The Mute Girl and the God

When Loki fell from the Bifrost, he expected to die in the Void. He didn't expect to land on Midgard, he didn't expect to survive, and he certainly didn't expect to find himself in some girl's house with a bad fever and an even worse concussion.

That, however, was exactly what happened. Loki woke up sometime after his fall feeling bruised, and when he tried to sit up, the pain in his head increased to the point where he felt like his head was going to explode. He ended up having to lie back down; sitting up didn't feel good. The pain and dizziness subsided marginally a few minutes after he settled back down, and then he heard soft footsteps. He tensed a bit, opening his eyes, and found himself looking at a girl whose appearance and clothing made it plain he was on Midgard. She looked at him silently, then reached out and gently put a hand on his forehead. Loki was about to swat her hand away when she yanked it off quickly, looking at him worriedly. "What?" Loki asked, irritated.

The girl took something out of her pocket, and Loki saw that it appeared to be a pad of paper and some sort of writing utensil. The girl jotted something down, and showed the paper to Loki. You have a fever, it read. How's your head?

"It's fine," Loki said. "Why are you writing everything down?"

The girl took the pad of paper back and wrote something else. Somehow I doubt your head is fine, since I know you have a concussion, and I can't speak, Loki read. He looked at her quizzically. "Why can't you speak?" he asked.

I was in an accident as a child that destroyed my vocal chords, the girl wrote. Quit changing the subject.

Loki contemplated lying, but he had a feeling the girl would find out, and he really wasn't feeling well anyways, so he said, "My head is killing me and sitting up makes me dizzy. Who are you, anyways?"

Sorry, my name is Anna, the girl wrote. What's your name?

"Loki," Loki said.

It's nice to meet you, Anna wrote. Do you want to try headache medicine?

"Will it help?" Loki asked.

You landed on your head after falling out of the sky; I'm not entirely sure, Anna wrote, then added, I honestly didn't know if you'd even wake up; it's been four days since you got here.

"I've been unconscious for four days?" Loki asked incredulously.

Anna nodded, then looked like she had an idea, and left. She came back a few minutes later with a washcloth, and gently put it on Loki's forehead. It was cool and damp, and felt wonderful. "Thank you," Loki told her.

Anna smiled and wrote, I'm glad you like it. Try to get some more rest; it'll help your fever go away.

Loki was pretty tired, so he settled down and closed his eyes. The last thing he felt was Anna gently stroking his hair.


Sometime later: Loki woke up, and was pleased to find that his magic seemed to be working on his concussion, because his head felt a lot better. Anna wasn't in the room anymore, but it seemed to be morning, judging by the light filtering through the curtains. Loki was a bit confused by that, but then realized that he must have just slept a lot longer than he originally thought. Feeling his forehead, he made the unhappy discovery that he still had a pretty high fever.

Suddenly he heard a man's voice saying, "Honestly Anna, I can't leave you alone for four days without you getting into trouble? What have I told you about strangers?"

There was silence, and Loki decided that this was probably Anna's father. He heard footsteps, and then the door opened, revealing a man with Anna's blue-green eyes and ash blonde hair, though his was streaked with gray. Anna came in too, and made a series of hand signs that were unfamiliar to Loki. Her father sighed and said to Loki, "I'm Anna's father, Connor. Your name is Loki?"

"Yes," Loki said. "It's nice to meet you."

Connor sighed as Anna made more hand signs, and said, "Anna wants to know how you're feeling."

"My headache's better, but the fever's not," Loki said, looking at Anna. She came over and felt his forehead, then turned and made a bunch more hand signs. Connor looked at Loki sharply, and asked, "Where are you from?"

"Asgard," Loki said. "Why?"

"Because according to my daughter, you shouldn't technically be alive right now," Connor deadpanned. "I take it the name Loki isn't just a coincidence?"

"You'd be correct," Loki replied. "Though I am curious as to how you guessed that so quickly."

"I'm a mythologist," Connor said, shrugging. "Asgard is the home of the Norse pantheon, Loki is a part of that pantheon, you say you're from Asgard and according to Anna you fell out of the sky- not hard to put the pieces together. Though I do wonder what led to you falling out of the sky."

"I fell off the Bifrost, and somehow landed here," Loki replied. "I was not expecting to land on Midgard, much less survive."

"What exactly led to you 'falling' off the Bifrost?" Connor asked. "From the tone of your voice, it sounds like you fell on purpose."

"I found out I was a monster and that everyone I knew was lying to me my entire life about my heritage, and went insane," Loki said irritably.

"And by monster you mean…." Connor trailed off, obviously expecting Loki to finish that thought.

"Frost Giant," Loki growled. "I was told my entire life that they were beasts who deserved to die, and then I found out I wasn't actually Odin's son, but the son of Laufey, the king of Jotunheim. Odin apparently decided to adopt me as a tool to use against Jotunheim."

