wearing red and I’ll be wearing dark green.”

“Just pick one for me if you’re dead set on me getting a new dress,” Sif sighs uninterested.

“Planning on it. But you have to agree to actually wear it,” You reply, eyes skimming the room for red dresses.

“Fine,” She exhales giving up.

“And you have to agree to let me do your hair and makeup.”

“As you wish, Your Majesty,” She responds lazily as she plops down on a nearby sofa.

“Good,” You smile pleased, holding up a gown off the rack.

Chapter Text

“Sit still, I’m almost done,” You chastise with a chuckle.

Sif straightens her posture as you continue to do the finishing touches of her makeup, “I still don’t know why you think all this effort is necessary. Thor’s not going to look at me that way. I’m just a friend and that’s fine.”

You sigh, stopping and staring at her directly, “You’re not just a friend. You’re a friend who’s in love with him. And I know better than anyone that unrequited love does not feel ‘fine’. But you will remain just a friend with one-sided feelings if you never put forth any effort to be more than that. Sif, you are legitimately one of the, if not the, prettiest girls I know. You may not be a girly-girl, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your femininity. If utilized correctly your beauty as a woman can be as powerful strength to you as your sword.” You smile softly as you’re reminded of Peggy Carter, “Thor’s dense and can’t read minds. If you want him to notice you as more than a friend then you’ll have to show him your not just another one of his warrior buddies.”

“You have a response for everything, don’t you?” Sif exhales in defeat.

“I will admit I have thought quite a bit about the matter of you and Thor,” You smile, lifting her chin and applying a nice crimson shade of lipstick to match her dress. “There, you’re perfect!” Pulling her up off the stool she had been sitting on, you position her in front of the full-length mirror; a grin spreads across your face from ear to ear, “How’s my handiwork?”

Sif’s eyes widen a little in surprise. Her mouth dropping ever so slightly in awe.

“See,” You rub it in. “Sif naturally is a beautifully gorgeous and strong woman, but Sif dolled up is a force to be reckoned with. All eyes will be on you tonight!” You smirk mischievously. “Especially Thor’s.”

“Speak for yourself,” She scoffs defectively though she’s smiling and her cheeks are aglow. “You're drop-dead gorgeous yourself. I think the attention will definitely be split.”

“Well,” You smile warmly, taking her hand. “Let’s both go down there and be forces to be reckoned with.”
__

“Nervous?” Thor asks as he waits in the hall with his brother.

“Nervous?” Loki wonders confused. “Why would I be nervous?”

“Well, it’s your first time since your wedding that you’re seeing your wife all dressed up.”

“So? Why would that make me nervous?”

“Maybe nervous wasn’t the right word. Excited?” He suggests instead.

“Are you excited to Sif all dressed up?” Loki deflects back at him.

“Why of course,” Thor answers him honestly. “It’s rare enough to catch Sif in a combat skirt these days, much less a dress. I’m curious,” He grins happily.

“Well, to be fair, it’s not exactly easy to train as a warrior in a dress,” Loki reminds him.

“True. Very True,” Thor agrees, rubbing the back of his neck. “So, are you excited?” He pesters again against his brother’s hopes. “Even you have to admit, Kara’s a beautiful girl.”

“Hey,” the younger brother chastises.

Thor rolls his eyes, “I’m not interested in a woman who belongs to you. I’m just saying your wife's beauty isn’t to be ignored. Do you not think she’s beautiful?”

The question takes the second prince off guard. He hesitates to reply not wanting to answer. Luckily he doesn’t have to. Before he can open his mouth both you and Sif walk around the corner. Instantly Thor’s mouth drops; Loki elbows his brother snapping him out of the stupid expression, but both of their eyes remain on their prospective dates.

Loki watches as you giggle and whisper something into Sif’s ear as the two of you draw closer. Sif blushes but he doesn’t notice; he swallows, exhaling softly under his breath, unconsciously trying to slow his beating heart.

“Sif you look amazing!” Thor exclaims, snapping Loki out of his own trance. “I mean you always look amazing but right now you’re radiant!”

Glancing at his brother, Loki is baffled Thor can say such things outright. Is he not embarrassed?

“It’s all Kara’s handiwork. She chose the dress and did all my hair and makeup,” Sif deflects, adverting her eyes as her blush deepens.

“All I did was enhance a bit what she already possessed,” You turn the focus back around to her. “Like you said, Thor, Sif looks amazing all the time.”

“Stop it!” Sif hisses in rising embarrassment.

“Never,” You laugh, handing her over to Thor. “You two should get going now. Loki and I will enter after you.”

Thor nods. His whole face radiating with joy as he leads Sif into the ballroom.

“Shall we get going too then?” You turn to Loki who has still yet to say anything.

“The two you dressed in our colors?” His mouth spits out before his brain can fully catch up. “I heard purple and ivory were the 'in' colors right now.”

“Yes well, I thought it best,” You reply, taking his arm. “After all, this is a public event. Wearing your colors represents our loyalty and support, does it not? It’s a good statement to make.”

“You really are a clever girl,” Loki grins pleased with your thought process.

“My first compliment of the night is about my brain and not my appearance,” You absently remark aloud.

Once again Loki hesitates. Are you wanting him to compliment how you looked like Thor did to Sif? He purses his lips uncomfortably.

“Don’t worry,” You dismiss the matter quickly as you turn towards the ballroom entrance, “I’m not expecting anything from you.”
__

“Everyone’s staring,” Thor grins, nodding slightly towards the crowd as the music starts for the first dance.

“I’m pretty sure half of those stares are bitter glares of jealousy from your many female admirers,” Sif retorts.

“Hey, believe it or not, the other half of them are men eyeing you,” Thor tells her as they settle into the first steps completely in sync. He jests with her, “Should I be jealous?”

“Jealous?” Sif scoffs. “Of what? Once the spell of Kara’s handiwork wears off they’ll all go back to viewing me as a brutish woman rather than a gorgeous lady.”

“To be fair, you’ve beaten up half of the guys in attendance during training,” He chuckles. “But what I said earlier is true. You always look amazing, or at least I think so. Especially since Loki cut your hair all those years ago. Your black hair sets you apart in a sea of Asgardian blondes. It suits you, even if you’re still pissed at my brother for doing it.”

“I don’t know if I should be happy over the compliment or pissed at you for bringing up that memory,” Sif says as Thor twirls her around and pulls her back to him.

“I’d prefer if you decided to go with the happy option,” Thor laughs with his usual stupidly handsome smile.

“It is a special occasion,” Sif remarks as she sidesteps with him, “I guess I can let it go for now.”

The song comes to an end and the dance partners either bow or curtsy to each other.

“Drinks and some fresh air before the next dance and we’re required to mingle?” He suggests, extending out his arm to her again.

“Please,” Sif agrees without hesitation, accepting his lead.

The two of them head towards the refreshment tables set up along the edges of the ballroom.

“I noticed you’re wearing my colors this time around,” Thor carries the conversation as they walk. “Was that intentional?”

“On Kara’s part,” She admits. “She thought it best to showcase to the public to whom our loyalties lie in regards to who we think should ascend the throne. So red for me, dark green for her. Her brain is almost as scheming as your brother’s.”

“And you support me?” Thor asks in a tone that takes her a bit by surprise. Almost as if he's the one surprised. “You think I’d make a worthy king?”

“Of course,” Sif answers honestly, staring directly up at him. “Why would you think I wouldn’t? Have I done something to make you doubt me?”

“No, of course not,” He reassures her quickly. “It’s just sometimes I question whether I am myself. Loki is smarter than me; I know that. He’d make a great king, I truly believe it. It's just... I want Father to choose me. I know I could protect our people well, but something Kara’s said to me has been sticking with me recently.”

“What did she say?” Sif questions skeptically. If Kara is secretly contriving to make Thor give up on the throne then she’d have to reevaluate her servitude to the princess.

“She told me that whoever ascends the throne needs to be able to do to work like managing funds and dealing with paperwork; things I’m admittedly not really good at nor enjoy. But if I can’t do that, then she said I need to be able to pick people who can support me in my areas of weakness. And that, that’s what Father was trying to teach me when he left the finances up to us,” Thor answers, making Sif immediately regret doubting her mistress. It's sound advice.

“I pushed the responsibility onto her without a second thought,” He continues. “I don’t think I’m currently worthy.”

“But you can be,” Sif insists earnestly. “I know you have the potential to be a great king. You’re open and honest with people and amazingly considerate to them regardless of who they are. Talent isn’t everything though you have plenty of that in other areas. Like she said, if you are unable to do it yourself you just need to make sure you surround yourself with people who can. You have the people skills Loki lacks; you can find the right people to help you. I’ll help you,” She pauses. “Though I might not be the right person to help you manage finances.”

Thor pauses, looking at Sif like he never has before. His usual smile returns to his face, “You’re right, Sif. Thank you. I know I can always count on you.”

They reach the table, and Thor picks up cups for the both of them handing the drink to her. The two exchange soft, slightly blushing smiles in silence for a brief moment before their alone time is interrupted.

“Sif all dolled up,” Volstagg exclaims in amazement as the Warriors Three stroll up behind them. “Now I’ve seen everything!”

“She’s certainly earning her title of Lady Sif this time around,” Fandral adds, looking her up and down.

Sif rolls her eyes groaning, “Shut up.”

“Do we also get the honor of a dance?” Hogun inquires with a smile.

“That’s up to her,” Thor responds, giving her an amused glance as he sips from his cup.

“Just this once,” Sif concedes. “And only because I’m in surprisingly a good mood. Hogun, Volstagg, and Fandral in that order, got it?”

“Yes Ma’am,” Volstagg chuckles.

  

Chapter Text

“Presenting Prince Loki and Princess Kara!” the herald announces your presence upon entering.

All eyes are on you. Your own eyes dart around the room as your anxiety out of nowhere comes crashing down on you. You thought you were ready for this; apparently not. Your palms become sweaty as the sea of unfamiliar faces stares up at you expectingly.

“Remember,” Loki whispers barely moving his lips as he descends the staircase with you, “as my wife all these people are beneath you. They should fear you not the other way around.”

You just barely restrain a giggle, “From the top, less sinister sounding this time, please,” You whisper back, cracking a smile. To your surprise, his words are enough to instantly melt your anxiety. Your racing heartbeat steadily slows.

“Just focus on me and follow my lead,” He says, taking you by the hand and wrapping one of his arms around your waist as the first song begins.

You swallow and nod silently, keeping your gaze over his shoulder as he takes the lead in the dance.

“Relax your shoulders,” Loki continues to instruct under his breath. “You’ve got this. I know you do.”

“Yes,” You agree siphoning confidence from him. As you dance, a brief glimpse of Thor and Sif crosses your eyes. “How do you think they’re doing? Your brother and Lady Sif?”

“Unlike you, this isn’t their first ball, I’m sure they’re fine,” He responds uninterested in your topic of choice.

“Do you think there’s potential for them?” You ask continuing with it anyway. You are curious about his thoughts on the matter.

“What? As like a couple?” He asks back a bit confused.

“Yes.”

He ponders it seriously for a moment before finally answering, “It would be a union of great benefit to Thor. Her family holds great political power and wealth. And she, by her own means, is on her way to being one of Asgard's most skilled warriors. As an added bonus, Father likes her,” He purses his lips. “But I suppose you're not just asking about that. You want to know if they’d make a good couple in the more romantic, love-sense. You’re trying to help set them up.”

You nod in confirmation before Loki twirls you around and pulls you back to him.

“Well, it’s evident Sif has romantic feelings for Thor to everyone but him,” Loki remarks. “There’s probably no one more loyal to him in all the nine realms. Thor is the wild card here. He cares for her, but he cares for a lot of people. Currently, there’s no more evidence to dictates whether she’s more special to him than any of the other close friends by his side,” Loki watches through your eyes your mind whirling and processing his input. You don't appear particularly pleased. He sighs, sidestepping with you, “That being said, it is not beyond the realm of possibility for Thor to one day reciprocate Lady Sif’s feelings. She’s exactly his type; he just views her differently then other females because of their mutual relationship of respect as warriors. And it makes him a little blind to that fact. They do have the potential to fall in love, I believe.”

You smile though it comes out a little more bittersweetly than Loki expected. Something has been on your mind for a while, and now is probably a better time than any to inform him. The next words pouring out of your mouth feel sour, “You do too, Loki. I want you to know that. And if you ever find someone you do actually love, you don’t have to worry about me getting in the way.”

“What-?” He starts to question perplexed. For some reason, he didn’t like where this is heading.

“I will quietly divorce you when that time comes, I promise,” I swear truthfully, cutting him off. “Though, if it’s not too awkward for you I’d like to stay by your side as an ally even after that. Maybe you could employ me to help with the paperwork or something.” You curtesy as the dance comes to an end.

“Wait a minute-,” Loki starts to object but is once again interrupted by someone bumping into him, tripping over their feet. Reflexively, he catches her in his arms before she’s able to crash to the ground.”

“Oh, I am sorry! I- You’re Majesty!” she starts apologizing before realizing who caught her. The girl’s eyes widen in unmasked joy, making no attempt to stand up on her own two feet.

Your eyes flicker with instant recognition. Duchess Evangeline. This wasn’t an accident at all. You had to give her props, her acting skills improved a bit in a short couple of days but yours are still better.

“Oh my gosh, is that you Evangeline?” You ask, voice oozing with innocence as you pull her out of Loki’s arms under the guise of helping her on her feet. You take her hands in yours and pull her closer to you. Your eyes light up and your lips don a matching smile, “It must have been fate that allowed us to meet again! How are you? Oh, how dearly I was hoping to cross paths with you at least once more!”

If Loki has a reaction to your sudden change in personality and behavior he didn’t show it. Merely appearing to observe the situation unfold before him. Evangeline, on the other hand, flashes a faux smile poorly disguising the bitter resentment in her eyes. You don’t think she particularly liked you snatching her out of Loki’s arms. Good.

“Yes, likewise,” She lies. A smirk creeps onto her lips as she can no longer help herself. She looks you over becoming smug. One glance at her dress, and it’s clear she thinks she wears it better. “Oh my, it must also be fate we picked out the same dress for such an occasion!”

Of course it isn’t a coincidence. Her father owns the boutique they shopped at after all. It would’ve been easy for her to learn what dress you bought. You almost couldn’t wrap your mind how simpleminded her big scheme to seduce Loki away from you turned out to be. Honestly, you were expecting more.

The dress is the same just in a soft lavender color. A color that was “in” right now, signifying she is on top of the fashion trends while you are not. And again, she also believes she's wearing the gown better, hoping that once Loki saw how you paled in comparison he’d switch over to her. After all, not only did she look better, but she also possessed more money and prestige backing her than you could ever hope to obtain. To her, the choice for Loki between the two of you is obvious. Plus, it is so embarrassing to see the princess wearing the same dress as someone below her status. Her plan is not only to snatch Loki away from you, but also to shame you in front of the entire nobility. Good lord, this girl is more naive than you portrayed yourself to be. Even if Loki didn’t favor you, there’s no way a girl like her would catch his attention. She couldn't play his games.

You purse your lips and take a sharp breath though. The wearing of the same dress is a bit of an inconvenience. That part of her plan is more solid than the rest. Beyond what the nobles thought, it irks you that you’re wearing the same thing as someone like her.

Finished with you, Evangeline turns her attention back to Loki. He is the prize, you are just the obstacle. She smiles bashfully at him, “Thank you for saving me from the floor. If Your Majesty would be so willing, I’d be honored to have you as my partner for the next dance.”

You just got done telling Loki you'd quietly divorce him if he found someone he loved, and now you already have a person who’s become an exception to that rule.

Looking over her shoulder, Loki notices your expression darken a bit as the slightest smirk creeps onto your lips. What are you about to do?

Tears suddenly drip from your now watery eyes as your expression turns pathetic. You rush to Loki’s side, placing a quivering hand on his forearm. “I’m so sorry, darling! I didn’t know! It was naive of me to think our dates would be our only dance partners. I shouldn't have made you promise to dance every one with me just because I was so eager to try them all with you,” the pitiful tears continue to drip from your eyes as you stare up at him. "I-if you want to want to dance with Duchess Evangeline, it’s okay to break our promise.”

Only Loki’s eyes betray him, flickering with excited mischief, as he watches your performance. Not that the casual observer would pick up on it. What a little minx you turned out to be? He can’t say he didn’t like it. The ball is now in his court. Would he play along?

“Darling,” Loki coos, gently wiping your tears with his finger. “It would pain me greatly to break a promise to you, you know that,” He glances over at Evangeline with an apologetic expression. “I am so sorry, Duchess, but I'm afraid I must decline your invitation,” He lifts your hand to his lips, softly kissing your knuckles. “This is a very special occasion for my wife. She’s debuting at this ball, after all. I can’t leave her side.”

“O-okay,” Evangeline can all but stutter in disbelief. What is going on? How could the ice-hearted prince be so enamored with someone like Kara? It didn’t make sense. She could give him so much more than her.

“Oh, and darling,” Loki turns his eyes back to you. “That dress, though beautiful because it’s on you, I think just fell out of style. Why don’t I update it a bit?”

With a slight flick of his wrist your gown suddenly transforms into a longer and more regal one with an added touch of a golden ring possessing a glistening emerald on your ring finger and a matching golden band on his. Your eyes widen in shock, eyes snapping up to him to check if he was really serious. The ring on your finger was Loki’s insignia, claiming you as his for all the realm to see. He hadn’t even given this to Kara on their wedding night.

“Come now, darling,” Loki beckons you gently, wrapping his arm around your waist, leading you away from the Duchess, “the next song is about to begin. We don’t want to miss it.”

“Loki, I-” You stammer.

He cuts you off, whispering in your ear. “For the record, the first dress looked better on you anyways.”

Chapter Text

For what is supposed to be a feast, there was a whole lot of talking and too little of actual eating. Apparently, it’s tradition for the heads of high-ranking noble families to give toasts to the Allfather and his Queen before the actual banquet part starts. And good lord, there are a lot of high-ranking nobility in attendance tonight. Also, you can't for the life of you understand why the food is already served, getting cold and teasing your empty stomachs.

As one duchess finishes and takes her seat again, the fifth duke tonight stands to give his platitudes. Everyone at your table which consists of the younger generation of noblemen and women shares the collective sentiment of exasperation. Apparently not many traditionalists amongst them.

You found yourself seated between Loki and Fandral with the oh-so-great pleasure of being set directly across from Evangeline, who has been glaring daggers at you since she took her seat. Every so often you would flash innocent smiles and waves just to piss her off some more. Volstagg sits on her left across from Fandral and some other noble lady took the seat on her right, who irritatingly kept flashing flirty gazes across the table at Loki. Needless to say, you aren’t exactly thrilled with this current situation.

“I hear there’s a festival going on somewhere in this realm,” You lean over and whisper into Loki’s ear.

“Milady, are you implying we ditch the Anniversary Ball feast?” He whispers back in mock offense of the idea. He’s no more thrilled to be here than you are.

“I just might be,” You chuckle.

“You know a prince and a princess can’t just simply slip away from a scene like this.”

“Then we create a diversion so no one notices.”

Loki raises an amused eyebrow, “What did you have in mind?”

You grin mischievously, drawing close enough to his ear so that it’s certain only he can hear you whisper your idea, “...so how pissed to do think your Father will be if we do this?”

“Oh, extremely. We’ll be in so much trouble,” He answers. “We may even occur the wrath of Mother.”

“So it’s a no-go?” You inquire already knowing his answer from the glint in his eyes and grin on his lips.

“I didn’t say that.”

“Sit back and watch then,” You reply confidently; already in the perfect position to start phase one of your master plan.

Ever so discreetly you pick up your spoon and scoop some of the food off your plate. Positioning it just so, you fling the contents across the table at Volstagg before quickly stashing the culprit spoon under the table. He looks immediately over in your direction as the splotch of food drips down his suit. You innocently nod in the direction of Fandral, pinning the action on him.

“So that’s how it’s going to be, pretty boy,” Volstagg roars, grabbing with his bare hands and launching food back at Fandral’s head.

The expression on Fandral's face transforms from completely baffled to thoroughly enraged in a matter of seconds, “What in the nine realms are doing, meathead?!”

“Paying back what was due,” Volstagg grunts, pleased with his work.

“What’s that supposed to mean?!” Fandral snaps, picking his own food and throwing it back.

What happens next, you couldn’t have even planned better yourself. The food misses Volstagg and instead ends up splattering across Evangeline’s dress causing the Duchess, who has been on the edge of her breaking point, to completely snap.

“You animal!” She stands up and shouts, proceeding to chuck food back at him.

The three create a ripple effect across the table as people are caught in their crossfire. You and Loki duck quickly under the table to avoid the food war now raging on. The toast from the duke suddenly stops as everyone in the room suddenly turns to see the unfolding commotion. You grin just barely suppressing yourself from laughing, “Your turn~”

“Impressive,” He grins back with a slight chuckle, "but watch the god of mischief do his work.”

You both peek your heads slightly above the table. Your plan is twofold. First, you had to create a diversion that would rile up the young nobles at your table. Food and easily fooled friends of Thor were what was available to you so a food fight was scheme one. Second, Loki has to create a larger one that even the older dignified nobles will be in a panic over, leading into scheme two:

Flashes of green spark from his fingertips as he focuses on diverting his magic to different parts of the room. The snakes came first, pouring out of people’s goblets causing instant shrieks. Next, a stampede of animals bursts through the doors as Loki creates a large-scale illusion. Wolves ravage the tabletops, lions stalk the exits, leopards chase people, bears start gobbling up the food, tigers teasingly paw at some nobles backed up into a corner, and so on. Chaos reigns as the entire nobility either runs around in terror or is hellbent on destroying each other with food.

Scheme two, unleash a zoo of predators, complete. The two of you slip away completely unnoticed.
__

“Oh my gosh!” You exclaim, laughing uncontrollably as the two of you run down the halls towards the palace entrance to finish your escape. “That was amazing!”

“Did you some of the looks on their faces?” Loki giggles, flinging open the door and the two of you make it outside. “They were hilarious!”

“My favorite is still Evangeline’s when she snapped,” You laugh face aglow and smiling.

Loki suddenly grabs your hand and leads you away from the entrance of the palace gate, the direction you had been heading, “We can’t let the guards catch us now. Come this way.” He leads to an unguarded section of the gate, pushing aside branches from a bush with his free hand, revealing a large hole in the gate. “This is how I slip out of the palace unnoticed.” He says quickly ducking and pulling you through with him.

The two of you head into town, eventually exiting the palace grounds and finding the cobblestone path that leads to the town square. Somewhere along the way Loki's hand naturally drifts away from yours. Folky music can be heard as the two of you draw closer.

“Wow,” You murmur in awe, taking in the sight of the decorated city at night.

Loki glances over at you as you stare mesmerized by the warm glowing of the festival lights and the bustling merriment of the townsfolk celebrating with one another, dancing and laughing. His breath sharpens slightly, his heart skipping a beat. At this moment, you are more radiant in his eyes than ever before.

He snaps himself out of it before you can notice him staring. He flicks his wrist changing both of your outfits so that you’ll fit more in with the common folk, adding a black cloak over himself to hide his face. It would be an uproar if people found out he was here. He clears his throat, “Shall we go get something to eat first before we partake in the rest of the evening's festivities?”

“Yes please!” You answer immediately, finally looking back at him. “I’m starving.”

Loki chuckles, taking your hand once more and leading you through the crowd. “Right outside of the city square there should be a couple of lanes riddled with food stalls selling specialty items.”

“Sounds good,” You smile, staring at his back as he walks in front of you. Your smile fades a bit; it can’t be helped at the moment since the crowd is so jammed packed, but you want to walk by his side not behind it. As soon as the crowd thins out a bit, reaching the outskirts of the city center, you quicken your pace putting yourself next to him.

“Eager to eat?” Loki inquires upon your sudden change of pace.

“Uh, y-yeah,” You chuckle awkwardly, adverting your eyes slightly as your cheeks become rosy.

Chapter Text

“Here you go,” Loki returns from paying for the food, handing yours to you before proceeding to sit down next to you on the alley bench. “Not sure what you’d like so I sampled your plate with a little bit of everything.”

“Thanks,” You smile appreciatively, eyes combing over the plate he brought you. Certain things you recognized like sandwiches, meat, and some pastries. Others were delicacies native to Asgard. Regardless, everything looks delicious and you’re eager to try it all.

The two of you eat in silence for a bit, both too focused on satiating your empty stomachs.

“Do you think they’re looking for us yet?” You ask, breaking the silence once your plate is completely clean. You lean back on your arms, relaxing.

“It’s likely,” Loki remarks, wiping his hands. “Mother will for sure recognize my magic as what created and set loose the animals, and we both ran casting us in even more suspicion,” He chuckles lightly cracking a slight smile.

“Guess we’ll have to extra careful avoiding any guards on the hunt then,” You giggle softly.

“Am I influencing you or were you always this mischievous?” He inquires, taking your plate for you.

“You might have unlocked; this side of me wasn’t really permissible in my previous residence. But I think it was always there underneath,” You answer honestly, reflecting on your past life.

It seems so foolish now, but you wasted so much of your past life working because you thought it was the right thing to do; it’s how you were raised you guess. Hard work is the key to a successful, fulfilling life your mother had constantly reminded you. And sure, hard work is important but that alone never actually made you feel very successful or fulfilled. All work and no play lead you to become estranged from your family and severely limited your social life. Sif is literally your first friend in years. Obsessing over your work, constantly worrying it wasn’t good enough and that everything your hard work had built up would come crashing down at any second lead you to developing an anxiety disorder. Honestly, looking back on your previous life it was miserable.

But coming to Asgard, being with Loki, you realize you were immediately and unconsciously more comfortable in your own- or Kara's- skin because you already knew his character. He is playful, sassy, and mischievous, meaning you felt free to be so as well. Loki truly did draw out another side of you that you had suppressed for so long in your previous life, and for the first time, you actually like who you are.

“Thank you,” You murmur aloud from your thoughts.

“For what?” He asks, staring at you a bit confused.

“For being you and that person allowing me to be me,” You tell him softly smiling though your mind is still in the distance processing your thoughts.

Loki purses his lips. No one had ever thanked him for being himself before. In fact, they usually wished he was slightly different or someone else entirely. But staring at you, he could tell you meant it. Regardless of whatever is going on inside your head, you genuinely liked him just the way he is. He didn’t need to change or improve. He didn’t need to earn favor in your sight. He already had it. With you, it is alright to just be himself.
__

You and Loki start to head back towards the town square when something in an antique shop display window catches your eye. “Wait right here,” You tell him, quickly turning to run in. Reaching the door you suddenly remember something and freeze. You turn back to him, a nervous chuckle of embarrassment staining the rest of your expression as you clap your hands together and bow your head.

“It wouldn’t be too much trouble for you to summon my coin purse here, would it?” You beg, sheepishly glancing up at him. “I didn’t have on my person when we left.”

“If you want to buy something, I’ll give you the money,” Loki sighs, offering an alternative.

“No!” You shout anxiously. “Y-you can’t! It defeats the purpose. I have to buy it with my own money or else it doesn’t count.”

“What are you talking about?” He questions puzzled over you being so stubbornly adamant about this.

“Just trust me,” You plea with your tone and your eyes. “Please.”

“Fine,” He exhales, “but you owe me. Do you know how much magic this will drain from me, snatching things from such a distance?”

“A lot?” You guess hesitantly.

“It was rhetorical,” He rolls his eyes, letting out an exasperated sigh and closing them so he can focus on the specific item.

“Thank you,” You whisper softly so as not to disturb his concentration.

It takes a minute but eventually, the purse appears in his hands. He shutters a bit like the wind's been knocked out of his chest and he’s trying to regain his breath.

“Here,” He groans, tossing it over to you.

“Thank you so much!” You beam quickly going inside. He’ll be fine.

Loki leans back against the brick walk of the building opposite of the antique store, stabilizing himself. He feels weak. Between the large-scale illusion at the feast and the teleportation of such a faraway item through space, his magic reserves are drained. You better be good with carrying both the purse and whatever it is you were buying around because he sure wasn’t teleporting them back. He groans crossing his arms and tilting his head back slightly, closing his eyes to rest for a moment.

“I’m back!” You immediately interrupt it.

“That was a lot of effort on my part for something that took you less than two minutes,” Loki grumbles, reopening his eye to flash a weak gaze of annoyance.

“Sorry,” You apologize feeling a tad bit guilty, but only a tad, “I knew exactly what I was getting though, so I just grabbed it and purchased it. I can go back in and aimlessly look around if you want.” You tease, pointing back behind you.

His annoyed expression just deepens; verbal communication would be too much effort in this banter.

“Here,” You extend your arm out to him a small box in your palm.

“I’m not carrying it,” He rejects eyes flickering from the box to you.

“Not that. It’s for you,” You tell him.

“For me?” He questions skeptically accepting it. Opening the box, he finds a gold ring with a band consisting of two intertwining serpents and tiny emeralds for eyes.

“You gave me your insignia so it’s only fair I give you mine. Well, I decided it was mine four minutes ago, but since I didn’t have one before this I think that’s official enough ordination,” You say, anxiety slowly rising in your tone as your words come out more rushed the longer you speak. You are half expecting him to reject it and the thought scared you, “You don’t have to accept it if you don’t like it. It’s fine. I can just return it or keep it for my nonexistent prosperity. I just thought you might like it since it matches yours and your whole aesthetic. But I-”

“I like it,” He instantly shuts down your all worries. He slips off the golden band he had been wearing and replaces it with the one you bought. The next words coming out of his mouth feel awkward, but he feels compelled to say them anyway, “Thank you.”

Your heart flutters as he cracks a slight smile glancing up from it to you.
__

“How do you still have the energy to dance?” Loki asks bewildered. “You’ve literally danced all evening.”

“Hush and enjoy the moment,” You giggle, twirling away from him. Dancing in the middle of townsfolk while upbeat music plays is much less formal and much more fun than ballroom dancing to classical compositions with the nobles. You twirl back into his hold as the woman on stage finishes singing her song.

“Alright, let’s keep this party going! Who’s the next brave lad or lass willing to come up on stage to give us our next song?” calls out the woman, opening up her position to the crowd.

You look at Loki with a wild glint in your eyes as you continue to ride the giddy high of this night, “I’m going to do it!”

“Don’t you dare,” His eyes widen.

“I’m gonna,” You repeat with a nod, pulling away from him and walking towards the stage.

Loki reaches out in an attempt to draw you back to him, but you just barely slip out of reach of his fingertips, leaving his hand afloat in the air with nothing to grasp onto, “Oh stars.” He murmurs as he watches from his same spot in the crowd you stepping up onto the platform. With a sharp breath, he purses his lips in nervous hesitation.

Kara is weak in every imaginable way. The only thing of quality she possessed was her looks... or so people thought- you included until you stumbled across something else the girl was secretly good at. The girl could sing, and even if you were close to tone-deaf in your past life you now possessed her voice. Tonight, you are going to sing out in the open for the both of you.

Unfortunately, you didn’t know any Asgardian songs well enough yourself, and most songs memorized from your past life would raise questions if you sang them instead. Fortunately, there is one song that comes to mind that wouldn’t raise suspicion. Thank you Disney’s Brave.

“When the cold wind is a-calling~” You start, a smile spreading across your face as your voice rings out over the crowd.

Eventually the musicians on stage pick up on the melody and start accompanying, leading the townsfolk to begin dancing again as you continue.

“I will ride, I will fly! Chase the wind and touch the sky~!”

Loki watches in awe. How is it that just when he thought he was getting a handle on who you are, you always pop up a new aspect of yourself? Your voice is heavenly and mesmerizing luring everyone who hears into a joyful trance. Without even realizing it, he had walked closer to the stage, eyes locked on you as if being drawn in by your siren call. The spell only breaking once you finish.

You glance down locking eyes with him, smiling breathlessly from ear to ear as the crowd cheers. The female singer thanks you for your performance before turning once to the mass and beckoning for the next person to follow in your footsteps.

You rush down to where Loki’s standing completely giddy, “What did you think?”

“I didn’t know you could sing,” He remarks baffled.

“It’s a recent talent I discovered myself,” You giggle. Over Loki’s shoulder a uniformed figure moves, “Ut oh, looks like my performance caught the attention of a palace guard. We’re going to have to make a run for it!”

“Let’s not doddle then,” Loki smiles as he takes your hand and ducks through the masses.

Just as he’s about to exit the crowd, Loki feels your grip on his hand suddenly be yanked away. He instantly whips around, but you’ve already vanished into thin. His eyes scan desperately for you amongst the crowd but you’re nowhere to be seen. His heart begins violently racing in panic; you hadn’t simply lost grip of his hand. Someone stole you from his grasp.

 

Chapter Text

Your scream gets muffled by the burly hand gripping tightly over your mouth. You reach your hand out desperately trying to latch onto Loki's sleeve but you’re too late. His silhouette fades as you get dragged back into the recesses of the crowd. Your kidnapper escorts you in the opposite direction with something sharp pressed against your back, threatening any possible resistance. He leads you into a dark alleyway where a lone woman stands crossed armed and waiting. You instantly figure out what’s going on.

“How have you’ve been, princess?” the woman yanks you by the hair as the man shoves you to your knees on the cobblestone pavement.

“I would say it’s a pleasure to see the two of you again but it really isn’t, Mother, Father,” You glare up at them. “I thought you two would’ve thought twice about laying a hand on me after what happened to Erik.”

“You ungrateful b*tch!” Kara’s mother screeches, slapping you across the face. “You ruined everything! You’re only where you are because of us! And what did you do?! You backstabbed us the first chance you got, you disloyal brat!”

Kara’s father presses the bottle shard he had against your back earlier against your cheek, drawing blood and slowly slicing across your face. “If we don’t get any benefits neither do you. Hope you said your last goodbyes to that prince of yours,” He gruffly mocks.

“If you kill me, Loki will figure it out, and the two of you will be executed for the murder of a member of the royal family,” You tell them, unfazed by the threat though you wince in pain as he digs the glass deeper into the cut.

“You stole everything from us! We have nothing else to lose,” He bellows. “At the very least we can steal everything away from you too.”

“Rot in Hel!” You seethe through gritted teeth.

“After you, sweetheart,” her mother coos in mockery, twisting your hair harder as she tightens her grip to keep you locked in place.

Kara’s father pulls the glass shard out of your cheek stabbing you without hesitation in the abdomen. Blood trickles then spews out as he screws the shard deeper in.

“Aa-ah!” You cry at the agonizing pain; he relentlessly continues to twist and push, deeply embedding it. "Ngh!!! AAHHHH!"

He proceeds to kick you in the stomach just barely missing your ribs, leaving the shard lodged in the puncture. His eyes light up with sadistic rage as he pulls you out of her mother’s tight grasp, ripping hairs and flinging you with as much force as he can muster against the alley wall.

Another loud, painful cry escapes your lips as you make contact with the brick. You can feel them watching gleefully as you writhe on the ground before staggering to pick yourself up, head throbbing excruciatingly.

“Stay down!” Mother shout, kicking you in the chin even though seconds later she's lifting your head again for round two.

“Kara, you’ve got to stop letting me find you like this,” a voice suddenly calls out making light of the situation he's walking into. “Parents this time? Please tell me you don’t have any extended family.”

“You’re late,” You growl, glaring up at him even though your anger isn't truly directed at him. Blood drips down over your left eye blurring your vision.

Loki purses his lips upon finally stepping close enough to get a good look at you. Enraged eyes flicker to Kara’s father. All of a sudden the air in the alley felt significantly icier.

Reacting on instinct as a shiver of fear runs up his spine, Kara’s father picks you up by the neck wrapping his knuckles tightly as he positions you in front of him like a shield, “Do what you want to the woman,” He sells out his wife, “but if you take a single step closer to me I swear I will kill her without hesitation!”

“How dare you!” Kara’s mother turns on him. “I gave up everything for you, you ungrateful bast*rd!” Familiar speech rolls off her tongue.

“You’re clearly delusional and/or very stupid if you think you’ve got any say in this situation,” Loki tells him as the shimmering light of his silhouette fades.

Suddenly the fingers around your neck release and you gasp for breath as a deep cry of pain rings out just behind you. Kara’s father crumples to the floor clutching his now bleeding lower left backside and wailing pathetically.

“You lost the second I stepped onto the playing field,” He informs him flatly though there's a frigid bite to his tone. His eyes glow with burning rage as he towers over the grown man's body, holding the bloody knife he shanked him with and flipping it methodically in his hand.

Kara’s mother screams in terror immediately turning to run out the alleyway. You watch as Loki’s arm draws back aiming the knife dead center at her head. Your eyes widen horrified, and you instinctively throw yourself on his arm forcing him to stop.

“What are you doing?!” He hisses as the cowardly woman vanishes from view. His rage pours out onto you with its intended target now missing, “Why did you stop me after everything they’ve done to you?! Why do want to let them go?!” He snaps angrily.

Your eyes communicate before your mouth can find the words. Loki recognizes the look instantly. Many people have stared at him with that same expression. Fear. You were staring at him petrified. Unlike everyone else though, you weren’t scared of him but for him. What in the nine realms had you so spooked? It’s not like he was the one almost killed. Your parents were no real threat to him.

“Why?” He asks again voice cracking. He needed desperately to understand.

“I could care less if these two dropped dead now, but it can’t be by your hands,” You answer, your voice shaky as your mind is finally able to catch up with your body and emotions. You plea with him with every ounce of your being, “Don’t bloody your hands over this. They’re not worth it. Please, I’m begging you. Like with Erik let’s hand them over to the authorities; guards should be nearby looking for us anyways. Let them be brought to justice the right way. Please.”

Tears mix in with the blood staining your face. If Loki’s path towards villainy gets triggered by revenge on these wretches you would never forgive yourself. It is something you had to avoid at all costs even if it meant letting them run free while you held him in place until he cooled down.

Loki drops the knife, letting it clatter to the pavement in defeat. He pulls you into his chest so he no longer has to witness the tortured expression on your face. He couldn’t bear it. “Fine...” He promises reluctantly, swallowing his anger.
__

“I handed both of them over to the guards as promised,” Loki returns to the alley where he left you while he went to go track down Kara’s mother and a couple of palace guards. He carries a tan parcel in his right hand, “I also paid the guards off so they won’t report finding the two of us to my parents.” He takes off his cloak and wraps it loosely around your shoulders. “There’s a nearby inn. We’ll rent a room for the night and patch you up. Oh, and I bought you a change of clothes from a peddler on the streets,” He says holding up the parcel, “since all the shops are closed at this hour. They’re nothing spectacular, but it’ll be better than sleeping in what you’re in.”

You nod silently, reaching out and gripping tightly on his sleeve. He stares briefly at your hand before taking it instead and intertwining your fingers with his, locking his grip on you more securely than before. The same mistake would not happen twice in one night. Making sure you are positioned by his side this time, he exits the alley and leads you back onto the main street. The two of you walk in silence the entire way to the inn. Just before entering, you use your free hand to flip up the hood of the cloak hiding your battered appearance.

You glance up at Loki who’s transformed his face to disguise his identity. A bead of sweat rolls down his forehead alerting you to the fact he’s struggling to maintain control of his magic. Loki had used so much of it on a large scale today, and he is utterly drained at this point. He did, however, manage to keep up the facade long enough for the two of you to reach the privacy of your rented room.

“You need to rest,” You tell him earnestly as soon as the door shuts behind you.

“Not until I’ve taken a closer look at your wounds,” He objects as his face returns to normal. “There will be no debating this. I listened to you tonight about handling your parents now you listen to me about this. Sit on the bed while I go fetch the first aid kit that should be in the bathroom.” He says immediately heading into there.

This time it’s your turn to give in. And honestly, you are in no condition to put up a fight. Every step of the way here had been painful; even you can’t deny you are in need of medical attention. So you sit down on the bed per instruction.

Loki comes back out with a wet cloth and the medical kit, setting it down on the nightstand at the bedside as he places the wet cloth on your head.

“Hold it here until the bleeding fully stops,” He orders, lifting your arm and replacing his hand with yours so he had both of his to work with. “You haven’t passed out which is a good sign. Slight bruising on your chin and your hair’s a bloody mess, but once we get the bleeding under control your head should be fine.” Taking ointment out of the first aid kit, he applies some to your cheek. “This will help prevent scarring.” He chuckles softly in a weak attempt to lighten the mood. “Don’t worry. You’ll still have your pretty face.”

He unfastens the cloak around you, letting it flutter down on the bed around you. He then proceeds to unbutton the bottom half of your shirt’s buttons so he can freely access your abdomen. His eyes widen in horrified shock, “Why haven’t you removed this yet?!”

“I didn’t know if doing so would make the situation better or worse,” You answer in an anxious defense, snapping a little. “I’m not a doctor. I didn’t know what the correct thing to do was.”

“You’re right, and I wasn’t trying to accuse you,” He responds in a hushed tone, trying to calm both you and himself down. “It just looks like it hurts a lot. I’m surprised you were able to bear it all this time. You might be stronger than you give yourself credit for,” He compliments.

“So... are you going to pull it out?” You inquire wearily.

“I think it best. I want to close up the wound before it gets infected,” Loki forthcomingly admits. “You might want to grab one of the pillows and bite down on it. This will probably hurt a lot.”

You heed his advice, snatching up the nearest decorative pillow into your arms and hugging it close. You bury your face in it, body unconsciously tensing as it anticipates what will happen next.

Taking a knee, Loki tentatively grabs hold of the shard carefully wiggling it loose, doing his best not to slice anything as you muffle your continuous whimpers of extreme pain. He quickly tosses the removed glass into a nearby trash bin the second it's out before grabbing a bottle of disinfectant. Swallowing nervously he pours the contents of the bottle onto the wound, causing you to tense up even more as the agonizing sting spreads across like wildfire. You fail to blink back involuntary tears as you try your best to limit the number of screams into the pillow.

“I’m sorry,” Loki chokes, “this is all my-”

“It’s not your fault!” You cut him off. “Those two are to blame not you. They’re the monsters, not you. You saved me. Do you understand?”

“But if I had just held on tighter-“

“By that logic it’s ultimately my fault,” You tell him, refusing to let him take the blame. “If I hadn’t gotten on stage I probably wouldn’t have drawn their attention in the first place.”

His eyes lock directly with your completely guilt-ridden, “But you didn’t know.”

“And neither did you,” You reach out and tenderly place your palm as his cheek, “so let’s just agree to leave the blame on the real guilty parties here. Not us, them.”

Loki nods silently before taking a deep breath and collecting himself. “I’ll hurry and patch you up. Then I’m sure you’ll be wanting to use the shower.”

“That would be nice,” You exhale smiling softly, your nose crinkling. You drop your hand from his cheek.

Loki gets back to work, getting out a needle. You bury your face back into the pillow, muffling any whimpers or sharp cries as he stitches the wound close. He finishes by applying the same ointment he did to your cheek, looking back up at you.

You could tell he was beyond exhausted by this point. Dark circles shadowed his eyes and his complexion's paler than usual, “Get some sleep now. You desperately need it. I’ll be alright from here,” you smile at him warmly, “Thank you.”

“No extended family members going to come to attack us in our sleep?” He checks jokingly helping you to your feet.

“No Loki,” You chuckle lightly. “That was the last of the family on my side. The only other person I’m not in familial favor with is your father, but (as much as I think he’s a godawful parent he’s leagues above Kara’s parents) I’m not too worried about him. The backing of your mother is a powerful thing.”

“That it is, and you immediately sought it out from the beginning,” Loki muses thoughtfully. “I guess you were a clever girl from the start.”

“Took you long enough to figure out,” You quip with a playful grin.

“Hush up. I had good reason to be guarded against you,” He rebuts defensively though he’s finally donning a smile. “If you want me to rest, you go shower.” He pushes you towards the bathroom.

“I need the change of clothes,” You laugh as snake your body back around him, grabbing the parcel off the side table.

He shakes his head rolling his eyes and sighing in exaggerated exasperation. “Such a troublesome woman.”

“It helps keep you on your toes, which admit it, you prefer me this way,” You smile looking at him before disappearing into the bathroom. Both of you lingering with the knowledge that you aren’t wrong.
__

Stepping out of the bathroom, the lights have been dimmed in the room; light enough for you to still see but dark enough so Loki could rest his eyes. You tiptoe over to the bed, slipping into the empty space he had left for you. Turning over, you face Loki who’s already fast asleep which is good. You may have been the one with the physical wounds, but he was easily more drained than you were by today’s events.

“Thank you for everything,” You whisper softly to him before closing your own eyes.

Chapter Text

Recovering a bit of his magic by the early morning, Loki teleports the two of you back to his chambers once you guys reached a certain distance from the palace.

“Mother’s going to sense my magic reappearing the in the palace walls so you better change quick before we’re captured,” He tells you, quickly unbuttoning his own shirt.

Facing away from each other the two of you rummage through your respective wardrobes, changing as fast as you can into fresh attire. Straightening up, the two of you just barely finish when the loud banging knock comes on the door. Palace guards flood in and the two of you willingly let them escort you.

You and Loki exchange looks of barely suppressed laughter all the way there. You both knew what was coming. You were in so much trouble. Smiles dotted your faces as you enter the throne room. Memories of yesterday’s feast fiasco replaying in both of your minds.

Odin and Frigga alone sat waiting for you. Otherwise the throne room is empty, even the guards are dismissed. You would have no audience. Shame.

“You two,” Frigga addresses very cross, “are in so much trouble.”

“We figured,” You nod admittedly.

Loki coughs to cover his laughter, exhaling and shaking his head.

“This isn’t funny!” Odin snaps clearly looking like he’s about to lose it.

“It’s a little funny,” Loki remarks, shrugging his shoulders. “I mean, did you see some of their faces?”

“SILENCE!” the Allfather booms his voice echoing throughout the chambers.

Both you and Loki purse your lips exchanging sideways glances. The smiles might have receded from your lips but they still sparkled in your eyes.

Frigga maintains more of a level-head, “We are knee-deep in complaints from very important nobles because of the commotion you two caused at the feast last night.”

“It was her idea,” Loki points over to you smirking.

“Oh hush up,” You can’t help but laugh, rolling your eyes, “I only started the food fight. The animals are on you.”

Both the King and Queen groan as neither one of you are taking this seriously.

“I should have never...” Odin mutters, lingering off upon receiving a pointed glare from his wife.

“Both of you will be writing official apologies to every noble family in attendance,” the Queen moves on. “In addition, you will both be responsible for the cleaning of the entire dining hall. Without magic, Loki. Until both of these tasks are done neither one of you may set foot outside of the palace walls. And Loki, your studies will be suspended until then as well. This punishment is effective immediately. Understood?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” both of you acknowledge.

“You may go,” Odin dismisses too mentally exhausted to deal with either of you anymore at the moment.

You and Loki turn to leave when the queen descends from her throne, grabbing the two of you by the wrists. She stares into your eyes full of motherly concern, “Are you two alright? This morning we heard about what happened.”

“I, uh...” You hesitate, struggling to find a response. Your past mother had been strict and distant and Kara’s mother was just the worst. This kind of affection you aren’t used to, “I’m fine,” You end up deflecting, “Loki was there so everything turned out fine. I’m not dead so that’s a plus.”

She silently reaches up and gently runs her thumb across the cut on your cheek before bringing you into a one-armed hug as she slips her other hand down to hold Loki’s. “I’m still cross with you two, but I’m glad both of you are safe.”

Your heart flutters as tears form in your eyelids. Loki swallows watching in solemn silence. He glances at his father who has adverted his gaze staring to the side deep in his own contemplation.

Frigga pulls away smiling a warm, affectionate smile, “You may not leave palace confines, but the rest of your punishment can wait until tomorrow. Take the rest of today off. You both need the rest.”

“Thank you,” You return the smile softly.

Frigga was great in the movies, but she’s a million times better in person. Loki is incredibly lucky to have her as his mother. Your resolve to protect her too strengthens. The tragedy set for this family you would prevent at all costs.
__

“All things considered, I’d say we got off pretty easy,” Loki remarks as you hand him one of the brooms.

“Seriously,” You crack a smile at him. “Writing an apology to a certain Duchess hurts my pride a little though.”

“You’ll recover,” He chuckles as he starts sweeping.

“How long do you think it’ll take us to clean all this?” You wonder mindlessly aloud.

“Hopefully a lot less time with some helping hands,” a familiar voice calls out from behind the two of you.

You and Loki turn around to find Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three striding towards you.

“Is this allowed?” Loki inquires of his brother.

“What father doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Thor flashes a smile.

Sif suddenly grasps your wrists and looks you over. She chastises you in sheer exasperation, “I swear to the stars, Kara! Every time I take my eyes off you’re either sick or injured!”

“Sorry,” You chuckle nervously averting your eyes guiltily.

“Are you trying to make me fail my job?” She asks rhetorically.

“I really am sorry,” You look back up at her earnestly, “I didn’t think they’d be stupid enough to pull a stunt like that. And Loki was with me so everything turned out fine.

“Your family will be held accountable for their actions against you,” Thor assures you.

Sif glances at Loki who’s adverting his gaze in solemn silence. “Thank you,” She breathes.

Everyone’s eyes in the room widen in utter bewilderment. Loki’s gaze snaps up to hers in perplexed confusion, “What?”

“Thank you for protecting her when I wasn’t there,” Sif repeats sighing. The words stung her pride a bit but they are genuine.

“No problem,” Loki replies a bit sheepishly.

“By the stars!” Volstagg exclaims. “Never thought I’d witness the day Sif thanked Loki for something.”

“And he’s being civil back with no witty sarcasm in his response,” Fandral adds impressed.

Both Sif and Loki glare at the two of them, who quickly look away. Volstagg whistling distractedly as they picked up a rag and started wiping down some tables.

Hogun leans over, cross-armed, and whispers in your ear, “You’ve got some type of special magic within you if you can get those two to get along to any extent. I look forward to seeing the princess you continue to turn out to be.”

You smile softly with a hint of mischief, “You better keep watching then. I’ll only just getting started.”

Hogun nods, returning a smile before grabbing another one of the rags for himself. He joins his friends in cleaning the tables and chairs.
_

“I didn’t know you were capable of caring for someone other than yourself,” Sif comments idly as she sweeps near Loki.

“Ouch,” Loki mutters with sarcastic offense.

“I’m serious,” Sif tells him. “According to conversations I’ve had with Kara, she believes it stems from the fact that because no one else seems to prioritize you in light of Thor and your father you’ve grown to overly prioritize yourself and minimize others as sort of a coping mechanism.”

Loki frowns. He did not like this conversation.

“It’s not an excuse for your behavior. Sometimes it’s just your overinflated ego of how much smarter you are than everyone else. And you’re a prick,” Sif continues, irritating the second prince more, “but I guess, as Kara states, I can understand it. Thor can cast a pretty big shadow and since working for Kara, I’ve got a clearer picture of the Allfather’s favoritism. I understand now the reason why you want the throne but it’s misplaced. Which is why I still think Thor is a better fit to be king.”

Loki purses his lips, twitching slightly. Sif is the last person he’d thought he’d be hearing this from. Being told Thor is a better fit annoyed and stung him like normal, but her words didn’t bear their usual malice. She is being genuinely unbiased in her opinion (for the most part) at this moment.

“Since you protected Kara, I’ll give you some insight. Do what you’d like with it,” Sif pauses for a moment, choosing her words carefully, “Your shortcoming is that you want the throne for self-validation. But a good king cares about his people before himself. If your only reason for wanting the throne if get your father’s approval, you don’t deserve it more than Thor. Even if you are more intelligent and better at certain things. That being said, how you’ve started treating Kara is evidence to me that you have the potential to change.”

“Why are you telling me all this? I thought you hated me,” He inquires genuinely.

“Hate is a strong word...” Sif wrinkles her nose. “Like I said, I think you’re a prick with an inflated ego, and I won’t submit to that but I don’t hate you. And I guess... Kara’s rubbing off on me a little. Just a little. I see that mischievous glint in your eyes that popped up just now. Don’t get ahead of yourself. I just don’t want to see you lose because it’s an unfair fight. The way Kara believes in you... I guess it’s a bit contagious.”

“Do you two talk about me often?” Loki asks jokingly.

“The girl literally won’t shut up about you,” Sif answers exasperated. “She thinks the world of you. I don’t know why so don’t ask. But you better remember it.”

Loki is taken aback. The one thing he can’t rationalize about you is why you care about him to such an extent. What makes you see him differently then everyone else? He wants so desperately to force the secret out of you. But one thing keeps him back. He knew having that conversation would force both of you to confront your true feelings towards one another, and he isn’t ready for that. Sif is right; he is starting to care and that scared him.
__

“Before we ruined things,” You wonder aloud to Thor who is helping you wipe down the windows, “how was the ball going for you and Sif? Did you enjoy yourselves?”

“Yeah, uh, I can’t speak for her but I was enjoying myself,” Thor answers. “You did a remarkable job by the way. Dolling her up and all.”

“Like I said before, I only enhanced what she naturally possessed,” You reply. “Sif’s always beautiful.”

“True, but I guess you helped soften her rough edges,” Thor tells you. “The guys definitely notice her when we’re all training together. But because, let’s uh say, she’s not as... gentle... as other girls and has kicked most of their butts, men have tended to shy away from getting too close to her.” Thor frowns a bit as his forehead wrinkles, and you’re not sure if he’s aware of his own expression. “After the ball, she’s been approached thrice already. I’m sure more guys will be trying their hand at her affections from here on out.”

“Does that bother you?” You ask, masking your knowing smile.

“Bother me?” Thor repeats mulling it over. “Why would it bother me? Sif’s a great girl. If a great guy is to come along and earn her affections then I’ll be happy for her.”

“And the guys who’ve approached her thus far? Are they great guys... or do they just see her a prize to be won?” You press him further.

He hesitates, “I- I wouldn’t say any of the current list of suitors are worthy.” His expression sours more. “But I guess that’s up to her. Sif’s a good judge of character. It’ll be fine.”

“Thor, you’re frowning,” You acknowledge to him. “It’s not like you. Is something the matter?”

“I guess- I guess it does bother me a little,” He finally admits.

“Why’s that?” You inquire, trying to help him process his thoughts.

“I mean, Sif’s a really, really great girl. And like you suggested, some of them are only after her because they think she’ll make a great trophy wife,” Thor rambles. “She doesn’t deserve that. She deserves some who will accept her as an amazingly skilled warrior she is and let her shine by her own merit. She’s more than just a pretty face. She’s breathtaking, fierce, independent, strong, and kind yet not a pushover. She’s wise and cares deeply about our people, especially those who are marginalized by our society. Sif deserves some who sees her the same way I see her.”

“And why isn’t that someone you?” You confront him outright. Sometimes with dense people, the only way to get them to realize something is to be straightforward with them.

“M-me?” He stammers completely taken aback. He becomes flustered, “But I- She’s not- We’re- We’re friends.”

“Friends can’t end up with each other?”

“They can, but-...” Thor lingers off.

“I’m not saying it has to be you,” You sigh, letting him off. You shouldn’t force anything, “It’s perfectly okay for you to just be friends. I was just wondering because of how highly you were speaking of her. Not all love and affection is romantic, and that’s okay. It’s not like your brother gets long with me because he’s in love. We support each other like you and Sif do.” You’re the one rambling now; your anxiety starts to flare as guilt sets in. Maybe you are messing in matters you shouldn’t. Did you overstep your bounds this time? “What I’m trying to say is, if it’s not romantic love you don’t have to force it to be. Sorry if I made you uncomfortable with my question. I won’t bring it up again.”

“No, it’s fine,” Thor cracks a small smile trying to ease the visible concern now staining your face. “I get what you’re trying to say. Thanks.”

Unlike Loki, Thor isn’t able to wash away your anxieties. You wanted Sif to be happy, and Thor not loving Jane was a part of your plan to help prevent certain things from happening, but you feel a bit manipulative with possessing the knowledge you do. If this version of Thor is like the MCU’s version, he might not actually like Sif in a romantic sense even if she was his main love interest in the comics. If you aren’t careful, you might end up hurting both of them. They didn’t deserve you doing that to them.

You vow to yourself you’ll refrain from meddling anymore in their relationship. It’s up to Thor and Sif to work out their own relationship. And if Jane is who Thor is fated to be with then you would work your plan around that.

Chapter Text

“You’re still up?” Loki blinks in surprise upon returning to his chambers. Sure your sleep scheduled still isn't great but it is improving; usually when he returned at this time of night you are already in bed. He watches as you scribble something down in a notepad as he draws slowly closer. “Not finished with your apology letters? It’s been a week. I thought you’d have them done by now. I finished mine three days ago.”

“No, those are done,” You answer distractedly, not glancing up and smiling at him like you typically do. You continue to jot down some notes.

This irks him more than he’d like to admit.

“What are you working on then?” He asks, not bothering to mask the irritation in his tone. Though it still isn't enough to get you to pay attention to him as he had hoped.

“It’s a secret,” You tell him dismissively, putting down your pen and reshuffling some of your papers.

“Another secret you’re keeping from me?” the words accidentally slip out in his agitation. He immediately regrets them even though he now has what he wanted, your attention. Crap. He really didn’t want to go down this path with you.

Your eyes flood with conflicted turmoil, making him feel instant guilt. You want to tell him but you can’t. At least not right now. “I’m planning something. Something big I’ve been planning for a while. But there are many variables that I don’t have control over and that could go very wrong. If things don’t work out I...” You shake your head dismissing the idea. “Once I work everything out, I’ll tell you about it. I promise.”

Loki nods silently, immediately accepting your terms of disclosure. He has no desire to dig himself into an even deeper hole here.

“And about the other thing...”

“I’m actually really tired. So I’m just going to bed now,” Loki cuts you off, speaking over you. He makes a beeline for his wardrobe, grabbing a fresh change of pajamas. He stops just before entering the bathroom on-suite, “Please forget I said anything. It’s fine. We all have things we don’t want to discuss with others,” He begrudgingly admits, and before you can answer, he ducks inside, shutting the door behind him.

You purse your lips. On the one hand, you feel relieved you don’t have to make up an excuse for why you know and care so much. On the other hand, the interaction with Loki left you with an anxious pit in your stomach. It's another step back in your relationship. And whenever this tension with Loki arose, your heart would painfully ache.
__

Rolling over the next morning, you stare at Loki who still has yet to wake. You reach out and gently brush a strand of hair out of his face, smiling softly, “I’ll make this plan work, and when it does I’ll utilize everything in my power to protect you and your family.” You whisper with a promise.

Inhaling sharply, you attempt to quell your early morning anxieties about the day before you. You slip out of bed as quietly as you can, quickly changing your clothes and freshening up. You grab all the files and notes you had been compiling together up until now up off the desk and stuffing them neatly in your satchel before heading out. With one more lingering glance at Loki, you take a deep breath and leave the chambers.

Over on the bed, Loki’s eyes flash open. His hand slowly extending out to the spot you had been previously occupying. It lingers there for a second before recoiling back. He rolls over facing away from the empty space.

Protect them from what?
__

“And why did you have to schedule your meeting with the Allfather so early in the morning?” Sif yawns as she walks down the halls with you.

“I want to get this part of the plan over as quickly as possible. It’s probably going to take a lot of time to find the person I’m looking for on Midgard, and I’d like as much of today for that as I can get,” You tell her, staring straight ahead as the throne your door appears in your line of sight.

“Wait, Midgard?! What person? Kara, what exactly are you planning?!” She asks utterly bewildered.

“I’ll answer all your questions after I’ve talked with Odin. Wait out here,” You order her. “I don’t think the Allfather is going to want others hearing what I have to say.”

Sif grabs your wrist just before you are about to push open the doors. “Are you planning something dangerous?” She questions eyes brimming with concern.

“Maybe,” You shrug it off nonchalantly before flashing her a bright smile, “but that’s what I have you for.”

She grumbles something inaudibly, not yet letting go of her grip on you.

“Sif, I promise everything will be fine. I’ve been carefully planning this since I arrived here,” You reassure her earnestly. “It’s something I must absolutely do. And I promise if you stick with me on this you’ll get answers.”

She stares at you for a moment in contemplative silence before sighing and releasing her hand, “Fine. I trust you.”

Your eyes widen as your heart skips a beat, “Thank you!” You exclaim, flinging your arms around her neck and hugging her. The fact that she trusted you honestly meant a lot.

“Yeah, yeah, get going to this all-important meeting of yours,” Sif pushes you back towards the doors; her face flushed with embarrassment. She had never really had a female friend before. Even if it’s out of her comfort zone, Sif had to admit it's kind of nice.

You nod with a giggle before turning back and pushing open the doors.

“You’re late,” the Allfather greets coldly as you stroll through the expanse of the room.

“My bodyguard was worried I’m walking into something dangerous so she held me up a bit,” You respond unnerved.

“Are you walking into something dangerous?” Odin raises an eyebrow.

“It’s always a distinct possibility,” You shrug, finally reaching your standing point before him. “Besides, you’re not the dangerous bit here.”

“You don’t fear me, do you?” He raises the question.

“Not when I’m in the favor of your wife. Also, your sons are rather fond of me so it wouldn’t do you any real favors to get rid of me. After all, in the context of the nine realms, I am merely a small annoyance to you,” You answer him honestly.

“I would say you are slightly more than a small annoyance as of late,” the Allfather softly seethes.

“Why, I’m honored,” You crack a slight grin. “But today I’m actually here to help you with a problem you have yet to figure out how to permanently deal with on your own." You stare directly up at him, "It regards your firstborn.”

“Thor?” Odin frowns unimpressed.

“Hela, more like.”

Odin freezes. His expression instantly turning very dark, “How do you know about her?”

“I do not feel obligated to share with you my sources,” You tell him, which you know will only irritate him further so you quickly move on the conversation. “There will come a day in the distant future when you are no longer able to hold her off. I think- no, I know I can help you with that.”

“You?” the Allfather scoffs in dismissive disbelief. “Look at your own current condition. You couldn’t even handle your own, powerless family. You’re weak and possess no magic. You might be a little smart but so is she. There’s nothing you will ever be able to do against her.”

You click your tongue just barely keeping your cool after his onslaught of belittling insults. Your next words come out sharp, “I never said I’d deal with her personally. But with the right resources, I can assemble a group of people who can. It’ll take time and a lot of work on my end to do so, but I swear to you Hela won’t stand a chance against the people I have in mind, especially if they’re working together.”

Your expression just shy of a glare up at him radiates no sign of wavering doubt. You truly believed in what you suggested to him. Odin purses his lips mulling the matter over.

“What is it that you want from me?” His eye narrows skeptically.

“Full access to the realm of Midgard; to go and come from there as much as I please,” You inform him succinctly. “That is all.”

“Midgard? What use will Midgard be to you? The inhabitants there are the weakest of all the realms.”

“They may be, for now. But it won’t be like that forever, according to my sources,” You add so he doesn’t ask you how you know. “The people I need to defeat Hela will originate mostly from there.”

The Allfather falls silent. Everything you told him seemed far-fetched. Yet, at the same time, you know things you shouldn’t know. Your sources, whatever they are, are extremely well informed. Furthermore, everything you said you said with conviction.

“If and when Hela gets free from your control, she will trigger Ragnorak,” You speak up, pushing him further. “The realm of Asgard will be destroyed. Many of the people will escape, but all of them will lose their homes. With the team I can assemble, we can deal with her before that happens.”

The King exhales before answering, “I’m not holding my breath that what you are suggesting will actually work. You shouldn’t underestimate my daughter.”

“Believe me, I’m not,” You reply without hesitation. “You in turn shouldn’t underestimate the people I have in mind.”

“Let me finish,” Odin growls. “I’m not holding my breath, but a wise king does not reject a possible solution to a problem he can’t solve on his own simply because he doesn’t like the person suggesting it. You may have what you wish on the condition that you personally give me detailed reports on the individuals you think can best Hela.”

You smirk triumphantly, “Very well, it’s a deal.”
__

“Come, Sif,” You beckon as you hurriedly rush past her, “We’re leaving immediately. The Bifrost will be opening up for us shortly.”

“What?! Kara, you can’t be serious?!” She exclaims in utter bafflement and confusion as she follows alongside you. “Are we seriously going to Midgard?”

“Yes,” You answer, maintaining your hastened speed as you head towards the palace entrance. “I’ve gotten the Allfather’s permission to go to and from there whenever I please. Part one of my plans went smoothly. On to part two.”
__

Staring out from his balcony, Loki’s eyes widen in surprise as he watches the rainbow beam of the Bifrost light up the morning sky in the distance. Who was leaving Asgard and why?

He immediately fazes out of his chambers and down into the dining hall where his mother and father sat enjoying their breakfast. Loki gives them a quizzical look. If they are here together then who...?

“It wasn’t you, Father, who left just now?” He asks confused.

“Good morning to you too, darling,” Frigga smiles warmly at him. She beckons him to take the seat next to her, “Come, sit down and eat something.”

Loki obeys, but the quizzical look remains on his face as he stares across the table at his father.

“No, it clearly wasn’t me,” Odin grumbles, answering his son and picking at his food.

“Then who was it?” He inquires further.

Frigga places a plate of food she assembled for him down in front of Loki. “Start eating and then we’ll tell you.”

Loki grumbles as well but listens to his mother’s instructions. He picks up a fork and starts eating, gaze shifting between the two of them as he waits expectedly for answers.

“It was Kara and Sif,” Frigga finally shares, satisfied with the fact her son’s eating a square meal.

“What?!” He nearly chokes.

“Your princess came to me this morning requesting access to Midgard and I granted it,” Odin tells him.

“You granted it to her? Just like that?” the prince questions skeptically. There is no way his father would allow something like that, especially to someone he isn’t particularly fond of. There is something more going on here, he knew it.

“What did she offer you in return?” Loki asks more pointedly.

“I can’t listen to the request of my daughter-in-law without requiring something in return?” Odin asks back, deflecting.

“I would say it’s very uncharacteristic of you,” Loki retorts against his weak bluff. “Let’s not pretend you think highly of my wife.”

“On the contrary,” Odin surprisingly refutes. “She’s a knowledgeable girl who’s exceeded my expectations of her. In that regard, I think very highly of her.”

“But you don’t like her,” Loki clicks his tongue. He wouldn’t let his father off the hook that easily.

Both father and son are now exchanging glares. Both unwilling to submit to the other. Loki wants to know the truth, and Odin doesn’t want to give it.

“Okay boys,” Frigga intercedes, cutting through the tension. “The deed is done. Kara is on Midgard with Sif, and we will wait expectingly for their return. In the meantime, we will finish our meal, and Loki we still have lessons to catch up on so hurry up and eat.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Loki drops his gaze from his father.
__

“You’ve been following me for some time with no real effort to conceal your presence,” a gruff voice calls out to those behind him as he suddenly stops in his tracks. He reaches for the gun hidden in his jacket before slowly turning around to face his pursuers. The gun clicks as he readies the trigger, raising his arm up and skillfully training his aim, “So you’re either really bad at your job or you want to talk.”

“Talk,” You confirm, crossing your arms as a smug grin spreads across your face.

“Milady, is this the dangerous bit you were referring to?” Sif inquires, drawing out her sword and shield as she steps protectively in front of you.

“Yes,” You confirm still smiling. “You shouldn’t underestimate this man.”

“Wise words,” the guy remarks, looking the two of you over. “You two aren’t from around here, are you?”

“No, we’re not,” You answer thoroughly enjoying this tension while also seriously trying not to geek out. You’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and it’s finally here! “You’re a rather difficult man to track down, Nick Fury.”

Chapter Text

“Loki, have you seen Sif? She didn’t show up for morning practice,” Thor asks upon bursting into his brother’s study. “It’s very unlike her to skip practice.”

“Did you sleep through the giant pillar of light shining through our windows this morning?” Loki frowns, already on edge after the events of breakfast. “She’s on Midgard with Kara.”

“Midgard?” Thor repeats taken aback. “You jest brother. Father would never allow that.”

“If you don’t believe me why don’t you go ask him yourself!” Loki snaps at him.

“Are you serious?” Thor’s jaw drops a little in disbelief. “Midgard? What are they bloody doing on Midgard?”

“That’s what I would like to know,” Loki grumbles, unconsciously applying more force on the pen he’s been scratching down notes with. “Father was pretty tight-lipped about it when I asked. But you’re his favorite, maybe he’ll tell you.”

“Loki... You know Father loves us both.”

“Yeah, well, he loves you more! You’re more of a dense idiot than I thought if you didn’t realize that!” Loki lashes out his frustrations on his brother. The pen in his hand snaps in half.

Thor’s face instantly distorts in guilty discomfort. His younger brother’s words stung him considerably. He adverts his gaze, tears brimming his eyelids melting away his brother’s anger and replacing it with his own guilt. Thor never cried, not in front of his little brother at least.

Loki glances away from his brother’s face and down at the broken object in his fingers and swallows, “I’m sorry. I took things too far.”

Thor’s voice cracks as he forces out a weak chuckle, “You know, I think this is the first time you’ve genuinely apologized to me.”

The younger prince purses his lips. Damn, he really screwed up this time. Loki hated living in his brother’s shadow, but he didn’t hate his brother. Thor accepted and loved him long before you came along; he knew that.

“Thor, I am sorry,” He repeats. “I shouldn’t have let my personal frustrations get the better of me.”

“I know, and I forgive you,” Thor admits weakly smiling at him. “But it’s still what you truly think. I’m an idiot.”

Loki opens his mouth to object then closes it. If he could rewind time and take those words back he would do so in a heartbeat. Thor didn’t deserve to be hurt the way he just hurt him. He finally settles on what he should say, “You may not have half of my brain... but you’re a better person. There’s no one I look up to more than you. Sometimes... Sometimes I honestly wish I was less like me and a little more like you... And I couldn’t wish for a better brother, even when we don’t see eye to eye and we squabble.”

A more genuinely happy smile rests on Thor’s lips, “Thanks. But I prefer you the way you are. Could you imagine the chaos this kingdom would be in if there were two of me? You balance me out. Make up for what I lack. I honestly think the world of you, Loki.”

A soft smile unconsciously creeps onto the younger brother’s face, causing a warm feeling to wash over him. Loki dropped his pride and said things he wouldn't typically admit out loud. And to his surprise, it actually feels kind of nice.

Silence falls between them. Thor changes the subject, both brothers too embarrassed to follow this line of conversation any further.

“Are you worried about her?” He asks, glancing over at the stack of Midgardian texts piled up on Loki’s desk. “It’s alright if you are. Nothing to be ashamed of. If my wife whisked off to another realm without telling me why I’d be worried.”

“Are you worried about Sif?” Loki mutters in a defensive retort under his breath.

“What?” Thor inquires not catching it.

“Nothing. And no, I’m not worried. This is an instance of you being a better person,” Loki tells him. He stands up from behind his desk and starts pacing, “Instead of being worried, I am thoroughly perplexed. What on in the nine realms could she possibly want to go to Midgard for? It makes no sense!” He starts rambling, getting deeply absorbed in his own thoughts, “The girl constantly confuddles me and it irks me to no foreseeable end. Midgard has nothing of value to offer and yet she goes there all after going on about having such big a plan. What is it? What is she thinking? What is she trying to accomplish?!”

Thor stares at his brother in silent amusement. He’s complaining, but the glint of excitement in his eyes betrays him. Loki likes that you’re a mental challenge for him. Thor has never seen him this wound up over a girl- over another person before. You are influencing him in more ways than either of you have yet to realize, but Thor notices. Loki has hurt him before with his words, but he has never once genuinely apologized. Not only that, his admission of how highly actually he thought of Thor is a bigger feat and sign of change. For his brother’s sake, Thor hopes you would hurry home and return to his side.
__

“You’re a rather difficult man to track down, Nick Fury. I have a lot to discuss with you. I’d hoped we could sit down and have an amicable conversation. I have something to offer you that I know you’ll find greatly worth your time,” You tell him, maintaining eye contact.

“You’re rather confident for someone who’s never met me,” Fury remarks.

“I have an explanation for that too, but to get answers you’ll have to agree to sit down and hear me out,” You reply, eyes flickering with unbridled excitement. I mean, you are in front of the Nick Fury. You can’t help but geek out a little.

“I’d like to know the names of the people I’m dealing with before I sit down and have a chat with them,” He responds. “And I think it’s only fair seeing as that you’re already privy to mine.”

“Of course. I’m Kara and this is Lady Sif, my bodyguard,” You happily introduce yourself. “We’re from the realm of Asgard. It’s another planet out there like the one Ms. Carol Danvers spent some time on with the Kree.”

“You know Carol?” Fury inquires, raising an eyebrow as he lowers his gun a bit.

“Not personally, but I do know of her,” You honestly admit. “Again, I’m willing to explain everything in due time.”

Sif drops her shield slightly as she turns back to look at you in confusion, “Who’s Carol? And how do you even know this guy? Kara, I followed you here based on trust but things are getting weird. You’ve got to start explaining things to me.”

“I plan to,” You reassure her, “but if I’m going to bear my secret out to the two of you, I’d rather not do it in the middle of a New York alleyway, looking like two cosplayers wandering around outside of a convention hall.”

“What?” Sif asks completely baffled.

“You’re actually from Earth,” Fury perceives from your tone.

“I used to be,” You acknowledge solemnly, avoiding Sif’s gaze.
__

After forking over some money to help you and Sif buy clothes to replace your Asgardian garb, Fury takes you back to his office at S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters. The two of you take seats across from him at his desk.

You figure it’s best if you start this conversation, “Fury, you’re one of the few humans aware that there is more out in there in the universe beyond those who inhabit planet Earth, or for Sif, Midgard. Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s also more than one universe. A multiverse, so to speak. And that’s where I come in.”

Your anxiety rises in your throat momentarily clogging it. You are taking a big risk here, especially with Sif. You swallow it down and force yourself to continue, “I’m actually from a different universe from the one both of you know as reality. The universe I come from is very similar to the one here on Earth, but it also differs greatly in the sense that in my version of the universe your version of the universe is a work of fiction. A large series of comics, movies, and television shows.”

Both of them remain in baffled silence. It’s hard to gauge what either of them is really thinking about this big revelation.

“Is this a joke, Kara?” Sif breaks the silence first, voice cracking as she struggles to comprehend this, “Because it’s really not funny.”

“I swear on my life I’m telling the truth,” You answer her earnestly. “And, I’m not really Kara. This is her body, yes. But on the night of the wedding when she bumped her head, I actually died in my own universe. And I don’t know why or how, but somehow my soul transferred into Kara’s body. I also don’t know what happened to the original Kara’s soul; it’s not in here with me. But the girl who’s been here with you, Loki, and Thor this whole time has been me not her. I know even you must have noticed a change in demeanor when I first approached you to be my guard. And this explanation probably fills in a lot of the blanks.”

“You lied to us?” Her voice cracks even more as she stares at you with distrust, causing your heart to ache. This is what you had been afraid of.

“No, it wasn’t lying. I just didn’t tell you that the soul inside the body switched; none of you really knew her anyways so I’ve never pretended to act like her. I've been me since the beginning,” You reply barely keeping yourself together. “And it’s not like I had any control of being in her body. It just happened and I had no choice but to run with it. The person you got to know and trust was me, not her. The one you’ve spent all your time with and who cares for you is me. I can’t help that I’m not her, so I won’t apologize for that, but I swear to you that I’ve been genuine with you from the start.”

“And Loki, were you genuine towards him,” She calls into question.

“You know that I was- I am,” You say, kind of really hurt that she would doubt that. “That’s why I’m even doing this and exposing myself to the two of you. I know to a certain extent the future of Asgard, Earth, Loki...”

Sif’s eyes widen, “You're doing this to help Loki ascend the throne! He didn't get in your universe, so you're trying to rewrite history and take what is truly Thor's!” She harshly accuses.

