- *No Site Warnings Apply
Loki threw a random vase against the wall. It shattered, sending a wave of pleasure down his spine. He reached for something else when he paused.
There were footsteps coming down the hall.
Casting his magic, he concealed the pile of broken debris by the far wall. A clone of himself shimmered into view. Loki hid behind a large pillar. He was nowhere near ready to have a civil conversation yet.
The woman’s voice was vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t place it. He felt a gentle magic fill the room when she stepped through the door.
“How can I help you?” Loki’s clone inquired.
He heard her chuckle.
“You don’t remember me, do you, Little Prince?”
The clone chuckled in embarrassment. “Sorry, I’m afraid not.”
Loki’s magic tingled as the woman drew closer to his clone. The gentle magic that came from the woman rapidly grew. It was oppressive, making Loki short of breath. Loki gasped. He felt his clone shimmer out of existence without his permission. Wheezing, Loki leaned against the pillar. The woman’s magic ebbed until it was only a gentle warmth again. Footsteps stopped in front of him.
“Loki,” she chided. “I can’t believe you still use that trick.”
“Lofin. It’s been a long time,” Loki acknowledged, giving a weak shrug. “I’m sorry to say that it works on many here.”
“That’s because they look only with their eyes. Not with their hearts.”
Loki huffed, pushing away from the pillar and walking away. “Why are you here?”
“To help your mother, of course.”
He halted, turning slowly to face the goddess again. “She’s not my mother,” Loki mumbled.
Lofin drew closer. “Is she not the woman who raised you?”
Childhood lies flashed through his mind. Frigga’s smiling face was a prominent figure. It made his chest ache. Loki closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Is Thor not your brother? Were you not united in your efforts to escape me when I watched over you as children?”
Loki shook his head, frowning. He wanted to believe, but he was different. He’d always been different. No amount of magic could change the monstrous blood in his veins.
“Did Odin not bring you into his house with his own two arms? Is he not the man who loves you as a son?”
Loki’s eyes snapped open. Lofin stood in front of him, a sad look on her face.
“He is not my father. I am merely his bargaining chip with the Jotuns.”
“How?” Lofin challenged. “Were you arranged to marry a Jotun woman? A princess perhaps?”
Loki frowned. “No.” There was no Jotun royal family as far as he knew. The strongest of the Frost Giants ruled until he was defeated. Laufey had reigned since long before Loki was born. “It is more likely that Odin would try diplomacy.”
“And Odin has prepared you for that role? A Jotun Ambassador?”
“No.” The only lessons Loki had alone involved magic with Frigga. All other lessons were shared with Thor.
“Did Odin raise you as a warrior? Strong enough to defeat Laufey in his stead?”
“You know that he didn’t.”
“So. Is it possible that Odin took you for many reasons, but – chief among them – to be his son?”
Loki shook his head.
Lofin’s magic flared briefly before she nodded. “I’m hungry. Walk with me.”
Keeping his sigh as quiet as possible, Loki followed. Their journey to the kitchens was quiet. Normally, Loki would try to chat with the goddess, but he was too stuck in his head at the moment. Walking down the halls of white stone and gold trimming made his skin crawl. If he’d been left on Jotunheim, would he be comforted by halls made of ice? More at home on a dismal cold planet with nary a sun in the sky? A shiver ran down his spine.
Lofin glanced over her shoulder at him. Her eyes were shinier since leaving his suite, but she said nothing.
Food was the last thing on Loki’s mind, but Lofin packed enough food to feed Thor and his friends. She passed him two heavy baskets and wedged a small cask of mead under each of his arms.
“I don’t recall you eating this much in my childhood.”
“It’s not all for me,” she protested with a huff. “I thought you were the prince who thought before he spoke.” She flipped her long hair over her shoulder and picked up three heavy baskets. “Follow me!”
Loki opened his mouth then shut it. He was running out of things to break in his suite anyway.
“So,” Loki started, following after Lofin, “did my mother send you to convince me that I’m really part of the family.”
Lofin scoffed. “Why try convincing you of something that is already true? It’s as plain as the nose on your face. You’re very intelligent, Loki, but pain currently clouds your judgement right now.” She stopped in the hall, turning to face him. “What I’m more curious about is why you showed the Jotuns into Asgard at Thor’s coronation?”