Connor blinked. "But Odin himself is half Jotun," he said, sounding confused. "His mother was the giantess Bestla."

Loki choked in shock. "What!?" he sputtered.

Connor looked at him, confused. "You didn't know?" he asked.

"No…. Odin brought both me and Thor up to believe that the Jotnar are beasts who kill each other for sport, after he defeated them when they attacked Midgard," Loki said. "Most if not all Asgardians feel the same way."

"Maybe it's fallen out of common knowledge in Asgard, but all the sources I've seen say that Odin's half Jotun," Connor commented. "He sounds like a hypocrite."

"He definitely is, if he is half Jotun and teaching everyone they are to be hated and feared as monsters," Loki said.

Anna poked her father and went through a series of hand signs. "Anna would like to know how old you are," Connor said.

"I was born 1,113 years ago- but in mortal terms, I am about 22 years of age," Loki said. "We age much more slowly than mortals do."

Anna perked up, looking happy, and tugged on her father's sleeve, pointing first to herself, then to Loki, and tilting her head to one side. "If he wants to, I suppose it's fine," Connor said, and turned to Loki, who was confused. "She's asking if you can stay with us," Connor explained.

"You want me to?" Loki asked, looking at Anna. She nodded happily, and Connor said, "Anna has trouble making friends because she's mute; people her age tend to look at her oddly, and she doesn't like that, so her only friends are some of my colleagues who don't have a problem with her muteness. And they're all at least thirty years older than her. She's 20 years old, so it would be good for her to have someone close to her age to interact with. As long as you're respectful of her, I don't have a problem with taking you in; it doesn't sound like you had a good home situation in Asgard."

"That is an understatement," Loki said dryly. "And I would never be disrespectful to Anna. I do not particularly want to be lectured by Frigga. The last time was bad enough."

"Frigga's going to be the least of your worries if anything happens to Anna," Connor warned him.

"I understand," Loki said. "May I ask where her mother is?"

Connor sighed and made a few hand signs, and Anna nodded and left. Connor shut the door and sank down into a chair. "When Anna was four, she and her mother were in a bad car accident," he said softly. "My wife, Alyssa, died before the paramedics even got there, and Anna almost died too; she had a punctured lung, and they barely got her into surgery in time. Unfortunately, while the surgeon managed to save her life, her vocal cords were irreparably damaged, and she can't make any sound anymore. She also gets out of breath easily due to the damage to her vocal cords, so she can't run or do any strenuous physical activity. Anna doesn't really remember the accident; she was too little, and I try not to talk about it much, since according to witnesses, she saw what happened to her mother, and I don't want to bring back those memories. I tell her stories about her mother, but I rarely mention the accident. I raised her with some help from my in-laws and my parents, but mainly it was just me and her. We learned American Sign Language together, and she's my world. I'll always miss my wife, but I just count myself lucky I didn't lose Anna as well. And I'll admit, I'm highly overprotective of her. She wasn't too happy with me when the first guy she tried to date ran off screaming after I told him I'd mount his balls on my wall if he hurt her."

"I am sorry you lost your wife," Loki said, a bit awkwardly. "Is American Sign Language the hand signs Anna was making?"

"Yeah," Connor said. "I can teach you, or Anna can, if you'd like that."

"I would appreciate that," Loki said. "Asgard has military hand signs, but they do not look much like what Anna was doing. Does she have to work at all?"

"No," Connor said. "There aren't many jobs in the area that can accommodate for her disability; most jobs around here require a person to be able to speak. And she doesn't have the credentials to teach ASL; she couldn't get a job, so I couldn't really afford to send her to college, especially because she can't participate in class discussions. The college I teach at doesn't offer the right classes, either."

"You're a teacher?" Loki asked.

"The general term for it is professor, but yes, I teach Norse and Turkic mythology," Connor replied. "I was at a conference for mythologists when you got here; I go every year. Last year I took Anna, but this year I took one of my students; she's quite promising, and had some theories that I couldn't justify not sharing with the rest of the community. Anna doesn't really like airplanes anyways. Are you hungry? Anna said you were unconscious for four days."

"I'm starving," Loki replied. "I forgot to ask for something yesterday. Just out of curiosity, do you know what Anna did with the armor I was wearing?"

"I'm guessing it's in the closet," Connor said, pointing to a door. "She's very clean, so leaving that lying around would drive her insane."

"I share that sentiment," Loki said. He got out of bed, and was pleased to find that his headache was nearly gone. He noticed Connor eyeing the closet, and said dryly, "Yes, you can examine the armor- but can you tell me where the kitchen is first?"

Connor looked sheepish, and said, "Come with me. Sorry, I get carried away sometimes."

"I do the same; I once spent a week in my rooms learning a new spell, and did not even stop to eat or sleep," Loki admitted.