“Wow, Sif... maybe you never really trusted me at all,” You reply incredibly hurt now; her accusation stinging considerably. “This isn’t about something as small who sits on Asgard’s throne,” Your voice is the one to crack this time, “The current future this universe is rocketing towards is riddled with immense grief, suffering, and loss. I’ve seen the destruction of Asgard. I’ve seen this world and the characters in it that I grew to love become completely devastated by what they will lose. I’ve watched Loki lose his way in life, walking down the broken, sinister, and painful path to eventually find his way again only to have it ripped away from him moments later.” The more you ramble the more hurt and angry you get, “I’ve seen Frigga dying to protect another, leaving her sons broken and regretful. I watched as Loki was choked to death, stepping forward, as his final act of redemption, so his brother's life is spared. Thor witnessing hopelessly as the last of his family is cruelly taken from him right before his eyes, driving him into a downward spiral of depression and grief. So no Sif, this isn’t about the throne! It’s about preventing something much, much bigger than that.”

The stifling tension in the air thickness. Sif casts her eyes to her lap, not saying anything.

“Do I need to step out for a little while, while you two figure out your personal issues?” Fury asks, clasping his hands together. “I’m a very busy man and I haven’t got all day so if this is going to take a while then...” He lingers off; you get the point.

“No, I’ll continue,” You say, pushing aside your emotions and collecting yourself. You clear your throat, “As I was saying, I come from a different universe where everything in this universe is part of a piece of fiction. What I’m implying is that I know future events up to a certain point that this universe is set on track for unless...”

“Unless we utilize your knowledge to help avoid certain things and better prepare for others,” Fury finishes.

“Correct. With my help, you can prevent a lot of deaths and a lot of damage,” You confirm.

“Can you prove you’re from a different universe, one where ours is a piece of fiction, as you claim?” He inquires.

“Sure,” You grin a little. “If toast is cut diagonally, you can’t eat. And how’s Goose doing? Keeping him away from your other eye?”

Fury purses his lips. There’s absolutely no way you should be able to know any of those things.

“Oh, and you’re going to be promoted to director of S.H.I.E.L.D here soon,” You add, enjoy this conversation again. "Like any second now."

“Oh really? Is that you approached me out of everyone else?”

“Partially.”

“What is it you want in return for your information?” Fury raises an eyebrow, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair, finally getting to the meat of the matter.

“For starters, I want to help kickstart the Avengers Initiative you’ve been mulling over. Meaning I want to work side by side with you, and them to bring them together,” You answer, pulling out one of the files from your satchel. You slide it over to him, “I’ve compiled information on everyone both in and outside of Earth you can count on for varying levels of help.”

Fury picks up the file and starts skimming it.

“I also have files on people who will end up being a threat,” You inform him. “Including HYDRA agents who will secretly invade your agency and slowly take over S.H.I.E.L.D from the inside out. They may have already started, so I'd look into that sooner rather than later.”

“You came here thoroughly prepared,” He breathes in impressed astonishment.

“Quite. This meeting could change the entire fate of the universe. I can’t mess it up,” You respond, taking the matter seriously. “I’ll also be wanting an alliance between the Avengers and the two Asgardian princes.”

Sif’s eyes snap up at you.

“What sort of alliance?” Fury inquires.

“They’ll help fight and defend your realm in return the Avengers help defend ours,” You reply. “Like I said, I’ve witnessed the destruction and devastation that will hit both Earth and Asgard. I want to prevent both, but neither one of us can do it alone," You pause briefly glancing at Sif then back at Fury, "Besides, it will look good in their father’s eyes if the princes of Asgard can both establish a peace treaty with another realm. Their files will be included with the others upon us reaching an agreement. I assure you that both together and individually they'll be some of your strongest allies.”

Fury sighs, thoroughly glancing once more through the file you handed him on Steve Rogers. He had to admit, it is far more detailed than anything S.H.I.E.L.D had been able to compile. If everything you said is true then the information you possessed would be invaluable. There is only one right choice here and you both know it.

He stands up, extending his hand out to you, “You have yourself a deal, Ms. ...” His eye shifts between you and Sif.

“Kara is fine. It’s who am I now. My old name no longer applies,” You tell him avoiding Sif’s gaze.

“Well then, Ms. Kara,” Fury repeats. “You have yourself a deal.”

You stand, smiling from ear to ear as you firmly shake his hand. Part two of your plan accomplished. Onto phase three, kickstarting the Avengers.

Chapter Text

“I'll understand if you want to resign from your post,” You tell her upon coming back to the café table she sat at with two large coffees you bought. With more of Fury’s money of course. You slide one over to her, “I won’t hold it against you.”

“Why aren’t you angry with me?” She questions guiltily, looking up at you, eyes full of concern, as she wraps her fingers around the paper cup. “I distrusted you and accused you of things, jumping to conclusions based the worst possible light I could see you in.

“I never asked you to follow me blindly or to not think for yourself,” You respond after taking a sip. “I am both Kara and not Kara at the same time. I don’t believe I was being deceitful in not telling you my secret from the get-go. It’s a wildly complicated concept to explain to people anyways; most people would consider me crazy if I was forthright about it. And like I said, I don’t know why or how it happened, nor do I have any control over which body my soul crossed over with. Besides, the original Kara herself is an anomaly to me. Her character did not exist in my universe, or at the very least she wasn’t a character of importance and definitely not married to Loki." You sigh," But ultimately, it’s up to you alone to decide for yourself whether you’ll accept or reject me from here on out. I won’t judge you either way.”

“Of course I’m not going to reject you!” Sif quickly tells you. “You’re right. I did sense a change in your demeanor when you first arranged for us to meet. Your version of Kara is the one I’ve gotten to know and chosen to serve. Not her. I do see you as my friend, and despite what I portrayed in the heat of the moment, I do actually trust you. ... I’m sorry I doubted your intentions.”

A huge wave of relief washes over you. You know you said it would’ve been fine, but honestly losing Sif as a friend would’ve seriously hurt. You adored her like the kind of sister you never had. Plus now she knew your most vulnerable secret; if she rejected and turned against you all your plans would be severely jeopardized. You extended a lot of faith out to her, now she is fully extending it back.

“It’s a lot to take in, I get it...” You smile uncomfortably and take another sip of your coffee. Your smile softens a bit, “Thank you for putting your trust. I swear to you I won’t betray it. I genuinely want what’s best for our people, whether that’s Thor or Loki on the throne. Even if I'm rooting for Loki. Asgard and this universe are more precious to me than you can possibly imagine. You guys mean so much more to me than anything in my original universe ever did. That’s why I want nothing more to protect our two realms and their inhabitants.”

“I know,” Sif sighs, finally taking her own sip of coffee. “And I swear to you in return that I will never distrust you in such a way again, Milady. You’re a good person, Kara,” She accepts you fully. A small smile cracks on her face, “As well as an excellent princess. And, while I still fully back Thor, I’d say if Loki were to rule with you by his side, Asgard would be in really good hands.”

You gush, “Aw, Sif!!! That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me!”

“Oh hush up,” Sof chuckles, cheeks slightly flushed from embarrassment. She sips her coffee.

Your smile fades a little, “Are you going to tell the Odin and the others about me?”

Sif places down her coffee, staring silently at the lid before speaking, “My loyalty is sworn to you. I’m in charge of protecting you and your secrets as long as they don’t put Asgard and its citizens in harm's way. Which yours do not,” Her eyes flicker directly up to yours. “I will not be telling them.”

The smile on your face reignites. Sif is the best ally and friend you could possibly hope for. It’s a shame she didn’t get to shine in the movies. You have a feeling this time around, it would be different though.

“Well, now that we’re on the same page,” You beam happily, “We should hurry and finish our drinks. There’s a lot of groundwork I have to set up before I can return to Asgard. So before meeting again with Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D, I’d like to make a couple of stops. Which first, a meeting with an out-of-time soldier from the 1940s or a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist? Your pick.”
__

A soft knock comes on her office door.

“Come in,” Frigga calls out, opening the door from a distance with her magic. “To what do I owe the pleasure of my eldest son’s company?”

“I have sort of an awkward question that I wasn’t really sure who else to go to about,” Thor says sheepishly as he enters. Frigga shuts the door behind him.

“Oh?” She inquires, standing up from her desk and approaching him. “What is it, my dear?”

“How do you know if you really love someone?” He asks in a flustered rush.

The question takes the Queen by surprise, “In what sense are you referring to? There are different kinds of love.”

“R-romantic,” He admits, blushing.

Interesting. Given the circumstances, she figured Loki would be the one prompting this conversation first.

“Is someone particular one your mind?” She inquires further, grinning.

“Y-yes.”

“Is it a certain someone who accompanied you to the Anniversary Ball?”

“Mommm,” Thor groans.

“Fine, don’t tell me. I’ll settle with some good educational guesses for now,” She remarks with a soft chuckle. “So if there is someone that potentially sparks your fancy, are you asking how do you know what you’re feeling is of the romantic nature?”

“Yes, precisely!” Thor replies on the upbeat. “How do I know if it’s true love or just platonic admiration and care?”

“Well, if you’re inquiring about true love that’s almost a different topic,” Frigga tells him truthfully. “True love is something tested and refined through time and often hardship. You won’t be able to know if it’s true love from the start.”

Thor's eyes become a little downcast as he drops his gaze to the floor, nervously rubbing his hands together. It’s not the answer he had been hoping for.

“But,” She picks up, “if you want to know whether it’s romantic attraction versus close platonic friendship then there are some signs for figuring it out.”

His eyes flicker back up to her; hope reignited. “What are they?!” He inquires eagerly.

“Well, for starters, you’ll absentmindedly think about this person all the time if it’s a romantic interest,” She smiles softly. “And the person your mind's always drifting to will make you giddy every time they're around. However, you’ll also become slightly nervous every time they are. When they’re in the room with you, they’ll be the thing your eyes can’t help but return to. You’ll grow jealous when others approach them, especially when it’s also with romantic intentions. They’ll become the one person to you that you’re afraid to lose above everyone else. Or, at the very least, that’s how I was with your father when I first met him. Do these things happen with the person on your mind?”

Thor doesn’t answer. His mind preoccupied with taking in the information and reflecting it back on himself.

“How do you know if the person you’re interested in likes you back?” He finally wonders aloud.

“You won’t always be able to,” the Queen looks at him sympathetically. “With some people, it’s easy to tell whom they love. Take your sister-in-law for example. There’s no doubt she holds affections for your brother, even you must see that. But other people are more like him, good at masking their true emotions and possibly not even be able to perceive them themselves. I don’t think your father was aware of my affections for him when he asked to court me. But he knew his own and took the chance. Sometimes, the fear of rejection is outweighed by the fear of regret of the chance you never took. Especially on something as important as love. Your affections might not be reciprocated; it’s never a guarantee. But sometimes the risk is worth it; mutual love is one of the most spectacular and powerful things in the universe,” She pauses to let the matter set in again. “Does this help you sort some things out?”

“Y-yeah, yeah it does...” He lingers off still lost in his own thoughts. Frigga lets him remain in her office as he takes the time to silently process things. Eventually, his eyes flutter back up to hers, “Thank you.”

“No problem, my dear,” She says pulling him into a warm hug. “I’m always here for you and Loki whenever you need me. Awkward questions and all.”

“I know,” He hugs her back. “You’re the best.”

“And don’t you forget it,” She laughs, releasing him.
__

“You work fast,” Fury says, impressed as he reenters his office where you had been expectingly waiting for his return. He gazes at each of the four people now gathered here.

“What can I say?” You shrug, eyes gleaming with excitement. It is so hard not lose it and geek out right now, “I’m pretty persuasive. Both of them are willing to sit down and talk.”

“Why these two specifically?” Fury inquires, walking over to his desk. He can’t imagine them getting along.

“Just talk about us like we’re not here, it’s fine,” Tony wrinkles his nose.

“The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Steve remarks, crossing his arms. “If you just stay silent and listen to Ms. Kara we’d both get what we came here for faster.”

“It’s Mrs. actually. I’m married,” You hold up your left hand showing off Loki’s insignia.

“I apologize, Ma' am,” Steve politely responds.

“Wow, do Asgardians or whatever you called yourselves always marry this young?” Tony asks, wagging his finger in between you and Sif.

“We’re actually technically the oldest people in this room,” You grin as Sif silently rolls her eyes. “Our total lifespan will exceed yours give or take 5,000 years.” Gosh! Is this really happening?! You are talking to both the real Iron Man and Captain America at once; how flipping cool is that! You want to squeal but you keep it in. For now, you need to keep your focus. You turn your attention back to Fury, “To answer your question, these two men will become the pillars of the Avengers Initiative here on Earth.”

“I get Cap but Stark?” Fury questions skeptically.

“Hey!” Tony takes offense.

“You clearly haven’t read my file on him yet,” You tell him, coming to Tony's defense.

“Too busy getting promoted, like you said,” Fury counters unfazed.

“Oh? Congrats!” You clap repeatedly and grin in excitement.

Everyone in the room stares at you in varying degrees of awkward judging silence. You chuckle nervously and quickly move on, “Everyone here is privy to my secret because I trust each of you, and I need your help if we’re going to make this work. Fury, if we’re going to kickstart the Avengers we need these two onboard more than anyone else.”

“You told them about you?” Fury asks a bit shocked. “I'd advise you to keep that bit of information under wraps. You could become a pretty big target of some very dangerous people if they find out you possess the knowledge you do.”

“I know, and I intend to. But like I said, I trust them and both of them agreed to keep my secret. They’re good men,” You glance between Steve and Tony, “...in their own right. Besides, I had to give them a reason to join us. Steve’s first mission will be locating the Winter Solider, sorry, his friend Bucky, I guess he isn’t known by that yet, with the information I’ve provided. And in return for his willingness to participate in the initiative, Tony will be getting a head start on his research and future technology with the notes I provided along with testimony of his soon-to-be ex-business partner, Obadiah Stane’s underhanded dealings, selling weapons to terrorist groups and planning Tony’s assassination.”

“The girl approached us fully prepared,” Tony tells Fury. “It’s impressive. And that’s not a compliment I give out lightly.”

“If Earth needs saving and we can prevent the tragedies she claims will happen then I am willing to do everything in my power to help,” Steve states in conjunction, exchanging glances with the other two men.

“Very well,” Fury sighs. “Then what are we waiting for? We’ve got work to do.”

Chapter Text

“It’s been a month,” Thor complains at the dinner table, picking at his food. “Are they ever coming back?”

Loki stays silent properly eating, unlike his brother. He too wasn’t expecting you to take so long. A day or two tops. What kept on that bloody realm? At first, he thought you run away from him, but you took Sif with you, and Sif would never betray Asgard like that. She wouldn't leave Thor. If you were truly running away then Sif would've returned on her own by now.

“They’ll return,” Frigga reassures her sons confidently. “Kara clearly went to Midgard with a specific goal in mind. Whatever the reason for their delay, we must wait patiently and pray for their safe and timely return.”

Odin also remains silent. To be honest, he isn’t sure exactly what you were doing being away for this long, but it helped increase his trust in the validity of your bold claims. Whatever your full plan is, you are taking your time properly developing it. That being said, it also thrust you into more suspicion. Who were your sources? And who exactly is the girl he had chosen to his son’s bride? Definitely not who he thought you were.

As if on cue, the Bifrost suddenly glows shooting up into the sky. All four of them scramble out of their seats to look out the windows.

Frigga smiles, "See, what did I tell you?"

“She’s back,” Thor murmurs softly to himself.

"I'm done with my meal," Loki says taking one last linger doubletake at the Bifrost before briskly turning to leave.

"M-me too," Thor follows suit, quickly chasing after his brother. Frigga chuckles knowingly as she watches them disappear from sight. She turns her gaze back to the glowing Bifrost.

"What?" Odin inquires of her.

"Young love," She smiles softly at her husband. "Takes me back."
__

“I will admit, I’ll miss it being the social norm for girls to wear pants,” Sif remarks as the two of you draw closer to the palace.

You laugh, “We’ll definitely be going back and when we do we’ll get your a whole closet full of pants.” You promise her.

“I’d like that,” Sif smiles softly in agreement.

“You just got back and you’re already discussing returning?” Loki questions as he approaches with Thor trailing a short step behind. His words came out with more of a bite than he wanted, “Did you enjoy Midgard that much? It would explain your month-long absence.”

“You missed a lot of practice, Sif,” Thor chimes in more light-hearted than his brother.

“For your information, I didn’t skip a single day of my training while on Earth,” Sif rebuts him. Her eyes then light up, “Tony set up the most amazing facility, and Steve was a surprisingly worthy training partner for a Midgardian. Bucky too once we staged his rescue. You would have loved it!”

Thor frowns, “Tony? Steve? Bucky?”

“Yeah, we’ve been making some human friends while we were away,” Sif continues on in her rush of excitement to share her experience with him. “They’re all great! You’ll love them when you meet them!”

“Meet them?” Thor and Loki ask in accidental unison.

Loki eyes you skeptically, “What exactly were you doing on Midgard?”

You take a deep breath, “I’ll tell you as I promised. Just give me a little bit. I probably have to report to your father as soon as I step foot inside, and I’d like to-“

“Nope, you’re giving me answers right now,” Loki rejects, wrapping his arm around your waist and teleporting the two of you away. His patience is worn thin. He isn’t going to wait for a second longer.
__

“So... you enjoyed your time on Midgard?” Thor prompts as he and Sif stroll through the palace gardens.

Sif's still a bit surprised. She hadn’t expected Thor to suggest a walk after being ditched by you and Loki. Though it is understandable if he's curious about how her adventures went. He did always enjoy recounting his own with her and the Warriors Three.

“I surprisingly did,” She happily admits. “They’re way more advanced then we’ve given them credit for, and in some ways even more so than us.”

“And these new friends you made there... they were all male?” He inquires hesitantly.

“Yeah,” She answers a bit confused on why he’s asking. “Well, I also hung out with Maria Hill a little bit whenever she wasn’t out doing Fury’s busywork but yeah. They were pretty much all men. Not too surprising I clicked with them. All my friends here are male except for Kara. It shouldn’t concern you unless you're jealous,” She jokes lightheartedly until she looks at Thor’s face.

He had stopped in his tracks. Expression caught somewhere between fear and embarrassment. His smile's awkward and bittersweet while his cheeks are beet red. Sif had never seen Thor like this before.

“Wait, are you actually jealous?” She breathes in shocked disbelief. She stammers a bit in denial, “Th-Thor, you know no one could ever replace you as my best friend. You, Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun are irreplaceable to me.”

“Oh, uh, I was worried about that, I-,” He replies flustered then cutting himself off, handing flying to cover his mouth. He hadn’t meant to imply so much. Crap. He starts panicking.

Sif stares at him in silent bewilderment. Her heart racing a million miles an hour. But she is too afraid to inquire further in case she's misunderstanding him and she winds up completely crushed. So for the first time in her life, Sif chooses flight over fight.

“I- I- I n-need to get going,” She stutters an excuse, “I haven’t seen my family in a while, and I should probably pop in on them. S-see ya.” She immediately turns to leave.

“Wait, Sif!” Thor calls out, sounding desperate, as his instincts take over and he grabs her wrist. “Don’t go,” He swallows nervously, “Please hear me out.”

She didn’t want to. Fear of rejection frightening her more than anything. She can’t be rejected by Thor; it would change their entire relationship. It would hurt too much to be around him. More than it already did. But his expression and tone are so earnest that Sof can’t help but find herself silently nodding and agreeing.

A moment of awkward, anxious silence passes between until Thor's able to dig deep inside of himself and pluck out a bit of courage.

“I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting in the month you’ve been away,” He starts slowly. “And I know saying what I’m about to say will jeopardize our relationship but I honestly think you’re worth the risk.” He purses his lips, incredibly anxious, “I-... I like, like you Sif. As more than a friend. It took me a while to realize it, as you can probably imagine, but long story short I eventually did. And you’re free to reject me. I don’t want you to accept my feelings just because I’m your best friend and the first prince of Asgard. And I know you wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings.” Thor starts shaking as the intense nervousness builds as he rambles, “But if there’s a chance you like me in that way too then I’d like to properly ask for your hand in courtship.”

“Yes!” Sif spits out.

“Yes?” He seeks confirmation as it hasn’t fully computed yet.

“Yes, I like you in that way too,” She answers him, a soft relieving smile appearing on her lips. This time it’s her turn to confess, her body also trembling with nervous excitement, “I have for a long time.”

Both of them shutter in relief as the reality of what just happened fully sinks in.

“So... what are we supposed to do now?” Thor asks, a breathless smile on his face. “Do we kiss or-"

Sif immediately reaches up and pulls him down by the collar of his shirt, crushing her lips against his. Thor closes his eyes, immediately following her lead and kissing her back as he wraps his arms around her waist.

“S-sorry,” Sif blushes as she pulls away, “I’ve been wanting to do that for a very long time.”

Thor chuckles lightly, “Don’t apologize. I liked it. You know, it’s exactly the way I could imagine you giving a first kiss.”

“Shut up,” She giggles softly, leaning her head into his chest.
__

“Hop on,” Loki orders, releasing his grip around your waist.

You look at the ship he’s indicating to and your eyes immediately light up. This was the same ship he and Thor used to escape Asgard in the Dark World movie. Loki steering in that scene was one of your favorite moments. You are more than happy to comply, stepping onto it without any hesitation.

“Where are we going?” You ask with probably more excitement than you should have at the moment. After all, he just kidnapped you. Not that you cared in the slightest, this is amazing. A rush of sheer joy and adrenaline coursing through you.

“Somewhere secluded where we can’t be interrupted by someone and you can’t avoid me,” He answers, getting on after you and taking control of the handle.

You’re internally geeking out so hard right now, biting your lip in a vain effort to conceal your smile. Luckily, Loki isn’t focused on you, sailing off from the dock, so he doesn’t notice.

The wind whips through your hair as the aircraft gains speed. It feels amazing. You raise your hands up in the air, closing your eyes and doing a small twirl as you let yourself fully enjoy this moment for what is it. Opening your eyes again, you stare at Loki from behind. He is completely focused on piloting but his expression is surprisingly very relaxed. You get the feeling that when Loki’s flying he feels a sense of freeing calm. Momentarily unburdened by everything in his life and simply being. You continue staring at his back, silently existing in this moment with him.

He takes you to a set of floating islands on the outskirts of the realm. Parking the ship, he helps you down before letting go of your hand and leading you towards the center. He plops himself down in grassy fields, waiting silently for you to follow suit.

“You promised to tell me this big plan of yours,” Loki starts as soon as you do, “I’m assuming that has to do with your escapade to Midgard so fess up.”

You open your mouth hesitantly, “Midgard is the realm we have the least amount of preexisting conflict with,” You say; you had rehearsed this conversation countless times in your head but actually having it is more difficult than you anticipated, especially since you aren’t prepared to tell him the whole truth. Not yet, “and I thought it would be good for you to form an alliance with it. Peacefully uniting our people with theirs would be a feat even your father would have to acknowledge as worthy. So I went with Sif to their realm to see if it would work. I didn’t want to let you know or bringing you along if it didn’t work, but I was successful in establishing an agreement on your and Thor’s behalf with people of power in that realm, all of whom I’ve been secretly researching for a while now. The royal archives have been extremely helpful,” You lie seamlessly, knowing full well you’ve already covered your tracks. You forged entries on Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D, some of the Avengers, and a few on other U.S. government agencies long ago. All in preparation in case Loki ever went looking into your story.

Something’s off about your story, but Loki can’t for the life of him place it so his brain subconsciously substitutes it for the only possible solution it can grasp at, “Wait, if all this was to make me look more worthy in my father’s eyes then why did you include Thor into the alliance?”

“I’m rooting for you more than anyone, but it has to be an even playing field,” You reply also already having this answer prepared. “Besides, I will not resort to underhanded methods to help you win. Not only would it be wrong, but it would also violate the trust and friendship I have with Sif. Which I will not be doing for the record. I only created the opportunity for both of you. It’s ultimately up to the two of you how you utilize it. It’s up to you to prove your worthiness to rule.”

Loki purses his lips. This is a lot to take in. Once again you blew his mind with how clever you are. He has never once thought highly of Midgard. Sure, they are more numerous in population than most realms, but the people of it are weak and possessed no affinity for magic. The thought strikes him. Maybe that’s why you really chose the Midgardians; they are similar to you in those regards. And maybe just as unassuming. He starts thinking of things from a different vantage point.

“What are the terms of allegiance you agreed upon?” He inquires, pausing his racing stream of thoughts for a brief moment.

“Simply protection on both ends,” You tell him. “You and Thor will fight on their behalf if the need arises and likewise a group we’re working on assembling will fight for us if Asgard is ever in need of it. That’s what took us so long to come home, and why we have to make several trips back. Midgard has some, let’s say, super-humans who, when gathered together and even some on their own, are a mighty force to be reckoned with. I’m working with a human government agency, that's aware of these super-humans as well the beings beyond their realm, to help lay the foundations for this team of people.”

You pause to give him time to process all this information. Loki needs to accept everything you just laid out or else everything you worked and planned so hard for will crumble in an instant. Asgard needs the Avengers. Earth needs Thor and Loki’s favor to unite the two realms and to become an obstacle against Loki’s attack on New York. And Loki needs more positive influences in his life. You truly believe the Avengers can have been that for him if they met under different circumstances in the movies. He needs to grow to care more about those outside of his immediate family.

“If I may,” You interrupt his thoughts, curling your knees up into yourself, “I think it would also be wise of you to establish yourself in the public eye more. Escape from your brother’s shadow, both here and on Midgard. Probably one of your biggest shortcomings is that you're not much of a people person, which is fine. You don’t have to be. But if you make more of an effort to appeal to the public then you will naturally gain more favor in the eyes of others. On Midgard, it’ll probably be easier. Just show up and save some civilians, your popularity will skyrocket I’m sure. I’ll admit though, you’ll have to put in a lot more effort here where people already expect you lurk in the shadows.”

Loki’s eyes flicker with annoyance.

“I know, easier said than done,” You admit, “but, Loki, I never said you had to do it alone. You have me so utilize me. I’m better with getting people to like and support me, we both know it. It’s how I was even able to accomplish all of this so far. I can be a linking point between you and the people. I’ve already drawn up a couple of plans in how we can appeal to both the nobles and the common folk. They’re back on my desk, but I can go over them with you when we get back. I-”

“Okay, stop,” Loki snaps his fingers, cutting you off. To your surprise he’s smiling, “I can only take in so much at once. The alliance with Midgard is a clever idea, one that would definitely please my father. But before I agree to anything I’d like to go down and meet these supposed super-humans you say will be of value to us,” He pauses, “As for changing up my relations with the Asgardian public... I’ll think about it. My schedule’s already busy as is. It would mean rearranging my entire schedule to make time for them, and unlike Thor, I don’t waste my free time idly mingling.”

“Maybe you should,” You reply pointedly, adverting your gaze just out of his.

“You really are a little minx with that tongue of yours,” He chuckles, eyes aglow with mischief.

You stick out your tongue at him, emphasizing his point more. You smirk at him tauntingly as if asking him what he is going to do about it.

This triggers something in Loki and before he realizes it, he has pushed you down on your back and is looming dominantly over you. He lifts your chin with one hand and traps you on the ground with the other, “Listen here you cheeky little...” He lingers off as you stare up at him in shock, face completely flushed. He’s close enough that you can feel the warmth of his breath tingle ever so softly on your neck. It’s then he realizes the position he unconsciously put the two of you in. He shutters quickly scrambling off you. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it. I just...” He lingers off once more unable to think of an excuse.

His words sting, but you accept them as the truth. Loki truly didn’t mean anything by it. Your affections are not returned. They just slipped through your defenses, long enough to cause a painful ache in your chest before you force yourself to bury them again. You sit up, avoiding his eyes, “No, it’s fine. I understand. Actually, this brings up something else I forgot to mention. I’ve also been working on another little side project in my free time. I’ve been compiling a list of all the suitable unmarried girls of noble status for you to look over. So that when you divorce me, you’ll have a lineup of possible suitors that will bring you great benefits. Admittedly, I’ve left Duchess Evangeline off that list even though she holds a great amount of status. I didn’t think she’d be your cup of tea, so I took the liberty to already cross her off.”

“Burn it,” Loki rejects immediately. His eyes reflecting his seriousness.

“What? Why?” You ask in clear confusion. “Any one of these women could be greatly beneficial to you. I’ve made sure to comb through and find the best of the best.”

“Because I already have the most beneficial wife,” He refutes once more, causing your heart to betray you again, “No other woman is going to match my ideals the way you do. No other woman is going to go to another realm and strike up an alliance for me. All the other prospects you’ve compiled will just fall short of the benefits you bring to me, even with all their money, power, and statuses. And besides,” He adds though you really wish he hadn’t, “other women will expect a love of which I am not capable of or willing to give them. You already have a clear understanding of this so it’s not an issue. Our arranged marriage turned out to be more ideal for me than I could’ve ever imagined.” It is moments like this where you’re reminded of how selfish he could be.

Loki has no idea how much he just shattered your heart. In one fallow swoop, he completely rips down your heart’s defenses and smashes everything you tried so hard to protect yourself against. You knew from the beginning never to expect his love. He told you so and you never truly thought he’d actually fall for you too. Which is why you carefully suppressed those feelings all this time; the truth hurt so you avoided it. And yet, even though you convinced yourself it would be okay to just stay by his side as an ally, a small part of your heart always held out hope. Thanks to his reminder, that sliver of hope is put back in its place. Your heart aches more than it ever has before, laying out completely bare and bleeding inside of you. On the plus side, Loki’s words cement your resolve enough to get through the moment; anger rising to help ease the pain.

Your force out the most convincing smile you’ve ever mustered, adding in a soft chuckle for good measure. Loki’s not the only one who can pull off a convincing mask. Besides, you had already fooled him once tonight, “If that’s what you want, I won’t press the matter further. I was planning on staying by your side regardless if I was your wife or not. I’m officially your ambassador in Midgard and those financial reports aren’t going to document themselves.”

“And where in the realm would I find a better accountant?” He quips, falling hook-line-and-sinker for your bluff. “Oh, I forgot to mention. While you were gone I worked behind the scenes to get your family’s trials moving forward and...”

He says more, but you are no longer paying any attention. “Yeah, that’s great,” You murmur absentmindedly. It takes everything you have not to cry right then and there. You curl up into yourself, resting your head on your knees staring off into the distance away from him.

Chapter Text

-6 Years Later-

“GODDAMMIT Loki!” You scream enraged as you burst into your chambers absolutely furious.

“Why did you step in?!” Loki snarls chasing after you, slamming the door behind him.

You whip around on him ready to explode.
__

-7 Hours Earlier-

You duck just barely missing her fist to your face. Unfortunately, you’re not as lucky with the swiping kick to your legs. In seconds your lying flat on your back completely out of breath.

“You've still got a long ways to go,” Nat chuckles, extending her arm out and helping you help.

“I’ll get there,” You reply, wincing a bit from your sore muscles. The Black Widow really didn’t hold back.

“Ever the optimist, I see,” She remarks, tilting her head slightly. “Ready for another round?”

“Actually, Director Kara has a prior engagement she's going to be late for if she doesn’t get going,” Vision interrupts, fazing through the wall. “Today’s the big day. Mr. Loki sent a notecard reminder that your presence is required. His exact words being, 'If I have to suffer tonight then so do you,'” He recounts, holding up the parchment.

“Oh, crap! I lost track of time,” Your eyes widen. “Um, yeah, I’m coming. Another time, Nat, I promise.” You wave to her as you hurry after Vision who’s already fazing back through the wall.

Natasha waves back chuckling.

“How much time do I have?” You ask briskly walking as Vision floats by your side.

“It’s six and a half hours until the start of the ceremony,” He answers.

“Okay, thanks,” You reply distractedly, your mind multitasking as it plans out the next few hours. “You’re free to go, Vision. Say hi to Wanda and Pietro for me!” You smile, waving goodbye as you make a sharp turn off down a branching corridor.

There is one last thing you have to do before returning to Asgard. A certain precaution just in case. Everything will be fine. You’ve worked so hard to change things. Surely everything will be fine. But just in case...

“Hey, Mrs. Kara,” a young voice greets you as you almost run directly into him.

“Oh, Peter,” You stop yourself abruptly. He helps steady yourself as you almost lose your balance. “Thanks. Sorry, I was in my head.”

“No worries, I get it,” Peter smiles. “I’m actually glad I crossed paths with you before you left. Tell Thor congrats for me.”

“Will do,” You smile softly. He is such a sweet boy.

“I’ve got to bounce. I have a Facetime call with Harley and Shuri in like two minutes. Also homework,” He tells you. “See you later!” He waves before rushing off.

You chuckle. Seeing Peter always lifts your spirits. You’re glad he’s getting along with the others you scouted for the Young Avengers Initiative you implemented. A way of integrating younger members of brain and/or might into the Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D.

Since Thor and Loki’s compliance with the alliance, you’ve been making sure Avengers Headquarters wasn’t just a place for the team to hang out. You organized several programs of study and research, support groups, and training courses. Increased the medical center, living spaces, training facilities, library databases, and science labs. Worked endlessly to speed up the Avengers gathering and development. And established both the Young Avengers Initiative and a mentorship program between older and newer Avengers. Hela and Thanos are still out there, and everyone needs to be ready ahead of time if you are to have a chance of stopping things before they’re destined to happen. Everything is riding on you and your knowledge. You can’t let everyone down.

You continue on your way, regaining speed as you head towards Stark’s lab. Hopefully, he’s done by now with the items you requested. If not, you would have to quickly alter your backup plans.

“Please tell me you have them,” You say upon swinging open the lab door. “I should’ve been back on Asgard helping with preparations an hour ago, and-”

“Relax, I got you covered,” Tony casually cuts you off, glancing up from his workstation, “When have I ever not come through for you, Director?”

“You’re right, you’re right,” You exhale, “I’m just a little anxious that’s all.”

“I usually am,” He flatters himself. “But isn’t this the god of thunder’s big night? Not yours. What makes you the anxious one?”

“It’s just, this is one of the nights I've seen, you know, in my original universe. One of the key nights I've been trying to change the history of,” You confess, desperately needing to get some of it off your chest. Tony’s one of the few people you can actually confess such a thing to; only three other people know your secret: Sif, Director Fury, and Steve Rogers, “Lots of things have changed from the original history, so everything should turn out fine. But there’s always this small voice in the back of my head asking, ‘what if?’ What if I didn’t do enough? What if it still goes terribly wrong?”

“Phew,” Tony exhales, shaking his head, “I do not envy being you. How do you constantly bear all that heavyweight on your tiny shoulders?”

You chuckle. Tony always had a way of helping take the edge off of things when you are anxious. People tend to be turned off by him because he doesn’t usually approach situations seriously, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need. Someone who helps belittle your nerves.

“Besides, that’s what you came to me for,” He continues, sliding a metal briefcase across the countertop. “To help you make things right again if they do go terribly wrong. And while I don’t know what you’re expecting to go wrong, what I whipped up should have you completely covered. Let me show you how they work.”

You nod, walking around to the same side of the table as him.

“First, the hologram double you requested,” Tony hands you an earpiece, a contact case, a small coin-shaped item. “Pop the first two in, and you’ll be able to see and hear everything it does. And to activate it,” He reaches out and pushes a button on the earpiece, “you just need to press that button, and wherever you place the coin an exact replica of you will appear. I’ve looped in some natural gestures and blinks so the copy isn’t awkwardly standing still. The earpiece is also fitted with a microphone that will sync your voice and words with the double’s lips, allowing you to respond if asked any questions. So as long as no one touches it no one will notice the difference.”

“Perfect,” You smile, pocketing the items. “And the gloves?”

“I’m getting there, hold your horses,” He responds, picking up a box off the table, “Now creating these were tricky. You owe the Shuri kid like twenty favors for the vibranium used to craft them by the way.”

“I’ll be sure to remember that,” You chuckle nervously. Oh boy.

Tony opens the box, handing you a pair of black, wrist-length, skintight gloves, “They’ve been heavily encoded with your DNA so when I activate them...” He lingers off as he moves to his computer while you slip them on. He quickly types in a command code, “and voila~!”

You watch in amazement as the gloves turn invisible and seemingly melt into your skin. You’re no longer able to see or feel them.

“It’s now like they’re an extension of your skin,” He explains, “neither you nor anyone else who touches your hands will be able to feel them, and with my modifications, you’ll be able to do as you requested on command. They’re connected to the chip we implanted in your brain awhile back, so all you have to do is think about turning them on and off and they will do so. Go on, try them out.”

A mischievous grin spreads across your lips. You always liked to play with fire. Now you can literally do it. Sparks ignite at your fingertips. You desire for the flames to grow and they do, bending to your will as you experimentally wiggle your fingers. “They’re perfect,” You murmur, completely entranced with your new power.

“Of course they are. I made then,” He unashamedly accepts the compliment.

“Thank you!” You beam, pulling your eyes away and shutting down the flames. You grab the briefcase off the counter. “I should really get going now. Enjoy your date night with Pepper!”

“Oh shoot, is that tonight?!” He asks, having completely forgotten.

“Yup! You’re welcome for the reminder by the way,” You laugh, waving with your back turned as you rush towards the door. “Be back soon!” You call out just before the lab door closes behind you on your way out.
__

“Where have you been? And what took you so long?” Sif inquires and chastises at the same time.

She has been waiting at the palace entrance for over an hour waiting for your return to Asgard. Why today of all days are you late?

“So sorry, I lost track of time and there were some last-minute things I had to-” You start to reply in excuse.

“Save it. Just come on,” She cuts you off, dragging you by the arm up the staircase. “Your mother-in-law is knee-deep in last-minute preparations for both the ceremony and the feast. The Allfather’s been shut up in their chambers busy rehearsing this whole time. Thor’s been practicing his dramatic entrance for hours instead of actually practicing his own lines. Loki disappeared hours ago to do who knows what. You're late. I’m stressed. And none of us are ready for this coronation!”

“Sif, calm down,” You force her to momentarily stop. “I know it’s a big day for Thor, and you want everything to go perfect because of how much you love him. I promise you, things will come together and everything will go smoothly. We’ll go help Frigga out then you and I will get dressed up in our best attire. You’ll look pretty. Thor will look pretty. Everything will work out. Just take a deep breath.”

Sif nods, taking your advice. Deeply inhaling and exhaling, “Thanks.”

“No problem,” You smile softly. “I’m sure if it was Loki I’d be the same way right now.”

Sif freezes.

“You’re okay with it not though... right?” She asks hesitantly.

“Sif, Thor will make a great king. Loki and I... we tried our best. I’ll admit, I think the succession choice was a bit rigged but not by you guys. You two competed with us fair and square. I bear no ill will against either of you,” You reassure her. “Thor’s worthy. He deserves it just as much as Loki. And I’m happy for him.”

“You’re literally the best,” Sif hugs, knowing that as much as your words are true, your heart still aches on Loki’s behalf.

You hug her back, “We should probably get going now.”

“Right,” Sif nods, letting you go.

The two of you quickly turn and ascend the rest of the stairs.
__

You glance around the empty throne room, making sure no one’s around to witness. In the clear, you bend down and place the coin on the spot you’re assigned to stand at during the ceremony. Pressing the button on top, it slowly camouflages into the pattern of the floor.

“Kara, where are you?” Sif calls from down the hall, approaching your direction. “We’re running out of time. We’ve got to change.”

“Coming!” You shout back, straightening up. Your eyes linger on the spot for a moment. You silently apologize to Thor for your planned absence. With there being even the slightest possibility of things not going as they should, your presence is required elsewhere.
__

The crowd roars with applause upon his entrance. Thor flips Mjolnir in his hand, egging the crowd on.

“Oh, please,” Sif rolls her eyes; Frigga following silently in suit.

Odin stares down at Thor as he approaches the throne from the opposite side of the room. His face is completely unreadable as he observes his eldest son’s antics.

Thor kneels down before him, placing down Mjolnir and taking off his helmet. He smiles up at his parents, winking at his mother who shakes her head slightly, covertly signaling for him to knock it off as Odin rises up off the throne. Thor's smile shifts to the Warriors Three. His lifelong friends and trustworthy companions. They all smile approvingly back.

Odin slams his staff on the ground, calling for the crowd’s silence.

“Thor Odinson, my heir,” Odin starts.

Loki purses his lips, silently casting his gaze to the floor. His eyes flicker briefly up at you, standing by his side. You sneak a quick smile at him reassuringly.

“My firstborn.”

Frigga’s eyes shift from her husband to Thor. Silently sighing and wishing he had left that remark out.

Thor's gaze refocuses on his father as he stares up at him in all seriousness.

“So long entrusted with the mighty hammer, Mjolnir,” the Allfather continues, “forged in the heart of a dying star, its power has no equal, as a weapon to destroy or as a tool to build. ‘Tis a fit companion for a king. I have defended Asgard and the lives of the innocent across the Nine Realms from the time of great beginning. Though the day has come...”
__

You tune out from Odin's speech. Palace guards walk past your hiding spot inside the royal vault. You listen instead for the sound of ice crackling, praying desperately that you hear nothing. Your heart sinks as it’s not the case.

“Do you swear to guard the Nine Realms?” Odin’s speech continues relaying in your ear as you quietly bend down and unlock the briefcase. The engine whirls to life as the iron suit assembles itself, drawing the instant attention of frost giants lurking in the shadows nearby.
__

“I swear,” Thor promises.
__

“Come on, you,” You tell your mechanical ally as you raise your now blazing hands. “Let’s finish this quickly. Preferably before my father-in-law takes notice.”
__

“And do you swear to preserve the peace?” Odin prompts again.
__

Streams of fire and ice clash head-on. Ice prevailing as all three of them train their focus on you. Mark V luckily blasts two of them away from you, sending them flying backwards onto the vault’s rocky solid ground.

“Thanks,” You say, reenforcing the flames trained on the singular frost giant. “You take those two. I’ll finish this one. Remember, our goal is to knock them out and dump them back on Jotunheim. So go easy on them.”

“You’re underestimating us, girly,” the frost giant still standing snarls.

“No, I’m not. That’s why I brought him for backup,” You nod to Mark V as it turns and marches towards the other two scrambling back up to their feet. Apparently ready for round two.
__

“I swear,” Thor repeats.

“Do you swear to cast aside all selfish ambition and to pledge yourself only to the good of the Realm?” Odin asks.

Loki shifts his gaze to his older brother. Waiting for the disturbance to happen at any second now. He glances back at you and for a split moment his resolve wavers. After the fact, he will have to make sure you never find out he is the one behind what’s about to happen.
__

You duck just barely missing the icy fist aimed at your face. This time spinning out of the way, avoiding the swipe at your legs. With your palm, you grasp the frost giant’s neck.

“Ow, it burns!” the defeated Jotun cries in sharp agonizing pain.

You simmer down the heat to an uncomfortable yet barely painful level. Targeting a pressure point Nat drilled into your memory, you strip away his consciousness. Panting heavily in exhaustion, you glance over to Mark V who already has the other two knocked out and tied up, ready for special delivery.

“Show off,” You chuckle breathlessly, shaking your head, “Just like your father.” You close your eyes as you try to steady your breath. “Okay,” You exhale finally looking back at the patiently waiting Iron Suit. “I’ll need you to open up so I can get inside. Then we’ll carry these three back to where Loki left an opening and deposit them where they belong. I’ll then send you back home to Tony. Crisis averted.”

Mark V nods in silent obedience.
__

Thor smiles wide, lifting Mjolnir with his right arm, “I swear!” He shouts.

“Then, on this day, I, Odin Allfather, proclaim you King of Asgard,” Odin finishes officially passing on his rule.

Thor smiles wide, standing and bowing before his father. He turns around to face the crowd, triumphantly pumping Mjolnir in the air and creating a fresh roar of joyous cheers and applause.

Loki’s eyes widen. Nothing had happened. Why hadn’t anything happened? Are his father’s senses failing him?

His eyes dart to the nearest exit. But as much as he needs to check on the situation, it will raise suspicion if he just suddenly up and vanished. He needs an excuse and someone to verify it.

“Um, Kara,” Loki turns to you. “I’ve got to go the bathroom. Save my seat, will you?”

You don’t answer. You don’t even look at him.

“Kara, did you hear me?” He asks, reaching out to grab your hand. His eyes widening as his hand fazes right through. “What the...?” He swipes across your body and the hologram immediately fades. Everything clicks in his brain at once. He curses in his head, panicking, “Kara!”

Chapter Text

-Present-

“GODDAMMIT Loki!” You scream enraged as you burst into your chambers absolutely furious.

“Why did you step in?!” Loki snarls chasing after you, slamming the door behind him.

You whip around on him, “Are you serious?! Why did I step in?! You know why I stepped in!”

“It’s not fair!” He shouts.

“You’re right! Maybe your father didn’t make a fair choice, but you can’t punish Thor for that! He’d make just as great king as you!”

“You’re supposed to be on my side,” Loki growls, glaring at you icily, “not his.”

“I am, and that’s exactly why I stopped your schemes! You aren’t on your own side; I saved you from a whole lot of trouble!” Your temper flares freely as your tone rises to match your unleashed emotions. “Lowering Thor’s reputation wouldn’t have elevated yours, especially not in the eyes of your father! Do you know how much trouble you would’ve been in if your little scheme came to light?! You’d be brandished as a traitor, your reputation diminished in seconds, even if Asgard’s betrayal wasn’t your intention!”

“How did you even know?!” He seethes through gritted teeth.

“I know you, Loki! That’s how!” You snap, “And sneaking three frost giants in wasn’t the end of your plan, was it?! You were planning to incite Thor into breaking the treaty we have with Jotunheim, manipulating his outrage over his interrupted coronation to ultimately get him in trouble with your father! Just so you’d have one last chance to prove yourself more worthy than Thor!”

“You have no proof of that!” He snaps back matching your fury.

“The fact that you didn’t attempt to deny it is proof, Loki! And you’re welcome for completely covering your tracks! There’s my proof for proving I’m on your side! What happened tonight in the shadows of your mischief stays between us,” You swear to him in a chillingly serious tone though your eyes still burn furiously.

Loki’s glare deepens, “And how exactly did you even fight them off? I know you’ve been training with Nat but they have ice magic. You shouldn’t have stood a chance!”

Fire soars full blast from your palms as you continue to stare him down, “You really underestimate the work I do with the Avengers.”

His eyes widen in utter shock. “What did you do to yourself?”

If you weren’t so focused on being angry with him you might have noticed the concern in his tone.

“Absolutely nothing,” You reply, letting the flames slowly die. “This is the latest Stark tech. Pyrokinetic gloves that meld with my DNA.”

Loki grimaces. He didn’t like how close you and Stark seemed to be. You had clicked with him better than any of the other Avengers. Watching the two of you banter always got under his skin. And more than that, Loki always got the sense that Tony knew a part of you he didn’t. His cold-blooded anger swells as he remembers this, clenching his fists at his sides.

“They were merely supposed to be a precaution,” You continue on, “in case you defied my expectations to do better. I believed you could be better! My heart sank when I realized in that vault that you chose not to be!”

“I’m sorry I failed to meet your expectations,” a sarcastic apology spills from his lips. He sneers, “but I guess you and Father finally have something in common.”

“Wow!” You gasp in disbelief that he went there. “Look, I get it. It cuts you deeply when your father doesn’t give you the validation of being Thor’s equal. I understand the stunt you pulled tonight was your last-ditch effort to delay Thor’s ascension so you could have one last chance of proving yourself as worthy. I know that your motive comes from a place of hurt and not an actual desire of the throne, but some actions cross a line that shouldn’t be crossed! I sympathize with why you did it, but I cannot condone that as an excuse for what you did!”

“You have no right to judge me! You might be able to sympathize with my pain but you will never understand what it’s like!” Loki shouts. “How could you? You’re just like Thor! Everybody loves you! You don’t live in anyone’s shadow! No one ever thinks or treats you as inferior!”

“You know the number one person who keeps you in Thor’s shadow isn’t your father, it’s you!” You shout back. “No one sees you as inferior to Thor more than yourself! And instead of focusing on the countless people who see you as no less worthy than him, you focus on the only two people who do: Odin and you! Don’t believe me? Let me remind you. Your mother loves you just as she does Thor! Sif recognizes your talents the same way she does his! Peter Parker absolutely adores you! Wanda respects you as her mentor! Oh, and did you forget all the Asgardians who have recognized your efforts and supported you once you really put yourself out there? Our people would rally behind your leadership just as much as his! Then on Midgard, you’re a hero! Your fan base there rivals if not exceeds Thor’s! Thor himself thinks the absolute world of you!”

Loki purses his lips. His pride getting in the way of actually accepting what you have to say.

“Then you have me, who’s thought of you more highly than anyone from the beginning!” You snap as your bitter anger fuels you to continue. “All of this, and you really still consider yourself the unloved prince?! You risked everything for something you already had! You risked everything I-!” You cut yourself off. You close your eyes as tears start to brim in your eyelids. Shaking your head and exhaling sharply you reopen them, staring directly at him. “It’s going to be suspicious if both of us are missing from the feast so I’m going to go now. Do whatever the hell you want! I don’t care anymore!”

Loki's eyes widen and he reaches out to stop you from leaving seconds too late. You’re already beyond his fingertips, slamming the door behind you. He’s left desperately hoping that your last words are just something said in the heat of the moment. The weight of Loki’s action suddenly comes crashing down on him all at once, leaving him with one singular fear:

If you didn’t care for him anymore then who stood the chance to?
__

You stop right outside the entrance, allowing yourself one last chance to collect your composure. You take a deep breath then step forward making your official debut to tonight’s festivities. A flood of noises bombards your ear as soon as you enter the dining hall. You immediately regret showing up; your mood did not match the cheerful chattering and laughter ringing throughout the room. But you’re Asgard’s princess. You have a duty to perform, so you force yourself to continue deeper into the crowd.

Sif immediately spots you from across the room and makes her way over to you, “Is everything alright? Both you and Loki disappeared...”

“It’s just been a bit of a rough night. We all knew this was going to be difficult for him to accept. We just needed to step aside for a bit to discuss things,” You dismissively excuse. “But everything’s fine.”

“Why do I get the sense that everything is not fine?” She replies skeptically, crossing her arms.

“Sif, tonight is about Thor. Whatever problems Loki or I have can wait until tomorrow,” You remind her just as much you do yourself. Your eyes suddenly dart up behind her as Thor approaches the two of you, “Speak of the devil.”

Thor wraps his arms around Sif’s waist from behind, smiling over her shoulder at you, “Kara! You finally joined us! Come, have a drink and be merry!”

“You know Kara has strict no drinking rule,” Sif elbows him.

She's right. The driver who plowed through the red light and killed you had been drunk so you sort of shied away from alcohol since arriving on Asgard. Besides, you doubted Kara’s body had any tolerance to the stuff since she never tasted a lick of it before your soul took over. On top of that, you considered your brain as your greatest asset to Loki and the others so you hadn’t dared to mess it up in case of an emergency. Your excuse always being that someone had to be the sober, responsible one to drive the Avengers home whenever the adults went out partying. The role of which usually defaulted to you, Bruce, and/or Steve.

But tonight... maybe tonight being a little tipsy wouldn't hurt.

“Actually,” You say, surprising both of them, “I might enjoy a drink or two. It’s a special occasion after all.”
__

Loki hides away in his study. He needs time to clear his thoughts. Though he might have preferred distracting from them by attending the feast, going now is out of the question if you are there. But if he is going to think, he absolutely couldn’t stay in his chambers. Signs of you are everywhere there increasing the guilt he felt whenever his eyes flitted to them. Loki yearns for comfort, familiarity, and solitude. His study being the only place that provides all three.

He sits down behind his desk. For once not caring about proper posture as he leans forward, immediately dropping his head into his hands.

“Bring in the frost giants. Let yourself have one last shot at the throne! Brilliant idea Loki! Truly Brilliant!” A clone of himself appears and chastises.

Loki lifts his gaze to glare at the copy his subconscious created. “Shut up.”

“She’s right, you know?” It remarks, disregarding the command.

“Go away!” He snarls.

“You don’t really want me to. That’s why I’m even here in the first place. You manifested me,” It calmly replies. “Your conscience is pricked. You regret what you did. Such a rare occurrence for the god of mischief.”

Loki doesn’t bother responding this time. His fists clench as he grits his teeth.

“But what you regret isn’t so much bringing in the Jotuns but rather that you disappointed her,” the copy continues on, “She thought highly of you and you betrayed that image. She makes you want to be a better man and you fell short. Now you’re afraid you’ll lose her.”

“No. She’ll never leave me,” Loki denies with an icy edge.

“Still telling yourself that lie? Do you honestly believe that no matter what you do she’ll stay?” the copy questions skeptically, prying on his doubts.

“Silence!”

“She’s brought up divorce in the past,” It points out.

“Stop it,” Loki warns staring daggers at the clone.

“She has a wonderful life she built for herself on Midgard. It would be easy for her to skip town,” It remarks, ignoring the warning completely undaunted.

“Stop it!” He repeats, voice rising as his frustration boils.

“What have you ever even done to make her want to stay?” the copy inquires of him. “You’ve disappointed, underestimated, undervalued, and underappreciated her.”

“Stop.”

“And you reject her feelings because you’re too afraid to face your own,” It doesn’t stop.

“STOP!” Loki yells, magic bursting from his hands as he slams his fists down on the desk, sending a wave of green energy throughout the room. Papers scatter and books topple over.

“There’s going to be a limit to how much she can take. And after tonight, you might be reaching that limit sooner than you think,” the clone finishes, unfazed by his creator’s actions. “Tread carefully.” It warns before flickering and fading away.

Loki closes his eyes with a sharp breath, attempting to quell his temper. He sighs as he stands to pick up the mess he made.

A rapid knock comes on his door before whoever it is is too impatient to wait for him to respond and they barge in.

“Loki, I need your help!” Sif rapidly spits out upon entering.

His eyes snap up to her utterly perplexed. She is the last person he expected to see tonight, especially not like this. She’s flustered, exasperated, and concerned all at once. He notes her labored breathing; clearly indicating she ran all the way here as fast as she could.

“I can’t handle them both on my own! You’ve got to stop her! This is probably your mess anyway,” She says pointedly but moves on before he can react, “But that doesn’t matter right now. You just need to deal with it!”

“What in the Nine Realms is going on?” He inquires at a complete loss over what she’s going on about. “I’m assuming this is about Kara.”

“You’re not going to believe me,” She tells him. “Just come.”

He nods silently, putting down the papers he had been holding back on his desk and following her out.

“You’re not going to like this,” Sif warns him as they briskly head towards the dining hall.

Loki nervously purses his lips. What could you possibly be doing that not even Sif could handle?

Chapter Text

Never in his life has his jaw clenched so hard.

You are singing at the top of your lungs but that isn’t the problem. The problem is you are singing at the top of your lungs while stripped down to your knee-length, satin nightgown showing more skin to your audience of mostly men than Loki would have liked. While at the same time blasting fire out of your hands every time you drunkenly twirled around as you dance across the tabletops. To make matters worse, Thor and his friends are drunkenly switching between egging you on by whooping and hollering and joining you by singing along off-key.

“I told you,” Sif says, eyes glued to the chaos playing out before them. She purses her lips tightly. “When and how did she learn fire magic?”

“It’s apparently Stark tech, not magic,” Loki exhales in exasperation still taking in the situation. His frown deepens as he momentarily watches his brother’s involvement in this pandemonium, “First night of being King and he’s already behaving recklessly immature.”

“Your princess is arguably acting more so right now,” Sif defensively jabs back, annoyed by his chastisement.

“And you’re the one who’s chosen to serve them both,” He quips pointedly, equally annoyed.

“Are you going to stand here and bicker with me or are you going to stop her?” She asks prioritizing the matter at hand.

Someone in the crowd throws a bottle of the air. Your eye catches it, flames immediately shoot out towards it. The bottle shatters bursting into flames, causing you to giggle childishly pleased with your handiwork as the shards crash to the ground.

“I’m going, ” Loki nods quickly in agreement with her. He vanishes and reappears next to the table you're currently twirling on, ducking last second as he just barely dodges the flames blazing from your fingertips. “Kara, come here.” He soothingly beckons.

You whip around at the sound of his voice, eyes changing from giddiness to annoyance upon locking with his, “You! I'm mad at you, I’m pretty sure...” You respond in a drunken slur.

“Ooooh! Someone’s in trouble!” Thor calls everyone’s attention to the two of them. He giggles before hiccuping, “What did you do piss your fair maiden off this time, my brother?”

Loki ignores him and all the watchful eyes, locking eyes with you and only you. You are his only focus. He extends a hand out to you, “I know, darling. Why don't you come down here and we can talk about it?”

You raise your hand, watching the flames dance across your fingers before looking back at him. You shake your head slowly, “No... I don't really wanna,” You smirk down at him wickedly filled with a rebellious spirit.

If you weren’t so drunk right now Loki would've admitted how hot that was. He clicks his tongue torn between annoyance and amusement. Annoyance ultimately winning out because others are also seeing you like this.

You twirl away as the crowd cheers at your decision. Another person throws a bottle and you gleefully repeat your little party trick. This time the glass shatters onto the table. Your reflexes kick in, last-second sidestepping you away from shards, but because you're drunk you lose your footing as you do so.

“Alright, the show's over, ” Loki flashes behind you, catching you in his arms before you have a chance to fall, “that’s enough mischief out of you for one night.” His eyes remain locked on yours, pursing as he lips as he teleports the two of you away.

Thor's tipsy smile shifts over to Sif who in turn is frowning at him in great disapproval. The smile quickly fades as the disappointment in his girlfriend's eyes is enough to sober him up. Sif furiously whips away from him and leaves the dining hall. Thor curses to himself before hopping off the table and chasing after her.

"Sif, wait!" He calls out as he catches up. "I'm sorry!"

"Sorry for what, Thor?!" She snaps, stopping and angrily matching his gaze.

"For getting drunk..." He replies ashamedly.

"You're a King now, Thor!" She snaps at him again. "That comes with responsibilities! You can't act as freely as you did before. If you aren't ready to accept that then you shouldn't have taken on the throne!"

Thor swallows guiltily, "I'm sorry..." He weakly repeats. "You're right..."

Sif closes her eyes, taking a moment to quell her temper. She takes a deep breath before staring at him with more grace, "Thor, I believe you're going to make a great king. And a good king isn't crafted overnight; you're allowed to make errors. Just reassure that me you're serious about ruling our people."

"I swear to you, I am," He promises her earnestly, taking her hand and gently kissing her knuckles. "I will do better. And I'm sorry for taking my responsibility lightly tonight."

Sif reaches up on her tiptoes and pulls him into a deep kiss. Thor wraps his arms around her waist, closing his eyes, and returns the kiss. By stars, he loved this woman. He kisses her once more before ever so slightly pulling away, "I love you," He breathes, staring at her with burning adoration.
__

“Stay, ” He orders, placing you gently down on the bed as you glare up at him. Nonetheless, you sit begrudgingly obedient.

“For a princess of Asgard, you caused quite a scandalous scene, ” Loki talks on. He tilts his head slightly, as he wraps a blanket over your shoulders. “I thought you didn't drink?”

“Yeah but tonight’s a celebration!” You exclaim, dropping the glare and smiling to yourself. The smile slowly fades, however, as you linger on his words. “Also, it hurt right here, ” You murmur, hand clutching the fabric over your heart. “I wanted to make it stop.”

Loki breathes sharply, swallowing guiltily, “Kara, I-”

“No don't!” You cut him off staring at him with wide panicked eyes. “Whenever you say more this aches." You tighten the grip on the fabric, "I don’t want to hear it!” Your body starts trembling. “Dammit!”

“Kara, calm down. Everything’s going to be alright, ” His eyes flood with concern as he gets on his knees and looks up at you, trying his best to be soothing.

You chuckle bitterly as tears freely escape, “You’re lies are always so pretty.” You tell him flashing a somber smile that pierces his heart. Your voice cracks as you start to unravel, “Everything I worked hard to protect against shattered in seconds. I couldn't do it. I wasn't good enough for you.”

“What are you talking about?” He inquires confused, tone more pained than he realizes. “You covered my tracks. You were successful in thwarting my schemes.”

“No, I wasn't!” You shout. Vision blurring as you stare at him with watery eyes, “If I was you wouldn’t have thought to bring in the frost giants in the first place!” You cry, sounding more like your yelling at yourself than him. “I failed you! And now I know I’ll fail everyone else because I couldn't even change history for the one person I put the most care and attention into!”

“Change history?” He questions utterly perplexed. “Kara, what are you going on about?”

“I can't do this anymore, ” You move on not registering his question. “I can't, I can't, I can't!” You shake your head. Your eyes snap to his as your vision clears, “Stop looking at me like that! Like you're concerned about me! You're only concerned about yourself! You're so incredibly selfish, and my heart can't take it anymore! I hate you! I hate you so much!”

“No, you don’t... ” Loki achingly refutes. Those words stinging him more than he could've ever imagined as he half-feared they might be true. “You wouldn’t go this far or do so much for someone you hated. If you truly hated me, you wouldn't be such a mess right now.”

“Why?!” Tears stream out as your voice confronts him in great anguish. “Why are you so confident?! It's not fair! Fine! You’re right, I lo-” You cut yourself off, pausing as a fresh wave of heartbreak washes over you; you pick up with the remainder of your train of thought, “and that's why it hurts so much that I failed... I failed you. I wasn't enough!” Your eyes lock with his once more, “Where did I go wrong? What did I mess up? What did I fail to do? Or was the situation helpless from the beginning? Have I been playing a losing game with you?”

Loki is left with a loss for words. He can't bring himself to answer you. He wants desperately to hold you and persuade you that everything will be alright. He wants to wipe away the tears in your eyes and to have you smile at him like you usually do. But he doesn't do any of that, fear gripping him back like iron shackles. You are right. He is incredibly selfish. He wants you, the you that only thinks and looks at him; the you who absolutely adores him. But he's too afraid to give himself to you in return. Once he does, there would be no turning back. You’d have his heart- his entire being in your palms, and if you ever turned on him, he would be utterly devasted. He has never trusted anyone with himself before, and now the prospect frightens him more than anything. You, and everything you are to him, frightens him more than anything.

“I’m going to bed, ” You say when he doesn't answer.

Loki nods solemnly, unable to meet your gaze as his guilt grounds him to the floor. Tomorrow, he thinks, tomorrow he will make things right.
__

It's still dark outside when you stir. You silently slip out of bed not glancing back at Loki asleep in the spot next to you. Out of your wardrobe, you grab a set of clothes suitable for Earth before quietly leaving the chambers.

Your head pounds sharply as the aftereffects of your drinking the previous night set in. But at the moment... other things hurt more.

You wander down to Odin’s office, knocking on the door and waiting patiently for a response.

“Come in, ” His voice eventually calls out, allowing your early morning visit.

“Good morning, ” You greet upon entering. “I’m heading back to Midgard. I just wanted to let you know I’ll be implementing my plans for Hela here soon.”

“You’re confident your team is ready?” He inquires, putting down the book he had been reading.

“Yes, they will be, ” You assure him. “I need you to do me a favor though.”

“And what might that be?” Odin asks, raising an eyebrow.

“There a surviving member of the Valkyrie on the trash planet of Sakaar, ” You inform him. “I want you to fetch her for me.”

Odin’s shocked, “A Valkyrie is still alive?”

“Yes, and I need her. She knows Hela’s fighting strategies first hand. I'd like to discuss my plan with her to see if there’s any I missed and should prepare for.”

“Very well, ” Odin agrees, leaning back in his chair. “I’ll look into it for you.”

“Thank you, ” You bow your head slightly before excusing yourself.

“The fire in your eyes has died, ” Odin remarks as you reach the door. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“I will be,” You repeat your sentiment from before, shutting the door on the conversation as you take your leave.

Chapter Text

He’ll admit, he deserves this. By the time Loki woke up, you were gone. His eyes linger on your empty spot. A sense of emptiness reflects back on him. He sighs and gets up. He dresses slowly having no motivation to get started with his day. All Loki can muster right now is to function based on routine.

Frigga stares at him with great concern as he enters the dining room for breakfast, looking utterly dismal, “What’s wrong, darling?” She inquires as he sits down.

“Trouble in paradise,” Odin answers before he does. “Kara showed up this morning in my office looking equally as miserable.”

“She came to you?” Loki’s eyes flicker up to him skeptically.

“Not for whatever going on between the two of you,” He assures him. “It was work-related. Speaking of which, I should probably get going. Apparently, I have some business on Sakaar.”

“Sakaar?” Frigga questions as her eyes narrow skeptically. “What could you possibly have business with on that planet?”

“Kara believes there to be a Valkyrie there,” He confesses.

“A Valkyrie?!” She breathes in surprise.

“I thought they all died,” Loki's comments absently; his subconscious interest somewhat peeked.

“So did I,” Odin admits, standing up from the table. “But if what Kara said is true then it’s my responsibility to go check on her.”

“Very well,” Frigga also rises, moving around the table to kiss her husband on the cheek. “Be safe. I’ll be waiting for your return.”

Odin nods, squeezing his wife’s hand affectionately before taking his leave.

The queen clasps her hands together, watching him go before turning back to the table. She retakes her seat and stares at her son.

“Do you want to talk about it now that we’re alone?” She offers sympathetically.

Loki opens his mouth to say something, but Thor bursts in at that moment and interrupts.

“Loki, I need to talk to you,” He tells him as he walks over. Thor stops and kisses his mother on the cheek, “Good morning, Mother!” He greets with a bright smile.

“Good morning, darling,” She warmly smiles back.

Thor’s focus switches back to his brother, “I like really need to talk to you.” He restates, eyes briefly flickering to their mother, “Alone, preferably. Sorry, Mother.”

Loki really isn’t in the mood to hear Thor out about anything, but he had no motivation to object either. “Very well,” He sighs, standing up.

Frigga reaches her hand out to her younger son’s forearm, “You can come to talk to me any time,” She reminds him staring up at him full of the same deep concern as before. Even on his off days, Loki was never this apathetic in his attitude.

He nods silently before pulling away and following Thor out.

“Trouble in paradise?” Thor inquires as they walk, coincidentally echoing his father's words from earlier.

Loki doesn’t respond. He doesn’t even meet his gaze.

“Not even going to tell me to shut up?” Thor questions starting to grow a bit concerned himself. “Things must have seriously not ended well between you and Kara last night.”

Again Loki doesn’t reply.

“I’m sorry,” Thor can’t help but apologize completely unused to seeing his brother like this. At the very least Loki should be snapping at him. Whatever is going on between you two this time is serious; Loki never holds back his silver tongue. “I shouldn’t have egged her on. I should have stopped her even. Look, I’ll talk to her for you.”

“Don’t,” He finally speaks. “Things would’ve turned out like this regardless of that... I’m the one in the wrong.”

Thor stops mid-stride. Loki admitting he is wrong? He is seriously spooking Thor out. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“I really don’t,” Loki shakes his head. He changes the subject. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Oh, uh, right... um,” Thor hesitantly goes along with the subject change, “remember how- um, when we were younger and I pushed the palace finances onto Kara?”

Loki purses his lips. Inhaling sharply as he nods.

“Yeah, well, back then I sort of jokingly said I’d appoint you as my royal advisor, but I’ve been thinking about it and now I’m serious about it. Loki, will you be my royal advisor?” Thor officially asks.

“Are you serious?” Loki says in disbelief, eying him skeptically. “There hasn’t been an actual royal advisor position since Asgard’s beginnings. This would be something completely new.”

“I said I was, and I am a completely new king,” Thor tells him earnestly. “Loki, I am not our father. I can’t rule Asgard as he could. Not on my own. I need you by my side. You’re good at what I’m not. We both have what the other lacks, and together I believe we can surpass our father’s rule and flourish Asgard's peace. My first royal decree can be instituting the position. You’d hold the third most power in all the realm, after me and my future queen of course.” He chuckles flashing his usual sunny smile.

“And you think this future queen will be Sif?” Loki inquires.

“By stars I hope so!” Thor grins, eyes lighting up. “Asgard and I wouldn’t deserve her. She’d be such a badass queen! Can you imagine!?” He exclaims, geeking out over his girlfriend.

“You seem to love her a great deal,” Loki murmurs aloud. Heart strangely throbbing as he does. Why is Thor so easily and openly able to adore his lover?

“Absolutely!” His older brother proudly beams. “You’re aware of the people of Earth’s concept of a soulmate, are you not? I think Sif’s a little something like that for me. She’s someone who just by existing and being around me makes me want to be a better man. I truly do love her.”

“But what if she leaves you? Nothing's solidified yet. Wouldn’t you be devastated? Why even have a relationship if the potential of loss is so great?” Loki subconsciously wraps the conversation back around to the one he said he didn’t want to have.

Even Thor is able to pick up on the fact that his brother isn’t truly inquiring about him and Sif, “Oh I would be completely devastated if Sif let me,” He exhales in all honesty. Thor looks his brother in the eyes, “but... she might not. And what I have with Sif I wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s that great of a thing.” He pauses recalling something, “Mother once told me that love is a risk, but sometimes that risk is worth it. She said mutual love was one of the most spectacular things in the universe, and I now fully believe her. Loki, when I asked Sif to court me it was the riskiest thing I had ever done. Sif and the close relationship we already shared were incredibly precious to me. I jeopardized having both. And by stars, I was more nervous than I’d ever like to admit. But I knew, at that moment, that my bigger regret would’ve been not telling her how I felt.”

Loki drops his brother’s gaze. He has no response for any of that. His heart aches and his mind is muddled. The iron chains of cowardice wrap tightly around his throat forcing him into passive silence.

“Well,” Thor roughly pats him on the back, intentionally snapping Loki out of his stupor after a few moments of his silence, “do you accept my offer? I really hope you because my next choice is Kara, but the woman’s already got a ton on her plate with being Director of the Avengers. After her, I was thinking mother, but I’d prefer if I could let her go into a relaxing retirement.” He chuckles trying to lower whatever pressure his brother is going through.

Loki looks back up at Thor, “As much as the idea of Sif possibly being above me in someday irks me, I accept.”

“Great!” Thor beams excitedly. “Then it’s settled! I’ll go write up that decree right now!” He pauses as he realizes something. “Actually...” He chuckles nervously, “I might need your help with that. I’m not really sure how to write one...” His words linger off a bit in embarrassment.

Loki rolls his eyes, “Why am I not surprised?” He sighs, though a weak smile does appear on his lips. “I'll drum up a rough draft then we can go over it together. Sound good?”

“Excellent!” Thor nods with a satisfied smile.

A pang of guilt washes over Loki as his conscience reminds him of what he attempted last night. You were right. Thor could make just as good as of king as him; he hadn’t deserved the stunt Loki almost pulled off. If you hadn’t interfered with his schemes, this moment between them would not be happening right now. Yes, in his father’s eyes Loki felt inferior, but those aren’t the only eyes viewing him. To Thor and others, Loki is not less than. Why hadn’t he been able to see that? The reality of just how much Loki almost screwed everything up hit him.

“I’m sorry,” He blurts out shuttering. “I’m so sorry.”

“What?” Thor tilts his head in confusion. His brother’s apology is simple but possessed a heavy sense of weight behind it. Whatever he is apologizing for Loki is being uncharacteristically genuine. “Are you changing your mind?”

“No,” Loki shakes his head. He stares earnestly at his brother; eyes riddled with more guilt than Thor thought possible out his younger brother. “I can’t tell you what for but... I am honestly sorry.”

“Then I forgive you,” Thor nods with a sure smile.

“Just like that?!” Loki questions shocked.

Thor nods again, “I’m making you my royal advisor. I think whatever past mistakes either of us has made towards one another should stay buried in the past. From this moment forward we’re starting with a blank slate. Sound good?”

“Y-yeah,” Loki stammers in agreement as a new sense of relief washes away the prior pang of guilt. He never knew forgiveness could feel so freeing.

Chapter Text

The Bifrost lands you on the rooftop of Avengers Tower. You glance across the New York skyline, inhaling sharply. The sun is just starting to rise in the distance. Deeply exhaling, you turn and head towards the staircase starting your descent into the tower.

It’s quiet as you make your way down the winding stairs; the tower typically was at this hour. Normally, you’d opt for taking the elevator, but you are in no motivated rush to do much of anything at the moment. You appreciate the drawn-out silence. You came back to Earth to bury yourself in your work; your usual coping mechanism of choice whenever things were rough with Loki. But this time the motivation is completely sapped from you. All you are doing is going through the motions in hopes of it returning to you naturally. It’s why you met with Odin before returning. Preparing for the confrontation with Hela is vital and so motivation would be forced to come around to you one way or another.

Before heading to your office, you make the unusual choice to stop by the main lounge. It had a built-in bar, and going against your better judgment, you convince yourself one more drink won’t hurt. Your head is already pounding. How much worse could it get?

“You’re back earlier than we expected,” Pietro comments as you enter, causing you to jump a little. You weren’t expecting anybody to be up and here this early in the morning. He puts down the book he had been reading and looks at you curiously.

“Pietro! You’re up early,” You exclaim in surprise, though not stopping your path to the bar. “Yeah, um, I have a big project that I’m about to start working so yeah... I came back early to start working on that.” You reply, sounding like a teenager who got caught sneaking back into the house late at night. You quickly grab a wine bottle before turning to leave, “So... sorry interrupting. I’ll just get going up to my office, and I’ll be out of your hair.”

In a split second Pietro is up off the couch and standing by your side. He snatched the bottle out of your hands while he was at it.

“Wow, you’re really improving your speed. I see Barton’s doing a good job with his mentorship,” You comment avoiding his eyes.

“Since when do you drink?” He interrogates, staring perceptively between the wine in his hand and you.

“I-it’s a new thing,” You admit guiltily, meeting his gaze. “Last night, actually. Took quite a liking to it. So if I could just have that back now, it’ll be greatly appreciated.” You say reaching up to take it back.

Pietro holds it up out of your reach. “What happened?”

“Nothing...” You lie weakly.

Both you know that’s total bs. Pietro’s relentless skeptical gaze bores through you. You sigh in defeated exasperation, “Fine, I may have fought with Loki.”

“You’ve bickered with him before,” He remarks. “What makes this one so different that you turned to alcohol?”

“Yeah, well this one involved a lot less actual bickering and more shouting and crying. Mostly on my end,” You admit, knowing he isn’t going to let the matter go. “So yeah... our relationship is shambles at the moment and instead of facing it I ran away.”

“You need a distraction,” Pietro tells you.

“I know,” You say, reaching up for the wine bottle again but again he lifts it out of your reach, “which is why I would very much appreciate it if you'd give that back.”

“No,” He refutes firmly, zipping to put the bottle back where it came from and then back you. He cocks a slight grin, “You need a better, non-alcoholic distraction. How does taking the day off and spending it with me?”

“U-um...” You start to reply, surprised by the suggestion.

“I’m not really giving you a choice,” Pietro informs you, eyes sparkling mischievously, “I’m playing the villain and kidnapping you for a day,” wrapping his arm around your waist, “Hold on.”

He speeds off before you even have a chance to object.
__

“You’d suck as a villain,” You tell him as he hands you an early morning smoothie while you sit on a bench in the middle of Riverside Park. “What kidnapper brings their hostage out in public?”

“The kind without their own home/abandoned warehouse and who hasn’t had breakfast yet,” Pietro quips with a soft chuckle. He sits down next to you, sipping his own smoothie. He holds up a grocery bag, “I also bought a box of a half dozen donuts I thought we could split.”

“Fork them over,” You roll your eyes, shaking your head. This is definitely not how you were expecting today to start off.

He hands you the bag to which you quickly rummage through it. Breakfast certainly wasn’t on your mind when you left Asgard, and you had to admit you are rather famished.

“There’s medicine in there too,” He adds. “I can only imagine the splitting headache you have right now.”

“Thanks,” You reply a bit taken aback. You can’t recall the last time someone was this thoughtful of your needs.

