A/N: I don't own this. I have never read the comic. This is based solely on the movie. It is clearly not based on the canon and kind of destroys the possibility of the Avenger's movie. Just a "What if" fic of what if Odin hadn't been a complete failure at parenting and said something encouraging to his son who clearly needed a kind word instead of just "No, Loki".
"I could have done it, father! I could have done it! For you! For all of us!"
Odin sighed to himself and smiled sadly at his son. Would he have done it differently, now that he knew what finding out his true jötunn heritage would do to Loki? Like any father, he truly had only wanted what was best for his sons. Both of them. This was no time for regrets, though, the pain in his son's face was visible and he was in a dangerous position.
"Loki, my son…" Odin said gently, "I know you could have," now was not the time to point out how reckless and damaging what he tried to do was, the Allfather ignored the headache at what he'd have to do to fix the damage his son had just done, "I've always known you were capable of great things. I've always been proud of you, Loki." Perhaps 'always' was a stretch of the truth, he was hardly proud when Loki would get into mischief or when Thor would do something reckless. But, in his heart, he was proud of both of his sons.
"Always?" Loki asked in disbelief.
"My son, I don't think I've been fair to you… I let you stay in Thor's shadow and failed to help you shine on your own right," Odin looked around at the chaos that was still going on, "But now… I'm hardly in a position to apologize properly. Let me get you both to where you're safe."
Loki nodded, dumbfounded for one of the first times in his life. He looked at Odin, his father. The strong and proud man's eye seemed to be pleading with Loki, just as Loki had been silently pleading to his father. He nodded jerkily and looked down, at everything he'd done, missing the relieved smile that came on Odin's face.
Asgard was abuzz with everything that had happened that day. It was fairly confusing, everyone rejoiced in the return of both Thor and Odin, worried about what was going to happen with the jötunn, and most conversations about Loki ended up in confusion. The warriors 3 couldn't really agree on how to feel about the man, though Sif was firm in her conviction that he was evil.
No one needed to wonder why Loki stayed in his quarters and allowed few visitors. Although there were murmers that he was plotting something else or that it was actually a punishment while the Allfather and Thor worked out what had happened in their absences.
"Brother," Thor said as he walked into Loki's room. He'd been surprised that he was allowed entry, but was glad of it.
Loki was sitting on the ledge of one of the windows, looking out into Asgard. From there he could see the broken bifrost, and just make out Heimdall standing guard at the edge. He didn't turn when his brother walked in, "I didn't mean it."
"What?" Thor asked, taken aback by that.
"When I threatened that human girl, I didn't mean it. I was just trying to get you to fight me," Loki said quietly.
Thor paused for a moment, not sure how to respond. "I'm glad of that, but why did you wish to fight me?"
Loki laughed hollowly. He'd gone over that night's events so many times. He didn't even know why he'd done most of it. "I suppose that I thought, if I beat you, I'd prove that you weren't better than me."
"Brother, I mean no disrespect, but we both know that if you truly wanted to best me- you could easily do so in a contest of cunning," Thor pointed out with a friendly smile. His face still turned away, Loki's lips turned upwards slightly.
After a short silence that was neither tense nor warm, Loki finally turned to face Thor. "I suppose you know by now," he said quietly, "That we aren't really brothers."
Thor made sure that he was looking Loki right in the eyes, now that he was able to, "There is more to brotherhood than blood. We shared our childhood, and for all trouble you got me into you helped me out of just as much. You are as much my brother as you would be if our mother had actually given birth to you."
Again, Loki's lips turned up slightly, but it faded. "That's not all that I mean."
"Yes," the man said, "I know that you are a jötunn." Loki turned away slightly at the word. Another silence, neither really sure what to say. "Why did you try to destroy Jötunnheim?" Thor asked gently.
Ah, that day, so many mistakes. "Do you remember, when we were children, you swore to kill all the Ice Giants?" Thor winced at that, if only it had been something that stayed in his childhood, but on the day he was to be crowned king he had still been so eager to destroy them all. "I don't know, I guess I hoped that… If I killed them, I'd prove that I belong in Asgard. Prove that I wasn't a monster."
"I'm sorry, Loki, if I'd only known that you were… I never would have…" Thor trailed off awkwardly.
Loki turned to his brother with a sad smile, "Neither of us knew. I was right there saying it with you."
The two brothers again fell into silence, looking at each other sadly, various regrets hanging in the air.
"Before I was banished," Thor said hesitantly, "You had never really deceived me. Why did you lie to me? When we were fighting, why did you use your magic to trick me?"
Loki closed his eyes and shook his head. There was no good answer to that. "When you were on Earth and I went to you… I had just found out what I was and then immediately had to take the throne. I…" he sighed to himself, "I think I hated you then. Hated you for being everyone's favorite, hating you for being our father's real son, hated you for being so reckless and putting me in a position where I had to take a throne I'd never wanted."
"You did?" Thor asked sadly.
