"To my sons!" Odin shouted over the crowd at the feast celebrating the brothers' return. The All-Father raised his glass in a toast and the rest of the crowd followed suit.
Up at the head table, Thor and Fandral laughed loudly at a joke Volstagg had told moments before, even coaxing a grin from Hogun the Grim. Sif was carrying on a conversation with Freyja. The rest of the Aesir were eating, drinking, and otherwise making merry.
On the opposite side of Odin sat Loki and Frigga. His mother had insisted Loki sit by her so he could fill her in on all the happenings during his absence. When he mentioned Ande, he felt his face heat up and Frigga gave a knowing smile.
Loki quickly changed the subject.
Odin cleared his throat and stood up again. "Good people of Asgard!" he cried majestically. The feasting hall fell silent. "I am pleased to announce two things of great importance. One, I have decided to end my sons, your princes', banishment earlier than planned for acts of great valor and courage." Thor grinned over at Loki from his place on the high table. Loki felt his typically pale face flush.
"Secondly, I would like to continue the announcement from earlier this evening. I am pleased to announce that in a few short weeks, Asgard will be blessed with a new prince, Balder Odinson." The crowd roared at the prospect of a new royal baby. Loki heard Thor groan with disappointment that he would have to live with the shame of a brother named Balder. He smirked and congratulated his mother, who was glowing with happiness.
The feasting continued, and Loki grew tired of it. Quietly, he slipped from the table to take a walk. There were many things he needed to think about and he needed time alone.
He softly walked down the halls of the palace, heading for the balcony nearest his quarters. Loki had always loved this place; it had a certain aura that made him calm and relaxed.
As he gazed out at the stars, he remembered all of the things he had encountered whilst on Earth: Thor's toddler-pageant obsession, mortal food, mythology, Ande driving a car for the first time...
Ande. He felt a pang of regret as he remembered the promise filled with double meanings he had made. She would probably be expecting him at her locker tomorrow morning as usual. Of course, he would not be there for her. His time on Midgard was spent and he knew it would be long before he returned. She could be dead by the time he came back.
The prospect of never seeing her again made his heart sink. She had been the best thing about his punishment on Earth. He reminisced on their pathetic dance the night of the party and laughed to himself. He hoped he could make it up to her someday.
Footsteps approached him from behind. A hand rested itself on his shoulder and he didn't need to turn to know it was Thor.
"Brother... Are you alright?" Thor asked gently. Thor had always had a knack for picking up on emotions.
"I am fine. Why would I not be? We are home," Loki stated plainly, emotionlessly, refusing to make eye contact.
"Are you thinking about your friend, Ande?" Thor asked pointedly. Loki didn't respond, so he said, "You'll see her again. I promise."
"How can I? Mortal time is so different from our time. It could be a thousand years there before I return," Loki argued.
"No brother, you will see her. I can assure you of it." Thor had always been stubborn with his decisions.
Loki gave up the argument, though he couldn't help but hope his brother was right. He smiled slightly at Thor, and the elder boy returned it sincerely.
The two brothers stood like that, side by side, neither knowing that this might be their last peaceful moment together before the terrible storm destined to come arrived.
Author's Note: Thank you all for reading, and please leave a review saying what you thought. There are two sequels up as of now, "Vindicated" and "Vulnerable". They basically continue the lives of Loki and Ande together. If you're interested in reading on, please do so.