“No problem,” Pietro nods, taking a donut for himself once you’ve gotten the box out. “After this, we’re headed over the Queensbury. Just a heads up. No need to rush.”

“What’s in Queensbury?” You inquire after popping down some of the medicine and washing the flavor away with an extended sip of your smoothie. “The drop-off location? Did you call up Asgard and tell them you kidnapped their beloved princess while you were away? How much is my ransom?”

“I was going to ask for fifty thousand, but then I remembered the fact that you were their beloved princess so I bumped up to hundred-fifty thousand,” He grins.

You gasp in mock offense, “Only hundred-fifty thousand? I’m worth at least a million. Call them back and ask for more. I won’t settle for any less.”

Both you and Pietro can’t help but break out in soft laughter. You catch yourself. Genuine laughing is another thing you weren’t expecting to do today.

“To answer your question,” Pietro picks up the conversation, “Queensbury is home of Six Flags Great Escape.”

“Your taking me to an amusement park?” You question. “Aren’t we a little old for that?”

“You take that back, princess!” He scoffs with an oh-no-you-did-not-just-say-that smile on his face. “One is never too old for an amusement park.”

“If you want me to take it back then I guess you’re just going to have to prove me wrong,” You smile back challengingly.

“Oh, I will,” Pietro accepts the challenge without hesitation; eyes grinning just as much as his lips are.
__

“One question,” You say stepping shakily off the tenth roller coaster he dragged you on. Pietro helps steady you before the two head towards the attraction’s exit. “If you can go literally faster than any one of these roller coasters, why does going on them give you such a thrill?”

“Because I’m doing it with you,” He remarks. “And with others. Amusement parks are meant to be a fun, social experience. None of the rides here are meant to be ridden alone. Even if you came to the park by yourself, you’re sharing the thrill and buzz of the rides with strangers. Everyone around you is having fun and feeding off each other’s positive energy. With roller coasters specifically, I’m enjoying speed with everyone else.”

“Wow, that’s deeper of an explanation than I was expecting. You’re really passionate about amusement parks,” You softly giggle. “But I like it. I’ll take back my words. One is never too old for an amusement park.”

“Told you!” He rubs it in, gleefully proud of his achievement.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” You laugh rolling your eyes. “What nex-?” You start to ask when a kid accidentally bumps into you as they run excitedly past by, causing you to lose your balance.

In a flash Pietro catches you in his arms, “Are you alright?” He asks both tone and expression full of concern.

“You know, I was right too. You suck at this whole villain-biz. A real one would’ve let me fall and told me to pick myself back up. Have you ever considered a career with the ragtag group of superheroes called the Avengers instead? I hear their director is super cool,” You joke, flashing him a smile.

Pietro shakes his head laughing. “Clearly you’re fine,” He remarks, putting you back on your feet and releasing his secure hold on you.

“If by fine you mean I’m not recovering from a face plant on the ground then yeah, I’m fine,” You chuckle, “So what’s next?” You ask again.

“I figured you could use a short break from the speed for a little bit. How does the Ferris wheel sound?” He suggests as an answer.

“Sounds delightful and much needed,” You grin.
__

“And for our final destination,” He announces upon finally slowing down, “A karaoke bar in New York, New York!”

“We’ve made a round trip, that’s for sure. But why karaoke?” You inquire as he opens the door for you.

“Because you like to sing. And what better way to unwind from an eventful day than by singing your heart out,” Pietro answers impressing you. He really put a lot of thought into this day out for you.

A warm feeling settles in your chest. You always felt like you had to be the one who had to attentively think about and consider others’ happiness. It’s really nice to finally have someone who was doing it in return for you.

“I hear this place has some killer buffalo wings too,” He continues as if he needed to say anything more to get you in the door, “It’s a win-win!”

The two of you book a private lounge. Pietro orders dinner off the menu while you select the first couple of songs. Time flies as you sing your heart out while Pietro mostly just watches on and exaggeratingly applauds you at the end of each one. You had managed to rope him into duetting a few of them, but he mostly preferred to watch and eat.

“I had a lot of fun today,” You tell him, sitting down next to him after finishing your last song. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” He nods, smiling softly. His smile slowly fades, “Do you realize you mostly chose sad romance and break-up songs?”

“I- I didn’t...” You stammer, lingering off as you realize he’s right. Your smile too has faded.

“Is what you and Loki are going through really that bad?” He asks. When you don’t respond he worriedly adds, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry. I’m just concerned for you, that’s all. We don’t have to talk about it.”

“No, you’re fine,” You smile weakly in a poor attempt to reassure him. All at once the emotions and thoughts you had been ignoring all day come flooding down over you. Your lips become looser. “I honestly don’t know how bad things are between us. Our relationship, though usually good, is a strange one. I haven't really mentioned this to anyone but our marriage is actually arranged. My feelings for him have always been one-sided. Loki only sees me as a close friend or ally. So I don’t actually know what a serious fight between us means for us. What I do know is my heart couldn’t stop painfully aching afterwards so I ran away. It hurt too much to be around him.”

A single, silent tear escapes down your cheek, drawing out the next one and all the ones after that. You curl up into yourself, burying your head shamefully in your knees.

“I’m sorry...” You apologize voice cracking. “I- I shouldn’t be-“

“Kara, it’s fine. You’re allowed to have these moments,” He comforts you. “And you’re allowed to discuss these things if you want. I’m not going to judge you. My image of you won't lessen. I promise I’ll keep you what you said between us.”

You turn your head to face him. Watery eyes clearing for a bit as the tears you attempted to reel back in finally escape, “Thank you,” You gently whisper.

Pietro picks up a napkin and hands it out to you, “Maybe I have a shot at this villain thing after. I made you cry.”

“Hush up,” You chuckle with a slight smile as you accept the napkin to wipe your face. “Heroes can make people cry too. Just how many girls do you think Iron man’s made cry?”

“Fair point,” He admits, donning a warm, comforting smile.

“And how much do you think you Tony consoles a girl after making them cry?” You add to your point.

“Are we including Pepper? If so the grand total goes up to one,” Pietro quips.

“Precisely,” You grin a little. “Good old Quicksilver just doesn’t cut it as a villain. Seriously, give that Avengers thing some thought. I’ll put in a good word for you with the director.”

“I’ll think about it,” He softly chuckles, happy that his attempt to stop you from crying was successful.

Chapter Text

The Bifrost lands him on the rooftop of Avengers Tower. Glancing briefly at the stairs, he vouches instead for just teleporting to your office.

“Kara, we need to...” Loki lingers off as he realizes he’s talking to an empty room.

Frowning a bit, he teleports back out of your office and starts jumping from place to place, looking for you all around the tower. But you are nowhere to be found in the complex.

“Loki?” a familiar voice calls out upon seeing him. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here today. Did we have a lesson scheduled I forgot about?”

He turns to see his pupil, “No, we don’t. Um, Wanda, have you seen Kara? I thought she came here this morning, but I can’t find her anywhere.”

“I haven’t. I’m sure you've checked her office already. That’s where she usually is when she comes. Um...” She answers, taking a moment to think about it. “Have you checked Tony’s lab? She spends a lot of time there as well.”

The displeasure of hearing that is immediately evident on his face, surprising Wanda a bit. Usually, her teacher maintained his composure well; never sharing his true emotions unless they had mischievous intentions.

“Did you two like fight, fight?” She inquires, putting together the pieces.

Loki clicks his tongue frustratingly, “Something of that nature.” He admits. He quickly diverts the subject. “How’s your spell casting coming along? Any improvements?”

“Um, yeah,” Wanda goes along with the change, “Vision’s been helping me get in some extra practice,” She blushes a bit. “He lets me test out a lot of the spells on him. Between you and him I feel my magic getting stronger every day.”

“How’s your control been?” He inquires further, channeling his mentor-mood. “Chaos magic is a strong yet difficult magic. You mentioned struggling a bit with it in our last session.”

“It's definitely getting better,” Wanda grins a little proudly. “I’ve been implementing the exercises you've taught me, and like I said I’ve been practicing with Vision.”

A brief silence falls between them.

“So you and Vision...?” Loki picks it back up, crossing his arms.

Wanda’s cheeks flush, “Y-yeah. We actually started going out a few weeks ago,” She scratches the back of her head in embarrassed yet happy nervousness. A warm smile lights up her face, “We’re seeing if things work between someone like me and him. So far they seem to. I’m- I’m kind of really happy about!” She confesses honestly.

“Well then, I’m happy for you then,” He tells her genuinely. “But if he breaks your heart you better tell me. I’ll definitely make him regret it.”

Wanda laughs, shaking her head. She bites her lip smiling as the warm sensation of Loki being protective of her washes over her, “Thanks. Though I don’t think it’ll be necessary. Vision’s the textbook “nice guy”. So I think I’m in good hands.”

“Still feel free to remind him that I’ll be watching him like a hawk,” Loki smiles softly.

He had been skeptical when you matched up Wanda with him the day you brought the twins in, but now Loki is quite attached to the young witch. Mentoring turned out to be more enjoyable than he thought. Pouring his time, energy, and knowledge into someone else gave his life a little more sense of purpose. It is nice to feel needed and looked up to.

“I’m sure she’s fine,” Wanda speaks up when she realizes her mentor’s expression has grown distant. She also realizes she had been gushing over her love life while his is in a rocky place so she tries to reassure him, “I haven’t seen Pietro today either, but they’re both adults. So I’m sure they're fine. If Kara’s here then she might have just popped over to S.H.I.E.L.D for a bit.”

Loki snaps out of his thoughts, “R-right. I’ll just wait around for a little bit for her to get back then. In the meantime, how about you show me what you’ve been practicing.”

Wanda smiles, “I’d like that. I’ll go grab Vision.”
__

It’s completely dark outside by the time you and Pietro arrive back at the Tower.

“But honestly that song...” You suddenly stop mid-sentence as the two of you walk through the lobby entrance. Your eyes widen in shock as Loki’s sitting there in deep discussion with Wanda, Vision, and Bruce. The smile previously on your face slowly fades as the two of you lock eyes. Your heart skips a painful beat. You aren’t ready for this. “What are you doing here?” You ask as the two of you draw closer to the sitting area.

“Am I not allowed to be here anymore?” Loki frowns, eyes flickering between you and Pietro.

The tension immediately created in the air is stifling as two of you exchange silent glares.

“Where have you been?” Wanda asks Pietro, attempting to slice through that tension.

“Riverside Park, Six Flags, and a karaoke bar,” He answers flippantly, pulling his concerned gaze away from you and looking at his sister.

“I- I’m going to go,” Bruce says standing up, quickly excusing himself. “I just remembered I was supposed to meet with Tony to discuss... something. Have a good night.”

Vision waves awkwardly goodbye as Bruce hobbles off.

“Did you need something?” You snarl, seething through gritted teeth. “I’m busy.”

“Clearly not,” Loki growls, switching his glare to Pietro.

“Hey, back off,” Pietro warns sharply, coming to your defense.

“Pietro...” Wanda interjects sternly, backing Loki in contrast, “It’s not your place.”

You sigh, feeling guilty that you’re dragging the two of them into your personal quarrel. “I’m assuming you have something you want to talk to me about. We’ll discuss it in my office,” You tell him, trying to sound more professional about the matter.

Loki nods, standing up from the couch. He follows silently behind you as you head off towards the elevator.

“Pietro, what do you think you’re doing?” Wanda asks as soon as the two of you are out of earshot. “I know you admire Kara but they’re married. Don’t get in between them. I can’t support you in this if you do.”

“I’m not. I know that she loves him. I wouldn’t compromise her marriage. I wouldn’t do that to her. I swear I didn’t cross any boundaries,” He replies pointedly. “She arrived distraught this morning, and all I did was take her mind off things. It was either that or let her drink herself into oblivion. All I wanted was to make her happy. Is that so wrong?”

“No,” Vision chimes in before a pointed look from both twins effectively silences him.

“Fine, as long you stay within those boundaries, I won’t say anything else,” Wanda concedes. She sighs, “I also don’t want to see you hurt by this. Please fall in love with someone who’s not already in love with someone else.”

Pietro purses his lips. He glances in the direction you walked off in before nodding silently.

“And for the record,” Wanda adds, “Loki loves her too.”
__

Loki really hadn’t intended to be angry when he confronted you again. But seeing you smiling ear to ear as you walked in with Pietro triggered something buried deep inside him. A strong mixture of rage, fear, and hurt bubbles underneath his skin. Learning you spent the entire day having fun with Wanda's (admittedly good-looking) twin pushed Loki right over the edge. He is absolutely fuming just under the surface of his poker-faced mask.

“Loki, I don’t know what compelled you to come here,” You start the conversation as soon as you shut your office door behind you, “but I thought I made it abundantly clear I didn’t want to be around you right now.”

Your words sting more than he's willing to admit.

“Right, what you wanted to do is run away so you could go on a date with one of your little Avenger pals,” Loki snaps unable to control himself any longer. In the back of his mind, he knows he is just digging himself into a deeper hole but can't keep the words from slipping out of his mouth.

“It wasn’t a date!” You shout back, equally unbridled. “It was just a one-day distraction to get my mind off things going on between us for a little while! Pietro was just looking out for me, so don’t you dare go harassing him. And for your information, I am fully allowed to hang out with my friends and co-workers!” You tell him firmly.

“Hanging out?” Loki scoffs, “Is that what you call it?! Because that very much sounded like a date! And don’t think I haven’t noticed the fact that you spend more time with the male Avengers than you do the female ones. Tony’s up there too as one of your favorites, isn’t he?! Need I remind you that you’re married to me, and in all these years together, I have never once taken a mistress or even flirted with another woman! Is it not fair that I should expect you to hold the same type of integrity in our relationship?!”

“Loki, I have never once intentionally flirted with any of the Avengers! And I most certainly have never cheated on you!” You yell in complete exasperation. “But even if I did, which I haven’t, why would you care?! It’s not like you love me!”

“But I do love you!” He shouts.

Both of you freeze, eyes widening, as you realize what he just said. Loki hadn’t meant to say it. Especially not like this.

Tears immediately drip down from your eyelids. You break the tense, unbearable silence first, voice cracking as the immense anger is replaced with overwhelming heartache, “Last night I said your lies are always so beautiful. I take that back. You’ve said a lot of hurtful things to me over the years, but this... This is the cruelest thing you’ve ever said.”

Guilt and regret crash over him. This is not at all what he meant to happen. He came here to apologize. Not make things worse. Why did he always ruin things?

“Kara, I- I-,” Loki tries to stammer out.

“No, don’t say anything else!” You cry. Eyes burning with fury and deep hurt, “Six years ago you told me you weren’t capable or willing to give love! That our marriage was ideal because I didn’t expect it. And so I didn’t. I buried that hope deep within me all these years! Even though you, myself, and everyone else knew I was in love with you from the start.”

“Kara-”

“I know what this is really about,” You cut him off again. Whatever excuse Loki has to offer you didn't want to hear it. “You said the one last thing you thought I wanted to hear in a desperate attempt to keep me by your side. I’m beneficial and useful to you so you don’t want to lose me. But Loki-,” You choke, tears now full-on streaming down your face, “I was never going to leave you. From the moment I became your wife I swore I’d only leave if you found someone else you wanted to be with. Even then I offered to stay by your side as an ally, even though it meant hurting in silence and burying my feelings. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing these past seven years! All this time I’ve been by your side faithfully and loyally! Ignoring my feelings and never once expecting anything of you in return! Are you worried that something that supposed to belong to you and you alone by legal right would truly belong to someone else? Because you don’t have to be! From the beginning, my body, mind, soul, and heart all belonged to you! All I yearned for in return is that you didn’t toy with them. Was that too much to ask?”

You completely break down after that. It's all too much. Your heart aches massively as Loki once more shattered the shards of it you had tried so hard to piece back together and protect. The tears flow out uncontrollably, “Please just go,” You plea desperately.

He doesn’t need to be told twice. Loki vanishes the second the request leaves your lips. Reappearing outside your office down the hall, he slams his fists against the wall, “Dammit!”

Chapter Text

“Welcome bac...” The Queen starts to greet but lingers off as Loki brushes right past her at the palace entrance. She clasps her hands together anxiously, “Oh dear,” She murmurs before turning to chase after him.

Loki slams the door in her face as he retreats into his study, but she fazes right on through the door anticipating it.

“I really think we should have that talk right now,” She tells him.

“Leave!” He shouts, discharging a burst of his magic out from himself defensively, warning her not to press the matter.

Frigga halts in her advance but not because she’s phased by her son’s outburst. His magic has come a long way, but he still has a lot to learn. Instead of being frightened, she stares at him in silent concern.

“What happened? I thought you went to go make up with her,” She inquires refusing her son’s command.

“Yeah, well that was before she went on a date with an Avenger!” Loki snaps, whirling around to face her.

Frigga raises an eyebrow skeptically, “She cheated on you? I highly doubt that. Even in your worsts moments, Kara’s loved you. Surely you must have picked up on that by now. Loki, you’re many things but a fool is not one of them.”

“Well technically she claimed she was just hanging out with him and nothing happened,” He replies flippantly. “But what was described sounded a lot like an outing similar to that of a Midgardian date.”

“Why don’t you believe her?” The Queen questions, getting to the real root of the problem here. “She has done nothing to warrant your distrust before. She's proven her loyalty over and over to you. Cheating would be totally out of character for her. I find it more likely that it really was an outing among friends.”

“Because if I admit that she did nothing wrong then I have no one else to be angry at then myself!” He exclaims, voice cracking midway through. His confession coming out as a shock to both him and his mother.

“Loki, what happened?” She repeats her prior question. Tone and expression brimming with sympathetic worry. “I’m not here to judge you, you know that right? I’m merely here to be a listening ear and to give council if need be.”

“I screwed up massively, I know that,” Loki admits as the Queen solemnly watches her son tear up, her heart aching on his behalf. “A-and I- I don’t know how to fix it.” A knife appears in his left hand and he starts flipping it anxiously.

“What did you do?” She asks, keeping her voice steady.

“I told her I loved her.”

“Well, that doesn’t seem too bad,” His mother tilts her head slightly in confusion.

“She didn’t believe me and claimed it to be the cruelest thing I ever said to her,” Loki quickly shuts down that confusion.

“Oh.”

“Yeah! It was just something that I blurted out in the heat of the moment,” He excuses weakly. “She was angry. I was angry. Both of us were still reeling from our previous fight.”

“So you didn’t mean it when you told her you loved her?” Frigga gently confronts him directly.

“I-,” Loki opens his mouth at a loss of words. He is at a crossroads. This answer would put him on one of two paths he could never go back from.

“Do you love her, Loki?” She more firmly rephrases the question.

Loki closes his eyes and purses his lips. He swallows nervously before reopening his eyes. He knew the honest answer, but complete honesty admittedly is not usually his strong suit. This choice frightened him more than he could’ve ever imagined, but now he had backed himself into a corner. No longer could he put this off like he had been doing for seven years. He has to make the choice now. What is he willing to sacrifice more: you or himself?

“I love her,” He breathes, solidifying his choice. “More than I ever imagined; more than I ever feared to.”

Frigga smiles softly at her son, proud of him knowing how big of an admission this was for him, “So let me get this straight. You and Kara fought over something the night of Thor’s coronation. She then ran away to Midgard to put some distance between the two of you while she tried to clear her thoughts and emotions, opposingly you rushed back to try to fix things. But then you found out she went out on a fun outing with one of her friends and got jealous of him.”

“I wasn’t jeal-,” Loki starts to object before a pointed look from his mother tells him to let her finish. He shuts his mouth.

“Jealous,” She reiterates, “you got angry again even though you came to apologize. Things once more got heated between the two of you. You blurted out the line ‘I love you’ because you thought it would immediately fix things, but that’s not how love works. She’s hurt, you’re guilty. And both of you are a mess right now. Is that a fairly accurate summary of events?” She asks upon finishing.

“More or less,” He grimaces, not fully appreciating how accurate she actually is.

“Well, my first bit of advice is to do nothing?” Frigga tells him, watching his eyes widen in objective alarm. It isn’t the advice he wanted. “She and you need time to process your emotions and thoughts. This won’t happen overnight, but if you go back and try to fix things now you’ll most likely only make matters worse again. You both need space so allow time for some. It might be hard but wait for her to call on you in her own time. Fix things when she’s ready. She’ll be more open to hearing you out if you do.”

Loki didn’t like it. Not in the slightest, but she was probably right. He silently nods accepting her words of wisdom. The knife he had been fiddling with slowly fades from his hand.

“In the meantime, you better work on that confession,” She chuckles softly. “The next time you confess it better not be shouted. And make sure it leaves no room for doubt that you’re genuine about it. Don’t intertwine any lies in it because you think they'll make you sound more appealing. In love, there has to be honesty, or else the lies will one day make the love crumble.”

Again, he nods as his mind sifts through her words.

Frigga opens her mouth to say more but is promptly interrupted by a knock on the door. Both mother and son exchange looks of confusion. They weren’t expecting anyone and very few people actually knew Loki was back. And yet whoever it is had come knocking on his study.

“Your Majesties,” Heimdall calls out from the other side of the door. “We have an unexpected visitor who’s here to talk to Loki. Is now a good time or shall I escort him to a waiting room?”

“Him?” Loki's eyes narrow as he frowns. He can't imagine who it could possibly be. He made no meetings lined up with anyone, “Yes, it’s a bad time. Tell whoever it is to wai-,” He starts to call back, but Frigga swings open to the door with her magic, cutting off the attempt to dismiss them.

Out in the hall, stands Heimdall at attention with the Quicksilver brat next to him. Loki’s eyes widen in utter shock. Why in the Nine Realms did Heimdall freely let him of all people into Asgard?!

“Loki, we need to talk,” Pietro starts, locking eyes with him.

“Are we just opening up our realm to anybody?!” Loki hisses, glaring at Heimdall who is completely unfazed by the prince's antics.

“My duty is to serve the royal family. I thought it would be in your best interest if you heard the lad out,” Heimdall replies flatly.

“No it isn’t!?” Loki snaps. “And you don’t get to make that call.”

“Oh, he’s cute,” The Queen interrupts as she pieces things together. “No wonder you were jealous.”

“Mother...” Loki chastises in embarrassed annoyance, whipping his sharp glare onto her.

“Talk to him,” She commands sternly.

“Why is everyone taking his side?!” Loki exclaims in confounded disbelief.

“We both know Heimdall doesn’t just let anyone into Asgard because they want to. He was convinced to,” Frigga reminds him, taking his hand in hers and squeezing it gently, “Whatever the boy has to say might not be what you think it is. So, hear him out. Don't add to your regrets right now.”

Loki purses his lips tightly. He really didn’t want to.
__

“You’re quickly becoming the fan-favorite amongst the people around me,” Loki mutters testily as soon as the two of them are left alone.

“I didn’t come here to fight with you,” Pietro tells him, shaking his head and grimacing.

“Oh, then what did you break into my realm for?” He asks not taking him seriously.

Pietro exhales, not liking this situation any more than he did. He reminds himself that Loki is someone both you and his sister deeply love so he continues, “I’m here on Kara’s behalf to-”

“Let me stop you right there,” Loki interrupts, holding up a finger at him. “I would very much appreciate it if you didn’t interfere with personal matters between me and my wife.”

“Dammit, Loki! Just shut up and listen for once!” Pietro finally snaps back. “Fine, I’ll rephrase it. I’m here on my behalf to clear up a misunderstanding you may or may not have. Nothing happened romantically while we were out. We had breakfast because neither one of us had eaten yet, I took her to an amusement park because I knew it would be a good distraction for her instead of the alternative of alcohol I caught her with, and then karaoke bar was just so she have an opportunity to indirectly get things off her chest without really having to say anything because I knew she likes to sing. We didn’t hold hands, hug, or make out. The only time I even remotely touched her was when she lost her balance and I helped steadied her or kept her from falling. We didn’t cheat on you. Now I know you good with lies so you know that I’m not deceiving you right now.”

Loki purses his lips. He is right. Pietro isn’t lying.

“I’ll admit, I think very highly of your wife, but I would never try to come in between you guys,” Pietro continues, “I would never compromise her happiness like that. She truly loves you, Loki. Even after everything. And my sister seems to believe you love Kara too.” He scoffs with a mixed-in chuckle, “Your wife’s right. I’d make an awful villain. A lesser person would’ve used this opportunity to steal her from you. But that’s not me. You should count your blessings.”

A tense, awkward silence fills the air of Loki’s office. Not once had Pietro been dishonest in the entirety of his little spiel. Not even when he confessed to possessing a certain level of attraction to you. Loki can’t determine if the complete honesty made him feel better or worse. The guilt is certainly piled on now. He had accused you of something you didn’t do. In fact, Loki knew you hadn’t cheated even before Pietro came and explained things but his mother was right. He had been jealous. Extremely so. Loki hadn’t been able to draw such a genuine smile out of you in six years, and there Pietro comes along and accomplishes the feat in less than twenty-four hours. At least he knew why he failed now. Immense regret floods him over the stupid words he told you on the floating islands.

“That’s all I had to say,” Pietro breaks the silence. “I’m going to go back now before Wanda figures out where I disappeared to.” He turns to leave.

“Thank you,” Loki softly calls out. “I- I’m sorry...”

Pietro glances back at him, taking a moment before silently nodding in acknowledgment. He opens the door and leaves.

Chapter Text

It’s been two weeks since you last saw or heard from Loki. He remained on Asgard and you on Earth. After the incident you buried yourself in your work, strategizing different ways to implement your plan for dealing with Hela. Normally you’d bounce ideas off of Loki but clearly, that wasn’t going to be an option this time around. This time you’d have to fully rely on yourself.

A knock comes on your office door.

“Come in,” You tell them, skimming your eyes over one of the documents you typed up.

“You have a visitor that came in from the Bifrost,” Clint says upon opening the door.

Your eyes widen as you see who it is. You bite your lip excitedly. So the Allfather was successful after all. To be honest, you weren’t sure how persuasive he actually would’ve been to get her here, but looks like the old geezer pulled through for you after all.

“So you’re the girly Odin was spewing on about,” Valkyrie drunkenly plops down in one of the chairs in front of your desk.

“Should I stay or...?” Clint drifts off unsure about leaving you alone with someone so obviously drunk.

“No, Clint. We’re good. She’s not a threat... to me. Thank you,” You tell him, smiling reassuringly.

“If you say so,” Clint nods, respectively dismissing himself. Shutting the door on his way out.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Valkyrie,” You greet her warmly.

“Cut the crap, Princess,” She replies, “Answer me this. How did you find me and why do have the audacity to think you can best Hela? The best fighting force of the oh-so-mighty Asgard couldn’t handle her. Even the damn Allfather is too crippled to anything against her.”

You reach into your desk into a drawer you had been secretly stashing alcohol in whenever Pietro wasn’t looking. You slide a wine bottle across the table to her.

“On second thought, maybe your not so stupid as I thought, Princess,” She slurs a little, immediately snatching the bottle up and downing it. "I'll listen."

“Happy to hear it,” You smile softly. “To answer your questions. First, I’m in a position where I am privy to specific information others don’t have.”

“The old man said you had sketchy sources,” She chuckles in amusement.

“Sketchy but greatly beneficial to him sources,” You remind. “Hela’s just as much an issue for him as it is for me. And though I don't plan on divulging my sources to you, I do plan on paying you handsomely for any collaboration you’re willing to give me.”

“I’m not helping you fight her,” She immediately rejects.

“It was never my intention to make you participate in actual combat if you didn’t want to,” You reassure her. “Hela’s emergence from Odin’s control over her will bring about Ragnarok. Now, I have no desire to see my home realm destroyed. That is why I plan on confronting her before she escapes on her own and before she can rally forces. And I mean this in no offense to the Valkyrie but my team can beat her. Admittedly, only if we go about this the right way and implement my strategy.”

Valkyrie listens to you somberly but does not speak.

“I don’t plan on losing anyone over this. That is why my plan has to be perfect. Which is why I need you,” You continue. “You’ve fought with her. You know her fighting style and tactics. I need your knowledge to ensure I haven’t missed anything or am underestimating her in any capacity. And as promised before, I will be paying you handsomely... in both currency and alcohol.”

Valkyrie cocks her head sideways and grins drunkenly, “As long as I don’t have to fight, you’ve got yourself a deal, Princess.”
__

A knock comes on his study’s door. Whoever it is barges bright in the split second after alerting him of their presence, “Kara wants us to meet her on Earth. She’s currently talking to Father and Mother, but she said she has something to discuss with us and the Avengers. Whatever she’s planning, it’s something really big and really important,” Thor spills out all at once.

Loki’s breath sharpens as his eyes widen ever so slightly, “Kara’s here on Asgard right now?” He inquires scrambling up from behind his desk.

“Yes, like I said she’s talking privately to Mother and Father,” Thor repeats for him.
__

“That’s my plan,” You finish filling both of them in. “But whether or not it works solely depends upon you two. I really don’t want to drag the Queen into this,” You say gazing up at her sympathetically. You knew this isn’t easy for her to process. She’s a good mother after all. Your eyes flicker to Odin’s, “That’s why I’m asking you for reassurance. Do you love your daughter?”

“Yes,” Odin immediately exhales in aching confirmation. Your plan was more thought out than he could’ve ever imagined. It could work.

You bite your lip and nod. Everything is riding on this one key detail. It had to be true, “I believe you. But just in case, I’d like both of you present.”

Frigga closes her eyes to prevent herself from crying but nods in heart-crushing silent agreement. Her eyes flash back open teary-eyed but resolute, “If the need arises, I will take the necessary action in accordance with your plan.”

“I’m so sorry,” You apologize to her genuinely. “If there was another, better way I’d pick it in a heartbeat.”

The Queen nods understandingly, “I know, darling. I’m sure you thought through every possibility. You’re right. This is the only chance we’ve got to prevent Ragnarok.”

“I’m going to go break the mission to my team. I’ll send word when we’re ready and we’ll meet you there,” You inform them, bowing respectfully to the two of them before excusing yourself.

You exit the throne room to find Thor, Sif, Loki, and the Warriors Three waiting for you. You nod silently to the small group in acknowledgment, “I’ll explain everything when we’re with the others. Please come with me,” You say with complete authority as you march past all of them.

They all without question fall in line and follow your stride.

You’re purposeful in your attempt to avoid Loki’s gaze. You can feel him staring into your back but you don’t acknowledge it. Personal matters with Loki are on hold until Hela is dealt with.
__

“So thank you all for coming, I will promptly inform you all why we’re gathered,” You kick off the meeting, standing front and center at the forefront of the expansive table located in the largest conference room Avengers tower has. You knew one day you’d be having this meeting so you made sure Stark included this in space in his construction plans. “First, I’ll introduce the new face in the room. Guys, this Valkyrie. She has been consulting with me the past three days to make sure there’s nothing I wasn’t aware of in my strategy for this mission.”

“What up!” She greets a little too loudly, raising her hand in the air.

Everyone in the Asgardian group widens their eyes in shock.

“A Valkyrie?!” Thor murmurs, gaze switching between her and you. “I thought they were all dead?!”

“They are, expect me,” Valkyrie slurs drunkenly rolls her eyes, swaying a bit. You steady her. “Though I almost died too. So yeah. Heard you’re the new King, pretty boy. Guess you still have a lot to learn about Asgard’s true history,” She wrinkles her nose and nods before hiccuping.

“What?” He and Sif ask in confused unison.

“Ask your father about it when we get back,” You tell Thor, pulling back in the focus. “Anyway, Valkyrie was needed because Asgard is facing a huge threat. Ragnarok, or for those of you not up to date with Norse mythology, our realm’s version of the end of our world. It’s been my longtime goal to prevent this before it’s too late. I’ve run my plan across the previous Allfather and his Queen, and they are both on board to help us.”

“Mother and Father are going to help?” Loki interrupts surprised.

“Yes, they’re actually the most key participants for my plan to work. Your mother is only meant to be back up though if your father isn’t enough to accomplish the deed,” You answer for the first time meeting his eyes in weeks. Your heart aches a little but you ignore it.

“Kara, please explain what’s going on. How is Asgard in danger, and I of all people don’t know it?” Thor pleas to know, utterly lost.

“That’s because the threat here is a carefully well-guarded Asgardian secret that appeared before our time,” You start to explain. “Thor, I really hate to break this to you, but you’re not Odin’s firstborn. You and Loki have an older sister, named Hela, and she’s kind of really evil.”

“And insanely powerful,” Valkyrie chimes in bitterly. “All the Valkyrie combined weren’t a match for her.”

“What?!” Both brothers exclaim in complete bafflement.

“Odin banished her to Hel, but as he weakens over the years so does his binding that holds her there,” You press on, trying to not focus on their hurt and confused faces. “One day it will get to the point where he can’t hold her back any longer, and she’ll bring about Ragnarok to Asgard. I’m trying to prevent this occurrence before that time comes.”

“Is this really an issue we can't deal with on our own?” Fandral questions in objection. “If what you’re telling us is true then it’s very much Asgard’s problem. Times have changed. We’ve grown stronger. Surely we’re enough to handle her alone.”

“Asgard’s still filled with pompous, delusional idiots, I see,” Valkyrie remarks, sparking the irritation and glares of everyone from the realm.

“What Valkyrie is trying to say,” You quickly redirect, “is that no we can’t handle her alone. I’m not underestimating Asgard’s might when I say even fully united we are no match for her. She’s honestly that powerful. That’s why even Odin struggles with her. It’s why he’s going along with my plan.”

A solemn silence creeps across the room. Asgardian pride taking a massive hit from this revelation.

“So, what is your plan?” Fury asks, helping you maintain the focus.

“The biggest problems with Hela are that she draws her power from Asgard and her immortality is directly linked to the realm. As long as it exists so does she,” You start to explain.

“So you want us to help you defeat an enemy that’s literally unbeatable unless your guys’ realm is destroyed? How is that even possible?” Steve raises validly.

Everyone stares at you for the answer to the paradox you just placed before them. How you protect Asgard and defeat Hela at the same time? This question plagued you for years.

“At first, I was considering trapping her in the Quantum Realm,” You tell them, turning your gaze at Scott, Hope, Hank, and Janet. “It would alleviate the burden of holding her at bay off of Odin and might actually be able to keep her prisoner. But might isn’t good enough. There’s still a possibility she could escape since others have. So the Quantum Realm was pushed back to my backup plan. I’d like you four to stand by on Earth with an open portal to the Quantum Realm. We’ll lure Hela into it if worst comes to worst.

“Very well,” Hank agrees. He isn’t exactly fond of the idea of trapping a malicious entity inside the Quantum Realm, but he owes you for helping get his wife back.

“If that’s your backup plan, what’s your actual plan then?” Bucky inquires for the entire group.

“My plan involves splitting us all up into four small teams. The first is Hank, Janet, Hope, and Scott who will be maintaining the portal for as long as they can. Team two will consist of Hogun, Volstagg, Fandral, and Sif returning to Asgard and maintaining the realm’s protection while the royal family will be away,” You announce, locking eyes with Sif momentarily. You move on, “Team three, will consist of Frigga, Odin, Thor, Loki, Bruce, Wanda, Vision, Pietro, T’ Challa, Tony, Carol, and myself.” Your eyes flicker around the room to each of the members you name, “We’re heading to the planet Vormir where we’ll be unleashing and confronting Hela. Team four will be Steve, Bucky, Sam, Rhodey, Shuri, Peter, Okoye, Nat, Clint, Pepper, and S.H.I.E.L.D,” Your eyes now flickering to each of them, ending on Maria and Phil who nod to you in return. “Your mission mirrors team two; maintaining Earth’s line of defense while we’re gone.”

“Planet Vormir?” Carol questions, cocking her head slightly. “Why there?

“For three key reasons,” You smile a little, unable to stop yourself from geeking out just a tiny bit. “First, it’s a desolate planet with only one inhabitant. We won’t be endangering anyone by taking the fight there.”

“One inhabitant?” Rhodey interrupts.

“Yes, there is one person who lives on the planet but he won’t be an issue. He’s known as the Red Skull,” You glance at Steve and Bucky who immediately tense up. “He’s trapped on Vormir as punishment for his deeds and won’t be a threat or an interference. Also, he’s an equivalent to Hitler, so I don’t think anyone’s going to be particularly upset if he gets caught in the crossfire. Cap and Bucky can back me up on this.”

The group turns their attention to the two of them as they both nod silently in agreement.

“Second, it’s far away from Asgard, the source of Hela’s power. So theoretically, she should be easier to deal with on Vormir,” You continue, “Then finally, and most importantly, it may be the only place in the universe where Hela’s immortality and interconnectedness with Asgard can be trumped.”

“How so?” Pepper speaks up, donning a quizzical expression that matches that of most everyone else in the room.

You take a deep breath, “Vormir is home of one of the infinity stones like the tesseract S.H.I.E.L.D used to possess but we moved to Odin’s vault,” You expound. This part is the crux of your entire strategy. “But obtaining the soul stone is significantly different from the others,” You purse your lips anxiously. “To possess it the stone requires a sacrifice of equal value. A soul for a soul so to speak. The sacrifice boils down to forfeiting the life of someone you truly love if you wish to obtain it. My plan is ultimately to sacrifice Hela for the stone.”

“Which is why you need Odin and Frigga there,” Sam pieces together. “They’re the only ones who possibly love her because she’s their daughter. They’re the only ones who can do it.”

“Correct,” You confirm, rubbing your sweaty palms together under the table. While you are confident in your plan you are still anxious about it. You struggle to maintain your gaze away from the Asgardians in the room, knowing that all this information is impacting them significantly more. You can’t bring yourself to look at their expressions, “I’ve put a considerable amount of thought into this, and this is our best bet. Odin and Frigga agree. As I stated previously, I ran every detail of this by them before sharing it with all of you.”

“What are you going to do with the soul stone once you have it?” Phil asks, crossing his arms. “Does Asgard plan on keeping that one too?”

“Ideally no,” You breathe. “A growing collection of the infinity stones is something I’d prefer to avoid. They’re too much power and desirable targets of misuse, especially when they are together.” You turn to the Wakandan group. “I was hoping Shuri could come up with a highly secure containment unit and that the stone could be stored away in Wakanda. But I understand if the stone’s protection isn’t a responsibility you want to place on your people.”

T’ Challa exchanges silent looks with Shuri and Okoye, “Can you do it?” He inquires of his little sister.

Shuri grins smugly, “Of course I can do it. I’m already brainstorming.”

“Then we’ll do it,” T’ Challa agrees, switching his smile from his sister to you.

You nod, cracking a pleased smile back, “Thank you.” You turn your attention back to everyone else, “After this, I’d like team three to stick around to discuss with Valkyrie our fighting strategy against Hela. Those of you I’ve chosen for this are not intended to personally defeat her. Our strategy is centered around provoking, defense, and distraction. We have to lure her close enough for Odin to make the sacrifice without revealing our true intentions.” Your eyes flicker with serious intent as you stare out at them. “I do not plan on losing a single one of you in this fight. Keep that in mind. Meeting adjourned.”

Chapter Text

“You knew about Hela for a while now and you didn’t tell us. That’s what you used as leverage against Father to gain free access to Midgard. You promised to deal with her. But like you said, she was a well-kept Asgardian secret. Not even Thor and I knew about her. How did you?” Loki snatches you aside as soon as the battle strategy meeting for team three ends, grabbing your wrist so you can’t run away. He is serious about knowing the truth this time, “I doubt he confided it in you. You knew about Valkyrie too. Why do you know things you shouldn’t?”

You yank your wrist free, heating up your hands enough where it’s too uncomfortable for Loki to hold on. You glare up at him, “Your personal inquires can wait. This mission is starting in an hour. Go get ready.” You brush past him.

Loki reaches out to pull you back to him but stops himself. He clenches his fist, retracting his arm back to his side. You hadn’t forgiven him yet. He didn’t want to make matters worse. His questions will have to wait.

“Trouble in paradise?” Tony asks, walking out of the conference room. He claps Loki on the back, “She’ll come around.” He reassures before walking off.

“I don’t envy you right now. She's not a woman I’d want to be in a fight with,” T’ Challa nods then follows after Tony. “Good luck.”

“You’ll definitely gonna need it,” Pietro remarks joining in before zipping off.

Loki purses his lips in annoyed humiliation. His pride injured a bit.

Bruce walks past, “I- I’m not going to say anything.” He nods hesitantly before hobbling off.

Loki liked Bruce a bit more than the others. He took pleasure in the fact that Bruce tended to be jumpy around him. A little bit of instilled fear is good for mischief. Thus, Bruce would be graciously spared from Loki's schemes for mischievous revenge.
__

Anxiety plagues your body and mind as you go over last-minute preparations. Your hands visibly tremble as you suit up. This had work. You failed to stop Loki from letting in frost giants in, but you cannot fail at this. The stakes are so much higher. Your strategy is designed to minimize the fatality risk, but you are still putting people’s lives on the line. You knew this was the case from the beginning but now that the moment is finally here the weight of that responsibility overwhelms you; you feel nauseous as a sharp throbbing simultaneously floods your chest.

You whip around to leave your office. If the worst outcome came about you have to make up with Loki, even just a little. You won’t be able to live with the regret. Flinging open the door, in your rush, you almost bump into Valkyrie who’s standing outside about to knock. Last second you catch yourself, halting.

Valkyrie blinks in surprise.

“H-hi, is there something I can help you with?” You inquire as you collect yourself.

“I’ll go with you,” She says.

“What?” You ask, brain not completely registering what she is saying yet.

“Your plan. It’s good. I’d like to be there when it works,” She tells you. “I want to see her fall.”

“You really think it’ll work?” Your heart flutters nervously.

“I wouldn’t be talking to you right now if I didn’t,” Valkyrie points out.

You crack a small relieved smile, “Thank you. If you really want to come then you may. You'll fit right in with phase two. You can back Loki and T' Challa.”

She nods, glancing behind as approaching footsteps can be heard, “Looks like someone else wants to speak with you. Even in the final moments, you’re a busy woman, Princess,” Valkyrie cocks a slight grin. She excuses herself, “See you in a bit.”

Sif walks around the corner, approaching you with a bittersweet smile, “We’re about to head back to Asgard, but I had to come check up on you before we left. If I know you, and I do, you’re a nervous wreck on the inside right about now.”

You shutter exhaling as she hits the nail on the head. “What if it’s not enough? If someone gets h-hurt or-or worse... It’ll be my fault. I- I-.”

“Kara,” Sif cuts you off, stepping forward and taking your hands in hers, “Your strategy is brilliant." She glances down the where the previous visitor disappears around the corner, "You even got the Valkyrie who has faced and lost to her in the past believe in your plan. Remember that,” She smiles softly as she now stares directly into your eyes, “And everyone going on this mission is freely willing to put their life on the line. You’re not forcing them to fight. This is literally their job. A job they signed up for. You don’t have to be so hard on yourself.”

“But still I-,” You start to object.

“I know,” She squeezes your hands gently, “You care for all of them. But that’s also why you’re doing this in the first place. You care about Asgard and its inhabitants so you’re trying to protect them. And if Hela is like how you described her to me... if she ever successfully takes over Asgard she wouldn’t stop in our realm. The other Nine Realms, including Midgard, would be in danger and unable to stop her. Earth has just as much of a stake in this plan as we do. All you’re doing is giving everybody an actual fighting chance.”

You fling your arms around her neck. She immediately hugs you back, reaching up and stroking your hair comfortingly.

“You’ve got this,” Sif reassures you. “And I’ll be waiting for your and everyone else’s return when you succeed.”

“You’re the best. Thank you,” You whisper in her ear, voice cracking just a little. You release your hold on her, “I’ll see you soon.”

She smiles warmly and nods, “See you soon.”

Your eyes catch the time on the clock hanging in the hall. Time is up. You collect yourself, effectively burying your emotions. Taking a deep breath, you force yourself back into a director mood.
__

“Are they ready?” Odin asks as you approach them on the mountain top.

Thunder roars in the distance.

“As ready as they’ll ever be,” You nod in confirmation.

Frigga releases the breath she had been holding and forces a weak smile of reassurance to you. A pang of guilt stabs you. You really wish you hadn’t had to bring her here. She didn’t deserve to have to do this- or even to witness it. But Odin’s love is questionable at times, and you only had one chance to get this right. All your bases had to be covered.

“I’m sorry,” You mouth to her silently.

She nods. Though her sorrowful expression remains her eyes are resolute. Frigga might’ve failed her daughter but she won’t fail her people.

“Let’s get this over with then,” Odin says solemnly. Closing his eye as he focuses solely on releasing his hold of Hela.

You turn your gaze back your team waiting in the distance. There is no going back.
__

The sky darkens. Out of nowhere a black swirl of fog stains the sky. The sinister ebony mass grows, lowering itself to the earth. An emerald light bursts forth as the portal opens up. Hela walks through.

“Well now... this certainly isn’t the welcome party I was expecting?” She remarks eyes shifting around to the different individuals surrounding her. She notes the humans, “Has Asgard fallen to such lows as that there's a need to rely on weaker races for help? How pathetic.”

Thor’s breath sharpens. “You must be Hela. I’m Thor, son of Odin.” Lightning crackles around his fist as he tenses. Honestly, he had been hoping this was all some elaborate prank, and Hela, his apparent older sister, didn't exist.

Hela cocks her gaze towards him, “Really? You don’t look like him?” She glances over to the distant mountaintop, locking eyes with her parents. She smirks, “Is the whole family here? Funny, I always thought Father would only relinquish his grip on me on his deathbed. But based on the crowd, I’m starting to think this wasn’t actually his planning.” Her eyes flicker to you. “Who’s the girly up top? Do I have a little sister too now?”

“She’s none of your concern,” Loki growls, whipping out his dual knives.

“She means something to you?” Hela notes with a wicked glint in her eyes. “You really should’ve kept your mouth shut about it.” A dagger materializes in her hand. She flings it with a masterful aim in your direction.

Tony shoots straight up into the line of fire. His iron suit taking the impact for you, leaving a deep incision in his armor. It pierces through to his arm causing him to audibly wince. He yanks out the metal weapon and lets it clatter to the ground. He shouts out, “I’d say that’s our cue to attack!”
__

You on-look from your spot in the distance as your strategy plays. This confrontation will take place in four phases. Phase one Pietro and Loki create a border.

Step one. Per your instruction, Pietro speeds off zooming around the group in a repetitive loop. Increasing his speed to the point where the only visible thing to the eye is the blur of his motion. As his power grows, the energy cyclone he’s able to produce emerges, trailing behind him as he runs.

Step two. Loki creates a legion of copies that steadily move forward. The copies are both a distraction from the cyclone barrier and a marker for Pietro to follow. The goal is to lure and trap Hela at the mountain’s base. This means slowly moving the cyclone barrier towards it. If Loki surrounded the inner wall of the cyclone all Pietro had to do is trail behind him.

Loki’s copies each wield their twin daggers, as they fall into line for their next part to play in phase two.

Your eyes flicker to those responsible for starting the second phase.

First, Hulk immediately lunges at Hela, fist raised high in the air fully prepared to hit her with everything he’s got.

On cue, Hela whips around to face him head-on. She smirks as she stops him singlehandedly with her bare palm, “Not bad. But definitely not good enough.” She boasts and demeans, flinging him out of the perimeter. Out of sight. Out of mind.

Hulk crashes and tumbles several yards away, creating a large crater in the landscape where he lands. For the moment, he’s would pretend to be completely immobilized.

Next, Thor steals her focus by summoning as much lightning as he can to supercharge Mjolnir. He soars down from the opposite direction that Hulk went flying, preparing to slam down on her with his full force.

Hela reaches her other palm out, stopping both Mjolnir and Thor mid-flight. Thor groans as he forces his lightning to extend beyond his hammer towards her.

At the same time, Carol, Vision, and Wanda position themselves in the sky joining Tony. They fly in circles above her, channeling either their magic or energy into solid streams of power directed down at Hela. Giving off the illusion that they are actually on the offense and trying to take her down.

Meanwhile, T’Challa and Valkyrie launch their ground assault, brandishing their claws and blades. They lunge at and attack her from behind. Loki’s copies then join the assault, taking turns jumping out and swiping at his sister. New copies form to take the priors' now empty spots in the barrier formation.

As expected, Hela’s eyes flicker around her in annoyance. With her free hand, she manifests daggers of infinite number unleashing them in targeted attack before tossing Thor to the ground.

Everyone’s sole focus switches to their true intended purpose: defense. Dodge, deflect, and ultimately survive.

Valkyrie and T’ Challa hit the ground before they and Thor pick themselves back up and charge at her again.

Those in the sky barrel roll, weave through daggers. Not coming out completely unscathed but still alive and ready to fight. Wanda is able to catch a few of them with her magic, taking control and turning the blades against their creator. She sends them rocketing back, smirking down at Hela enticing her deeper into the lull of distracted irritation.

Between their dodging, Vision, Carol, and Tony resume their energy blasts. Maintaining the offensive facade until they along with Hela reach the base of the mountain.

Phase three begins. Your eyes flicker back to the Hulk. Getting up, he races bounding towards the action he begrudgingly refrained from all this time. Hulk leaps over Pietro’s cyclone, smashing the ground beneath his feet as he lands. Effectively distracted by the others, Hela’s too late in turning to face him. He picks her up like a rag doll, winding her up in his swing and tossing her up the mountain.

Hela’s body crashes onto the clifftop, bouncing and rolling from the immense impact. It’s Odin who steps forward in front of her that cuts off her propulsion.

Your eyes flicker between him and the Queen. Time for phase four.

Odin bends down and picks Hela up by the arm.

“I’d thought you be dead,” Hela laughs wickedly as she stares up at him. She begins her monologue, “Have you become senile in your old age? You know that band of misfits can’t really defeat me. Not even you and the grand Valkyrie could do it. Their lives will be more bloodstains on your hands. But, at the very least you've given me the opportunity to be the one who finally offs you. Thank you for that.”

“Hela,” Odin addresses flatly in response, “do you know where we are?”

Hela frowns in confusion.

“Vormir. Home of the Soul Stone,” He answers. “That band of misfits, as you called them, their goal was never to defeat you. Because you’re right. They can’t. They don’t love you.”

Hela’s eyes widen in horror as she pieces things together. She wriggles, trying to free herself from Odin’s iron grip, “You didn’t think of this! This isn’t your plan! Who’s was it?!” She shouts knowingly. Her eyes snap to you as she realizes your presence is out of place from amongst the others. You neither fought nor loved her. This whole time you only observed, meaning, “You! This is all you! Who are you?!”

Odin wastes no more time. He tightens his hold even more dragging Hela to the edge and dangling her over. “The man I was when I raised you ended up ruining you. For that, I genuinely apologize to you, my daughter, my firstborn. I’m sorry.” He releases his grip letting her go.

Hela glares up at him enraged. She tries to fly back up but a wave of golden magic sparks over her body. The force of gravity being directly applied and multiplied several times over, canceling out her flight abilities. Her eyes dart furiously locking on Frigga’s. Hela couldn’t help but laugh in utter disbelief. Who knew Mother actually had it in her to doom one of her beloved children?

Hela accepts her fate but that doesn’t mean she has to face it alone. One final blow. With the very last fibers of her being, she conjures a whip sending the thong skyrocketing upwards as she grips the handle with all her might.
__

The three of you watch as Hela falls. It might just be your imagination, but you swear you can hear her laughing. Then you see it. It’s too late to react when you notice the whip as it instantly wraps around you, yanking you to the ground. Your body is dragged along the remaining edge of the rocky ground as gravity propels you forward. Hela yanks, forcing you over. On the way down, your head strikes the jagged ledge.

The last thing you see before going over is your team reaching the top. Loki’s blurry figure somewhere in the middle.

“Hopefully I don’t see any of you soon,” You murmur, making peace with your fate before your consciousness fades and you free fall.

Chapter Text

Everything that happened next to took place in split seconds even though it felt excruciating long.

Loki’s eyes widen in horror as the whip wraps around your waist. Pietro moves to act first as you're dragged off the cliff, but Loki pushes back him with a blast of magic and sends him flying in the opposite direction. You’d never forgive him if he let the boy fall to his death attempting to save you. Milliseconds after that Loki vanishes from the group, teleporting himself over the ledge without an ounce of hesitation. Flinging his knife as he falls, he snaps the whip in half freeing you from its grasp. He extends his hand out desperately to trying to catch you but you plunge further just out of his reach. Loki pushes his power to its limits, forcing a mid-air teleport right below you then another, higher up in the air the split second he has you in his arms.

Loki floats mid-air gasping from the over-exertion. His eyes lock with Hela’s just before her body makes impact with the pavement. As the life from her being drains, the vengeful glare is the last thing to dissipate. The deed is done.

Turning away from her, Loki levitates himself back to the mountain top. He collapses instantly, crumpling to the ground with your listless body still in his arms.

Blood trickles from your forehead. Your body is badly scraped and deathly cold in his embrace.

“No, no, no,” Loki breathlessly cries as he struggles to get up. Tears drip down from his face, staining yours as his entire being is locked on you. His voice cracks more than it ever had before, “You can’t leave me! Not like this! This isn’t a part of the plan! You promised us we weren’t going to lose anyone! Don’t break your promise! Kara!” His entire being shutters in utter despair, “Please... I didn’t even apologize or tell you that I love you! It’s not fair! Don’t go! Please wake up! Kara, please!”
___

-several hours later-

The Avengers Tower is more quiet and solemn than its ever been.

Frigga slowly approaches son, sitting on a window ledge and staring off into the Midgardian night sky. The silent expression of grief and despair on his face made the mother’s own heartache triple in magnitude. Though he made no sound, the tears hadn’t stopped rolling down his cheeks since they started.

“They were able to stabilize her condition,” the Queen painfully opens her mouth to inform him. She reaches out with both hands and pulls his head into her chest, holding him like she used to whenever Loki cried as a child, “Consciousness still eludes her though. They’re doing everything they can. I applied some healing magic of my own coursing through her body as well.”

Loki doesn’t respond, though the lump in his throat swallows. He purses his lips and closes his eyes, accepting his mother’s physical comfort though it didn’t relieve a sliver of what he is feeling. The two remain there, unmoving without uttering another word. Sharing in each other’s heartache.
__

Thor returned to Asgard with his father. Neither one saying a word to the other. The young king immediately breaks off from the former king the second they arrive, flying off. Thor is thoroughly enraged and in desperate need of the one person who could stop him from doing something stupid right now.

“Sif!” He calls out furiously though not at her as he enters the palace, storming through in desperate search of her.

“Thor?” Sif comes running upon hearing him. Her concern grows rapidly as she sees his mood and registers that he’s alone, “What happened? Where are the others? Did it not work?!”

Thor crushes her in a hug, almost causing her to stumble backwards. At that moment, she is his only anchor in the entire universe. Tears escape from his eyes as he completely breaks down in her arms.

Sif starts crying too even though she doesn’t yet know what transpired. Her heart starts aching as she picks up on the fact that whatever he tells her she isn’t going to like. “Thor, I need you to tell me. What happened?”

“Her plan was perfect, right until the end when-” Thor’s voice cracks. “Kara... Hela dragged her down with her. It all happened so fast and- and Loki managed to save her, but her condition’s really, really not good. I- I- I’ve never seen my brother in so much pain- so broken and small looking. My mother too, over the actions she was forced to take. And all of this because of an uncontrollable monster my father- the man I respected and admired more than anyone else- created. Our entire history is a lie and I’m so angry- so frustrated with him- myself. I- I- I don’t know know what to do?” Everything pours out of him at once as he’s unable to bottle it up any longer. “I don’t know how to be the hero and make things better this time.”

Sif’s eyes widen in horror as her tears swell upon hearing him out. She grips onto him just tightly he as is onto her. Her body trembles in his arms as she unable to form any words of comfort. Heartbreak overriding all her other thoughts and emotions. You had promised to see her soon. She had promised the same. Things weren’t supposed to turn out like this.
__

“You know this is exactly what I feared would happen if I chose you,” Loki murmurs as he looms over your bedside. He rests his forehead gently upon yours as he chokes back tears, “You would leave me broken beyond repair just like this. I didn’t want to love you, but you made it so damn impossible not to,” Loki thought it was impossible for him to cry anymore today; he was evidently wrong. Tears drip down hitting the corners of your eyes as if they were your own. He scoffs a bitter chuckle, “What am I supposed to do now? You already brought down the only person I could vow revenge against. Dammit!” His fists clench around the hospital bed rails. “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!” Loki completely breaks down again, sobbing. “Do you know why I rejected your feelings for years? Why I pretended not to notice? It’s because I’m- I’m more fragile on the inside than I ever wanted to admit. And yet somehow you still manage to burrow your way into my heart, and I could not help but grow attached. Realizing this scared me more than anything, I'll have you know. People don’t choose me first above everyone else- not really. I was guarding my heart against the day you would prove to be just like everyone else. But that day will never come, will it?” He grits his teeth in frustration, “Dammit! Why am I accepting this now! I can’t live torn apart with regret! Why did you make me love you?! I’m not strong enough to!” He painfully admits as the ache in his heart cuts and twists deeper and deeper. “Please wake up! I swear to you, I’ll love you right this time. I’ll make everything up to you... Just please...” He chokes in devastating desperation. His voice cracks, “...wake up, darling.... please....”

His plea falls on deaf ears.

Chapter Text

Sif peers through the glass window of the door. Loki sat on the couch, lips pursed and completely unmoving as his eyes remain trained on you. Thor was right. She had never seen Loki like this. She almost didn’t have the heart to go in.

“He’s been like that for hours,” Pietro suddenly appears behind her, holding a carefully wrapped plate of food. Sif turns her head to look at him, “Wanda’s incredibly concerned so she sent me with this food. He hasn’t left her side according to the medical staff so she figured he hasn’t eaten yet. Plus... it gives me an excuse to check up on her myself. Shall we go in together? Might be easier.”

Sif nods as she exhales nervously. She twists the doorknob, slowly creaking open the door. If Loki is aware of their entrance he shows no sign of it.

“Loki...” She addresses gently as they draw closer.

He finally rips his gaze away from the bed, locking eyes with her. His are completely bloodshot, causing Sif to experience a new wave of heartache on his behalf. There used to be a time where she thought him incapable of genuinely feeling such things. A lump rises in Sif’s throat.

“Wanda fixed you some food,” Pietro extends the plate out towards him.

Loki says nothing but lifts his hand to accept the plate, placing it by his side on the couch. He has no real appetite at the moment.

“You should sleep,” Sif tells him weakly, “It’s what she would want.”

He opens his mouth to say something then quickly closes it. His gaze returns back to you.

His silence only makes her feel worse. Never in her life did she think there would come a day where she’d wish he’d shoot back with a sarcastic quip instead of shutting up.

Her voice unintentionally cracks, “Loki, I-”

A faint wheezing sound comes from the direction of the bed, cutting her off. All three of their eyes widen as they each scramble closer.

Your fingers twitch as a soft moan of pain escapes your lips. Your eyes flash open, staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling. You blink trying to adjust to the morning light flooding through a nearby window.

You start to move to get up when someone suddenly scrambles to help you.

“U-um...” You blink again completely confused. “I know I died after watching End Game, but this is seriously is not what I was expecting Heaven to be like.”

“What?” Pietro questions as confusion spreads across all three of the characters' expressions.

“Kara,” Loki murmurs hesitantly as he locks eyes with you.

“Kara?” You repeat back also questioning the situation. You tear your puzzled look away from him to Sif, who had been the one to move to help you. You fully sit up on your own, eyes flickering between your three onlookers, “That’s not my name. My name’s-”

“Amnesia,” Sif blurts out, purposefully cutting you off. She turns to look at the boys, “She hit her head, right? She must have amnesia.”

You reach up to touch the bandage wrapped around forehead as she says this.

Loki swallows as his eyes tremble and widen. He stares at your confused expression, hand flying up to cover his mouth. He vanishes into thin air.

“Can someone please explain?” You ask, growing increasingly anxious. Funny. You thought you’d be free of all your anxieties once you died.

“Go get Tony and Steve,” Sif orders Pietro swiftly.

Pietro nods not questioning it. He bolts out of the room.

“You’re Sif, right?” You inquire of her, mind completely blown. Is Heaven personalized based on your personal interests? “What’s going on?”
__

“So let me get this straight,” You say trying to summarize. “My death in a car accident somehow sent into a version of the universe where the popular piece of fiction from my original universe turns out to be real. And somehow my soul ended up in the body of a random Asgardian girl who just so happens to be in an arranged marriage with Loki. Then I proceeded to try to rewrite history and became the director of the Avengers?” You finish, eyes flickering between the three of them in search of confirmation from their expressions. You frown a little. “This all sounds like fan fiction.”

“Do you think we’d come up with something so unbelievable ourselves?” Steve crosses his arms, reversing the doubt back onto you.

“Fair point,” You admit.

“You’re taking this surprisingly well,” Tony remarks, raising an eyebrow.

“Well... As I see it there are three possibilities for what’s happening here,” You reply, holding up three fingers. “One, and the least likely, I’m dreaming. Two, I really did die and Heaven turned out to be completely- but not unappreciatively different from what I imagined.” You pause, briefly meeting Sif's eyes before resuming, “Or three, you three are telling the truth. Which strangely turns out to be the most logical option of them all, so I’ve decided to act accordingly with that possibility for now. I do have one final question though. How much does Loki know about all this?”

“As far we know, none of it,” Steve answers sighing. “Fury is the only other person you told.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he suspects some things though,” Tony adds. “He’s no idiot.”

“No, he’s not,” You confirm, pursing your lips.

“So what now?” Sif inquires, eyes still as full of concern as when you first met her- or at least your first meeting since waking up with amnesia.

“Well, most cases of amnesia resolve themselves over time,” You inform her in response. “If I’m acting on the basis of your claims being true then I'd say I should just try to assimilate back into the life you claim I have.”

“That’s not going to be difficult for you?” Steve asks worried on your behalf. “I wouldn’t say you’ve created a very simplistic life for yourself.”

“I didn’t say it be easy just that I should try,” You reply. “Maybe if I get going back into my normal routine memories will be triggered.”

Tony nods in agreement with you, “It’s worth a shot at least. I mean, your only other choice is to leave everything behind and rediscover yourself out in the world.”

“I’m fine with this option, really,” You chuckle, dismissing the alternative. “After all, I guess, I’ve already chosen this path before, and I still possess my knowledge of my original universe to draw on. So it's not like you guys are complete strangers to me.”

“Very well,” Steve drops his arms, supporting your decision. “The three of us will try to help you out however we can.”

“Thanks,” You purposefully flash a reassuring smile at them. You can feel the nervousness they’re all poorly trying to mask for your sake, “Speaking of which, am I allowed to get out of this bed now? I feel restless just sitting here.”

“Not until a medical professional checks you out and clears you,” Tony instantly denies.

You roll your eyes and groan, “I feel fine. I promise.”

“Please,” Sif begs, looking at you as if you were a piece of glass about to shatter at any moment.

You aren’t sure of the extent of your relationship with her. You apparently inhabited an Asgardian body so you’re assuming you’ve spent the most amount of time befriending the Thor cast. Genuine fear and concern riddle her eyes.

Choosing to give in, you sigh, “Very well. If it eases your minds, I’ll wait.”
__

You don’t wait. As soon as the three of them have taken leave of the medical wing you slip out of bed and sneak out the door. Though you’re immediately caught by the medical staff.

“Director, you shouldn’t be out of bed yet,” One tries to reason with you.

“You’re body’s still recovering,” tries another. “Your head injury is still-”

You give them an apologetic look but promptly chose to ignore them, making a mad dash for the exit.

The Tower’s alarm system rings the second you step foot outside of the medical center. Crap. You continue on in your sprint down the hall.

“The director has escaped the medical wing,” A voice rings out over the intercom broadcast system as if the alarm wasn’t enough. “I repeat, she has fled the medical wing!”
__

Tony, Steve, and Sif all groan and exchange looks. They turn back around.

Tony taps a few buttons on his watch as they run, shutting down the alarm and overriding the intercom system, “Attention all Avengers and agents in the building,” He broadcasts. “Whoever successfully catches Director Kara and brings her back to the medical center will be handsomely rewarded.”

The hunt is afoot.
__

“Dammit, Tony!” You curse under your breath. Great, now you had the entire Avengers and a handful of able-bodied S.H.I.E.L.D. agents chasing after you. You make a mental note to dock his research funding for the next couple of months.

Running footsteps can be heard coming your way. Looking around desperately for cover you spot a door with a sign for the mens’ restrooms. Perfect. You duck inside just in the nick of time before whoever it is rounds the corner. Surely they wouldn't think you came in here. Just to be safe, you go into one of the stalls and lock the door.

Several minutes of no one barging in, you get the sense you’re in the clear. You cautiously unlock the stall door and slip out. You’re about to peek into the hallway to see if the coast is clear when you catch your reflection in the mirror. The woman staring back at you you don’t recognize. This certainly isn’t your body.

Biting your lip, you tear yourself away from the mirror and crack open the restroom door ever so slightly. No one is in the hall. You make another run for it.

Chapter Text

The Tower’s alarm system goes off forcefully snapping Loki out of his thoughts.

“The director has escaped the medical wing,” The first message rings out over the intercom broadcast system. “I repeat, she has fled the medical wing!”

He freezes as his eyes widen.

“Attention all Avengers and agents in the building,” the second message, this time coming from Stark, broadcasts. “Whoever successfully catches Director Kara and brings her back to the medical center will be handsomely rewarded.”

Not that he had any right to chastise you as the god of mischief but why in the Nine Realms were you stirring up so much trouble? Couldn’t you just rest like a normal person? By stars, you are definitely a little minx. You didn’t even give him time to process things before causing a new commotion.

Loki gets up from the couch he was sitting on in the suite that belonged to you and him whenever you two stayed at Avengers Tower. He teleports around the tower joining the hunt.
__

Okay. So you may have underestimated the difficulty of sneaking around the Avengers headquarters when literally everybody is looking for you. No big deal. You’ll just camp out in the laundry room for a bit until all the fuss dies down. If someone comes down here looking for you, you just duck behind the enormous piles of dirty uniforms and towels that been apparently left to build up. At least this situation brought awareness to the issue. Your first initiative after docking Tony’s funds would be to assign someone to take care of this mess.

You stand in silence behind one of the piles, eyeing the elevator doors closely. You fiddle with the bandage wrapped around your forehead. It irritates you so you take it off.

“What are you doing?” A voice suddenly appears behind you causing you to jump.

You whip around to find yourself face to face with Loki. In your surprise, you accidentally drop the bandage. You probably should’ve remembered that some of your pursuers wouldn’t necessarily have to come through the elevator doors. The gig is up.

“I was looking for you so this actually works out in my favor,” You answer him. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking as his expression gave away nothing in terms of his inner thoughts.

“Why would you be looking for me?” He raises an eyebrow skeptically.

“Did they lie to me?” You cock your head puzzled. “Are we not married?”

“We are,” Loki exhales, answering honestly. “But it is an arranged marriage.”

“Still, you kept by your side for what- seven almost eight years now, if what I was told is to be believed,” You point out. “Surely you grew somewhat fond of me for you to allow that. You were in my hospital room too when I woke up,” You flash a mischievous little grin at him.

“Even without memories you still somehow managed to get a quick grasp on matters and also the confidence to confront me,” Loki clicks his tongue. “I see you haven’t also lost your cleverness or your sass.”

“Well, I didn’t exactly lose myself. I’m still the same person on the inside,” You tell him.

Loki stares at you in silence for a moment before sighing, “You shouldn’t be out of bed. I’m taking you back to the medical center.” He reaches out to grab your wrist, but you flinch away from his touch. Loki purses his lips, clenching his fist and retracting his hand.

“Please, I just want to talk,” You plead with him.

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea right now,” He starts to object.

“Please,” You beg again sounding more desperate.

At this point Loki knows he’s completely wrapped around your finger. His heart aches and he can’t bear to deny you anything.

“Fine,” He caves. “I’ll have Tony call off the search party then we can talk.”
__

“So...” You prompt to Loki as the two of you sit on opposite ends of the couch in your shared suite, facing each other, “...how are you doing?”

Loki scoffs, shaking his head not believing the situation he’s in, “You seriously caused all this commotion just to ask me how I was doing?”

“Basically,” You nod admittedly, glancing down at the ring on your finger before returning your gaze. “You're technically my husband so I’m concerned with how you are taking all this."

“But you shouldn’t be!” He accidentally snaps before cutting himself off. Dammit! He is doing it again. He wishes you would just go away. It hurts too much to face you right now, and he’s truly frightened he’ll mess everything up again. “You don’t remember anything...” He croaks. “You shouldn’t feel anything for me.”

You purse your lips solemnly, “Your eyes are riddled with guilt, you know. Just now you dropped the expressionless mask you were wearing. You finally started being honest... but you cut yourself off. You’re afraid of something. Making things worse perhaps? There’s also regret mixed in your expression. Did we fight before I got hurt and lost my memories?”

“Always so perceptive,” He chuckles bitterly. “It’s the quality I liked best and feared the most about you. It’s like you knew me better than I knew myself. You always saw right through me.”

A moment of silence passes by as you contemplate what he said, “You’re right. I don’t remember anything. But if I know me, and I do, even if I was angry at you for something I would eventually forgive you.”

“Would you?” He calls into question. “You don’t remember what happened. You considered me cruel.”

“To push me to the point of considering you cruel...” You murmur. “Are you sure I wasn’t overreacting?”

“No, don’t do this,” Loki suddenly stands up and backs away. His defenses start kicking in, “You always do this!” He groans. “I knew this was a bad idea.”

“Do what?” You ask, rising to meet him, genuinely confused.

“Be the better person. Let me take advantage of you and your feelings towards me,” He responds, taking another step back. Loki’s voice cracks, “I can’t-” He grimaces, “Don’t let me make myself the villain in your narrative again.”

“Loki, I-”

“No, don’t,” He warns. “Don’t tempt me. I know myself too!” His tone rises as he becomes more flustered. “l want to be cruel! I want to be selfish! The possibility to take advantage of the fact that you forgot our fights meaning I can manipulate our relationship back to the way it was prior has already crossed my thoughts!” He chokes, catching himself. He lowers his tone back down. “Hoping that with your memory gone I could just simply push the reset button. And that if you ever did recover your memories that it would be so far down along the road that you’d have no choice but to forgive me because of the relationship I rebuilt and trapped you in.”

Your lips purse as your heart aches, witnessing the grief on his face and hearing the pain in his voice. Clasping your hands together behind your back you take a step back, letting the silence fallen between the two of you linger. You smile at him bittersweetly as you propose your next question, “What would say to me right now if I had my memories?”

Loki closes his eyes suppressing the tears that threatened to rise. Opening his eyes and meeting yours, he swallows before walking towards you. He places a hand on the side of your head causing you to wince as you feel his magic seep into your skull, forcibly pulling your buried memories to the forefront.

“If you had your memories I'd tell you that I hated you when we got married,” He says as images of your first night in his chambers play out in your mind. The memories switch inline with his words, “yet you immediately surprised me. You said rejected my father’s will for our marriage and claimed your only goal was to make me happy. I didn’t believe you. And for I while I thought myself right not to. But you challenged that. You were clever and frank, and I found myself wavering. When I tested you, you went above and beyond my expectations. That was the start of my curious infatuation,” He swallows nervously as his heart surged painfully in his chest. “I tried to squash it but before I knew it even the smallest things drew me to you. Your brain, your laugh, your determination, the way you smiled at me, the mischievous glint you’d get in your eyes when you were up to no good,” a small chuckle escape his lips as he recalls all these things. A soft, pained smile dons his lips, “It wasn’t until the night of the Anniversary Ball the first year of our marriage that I realized my infatuation was turning into something else- something more... And realizing that scared me to my core. What was I supposed to do if everything you did and said turned out to be a lie? So instead of accepting the feelings growing between us, I opted to lie to myself at your expense,” the faint smile fades as the memory of the evening spent on the floating islands now plays in your mind, causing you to purse your lips, “And you let me get away with it. Why? I don’t know, but those decisions came back around to bite us, didn’t they?” His eyes water but he blinks the tears back. His hand now trembling against your touch, “When we fought the first time you left me in a state of absolute fear. I realized that if I lost the love you gave me then no one else stood a chance to love me. I had underestimated the extent of your love for me up until that point. But the fear of losing myself to you outweighed all of that. Until... until the morning I woke up and you were no longer by my side. When I came to Earth searching for you, I came with the full intent of apologizing. But then... then I saw you smile. Another man had been able to draw out a genuine smile unlike how I failed to do in six years. You would not believe how insanely jealous I was; how much I feared losing you at that moment. When we fought again and I blurted out the words ‘I love you' I meant them. But I wasn’t prepared to accept what they meant. As usual, you were right. I only said the words in an attempt to keep you by my side,” Loki swallows the lump that rose in his throat. He inhales sharply, holding his breath for a moment before finally exhaling, “When I thought I lost you. I-,” He gasps no longer able to hold back the tears as he stares directly into your eyes. His hand drops from your head as your memories end with you falling off the cliff, “It completely broke me as I feared. I am so far gone that I- I- I- I don’t think I could continue living without you. And if I did, I’d have to tear apart the world that stole you from me so that it too was utterly broken beyond repair. I love you, Kara. More than I ever feared to.”

You exhale as you take everything he just said in. His eyes still locked with yours tremble with fear as he waits in anticipation for your response.

“If you had the cure for amnesia you should’ve just administered it from the start,” You shutter with a laugh, reaching up and wiping away his tears. Before he can respond, you rise and kiss him, gripping securely onto his shirt as you close your eyes.

Loki immediately falls inline. Cupping your head in his hands, his lips crushing yours as he grows more greedy and desperate. Neither one of breathe for several minutes. Loki parts your lips, deepening the kiss and exploring inside. Which makes it more surprising when he pulls away first. You whine a little as he does, body and soul aching for more.

He rests his head against yours, his heavy breath still teasing your lips even though they aren’t touching, “We can’t. I won’t be able to stop myself if we go any further. Your body’s still recovering. We really shouldn’t,” He says, though his actions proceed to betray his words as he moves to plant a kiss on your neck. He repeats the kiss all along your neck; each kiss rougher and more drawn out than the last.

“Since when have you ever been one who played by the rules?” You grin mischievously, knowingly unleashing the last bit of control Loki had.

His emerald eyes flicker up to you, “You little minx.” In one fell swoop, Loki sweeps you off your feet and into his arms as he carries you over to the bedroom. Placing you down on the bed, he looms over you pinning you down to the sheets. You were not escaping this- not that you wanted to.

Chapter Text

Your body aches as you sit yourself up in bed later that evening. Marks and bruises from being thoroughly loved paint your skin. Loki really hadn’t held back. Seven years of pent up abstinence finally boiling over.

Glancing over at the spot next to you on the bed you realize you had woken up alone. You tentatively slip out of bed as your muscles scream in protest but you ignore them. Your anxiety flares in your chest. You had to see him. Now.

Quickly getting dressed, you do a search around the suite. He is nowhere to be found. Your heart sinks further as your mind races. You leave the suite, scavenging the tower for him. You sharply inhale as you find him in the communal kitchen.

Loki’s eyes instantly snap up to yours as he senses your presence in the doorway. He takes in your anxiety-ridden expression and sighs, “I planned on being back before you woke up. I’m sorry.”

“What are you doing?” You ask hesitantly as you draw closer.

“Baking you a peace offering,” He cracks a small smile as he resumes frosting the cake on the counter, “I planned to have it there when I confessed, but I guess better late than never.”

All your anxieties wash away in an instant. A soft chuckle escapes your lips, “You still planned on using chocolate cake to win me over?”

“It’s worked every time in the past,” Loki quips with a growing smile. “It was definitely worth a shot.”

You reach across and pick up a fork, sinking it into the cake and drawing a piece to your lips. Your eyes remain trained on his, flickering with a familiar mischief glint as you take the bite then proceed to lick your lips enticingly, “You might’ve been right,” Your grin matching the look in your eyes.

