Dark Lady Devinity
For the norsekink prompt: Thor takes in his brother's children after Loki commits suicide. Odin worries about his oldest son's sanity because of this. Loki eventually finds his way back to Asgard and is surprised to find his spawn in better condition than he'd left them. Bonus if Loki's kids start referring to Thor as father. +1Bonus for wooing romantic comedy style.
This is movieverse, taking place after the final battle between Thor and Loki. Assumes that Hel, Fenrir and Jormungandr are just young kids and that Narvi and Vali have yet to be born.
Thor was never much for responsibility. It was part of the reason that he had so needed to be exiled to Midgard. However, he knew that there were some things that simply had to be taken care of because they had no way of taking care of themselves. Things like puppies and babies.
And Loki's son Fenrir just happened to be both.
It had been a week since Loki had loosened his grip on Odin's spear and plunged to his death. A week since the bifrost had been destroyed and all the inhabitants of Asgard were trapped in their home world. A week since anyone thought to remember that people had responsibilities. A week since anyone remembered that Loki had three very precious responsibilities. And Thor could have torn the worlds apart for that last one.
The god of thunder had spent that last days since his battle with Loki mourning his brother and holding out hope that someday he would be reunited with Jane. He believed that he may someday learn to live without her love, if need be, but he did not want to learn to live without her friendship and sure, human common sense. These thoughts still plagued him even as he wandered down old halls that he had rarely seen. That was how he came across three young creatures that looked very hungry and scared. Loki's little half-dead daughter was walking in the shadows that hugged the walls of the hall, clutching her wolf pup brother with her one good arm. Her reptilian brother clung to her shoulders. They looked absolutely miserable and, many years in the future, Thor would thank the fates that Vali and Narvi were not born yet to experience what the other three had to.
"Hel." Thor boomed. "When have you last seen the inside of a dining hall?"
The small girl cringed away from Thor and looked like she was about to cry. Thor silently cursed his foolhardiness and reminded himself that this was still a babe and not yet the destined future ruler of Helhiem.
"Child, I am sorry. Please forgive me for I had forgotten to respect this place with the proper loudness of voice." Thor said as soothingly as possible. He was also speaking as if the girl was a fine lady, as she would one day be, and not a little girl. He wasn't sure how to go about talking to a little girl as Sif was the only young maiden that he had spoken to in childhood and Sif had been far more masculine than any of the boys, Thor included, when she was Hel's age.
Hel sniffed. "It... it's okay. I'm... I can't find daddy."
And with those words, misformed as they were with only half a living tongue, Hel showed Thor that a child was far more able to break a heart than the deepest knife wound or mightiest blow. Thor crept down to the child's level and patted the top of her head. He was careful to avoid touching the dead half of her in case his hand was too strong and dislodged some piece of decaying flesh that was vital to her body.
"Loki had to go away and I do not know when he will be back." Thor said. "But I know he loved you dearly. Is there anyone to care for you until he comes home?"
Hel shook her head. It was well known that the three siblings were the offspring of the giantess Angrboda but no one knew if the woman lived. Some tales spoke of her as the children's mother and others told tales of her death and how Loki had eaten her heart, becoming impregnated with the children. Loki had liked to encourage any tale that came up about the children's births and so all anyone knew was that he was their parent, be it mother or father. The children themselves would have called Loki "Father" as he spent most of his time in his male form.
"If there is no one to care for you then may I have the honour?" Thor asked.
Waiting patiently, the god watched as Hel whispered quickly to both of her brothers. He was amazed to see that Hel understood Fenrir's yips and barks and Jormungandr's hissing.
Then the girl smiled brightly at Thor and nodded. Thor smiled back and decided that the first thing he had to do was to feed the children. Then he remembered something important.
"Hel, what exactly do your brothers eat? Do they feed like the animals they look like or do they feed like you and I and thus Loki would?"
"I worry that you do not know what you are getting into." Odin told Thor one day many months into the god of thunder's raising of Loki's three children.
Thor watched as Hel and Fenrir ran around in the fields with Sleipnir. Jormungandr had coiled himself around the horse's neck as he did not have the same mobility as his other siblings. Thor, who was often surprised at how intelligent Fenrir and Jormungandr were, was now beginning to see that Loki's oldest son also had inherited the intelligence one would expect of a child of Loki's.
"You told me of how you found Loki as an infant babe in Jotunn and how you took him in. Why should my taking in of Loki's children be any different? Indeed, am I not even more responsible to these children then you were to Loki at the time you found him as Loki was raised as my brother, thus making them your grandchildren?" Thor asked. "Verily, as I learn more about them, I come to question why you would use your firstborn grandson as your stead."
