Wanda: Yay! A short, cute little oneshot that ships Loki/OC and keeps him from going crazy! Because I think no one in this universe needs more hugs then Loki, except maybe Bruce Banner. I don't own Thor, and enjoy the fluff!

Chapter: Stranger Times

Don't tell me your sorry cause your not

darling because I know you're only sorry you got caught – Take a Bow, Rihanna

Loki Odinson had never felt so terrible.

It wasn't just because he was drunk – he had always been worse with alcohol then Thor or Volstagg, and his mother/adoptive mother had finally kicked him out of the kitchen when she had come to check on him. No, that was nothing compared to what he had just discovered.

When he looked at his hands, all he could see was the blue and the ice, no matter what illusions or shapeshifting told him.

All he wanted to do was forget, but Frigga had said something about hurting himself.

Hah! Why did it matter to her what monsters did to themselves? It would be one less thing for his brother to destroy when he inevitably returned to the throne. Wasn't that what he had said? 'I'll hunt the monsters down and slay them all'.

The Warrior's Three had made a game out of killing his kind, for the love of Vahalla.

This entire day felt like one massive, sick joke – the kind he had used to play on Thor before the prince had started responding with physical violence, forcing him to be more careful lest he be sent to the healers once again.

All his life, he had heard nothing but how evil and monstrous the Jotuns were, despite his father – Odin's – attempts to make peace with them. The vetereans certainly felt that way, and mothers told their children stories about how the horrors of the icy world would come and drag them away if they disobeyed their parents or the king.

And yet he was one of them.

The worst part was that it made a sick amount of sense. He had always been weaker then his brother and his friends. No matter how much he trained, Thor always outstrode him with ease – and didn't the Jotuns despise close combat?

So he had left Asgard in a rush, hardly remembering to hide his presence from Heimdell in the process. The doorman was meddlesome enough as it was.

All he had ever wanted was for his world to prosper in peace. And yet, not only was his attempt derided as villainy by Sif and the Warriors, but it wasn't his world at all – he was their monster.

It didn't take him long to find a bar, though the tender didn't seem keen on selling to him.

But...that's when she spoke up.

"Don't worry. I'll cover it."

Loki glanced over to his right. A young woman sat alone with a mug of ale, regarding the bartender coolly with fathomless dark eyes. Her hair was blonde, though noticeably darker then his brother's mop. Her skin had a darker tone to it, not unlike Hogan. She was dressed in a dark blue fabric he wasn't familiar with – a style of her people, no doubt.

More interesting was the reaction of the bartender – he nearly choked when he realized she had spoken. Once she had, all she had to do was raise an eyebrow and the man was nearly falling over backwards, muttering apologies.

The young woman's lips twitched into what might have been a smile, but it was an expression Loki was familiar with. He could see anger and bitterness behind it. It reminded him of his own smile, which had been on his face for years.

"You can sit over here," She said. "You're less likely to get bothered by him like this."

"I'm in no need of protection," Loki said mildly. But he walked over and sat at the other end of the table.

The woman raised an eyebrow, a faintly amused look crossing her face. "I believe you. But I'm guessing by the look on your face that you don't need that kind of trouble tonight."

He must be somewhat drunk, if she could read him that easily.

"Carrie Anna Traundi." The woman introduced herself. "In case you haven't heard." There was a slight challenge in her voice.

"Loki," He said simply. He didn't have a family name anymore. "Forgive me, I haven't had the pleasure."

Carrie looked surprised. Well, his name wouldn't be common in her world. The bartender brought them the beer, shot her a nervous look and hurried away.

For a while, neither patron said anything. They merely drank in somewhat companionable silence, lost in their own thoughts. The whole time, however, they simply watched each other, as though trying to stare into the other's soul.

It was Carrie who broke the silence. "You look like hell," She said mildly.

Loki was surprised by the bitter chuckle that escaped him. "It's that obvious, is it?"

Carrie shook her head. "When you've been to hell in back, you tend to notice things about people," She said in a matter-of-fact manner. "Its all in the eyes, I think. If you look there long enough, you can guess what they're thinking."

"Oh? And what am I thinking?"

"You've just had a bad day." Carrie said. "I'm not psychic, so I can only imagine and I'd rather not open my mouth and expose my ignorance of your situation. But you do look like you need a drink, which is why I invited you over."