Loki stiffens before shaking his head and chuckling, “You naughty little minx. I know what you’re doing.”

“Do you?” You reply faking innocence. “What exactly am I doing?”

“You want round two,” He answers, grabbing a knife and slicing a piece of the cake off. He slides the plate across the counter to you. “But you can’t have it. Not yet,” His eyes flicker in teasing seduction. “Not until your body properly heals. Sif’s already going to kill me once she finds out what I did to you this afternoon.”

You groan as you continue to eat the chocolate raspberry slice, “I keep telling everybody that I feel fine...” Your cheeks grow a little bit rosy, “from my injuries at least. And who said Sif had to find out?”

“Darling, have you not checked yourself out in a mirror? One look at you and people will know you’ve been thoroughly loved,” Loki points out, as he forms a floating mirror for you to look at yourself in. Loki’s marks had not stayed under the hidden cover of your clothes. They dotted your neck and along your arms, “Unless you plan on wearing turtlenecks and long sleeves for a while people are going to know.”

Your face fully flushes even after Loki sends the mirror away. Embarrassed yet unashamed. Each mark was physical proof of Loki’s love for you. You treasured them.

Finishing the cake, you place down the fork and make your way around the counter to him. You wrap your arms around his neck as you look up at him adoringly, “Are you sure I can’t convince you otherwise?” You ask, “I’m told that I can be pretty persuasive.”

Before Loki can object, you nibble on his neck causing him to draw a sharp, tense breath. You kiss the spot softly before biting down and leaving your own mark. His arms snake around your waist, pulling you closer, as his body reacts before his mind can.

“Love,” He breathes a weak warning. “Don’t-”

Your tongue teases the spot further effectively shutting him up. His whole being completely shutters.

“We’ve got to make up for lost time,” You whisper letting your breath linger teasingly over the spot. “I’ve waited years for this. Don’t make me wait any longer,” You plea.

Loki groans as his body, betraying him, yearns more, “You’re being wickedly unfair.”

“Oh, I know,” You giggle, moving your lips to another spot on his neck. “So utterly unfair,” You murmur before sinking your teeth down once more.

A moan escapes his lips and you push him around, backing him against the counter. You have him exactly where you want him. Securing his grip on you, Loki whisks the two of you back to the bedroom.

You push him down on the bed. Now it is his turn to get thoroughly loved. You smirk, knowing you had him wrapped around your little finger. Leaning down, you force his lips apart and weave in your tongue as your lips locked. He is yours. You would make sure he never forgets it.
__

Sif returned to Asgard fuming. “I swear I’m going to kill both of them!” She snaps.

“I’m almost too afraid to ask but what happened?” Thor inquires.

She explodes, “I go there, all worried about the two of them! Loki’s a wreck! Kara wakes up with amnesia!”

“Wait, Kara has amnesia?” Thor interjects though he’s relieved to hear she’s alive.

“But the damn girl refuses to properly recover as always,” Sif completely ignores his question, though to be fair she isn’t really listening; too caught up in her own rant, “and causes a huge scene by disappearing from the medical center AFTER promising she wouldn’t! Literally everyone is running around looking for her, but Loki just happens to be the one who finds her first! And in his weakened emotional state, he gives in to her plea of not resting under the watch and care of the medical staff! The two hole themselves up in their suite, and apparently at some point in their solitude Kara regains her memories and Loki finally confesses his true feelings! Then the two, and here’s the kicker, get rough with each not once but TWICE!? Look, I know they’ve been abstaining from each other for years, but they couldn’t wait a little longer until her body heals?! Why the hell did I waste all my worry on the two of them?!” She huffs finishing.

Thor knows he shouldn’t while his girlfriend’s on a rampage but he can’t help but laugh. Sif’s eyes shift up to his glaring sharply. He reaches out and pulls her into his embrace, patting her head and running his fingers through her hair in an attempt to console her.

“I’m sorry but you’ve got to admit it’s a little funny,” Thor says struggling to suppress chuckling any further. “You know those two always had a bent towards mischief. And that part of them feeds off the other’s. It’s honestly not surprising they pulled something like that. I’m just glad Kara’s okay and they finally made up.”

Sif sighs in exasperation. He is right. That didn’t mean she still isn’t a little pissed at the two of you.

Thor tilts her head up at him, finger resting under her chin. He gently kisses her, closing his eyes as she kisses him back. He is genuinely happy. This peace and happiness that occurred in his family, it’s what he wants to protect. He pulls away from her lips smiling, “What was Mother’s reaction to Loki and Kara’s development?”

Sif lets out a soft chuckle, “A mix between embarrassment and amusement. You should have seen her expression when they finally emerged from their suite. I think she was also relieved though. Kara was safe and they were both genuinely happy. She’s been rooting for them longer than any of us.”

“Very true,” Thor admits, flashing a soft smile. He stares affectionately down at her, heart skipping a beat as he does. He loses it and crushes Sif’s lips once more into a long, drawn-out kiss. At that moment, Thor knew he wouldn’t be able to wait much longer.

Chapter Text

Finally, you are home. It’s been almost a month since you’ve been away from Asgard and you dearly missed it. As much as you love the work you did on Earth, Asgard is your home. The place you belonged.

“Welcome back!” Thor wraps you in a big embrace as you enter the palace walls. He whispers in your ear so only you can hear, “When you have a moment to spare come see me. I need your help with something,” He releases you, smiling warmly.

“It’s good to be back,” You flash a smile back not giving away the fact he said anything more. Clearly whatever he wanted your help with he didn’t want the others in the room to know about it.

Loki wraps an arm around your neck, pulling you possessively away from Thor, “I’d prefer if you didn’t smile at other men,” He snarls softly.

“Duly noted and rejected,” You reply, slipping out from under his grasp. “I’m going to go unpack. Bye~!” You grin before dashing off.

“Getting rejected’s a surprisingly good look on you,” Sif teases once you're out of earshot. “It’s nice to see you be the one squirming for once.”

Loki growls in annoyance, “Oh shut up. You’re just jealous I’m her favorite.”

“How are doing, Mother?” Thor asks, promptly ignoring his girlfriend and his brother’s continued bickering. Their voices drowning out as background noise.

“Better than I deserve, darling,” Frigga replies, smiling bittersweetly before kissing her eldest son on the cheek as he hugs her. “How about you?”

“Good. I’m good,” Thor reassures her, trying to ease the sadness he knew she still harbored in her heart.

“And your father?” She inquires slowly, clasping her hands together nervously.

Thor sighs, “I honestly don’t know. We haven’t spoken since...” He lingers off. “And he’s holed himself up in your wing of the palace.”

“I’ll talk with him. I’ve had time to clear my head, and there are things we need to discuss,” the Queen exhales, nodding to herself.

“If you need anything just tell me,” Thor tells her earnestly.

“Thank you,” Frigga smiles softly and nods. She reaches up and whispers in his ear, “Good luck. I fully approve.” She flashes a knowing grin.

Thor looks at his mother, baffled, as she chuckles softly and walks away. How did she always know?
__

“You wanted to see me?” You prompt as you slip inside Thor’s office.

“Yes, Kara, have a seat,” Thor replies also taking a seat opposite of you. “First, how are you? Last I saw you you were... you know.”

Thor is clearly nervous about something. His hands fiddle anxiously in his lap.

“I’m much better, thank you. Sorry to worry you,” You reply, staring at him curiously. “Thor, what’s wrong?”

“N-nothing’s wrong. Q-quite the opposite actually,” Thor swallows the lump rising in his throat. “I’m planning on asking Sif to marry me,” He confesses face happily flushed.

“Yes, finally!!!” You squeal almost jumping out of your seat. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for like forever! Oh gosh! Sif and I are going to be like legit sisters now!” You cock your head slightly in confusion, “And what exactly do you need my help with?”

“I, um... I’m sure exactly how I should do it... I was thinking maybe throw her a grand feast and at the height of the excitement in front of everyone I profess my love and-”

“Yeah no,” You swiftly reject. “I see why you need my help now. Sif doesn’t like to be the center of attention. We both know that. It would put a tremendous amount of pressure on her to say yes. Not that I’m saying she wouldn’t say yes, but no one likes to feel like they were forced into something. The public proposal is not the route to go with Sif.”

“So what do you suggest?” Your brother-in-law asks looking a bit dejected.

“Thor, I’m not saying you’re idea was a bad one. Some people like public proposals. It’s just not a good one for Sif in particular,” You console him. “I’d suggest something more private. What’s a more secluded setting that might be more special and personalized to the two of you?”

Thor thinks for a moment, “Um...” His eyes light up as he finally thinks of something, “The palace gardens where I first confessed.”

“Hmm,” You mull it over. “It could work. I can make sure to keep people away from there while you’re doing it. When exactly are you planning on do this?”

“Tonight,” He exhales blushing.

“Tonight?! You were planning on arranging an entire feast by tonight?!” You utter completely baffled.

“Well, actually that’s where I was going to ask you for help. I figured if anyone could do it you could,” Thor admits sheepishly.

You're slightly touched, “Aw, thank you. It would’ve been a challenge, but I’m sure I could’ve come up with something. Maybe, no- We’re sidetracking,” You shake your head, stopping yourself before you start reeling. “If you’re dead set on doing this tonight we need to focus. So the garden. What else?”

“So what about...” Thor starts bouncing different ideas off of you.
__

Evening settles across the realm.

“It’s been a while since I dolled you up,” You smile softly as your fingers make quick work of styling her hair.

“And why exactly are you doing so again?” Sif questions skeptically. “Thor and I have gone on plenty of dates without my hair and makeup needing to be done.”

“It’s my way of getting back into your good graces. Thor said you were fuming when you returned to Asgard after, you know,” You answer her.

“I’d prefer an apology,” She frowns.

“Sorry, this is going to have to do,” You chuckle. “I can’t apologize for that because it wouldn't be sincere. I don’t regret any of my actions.”

“You’re insufferable sometimes, you know that right?” Sif groans, glaring at you through the reflection in the mirror.

“I can imagine it,” You wrinkle your nose and nod. “But you love me anyways.”

“I am neither confirming nor denying that statement.”

“You don’t have to. I know in full confidence you adore me,” You grin at her in the mirror, finishing her hair and wrapping your arms around her neck from behind. “Besides, look at my handiwork! You’re absolutely breathtaking, stunning, gorgeous, beautiful-”

“Alright stop!” Sif’s face flushes from all the compliments.

You giggle withdrawing from her, “Thor’s a lucky man.”

Sif purses her lips as she stares at herself in the mirror. She sighs, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” You grin happily, taking her hand and helping her up. “Go enjoy your night!”

She nods, turning to leave.

“Have fun, but not too much fun!” You call out as she walks towards the door. “Curfew’s ten o’clock sharp! I expect him to have you home by nine-thirty! Or else we're having the talk!”

Sif rolls her eyes, shaking her head and chuckling, “Whatever you say, Mother-dearest.” She waves a sarcastic goodbye.
__

“So Kara got me all dressed up just so we could have dinner in the gardens?” Sif inquires scrunching her nose as the two of them begin their stroll.

“I tried to tell her it was just supposed to be a simple date, but she insisted on doing your hair and makeup,” Thor feeds her one of the lines he had rehearsed with you prior.

Sif raises an eyebrow skeptically. Even Thor is dressed up nicer than he usually is for dates. Whatever is going on was contrived.

“Did I forget our anniversary or something?” She asks. “I could’ve sworn it was next month.”

“N-no, I-...” Thor’s nerves are getting to him. He isn’t good at keeping secrets and hiding his emotions as well as her and Loki. He knew he couldn’t keep up this charade for long. Exhaling sharply he decides to just do it. Thor gets down on one knee.

Her eyes widen as her heart skips several beats. She almost forgets to breathe.

“Sif, my love, there is no truer a companion in this universe than you. You are loyal, brave, and honest. You are beautiful both inside and out. You are not only my girlfriend but just as importantly my best friend. I can’t fathom anyone else I would want to have by my side for the rest of my life. And though I know I’m not worthy enough to present you with this, if I may be so bold,” He pulls out the ring box, opening it up slowly to reveal his insignia, “I once said that the man you marry is going to be a lucky man. Will you allow me the honor of being that man? Will you become my Queen?” He swallows nervously, lump lodging in his throat. “Please marry me,” He adds in last minute desperation just in case it wasn’t clear.

Sif’s hands fly to cover her mouth. Tears stain the edges of her eyes as she nods in confirmation, “Yes, yes!”

A wave of relief crashes over Thor. He immediately swoops up, wrapping his arms around her waist and lifting her in the air as he spins around in earth-shattering joy. Placing her gently back down on her feet, she immediately kisses him. He kisses her back, making it long and drawn-out before softly biting her lower lip. He smiles at her utterly breathless.

Pulling away, Thor gets back on his knee as he takes her left hand in his. He tosses the box aside as he slips his ring onto her finger. Kissing her knuckles as he stares up at her with immense affection. She returns the expression with equal affection.

“By stars, I love you,” Thor rises to kiss her again, cupping her face in his palms.

 

Chapter Text

The lights are out by the time you return to your chambers. You aren’t surprised. You can only imagine how exhausted Loki must be. In the past week or so before you returned home, you hadn’t actually seen him sleep once. He claimed he was whenever you worryingly inquired, but you always fell asleep before him and he was always up before you. You got the sense that even if he was actually getting sleep, it wasn’t very much. Your theory confirmed in part by the fact you caught him once silently staring at you as you slept. The expression on his face aching in the fear that if he took his eyes off of you for even a moment you would slip right through his fingers again.

But now that the two of you are back in the safety and security of Asgard, Loki seems to have finally let himself relax. You are home with him. The notion quelling his anxious thoughts.

You quietly change and get ready for bed so as not to disturb him. Lifting the covers, you slip into the empty side of the bed finding yourself face to face with his sleeping expression. You sigh softly with a gentle smile resting on your lips. The last time the two of you were together in this room was the night of Thor’s coronation. It felt like forever ago.

Tentatively you reach out and brush the fallen strands of hair out of his face. You lean closer, planting a gentle kiss on his lips.

Loki groans as he’s stirred from his slumber, “Do you really want to do it now?” He whispers, eyes still shut tight.

“No,” You reply softly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. Go back to sleep, love.”

He nods slowly, reaching out and wrapping you in his arms. His head nuzzles into your shoulder. “I love you,” He murmurs sleepily.

“I love you too,” You kiss his forehead before resting your head against his. “Good night.”
__

A moan escapes your lips, slowly stirring you awake. Loki’s lips are pressed against your neck, roughly kissing you until your consciousness surfaced. You quickly came to find out this is Loki’s new favorite way to wake you up. He had done the same thing every morning for an entire week so far.

“Good morning,” He smiles as his warm breath lingers over the last mark he made.

“You know Asgard is more conservative than Earth,” You mutter chuckling. “I don’t think they’ll take too well to seeing their princess with love marks on her.”

“Frankly my dear, I couldn’t care less,” Loki replies dismissively as he runs his index finger faintly along your neck. “There’s nothing wrong with claiming what’s mine in the public eye. No one’s requiring them to look.”

You laugh as you turn over to face him. Loki immediately locks your lips into a kiss. He snakes his hand around your back, pulling you closer as he parts your lips. You smile into the deepened kiss as you interlace your fingers into his hair and return the kiss in equal measure. Each of you stealing the other’s breath away.

Loki rolls over on top of you, eyes full of lust and adoration. He leans down and bites the nape of your neck once more marking you as his. A sharp moan escapes your lips. The physical desires of your body multiplying; you burned for him.

“I love that sound,” Loki smirks wickedly. “If only you could see yourself in a mirror right now. You’re desperately unraveled, yearning for what only I can provide you. Such an erotic expression,” He teasingly runs his fingers lightly down your outer leg. “I’m half-tempted to leave you in your amorous state until your desire for me consumes every fiber of your being, and you beg with all your heart, body, mind, and soul for me to ravish you until I’m satisfied.”

“Please,” You whine achingly, pleading with him like you never had before. As much as you had Loki wrapped around your finger so too are you wrapped around his.

“I did say half,” Loki grins mischievously with both his eyes and lips. “Maybe another time~”
__

“Is it impossible for you two to keep your hands off each for like one night?” Sif questions, exasperated. “None of us need visual reminders that the two of you are doing it.”

“Those weren’t made last night so technically it’s not impossible,” Loki quips, amused by Sif’s exasperation. “We did it this morning. Why do you think we skipped breakfast?”

You elbow Loki, face flushed with embarrassment. You had covered the marks with makeup before leaving your chambers, but as soon as you were in the presence of others Loki thought it’d be funny to make that makeup disappear with his magic. Note to self, start carrying your concealer around on your person.

“I might murder him,” Sif's eyes snap to Thor who’s barely keeping himself from laughing at this point.

“Come now,” Loki says mockingly eying Thor’s insignia on her finger. “We’re going to be family. You’ve got to learn to take a joke, Sif.”

“Speaking of which!” You cut in before Sif can unsheathe the sword on her hip. You take her hands in your, eyes sparkling, “You said yes!? Congratulations!”

Sif’s cheeks grow rosy, “Th-thanks.” She points a finger at you, “I knew you were up to something with the insisting to do my hair and makeup. I should have guessed.”

You grin, sticking out your tongue slightly.

Loki turns his gaze to his brother, “Congrats. I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you,” Thor smiles softly. “It really means a lot to hear you say that.”

The two brothers share understanding nods.
__

“We have to tell him- both of them,” Frigga persistently insists. “We can’t keep keeping secrets from our family. Not anymore. They deserve to know the truth.”

“I can give up on the idea of uniting Jotunhiem and Asgard but are you sure it’s wisest to tell him the truth,” Odin replies. “His life is blissful in his ignorance. The truth, at this point, could ruin that.”

“Or it might not. Loki has a solid foundation with others now. They and we can catch him if he falls,” She objects. “He deserves to know. I don’t want there to come a day where he finds out on his own and he feels completely betrayed because we didn’t tell him,” the Queen chokes tearing up, “We already lost one child, Odin. I don’t want to lose another. We have to learn from our mistakes so we don’t repeat them.”

Odin purses his lips, “Let me think about it some more,” He exhales in exasperation.

Chapter Text

“What are you working on this time?” Loki inquires as he wraps his arms around your neck from behind. He leans against your back and shoulders as you continue jotting your thoughts down on paper. He nibbles on your ear.

You groan, “Not now, Loki. I’m almost done just wait a moment.”

He withdraws from your ear, frowning, “Is that thing more important than me?”

“Nothing is more important to me than you,” You reassure him, struggling to regain your focus. “But other things also hold importance, and there are times where I have to prioritize them.”

“What are you working on?” He repeats his initial question.

“The other Infinity Stones. There’s still some out there that aren’t in secure locations,” You answer, sighing, “I’m trying to strategize how we can secure them. The reality and power stones in particular.”

Loki’s eyes narrow, “What about the time and mind stones? We still don’t know where those two are either.”

You purse your lips. You know exactly where the remaining stones are. The time stone is safe in the hands it’s currently in, and the mind stone... you aren’t willing to launch an assault on Thanos just for the sake of having it. For now, that one would stay in his grimy hands. The power stone is still out in space. You are considering trying to contact the Guardians- or at least Peter Quill or Gamora since the band shouldn’t be together at this point. Thus your primary focus at the moment is the reality stone. But of course, you can’t actually share any of this with Loki.

“For now, based on the intel I’ve gathered, I believe those two to be in secure locations,” You reply, training your gaze on your notes so you didn’t have to meet his eyes. “But the other two... not so much.”

“Why do you even care so much about these stones?” Loki questions further. “You said yourself that you didn’t want to have a collection of them.”

You sigh, trying to choose your words carefully, “Correct, I don’t want them. That’s why I’ve been sending the ones we already possess in different locations. It’s more about keeping them out of the wrong person’s hands rather than keeping them in my own. Individually each of the stones is immensely powerful but collected they’re unimaginably so. For the universe’s sake, I’ve got to ensure that each stone is apart and well protected.”

“You know you don’t have to take the weight of the universe on your shoulders,” He tells you sounding concerned. “You don’t owe the universe that. You’re already doing work protecting two realms. That’s more than most people contribute to the universe in their lifetimes. We don’t even know if someone is trying to collect the Infinity Stones. Maybe you should just let sleeping dogs lie.”

You bite your lip. If only that were true. “Actually... someone is. My sources have picked up some suspicious activity from a being of the planet Titan named Thanos. Apparently, he’s looking to collect the stones. I want as many of them secured before he can find them.”

He goes quite.

“Sometimes I wish you weren’t so passionate about your work. You do too good of a job. Always thinking ahead and preparing for the future,” Loki murmurs in your ear. “I know it’s selfish, but I wish you’d just live in the safety of the present with me.”

A pang of guilt inflicts itself upon your heart but you ignore it. Thanos and the Infinity Stones have to be dealt with. You have to ensure everyone’s safety. That has to be your priority. Even if deep down you really want to give in to your selfish desires with him.

“There are lives on the line with this,” You open your mouth, deflecting the matter. “I promise once all this is dealt with I’ll give you my undivided attention.”

Loki withdraws from you, displeased with your answer but accepting it in silence. He heads out towards the balcony to leave you be. An action you initially wanted but ends up just making you feel worse. Which in turn distracts your thoughts more.

You swiftly get up and chase after him, “Loki, just because I’m trying to prioritize this doesn’t mean I’m going to start ignoring you until it’s over,” You tell him as you draw closer, “How about I try to keep my work within the hours you work; whenever you’re done I’ll be done. It’ll help me actually take necessary breaks. If I need extra time to finish things I’ll just wake up earlier.”

“Deal,” Loki spins on his heel, reaching up and cupping your face in his hands. He locks your lips with his, deepening the kiss. He smirks as he pulls away, “I knew you couldn’t resist me.”

You’re eyes widen slightly, “You knew I’d chase after you! You withdrew on purpose!”

“Maybe~!” He laughs before leaning in and kissing you again. He parts your lips as you wrap your arms up around his neck. His hands flutter down to your waist as he pulls you closer.

If time froze in that moment, you wouldn’t have cared.
__

You groan shifting uncomfortably on the bedsheets. Your whole body shivers. It is cold. So painfully cold. A sharp cry escapes your lips.
__

It is warm. No hot. Dangerously hot. Loki’s eyes flash open. His eyes widen in frightened shock as he sees the flames igniting from your fingertips.

“Kara, wake up,” He murmurs still taking in the situation.

Your face is etched with painful discomfort as you shift in your sleep. Your body won’t stop trembling.

The smell of burning linen snaps Loki fully awake. His tone rises in alarm as he reaches out, placing a hand on your shoulder to shake you, “Kara, wake up!” He shouts.

It’s enough to stir you from your slumber, eyes flashing open and locking with his.

“You’re burning the sheets!” He exclaims.

Your eyes widen as they dart to your hands. You immediately kill the flames and then scramble backwards out of bed, staring horrified at what you’d done. “I- I- I’m sorry, I-,” tears form at the corner of your eyes.

Loki scrambles out of bed after you, coming around to your side and wrapping you worriedly in his arms, “It’s fine. Sheets are replaceable and neither one of us got hurt. Were you having a nightmare?” He runs his fingers through your hair in an attempt to calm you down.

“N-no,” You stammer out. “It was just suddenly so cold. D-did you not feel it? My brain must of subconsciously been trying to heat me up.”

“I didn’t feel anything until the heat started,” He answers, concern deepening. He stops stroking your hair and places the back of his palm against your forehead. Your temperature didn’t feel off to him, but he now noticed you are lightly shivering in his arms. “Do you feel sick at all?”

Shaking your head you pull away from him, adverting your gaze. Of course, he wouldn’t be able to feel cold the same way you do. You bite your lip. “I’m going to go make myself some tea. Go back to sleep.”

“Kara-”

“I’m fine,” You tell him as you turn and walk away. “I’m just a bit shaken up. I need a moment.”

Loki’s worries aren’t settled by this but he lets you go. He doesn’t want to push you. Objecting would probably only make matters worse.

“I’ll be back,” You promise before shutting the door behind you.
__

“You’re not sleeping,” Loki confronts you, suddenly gripping your wrist and pinning you against the corridor wall as you pass by. He’s at his wit's end. He had held his tongue for over two and a half weeks but things aren’t improving.

“I am... a little,” You reply meekly not meeting his eyes.

“A little isn’t enough,” He snarls icily.

“You did the same thing when I was recovering from my injuries on Earth,” You shoot back finally looking at him. “Why can’t I do the same?”

“Because you don’t have the same bodily constitution,” He snaps sternly. “Like it or not your body’s weaker than mine! And I stopped after a week. You’re going above and beyond what I did!” His voice cracks as he stares at you earnestly. “So you singed the bedsheets. Why are you overacting to such an extent?”

To be honest, the chills haven’t stopped since that night, and you’ve been using the gloves as a heat source so you didn’t want to take them off. “I’m afraid,” You confess weakly, “What if it happens again? What if I burn more than just the bedsheets. If I ever burned you...” You choke, eyes growing watery, “I’d never forgive myself.”

Loki loosens his grip on your wrist, leaning in and planting a gentle kiss on your forehead. Without saying another word, he picks you up in his arms and teleports the two of you back to your chambers. He lays you down on the bed.

You open your mouth to protest, but he lifts a finger to his lips gently signaling to hush.

“For now we’ll sleep at different times. I’ll watch over you while it’s your turn. If you start to flare up again, I’ll wake you,” He tells you, stroking your cheek softly. “Once we’re sure things are under control we can go back to normal. But you need to sleep.”

You begrudgingly stare up at him and he blankly stares back. He starts running his fingers through your hair as he sits on the bedside.

Eventually it’s enough to lull you into sleep even though you are fighting it. But both your body and Loki are working against you so you didn’t stand much of a chance even if you were being stubborn about it. Your eyes flutter shut.

Loki sighs in relief. He doesn’t retract his fingers even when you drift off.

“You always carry around everything on your shoulders,” He murmurs softly so as not to actually wake you. “Why do you never rely on me for help? Didn’t we agree to be allies? Even if we’re more than that now I still wish you’d rely on me,” His lips purse solemnly. ”I catch the way you look at me sometimes- like I’m going to break before your eyes and it would be your fault. Your fault for not preventing me from breaking. Am I really that fragile in your perception? Is that why you never ask me for help? Because you think you’ll damage me? What did I do to make you see me like that?” Loki sighs knowing his questions will remain unanswered.

He had just gotten back in your good graces; he didn’t want to jeopardize that. Not so soon. Not when things are finally going right for him. For now, his questions can wait as he preserves the peace for a while longer.

Chapter Text

“Are you ready?” You ask Thor as the two of you walk towards Heimdall.

“It’s a part of our broken history. I should be the one to take care of it. So yes,” He confirms. “Besides,” He cocks a smile. “I’ve never been to London before.”

You nod, matching his smile. Your smile fades a little as you draw closer, “Do you think Sif, Loki, and the others will be alright against the Dark Elves?”

“They’ll be fine,” Thor is quick to reassure his sister-in-law. “They’re both our mightiest and brightest warriors. And with the element of surprise on their side, Loki’s strategy will ensure their victory I have no doubt.”

“You’re right,” You exhale as your anxieties abate. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the notion of having to protect them that you forget just how strong and brilliant they all are. They can hold their own.

“Let’s get this show on the road then,” You grin as both you and Thor turn to Heimdall.

“May your journey be safe and swift, Your Majesties,” Heimdall smiles warmly, opening the Bifrost for the two of you.
__

You and Thor stroll casually down the London streets. You turn a corner to where a cafe down the road comes into your line of sight. The small shop is your predetermined place to meet the other two members of your party. From the outside window, you can see Tony and Shuri sitting at a booth, sipping on their drinks of preference and eating donuts as they await your arrival.

“Good morning,” Thor greets them with his usual smile upon entering.

“More like afternoon,” Shuri replies before popping in the last bit of her donut into her mouth.

“You’re a half-hour late,” Tony nods up at you, wiping his hands with a napkin as he stands. “And you two didn’t even have to fly across the world.”

“I swear it her fault,” Thor immediately throws you under the bus.

“Thor!” You hiss.

“Also, technically my brother’s,” Thor grins, ignoring your would-you-shut-up glare. “They had a rather passionate morning.”

“Oh, so nothing new,” Tony crossing his arms as his gaze shifts from Thor to you. He too lets out a grin, “Not that I’m judging. Pepper and I have similar mornings. I am curious as to what it’s like with a god of mischief though. Does he try anything special?”

“Tony! Thor!” You snap face fully flushed. “There’s a child present!”

“I know what sex is,” Shuri comments, not helping.

“I- I-,” You stammer flustered. “I’m shutting this conversation down. Let’s go,” You whip around promptly walking away. “Thor, I’m telling Sif. And Tony, Pepper too.”

The smiles on Tony and Thor’s faces fade as they immediately start chasing after you.

“Hey! Kara! Wait!” Thor shouts.

“We were only teasing!” Tony calls out.

Shuri chuckles and shakes her head. She follows the three of you out of the cafe.
__

“So this dump is where one of the Infinity Stones is?” Tony questions aloud as the four of you pull up to the abandoned site.

“Yes...” You respond distractedly, pursing your lips as you spot a familiar-looking vehicle parked at the location. Where have you seen that car before?

Tony parks and all of you spill out. You have a bad feeling in your gut.

“Guys, we should hurry,” You say, immediately taking off into the abandoned building and up the flight of stairs. Think. Who does that car belong to?

The others, though greatly confused, run in after you.

“Thor!” You call out behind you. “Fly up! If anyone’s up there detain them until we can catch up.”

“On it!” Thor confirms, twirling Mjølnir and taking off.

But as soon as he’s gone it hits you. It is so obvious! Why did it take you so long?! You immediately regret sending Thor on ahead. Crap! But why?! It’s too early. They shouldn’t be here. Not yet.

“Let us go!” protests the younger woman.

“What are you doing? We were here first,” says the other angrily.

“That doesn’t make it yours,” Thor replies calmly but firmly. “You shouldn’t be here. You don’t know what you’re messing with.”

“And you do?” shouts the second woman.

“Why don’t we all take a step back and discuss this civilly,” the older gentleman tries to appease the situation.

“I agree with Dr. Selvig,” You call out as you approach the group.

All four pairs of eyes snap to you. Tony and Shuri make it up to the same floor as the rest of you.

“You know who I am?” Erik asks, not knowing who you are in return.

“Yes, both you and Jane Foster. I’ve looked into your guys’ research,” You answer, trying your best to portray yourself as an authority figure amongst the gathered. “Thor, you can let them go. Guard the stone.”

“No one ever notices me,” Darcy pouts, crossing her arms as Thor releases his grip on the girls.

“Darcy Lewis,” Your eye flicker to her. “Your help to them has been invaluable. I’m sure your accomplishments will be great in the future.”

“Okay, I am simultaneously flattered and weirded-out,” Darcy remarks, staring in confusion at her two friends.

You motion for Tony and Shuri to start their objective.

“Wait! All I want to do is study whatever it is,” Jane steps forward between them and it. “What gives you the authority over us to take it for yourselves?”

“My name is Kara. I’m the Director of the Avengers,” You introduce yourself, eyes flickering to Thor, “Thor, whom you’ve met, is King of Asgard. You know, from Norse mythology,” Your gaze switches to Erik who’s staring at you with doubt, “Yes, they’re real. Then there’s Tony Stark. I’m sure you all have heard of him. And this Shuri, First Princess of Wakanda.”

“Okay, so you’re a bunch of really important people,” Jane admits begrudgingly. “That still doesn’t mean you get to take it for yourselves.”

“Jane,” You address her directly, “what you stumbled across is one of the most powerful and dangerous objects in the universe. It can literally bend reality,” You tell her, trying your best to not get defensive. You really hadn’t wanted Jane and Thor to meet. “By stopping you, we’re protecting you. The second you try to touch it, it will attach itself to you and will drain your life force like a parasite. In a couple of days, you’d be dead. We’re here to contain it before that happens to you or anyone else.”

The three of them swallow nervously upon hearing these new revelations.

“What are you going to do with it? Hoard all that power to yourselves?” Jane asks still defiant.

“No,” You reply just barely keeping your cool. “Once it’s in the safety of the container. I plan on handing it over to a hero who consults and allies with us, but who spends most of her time out in space going from planet to planet helping people. She is both strong enough to protect it and constantly moving which will make it harder for those who wrongfully seek it to pinpoint it. If it makes you feel better, I will let you guys watch the hand-off. But please stay out of our way.”

“Jane, we should back off,” Erik adds in his voice of reason. “If what she says is true, and it likely is, they’re doing the right thing. The Avengers do a lot of good work in this world.”

“But, my research- Everything I- we’ve worked so hard for,” Jane protests weakly.

“I’ll make you a deal,” You sigh. “Let us deal with the dangerous object. In return, I can offer you three positions in the Avengers’ research facility. You’ll know everything we know, and be properly funded to further your own research as you desire.”

Their eyes widen.

“R-really?” Jane scoffs in disbelief.

“You have my word,” You promise, sealing the deal on your end. “I’d hate for your passions and talents to go to waste.”

“But I’m still in college,” Darcy points out.

“A paid internship then. You can continue getting your college credits working alongside them. And if you decide to work for us in the future, we’ll pay off your student loans,” You offer her.

Darcy’s eyes almost bulge out of their sockets, “I don’t know about you two, but I’m totally switching allegiance to Team Avengers,” She tiptoes over to your side.

You grin, chuckling softly, “So that’s one. What will you two do? We have top-of-the-line equipment, labs, and fellow researchers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” You highlight. Though you’re genuine in your offer and intent, you know exactly what you’re doing and are choosing the right buzz words to lure them in. Make people a deal they can’t refuse. That’s what you’ve always done. Your track record speaks for itself, “And if you’re unsatisfied with our facilities and/or work you may opt to work independently and only be a consultant.”

“Fine,” Jane groans, accepting though still a little sore from giving up the current research opportunity. She falls hook-line-and-sinker in place with your ideal outcome for this situation’s end result.

“I’m in as well,” Erik nods quickly in agreement.

“Great!” You smile brightly at them. Relief washes over you as you shift your gaze to your own group.

“That’s our girl,” Tony smirks proudly at you. He always loved watching you convert people onto your side. No wonder the silver-tongued god fell for you; no one else could match his persuasive wit, “So... are we good to go now?”

You nod and both he and Shuri immediately walk uninhibited over to the large rock-like mass with the glowing red center.

“Careful,” You precaution, wearily taking a step forward. “Don’t let it touch you.”

“You did your job,” Shuri grins, “now trust us to do ours.”

“You’re right,” You reply, taking a step back. “I’m sorry.”

Thor moves out of their way and over by your side- the one not inhabited by Darcy. He side-hugs you gently, “Good work!” He beams, calming your nerves a bit as you watch on.
__

-Svartalfheim-

Malekith purses his lips, glaring up at the Asgardian prince who grips him by the hair with a burning hatred. “How did you know?!” He shouts in complete outrage. “You shouldn’t have known!”

“It’s a good question but not for me,” Loki replies before stabbing the dark elf ruler through the heart. Releasing his grip, the defeated elf drops dead onto the barren wasteland. The dark elves are no more.

Sif watches in silence as the gears turn in the prince’s head. She can see the inner conflict bubbling right beneath the surface. Loki is many things, but an oblivious idiot is not one of them. It is only a matter of time before he’ll ask you for the truth. It all depends on how long he’s willing to preserve the peace between you two and not receive answers. Sif refuses to step in. Years ago she promised to keep and protect your secret. If Loki is going to find out it’ll be from your lips.
__

“Thank you for this,” You tell her as you hand the containment unit carrying the reality stone over to Carol. Shuri and Stark worked together to make the container both sturdy and portable. It takes the shape of a necklace around her neck.

“Not my usual style but it’ll work,” She replies, cocking a slight smile. She glances at the three people standing behind you, frowning a bit, “I didn’t know we’d have an audience though. Why exactly...are they here?”

Darcy waves at Carol from the distant spot she stands at with Erik and Jane.

“It’s part of the process of gaining their trust in us. To prove that the Avengers are not hoarding the power for ourselves,” You answer. “They’re going to joining our research division. Those three actually found the stone before we did.”

Carol just nods shifting her weirded-out gaze from them to you, “I’m going to get going then. I’ll keep you updated if I hear or see any sign of Thanos.”

“Thanks,” You smile warmly before she turns and blasts off of the Avengers Tower’s roof. You turn back to the others as you walk towards them. “Satisfied?”

Jane nods for the group.

“Then let’s get you three settled in, and I’ll find someone to give you a tour of the place while I get to creating access cards for the three of you,” You tell them, leading the way down the staircase.

“Oh, can it be Thor?” Darcy suggests excitedly. “I really think a boring old tour of a building would be significantly more interesting with him around. Don’t you agree Jane?” She says elbowing her teasingly.

Your breath sharpens, “No. Thor’s busy. We’re returning to Asgard shortly after getting you three set up.”

“We? Why are you going to?” Jane questions.

“I too am Asgardian. Thor’s my brother-in-law,” You inform them.

“An Asgardian is running a mostly human group of superheroes on Earth?” Jane’s skepticism increases.

“Yes,” You suddenly stop in your descent down the stairs, whipping around on the three of them. Your voice snaps out more heated than you intended, “But I worked hard for this position! It wasn’t self-appointed. I care deeply about the well-being of both realms, and I’ve almost died protecting them both. So I’d appreciate it if you didn’t question me so much!”

You catch yourself. You clench your fists at your sides as your expression darkens. You’re angry at yourself for letting your bias against Jane cause you to snap at them. They did nothing wrong; they didn’t deserve it. Yet you still lashed out at them. The three of them stare at you in somber silence.

You turn back around and continue walking. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have raised my voice. You have the right to ask questions about the organization you’re considering working for. And I shouldn’t expect the same level of trust from you that I’ve nurtured with everyone else. I’m sorry,” You repeat sincerely. “I’ll see if Thor has some time to spare. Anything else you’d like to know?”

“W-what kind of access will we have?” Erik asks, trying to help ease the situation and you’re grateful for it.

“Full access to everything except the personal suites of others. Likewise, no one will have access to your living quarters. We operate in the open as much as we can. You’re free to look into anything you’d like,” You answer, calming your tone. “You won’t be restricted to the labs. The same goes for any and all of the amenities of Avengers Tower. You’re free to enjoy them to your heart's content.”

“Neat,” Darcy replies with two thumbs up.
__

A knock comes on your office door.

“Come in,” You just barely mutter aloud from your unmoving position at your desk. All your mental, emotional, and physical energy drained.

Thor peeks in as he opens the door, “You look exhausted,” He says, coming in and shutting the door behind him. “Also, it’s extremely warm in here,” He notes, “I’m surprised you haven’t fallen asleep in these conditions.”

“Mind’s still processing today. It won’t shut off,” You reply absently, leaning back in your chair. You pick up a remote from one of your drawers and lower the temperature of the office for him.

“I, uh, finished my tour of the Tower with the newbies,” He reports to you. “They’ve all settled into their quarters.”

“What do think of them?” You inquire, masking your nervousness. They were his friends on Earth in the movies and Jane... more than that... even if they were broken up in Ragnarok.

“I like them a lot,” Thor flashes a not-as-reassuring-as-he-thinks smile. Your anxiety over the situation spikes causing you to feel nauseous. Though you do your best not to show it to him, “I think they’ll be invaluable additions to the team here.”

“That’s great,” You force out. The chills start to set in as the room temperature slowly drops back down to normal. You activate your gloves under your desk, trying to balance your body’s temperature back out without letting Thor become aware of your discomfort.

“Especially Jane,” He continues causing you to internally grimace. With those two words, he sends your anxieties skyrocketing. You feel the urge to throw up. “She seems really smart and has a bit of a spitfire personality. I admire that in a woman. She, in a way, reminds me of Sif. A less threatening version of her,” He chuckles completely oblivious.

“Thor...” You address weakly, eyes unable to hide their intense worry any longer.

“I don’t mean it like that!” Thor sharply refutes as he immediately registers your concern. “I just think they’re similar. They’d probably get along. Kara, you know I love Sif. There’s no woman in the universe that could compare to her in my eyes- or heart. Please don’t think so little of me,” He begs sounding hurt.

“I’m sorry,” You find yourself apologizing once more today. You grimace visibly this time, upset with yourself, “You’re right. I’m so, so sorry! I didn’t mean to doubt you. I- I-” Your voice cracks as tears form in your eyelids. You blink and the tears fall. You feel awful in every sense. What is with you today? “I’m sorry.”

“No, don’t cry,” Thor's eyes widen in alarm. He becomes completely flustered, “It’s fine. I forgive you. Ah! Loki’s going to kill me!”

You shake your head, wiping the tears away, “No, it’s not your fault. I- I just-... Today’s been a very long, unexpected day,” You swallow the lump in your throat. “I just want to go home.”

Thor nods in somber understanding. He extends his hand out to help you up, “Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

“I think it’s against the rules for you to be more nervous than the bride,” Loki catches you by shoulders mid-frantic flight around the ballroom as you did last-minute preparations. “You’ve been running around ceaselessly since this morning. Slow down.”

“It’s my first wedding,” You reply breathlessly. “I think I’m allowed to be a little nervous especially when I’m so heavily involved.”

“You were in ours,” He frowns. “And you were one of the two main players in that one.”

“R-right,” You nod eyes briefly drifting to the floor. They snap back up at him, “I was nervous then too. Wasn’t I? I mean, I tripped over my own dress. This is different though. Our wedding was a bitter event for you. It’s not like that for them. I want it to be perfect for Sif and Thor.”

Loki lifts your hand to his lips, gently kissing your knuckles, “Kara, I may not have appreciated our wedding when it occurred. But I am more grateful for that day than any other.”

You smile affectionately up at him, and he shifts his kiss from your knuckles to your lips.

He rests his head against your forehead as he pulls away, “Your plans may not always turn out perfectly like you planned, but they always turn out with the desired result. Thor and Sif will look back on this day fondly, I promise you,” He smiles softly. “So you can relax a little.”

Slowly nodding, you accept his words. He’s right. Everything will turn out fine.

You are about to kiss him again when a maid comes bursting into the ballroom, “Milady!” She exclaims. “We need your help with Lady Sif!”

You regretfully break away from Loki, “Later,” you promise him as your fingers linger off of his outstretched hand.

He nods silently as you turn and follow the maid out.
__

“Sif, this is going to sound very hypocritical of me, but you’ve got to calm down,” You catch the bride mid-pace by her shoulders, paralleling Loki’s actions from earlier.

“I can’t do this,” Sif freaks. “Do you realize I’ll be queen after this?! Queen!? That’s a huge, huge responsibility! I can’t!”

“Yes you can,” You shake her gently in reassurance. “Just as you believe Thor will make a great king, he, in turn, believes you will make a great queen. I one thousand percent agree. You care about our people and our realms. Asgard will be in impeccable hands. Even Loki has grown to respect you over the years. And you’ll have the two of us right by your side to help. We all love and believe in you. You’re going to be one flipping amazing queen!”

Sif wraps her arms around your neck, “Thank you,” She whispers in your ear.

You smile warmly, “Besides if I don’t get you as my sister-in-law by the end of this night then I’m going to be thoroughly pissed. You’re doing this,” You tease.

She rolls her eyes as she pulls away from you, and you squeeze her hands in yours, grinning.

“Come,” You tell her, leading her over to the chair in front of the vanity. “Let’s get you dolled up~”

Sif groans and laughs, “Not again...”
__

Your eyes flicker in excitement as you exchange a glance with Frigga in the reflection of the full-length mirror as she stands watching behind you. You turn Sif around so she can fully see herself, gown and all.

Sif’s eyes widen as her hands fly to cover her mouth. Tears form at the corners of her eyes.

“No, you’re not allowed to cry!” You reject quickly. “I spent too much time on your makeup. Leaving the crying to Thor!”

It’s enough to get Sif to chuckle instead, shaking her head and smiling.

“You’re absolutely stunning, my dear,” Frigga tells her affectionately. “My son’s an incredibly lucky man.”

Sif turns into Frigga’s outstretched arms, “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

Frigga shakes her head, pulling away slightly though still holding Sif’s arms in hers, “No more of that. You’re going to officially be my daughter in less than an hour. I expect no more formalities from here and out,” She assures her firmly.

“Yes, Your Ma-...” Sif starts to reply but then just switches to an accepting nod.

“Good,” Frigga grins, gently cupping Sif’s cheek as she drops her arms. She sighs, “I should go check up my own stubborn male.”

“Is everything alright?” You inquire, voicing a bit of your concern. Everyone’s noticed by now that the former king and queen have been tense around one another since coming back from Vormir.

“Yes, we’re just at a bit of an impasse on how to handle a certain situation. It’s not our first marital spat and it certainly won’t be our last, but I promise everything will be fine. Odin and I have been through thick and thin. We will resolve matters eventually,” She reassures the both of you. She points a serious finger at the two of you, “Don’t you let this dampen this day. All differences are put aside and out of mind for occasions such as this.”

You and Sif nod, promising Frigga to heed her words before she excuses herself.

“See you both shortly,” She smiles and waves.

Sif lets out a longly inhaled breath as soon as she’s gone.

“Come now,” You beckon her. “My turn to get dolled up.”

“I don’t think I’ll be much help in that department,” Sif tells you.

“Don’t worry,” You grin. “All you have to do is watch.”
__

“So...” Loki drops in on his brother as the groom is buttoning up his shirt. “You look... fancy.”

“Shut up,” Thor mutters chuckling. His smile fades a little as he turns to look at his younger brother. “Were you nervous when you married Kara?”

“What? No. I hated her back then,” He immediately denies. He can tell that his answer isn’t exactly what Thor was hoping to hear as the disappointment spreads across his face. Loki sighs, “But... if I were to have married her with the same affections I have today then yes... I imagine I would be... I mean... I’m nervous over her on a daily basis. I imagine the pressure of a wedding would amplify that nervousness,” Loki quickly points a sharp finger at him. “Don’t you dare tell anyone I said that- especially not her.”

Thor cracks a smile, “You have my word, Brother.”

Loki nods silently, feeling weird that he just admitted his honest feelings for the sake of his brother's reassurance. He’s still getting used to this whole expressing love to others thing.

“I honestly can’t believe this day is finally here,” Thor remarks aloud as he straightens out his clothes and looks himself over in the mirror.

“Yup,” Loki pops in agreement not sure what else to say. This really isn’t his forte.

Thor turns and places a firm hand of his brother’s shoulder, “I’m glad you’ll be standing by my side on this day. There’s no one I’d want more there.”

“Yes, well my wife threatened abstinence if I ran so...” Loki half-jokes, chuckling nervously. You really had threatened him with that.

It makes Thor laugh though, effectively taking off some of the nervous energy in the room, “Sounds like her,” He grins.

“You ready?” Loki exhales.

“More than anything!” Thor nods, beaming brightly.
__

You and Loki exchange looks across the aisle, smiling affectionately at one another.

Thor stands all but sweating nervously between you, anxiously fiddling with his hands even though his three best friends keep shooting him reassuring looks from their spots next to Loki.

The music starts playing and everyone turns to look at the entering bride. Sif is blushing from being the center of attention so she tries to keep her focus on Thor. As she locks eyes with him, she notices his eyes are watery, melting both her heart and her fears. She loves him and he loves her. Nothing else in the universe matters at the moment.

“So romantic,” You mouth silently across the aisle.

Loki rolls his eyes in response but even he can’t help but crack a smile. He is genuinely happy for them even if he’d never verbally admit it. You steal a quick grin to yourself before focusing your undivided attention back on the couple of the hour as Sif takes her rightful place at Thor’s side.

“You’re breathtaking,” Thor whispers so that only Sif can hear.

“You don’t look half-bad yourself,” Sif whispers back teasingly.

Both of their hearts beat wildly as their gazes of unparalleled affection train on each other.

 

  

Chapter Text

The ceremony had been short per both the bride and groom’s request. Sif didn’t want to be the center of attention for too long, and Thor wanted her as his queen as soon as possible. But no one who was in attendance could dispute the fact that the ceremony was undeniably sweet.

The reception, however, turned out to be incredibly longer. Even after the newlyweds left the festivities. Three of the groomsmen certainly kept the party alive. Loki was not one of those three. He was officially done the second Thor and Sif whisked themselves off.

“Can we go now?” Loki whispers into your ear as he approaches you from behind, wrapping his arms around your waist.

“Let me finish,” You blush as you had been in the middle of a conversation with some of the noblewomen present.

“Hurry up,” He urges softly, purposefully not letting go of his hold on you. Eyes flickering mischievously up at the onlooking women.

Your cheeks flush brighter. You promptly excuse yourself from the conversation, grabbing Loki by the wrist and dragging him out of there.

“What was that?!” You hiss quietly as the two of you enter the corridor.

“You promised I could have you later. It’s later,” He replies innocently. “I waited until after Sif and Thor left. You should reward me for being so patient.”

You sigh, shaking your head in slightly baffled exasperation. Your eyes meet his, clearly waiting in eager expectation. You expression softens. Reaching up, you wrap your arms around his neck pulling him down towards you as he places his hands on your hips.

“You did a very good job of being patient today, Loki. Thank you,” You praise breathlessly before locking your lips against his. You part his lips deepening the gentle yet passionate kiss.

Loki snakes his arms around your waist as he pushes you against the wall, “More,” He breathes into the kiss.

You push against his chest, “Not here,” your breath lingers on his lips.

“Why not?” He smirks knowing exactly why not.

“Loki!” You hiss, face flushing.

“Fine,” He chuckles satisfied with your flustered reaction, “Your wish is my command, my queen. I don’t want to share you with anyone anyways,” He murmurs in your ear before whisking the two of you away.
__

-Midgard, Georgia, Lakeside Cabin-

Sif sits on the large bed, dressed in a simple nightgown and thumbing through a Midgardian text she found lying about the cabin. Thor is in the bathroom washing up for the night. She glances over at the window and stares out at the nearby lake.

You offered this place to them for their honeymoon. It’s a piece of property you immediately sought out after first coming to Earth all those years ago. You kept it under wraps, telling her it would be a future wedding present for Tony and Pepper whenever they got married. But given that that hasn’t happened yet, you let Sif and Thor use it in the meantime. The place is tranquil and quite beautiful though Sif isn’t sure why you are planning on giving Pepper and Tony such a particular wedding gift. Especially when Stark can certainly afford such a desirable place on his own. Must have something to do with what you know from your original universe, Sif figures.

Thor freezes in the doorway, breath stolen as he silently watches Sif watch the Midgardian night sky. In his eyes, she is radiant and more beautiful than any of the stars shining that night. His heart thumps loudly in his chest.

“I-I’m finished,” He announces awkwardly, almost regrettably breaking the silence as he draws closer to the bed.

Sif turns, smiling warmly up at him as he sinks down onto the bed next to her. She places the book on the nightstand at her bedside; all the while not tearing her eyes away from him. Without saying a word, she leans forward slowly wrapping her arms around his neck and running her fingers through his hair.

Thor falls in line with the kiss. His hands flutter tentatively to her waist. As Sif's lips eventually travel down his neck, Thor’s right hand drifts downwards; simultaneously traveling up her leg.

“I’ve been waiting for this night for a very long time,” Sif murmurs, letting the warmth of her breath linger teasingly over his neck. She bites down on the base causing a deep, pleasing moan to escape from Thor’s lips.

“Me too!” He cries, aching for more, as he completely and willingly loses himself to her.
__

“Are you coming?” Loki appears, fazing into your office. He flinches uncomfortably as the extreme heatwave hits him upon his entrance, “Everyone else is gathered.”

“Have they decided on the movie yet?” You inquire without looking up from your paper. “Who’s turn is it to pick again?”

“Peter and Harley’s,” He reminds, rolling up his shirt sleeves. “Although, Darcy thinks it should be her since this is her first time joining us on movie night. And no, they haven’t decided.”

“Hmm,” You nod absently.

“Are you coming?” He repeats, frowning.

“I just need to finish up this last thing,” You tell him. “Go on and start without me. I’ll join as soon as I’m done. It shouldn’t be long.”

Loki purses his lips as he stares unmoving at you in silence. After the past couple of days you are looking worse for wear. Dark circles stain beneath your eyes and you are noticeably thinner. Evidently, your sleep remained minimal; only really do so when he was there to force you to. Which, since the wedding you've spent your days on Earth buried in your work while he's been busy running Asgard in Thor and Sif’s absence, meant you probably weren’t sleeping much at all these past few nights. Pietro had confirmed to him that the light in your office never went out during the evening hours. Plus, this extreme heat thing is growing to a concerning level.

“Promise me you’ll actually take a break and join us,” He opens his mouth, tone ringing with concern. Hopefully, you’d nod off and actually catch some sleep during the movie.

His worry is enough to finally obtain your undivided attention. Your eyes snap up to meet his.

“I will,” You reassure him earnestly. “I swear, I’m almost done with this and I’ll be right down,” You grin. “I haven’t missed a movie night yet and I don’t plan on starting tonight.”

He nods, “Very well. I’ll save you a seat.”

“Thanks,” You smile affectionately.

As soon as Loki vanishes from the room, you lean back in your chair and groan softly. You feel nauseous and lightheaded. Rummaging through one of your drawers, you get out some medicine quickly swallowing it. Taking a moment, you close your eyes and sigh. Your body shivers.
__

“So what did you two decide?” Loki asks, popping back in with the group huddled around the large flatscreen tv.

“We’re watching Brave,” Harley answers.

Brave?” the Asgardian prince inquires further. “Never heard of it.”

He had rather taken to Midgardian films over the years but this one escapes his knowledge.

“That’s cause it’s a new Disney release,” Peter tells him. “Mr. Stark got us early access to it!”

“Is Kara coming?” Pepper asks him.

“Ah, yeah... She said she’ll be down soon and to start without her,” He answers.

Loki sits down on the couch, leaving room for you in between him and Natasha.

Scott presses the play button on the remote and the movie starts. An animated children’s picture. Loki’s not surprised that it’s Peter and Harley’s pick. It seems interesting enough, but Loki’s full attention isn’t caught until about the seven-minute mark when a faintly familiar tune starts playing.

Why is the tune so familiar? His eyes widen in shocked realization as the words begin to be sung. He knew this song. He had heard it sung before.

“This a new movie?” Loki murmurs aloud.

Bucky nods silently in acknowledgment on his other side.

“The music’s original to the film too?” He questions further, inhaling sharply.

“Yeah, it should be,” Bucky answers quietly.

Loki shutters in disbelief.

“What movie are we watching?” You whisper in inquiry to Rhodey who’s helping Pepper pass out bowls of popcorn when you walk in.

Brave, the new Disney release,” He answers nodding in the direction of the screen.

Your eyes widen as they immediately snap to the screen. Hesitantly, you switch your gaze over to Loki, praying desperately that maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t remember. But he’s already staring back at you when you meet his eyes and you know that he knows. Your heart sinks.

“Sh*t,” You accidentally breathe aloud.

“Language,” Steve pipes up. He stares at you confused. You never swore, especially not in front of the presence of children. But you aren’t looking at him; your eyes are locked on Loki’s.

Loki vanishes from his position on the couch, reappearing at your side. “We need to talk,” He whispers, grabbing your wrist and teleporting the two of you to your suite.
__

“How did you know a Midgardian song that had yet to exist when you sang it!?” Loki frantically interrogates, releasing his grip on your wrist.

“Loki, I-” You start stammer but he cuts you off.

“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!” He snaps not done with what he has to say. “Hela?! The Dark Elves!? The Infinity Stones?! Me!? I really tried my best to not question you, but there are just too many things you know that you shouldn’t possibly know! How do you know the things you know?! Tell me the truth!”

You swallow the lump that arose in your throat when he shouted. You shiver, crossing your arms defensively. Your voice cracks as you open your mouth to answer him, “Fine. I’ll tell you the truth. I-”

A spark bursts out from under your feet expanding into a spiraling golden circle. Your eyes widen as you recognize what’s happening.

“What’s this? W-what are you doing?” Loki panics confused.

“This isn’t me,” You reply just before the floor beneath you disappears and you fall.

“Kara!” Loki scrambles forward to catch you but he’s too late. The floor reappears just as quickly as it disappeared. You are gone. Loki's voice trembles, “No, no, no, no, no! Kara!”

Chapter Text

“Catch her.”

“I was planning on it.”

Your falling slows significantly down to the point where you’re just gracefully floating. You land safely in a set of sturdy arms. Your eyes immediately dart up to those of the person holding you, “You’re here incredibly early. But I suppose that’s got something to do with why you summoned me here.”

“Very sharp, calm, and perceptive,” the woman behind the two of you remarks first. “I guess you’d have to be to accomplish everything you’ve achieved.”

You crack a small smile at her, “I do my best.”

“You’re unnaturally cold to the touch,” Stephen Strange finally speaks. “But I guess given your current condition it makes sense.” He places you down on your feet as your expression turns quizzical. Strange plucks a strand of your hair as well as a long strand of black hair off the back of your shirt. He fuses them together then embeds them into your skin.

Your eyes widen as the strands meld into your skin very much like your gloves did. But you get the sense they are more inside you rather than thinly resting on your person. Immediately the intense chills you had been feeling for almost two months now disappear. Your body’s temperature naturally stabilizing.

“Oh my gosh, thank you! What exactly did you do?” You inquire staring up at him gratefully. “I get that it’s magic and all but...”

“I infused your DNA with that of your husband’s,” He answers sighing. “Jotun genetics should no longer affect you negatively.”

“You know about Loki?” You ask sharply.

“We know much, just as you possess special knowledge,” the Ancient One tells you. “Come now. We have much to discuss with you.” She leads the way walking off.

Strange turns and immediately follows her.

You willingly do the same. Pursing your lips as you quicken your speed, you’re just barely keeping yourself from geeking out right now. Being in the presence of both Dr. Strange and the Ancient One?! You feel incredibly blessed.

The three of you take a seat in a cozy carved-out nook in the library. Gosh, this place is more breathtaking than in the movies.

“We have some questions for you,” the Ancient One prompts the start of the conversation.

“I too have some questions, but I hopefully also have the answers you seek,” You reply politely.

“We appreciate your compliance,” Strange says, leaning forward in his chair. “For starters, are you aware of the fact that your existence is one of two anomalies in this universe?”

“Two? There’s another?” You question surprised.

“The original owner of the body you’re inhibiting,” He answers.

“She’s still alive?” You murmur, taking a second to fully register what he said.

“Yes,” the Ancient One picks up. “It seems there has been a three-way swap of your bodies and souls... across dimensions.”

“Three-way?”

“Your body from your original universe died, and that version of your soul somehow transferred into this universe and took over the body you currently reside in. The original soul from that body ended up transferring into the version of your body that exists in this universe. Then finally, your soul from this universe proceeded to cross over to your original universe and passed on with your original body,” Strange explains. “Does that make sense?”

You let out a exhale long then nod, “Yeah, i-it makes sense.”

“We’re interested in learning the how?” the Ancient One tells you. “How did you do this?”

“Unfortunately... I don’t have the answer to that particular question,” You respond honestly. “I’ve wondered about it myself, but I honest to God don’t know how my soul got switched.”

Both sorcerers exchange silent looks of disappointment.

“We assumed it was you since you’ve been the one causing all the changes in reality and the timeline,” the Ancient One mulls it over, “but do you think it was perhaps your counterpart’s doing?”

“Her?” You think about it. “I’m not sure. It’s a distinct possibility but I’d say it’s very unlikely. From what I know about the original soul of this body, she was weak and powerless. She possessed no affinity for magic, or so I’ve been told.”

“Hm?” She purses her lips.

“Let’s move on to our second question then. You are sure to have answers for this one. Are you aware that you’ve created a huge ripple effect on this universe’s reality and time?” Strange inquires, eyes narrowing.

“I knew I was changing various historical events, but I swear I’m only trying to improve things and prevent certain tragedies,” You tell him earnestly. You pause for a second. “And what do you mean I created a ripple effect on time? I get reality but also time?”

“Yes, also time. As you said when you first arrived, I’m incredibly early,” He replies with a sigh. “My car crash that brought me here wasn’t supposed to happen for at least another four years and yet I’m here now. Do you know why?”

“No... but it was one of my questions,” You answer him.

“It’s because you have recrafted the way the universe was supposed to turn out to such a large extent that time literally has to catch up with the changes you’ve made. Causing certain events to trigger sooner than they originally should have, based on whether or not the universe requires it in this new reality you’ve constructed,” He informs you. “Apparently, this version of the universe needed me to be here now rather than 2016.”

“That also explains why Jane, Darcy, and Erik were there when we retrieved the Reality Stone!” You snap your fingers, eyes lighting up as everything clicks together in your brain.

“Speaking of which, what are doing with the collection of Infinity Stones you’ve been accumulating?” the Ancient One questions skeptically.

“Keeping them out of the wrong hands,” You promise. “I haven’t personally held on to any of the ones we’ve retrieved. Reality was sent off into space with a trustworthy person strong enough to protect it. Space is locked away in Odin’s vault. And Soul is in the hands of Wakanda. Time, likewise, is safely in your hands so I don’t have to worry about that one,” You grimace a little. “Unfortunately, the Mind Stone has already fallen into the wrong hands...”

“The titan known as Thanos, correct?” Strange asks.

You nod, “Yes. My only goal with the stones is to keep them apart and out of his hands. Which in turn means, I’ll admit, I also have plans for securing the Power Stone,” You think about it. “Actually, knowing time is speeding certain events along might help me here. I think I know a group I can contact to retrieve the stone and go on the run with it across the galaxy.” The gears in your mind turn as it immediately falls into strategizing.

“Kara,” Strange calls, snapping you out of it. “Is it Kara? Do you go by her name or your original one?”

“Kara,” You confirm.

“Well, Kara, there’s something else you should also take into account,” He says almost as a warning. “Things aren’t only speeding up in your favor. We strongly believe Thanos will appear on Earth in search of the Infinity Stones much sooner than he was supposed to. Our final question is thus, will you be prepared for that?”

Your eyes widen slightly. You hadn’t thought of that. You bite your lip as you mull it over. After a minute you stare at both of them, expression completely serious, “Yes, I and my team will be. And I’d appreciate it when the time comes, you and your forces will join us in protecting this reality. Even if it’s as little as protecting the Time Stone in your possession.”

“I’ve seen multiple outcomes of the confrontation with Thanos,” the Ancient One tells you. “Unlike in your universe, where only one possibility ensured victory in our universe, you have changed things to where multiple victorious outcomes are possible. That being said, all of them involved us working with you. So it shall be so. We will cooperate with you,” She confirms.

Your smile stretches from ear to ear. That’s some of the best world-saving news you’ve heard in a very long time. “Thank you!”

She nods, cracking a soft smile.

“We should probably send you back now,” Strange concludes the meeting. “It seems we’ve caused a great amount of uproar at your headquarters. The frost giant, in particular, is in a state of extreme distress.”

You chuckle nervously, “I-I’m sure. I’ll take care of that. Thank you for bringing me here though. This conversation was important.”

The two of them nod and Strange starts to swirl his hands.

“Wait!” You interrupt jarringly. You still had one more question, “What did you mean by my current condition when first I arrived?”

“You don’t know?” Strange tilts his head quizzically. “You’re pregnant with the frost giant’s child.”

“What?” You shutter sharply, eyes widening.
__

Long story short, movie night had been officially ruined. The whole complex was in chaos the second Loki told the others you had been kidnapped. Everyone was immediately either suiting up or trying to figure out how you could’ve been simply plucked from thin air.

As soon as you land on your feet, you run to the nearest intercom station. “Guys! Stop! I’m back. I’m safe. Nothing bad happened!” You broadcast reassuringly throughout the tower. You purse your lips, “And Loki, wherever you are, we need to talk as soon as possible.”

You take your finger off the broadcast button and sigh.

“You have so much explaining to do,” a voice snarls as its owner suddenly appears behind you.

Turning around, you look at him apologetically, “Loki, I’m-”

He cuts you off, immediately wrapping you in his arms, securing you close to his chest, and shuttering in relief. His voice cracks, “Who’s toying with who’s heart now?”

“I’m sorry,” You apologize achingly. “I’ll tell you everything. I promise.”

Chapter Text

You exhale nervously, pacing around the suite as Loki carefully watches you in weary anticipation. You stop mid-stride, facing him head-on. Taking a deep breath, you finally open your mouth, “It’s probably best if I start from the beginning. Loki, I’m not exactly who you think I am.”

“That is not a very reassuring way to start off,” He breathes sharply, crossing his arms.

“Give me a chance to explain,” You plea with him. “I’m not saying that the me you know isn’t real. My actions, feelings, and motives towards you and the others have been genuine from the start. It’s just that... well the person you see on the outside doesn’t exactly match who you know on the inside.”

“Kara, I have no idea what you’re getting at,” He shifts uncomfortably. “Please just speak plainly.”

“I’m trying. It’s kind of a confusing concept. What I’m trying to say is that I am both Kara and not Kara simultaneously.”

Loki drops his hands down in exasperation. He opens his mouth to verbally express his annoyance but you cut him off.

“I’ll explain further. I promise. Just listen,” You tell him earnestly. “Okay, so you remember our wedding, right? That wasn’t me standing by your side at the altar. That was Kara, Kara. While you were getting married I, the person you know, was actually elsewhere. I’m from a different universe,” You blurt out, cutting to the chase, unsure of any other way to put it.

“This isn’t very funny. Is the truth really that hard to give me?” He asks and you can hear the aching his voice.

“You and I both know that a lie is more convincing if it sounds believable. Does what I’m saying sound believable to you?” You reply after a deep, solemn sigh.

Loki purses his lips, and you can’t tell what he’s thinking.

“Okay... Let’s go about this another way. I tell you a tale, and you can decide whether or not you believe it to be true,” You restart. “There once was a human girl who lived a boring life with a boring and grating job. She was an all-work and no play kind of girl because that’s how she was raised. But this girl wasn’t completely dull. She was a closet geek who spent her limited free time-consuming works of fiction. And among her favorites was this series of movies. They were movies about superheroes who individually saved their worlds and eventually banded up with each other to save the universe. They inspired her and brought light into her life. And though she admired the heroes, her favorite character was among the villains. He was a tragic yet wildly clever, mischievous, and charismatic character, who got the short end of the stick in life and wound up making the wrong choices. He fell and went down the wrong path. More tragedy and loss followed the villain as he fell, but eventually as the movies progressed he started to pick himself back up. Unfortunately, just as he seemed to have a chance to fully redeem himself, he died a heroic death, sacrificing himself for the sake of his brother.”

You pause as your eyes become distant, “His neck was snapped, shattering the girl’s heart because she had grown to love him more than she could’ve ever imagined. The girl cried in theaters when she watched it happen because that’s all she could do... Watch him die without a happy ending. After all, he was just a fictional character and there was nothing she could do.”

Tears stain the edges of your eyes but they refuse to fall. “A little over a year later the girl died herself. She got hit by a drunk driver. But this isn’t the end of the tale. The girl’s soul somehow crossed time and space into an alternate universe into the body of a young bride who had tripped and hit her head walking down the aisle after the wedding. The soul of the bride vanished, leaving the girl’s soul to completely inhabit the body and subsequently her life. When the girl woke up in this new body, she soon realized she was in a universe where the fictional universe of superheroes she loved so much turned out to be real. And that she was miraculously married to her favorite character several years before the events of the first movie he appeared in. Immediately accepting her circumstances, the girl vowed to herself she would change his fate. He would get his happy ending this time, even if she had to move Heaven and Earth to do it. She had a rough starting point though.”

You chuckle bittersweetly, “Apparently, the original owner of the body was brought into his life as a spy by his father, and her favorite character hated and distrusted her for it. So she first had to establish trust. It took a bit of time and a lot of effort, but the girl finally gained his trust and he treated her like an ally. She did her best to play that part even to the extent of burying her feelings for him and not expecting anything in return.”

A lump rises in your throat but you force it back down, “Unfortunately, the girl knew that just being by his side and trying to make him happy wasn’t enough. External tragedies still loomed in the future that would hurt him and those he cared about, so she started implementing her strategies for dealing with them. Using her knowledge of the future from the movies, the girl made a deal with his father to solve his problem with his oldest child in return for free passage to the realm of her origin. Once there, she sought out and gathered the heroes who could help her protect him and the universe he lived in. The girl’s goal remained the same throughout the years, and she is still working towards that goal to this day.”

Finishing your tale, you let him process everything in silence. Your heart beats rapidly as your anxiety sinks in. The silence is slowly becoming suffocating as you wait. Eventually you can’t stand it anymore, “Do you believe me? It may sound out there but it also explains everything. I knew you because I already knew your character. I could reject your father because I knew his secrets. It explains why I had the motivations I had from the beginning. I knew the song from Brave because I was originally a human from a universe that was ahead of this time. I knew about and gathered the others because they were characters in the movies I watched. It explains how I knew about Hela and the Infinity Stones. It’s why I work so hard. I-”

“You’re right, it explains everything,” Loki cuts you off. “And it’s such an absurd explanation that you told with such conviction and without hesitation that you can’t possibly be lying,” He swallows, “but it’s a lot to take in,” He says taking a step back.

You purse your lips and nod slowly.

“I-I’ll leave you be then,” You tell him, turning away.

“No, don’t!” His eyes widen as he reflexively snatches your wrist.

You look back at him to find his expressionless mask has broken. His face is pained and his eyes are full to the brim with fear. You remember that less than an hour ago he thought you were kidnapped; you had disappeared right before his eyes. You know if the situation was reversed you’d be the one wearing that expression.

“I just got you back. Don’t leave,” He begs in his desperation to keep you close.

You nod silently, reassuring him that you’ll stay, “I’ll just get ready for bed then...”

Loki lets go of your wrist, accepting your alternative. His eyes linger on you until your silhouette disappears into the bedroom. He sighs mentally drained... he still has a lot to mull over.
__

Loki quietly enters the bedroom a while later. His gaze settles on your sleeping figure laying in the bed. He’s both relieved and surprised you're actually resting; for almost two months you refused to sleep unless he stayed in the room and kept watch. Understandably so, you flared up often in your sleep. He didn’t exactly understand why though. Why didn’t you just take the gloves off? Why wasn’t this a problem before?

Switching clothes into something more comfortable, Loki sits down on the bed next to you. He reaches out and gently brushes your hair behind your ear. Your eyes flutter open startled by the touch.

“Sorry,” He apologizes softly for waking you.

“Are you angry with me for not telling you?” You ask quietly, looking up at him. Head still resting on the pillow.

“No,” He sighs. “It’s not an easy thing to come out and admit to people. And if I had the potential to become the villain you said I was in your universe then I understand why you wouldn’t tell me from the beginning. I might have very well tried to manipulate you and your foreknowledge into fueling my schemes.”

“That’s very logical of you...but I understand if your emotions are a bit bitter towards me. You should know though... I don’t blame you for taking the villain route in my universe. I don’t think less of you because of your darker tendencies; I understand why you took the path you took,” You tell him before cracking a small smile, “And if it helps, you were one of the most beloved characters. One of the top fan favorites. Definitely surpassed Thor in those terms even in his own movies. Don’t tell him that though. There were even rumors of you getting your own television series.”

“I thought I died?” He raises a skeptical eyebrow.

“Well, they sort of retconned your death in the last movie I saw before I died,” You answer him. “They did a lot with time travel, and the past version of you from before the start of your redemption escaped off with the Space Stone into an alternate reality. The studios didn’t really want to give up on cashing in on one of their most popular characters just yet. Plus, a lot of fans were upset they killed you off. Myself included.”

Loki cracks a similar smile back but says nothing as he runs his thumb back and forth across your cheek.

“If you have questions, you can ask them,” You say, seeing through his veil of silence.

He nods and sighs, “Very well. To clarify, you’ve been the you on the inside, inside Kara’s body for how long?”

“Pretty much since the beginning of your marriage,” You reassure. “I only missed the wedding. I was in Kara’s body by the time it woke up the first night in our chambers.”

“So when you said Thor and Sif’s wedding was your first wedding...”

“I was telling the truth. The original Kara was the one by your side at the alter,” You confirm.

“And the real reason you knew about me letting the frost giants into the vault... was it something that happened in the movies?” He asks.

You nod, “Yes. In Thor’s first movie. You successfully ruined Thor’s coronation, but it was the start of your downfall. It’s why I freaked out so much when you did it in this universe. I thought I failed to change anything... I thought I failed you...”

“I’m sorry...” He whispers regretfully.

“I know,” You smile softly. “And I’ve forgiven you. I still was able to prevent the worst-case scenario. And as I’ve said before, I understand why you did it. I don’t place the blame solely on your shoulders.”

“I don’t deserve you,” Loki murmurs.

“Don’t say that. Everyone deserves people who love and care for them.”

“Yes, but not everyone is as lucky as I am to have someone like you,” He smiles softly, leaning down and planting a gentle kiss on your forehead.

Your face is completely flushed as he pulls away. Your heart fluttering uncontrollably. “I-I’d have to say the same about having you. Loki, even in my original universe you lit up my bleak life. And crossing over, you drew out my confident and playfully mischievous sides that were buried in my previous life. I like the version of me better that’s by your side. You allow me to be a better me.”

Loki’s heart skips several beats. Never before had he dreamed someone would tell him that he made them better. Few viewed his mischief as a positive influence. Loki falls for you all over again. It takes every fiber of his being and mental strength not to kiss or touch you in a way that would lead to something more. You are finally resting; you need to rest.

“Does anyone else know the truth about you?” He inquires, clearing his throat and swallowing his carnal desires.

“Four- no, I guess technically six other people know,” You confess much to Loki’s disapproval.

He frowns, “You told six other people before you told me?”

“I only told four people. The last two sort of just knew on their own,” You reply sheepishly. “I told Fury, Steve, Tony, and Sif when I first came to Midgard and assembled the Avengers.”

“Sif knew this whole time?” Loki questions, eyes widening slightly. “Guess that explains why she was quick to cut you off when you woke up with amnesia. Still acting as your guardian after all these years,” He sighs, frowning a little. “And I always knew Stark knew something about you that I didn’t.”

“Were you jealous?” You tease, smiling and biting your lip.

“I don’t want to answer that,” He dismisses the topic to which you lightly giggle and let him off the hook. He rolls his eyes in exasperation, “And the other two people?”

“Ah, yes. Dr. Strange and the Ancient One,” You remark, receiving a quizzical look from him. “They’re sorcerers from Earth who keep track of the more mystical happenings in the world. They’re actually the ones who took me earlier,” You tell him to which his expression switches to one of alarm. You quickly try to abate his fear, “Don’t worry! They’re good guys. Dr. Strange is one of the heroes from the movies. They just wanted to talk since my existence is an anomaly in this universe. They sent me back as soon as we were done civilly discussing things.”

“They couldn't have just asked to meet you normally?” He frowns.

“Their way was easier and faster,” You reply in their defense. “And if they ever summon me in the same manner again you don’t have to worry. Oh, I should mention I also got their cooperation with dealing with Thanos. So the whole thing turned out fortuitous!”

“I don’t know whether to be relieved or annoyed,” He exhales exasperated.

“Relieved,” You suggest your bias leaning. You chuckle nervously before smiling warmly up at him.

Loki’s expression grows serious in stark contrast, “One final question...” He pauses almost as if he’s too nervous to ask it. “Is there anything else you’re keeping from me?”

Your smile fades and you nod, “Yes. And I promise I’ll tell you. Just not here... Tomorrow we’ll return to Asgard and head to the vault. The truth lies in there, and it’s probably better if I show you rather than just tell you.”

“I get the sense I’m not going to like whatever you’re still hiding,” He replies, parsing through your solemn tone and expression.

“Probably not...” You honestly admit. “But I’m done hiding the truth from you. You have the right to know it... unless you prefer to remain in ignorance. It probably would trouble you less to do so.”

“You and I both know my curiosity won’t be satiated with blissful ignorance,” He responds frankly.

