Loki twisted his blade, enjoying the grunting gasps his birth father made as his frozen blood gushed to the floor. Despite the anger he had felt toward Odin, Loki now understood just how foolish he had been. He had allowed his emotions to get the better of him, behaving no better than Thor, and it had injured his father...his true father.
Once upon the throne and with time to mull over his father's words and actions, Loki realized that that his father had been right in nearly all actions. Had he been in the same position, he too would have taken the baby, raising it as his own, showing it love and compassion, giving the child of his sworn enemy all the benefits and privileges he could provide.
Loki could see clearly what his father had planned, those many years ago when Odin had looked down upon the baby. Odin had planned to raise him, to make him an Asgardian...and then, when the King of the Frost Giants passed on, Odin would have come to him, revealed the truth, and together, father and son would have presented Loki as the lost heir, returned to reign over the realm. Loki would have forged treaties, developed the world and slowly enslaved the populace...until it was a New Asgard, ruled by him and all those that would come.
As he checked over his father to ensure that the assassin had not harmed him, Loki felt regret and forgiveness fill his heart. It was not his father who was to blame for all of this... Odin had acted as any king should. It was Thor...Thor was the one to blame for it all. Had he not sought revenge upon the first intrusion into Asgard, the truce would not have been broken and Loki's kingship would have been ensured. It was all Thor's fault! His and his alone!
"Loki?" his mother whispered, staring at the body upon the floor. As he gathered her in his arms, Loki's anger towards his brother was released. Thor could be blamed for his actions but it was wasted anger...Thor was merely a big, dumb child, still shouting at shadows and playing king. Loki had actually done him a favor by leaving him on Earth...there Thor would be a genius compared to the dumb creatures that wallowed about in the muck. He would love it there, find happiness and die an old man surrounded by all HE desired.
It was actually the best fate-
Turning and finding his brother standing there, laying out his sins...Loki felt his compassion give way to hate once more.
"Are you sure that Thor will be able to face his brother alone?" Jane asked.
Sif gave her a very unlady-like snort. "Loki is a trickster, not a warrior. He is like a blade of grass against a mountain."
Jane, however, was not convinced. "Do you know how rocks break down? A single root wiggles and squirms through the cracks within that mighty stone and slowly pushes it fraction by fraction...until the rock's own weight splits it in two."
"...why are we speaking of rocks?" Sif asked, annoyed.
"Because Loki is like a blade of grass...he finds the weaknesses of the strongest among us...and shatters them."
Sif turned, thumping her weapon against her palm. "You sound as if you...admire him?"
"No...I merely respect him. Something a wise warrior should do, I think." Jane looked out across the Rainbow Bridge. "Someone is riding towards us."
Sif frowned, readying her weapon. "It is Loki! He means to escape!" She got in a battle stance, muscles tense. "Stay behind me...I will defeat him with one blow!"
Loki raised his bladed staff, a flash of light blinding them for a moment. Sif, however, would not be stopped by mere parlor tricks. She rushed forward, driving her weapon through Loki's throat.
"What-" Sif began, only to cry out when Loki, who'd slipped off his horse and created the mirage, struck her from behind, cracking his staff along Sif's skull and leaving her unconscious upon the bridge. He slowly approached Jane, confused by her presence.
"And who are you?" He asked.
"Jane," she said, raising her hammer.
Loki tilted his head, taking her in for a moment before laughing. "Oh...this is too rich!" He began to laugh, Jane feeling her annoyance grow with each guff. "The hammer chose you? A human? Oh...how the mighty have fallen!"
Jane frowned, keeping her eyes on the trickster. Her own words, not moments ago, echoed through her ears. "So...you're Loki." She gave him a dark smile. "You're shorter than I expected...but just as oily."
Loki gave her a withering look. "So, the human wishes to trade barbs with me?"
"Not really...kinda want to beat you with this hammer till you cry uncle."
"Why so much anger? What have I done to you?" Loki asked, inching towards the Bifrost controls.
"You hurt my friend."
