Power-Washed

He felt a tear slip down his cheek. I thought… I knew that they’d understand. No. I trusted that they would. They had to. But they didn’t.

“All this time? All this time, and you were just…”

“You’re not just anything!” Lynn’s words had stung. But Lillian? He had needed her. He still needs her. “You are a practically-all-powerful mage alien who has lied to our souls as we bared them to you.”

The others had begun to try to interrupt, but silenced. Lillian had stated their turmoil as well as one could.

“We… We might have accepted you. I know I can’t swear that we would’ve, and I know that you being you must have thought it would be better for us to love part of you than to reject you—but is that even you?”

“I…”

“It would have been a slower process, but we could have learned to see you as the terrifyingly more mature, better traveled alien and learned to accept you, and come to understand you, even if we had to trust your word on things, and we could have been the crazy group of kids who befriended YOU, not some snooty façade you put on to make us more comfortable, or why ever you thought this course of action was sensible, and… and…” Lillian’s mouth caught up with her mind and she trailed off into silence. It was broken a moment later by her brother. He always saw the details she missed.

“You were so prideful you believed that you knew what was best for us better than we did, and you never questioned your own faulty reasoning because you were so selfish you didn’t want to give up what little you had by quitting the lie and coming clean.”

“No!” Lucas instantly asserted. “I couldn’t tell you. I can weave a lie, but I am not so skilled… I am not very good at the unweaving. And—and I swear to you, my past is truly not important! I have set it aside. It has not until now affected you, and I never saw that this moment could come. Truly, it—“

I can see through that! If your past was unimportant, you wouldn’t be trembling in fear right now, man. And I see you straighten up now, but come on.” Lynn stepped closer. “And don’t you tell me for a second that you don’t know how important stories are to Lillian.”

“I couldn’t tell just—“

Lynn stepped closer. She had to peer up to see Loki’s face, now. “And you could never have missed the fact that Lillian would never tell a whisper to the wind of anything you don’t want her to, and you know that we don’t push when she keeps a secret, because it’s never her own.” Another step. Their faces were inches apart, both twisting into fury. Physical harm was moments away. “You know that you could have told Lillian any step of the way and she would’ve forgiven you for the time you kept it to yourself. She would’ve tried to comfort you, and she would’ve listened, and loved, and you know that and have known that.” His fist clenched. “If you weren’t currently thrusting this on us while attempting to lie to us, treating us like toys or kids or pets or something, like it’s no big deal when it is, if you weren’t turning your back on us and our trust, and trying to elevate yourself above us in your head to handle it, like you did when you first came, if you were still treating us like your friends and genuinely wanting us to forgive you and trusting us to, like when any of us have admitted our granted lesser but our deepest, most painful secret…

“Lillian still would.

“But you aren’t, are you? You’re just a spoiled little boy who’s trying to cope with pain by shoving everyone below himself, instead of letting them have a foothold to hurt you, and trusting that they’ll love you instead.”

In the moment that Lynn finished speaking, Loki lunged forward, Lynn prepared to punch, and the others stepped forward to interfere, a soft sob was heard that seemed to stop time.

Heads turned to see Lillian staring at the ground, eyes tightly closed and leaking tears. Loki stiffened, and the lesson Lynn had been trying to hit him in the head with hit his heart instead.

He had become so entirely obsessed with his own misfortune, and selfishly “dealing” with his own pain, that he had not once remembered how thin the thread was that Lillian’s self-esteem hung on. Nor just how loving she was.

Loki suddenly knew that she was going to take everything that had happened and love him for it all the more and hate herself and blame herself and even when not actively putting herself down, he had shattered the foundation she had formed for herself. He had shattered it.

Claiming to love her with all his soul, he had selfishly shattered hers.


Two days later, Crystal, Jacob, Lynn, Miles, and Faith were done. With life. With love. And largely, with Lucas.

Lillian had been trying, but she had gone into robot “say what they want, do what they want, be what they want” mode, but at the same time it was clear she wanted to cry or cut or rut or something other than be composed and around people. So Miles and Faith were working on keeping her somewhat sane and calm while wrapped up in blankets and pillows eating ice cream and watching movies, knowing that they were really just stalling, because someone like Lillian needed closure if she was ever going to get better.

Meanwhile, Loki had locked himself in a maintenance closet and somehow spelled (?) the door closed.

The group had actually seen this before. Lillian coped by blaming herself for all evil and being torn between wanting to work and help other people until she felt better and locking herself in a dark room and railing on herself, and was logical enough to try the former, but the desire for the latter always distracted her from doing the former well and made her think worse of herself. Lucas always coped by literally starving himself and screaming at himself in mirrors until he snapped and sought out the person who he saw to be capable of fixing this issue and had a very dramatic soliloquy to deliver that they would receive well, and all would be fine.

But at the moment, it seemed reconciliation would be a bit harder than normal.

“She’s… fading,” Miles commented. “I dunno how to put it, exactly…”

“Lili isn’t going to be content with Princess Bride for much longer,” Faith cut in. “She’s hurting and she’s been holding herself from serious self-destructing but she needs Lucas to come and work with her on making this better. Or it’s not going to be better.”

“…That,” Miles agreed.

“Easy, then,” Lynn commented, tone bordering furious and frosty, “We drag the loser out of his hole and make him fix this.”

“Won’t fix it. He’s worn so thin by now, I’m sure, that he’ll snap and get angry, and hurt her more, and then feel even more guilty, and flee back to the closet. But he needs to feel regret, not guilt,” Faith pointed out calmly.

“I’ll talk to him,” Jacob said flatly.

“Ummm…” Crystal started. “I thought our seer-in-training (Crys, for the thousandth time, I am NOT…) just said that was a bad idea. Should we maybe have Lillian go to Luc?”

Everyone fell silent.

“While I think Jacob actually would handle this relatively well…” Faith started, “That is a really good idea,” Lynn finished.

“Aw man. No brother yelling at could-have-been-boyfriend moment,” Miles complained.

“Okay, well, Jacob, do you want to go…?” Lynn suggested pointedly. Jacob smiled wryly, clearly thinking something he didn’t plan to share, but he stood up nodding anyway. The others watched him go and prayed.


“…Lil?”

“You want to reverse the natural order.”

“…”

“I have ears. Y’all can’t whisper.”

“…Lil, you think the natural order is baloney, and have been known to agree with Crystal that the concept was invented to be defied. How bad are you exactly?”

“…I demand another fresh tub of the chocolatiest ice cream you can find. And that everyone go to wherever is as far away as from where Lucas and I’ll be as is possible. No cameras. No recording devices.”

“…You are concerning me, but that’s not abnormal, I guess. Give me twenty minutes for the ice cream and forty to move Lynn.”

He didn’t get the desired chuckle, but considered the conversation mostly successful.


Lucas heard knocking on the door, and was about to recast the silencing spell so he could keep thinking until his mind resembled the aftermath of trench warfare, but froze with his hand midair as he heard the last thing he could possibly have expected.

“L—Lucas?” Lillian.

He jerkily undid the spells and threw open the closet door, narrowly avoiding Lillian. She jumped back, but then held her ground. They both stood staring at each other, at a loss, until she nudged a step forward and held out her arms a little. “Ice cream?”

A few minutes later they were back in the closet with the door spelled, eating ice cream. They both felt more comfortable crammed into this tiny room than they would’ve in the large living room beyond the door, and both adored chocolate ice cream. So, as unresolved as their issues were, and as platonic as their friendship was the last time either checked, she was curled up in his lap using his chest as a pillow while he fed her ice cream anytime he wasn’t feeding himself some.

“Lucas?”

“Yes?” He purposely didn’t glance at the large (gorgeous) brown eyes looking up at his face, and he tried to ignore how soft and small her voice was.

