Author: Raven Aorla PM
Odin calls upon the Doctor to go fetch his sons from Earth. The Doctor agrees, but only if he gets to take custody of Loki and try to redeem him.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Family - 11th Doctor & Loki - Chapters: 4 - Words: 7,677 - Reviews: 37 - Favs: 134 - Follows: 52 - Updated: 05-15-12 - Published: 05-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8097131
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Still not my characters. Thank you again for the reviews! Please keep them coming.
"Does Thor have to know?" Loki asked once they had rescued the infant, as he held her in his arms in fear and wonderment. She was very pale, with dark coppery hair and blue eyes, and had stopped crying when he brought her into the TARDIS. Now she stared at him and gurgled, waving her tiny arms.
The Doctor hauled over an old wooden cradle with little carved dangling stars above it. "You can put her in here when your arms get tired. It would be healthy to let him know at some point, but it doesn't have to be now. Ultimately it should be your decision as the mother. Went through all the difficulty of bearing her and so on. Now, would you like me to go pick up formula, or would you like a shot of hormones so you can, erm...well..."
"That is something you are able to do?" Loki asked, lowering the child into the cradle. He wondered where the Doctor had obtained it, though the etchings made him presume it was a Gallifreyan relic.
"Oh, even 21st Century humans have isolated the correct hormones. By the 22nd century anyone who wishes and has access to the technology can pretty much carry, birth, and nurse offspring." The Doctor scratched the back of his own neck, nervous. "I won't pressure you either way."
"I think a 'formula' would be best, thank you," Loki said slowly. "I do not wish to become too attached to what would be unwise to keep."
As if on cue, the baby started to cry again. "There, there, Anja, your mummy does love you, he's just in a difficult spot at the moment." The Doctor noticed Loki staring at him and explained, "I speak almost every language, including Baby and Cat. And she calls herself Anja."
"There are worse names." Loki knelt beside the cradle and looked into it. "Forgive me, Anja. Please."
"You'll see her again. In fact, one day you might be in a place in your life where you can raise her yourself, and when that happens we can send both of you...somewhere. We'll come to a decision when it's time." The Doctor strode towards the console. "So, first we'll get formula, nappies, some toys, that sort of thing. Then to Earth, as going to Asgard would mean explaining things to Thor and Odin."
Loki sighed, rocking the cradle with one hand. "It says much that I would prefer explaining the situation to SHIELD and the Avengers than any of my own people. Adoptive or blood-kin."
From the Avengers' perspective it had been six months since the events that had first brought them together. The Doctor appeared in the middle of Coulson debriefing them about another mission at HQ, leading out a subdued Loki who carried a cradle out of the TARDIS with him. A cradle with a baby in it. A cradle with a baby in it that had a very, very strange origin story.
"So this is Loki's daughter," Agent Coulson asked yet again.
"Yes," said the Doctor.
"You never said you were a baby-daddy," Tony Stark quipped.
Loki glared at him. "I'm her mother."
Steve raised his hand. "I really don't want to be impolite or ignorant, but I don't understand."
Bruce explained, "Even in humans, and I am guessing also and possibly more often in whatever species Loki is, a person can be born with the characteristics of more than one sex. In some cases they can have children, and in certain of those cases their ability to have children is different than the sex they seem to be. Which I suppose is what's going on here?"
Clint muttered something inarticulate and Natasha put an arm around him. "Diplomacy," she whispered. "There are plenty of good reasons to hate Loki, but this isn't one."
The Doctor gave Bruce a thumbs-up. "Haha. Love it when people are clever and all evolved and everything, especially for their time. Loki is and always has been a man, because he knows he is a man and says he is a man and feels like a man, and that is ultimately what decides whether someone is a man. He also happens to have a vagina. Are we all clear on this? Good. Now as I'm sure you will all agree, Loki is not in a good frame of mind, a good position as it were, to actively care for the child. He has also decided he does not want the father involved at this time -"
"Who is the father?" Tony asked.
Before the Doctor could say anything, Loki replied, "Thor. We were drunk. He doesn't know."
No one quite knew what to say for a moment.
The Doctor cleared his throat after the awkwardness reached its zenith. "It is not general knowledge in Asgard that Loki is adopted, in fact from a different subspecies entirely, and Loki also would face even worse prejudice there than here if his intersex nature were made public. I am proposing that SHIELD find suitable care for Anja. She will be the first hybrid Jotun-Asgardian and will probably need all the resources you have. If the higher-ups question whether this is a good idea, point out that Loki is hardly going to attack your planet when you are the ones sheltering his daughter. Also know that I will be checking in frequently, sometimes with Loki. If we find out that she's being used for experiments or something like that? There. Will. Be. Repercussions."