"When I took Loki in I had done so in the hope to bring peace to Asgard and Jotunnhiem. You only took these children in to keep the memory of your brother alive." Odin said. "And these children are not sentient the way Loki was. Only Hel is in a body like ours and hers is half dead."
"I'll not have you speak of my children in that way." Thor said, his tone dark. "They are all brilliant in their own ways and all bask in the beauty of being fully alive."
"They are not your children! They are creatures that will destroy you. The Norns have foreseen that you and that snake boy that you proclaim to be your son now will murder each other at Ragnarok." Odin said. "I know that you wish not to hear this but I fear for you, my son."
"And I understand why you feel that way. After being with the children, I believe that I would hold your same fears if my son was rushing into something so very important." Thor said. "But they are still only children. And Father, should that day ever come, I will do my duty to fight Jormungandr but I will not stop loving him as my adopted son."
"And I have never stopped loving Sleipnir as my grandson. I only do what I can to protect my family." Odin said solemnly.
Thor nodded. No more words were spoken between the two men as they now faced towards Loki's strange children and watched them play in the bright sunlight.
Two years had passed before Loki was found alive on Midgard. By then the bifrost had been repaired and Thor had been reunited with Jane. Indeed, when Loki was found, Thor had finally gotten his life under control. He had done his best to raise Hel, Jormungandr and Fenrir and knew that they loved him as he loved them. He had not formed any relationship with Jane expect for the dearest of friendships and cherished that friendship all the more for the ways she would treat the children. Jane bought Hel the prettiest dresses, Fenrir the best toys and Jormungandr the tastiest mice. Thor had also joined the Avengers and now found himself with the best warriors as friends in Asgard and Midgard. All was good.
All was even better when Thor was reunited with Loki after foiling his grand scheme for chaos and mayhem.
"What would you do with me now brother?" Loki asked.
Thor crushed him in a tight hug and replied, "I would forgive you and take you home. Even if I had the desire to smite you down, I would not be able to deny the children the joy of seeing you again. They miss you."
"The children?" Loki asked.
"Your sons and daughter. Who do you think cared for them while you were missing?" Thor asked. "Hel will not be ready to rule Helhiem for at least another ten summers!"
"Yo... you've been raising my children?" Loki asked. "My little babies? You lack the intelligence of a drunken slug!"
"You do me a great injustice. I did not put them in the stables like Father did Sleipnir." Thor said. "Although I fear that all your offspring may be wiser than I am. But perhaps children just see things more plainly than adults."
There was real affection in Thor's voice when he spoke of the three little godlings. This so shocked Loki that he was willing to let Thor take him back to Asgard. Even more importantly, he was worried about the children. Had he not been so devastated during the battle against Thor and finding out that he could never earn their father's pride, he would have been certain to take the children out of Asgard and somewhere safe. The only reason he had not come back for them was because he had only escaped from the void recently.
The first sight that greeted Loki when he stepped back onto the bifrost for the first time in two years was Hel and Fenrir racing toward him as Jormungandr slithered along behind them. He could only watch as the children threw themselves into Thor's arms as Hel cried "Father!" while Fenrir yipped cheerfully.
His babies had forgotten him.
Loki, Thor decided, was being entirely too awkward about the whole situation. Not that Fenrir was helping matters any. Both father and son could be aloof and cold when put in situations where they did not have the upper hand. Hel, always perceptive, could tell that things were terribly uncomfortable and was trying her best to rectify matters. But she had the blood of a monarch and neither her brother nor her father wanted to be ordered around by a preadolescent girl. Only Jormungandr was calm about the whole situation and Thor found himself spending most of his time with the snake, discussing what he needed to do to put things at ease. It was helpful in some ways but Thor could only guess as to what Jormungandr thought as he didn't speak serpent.
Although the future Midgard serpent had been quite clear when he stole an arguing couple's wedding bands and gave them to Thor.
"You want me to marry my brother?" Thor asked Jormungandr.
Jormungandr hissed and gave a head shake that quickly turned into a nod.
The god of thunder sat back and thought. Thor was not known for his wit and wisdom but sometimes he knew exactly what needed to be done. "You do not necessarily want me to marry Loki. So what does marriage mean? It is usually the step one takes before having children and starting a family. Do you wish for Loki and I to form some bond that allows us both to be fathers to you and your siblings thus keeping this strange family intact?"