"Friend...oh, Thor." Loki smirked. "I can see why you are attracted to him, human. But you seem to have some brains it that hollow head of yours...wouldn't you rather be with someone that can string more than two syllables together?"
Jane lashed out when Loki got a little too close, forcing the trickster to leap back. "I've found it doesn't matter how smart you are or who pretty...it's your heart that matters. Thor's is like gold...yours is coal."
Loki narrowed his eyes. "You know all this...after spending a week with him and mere minutes with me? You hold him higher than me?"
Jane nodded, pouncing at the weakness she saw. "Don't be so surprised...I bet it isn't the first time you were found lacking..." She held her hammer out. "Or maybe we should see if Thor's hammer finds you worthy." With that she gave it a toss, striking Loki in the chest and sending him crashing into the wall.
Loki pulled himself free, all humor gone. "Now you've pushed my limits." Hundreds of Loki mirages began to appear, each moving to a different part of the room. Jane struck out, only to meet thin air. "I grow tired of you, human! I was going to destroy the realm of the Frost Giants...but I think I'll take out your home first!"
Jane's eyes widened, realizing this was no ideal threat. But she was Jane Foster, damn it, and she wasn't going to get weak in the knees because some trickster god threatened her home!
Loki looked up from his work, watching in confusion as Jane began to smash her hammer into the ground, shattering the glass. "The Bifrost will still work, even after your little rampage!"
"I'm not trying to destroy it!" Jane said, moving towards the doorway.
"No..." Jane said, taking her hammer and spinning it, the winds picking up. "Just getting out of the way."
The glass rose as Jane called upon the power of the tornado and the hurricane, and only too late did Loki realize her plan. The glass was flung about like a thousand spinning knives, shattering mirage after mirage until only he remained, trying to shield his body as the sharp glass cut into his flesh. His blood stained the floor as he fell to his knees, hollering in agony as the winds literally tore through him.
"Jane?" Thor asked, landing beside her. He had rushed to the Bifrost, fearing for her, only to find she was holding her own against his brother.
"Are you ok?" Jane asked, not letting the winds die down.
"I am now...I was delayed." He placed a hand on her shoulder, urging her to stop the storm. "I have brought aid."
Loki looked up as the winds died and the glass rained down into the puddles of his blood. "Father..."
"Loki," Odin said with pity, restored to full health. "Why?"
Loki trembled, feeling like a child caught sneaking sweets. "I...I did this all to prove to you I could be king! I did what any king would do when faced with a people that did not want him: I gave them a reason to love me!" He pointed at Thor in hatred. "But he...he ruined everything!"
"Is that so?" Odin asked.
"Of course father! It was all him!"
Odin shook his head, kneeling before his battered child. "Loki...you are right. You did as a king should...you realized that sometimes a king must lie for the good of his people.
"But you failed in one aspect, Loki...and that proves you will never be king." Odin placed a hand on his son's shoulders. "A king admits when he was wrong...when he has made an error." Loki moved to talk but Odin silenced him with his next words. "Thor only broke the truce because you gave the Frost Giants a way to break it first. Had you never done that...all the plans I had for you would have come to past. But your wreckless need to destroy Thor's moment only destroyed your own." Odin sighed, suddenly feeling very tired. "You have played the greatest trick of all, Loki…and you have played it upon yourself." More than any strike, any stab, or any wound, those words brought Loki to his knees, his strength gone and his heart broken. He quietly sobbed as Odin pulled away from him. "Now the question is…what shall we do with you?"
Jane softly approached Odin, Allfather nodding his consent as she whispered an idea.
"You are wise, Jane Foster…wise and cruel. You will make a fine queen." Odin walked up to the Bifrost controls, slamming his staff into the main port and activating the bridge. "Loki Odinson…you have betrayed your king, your brother, and the people of Asgard through your arrogance and pride." He marched up to Loki and ripped the armor from his garments. "You are unworthy of these realms. You're unworthy of your title! You're unworthy…of the loved ones you have betrayed." Odin stepped back, Loki staring at him in dumbfoundment. "I now take from you your power…" Loki's helmet flew to Odin, who caught them with ease, "in the name of my father, and his father before him, I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!"