“I…” She nuzzled into his chest. “This isn’t about me, though. I can’t fix it. You have to.” He stiffened, and she quickly finished “But please, please say something, anything, I can’t keep doing this, and I still love you and I’ll forgive you and I’ll love you and everyone else might not but I do and I will, Lucas, I will.”

Tears slowly wet his shirt as they finished the ice cream. It was hours later that she was awoken by his voice.

“I was a prince. Spurned. Far too young. I did not know what to do with myself. I had never even learned how I truly ought to conduct myself. But…” Another expanse of time passed, and she was drowsy again when he next spoke. “I came across the lot of you, and I learned. And I should have told you, and I should not have handled any of this the way I did, and… I believe if I were to relive my past, I know what to do differently in order to purge myself of these sins I have committed against you.”

“Mmm.”

He smiled down at her. She was exhausted, but finally felt safe and was relaxing and could not stay awake. Nor was he going to ask her to. “I love you, darling, and I beseech thee for any kindness you could find in your heart for me. I shall endeavor to give you my fond kindnesses, as well.” He felt like a sap. Oh well. It must be said somehow, sooner or later.

“Mmmmmmmmm.” That sounded like it meant something, but Lucas did not have the faintest idea what. “Are… Do you wanna court?” Luc stiffened. He knew Lillian well enough to know she waited for men express their interest in her rather than approaching them herself. “I know… I know that you’d never ask me, even if you wanted to, so I asked you, while I’m… sleepy… enough… to have an excuse.”

By the time he had been able to calm his silent laughter (mixed with tears. Her pain was his fault, but she was alive, and she’d be well) and murmur a firm affirmative, Lillian was sound asleep. On his chest.

Loki smiled to himself. This was not a turn he had planned for his life—fantasizing about and planning were different—but he was well pleased with it.

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The Worst Nightmare Ever Created

It was dark.

It was scary.

He couldn’t see anything.

He loved it.

But that was all for about half a second. Then… Then he opened his eyes. And he really wished he hadn’t. The world was much more pleasant when he had his eyes closed.

Oh, and the worst part of what he found when he opened his eyes? The fluorescent pink sparkles that covered everything. How in the world did anyone get their hands on that much hot pink glitter?! And more importantly, how did it get here? Where was here? What was going on?

He slowly sat up, his eyes widening in horror as he observed his surroundings. Everything–EVERYTHING–was covered in shining pink confetti.

From what he could see, it looked like a normal landscape. A field of lusciously growing grass, a few nice, large shade trees, a bright sky with a few clouds floating by…

The problem was that all of it, the trees, the sky, the grass, the clouds; they were all made of pink sparkles. Whether it was glitter, confetti, sparkles, or something else he could not tell. But he was thoroughly unnerved. There was waaaaaaay too much pink.

Cautiously he took a step forward. The sparkles making up the ground beneath his feet sunk in slightly, but seemed rather firm. Determined to NOT allow his fear to get the best of him, he forced himself to keep moving forward.

His eyes were sharp, observing everything around him. Slowly he began to crest a hill, and was half bemoaned and half amazed when he caught sight of the flowing, pink glitter river. It was, in reality, incredible. Its banks were made of pink glitter rocks. The thick, almost syrup-like sparkle water splashed off the rocks like normal water would as it rushed and flowed along its path.

With much less caution than he had had a moment ago, he began to walk down the hill to the river bank. Once there, he dipped one of his bare feet into the “water”. It was a sensation unlike any he had ever felt. It felt like syrupy sand as it flowed around his foot.

Pulling his foot out, he was amazed to find no residue left by the water on it at all. So, he began to wade across. It was only four feet deep at its deepest, so he had no trouble crossing it. Well… There was one strange thing.

The moment he was submerged above his waist in the water, he began to feel extraordinarily sleepy. He wanted to fall asleep right then and there. His thoughts began to form more and more slowly, and he barely had the willpower to continue to move his now completely relaxed arms and legs. He had almost managed to reach the other side of the river when his thoughts ceased altogether and he fell to the lull of sleep.

Once asleep, he sunk further into the river, and began to be carried downstream with it. Eventually he was entirely submerged in the water. Miraculously, he could still breathe just fine. His subconscious efforts to wake up ceased when his head fell under the water, though.

When he did wake up some amount of time later, he found himself washed up on what appeared to be a pink sparkle beach.

The problem: He couldn’t remember anything. His name, how he had gotten there, nothing. He had vague memories of pink confetti fields and trees, but that was it.

He knew that this was the color called pink… but everything being pink seemed normal to him. After all, everything he could remember had been pink. It didn’t even occur to him that the grass should be green, and the sky should be blue.

His head jolted up when he heard a whinny next to him. What he saw didn’t surprise him like it would’ve had he had his memories, and really like it should’ve. He saw a large, pink, glitter unicorn.

Yes, a unicorn. And he could tell that it wanted him to follow it. How could he tell? Who knows.

In a complete lapse of common sense, he followed it. He walked beside it, occasionally stroking it, as it led him past tall, jagged pink glitter mountains; beautiful, vast pink glitter forests; fields of pink glitter flowers blowing in the breeze; and several pink glitter ponds and streams.

Eventually, they crested a very steep hill and he saw what the unicorn had wanted him to see. It was a large, beautiful, greek-style city, and, of course, made of pink sparkles. He sucked in his breath as he marveled at it. It looked… incredible.

The unicorn began to walk down the hill and he followed, still in awe of the city before them.

When they reached the gates to the city, however, he did not find what he had expected. There were no people. The entire place was completely abandoned.

The gates swung open so that he could enter the city, and he did so. He turned to look to the unicorn for guidance on what to do next, but as he watched, a gust of wind blew by, purposely dissipating the noble creature to thousands of pieces of fuchsia confetti and swirling them around in the air until they were out of sight.

Sadly, and disappointed at the loss of the beast he had followed this entire time, he began to explore the empty streets. Loose banners made of cloth-like pink sparkles blew into his face when the wind caught hold of them, and every now and then he would inadvertently kick over a wicker basket made of pink glitter.

He noted the stunning pink confetti floors and walls of the streets and structures he passed that looked almost like marble, and their flawless architecture and design.

Eventually he found himself sitting on the steps of a beautiful, columned building. He was hugging his knees tightly to his chest and staring off blankly at the never ending pink sparkles, unsure of what to do next.

When he felt something brush against his leg, he jumped several feet into the air and screamed like a young child. He backed away quickly from where he had been sitting, once he landed back on the ground. He instantly froze when he saw what had brushed against him.

A pink glitter cat.

And as if on cue, hundreds–no, thousands of pink glitter cats began to approach him from all sides. They all mewed and mewed as they came closer and closer… and they terrified the life out of him.

He spun around to take off running… but there was no escape. No matter which direction he turned, there were just more cats coming. He began to panic. There was no way out!

Just as the horrifying cats of impending doom reached him…


He sat straight up, suddenly awake.

Pitch panted for several minutes in a cold sweat.

When he had been defeated by the Guardians and lost control of his nightmares, he had known it would mean that he would lose some sleep.

But this? This was ludicrous! That nightmare was far more horrific than anything Pitch had ever even imagined!

A sickening knot began to settle in Pitch’s stomach as he slowly lay back down.

Sparkles/glitter/confetti?! Pink everything?! Rivers that put you to sleep and then give you amnesia?! Unicorns?! An abandoned greek city?! Demon cats?! Ugh, the cats were the worst part!

Never in his life had Pitch been more unnerved. Ever. That had to have been the worst nightmare ever created.


After that incident, he determined to stay awake, no matter how hard. Anything was worth it, Pitch was certain, to not have to go through that again.

Poptarts for Thanksgiving

“What is this ‘Thanksgiving’?”

Tony jumped, spinning around to face the speaker, holding a pencil like you would a weapon–and realized it was just Loki. Sighing heavily, Tony put down the pencil and went back to what he had been doing.