"Charmed." Loki said flatly. He didn't really want to talk about it. But the revelation had formed a black hole inside him that threatened to gnaw away at what little peace he still possessed. "My father is a cradle robber."

Carrie tilted her head slightly. Loki blinked. He wasn't sure for a moment, but – yes. There was no judgement in her expression. "Adopted? He didn't want to tell you, I guess...he figured that would make you feel different. But that's not how it works, huh? If people can tell your different, they're going to treat you that way – whether you know or not."

"And you, Miss Traudi? Are you familiar with that?"

Carrie leaned back in her seat. "Try being half Vietnamese in a country that declared war on your people only to get nothing out of it," She responded flatly. "Believe me, it's an interesting experience."

She sounded as if she'd rather use a different word then interesting.

"Was it your father?"

"My mother," Carrie responded. "Her father brought her to the US, came home with a combat medic he decided to marry. Some people have forgotten the war. Others haven't."

"I see." That was strange. How likely was it that he would meet someone with even the barest understandings of what this new revelation meant to him? Loki wondered, once again, if the cosmos was playing a cruel joke on him.

"Is there more to it?" Carrie asked. When Loki gave her a cold look, she shrugged and said, "Believe me, you can keep it all shut up inside but it's not going to help you at all. You can either decide whether you deserve to be treated like shit for something you can't control, or you can let it all out and figure out whether your worth something or not. I only had the kid at the end of the street who was also treated like crap, though he was lucky enough to be purely Caucasian."

Her words struck him. You can't control it. Of all the things he had expected to hear now...that wasn't one of them.

"A novel concept, I suppose." Loki took another drink. It wasn't quite the castle's ale, but it was more then satisfying. "Though I don't see how it would change my situation."

Carrie looked intently at him. "No, only you can do that." She said. "I learned that the hard way."

Loki gave a short chuckle. "Really? Has anyone ever called you a monster?"

"My father loved using that word when he was high." Carrie responded flatly.

"...Your father?"

It was common belief on Asgard that the father was master of the house. What he said went, and he was never wrong when it came to his family. Even if, intellectually, you knew that you were being treated wrong, people would impress that you were the one making a mistake.

Carrie let out a bitter chuckle. "He was a mean, scummy old bastard. I'm glad I'll never see him again. I had to stab him with a bread knife to keep him from strangling me the night I ran away."

The blonde leaned forward slightly, the low lights of the bar reflected in her dark eyes. "Did he call you that? Does your father call you monster?"

Loki wasn't sure if it was her admission that loosened his tongue. Perhaps he had been longing for a companion who wouldn't judge him, as he had always been judged his entire life for being a magic user in a world full of muscle. Maybe there was something about those dark eyes that cried of an understanding he had always craved. Maybe it was simply the ale that made the words flow freely – too much drink had always made him far too talkative.

"He might as well have." He took another drink. "My people...they're all monsters. They wrote stories about how my 'father' put them down as they rightfully deserved. They have no empathy, no intelligence...who knows what they'd do if they were allowed to roam free." Another sharp, brittle chuckle. "And yet the honourable 'all father' robbed the cradle of his greatest nemesis so he could put a puppet on their throne to bow to his blood son once the time came."

Carrie gazed back at him for a long moment before responding. Loki hadn't told her he was not of this world, so she needed a moment to rationalize the latest parts. But the heart of it she understood very quickly.

"So...despite knowing he would eventually tell you who your birth parents were, he raised you with that whole 'your kind are monsters' rhetoric."


"That's fucking bullshit."

Not even in the lowest levels of the cities in other realms had Loki heard such an assessment of the All-Father's decisions.

"I mean it. That is hateful, biased, self-serving bullshit." A fire had burst into Carrie's eyes that rivalled the rage of the berserkers. "That utter, unimaginable bastard."

"I can't tell you how much trouble you'd be in if you said that to his face," Loki said wonderingly.

"I don't give a shit. I'll respect someone who deserves to be respected. That...that hypocritical old goat doesn't deserve the dirt on your shoes, much less your love or respect."

Those words struck him with the force of a gong. For a moment, Loki stared silently at Carrie, rendered speechless for the first time in a many years.