Loki cried out, a silent plea for mercy, as he was blasted into the Bifrost, the bridge flashing before he was gone. Odin held up Loki's helmet, bringing it close to his lips. "Whoever holds this helm, if they be worthy, shall possess the powers of Loki." With a mighty heave he sent the helmet flying through the Bifrost, before shutting it down.
Thor stood there, feeling a strange mix of emotions at seeing this event play out from a different position. Jane drew his hand into hers, giving it a squeeze.
Odin sighed, turning towards the two of them, a smile forming upon his lips. His heart was heavy, and yet it was also put at ease…he had lost one son, but another had returned a better man…and brought with him a fine woman. "I wish we could have met under better circumstances, Jane Foster. But…I am still pleased. You have a fine mind and a loving heart…and you have giving my son that what he needed the most." Odin placed a hand upon her shoulder in welcome. "I mourn Loki, but hope he too will return as Thor a changed man." Turning to his son, Odin clasped him to upon the shoulder. "We shall feast tonight and hear of your adventures. Jane will tell us of the Earth Realm and we our history. There will be music and food and mead the likes of which Asgard has never seen!"
"Father…" Thor murmured, his soul lifted at the silent forgiveness his father offered, "While I understand it had to be done, was it wise to send Loki to Earth? Even without his powers, he is a skilled manipulator…he may find a way to become a threat."
Odin shook his head. "No my son, he will not. Jane here suggested the perfect solution."
"And what is that, father?"
"That Loki be bound to a human, forced to obey her whims and words, so that he might learn humility."
Thor frowned. "But who…" He glanced at Jane, who was doing her best not to giggle. "No…you are not that cruel!"
Jane merely laughed.
Loki slammed down, hard, into the desert sand, coughing and sputtering. He wore simple slacks and a loose green shirt, his armor and magic ripped from him. Slowly rising, he looked to the sky, cursing Thor and Jane Foster for robbing him of his victory.
"Whoa!" Loki turned, looking at the human female with bushy dark hair that was staring at him. "Hot guys keep falling from the sky, huh!"
Loki ignored her, turning to leave…only to find himself unable to do so.
"Was expecting Thor and Jane to come down, but I guess you'll do, hot stuff." She walked up and grabbing Loki's hand, shaking it (even as Loki tried to make his hand strike her and found it would not). "I'm Darcy, nice to meet ya! Come on, let me introduce you to everyone."
Loki's eyes widened when he felt himself compelled to follow Darcy…and follow ALL her commands.
Agent Coulson pulled out his phone. "Director…we have another one."
"Monitor it," Nick Fury said…
(New York City)
"…I am dealing with another issue." Fury shut his phone and turned to a confused Steve Rogers. "A miniature communication device, Cap. One of the many, many advances made in the last 70 years." He had led Steve back into the SHIELD base after the young man had escaped into Time Square, explaining as best he could what had happened.
Steve nodded, trying to wrap his mind around this fantastic story. He ideally picked at a bandage on his arm…only to look at Fury, confused as to WHY he had a bandage on his arm.
"You wouldn't believe how excited we are to find you…not just because it is you, though that is excitement enough." Fury gestured for Steve to follow him, leaving the conference room and walking down a long hallway. "You see, after you disappeared, there were some who attempted to replace you. Though the Super Soldier formula was lost, we had notes and Anthony Stark tried to replicate it…he was only somewhat successful. The final test case showed the same improvements as you, but without the full formula their body wanted to reject the changes. He was forced to put the patient in cryogenic status, much like you were yourself, until we found a cure…and your blood provided it." Nick motioned towards the door. "She's stable…and I know she would love to see you."
"She?" Steve asked.
"Indeed," the woman said, opening the door. Her long brown hair fell down her shoulders, framing her face. She was taller now, her muscles developed to their peak, much like his own. If Steve knew the legend of the Amazons, he would have called her one. If he was man's perfect form, she was woman's. "You're late for our dance."
(Author Note: I have no idea if I'll write another spiritual sequel…but I just had to throw in this last little scene.)