"I'm not quite that bad….. but then again I have my daughter to keep me on track," Connor said, leading the way to the kitchen.

They found Anna cooking something, and she smiled brightly at them, then turned back to whatever she was making. Connor picked up a note on the table, and said, "Chicken noodle soup sounds good. Where'd the chicken come from?"

Anna signed something, and Connor looked surprised. "You almost never go to the store," he commented.

Anna pointed to Loki, and then wrote something down on the paper. "You let everyone think you had a bad case of laryngitis?" Connor asked, amused.

Anna nodded, and went back to stirring the soup. Connor smiled and asked, "Loki, do you want anything to drink? We've got orange juice, cranberry juice, milk, water, and seltzer right now."

"How can you make juice out of a color?" Loki asked.

"Oranges are a type of citrus fruit, named because of their color," Connor explained, sounding amused. "It's good for sick people, but most of us drink it for the taste."

"May I try that?" Loki asked.

"Sure," Connor said. "Glasses are over the sink."

Loki went over to the sink and opened the cabinet, then pulled out a glass. He prided himself on having manners, unlike Thor. Connor came over with a bottle, and said, "Hold out the glass."

Loki did so, and Connor filled it with orange juice. "Have a seat, I'm sure the soup will be done soon."

Loki sat down at the table, and tried the orange juice. "This is good," he said, surprised.

"I like it," Connor said. "Anna likes hers with seltzer in it, gives it a bit of extra zing."

"Zing?" Loki asked.

"Spice, flavor; it makes it taste better to her," Connor said.

"I see," Loki said.

"What's food like in Asgard?" Connor asked, sitting down across the table from Loki.

"Boring," Loki said. "Meat, bread, occasionally fruit and cheese, and sweets. Never anything new, and the main drink there is mead, so everyone gets drunk. I mostly got by by virtue of sneaking food out of the kitchens and eating it where no one could find me. I hated all those feasts Odin had; noisy, and I somehow always ended up near Thor's friend Volstagg, who eats like a pig. It had a tendency to make me lose my appetite."

"That's not a name I've heard before," Connor commented.

"Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun are friends of Thor's, collectively known as the Warriors Three," Loki said. "I do not believe they have ever been to Midgard, however, as it was forbidden by Odin shortly after he decided to steal me. Sif is also a part of that group, though she joined them after they had taken on that name."

"Isn't Sif Thor's wife?" Connor asked.

"No," Loki said. "Is that a part of your mythology as well?"

"Yes, it says in the Prose Edda that Sif is the wife of Thor," Connor replied.

"Who was the author?" Loki asked.

"Snorri Sturluson," Connor said.

"I knew letting Odin hire that moron was a mistake," Loki grumbled. "I also knew leaving him alone with Sif was a disaster waiting to happen. She has always fancied Thor, but he never returned those feelings. It would be just like her to tell that moron that she was Thor's wife."

"She also supposedly has a daughter with Thor named Þrúðr," Connor commented.

Loki sighed. "I have no clue where that came from," he said. "There is a Valkyrie by that name; but she is at least five centuries older than Sif. Sif despises me because I cut her hair off and it turned black when it started growing back."

"So you did cut her hair off?" Connor asked, curious.

"Yes, we were about ten in your terms, and I was sick of her taunting me, so I slammed a door on her hair, which was extremely long at the time," Loki said. "I do not know why it turned black, but I assume it has something to do with the color of her soul. Frankly, I think she is a horrible person, and why mortals think she is good is beyond me. She is condescending towards women who cannot fight as she can, has serious jealousy issues, and I think if she wasn't saving herself for Thor, she'd be a slut by now too."

"So Thor isn't married then?" Connor asked mildly.

"You must be joking; Thor getting married?" Loki asked dryly. "Unless he convinces Odin to let him marry Jane Foster, Asgard is unlikely to ever have a queen. He's had plenty of what you refer to as 'one-night stands,' however."

"Jane Foster?" Connor asked. "I think I've heard of her; one of the science professors told me he had a surrogate daughter by that name. The guy was hired by some government agency though, so they're looking for a new astrophysicist to teach at the college."

"Jane Foster apparently took Thor in after he got banished here about a week ago," Loki said. "Typical; he nearly starts a war with Jotunheim, and all he gets is a few days on Midgard with no powers. If I did something like that, Odin would probably have me executed. Was the science professor named Selvig or something like that?"

"Yeah, Erik Selvig," Connor said. "I don't know where they're going to find another astrophysicist in time for the new semester; it's not exactly a common field, I don't believe. So Thor's interested in Jane Foster? She's considered a genius, but her theories are a little too far out there for most people to be interested."

"That oaf is completely smitten with her," Loki said. "I suppose better her than Sif."

Anna set bowls of soup in front of both Loki and Connor, and sat down with her own. "Thank you," Loki told her. Anna smiled happily at him, then started eating. Loki and Connor followed suit.

