Last chapter! Thank you to everyone especially who reviewed or added the story to alerts or favorites!
Keep an eye out after The Avengers comes out. With any luck there will be some juicy plot involving Loki that I can hijack for my own selfish devices.
Loki was surprised at Thor's statement, he certainly had not expected his actions to be recounted throughout the army, although he could not help the small warm feeling in his stomach, nor could he stop the small smile that found its way out.
The war dragged on. It had been three standard weeks since they had landed on Jotunheim and it did not appear to be letting up in the slightest.
Loki secretly wondered what Laufey hoped to accomplish. There had been no activity even remotely close to the wormhole as far as he could tell, and Heimdall had not mentioned anything either.
Although there had been far fewer engagements over the last week, something was stirring in the Frost Giant's camp. He craved to know what was happening, and briefly entertained the idea of using the passage himself and sneaking through their tents to try to learn what was happening.
It did not take more than a second for him to discard that idea. Thor seemed to have conscripted the entire palace to keep an eye on him when he was home, and Serrure stuck to him like glue when they were on Jotunheim.
He had hoped that time would assure his brother of his safety, but even three weeks after his encounter with Laufey, Thor worried.
Loki had gone over his encounter with the Frost Giant king dozens of times and in the end he could regret the opportunity he had lost to integrate himself with Laufey, but a larger part of him was happy with how he reacted.
He doubted whether he could have controlled himself long enough to play the part of a traitorous and jealous son to actually get information worth the price. Laufey would have been wary of his sudden switch and Loki knew himself well enough to acknowledge the delicate state of mind that he had existed in for the last several weeks.
Still, it was a thought to keep in the back of his mind. Information was never a bad thing, and he could easily shield himself from sight and slip past his watchers.
It would be trickier to navigate through the enemy's camp, and harder to avoid the very obvious problem that the snow and ice would present.
It was possible to hide himself from sight, but he couldn't change the fact that his body still took up space and the snow in the air would act accordingly, whether or not he could be seen. An observant look-out could spot him, and he had not perfected the spells necessary to hide the footprints he would leave behind.
For the time being he decided to wait on a secret trip to Jotunheim. As it was he was on the planet a couple of days every week. They had a firm grip on the realm and the casualties were much lower than what they had anticipated.
For the moment, at least, he could afford to wait to play this rather desperate card in an effort to end the war.
Another two weeks had gone by and they were making definite progress. Loki's teams had had a couple of scares, one involving his own team, luckily they had escaped mostly unscathed.
It had been a routine fight, not very large, although they had been attacked at an outpost that was not as heavily manned as some of the surrounding ones.
Loki and his team had been on the planet and responded immediately, making the mistake of assuming that the Frost Giants that had instigated the battle would be alone.
Reinforcements had come, and luckily Serrure had seen them in time to warn everyone. They would have been caught right in the middle of the fight once the new wave of giants had crashed into the battle.
He and Serrure had had to fight off a couple of Jotuns while Atli and Fafnir had evacuated those few injured that they had been tending to.
They had been extremely fortunate. One of the teams had been caught in the middle. It was pure luck that the battle had shifted away from them, allowing all four of them to retreat and receive some on the spot healing. They managed to get back to the Bifrost and one of the other teams on site escorted them back to the healing wing.
It had made Loki half crazy with worry. He hovered over the team as they were healed and demanded every detail from them, needing to make sure that it didn't happen to any other team.
Serrure had finally taken him aside to the training room, letting him fight out his fear and helplessness. He was surprised at how cathartic the process was, and understood the appeal that it had for his brother, who was emotional about something almost every day.
It was finally over. Word had come through only an hour ago that the Frost Giants had surrendered to the commander on planet, Tyr, and Thor and Loki were on their way there now to ensure the process went smoothly. Thor had grumbled about it being the "one day of the week that he hadn't been there, and now they choose to surrender."
It was eerily quiet, and the brothers were on alert for anything that was out of place. The surrender had come unexpectedly, and Loki was suspicious of the sudden change.
Despite how uneven the war had been, there had been no indication that the Frost Giants would give up. There had been a rather large conflict just two days ago in fact.
Thor reached the commander first and Loki listened to his report.
"He approached me and said that he had authority to surrender to us. There is no sign of Laufey and as of this moment they have honored the cease-fire," Tyr said.
