It was a magnificent banquet. The palace cooks had certainly outdone themselves. Even Volstagg looked awed at the sheer amount of food that kept pouring out of the palace kitchens. Minstrels were playing light-hearted tunes, though it was hard to hear over the general revelry and pandemonium in the main hall. Loki gazed out at the scene silently from his seat at the head table with the rest of the royal family, Sif and the Warriors, and the two human girls, still a bit bewildered at his welcome. Asgard had rejoiced upon Odin's announcement that his sons had both returned home unharmed. Loki had expected to be hailed a traitor and a monster, and instead found himself being celebrated as a hero. It was a tad overwhelming, to say the least.
Thor, who sat beside him, was being his usual non-silent self. Jane, who sat on Thor's other side, looked stunning dressed in an Asgardian dress they had borrowed from Sif. Sif and Jane had hit it off right away and were now deep in conversation. Loki supposed it was another case of opposites attracting. Fandral was being his usual self and was flirting shamelessly with Darcy. Volstagg was working his way through the food with methodical thoroughness, while Hogun looked on with his usual lack of evident emotion. Thor suddenly leaned over and touched Loki's shoulder. Loki was startled out of his reverie and turned to face him. "Brother?" Thor grinned.
"I have a bit of a surprise for you, Silvertongue. Consider it a welcome home present." Loki was considerably confused, especially when Thor rose to his feet and gave a loud shout for silence. The tumultuous crowd instantly complied. "Friends and fellow Asgardians!" Thor shouted, "I thank you for this great welcome you give to my brother and me!" He was answered by a thunderous cheer. "But friends, I'll have you know that this is not the only thing we are celebrating today! First of all, I wish to inform you all that I have decided to take a bride!" The cheering became deafening. Thor held out a hand for Jane, who rose hesitantly and took it. "I present to you the beautiful Jane Foster!" Jane flushed a deep crimson and dropped a small, awkward curtsy. Thor waited until the cheering died down before releasing her hand and letting her sit again. "Secondly, my father has decided that the crowning of the next king has been postponed long enough." The cheer began to rise again, but he waved his hands for silence. "There has, however, been a slight change to the proceedings," Thor said more quietly. Loki looked up at him curiously. "I will still become your king, but I will no longer be doing so alone. Let it be known without contestation that I will have my brother Loki Odinsson crowned alongside me as co-ruler of the Eternal Realms!" Loki nearly choked on his drink as the room exploded into applause and cheering. He stared up in utter bewilderment at Thor, who grinned down at him.
"Thor—you can't be serious?" Thor shrugged and laughed.
"I just announced it to all of Asgard, didn't I? I told you you're stuck with me. Looks like you're officially my equal, now." He sat back down. "Loki, you and I have always worked best together, and I see no reason for that to stop now. Unless you don't want it, of course." The last was added hesitantly, and Thor suddenly looked uncertain. Loki looked back at him and smiled.
"Thank you, Thor. It will be a privilege to reign beside you." Thor's worried expression melted into one of relief.
"Same to you, Silvertongue. Now, who's got the potatoes?" Darcy suddenly looked over at Jane.
"Jane. Fandral says he's never had coffee before." She sounded horrified. Jane merely laughed. Darcy turned to face Fandral again, who was smiling in an amused manner. "Well then—after all this is done, would you like to come back to Earth and try some? I know of this great café, see…" Fandral looked surprised for a moment, and then grinned.
"Sure. Why not? My last trip to Earth was less than relaxing." Jane and Sif exchanged a glance and laughed, while Loki allowed himself a small smile of his own. Those mortal women. Loki looked down the table at his family and friends. He had never felt more content, or looked forward to the future with so much anticipation. He knew who he was now, and he knew exactly where he belonged. He couldn't remember ever feeling better. Volstagg suddenly began coughing and choking.
"Was that…soap?" he sputtered. While everyone looked over at him in surprise, Loki and Thor exchanged a knowing look. And laughed.