Loki took one bite and nearly moaned; the soup was delicious. "This is delicious, Anna," he said.

Anna smiled and wrote 'Thank you!' on her pad of paper.

"You're welcome," Loki said.

By the time he finished eating, Loki was feeling much better, and more awake as well. Anna seemed to notice, because she came over and felt his forehead. Then she wrote, 'Your fever's pretty much gone; that was fast.'

"I tend to heal faster than normal due to my magic, but the soup definitely helped," Loki replied.

Anna smiled brightly and to Loki's surprise, hugged him. He somewhat awkwardly patted her on the back, and heard Connor chuckle. "Anna's big on hugs," he explained when Anna let Loki go. "She likes the physical contact, and it's her main way of showing affection. You aren't used to it, are you?"

"No one besides Frigga really hugged me," Loki admitted. "I do not count Thor's crushing of my bones as hugging. And after childhood, going to one's mother for comfort in most cases is not socially acceptable behavior. Asgard is a warrior society, and I hated it there. I am more of a scholar and mage than I am a warrior."

"That must have been rough," Connor said. He paused, then said, "I was a bookworm too, and so is Anna. It's tempting to spend all your time in a library, isn't it?"

"I would live in the palace library if I was allowed to," Loki admitted. "Are there libraries here?"

Connor laughed. "Yes, we have libraries everywhere," he said. "I should take you to the college library sometime; it's huge. There's a fiction section, but it's mainly for reference. I sometimes let Anna use my card to take things out, too."

"They let you take books out of the library?" Loki asked.

"Yes, but you have to return them by a set date," Connor explained. "I love libraries, because they don't cost money to read the books. Bookstores are all well and good, but it seems like all the books I really want cost way too much for my budget."

"Bookstores?" Loki asked, a bit confused.

"Yeah, you don't have those?" Connor asked.

"I believe Midgard is the only realm that mass-produces books; other realms have books, but they do not have the amount Midgard does," Loki admitted. "Admittedly, I have been to Midgard several times, and each time I come away with some book or other that I hide away. Also, the other realms do not have fiction. It is mainly histories and other scholarly tomes, such as spell books and cookbooks, to name a few. Maybe some people write down their favorite stories, but fictional accounts are generally handed down by word of mouth. I think my favorite poem is the one I was given by a man I met a few centuries back; it was quite well done. He said he was a writer, and we had a nice long talk about poetry and plays before I had to leave. He gave me the poem he was working on at the time, and I put a spell on the paper so it would survive the passing of time."

"Did he have a title for the poem?" Connor asked.

"Not at the time, no," Loki said. "In fact he was planning on burning the rough draft, but I thought it was well done, so he said, "Take it, then." Would you like to see?"

"Sure," Connor said. Anna perked up too, and Loki reached into seemingly thin air and pulled out a piece of parchment. "Jeez, that's really old," Connor commented.

"Yes, so be careful with it," Loki said dryly, and handed it over. Connor took one look at the first line, and choked. "Do you have ANY idea what you've got here?" he asked in shock.

Anna looked over his shoulder, and she looked shocked too. "Uh…. what do I have?" Loki asked, confused. "I thought it was just a poem- albeit by a very good writer. I forget the guy's last name though."

"William Shakespeare," Connor said faintly. "Commonly known as the greatest English writer of all time, and his works have been translated into every living language in the world. You actually MET him?"

"Yes," Loki said. "He was a nice man, I thought; after he realized I was a scholar, he offered to take me out to lunch. I took him out instead, and we talked until the pub closed. He gave me that poem after we got kicked out- which I believe was around two in the morning. Said he was going to write a better version. Does it have a name now?"

"Uh… yes, the final version was a bit different, but it's called The Phoenix and the Turtle," Connor replied. He handed the poem back, and said, "Hold onto that; most historians would want it to be in a museum. I wouldn't want you to lose something like that."

"It'll just go back to the pocket dimension where I keep things like books and weaponry," Loki said. "Though I think I'll keep it as a memento."

Anna signed something, and Connor said, "Anna says that it's probably better that way. I agree; it would spark a huge debate and we'd have no end of people coming here to meet the man who met Shakespeare- though about half of the world probably wouldn't believe you, as most don't believe that the Norse gods exist anymore. And it's impossible for a human to live that long and still look like a young man. Actually, it's impossible for a human to live that long, period."

Anna wrote something, and passed it to Loki. Why doesn't anyone here know about the other Realms?

"All the other Realms see Midgard as it was when the Jotnar attacked; basically a country backwater not worth mentioning," Loki admitted. "Most don't even come here, and no one from Asgard besides Thor and myself has ever stayed here for more than a few hours. Odin forbade the rest of Asgard from going to Midgard, and uses it as a punishment place. He doesn't seem to realize that Midgard is almost as advanced as Asgard now, since he never pays attention to this Realm."