You softly grimace, staring up at him. You look like you’re about to cry on his behalf.

“Darling, don’t trouble yourself with the matter tonight. We’ll deal with it tomorrow,” He promises. “Go back to sleep,” He encourages, standing up.

“Don’t go!” You’re the one to beg this time, snatching his fingers before he can walk off.

He chuckles softly, “I’m only going to the other side of the bed. I’m not leaving.”

You nod registering that you understood as you lazily drop your hand. You are exhausted from not sleeping for several days. Your eyes flutter shut as your mind winds itself back down, body yearning for the rest you deprived it of.

“Good night, Darling,” Loki whispers.

Chapter Text

The air was crisp and cool as you and Loki arrive back on Asgard the next morning. Your anxieties have you on edge, creating the not-so-fun kind nervous butterflies in your stomach. If Loki hadn’t forced you to eat breakfast before you left you probably wouldn’t of eaten. You feel nauseous... though some of that probably isn’t from your anxiety.

“Are you not going to talk to me until we get there?” Loki asks as the two of you walk through the corridors of the palace. He tries to sound lighthearted since it’s obvious how you’re feeling right now. “Is whatever it is that bad?”

“Yes and no,” You sigh, interlacing your fingers with his. You’re unable to meet his eyes, “For me, it’s not a problem. It’s you and your reaction that worries me. You’re probably going to view things negatively even if I don’t. It’s going to be a hard pill for you to swallow and it will justifiably hurt. I’m sorry...”

Loki softly clicks his tongue. His attempt to lighten the mood failed miserably. It takes everything in him to remain calm, and your words brought him little comfort or help. A lump rises in his throat and stays lodged there.

“Open the doors,” Loki commands the guards as soon as the two of you drew near to the vault.

They nod and obey the order, stepping aside as the both of you enter. Taking a deep breath, you lead Loki by the hand over to the Casket of Ancient Winters.

“The Jotun relic?” He questions eyeing you skeptically.

You nod pursing your lips, “Touch it.”

The look of confusion lingers on you for a moment. Closing his eyes for a moment as he draws a sharp breath. His eyes flash back open and he turns to do as you instructed.

“Don’t!” A voice booms out just before Loki’s fingers are about to reach the relic.

“Odin!” Frigga chastises sharply, trailing immediately behind him.

“You’re overstepping your bounds, Kara,” Odin ignores her.

“He deserves to know! He has the right to!” You snap back angrily in defense.

“You knew?” Frigga eyes you in surprise. “For how long?”

“Since the beginning,” You answer her honestly. You guess Odin hadn’t told her then.

Frigga purses her lips, though her expression softens as her gaze momentarily lingers on you. Almost as if she’s relieved to find that out. She turns back to Odin. “We can’t keep hiding this. Why can’t you see that? I’m sorry, love. But I’m with her on this one.”

“Frigga!” Odin hisses.

“He’s not a tool!” You interject. “I know what you planned to use him for but before any of that, he’s your son. You created this problem and yes, it will have consequences. But if you truly love him as you say you do then you’ll let him know the truth.”

“I don’t need a lecture from you on how to love my son! I’m doing this to protect him!” Odin snaps at you. He opens his mouth to say more but is cut off.

“So this is what all the fuss is about?” Loki croaks.

All three pairs of eyes snap to him. You all watch as his skin slowly turns blue and his eyes become blood red.

“I’m not Asgardian, am I?” He shutters in agony, shattering the hearts of those who heard him. “I- I’m a monster? This whole time I’ve been living a lie?” His eyes snap to Odin. His voice cracks bitterly, “I never stood a chance, did I? I could never be Thor’s equal.”

“That’s not true!” Frigga steps forward with an outstretched hand but Loki immediately flinches away. She steps back, recoiling her hand, “Loki, adopted or not your our son. My baby. I love you no less than any of my other children.”

“Unfortunately, that can’t be said about everyone in this room now can it?” Loki bites back, eyes flickering to Odin. “You should’ve told me from the beginning! At least then I wouldn’t have had to waste my childhood chasing after a stupid fantasy! You told me I was worthy of being King! Why did you lie to me!?”

“Loki, I-,” Odin starts.

“No! On second thought I don’t want to hear your excuses!” He shouts, voice ringing with anguished hurt and anger. “I- I- I need some time to think,” He stammers, grabbing your wrist and backing away.

Loki leaves his parents with his lingering expression of pained betrayal as he vanishes with you in tow.
__

Putting up a magical barrier around the area, Loki locks the two of you inside your chambers- and subsequently everyone else out. He drags you over to the couch, pulling you down with him onto his lap as he sits.

“Loki,” You say achingly. “I-”

“No, don’t say anything,” He shuts you down, wrapping his arms around your waist and gripping you tightly to his chest as if you were an anchor. “I don’t want to hear it.”

His blue skin fades as his eyes blink back to their normal emerald hue. Tears roll down his cheeks as he stares off at nothing in particular in the distance.

Turning your gaze away, you nestle into his chest. If Loki needs time you will give it. Your heart aches, hurting for him. You wish you had the magic words to make it all better, but those words simply didn’t exist. This is something Loki has to accept in his own terms. You can’t take his pain away for him no matter how much you wish you could.
__

Loki held you in silence for what must have been hours though you aren’t very sure. But you let him do so without objection. If holding you in his arms is what he needed then there’s nothing else in the universe that is more important.

“Am I a monster?” Loki breathes breaking his long-held silence.

You turn in his arms to look at him. His skin had reverted back to blue and you hadn’t even noticed- lost in your own thoughts. You plant a soft, drawn-out kiss on his lips as Loki watches unmoving. Pulling away, you shake your head, “What makes a monster isn’t their race. Asgardians, Jotuns, Humans... all of them have the potential to become monsters, but none of them are born one. They become a monster based on the choices they make.”

“But I have the potential to be one?”

“Just as much as anyone else.”

“But I’ve taken the villainous path before. You said that was the case in your universe,” Loki murmurs as a fresh set of tears escapes down his face.

“Loki, villain doesn’t equal monster,” You gently tell him, brushing the back of your palm against his ice-cold cheek and letting it rest there, “All monsters are villains but not all villains are monsters. Some villains are just tragic characters who want the world to hurt just as they do. Villains are not beyond redemption if they seek it out. Never once in my past life, even at the height of your villainy, did I consider you a monster. Yes, you were accountable for your wicked choices, but you were never a monster.”

Loki ineffectively chokes back tears, “What are my origins? How did I end up on Asgard?”

You bite your lip then sigh, “You were abandoned as a baby by your birth father, Laufey, King of the frost giants because you were much smaller than the average Jotun baby. In the midst of fighting Laufey, Odin found you. When he picked you up, you smiled up at him and changed your skin to match his. Personally, I think even as a baby- right from the start- you were trying to get him to love you. Odin subsequently brought you home to Asgard where you were raised alongside Thor. He hoped to one day have you ascend the throne of Jotunheim in place of Laufey, so that both realms would be united ‘peacefully’.”

“He should have just told me,” His voice cracks, heart aching with great pain.

“He should have...” You agree solemnly. You purse your lips, “...but I’ll admit that part of why he hid the truth was for your sake... so you didn’t grow up feeling different from everyone else,” You take a deep breath, “I’ll be honest, I think your father, Odin, is a godawful parent. Just the absolute worst at times. And not just to you. But... I do think deep down there’s a part of him that genuinely loves you. And you can’t deny Frigga loves you. She’s your true mother, Loki. Biological or not, her love for her children is not fractured like your father’s. Please don’t think otherwise.”

Loki blinks and more tears escape. He just wished the aching in his heart would stop. “Why didn’t you tell me the truth sooner?” He turns the matter on you.

“I-,” You look away ashamed. You force yourself to look him back in the eyes though before you continue. It’s a valid question, and he deserved your complete honesty, “I didn’t know how to. It’s not exactly an easy thing to reveal. And quite frankly I was scared to. Finding out your true origins only sped your downward spiral in the movies. I’m so sorry...”

Dropping his hold on you, Loki pulls away. “You’re free to go,” He says, dismissing you.

Getting up you exchange a silent, serious look with him. A lump rises in your throat and you nod, turning to leave. He doesn’t stop you, instead purposefully adverting his gaze away. As you reach the chamber door, the magic barrier slowly starts to deconstruct itself. Quietly twisting the knob, you leave him to his lonesome as he desires.

Chapter Text

A weak-sounding knock came on her door. The former queen’s eyes snap up from the mug she had been holding as she sat alone in her thoughts.

“Come in,” She replies, her voice sounding more hoarse than she anticipated. Frigga bites her lip and sighs, “Come in,” She repeats a little louder and clearer this time.

You step into her study, eyes locking immediately with hers as you enter. The two of you share the same look on your face. You figured as much, “Can we talk?”

She nods, smiling softly through her pained expression, “I’d like that. Come sit,” She beckons to the seat across from her. Upon you curling up in that seat, she summons a hot beverage for you as well.

“Thanks,” You murmur, gripping your palms securely around the mug.

“How’s he doing?” She inquires solemnly.

“Not great,” You exhale honestly, tears brimming at the edges of your eyes. “But I’ve seen him have a worse reaction to finding this out,” You pause, mouth lingering open. “I’m not Kara,” You confess to her.

“I know,” Frigga replies, causing your eyes to widen in surprise.

What? She knew?

“F-for how long?” You stammer out, stomach churning.

“Since the beginning,” She echos your response from earlier. Her smile somehow becomes gentler. “I sensed her soul leaving and your soul transferring into her body the moment it happened.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?” You ask shocked.

“I didn’t know why, but the new soul had the best intentions towards my son,” She answers you. “He needed what you wanted to give him. Love, stability, companionship, someone in his corner. So I decided to let sleeping dogs lie. It’s not a decision I regret either. I’m proud to have you as my daughter-in-law.”

A single tear escapes, streaming down your cheek. A warmth spreads across your chest. By stars you loved her, “Thank you,” You tell her breathlessly, blinking back the rest of your tears as she takes a sip of her drink.

“So you’ve seen my son react to finding out his origins before?” Frigga parses through her words from earlier.

You nod as you sip your own drink, “I was originally a human from a different universe that was ahead of this time and where everything that’s real in this universe was a large scale piece of fiction- a series of several Midgardian films to be exact,” You tell her. She intently listens without questioning interruption. “In the films... Loki played the role of Thor’s villain, spiraling tragically down the wrong path after discovering he’s a frost giant. Loki lost his way for a while, but as the films progressed it did seem like he had a chance of redemption. However... he ended up dying... sacrificing himself for Thor. He never truly got a happy ending and it really, really sucked. So when I woke up in this universe several years before the events of the first film, I decided to use my knowledge from the films to try to change Loki’s future.”

“That definitely explains a lot,” Frigga sighs upon you finishing your explanation.

“You believe me?”

“I don’t have a reason not to,” She replies. An affectionate smiles dons her lips. “As I said, I knew you weren’t the original Kara all along. Makes it easier to believe.”

“You took that much better than anyone else I’ve told,” You remark with a soft chuckle.

“Well, when you’ve been around as long as I have a lot less surprises you. Besides, I was already aware of the existence of a multiverse. What you claim is feasible,” She tells you.

“You were awesome in the movies but meeting you in real life is so much cooler,” You can’t help but geek out over your mother-in-law, causing her to smile with a soft blush. Your own smile fades a bit, “There’s something else I need to tell you...”

“Oh? What is it?” Frigga inquires, tilting her head slightly. Her eyes blossom with concern.

“I’m pregnant,” You blurt out anxiously. She’s the first person you’ve told.

The former queen’s eyes widen in delighted surprise. “Congratulations, my dear!” She pauses, examining your expression. “By the look on your face, I’m assuming my son doesn’t know yet.”

You shake your head, “You’re the first person I told. I just found out yesterday myself. Then all this happened, and it didn’t really seem like a good time to spring it on him,” Your speech becomes more flustered as you continue. “We haven’t really discussed having kids. So I don’t know how he’ll react when I do tell him. And technically the child will be half-frost giant which is completely fine with me, but what if Loki doesn’t come to terms with himself- at least not positively? He wouldn’t reject the child over that, would he? I- I- I don’t know what I’ll do if he does. I- I- I-”

Frigga places down her drink before getting up and removing yours. She places her hands on your shoulders and stares down at you lovingly, “Kara, take a deep breath and calm down,” She speaks slowly and soothingly, “Everything is going to be alright. I promise. Don’t let the fear of the unknown overshadow this joyous thing. And remember, I’m by your side. You don’t have to face this alone.”

You reach up and hug her. Smiling softly, Frigga hugs you back.

“You’re going to be alright, darling,” She whispers in your ear.
__

“Um, Thor,” Sif calls out, eyes widening as they remain trained out the living room window. “Someone just landed via the Bifrost.”

Thor comes out of the bedroom, “What?” He asks a second before a rapid knock comes on the cabin door.

Sif moves first to open it. To both of their surprise, a distraught-looking Loki stands at their doorstep.

“What happened?” Sif immediately inquires in insane worry. “Is Kara okay?”

Loki's eyes drift to meet hers, “Kara’s fine. The issue is me,” He croaks brokenly.

Both of them note the redness in his eyes. Loki had been crying. Whatever is going on is serious. Serious enough for him to seek them out on their honeymoon.

“I-,” Loki's voice cracks. “I just really need to see your honest reactions.”

“Reactions to what?” Thor asks deeply concerned.

“This,” Loki says as his skin starts to turn blue. His emerald eyes switch to blood-red as the air in the room becomes significantly chillier.

The couple’s eyes widen as they witness the transformation.

“Apparently I’m adopted,” Loki chuckles bitterly.

“Oh, Loki,” Sif murmurs, stepping forward and doing something neither one of them ever expected to happen between them. She hugs him and he does nothing to reject it.

Loki shutters in complete shock.

Thor also steps forward, “Asgardian by birth or not, you are still my brother. Loki, this changes nothing between us.”

“E-even though I’m the monster parents tell their children about at night?” He cries in anguish.

“You’re not a monster,” both Sif and Thor wind up replying in earnest unison.

“A monster isn’t loved the way you are,” Sif continues. “Frost giant or not. You’re Asgard’s prince and it’s god of mischief. You earned that title on your own merit. But more importantly you’re our family- you belong with us,” She exchanges a quick glance with Thor. “We love you, and you should continue to love yourself. You’ve always done a great job of that in past- don’t let change. It’s admittedly one of your better qualities even if it does leave you with a bit of an overinflated ego,” She grins up at him.

Sif pulls away and Thor is quick to take her place, wrapping his arms around his brother.

“I’m serious,” Thor tells him. “This changes absolutely nothing between us. You’ll always be my baby brother. And I want you by my side.”

More tears fall as Loki reverts back to his Asgardian form. He isn’t sure what his goal was with coming here to them. Confirmation one way or the other, maybe? All he knew is that this is what he had needed.
__

“Why do I get the feeling so much has happened in the week we’ve been away?” Thor asks from the bathroom as Sif is climbing into bed.

“Probably because so much has,” She replies. “I doubt the secret of Loki’s origins was revealed to him just because. Something triggered it.”

“We can’t leave them alone for one second, can we?” Thor chuckles coming out to the bedroom.

“Apparently not,” She smiles back, though it quickly fades. “It explains your father’s favoritism all these years...”

Thor sighs, sitting down on the bed next to her, “Unfortunately, it does. I don’t like that I’m starting to see these sides of Father that I’m not particularly fond of.”

Sif purses her lips, “I think it’s a natural part of growing up. When we’re young our parents are the heroes of our lives who can do no wrong. But as we grow older and wiser, we realize they’re no more perfect than the rest of us. They have their faults. Being a great king doesn’t automatically translate to being a great father.”

He nods silently processing his wife’s words. “Do you think I’ll turn out like him?”

Reaching out, Sif cups Thor’s face in her hands, “Thor, you are not your father. And because you can see Odin’s mistakes also means you can learn from them,” She grins. “Besides, I’ll be there to kick your butt if you do anything too stupid.”

“That’s my queen,” Thor smiles back. He takes one of her hands and presses his lips against back of her palm, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” She tells him. Her lips linger teasingly over his. “We shouldn’t,” She pulls away. “We offered Loki the couch in the living for the night,” She reminds him.

Thor pulls her back, “We can be quiet,” He whines softly.

“Thor Odinson, you utterly lose all sense of control when I’m pleasuring you. You are incapable of being quiet,” Sif smugly grins before leaning down and biting his neck. A sharp moan escapes his lips, proving her point, “I’d have to gag you.”

“Well...” Thor breathes, yearning desperately. “I wouldn’t be opposed.”

Sif’s eyes immediately snap up to his, “Are you serious?”

Thor nods, face flushed and desperate.

“You naughty boy,” Sif smirks.

Chapter Text

Letting time pass by, you don’t return to your chambers until the sun has fallen. Quietly creaking open the door, you peek your head inside, but Loki is nowhere to be seen. Progressing further in and shutting the door behind you, you realize that he’s not there at all. Your breathing sharpens as your heart and mind anxiously race.

“No, calm down,” You warn yourself. “Just because he’s not here doesn’t mean the worst-case scenario was caused. You’ve run away from here before yourself to be alone to think. He’s probably just doing the same...”

You plop down on the edge of the bed, head falling into your hands. Tears easily roam freely down. Did you screw everything up by telling him? It was the right thing, right? Did you not do enough to protect him? Maybe at the end of the day you just aren’t good enough?

A wave of nausea swells in your stomach. Getting up, you dash into the bathroom promptly getting on your knees and looming over the toilet bowl. Everything that had been building up until this point finally came out. You spent several minutes emptying out every single thing your stomach held, feeling absolutely miserable.
__

“Thank you. I'm sorry I barged in on you guys like this, ” Loki apologizes, as he folds the blanket Sif had given him to use the night prior.

“It’s fine. We’re here for you no matter what,” Sif reassures him.

He smiles softly nodding.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay for breakfast?” She asks. “I’m making pancakes.”

“Thanks, but I should probably head back,” He politely rejects the offer. “I need to get out your hair now so the two of you can enjoy your remaining time alone. Also... I didn’t tell Kara I was leaving to come here...” He guiltily lingers off.

“She’ll understand. Sometimes we need space from even the ones we love most,” Sif tells him. “But if you’re ready then yeah, you probably shouldn’t let her worry for too long.”

Loki purses his lips bittersweetly as he nods in silent acknowledgment. They quickly curve into a mischievous smirk, “I never pictured the virtuous Lady Sif and the pure-hearted god of thunder to be so... explorative... in bed. Though I’m not surprised you’re the dominant one,” He teases her.

Sif’s face fully flushes, “S-shut up!”

“And you were chastising us for showing our love,” He chuckles, grinning. “I can only imagine how Thor must look right now.”

“What were you saying about needing to head home and leaving us alone?” Sif pushes him towards the door, completely flustered.

Loki laughs. He feels a little better after teasing her. More like himself, “I’m going. I’m going,” He pauses as he turns the door knob, looking back at her one last time. He smiles gently, “Seriously though... thank you.”
__

“I want a report of anything suspicious you see to come to me immediately,” Odin orders him. “So please keep a closer eye on her.”

Heimdall furrows his brow, “Is there something the matter with the princess, Your Majesty?”

The Bifrost protector is quite fond of you. You went out of your way to bring him snacks and talk with him consistently throughout the years, making his duties a little less dull.

“She’s hiding something,” Odin replies. You no longer had anything to hold over him. Hela’s existence and Loki’s origins are both now out in the open. The former king could finally start looking into you and your mysterious source of information, “I just want to make sure it’s nothing dangerous.”

“I’m sure it’s not-,” Heimdall starts to come to your defense.

“It’s an order,” Odin interjects sharply. “She has known Asgardian secrets she shouldn’t have possibly known. You can’t deny that that isn’t suspicious. If you don’t find anything by the end of the year then you may drop the investigation, and I will take it as a sign that nothing is awry with her. I’m not asking you to interrogate or oppose her. Simply just watch her more closely than you usually do.”

The guardian purses his lips, falling into submission with the command, “Yes, My Lord.”
__

To his surprise, Frigga is sitting on the palace steps when he arrives. She rises up upon seeing him, quickly running up and wrapping him in her embrace. Loki purses his lips, hesitating for a moment before giving in and returning the embrace.

“I’m back...” He whispers, “Mother.”

A smile cracks onto her lips as the tears blink out of her eyes, rolling down her cheeks, “Welcome home, darling.”

Loki pulls back but still holds her at arm's length, “Where’s Kara?”

“She said she wasn’t feeling well after breakfast and returned to your chambers to rest,” She informs him. “I believe she’s still there.”

He inhales sharply and nods, “I’ll go check up on her.”

Frigga lets him go, smiling softly as she watches him wander off.
__

Sobbing could be heard coming from the bathroom. Followed quickly by the sound of pained upheaval. Loki teleports himself into the bathroom the second he hears it. His eyes widen, shuttering internally, as he witnesses you on the ground hunched over the bowl, crying as your body trembles.

Your eyes snap up to his as you feel his presence. You grimace and open your mouth, forcing yourself to speak through the tears, “Please just wait in the bedroom.”

“Kara, I think-,” He starts to object.

“Please,” You plea desperately, hands shaking terribly as they grip the edges of the bowl. “I just need a moment.”

Looking over your condition one last time, Loki nods silently and backs away. He takes a seat on the bed, biting down on his thumb as he waits. His eyes flicker up to you when you come out a few minutes later.

Not saying a word, you sit down on the bed next to him resting your head on his shoulder. You are still visibly shaking and the tears had yet to dry themselves.

“I’m sor-”

“No, don’t apologize,” You cut him off. “You didn't do anything wrong. This is all me. I haven’t had an episode like this with my anxiety for a long time. It was bound to come around again eventually.”

Reaching over, Loki takes your hand in his, interlacing his fingers with yours. He can feel the tremors coming off of you. “I should have at least left a note.”

You shake your head, finally turning your head to meet his eyes. No matter how hard you try the tears won’t stop falling, “No, you’re fine. I’ve done the same. It wouldn’t be fair to hold you to a different standard. It- It’s just that...” Your expression darkens, “...did I screw everything up? Should I have told you sooner? Was I one wrong move out of place?” Your mental state spirals rapidly as your eyes drop in despair to your lap, “It’s my fault. It’s my fault. It’s all my fault. I wasn’t good enough,” You bite down on your lip, drawing blood.

“Kara!” Loki’s eyes widen. He lifts your chin so that your gaze once more matches his. “Darling, look at me, you’re putting too much blame on your shoulders over the secret my parents kept. Yes, you also knew it, but as you said previously, it’s not an easy thing to divulge. I don’t blame you for not telling me sooner. Especially not when you were trying to protect me.”

He summons a cloth, pressing it against your lip. “A while after you left, I did some more thinking. Then I went to go see Thor and Sif. I needed to know how people who didn’t know my true heritage would react to finding out. Would they still love me or was I now less in their eyes? I think you can already guess the answer.”

Loki pauses as he notices your eyes are still distant and watery. He sighs putting down the cloth. “I’m going to need you to come back to me, darling,” He tells you gently, resting his forehead against yours. It’s then he realizes you’re burning up. He pulls away in concern, “This is more than anxiety overload, isn’t it? You have a fever. Why don’t you lay down for a moment?”

You don’t move. You stopped registering what he was saying somewhere in the middle of him mentioning Thor and Sif. Your vision blurs as your mind grows hazy. The nausea in your stomach churns. You feel the sensation of being lifted in the air then gently placed back down in a lying position, but your mind doesn’t fully register what’s happening as it shuts down the moment your head hits the pillow.

Loki watches as your lungs rise and collapse. Your breathing seems frighteningly weak and slow. Sweat rolls down from your forehead as you shift uncomfortably in your sleep. He clicks his tongue in frustration. He hates seeing you in such obvious discomfort.

He recalls the first time he saw you breakdown with a fever. It then hits him. He stares at his palms, “I thought it was strange her fever broke so quickly back then,” He places a soft hand against your cheek. “Maybe these genes are useful for something after all.”

Closing his eyes, he tries to focus on the dormant magic that had been laying just under surface all along. He channels his inner coldness to his palm. Intentionally trying to break the fever this time. His eyes flash open upon hearing you gasp in relief. He switches his hand up your forehead. It worked; your temperature is steadying.

“I’ll be back,” Loki murmurs a promise as he retracts his hand. “I’m just going to fetch the physician. Rest, darling. We’ll talk when you’re recovered.”
__

“This is a multi-layered problem. You said she was having a panic attack and that certainly didn’t help matters, but overexertion and sleep deprivation seem to be the main culprits behind the fever,” the physician tells him after completing her analysis. “Has her sleep schedule been irregular as of late?”

“More so than usual,” Loki sighs. Since the wedding, you’ve probably only gotten one good night of rest.

“Well, in her condition I suggest you moderate that more closely,” She instructs, eying the prince firmly. “I’m aware that the princess is a very active and busy person, but her workload should be minimized during these months. Her body isn’t naturally strong to begin with. Overexertion could lead to severe consequences down the line if she isn’t careful. For the baby’s sake, I would remind her of this.”

“Baby?” Loki’s attention snaps up from you to the physician.

“Do you guys not know?” She replies, cocking her head slightly in confusion. “The princess is over two months along so I assumed you knew. She is with child, Your Majesty.”

Loki’s eyes widen as he shutters, “What?”

Chapter Text

You groan, shifting underneath the sheets as you stir.

“Careful, don’t rise too quickly,” A soothing voice calls out.

Your eyes slowly flutter open as you’re greeted by a familiar ceiling. Turning your head on its side, you look at the figure looming over you at the bedside.

“Sif?” Your voice comes out a little hoarse. You exhale, mind still in the process of fully waking up. “You’re back early. Didn’t you and Thor have a few more days?”

“Kara, we didn’t come back early. You’ve been out of it for four days,” She informs you gently. “You’ve been neglecting your health too much. Your body took the necessary time to recover.”

“Four days?!” You spring up in shock. You immediately regret doing that as your head starts to spin and your stomach flips.

“I told you not to get up so quickly,” Sif chastises, shaking her head. “Why do you never heed my advice?”

A groan is the only response you can muster.

“I’ve been asleep for four days?!” You ask again, once both your head and stomach settle.

“Yes,” She answers. “We returned yesterday, but Loki said you’d been out for a couple of days. He’s been the one primarily tending to your care, but he had to step out to help Thor in a meeting. It’s been a couple of hours since the start of it. They should be done soon. But in the meantime, he asked me to watch over you.”

A wave of nausea crashes over you. Shoving the covers off, you move to get out of bed.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Sif asks, grabbing your wrist and pinning it down to the bed. “I’m serious. Listen to me this time. You need to stay in bed.”

“I’m going to throw up,” You tell her before breathing in sharply in a desperate attempt to keep things down.

Sif’s eyes widen as she immediately lets go, and you rush off into the bathroom not a moment too soon. She follows in after you, holding your hair up out of your face. You groan upon finishing, slowly picking yourself as Sif drops your hair. You walk over to the sink to wash your hands.

“Are you okay?” Sif inquires deeply concerned. “I- I’ll go fetch the physician.”

“No wait!” You spin around and grab her hand. “I’m not sick. Don’t bother them.”

“Not sick?” She scoffs. “You could’ve fooled me.”

You grimace, “No, I mean I’m not sick, sick. It’s morning sickness. Sif, I’m pregnant,” You tell her.

“I’m sorry, did you just say pregnant?” Sif blinks in surprise. “Since when?”

“I don’t know. Probably around two months,” You reply, gripping on her arm for support as you start to feel dizzy. “I just found out what- six days ago now? And then all this stuff went down. It’s been a roller coaster of a week.”

“I’ll say,” She exhales, helping you back over to the bed. “I guess I should congratulate you then? Congrats!”

“Thanks,” You chuckle, leaning against the headboard.

“Does he know?”

“No... Frigga’s the only other person I’ve told,” You admit, biting your lip. “Between learning the truth about me and the truth about himself... it didn’t really seem like a good time to tell him.”

“Wait. He knows the truth about you?” Sif questions in surprise. “You told him?”

“Yeah, well he sort of caught on that something was amiss,” You reply, seething sharply as you shift your position. “I couldn’t hide it anymore so I confessed everything. Fun fact, I found out that our mother-in-law knew since the beginning.”

Sif chuckles not surprised, “Of course she did.”

“You can’t really hide things from her, can you?” You grin softly.

“Nope,” She grins back. She sighs, knowing the expression on your face all too well. “You want to go see him, don’t you?”

“Yup,” You don’t even try to lie your way out of it. You start to beg, “Please, Sif. I promise I’ll take it easy afterwards. For real this time. I just... I really need to see him. We need to talk.”

She extends a hand out to help you back on your feet, “I’ll be holding you to your word.”

“Thank you!” You beam, accepting her hand. “You’re the best!”

Sif rolls her eyes, “Yeah, yeah, I know. Let’s get you changed first.”
__

You quietly enter his study without knocking.

“Who-?” He starts to ask in annoyance as he lifts his eyes from the book in his hands, stopping his pacing in front of his desk. When he realizes it’s you, he immediately puts the book down, shuttering as he hurries over.

“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” Loki’s voice comes out full of concern as he loosely places his hands on your hips.

Closing your eyes, you tilt your head up and lock his lips into a desperate kiss. His eyes flutter shut as you completely lure him in. You part his lips. His grip on your hips tightens. A moan escapes his throat as you deepen the kiss.

“Kara, stop,” He forces himself to pull away. As his eyes open, he’s confronted with your watery eyes as tears drip freely. His hands fly up, cupping your cheek in one and wiping away your tears with the other. The hand on your cheek lingers, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry. I just...”

You shake your head silently. Your voice unintentionally cracks, “When you left that night I thought I lost you for good. I’m sorry. I wasn’t planning on kissing you. I just... I-”

Loki sighs softly, gently pulling you closer to his chest. “I definitely wasn’t complaining about it. I just want your body to properly recover, alright love? And you’re not losing me. You’ve made me fall to the point where I can’t imagine living without you. I’m holding you responsible for that for the rest of your days, darling.”

You look up at him, cracking a soft grin, “I’m good with that,” You sigh, “Besides, I already promised Sif I’d take it easy. She might literally chain me down to the bed if she finds out I overexerted myself... again.”

Loki kisses the top of your forehead, “You should head back. You’ve only just woken up,” He pulls away, and you get the strange sense he’s putting up a wall.

“Actually, before I do,” You say hesitantly, “I have something I need to tell you.”

“More secrets, Kara? I thought we were done with those,” He teases you with a grin. It feels shallow.

“It’s not exactly a secret. I just haven’t had a good chance to tell you,” You reply uneasily. “I only found this out myself when I disappeared from movie night. So I haven’t known for long, and with everything that happened afterwards it didn’t really seem like a good time to spring on you but-”

“Why don’t you tell me after you fully recovered then,” He surprisingly cuts you off. You cock your head at him in confusion. “Whatever it is can wait till then.”

“Um, I disagree,” You object flat out. “I really think I should tell you now.”

“Kara, I’ve had a lot to process these past couple of days,” Loki deflects your objection. “And I’m still fully trying to work things out. So I’d appreciate it if whatever you have to share waits a little while longer, okay?”

“O-okay,” You reply, feeling a sharp sting of rejection. “I’ll- I’ll just go then,” You stammer, turning to leave.

Loki purses his lips as he watches you go. He knows manipulating your guilt over keeping secrets is wrong, but it is all he had to use to shut you down.
__

“Sif, I’m going to kill him!” You angrily burst onto the training grounds.

Sif sighs turning to her men, “Take five,” She says, dismissing them for a bit.

“What did my brother do this time?” Thor inquires as he and Sif approach you.

“He’s avoiding me. He returns to our chambers after I’m asleep and is gone before I awake- if he’s even coming back at night. Every time I search him out, he teleports away. The only time I’ve seen him for more than two seconds this past week is dinners, when Frigga requires us to be there, and the fundraiser event yesterday we did in town. Both settings where I can’t talk to him privately,” You vent, pacing back and forth in exasperation. “He lied to me! He said I wasn’t going to lose him. How is active avoidance any different from losing him?!”

“Kara,” Sif catches you by the shoulders. “First, calm down. Getting worked up isn’t good for you or the baby. You’ve only just recovered, and I know the last thing you want right now is to end up stuck in bed again.”

You nod, taking a deep breath. She’s right. You need to take your body’s health a little more seriously now. And if you had to spend one more day stuck in bed you’d lose your mind.

“I’ll talk him,” Thor offers. “I have a meeting with him after this anyways so he can’t run.”

“Thank you,” You smile weakly. Your heart throbs painfully, hands fluttering anxiously to your stomach.
__

“Has your wife done something to offend you, brother?” Thor opens up their meeting off-topic.

“Are you that free in your own marriage that you have the time to poke around in someone else’s?” Loki dismisses the inquiry, clearly irritated he brought the matter up. “Maybe Sif needs to keep you on a tighter leash.”

“Did I hit a sore spot?” Thor scowls back. “That was a lot of bite for someone who’s trying to help you out.”

“I didn’t ask for your help!” Loki snaps. “You're putting your nose into where it doesn’t belong!”

“Well, your wife did!” Thor shouts, getting equally heated. “Why do you torment her so?”

“Stay out of it!”

“No, this is a family member problem! You’ve had plenty of time to address matters on your own but you didn’t. So I’m stepping in. Tell me what going on?!”

“Or what?” Loki sneers. “Are you going to punch me into submission?”

“Maybe I will,” Thor answers sharply.
__

“Your Majesties!” A soldier comes running down the corridor. “Come quick! We can’t stop them!”

Sif and you exchange perplexed glances but immediately follow after him. Both of your eyes widen in horror as your husbands are going toe to toe against each other on the training field. Several blows had already been dealt on each brother. Both are bloodied and bruised.

“Keep her back!” Sif orders the soldier, who obediently snatches onto your wrist as she runs off.

“Wait, no! Sif!” You cry in protest.

“Sorry, Princess,” the soldier sincerely apologizes. “I can’t disobey the Queen’s direct order.”

Sif lunges forward, drawing her sword and shield, in between Thor and Loki, “Both of you stop it!” She shouts but it’s too late.

Mjolnir beats down on her shield, forcing her knees to buckle under the immense pressure. At the same time, the dagger Loki threw lodges itself just underneath her rib cage. Both men freeze as a sharp cry of pain rings from her lips.

Your stomach drops in despair. You caused this! If you hadn’t gone to her and Thor for help none of this would’ve happened! They wouldn’t have fought! Sif wouldn’t have gotten hurt! This was all your fault!

You crumple over on the ground, sobbing as your body starts to shake. The contents of this morning’s breakfast spill from your lips onto the pavement.

“Sif!” Thor exclaims in voice etched with his own despair, instantly kneeling down by her side.

Loki swallows guilt-ridden over what he had just done as he stares at them frozen in place.

“I’m fine!” Sif snaps glaring up at both of them. She grits her teeth and pulls the dagger out, tossing it at Loki’s feet. Thankfully the wound isn’t that deep. “What do you two blockheads think you’re doing?!”

“We just-,” Thor chokes absolutely beside himself with guilt.

“It was rhetorical! I don’t actually want to hear excuses!” She snaps again. “Just help me up and take me to the nurse. The wound isn’t deep. We’ll just have to disinfect it and stitch it up. It’s nothing. I’ve had much, much worse.”

Thor silently obeys her, giving her his shoulder for stability so she could walk. He wants to pick her up and carry her, but he knows Sif’s pride would never allow that.

Loki’s eyes wander over, locking with yours. You are hunched over on all fours, sobbing and trembling with an absolutely broken expression on your face. What had he done?

Chapter Text

“I’m so, so sorry,” Thor apologizes as he holds her hand, sitting across from her.

“Just drop it. I’m fine,” Sif sighs, sitting perched on top of the hospital bed after the nurse has patched her hip. Her anger had long since died out.

“I can’t,” Thor murmurs as tears roll down his cheeks. He’s so ashamed of himself. “You’re the absolute last person I wanted to hurt and I did. I can’t forgive myself for that.”

“Thor, I’ve received much worse before,” She tells him. “This was nothing. Look at you, you’re more beat up than I am right now.”

“It’s not nothing!” Thor raises his voice and grits his teeth. “It’s not like you got hurt in battle. You were hurt by family. By me. It’s not supposed to be that way,” He chokes out.

“I don’t see you having a problem with swinging at Loki,” Sif frowns.

“I do, and I shouldn’t have. But Loki can take it-”

“And I can’t?” She bitterly snaps a little.

“No- I didn’t mean like that- I just-,” He struggles to find the right words. “Exchanging blows with your brother is different than with your wife.”

“Can you at least explain to me what even got you so heated? I know Loki’s not in the best place right now, but you...” She purses her lips then sighs. “What’s going inside your head?”

He silently breaks down, tears slowly streaming down his cheeks. Dropping his head, he pulls his hand away from hers.

“Thor, speak with me,” Sif leans forward, lifting his chin so his eyes meet hers again. Her voice is gentle as she speaks.

“Since Hela... I’ve realized just how broken my family was. Before that though, I thought our family almost perfect. Sure, father was rough around the edges but he was a great king. Loki had his mischief, I had my arrogance, and Mother- well, Mother was the best of us... we were by no means perfect but almost, I thought,” Thor’s voice cracks as he rambles, finally spilling out everything in total honesty to her. “But all that crumbled when Hela was revealed. Our realm’s true history wasn’t as mighty and grand as I believed it to be, and dealing with it hurt the ones I loved. Mother was forced to give up on her child, Kara almost died, Loki almost broke completely upon the threat of losing her all while Father ran and hid,” a lump lodges in his throat. It takes a moment for him to swallow it. “And that wasn’t the end of the secrets. Loki’s adoption shouldn’t have been hidden, especially not from him. Now, look where we are. Our family is falling apart and there seems to be nothing I can do to fix it. And if I can’t even protect our family how can I protect our realm?”

Sif drops down off the hospital bed, kneeling down in front of him and taking his hands in hers, “Thor, listen to me. You fixing and protecting the family isn’t something that you have to or should do on your own. The rest of the family has to pitch in for that,” the tears from his face splash against her hands. “And I believe our family is going to be just fine. Yes, Loki and Kara are going through a rough patch, but at the end of the day they love each other and they love us. And yes, your Father might’ve left you to unfairly deal with some of his wrongs but you don’t have to deal with them alone,” She smiles up at him affectionately, “You’ve got me. You’ve got your mother. You’ve got Kara. You’ve got Loki. Fandral, Volstagg, and Hogun. Our friends on Midgard. And it’s not like your father is completely out of the picture. If leading Asgard down a more righteous path and protecting it and the people you love is what you want, rely on us to make it happen. We are all already standing with you. All you’ve got to do is lead us,” She rises, pulling him up with her. “Starting with admitting your fault and amending with your brother.”

“I don’t deserve you,” Thor cups her face in his palms. He rests his head against her forehead. “Thank you,” He breathes softly.

“I think that’s up to me to decide,” Sif grins, kissing him gently. She proceeds to push him down onto the hospital bed, “Before you seek out your brother though, it’s your turn to be patched up. I’m going to go get the nurse. Stay,” She orders pointedly as she turns and leaves.

“Sif, I’m fine!” He calls out but she’s already gone. Thor doesn’t dare move.
__

“Kara, wait!” Loki calls after you as he chases you down the corridors.

You don’t stop running. The tears streaming down your face wouldn’t stop either.

“I said wait!” Loki suddenly appears in front of you, instantly grabbing your wrist.

“Oh, so now you want to talk?!” You cry painstakingly before ripping your wrist away and running down a branching hall.

“Kara!” He grits his teeth, clenching the now empty fist before resuming the chase.

You whip around a corner, bumping into Loki as he once more teleports in front of you. He grabs onto both of your wrists this time. You try to yank yourself away, but his grip is more secure this time around.

“Kara, listen to me,” He begs desperately. “We need to talk.”

“I tried talking to you several times all week,” You sob, collapsing on your knees, forcing Loki to sink down with you in order to maintain his hold.

“I know. I know. I’m sorry,” He apologizes in the most soothing tone he can muster. His heart aches with guilt.

“Sorry doesn’t cut it,” You reply bitterly. “Just let me go, Loki.”

“I can’t,” His voice cracks.

“Yes, you can,” Your eyes snap up to his. “It’s what you truly want after all.”

“What?” He breathes confused.

“I’m losing you,” You cry in agony. “You know about the baby, don’t you? That’s why you’ve been avoiding me, isn’t it? I thought about it and it’s the only thing that makes sense on why your attitude towards me suddenly did a one-eighty. You must have found out somehow during the time I was asleep. Maybe you had a doctor check me over or something, but regardless you knew what I was going to tell you in your study and you shut me down on purpose.”

A lump rises in Loki’s throat, and you take the silence as confirmation that what you conjectured is true.

“You don’t want the child and since I’m bearing it by extension you don’t want me. I’ve lost you,” more tears splash down from your eyes. “So I’ll pack my bags and go. I’ve always said that if you ever wanted me to leave your side I would. So just let me go and don’t make things harder. I’ll head to Earth. You’ll never have to see or hear from us again.”

“I never said any of that! Love, you’re letting your mind jump to all kinds of crazy conclusions,” tears form in his own eyes, falling out as he blinks. The realization that he almost drove you away scares him to his core. Loki drops his grasp on your wrists, pulling you into his chest. “I’m so, so sorry I drove you to think that,” His voice cracks as he pleas desperately, “Please don’t leave me.”

“Then why didn’t you let me tell you?” You shutter in his embrace, gripping tightly onto his shirt.

“I can’t be a father,” He chokes out. “What hope do I have in properly giving a child the love and care it deserves when my birth father abandoned me and my adopted father lied to me and loved me unequally? I don’t know the first thing about being a good father. Not to mention, I’ve already screwed the child over with the Jotun blood running through my veins. They’re going to viewed as a freak because of me.”

You immediately push away from his chest and stare at him, “You’re not a freak, Loki. And neither is the child. Jotun, Half-Jotun, it doesn’t matter. You’re not loved because you’re Asgardian. You’re loved because you’re you. And who’d dare to view the child as a freak when they’ve got the literal King and Queen of Asgard as their aunt and uncle, plus the director of the Avengers as their mother and the god of mischief as their father? The kid’s going to be loved and overprotected in the best way possible.”

“Also,” You continue on your rant, “by your logic I can’t be a mother. My Asgardian mom was a literal monster who abused, selfishly used, and tried to kill me, while my human mom was strict and distant with me- one of the main reasons I developed an anxiety disorder growing up. And if you’re measuring your parenting skills based on your parents’, you should also take into consideration your mother. Who said you only had to take after your fathers?” You raise to him in objection. “Loki, we determine how we’re going to be as parents- not our parents.”

Loki chuckles bittersweetly, pulling you back closer to him and resting his head on your shoulder, “You have an answer for everything. When am I going to learn? I’d save myself a lot of trouble if I just talk to you first.”

“It’s alright,” You automatically switch to comforting him. “It would be a bit hypocritical of me to stay angry at you for avoiding me when I’ve done same in the past,” You murmur softly as you run your fingers through his hair. “I understand your fears... especially when other things are still so fresh in your mind.”

He suddenly detangles himself from you, eyes widening as something hits him, “The baby is freezing you. That's why you wouldn’t take the gloves off and you turned the temperature way up in the rooms you were in,” His expression is horrified and pained, eyes riddled with immense fear. “I- I’m killing you!”

Your hands fly up to his cheeks frantically, “No, no, no. Loki, listen to me. Now it’s your turn not to jump to conclusions. Yes, I was extremely cold because of the baby but it’s fine now. Dr. Strange took care of it. He merged a bit of your DNA with mine, and now my body can take it. I’m fine. Not cold at all. You’re not killing me.”

His eyes fall downcast and he doesn’t answer.

“Loki, if you don’t want the baby at least allow me to give it up for adoption,” You beg, forcing yourself to resign to an option you honestly didn’t want to take. After all, it’s your and Loki’s child. A product of your love. You didn’t want to give it up. You blink back tears trying your best to stay resolute.

He scoffs, “Then I really am no better than Laufey, abandoning the kid because they’re different,” He grits teeth, not meeting your eyes. “Let me think about it.”

“Alright,” You muster out. You drop your hands, standing and quickly turning away so he can’t see your expression. “I’m going to go fetch some medical supplies. You and Thor did quite a number on one another.”

“I’m sorry,” His eyes flicker up to your back.

You nod silently before walking off.
__

Needless to say, family dinner was awkward later that night. No one was saying much of anything. The atmosphere was gloomy.

Frigga takes a long sip out of her wine glass. She isn’t even going to ask why her two sons are covered in bandages and bruises. Not tonight. Besides, she can take an educated guess.

“Loki, can we talk after this?” Thor uncomfortably breaks the silence.

“Talking didn’t really go over well for us today,” Loki replies dismissively as he takes another bite of food.

“I’m serious,” Thor says without a trace of anger in his voice.

Eyes flickering over to you, who has barely eaten anything off your plate and is just picking at the food lost in distracted thoughts, Loki sighs, “Fine. We can talk.”

The tense silence resumes in the room until the end of dinner when Odin excuses himself first. Frigga sighs, putting down her fork and chasing after him. She follows him out into the hall.

“You need to talk and amend with both of your sons,” She calls out to him. “How long are you going to avoid them?”

“Frigga, I don’t want a lecture,” He turns around sharply. “My decisions were made for a reason, and like it or not I cannot change the past.”

“Fine,” She replies, pursing her lips. “But if you’re stubbornness and pride is what you choose to latch onto then maybe your not the man I believed you capable of being. And don’t come crying to me when they chose to cut you out of their lives for good.”

Odin falls silent.

“You may not be able to change the past, but you can help dictate the future,” Frigga tells him icily. “What’s more important to you? To be right or to be loved? You better make your choice soon.”

She brushes past him.

“Frigga.”

“I have listened and adhered to your choices for a very long time because I believed in you,” Frigga stops without looking back. “But I will not follow you down this path,” She warns before leaving him alone in the corridor.

Chapter Text

“After you,” Thor opens the door to his office, letting his brother in first.

Loki silently enters, his back turned as Thor follows in after, shutting the door. He faces his brother head-on but refrains from speaking first.

“I shouldn’t have lost my temper with you, and I definitely shouldn’t have resorted to violence to solve things. I’m sorry, Loki,” Thor apologizes not beating around the bush.

Internally sighing, Loki takes a moment crossing his arms before answering, “Likewise, I shouldn’t have also resorted to violence and taken my frustrations out on you. It wasn’t fair. You were trying to help... I’m also sorry.”

There’s a period of silence between them before Thor decides to ask, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on with you and her? I won’t force you, but I am willing to listen if you need someone to talk to, brother.”

Loki doesn’t respond at first. Confiding his vulnerabilities isn’t his strong suit.

“Kara’s pregnant,” He finally exhales.

“I know,” Thor replies, immediately receiving a frown from him. “What? Don’t look at me like that. She tried to tell you before she told me, but you were avoiding her and she had already confided it to Sif and Mother.”

The younger brother grimaces. Thor was right. Loki had no right to be upset over the matter of his own making.

“Are you against her having the baby?” Thor inquires, pursing his lips. He hadn’t considered the possibility before.

“I don’t know,” Loki confesses honestly. “I can’t picture myself as a father. Especially not now that I’m aware that I’m a mon-“

“You’re not a monster,” Thor sharply cuts him off. “You need to banish that thought from your head and not just for your sake but also for the sakes of the people who love you.”

Loki nods silently- not sure if he really accepted his brother’s words or not. He opens his mouth then closes it before opening it again, “Even if I come to accept that... am I even capable of giving a child the love and care it needs? What if I screw the thing up worse than I am? And don’t you dare say I’m not screwed up,” Loki cuts him off before Thor can get the words out of his mouth. “My wife wouldn’t have to had to literally rewrite our history to prevent me from becoming a villain if I wasn’t at least a little bit screwed up on the inside.”

Thor's expression drops in deep confusion. “Rewrite our history? What are you talking about?”

“Oh... She didn’t tell you that too?” Loki responds a bit surprised. “She told Sif years ago, and I sort of assumed you would be told too after she told me.”

“Tell me what?” Thor asks a bit in alarm.

Loki bites his tongue. He probably shouldn’t have said anything.

“Loki, if there are more secrets in this family I want to know them. Secrets have only been breaking this family apart,” Thor chokes, basically begging him to tell him.

“Fine. No more secrets. You might want to sit down for this though,” Loki gives in. Even if you were to object with telling Thor, not that he thought it likely at this point, he had to side with his brother on this one.

He proceeds to tell Thor everything. Thor taking his advice and sitting about halfway through.

“So Kara’s literally been holding our family together this whole time...” Thor breathes as Loki finishes.

“Basically, yes,” Loki answers. “Us and the two realms, if what she claims is true. Which, given everything, I believe it to be.”

Thor locks eyes with his brother, “We failed you in her universe. I’m sorry.”

Loki shakes his head. “I also made my own choices there. It’s not entirely your... or Father’s... fault. But do you see what I mean now? I’m not naturally good or morally righteous on the inside like you. Even though my wife changed Heaven and Earth to stop me from falling, I still feel that inner darkness beckoning me from time to time. How can I be a father when I’m such a mess on the inside?”

Thor takes a moment to choose his words carefully before answering, “Making the right choice might not be as easy for you, but Loki you are more than capable of doing so than you give yourself credit for. You’ve done it- in both universes. Kara said you were trying to redeem yourself at the end- that you died for me. And Kara could only do so much to change things for you if you weren’t willing to change yourself. I’m proud of the person my little brother turned out to be,” He cracks a smile. “And for the record, I think you’ll be an awesome father. I can already picture you being the ‘cool parent’. You’re totally going to let your children get away with any mischief they’ll brew. Which will definitely be a lot. Any child conceived by the two of you is bound to have a mischievous spirit. Mother and Father are going to revel in the day when your children ruin your anniversary,” Thor chuckles.

“You speak as if we are going to have more when I can’t even decide if I should keep the one,” Loki replies, heart stinging a bit guiltily.

“You’re not seriously going to get rid of it?” Thor asks eyes widening. “Loki, I know you have a say in the matter but that will absolutely crush her.”

Loki sighs, pursing his lips, “I know... Adoption was suggested by her as an alternative.”

Thor wants to object but refrains himself from doing so. At the end of the day, this was something you and Loki had to come to an agreement on. He couldn’t dictate the matter.
__

You tried to think of other things. Important things. Thanos was coming sooner than you anticipated. The Power Stone was still out there unguarded. You had to come up with a game plan. But the tears wouldn’t stop splashing onto your notebook paper. The ink blotches becoming unreadable. You place down the pen and your hands flutter to your stomach.

You bite your lip, leaning back in your chair. You had to get a grip before Loki comes back from his talk with Thor. For his sake, you had to remain resolute. It’s fine. You’d find the child a good, loving home. It’s fine. A family who would love and accept them unconditionally. It’s fine. You could watch over the child from a distance. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine.

“It’s not fine,” Your voice cracks as you lean forward onto the desk, head in falling into your hands.

You hear the chamber door creak open and you immediately sit up, wiping away your tears. Picking the pen back up, you pretend like you are in the middle of writing something.

Loki doesn’t address you as he draws closer, silently wrapping his arms around the back of your neck. Seeking the comfort only having you in his arms brought him. Glancing over your shoulder he notices the smudged ink stains on the paper and purses his lips.

“Kara, I told Thor the truth about you,” He opens his mouth starting the conversation. “Please don’t be mad.”

“I’m not,” You force out in response. “He deserves to know the truth too. Now all the family’s secrets are out in the open. It’s good.”

Loki nestles his head into your shoulder, “You want to keep the baby, don’t you?”

“That’s not fair,” You choke out no longer able to suppress the tears you tried to hide. “Don’t do this to me.”

“Yes or no?” He persists even though he knows the question hurts. He knew the answer, he just needs to hear you say it.

“Yes,” You gasp, hand flying up to cover your mouth as you break down.

“Then we’re keeping it,” He says.

Your eyes widen as you whip around to face him. His eyes locking with yours.

“Are you sure?” You’re almost too afraid to ask, fearing he’ll change his mind.

“I know you. You’re already in love with the child. Something born of you and me. You’d be miserable if I asked you to part with it,” Loki answers, placing a gentle palm on your cheek. “I couldn’t bear to live with you like that. You might even grow to resent me... Again, I couldn’t live with that.”

“Loki, I’d never-“ You start to object.

“Listen to me, darling,” He softly hushes you. “I know my reasoning for keeping the baby is purely selfish and not the right one. But, I love you and that’s all the reason I need.”

You throw your arms around his neck, “Thank you,” You murmur in his ear.

He nods silently, wrapping his arms back around you in return.
__

“Drink this,” Loki says handing you a warm drink.

You nod sleepily, sitting on the couch in front of the burning fireplace in Loki’s study. Reaching up, you grasp the mug in your palms.

“Thank you,” You murmur, eyes following him as he goes back to his desk. They return to the flames as soon as he sits down.

Loki works while you sit and slowly down your drink. Not a word is spoken between you but you aren’t there to talk; you just want to be in his presence. After some time, a plated slice of raspberry chocolate cake appears by your side. You smile softly to yourself, placing down your empty mug and picking up the fork. More time passes and the exhaustion slowly starts to take over, even though you are resisting it as much as you can. Your eyes flutter shut as your mind winds down.

Putting down his pen, Loki stands up quietly pushing back his chair. He walks over to the couch and repositions you into a more comfortable sleeping position, summoning a blanket and draping it over you.

“Good night, darling,” He gently kisses your forehead, “Sleep tight.”

Chapter Text

Tossing and turning in your sleep you just decide to get up. Sitting up, you realize you’re back in your chambers. Your eyes flicker down to the figure laying soundly next to you. Loki must’ve brought you back with him after he finished working. You try to quietly slip out of bed, but a hand snakes forward and grabs yours.

“Don’t go,” a half-awake voice pleas softly.

“Alright,” You promise, laying back down.

His arms pull you into his chest as his head rests against yours. You stay like that for several minutes until you lull back to sleep yourself. When you start to stir again, you’re not sure how much time has past, but the question isn’t really on your mind.

Loki bites down on the bottom of your neck, causing your eyes to flash open as a light moan escapes your lips. Your eyes lock with his and to your surprise, they don’t radiate with the mischievous glint they usually do when he wakes you up like this. Instead, his look is one of desperate begging for permission to go further- almost as if he’s afraid you’d be mad at him if he did.

“Please let me love you,” He breathes, eyes unwavering from yours.

“I’d like nothing more,” You smile softly.

All of his hesitations melt away. His hand wanders to your leg, running along it as he repositions himself to have access further up your neck. The sharp cries and moans ringing from your lips are music to his ears and he plays you on repeat. His lips tear themselves away from your neck and forcefully part your own, swallowing your moan.

“I’ll be gentle,” Loki promises, lips lingering over yours as he gives you a moment to breathe.

Rolling him over, you sit on top of his waist as he blinks in surprise. You smirk, eyes glowing, “Too bad I can’t promise the same,” You say lifting up his shirt and tossing it aside. Leaning down you bite down right between his chest, teasing the now sensitive spot with your tongue.

A sharp moan is drawn from his lips.

“You little minx!” He huffs as you bite again slightly lower down. “This isn’t what I planned.”

“Well, there’s been a change in plans, darling,” You reply, expression mischievously wicked. You tease other sensitive areas bringing forth the cries and moans you desire, “Unless you want me to stop...”

“No!” He whines as your hands move tentatively lower.

“Tell me then, Loki. What do you want?” You tease him further.

“You!” He gasps, his fists gripping the bedsheets as you excite his body’s in the specific ways only you knew he liked.

“You already have me, darling,” You say not letting him off the hook so easily. “Tell me. What exactly do you want me to do to you?”

Loki swallows, staring straight into your haughty gaze. You have him in the palm of your hand. He opens his mouth to answer, “I want you to-”
__

“We’ve got to get up,” You murmur, softly stroking his cheek with your thumb as you stare lovingly into his emerald eyes.

“I’d rather not,” He murmurs back. “It’s not like we’re the King and Queen. We have way less responsibility. Can’t you just leave saving the world to your team and running Asgard to Thor and Sif for one day?” He sees the anxiety building in your eyes and sighs. “Just for one day. That’s all I ask. Stay with me.”

“One day,” You confirm, giving in.

He got what he wanted, but Loki can still see your reluctance.

“How far does your knowledge of the future go?” He asks.

You purse your lips, “I honestly don’t know anymore. I used to think I had a handful of years left. The events of the last movie I saw happened in 2023, but, according to Stephen Strange and the Ancient One, my changing the events and history of this universe has subsequently caused time to speed up certain events in order to balance things out. Thanos was the last villain I saw everyone team up and beat. But it is likely my tampering will cause him to act sooner than the time he did in the movies,” a lump in your throat rises, and it takes a second before you swallow it. “After that... my knowledge runs dry.”

“After we deal with Thanos,” Loki prompts, getting to the real intent behind his question, “will you take a massive step back and live a more relaxed- more normal- life with me on Asgard?”

“Since when did you like normal?” You attempt to deflect, propping yourself up on one elbow in bed.

“I’m serious, Kara,” He doesn’t let the matter go. “I’m not saying you have to give up being director of the Avengers after Thanos is dealt with, but you’ve been living like the fate of the universe is on your shoulders since you came here and-”

“It kind of literally is,” You interrupt a bit defensively.

“By choice it is,” Loki rises, propping himself up to match your level. “You chose to change events and protect the universe. You didn’t have to do that.”

“It would’ve been incredibly selfish of me not to at least try! I’ve saved lives and prevented a lot of hurt- both on Earth and on Asgard!” You raise your voice getting even more heatedly defensive. “I do not regret the choices I’ve made even if they came with a lot of responsibility!”

Loki fully sits up as you do the same, “Kara, I’m seriously not looking to fight... again. I’m just worried about you,” He chokes out. “And I never said I disagreed with the choices you’ve made. In fact, I more than anyone am very grateful for them. But those choices led to making me care about you. So is it so wrong of me to not want the weight of the universe forever on your shoulders? For me to not want to see you living the rest of your life in a consistent state of overwhelming pressure and anxiety. To not want you in a position of constant danger just like you don’t want me in? It’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes, you know? You don’t always have to live your life for someone else.”

“Loki, after Thanos is gone I won’t know what dangers lie out there and how to protect you and the others I care deeply about,” Your voice cracks in response. “I can’t promise you what you asked for. I have to stay on top of things. I might even have to work harder than I do now.”

“No!” He snaps pointing a finger as both of you scramble out of bed on your perspective sides, “You’re reverting to the person you were before you came to this universe and met me. All work and no play; ruled by your fears. You didn’t like that version of yourself very much, remember? And quite frankly, I can’t live with you like this. It’s not healthy for either one of us. If you refuse to be more selfish in life, then I’m going to have to be the one to step up and be selfish for the both of us. Either you promise me right here and now that once Thanos is beaten you will start living your life like the rest of us, or I’ll walk away from everything. You, my family, our friends, Asgard, Earth, my responsibilities. I’ll disappear completely out of your life and live freely as I choose. I might even try out the path of villainy. You’ll need someone to fight after all if you’re hellbent on remaining the universe’s sacrificial savior.”

“That’s not very funny,” You breathe sharply, gripping the bedpost.

“Oh, I’m not joking, darling,” He replies without any hesitation. His eyes are serious. “It would be poetically ironic if the one person you did everything in your power to try to save fell to become your foil all because you clung to the savior complex you’ve been steadily accruing,” A wicked grin spreads across his lips at the amusing idea.

“Why are you doing this?” You inquire through gritted teeth. You wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing you cry because of this. “If this is your attempt of not fighting, you’re doing a sucky job at it!”

Loki sighs, dropping all his haughtiness. “It’s a preemptive intervention. You saved me now let me save you. You’re carrying too much for any one person to bear. And if your dead set on being a mother then you’ve got to think of the child too. If you’re off on Earth, hyper-focused on the unknown dangers instead of taking the proper and necessary time to raise them, how do you think the child will feel? Growing up, I thought Odin had the coolest job in the universe. I looked up to him and his work, but as we both know the Great King didn’t translate into a great father,” He swallows. “You once told Thor a wise king gathers others around him to do the tasks he is incapable of handling himself. Now switch king out with director. You’ve gathered people around you who are more than capable of protecting the realms and the people you care about. But you hesitate to use them to their full potential because you’re too afraid they’ll get hurt. It’s why you barely utilize me beyond strategizing. It’s why during the fight with Hela, you had me hide amongst my many copies. If you stepped back and actually trusted us to hold our own, I think you’d be surprised by the characters you claim to know. You have given us the groundwork to be better and more prepared. Trust in the work you’ve done, and let us share in the burden of saving the universe. It’s what we all signed up for anyways.”

You stare at him, absolutely forbidding yourself from crying. You don’t answer him.

He shakes his head but never breaks eye contact with you, “I honestly don’t want to pull this stunt, but I swear to you I will if must. Please, Kara,” Loki begs desperately, “don’t make me do this.”

“Comparing me to Odin really stings, you know,” Your voice cracks as you turn away from facing him. The tears you had been holding back finally trickle out. You rush out to the balcony for some fresh air.

Pursing his lips, Loki moves to follow you outside. He places a gentle hand on your back as you lean hunched over the railing.

“And wielding the potential of your villainy was underhanded,” You croak bitterly.

He doesn’t reply. Not that you were really looking for a response.

Taking a deep breath, you straighten back up and meet his eyes, “Fine. I can’t promise I’ll never worry and go off the wall because of it, but I’ll promise once Thanos is dealt with I’ll take a step back. I’ll live my life like everyone else, as you put it. But only on one condition.”

“I don’t think you are in a position to be putting conditions into the situation,” Loki protests, retracting his hand.

You crack a small grin, “I think you’ll rather like my condition. It serves what both of us want.”

Loki knows the look on your face. It’s one of his favorites. Your gears are turning. You have a plan.

“Very well, what is this condition?” He inquires, wrapping his hands around your waist and pulling you closer to him.

“Help me assemble a team,” Your grin deepens.
__

“Thank you four for coming on such short notice,” You tell the group as you and Loki enter the small conference room.

“What are you planning this time?” Phil inquires. His eyes flickering around the room at Steve, Shuri, and Valkyrie.

“After much discussion and deliberation between Loki and I, you four are our top picks,” You start to explain.

“Top picks for what?” Steve asks confused.

“We decided that it would be for the best if instead of one director there would be five co-directors of the Avengers. Decisions passed on a majority vote and responsibilities shared,” You answer.

All of their eyes widen.

“You do not have to accept the position being offered to you, but it is an offer given to you four first. If you wish to decline we will move on to our other picks,” You continue. “So, what will it be? Oh, and Phil. I’ve already talked to Fury about this. He also thinks you’re a right fit for the job.”

“You’re willing to subdivide your power?” Valkyrie asks, eying the Asgardian prince standing silently by your side.

“I was never in my position for the power it gave me,” You reply. “My only problem here is my personal struggle to rely on others... to their full potential as my husband put it.”

“Why us four in particular?” Shuri curiously chimes in.

“Each of you has the makings of a good leader, and you are each representative of different people,” You answer honestly.

Everyone’s eyes turn to Valkyrie skeptically. She herself wrinkles her nose, not quite believing what you’re claiming about her.

“Yes, even her,” You sigh. “I’ll explain everything but only once you’ve agreed to the position. So I’ll ask again, what will it be?”

“I’ve followed all your decisions thus far,” Steve replies first, “and I haven’t regretted any of them yet. I’m in.”

“If both you and Fury believe I’m right for the job, then I also trust your judgment,” Phil cracks a small smile. “I’m in as well.”

“Hell yeah, I’m in!” Shuri hops on board. “I am so going to enjoy holding this over T’ Challa.”

“You were Loki’s pick and it shows,” You chuckle, shaking your head.

Shuri grins at Loki who flashes a grin back.

Once again all eyes turn on Valkyrie.

“Who’s pick was I?” She inquires skeptically.

“Mine,” You answer outright. “Phil and Steve were collectively agreed upon then we each chose one other we thought would best fit the remaining two positions.”

“Good. I trust your judgment more than his,” She says. “Very well, Princess. I accept.”

Loki rolls his eyes but says nothing.

“Great,” You grin pleased. “Now that you’re all on board, I’m going to share with you one of the top kept secrets of the Avengers and it’s regarding myself. Steve knows about it, and he’s known from the beginning as well as Fury, Sif, and Tony. A couple of sorcerers I’ll be introducing you all to soon also know by their own means. And...” You glance briefly at Loki, “my family also knows. But that’s it.”

“He and Thor know?” Steve blinks in surprise, shifting his gaze to Loki. “Since when?”

“In light of recent personal family matters, my secret came to light for them,” You sigh. You look at Valkyrie. “You were curious about my sources. I’ll tell you all what they are. Though it may be a little hard to accept at first.
__

“And that’s everything I heard,” Heimdall finishes his report.

“It sounds absurd,” Odin clicks his tongue in frustration.

The guardian doesn’t respond.

“Absurd but it explains much,” Odin muses further. “See if you can find the original.”

“I don’t know what she looks like. She could be literally any girl on Midgard,” Heimdall objects. “A realm much more populous than our own.”

“It’s an order,” Odin denies his objection firmly.

“Very well, My Lord,” Heimdall bows his head and dismisses himself.
__

“You didn’t say anything at the meeting,” You remark as Loki unfastens the necklace around your neck. “Why were you so adamant about going if you weren’t going to participate?”

“I was watching to make sure you actually went through with it,” He replies sounding drained. “That you weren’t just pulling the wool over my eyes and having them pretend to play the part for you.”

He sets the necklace down on the vanity as you turn to look at him.

“I’m not that scheming,” You say, furrowing your brow.

“I believe you could be,” Loki murmurs, reaching up and tucking your hair behind your ear. “Especially when I threatened villainy.”

You sigh, smiling bittersweetly without really knowing what to say in response.

Loki rests his forehead against yours as he leans his arms against the vanity on either side of you.

“Thank you,” He breathes. “I really didn’t want to go with the alternative.”

“I’m so sorry I pushed you to that,” You apologize in response. “You were right, I was slipping back into the person I used to be, and...” You inhale sharply, “I admittedly did develop a bit of a savior complex when it came to you guys,” a soft smile creeps across your lips, “Thank you for being the one to save me this time,” You kiss him, closing your eyes.

He deepens the kiss, wrapping his arms around your waist.

Chapter Text

“Thor, where’s Sif?” You frown, calling out to him as you see him coming towards you down the corridor. “The meeting’s going to start soon.”

“I don’t know,” He answers sounding concerned, drawing closer. “One minute we’re walking down the hall together, the next I’m completely alone. And she’s been acting strange since this morning. I tried asking her about it, but she kind of just brushed it off. Should I be worried?”

You cock your head perplexed, “Um, I don’t know. I can try talking to her afterwards. Maybe it’s, uh... a feminine problem.”

“O-oh, ma-maybe,” Thor stammers. “I hadn’t thought of that. Uh, yeah, I’d appreciate it if you did check up on her...” He lingers off.

“Come on,” You flash him a reassuring smile. “I’m sure she’ll show at the meeting.”

The two of you continue on your path to the conference room. Dr. Strange agreed to make an appearance for your rundown of Thanos. Everyone’s a bit excited for this meeting because of the chance to see the sorcerer. He’s been the talk of the tower for the past couple of weeks. Which you found a bit odd since there are already magic users amongst their ranks.

Thor opens the conference room door for you, letting you walk in first. You quietly thank him before taking your place at the head of the table with your fellow co-directors while he takes his usual place next to Loki and the Warriors Three.

A golden circle appears near where you’re standing. Your eyes flicker away from the opening portal as you catch a glimpse of Sif sneaking in last minute, slipping through the crowd to stand with the other Asgardians.

“Where have you been?” Thor whispers.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Sif murmurs, attention focused on the cloaked figure stepping out of the magic ring.

“Guys, may I present to you Dr. Stephen Strange,” You address the gathering. “The sorcerer. Dr. Strange has already been informed on who each of you are.”

“Is he always addressed by his made-up name?” Peter whispers in inquiry over to Harley.

“I’m pretty sure Strange is his actual last name,” Harley whispers back.

“Really?” Peter murmurs shocked. “That’s... strange.”

Steve clears his throat, and the two boys embarrassingly exchange glances as they hush. You can’t help but crack a small smile.

“Dr. Strange is here to help with a literal universal threat,” Steve announces. “We have picked up intel that a being known as Thanos is coming to collect the Infinity Stones and wield them to wipe out half of all beings on every planet.”

“Is that possible?” Sam asks shocked.

“Unfortunately, very much so,” You respond. “And he’s powerful enough to do it. Fortunately, the only one he currently has is the Mind Stone.”

“But he’s coming for the others,” Strange picks up. “And as I understand it, four of them are under our protection which means he’ll be heading in our direction soon.”

“Four?” Pepper questions.

“Yeah, I thought we only collected the three- Space, Soul, and Reality?” Bruce piggybacks off her confusion.

“The wizard has the Time one,” Valkyrie informs them.

Strange cocks his head as he purses his lips, refraining from saying anything. He moves on, “In addition to being insanely strong and possessing the Mind Stone, Thanos also has a formidable army.”

“Thus, we are going to utilize everyone in this fight,” Shuri speaks up. “Thanos may be mighty, but if we’re prepared I’d say the odds are in our favor.”

“Which is why,” Phil continues, “until he gets here that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. Each of you has a folder in front of you with your name on it. Inside are varied and individualized lists of tasks and training regimens. Review them and stick to them.”

Everyone moves to pick up their folders and starts looking their assignments over.

Loki’s eyes flicker over to you to which you quickly advert your own. You hadn’t told him earlier what his assignment is because you knew he was going to be less than thrilled about it. You were right. He isn’t.

“Question,” Wanda tentatively raises her hand as she reviews her file. “Mine just says ‘go with the wizard’?”

You frown, glancing over at Shuri, “That’s all you wrote?”

“What?” Shuri can’t help but grin. “I had a lot of files to type up. I had to save time where I could. I was detailed on everyone else’s except theirs. I promise.”

You sigh, turning back to Wanda, “Yes, you and Loki will be leaving with Dr. Strange to train with the sorcerers. Wanda, you admittedly have the potential to be one of the most powerful among us. You won’t be alone, but I plan on you being at the forefront of facing Thanos. And for that, I want you as powerful and self-protected as you can be. The sorcerers can help both you develop your magic further, and that’s what I want the two of you to be focused on until Thanos is here.”

“Very well,” She nods, putting her folder back down.

Thor and Sif glance over to Loki who is keeping his silence. They both notice his tightening grip on the folder in his hands.
__

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Loki asks, finally budging from his spot in the conference room the second everyone else is gone.

You sigh as you continue organizing the papers in your file without looking up at him, “You know why. Because you’d object. And believe it or not, fighting with you is not a favorite pastime of mine.”

“Why are you pushing me away?” He purses his lips, trying his best to level out his anger. “You have no idea how long it will be until he actually arrives. It could be months. You’re sending me away from Asgard- from you- for that what could very well be a long period of time.”

“I’m not pushing you away, Loki,” You tell him earnestly as your eyes snap up to his. “That’s not what this is about. And for all we know, it could just be a couple of days. But both you and Wanda need training and preparation- just like everyone else. The two of you just have to do so in a more specialized manner.”

“I’ve trained much longer in the art of magic than that sorcerer you brought here,” He snarls, pointing a finger.

“Yeah well, that didn’t stop Thanos from snapping your neck like a twig!” You snap back, unconsciously crushing the paper in your hands as you clench your fists and grit your teeth. “And Strange isn’t the only sorcerer!”

You click your tongue in frustration, blinking back the tears that threaten to fall.

Loki’s anger fizzles out as he falls silent.

“This isn’t about me trying to protect you from the fight,” You choke out. “It’s about equipping you for it. And giving me peace of mind when you do.”

“Kara,” He draws closer, placing a hand on your clenched-up fist. Sliding his fingers across your palm, causing it to unravel as he interlocks his fingers with yours. Loki’s words are now gentle, “I... So I died at the hands of Thanos? You never explicitly said it before but I kind of guessed,” He sighs, bringing your hand up to his lips. “Fine, I’ll go. But you have to promise me in the meantime you won’t do anything reckless or sacrificial,” He says, placing his free hand on your stomach. “Not just for your or my sake either.”

You bite your lip and nod, “I promise.”

Loki kisses you gently, cracking a soft smile as he pulls away.
__

“Where are you going?” Thor grabs her wrist before she can slink off. “We’re about to leave.”

Sif sighs turning to her husband and best friends who are all staring back at her with worried expressions. She barely made it two steps.

“Come on, Sif. We know you. We know when something’s off,” Hogun tells her. “You know you can confide in us absolutely anything.”

“If I said I wanted to talk to Loki, would you believe me?” She poses the question.

“Okay, something is seriously wrong,” Fandral remarks in shock. “If she’s turning to Loki before us I am more than just concerned.”

“Are you sick?” Volstagg questions. “You look pale. Paler than usual.”

He reaches out to feel Sif’s forehead, but she ducks out the way.

“I’m not sick,” Sif says sharply, receiving even more worried and dejected expressions from the lot of them. She sighs. “Guys, I’m seriously fine. I just have something on my mind and I want his insight. Loki’s not our royal advisor for no reason. He’s wise and perceptive in his own right.”

Thor hesitantly drops his hold on her, “As long you’re fine,” He smiles bittersweetly. “All I ask is... please... don’t create any more secrets.”

Sif purses her lips but nods. She turns away from them, “I’ll try to be quick. If not, I’ll catch up with you guys,” She promises as she walks off, waving.

“She’s really not acting like herself today,” Hogun murmurs, not helping Thor feel any better about the situation.

“Sif will come around,” Volstagg says more reassuringly. “Besides, what man can fully comprehend what’s going on in the mind of a woman?”
__

“Mind if I have a moment of your time?” Sif says, knocking on the open door of your suite.

“What an honor it is to have the Queen send me off,” Loki mocks lightheartedly as he straightens out his clothes. He glances worryingly over to her when she doesn’t sarcastically jab back, quickly picking up on the mood Sif’s in. “What’s wrong?”

“I have a... dilemma... and you’re the only person I know who can semi-relate to it,” She tells him.

“That might be the scariest thing you’ve ever said,” He remarks, crossing his arms.

“Believe me, I’m not thrilled about it either,” Sif replies in light exasperation. She locks eyes with him. “But I’m desperate.”

“Truly,” Loki breathes sharply. “So... what’s going on?”

Sif grimaces, “Loki, I think...”
__

“Sif?” You address curiously, surprised to find her talking to Loki upon returning to your suite.

The conversation between them immediately drops.

Sif smiles softly as she turns and draws closer to you, “We’re about to head out. Just wanted to stop by and wish you good luck on your own preparations,” She wraps you into a hug.

You hug her back. “Thanks. You guys too,” the soft smile on your lips slightly fades. “Um, hey, Thor’s worried about you. He said you seemed a little off today. I told him I’d check in on you. Are you okay?”

She pulls away, holding you at arm's length, and smiles reassuringly, “I’m fine. I just didn’t sleep well last night. Anyways, I should get going. Stay safe, you hear me.”

“Planning on it,” You nod, eyes flickering to Loki standing silently in the background.

Sif smiles at you one last time before letting go and excusing herself.

“Never thought I’d see the day where Sif lied to my face,” You sigh as soon as she’s gone.

“Are you going to ask me what she’s hiding?” He inquires, coming closer.

“No, if Sif’s not ready to tell me herself then I won’t pry,” You reply, wrapping your arms around his waist.

“She’s just processing something,” Loki reassures you. “I’m sure you and Thor will be informed soon enough.”

“Should I be concerned she confided in you of all people first?” You question lightheartedly.

“Hey, you always wanted our relationship to improve. It’s improvement,” He grins, staring down into your eyes. He cups your cheek in his palm, softly running his thumb up and down.