Loki turned to Thor and offered his opinion, "Talk to the Frost Giant who surrendered. Find out their terms and arrangement for a more permanent truce. I will try to find out where Laufey is and what brought about this sudden peace."
Thor nodded his acceptance and said, "Be careful."
Loki slipped back through the lines and found a quiet place to weave his transformation. He could feel his skin changing and knew without checking that he looked like a Frost Giant, although he did not make up the difference in height. He could feel the difference in his appearance and knew instinctively that it was not the same as the other times he had assumed his 'natural' appearance.
He stole through the ranks of the Frost Giants with relative ease and approached a group in the back that was huddled together.
Drawing himself up he called to them, "Do you know me?"
They turned to look at him carefully before one said, "You are not one of us."
Loki pretended to be angry, "Of course I am. I have talents that you could not dream of. My disguise must be able to fool Odin and his stupid son. Do you think Laufey would trust any idiot to be his inside man?"
Seeing some of their suspicious looks lessen he continued forcefully, establishing control and forcing them to respond, "This was not the plan. What is Laufey doing? I need to know how to best help him. This surrender is making a mockery of Jotunheim."
One of them stepped forward, "You want to help? Keep Odin's son here and occupied. Keep your gatekeeper's gaze on Jotunheim. Soon we shall restore the glory of our realm and Laufey leads us there even now. Those fools-" he gestured to the front, towards the Frost Giants who were setting up the peace. "Think they are in charge now that the king is gone. They want peace and took the first opportunity to end the war. Cowards."
Loki gave a smile to cover his growing panic, "Very well. I will do what I can."
He disappeared back into crowd and made his way as quickly as possible to the Asgardian lines, barely remembering to drop his disguise in his haste to make it to his brother's side.
"Thor," he called. He pulled his brother away from the Frost Giant with what he hoped was an apologetic smile. "We'll just be a moment."
"Something is very wrong," he said quickly, cutting off his brother's interruption. "I spoke to some of the Frost Giants and they were very concerned with keeping you here and Heimdall's gaze on Jotunheim. Laufey is up to something and they think it will change their fortunes. We must get back to the Bifrost."
Loki quickly went back to the commander, indicating with his head that he should go talk to Thor. He turned to the Frost Giant and said in a falsely cheerful voice, "Do excuse my brother and I for another moment. A message has come through and our dear mother is in need of our help. Since the cease-fire has been held up so far, we will leave you in Tyr's capable hands for the moment."
He shrugged as if to say 'what can you do' but the Frost Giant seemed unconcerned, "Very well. We will await your return." Loki felt more inclined to believe their sincerity for a moment.
If what he had heard from the other Frost Giants was right, the ones in front of him actually wanted peace. There was a chance, a small chance, but a chance nonetheless, to instill a new king and reach a permanent truce with Jotunheim if they did it right.
He could not afford to ruin that chance. But Laufey had to be taken down before they could establish any kind of peace.
Loki turned casually, calling to his brother, "Come, Thor. Mother mustn't be kept waiting."
Thor followed along, giving a wide smile, but Loki could see the serious look in his eyes as he clapped the commander on the shoulder. "Hold down the planet until we return. It should not be long."
"Of course, Commander," Tyr replied.
They did not rush to the Bifrost, although they longed to, and when they were close Thor called for Heimdall, "Open the Bifrost Heimdall!"
As soon as the ground beneath their feet stopped spinning Loki ran forward to Heimdall, "You must look for Laufey. Something is wrong, he is not on Jotunheim."
Seeing the serious expression on both of their faces, he quickly turned his searching gaze towards the stars, concentrating on finding the Frost Giant.
For several minutes the silence stretched on until Heimdall broke off and turned to them, "He is on Midgard with a small group. They managed to find one of the wormholes and landed only moments ago. They are making their way to the nearest civilization as we speak."
Thor looked at him in panic, "We must go now. Heimdall, tell father what has happened, and tell him to send Sif and the Warriors Three to Jotunheim to ensure the peace is kept. Loki and I can handle Laufey. Keep an eye on us though."
Heimdall nodded and quickly charged up the Bifrost. Loki looked to his brother and prepared for the journey to Earth.
The landing was sudden and jarring and he felt the difference in temperature almost immediately, although the heat was no more than a minor annoyance. He looked ahead and spotted the Frost Giants easily. They were stopped only a short distance away, looking at them. Laufey had a dozen Frost Giants with him.