Odin sounds stupid, Anna wrote.

Loki chuckled.


Meanwhile, in Asgard: "NO! I absolutely refuse to take the throne, and as soon as I find a way to get there, I am returning to Midgard and STAYING there!" Thor shouted at Odin. "Loki was right; I am not ready to be King, and now that you have killed my brother, you can be King until Ragnarok or your death from old age, whichever comes first! You could have saved Loki, but NO, you just had to destroy him YET AGAIN, and now, now you can stay on your precious throne, you decrepit old fool! You destroyed the most important person in my life, and I refuse to take over the throne. I intend to make SURE you die of old age and overwork, rather than dying in battle. It would serve you right to be denied Valhalla after what you've done to Loki!"

With that, Thor stormed out of his father's office, and nearly ran over his mother on the way. He caught Frigga's arm and said, "My apologies, Mother. Er…. how much of that did you hear?"

"All of it," Frigga admitted. "I came to find you; let us walk together."

Thor offered his arm, and Frigga took it with a sad smile, leading him to her private gardens. "I spoke with Heimdall today," Frigga told Thor when they were alone. "He seemed remorseful of what he had done, and then he told me something that we must not tell your father."

"Odin is no father of mine," Thor grumbled grouchily.

Frigga sighed and continued, "Heimdall says Loki is on Midgard. He is not dead, and according to Heimdall, he is in fairly good health and not injured. He is apparently living with a girl and a man who worked with the one you call Selvig at a 'college'."

"Loki is still alive?" Thor whispered.

"Yes," Frigga said. "I do not want Odin to get him back though, do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Mother," Thor said. "Is there any hope of me going back to Midgard? I would rather be there than here."

"The old pathways will lead you to the place where you landed last time, but it will be up to you after that," Frigga said. "And you will not be able to return until either the Bifrost is repaired, or Loki helps you to get back; he knows the old pathways far better than anyone, even myself."

"How soon may I leave?" Thor asked. "I wish to be gone before the Lady Sif tries to convince me yet again that Loki being gone is for the best."

"I will take you after you pack some clothing," Frigga said. "I know they dress differently, but it is unfair to ask your lady friend to buy you clothing. I understand they no longer trade gold for goods, correct?"

"Yes," Thor said. "They use slips of paper and strange cards instead of gold. I will go pack a bag. Is there anything else you believe I should bring?"

"I have a letter to give to Loki," Frigga said. "Please bring that, and keep it safe until you find him."

"I shall," Thor said. He stood, and headed for his rooms.

Frigga met him there a few minutes later, and pulled him into a crack between worlds. They reappeared in the New Mexico desert, in a crater that was very familiar to Thor. Frigga slipped a folded letter into his bag, and said, "That is for Loki. I must go; good luck, my son, and tell Loki that I love him and will visit as soon as I can."

"I will, Mother," Thor said. He embraced her, and then she left. Thor smiled slightly, and started walking.

He reached the car dealership where Jane lived, and found it empty of people. It was around dinnertime, however, so Thor decided to go into town. He left his hammer behind, figuring he wouldn't need it.

Halfway past a bar, Thor heard, "Jane, I'm telling you, he'll be back. He's absolutely head over heels for you."

"It's been TWO WEEKS, Darcy!" Jane's voice wailed. "And you said you were going to tase him; I bet that Heimdall person heard you and told him he'd get tased again!"

Thor flinched a bit; he did not have good memories of being tased. "Okay, fine, I'll go yell at the sky and tell Thor I won't tase him if he comes back," Darcy said, then asked, "Exactly how did this become my fault?"

"I don't even remember," Jane sighed. "Can we go now?"

"Yeah," Darcy said.

Thor waited, and a few minutes later, Darcy came out of the bar- and stopped dead, causing Jane to run into her. "Darcy, what-" she started, then noticed Thor.

"I would rather not be tased," Thor said, noticing Darcy had gotten over her shock and was fingering something in her pocket.

Jane threw herself at him, and he caught her, hugging her tightly as she hugged him. "You're really back," she said softly.

"And I am here to stay this time," Thor said. "May we go back to your place? I need to speak with both of you."

"Sure," Jane said. "Did something happen?"

"Let us speak in private," Thor said.

Darcy led the way back to the old car dealership, and they sat down on a sofa- except Darcy, who sat down in an armchair. "So what happened?" Jane asked. "You look grim."

"I discovered the reason behind my brother Loki's actions," Thor said. "I assure you, his actions were not normal behavior for him. Odin is to blame for everything that happened, and he is part of the reason I have come back for good."

"So Loki wasn't really responsible for the Destroyer?" Jane asked.