Jormungandr answered Thor by wrapping himself around the thunder god's shoulders and giving him a loose squeeze. It would not be long before Jormungandr would be too heavy to do that. Hel and Fenrir already could not lift the snake. Fenrir himself was as tall as Thor's waist. As it was, though, Thor knew that he had understood exactly what Jormungandr was trying to tell him. Thus the two males began forming a plan to get Loki to accept Thor as a meaningful, responsible partner who would be able to help Loki raise his children.
That evening found Loki, Hel and Fenrir sat at a make shift dining table that Thor had set up in their shared living quarters. Loki had not intended to live so closely to his brother but his beloved spawn would not leave the safety Thor provided and Loki would not leave the children.
Suddenly Thor, with Jormungandr around his shoulders, burst in through the large double doors of their living space while holding a large tray. Whatever the tray held smelled thoroughly cooked and quite dead.
"I have cooked dinner!" Thor declared.
"Did you use the cooking fires or simply summon the very lightning? That, is it meat, is charred blacker than the flesh of the last Jotunn that offended you." Loki said.
Fenrir whimpered in agreement. Hel, meanwhile, had moved closer to the foul tray and was poking at it.
"Father, where did you get such fare?" Hel asked.
"I... ah..." Thor said.
Hel sighed. "I know not what you were trying for but it's best to let the servants cook for us. Besides, it is clear that Jormungandr hunted this meat and his venom is potent enough that if we eat this, we all shall die."
Both Jormungandr and Thor cringed at that. Hel smiled sweetly and said, "We are all very different from each other. As good a father as you've been to us, you'll never learn how to care for each of our unique dining needs. I'll go down to the kitchens and find something more appropriate."
"I'll eat it." Loki said, sighing. "There's no need to let it go to waste and I can turn into a serpent much like Jormungandr. If Jormungandr would not mind, we can share it."
Jormungandr seemed to approve. This caused a light smile to momentarily play on Loki's face as he realised it might not be so difficult to win the children back.
A day after the personal family dinner disaster, Thor had a new plan. It was the kind of plan that would work on any pretty maiden. Unfortunately, Loki was not a maiden no matter how many times he took the form of one.
"What am I supposed to do with dead weeds that you pulled out of the ground?" Loki asked.
"I thought that you'd like them. They looked like pretty flowers." Thor said. "I did not know they were weeds."
"Those 'flowers,' as you called them, are responsible for strangling Mother's prized roses." Loki said.
"Oh... by Odin's beard, why would I need to know the difference?"
"So long as you know better than to give them to Hel. She is allergic. But I will take the chocolate."
A sweet home cooked family dinner had not worked and neither had flowers and chocolates. Thor had tried to impress Loki with his skills as a warrior and hunter but only Fenrir was impressed with the way he crushed that rabbit's skull in. And that was only because the wolf pup wanted to eat the rabbit. Which meant it was time to try the serious bonding moment talk.
Thor found Loki outside in the gardens, pouring over spell books. Thor sat down beside him and knew that Loki was watching him out of the corner of his eye despite the fact that the trickster never looked up from his book.
"I want you to know that Hel has never called me 'Daddy.'" Thor said.
"Excuse me?" Loki asked, puzzled.
"She has called me Father many a time and I know that Fenrir and Jormungandr have as well by the way their sister translates their words. But not a one calls me Daddy." Thor said. "That word only leaves Hel's mouth when talking about you. It is what she called you when I first came upon her after we thought you died."
"Not a one of them calls me by any sort of title or even name now." Loki said, choosing honesty over lies this one time. "I am not even sure they remember me."
"They remember. Jormungandr suggested the family dinner. He has suggested many things to me. And, of course, they speak to Sleipnir and he tells them fond tales about you. I do not understand any of their speech but I have learned a little through Hel. I cannot replace you brother. I only know your children and their needs through what one little girl tells me." Thor said.
"Then explain why they shy away from me if they remember and need me." Loki demanded.
"They are scared that you will leave them again." Thor answered. After a long silence passed behind the two brothers, Thor continued with, "I am scared you will leave again."
"I did not intend to leave anyone." Loki said. "It simply happened."
"I do not intend to leave anyone either. So let us have a truce and peace and provide your hellish spawn with stability." Thor said. He was grinning and only meant 'hellish spawn' as an affectionate joke.
The air was starting to grow chill. It was time to lead children back into their homes and begin supper. Thor stood up and reached out a hand to Loki. The trickster stared at it for a moment with an unreadable expression on his face. Then he willingly took it and let Thor help him up.
"You have many faults, my elder brother," Loki said, "but fatherhood suits you well."
Thor's smile was kind as he said, "I can see it in Fenrir's eyes, Jormungandr's ideas and Hel's smile that the same can be said of you as well."