Immediately alarm bells went off in his head. Why would he only bring a dozen men with him. Had he brought more he could have inflicted much more severe damage and established some kind of control over the area much more quickly.
That thought struck him as odd and he took a moment to think it over again. He and Thor stood some 500 feet away from the group of Frost Giants, who had stopped to look at them.
A glance at Laufey's smug smile had Loki reeling. We were set up. This was never about controlling Midgard. This was about drawing Thor and I away so that we were vulnerable. Was the peace offering false as well?
In the distance he could see the small city untouched as of yet and steeled himself for what he was about to do.
Loki turned to his brother. "We need to get to the town. I will keep Laufey distracted, you need to get the people out. It is a small enough place, it should be easy. Then you can join me and we can take them down."
"I'm not leaving you alone!" Thor said angrily.
Loki turned to survey the Frost Giants, "Now is not the time, brother. You can fly; it is only logical that you be the one to go because you will have an easier time coming back for me. The faster you get everyone away, the faster you can help me. It's as simple as that."
Thor turned to him with a fierce expression and pointed a finger at the younger, "You will be alive when I come back."
Loki smirked in a show of bravado, "Of course. Now go!"
Thor took to the sky once more and landed in the center of the town, where many of the humans had gathered. He began yelling and Loki turned his attention back to the horizon, breathing a sigh of relief that his brother was temporarily out of danger. He had to assess the situation and Thor would not give him enough time to figure everything out before he started bashing skulls.
The Frost Giants had started walking towards the town again, and Loki waked forward to meet them and add just a little bit more distance between them and the people behind him.
They stopped a few feet away from each other and Laufey stood in the middle, smiling down at him.
"Little Loki," he rumbled. "I had hoped that we would meet again."
The Frost Giants laughed but Loki seemed unaffected, "Yes, as did I. Our last meeting saw nothing resolved and I had hoped to clear up this matter soon." He turned to look at the other giants, and his voice turned mocking.
"Do they know the truth?" he asked blithely. One look at Laufey told him everything he needed to know, and the laughter had died from their faces, leaving them confused and curious. He was confident that Laufey would go after him first, but it couldn't hurt to make sure his attention was focused on him and not Thor.
He played it out a little longer, not yet ready to descend into violence, "You claimed to want me back at your side. You said I'd be welcomed as a prince, and yet none of them were informed? Tsk tsk. How confusing. I thought you wanted me to come home." He decided to twist the knife. "Father."
Laufey's sword sliced through his illusion and the giant roared in anger. Loki smiled and created a dozen more illusions, surrounding the Frost Giants, trying to draw the conflict out a little longer.
One of the illusions spoke as he moved into position, "They don't know about your little heir?" He moved silently as their attention was focused on the illusion and stabbed one of the Frost Giants through the heart.
A different illusion picked up after Laufey had unsuccessfully vented his anger on the illusion closest to the dead giant, "The great Laufey, father to a son too small to be a giant." Another Frost Giant fell dead.
"How embarrassing." A third illusion spoke up.
"What a disgrace." The giants had wised up by now and had formed their own circle with their backs to the middle, facing outward to ward off another attack.
"No wonder you tried to hide me away so that no one knew."
"Enough!" Laufey yelled, and Loki was taken by surprise as the Frost Giant unleashed a wave of ice, shattering his illusions and tossing him backward painfully.
He landed on his back, the air knocked out of him, and hurriedly rolled to a kneeling crouch, trying to catch his breath from a position of strength rather than on the ground.
He narrowed his eyes, although the attack should have been expected, the ferocity shocked him. Did I push too hard too quickly?
"You won't escape again, boy. I'll make sure you're dead this time, and none of your little tricks will save you," Laufey was dead serious.
There was no chance that he could hold them all off if came down to it, and even if he only engaged a handful, the rest could simply walk past him and get to the town.
I have to strike first. I have to keep them here and away from Thor.
He had taken two out, but there were still ten plus Laufey, and his best chance was a quick attack with magic.
The words fell rapidly from his lips, his intent shaping the spell as his mind tried to pick his next move. Sensing the attack, Laufey and two others rushed forward while the other eight stood back, but Loki couldn't break his concentration.
He pushed the magic through his hand once it was formed, targeting the four Frost Giants on the left flank and watched as they were obliterated, their ashes falling to the ground.