"I will start from the beginning, it will make more sense," Thor said. He took a breath, then continued, "Loki is not Asgardian by birth. He found out he was adopted in the worst possible way, and also discovered that Odin had adopted him to use against another realm. Loki is a Jotun, a Frost Giant, and Odin taught us both that the Jotnar are beasts. When Loki found out he was one of them, he essentially went crazy; his entire life turned out to be a lie, and he had no one to turn to, as most of Asgard hates his existence. Our mother was occupied with Odin, who had fallen into the Odinsleep after essentially telling Loki he was a tool and his life was a lie. Loki was forced to become King at a time when he was already under quite a bit of stress, and then my so-called friends decided to disobey Odin's last order and Loki's reiteration of that order, which was to leave me here until I had learned my lesson. My friends are guilty of treason, yet Odin wanted to punish Loki for it, despite the fact he was only trying to bring them back to Asgard to face their rightful punishment."

"So he wasn't trying to kill you?" Darcy asked.

"I do not believe so, as in my Asgardian form, a hit like the one the Destroyer gave me would have barely scratched me," Thor said. "I do not believe Odin mentioned that he had turned me into a mortal, and by that point, Loki had pretty much gone mad anyways. We fought, when I went back to Asgard, and I was forced to destroy part of the Bifrost in order to stop him. We both fell off, and while Odin caught us, he proved that Loki meant nothing to him, and Loki fell anyways. He let go; I know he was attempting to kill himself."

Thor swallowed, and said, "Until today, I thought him dead, but my mother spoke with Heimdall, who said he had seen Loki here on Midgard. My only clues as to where he is are that he is living with a man who has a daughter, and this man was either a colleague or knew Erik Selvig; apparently he works at the same 'college'."

"Erik was on sabbatical from Culver University," Jane said. "He taught astrophysics there. I taught there too; I just received a request to go back. I was thinking of staying here, but I don't mind going back; you and Darcy can come along if you want."

"That would be excellent," Thor said. "I am sorry I do not have a name for the man Loki is living with, nor his daughter."

"There was a girl in the library a lot when I was there," Darcy said. "She was mute, something about a car accident and surgery that destroyed her vocal chords. I had just learned ASL, and she helped me learn more, since she couldn't speak. She was nice, and she told me her father was a professor in the mythology program."

"He might be our starting point, then," Jane said. "I'll send off an acceptance email tonight, and we can drive down tomorrow. What's your friend's name, Darcy?"

"Anna Morris, her dad is Professor Connor Morris," Darcy said. "Funnily enough, he was the Norse mythology professor; if he's hosting Loki, he's probably over the moon about it."

"I am sure that is a dream come true for any mythologist," Thor commented, watching as Jane sent off an email.


The next morning: Jane, Thor, and Darcy piled into the van early, and started driving. It was going to be a long drive.

With Loki, Anna, and Connor: Loki looked up from the book Anna had given him, and Connor asked, "Something wrong?"

"I think Thor is on Midgard, though I do not know where," Loki said. "He is at least on the same continent, however."

Anna signed something, and Loki said, "He's probably looking for me, if that's what that meant." He was still learning ASL, but both Connor and Anna were impressed by how fast he picked it up.

Anna nodded, and Connor sighed. "Well, we'll take things as they come," he said. "I heard from the college that Dr. Jane Foster accepted the teaching job there; it's possible Thor's coming with her."

Loki sighed. "I hope he's not here to take me back," he said.

Anna signed, We won't let him.

Loki smiled. "Thank you, Anna," he said. Anna smiled and hugged him.

Four days later: Connor was out buying groceries, and Loki was teaching Anna how to play chess. She was losing pretty badly when the doorbell rang, and she signed, No cheating, before going to get the door.

Loki looked at the board until he heard a female voice say, "Hi Anna!"

Looking up, Loki curiously went to the door, and found Anna hugging a young woman who looked a little older than her, and Thor watching them with amusement. Then Thor noticed Loki standing there, and said happily, "Brother! You are here!"

"How did you know where I was, and why are you here?" Loki asked warily.

"Mother told me you were alive, and that you were with a man who had a daughter and knew Erik Selvig," Thor said. "It was Lady Darcy here who figured out where you were; she and Lady Anna apparently are friends."

Loki looked at Anna, who signed, Met in the school library. Taught her ASL. "Ah," Loki said. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Darcy."

"You too Loki," Darcy said. "Thor, don't you have something to give to Loki?"

"Yes," Thor said. Loki watched warily as Thor pulled something out of his pocket. It appeared to be a letter, and Thor said, "It is from Mother, she asked me to bring it to you. I am not sure what it says, but I will explain my side of the story too."

"I will read it later," Loki said. "I would hear what you have to say first."

Anna pulled Darcy into the house, and led her, Thor, and Loki to the living room. She sat on a loveseat, and Loki sat next to her, smiling a bit as she leaned against him, watching Thor carefully.