“Thanksgiving is an annual holiday to commemorate a meal the first settlers in America had with the native Indians. We all eat a lot of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing and go around being thankful for what we have.”

“…I do not believe I shall enjoy this holiday.”

“No, you probably won’t.”

Loki had been sentenced to live in Stark Tower without his powers after he tried to take over the world. His punishment was not as severe as everyone was hoping it would be at all. Really, it was just as much a punishment for Tony as it was Loki, since Tony was the demigod’s main caretaker.

There were several minutes of silence before Loki spoke again, startling Tony, who had thought he was alone now. “What shall you be doing for this Thanksgiving?”

Pausing, Tony thought about it for a moment before honestly replying, “I haven’t really thought about it. Usually I ignore the holiday, but Pepper will probably want dinner.”

“Do you not take her to dinner several times each week?”

“Thanksgiving dinner is special. You can’t just go out to a restaurant.”

“Then how are you going to receive food?”

“…Dang. I’m gonna have to cook it.”


The smell of smoke was the first sign that something was wrong. Very wrong. Loki didn’t know how the tower even could catch on fire, if it had survived an alien invasion, but he was definitely smelling smoke.

He didn’t need to do any more than follow the faint string of curses to locate the source of the smoke–the kitchen.

Walking in, Loki saw the source of the smoke. “Oh dear. It must be that Thanksgiving,” Loki said as he wrinkled his nose. Tony didn’t deign to answer him as he ran to grab some water to douse the fire he’d started.

Right as Tony dumped the water on the flame, he felt Loki yank on his forearms, throwing him backward as the grease fire burst into a ball of flames when the water hit it.

Because of Loki’s superhuman strength, he had been able to pull both Tony and himself out of harm’s way.

“Truly?! Even I know that you do not put out grease fires with water!” the demigod yelled, rushing over to the miraculously still-intact counter that had the lid to the burning dish of stuffing sitting on top of it. Loki covered the flaming pan with the lid and smothered the fire.

“I-I-The turkey!” Tony cried, staring at the burnt oven in horror. “Now I don’t have anything for dinner!”

As if on cue, JARVIS suddenly announced, “Ms. Potts has entered the building.” All of the color drained from Tony’s face. He jumped up and ran out of the kitchen, wiping the various food splatters off his clothes as he headed toward the elevator. It opened just as Tony reached it and Pepper walked out, a smile on her face.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Tony!”

“Uh… Happy Thanksgiving, Pep.”

“I came back early so I would have some time to make dinner,” she said happily. Relief washed over him. He could just forget he’d ever tried to make dinner… Except he’d destroyed the kitchen.

“No! No! I mean, uh… You don’t need to make dinner! ‘Cause, uh, I…”

“Anthony is attempting to tell you he has made you dinner. He is simply nervous you will not like it,” Loki lied smoothly, walking up to the couple.

“Really?” Pepper asked in surprise, turning to Tony.

His eyes were wide, but Tony stuttered something that resembled ‘yes’, and Pepper smiled.

“That’s so thoughtful of you! Loki, will you be joining us?”

Now it was Loki’s turn to gawk. “I-I was going to spend my evening reading, actually. Surely you would appreciate some time alone.”

“Oh, we won’t mind!”

“Uh, we means both of us.” At Pepper’s glare, Tony quickly corrected, “I meant, we’d love to have you join us, Loki!”

Pepper’s smile grew, ever so slightly, at Tony’s response. “Well, come on! Is it in the kitchen?”

“No!” both Tony and Loki exclaimed together. “We mean,” Loki quickly added, “Tony has gone to great effort to set the dining room for you, and the food is already there.”

“Oh, all right,” she said, turning to her right and walking toward the dining room. Loki and Tony hesitantly followed at a distance.

“Please tell me you used your magic to get us some food.”

“How–?”

“You’ve got loose lips when you’re drunk. Kept talking all about how you’d found a way around your magic restraints, but you figured you’d be in better shape if you just stayed here like you were supposed to,” Tony replied.

Loki stared at him in horror. “I am never drinking an alcoholic beverage again!” he whisper yelled. Tony smirked.

“Wise choice.”

Right then they both heard Pepper’s gasp, and stiffened before she burst, “This is amazing Tony!” Their shoulders sagged in relief as they entered the room.

She was right; it looked incredible. The silverware was all done very properly. Loki knew well what order the knives and forks were placed in, being a prince and all. The dishes were crystal and very expensive looking. The food, however, was the best part.

There was a large plate of stuffing, mashed potatoes, what looked like a green bean casserole, buttered rolls, an enormous, glorious turkey… and a very out of place dish of Pop Tarts.

Tony turned to stare at Loki with a shocked expression when he saw the Pop Tarts. “You didn’t,” he mouthed. Loki ignored him and replied to Pepper’s confused expression instead, as she too caught sight of the Pop Tarts. “I do not believe Anthony would have been able to survive a meal without junk food.” She appeared to accept that answer, and sat down in one of the chairs. Tony reluctantly sat down in the chair next to Pepper, and Loki in the chair across from Tony.

“Tony? Will you pray for us?” Pepper asked.

“I’m not really the ‘prays at the family meal’ type, Pep.” At her scathing look, he swiftly amended, “But we all make exceptions at Thanksgiving!”

Loki looked extremely uncomfortable with the entire situation, but sat quietly through Tony’s prayer. As soon as Tony finished, the food was served. Everyone put a liberal amount of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, and green beans on their plates. Tony almost choked on his food when he ate his first bite, it was so good. Everything was flavored to perfection. The turkey was even moist.

“This is amazing, Tony!” Pepper gushed.

“Yeah, it really is! I need to cook more!” Tony replied, sounding equally amazed. Loki glared at him when Tony made this remark. Loki was noticeably pale from the strain of using magic through the restraints, and was not planning on teleporting more meals any time soon.


The trio had nearly made it to desert when catastrophe struck.

Tony and Pepper had been doing most of their conversing, but to their surprise, Loki was actually talking every now and then as well. A random comment about how he’d once seen a woman drag her husband away from a tavern by his ear while Pepper was berating Tony about his drinking habits, or a ‘That creature sounds eerily like a bilgesnipe.’ when Tony was telling Pepper about a monster that had been in a horror movie he had watched over Halloween. It was a vast improvement from his never speaking to them, with the exception of an occasional insult.

Because of Loki’s ravenous appetite–using magic always made him hungry–, the turkey was all but gone, there was a large dent in the stuffing, half of the green bean casserole had been eaten, a large number of rolls had been devoured, and the potato dish had a sizable crater in its center. The only plate of food left untouched was that which held the Pop Tarts.

“I need to go to the restroom,” Pepper said toward the end of the meal, causing both Loki and Tony to stiffen mid-bite. She stood up and began to walk toward the bathroom–which was located a few doors past the charred kitchen.

“Please–please please please–tell me that you can put an illusion over that door.”

“I-Maybe before I teleported all of this food. Now, however…”

“…”

“…”

“Maybe she won’t notice?”

“Yes, perhaps.”

Both Tony and Loki sat chewing in tense silence as they waited to see what would happen. Their fears were confirmed when they heard a very angry “TONY!” echo from the hallway. Tony glanced at Loki in terror, but Loki kept his gaze fixed on the wall behind Tony, murmuring, “You are courting her, not I.”

Reluctantly, Tony stood and followed Pepper. “Look, Pep, it isn’t what you think–”

“Have I been eating a Thanksgiving meal purchased from a store?! That is an abomination!” she yelled.

“It is stolen, actually,” Loki called from the dining room.

There was an eerie silence for a few moments before Pepper slowly stalked back into the dining room, a wide-eyed Tony silently following her.

“Do you mean to tell me that I have been eating stolen turkey?”

“…Yes.”

“I can’t eat stolen turkey!”

“It is better than the burnt crisp Tony was going to feed us!”

