It was uncharacteristically cold that morning, not that he minded. He watched the people as they went about their days. Couples holding hands, meandering down the pathways. That type of grouping always seemed to be lost in each other. No one else in the realm existed to them. He took note of this.

Others ran about- literally. Long limbs and short limbs kicked and glided through the air. The people always seemed to wave to each other as they passed. The huffing and puffing of the heavier runners was audible from his off-trail bench. The leaner ones didn't make as much noise, but they looked a great deal sweatier.

He listened in on conversations. Old couples hobbled by on canes, discussing what their grandchildren were doing. Businessmen talked to each other about arrogant bosses and upcoming mergers. Children talked to mothers and fathers, begging for hot cocoa or to go home. Some people talked to themselves. Others prattled on while their companions walked silently.

His favorite conversations, though, were those that were one-sided. Ones where a person was walking alone and talking on a cell phone. He always wondered what the person on the other end was saying. It was a puzzle. He always loved puzzles, the more complex the better. Figuring out what was happening from only half a conversation was fun for him.

He noted the way that language was being used. He'd visited frequently, well, more frequently than his brother, but languages here changed so quickly. Younger women and girls seemed to be fond of injecting "like" into their speech as filler. Young men talked of "football" and called each other "dude". He wondered what this Facebook that everyone spoke of was. iPhones, too, for that matter.

The girls giggled and rolled their eyes at each other; the boys slapped each other on the back and punched each other's arms. Couples walked hand in hand. Those dressed more formally walked briskly. They weaved in and out of crowds, only stopping briefly to mutter a slight apology here and there.

The inhabitants of Midgard had never really interested Loki. They were only worth his time if he could get something from them. A laugh, usually caused by one of his pranks, was what he generally sought. Now, though, he needed them. The reality of this fact triggered a taste of bile in the back of his mouth whenever he thought about it. It was true regardless.

He needed them. He needed to know how they spoke to each other. He needed to know how they moved. He needed to know how they interacted when they were together and when they spoke to each other over long distances. He needed to know the nuances of their behavior in their personal relationships and in their professional ones.

As long as he was stuck on Midgard, he knew he was going to have to adapt. Being one among the crowd had its advantages. It made it so much easier to find out information; people trusted you if you didn't stick out. Granted, he could just order information from those who had it if he was in charge, but that would have to wait for now. Patience, he liked to tell himself, was one of his many virtues.

And thank the Nornir for that, too, because if he hadn't been a patient man, he would have snapped a long, long time ago. These mortals disgusted him. Their behavior with each other only provided more of an impetus for him to conquer and subjugate them, and while it did not surprise him that his brother had been taken in by them, he did find the whole of the situation with his brother and that woman repugnant. In the end, it was just another reason in a long list of reasons for this plan.

Which is why he was sitting on the park bench in the crowded city for the thirtieth day in a row, listening to the mortals as they walked past him. He was learning about them. Learning so he could convince them he was one of them. Learning so he could fool them into trusting him, and handing him power.

He would show his father and brother how powerful he was. He didn't need the Bifrost to destroy a whole realm. He needed only his natural talents. And so he sat silently and observed.

Yes, patience was a virtue of Loki's.