Despite the energy drain that the spell came with he quickly moved on to step two of his plan, jumping backwards in an attempt to give himself enough time to form the words for his next spell while avoiding Laufey's attack.
Just in time he finished the spell, sending a quick blessing at how much shorter the incantation was, and threw his other hand out, creating an invisible but strong barrier that the other four would not be able to get around.
He had just enough time to throw his head back and avoid Laufey's attack, although he felt the weapon continue on its arch and open a cut on his shoulder. The other two giants raced passed him, intent on reaching the town and Thor now that their back up had been incapacitated, and he could do nothing to stop them.
Another swing from Laufey's weapon forced his gaze forward and he grit his teeth knowing he had to give Laufey his full attention. Acknowledging his opponent, he drew his sword. Thor was more than capable of dealing with those two, provided he wasn't still focused on protecting the humans. Damn. He pushed the thought out of his mind and focused solely on his enemy.
Laufey's skill with his makeshift ice sword was very much superior to Loki's swordsmanship, and several times Loki was forced to dodge or create small magical shields with a word and a wave of his hand to stop an attack where he could not block it in time.
There was no respite in the attacks and even when he threw in the sparse hand-to-hand combat moves he knew, trying to take the giant by surprise, Laufey simply evaded them, intent on not letting him catch his breath or use an offensive spell.
Loki allowed himself a grim smile when one of his kicks connected solidly with Laufey's chest. It had been the same combination move that he had used against Sif all those weeks ago, but obviously the king was much taller than Sif and the kick was less effective when it wasn't connecting with an enemy's chin.
He followed up quickly, a slash opening up across the giant's chest. Loki wished he could have stabbed him but he would rather not get caught up with his sword in a position of weakness if Laufey recovered in time. The slash allowed for damage and he could fall back into a defensive stance while his opponent took a step back to recover.
He heard the familiar sound of a hammer hitting flesh and had to force himself not to look over his shoulder to see Thor taking down the two Frost Giants that had gotten past him.
An enormous amount of relief filled him when what seemed like seconds later he saw Thor rush passed him, deciding to deal with the four remaining Frost Giants before interfering with his brother's duel.
Thankfully Thor recognized that Loki had used a spell and did not run head first into the barrier.
Loki took a second to drop the barricade, but the moment of distraction cost him. A quick movement from Laufey had his sword flying through the air and Loki was unarmed.
Before he could jump back a large hand closed around his throat and he was slammed to the ground, the full weight and strength of the giant bearing down on him and crushing his throat.
He could not scream or draw breath but Laufey's words cut through his panic and centered him.
"You should have joined me when you had the opportunity. You lost your only chance to have a purpose, foolish boy," Laufey practically purred, his gloating obvious.
Loki's vision was tunneling and his hearing had narrowed to his own heartbeat thudding in his ears. His hands scrabbled at the grip on his throat. His back arched off the ground and his legs kicked at the dirt, trying to get some leverage but the hand only clenched his throat tighter.
He had only seconds to make a move and his distress drove his mind to panic before he remembered his throwing knives.
He forced himself to hold on and used one hand to grip Laufey's arm as hard as he could, trying to draw the king's attention away from the other hand that was pulling a knife out.
It was difficult and lacked his usual finesse, but under the circumstances Loki was immensely pleased with himself as he managed to stab the knife into Laufey's unprotected side.
The giant yelled, his grip automatically loosening, although his body curled up in itself, increasing the weight on top of Loki.
In a fit of desperation he forced his magic to coalesce and overwhelm him, bursting out painfully and throwing Laufey off of him and several feet back.
For several moments he could only screw his eyes shut and cough wretchedly, trying to draw much needed air into his lungs. His hand came up to massage his throat and he distantly heard footsteps approaching.
With all the strength he had at his command he forced himself up on one side to lean on his elbow and blinked open his eyes to meet his opponent.
Only to sag with relief when he saw Thor standing over the prone form of Laufey.
Thor was too furious for words. Having seen Loki disarmed, he dealt with the four Frost Giants quicker than should have been possible; the lightning bolt that he summoned from the stormy sky had helped greatly.
As he turned he saw the Frost Giant looming over Loki, strangling the life out of his little brother, and had Loki not thrown the giant off of him at that moment, Thor would have flown into him and tackled him to the ground in his rage.