“You’re right,” You chuckle. “I guess I’ll let it slide then,” You grin back, closing your eyes as Loki kisses you.

“How much time do I have left?” He breathes, pulling away.

“Not enough,” You answer regrettably.

“Guess I’ll have to work fast then,” Loki smirks, accepting the challenge as he picks you.

You don’t even bother to object.

Chapter Text

You come out of the magic portal, hands raised as you board the ship, “Please don’t shoot or strike. I just want to talk.”

The weapons don’t drop, not that you were really expecting them to. You remain still, eyes flickering between each of the figures.

“Who are you?” Peter demands to know.

“My name is Kara. I am a representative of both Earth and Asgard, and I came here because I have a plan for defeating Thanos but I’ll need your guys’ help.”

“Earth?” Peter’s eyes widen in surprise.

“Thanos?” Nebula frowns skeptically.

You purse your lips. You weren’t expecting her to be with them. Which good for her, it just means things are happening further ahead in time than you had hoped.

“I think we should hear her out,” Gamora sighs, dropping her weapon first.

“Are you serious?” Rocket looks back at her. “A random woman magically appears from thin air and you trust her?”

“I am Groot,” teenaged Groot adds.

“I didn’t say anything about trusting her,” Gamora softly snaps. “But if what she claims is true then I want to hear her out.”

“If if it helps, you can have Mantis touch me to see what I’m feeling,” You offer.

“How do you know her name and what she can do?” Drax questions.

“We have never met,” Mantis confirms, equally skeptical of you.

“I know a lot of things I shouldn’t,” You answer them honestly. “I will explain everything to you guys, I promise. Also, before you get trigger-happy I want to note that I am pregnant right now so...” everyone else immediately lowers their weapons. You continue, “And I am unarmed myself except for a pair of gloves that can generate fire.”

“You’re not wearing any gloves,” Rocket wrinkles his nose at the seemingly obvious lie.

You light a pair of small flames in your palms, “They’re invisible to the eye. Also, before you think about stealing them, they’re melded into my DNA so they’ll be absolutely useless to you.”

Rocket snaps his fingers in frustration as you let the flames die out.

“Well, start explaining yourself,” Nebula crosses her arms, leaning back against the wall.

“Right,” You nod, getting back on course. “For starters, and I’ll try to keep this short and concise, I’m originally from an alternate universe. One where everything that’s supposed to happen in this universe has already played out. That’s how I know things I shouldn’t and how I know who all of you guys are. Using the knowledge from my previous universe, I have done everything in my power to change history so that certain things aren’t destined to repeat in this one. Thanos successfully collecting the Infinity Stones and wiping out half of all populations being one of the big ones.”

Nebula and Gamora inhale sharply.

Mantis steps forward grabbing your wrist, and you don’t move to stop her. She turns back to the group, “I don’t think she’s lying. I’m picking up strong senses of sincerity and earnestness.”

“Fine. Let’s say we accept this. You said you have a plan to stop him. What is it?” Gamora inquires.

“As I said, I am representing two realms. Between those two realms, I have gathered enough numbers to match Thanos’ army and among them, I have those strong enough to take him head-on, especially if they’re working together. And no, I’m not underestimating Thanos when I say this,” You answer. “The main reason Thanos succeeded in my universe is because we were unprepared for him. It’s not the case this time around. I have also been actively securing the Infinity Stones in different locations.”

“You’ve been collecting them?” Nebula’s frown deepens.

“Yes and no,” You reply. “I have had three of stones retrieved, and I know where every stone currently is. That being said, I have not personally held onto any of the ones I’ve collected and have intentionally separated them. The Space Stone is in Odin’s vault on Asgard. Time is in the hands of some ancient sorcerers who have been guarding it for years. Reality is out in space with someone constantly on the move and strong enough to defend it. The Soul Stone, I had removed from Vormir and is-”

“You sacrificed someone?!” Gamora cuts you off. The distrust in her voice evident.

“Again yes and no,” You try to remain calm in the rising tension. “There was someone who threatened the destruction of my home realm and planned on going on the warpath of universal domination. Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death to be exact. She was just as much of a threat to the universe as Thanos. So, luring her to Vormir, I brought with me the only two people who loved her, and they sacrificed her in order to stop her. The obtained Soul Stone was given to the most technologically advanced people on Earth to be contained and protected.”

The tension in the air slowly diffuses as you explain.

“In my original universe, Thanos obtained the stone by sacrificing you, Gamora,” You tell her. “So my options were either remove the stone from Vormir first or somehow prevent you from ever coming into contact with him again. It turned out I could kill two birds with one stone with the former so I went with that.”

All of them eye Mantis.

“I still believe she’s telling the truth,” She confirms for them. “Her sincerity hasn’t wavered.”

“I guess I should be thanking you then,” Gamora sighs.

“You’ve been one heck of a busy girl,” Rocket comments, “Miss Fire-fingers.”

“I am Groot.”

“Yeah, well, the fate of the universe kind of depended on it,” You chuckle.

“Seems like you’ve got this pretty much handled then,” Peter remarks. “Why do you need us?”

“I need you to help me retrieve the Power Stone back from the Nova Corps,” You tell them. “Thanos will take it from them easily, leaving the planet Xandar in much destruction. So we need to take it back before he gets there, then I want you guys to come to Earth and protect it until we’ve dealt with Thanos. Afterwards, you are free to do with the Power Stone as you like. If you wish to return it to the Nova Corp then by all means do so. Earth already has two of them and Asgard has one, so I’d actually prefer it if it didn’t stay on either realm. Your services will also be handsomely rewarded.”

“That’s motivation enough for me,” Rocket surprisingly complies first.

“If there’s a chance of taking that monster down, I’m in,” Nebula also concurs as Gamora nods in agreement.

Peter sighs, “Fine. If she’s going I’m going.”

“I am Groot.”

“Looks like we’re all going,” Drax confirms.

You grin, “Then let’s not waste anymore time.”
__

Leaning back in your seat, you close your eyes as your hands flutter to your stomach.

“I’m sorry little one,” You murmur softly under your breath. “After this is over I promise I’ll relax and keep you out of danger. We just need this final piece of the puzzle.”

You start to drift off when the sound of a door opening stirs you back up. Your eyes flash open.

“Why did your group send a pregnant woman into space?” Nebula questions, coming out of the cockpit and eying the hands on your stomach. “Just so we wouldn’t shoot you on-site? Seems rather risky.”

“I sent myself,” You sigh, looking up at her. “I have a knack for convincing people to hear me out and getting them to side with me. That with my knowledge from the other universe makes me the best suited for this. Besides, most of them don’t even know. They might not have let me actively participate in dealing with Thanos if they did... so I haven’t told them yet,” You smile guiltily. “And on the flip side, I didn’t tell my husband or the select few who do know that I was coming out here... Only the person who helped get me to this ship knows both sides of the story. But he also knows my participation in this is mandatory if it’s going to work.”

Nebula doesn’t really respond to your explanation.

“Do you know how long before we arrive?” You inquire, switching the subject uncomfortably.

“A couple of hours,” She replies short and to the point.

“Okay,” You nod. “Thank you.”

She leaves without another word.

You grimace as a wave of nausea churns in your stomach. You close your eyes again, hoping to sleep it off.
__

“I am Groot!” a voice shouts in alarm as a wooden finger pokes your cheek.

Your eyes immediately flash open, “What’s going on?”

Groot outstretches his hand and pulls you up, dragging you along with him into the cockpit.

“We’re too late,” Gamora exhales as you enter.

You tense as you focus in on what everyone else is staring at. Thanos’ ship is docked down below on Xandar. He is already here.

Your mind immediately snaps into director-mode, “The planet still looks intact. For all we know he’s only just gotten here. He might not have the stone yet. Either way, we have to get it.”

“Fire-fingers, we’re not strong enough to take on Thanos,” Rocket responds. “Sorry, but this is more than what we signed up for.”

“You don’t have to come with me. Just drop me off,” You reply, making a split second decision. “The more stones he has in his possession, the lower our chances of success.”

“She’s right. And I’m going with her,” Gamora takes your side.

Rocket groans, knowing that means everyone else is also going.
__

“So we have the legendary Scarlet Witch and Loki, son of Frigga, the Wise Witch of Asgard,” the Ancient One looks them over.

“You know my mother?” Loki remarks, surprised.

“I do like keep a tab on all strong magic users,” She replies, grinning softly. “But yes, I have had the personal pleasure of meeting her years ago. I do hope she is doing well.”

“She is,” He confirms, relaxing a bit.

“Good to hear,” the Ancient One nods. “So, she passed her knowledge onto you and you, in turn, have been passing it on to this one,” She meets Wanda’s gaze before flickering back to Loki. “Pairing the two of you together was more genius than your wife realizes.”

“I’m sure she’ll be flattered to hear that,” Loki grins a little proudly.

“As well as sending the two of you to us,” She continues. “Time is of the essence here, so let’s not waste any of it. Show me your current limits.”

“Ladies first,” Loki gestures to his pupil.

“Are you sure about that?” Wanda grins. “I’m a hard act to follow.”

“I like a good challenge,” He banters back. “Let’s see if you can bring it.”

“Oh, you’re so on,” She tilts her head, eyes and hands glowing red.

Chapter Text

-Xandar-

“Okay, we only have one shot at this so I’m going to need you to listen to me,” You tell them.

“Why should we listen to you?” Rocket questions. “You’re still practically a stranger, Fire-Fingers. You don’t exactly have our full trust.”

“Because I’m pretty sure I’m the only one here with a solid enough plan that will leave all of us alive by the end of it,” You respond sharply. You didn’t have time for discourse. “Time is of the essence here so if anyone else has any further objections voice them now.”

Everyone stays silent, shifting uncomfortably.

“Let’s hear it,” Gamora speaks up.

You nod, “First we are going to break into two teams. All of you guys on one team and myself on the other.”

“Why? So you can take the stone for yourself while we’re left to distract Thanos?” Peter asks skeptically.

“No. The opposite,” You reply, not bothering to take offense at his skepticism. “You guys are going after the stone. You’re the ones with the thieving skills and technology to retrieve it anyway. It makes more sense for you guys to go after the stone. In the meantime, I’ll be the one to head for Thanos, buying you guys time to do so.”

“Do you have a death wish?” Nebula scoffs in shocked disbelief. “A little bit of fire isn’t going to bring him down.”

“I know,” You purse your lips. “But thankfully, I’m more useful to him alive than dead.”

It clicks in Gamora’s brain what you’re getting at, “You know where the other stones are and who’s protecting them. At this point in time, you just might be more valuable to him.”

“Correct,” You confirm solemnly. “So while I distract him, you guys are going to snatch the stone and immediately get out of here. Head to Earth,” You move to punch in some coordinates. “These will take you to my team. Also...” You pause staring at your left hand. Softly sighing, you slip Loki’s insignia off your finger. You slide it across the table to Gamora. “Take this. They’ll know I sent you with this.”

“You’re planning on staying behind?” Mantis gasps in slight alarm.

“Yes. Having me is the only thing that will stall him,” You answer, forcing a weak smile. “This is the only way. So please, help me make it work. The universe is at stake. Besides, like I said, I’m more valuable to him alive than dead, and dying isn’t something I’m factoring in,” a hand tentatively flies to your stomach as you swallow anxiously.

“We won’t fail you,” Gamora promises, picking up your ring and pocketing it.

No one really likes this plan. But you are right. This is the only chance you had.

I’m sorry, Loki,” You apologize in your head. “I’m going to have to break our promise after all.”
__

“Where is it?” Thanos grips the neck of Irani Rael.

The Nova Corps leader gasps desperately for air. Her eyes flicker behind the purple Titan as a figure foolishly approaches, walking in between the rows of his goons. The figure’s steps are slow as if they are in no rush.

“You know, it’s hard for someone to answer you when they can’t breathe,” You address him as you eventually arrive within earshot of them. “Why don’t you try letting her go first?”

Thanos turns to look down upon you, “And who do I have the pleasure of meeting?”

“I’m Kara, first princess of Asgard,” You answer simply, standing a short distance away from him.

“What is an Asgardian doing all the way out here on the planet of Xandar?” He inquires skeptically.

“Diplomacy,” You grin. “I said I was a princess after all. I’ve come to bargain with you.”

“Bargain?” Thanos scoffs as Irani still struggles in his grasp.

You sigh, eying her, “Yes, I was visiting Xandar when you arrived, and I’ve been told I have a bit of a savior complex. So I’d like to offer my life in exchange for those on this planet. Hers included.”

Thanos shakes his head as he amusingly chuckles, taking you as a fool who thinks her life as a princess means she’s worth more, “No deal. I have no use for a princess.”

“No, you don’t. But you do have use for someone who knows exactly where the other Infinity Stones are,” You smile with faux innocence.

His eyes widen, realizing what you’re implying, “You know where the other Infinity Stones are?”

“Yes, and on top of that I know exactly who’s guarding each one,” You add. Your smile drops. “I don’t like to watch suffering. If you’re going to wipe out half the universe once you’ve collected all the stones anyways, I prefer the residences of Xandar dwindled more peacefully. I’ll lead you to the others in exchange for letting them live a little while longer.”

“I have no proof of what you claim,” Thanos reminds you, though you can see the gears turning inside his head as he’s considering your proposition.

“No, but you can get it easily. You have the Mind Stone, after all,” You remind him in return. “Use it on me and I’ll be your puppet. My lips will be loose and I’ll have no choice but to tell you the truth. Besides, this deal is of no loss to you. If I’m lying, you can kill me and go on your merry way. But if I’m not, my knowledge is invaluable to you. Is it not?”

Thanos drops the Nova Corps leader in his hand, approaching you until he’s directly looming over you.

“You’re an interesting woman,” He smiles though you’re not flattered by a compliment coming from him. It is taking everything in you not to show your hatred, “But I don’t believe your intent. What are you really playing here at?”

“The safety of the people of Xandar is a priority for me. I am genuine in that request,” You tell him earnestly. “But you’re right, I have another intention,” You pause on purpose, “I’m stalling you.”

As if right on cue, the Guardians’ ship raises up in the air in the visible distance. It immediately flies off out of sight.

“The Power Stone is no longer on Xandar,” You inform the Titan.

Furious, he raises his fist in the air and is about to swing down on you.

“But I know where it’s going,” You quickly add, sidestepping. “My deal still stands. My knowledge for the sake of Xandar’s limited yet continued full population existence.”

“If you were stalling for the Power Stone to be out of my grasp, why would you turn around and lead me right to it and the others?” He questions just barely holding back from punching you.

“It’s not that I want you to know where the others are. I spent years collecting and separating them just so they wouldn’t fall into your hands,” You respond, taking a deep breath. “But it’s the only leverage I have with you. So at this point, I’m leaving it up to the universe to decide who wins. You and your army or my team protecting the stones. I’m wagering everything on my team’s ability to stop you.”

Thanos purses his lips, dropping his raised fist as he contemplates what you’ve told him.

“Killing me now will only help my team, giving them more time to prepare as you search. I also know everything about them. Information probably just as vital to you,” You push him further, forcing down your rising anxiety. What if you miscalculated your importance to him? It’s not just your life on the line, “Besides, I’m a better bargaining chip alive versus dead.”

He sighs.

“Very well, I’ll take you up on that wager,” Thanos says, outstretching his hand as one of his children steps forward and hands him the scepter carrying the Mind Stone.

I’m sorry, Loki.” You repeat your internal apology as the tip of the scepter is pressed against your chest.
__

-Kamar-Taj-

“Both of you either draw magic born within you or from the magic this universe possesses,” the Ancient One explains to them. “The main difference between you and us is that sorcerers draw their magical energy from the multiverse.”

“The multiverse?” Wanda questions confused.

“There are multiple different versions of our universe,” Loki answers her first.

“Not just multiple, infinite,” Strange corrects.

“And you didn’t tell me about this, why?” Wanda inquires of her mentor.

“It’s a fairly recent revelation to myself as well,” He admits apologetically.

The Ancient One purses her lips, staring off in the distance. “I’m afraid our time is dwindling faster than we hoped,” She snaps back to focus on the trio in front of her. “Fortunately with you two, we are not starting from scratch. With our fine-tuning, you should be able to pick up on drawing energy from the multiverse quickly. Let’s not doddle any longer.”

“One question,” Loki interjects. “And it’s been on my mind for a while. Why did you agree to train us? I know why Kara wanted it. But Wanda and I aren’t your usual charity cases, no disrespect. Even if you’re allied with us against Thanos, I can’t think you’d agree to train two already powerful magic users easily.”

“You’re very perceptive,” the Ancient One smiles softly. “Just like your mother. You’re right. I normally would not train either of you further in the art of magic. But I owe your wife a favor.”

“She changed things for you too?” He gleans from her words.

The Ancient One nods, “Years ago, I received a letter that came from Asgard, warning me against taking on a certain two pupils, Kaecilius and Karl Mordo. The letter also advised I immediately take in Stephen Strange when he arrived at my doorstep. At first, I assumed it was from your mother, but now I think it’s more likely the heads-up came from Kara- given everything.”

“Sounds like her,” Loki murmurs in agreement.

“Your wife is a good woman, and I respect everything she’s been able to accomplish,” She tells him. “If she trusts you with more power then I will do the same. So let’s get started,” She turns towards Strange. “I leave him in your hands. Ms. Maximoff, you come with me.”
__

“Come with me,” Thanos orders as he walks off.

You nod in silent obedience, following a step behind him. The two of you, as well as his men trailing behind you, board his ship. Business was done on Xandar, time for you to uphold your end of the bargain.

“Tell me,” Thanos prompts as he takes a seat on his chair.

Everyone else around him scrambles to take off except for you. You stand staring up at him waiting for your command.

“Where are the Infinity Stones you’ve hidden away from me and who’s protecting them?” He inquires, staring gleefully into your unnaturally blue eyes.

“Reality is off in space, planet-hopping, with a super-powered human named Carol Danvers,” You answer in step with his questions. “She received her powers from the Space Stone, making the Reality Stone most likely the hardest for you to retrieve. I would recommend going after her last once you have more of the stones in your possession,” You hesitate briefly before continuing. “The Soul and Time Stones are on the planet known as Earth. The Soul Stone is currently being kept by the nation known as Wakanda which is the home of some of Earth’s mightiest warriors as well as its most advanced technology. The Time Stone is with an order of sorcerers known as the Masters of the Mystic Arts. They have been protecting Earth from any mystical threats for centuries. The Power Stone is also headed towards Earth in the hands of your two daughters, Nebula and Gamora, and their friends. They are set to land in the nation known as the United States, specifically in the state known as New York, where they will meet up with the main forces of my team,” You pause again, flinching but your mouth continues to spill more information. “Then the Space Stone is on Asgard, locked away in Odin’s vault. Odin’s son Thor is the current King of Asgard and thus its main protector,” You purse your lips as the next words coming out of your mouth feel bitter. “Other Asgardians to note are Lady Sif, Thor’s wife and Asgard’s warrior queen, Frigga the former queen and a powerful witch, and Loki, Thor’s adopted brother, who is Jotun by birth and trained in the magical arts by Frigga.”

“You really weren’t bluffing,” Thanos chuckles, amused by his new information source. “I like you, Princess. After all of this is done, if you wind up being amongst the surviving half of the population, I’ll keep you around. I get the feeling you’ll make a valuable asset. Though I’ve got to wonder... if you hadn’t stopped me from killing you, none of this information would’ve been leaked and your team would have had a better chance. Why didn’t you just let me kill you? Are you afraid of death?”

“Not of my own, no,” You reply, both hands fluttering up to your stomach. “I’m pregnant and do not wish to drag this little one down with me. Besides, someone is waiting for me to return who might just tear the world apart if I were to die,” You smile to yourself. “And I can’t have that.”

Thanos' eyes widen slightly. You really are wagering everything on this team of yours, intriguing the Titan more.

“Tell me about this person and the members of this team of yours,” He orders.

You open your mouth to comply when you’re suddenly cut off.

“Sir, we’re completely out of fuel!” An alarmed crew member approaches the two of you to report. “Footage picked up a young Flora colossus and a small furry Halfworlder, sneaking on board and puncturing a hole in our fuel tank.”

“Did they get away?” Thanos glares at him in frustration.

“Y-yes,” He stammers nervously.

“Kara, do my dirty work for me,” Thanos commands, leaning back in his chair.

“Yes, Sir,” You reply, twirling around and knocking the alien to the ground with a swift kick to his legs. You straddle his chest, pinning him underneath you as you press your palms down. Agonizing cries ring from his lips as your burn through this chest. The flames flicker out when his desperate cries for mercy stop. Smoke rises from the scorching holes in his lifeless corpse.

You stand back up, sidestepping off of him and looking straight back up at Thanos.

“Oh, I really like you,” Thanos smirks, shaking his head and laughing.

Chapter Text

-Two Days Ago-

“Mind if I have a moment of your time?” Sif says, knocking on the open door of your suite.

“What an honor it is to have the Queen send me off,” Loki mocks lightheartedly as he straightens out his clothes. He glances worryingly over to her when she doesn’t sarcastically jab back, quickly picking up on the mood Sif’s in. “What’s wrong?”

“I have a... dilemma... and you’re the only person I know who can semi-relate to it,” She tells him.

“That might be the scariest thing you’ve ever said,” He remarks, crossing his arms.

“Believe me, I’m not thrilled about it either,” Sif replies in light exasperation. She locks eyes with him. “But I’m desperate.”

“Truly,” Loki breathes sharply. “So... what’s going on?”

Sif grimaces, “Loki, I think... I think I might be pregnant.”

“And you’re coming to me instead of Kara or literally anyone else why?” He asks genuinely perplexed. Their relationship might have significantly improved over the years, but it’s not like Loki was ever the first one she divulged news in.

“Because you don’t want to be a father,” She replies, unknowingly inflicting a sharp pang of guilt in his heart. “I- I don’t know how it happened. I was very careful but apparently not enough. And... I’m not so sure I want to be a mother...” She quickly tries to ramble out excuses. “I mean, I just became Queen. It’s already a massive responsibility on my plate. I’m not even the motherly type. Can you even imagine me as one? I mean, come on, I-”

“Sif, you don’t have to justify yourself to me of all people. I’m not going to judge you,” Loki reassuringly cuts her off. “You’re right, you’re not the motherly type,” He pauses choosing his words carefully. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be a bad one... I’m assuming you haven’t told Thor, and I’m assuming that’s because you know he’ll want to keep it. And that you came to me in hopes I’d give you reassuring justification to not keep it.”

She purses her lips, nodding silently in acknowledgment.

“Taking Thor into consideration, the way I see it you have two options,” He sighs. “You can quickly and secretly get rid of it. Hiding the fact that the conception ever even happened. With this option, you better never, ever let Thor find out though. Given his renewed stance on family secrets, he’d likely feel utterly betrayed...” Loki pauses as her expression sours. “Or you can discuss the matter with Thor, and the two of you will have to come to an agreement. He might take better to the option of adoption... just a suggestion. I’m sure we can find it a good home. But if you go with the first route... I swear to you I’ll take this knowledge to my grave. I owe you that much.”

Sif remains silent in her inner turmoil.

Loki clicks his tongue softly in frustration. For the first time, he sees a bit of himself in Sif and this is far from natural, “Look, you’re the one who has to carry it. It’s not fair, but it’s the way of life. I can talk to Thor in your place first. I’m good at reasoning with him. I can talk him down through his immediate reactions and emotions then the two of you can talk.”

“Why did you agree to keep the baby?” She asks, neither complying with or denying his offer. Her eyes flicker up to directly stare into his. “You suggested adoption- why didn’t you go with that yourself?”

He tenses a bit, clasping his hand together behind his back as he exhales sharply, “Because I love her,” Loki answers, chuckling out a bittersweet smile. “Kara actually brought up adoption as an alternative first not me... but only because she was torn between her love for the child and her love for me. I knew that, and I almost went along with it regardless. So very close,” He murmurs. “But Kara’s spent so much of her life sacrificing her wants and desires for me. At the very least I could give her the child...” He lingers off as his thoughts drift for a bit. His mouth opens as he pulls himself back to focus. “But your situation is not like ours. Whether or not you keep the baby is up to you... and Thor. I can’t give you a satisfying answer, I’m sorry. My offer to talk to him first still stands.”

“I-,” She starts to reply.

“Sif?” You call out curiously, unintentionally cutting her off as you enter the suite.

Sif drops the conversation.
__

-Asgard-

“Sif...?” Thor hesitantly addresses as he returns to their chambers later that night but she isn’t there.

Upon returning home, she had broken off from him and the others, saying she had something to check up on. After that, he hadn’t seen her. It’s been over twenty-four hours since.

Thor’s concerns mount. She has never been this elusive before. Has he done something to upset her? He can’t think of anything, but that didn’t necessarily mean there isn’t something.

He leaves their chambers to continue looking for her. Thor basically scours the entire palace until he stumbles across her where he started his search, the training grounds. He must have just missed her earlier.

She hacks relentlessly at the training dummy, slicing it to shreds.

“I think you’ve sufficiently killed him,” Thor says, approaching her. “Show a little mercy. I don’t think Loki’s going to be thrilled if we have to incorporate new training equipment into the budget.”

Sif twirls and swings once more, decapitating the dummy before finally sheathing her sword. Her eyes snap up meeting his; her fury still burning inside them.

“Did I do something wrong?” His voice cracks, completely at a loss for what’s going on with her.

“No,” She replies flatly, starting to walk away.

“Sif!” He cries, reaching forward and grabbing her wrist. “Please just talk to me. It’s clear something is bothering you. Even if I can’t fix the problem I can hear it out.”

Sif grits her teeth, yanking her wrist free of his grasp, “I need some space to think, Thor.”

“Sif,” He pleas weakly. “Please...”

“I’m spending the night in town,” She tells him. “We can talk when I get back in the morning.”

“You promise?”

“I-...” She lingers off.

Thor shakes his head, clenching his fists at his sides, “You know, I expect this behavior from my brother, not you. You turn to him for advice one time and now you’re acting like him?”

“Sometimes people just don’t want to talk about their problems,” Sif whips back around and snaps at him.

“So you finally admit you have a problem,” He retorts.

“Obviously I have a problem! No one acts like this if they don’t have a problem,” She fires back.

“If I didn’t do anything wrong, why won’t you talk to me about it?” Thor asks, basically begging her to not push him away. The concern in his eyes is too much for her to bear so she adverts her own.

“I just need more time,” She murmurs, taking a step back.

“Fine then,” Thor responds flippantly, turning away from her. He starts walking off in the opposite direction. “You know where to find me when you’re done running away.”
__

Under the security of her cloak, the queen wanders aimlessly through the town’s various streets and alleyways as the Asgardian sun set. Nausea churns in her stomach as she turns a corner, making her already foul mood fouler. She threw up so many times today, how did she still have anything left in her stomach? Swallowing hard, she suppresses the urge to vomit right then and there.

A hand suddenly grips on her cloak, jarring Sif out of her thoughts. She halts in her stride looking down at the runny-nosed, teary-eyed boy child staring up at her.

“Y-you’re not Mommy?” He sobs upon meeting her eyes in frightened disappointment.

Bending down, Sif awkwardly stretches out her hand to pat the child on his head, “No, I’m not. I’m assuming you’re lost, boy?”

The child nods as more tears from his messy face splash to the cobblestone pavement.

She sighs before calling out to the person who had been trying but failing to secretly follow her, “Stealth never really was your strong suit. Come out, you know I’m no good with children.”

Thor steps out from around the corner, “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not angry. I would’ve called you out earlier if I was,” She replies not looking up at him. She motions her head towards the blubbering child. “Kids are more your forte. If you’re going to be here, might as well make yourself useful.”

He nods, bending down next to the two of them as Sif retracts her hand back into the folds of her cloak.

The frightened boy starts shaking, tightening his grip on Sif’s cloak.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Thor smiles softly at him, sounding soothing and reassuring. “We’re going to help you find your Mom. Is she wearing a cloak like this Big Sister?”

Hesitantly the boys nods.

“What’s your name?” Thor inquires. “Mine’s Thor and the Big Sister’s name is Lady Sif.”

The boy’s eyes widen as his mouth drops open a little bit, “Like the King and Queen?!” His concerned eyes snap over to Sif’s.

“Exactly like that,” Thor nods with a warm grin. He lifts a finger to his lips. “But it’s our little secret, okay?”

The boy nods, “I’m Fiske.”

“Well Fiske,” Thor outstretches his hand to him. “Tell me, what does your mother look like?”

Fiske takes Thor’s hand as Thor takes a moment to wipe the child’s messy face with the hem of his own cloak. He slowly rises back up, smiling reassuringly as the young boy smiles back.

Sif stands as well, turning to start the search when a small hand suddenly shoots up in front of her. She hesitates, eyes flickering between the expecting ones of the boy and her husband’s almost equally expecting ones. She groans on the inside. Sighing in defeat, she gives the kid her hand.
__

“Ebony Maw, you and the other three head to Asgard. Fetch me the Space Stone hidden away in Odin’s Vault,” Thanos orders through his holographic communicator. “Afterwards meet me on the planet known as Earth.”

“It shall be done,” Ebony Maw answers, bowing his head before his hologram figure fades from view.

Thanos chuckles, turning his attention back to you, “Please continue telling me more, my dear.”
__

-Present-

“Sif!” Fiske sobs, running from his hiding spot and nudging her unmoving body laying in a pool of blood on the pavement. “Wake up, Sif! Sif!”

Promixa Midnight walks towards her fallen foe, twirling her spear up in the air, “I was expecting more from the Asgardian warrior queen. Pity.”

Chapter Text

“Do you remember where you got separated from her?” Thor asks Fiske.

Fiske looks at the scenery around him, narrowing his eyes as he tries to think. Lifting Sif’s hand with his, he points vaguely East.

“That’s not much to go on,” Sif breathes sharply.

Fiske’s eyes fall downcast, sensing the disappointment from her.

“Sif,” Thor chides softly.

She purses her lips. She knows she has an edge to her. Her mood is still foul, and she feels sick to her stomach. A fact she had to hide in front of Thor. But he’s right, she shouldn’t be taking it out on the kid.

The boy’s stomach suddenly growls loudly. Fiske blushes in embarrassment.

“A clue’s a clue no matter how small,” Sif sighs in admittance. “There are some food stalls that way too.”

Thor cracks a small smile as the three of them turn in the direction Fiske pointed. They walk in silence for a little while, Fiske’s eyes darting between Sif and Thor as he observes the two of them. He smiles softly to himself before his stomach growls again. The returning embarrassment flushes over his face once more.

“What are you hungry for?” Thor inquires, smiling warmly down at him reassuring him that it’s okay.

“Meat...” Fiske whispers sheepishly.

The King chuckles, “Simple man. I like it!”

Fiske’s spirits rise, eyes sparkling up at Thor. A warm, fuzzy feeling settles inside his chest.

They reach a street lined with various merchants. Fiske drools a little as the smells wafting from the food stalls hit his nose.

Sif’s eyes flicker, noticing a nearby vendor selling an assortment of kabobs. She veers off course and directs them over by the stall.

“Order whatever you like,” She says, looking down at the boy for the first time since they started walking together.

The boy’s eyes widen, “R-really?”

“We can’t send you back home on an empty stomach,” Thor grins, assuring him.

Fiske nods, turning his attention to the many options that lay before him. He’s like a kid in a candy store as he tells the vendor which ones he wants, selecting a handful.

Freeing her hand, Sif digs into her coin purse attached to the belt around her hips and pays for the meal. The young boy looks at his now empty hand before she turns and hands him the bag.

“Thank you,” He says, looking up into her eyes as he clutches the sack. His eyes widen and shift as Thor drops his hand too. Fiske’s heart sinks.

Thor bends down and picks the boy up, lodging him against his hip. He smiles, washing away all the boy's fears, “Now you can eat while we walk.”

Oh. They weren’t leaving him. The warm feeling in Fiske’s chest returns. Is this what his father would’ve been like? He likes to imagine so.

Sif and Thor continue walking down the lane as Fiske rummages around in his bag. He pulls out the first skewer and starts nibbling down on it.

“We should check the town square,” Sif remarks. “More people will be there.”

“It’s worth a shot,” Thor agrees with her, intertwining his free hand with hers.

Fiske silently observes them again. Thor's eyes are always immensely loving towards her. And even though Sif’s mood is off, she didn’t reject his hand. Her affections for him are just as evident to the young boy. So why did there seem to be an underlying tension between the two of them?

Thor suddenly freezes as they reach the edge of the town square, catching both Sif and Fiske off guard. They notice his blue eyes have turned unnaturally golden.

“Heimdall,” Sif breathes sharply, realizing what’s going on. She drops Thor’s hand and quickly moves around to take Fiske out of his arm.

“Thanos’ forces,” Thor murmurs. “They’re here for the Tesseract. Heimdall is holding one of them off but others got through,” His eyes flash back to their natural hue.

“Go,” Sif urges. “Get the others. I’ll drop him off somewhere safe then I’ll join you.”

Thor nods, taking Mjolnir off his hip, twirling it hurriedly, and flying off towards the palace.

“Wh-what’s going on?” Fiske asks, panicking at their sudden shared alarm.

“Fiske, I’m going to need you to listen to me very carefully,” She tells him in a purposefully calm tone, bending down to his level. “We’re going to keep good on our promise to help you find your mom, but right now some really bad guys are on Asgard and we’ve got to take care of them. So I’m going to take you somewhere safe then Thor and I will come back for you when we’ve finished beating them up, okay?” She sees the fear riddling his eyes and softly bites her lip. “I promise, Fiske. Everything’s going to be alright. Can you do me a big favor until I get back though? Can you be a brave boy?”

He nods wanting to please her. His eyes are still frightened, but he tries to put on a brave face.

“That’s my boy,” Sif smiles proudly, words slipping out. She realizes what she had said a second too late. Opening her mouth to course correct, she’s suddenly cut off by a loud banging noise of something crash landing followed by a bunch of terrified screams.

“Fiske! Where are you, Fiske?!” A woman’s voice cries out desperately from among the other screams.

“Momma!” Fiske’s eyes widen, tearing away from Sif and running in the direction of the chaos. He drops the bag of food as rushes towards the familiar voice.

“No! Fiske! Wait!” Sif shouts in alarm as she scrambles up after him. Jarred by the sudden movement, the pent-up nausea in her stomach forces her to stop and vomit. Her eyes water in frustration.

“Momma!” He calls out, tears running down his face.

“Fiske!” the woman catches wind of his voice and starts running in the direction of it.

“Momma!”

“Fiske!”

The two suddenly lock eyes; both crying tears of joyful relief. Fiske runs into her open arms as she instantly clings to him and picks him up.

“Come on, we need to get out of here,” She whispers in his ear, securing him tightly in her arms. She doesn’t make it a step.

“Aw. What a touching reunion,” An eerie voice mocks as its owner holds her already bloodied spear up to the mother’s neck, “I sense dormant magic in this little one. With the right training, he might be of value to me one day.”

“Please...” the mother begs helplessly as she trembles, “He’s all I have. Don’t take him from me.”

Fiske shakes in fear in her arms, eyes forced to lock with the wicked woman as she lifts his chin to get a better look at him.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Proxima Midnight coos, oozing faux innocence in her voice, “I’m not taking him from you. I’m taking you from him.” Without hesitation, she slits the woman’s throat and she instantly crumples to the floor, Fiske still in her arms.

“Noooo!” He wails, tears streaming down his face. “Momma no!”

“Fiske,” the woman murmurs weakly, ignoring the immense pain it cost her to speak, “I love you,” Tears stream out of her eyes as she forces herself to smile for him one last time. As if add insult to injury, the spear is thrust down through the woman’s heart. The light in her pupils quickly fades.

“Momma! Momma! No Momma! Wake up! Momma!” Fiske sobs.

“Don’t worry,” Proxima Midnight speaks with sadistic glee as she pries the boy from the lifeless arms of his mother. “I turned out just fine without a Mom. You’ll learn to be the same way in time.”

A knife soars through the air, piercing deeply into the hand gripping onto Fiske and forcing her to let him go.

“Fiske, come here!” Sif shouts, extending her hand out to him.

The boy, reacting purely on survival instinct, scrambles up and over her. Burying his face in folds on her skirt as he sobs uncontrollably. He clings tight to her, wrapping in arms around her as far as he could.

Promixa Midnight's eyes flicker over to the knife thrower, glaring before sparking with a hint of sadistic giddiness as she realizes who it is. “Lady Sif. Asgard’s warrior queen. I’ve heard much about you. I was hoping we’d cross paths.”

“Proxima Midnight,” Sif replies through gritted teeth. The woman had been in the reports you had given them to read over, “So Thanos sent the Black Order after the Space Stone.”

“Oh, you’ve heard of me?" She smirks, pulling the knife out the back of her hand and tossing it to the ground. She starts walking closer to them, “An honor. Though imagine you only know about me from the same information source I know about you.”

“What?” Sif’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. She had learned about the members of the Black Order because of Kara’s knowledge. There’s no way their information sources are the same unless... Sif’s eyes widen in horror, “What did you do to Kara?!”

“Is that your traitor’s name? Father did mention her being an Asgardian princess,” Proxima Midnight taunts her. She cocks her head, grinning wickedly, “Were you two close?”

Sif grits her teeth, “Fiske, run and hide. I promise to avenge your mother. Go!”

The kid doesn’t budge.

“Fiske! Remember what I said about being a brave boy?” Sif tells him earnestly, pulling him off of her and picking him up. She turns and runs. “I know you’re feeling scared and alone right now. But I can’t fight her if I’m protecting you at the same time. I need you to hide, you hear me? I promise I’ll find you once all this is over. And...” Sif grits her teeth ashamed, “I’m sorry I wasn’t fast enough to save your mom. I’m so sorry.”

The boy looks at her guilt-ridden yet determined expression through his water-stained eyes. He nods silently.

“That’s a good boy,” She murmurs in his ear. She stops and places him back down. Unclasping her cloak, she hands it to him. “Take this. I’ll be back for you and it.”

Fiske snatches the cloak and runs down a branching alleyway. He hesitates, turning back to look as Sif draws her sword and shield, blocking the first strike Proxima Midnight lands with her spear. His lip quivers, unable to bring himself to lose sight of Sif. He ducks behind a pair of wooden barrels and watches, clutching her cloak as securely as he can in his small, trembling hands.

The two women exchange several blows, nicking and slicing each other. Both holding their own made the fight seem like an even match but...

Mid-pivot, the nausea in her stomach hits Sif like a lightning strike, forcing her to double over and vomit the remaining phlegm left in her. Her opponent didn’t miss a beat, slicing her spear right down the queen’s back, splitting through both her clothes and skin. Blood trickles out immediately, soaking her back as Sif’s voice rings out in sharp, agonizing pain.

Promixa Midnight digs her heel into the open wound, pushing Sif further down against the cobblestone pavement.

“Aaaaah!” Sif cries as the boot drills and twists sadistically deeper.

Lifting her bloodied boot back up in the air, Proxima Midnight swiftly kicks her fallen opponent in the back with so much force it sends her flying.

Sif’s body crashes back down, and the harsh impact sends her tumbling further. Blood trails and soaks the stony earth beneath her.

“Sif!” Fiske sobs, running from his hiding spot and nudging her unmoving body, laying in a pool of blood on the pavement. “Wake up, Sif! Sif!”

Promixa Midnight walks towards her fallen foe, twirling her spear up in the air, “I was expecting more from the Asgardian warrior queen. Pity.”

“Sif, don’t go!” the young boy cries desperately. “Sif! You said you’d come back for me! I still have your cloak!” He chokes out, gripping onto her shoulder and shaking it. “Get up, Sif! Sif! Please, Sif!” Fiske’s tears fall against her skin as his voice cracks, “Please Sif... get up. I need you.”

A finger flinches faintly.

Chapter Text

“Who do you think will come out on top? My children or your realm?” Thanos inquires absentmindedly. He keeps you standing by his side so you are there whenever a new question pops into his mind to ask.

“Asgard will be victorious,” You answer without hesitation and with complete sincerity.

“Oh? Ebony Maw has never failed me before. It seems you underestimate my children,” He replies, not convinced.

“No, quite the opposite. You are underestimating my team after all I’ve told you,” You respond flatly.

“Your team? Your team isn’t on Asgard. Only the Asgardian members are there. And I assure you, my children are more than enough for them,” Thanos scoffs.

“The power of the Asgardian royal family is not to be scoffed at. Odin wasn’t King of Nine Realms for nothing. And I never said the Asgardian members were the only ones on Asgard at the moment,” You reply, the power of the Mind Stone the only thing suppressing your smirk. “I split up my team amongst the two realms. It was always a possibility you’d go after the stone on Asgard first, even if Earth has more of them. So I planned accordingly.”

“And why was this detail left out of your information dump?” Thanos growls in irritation.

“You never asked about it specifically,” You shrug.

“Are there any other details like that you’re hiding?” He seethes through gritted teeth.

“Yes,” You breathe sharply. “Shall I tell them all to you?”

Thanos nods silently, leaning back in his chair.
__

“You saved me the trouble of hunting you down,” Proxima Midnight calls out to Fiske as she slowly approaches. “But what a naughty boy, ignoring the wish of the dying woman who tried to save you. You should have run and hidden so at least she’d die thinking her death was worth something. Now, with you sobbing over her, she’ll know in her final moments that her death was meaningless. You weren’t worth saving.”

“Can you shut up?” Sif groans, arms shaking as she struggles to lift herself back up. “Can’t the dying woman resurrect herself in peace? Why do you villains always monologue?”

“Sif?!” Fiske gasps, eyes widening as he tugs on her arm to help her up.

“Oh?” Proxima tilts her head, eyes flickering with wicked excitement. “Maybe the Asgardian Queen has more grit than I thought. Still, in your condition, you’re in no position to best me. It would’ve been a less painful death if you stayed down on the ground instead of-”

“Again with the monologuing,” Sif cuts her off as she stabilizes herself back on her feet, wincing from the pain as she straightens up. “Is it a bad guy requirement or something? I didn’t ask for your opinion. Can we just get back to the beating each other with swords and spears part?”

Fiske scrambles to gather her scattered sword and shield, quickly retrieving them and handing them back to Sif. She mouths thank you and motions with her head for him to get behind her.

Proxima frowns, raising her spear once more ready to lunge as Sif readies her sword and shield.

“Hey, don’t knock a villain’s monologue,” a female’s voice calls out, “Yeah, they’re annoying but they buy time.”

“Looks like you could use a little help,” Sam says, landing down next to Natasha who walks up, gun trained on the back of Proxima Midnight’s skull.

“Well, I’m not going to reject it,” Sif chuckles as her opponent whips around to look at the two of them.

“The human Avengers. Asgard’s sunken low if they’re turning to humans to save them,” Proxima scoffs, “I’m sure the Allfather is thrilled.”

“Odin’s not king anymore. It’s a new era,” Sif replies, taking off running towards her, “And you’re underestimation of them will be your downfall.”

Natasha shoots, but Proxima dodges just barely missing Sif’s sword swing. Sam swoops in, kicking her backward with both legs to which she blocks by raising and crossing both of her arms, remaining upright on her feet. But the action gives opportunity for bullets to riddle the alien’s arms, forcing her to drop the spear and cry out in pain, as she crashes against the brick wall of a nearby building. Without hesitation as her foe has yet to recover, Sif leaps up and swings her sword down directly piercing the haughty woman’s heart.

Proxima Midnight coughs blood as Sif forcefully rips her sword out of her chest. The Asgardian Queen’s fury burns as she stares down the woman still smirking up at her.

“You should’ve gone for the head,” Proxima snarls, kicking Sif in the kneecaps, knocking her off her feet, and scrambling for her spear.

“Sam, cover the child’s eyes!” Sif calls out, slowly picking herself back up as Natasha steps forward between Proxima and her weapon.

Sam flies over to Fiske, using his body and wings to shield the child’s vision and wrapping him in his arms as Nat throws the first punch. Proxima dodges and punches back, hitting her hard in the stomach. Nat doubles over but uses the momentum to lunge forward and tackle her to the ground. Proxima rips Natasha off of her, tossing her against the brick wall before quickly scrambling up again. She whips around to find Sif’s sword inches from her neck.

“Thanks for the advice,” Sif says, slicing cleanly through.

Proxima Midnight’s head and body crash to the pavement, head rolling a short distance.

“Are you alright?” Sif asks Natasha as she tries to catch her breath.

Nat rubs the back of her head as she draws close to Sif, “Yeah. My ears are ringing, I’ll probably have several bruises in the morning, and I for sure have a headache but nothing I can’t walk off.”

“That’s good,” Sif murmurs, vision blurring.

Natasha’s eyes widen as Sif starts to sway, rushing forward and catching her before she falls. She feels the blood trickle onto her hand as it presses against Sif’s back.

“Sam!” She cries in alarm.

Fiske breaks free of Sam’s grasp and the two of them immediately rush over.

“Sif!” Fiske cries, reaching up and gripping Sif’s hand as Natasha holds her in his arms.

“How was she even fighting in this condition?” Sam questions aghast.

“Take her back to the palace. They have healers there,” Nat instructs, handing Sif over to him. “I need to catch up with Banner. I’m sure a lullaby is going to be required soon,” She glances down at the boy clinging desperately onto Sif.

“Can you carry him too?” She asks Sam worriedly.

“He looks light enough,” Sam stares at him sympathetically. He bends down. “If you want to come, hop on my back between the wings. You’ve got to hold on very securely though. Can you do that?”

Fiske nods through his tears.
__

Heimdall ducks under the swing of Cull Obsidian’s chain hammer. He thrusts his sword in the oversized intruder’s arm but the brute isn’t fazed. Which is fine. The point of Heimdall’s attack wasn’t to injure, though it would’ve been an added bonus, but to distract him long enough until...

“Hulk Smash!” Hulk roars, pounding his fist down against the back of Cull Obsidian’s skull. An audible cracking sound can be heard.

Cull tries to swing his hands back to swipe at his new foe, but Hulk grabs both of his arms and restrains them back until two more cracking noises are made, forcing Cull to finally drop his hammer. Hulk doesn’t let go as he starts slamming his forehead repeatedly into the back of Cull’s dented skull before finally picking him up and bashing him back and forth against the floor of the rainbow bridge.

“His heartbeat beats no more,” Heimdall gently places a hand on the green giant’s arm.

Hulk turns and glares at him.

“I saw you coming,” Heimdall continues unfazed. “Thank you for helping me protect my home.”

Hulk grunts, tossing aside Cull Obsidian’s body.

Heimdall smiles softly up at him before moving to retrieve his sword from the limp arm it is still lodged in. “By stars, I am glad you’re on our side. You are one opponent even I would fear to face.”
__

“Your Majesty, we’re here to escort you to safety,” Fandral addresses the former queen as he, Volstagg, and Hogun finally catch up with her.

“I think not. I’m headed to the vault,” Frigga tells them, dismissing the idea as she briskly walks forward down the hall. “There’s a magic-user on direct course there. I can feel it. Magic is the best counter to magic. I will not run and hide.”

“But Thor said-,” Volstagg starts to object.

“Thor said to ensure his mother’s safety,” Pietro zips up next to them. “Go with her and do so inside the vault. This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation. Fate of the universe and all. And believe me, as someone with a magical sister, she’s right. Magic is best fought with magic.”

“They’re both right. And as long as we’re there to protect her, we’re not technically disobeying Thor’s orders,” Hogun takes Frigga and Pietro’s side.

“I guess we’re doing this then,” Volstagg grunts in compliance.

“I guess so,” Fandral cocks his head in agreement, grinning.

When they reach the vault, the doors are already wide open with the guards lying dead on the ground. All of them immediately rush in to find Ebony Maw making a straight line for the tesseract.

Crossing her hands, Frigga creates a golden barrier around the cube, effectively stopping Ebony Maw in his tracks. Mid-step, he turns on his heel to look back at the lot of them.

“Looks like I’m going to have to do this the hard way,” Ebony sighs, tearing bricks from the floor beneath and sending them skyrocketing at the five of them.

Everyone dodges in different directions except for Frigga who freezes the bricks midair, throwing them back at him. Maw turns them to dust before they hit their mark while the others in Frigga’s party regroup.

“A worthy opponent you are Allmother,” Ebony praises. “Even in the far reaches of the galaxy your abilities are known and respected.”

“Fortunately I can’t say the same about you,” Frigga holds her head up high, clasping her hands together. “Yes, you’re infamous, but you’ve got a couple thousand years before you’re a match for me.”

Ebony Maw frowns in bitter frustration and injured pride, “Maybe you think too highly of your skills, Allmother,” He growls, tearing up more bricks.

Multiple clones of Frigga appear around the room, meeting his attacks sending the bricks either back where they came from or ricocheting them back at him. She pulls out her knives, adding them to the fray as every clone throws them in his direction from all sides.

Pietro whistles impressed. “This is the woman you three were supposed to protect?”

Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun exchange embarrassed looks.

“The women in this family are something else,” Pietro chuckles amusingly, “Well let’s not just stand here,” He says before zipping off into the chaos.

Hogun nods, swinging his mace and following him in. Volstagg and Fandral raise their ax and sword, charging in quickly after. The three smash the flying bricks and deflect the knives, aiding in the clones' defense. Though they have no idea whether they are defending the real Frigga or not.

Frigga’s relentless onslaught working as the perfect distraction gives Pietro an idea and an opportunity. He dashes straight on through, snatching one of the knives and in a split second speeding right up to him, stabbing Ebony right through the chest.

All the brick and knives in the room clatter to the ground at once, forcing the Warriors Three once more to run and duck for their lives.

Pietro blinks in surprise as another dagger is pointing in his direction also right through Ebony Maw’s chest.

“Great minds think alike,” Frigga grins proudly at him as she releases the hold she had on the knife’s handle. In the midst of the chaos, she had snuck unnoticed and stabbed him from behind. Her blade just barely missing collision with Pietro’s.

“This can’t be,” Ebony Maw's eyes widen, coughing up blood. He collapses on his knees, “I failed?” He questions in shocked disbelief as he breaths his last before falling completely over.

“Good work men,” Frigga tilts her head and smiles her usual smile at the four of them as if she didn’t just kill a powerful magic alien. She sidesteps around Maw’s body. “Shall we go see how the others are fairing?”

“Y-yes, Ma’am,” the Warriors Three all agree, shook by the person that is their Allmother. It isn’t every day they saw this side of her.
__

“Your past your prime, Old Timer,” Corvus Glaive snarls. “I heard you went into retirement. You should have chosen to stay there.”

“You threatened my realm and my people,” Odin replies, spinning his spear in his hand as Crovus draws closer. “I will not tuck my tail and hide.”

“Very well, then you shall die,” Corvus tells him, readying his blade.

“You are too arrogant for your own good,” Odin says, looking down upon him.

“Wise words. You should apply them to yourself,” Thor flies in as Mjolnir thrusts from his grasp and knocks Corvus upside the head before flying back into Thor’s hand as he lands.

Corvus growls, switching his focus to Thor as he lunges at him, swinging his blade up over his head and down at his foe. Thor just barely sidesteps, dodging backward as Corvus continues slashing at him.

“Now is not the time to lecture me!” Odin snaps at Thor.

“When is?” Thor asks as he spins and bashes Corvus Glaive in the back, sending him flying. “You never stick around to talk. You’ve avoided Loki and me for months.”

Before Odin can respond, Corvus jumps back throwing his glaive at the Allfather as he charges himself at Thor.

Odin snatches the glaive in his free hand, shattering it in his clutch. He sends out an energy blast in Corvus’ direction separating him from his son before throwing his spear and pinning him to the wall.

Thor marches forward towards the pinned alien, charging Mjolnir with lightning as it twirls in his hand.

Corvus Glaive’s hands scramble up to try to pull the spear free from his chest but it’s too late. Thor reaches him, hammering down on his skull and sending three hundred million volts coursing through his body. Corvus’ arms flop lifelessly to his sides.

Ripping the spear out of his body and letting him crumple to the ground, Thor throws his father’s weapon back to him.

“We’ll finish this discussion later,” Thor tells him, immediately turning to leave. “The fight’s not over.”

“Thor!” Sam calls out, soaring down and landing in front of him. “She needs immediate medical attention!”

Fiske jumps off, running around in front of Sam. His lip quiver as he turns and looks up at Thor with watery eyes.

Thor’s eyes widen in horror as he takes in the sight of Sif bleeding out in his arms. His heart shutters in agony as his world comes crashing down upon him, “No, no, no! Sif!”

Chapter Text

The wait is excruciating. Thor’s head drops to his hands as he sits on the bench outside the medical wing. Sif had been rushed in for emergency treatment, but he was immediately kicked out by the nurses. Thor grits his teeth just barely keeping himself together, feeling utterly useless. He fights the urge to punch something. He couldn’t lose Sif. He just couldn’t! Thor had so much more to say to her. Their last real conversation couldn’t be a fight. He should have just given her the space she asked for. Why did he have to piss her off further? Why? Why?!

A small hand reaches out and rests on his knee. Thor’s eyes snap up and lock with red, puffy ones of Fiske. The child hadn’t stopped crying since he arrived with Sam.

“I’m sorry,” Fiske's voice cracks. “It’s my fault Sif...”

“No, no, no,” Thor shakes his head, tears finally escaping from his eyes. “It’s not your fault, Fiske. You did nothing wrong.”

The young boy doesn’t reply, painfully swallowing the lump in his throat.

“Come here,” Thor says, picking up the boy and placing him on his lap. He runs his finger soothingly through the blonde boy’s hair as he tucks him close to his chest. “Sif’s a strong woman. The strongest and toughest woman I know,” He chokes out. “She’ll recover and when she does the three of us will go out and find your mom just like we promised.”

“My mom’s dead,” Fiske sobs, completely breaking down in his arms.

Thor purses his lips solemnly, silently cursing at himself. He holds the kid unmoving in his arms, repeating the stroking motion through his hair.

“Thor!” Frigga calls out full of pained concern as she comes running towards him down the hall. She slows down as she nears him, “I came as soon as I heard. My baby, I’m so sorry,” She reaches out and gently cups his cheeks in her palms, eyelids brimming with tears.

“Tell me she’s going to be alright,” He croaks desperately. “I can’t lose her. We’re supposed to have many more years together. I can’t bear it, I- I-...”

“I know, you don’t have to say anything,” She replies softly, heart aching desperately for both him and Sif. But... she’s unable to promise him she’ll be alright. She can’t promise what she can’t ensure. It’s then Frigga glances down and notices the boy in his lap. “Who’s this?”

“Fiske... Sif and I met him before all this took place,” Thor answers, eyes drifting downwards and staring at the trembling boy clinging desperately to him. “He was with Sif when...” He lingers off unable to finish the sentence.

Frigga purses her lips, blinking slowly as the tears escape down her cheeks. She wraps her arms around her son’s neck, letting him breakdown in the hidden protection of her shoulder.
__

“You have an incoming call from Agent Romanoff,” F.R.I.D.A.Y. announces.

“Patch her through,” Tony replies.

“Right away, Sir,” She complies with the given command.

“Hello?” He distractedly greets as the hologram communicator whirs to life, continuing the modifications on his latest suit.

“Tony, I need you to give me your undivided attention,” Natasha responds dead seriously. “I need you to call a meeting with the directors. Asgard was just attacked by the Black Order. Thanos is coming.”

Tony’s eyes snap up away from his work table. He scrambles to pick up the communicator, “I’ll get right on that.” He drops everything else and runs out of his lab. “F.R.I.D.A.Y. call up Shuri. I’ll get the others.”

“Understood. Dialing Director Shuri right away,” She confirms.

Within the next ten minutes everyone called is gathered in the small conference room.

“Asgard was just attacked by the Black Order,” Natasha repeats in front of everyone else.

Steve and Phil both sharpen their breath. Shuri purses her lips solemnly over the Face Time call.

“Is everyone alright?!” Valkyrie inquires, coming off a little more alarmed than she intended.

“Yes, well... mostly,” Natasha replies, biting her lip. “A small handful of civilians were killed before we were able to respond. And... Sif took a pretty nasty cut to the back. She’s in critical condition right now. She lost a lot of blood before we got to her. Thor’s kind of breaking down over it... understandably so... So while we did successfully take down each of the members of the Black Order, Asgard definitely also took a major hit.”

Valkyrie clenches her fists at her side, gritting her teeth.

“You took out the Black Order?” Phil raises a hopeful eyebrow, staring sympathetically over at her. He sighs.

“Yes... Banner and Heimdall took care of Cull Obsidian. Frigga, Pietro, and the Warriors Three bested Ebony Maw. Sif, Sam, and I defeated Proxima Midnight, and Thor and Odin took care of the Corvus Glaive,” Natasha reports. “Their underlings were easy pickings after that, and again the civilian causalities were thankfully minimal,” She looks around the room and frowns as she notices something, “Hey, where’s Kara? Why isn’t she here with you guys?”

“Kara left to go recruit the Guardians and retrieve the Power Stone with their help,” Steve answers her.

Tony eyes widen, “Wait. If Thanos sent the Black Order to retrieve the Space Stone where do we think he is right now?”

Shuri picks up on what he’s implying, “If the appearance of the Black Order on Asgard is a sign of Thanos actively hunting down the stones then it’s possible that...” She lingers off.

“Now let’s not jump to conclusions,” Steve warns gently.

“It’s been two days and she hasn’t even checked in,” Valkyrie rebuts sharply. “We should at least take it into consideration.”

Phil opens his mouth to add his input when F.R.I.D.A.Y. suddenly cuts him off.

“There’s an unregistered ship coming towards our facility,” She informs them, pulling up the security footage on the conference room’s monitor.

“Thanos?” Phil asks in concern.

“Based on what Kara has said, I doubt he would come with only one ship,” Shuri refutes the speculation.

“Gear up,” Steve orders. “We’re going out to greet whoever it is.”
__

The Guardians slowly step out of their ship, taking in the unfamiliar scenery of planet Earth. Peter swallows anxiously... He never really had plans to return here.

“Who are you?” Steve steps forward as Tony, Valkyrie, and Phil all train their weapons; ready to take action in an instant.

“Hey, put down your weapons. Miss Fire-Fingers sent us,” Rocket speaks first.

Nobody moves an inch.

“Kara sent us,” Gamora course corrects quickly, reaching down and grabbing the ring in her pocket. She presents it to them and each of them instantly recognizes it. “Thanos is coming and-”

“Why do you have that? Where is Kara?” Valkyrie growls, brandishing her sword as she walks forward.

“Wait a minute!” Peter exclaims, stepping forward in front of Gamora. “We can explain!”

Steve stops Valkyrie from proceeding further, blocking her with his outstretched arm. He turns to the ragtag group, “You guys are the ones known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, correct?”

“Guess we’re pretty famous on your home planet, Quill,” Drax chuckles proudly.

“We are?!” Mantis exclaims. “Wow!”

Nebula rolls her eyes.

“Not really,” Phil bursts their bubble. “Kara’s the only reason we know about you.”

“Then you should know we come in peace,” Peter replies.

“That would be the case if you had showed up with Kara but she’s notably absent,” Tony shoots back. “Who’s to say you didn’t steal the ring. Heard the raccoon’s got a thing for petty thievery.”

“I’m a Groot!” Groot comes to his defense.

“Thank you,” Rocket exasperatedly thanks him.

“Why would we show up before you if we just stole the ring and dumped Kara?” Nebula replies pointedly.

“She has a point,” Phil admits, lowering his gun.

“So where is she?” Valkyrie repeats her earlier question, still glaring at the group.

“She stayed behind on the planet Xandar to distract Thanos so we could grab the Power Stone and run with it here,” Gamora tells them. “She exchanged her life and knowledge so we could keep the Power Stone out of the hands of Thanos. If she’s still alive, she’s with him and they’re most likely headed here.”

“Dammit!” Valkyrie curses.

“That does sound like something Kara would do,” Tony lowers his hand, cursing along with her inside his head.

“Can we have the ring?” Steve asks, grimacing at the news.

Gamora nods, walking up and handing it to him. “If it’s any consolation, Kara’s probably more valuable to Thanos alive with the knowledge she possesses. That’s what she was wagering on at least. There’s a very good chance she’s still living.”

“But if she is, that means Thanos now knows where all the Infinity Stones are, who’s guarding them, as well as everything you guys have been planning against him,” Nebula adds bitterly, causing Gamora to turn and give her a ‘really? did you have to bring that up right now’ look.

“Yeah well, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll win,” Phil exhales sharply. “It certainly didn’t help the Black Order avoid meeting their graves on Asgard.”

“The Black Order’s dead?!” Gamora exclaims in utter disbelief.

“Yes,” Tony answers. “I’ve got photographs of their corpses. Want to see?”

“Oh my gosh, yes!” Nebula breathes ecstatic, drawing closer for a better look.

Tony taps his watch and four holographic images pop up on large display for everyone to see.

“That’s definitely them...” Gamora nods in grim confirmation.

“Good riddance,” Nebula smirks.

“We need to tell Loki,” Valkyrie interrupts them.

“That... sounds like a very bad idea,” Tony replies, making the holographic images disappear. “He’s going to freak.”

“She’s his wife. He deserves to know,” Steve takes her side. “You would want to know if it was Pepper.”

“Yes, but I would admittedly still freak out,” Tony backs his own point up. “And the last thing we need right now is someone freaking out.”

“I think we’re all freaking out a little bit,” Phil remarks. “Thanos is coming, and Kara is in his hands- possibly. And if she is in his hands, that’s a major trump card against us.”

“Fine,” Tony sighs. “But why don’t we tell the wizard, and he can deal with the diva’s freak out.”

“There is probably no good time to say this so I’m just going to come out and say it now while you’re all on the subject of freaking out,” Nebula interrupts them. “But Kara was- is pregnant...”

“Oh god,” Valkyrie breathes as the others’ eyes widen, “I need a drink.” She immediately walks off and heads back inside.

“We sent a pregnant woman into space?!” Tony flips.

“We didn’t know,” Steve reminds him though an immense feeling of guilt and regret settles down in his chest.

“She didn’t tell us,” Phil murmurs. “Probably on purpose. We wouldn’t have let her go otherwise.”

“That is what she said,” Nebula confirms, not helping anyone feel better.

Tony groans.

Chapter Text

“Your Majesties,” the royal physician greets, bowing her head as she steps out into the hall. She lifts her gaze up to Thor, “We need to talk.”

Thor nods silently. He glances down at Fiske still clinging to him in his lap then up at his mother.

“Fiske, honey, why don’t you come with me?” Frigga bends down and speaks with him gently. “Let’s go get something to eat, then how does a warm bath and a fresh change of clothes sound? I still have some of Thor’s old garments lying around somewhere,” She smiles warmly, reminding Fiske very much of Thor.

He nods, accepting her outstretched hand, and slips off Thor’s lap. Fiske and Thor’s eyes linger on each other’s as the boy walks off with Frigga. Thor swallows the lump in his throat before, turning and rising to talk with the physician.

“We’re in the middle of administering her with a blood transfusion. She lost an insane amount of blood so this process is going take several hours at least,” She informs him. “We’ve stitched up the wound and applied some of the healing ointment, but with the extensive damage to the cut there’s still a good chance a scar will form.”

“But she’ll pull through?” He inquires in earnest need of confirmation of that one singular fact.

“Yes, she’ll pull through,” the physician nods, smiling sympathetically as he shutters in relief upon hearing it. “And luckily, since most of the damage was contained to her back, the baby will also pull through,” She tells him.

“Baby?” His forehead wrinkles in confusion.

The smile on the physician’s face fades. She sighs, “I really need to stop assuming you guys know these things. I confirmed it with her yesterday, so I thought she would’ve told you.”

“Are you saying Sif is pregnant?” Thor asks aghast still processing the news.

“Yes...” She admits. “She’s only about three weeks along so it hasn’t been very long since the conception. Though I do think we should monitor the queen’s condition closely. The amount of morning sickness she reported having this early on is unusual. Not unheard of but also not very common.”

Thor takes a moment to fully process this new information, “C-can I see her?” He asks desperately.

“When we’ve finished the blood transfusion we’ll fetch you,” She promises.

Not the answer he was hoping for, but at least he could now rest assure she’d be fine.

“Please do,” Thor murmurs, nodding. He turns and walks away towards a nearby window ledge as the physician heads back into the medical wing. He leans his arms against the ledge as he stares off in the distance.

The sun peaks over the horizon as it ushers forth the start of a new day.
__

“Hey, don’t look at me. One of you three has to do it,” Tony pushes off the responsibility. “You’re the directors. You’re the ones who have to make the tough calls. Literally so this time.”

“I’ll just do it,” Steve volunteers begrudgingly, picking up the phone. He shares a hesitant glance with Phil and Tony before sighing.

As soon as he starts punching in the numbers a golden ring appears, creating a portal into the tower compound. Stephen Strange, Loki, and Wanda all walk through.

Everyone else in the room blinks.

“F-funny, we were just about to call you,” Phil says.

“I know, and the Ancient One has seen Thanos coming,” Strange replies as the portal closes behind the magic trio. “We’ve got twenty-four hours at best to prepare before he gets here.”

“Yeah...” Steve responds, eyes flickering over to Loki. “That’s only one reason we were going to call though...”

Loki inhales sharply as he observes Steve’s expression, shaking his head once and clicking his tongue irritably, “What did she do this time?”

Steve unfurls his palm, revealing Loki’s insignia to him.

He shutters, “Since the day I gave that to her, Kara has never taken that off. Why do you have it?” Accepting the ring as Steve hands it over to him.

Tony and Phil advert their eyes to random corners of the room. Wanda cocks her head as she notes their nervousness. Strange purses his lips.

“Kara assigned herself the task of going into space and recruiting the Guardians. The plan was to team up with them and grab the Power Stone before Thanos got to it,” Steve starts to explain. “But by the time they got to Xandar, Thanos was already there. So she made the choice to distract him by giving herself up while the Guardians took the stone and ran here. According to them, Kara gave them the ring as a token to prove us she sent them. The Guardians believe there’s a high chance Kara is still alive because the knowledge she possesses. With only having the Mind Stone in his possession, what she knows is invaluable to him.”

Loki’s jaw tightens as Steve speaks. His fists clench at his sides. The air in the room grows noticeably colder.

“Loki,” Strange warns but it’s too late.

A burst of green energy blasts through the room sending both items and people flying. The room’s windows shatter, causing glass shards to scatter all over the floor. Phil and Tony are shot back, crashing into the walls. Steve is pushed far way but is able to stay on his feet. Both Strange and Wanda jump and float in the air, avoiding the energy blast and landing gracefully back down on their feet.

“She promised me she wouldn’t do something like that!” Loki shouts. His words grow icy and ridged as he glares around the room at Phil, Tony, and Steve. “Why did you send her out alone?!”

“To be fair, she wasn’t supposed to engage with Thanos. It was supposed to be a simple retrieval mission. And we didn’t know she was pregnant,” Tony replies, rubbing the back of his head as he stands back up and recovers. “See, I told you he’d freak out.”

“Tony, shut up,” Steve groans.

Loki’s eyes snap and lock with Strange’s as he raises a pointed finger, “But you knew she was. And I can take a pretty good guess on how she got to space!”

“It was necessary,” Strange tells him unfazed by his outburst. “She knew it and that’s why she did it. The more Infinity Stones Thanos has, the lesser our chances of beating him. Do you know in her reality, Thanos bested the combined might of you, Thor, Hulk, Valkyrie, Heimdall, and the Asgardian population? Half of your people were wiped out. And all Thanos had then was the Power Stone. His power completely overwhelmed both Thor and the Hulk because he possessed that stone. So you can imagine how desperate she was to keep that particular stone out of his hands. Especially given what else she’s told you about what happened during that fight. Kara made the right choice. Our job now is not to waste the opportunity she’s given us.”

Loki grits his teeth, “You guys always rely on her to make the right choice! To sacrifice herself for the greater good. I know that’s the business and all but, at some point, she’s going to break! Do you think it’s easy for her to make the choices she makes? Have any of you actually seen her break down before? No, you haven’t because she doesn’t want to let you guys see that the person you’ve appointed as your leader is actually scared, anxious, and constantly afraid she’s not good enough- that she’s not doing enough. But behind closed doors, she has severe panic attacks. She gets so worked up that she literally makes herself sick because both she and you guys have placed the weight of the universe on her shoulders. When she’s focused on planning the next steps in saving the world, she barely sleeps or eats unless I force her to,” His voice cracks. Tears stream from his eyes as he glares at each of them. “This might be selfish of me, but I’m sick and tired of her being like that. I don’t need to be convinced Kara made the right choice! She always does and it’s pissing me off! When we fight Thanos, you guys better have it at the forefront of your thick skulls just what’s being sacrificed for the right choice. My happiness, Kara’s happiness, my family, our life together, her life, the life of our child, the biggest source of light combating the darkness within me!” Loki purses his lips and shakes his head, “If my wife and child are dead...” His gaze flickers directly to Strange. His skin slowly starts to turn blue, “then you’re going to regret training me,” Loki’s eyes flash blood red, sending an eerie chill down the spines of everyone in the room as he stares them down.

Without giving any of them a chance to respond, Loki teleports out of the room.

“Yeah no, that went even worse than I expected,” Tony breaks the lingering silence first. He picks up a wine bottle that fell on the floor when Loki sent everything flying and pops it open. He takes a swig of it, “I bet we all feel better about ourselves now.”

“It would’ve been worse if we hadn’t been upfront and told him,” Phil grimly reminds him.

Wanda fixes the room back to the way it was beforehand.

“He’s right though. Someone should have gone with her,” She chastises. “Why didn’t you send someone?”

“Like Tony said, it was only supposed to be a retrieval mission,” Steve answers though it just sounds like a weak excuse at this point. “We weren’t expecting Thanos to be this ahead in time in his coming. And she wasn’t supposed to split off alone. She had the Guardians with her.”

“Either way, there’s not much we can do about it now,” Strange speaks up. “For now, we’ve got to bank on her knowledge keeping her alive and focus on the war that is coming... Or else we really are wasting her sacrifice.”

“Did anyone else know he could turn blue?” Tony inquires.

Wanda purses her lips.

“You guys didn’t know?” Strange asks back quizzically. “Loki’s Asgardian by adoption. He’s actually a frost giant from the realm of Jotunheim. Odin took him as a baby and raised him alongside Thor, hoping to unite the two realms someday.”

“And it’s a revelation he only found out about a month or so ago. It’s still a sore subject for him so please keep the knowledge amongst us,” Wanda interrupts him. “You owe him that much after all this.”
__

“He fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow,” Frigga informs him as they peek into the guest room where Fiske is staying. “He seemed absolutely exhausted.”

“Well, he did stay up all night,” Thor replies. “That’s tough, especially for a child... Plus he’s probably more than just physically drained.”

“His parents must be worried sick,” She murmurs.

“His mother was one of our casualties,” He tells her solemnly.

“And the father?” She asks in hushed alarm.

“I don’t know,” Thor sighs as he quietly shuts the door again. “I’ll search for him after this is all over. I’m afraid it’ll have to wait until then though. Natasha got an update. Thanos is coming for Earth... and there’s a good possibility Kara’s in his hands.”

“What?!” Frigga exclaims in even more alarm.

“Apparently she recruited a group of ragtag space heroes, and together they went to retrieve the Power Stone,” Thor starts to explain, leaning against the corridor wall as his expression darkens. “Unfortunately, Thanos arrived just before they did on the planet where it was being kept. Kara sacrificed herself and her knowledge in exchange for buying this group time to run away with the stone... The others are preparing to head to Earth shortly. I’ll be joining them. With Thanos most likely thinking the Black Order was successful, Asgard should be safe until we return.”

Frigga shutters, at a loss for what to say. They just went through the scare of losing one family member and now it’s happening all over again. “Does Loki know?”

“Yes,” Thor breathes sharply. “Nat reported that he was informed.”

“He didn’t take it well, did he?” She swallows the painful lump in her throat.

“The short answer... no,” He confirms bitterly. “I’ll... I’ll talk to him.”

Frigga reaches out and hugs him. Thor immediately hugs her back, wrapping his arms around her.

“Bring them back home,” She chokes pleadingly in his ear.

“I’ll try my best,” is the best he can muster out.

“That’s all I can ask,” Frigga replies, nestling her head on his shoulder.

They stay like that for a little while before Frigga pulls away.

“Can’t you stay until at least Sif wakes up?” She inquires on his behalf.

“I- ... I wish I could, but we don’t know when that’s going to be,” He tells her. “We’ve got less than twenty-four hours before Thanos arrives on Earth, so I’ll just have to settle for knowing she’ll live.”

His mother nods silently, clasping her hands together and fiddling with them anxiously, “I guess so...”

Chapter Text

The handle- no the entire door- is frosted shut by the time Thor showed up at the Tower. He knocks on the suite door, instantly retracting his hand as the icy cold painfully burns. Thor curses under his breath.

“Loki, either open the door or else I’m going to break it down,” He calls out, completely serious.

He waits several minutes but no response comes. No scuffling of his brother’s feet towards the door can be heard. Alright. Thor would have to do this the hard way. He slams Mjolnir, shattering the door like glass as the ice chunks clatter to the floor. His eyes widen in shock as everything in the suite down to the inch is covered in ice with Loki standing solitary in his Jotun form in the middle of the living room.

“Loki,” Thor calls out more sympathetically as he steps inside. His brother doesn’t move much less react to Thor’s presence. He hesitantly reaches out to grab Loki’s arm, “Loki, look at me,” the second Thor’s hand touches him ice starts to spread across his palm and fingers, forcing Thor to retract his hand. “Loki!”

“What?” He hisses finally reacting, turning his head towards Thor.

“You’ve got to stop this. This is going overboard. I know you’re hurting and scared but-,” Thor starts to tell him.

“Overboard?!” Loki snaps. “Kara could be dead! My child could be dead! And if they’re not then they’re still not safe! You don’t get to lecture me on what is going overboard! You don’t know what it’s like!”

Thor purses his lips before swallowing the lump in his throat, “Sif almost died last night,” He chokes out, taking Loki aback. “Asgard was attacked by the Black Order. And I left her alone in the city square to rush off and be hero, defender king I’m supposed to be. We had just fought too,” He blinks back tears but a few of them escape. “When I saw her again, my wife was beaten, bloody, and bruised. She was sickly pale and lifeless, laying limp in Sam’s arms. Her breath was shallow and her heart barely beat. If Sam and the healers hadn’t gotten to her aid as soon as they did, Sif would have bled to death on the streets,” His voice cracks as he shakes his head, “My whole world came crashing down. I spent hours in a downward spiral of despair as I helplessly waited to find out whether my wife was dead or not,” Thor clenches his jaw. “On top of that, I find out she’s pregnant so I wouldn’t have just lost her but our child as well,” He raises his voice, “Don’t tell me I don’t know what it’s like! I know exactly what it’s like!”

Loki’s voice cracks as tears stream down his face, “If that is true then give me the honest answer. Am I overreacting?”

Thor grimaces and shakes head, “No...”

A lingering silence falls between the two brothers.

“But,” Thor opens his mouth again, “we can’t have this. Not right now. Thanos is coming, and there’s a chance they could still be alive. Fight on that chance. Loki, we need you. Don’t waste your energies here. If you want to freeze something freeze him.”

“Who said I wasn’t going to fight?” Loki mutters bitterly. The layer of ice in the room starts to crack as the blue of his skin fades away. It shatters into a million tiny particles as his emerald irises shine through the receding red, “Is Sif okay...?”

“She... She will be,” Thor answers, casting his eyes to the floor. “I didn’t really get to see her before I left, but the physician said she should recover.”

Reaching out, Loki takes his brother’s frozen hand and carefully starts reversing the damage, “It’s excruciating not knowing,” He swallows painfully.