“Hey!” Tony exclaimed, dramatically hitting his chest. Both Loki and Pepper glared at him, and he quickly shut up.

“You-You ruiner of Thanksgiving!”

“Ruiner is not even a word! I would think that an educated mortal such as you proclaim to be would know such a thing!” Loki yelled, losing his temper.

“How dare you–” Pepper began, but Tony cut him off.

“Okay, that was not good, Loki. Seriously not good.”

“Oh? And what are you going to do about it?” Loki challenged him.

“Well, I could fix your magic restraints so that they actually work–”

“WAIT.” Both men stiffened, realizing the information they had just divulged. “Do you mean to tell me that the psychopathic murderer I’ve been allowing to stay on account that he is supposed to be harmless is able to use his magic?!”

“…Only a small amount, Lady Pepper.”

“ONLY A SMALL–”

“OR!” Tony interjected, returning to what he had been saying, “I could make you tell me all of the things you’re thankful for.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Yes, I believe that’s a great idea Tony,” Pepper stated.

“I disagree–”

“So! Two against one. Speak,” Tony commanded, fighting a grin at Loki’s alarmed expression.

“I…” He did not want to risk Tony being able to find a way to build magic restraints that he couldn’t undo.

Loki took a deep breath, and thought about what exactly he was thankful for, Pepper and Tony watching him in anticipation.

“I suppose I am thankful that I am alive. And, I suppose, as miserable as this wretched Realm is, it is far more pleasant than the dungeon I would otherwise be held in.”

He looked at Tony and Pepper to see if they had accepted his answers.

“What about Thor? Are you even slightly thankful he’s your brother?” Tony suggested, grinning at the unfortunate demigod.

“I suppose… he could be worse.”

“Loki,” Pepper scolded, “You’re pointing out silver linings. Come on, tell us something you’re actually thankful for. We’re not going to turn around and tell Thor.”

Tony cocked an eyebrow at her. “We’re not?”

“No, Tony,” she replied, glaring at her boyfriend, “We’re not.”

Glancing down at his “magic restraints,” Loki sighed in defeat.

“I suppose I am truly and honestly thankful…” His face took on a pained expression when he said the word ‘honestly’. “…that I have you, Anthony and Lady Pepper, to prevent Thor from striking me with Mjolnir when he realizes that it is I who stole his Thanksgiving dinner.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Y’know, that’s good enough for me,” Tony declared. “So, Loki; did you steal your brother’s pies too? ‘Cause I want some homemade pie.”


“I can’t believe,” Darcy Lewis moaned, “That we labored all day making that meal, just for it to disappear through an Einstein-Rosy Bridge and become your newest obsession.”

“Einstein-Rosen Bridge, Darcy, and I’m pretty sure spent all day cooking while you played Mario Kart with Thor,” Jane replied, not even glancing up from the screen of the machine she was using to scan the tabletop their meal had previously been sitting on.

The table had been dragged outside earlier that afternoon so that there would be more room for Thor, Jane, and Darcy to sit. Now, the once “spacious” dining area was littered with Jane’s machinery as she attempted to find the cause of the food-eating wormhole.

Suddenly, one of the machines started loudly beeping, startling Darcy and Thor. Jane jumped up and ran over to look at the screen. “There’s–It’s–It’s opening again!” she exclaimed. As she rushed to reach a small handheld device a few yards away that would measure the conditions of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, said bridge opened and closed.

“Dang it!” Jane exclaimed as she turned around. The anomaly had already passed. Much to her surprise, however, something had come through the wormhole and was now sitting in the center of the table.

A very familiar plate of Pop Tarts.

THE END

After Ragnorak

As they stood, bloody and exhausted, their loved ones’ corpses strewn about them, they beheld ground coming back where they had just seen it burn, ruined by smoke and flame and the feet of legions of giants. This new Earth was greener, more peaceful and full of life than it had been before the Doom. The ground sprouted grass with no urging, and trees and foliage sprang up as if by powerful life magick.

Those few left, they who remained, who had survived the End, all drifted as individual units to the plain where they had all begun. It was more beautiful than it had ever been before. The grass more vibrant, the sky was brighter, more alive while nearly devoid of life than it had ever been while full.

Quietly, they began to speak. Recount the tales of their fathers, and of their father’s fathers. Those few who had survived walked the plain together as they exchanged tales as had not been told since the coming of the giant’s daughters and the birthing of the dwarves. The companion of Hel joined them, as did those others fated to return after the Twilight of the Gods.

Laughing, the Æsir walked together in half-peaceful companionship. They were in a plain of peace as had never been, but they were yet coated with the blood of their brothers.

It was Vali who stumbled. Bending down, he dislodged from the dirt a shining golden king, a prized piece of one of the fine cheque sets once played by their fathers, before the coming of the three giant’s girls. The others left fell silent as all gazed at the priceless token, the legacy of a painless age long lost.

And Life Moved On…

The Battle of New York had been a devastating loss. With the failure of the Avengers Initiative, S.H.I.E.L.D. had gone underground, attempting to organize strategic attacks to break apart their invaders’ ranks. All of Earth’s many militaries fought long and hard to defend their country from the dictatorship of “King” Loki.

But it was not enough.

Loki had proven one thing: Earth was indeed a sorry mess. Her militaries could not seem to manage to work together no matter what anyone did. After the first six months, millions—millions of civilians began to flee to Russia, the country that Loki had chosen to base his operations in.

Unlike the many war zones they came from, he had millions upon millions of brand new, state of the art housing built. As it turned out, the reason he had not crushed the rebellions some countries still managed to lead against his ruling them was because his army had been building homes, repairing shops, and gathering clothes and food.

King Loki had set up enough jobs for everyone to have one. No one needed cars, because everything had been built in a perfect plan, and jobs were right by the housing of the people who worked there. Everything was priced reasonably. Not a single child was left homeless, nor an adult without work. The Orphanages were beautiful places, frequently visited by Loki himself.

The harsh winter came in Russia and was found to be no issue. Procedures had been put into place to help clear roads and ensure safety, and everyone was just generally nice and helpful. Whenever someone would cause trouble or break moral ethics—there wasn’t even a written law—, they were put into warm, but barren jails. By themselves. With enough food and water, but not much more. And astonishingly, these new prisons were extremely effective.

One by one, nation after nation surrendered to King Loki’s rule. He wasn’t even attacking anymore. Those living in countries that did not accept his rule had no food, no shelter, and no supplies, while those that did were postcard perfect pictures of economy mixing with nature reserves. Yes, nature reserves. And to the delight of billions around the world, King Loki would use his personal magic to ensure the upkeep of these places, where one could now go to see Earth’s natural beauty like it had never been witnessed before.

Airplanes, trains, and some buses were still used; but not excessively, as they had been before. Because of this, and the miraculous turn around of people leaving their cell phones to enjoy the new libraries, performing arts centers, parks, and simply to socialize, and the near extinction of cars and motorcycles, pollution began to clear up. Many people also claimed that they believed King Loki was using his magic to help that as well.

People were permitted to own weapons if they so wished, but everyone who did so was trained first. The Chitauri slowly changed, in the peoples’ minds, from monstrous beasts, to reclusive protectors.

Freedom of speech was granted to everyone, as was that of religion. Again, thanks to King Loki’s magic, science grew to unfathomable lengths. With his help, and a team of diligent geniuses, a way was even created to revert the people whose minds had been altered back to their normal states. As one can imagine, this made King Loki even more popular in the eyes of his subjects.

Seven years after Stuttgart, the last “free” country, the United States of America, surrendered. S.H.I.E.L.D. had shut down the borders so none could leave… and the people then proceeded to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. themselves, seeing them as far more the aggressors than King Loki.