Thor sighed and said, "I left Asgard nearly a week ago; Mother brought me via the old pathways after I had a fight with Odin. I am here to stay this time; I have no desire to return to Asgard. Sif and the Warriors Three are horrible- except perhaps Volstagg, who was the only one who showed sympathy when I told them you had fallen from the Bifrost. Sif was trying to convince me it was 'for the best', and I swear I nearly killed her. Fandral and Hogun didn't even care, so I stopped spending time with them. Then, of course, Odin decided he wanted me to take the throne, and I informed him that he was a decrepit old fool and I intended to make sure he never makes it to Valhalla. I do not want the throne, and I told him as soon as I found a way back here, I was taking it. So once I found out you were alive, I had even more reason to leave, and did so."

Loki was gaping at him, completely shocked. "I must have heard you wrong," he said finally. "You've wanted the throne your entire life, you insisted your friends and Odin were wonderful- and now you're telling me that you basically exiled yourself and dumped everyone you previously cared about besides Mother?"

Thor shrugged. "I consider it freedom, not exile," he replied. "And I am trying to change, Loki. I know I have done you wrong, and it should not have taken me nine hundred years to notice that. I want to make amends, because I do not care if you are a Jotun; no matter what, you will always be my brother. You could be the son of a bilgesnipe and I would not care. You. Are. My. Brother."

Loki just stared at him until Anna poked him and signed, Son of a what?

Loki snapped out of it and said, "Bilgesnipes are monstrous creatures with scales and horns that trample everything in their path. Basically destruction machines."

So creatures like Thor? Anna signed.

Darcy fell off the sofa laughing her ass off. Anna signed, All he's missing is the horns; he's got scales on his armor.

Loki was literally in hysterics. Anna giggled silently. Thor just looked confused. "I did not understand that," he said.

"She asked, "So creatures like Thor?" and then said, "All he's missing is the horns, he's got scales on his armor," Darcy giggled. "Anna, that was hilarious!"

Anna took a mock bow, which caused Loki and Darcy to collapse laughing again.

That was about when Connor came back, and he took one look in the living room and asked, "Darcy? Haven't seen you in a while, how's it going?"

"Hi Professor Morris," Darcy said, giggling. "Anna's hilarious."

"I do NOT destroy everything I touch," Thor grumbled, sulking.

"Yes you do," Loki said, having (somewhat) calmed down.

"I'm confused," Connor said.

"Anna asked me what a bilgesnipe was, and I told her it was a monstrous scaly creature with horns that destroyed everything in its path, and she asked, "So creatures like Thor?" Loki snickered.

"Anna, that's not very nice," Connor scolded- but his lips were twitching. Anna just grinned unapologetically.

Connor sighed and went to put the groceries away, coming back a while later to find them all calmed down- except for Thor, who was sulking still. "Friend of yours, Darcy?" Connor asked.

"Yeah, this is Thor; I said I'd take him here while Jane gets her new office set up; she might stop by later," Darcy said. "Thor, this is Professor Connor Morris, Anna's dad."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Professor," Thor said, shaking Connor's hand. "Thank you for looking after Loki."

"No problem, he's very polite," Connor said. "And it's mainly been Anna; she says he fell out of the sky and landed in our yard."

Thor looked at Loki in alarm, and Loki rolled his eyes. "I'm fine now; I was fine by the day after I woke up," he said.

"You're lucky to be alive," Connor said dryly. "You had a severe concussion and a very high fever; if you didn't have your magic, I'm fairly certain you'd be dead right now."

"Well, I'm fine now, so what does it matter?" Loki asked, irritated by the look Thor was giving him.

No more jumping off bridges, Anna signed at him.

Loki just sighed.


A few months passed uneventfully, aside from Connor starting teaching again. Loki was settling in nicely, as was Thor, and Jane enjoyed teaching, while Darcy went back to work on her political science degree.

As Christmas break rolled around, it began snowing. Soon Thor, Jane, and Darcy were facing off against Loki, Connor, and Anna in the snow, having a pretty epic snow war. All of them were laughing- until a beam of light hit them, and Loki quickly grabbed Connor and Anna, Thor doing the same with Darcy and Jane as they were beamed up to Asgard.

They landed on the newly-repaired Bifrost, and found Heimdall looking at them. "I apologize; I cannot defy a direct order from Odin without being accused of treason," he said. "He has called you before him; I made sure you would have your friends by your side."

"Thank you," Thor said, nodding. Loki nodded as well, and said to Thor, "I will meet you there with Anna and Connor; she will not be able to walk that far."

"Understood," Thor said. Loki took both Anna and Connor and teleported. "Thor, why can't Anna walk as far?" Jane asked.

"Her vocal cords were badly damaged as a child; it is why she is mute," Thor said. They started walking as he continued, "Due to the damage, she gets short of breath easily, and cannot do too much physical exercise at once. That is why Loki kept calling a halt to our snow war; Anna was having trouble catching her breath."