“I know,” Thor commiserates bitterly with him. “It hurt worse than any injury I’ve sustained in battle. As I said, my whole world felt like it was falling apart. I don’t know if I would’ve recovered if I lost her.”

Loki purses his lips as he drops Thor’s hand. He meets his brother’s gaze, “You would have. Me on the other hand...” the younger brother lingers off as he takes note of the frowning apprehension growing on the older brother’s face, “I’m not saying this because you love Sif any less than I love Kara. It’s because you’re a stronger... better man than me, Thor. I can feel the darkness gnawing at my soul. I threatened our friends, and only a small part of me actually regrets it,” Loki pauses, reluctantly sighing. “Kara spent every waking hour of our years together doing everything in her power to keep me from becoming the villain. How ironic is it that if I lose her that’s exactly what I’ll become? So, Thor, I need you to promise me something...”

Thor didn’t like where this is going.

“If it turns out they’re actually dead or dead by the end of all this,” Loki locks eyes with him. He’s being completely serious right now. “I need you to promise me you’ll put me out of my misery before I destroy everything she’s fought so hard to protect.”

“No, Loki, I can’t,” Thor immediately rejects, tears unconsciously welling up and rolling down his cheeks. “You’re my brother. Mother would be devastated. I can’t-.”

“You have to,” He murmurs. “I’m not you. I will fall,” He grabs Thor by both arms and shakes him once, begging with him earnestly, “Protect Kara’s legacy. Let me die a hero... before I become the villain.”

Thor curses, praying desperately that you are alive. The universe was asking too much of him. It is not a burden he can bear.
__

“Get everybody, and I mean absolutely everybody, here,” Loki snaps, walking into the conference room where the others are convening, cutting off a bickering Tony, Steve, and Phil, and completely taking over control of the meeting. Thor follows in silently behind him. “If we’re going to pull this off we need all hands on deck. The Black Order may be gone, but Thanos still has the rest of his army,” He locks eyes with Strange. “The Wakandans, the Masters of the Mystic Arts, Asgard’s warriors, field S.H.E.I.L.D. agents, our Skrull allies, everyone got it?”

“Very well, I’ll get right on that,” Strange nods, opening a portal.

“Don’t forget the Captain out in space. And make sure everyone brings their stones,” Loki reminds him sharply before the sorcerer walks through the ring.

Again Strange nods as the portal closes.

Loki turns his attention back to the others and purses his lips as he surveys the group gathered in the room. His mind races as the cogs turn in his head.

Natasha, Bucky, Bruce, Steve, Tony, Sam, Phil, Valkyrie, the Guardians, Pietro, Wanda, Vision, Clint, Rhodey, Pepper, Scott, Hope, Peter, Thor, and the Warriors Three all give him their undivided attention as they wait expectingly for him to continue.

“I take it you have a plan,” Bruce speaks up, crossing his arms.

“More or less,” Loki exhales. “To start, we have two main problems that we need to address. First, Thanos most likely now knows everything about us- who we are, what we can do, and what our strategies were. We have lost the element of surprise on all fronts. Second, if she is still alive, my wife is our biggest weakness and Thanos’ biggest trump card.”

“He’s Kara's husband?” Mantis whispers, gasping in shock.

“Hush,” Gamora murmurs back as her eyes stay trained on Loki’s. She can see the anguish swirling around inside them.

“Now, there’s not much we can do about the first issue. But the second... we have two options,” Loki continues. His jaw clenches, “One, let her die, continuing to sacrifice her for the greater good. The fate of the universe is at stake, and this is definitely the easier path to take. Or we have option number two. Rescue Kara from him, risking our chances and taking the harder path to victory. Decided now.”

“We don’t trade lives,” Steve replies, meeting his eyes.

“Kara’s fought to save all of us,” Bucky chimes in. “I think it’s about time we returned the favor.”

“We’re bringing Asgard’s princess home,” Fandral swears to him.

“Loki, rest assured, none of us are going to abandon her,” Pepper smiles softly, summing up the group’s sentiment.

“Besides, you’re not going to tell us the rest of the plan if we go with option one,” Tony remarks, perceiving through Loki’s demand for them to decide now.

“Tony,” Rhodey chastises.

“Oh no, Stark’s right,” Loki flat out admits. “I think I’ve made it abundantly clear where I stand on my wife and child being sacrificed for the greater good.”

“She’s pregnant?!” Hope’s eyes widen as her tone rises in alarm.

“Yup,” Loki plainly confirms, causing many of the others in the room to shift uncomfortably and exchange even more worried glances. “Moving on because we’re running on limited time. We’re sticking with Kara’s base plan to draw Thanos to this location. If all the stones are here then we can guarantee he’ll be lured. Things will be contained here since we’re miles away from civilians. That being said, I want sorcerers nearby every stone so they can be taken away in an instant if need be. As for the non-combatants still here at the tower, evacuate them but keep the medical staff in a nearby location. We’re most likely going to need them as soon as this over,” He purses his lips and sighs. “Just because Thanos knows about us doesn’t mean he can defeat us. And just as much as he knows about us, we know about him and his army. I’m splitting us into two groups. Wanda, Carol, Strange, and I are going directly after Thanos. If Kara’s by his side, we’re also in charge of retrieving her. Everyone else is to focus on simultaneously keeping the stones out of Thanos’ hands and eliminating his army and firing power. The less backup Thanos has when we engage him the better our chances. If Kara is, for some reason, out in the midst of the battle, you guys are also tasked with securing her. Does everyone understand? Any questions or objections? Raise them now or forever hold your peace.”

“That seems like a fairly simple plan,” Nebula points out.

“Sometimes the best strategies are. Things shouldn’t be made overly complicated if they don’t have to be,” He replies sharply.

“Well then, let’s do this!” Scott encourages, smiling enthusiastically.

Chapter Text

“Sir, there are massive energy signals coming from this location,” one of Thanos’ men informs him, flipping his screen around so the titan can see. “Five of them to be exact.”

“The Infinity Stones,” Thanos' eyes light up as he smirks. He turns to you, “Looks like your team has decided to try to wield them against me. That wasn’t a part of any of the strategies you mentioned.”

“No, it wasn’t,” You murmur, eyebrows furrowing as you stare immensely perplexed outside the ship’s window as Earth floats into view, “None of my plans involved the collection of the stones all in one place. It is too risky,” You turn your gaze up at him. “They’re going against my ideas.”

Thanos chuckles, “Looks like you really were the brains of the operation. I ought to thank them. They’re saving me the trouble of collecting them myself. Looks like you were right though. The Black Order failed to obtain the Space Stone. Pity.”

Your heart races in your chest. Your anxiety swells, but the influence of the Mind Stone keeps you outwardly calm. What are they thinking? Had you not warned them enough about the dangers of Thanos and the proximity of the stones? You purse your lips as you stare back out at the approaching planet.

“Kara, make sure you stay close to me,” Thanos orders, reaching down and lifting your chin so you are forced to look at him. He’s smiling, but the malicious intent is not masked in the slightest. “I have a feeling you’re going to be very instrumental in how this plays out.”

“Yes, my lord,” You bow your head respectively, immediately complying. “Whatever you ask I shall accomplish without fail.”

“I know,” His smirks deepens, picking up the scepter wielding the Mind Stone in his other hand. He stands up, dropping your chin. “Come. Let’s go say your parting goodbyes to your former friends. Don’t worry, I’ll help make it easier for you,” He chuckles, tapping the scepter once more against your chest. “Hate them. Loathe them. All of them, but especially the ones you love the most. And find your only peace and joy in me. Give me your body, mind, heart, and soul.”

“No, please,” You murmur weakly in resistance. Your eyes flicker down to your barren ring finger. “Those belong to someone else. Pl-please.”

He ignores your aching plea, pressing the scepter tip down hard, “In return, if you survive, I’ll take you to Garden with me. How does that sound?”

Your eyes gloss over as the power of Mind Stone courses repeatedly through your brain, rewiring it to match Thanos’ desires.

“There would be no greater honor,” You happily smile as tears unconsciously well in your eyes and roll down your face before you bow your head. “I give my everything to you.”

“That’s my girl,” Thanos grins wickedly, patting your head.
__

-Upstate New York-

Steve’s eyes flicker up to the sky above him. Taking a deep breath in he shouts, “Avengers! Assemble!”

Hellfire rains down immediately the second Thanos’ ship come into view. The Wakandans and sorcerers throw up their shields and defensive spells as the first wave of laser blasts come firing down upon them. The doors open before their ships even land; the Chitauri leaping out and charging eagerly at the ground fleet waiting for them.

Thanos’ ship lands, opening up and drawing the attention of a lone set of eyes as you walk out, side by side with the titan. It’s a split second too late, as you take in the scene, eyes darting around until they lock with the gray ones staring back at you, that you figure out what’s going on.

“Look out!” You shout, trying to warn Thanos, but the two of you are already falling through the portal that opened up under your feet.

Mid-air your body is ripped away by red energy, just barely slipping out of Thanos’ fingertips as he reaches for you. In terror, your eyes widen as you watch the titan fall and Stephen Strange float down through the portal, closing it. As you continue skyrocketing against your will through the air, you look around desperately trying to figure out your new surroundings. You rack your brain as the scenery looks so familiar. It suddenly hits you.

“Wakanda,” You shutter as you fully grasp their plan.

They isolated Thanos from his support, placing him on a completely different continent. Thousands of miles away from not only his army but the Infinity Stones. You curse. It’s actually really clever. Thanos needed your brain. You had to figure out a way to get back to him or else he’d lose. No! You couldn’t lose him.

“I’ve got you,” A familiar voice says as a pair of arms suddenly wrap around you, catching you securely in their grasp.

You snap out of your panicked thoughts and planning.

“I’m going after Thanos,” Wanda calls out, finishing her first task before flying off in the direction you just came from.

“See you soon,” the voice tells her.

Pure and utter hatred courses through you as you start shaking angrily in your captor’s arms.
__

Thanos crashes to the ground, landing on his feet and glaring at the three figures slowly approaching him from different directions. He tightens his grip on the scepter.

“I’d give you the option of surrendering, but I highly doubt you’ll take it,” Strange addresses him from behind.

“If he made Kara spill everything and still decided to come after hearing about us, I wouldn’t count on it,” Carol remarks, crossing her arms and shifting her weight.

Thanos notes the absence of Infinity Stone-carrying necklaces around their necks, “You didn’t bring the stones?”

“They’re still in New York,” Wanda answers him. “We’re miles away and you’re alone. The stones were merely bait. And you blindly took it.”

“I still wield more Infinity Stones than you three combined,” Thanos replies calmly, readying the scepter in his hands. He reaches up and presses the button on his earpiece. “And, you’re wrong about one thing. I’m not actually alone. Kara, honey, kill whoever got ahold of you then come find me,” the titan smirks upon hearing the response from the other end.

“Get the stone!” Strange calls out as it clicks in his mind what’s going on.

All three of them charge at him.
__

You struggle in the grasp of the man holding onto you, “Let me go!”

“Never again, darling,” Loki murmurs softly in your ear, nestling his head in your shoulder. “I thought I lost you,” He shutters in immense relief. “It’s fine. You’re safe now. Let’s go home.”

You’re about to shout back when another voice rings in your ear. “And, you’re wrong about one thing. I’m not actually alone,” You still in your captor’s arms. “Kara, honey, kill whoever got ahold of you then come find me.”

“Yes, my lord,” You confirm with a wicked grin.

“My lord?” Loki pulls away slightly in confusion.

You tightly grip on his arms as your hands burst into flames.

Loki’s eyes widen, “Aaaaah!” His grip on you weakens.

Seizing the opportunity you elbow him, unfurling from his arms and allowing yourself to free-fall.

“No!” He cries, flying down after you in quick pursuit.

You land on your feet, whipping around to glare up at him with raging, crystal blue eyes. Fire flares in your palms as you brace for the fight.

“Kara!? What are you doing?!” Loki snarls angrily, crashing down in front of you.

The two of you race at each.

“Killing the person I hate the most,” You answer as a sadistic smile spreads across your lips. You pivot forward, swiping your left hand towards him; flames just barely missing his chest as he steps back at the last second. “And I’m going to take great pleasure in doing it! But let’s not draw this out, Loki,” You say as you lunge forward, continuing to swipe at him while increasing both the size and temperature of the flames you generate.

Loki’s mind races as he continues on the defense, dodging your attacks left and right. Your eyes. They are far from their normal color. It hits him.

“The Mind Stone,” He murmurs under his breath.

You growl in frustration as none of your attacks land, “Come on, fight me! I have to get back to my beloved! Just die already!”

Irritation flickers in Loki’s eyes, “Excuse me? Beloved?” He stops dodging, raising a blue arm to block your swing.

Fire and ice clash.

You grit your teeth as you struggle in a standstill between his ice and your fire. You pressure the flames down more, trying to get a grasp on his arm, but his ice acts as a protective shield.

“Yes! My heart, mind, body, and soul all belong to Thanos!” You shout angrily but as the words leave your lips the unconscious tears well up again and escape down your cheeks.

Loki achingly swallows, “You know, darling, I don’t think they do. Your mind, probably. It’s the Mind Stone after all. But that stone has no power over the other things. All it can do is make you think they belong to him. But your body, your heart, and your soul still all very much belong to me.”

“I hate you!” You seethe, the flames in your hands burst from red to fiery blue as you bear down with all your might against his arm.

“No darling, you only think you do,” Loki replies gently as the blueness of his arm starts spreading over the rest of his body. “Don’t worry, I’ll be taking your mind back too.”

The second his eyes flash red, he kicks in your knees. You crumple down but grip onto his arms pulling him down with you. Going with the flow of the momentum, Loki shoves your chest to the ground and straddles over your hips, pinning you down in between his legs.

You struggle and cry against his hands trying to make their way up to your head as you resist. Though your efforts are futile. Loki’s physically stronger than you. Honestly, it isn’t even a real match. His hands grip the sides of your forehead, transforming back to the paleness of his Asgardian skin so as not to freeze your brain.

“No! No! Get off! Don’t!” You cry practically begging, the tears streaming uncontrollably down your face as you resist him with every fiber of your being.

“Remember,” He chokes, hating seeing you like this. “Love, I need you to remember. Who you are, who I am- us. What you’ve done. Everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish,” His voice cracks as he forcibly surges memories through your mind, “Come back to me, Kara,” tears splash down from his face landing on yours; both sets rolling down your cheeks.

“No! No! No! Get out of my head! No! No!” You sob, tightening your grip on his arms and igniting your blue flames in a ginormous blaze, cracking through his icy skin as your hatred flares uncontrollably. “Just die! Die! Die!”

“AAAAAHH!” Loki cries out in excruciating pain, but he doesn’t let go instead griping on your head tighter. He grits down on his teeth pushing through agony. “Kara, please,” He begs in anguish, “please come back to me! NNNGH! AAAAAH! Kara!”

“Loki, let her go!” Wanda cries out, flying in next to him and thrusting him off of you with her magic.

“Wanda?! What are you doing?!” Loki shouts as he tumbles across the ground. His Jotun form fading as he quickly scrambles back up on his feet. “No! I can’t lose her again!”

He watches horrified as you scramble up on your own feet and run off.

“Don’t worry,” Strange steps forward, placing a firm hand on Loki’s shoulder so as to hold him back.

Loki whips around and glares at him. He raises his hands to cast a spell, but they immediately drop as the immense pain of the burns shoots up through his arms. He cries out in excruciating agony.

“No! No! No!” He completely breaks down, staring Strange down with enraged hatred.

“Loki, look,” Wanda gently calls for his attention.

He tears his eyes away, looking in the direction his pupil is pointing.

Carol floats down in front of you, cutting off your attempt to flee. Wielding Thanos’ scepter in her right hand, she flashes a grin at you, “Good to see you again, Director,” She greets before thrusting the tip of the scepter against your chest.

You gasp as the unnatural blueness of your eyes slowly fades.

Chapter Text

“Get the stone!” Strange calls out as it clicks in his mind what’s going on.

All three of them charge at Thanos.

Wanda thrusts a wave of red energy directly at the scepter, entangling it with her magic. She pulls, yanking it against Thanos’ resisting grip.

Stephen Strange crosses his hands and more arms form around him before he splinters off into multiple copies of himself. Each copy creating magic lassos that whip out and restrain Thanos from all angles.

Surging with energy, Carol winds up her fist and starts repeatedly bashing the titan upside the head.

Thanos coughs up blood. He grits his teeth, straining harder against the lassos. Some of them snap, but fresh ones are sent flying to take their place. A sharp groan of pain escapes from his lips.

Wanda’s eyes glow red as she drops her hold on the scepter. Channeling her magic on either end of the titan’s neck, she crosses her arms before violently ripping them apart in opposite directions.

A loud snapping sound rings out across the forest. Thanos’ head dangles to one side as the rest of his body goes limp in the lassos’ grasp. His fingers unfurl, dropping the scepter as Strange’s clones disappear. The titan’s body crashes to the ground as the lassos vanish.

“Well, that was easy,” Carol remarks before bending down and picking up the scepter.

“You have no idea,” Strange mutters, opening a portal under Thanos’ corpse and plunging it into a deep watery grave. “The Wakandans will probably appreciate not having to clean up the mess,” the portal closes. His eyes meet those of the two women in front of him, “We should hurry. Kara’s most likely under the influence of the Mind Stone which means Loki’s in danger.”
__

Carol floats down in front of you, cutting off your attempt to flee. Wielding Thanos’ scepter in her right hand, she flashes a grin at you, “Good to see you again, Director,” She greets before thrusting the tip of the scepter against your chest.

You gasp as the unnatural blueness of your eyes slowly fades. Your hands fly up to clutch your head as your mind rewires itself, trying to restore it to the way it was before the Mind Stone messed with it. You start hyperventilating as your natural senses come rushing back. What have you done?! Your eyes widen horrified as tears well up and spill out, hands shaking horribly as you bring them back down and stare at them. A scream of agony rings from your lips as you collapse down on your knees.

“Kara, it’s alright now. Just breathe,” Carol worryingly addresses you, stretching out her arm but you flinch away. She retracts her hand.

“No, no, no! What have I done?!” You sob in overwhelming mortification as your gaze stays trained on your trembling hands.

A pair of black boots steps around you and forward in your line of sight, but you can’t tear your eyes away from your hands. The boots’ owner bends down in front of you and wraps their arms around your necks, burying their head in your shoulder.

“Listen to me, darling,” Loki instructs though he’s basically begging you to do so rather commanding. “It’s okay. Everything is going to be alright,” His arm shakes painfully as he reaches up and runs his fingers through your hair. “It’s not your fault.”

“Stop it,” You croak, your words having a double meaning. You say nothing more in response as the tears continue streaming down your face.

Loki sighs, pursing his lips and dropping his hand.

Strange motions for Carol and Wanda to step aside with him. The three huddle together a short distance away from the two of you.

“I’ll send you two back to New York to help the others,” Strange tells them. “Then I’ll grab Shuri and Helen Cho, and we’ll see what we can do about his burns.”

“And Mind Stone?” Carol asks, holding up the scepter in her palm.

“I believe Kara has already made provisions for it,” He glances at Wanda. “They agreed it’s going to Vision, correct?”

Wanda nods, “Yeah...” her gaze wanders distractedly back over to you and Loki. “Y-you can actually heal the damage, right?”

Strange inhales sharply looking at heavily inflamed skin. If they didn’t act fast there’d definitely be severe scarring at the bare minimum. Loki’s doing his best to mask it for your sake, but Stephen knows he’s in immense pain right now. Taking that much direct burning is too much for anybody- much less someone with a body constitution directly adverse to fire.

“We’ll do our best,” He replies before nodding to be more reassuring. “Between the three of us, I’m sure we can figure something out. But the sooner we get to treating his arms the better.”

“Let’s not waste any time then,” Carol says, handing the scepter over to Wanda.
__

-Wakanda, Shuri’s Lab-

You sit curled up into yourself on a bench in the hall, silently crying into your knees. You burned him. Severely burned him. Loki, a frost giant biologically adverse to extreme heat; the last person in the universe you wanted to hurt and yet you inflicted such extensive pain on him. He tried to mask it, but the subtle hints of agony were still there and you saw his festering skin. The Mind Stone might of been in control but you crystal clear remember everything... every bit of information you gave to Thanos... everything you did... everyone you burned.

What if they couldn’t fix the damage? What if you cost him his arms, and he could never use them properly again?! What if you robbed him of his ability to cast spells?! Had you ruined his magic capabilities?! Everything he trained his whole life for gone in an instant!? Magic is everything to Loki!

Why did you sacrifice yourself?! You should have listened to him! You broke your promise to Loki, and he paid the price for it! Why did you try to be the self-sacrificing hero?! You could’ve just reworked your plan to account for Thanos having the Power Stone. Why didn’t you?!

You start hyperventilating again. Nausea churns in your stomach, and you scramble up racing to the nearest bathroom. You immediately lurch over the toilet bowl, sobbing uncontrollably as you vomit out everything until your throat is sore.

“Kara?” a voice calls out worryingly. “I saw you run in here...” Shuri steps closer to find you completely breaking down on the floor of the stall. She purses her lips before stretching out her arm to help you up. “He wants to see you.”

Your red, puffy eyes snap up to hers, “Is he- How is he- Loki’s arms are they-?” You struggle to ask.

She grabs your hand when you don’t take hers and hoists you up off the floor. She starts pulling you back outside, leading you down the hall as she talks, “Luckily, Loki’s frost giant genetics quickly counteracted the damage of the burns that would’ve been caused below the surface of the skin. His normal arm usage should recover in time. As for the burns on the skin themselves, we’re in the process of bonding his cells with simulacra and recreating the tissue. Strange is also walking him through channeling magic into his arms and we’re using my technology, so yeah; those things are speeding up the process very quickly. In short, he’ll be fine. As good as new!”

You stop right before you and Shuri reach the lab door. Your hands shake as you shutter. Your breathing again becomes heavily labored.

“Kara?” She inquires concerned.

“I- I- I just need some fresh air for a moment,” You tell her as you pull away.

“What about Loki?” She questions as you run back down the hall.

You don’t reply, and even though there’s no one chasing you you don’t stop running until you get outside.

“Heimdall!” You cry before stumbling over your own feet and crashing down to the ground. The tears from your eyes soak the earth beneath you as your voice cracks weakly, “Bring me home,” You beg.

The Bifrost comes streaming down.
__

Heimdall plops down next to you as you had done nothing but sit and tremble since you got back.

“I know Asgard was attacked,” You murmur, throat sore from all the crying. “Were there casualties?”

Heimdall purses his lips, “I don’t think that’s the best topic for you right now. Why don’t we talk about something else? I hear that there’s a new cake out at that patisserie you like to frequent. I’ll split the bill with you if you want to go down there and buy us some. Oh, and-”

“Just tell me the truth,” You croak as a fresh set of tears well up in your eyes.

“... They were extremely minimal, but a handful of civilians did get caught in the crossfire,” Heimdall sighs, giving in. “Also, Sif took some extensive damage. She’s still in medical care now.”

You shutter as your heart beat rapidly speeds up; your eyes widen releasing the wave of tears. “Sif?” You breathe in agony, scrambling up and immediately running off again.

“Kara, wait!” Heimdall stands, calling out after you when someone else catches his attention. He turns back to the sword, twisting it and opening the Bifrost once more. He waits until they finally reach Asgard before quickly closing it back down. “She’s headed to the palace. I told her about Sif.”

“You were always weak when it came to giving in to her,” Loki mutters. He clicks his tongue in frustration. Great. Now you had even more on your conscience.

“I don’t want to hear that particular chastisement from you of all people,” Heimdall retorts. He pauses, “How are your arms?”

Loki’s breath sharpens as he raises them, “Still a little shaky but they’ll recover. Midgard and it’s people are more advanced than we give them credit for. And I guess... being Jotun has its perks,” He admits begrudgingly.

Heimdall smiles softly before nodding in the direction you fled. “Go after her. She needs you right now.”

Loki nods before vanishing into thin air.
__

One hand flies to your mouth while the other tremblingly outstretches towards Sif. You stroke her hair behind her ear, “Sif...” You cry weakly. “I’m so, so sorry,” your watery eyes drift to the oxygen mask resting over her mouth, and a lump lodges in your throat. “This is all my fault. I’m so sorry. I-”

The sound of the door opening creaks behind you. Your eyes snap back and lock with those of an unfamiliar little boy.

“I-I’m sorry,” He apologizes quickly, backing up.

“No, it’s okay,” You tell him gently. “Are you a friend of Sif’s?”

The boy nods silently, quietly observing you. Not quite sure whether he should stay or go.

“Me too,” You force out a small smile. “My name’s Kara. What’s yours?” You beckon him to come forward.

“Fiske...” He answers hesitantly as he walks closer. Then his eyes light up. “Kara? As like in Princess Kara?”

“One in the same,” You chuckle lightly.

“Kara, we need to talk-,” Loki says, appearing in the room but lingers off when he sees the kid.

You freeze, eyes widening and trembling in fear.

In contrast, Fiske’s eyes widen in bewildered delight. He had never seen any pop out of thin air before. He knew at once who this is. Before getting to know Sif and Thor, Prince Loki had been the royal Fiske looked up to the most. But Loki’s eyes didn’t share Fiske’s excitement as they remained worriedly trained on his wife. Fiske observes the tension between the two of you. It was like the tension he witnessed between Thor and Sif only worse. Yet there’s still deep love underlying your pained expressions. If you loved each other why were you avoiding and fighting one another? Grownups confused Fiske.

You bend down to the boy’s eye level, “Can I count on you to watch over her for me until I get back?” You ask him.

Fiske nods.

“Thank you,” You try to smile warmly, but it comes out more bittersweet. It’s not aided by the fact you’re still shedding tears. You pat his head softly before standing back up.

Loki immediately reaches out and takes your hand. The two of you vanish.

Chapter Text

You gently pull your hand away the second you’re in his study.

Loki squeezes his eyes shut, gritting his teeth over your abundant rejection of him, before turning to look at you, “Kara, stop running away,” He pleas desperately as he watches you scramble to rip the gloves off your hands.

You bitterly scoff as you finally get them off and throw them into the nearby trash bin, “I’m not running away! That’s why I came to Asgard!” your voice steadily rises as you become more defensive, “The Black Order attacked our realm with the knowledge I gave them! People died! Sif almost died! Because of the information I gave up! I’m not running away! I’m facing head-on the consequences of my actions!”

“You didn’t surrender that knowledge willing you,” Loki pushes back much more calmly than you. “You were under the influence of the Mind Stone.”

“That’s a convenient little excuse,” You immediately reject his point. “No, everything I said and did I did very much willingly! I chose to sacrifice myself and the information I had so the Power Stone stayed out of Thanos’ hands!” You bitterly shout, pointing a finger up at him. “I knew what I knew! I knew I’d be at his whim to carry out any deed he desired me to do! I knew I was capable of burning people! But you were right! I have a savior’s complex! So instead of reworking my plans to incorporate Thanos’ having the Power Stone, I chose to be the martyr who sacrificed herself for the universe!” the tears flood from your eyes. “And now people are dead because of my choice! And I put both you and Sif through excruciating pain! Oh god, and imagine the torment Thor must have gone through thinking he might lose her?! The torment I put you through thinking the same?! On top of that, I think I’ve proven I’m not fit to be a mother! I put our child’s life on the line too!”

Loki lets you finish your rant uninterrupted. Letting you get everything off your chest before he speaks. He steps forward and places a shaking hand on your cheek, “Listen to me carefully, Kara. You sacrificed yourself because it was the right choice. You were unselfish and risked what you did for the sake of the universe. The Power Stone in Thanos’ hands would have meant a lot more casualties. And I know you were scared at the thought of it. Thanos had the Power Stone when he attacked the Asgardians in your universe, overpowering some of our mightiest warriors. It’s perfectly reasonable why you did everything in your power to keep that particular stone out of his reach,” with his other hand, he reaches up and brushes a strand of your hair behind your ear as you stare unwaveringly at him with watery eyes, “You prevented so many casualties. Remember the destruction Thanos caused in your universe compared to this one. So many of us are still alive today because of the work done you’ve done and the choices you’ve made. Tony’s still alive, Volstagg, Fandral, Hogun, Natasha, over half of our people, Mother, me... We are all still alive because of your choices. Don’t belittle all that. Don’t second guess that.”

“Sif almost died,” You choke through the tears. “I burned you really, really badly.”

“But Sif isn’t dead,” He reminds you firmly. “And I know for a fact that hurting me was not something you planned on when you surrendered to Thanos. Yes, you offered up knowledge but that was it. In return, you kept something far more dangerous out of his hands. You weren’t counting on him making you hate me.”

“I- I sh-should have considered it,” You object in agonizing guilt, shaking your head and trying to pull away.

Loki’s hand tremors as it quickly snatches yours, locking you in place, “No one thinks of everything. It’s impossible,” He responds, raising your hand to his lips and softly kissing your knuckles.

You shutter, looking away as you squeeze your eyes shut, pushing the tears in your eyes to roll down either side of your face.

“And the choice you made saved the universe our child is going to grow up in,” Loki continues, reaching up with both palms and gently cupping your face as he pulls your gaze back to him. “You protected that,” He says, one hand wandering down to shakily rest on your stomach. “And you put the two of you at risk only because you believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would be more valuable to Thanos alive,” He says, “Kara, you’re more than qualified to be a mother. And even if you have some shortcomings it’s not like you’ll be facing parenthood alone. Between our two brains, I’m sure we can figure out proper parenting,” Loki grins softly, resting his forehead against yours.

You don’t respond, but you’ve given up your will to reject his comfort. You break down sobbing into his shoulder, wrapping your arms around him; fingers gripping tightly to the back of his shirt.

“Aaaaaah!” You scream agonizingly into his chest, tears soaking his shirt’s fabric.

One hand shoots up to clutch the back of your head while the other simultaneously snakes around your waist as he pulls you closer. He lets you cry. He purses his lips and remains silent for a while.

“Kara,” Loki finally murmurs, pulling away just a bit as he lifts your chin. He plants a gentle kiss on your lips slightly parting them. His breath lingers on your lips before he continues his speech, “I love you.... and maybe if I was a better man I could find the right words to comfort you but I’m not. I have no rousing speech. I just...” He lingers off unsure what he’s even trying to say.

You rest your head against his chest as the last of your tears roll down your cheeks, “You found the right words,” You tell him softly. “You’re a better man than you think,” You purse your lips as a moment of silence passes by. Your voice is coarse, “Please,” You beg, swallowing the lump in your throat, “just don’t... don’t let me go...”

“Never,” Loki breathes, promising.

In an instant the two of you are laying on the couch as Loki teleports you. He secures your head against his chest, shifting the position of his arms to hold you more comfortably. Closing his eyes as he kisses the top of your head, he focuses on steadily channeling magic into his arms effectively stopping the tremors. Even if it’s only for a short while, Loki doesn’t want you reminded of his arms. He starts running his fingers through your hair and kissing the top of your head at random intervals.

Sheer exhaustion and finally being in your place of most comfort slowly forces you to drift. On every level, you are exhausted. Yes, you are emotionally and mentally drained, but you also haven’t slept in days. There is a lot of information in your head, and Thanos demanded to know all of it. Your head bobs and your eyes flutter as you drift in and out of nodding off, resisting.

“We’re safe,” Loki murmurs reassuringly. “You’re allowed to rest now. It’s okay.”

Just barely registering his words, the remainder of your consciousness slips away.

Loki shifts, releasing his focus on the magic steadying his arms. His shaking hand moves down to the forming bump on your stomach. He exhales softly in relief.
__

Sighing, Loki bends down and grabs the gloves out of the trash bin. He stares at them pursing his lips. Opening his desk drawer, he puts them inside and closes it. Maybe not sometime soon but someday... you might be willing to wear these again. Honestly, they gave him peace of mind that you wore them. You had some material arts training from Nat, but you really aren’t much of a fighter. These gloves gave you an extra means of protection when he isn’t around.

Teleporting back to your chambers, Loki sits down on the bedside watching your chest steadily rise and fall as you sleep. His mind wanders back to the night you first met. The him from back then would never have imagined he would end up here. Staring down at the woman he used to loathe with nothing but immense love and affection. Back then he desired nothing more than for you to disappear out of his life but now... now he couldn’t live in a world without you. He must have been one hell of a character in your universe to deserve someone like you to fall so deeply in love with him. If he could, he’d thank the actor who portrayed him.

His eyes flicker down your stomach. He swallows anxiously, hesitantly reaching his hand back out to it.

“You scare me, little one,” Loki breathes softly. “Bringing you into this world... what if I just screw you up? You’ll be different from all the children around you because of me. I’m sorry about that...” He pauses for a brief moment before sighing, “Then again, I was deathly scared of loving your mother and that turned out well.”

Suddenly you start to violently shift under the sheets. You start hyperventilating in your sleep and your facial expression painfully contorts.

Loki scrambles forward, gripping onto your shoulders, “Kara!”

A loud agonizing scream rings from your lips.
__

“You know what to do,” Thanos grins wickedly as he whispers into your ear, circling around you. “Your mind still belongs to me. Kara, do my dirty work,” His last words echo across the pitch-black void.

“Yes, Sir,” You reply, twirling around and knocking Loki to the ground with a swift kick to his legs. You straddle his chest, pinning him underneath you as you press your palms down. Agonizing cries ring from Loki’s lips as your burn through his chest. The flames blaze brighter and hotter until they turn blue. Loki's eyes beg desperately for you to stop, tears streaming down his face as the excruciating cries of pain echo increasingly louder in your ears.

Thanos’ cruel laughter can somehow still be heard echoing sinisterly in the background.

The flames flicker out when Loki’s desperate cries for mercy stop. Smoke rises from the scorching holes in his corpse.

You stand back up, sidestepping off of him and looking straight back up at Thanos.

“That’s my girl,” Thanos smirks, body fading into the blackness.

You snap back to your senses as soon as he’s gone. Eyes widening in horror, you stare down at your trembling hands covered in blood- Loki’s blood. You scramble down the floor where his body lay. Your hands flutter to cup your hands around Loki’s face.

“No, no, no, no, no! Loki!” You sob.

His lifeless eyes stare up at you. His emerald irises dull and faded.

“It’s all your fault!” his voice shouts accusingly but not from his lips. His voice multiples all around you, shouting and accusing you with the same line over and over. “It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!”

“It’s all your fault!” another familiar voice chimes in. “It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!”

Your eyes snap up. A short distance away, Sif’s body lies surrounded by a shimmering pool of blood.

Both voices sync up, shouting and echoing in unison. They grow louder and louder, completely drowning out everything, even your thoughts.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” You scream, tears streaming down your face in agony.

Chapter Text

Your eyes flash open as an agonized scream rings from your lips. You scramble to sit up, hyperventilating as your heart pounds violently in your chest. Your blurred vision refocuses as it registers the pair of emerald irises staring at you with overwhelming worry.

“Kara,” Loki’s pained voice calls out to you gently as he hesitantly reaches out his shaky hands and pulls you into his chest. He speaks softly into your ear. “What was it about?”

“What?” You question, struggling to catch your breath.

“You’re nightmare... what was it about?” He clarifies.

You squeeze your eyes shut, shuttering as what you dreamt burns itself into your memories. Your voice cracks, “I killed one of Thanos’ men by his command. But when I attacked it wasn’t him it was- it was you,” You grip the sheets underneath you. “I killed you. I snapped out of it but it was too late, I had your blood all over my hands,” Your body starts shaking. “Then Sif’s body showed up, and she lay dead in a pool of blood,” your breath starts to become more rapid again. “It was all my fault. It’s all my fault! It’s all my fault!”

“No, no, no, Kara, look at me,” Loki pleas, cupping your face in his trembling hands. “It wasn’t real. Nothing’s your fault.”

His words bring you little comfort. You pull away from him, “I need some fresh air.”

Loki silently follows you with his eyes as you stand up and walk over to the balcony, struggling to calm yourself down. You lean over the rail, staring off into the distance of the Asgardian night sky. He sighs, getting up after you and joining you outdoors.

“I guess it’s my time to be the hero,” He says as he draws closer and wraps his arms securely around your waist from behind. He leans his head against yours and speaks softly, “We’ll find you someone to talk to. If there’s no one suitable on Asgard, I’m sure we can find someone for you on Earth.”

“I can’t go to a normal therapist, especially not on Earth,” You scoff bitterly, turning in his arms and showing him your pained expression. “My world- what I’ve done- it’s all too complicated for that. I wouldn’t be able to freely speak.”

Loki ponders silently before parting his lips slightly, “What about an atypical one?” He suggests.

Your expression turns quizzical.

“Do you remember when you first started the Young Avengers Initiative, you asked me to look into other possible candidates we could recruit,” He starts to explain.

You nod hesitantly still very confused about where this is going.

“Well, I stumbled across a secret intelligence organization on Midgard focused on researching and helping humans with special, or atypical, abilities,” He tells you. “Most of these humans struggle to properly utilize/stabilize their abilities, many of which aren’t suited or strong enough for combat, and are just seeking help in hopes of living semi-normal lives, so I didn’t really bring them up as people to pursue for hero work. But amongst these people, there’s a highly skilled therapist who works specifically with those with atypical abilities. She might be willing to take you on since your situation is anything but typical.”

You purse your lips, turning back away from him, “I’ll think about it...” You swallow, blinking and releasing tears down your cheeks as you run your hands across his arms, feeling them tremor under your touch.

“I’m so sorry,” You choke out in agonizing guilt.

“Don’t worry, love. This time I’ll be the one to save you,” He murmurs, sidestepping your apology as he straightens up and kisses the top of your head, “Just give me a little time.”
__

-The Next Morning-

“Looks like you guys handled everything well,” You purse your lips, leaning back in your chair. “Casualties were minimal and damage was controlled to this area.”

“Are you okay?” Steve inquires as they all stare worriedly at you. “You know we can handle things for a while. You didn’t have to come in so soon.”

“It’s for my peace of mind that I came in,” You sigh. “I wanted to know the extent of the damage...”

“Kara, you saved many lives. You stopped half of Xandar’s population from being wiped out,” Phil speaks up. “In the heat of the moment, you made the right choice.”

You nod silently, adverting your eyes down to your notepad as you jot notes down for your report.

Valkyrie sighs and reaches her hand out across the table to your arm. “Princess, seriously, take a break. That’s why you brought the four of us on in the first place, isn’t it? You’ve done great work. You’re allowed to take a step back now.”

“And you’re going to be a mother soon so if you need an excuse that’s as good of one as any,” Shuri tells you through the monitor.

“How’s the rest of Loki’s treatment going?” You ask, sharply changing the subject.

Shuri hesitates before answering, “Same as before... He’ll be as good as new within the next couple of hours.”

You finally put down your pen and look back up at them. You stand up, “I’m going to go type up the incident report,” you let out a deep sigh as their concerned expressions bore into you. “After that, I’ll take maternity leave, but if any, and I mean any, emergency pops up these next few months I want to be notified about it asap. Got it?”

“Got it,” Phil nods, smiling along relieved with the rest of the group.
__

Groaning softly, Sif’s eyes flutter open. Turning her head sideways, the first thing they focus on is the burly figure fast asleep in the chair next to her bed. She exhales softly as she takes him in.

Thor, though asleep, still looks exhausted; expression somewhat tense. He mustn’t have been asleep long. He’s still dressed in his armor, clearly implying he came here right after the end of the battle and stayed. His hair is a mess; dirt and blood caking his skin. Mjolnir lay upright on the floor right by his side where he had left it since he arrived. If Thor’s in this condition then Sif gathers she couldn’t have been out of it for more than a day or two.

“Thor,” She murmurs almost regrettably as he instantly jars awake.

He scrambles forward, shuttering in relief as he reaches out and lifts her hand in his. Tears well up in his eyes.

“I’m alright,” She promises him softly.

He nods as a few of the tears escape before he heavily exhales, “Thank the stars. Because I don’t know what I would’ve done if I lost you.”

Sif shifts onto her side facing him, pursing her lips before hesitantly opening her mouth, “We need to talk...”

“I know,” Thor murmurs, kissing the back of her palm. He pauses as neither one of them actually takes the initiative to say anything. He bites his lip, “I’m sorry... I should have given you the space you wanted.”

“No,” Sif shakes her head slowly, “I shouldn’t have pushed you away. You have the right to know. Thor, I’m-...” She lingers off still torn over telling him. Sif curses at herself in her head. She had her answer. Why is she scared to commit to it?

“Pregnant,” Thor finishes for her.

Sif’s eyes widen in alarm, “You knew?!”

“When I got the news you would survive the doctor mentioned that the baby would also pull through,” He replies, averting his gaze. “She assumed I knew...”

A pang of guilt washes over Sif, “Thor, I-”

“This is what you’ve been upset over? Why you’ve been avoiding me...” Thor looks back up at her hurt.

More guilt piles on. She had never seen that expression on Thor’s face before. A mixture of pained betrayal but also compliant resignation.

“If you don’t want to keep the baby then...” He pulls away his hand, “...then we don’t have to. You know that I’d never force you into something you didn’t want to do, right? Have I done something to make you believe otherwise?” Thor chokes out his words solemnly, “I want you to know you can come to me with literally anything and I’ll listen. You’re allowed to have your own thoughts and desires in this marriage. I know open communication hasn’t been my family’s forte but I’m trying to change that. If you don’t want to be a mother then just tell me. Loki’s descendants can take over the bloodline, I don’t care.”

Sif rolls back on her back, staring upwards at the ceiling, “You should leave the lying up to your brother. You’re terrible at it,” She turns her head to look at him again, “You do care,” reaching down, she places a hand on her stomach. “You would be thrilled to have this child. The problem is... you care about multiple things. My happiness and opinions for example...”

Thor remains silent, swallowing the lump lodged in his throat.

She sighs, extending her other hand out to him and he immediately takes it, “Thor, I care about your happiness and opinions too. You don’t just have to bend to my will. This needs to be a joint decision. Besides...” She nervously lingers off, biting her lip, “...I can’t in good conscience ask to adopt another child when I don’t even want to keep our own.”

Thor’s eyes widen as he blinks in confusion. His heart skips a beat, betraying the defense he worked hard to build when he decided he’d tell her that he was okay with giving up their child. A weak sense of hope crushingly rises his chest; he’s almost too scared to ask, “What are you implying?”

“Fiske,” Sif breathes sharply as she braces herself to commit to her next words. “His mother’s gone... I failed to protect her in time... If he doesn’t have a father, I think... I want to adopt him as our own.”

“A-are you sure?” Thor stammers in relief but also disbelief.

Sif blushes lightly in embarrassment, adverting her eyes slightly, “I mean... we’re the ones who found him... or he found us... and he kind of grows on you.”

Thor leans down, catching her lips with his. He parts them gently deepening the kiss, breath lingering warmly before he pulls away.

“Thank you,” He murmurs, cupping her cheek in his palm.

She smiles softly up at him as she leans into it, “On one condition though.”

He tilts his head, staring at her quizzically, “What is it?”

“You’re changing all the diapers,” Sif grins.

“I think that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make,” Thor smiles back at her with deep affection. “Anything for my queen.”
__

“Thank you for being willing to see me,” You tell her as you take a seat. “I know I’m not your usual client, Dr. Bright.”

“No, you are not,” She replies, clasping her hands together over the notebook resting on her lap. “But because of your work, I’ve found the parameters of my work are far more extensive than I originally thought. And I still would consider your situation atypical, so as long as you’re not after my other patients I don’t see why this arrangement couldn’t work out.”

“I can promise you I’m not here for them. The protection and furtherance of normal, happy lives is something we have in common,” You reassure her.

“Very well,” Dr. Bright smiles warmly. “Do you mind if I record our sessions? For both research purposes, and because I find it extremely helpful to review the recordings in order to better reflect on ways to help my clients.”

“I’m fine with it as long as doctor-patient confidentiality is maintained,” You answer her inquiry.

“Of course,” She promises.

Chapter Text

Grabbing the towel off the rack, Thor wraps it around his waist before stepping back into his chambers. Sif had insisted he, at the very least, go wash up. He fumbles around his wardrobe absentmindedly selecting a fresh set of clothes. He feels utterly exhausted, but there is so much left to figure out. The fight with Thanos for the safety and security of the universe is over, but why then did everything around him seem to be even more of a mess than before?

His sister-in-law is reeling from being under the control of Thanos and the Mind Stone, looking more terrified than he’d ever seen you. He had only gotten a glimpse of you briefly when he returned to Asgard and you were preparing to head back to Midgard, but you had stared at him with a mixture of guilt and fear staining your expression before ashamedly averting your eyes.

His wife is still bedridden as her body struggles to regain its usual strength. Thor had never seen her look so weak before. Weak didn’t suit Sif. She isn’t supposed to be like this.

His father retreated back into his wing of the palace shortly after Sam brought Sif back. Avoiding practically everyone except Mother. On top of that, Heimdall reported that he was looking into you and the whereabouts of the original Kara. Why can’t his Father just stop being so stubborn? What did he hope to accomplish by finding the original soul when everyone else has already accepted you? Is he blind to fact that he’s hurting Mother, torn between her love for her husband and her love of the rest of her family?

Then there’s the matter with Fiske. The kid barely ate the past few days, choosing to spend much of his time shut up in the guest room he had been provided except on the few occasions he slipped out to check up on Sif.

Thor grits teeth as he buttons up his shirt.

Did the boy have a father? Were they keeping him from him? Fiske didn’t mention one or seem to be clamoring to get back home, and it’s sort of hard to ask since losing his mother is still so fresh for him. If not... would the boy even want to be adopted by them? The King and Queen who failed to protect his mother?

Thor sighs, staring exhaustedly at his reflection in the mirror.

Ironically, Loki seems to be doing the best out of the family right now.
__

“I heard sleeping beauty had finally awoken,” Loki quips, appearing in the room.

“Shut up,” Sif mutters, rolling her eyes and repositioning herself.

“Hey, I’m going out of my way to check up on you, Your Majesty,” He chuckles. “At least try to feign gratefulness,” His smile fades as his eyes show a glimmer of concern. “Are you and the baby alright?”

She nods slowly, biting her lip, “Yeah... We’re going to be fine,” Her lips curve into a soft smile as she tentatively rests her hands on her stomach. “So good news, you’re going to be an uncle.”

“You decided to keep it?” Loki raises an eyebrow shocked.

“Well, it didn’t seem right to give up on this one when I want to adopt another,” She admits. “Plus, it makes Thor happy.”

“Wait. Back up. I feel like I missed some major development,” Loki’s expression deepens in confusion. He thinks back to the little boy he saw last time he was here, “Since when did you want to adopt a child?”

“It’s a long story,” Sif sighs, “but in short, your brother and I came into contact with this boy named, Fiske, and now we’re both a little attached to him. Also, his mother was one of the casualties... he witnessed her die...”

“No father?”

“Thor’s looking into it...” She replies, lingering off. Her eyes suddenly widen as they snap directly up at Loki’s, “Kara! Is she alright?! Where is she?!”

“Calm down, she’s here. She’s taking a nap,” He quickly reassures her, resting a concerned hand on her shoulder. “And she’s fine- well... she’s safe.”

A silence falls between them as Loki retracts his hand.

“Are you going to tell me what happened or...?” Sif questions.

Loki sighs, crossing his arms, “Apparently Thanos was faster ahead in time than we hoped. She gave herself up to him and the power of the Mind Stone in order to keep the Power Stone out of his hands... She was forced to divulge everything she knew and was manipulated into thinking she hated us. When she arrived on Earth with Thanos she tried to kill me,” His breath sharpens. “She burned my arms pretty severely as I tried to snap her out of it. After they defeated Thanos, we used the Mind Stone to get her back to normal, and Shuri and the others fixed my arms, but now... Now she blames herself for everything. The casualties, burning my arms, putting our child’s life at risk, you almost dying... It’s taken a massive toll on her mental health.”

“Thanos and the Black Order would’ve attacked Asgard for the tesseract regardless. And I only almost died because the morning sickness was throwing me off. She can’t blame herself for that,” Sif rebuts. “She probably protected a lot more lives than what we lost. And the Mind Stone’s one of the six most powerful things in the universe. There’s no way she’d be able to resist its influence.”

“I know,” Loki purses his lips, “and I agree. No one else is blaming her except herself. You know what she’s like.”

She sighs and nods, “Yeah...”

“That’s why... just for a little bit... can you refrain from telling her about the pregnancy?” He asks of her. “She’s already got so much on her conscience. I don’t want to add one more thing.”

“No, I agree,” Sif assures him. “We should wait until-”

“Someone help!” Thor’s voice can be heard barging into the medical wing.

Loki and Sif exchange deeply concerned glances before he quickly rushes forward and flings open the door. Loki’s eyes widen in horror as he witnesses Thor panicking with you trembling and hyperventilating in his arms.

“Give her to me,” He growls, immediately walking forward and snatching you out of Thor’s arms.

You cling tightly, arms wrapping in desperation around Loki’s neck as he holds you. Your tears wetting his shoulder as you bury your head in it. Efforts to calm your erratic breathing still a struggle.

“Kara, darling, it’s alright,” He whispers sweetly into your ear. “I’ve got you. I’ve got you.” His eyes lock with Thor’s, signaling for him to follow as Loki turns to go back into Sif’s room.

Thor shuts the door behind them.

“What happened? You were supposed to be taking a nap,” Loki inquires.

You swallow the painful lump in your throat but don’t answer. Instead, continuing to sob in his embrace.

“We crossed paths in the hall,” Thor starts to answer in your place. “She was looking a little down, so I tried cheering her up by sharing some good news. But when I told her about the baby she suddenly broke down like this.”

Loki’s grip tightens around you; just barely keeping himself from snapping at his brother.

“Thor...” Sif groans.

“I’m so sorry, Sif,” You choke out through your tears as you look up at her completely guilt-ridden.

“Kara, listen to me, it’s not your fault,” She tells you firmly. “I put the child at risk by my own violation. I don’t regret the choice I made and I would make it again. I saved a little boy’s life. And Asgard would’ve been attacked regardless of your knowledge if Thanos was coming for the space stone all along. That’s why you stationed Avengers here. I would’ve still fought.”

Thor grimaces. Though he knew he couldn’t keep Sif out of a fight she wanted to be in.

Again, you don’t respond as you bury your face back into Loki’s shoulder.

Loki glances at Thor, “I’m going to put her back to bed. When I’m done, I’ll come find you. We need to talk.”

Thor nods silently before Loki teleports the two of you out of the room.

“Do you know what’s going on with her?” He asks of his wife as soon as they’re alone.

“Yes... Loki just informed me. Kara has immense guilt over everything that went down with Thanos and the Black Order because of her trade of herself and her knowledge in order to keep the Power Stone out of his hands. She feels responsible for the attacks and casualties even though they were inevitable and she actually significantly decreased both,” Sif answers him. “Though, she’s probably most torn up about burning Loki.”

“Burning Loki?!” Thor asks in alarm. He hesitates, confused. “But I haven’t seen any burns on him.”

“Apparently Shuri and some others were able to reverse the damage,” She replies.

“And telling her about the baby only increased her guilt, didn’t it?” Thor pieces things together.

“Yes...” She honestly admits.

Thor grits his teeth, averting his eyes ashamed, “I- I’m sorry. I didn’t know...” His expression starts to darken.

“Thor, it’s alright. She would’ve found out sooner or later,” Sif quickly comforts him, sliding out of bed. Her feet give out as soon as she tries to stand.

“What are you doing?!” He exclaims in alarm, swiftly catching her before she crashes to the ground. He sits her up back on the bed before kneeling down in front of her.

“You had a dark expression on your face,” Sif informs him. “I couldn’t leave it there,” leaning forward she parts his lips, locking them into a kiss, “A smile suits you better.”

“Our family doesn’t have much to smile about right now,” Thor chokes out with a pained expression.

“Of course it does,” Sif reaches out and brushes some of his hair behind his ear, resting her palm on his cheek. With her free hand, she takes one of his and places it on her stomach. “This family will have little ones soon. You’re going to be a father and an uncle. Your parents are finally getting grandkids,” She chuckles. “I’m safe. Kara’s safe. There’s an edge off of Loki now that she’s home and can finally step back. Things may not be perfect right now, but they’re certainly looking up.”

“You have no idea how much I needed to hear that,” Thor affectionately stares up at her with watery eyes. His voice cracks, “Things just seem so bleak.”

“I know,” Sif smiles softly down at him. She takes the hand on her stomach and interlaces her fingers with his. “You’ve always got me in your corner, Thor. If life feels like it’s too much then turn to me. I’ll be there.”

Shuttering, Thor scrambles back up his feet and cups her face in his hands. He kisses her as his passion for her burns, deepening it and stealing her every breath.
__

“Thor,” Loki calls out, appearing behind him as he heads down the corridor.

Thor stops, turning to look at him. “Brother,” He acknowledges. He starts to apologize, “I’m sorry for telling Kara. I didn’t know. I-”

“That’s not what I wanted to discuss,” Loki cuts him off. “It’s fine. You don’t have to apologize.”

“What is it then?” Thor asks a bit perplexed.

“I’m asking a favor,” Loki replies. “I want to take Kara away for a few months. I’ve purchased a small island on Midgard, and I’m planning on taking her there so she can relax. In short, I’m asking for permission to work remotely for a while. I can still pop in from time to time when necessary, but I want the two of us to get away for a bit.”

“Of course you can,” Thor approves instantly. “Kara needs it. You need it. You don’t need my permission.”

“You’re answering as my brother and not as the King. Technically, you’re above me as I’m your royal advisor,” Loki counters though he’s not sure why. He got what he wanted. “It’s only right that I ask.”

Thor draws closer and tries to place a hand on his brother’s shoulder but it slips right through.

“Sorry. I meant to come in person but tearing myself away from her is difficult at the moment,” Loki confesses apologetically.

“No, I understand,” Thor instead just crosses his arms. He sighs, “Loki, I can manage Asgard and the nine realms for a few months. I’m not alone. I’ve got Sif and the others,” He grins. “We’ll make sure the realms are all still in one piece by the time you get back. Both as your king and your brother, I’m telling you it’s alright.”

“I suddenly feel more worried but I’m going to take it,” Loki accepts. “If an emergency arises though, don’t hesitate to send word. Oh, and get some sleep. You desperately look like you need it.”

Thor nods and Loki’s image slowly fades away.

Looking down at you lying asleep in his arm, Loki sighs softly. He pulls the covers over your shoulder before gently placing a kiss on the top of your head.

Chapter Text

“Aaaaaah!” You sit up in bed screaming. Tears stream down your face as you curl up into yourself, burying your head in your knees. You struggle desperately to steady your erratic breathing.

“Kara,” Loki’s voice calls out softly as he sits up next to you. He starts running his fingers through your hair. “Good morning.”

You scoff bitterly, gritting your teeth. “Why?” You choke out angrily.

“Why what?” He asks you calmly.

“Its been weeks. I’m not getting any better! I still wake up screaming every time I lay down,” You sob, not looking up at him. “I’m damaged... my mind’s a mess... Why are you staying? You have better things to do with your time. I’m broken now. You don’t need the burden of taking care of a broken thing. Go back to Asgard.”

Arms wrap around you, pulling you onto his lap. “When I was at my worst and most broken in your universe, did you love me any less?” He inquires soothingly, resting your head against his chest and slowly rubbing his hand against your trembling arm. “Did you, upon coming here, give up on me after a couple of weeks when I full-on loathed you?”

You don’t respond to his rhetorical questions and he continues.

“You never believed I was beyond repair, and I don’t believe you are either,” Loki gently kisses the top of your head. “Even if it takes an eternity, I’m not leaving you, Kara. I’m utterly and madly in love with you. You’re not getting rid of me,” He softly kisses your neck. “And, darling, it may not look like it from your perspective, but you are exhibiting signs of improvement. The amount of sleep you get in between nightmares is increasing. You’ve cracked small smiles here and there at the little things I do. For example, when you watch me cook for us,” Loki rests a hand on your belly. “You’ve only had a few sessions with Dr. Bright. Some things just take time. It’s alright to cut yourself some slack.”

Loki has gotten pretty efficient at calming you down over the past couple of weeks since you came to the island. Your breathing slowly steadies as he talks and showers you with affection. You squeeze your eyes shut, shedding the last of your tears. You gasp, shuttering as your eyes flash back open.

“I- I’m going to go take a shower,” You tell him, pulling away.

He nods, understandingly letting you go. “I’ll go start breakfast. Any new things on or off the menu?”

“Fruit,” You reply, eyes lingering on him as you stand up. “No eggs... or bread... Something light I guess...”

“As you wish,” He flashes a warm smile.
__

Loki bites his lip anxiously and sighs as he cuts up some of the strawberries. With everything that you are currently going through, he doesn’t want to bring it up, but he also can’t get the growing concern out of his head. You are approaching seven months and yet your stomach is still so small. Sure it is growing to the point that you’re noticeably pregnant, but he did a bit of research and you aren’t exactly as big as you should be for the third trimester. Maybe he should fetch a doctor from the island or send for the physician from Asgard, but you are already so stressed and worried. The last he wants to do is add to that. But...

“Loki?” You call out, snapping him out of his thoughts as you step into the kitchen. You sound anxious almost as if you are checking in to see if he is still here as he promised.

His eyes flicker up to yours and your frightened expression immediately softens. “Yes?”

“N-nothing,” You dismiss, averting your eyes. Shame washes over you. You told him, no outright encouraged him, to go yet all that consumed your mind as you showered was overwhelming fear that he might really abandon you here on the island. Alone... You move to take a seat at the island countertop. “Is breakfast almost ready?”

“Almost,” He promises with a lighthearted chuckle to help ease the tension. “How does yogurt parfaits sound to you? You can add whatever fruits you fancy.” He nods over to the tray of blueberries and already cut up banana slices.

“Sounds good,” You force a small smile.

Loki’s eyes sadden upon registering the fake gesture. He averts them back down to the strawberries. “Hey, so I was thinking. When was your last check-up? Should we schedule the next one here soon? I’m sure we can find a doctor amongst the locals. Or if you’re more comfortable, I can fetch the family physician.”

“U-um... I think my last one was a couple of days before... before Thanos,” You answer, inhaling sharply and grabbing one of the glass bowls and yogurt container he had set out on the counter. You snatch a spoon and start scooping into your bowl, “I guess it would probably be good to schedule another one. Do you think it’s safe to go to a human doctor?”

“As far as I can tell there’s not much of a difference between Asgardian and Midgardian pregnancies,” Loki mulls it over. He purses his lips, “Then again... my genes have made it not your typical Asgardian pregnancy,” He pauses as he thinks over it some more. “I know it’s not his expertise but maybe we could ask Strange?”

You shake your head, “I don’t want to bother him. Stephen already has enough on his plate.”

Loki places the knife in the sink behind him before turning back and plating the strawberries on the tray next to the bananas. He picks up the tray, placing it down directly in front of you for better access.

“Do you want more?” He asks, pointing behind him at the fridge. “There’s a carton of raspberries and blackberries I can get out. Or I can cut up the grapefruit.”

“No, this is fine,” You smile a bit more genuinely this time. “Thank you,” You beckon him to the seat next to you. “Come eat with me.”

He doesn’t hesitate, picking up the other bowl and spoon as he comes around the island next to you. He sits as you pile on fruit to your mound of yogurt.

“As for which doctor...” You return to the topic at hand while he serves himself. You bite your lip.

On the one hand, it’s probably safer to do a check-up with the family physician. On the other... your fear of him returning to Asgard and not coming back still consumes your mind. Loki had never shown any interest in your checkups before. Why suddenly now? What if it’s just an excuse to slip away and leave you? You are broken now, and he never really wanted the baby in the first place. Despite what he said, Loki might have no qualms ditching the two of you here. What if his words are just sweet lies because he pities you?

“I think it would be fine if we consult the local doctor. But I’d prefer if we could get them to come here,” You finally answer him. “I’m not really feeling up for traveling into town.”

The guilty pit in your stomach grows. Not only is your decision motivated by your selfish inability to let him go, but you are also actively doubting Loki’s sincerity towards you. Your fear that he might be the liar you know he’s capable of being, clouding your judgment. Assuming the worst of him. Trapping him here with you. Tears unconsciously well up in your eyes as your shame rises.

“Kara!” Loki’s voice raises in alarm as he immediately puts down his bowl and cups your face in his palms, wiping away the tears with his thumbs before they can fall. “What’s wrong?” He asks anxiously.

“Hormones,” You lie though maybe it isn’t a complete lie.

“If it’s too much stress we don’t have to schedule a check-up,” Loki backtracks, expression full of concern as he stares at yours. “I’m not forcing you to have one. I just thought you might like one. It’s fine if you don’t,” He lies, placing you and your mental health over his growing concerns.

“Maybe, can we wait a bit?” You grimace as your gaze drifts to the floor.

“Of course,” He assures you before planting a gentle, lingering kiss on your forehead.
__

“Thor!” Sif bursts into the library where he’s combing through files.

The king turns nervously to face his fuming wife after quickly returning the folder he had been examining back into the filing cabinet. She pushes his back up against it, pinning him with one arm on his side and the other pressed firmly against his chest. He literally has no idea what he did to piss her off, but pissed is most definitely the attitude she carried as she glares angrily up at him. He’s glad she seems to be regaining her former strength at least.

“Whatever I did, I’m truly sor-”

“Twins?!” She seethes in exasperation, cutting him off. “You impregnated me with twins?!”

“What?” He blinks in complete shock.

Sif groans, letting him go, “For someone who didn’t want to be a mother, how did I suddenly end up with three potential kids?”

“Hold up,” Thor quickly grabs ahold of her arms. “Twins? We’re having twins?”

“That what she said when I went in for the check-up,” Sif tells him, looking him in the eyes. “It’s why I’m having such an excessive amount of morning sickness, especially so early on. Dammit, Thor! I blame you for this,” She mutters irritability.

Thor suddenly lifts her up off her feet and twirls her around. Sif’s face flushes as he does so. He pulls her into his chest, hugging her as he places her carefully back down on her feet.

“Twins!” He exclaims breathlessly, causing Sif to, for a split second, think maybe being pregnant with two children isn’t so bad if he’s this happy about it.

His smile fades a bit as he pulls away to look at her, “I’m sorry. I know this isn’t what you wanted...”

“It’s fine,” She replies, reaching up and placing a hand on his cheek. Thor’s hand flies up to hold it. “I’ve already resigned myself to being a mother. One more isn’t going to hurt. I’m just taking off a little steam from hearing the news.”

Thor leans down and kisses her, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Sif smiles back affectionately. Her eyes flicker to the cabinet behind him. “Did you find him?”

“Yes,” Thor exhales sharply. “It took some time since this type of work really isn’t my forte as you know, but I was able to find him in our records with the last name Fiske gave us. He was a soldier in Asgard’s army. He died in the line of duty. Based on the date listed on the file, I’m assuming he died before Fiske was born. And in my combing through the marriage records, I didn’t come across anything claiming his mother remarried.”

Sif remains silent as she takes it all in. She purses her lips before slowly moving her hand to take his, interlacing their fingers. “Shall we go ask him then?”

Chapter Text

Sif knocks on the door. Light shuffling can be heard from the other side. The door slowly creaks open. A pair of small pale green eyes stare up at her and Thor.

“Fiske, do you want to join us for a walk?” She asks him.

He nods, slipping out into the hall. His eyes widen a bit as each of them holds out a hand to him. His tiny heart skips a beat. He bites his lip but quickly accepts their hands, positioning himself between them as they start to walk down the corridor.

His heart betrays his mind. Fiske knew they’d be sending him to the orphanage soon. He had no family so there is nowhere else for him to go. He knew holding their hands and getting attached even more than he already is is only getting his hopes up, but his heart yearns to be with them. He had no right to voice that though. They are the king and queen, and he is just some random kid that clung on to them. They were kind enough to let him stay in the palace for a while, but that kindness surely had an expiration.

“Fiske,” Thor addresses him. “There’s something Lady Sif and I want to discuss with you.”

The boy’s heart sinks. This is it. They’re sending him away.

They both halt, staring down at him before quickly bending down to his level.

“Would you mind if we adopted you?” Thor asks.

Fiske eyes open wide in shock.

“If you’re not comfortable with us as parents then you can tell us, and we’ll find you another good home instead,” Thor assures him. “We won’t be mad.”

“But if you are comfortable with us,” Sif speaks up. “How about making this place your home?” She places her free hand on her stomach. “Fair warning, it will come with a pair of siblings.”

The tears well up and roll down his face. “I- I can stay?” Fiske inquires in disbelief.

“Only if you want to,” Sif cocks a small grin.

“I want to!” Fiske exclaims, flinging himself on the two of them.

Thor smiles warmly, patting the boy’s head, “Guess we’re keeping adoption going in the family,” He murmurs softly over to Sif.

“I guess so,” She whispers back, leaning in and kissing him.
__

“We have our first grandchild,” Frigga announces as she enters their chambers.

“Loki had his child?” Odin inquires confused. It’s still a bit early, isn’t it?

“No,” Frigga purses her lips. “If you were actually participating in this family you’d know what I’m referring to. The little boy Sif and Thor brought in. They are adopting him.”

His eyes widen, “As their firstborn? That’s going to cause conflict in the throne’s succession.”

“Oh, like how promising both of our sons that they had an equal chance to inheriting the throne but favoring one over the other caused conflict in the throne’s succession?” She snaps at him icily. “I have faith in Thor that he won’t make the same mistake.”

“Frigga-”

“No, I told you I won’t walk down this path with you,” She cuts him off. “I’m staying by your side, but I am not taking your side on this.”

Odin falls silent, turning away from his wife.

She clicks her tongue and sighs, “What happened to the noble man I fell in love with? Why are you cowering away in here, burying yourself in ancient texts and avoiding your sons?” Her voice cracks. “Just go talk to them and actually listen to them.”

“No, not yet,” Odin dismisses, picking up a scroll off his desk. “There’s something I need to focus on and time is limited. Everything else can wait.”

“What could possibly be more vital than your family?!” Frigga shouts in desperation. “Don’t you see with every second you spend locked away in here you’re getting closer to losing to us?!”

“This has to be done, Frigga,” He looks up at her apologetically. “For our family.”

“Is an apology that hard for you to muster?” Her voice cracks again. “You don’t have to do all this convoluted whatever you’re doing. Unless those ancient texts are about sincerely apologizing then I don’t understand.”

“Frigga, I’m-” He sighs, starting to tell her.

“I don’t want to hear any more excuses,” She chokes back tears, turning away and shutting him down. Frigga heads to the door, opening it, “Oh, and Sif’s carrying twins,” She informs him before slamming the door shut behind her.
__

“Any names?” Loki inquires, setting down a plate with grapefruit slices on the coffee table.

Your eyes flicker up from the manga you had been flipping through. You straighten up on the couch, giving him room to sit down next to you, “For the baby?”

He nods silently, pulling you gently down across his lap and playing absentmindedly with your hair.

“If it’s a boy then maybe... Viggo? But if it’s a girl then I like the name Icici,” You answer him. “What about you?”

“Hmmmm,” He muses aloud, pausing to think it over. “I don’t know. Honestly, I haven’t given the matter much thought myself. I’m fine with whatever you choose... Which do you think it will be?”

“Well, the odds are fifty-fifty,” You murmur. “I think I picture us more with a girl though.”

“Really? I’ve always pictured a little boy,” He chuckles softly as he starts randomly braiding sections of your hair.

“Would you be disappointed if it isn’t a boy?” You ask, biting your lip.

“Of course not. At this point, I honestly don’t care,” Loki swiftly replies. “As long as it’s ours that’s all that matters.”

You immediately scramble up in his lap, turning and staring at him with panicked eyes, “Of course it’s ours! Loki, I’d never-!”

“Darling, I didn’t mean like that,” He rushes to calm you, cupping your face in his palms. “You’re the most loyal and faithful person I know. I don’t doubt you for a second. I meant that boy or girl, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s our child, that’s what important.”

You swallow the lump in your throat before lowering yourself back down on his lap.

Loki sighs, picking up the manga you had been reading and handing it back to you. “Just tell me when you need the next volume. I’ll get it for you,” He tells you. He summons his own book and opens it up to where he last left off.

The two of you read quietly, letting time slip idly by.

“I’ve got to pee,” You say after some time.

“Alright,” Loki replies, helping you back upright. His eyes follow you as you wander out of sight. He purses his lips.

Yes, he had said yesterday that it was alright if you didn’t schedule a check-up right away. But the worry he had forced to the back of his mind kept chipping away at him. Not only is your growth on the smaller end, but you look incredibly pale and sickly most days. Your little sharpness of breathes whenever you experienced a spell of pain had not escaped his ears.

Loki knew things took time, but what he wouldn’t give for you to be all better in an instant- physically, mentally, and emotionally. You still had a couple of months left in your pregnancy, but every passing day it appears to be taking a great toll on you. Draining your body, erratically throwing off your emotions, negatively impacting your thoughts. You are hurting in more ways than one, and he feels so helpless to do anything against any of them. There must be something. Something more he can do.
__

A sharp pain shoots through your back, jarring you awake. You seethe through your teeth as it hurts to sit up, but you force yourself to do so anyway.

“Loki,” You cry but there’s no response. Your eyes dart over to his side of the bed. They widen in horror as you find it empty.

Another stab of pain runs through your back.

“Ngggh!” You bite your lip suppressing the scream trying to escape.

You scramble out of bed. You had to find him. He couldn’t be gone! He can’t- he can’t leave you behind.

“Loki!” You call out desperately, running downstairs to the living room, kitchen area.

He isn’t there.

“No!” You gasp, tears streaming down your face as your anxiety grows and mixes in with the intense pain shooting up your back. “A-ah!”

You rush to the front door, flinging it open, “Loki!”

Your eyes drift down to the familiar rune imprinted in the sand. The Bifrost. You gasp as you start hyperventilating, backing up against the wall.

He’s gone! Loki’s gone! Your fears came to fruition. Loki abandoned you.

The stabbing pain comes from your lower abdomen this time, forcing you to drop to your knees as a sharp cry of pain rings from your lips as you sob uncontrollably. Water suddenly starts to trickle down between your legs.

“Oh god,” You breathe agonizingly.

Chapter Text

“If Her Majesty is up for it then I highly recommend her coming in to check up with me as soon as possible if what you’re telling me about her current physical condition is true,” the physician tells him. “Or I can come to you guys tomorrow.”

“Is something wrong with the pregnancy?” Loki inquires anxiously, fiddling nervously with his hands.

“I can’t confirm anything until I look her over myself,” She replies with a sympathetic sigh before pursing her lips solemnly, “But... if she is as small as you say then there’s a more than likely chance that the baby’s not developing properly. If that’s the case the child’s life is at risk. So is Her Majesty’s if she goes through with the pregnancy and gives birth.”

Loki’s eyes widen. His heart starts to ache as he averts his gaze to the floor. Basically what she’s saying is they will, most likely, either have to lose the baby or risk losing both of you.

Can’t the universe give him a break? You didn’t deserve this. Haven’t you suffered enough? How is he supposed to tell you? He knew the choice he would make, but honestly, he doesn’t know if he has the strength to make it.

His head falls into his hands. “Is there a chance you could be wrong?”

“I can’t provide you with anything conclusive until I examine her condition myself,” She reiterates, biting her lip. “I’m sorry, Your Majesty.”

The pit in Loki’s stomach grows. Your mental state is already so fragile. He can’t tell you this. You might actually break. All he wanted to do was help, but this made everything infinitely worse.

“I need to go. I slipped away when she was asleep, but I need to be there when she wakes up,” Loki stands up. “Thank you for your time.”
__

He lands back in front of the beach house. The first thing he notices is the front door is wide open. Loki’s heart races as he starts to panic.

“Kara?!” He shouts, teleporting inside.

“Loki?” You gasp weakly. “Aaaah!”

With a flick of his arm, every light in the house turns on as his eyes dart to the direction your voice rang out from. Despair washes over him as he takes in the scene of you gripping with one hand the countertop in the kitchen and clutching your stomach with the other. The pain on your tear-stained face is overtly apparent.

“Kara!” He repeats in frighten anguish as he appears by your side. His arms wrap around your shoulders. “What’s wrong?! What’s going on?!”

“You came back?” Your voice cracks, tears rolling down your cheeks as you ignore his inquires with your own.

“Of course I came back. You weren’t even supposed to know I left. I was hoping to be back before you woke,” Loki rambles a fast, automatic response. He needs to know what’s going on, “Kara, what’s wrong?!”

“The baby,” You choke, “it’s coming. M-my water broke.”

Loki’s eyes widen in alarm, “N-no, no, it can’t be! It’s too early!”

You double over the counter, gasping and crying out in pain as immense pressure stabs your lower abdomen.

Loki shutters as the reality of the situation hits him. Is she miscarrying?

He swiftly sweeps you up off your feet and carries you back upstairs, his logical instincts kicking in. He lays you carefully down on the bed, quickly stripping off the comforter. A painful lump lodges in his throat as he stares down at you with frightened concern.

“I- I’m heading back to Asgard. I’ll fetch the physician and be right back,” Loki tells you, stroking your cheek.

“No!” You scream, hands scrambling desperately to latch onto his arm. You start hyperventilating again.

“Kara! Calm down!” He shouts in alarm. Having a panic attack now will only make things worse.

“Don’t leave! Don’t abandon me, please,” You beg and plea through streams of tears. “I’ll do anything! I’ll do better! I’ll try not to be damaged goods- a burden. Just please don’t leave me!”

Loki swoops down, resting his forehead against yours, “Darling, listen to me very carefully, I’m not abandoning you. And I never will. You’re not a burden or damaged goods to me. But you and the baby need professional medical help. I promise I’ll return just-”

“Don’t go,” You whimper with desperate agony.

His heart shatters as he grimaces, pulling away “Fine,” He concedes against his better judgment. “I’m not going anywhere, I promise,” He swallows painfully. “Everything’s going to be fine,” His voice cracks, lying beautifully to the two of you.
__

“Strange,” Loki calls out, stepping into the sanctum.

“You know, just because you studied here for a couple of days doesn’t mean you get to waltz in and out of here whenever you please,” Stephen looks up from the book he had been reading. He hesitates upon seeing the pained expression staining Loki’s face, donning none of his usual haughtiness. “Your illusions are getting better. I didn’t realize at first that it wasn’t actually you at first.”

“I need your help,” Loki skips the banter for once in his life.

Strange inhales sharply, “Your magic is as good as mine. If you can’t do it then I doubt I’ll be of much help. Honestly, Wanda might be a better choice.”

“I don’t need your help as a sorcerer but as a doctor,” Loki croaks. “Kara’s gone into labor and she won’t let me return to Asgard to fetch our physician. We’re currently on a small island.”

“I’m not that kind of doctor. I am a surgeon,” Strange tries to explain then it fully registers with him. “Wait, did you say she’s going into labor? Now? She’s way too early for that.”

“Yes...” He chokes. “She’s most likely miscarrying... Please,” Loki casts aside all his pride and begs. “You’re the only doctor I know on Earth. She just needs someone, or else I might lose her too.”

Loki looks like he’s about to cry.

“I’ll come,” Stephen concedes, putting down his book.
__

“How long has it been since contractions started?” Strange inquires, staring over you worryingly.

“Probably about an hour or two. I don’t know. I wasn’t here when they first started,” Loki answers, anxiously looking up at him as you squeeze his arm and cry out. He grits his teeth.

Strange gives him a sympathetic look before turning his focus back to the matter at hand. He bends your knees up and spreads your legs, examining to see how far along you are.

“She’s only about two centimeters dilated at this point,” He determines, looking back up. “It’s still the early stages of labor,” the intensity of your current pain levels worries him. Loki was probably right; you are most likely miscarrying, “Kara still has a while to go before she can start pushing. I’d brace yourself for a long night.”