Much to the amazement of the people of Earth, shortly after Loki and the Chitauri completely rebuilt America to be ten times its former glory, he decreed on Channel Eight News that any and all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who remained were welcome to live however they wanted. He also claimed to have set aside an entire island that he would not touch, if they so wished to stay there. When asked how the agents could know it wasn’t a trap, or that the place wasn’t bugged, he laughed, and assured the lady on the news that he had no doubt that the agents would be able to find any bugs he put, if he had actually done so.

Though not all, many agents and some others did choose to go to the island. They created a decent enough civilization for themselves, and more or less were forgotten by the rest of their world.

Nine years after Stuttgart, it was shared on Channel Eight News that King Loki now had a Queen. Jane Foster, a name unknown to most.

What no one knew but the couple was how they had come to be a couple.

Loki had tracked Jane down personally, and offered her a job if she ever needed one. When she demanded to know why he thought she would ever work for him, he told her that not only was she quite brilliant, but she was all that was left of his life before being King, and he didn’t want to see her hurt.

Four years after that first encounter, and five after Stuttgart, she did come to him, but not for a job. Darcy, her one true friend, had been killed by S.H.I.E.L.D. when taking a journal from her. Darcy had been planning to give it to Jane ever since she happened to find it. It had been Thor’s. S.H.I.E.L.D. had taken it violently when she refused to hand it over, though anyone with a brain could have known that Thor would’ve wanted Jane to have it.

When she told Loki about that incident, a large portion of S.H.I.E.L.D. mysteriously disappeared, and Jane awoke the next morning to find a journal filled with familiar handwriting by her bed.

It had been filled with account after account that Thor had made after Loki’s supposed death on the Asbru Bridge of all their adventures from their youth.

She shared the journal with Loki, and because of it, the two ended up as more or less friends. She hated him for killing her friends, but could see now that he was no worse than S.H.I.E.L.D.

Over the next three years, they became closer and closer friends… Until a night with a little too much Vodka ended with them both naked in bed together. And not for the last time, either.

Odin had allowed Loki’s rule to continue even after the death of Thor because he was able to see through his grief that Loki was a good king. As a gift for their wedding, and as a somewhat alliance between Realms, Asgard sent one of Idunn’s Golden Apples to Jane and Loki. She was made immortal, and the seeds from the apple’s core grew Earth’s very own tree of golden apples.

When Thanos began to attack the Realms, he honored his agreement with Loki, and left Earth be. She was left with her strong King and kind Queen, and a population of happy, peaceful people.

Though few ever learned of it, and fewer lived long enough to see the day it saved them, Loki’s takeover of Earth had truly saved it.

And life moved on.

Mirror Mirror

“No. Uh uh. No way. This isn’t happening. I refuse to accept that this is actually happening.” Jane groaned. “This is not actually happening. This is really, truly not happening.”

“Are you done?”

“No.”

He sighed heavily, rolled his eyes, and went back to staring at the wall and ignoring her, which was fine with Jane. Being trapped in a large warehouse with Loki and hundreds of random magical objects would have been far better if he spent the entire time ignoring her, and she definitely wasn’t ready to leave the comfort of denial.

“This can’t actually be happening. Not happening. Not happening. Not happening…”

“You are a more intelligent human than this.”

“Am not.”

“Are you doing this to me on purpose?”

“I would never willingly get locked in a warehouse with you for an indeterminable amount of time!”

“There. You said it. Now you can stop repeating, ‘not happening’ over and over.”

“…I hate you.”

“The feeling is mutual, I assure you. Now, since we are locked up together for an indeterminable amount of time, why don’t we try to have a civil conversation?”

“…What?”

“Do you not think me possible of such a feat?”

“You, being civil? No, I don’t think you’re capable.”

“Neither do I. But there is no harm in trying.”

“Anything involving you can end in harm.”

“Why thank you for such a flattering compliment. Now come: Do have a seat,” Loki said, sliding down the wall to a sitting position on the floor. Jane stared at him, seemingly uncomprehending, and he rolled his eyes again with yet another dramatic sigh as he patted the floor next to him. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously and she deliberately walked to the side of the aisle opposite of Loki and sat down, staring at him, still suspicious. And slightly uncomfortable. Definitely uncomfortable. Unlike her, his legs were extended out toward her lazily, and far enough apart for her to be uncomfortable.

“So: I heard you broke up with my not-brother, but no one seemed to know any details,” Loki said with a wicked smirk. “Care to share?”

Jane’s eyes flashed and her discomfort was forgotten in her anger. “That is none of your business!”

“Oh? I thought Thor and I were still considered ‘brothers’ by you mortals. And really, who deserves to know more than your ex’s family?”

At a loss of words (because that actually made sense), Jane quickly—too quickly—suggested, “You know, we’re in a top-secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility surrounded by who-knows-what. Wanna look around?”

Loki raised his eyebrows. From the previous times he had met her, he would have expected Jane Foster of all people to be quite opposed to sneaking around S.H.I.E.L.D., and he said so. “Wouldn’t that be frowned upon by your beloved organization?” he asked.

“I have no love for S.H.I.E.L.D. I hate them, actually. If you think that snooping around would piss them off, I’m willing to do it—even if I have to do it with you.”

Stunned. He was stunned. “And you were Thor’s lover?”

“One of the reasons I broke up with him.” Then she cursed as his incredulous look turned to smug glee. She had been dodging this very subject. “Oh, shut it. You going to join me or not?”

He shook his head. “I am merely surprised I had misjudged you so.”

“Hormones, Loki. Women never behave sanely around someone like Thor.” She cursed him again. “How are you so good at this?”

Smirking, he ignored her second question. “Oh, so good-looking men make you act abnormally?”

She paused. “Well, not necessarily all good-looking men. Just—the ones like Thor. Kindest guy you’ll ever meet, big muscles—no, huge muscles,” Loki snickered, “golden boy appearance. That kind of good-looking. The kind that makes you feel self-conscious just by him walking in the room.” More to herself, she added, “Another reason I broke up with him.”

“Because you couldn’t compare?”

Glaring, she ordered, “Shut up.”

“Truth hurts, doesn’t it?”

“I said shut up.”

He smirked—again. “Feisty.”

“I said—”

“If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the only one.”

Her eyes narrowed to slits. “Don’t you dare compare yourself to me. We are nothing alike.”

“Oh really?” he asked, deciding he could definitely have some fun with this. “I believe quite the opposite is true. Though you may not be aware, I was one of Asgard’s most promising scholars. Most everything I ever did was dismissed, however, because of my reputation with mischief and the fact that most of my work centered around magic, which was considered ludicrous for a man to study and more so to use. I ended up following along in Thor’s shadow for millennia, because no one would accept me. Why, given a few thousand more years of persecution and a source of ultimate power, I have little doubt that you, Jane Foster, would not have done exactly what I did.”

Jane was shocked into silence. Mostly because, as much as she wanted to deny it… He could be right.

Loki considered her pause to be justification to continue. “It really isn’t all that astonishing Thor clung to you, or you to him. I clung to my place as his shadow for a very long time, and he insists still that I am his brother, because of his abounding sentiment. Really, I’m impressed that you managed to leave him. And that he let you. Clearly he values you above me, since he won’t seem to give me that right.”

Horrified by what sounded like truth in his statements, Jane clung to her one remaining rebuttal. “You’re a liar. Why should I believe that you’re not just twisting your words?”

Pleased, his smirk broadened. “Because, dear Jane, I never lie when it is concerning Thor. I have no need. The oaf gives me plenty of opportunity to paint him in a poor light without even having to lie or twist my words.” After another minute of silence, he finished, “You’re a smart woman, Jane Foster. Especially for a mortal. You know I am not lying.”

They both remained silent for several minutes after that. Eventually, Jane abruptly stood up, and announced, “I’m gonna go explore and screw with S.H.I.E.L.D. You can come if you want, but I’d prefer you not.” And with that, she walked off purposefully down one of the many identical corridors.