"I see," Jane said.

They caught up to Loki, Anna, and Connor a while later, in front of the palace gates. "Just out of curiosity, Loki, why did you attack the guards?" Thor asked conversationally, looking at the unconscious guards.

"One of them made a rude comment about Anna, and the others laughed," Loki said sulkily. "May we go now?"

"Probably a good idea," Connor commented. "I'm guessing someone's waiting for us."

"You would be correct," an amused voice said from behind them. They turned to see Frigga watching them with amusement. "Loki, it has been far too long," she said. "I am glad you are alive and well." She hugged him and Thor, and then asked, "New friends?"

"Family," Loki said, smiling. "Or in Thor's case, family and girlfriend."

"I am glad to hear that," Frigga said. "Come with me, Odin has called a meeting- and I would honestly enjoy seeing you take him down a few pegs."

"With pleasure," Loki said, smirking. He and the others followed Frigga to the throne room, and the guards opened the doors. They walked down the aisle together, and Odin scowled at them. Loki and Thor glared back, and Thor asked, "Why exactly are we here, Allfather? Neither Loki nor I has caused any trouble on Midgard, and we both know everything you were going to punish Loki for was really your fault anyways. You taught him to hate himself, you abused him, and now you expect him to pay for your mistakes. At this point a bilgesnipe would do a better job at running Asgard than you are. And I notice you still haven't punished Lady Sif or the Warriors Three for their act of treason, either."

"Thor's right," Loki said before Odin could blow his top. "And neither Thor nor I want anything to do with you or Asgard in general, save Frigga. Why do you bother bringing us here?"

"Midgard was forbidden," Odin said. "And therefore, you have both committed crimes that need addressing- especially since Loki attempted to destroy Jotunheim."

"I did not notice anyone censuring you when you attempted the same thing," Thor commented acidly. "Also, Loki did not intend to go to Midgard when he fell from the Bifrost, and could not return here- he had been declared dead by you and the Bifrost was broken."

"And yourself?" Odin asked.

"I was sick of your hypocrisy," Thor said. "Why exactly did you teach us that the Jotnar are evil when you yourself are half Jotun? Does that not make you evil as well?"

The uproar from the court was enormous after that revelation, and it took a while for Odin to regain control. "You know, the longer you keep us here, the more time we will have to rip your reputation to shreds," Loki commented. "Thor and I have found a new family, and new friends- we do not feel the need to be a part of Asgard anymore. Midgard is far more fun anyways."

Odin snarled and said, "If you enjoy it that much, you may spend the rest of your existence there as mortals!"

"Slight problem with taking my powers away," Loki said dryly. "My magic is tied to my life force. You can take my immortality away, but you can't take my magic away without killing me."

"He is correct," Frigga said, then added, "If you kill either of my sons, you will learn exactly what I am capable of, Odin Allfather."

Luckily for Loki's continued existence, Odin was smart enough not to challenge Frigga when she was in 'protective mother mode'. "Very well, but I will be taking their immortality," he said- not noticing Loki and Thor hiding self-satisfied smirks.

Odin used Gungnir to strip them of their immortality- and then looked confused when Thor and Loki, along with their mortal friends, cheered. "We'll be going back to Midgard now, Allfather," Thor said gleefully.

"I will walk you out," Frigga said, amused.

They left Odin with the sense that he was missing something very important.

Once outside the throne room, Loki asked, "Mother, you know a lot about healing, correct?"

"Yes," Frigga said. "Why do you ask?"

"Anna's vocal chords were basically destroyed sixteen years ago; I was wondering if it was possible to do anything about that," Loki said. "Or if it is too late."

"I can check," Frigga said. Anna went over to her, and Frigga put a hand on her throat gently. A few minutes later, she said, "I am afraid it is too late; had she had this happen and was able to come here shortly after, it would be possible, but the passing of time has ensured that this condition is permanent. I am sorry, there is nothing I can do."

Anna signed something, and Loki said, "She says it's fine, and thank you."

Frigga smiled and said, "You are welcome. I assume you plan to go home now?"

"Yes, Mother," Thor said. "We have both decided to drop the name Odinson and take on the name Friggasson, by the way."

Frigga laughed. "I am glad to hear it, though I do wish Odin had been more reasonable," she said. She hugged both her sons when they reached the gates, and said to the others, "Please take care of my sons."

"We will," Connor said, smiling at Loki and Thor. Both grinned back, and they left for the Bifrost.

"I see your plan worked," Heimdall said as they arrived. "Good work. And Loki, I apologize."

Loki looked faintly startled, and just nodded. Heimdall inclined his head before sending them back to Earth.

Wow, I did not expect this to be so long. I hope you enjoyed it, and sorry if the characters are OOC; I tried, but my imagination got away with me. For those curious, Anna and Loki do not have a romantic relationship; they're more like brother and sister. Please review!