"Want my advice?" Carrie asked, the fire snapping and crackling. "If that old bastard comes crawling to you begging him to do stuff for him, tell him that he can go straight to hell. Someone who uses people like that, much less someone who's part of their family, deserves your hatred and then some! You don't owe him a single damn thing."


"And anyone who says otherwise can go fuck themselves," Carrie added.

Loki suddenly felt himself smiling. This woman's spirit was quite admirable. It was as if a weight had suddenly been lifted from his shoulders.

"Take it from someone who knows," Carrie continued, her eyes dropping down to the table, "Someone who treated you like crap doesn't deserve anything but your contempt. Don't try to win anything like affection or respect from them...they'll just use it against you, especially when they need something."

"That's a...unique opinion, Carrie." He was using her first name. So quickly? This wasn't how he had envisioned the night going. "I imagine many at home would disagree."

"Fuck. Them." Carrie enunciated slowly. "Trust me, because there's a single fact overriding any 'greater good' that your shit-tastic 'dad' might cook up – you;" She pointed a scarred finger at his chest when she said this, "you deserve better then that."

"You believe that? You don't really know me." Loki was fairly certain, if some people were to be believed, he should be grateful that the All-Father had such a great purpose for a miserable, cowardly being like him – never mind that his magic had saved Thor time and time again only for his contributions to be utterly ignored.

"I know many important things," Carrie said quietly. "I saw it in your eyes. This...this really hurt you. I can tell this isn't uncommon, for you to get treated like this – that you're an expendable spare and you should shut up and like it because that's 'more then you deserve' or some other bullshit. I know...because that was life for me, before I got away from my own father."

She shook her head, golden hair falling down across her eyes. "Look, all I'm saying is you don't have to take that. There's some sappy old song my mother liked – 'The Greatest Love', I think. The whole point is...its important to like yourself. You deserve happiness as much as anyone else, like your brother."

"That's kind of you, Carrie."

That was a massive understatement. But Loki was not one to express painful or powerful feelings easily.

An honest smile crossed Carrie's face at those words. It changed her face; she seemed younger and fairly beautiful – that bitter frown had sullied her look.

A buzz broke the silence. Carrie glanced at a square device on her right and muttered some choice words, standing up. "I'm sorry, I have to go. Friggin Bryce and his eight-in-the-morning schedule."

She hesitantly began to leave when Loki got up and grabbed her hand. She spun around in surprise.

"Wait. How can I find you again?"

Carrie stared at him for a moment before slowly saying, "Usually I'm down here after dinner. Either that, or I'll be at the library." She gestured vaguely down the road.

Loki found himself smiling once again, on a day when he thought he had nothing to smile again. "I hope to see you again, Carrie Taundi."

Carrie looked back at him with wide eyes for a moment before she smiled, a slightly sly look on her face. "You too...Loki."


Every evening, Loki went looking for her.

Sometimes they had a conversation. Other times he would sit and listen to Carrie rant and curse out various people who had annoyed her over the course of the day, which was quite amusing. Loki had never met a girl with such a wide vocabulary before.

This woman made him feel strange. Being around her made him feel good – it was as if he could forget that he was seen as second-rate, a stranger in his own home, or someone untrustworthy.

And each time he visited, Carrie seemed to smile a bit more.

Then one day he got her to laugh. And that was simply it. Hearing her laugh made his heart stop. She kept laughing for a minute, before raising her eyes to him. She seemed so beautiful in that moment.

He had made to leave not long after that – part of him was frightened, though he loathed to admit it. There was a chance for this good feelings to turn sour when she saw his real face.

But Carrie Anna Traudi stopped him before he could leave and kissed him. Having sufficiently stopped him in his tracks, she stood in front of him and said,

"I know you're-you're different. Maybe you're not even human. But – listen – I don't care. I don't. You could be anyone or, or anything and I won't care. I...I haven't laughed in a long time. You make me happy. You – you don't have to do anything, but – would you stay with me tonight?"

Loki stood frozen for a moment before raising one hand and running his fingers through her hair. "I would like that," He said softly.

Loki didn't return to Asgard that night, or the night after.

Carrie Traudi wanted him as he was. And a million thrones could not have given him that little piece of infinity.