"Anja's a pretty name," said Steve, as if trying to make up for his earlier questions.
Agent Coulson pulled out his cell. "I suppose I should make a few phone calls. It would be easier if you two came with me. And Anja."
Natasha sprang to her feet. "Wait. All of you. Wait."
Loki stepped between Anja and Natasha, as if worried she was going to hurt her. "What?"
Twisting her hands, her eyes wide and genuinely afraid for the first time anyone present had ever seen her, except maybe Bruce when he was turning into the Hulk, she said, "I haven't always been called Black Widow or Natasha Romanoff. When I was in the orphanage I was called..."
"Oh," said Tony, first to put the pieces together.
"Wait...wait wait wait," said Steve. "Am I right in thinking..."
"Yes," Natasha snapped, trembling as she stood.
"I think I need to go lie down somewhere dark and relaxing for a while," Bruce said, excusing himself.
Clint looked like something inside him was bending, not quite breaking, but slowly, painfully bending. He breathed deeply and dug his nails into his palms.
"You'd think this sort of thing wouldn't happen to me more than once," the Doctor muttered.
Loki looked at Anja, then at Natasha, then Anja, then Natasha. His voice was desolate. "And so my crimes are visited upon me again."
"Loki," the Doctor said, trying to put an arm around him.
Loki shrugged him off. "I see it now. I see how we hurt the ones we love. What is there I can say or do?"
"Well, for starters you could apologize," Natasha suggested stiffly.
Looking around the room - at Coulson still speechless, his hand frozen on his phone; at Steve not sure where to put his face; at Tony holding in hysteria; at Clint in anguish - Loki dropped to his knees. Then lay completely in the floor, kissing Natasha's boots. "I am so sorry, my darling. For it all. And I will not rest until it is made right." He looked up at her face for a few seconds, then, all composure lost, clung to her ankles and began to weep.
Eventually it was decided that Natasha would board the TARDIS and help the Doctor find the correct time and place to leave Anja to be raised, in order to protect the timeline. Loki went to his room to calm himself, and also avoid the moment where they would actually drop off his baby. The Doctor promised to take care of that for him.
"You mustn't touch her," the Doctor warned Natasha. "It'll cause a paradox. Fortunately the TARDIS is allowing the two of you on board because it's part of a stable time loop, but..."
"You don't need to go into a full explanation, Doctor. I won't touch her."
"I've put a shimmer on her - it's pretty much the same as what Loki would call a 'glamour', just more technologically comprehensible, at least to me - so she won't be detected as out of the ordinary. The hybridization of Asgadian and Jotun is most likely why you don't exhibit any superhuman powers beyond increased resilience, stamina, and agility. You are also likely to be sterile."
Natasha raised an eyebrow. "For someone who calls himself 'The Doctor', you don't have the greatest bedside manner."
"I've been told that."
They found the correct orphanage in Moscow in the 1980's. The Doctor spun a convincing story about him and his assistant delivering Anja from an unwed mother who died in the birth, so it goes, how tragic, thank you, here's some money for the upkeep of this fine institute, goodbye now.
Once they were safely in the Vortex Natasha knocked on Loki's door. "May I come in?"
"The door isn't locked," Loki replied hoarsely.
Natasha entered. His room was all gray, black, and green, with a narrow bed and various books he'd squirreled away from the library. Loki was sitting on the green, lushly carpeted floor surrounded by mounds of wadded-up tissues. As she approached him he gathered them up and placed them in a wastebasket. "I feel such a fool."
"You're very smart, but you don't have a lot of sense," Natasha replied, sitting beside him.
Loki let out a short, bitter laugh. "See who the 'mewling quim' really is, yes?"
"I'm not surprised that you would have misogyny issues, given your gender...problems." Natasha clasped her hands together. "I meant it when I said love was for children. I've been feared, lusted after, and far more recently respected and befriended, but as a child I never received love so I never knew how to give it."
"Again, my regret far outstrips my ability to convey or redeem."
Natasha actually smiled a little. "Now you know what it's like to want to wipe out the red on your ledger."
"It would be well within your rights to throw my other words from that conversation back in my face."
She reached out and touched his cheek with the very tips of her fingers. "You're still alive, and you can still pay back debts, no matter how big."
He shut his eyes and allowed himself a shuddering exhale. "If you wish to tell Thor, or have Thor be told, it is up to you. I will most likely stay with the Doctor for a while yet."
"I'd like to stay with both of you, for a little while, if the Doctor doesn't mind." When she saw his expression she shrugged. "Might as well see some sights, and you're not the only one mending ways."