He felt a burst of uncontrolled pride in his brother as he noticed the knife still sticking out of Laufey's side.
Looking down at Laufey, Thor decided that he was not worth any last words that he might have once wanted to say to the Frost Giant.
Instead he raised Mjolnir above his head and brought it down with all his strength on the king's skull, caving it in horribly until it was almost unrecognizable.
Satisfied with his work, he ran to his brother's side, offering a hand and pulling him up easily.
Loki coughed again, one hand still on his throat, and hunched over to ensure he could stay balanced and upright before raising himself to look at the devastation that his brother had wrought.
He felt nothing as he looked over the charred remains of the four Frost Giants and the mutilated corpse of Laufey, and was satisfied with his response. It would not do to mourn for his enemy, and although he recognized the connection he had with Laufey, he had come to the conclusion long ago that in the face of what he had with his real family, Laufey meant nothing to him.
Looking to his brother he rasped out, "What took you so long?"
He could feel Thor's wince at his voice and saw him turn a critical eye to his throat, which Loki ignored, hoping his brother would get the message.
"There were these agents in town. Very pushy," Thor answered calmly, and although Loki could read the anger in his eyes over his injury, he was thankful that his brother would not fuss over him. "They wanted me to answer all sorts of questions, and then there was this girl-"
"A girl!" It was hard to communicate his amusement when he could barely whisper, but he managed. "I almost died because you found some cute mortal girl?"
Thor looked chagrined but his voice was playful, "You handled yourself well enough. Kept four of them back. He had ten with him right?"
Thor's eyes were dancing and Loki rose to the bait, "He had twelve," he croaked.
"Right, of course. So I took those two that got passed you, then the four, and finally Laufey. That means you took down six. Not bad little brother" Thor gave the appearance of being serious but he was practically glowing with glee.
Loki scowled good-naturedly, "I did all the work with Laufey. All you had to do was hit him on the head."
"Which took a lot of skill," Thor protested with a smile. "What if he had moved? Plus I had to make sure to hit him hard enough to pay him back for what he did to you."
He reached up a hand to gently brush across Loki's throat, wincing again at the angry red marks in the shape of Laufey's fingers that decorated his brother's throat. He noticed a jagged cut on his shoulder as well, no doubt the result of the uneven edges of an ice weapon.
Loki took a second to look over his brother as well. A red mark that was sure to bruise was blossoming on his cheek, and from the way he held himself up so stiffly it was likely that the giants had scored at least one body shot.
"Looks like they got a few hits in on you as well," Loki whispered.
Thor waved him off and guided him towards the town as they walked slowly. "I promised the agents that I would return. They wanted to talk about something."
"We can talk later," Loki argued weakly. "We have to get back and finalize the peace arrangement, there is a chance that it was fake. You can return to talk to your girl when we are done."
He steered his brother back towards the Bifrost site with little resistance, although Thor offered a protest, "But I promised her that I would be back."
"Don't you mean you promised the agents that you would be back?" Loki asked amusedly.
Thor grinned, "Right. The agents."
He turned Loki around, back towards the town, "Surely another ten minutes wouldn't hurt anything. After all, the peace agreement will turn into a treaty, which will mean a big political show and then there will be the celebrations and feasts. We won't be able to return for days."
Loki rolled his eyes, knowing he would concede this matter but wanting to draw it out. "I suppose Heimdall will be able to see that we are alive and well," he said slowly. "The cease-fire will surely hold for another day or two, and-"
Thor whooped joyously and took a gentle grip on his brother's shoulders, flying them back to the town and landing near a group of men in identical black suits and sunglasses.
Loki noticed a brown haired woman by a nearby building, flanked by another girl and a man, but he turned his attention back to the men in front of him as one of them stepped forward.
His brother nudged him forward softly and gestured to the man, "Agent Coulson, my brother Loki. Loki, Agent Coulson."
After that Thor took off at a run towards the woman, who took several steps forward to meet him.
Loki gave an exasperated sigh and turned to the man in the suit who offered his hand with an equally amused smile.
He shook the hand and said, "What can we do for you, Agent Coulson?"
I'm not thrilled with the ending since I feel like there are still some unanswered questions, so I might post some one-shots within this series that explore the ending or other scenes that were shortened. Let me know if there's something you'd like to see.
Hope you enjoyed!