He blinked several times, before standing up and following her. Thanks to his long legs, he quickly caught up to her. They continued to walk down a good twenty corridors before he gasped like he’d been struck. Turning around in surprise, Jane froze in shock when she saw him crumpled on the floor, blood running out his mouth and eyes closed.

At first she told herself that it was just an illusion… But when she reached down and touched the small pool of blood building on the floor, the red liquid coated her fingers. She gasped. “Loki? Loki! Loki, wake up!” she exclaimed.

Then, she noticed something. She stood up and waved her hand through it several times… and sure enough, there was a red, electric-y feedback-like barrier that Loki seemed to have hit, while Jane just went through it. Jane quickly looked to the shelves to her left and right, and saw two identical, strange looking metal contraptions, one on each side.

“Maybe…?” she thought, wondering if the things were causing the barrier. She walked over to one and looked for an on/off button. Not seeing one, she reached out to touch it… and received a very painful electric shock that caused her to jump back. “What in the world…?” She then recalled something she had seen on a website while investigating S.H.I.E.L.D. after they took her stuff. It had talked about how S.H.I.E.L.D. would take rare, magical, and often dangerous objects and hide them away in unknown locations.

Of course. Just her luck. No doubt this was some scientifically impossible thingamabob that kept people with magic from passing while letting normal people through. Useful, but quite annoying right now. She could just leave him… But that would be rude. And anyway, it had shocked her. It deserved it.

So, she pulled back her hand, and palm-heeled the thing as hard as she could. It slammed backward into a metal crate and, miraculously, broke into a million pieces. Satisfied with her work—and attempting to ignore her poor throbbing hand—, Jane walked back over to Loki had kicked him in the head. He was Asgardian—he’d live. And he instantly sat straight up anyhow, so she deemed it a successful way to wake up unconscious Asgardians.

“Wha—” Loki looked up at her, eyes wide, and blinked several times before donning his normal expression and demanding with a snarl, “What did you do, woman?”

Jane rolled her eyes. “I saved your life, that’s what. Though I can’t imagine why.” Much to Jane’s amusement, Loki actually looked confused. He glanced around, eyes settling on the smashed pieces of the magic-barrier-thingy and then on its intact twin, and then back on Jane, who was now looking sadly at her injured hand.

“You smashed a magical object with your hand.”

“Uh huh.”

“…Here.” Jane glanced up as he stood, and crossed the distance between them. He gently took her hand, and closed his eyes, his expression changing to an amusingly concentrated one as green light enveloped her hand. When it faded away and he let go, stepping back and opening his eyes, her hand was healed.

Her mouth fell open. “Uhhh… Thanks?”

Loki snickered at her. “You are welcome. Now do come along; and try not to break any more of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s property. As much as I will enjoy their reactions, I am sure, I will not heal you again.” As he said this, he healed himself, cast one more uneasy glance at the anti-magic technology, and began to walk on.

Quickly, Jane caught up to him, and though she had to nearly run to keep up with his long strides, they walked on together for a while. Until she caught sight of an unboxed telescope.

Without thinking, Jane rushed over to it and picked it up. She ignored Loki’s protesting and set it down on the ground, removing the cap and looking through the lens. She should have seen iron support beams… but instead, she saw a beautiful galaxy. She gasped. “That’s—this—” She looked up at Loki, who was frowning at her in disapproval. “Will you help me steal this?”

That threw him off. “What?”

“Look!” She stepped aside, gesturing for him to take a look through the lens. Reluctantly, he did so, and gasped himself. Though probably not quite as much as Jane, Loki loved the stars too. She smiled widely. “Now will you help me?”

He stepped back and seemed to consider for a moment before stating, “If you let me use it.” Unperturbed by the thought of Loki randomly appearing in her trailer to use a telescope, she nodded enthusiastically. It was a freakin’ magic telescope! How could she deny him?

Wordlessly, he took the cap from her and put it back over the lens, picking up the telescope and walking off. She followed.

The next random object they stopped for was what seemed to be a picture, covered in a long black drape. Loki set down the telescope and pulled off the drape, while Jane wandered off a little, reading the labels on the metal crates as she walked by them.

A bright light flashed behind her, and she whipped around to see a tall mirror with the drape that had been covering it pooling on the ground… and a very panicked Loki that seemed to be inside said mirror.

She lost the ability to do anything but stare in horror for a moment… Before quickly rushing over and tapping the glass. “Loki? Are you—I don’t know! Ok? Can you hear me? What happened? What should I do? What—” she trailed off.

Loki’s original panic was wearing off, and instead, now he just looked horrified, with a little bit of kicked-puppy mixed in. He shook his head, which confused Jane. “Loki, what—” Right then, his lips started moving like he was talking, but Jane couldn’t hear anything. Her heart sunk as she figured it out. “I can’t hear you, and you can’t hear me.” Though Loki clearly couldn’t understand her words, apparently her expression got her message across, and Loki deflated.

They were trapped on opposite sides of the mirror. Loki’s side was a closet sized box with the mirror like a window to reality. Jane was in reality, and could only see Loki through the glass.

After hitting her fists on the glass till they were bleeding—ignoring Loki’s silent but obvious orders for her to stop, and eventual begs for her to stop—, Jane sunk down to the floor, her back against the mirror for support. Loki took up the same position on his side of the mirror.

It was quite apparent to her that Loki had given up, and Jane was out of ideas.

Instead of trying to think of ways out, Loki was pondering why it had bothered him so much to see Jane injuring herself like that to help him. And it really had. There had been a knot in his stomach that became more and more unbearably tight every time she struck the magic-enhanced glass and wounded herself. He didn’t care about the mortal astrophysicist—did he?

Meanwhile, Jane tried to think of how he had gotten into the mirror. He pulled off the drape… Then what? He just got sucked in? She could try putting the drape back and pulling it off again. Maybe repeating the events that put him in there would get him out.

Hopeful, Jane stood up and tried to put the drape back on. It was difficult because of her height, but she managed. She then had to pause and catch her breath, before pulling it off.

Inside the mirror, Loki was panicking. Without the window to reality, he was trapped in a small, pitch black box. His breath began to come out in ragged gasps as memories of his time with Thanos flooded his mind. He pressed his back against a wall and tried to keep the tears of fear from running down his cheeks. He would like people to believe he was, but Loki was not fearless. His time with Thanos had ingrained in him a deep fear of places like this. His heart rate rose and he began to hyperventilate—

And then Jane pulled the drape down. Light flooded the little box—and all of the sudden, Jane was literally sitting on top of him. Both were speechless for several moments.

“Oops.”

“Oops? What do you mean—”

“I was trying to redo what you did when you got sucked in here. I thought that might bring you out. It never occurred to me it might bring me in.”

Loki groaned. Jane glared at him. Then, she noticed the tracks of the few tears he hadn’t been able to suppress. “Are you okay?” she asked, a hint of worry in her tone.

“Yes,” he said, instantly moving so that she fell off his lap and onto the floor as he wiped at his face with his sleeve. “I am simply—not fond of small dark confines.”

She winced, recalling some awkward conversations she’d had with Loki and others in the past about Loki’s treatment by Thanos. “Sorry. I should’ve given you some kind of warning,” she apologized.

He shook his head. “It is fine. You are not at fault.”

After that, they sat in silence for at least half an hour. Eventually, Jane broke it. “This feels like some twisted version of seven minutes of heaven.”

Glancing at Loki, she decided that that had been the wrong thing to say. “Yes… We are practically locked in a closet.”

With a suspicious glare, she demanded, “And just what do you mean by that?”

His smirk told her she shouldn’t have asked that either.

In less time than should have been possible, he had pinned her to a wall and chastely kissed her lips. She gasped as her brain caught up and she realized he had her wrists pinned the wall, his very pleasantly cool body pressed against hers, and had just kissed her.

“Wha—” The lack of personal space was making coherent thought rather difficult.