Loki grimaces before his eyes drift back to you. With his free arm, he reaches over and gently wipes the tears from your eyes. He smiles softly and speaks soothingly, “Everything’s going to be alright, darling.” He leans down and kisses the top of your forehead. His compulsion to lie in this situation grows, “Just a few more hours and our baby will be here,” unconsciously tears well up in his eyes and splash down on your face. He forces out a chuckle, “Looks like the little one couldn’t wait any longer to meet us. More time for us to spoil them rotten. We’re a little late, but we’ll start looking at baby supplies once this is all over. Whatever you like we can get. Sparing no expense,” He’s visibly breaking down, but the fake smile stays plastered on his face.

It was too hard to watch. Strange silently excuses himself out of the bedroom.

Finally letting go of your grip on his arm, you reach up and cup Loki’s face in your palms. You lean forward and kiss him, “Don’t cry.”

Loki shutters, the fake smile completely dropped, “Why are you the one comforting me? I- I should be the one to be-...” He takes your hand and kisses your palm. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. So, so sorry.”
__

“Ngh-aaah!” You cry as another painful contraction hits.

Loki squeezes his eyes shut. It’s been over eight hours; the sun is starting to rise at this point. Eight hours of hearing you scream and cry on and off in excruciating pain. Occasionally begging and pleading with him desperately to make it stop. Eight hours of being absolutely useless; unable to do anything but stay by your side and watch helplessly.

Strange uncrosses his arms, straightening up from leaning against the wall and walking over to check once more. “Kara,” He breathes sharply, looking back up, “you’re fully dilated. You’re going to want to start pushing.”

Loki’s eyes immediately snap back open.

You nod as another contraction sets in, applying tremendous pressure to your lower abdomen, “Aaaah! Ah-ha! Nghhhh!”

“Good, just like that,” Strange encourages.

Loki swallows anxiously, completely unable to tear his eyes off of you.

“Ha-aaah! Ngh!” You cry, tears well up and escaping down your cheeks.

“Again,” Strange instructs firmly.

“Nggghh! Aaaaah!”

“Come on, Kara, you’re so close,” Stephen encourages more.

“GA-Aaaah! Aaaaaah-ha Aah!” You scream out in agony, gripping tightly onto the sheets.

“The baby’s head is there!” He announces, eyes widening. “It’s crowning. Just another push or two.”

“No,” You sob, shaking your head. “I can’t it. It hurts too much. I can’t do it.”

Strange looks at Loki, hesitating at your adamant protest. Neither one of them can deny you are in an excruciating amount of pain right now. Stephen has seen other births before over the years, but yours is amongst the worst labor experiences he’s witnessed.

“Kara, listen to me, darling,” Loki bends down, gently brushing your hair behind your ear, “you have to do this. I know it hurts, but you have to. For both of your sakes. Please,” He begs.

You grimace and nod before rolling back your head and forcing yourself to push harder, “AAAAAAAHHHH! NNGGGH! Ah-ha! Aaah-ha-ah!”

“It’s out!” Strange exclaims, moving his hands to quickly support the head and help reposition the shoulders. “One more small push.”

Your vision blurs as you push again, and the rest of the body slips out.

“The umbilical cord’s around its neck!” Strange shouts in alarm. “Loki, cut it quick!”

On instinct Loki reacts, summoning a dagger and rushing around to the end of the bed. With one swift motion, he slices through and Strange quickly untangles it from around the child’s neck.

Silence.

Heart-wrenching despair crashes over Loki as he stares at the unmoving, incredibly small infant laying practically lifeless in the sorcerer’s hands.

Strange immediately passes off the child to him, “Take it to the medical wing in the Tower in New York now! The only slim chance it has at survival is if it gets put in the NICU immediately! Go! I’ll take care of Kara!”

Loki vanishes in an instant.

“Kara?” Stephen scrambles to your side in his place.

You don’t respond, not hearing him as your vision starts to fade. Your grip on the bedsheets loosens.

“Oh god!” He murmurs. “No, Kara, stay with me! Kara!”

Your consciousness completely slips away despite his protest.

“No! Stabilize her!” Strange shouts at himself, flying into full-on doctor mood.

He has no medical equipment though. He grits his teeth, making the snap decision to channel magic into your body. It’s all he has.

His eyes widen as he senses something else starts to slip away, “Her soul?!”

Chapter Text

Loki collapses into the chair next to your bedside, head immediately falling into his hands.

After stabilizing your body, Strange brought you to the Tower for actual medical assistance. He said your body had given out after giving birth and now you were technically alive but in a state of comatose.

He lets out a long exasperated sigh. Though exhausted on every front, but Loki couldn’t rest. Yes, the actual delivery was over, both your and the baby’s lives still hung in the balance. Knowing that, there’s no way he’d actually be able to fall asleep.

“Kara,” His voice cracks, extending his hand out and taking yours. “Come on, darling. Rest and come back to me,” He kisses the back of your hand. A lump rises in his throat as he chokes back tears.
__

Hours later, a knock comes on the hospital room door, snapping Loki out his thoughts as he kept silent watch over you.

“Come with me,” Shuri beckons opening the door and sliding partway in, motioning him towards her with her finger.

His eyes widen slightly with surprise, “What are you doing here?”

“Saving a life,” She smiles warmly as he stands. “Well, really it’s been more of a group effort this time. The Sokovian twins are deeply attached to you and the director. You better be grateful, they got me here in record-breaking time,” Shuri explains as she leaves the room and starts walking down the medical bay. “Not their areas of expertise, but Stark and Banner have been brainstorming different ways to help. Hey, did you know Tony’s actually going to be having his own kid soon? Pepper’s pregnant. Kind think that’s why he feels extra sympathetic towards you right now,” She turns the corner. “The other directors have cleared up my schedule, taking on most of my typical responsibilities on themselves so I can focus primarily on this,” Her smile fades and she sighs. “Though I’ll probably have to redo most of whatever they attempt to do anyways. I seriously don’t trust any of them with a computer. Maybe Phil, but has Valkyrie even ever used one?”

“Shuri,” Loki cuts off her one-sided rambling. He halts mid-stride as he realizes where she is taking him. “I can’t go there.”

“Of course you can,” Shuri doubles back and grabs his arm, attempting to drag him along but Loki doesn’t budge.

He looks down at her with a pained expression, “I held him. He was smaller than the combined width of my two hands. If he was breathing, it was so shallow I couldn’t tell. His body was so cold and lifeless. Please,” He begs, heart aching in anguish, “don’t give me false hope. I can’t. Not after everything.”

The princess pauses in her response, eyes staring up at him sympathetically.

“Of course he’s cold,” Shuri finally opens her mouth. “He’s your son after all,” She flashes a reassuring smile. “Besides, I’m not in the business of providing false hope. I came to you after I saved his life; not before it. Do you not realize how much time has passed since you arrived here this morning? Everyone’s been scrambling around trying to save him for hours. The kid’s received literally the best care in the universe. Come. He’s waiting for you,” She tugs at Loki’s arm gently and this time his feet move.

Loki’s heart pounds violently in his chest as she pulls him along. A lump lodges in his throat. His mind struggling desperately to believe her words. There’s no way. He saw the child. He held him in his hands. So tiny and fragile. Silent and still as could be. There’s just no way.

Shuri leads him into the NICU and heads straight to the lone incubator in the room. She lets go of her hold on Loki and silently takes a step back to give the two some space.

Loki gasps and shutters in disbelief as he stares down at the tiny creature with light blue skin, chest slowly rising and falling as it shifts ever so slightly in his sleep. He notes the patches, wires, and tubes across the infant's body. Loki blinks and suddenly tears are streaming down his face as his heart skips a beat.

“His skin has been switching back and forth between blue and pale white while we worked,” Shuri informs him. “He is having trouble breathing on his own so we’re assisting with that. But all he needs now is the proper time to grow and careful monitoring,” She smiles softly. “Does he have a name?”

“Viggo,” Loki murmurs as the reality fully sets in. “Oh god. He’s alive. I’m a father.”

“Yes,” Shuri chuckles, smiling happily to herself. She glances at the door before silently backing up and slipping out; respectfully giving Loki some privacy.

Reaching his hand in the incubator's hole, Loki hesitantly caresses the infant’s cheek feeling the faint hint of bodily warmth. He shutters again, watching the blue skin slowly fade away and match his, “You really gave us a scare little one,” He chuckles as more tears drip down, shaking his head. “You’re mother is going to be so ecstatic to meet you. I’ll bring her here as soon as I can, I promise.”
__

Fiske’s eyes sparkle as he peers through the casing, “He’s so cute!”

Thor adjusts, positioning his son more on his hip as he holds him in his arms to get a better view. “Well, between your aunt and uncle’s genes there’s no way their children wouldn’t beautiful.”

“He’s turning blue!?” Fiske exclaims in awed amazement.

“Yes, and that’s a family secret,” Thor tells him. “You’ve got to protect it for him, okay?”

The little boy nods, excitedly grinning.

Sif walks in, crossing her arms as she takes her place by them and silently watches the newborn shift in his sleep.

“How’s he holding up?” Thor asks her as she leans her head against his arm.

“I finally convinced to him wash up and take a nap,” Sif sighs. “Though the latter may have been done with force.”

“Sif,” Thor chastises softly.

“I just lightly knocked him out. Your brother hasn’t slept in three days. We don’t need all three of them hospitalized,” She replies in her defense.

He sighs, “He’s understandably worried. It’s been a couple of days and she hasn’t woken up. I’m pretty sure the only keeping him grounded at the moment is his son.”

Sif glances up at her husband, “I know. But that’s why he needs to rest. Viggo needs him too.”
__

Loki groans, slowly sitting up on the couch in your hospital room. Normally he’d have no qualms throwing hands with Sif, but what was he supposed to do against a pregnant woman? It totally wasn’t a fair fight and for once, he wasn’t the underhanded one.

“No, no, no!” a voice sobs frantically from your bed, hands flying up in the air to stare at them completely mortified.

His eyes widen as he scrambles over. He reaches down and softly cups your cheek, “Kara?” He breathes affectionately.

A pair of frightened eyes flicker up to his, tears streaming out of them, “No, don’t call me that! I gave up that name. She never mentioned a time limit. No! I was finally happy! I had a new name. A new life!”

“Kara, calm down,” Loki speaks soothingly. Is she having another bout of amnesia? Something feels off about that conclusion though. You didn’t seem like you.

“Don’t call me that,” the girl’s hands fall down to cover her face. “I abandoned that name.”

Loki purses his lips, withdrawing his hand, “Are you the original owner of this body?”

The woman blinks in surprise. “You know about the soul swap?” Her eyes widen as she fully realizes who’s at her bedside. She frantically sits up, “By stars, Loki?!” She bows her head immediately, scrambling to posture herself. “I’m so sorry, Your Majesty!”

“Please don’t move around so recklessly with my wife’s recovering body,” Loki responds sharply.

The woman slowly sits up, “S-sorry...” She sheepishly stares up at him.

His gaze becomes distant as he averts his eyes and withdraws into his thoughts. Taking time to wrap his mind around this unexpected development.

She watches him, a bit taken aback. Yes, he had just spoken sternly but when he thought she was the other soul he was surprisingly tender. Was this guy really the same kid that glared murderous daggers at her during their entire wedding ceremony?

“I’m assuming from your little outburst, you don’t want to be back in this body,” Loki finally opens his mouth.

“No,” She shakes her head adamantly before her hands suddenly fly up to cover her mouth. She was rejecting Asgardian royalty to his face. She flinches back in fear. Is he going to hit her?

“Stop making my wife look pathetic,” He sighs, frowning. “I don’t want you in it either. Your soul might’ve been the one I married, but I love the other one. So it’s in my best interest you don’t want to be in this body either.”

“You love her?” She questions in surprise.

“Is there something wrong with that?” Loki’s frown deepens.

“N-no, I’m happy to hear it!” the woman nervously scratches her cheek, being the one to avert her eyes this time. “Relieved actually... I know you were forced into the marriage against your will too so... if you benefited from my decision too then I-I’m glad.”

“Your decision?” He raises an eyebrow skeptically.

“I- uh-!” She panics. “The soul swapping... It’s kind of my fault,” She confesses.

“Explain,” He demands. “Even my mother confirmed you didn’t have any magical aptitude before our engagement. Soul swapping would require not only extremely high magical aptitude but also very refined skill and expansive knowledge. None of which you have.”

She frowns, “I don’t think our marriage would’ve worked out. You’re really not my type. Someone gentle and kind like Leo is definitely much better.”

Loki is getting annoyed by her sidetracking, “You’re not my type either. And probably not. If you had stayed my wife you’d probably be in the dungeons with the rest of your family.”

“My family’s in the dungeons?!” She exclaims, eyes widening in shock.

“They laid hands on who they thought was you and tried to kill her when my wife rejected being my father’s spy and he withdrew his support from them. Do you have a problem with them being there?”

“Of course not! A-after how they treated me...” She shakes her head. She bites her lip. “Your wife was able to reject being the Allfather’s spy? I guess the person who replaced me is pretty amazing.”

“She is and I would like her back so if you could please start explaining the soul swapping,” Loki replies, struggling to contain his irritation.

“Oh, right,” She refocuses. “So about a week before our wedding, I met this witch. I knew if I went through with the wedding my doomed fate was sealed, so I had been desperately searching in the marketplace for magic books that could teach me spells in hopes I could somehow... you know... get out of our marriage,” She pauses upon noting the ‘are you seriously that dumb’ expression on his face. She puffs her cheeks, “I know I don’t have any magical aptitude but like I said, I was desperate!”

She sighs and continues when Loki doesn’t respond, “It was wishful thinking, but it led me to her. She stood out because she was wearing odd-looking clothes and had dark-colored hair; clearly not Asgardian. I think she might actually be from Earth now that I think about it. Anyways, she said if I paid her enough she’d cast a spell on me that would change my fate. So I secretly stole some of the dowry money your father had given to my parents and paid her without hesitation. She cast her spell and told me to go about my life. The change would happen soon enough she promised,” the woman explains. “The week passed and nothing seemed to change though. I thought I had been scammed all the way up through our wedding when it suddenly happened as I was exiting with you down the aisle. I blacked out and when I woke up I was in a different person’s body with all her past memories so I started living her life... differently, but I took on her name and accepted her life fully as my own.”

“That matches with Kara’s, my Kara, not you, side of events,” Loki considers everything she just told him. “I wonder how a witch of that magnitude wound up undetected on Asgard,” He purses his lips before his eyes snap up to those that should belong to you. “But that doesn’t matter right now. I don’t know why, but for some reason, you switched back into your original body. Thus it’s likely she did the same. Meaning, if you want your new life back, you’re going to help me find her then we’ll figure out some way to switch the two of you back to your proper bodies.”

“How?” She looks up at him eagerly.

“I don’t know,” He begrudgingly admits.

“You’re taking all this pretty well,” She remarks aloud. “If it was Leo, I’m sure he’d be freaking out not knowing where the real me is.”

“Leo?” He questions. “Your lover?”

The woman puffs her cheeks again, “My husband! We met in the hospital where I woke up in your wife’s original body after her car crash,” She cups her face in her hands and gushes. “We were both patients, recovering together. He was so sweet and funny. Also, incredibly cute and considerate! I fell for him almost immediately!”

Loki clicks his tongue in frustration and flicks her forehead, “I fully consider that my wife’s body now. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t fawn over another guy with her face and voice.”

Her nose wrinkles, as her hand flies up to rub the spot he flicked, “Ow! Why’d you flick me then?! If it’s her body!”

“You’re the one feeling it, not her,” He smirks, crossing his arms.

“You’re insufferable,” She growls under her breath. She pouts, “Leo’s definitely better.”

Loki sighs, “You want him back and I want her back so lay down and rest. The sooner that body can get back on its feet the sooner we can revert everything back to the way we want,” He tells her before turning away and heading towards the door. “And I’m only taking it well because I honestly imagined something much worse happening to her. This alternative of you in her body at least assures me she’s still alive,” His expression darkens as he clenches his fists at his sides.

Even though the two of them are practically strangers, there is one thing she’s pieced together. Prince Loki loves his wife just as much as she loves her husband. And if they want to get back to their loved ones they are going to have to cooperate.

“Where are you going?” She calls out meekly.

Loki opens the door, stopping.

“To see my newborn son,” He answers before taking his leave and shutting the door behind him.

Her eyes widen. The woman’s heart aches as her hands flutter to her stomach.

“But this body was supposed to be barren...” She murmurs.

Chapter Text

“Good morning, darling,” an unfamiliar voice whispers, leaning over and gently kissing your forehead. “I’m going to go start breakfast and get Callie up. Sleep a little longer.”

Whoever it is then gets up out of bed and leaves the bedroom, quietly shutting the door behind him.

Your eyes flash open the second he’s gone, and you scramble up before wincing in pain. You stare down at the swollen belly. Throwing off the covers, you dash into the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. Your left hand flies to your mouth as you shutter in disbelief. This was you- the old you; you are back in your old body.

In the mirror’s reflection you notice the wedding band on your ring finger. You are married?! The old you had died single- not much luck in dating much less marriage. Though it explains waking up in bed with a man, who spoke to you lovingly but wasn’t Loki.

Oh gosh! Loki! Your heart starts beating rapidly as your anxiety sets in. You grip the countertop for support.

“No, calm yourself. Think, Kara,” You force yourself to take a deep breath. Panicking right now will not help. You have to think. You force yourself into director-mode to assess the situation.

For starters, you are back in your original body. Meaning it’s likely original Kara is back in hers. Why? You aren’t sure but you can take a guess. You died giving birth but instead of your soul passing on, it was pulled back to its original body in an attempt to live on. This in turn probably forced out the other soul and transferred it back into its original body.

Next, it’s pretty obvious the original Kara made some serious changes in your life. Not that you minded, you did the same in hers. So far those changes seem to be getting married, getting pregnant, and someone named Callie.

Your gaze drifts down to your stomach. Tears unconsciously well in your eyes and roll down your cheeks. You aren’t ignorant of what happened. You miscarried. That’s why you went into labor so early. You lost your and Loki’s baby. You shutter as the reality hits you, completely breaking down and sobbing.

“Mommy, why are you crying?” A little girl’s voice inquires, stepping into the bathroom doorway.

“Callie! I told you not to go-,” the man from earlier starts to chastise when he suddenly lingers off, eyes widening. He hurriedly scrambles over to you, cupping your face in his palms as he stares at you with affectionate yet worried eyes. “What’s wrong?”

You stare at him then down at the little girl. She has your hair but his tan skin and hazel eyes. The original Kara had built herself a family- one that loved and adored her, unlike the one she was born into in her previous life. Seeing them solidifies one abundantly clear notion for you. This isn’t your family; you have to switch back. And to do that, you have to push aside everything you are feeling and focus solely on that.

You nod, reaching up and wiping away your tears. You force a smile, “I’m fine. Just pregnancy hormones, you know,” You tell him as you sniffle. “I’m fine.”

Leo purses his lips. He glances down at Callie and sighs, “Come on, snuggle-bug,” He extends his hand out to her to which she readily accepts. “Let’s get some breakfast in your tummy then it’s Daddy’s turn to drop you off at pre-school,” His gaze switches briefly back up to you. “I’ll take a sick day and the two of us can talk.”

He’s sharp.

You nod silently.
__

“You’re not my wife, are you?” He says, sliding a plate of chocolate chip pancakes and fork across the counter to you.

“How could you tell?” You inquire.

“Your smile. It was off. She doesn’t smile like that,” He admits, taking a sip of orange juice from his glass. “I’m Leo, by the way.”

“Kara,” You respond in kind. You raise an eyebrow, “You don’t seem too surprised by all this. I take it you know about the soul swap?”

He nods, “She told me the night I asked her to marry me. She said she didn’t want any secrets between us. It was hard to believe at first, but my wife is a terrible liar,” He cracks a slight grin. “If she was lying, I’d know,” He pauses, “Then Asgardians and magic became public knowledge when the Avengers started up so that definitely added validity to her tale.”

From the expression on his face as he talks about her, it is evident to you that Leo truly loves his wife. You hadn’t thought too much of the old Kara, but now you are sort of proud of her. Given the chance, she really turned her life around. As an added bonus she got herself a pretty cute husband. Sure, Leo is no Loki but still his curly brown locks, noticeable dimples, and soft eyes definitely has its own charm.

“Look, I’m not sure if there’s a way to switch us back since I don’t really know how our soul’s swapped the first time. But I do have a strong suspicion of where your wife is,” You tell him. “I promise you to do everything in my power to figure something out. But to do that, I’m going to need money for a plane ticket to New York.”

“Sure thing, we can start heading to the airport right now,” Leo readily agrees, placing down his glass. He pulls out his phone to start googling flights. “How long do you think this will take? Should we pack for like a few days, a week, or-”

“I’m going alone,” You cut him off.

“What? No! She’s my wife. I can’t just sit here and-” He starts to rebuttal you.

“Callie,” You remind him, staring at him sympathetically. You know exactly how he must be feeling right now but he has a kid. He can’t just up and leave.

“Oh right...” He remembers dejectedly. He starts fiddling with his hands anxiously.

“I know how you’re feeling. I promise to make sure she gets home safely to you and your kids,” You assure him.

Leo smiles bittersweetly up at you as he nods silently. He notes the fact that you haven’t touched your food. “While you’re in her body... would you make sure to eat? She needs a lot of sustenance right now.”

“Oh, right, sorry!” You reply apologetically, picking up the fork. Tears brim in your eyelids at the sudden reminder, but you forcefully blink them back as you quickly avert your gaze down at the plate before you.

“Thank you,” Leo smiles softly. “I’ll book you a flight,” He says before reaching across the counter and grabbing the cellphone that had been charging nearby. He hands it over to you. “When you find her... can you have her give me a call?”

“Of course,” You promise him, taking the phone.

“Oh, and I know how you guys switched souls the first time,” He tells you. “She said she paid a witch to cast a spell on her, and the spell was what ended up swapping your souls. If magic is what caused it to happen the first time then maybe it can be used to do it a second time?”
__

-Two Days Prior-

“Found it!” Odin exhales sharply, flipping through the pages till he finds the one he’s looking for. He carefully reads through each line of the text, pursing his lips. “As I feared...” He murmurs, depositing his thoughts aloud, “Hopefully Heimdall finds her soon. Time is of the essence. I’d prefer to deal with things before it becomes an issue. The price will be higher if the spell unravels before I can get to them.”

The Allfather sits back in his chair and sighs. He misses his wife... his sons... Hopefully, with this, he can actually start making amends.

The door to his chambers suddenly flings open. Frigga runs in with a panicked expression staining her face.

“What’s wrong?” He inquires, standing up hurriedly.

“Kara gave birth prematurely,” She tells him, squeezing her eyes shut to prevent tears from falling. “The child was born underdeveloped and the chances of them surviving are...” she chokes unable to bring herself to finish her sentence.

Odin wraps his arms around her, pulling her into his chest.

“And Kara fell unconscious and isn’t showing any signs of waking up,” Frigga continues bearing out the bad news, a few tears escaping out and rolling down her face.

Odin’s eyes widen as he inhales sharply. He has a really bad feeling about this.
__

“So you have your phone and your charger in your purse then I packed some additional snacks in your suitcase, but here’s some money so you can get something to eat once you’re through airport security,” Leo tells you as if he’s frantically going through some mental checklist before sending you off.

“I know, I’ve got it,” You assure him.

“Sorry!” He blushes slightly before gently dusting a piece of fluff off your shoulder. “She usually forgets something. Force of habit. I’m sure you’re fully capable, but she’s a bit scatterbrained. It’s fine though, I think it’s cute. And she’s great in other areas! She’s a great mom to Callie and she laughs at all my jokes, even the really puny ones. Honestly, it was her smile and laughter that drew her to me in the first place. Everyone kind of dismissed my antics, but she genuinely took pleasure in them. It reignited my dream of becoming a comedian. I’m not there quite yet but she’s incredibly supportive and-...” He realizes he’s rambling.

His blushes deepens. Leo fiddles anxiously with his hands again as he stares at you in awkward silence.

“You really love her, don’t you?” You soften your expression a bit.

“I really do,” He nods. “I- I know it’s you on the inside but just seeing her body, especially when she’s pregnant, go off on its own makes me nervous.”

“I promise to take care of this body and your little one,” You reassure him. “And I’ll bring her home to you.”

“Thank you,” Leo smiles warmly before giving a parting nod and wave as he gets back into his car.

You nod and wave back, pursing your lips as you watch him drive off.
__

You stare out the window at the cloudy skyline. You feel numb, and you aren’t sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. So much hurt in your heart and your mind, but being out of the body attached to all that pain has given you what feels like your first chance to breathe in over a month. Having a mission that required your strategic mind to jump back into action probably helped too. Your main focus is getting old Kara back in your old body and getting her home to her family. It’s not you... it’s not Loki...

You squeeze your eyes shut after they accidentally drift down to her stomach, biting your lip. A single tear escapes down your cheek. Maybe you aren’t as numb as you thought.

You lost his child. How are you supposed to face Loki now? Your hands start to shake in your lap. You are broken on every level now. Physically, emotionally, mentally you can’t give him what he deserves. You can’t make him happy anymore. And if you can’t do that what is your purpose in his life now? Maybe that’s the real reason the souls switched back. There’s nothing else you can do for him that would validate your existence by Loki’s side so the universe put you back...

After you keep good on your promise to Leo to return his wife to him, maybe it’s for the best if you just disappear. The Avengers don’t need you anymore. Your foreknowledge is spent. You have nothing to offer them now that Thanos has been defeated. You’re no longer special like them.

And Loki certainly doesn’t need you anymore. All of his problems from the movies have been fixed. His only problems now are because of you. You couldn’t get yourself together. His wife is an emotional mess and mentally broken. You miscarried his child. Honestly, he’d be better off without you at this point. You are only holding him back by selfishly begging him not to abandon you. You need to let him go.

Chapter Text

“Your mother must be a wreck right now thinking she lost you,” Loki murmurs as he gently strokes the cheek of the tiny infant. “I bet her mind is jumping to all sorts of crazy conclusions,” He purses his lips, choking down the lump rising in his throat. “I’m sure once she figures out the situation on her end, she’ll head straight for here. So it’s probably best just to sit here and wait but... it’s hard... waiting... and not being able to help the person you love the most.”

The door to the NICU swings open, and Loki’s eyes flicker up to the individual entering the room, “I thought you went back?”

“Sif and I agreed that it’s best if I stay here with you for a little while longer, so she and Fiske headed home without me,” Thor replies, holding up a bottle of wine in one hand and a beer in the other. He hands Loki the wine bottle. “I figured you could use a drink right about now. Also, you should be exceedingly grateful. It was a lot of work sneaking these past the nurses.”

Loki pulls his hand away from his son and accepts the bottle, immediately uncorking it. Lifting the bottle to his lips, he takes a lengthy sip. He doesn’t say anything in response as his eyes linger on the small child.

“The original soul of Kara’s body returned,” He finally informs his brother without tearing his gaze away.

Thor almost chokes on his beer, “What?!”

“And apparently it was a very powerful witch that swapped their souls in the first place,” Loki continues, bearing out his conundrum to his brother. “Unfortunately, the original soul is useless and can’t recall more than the witch having dark hair and guessing she was probably from Earth. She didn’t even get a name off her, meaning I have no way of tracking her down to force her to cast the spell again. And as much as I hate to admit it, a spell of that magnitude is beyond me. Wanda might be capable of it, but even she can’t cast a spell she has absolutely no knowledge of, especially not of that caliber,” Loki grits his teeth. “I have absolutely no idea how to switch their souls back.”

“Well... maybe you don’t have to switch them back,” Thor thinks about it.

Loki’s eyes finally snap up to his, silently questioning him on what he meant.

“Well, if you find our Kara then, regardless of what body they’re in, the two souls can return to their perspective lives,” Thor explains his reasoning.

“You’re forgetting one key thing. One body is Asgardian, the other is human,” Loki reminds him. “If they stay in their original bodies, our Kara will age and die much more rapidly. Likewise, the original Kara will exceedingly outlive her family. I don’t think any party involved in this desires these outcomes.”

“Oh...” Thor says dejectedly. He tries thinking some more. “What about mother?” He suggests. “Couldn’t she cast the spell?”

Loki purses his lips and shakes his head, “It’s the same problem with Wanda. Mother doesn’t know the spell. Soul swapping wasn’t something either of us heard about before we witnessed it with Kara.”

“We’ll figure something out,” Thor tries to reassure him, placing a firm hand on his brother’s shoulder.

Loki takes another long sip before returning his gaze back to Viggo, “Yeah...”
__

She curls up, cradling her knees and anxiously rocking back and forth. Loki hadn’t returned since he left, even though she had been obedient and rested just like he asked. Her heart aches. She missed Leo, Callie, and the baby in her belly. All she wants is to go home. Tears start to brim in her eyelids.

Suddenly the door flings open. The woman’s eyes snap up to disappointingly find out that it isn’t Loki. She starts shaking a bit in fear as the unfamiliar woman draws closer.

“You really aren’t the princess,” Valkyrie observes the woman’s timid nature. “Don’t worry, I know all about the whole soul swapping thing. Loki sent me to see if you needed anything.”

“S-some food,” She answers sheepishly, still very intimidated by the new woman’s presence. “I haven’t eaten since I showed up here.”

Valkyrie sighs, eyes flickering briefly to the clock on the wall as she crosses her arms and shifts her weight to one side, “I guess it is about lunchtime. What would you like? I’ll stop by and pick you up something from the cafeteria.”

“Can’t I go there myself?” She inquires earnestly. “Even if it’s just for a little bit I’d like to walk around.”

“Absolutely not,” Valkyrie instantly rejects. “The fact that your souls are swapped is a top-level security clearance secret in this place. If anyone met you while in her body it would be a dead giveaway that you’re not her.”

“O-oh...” She replies, looking and sounding like a dejected puppy.

Valkyrie rolls her eyes, “Look, this is only a temporary arrangement. If Loki’s theory that Kara will come here looking for you doesn’t pan out in the next twenty-four hours or so, you’ll be getting out of here to go find her with him,” She informs her before switching the subject back to what it was prior. “The chefs employed in the cafeteria can literally whip up anything your cravings desire. What would you like?”

“Chocolate chip pancakes!” She answers, perking up a little. Her stomach suddenly growls at the thought, causing her face to turn beet red.

“Seriously?” Valkyrie scoffs in disbelief. Is this woman a child?

She nods, eyes firm with resolve of her choice. She did in fact have the tastebuds of a child.

“Whatever you fancy, I guess,” Valkyrie shrugs, turning to leave. She stops mid-stride. “I’ll get them to make you eggs and sausage as well.”

“Th-thanks!” She calls out, watching Valkyrie leave before plopping down on her back and staring up at the ceiling. Her hand slides up to her stomach, “I want to go home...”
__

“Sorry to interrupt but a, uh, pregnant woman just arrived at the entrance and wanted to talk to you or the directors or Thor or Loki,” Nat lists, “and you’re the first one I stumbled across so...” She tells him.

“And you didn’t just turn her away why?” Tony asks, taking a sip of his coffee.

“Did you miss the part where I said she was pregnant?” She replies. “And she’s asked for you, or the others; it’s not my problem.”

Tony thinks, crossing his arms, “F.R.I.D.A.Y. pull up the video of footage of the woman in the lobby.”

A holographic image pops out of his watch to show him what he asked for.

“That’s a very specific group of people to ask after,” He remarks, eyebrow raising as he realizes the woman’s staring directly into the camera as if she knows it’s there which shouldn’t be possible unless... “And there’s one thing that connects them all,” He muses thoughtfully, “Given the circumstances... I have a hypothesis,” He shuts off his watch before taking another sip of his coffee, “Fine, I’ll go see her. But you might want to go fetch Loki. If I’m correct, and I usually am, he’ll want to meet with her the most.”

Nat frowns, confused, “What are you-?”

“I shouldn’t leave our guest waiting,” Tony walks off before she can finish her inquiry. He takes the elevator down to the lobby.

Your eyes flicker away from the camera the second the elevator doors open and Tony steps out.

“Was it Nat stumbling across you first or my direct staring into your cloaked security cameras that captured your attention?” You ask, crossing your arms.

“A little bit of both,” Tony admits, shrugging his shoulders. “You know, I always wondered what you used to look like. Not what I was expecting. The fierce Asgardian princess body definitely suits your personality much better. Not that this is bad; it just doesn’t suit your commanding director image.”

“Agreed, and it’s one of the reasons I’d like to switch back as soon as possible. To do that I need you to help me find out where she is. If I’m in her body she’s probably back in mine,” You tell him.

“Easy,” Tony grins, beckoning you to get back on the elevator with him. “She’s here, most likely still in the medical bay. I doubt your husband would let someone else run around in your body.”

“He’s here?” You inhale sharply, walking over.

“You asked after him too? Did you not think he was?” Tony questions back, pressing the button and watching the doors slide shut.

“I wasn’t sure... I just asked after people who already knew my secret,” You answer, averting your eyes to the floor. “I wasn’t really expecting the Asgardians to be here.”

“Ah. Well, I figured as much with that specific group of people,” Tony replies. “Thor’s actually here too last I checked.” His eyes widen as he remembers something important, “Hey, Kara, a bit of good news-“

A flash of green cuts him off as arms suddenly appear and wrap around you. In seconds, you’re stolen off the elevator, disappearing into thin air.

“Guess, Nat got to him first,” Tony mutters, taking another sip of his coffee, “The news is better received from his mouth anyways.”
__

Your eyes flash open as you gasp for breath. This body isn’t used to teleportation and the first couple of times are always jarring. The arms around your waist pull away as you take in the new scene around you.

Your body is staring back at you, grinning from ear to ear and eyes sparkling with immense giddiness. Thor stands next to the bedside also staring at you but in surprise rather than joy.

“Yes! That’s her! That’s me!” the woman in your body exclaims ecstatically, scrambling forward on the bed to get a better view.

Loki steps around you, pursing his lips and swallowing as he looks you over.

You avert your gaze away from his in shame.

“Kara-“ He speaks softly, hesitantly raising a hand out towards you.

You abruptly brush past him, locking eyes with the girl in your body, “The witch who cast the original spell, do you know where we can find her?”

Loki’s hand clenches into a fist as he drops it to his side. He grits his teeth, hurt by your blatant rejection of him. Something in the brief glimpse of your expression looking at him specifically worried him.

“I, uh...” Her eyes flicker to Loki as the awkward tension fills the room then back to you to answer. She shakes her head, “N-no...”

You let out a long sigh of exasperation. Having the same witch recast the spell had been your main and frankly only solution. You’d have to think of something else or hunt the witch down.

You reach down into your pocket, pulling out the cellphone, “Here, Leo would like you to call him.”

She immediately snatches the phone, tearing up. She looks at you expectingly as if asking for permission, “Can I? Can I right now?!”

You smile softly, “Of course. We’ll step out for a bit to-”

You’re cut off as the Bifrost suddenly crashes through the roof, unwillingly summoning the four of you back to Asgard.

Your tongue clicks in irritation as you look down at the room you’re being lifted from. You are billing Heimdall for damage done to the ceiling and the bed.
__

“Father, you have no right or authority to-” Thor starts to protest.

“Let me speak!” Odin silences him. “Before you jump to conclusions.”

Frigga and Loki glare at him. Old Kara trembles in fear in your body. Only you stare directly up at him completely unfazed.

There are two options of why Odin summoned you. First, out of petty, prideful bitterness, he’s going to throw both you and the other Kara in prison. He’d technically have the grounds to do it, but the action would cost him his family’s love and lingering fond opinions. The action would also be futile since Thor would immediately pardon your crimes and the two of you would be on your merry way. Or second, and more likely since Odin isn’t a complete fool, the Allfather planned to help you. In the process of doing so in front of his family, he’d earn a bit of their respect back and start to get back in their good graces. Basically, a grand gesture that will make them more willing to accept his apology.

Odin draws closer to get a better look at the two of you. He observes the girl cowering and shaking in the body he recognized, but his gaze ultimately sticks on you.

“This body is unfamiliar, but even I can tell which one of you ran away from their marriage to my son and which one stuck around to unwaveringly defy me,” He says, his eye and yours remaining locked with one another. “Between the two of you, there is much I could charge you with. She’s guilty of treason- betraying both the royal family and her people by running away from her duty as Asgard’s princess. And you’re guilty of impersonating a royal family member, blackmailing the former King of the Nine Realms, defying the Allfather’s orders, and forging documents in our archives.”

Your eyes widen slightly. You had forgotten about that last thing. You wonder how long he knew about that. A small grin forms on your lips as you recall the memories. Those were good times. Of all people, you weren’t expecting Odin to draw a genuine smile out of you.

“I’d have every right to send the two of you down to the dungeons,” He continues.

“You wouldn’t dare!” Loki hisses.

“Let your father finish,” You finally speak up.

The others all look at you with confounded disbelief. How could you possibly be taking his side in all this?

“Looks like you maintained your astute discernment,” Odin praises. “As I was saying, while I’d have that right to do so, I do not desire to incur more disdain from my family. Thus, not only will I pardon the two of you of your crimes, but I will also offer a solution to your problem. Provided of course, neither one of you want to stay in the bodies you’re currently in.”

The original Kara’s eyes widen in surprise as relief washes over her. “Y-you can switch us back?!” She asks eagerly before her hands fly up to cover her mouth, afraid she spoke out of turn before the Allfather.

Odin sighs as his family eyes him in shocked disbelief, “I was hoping to solidify your souls in the bodies you swapped into before the spell unraveled. The spell is a forbidden one of ancient chaos magic. Left alone long enough or given a catalyst event, the spell would eventually come undone. I can’t recast the spell but since you’re both here, my power can force your souls back into their desired bodies and secure them there,” His gaze wander over to Frigga. “Doing so will drain almost everything out of me now that the souls have gone back to their original bodies. Which is why I hoped to handle things before the spell unraveled. I will be asleep for a very long time afterwards. But if that’s the price to pay to...” Odin lingers off, “then I’m willing to pay it,” His eye flickers over to Thor and then Loki, “We’ll have that talk afterwards, sound good?”

Loki purses his lips, remaining silent as Thor closes his eyes and nods.

The older brother sighs, meeting his father’s gaze, “Yes, we’ll talk then.”

Odin nods once then turns his focus back to the two of you. He places a hand on each of your shoulders and closes his eye. Pure white energy emanates from his body and slowly takes over both of yours.

Everyone in the room holds their breath as they watch. Frigga begins to chant a spell softly under her breath, ready to catch her husband when he falls. Tears brim in her eyes but she pushes them back.

Odin gasps as the last of his energy is sucked out. The white glow quickly recedes and he immediately starts to collapse, being caught swiftly by his wife and suspended just above the ground as she levitates him before carefully laying him down on the golden floor of the throne room.

“Did it work?” Thor inquires anxiously.

You turn around, staring down at your hand, “It worked,” You confirm.

The other woman shutters in relief, hands flying to her stomach as tears of joy flood out her eyes, “I’m back! I can go home!”

Loki darts forward, snatching your hand and pulling you towards him. Without giving you a second to react, he cups his hands around your face and kisses you. The kiss is rough and forceful as he immediately spreads your lips and rolls his tongue down on top of yours, drawing out an involuntary moan.

Thor and the other two women in the room blush from the second-hand embarrassment of what they’re witnessing. They quickly avert their eyes and turn away.

He deepens the kiss, drawing it out and stealing every chance you have to breathe. His hands fall down to your sides as he pulls away, lingering his hot breath purposefully over your lips. Loki’s eyes remain close as he desperately begs of you, “Don’t go. I saw it in your eyes. You are planning to leave. Please. Stay.”

A single set of tears stream down your cheeks, “Loki, I-”

He parts your lips again, cutting you off with another desirous kiss. Loki draws out yet another moan from you as his grip on you tightens.

Chapter Text

A single set of tears stream down your cheeks, “Loki, I-”

He parts your lips again, cutting you off with another desirous kiss. Loki draws out yet another moan as his grip on you tightens.

“Come with me,” He murmurs, pulling away. His hand slides down to yours and he teleports the two of you to Heimdall. “Send us back.”

Heimdall nods, opening the Bifrost.

“Loki,” You start to loosen your grip. “I-”

He intertwines your fingers, resecuring his hold on your hand, “No, we can talk afterwards. First, you need to see our son.”

Your eyes widen as you shutter, “Wh-what? That’s not very fun-”

“It’s not a joke, lie, trick, or illusion,” Loki assures you earnestly; his expression is unwavering in its sincerity. He pulls you along with him into the rainbow stream of the Bifrost.
__

You take one look at the tiny infant staring back at you and your legs instantly give way. You collapse on your knees, shuttering as tears stream out.

“Kara!” Loki swoops down next to you in alarm.

You turn your gaze to look at him as you grip onto his sleeve, “H-he’s alive? I didn’t miscarry? We have a son?”

Loki cracks a soft, affectionate smile, “Yes, love,” He confirms, reaching up and gently wiping away your tears with his thumb. Extending his hand out to you, he helps you back on your feet, leaning you against him for support.

“He’s so small,” You murmur unable to tear your eyes away from the infant.

“So was I. Guess it runs in the family. It’s the reason why I was abandoned,” Loki replies with a sharp edge to his words, hurt evident in his tone as he reaches into the incubator and gently caresses the boy’s small arm. “Kara... why were you going abandon me too?” His pained stare turns directly to you. “You were literally begging me not to leave you, but then you turned around and planned to do that very thing to me. You thought you lost our child...” He notes. “If you couldn’t have a family with me were you going to move on to someone else?”

“No! Loki! I’d never-...” Your eyes snap up to his frantically. The pained expression of the hurt betrayal on his face stabs you like a knife. You drop your eyes ashamed. Your voice cracks as it comes out, “I was going to leave you because I lost the right to stay by your side.”

“What?” He scoffs, not believing what he’s hearing.

You pull away from him, backing up as you clench your arm and grit your teeth, “Loki, my entire purpose in this universe was to fix your problems and make you happy. But now, ironically, I’m the only source of your problems. I’m an absolute wreck- a complete mess of a person. And when I thought I lost the baby, I thought I couldn’t even give you kids. The bare minimum of what wives can give to their husbands. What use am I to you then? What’s my purpose of being here if I can’t make you happy? If I’m only being a burden? That’s why if I leave...” You choke, “so would your problems. You can start over- be happy with someone else who can give you the things I can’t.”

Loki steps forward and extends his hand out to you but you flinch away. His jaw clenches. Not accepting your rejection this time, he presses forward and grabs your upper arms so you can’t run away.

“Kara, I want you to listen to me and listen to me very carefully. Which one of us wanted kids? You. Not me. All I ever wanted was you. The main reason I love this child is because it’s ours- mine and yours. Regardless if they can bear me children or not, no other person could possibly make me happy the way you do just by existing,” Loki tells you vehemently. “And I don’t keep you by my side because of your usefulness to me.”

His expression and tone soften as he pauses before he continues, “Darling, have I not made it clear that I cannot live without you? Have I not made it clear enough that I love you? If not, I will remind you every morning when we wake up. I’ll show you every night when we lie down. I’ll repeat it throughout the daylight and evening hours if need be. Will you believe me then?” He asks earnestly, hands dropping down to yours.

Loki lifts your hand and kisses your knuckles. “Staying by my side isn’t a right you have to earn. And if it was you’ve already more than earned it and it can’t be revoked,” He says, pulling your head to his chest as tears finally break through the composure you had tried to maintain as you listened to his words.

He gently sighs, “Love, I know you’re struggling on the inside, and you feel like you’re an irreparable mess, but I also know you. You’re a fighter... in the metaphorical sense. You don’t give up even when the odds don’t seem to be in your favor. And like this little one, I believe you can pull through that dark headspace of yours. Admittedly, it won’t be easy, and Dr. Bright will probably be more helpful to you than I am, but I plan on being with you every step of the way.”

Pulling away slightly, Loki cups your face in his hands. Once more wiping away the tears from your eyes with his thumbs.

“I love you, Kara,” He breathes before swooping in and planting a lingering kiss on your lips.
__

The three of you appear in the living room.

“I’m back,” She murmurs in happy relief.

Leo comes around the corner, holding Callie in his arms.

“Mommy!” the little girl exclaims, clamoring down and running to her.

She swoops down to hug her child, “Callie, baby, Mommy missed you!” Her eyes glance back up to Leo. She rises, picking up Callie in her arms.

Leo immediately kisses her, resting his forehead against hers, “Welcome back!” He kisses her again.

“You never mentioned having a husband in your previous life,” Loki pouts a little, securing you possessively in his embrace as he wraps his arms around you from behind. His jealousy flares up a bit, “Don’t tell me he’s the real reason you wanted to leave me? Do you miss him?”

“No!” You hiss, flat out rejecting the notion as you whisper back, “And I didn’t tell you because I didn’t have a husband. I died single and alone. This is all her doing. She changed my life just as much as I changed hers.”

“I guess the two of you are better suited for each other’s lives after all,” He smiles softly, his warm breath purposefully teasing your neck.

“Loki...” You breathe sharply in warning.

“U-um,” Leo interrupts before Loki can respond.

Loki’s eyes flicker up to his in annoyance.

Leo politely smiles and brushes it off. He turns his attention to you, “Thank you for getting her back.”

You nod, lightly grinning, “I keep good on my word.”

He looks you over then turns back to his wife, “So this what you looked like before? It totally doesn’t suit you.”

“Sh-shut up!” She blushes in embarrassment.

“Shut up!” Callie repeats innocently.

Both parents gasp.

“No, no, no, don’t repeat that,” Leo quickly tells her.

“That’s an at-home phrase,” His wife comes alongside him. “Don’t say it when you’re at school, or out in public.”

“Shut up,” Callie says again, loving the rile she’s getting out of her parents.

Both of them groan.

You and Loki let out soft chuckles.

“Maybe kids aren’t so bad after all,” Loki remarks.
__

You sit on the couch downstairs in your island home as Loki works on replacing the bed sheets upstairs. You sigh, lifting yourself up off the couch. Walking over to the kitchen area, you turn on the coffee machine.

“I can do that,” Loki suddenly appears behind you, taking the coffee grounds from your hands.

“Loki, I need you to stop doting on me so much,” You firmly tell him. “One thing I realized while back in my old body is that it feels good to be focused on something other than myself. Getting the old Kara back to her family gave my mind something else to think about- something else to do,” You avert your eyes down to the floor, “Ever since we’ve come to this island you’ve been babying me- doing everything for me. Treating me like I’m fragile and about to break. And I know you’re intentions are good. You’re just trying to help. And I know it’s partially my fault with the way I’ve been acting, but if I’m doing nothing I’m only thinking about me and my brokenness. And I think... I think it’s making the situation worse. My mind needs something else to focus on.”

Loki gently lifts your chin, “You’re right. I’m sorry,” He smiles apologetically before handing you back the coffee grounds. He steps away. “I’ll be back in a bit.”

He disappears as quickly as he appeared.

Your heart flutters softly. You’re glad you were finally able to communicate with him and that he listened so understandably. Or so you thought... Loki doesn’t return. After an hour you check upstairs, but he’s nowhere to be found. You close your eyes and take a deep breath. You can feel your anxiety rising. You need some fresh air.

Heading outside, you walk down to the waterfront. You step into the ocean as you stare out into the setting sun. You are emotionally exhausted and yet your chest still aches.

“He loves you,” You breathe out as a desperate reminder. “He’ll come back.” You walk further into the water to let its calming coolness relax more of your skin.

“Kara!” A voice shouts mortified from far away. Arms suddenly appear behind you, whisking you up off your feet, “What are you thinking?!” He exclaims almost angrily though his voice radiates more so with fear.

You look up at his emerald eyes in confusion, “What are you talking about?” Then you realize what your actions might have looked like. “No, Loki, I wasn’t planning on killing myself! I swear! The water just felt nice and I needed to calm myself down before I sent myself into another panic attack because you had left. I-”

Loki leans down and crushes your lips in a desperate kiss. He parts them, deepening it and drawing out a low moan from you.

“Don’t scare me like that,” He begs, resting his forehead against yours.

“I could say the same,” You frown, crossing your arms and pouting a bit at his hypocrisy.

He chuckles, “Sorry, I had to prepare something for tomorrow. Don’t ask, you’ll find out then.”

Suddenly the two of you are back in your bedroom. Loki lays you down on the bed, “As promised, I’m going to show you just how much I love you,” He tells you as he starts unbuttoning his shirt.

Your eyes widen as you realize what he’s referring to. How long has it been since the two of you last... A couple of months? You immediately feel hot as you almost guiltily stare at his chest. You swallow as your long-buried carnal desires seem to all burst forth at once inside you. Reaching up, you wrap your arms around his neck, pulling him down on top of you.

Loki catches himself, hands on either side of you as he blinks in surprise at your forwardness. He wasn’t expecting you to be so unreserved about doing it again so soon, figuring he’d have to coax you back into it. He slowly closes his eyes as you part his lips and roll your tongue over his. Loki almost didn’t want to close them so he could continue watching how absolutely ravishing you are being at the moment.

This time the moan came from his lips.

Chapter Text

“Good morning, darling,” Loki murmurs, looming over you; his body blocking the sun shining through the window.

You reach up, wrapping your arms firmly around his neck and pulling him down until his lips are locked with yours. A deep moan rings from his lips as the kiss intensifies. Your fingers weave through his hair.

“Kara,” He breathes heavily, “We...”

“No,” You groan childishly. “Don’t say anything. Just love me.”

Loki smiles softly, but the mischievous glint in his eyes is far from unnoticeable. He leans back, hot breath lingering over your neck, “As Milady wishes, so shall be my command. For who I am to refuse?”

Your grip on his hair tightens as you gasp sharply. He bites down on the spot his lips had been lingering over, teasing the spot with his tongue. Your body writhes with pleasure as even his faintest touches intoxicate you.

You throw back your head and close your eyes as a loud, drawn out cry escapes your lips.

There are no words that can sufficiently describe how much you love this man.
__

“Why?” You inquire, trying your best to suppress the anxiety threatening to rise in your tone as your eyes flicker up from the peace offering cake sitting before you.

“It’s a sign of good faith and assurance, love,” Loki promises as he stares across the counter at you. His expression gives nothing away. “I’m going to leave... but I promise I’ll come back to fetch you tonight.”

Your eyes narrow, “Does this have something with what you mentioned last night?”

“Yes,” He answers plainly, still refraining from revealing any hints.

You click your tongue in irritation and shift your gaze away from him. You didn’t want to be alone. But you also didn’t want to tether him to you. If you are too clingy will he change his mind about you and get annoyed?

Loki sighs, examining your reaction. He walks around the counter and takes your hand, raising it to his lips. “I promise it’ll all make sense this evening, but this is important to me. Please bear with my selfish request.”

You take a deep breath before finally meeting his eyes. “Trusting the god of mischief is risky business. But then again...”

Loki’s eyes widen as he for the first time in a very long time witnesses the expression that he loves on you the most. It’s the one the made his heart skip every time without fail.

You grin wickedly as your eyes light up with mischief, “I love a good risk. Though... with every risk... I do like to have some assurance,” You pull the hand holding yours over to your lips. Your tongue wraps around his index finger as your gaze locks with his tauntingly.

“Kara,” He warns, stiffening.

You smirk and he swallows.

“You’ll pay for this,” Loki growls. “Now I’ll have spend the whole day-...” He lingers off as he vanishes, channeling the last bit of his self-control.

You click your tongue again in annoyance, crossing your arms as your stare back down at the chocolate, raspberry cake. You thought you might have convinced him to stay. You sigh, pulling out a knife from the kitchen drawer. What could possibly be so important to him right now?
__

“Come with me!” Loki suddenly appears, sweeping you up off your feet and into his arms.

“You’re back early,” You reply in a bit of shock from the abruptness.

“Who’s fault is that?” Loki snarls softly, as he briskly carries you outside.

You give him a quizzical gaze. “What? Where are we going?”

“Asgard. Close your eyes,” He answers as the Bifrost streams down over the two of you. He looks down to check if you obeyed and you quickly do so.

Loki doesn’t even give you time to say hello to Heimdall. The second you arrive you can feel him teleport the two of you. As Loki places you carefully back down, your feet land on what feels like a grassy plain. Loki’s touch leaves you, and you immediately stiffen from the sudden lack of physical touch.

You chastise yourself in your head. How needy you are becoming bothers you.

“You can open your eyes now,” Loki tells you gently.

Upon hearing his words, they do so. Your breath sharpens as you take in the scene around you. You immediately recognize the place. How could you forget it? Loki shattered your heart on this floating island all those years ago.

Your eyes widen in surprise as you take in the floral arch, decorated with your favorite flowers. White candles float on either side, creating a long aisle up to the arch.

“Loki?” You gasp breathlessly as you turn to look at him. Your eyes widen further as your heart skips a beat. All at once your fears and anxieties from earlier wash away.

Loki is knelt down on one knee, his insignia held up in his hand. He hesitantly opens his mouth, staring directly up at you.

“Kara, in all my years I have met countless people, but until you showed up there was not a single person who chose me above everyone else. From the beginning, you were on my side even when I wasn’t. You created another path for me to go down than the one I was destined for. You made me want to be better than the person my father or I expected me to be. For everything you’ve done up until now, I am eternally grateful. You are my greatest ally, my best friend, my queen, the mother of my child, and beyond a shadow of a doubt the love of my life,” He smiles softly then pauses. His smile falters a bit, “And I... I am not a good man like Steve Rogers. I cannot sacrifice you for the greater good. I am still much too selfish despite everything. But,” He breathes sharply. His lips twitch into a slight grin, “...from the beginning you knew the type of man I was, and you were madly in love with him,” His arrogant grin lingers for a moment before the haughtiness in Loki’s expression fades. A faint hint of irritation replaces it. “You are not the soul I married and I can’t stand it,” the irritation quickly vanishes as soon as it appeared. This time earnest desperation takes its place as he swallows, “So I beg of you, marry me.”

“Yes!” You blurt out. Your hands fly up to cover your mouth as your face flushes in embarrassment at your overt eagerness.

A faint chuckle escapes from Loki’s lips as he rises. He gently pulls your hands down, interlacing his fingers with yours after slipping the insignia back where it belongs. Leaning in, Loki locks your lips in a kiss. He deepens it as he draws the kiss out, slowly and almost begrudgingly pulling away.

“We’re going go to have to wait a while though,” You murmur as you struggle to regain your breath.

“What?” He asks sounding genuinely confused.

“Your wedding date to the previous Kara is public knowledge. It’ll be suspicious if you remarry me on a different date. We’ll have to wait for that date to come around again and use the pretense of renewing our vows,” You explain to him.

A frown forms on his lips, “I can’t wait that long,” He grumbles, being unreasonable. “And I don’t want us to share a date with that woman. Besides, I already took that into account. That’s why we’re having the wedding in secret here tonight. What do think I’ve been busy preparing for? All those hours weren’t just for the proposal.”

“Tonight?!” You exclaim in shock.

Loki grins mischievously, loving your riled expression. “Yes, Thor’s officiating. Mother, Sif, and the others are arriving shortly. Like I said, I can’t wait.”

In an instant a wedding dress takes the place of your clothes. Your hair and makeup also done.

“Sorry. I know you didn’t get to choose it, but I did my best to take into account your tastes,” He tells you.

You shake your head completely in awe of the dress, eyes flickering back up to his, “No, it’s perfect!” Loki really did know you well. You lean upwards, kissing him again, “Thank you.”
__

“Are you ready?” Frigga inquires, a soft smile donning her lips.

You nod, “Y-yes.”

She chuckles, “You’ve been married to him eight and a half years, and you’re still nervous to walk down the aisle?”

You blush, “W-well, in my defense, it’s my first time. I wasn’t married in my previous life, and old Kara was the one to do it the first time with him so...”

Frigga takes you by the arm, smiling reassuringly, “I’ll let you in on a little secret,” She whispers as she leads you down the candlelit aisle. “The groom truly in love with his bride is always more nervous than the bride because he knows he doesn’t deserve her but she chose him anyways, and he’s praying desperately that this isn’t a dream and that you’re not going to run away at the last second.”

Your eyes slowly flicker up until they lock with Loki’s as he stands under the arch.

Sif stands dolled up next to where you will soon take your place. Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun all stand across from her also dressed in their best. Thor stands firmly in the center next to Loki, giving his younger brother one last reassuring pat on the shoulder. Fiske stands off to the side, watching everything with great excitement and amazement. Everyone is now looking at you, but the only one you can see is Loki.

Frigga was right. He tried desperately to mask it but Loki’s eyes gave him away. Nervous anxiousness radiates from them even though his demeanor appears otherwise calm. Seeing his nervousness sent your heart aflutter and somehow made you relax. You flash a bright, reassuring smile at him, blushing in pure happiness.
__

“Nervous?” Thor inquires curiously.

“No,” He lies, letting out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding. “We’ve been married for eight- almost nine- years. Why would I be nervous?”

“Either you’ve gotten worse at lying, or I’ve gotten better at seeing through your deceptions,” Thor lightheartedly remarks.

Loki opens his mouth to counter his remark but nothing comes out. He purses his lips, averting his gaze to his hands as he fiddles with them.

“Brother,” Thor whispers softly. “You’re going to want to look at this.”

Loki’s eyes snap up immediately locking with yours. For a split second, he forgets to breathe as his heart skips a beat. Then you smile at him and suddenly his mask shatters. He shutters as Thor pats him on the shoulder, reassuring him with a knowing chuckle.

“You’re a lucky man,” Thor grins, eyes flickering between you and his brother.

“You have no idea,” Loki swallows the lump in his throat.
__

Frigga places your hand in Loki’s, smiling warmly to the both of you as she hands you off to him before taking her place next to Fiske.

Sif grins happily at you, silently mouthing, “You’re gorgeous.”

Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun all smile proudly at the two of you as Thor kicks off the ceremony. His words fall on deaf ears though. Between you and Loki neither one of you are focusing on what Thor’s saying. Your attention is captivated elsewhere, staring into each other’s eyes, causing one another to unconsciously deepen your smiles. The words ‘repeat after me’ finally snap the two of you out of your own little world.

“I, Loki of Asgard, take you, Kara, to be my lawfully wedded wife. To love and protect all the days of my life. To cherish you every moment, and to be by your side until my last dying breath regardless of what the future might bring,” Loki vows with complete sincerity.

“And I, Kara of Asgard, take you, Loki, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To love and protect all the days of my life. To cherish you every moment, and to be by your side until my last dying breath regardless of what the future might bring,” You promise in equal measure.

Thor smiles, “It is my deep pleasure and great honor to pronounce you husband and wife. Brother, you may kiss your bride.”

“Finally,” Loki breathes, instantly pulling you closer and greedily parting your lips.

Frigga quickly covers Fiske’s eyes as you place your arms against Loki’s chest and deepen the kiss.

The kiss is long and passionate enough to cause Hogun, Volstagg, and even Fandral to blush. Sif rolls her eyes and chuckles, exchanging looks with a grinning Thor.
__

“We are not seeing them for days,” Thor chuckles as he unbuttons his shirt.

“No, probably not,” Sif replies, reaching around the back of her neck to unfasten her necklace. “Loki’s expression failed to hid his plans to monopolize her in their chambers.”

Thor slips his shirt off, casting it aside on a nearby chair before coming up behind his wife and helping her unclip the necklace she’s still fiddling with. He kisses the nape of her neck as he drops the piece of jewelry into her hand, “Maybe we should do the same?”

Sif purses her lips before turning around to look up at her husband, “Thor... we can’t...”

Picking up her free hand, he interlaces their fingers, “Not even if I beg?” He inquires as his lips hover her own.

She swallows nervously, struggling to keep her desires in check and maintain her composure, “We have too many responsibilities...”

“Just one night then?” He pleas softly, planting a teasingly light kiss on her neck.

Sif inhales sharply, putting the necklace down on the nightstand. She pulls her hand away from his before pushing him to sit down on the bed. Placing one hand firmly against his chest, she lifts his chin with the other.

“One night,” She agrees, forcibly spreading his lips and rolling her tongue down over his.

A deep moan rings from his throat as she runs her fingers through his hair and continues to steal his breath. Slowly rolling him down on his back, Sif pulls away causing him to instinctively whine in protest.

“Patience,” a smirk spreads across her lips.

“Impossible,” He says, pulling her down next to him and rising to loom over her.

Sif is taken aback a bit, shocked by the action. Normally he’s submissive and obedient to her, but this time he’s actively taking the lead.

Thor swallows as he stares down at her, gently brushing a few stray strands of hair out of her face, “Have I reminded you recently that your breathtakingly beautiful, my queen?”

Sif blushes slightly as she reaches up and wraps her arms loosely around his neck, pulling him into another kiss, “Perhaps~”

Dropping his head onto her shoulder, Thor turns and whispers in her ear, “I love you, Sif. With every fiber of my being, I love you. So much. I love you.”

“I love you too,” She whispers back, smiling affectionately. “Since we were young, I’ve loved you very much, Thor. Thank you for choosing me.”

Thor’s arms wrap around her waist as he plants a rough kiss down on her neck. A sharp moan rings forth from her lips.

A knock suddenly comes on their door.

“Thor,” Sif moans again.

“Ignore it. You already promised me tonight,” He murmurs, moving further down her neck.

The knock comes again and this time it’s accompanied by a voice hesitantly calling out to them, “Mama? Papa?”

Both of them freeze before scrambling to untangle themselves from one another. Sif quickly fixes herself and rushes to the door while Thor moves to put his shirt back on.

“Fiske, darling, what is it?” Sif inquires, stooping down to his level as she opens the door.

His eyes are watery and his body is trembling ever so slightly, “I had a scary dream,” He chokes out, blinking back the tears threatening to fall. He averts his eyes as Thor joins Sif’s side, “C-can I stay with you guys...?” He fiddles anxiously with his hands. “I- I’ll try not to be a bother. I just... don’t want to be alone.” The tears finally fall.

Thor immediately picks him up in his arms, resting his son’s head into his shoulder, “You could never be a bother, Fiske.”

Sif rises, running her fingers gently through the small boy’s golden locks. She kisses the top of his head before taking Thor’s hand and leading him back over to the bed.

They settle down on either side as Thor positions Fiske snuggly in between them. Sif resumes running her fingers through Fiske’s hair, softly humming and lulling their son back to sleep.

“I love you both,” Fisks murmurs sleepily as his eyes flutter shut.

A soft smile rests on Thor’s lips. He turns his attention back to his wife, who’s staring back at him with a similar smile. She leans in and kisses him quietly.

“Looks like we’re going to have to reschedule this evening’s plans,” She whispers, grinning.

“You seem to be right, my love,” Thor replies, gently caressing her cheek. He tilts his head slightly, raising an eyebrow, “Tomorrow night then?”

“We’ll see,” Sif teases, kissing him once more.
__

“Loki...?” You ask as he twirls you around before slowly pulling you back into his chest.

The soft instrumental music continues to play in the background over the speakers. It’s the only other noise besides the sound of your footsteps that can be heard in the otherwise empty expanse of the ballroom.

“Yes, darling?” Loki inquires back, gliding seamlessly into the next part of the dance.

“These past years together still count towards our marriage, right?”

“Of course,” He answers assuringly, softly planting a kiss against your neck as the two of you spin. “I don’t like the thought of ever not being married to you. Today just marks the day you and I married in soul. Our past eight years we were married in body, heart, and mind. Our second anniversary will be a royal family secret for generations to come.”

You gently bite your lip, smiling happily as he dips you. The dip ends up lasting longer than it should have as the two of you get lost staring affectionately in each other’s eyes. Loki pulls you back up, kissing you slowly with increasing intimacy. Your bodies’ subconscious instincts the only thing keeping the dance going between you.

Loki pulls away, planting a soft kiss on your forehead as the song slowly fades out and the two of you conclude your dance.

“Your younger self would be appalled if he saw us right now,” You chuckle, teasing him a bit.

He groans, resting his forehead against yours, “Don’t mention him. He was immature, stubborn, and blind.”

“He was cute though,” You grin a little.

“And I’m not?” Loki scoffs in faux offense.

“You can be, I suppose...” You reply, grin transforming into a smirk. “But I’d describe the you now as more devilishly handsome,” Your arms wrap up around his neck, “and seductively attractive rather than cute.” Your lips linger purposefully over his as you withhold yourself from actually kissing him.

“You’re stroking my ego and teasing me at the same time,” Loki breathes sharply. “That’s a dangerous combo.”

“Well,” You inch your lips closer, “I’ve never really been one to shy away from danger,” You reply before abruptly pulling away with a wicked glint in your eyes.

“Oh no you don’t,” He instantly snatches your wrist, pulling you back to him and locking your lips into his, “You little minx.”
__

-A Few Months Later-

Loki sighs as he walks down the corridor. It had been a long day of endless paperwork and meetings with uptight, inflexible nobles.

“It’s fine. It’s over. I’ll just deal with the rest tomorrow,” He mutters irritability under his breath.

He takes a sharp turn left down another corridor until he reaches the room next door to his chambers. Slowly pushing open the door, he peeks inside. In an instant, all his stress and frustrations from the day melt away.

Inside the nursery, you sit asleep in the chair next to the crib. Tiptoeing in and quietly shutting the door behind him, Loki draws near to you. He leans down, gently kissing the top of your head before turning his gaze over to the crib. Extending his hand out, Loki softly caresses the infant's cheek.

It’s only been a few days since the two of you were able to bring him home, but now Loki can’t imagine his life without him here. This is where his son belonged.

“I see you’ve chosen to be blue tonight,” Loki addresses him in a whisper.

The infant stares up at him with his tiny red eyes. He coos softly.

Loki bends down and picks him up, cradling Viggo securely in his arms, “You weren’t supposed to be so cute. How am I supposed to hate this part of me,” Loki tells him as his skin slowly starts to match that of his son, “if you’re what came out of it?”

“Do you believe me now that your Jotun heritage doesn’t make you a monster?” You murmur, slowly rising from your chair. You cup his cheek with your hand as you stare affectionately into his own red eyes.

He sighs begrudgingly in exasperated defeat, “Yes,” He admits.

You smile, lifting up on your tiptoes to kiss his icy lips, “I love you, Loki. All of you.”

Chapter Text

“Found you!” Fiske grins, looming over him.

“I wasn’t hiding,” Viggo groans sleepily. He turns his head to the side, lazily not lifting it from the desk he had been napping on. His eyes flicker up in annoyance at his cousin.

“Then why are you in the classroom when your father gave us the day off?” Fiske inquires, brushing off Viggo’s blatant irritation.

“Because it’s quiet, and it doesn’t have the foul odor still lingering in it from Icici’s last botched spell like the library,” Viggo mutters, sitting up and yawning. “What do you want?”

“In case you forgot, we’re supposed to be preparing your parents’ anniversary ball tonight. But I’m the only one that showed up this morning to help like we were supposed to,” Fiske reminds him. He’s smiling innocently, but Viggo instantly picks up the fiery rage radiating off of Fiske just below the surface. A cold shiver runs through Viggo’s spine as he guiltily averts his gaze. “Mother sent me to fetch the rest of you.”

Standing up, Viggo sighs, “Alright, I get it. Sorry. I’ll help you find the girls.”

“Thank you!” Fiske’s smile changes to a genuine one as he reverts back to his usual happy-go-lucky nature.

The two of them head out of the classroom together, walking down the corridors.

“Any ideas where they might be?” Fiske asks, prompting his cousin out of his inaction.

“You and I both know Icici’s position varies from moment to moment, and I don’t exactly keep track of your twin sisters so no,” Viggo answers pointedly before yawning again.

“Very helpful,” Fiske rolls his eyes sarcastically.

“Hey. You know no more than I do. That’s why you came to me for help,” Viggo retorts. “So, shall we divide and conquer or...”

“Absolutely not!” Fiske catches onto him all too quickly. He snatches him by the wrist, “I know you. As soon as you’re out of my sight you’re going to slip away and find another spot to take a nap. Just do the thing already.”

Viggo clicks his tongue in irritation because he’s right. He sighs, stopping mid-stride and closing his eyes to concentrate, “Fine… give me a second.”

Fiske drops his hold on his cousin’s wrist and patiently waits as he’s told. He watches as Viggo’s eyes flash back open, his emerald eyes now glowing electric green.

Viggo slowly spins in a circle, sight extending throughout the entire palace as he searches. He blinks and his eyes return to normal, “I found the twins,” He informs him, briskly taking off again down the corridor.

“And your sister?” Fiske questions, chasing swiftly after him.

A loud banging noise rings out from the north wing.

“Does that answer your question?” Viggo groans, picking up his pace.

Fiske struggles to suppress his chuckle, “What she did do this time?”

“Bewitched our grandfather into letting her practice her magic on him as she does,” He answers. “Let’s just say, Grandmother is going to have to spend a lot of time and energy fixing his hair before tonight’s event.”

“She really does have Grandfather under her thumb,” Fiske remarks in amusement. “We should probably grab her before we get Alva and Thyra.”

“Agreed,” Viggo nods, taking a sharp turn up the flight of stairs leading to the north wing.
__

Icici smiles innocently at her older brother as he and Fiske reach the top of the stairs. She outstretches her arms towards him.

“We’re so sorry, Grandmother,” Fiske apologizes as she hands Icici over to Viggo.

Frigga shakes her head, chuckling softly, “Your grandfather knew what he was getting himself into so he’s at least of equal blame. Besides, it reminds me of her father when he was young.”

“Father was this bad at magic?” Viggo asks skeptically to which Icici puffs her cheeks and pinches his. “Ow!”

“He definitely had a rough learning curve when he first started,” Frigga nods, smiling affectionately.

“Not everyone starts off a child prodigy like you, V,” Fiske quips in reminder.

“I’m going to surpass you one day!” Icici confidently declares to her brother. “Just you wait!”

“We’ll see,” Viggo rolls his eyes.

“You’ll get there,” Fiske assures her, patting Icici’s head.

Icici flashes him a determined grin, “You too! I’m going to surpass you too!”

“I’m sure you will,” Fiske chuckles. “Wanna help us find Thyra and Alva?”

She nods excitedly.

“I’ll see you three in a bit,” Frigga calls out, waving goodbye as the three of them head back down the stairs. “Fiske, tell your mother I’ll be a bit longer… helping your grandfather and all.”

“Will do,” Fiske waves back with a confirming smile.

“The twins are in the garden,” Viggo tells him, shifting the toddler in his arms. “They found something there that caught their attention.”
__

“Thor!” Sif calls out to him testily as she storms up to him in the banquet hall.

“Whatever it is I did I’m sorry,” He turns around nervously with an instinctive apology. For what, he had no idea.

Grabbing him by the shirt collar, she pulls him down and crushes his lips into a deepening kiss.

All the servants who were bustling about and getting the palace ready for tonight’s festivities all freeze, watching for a brief moment before quickly looking away and returning to their work. Everyone pretending like they hadn’t noticed.

“I’m so confused…” Thor tells her breathlessly as she pulls away. “You’re sending me very mixed signals. Are you mad at me or...”

“Pissed, but I love you so it’s fine,” Sif grumbles, crossing her arms and letting out a long, exasperated sigh.

“What exactly did I do?” He asks completely lost.

“You promised me no more kids. That you were satisfied with three,” She tells him, sounding annoyed but then her lips curve into a cheeky smile.

“Right. That’s why we’ve been taking preventive measures. Why then- Oh,” it finally clicks in his head. “W-we’re having another one?”

“Despite all our efforts it seems so,” She confirms.

“And you’re okay with it?” Thor inquires hesitantly, holding himself back from getting excited.

“Well... I’m not particularly fond of the idea of going through pregnancy again... but the twins have been begging for a younger sibling, and I know you miss having a little one of our own running around so...” Sif smiles reassuringly at him, wrapping her arms around his waist and leaning against his chest. “...what’s one more going to hurt?”

Thor lifts her chin, crushing her lips once more into a burning kiss. “By stars, I love you!”

“I know,” Sif smiles, leading him into another kiss.

Thor’s hands settle on her stomach as their lips slowly drift apart, “A boy would be nice,” He remarks, “Help even out the odds.”

“Nah, I like the unevenness in our favor. I’m betting it’s going to be another girl,” Sif muses back with a chuckle.

“Guess we’ll have to wait and see,” He grins, wrapping his arms around her waist. His smile stretching from ear to ear.
__

“Thyra, let’s go already,” Alva whispers. “If we stay here too long Uncle’s going to notice.”

“Hush,” Thyra shushes her older twin dismissively, eyes trained on the scene before her as the two of them peer through the bushes.

“What are you two doing?” a whisper comes from behind their backs. Fiske stares down, arms crossed as he looms over his little sisters.

“Shhhh!” Thyra shushes again, unfazed at being caught. Her focus is elsewhere, “They’ll hear you.”

Alva points in the direction that the two of them have been staring in.

“They’re just so romantic,” Thyra swoons, engraving every second and detail into her memory.

Alva rolls her eyes. Sometimes her twin is the last person she understands.

Viggo’s eyes follow his cousin’s finger. He purses his lips, inhaling sharply.

On the other side of the bush sat his parents on a bench. His mother sitting in his father’s lap, leaning into his chest as the two of them exchange a long, drawn-out kiss.

Icici strains upwards in his arms, trying to see what everyone else was looking at. Viggo quickly moves his hand to cover his little sister’s eyes.

“You’re too young to see,” He mutters.

Icici’s cheeks puff in frustration.

Fiske chuckles softly, a warm smile resting on his lips as he places his hands on the twins’ shoulders. “V, your parents are just as passionate as ever, I see.”

“Like we haven’t caught your parents doing the exact same thing,” Viggo rebuts before vanishing with Icici in tow.

Fiske grins to himself, rolling his eyes. He takes one last glance at his aunt and uncle before teleporting the twins away with him.
__

Loki chuckles as he pulls away.

“What’s so funny?” You ask curiously, staring up into his emerald eyes. A blissful smile rests on your lips.

“The onlookers finally left,” He answers, reaching up and gently caressing your cheek.

“People were watching us and you didn’t say anything?!” You gasp in alarm before groaning and turning your gaze away in flushed embarrassment.

“Well, I didn’t want to interrupt our moment,” Loki replies, grinning mischievously. Lifting your chin, he slowly turns your face back to him. “Besides, it was just the children. And what’s wrong with them seeing us in love? We were only kissing.” He tilts his head, leaning in and planting a gentle kiss against your lips.

You wrap your arms loosely around his neck, parting his lips as you deepen the kiss. You manage to draw out a moan from his throat, smiling completely pleased with yourself as you do.

Loki inhales sharply, pulling away but lingering his lips over yours, “I swear, woman, I’m the luckiest man in the galaxy.”

You giggle, “I love you too.”

Loki’s lips once more lock with yours, the intensity gradually increasing as the two you completely lose yourself to one another.

“Woah!” A young voice exclaims out of nowhere.

Both your and Loki’s eyes snap open, looking down at the little girl staring back up at the two of you with a gleeful expression on her face as you and Loki quickly separate. You shake your head in exasperation as Loki struggles to contain his laughter.

“She’s definitely your daughter,” You sigh.

“That she is,” Loki smirks unashamedly.

“Icici…” Viggo groans, reappearing in front of the three of you.

“Viggo! Mommy and daddy were kissing?!” Icici shouts in excitement as if she’s divulging secret information he didn’t already know.

“I’m sorry. I tried to keep her away so you two could enjoy your day. She snuck out of my grasp. I’m sor-” Viggo scrambles for an apology, avoiding his parents' direct gaze.

“It’s alright, V,” You assure him, standing up off the bench and taking his hand. You smile softly, kissing the top of his head, “No one can contain your sister.”

Loki rises after you, picking up Icici in his arms, “She’s a mischievous little scamp.”

Icici grins proudly. She sticks her tongue out at her brother, “Hear that! I’m a mischievous scamp!”

Viggo opens his mouth, closes it, then opens it again, “Only in this family would that be taken as a compliment.”

You chuckle as Loki takes your other hand. The two of you exchange affectionately amused looks.