Loki froze, nearly dropping the baskets. A heavy feeling settled in his stomach. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up just thinking of the Frost Giants. Chuckling, he put on a charming smile. “Why would I do something like that?”
Taking a deep breath, Lofin closed her eyes. Her eyes went back and forth under her eyelids as if she was dreaming. The air was dense with her magic when she finally opened her eyes. “I see.”
“Of course.” An emotion flashed across her face. It was too fast for Loki to figure out what it was. Lofin nodded and turned, walking down the hall again. “Come along, Loki. We mustn’t dally any longer.”
Loki sighed aloud.
“I heard that.”
Loki turned his eyes to the ceiling before following Lofin. He was starting to get whiplash from this ‘conversation.’
“Sometimes I forget how old you are,” Lofin said when he’d caught up with her. “As in, not old at all. The Aesir agree that both you and your brother are too young to be king.”
Loki snorted. “Odin would never allow me-”
“Last I heard you were the god of mischief. Do you somehow transform into Loki, god of future visions? Or perhaps Allmother has taught you scrying while I was away?”
“You’re very irritating. You know that, right?”
“Sometimes my wife thinks so, but she’s not stupid enough to say it aloud.”
“Perhaps she doesn’t need to,” Loki snarked. “Perhaps this is common knowledge that I’m old enough to understand now.”
“Touché.” Lofin took a deep breath and grinned. “Just imagine what you’ll understand 600 years from now. Exciting, isn’t it?”
Before Loki could come up with a reply, they reached the doors to Odin’s bedchamber.
“Fear not, friends! We come with nourishment!”
Four people cheered as they came forward. The Aesir gathered around. Each Aesir greeted Loki with a kiss on the cheek. Lofin passed two of her baskets to Guna and Volla. Halfin took one basket and cask from Loki.
Baldur took the other basket and cask from him. He set down the food before pulling Loki into a bear hug.
“Cousin! So wonderful to see you!” Baldur squeezed the air from Loki, clapping him heartily on the back.
Loki stood awkwardly for a moment before patting Baldur’s back in return.
“Be safe out there, dear,” Lofin said.
Guna leaning in and kissed Lofin. “You as well, lovely” she replied, with a wink. Basket in hand, Guna walked toward a solid wall. Just before hitting the wall, Guna faded and disappeared.
Baldur finally let go, clapping him hard on the back again.
Loki took in a deep breath. He turned to leave the room, but Baldur’s arm wrapped around his shoulders. “Sit down and eat, cousin. You must be famished!” Baldur herded Loki to the chairs gathered around Odin’s bed.
“See you later, Little Prince! Keep the stupidity to a minimum,” Halfin shouted across the room. “And thank you for the food,” she said softly as she passed Lofin on her way out the door, basket in hand.
“You’re welcome. Be safe!” Lofin gathered her own basket. Taking the seat next to Volla, the remaining Aesir and Loki surrounded Odin’s bed. Volla leaned over to whisper in Lofin’s ear.
A piece of bread with cheese appeared in front of Loki’s face. “Thank you,” Loki mumbled. He took the offering from Baldur, slowly eating it.
“Go on, go on! Eat up, Little Prince,” Baldur encouraged around his mouthful of meat. “Keep up your strength in these uncertain times.”
Loki ate the bread and cheese in one go. “Where’s Frigga?”
“Watching over Asgard, just as we’ll watch over Odin.” Baldur raised his glass then drank from it.
“You and I,” Baldur explained, motioning between himself and Loki. “We’re going to keep guard over Odin. Or, at the very least, I’ll watch over Odin and you’ll keep me company. I hope you have enough stories to keep me entertained for a few months!” He winked and grinned.
Loki glanced at Odin. The food in his stomach suddenly felt like lead. “Oh, sorry. I can’t-”
“Don’t worry about him. He’s just teasing you, Loki,” Lofin cut in. “You’ll just have to keep us company for a short while. When Allmother comes back, we’re going to have a… family meeting you could say.”
Knowing he couldn’t slip away with Lofin around – let alone Baldur – Loki slumped in his chair. Damn.
|Left to right: Richard Armitage, Constance Wu, Jennifer Hudson, Aishwarya Rai, Charlize Theron|