“We’re trapped in a closet,” he whispered in her ear, his breath tickling it. “And you broke up with my brother, making you currently single. I’m going to take advantage of that fact.”

About four hours later, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents finally noticed the smashed anti-magic-barrier-making thing while patrolling. Reinforcements were called in, and when the telescope was found outside of the mirror that should have been draped…

The unlucky agent who happened to look through the mirror was mentally scarred by the image of Loki Laufeyson and Jane Foster asleep together. Fortunately for him they hadn’t done more than make out for a few hours… But just the fact that Loki Laufeyson and Jane Foster were trapped in a mirror and had very clearly been making out for a few hours was definitely enough to scar the poor man.

After making a few calls to determine what should be done with the odd couple who had mysteriously disappeared from a S.H.I.E.L.D. research facility hours before while testing a teleportation advice—”Should we bring in a hazmat team? SWAT?” “What should we do if they sue, Sir? Are there even laws pertaining to this… series of events?” “How am I supposed to know?! I wasn’t trained for this!”—, the agents were ordered to free the couple from the mirror.

Using a special tool that had been invented when S.H.I.E.L.D. first found the mirror, the two were extracted from it. The agents had been planning to bring them to Fury for questioning, but that didn’t quite happen. Loki woke up the moment they were pulled into reality. He held the still asleep Jane with one arm, picked up the telescope with the other, smirked mischievously at the several dozen agents, and teleported away before anyone could so much as speak.

And that is how a very, very strange and unfortunate coincidence ended with Loki Laufeyson and Jane Foster finally realizing that they had fallen for each other.

Ævi Dœgr

A few translations to help the story make more sense:
ævi dœgr – birthday
fjórir – four
sjau – seven
tíu – ten
ellifu – eleven
100 years old – human age of 3-5
468 years old – human age of about 14-15
1300 years old – a young adult, probably about 22
1842 years old – still a young adult, though now closer to 25
2600 years old – a more mature adult, early 30s

He awoke to the sight of golden sun streaming in his window as it rose above the tall stone gates outside.  At first, Loki pulled his covers over his head, mentally whining, “I don’t want it to be morning yet!” But then he remembered what day it was. Instantly, Loki’s sheets were tossed to the side, and he was dashing out his bedroom door and down the hall to his brother’s bedroom.

“Thor! Thor! Thor! Thoooooor!” Loki yelled, excited. “Get up get up get up!” Thor groaned and rolled over to face away from his brother.

“Come on, Thor! Today is my ævi dœgr!”

When Loki’s words finally registered, the crown prince quickly sat up. “It is! Happy ævi dœgr, brother!” Thor boomed. “How old are you to be…” He gasped. “You are to be 100!” he yelled, even louder than before. Loki nodded enthusiastically.

“Will you come play tricks with me?” Loki asked his brother, who eagerly agreed.  It was the brothers’ tradition to spend the entire day every year on Loki’s ævi dœgr playing tricks. They snuck out of a window together and disappeared into the streets. They were still wearing their nightclothes… But the two princes of Asgard had done stranger.

First, the troublesome duo snuck into their parents’ chambers. “Shall we hide Mother’s slippers once more?” Thor suggested as he peered into the closet.

“No,” Loki whisper-yelled from where he was looking at their mother’s jewelry box. “We did that last year, if I recall correctly. It simply would not do to become repetitive. Repetition breeds predictability. Being predictable would be no joy at all.”

Thor rolled his eyes. “Then what do you advise we do?” he asked Loki.

“Mmm… How much punishment do you believe we shall receive if we ‘misplace’ all of Mother’s golden jewelry?”

All of Mother’s golden jewelry?” Thor repeated worriedly. “All of Asgard is covered with gold! Mother would be furious if she was made to wear silver without her consent. It… It… It is surely a form of crime, even! To wear silver rather than gold for anything other than a funeral,” Thor said.

Loki huffed and thought for a moment before suggesting instead, “Then why do we not misplace all of her golden jewelry but one set, so she has no choice but to wear that one set?”

Brightening, Thor replied, “That ‘tis a wonderful idea! Let me pick what she wears!”

“No! It’s my ævi dœgr!”

“But it was your idea! You cannot have all of the fun.”

“…Very well. You select the necklace and ear pieces, and I shall select the rings, bangles, and headwear,” Loki acquiesced.

“Alright!” Thor agreed.

Several minutes later, the two princes exited their parents’ room heavily burdened with nearly all of their mother’s jewelry, having left only a large red necklace and ear pieces with stones of a different shade of red, one thin bangle studded with emeralds and diamonds and two rings and a thin ringlet in the place of the queen’s usual crown that were also adorned with the same gemstones.

“Where shall we put these?” Thor asked his little brother.

“I thought that we could put them in Sif’s jewelry cabinet. She does not even wear jewelry, and surely will not notice.”

Thor nodded in agreement. “Brilliant! We can return them this eve, and no one will catch us.”

They stealthily deposited the jewelry in their friend’s jewelry box, and quickly escaped out yet another window. Rather than reentering the palace, this time the brothers left the royal court altogether and entered the marketplace.

“Loki, look! Sweet rolls!” Thor exclaimed, pointing to a shop that had an assortment of pastries displayed in its window.

A mischievous smile slowly grew on young Loki’s face as he leaned over to Thor and whispered, “I have a grand idea.”

Ten hours later, all of the strawberry sweet rolls had mysteriously disappeared from the entire kingdom.

“Why did we only take the strawberry ones?” Thor asked Loki in between bites of sweet roll.

“Because,” Loki replied, not bothering to wait until he’d swallowed the bite he was chewing, “it would have been too much effort to take all of the sweet rolls in Asgard. Strawberry ones are the best, anyway.”


He knew morning had come, even though his drapes were shut and he could not see the light outside, because he awoke every morning at precisely sjau, unlike his brother, who often slept soundly past ellifu. Loki had long since stopped bothering to wake Thor at a proper time.

Loki began to sit up, but paused, furrowing his eyebrows. He was certain he was forgetting something… His eyes lit up. Of course! It was his ævi dœgr! He was to be 468 today. Eagerly, he sprang from his bed and raced through the halls of the palace toward his brother’s room.

Thor and Loki’s rooms used to be quite close together. Loki had been waking in tears from nightmares and going to sleep with Thor since an early age, and having the rooms placed close together was most convenient. Recently, however, Loki had been deemed “too old” to be seeking his brother’s comfort from bad dreams, and their rooms had been moved to opposite sides of the enormous castle. As he ran, Loki cast a quick spell to change himself out of his nightclothes and into leather pants and a green tunic.

After a while of running, Loki spotted Thor’s gold-encrusted door and burst through it. He pounced on top of Thor and jumped. It was very immature behavior for a prince his age, but he didn’t care.

Thor was quickly roused by a stream of, “It’s my ævi dœgr! It’s my ævi dœgr, brother!” He smiled and began to greet his brother when Loki magicked him, too, into his clothes, and nearly dragged Thor out of bed. “Come on! I have the perfect prank, brother!”

“What is it?” Thor asked, still sounding half-asleep.

“We shall catch a water serpent and move it to the women’s bathhouse!”

That woke Thor up the rest of the way.

“Did you say—women’s bathhouse?”


“Loki?” Thor whispered, hoping that his brother was somehow sleeping through this. When he received no response, Thor cautiously backed up, and turned to his friends. Hogun, Fandral, Volstagg and Sif were with him in Loki’s chambers, helping Thor surprise his brother. Sif would rather toss Loki off the Asbru Bridge for what he had done to her hair, and the Warriors Three weren’t terribly fond of the younger prince either, but all four were willing to aid Thor in anything—be it a perilous battle against the Frost Giants or pranking Loki.

The five quietly snuck out of the room and back to Thor’s, and settled down to wait the half hour until sjau, when Loki would wake up and find the “gift” they had left him.