Loki nodded, "I wanted to hurt you. I thought it would make me feel better to cut you down- but it didn't." He smiled bitterly, "I also wanted to make sure you'd stay on Earth. I'd come up with a ridiculous scheme to make myself a hero in the eyes of the Asgardians. You know how well that worked out."
"I should have listened to you, we never should have gone to Jötunnheim, none of this would have happened," Thor said, angry at the way he had once been.
"No, it wouldn't have," Loki agreed, smiling gently at his brother, "You never would have matured into a person worthy of the thrown of Asgard. You never would have met that woman. And, I don't think either of us would like to know how you would have reacted to finding out I was a jötunn the way you were."
Thor looked down at that last point, "Why are you saying this?"
"Brother," Loki said softly, addressing Thor as such for the first time since his banishment, "Your most reckless, bullheaded, immature, unthinking act turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to you."
"The ends do not justify the means," Thor reminded him, "And it turned out to be the worst thing that happened to you."
Loki looked away again. "Has father come up with any plans to fix what I've done to Jötunnheim?"
Thor sighed at the change of topic, "There's not much he can do with the bifrost destroyed. You know that," his tone saddened, "it was the only way between worlds."
Loki looked at his brother, who was now staring out through the window, past Loki, at the broken bifrost. It was clear that he was missing her, that human girl he had fallen in love with.
"Thor, I also didn't mean that," Loki said quietly.
"Didn't mean what?" Thor asked, not really paying attention, wrapped up in memories of Jane and the pain of the promise he broke.
Loki walked over to his brother and placed a hand on his shoulder, "You will see her again."
This broke Thor out of his thoughts and he furrowed his brows, "But, with the bifrost broken-"
"There are other ways between the worlds," Loki told him, trying to smile warmly but only managing a sad smile, "We will find a way to get you back to Earth."
He stared at Loki, hardly daring to believe it. He searched for any signs that this was a lie, but it seemed genuine. Thor gulped, "Loki, please, do not give me false hope."
"I cannot promise it will be soon, but I swear to you that there is a way," Loki said firmly.
"Thank you," Thor said, closing his eyes and smiling. He had been checking with Heimdall each day to see how she was doing- so long as Jane had not given up hope on him, he would not give up hope, either.
"The Casket of Ancient Winters must be returned to the Jötunn. It is the source of their power, they will be able to undo the damage I have caused," Loki said quietly.
"I think father will agree, if you can get us to Jötunheim to return it."
The trickster shook his head, "No- I need to be the one to do it. It's all my fault and besides," he sighed, "I'm one of them, it feels right."
"I won't let you go alone, it'd be too dangerous- they could kill you," Thor said, suddenly feeling very helpless for the first time in his life.
Loki brought his hand to his chin thoughtfully, "This sort of thing needs to be done very delicately. I'm sorry, Thor, but after your last visit I just don't think it's a good idea for you to go. Perhaps there's a way that I can signal you and father if things go badly and I need help."
Thor nodded reluctantly. Loki was right. Both of them needed to accept the results of their actions, and for Thor that meant letting his brother walk into a dangerous situation alone.
"Loki," Thor said quietly, "I'm not sure you know, but, well, anyone except our family who finds out about this will think it's a trick. That you'll go and restore their power and help them use it against us." He looked away, "It's… very hard to tell whose side you're on."
"I know, " Loki said, torn between the sadness of isolation and being a bit proud that he was as indecipherable as ever. "I don't know that I'm on a side right now… I just…" he sighed, "I don't know who I am right now, and I feel like I have to do this."
"There are better ways to work out who you are than to walk into Jötunnheim alone and risk further ostracizing yourself from the Asgardians," Thor said gently.
"Thor, were you blind or just that self-absorbed?" Loki snapped before realizing that his brother was only trying to help. He sighed, "I've never really fit in here, which was made incredibly plain when you were exiled. Those who I would have liked to call friend only cared to tell me off for sending Heimdall to get help then, as soon as I leave the room, accuse me of… I don't even know what they were thinking." He would rather not admit that part of why he'd done such thoughtless things was partly because he thought 'Why not, if that's what they think I am I might as well meet their expectations'.'
He sighed, "My brother had been exiled, I had no idea when or if I'd see you again, and I don't think it crossed anyone's mind to ask me how I felt about it."
"I'm sorry," Thor said somewhat awkwardly. "Are you thinking about staying in Jötunnheim? Is that why you want to go alone, so that we can't talk you out of it?"
"I don't know."
"Loki-" Thor started, before being cut off.
"I don't know where I belong, Thor. I don't feel much connection to anyone outside of yourself and our parents. I don't know if that's because of… what I am, if I'll feel more connected to the Jötunn. My only plans are to try and fix what I have done and also to figure out who I am," Loki explained. His brother nodded.
"When we ask father about your plan, we shouldn't tell him that," Thor said quietly. Loki nodded. "You weren't lying before, though, you will find a way so that if you're in trouble you can call to us for help, won't you?"
"I will," Loki said, smiling gently at his brother. Thor smiled sadly back at him.
"I will go to our father and tell him that you wish to speak to him," Thor said, turning and leaving the room.
Loki nodded, resuming his place on the window sill.