Sure enough, one half hour later, a very heavy thud was heard, followed by Loki’s curses, clearly heard across the entire castle. The five conspirators grinned.

For Loki’s 1300th ævi dœgr, Thor had ordered a set of the finest armor in all the Nine Realms to be made for his brother. It was in Loki’s colors of green, black, and gold and would be a truly magnificent gift—once Loki managed to get it off of himself. Thor, Sif, Hogun, Fandral, and Volstagg had positioned the armor so that it would fall right on top of Loki the moment he moved.

Thor had the feeling he would be receiving as many of Loki’s pranks as he helped to set up this day, no matter how much Loki liked the new armor, and he was correct.

The five warriors had parted to gain a few more hours of sleep now that their task was complete—none of them were accustomed to waking before tíu.

Three and a half hours later, Thor began to wake. He groggily sat up and immediately sensed that something was wrong. He shot out of bed and picked up his nearby sword, preparing to fight off an enemy—but realized as he looked in the mirror that the fiend had already escaped. Loki.

His hair—his luscious, thick golden hair that was the envy of half of the maidens of Asgard—had been braided. Braided. Like a young girl’s. And what was worse; as he attempted to undo the hairstyle, he found that the task was impossible. Loki must have used his magic so that Thor could not undo it.

“LOKI!”

“Yes, brother?”

Spinning around, Thor prepared to strike at his brother with the sword still in his hand… but stopped mid swing when he saw that Loki was wearing his new armor and looked genuinely happy.

“This is truly exquisite. I greatly appreciate your gift,” Loki said brightly, following Thor’s gaze down to his armor. “Now, are you quite ready to go? We do not have all day.”

Laughing, because they actually did have all day, Thor put down the sword. “I am aware that it is usually you who thinks of our pranks, but this year, you have given me an idea,” Thor said.

After blinking at his brother for several moments as if judging whether Thor was insane or not, Loki slowly nodded.

“I do not believe it fair that I should be the only unlucky Asgardian with a poor hair day,” Thor began, causing Loki’s face to slowly break out into a grin as the plan was explained to him.


“Happy ævi dœgr, brother!”

Loki shot up out of his bed, quickly casting a spell to summon a short sword to his hand as he turned to slay the Frost Giant who had infiltrated his room—and found that instead of a Frost Giant, Thor was sitting on the edge of his bed. He was more bouncing than sitting, actually, and it was quite unnerving.

Thor? What are you doing?” Loki asked incredulously.

“It is your ævi dœgr, and I have thought of a most incredible way to celebrate!”

“You had best be cautious thinking. ‘Tis dangerous, you know.”

Thor rolled his eyes. “Oh, come now! I have it all arranged! We—only the two of us—are going to Midgard!” Loki looked at Thor as if the crown prince had entirely lost his mind.

Midgard?”

“Yes! Father will not punish us for playing tricks on the mortals like he would if we caused trouble on any of the other Realms,” Thor explained animatedly.

“That’s… That’s actually quite clever.”

Scoffing, Thor teased, “You doubt me?” Loki couldn’t help but grin.

“Always.”

Less than an hour later, the two princes were riding their steeds across the Rainbow Bridge toward the Observatory.

“Greetings, Heimdall!” Thor called out once they were close enough for the Gatekeeper to hear him.

“Greetings, Your Highness. To Midgard, I presume?”

“Aye!” Thor replied cheerfully. “With haste! ‘Twould be a waste to not take full advantage of our day.”

Loki was almost shocked when Heimdall actually opened the bridge and let them through, still half believing that this entire adventure would turn out to either be a hoax or a dream. Perhaps… He had fully expected that by his 1800th ævi dœgr, Thor would have ceased to go adventuring with him simply to celebrate his day of life. Even Thor’s ævi dœgr was no longer recognized. But, perhaps he had been wrong.

His doubts proved useless, and Loki had great fun tormenting the mortals with Thor. He managed to convince a King named Gylfi not only that the mortal was in Asgard—and of all Asgard, Valhalla—but that Gylfi, Loki, and two of Loki’s illusions were three different factions of Odin. Then Loki spent hours spinning absurd tales about the gods, and managing to make the mortal believe them all.

By the time the King had finally left, Loki was in a very pleasant mood, and did not object at all to Thor’s insistence that they hunt for hydras—creatures everyone knew could not be found on Midgard.

Many, many hours later, the two stumbled back across the Bifrost. By the next day, Loki knew he would be a shadow once more; but how he loved having all of the attention on himself, for once.


He smiled to himself as he and Thor watched the various Ambassadors’ reactions to the All-Father’s helmet turning into a small dragon. The delegates of the Realms should learn not to hold inter-Realm meetings on his ævi dœgr.

“Come, brother! Let us hurry, so we are not caught!” Thor whispered. Loki rolled his eyes at Thor’s worrying. His illusions were well spun. They would hold.

For his brother’s sake, however, Loki reluctantly turned away from the chaos and slunk down the hallways, Thor following behind him, though not half as stealthily. His frame did not lend itself to hiding in the shadows as his younger brother’s did.

Loki continued this tradition of theirs solely because it was the only day of the entire year when Thor paid attention to him, and not Thor’s friends.

Even he found it odd and a bit uncomfortable to still celebrate his ævi dœgrs after 1842 winters, but he welcomed the attention, and went along with Thor’s half-thought-out ideas of pranks and trouble making.


He waited by the statue of Bor until well past the middle meal before deciding that Thor was not coming.

Loki spent his 2300th ævi dœgr alone in his rooms with a text on rune translations, attempting to ignore the stinging in his eyes.


It was early in the morning. Very early. Fjórir, at the latest. Not that he could see the stars to be able to tell. There were not even any moons or planets in sight. None that he was familiar enough with to tell time, at least. No, he knew this information because of the “internal clock” he had thanks to his magick. He had an “internal calendar,” too. That was how he knew what today was. His ævi dœgr.

Today he was to have seen 2600 winters. A fairly significant ævi dœgr.

It had been 2500 years since that day he and Thor stole all the strawberry sweet rolls in Asgard—and ate nearly all of them. 800 since he dropped by Midgard with Thor and they had somehow left their marks on the Midgardian’s history books as “gods.”

And now Loki was laying, beaten, bruised, and broken, on a moon so dark, even Heimdall could not see him, at the mercy of a mad Titan. A Jotun monster, not Thor’s brother, a failed king, and, in Loki’s eyes, disowned by Odin, whom he had spent nearly his entire life trying to please.

He lay there, his wishes not that he would either die or be left be by his torturers, as they usually were, but that he could spend the day by Thor’s side as his equal, like he had on his every ævi dœgr for so much of his life.

Later Loki would curse the sentiment he felt in this moment, the level that he lowered himself to. But then he would have Thanos’s influence in his mind, so there would be no way of knowing whether or not that thought was actually his.


He lay in the dungeons, long forgotten, eternally alone. His punishment for attacking Midgard had been fair, and the elongated solitude had purified his mind of Thanos’s hold, leaving him in self-loathing, despising what he had done, thinking it his fault for being as weak as to allow Thanos into his mind.

At first, he believed it to be his imagination when he heard a heavy metal door open. Believed he was finally going mad. But slowly, ever so slowly, a figure made its way to the door of his cell—his cage—and then opened it. It stepped inside, and left the door open.

Loki wondered if his sentence had been done. He had expected to be left forever, and had not listened closely to his sentence. It was doubtful that he even would have recalled correctly, having been under Thanos’s hold at that time, but he had not listened, either way. And because of the spell that had been placed on his prison to make the time that passed inside it a hundred times longer than that that passed outside it, Loki would have had no idea what the date was, even if his magic had not been bound.

He was nearly positive he was dreaming when he heard the voice, but then he felt two strong arms embrace him, and the warm tears fall on his shoulder, and he realized that this was real.

“Happy ævi dœgr, brother.”