Hello my friends! See? I'm still around, I promise. ^.^

Been distracted by ALL the THINGS. School, work, tentative wedding plans, awesome-as-hell television series featuring zombies...

You know. Life stuff. ;)

So, I'm reading up on Norse mythology to write a paper and Guardian-verse Loki hits me upside the head and threatens me with ice daggers unless I jot this down.

I laughed while writing it. Hope you all enjoy!

I disclaim, as always!

He glanced at the clock that adorned a wall in the den as he walked to the door.

It read near seven o'clock, and he could not imagine who in this Realm of Man could possibly be ringing the bell at such an hour. The home of Jane Foster was not normally one to receive visitors after dark; he could only suspect the likes of Tony Stark or agent Coulson to be responsible for interrupting his favorite television program.

Whipping the door open, Loki found nothing in his field of vision. His eyes narrowed and immediately darted about the yard. An unfamiliar vehicle sat in the driveway, lights on and engine humming. The hairs on his arms raised and Loki felt his muscles tighten in apprehension.

Until a small voice brought his eye line downward:

"Um…I'm here to pick up Kari?"

Loki stood in the doorway and cocked his head down at the young boy that he had obviously missed upon opening the door.

Barely as tall as little Kari, with short, dark brown hair and the distinction of a few freckles on his face, the child stared up at him with equally deep brown eyes that seemed to sparkle in the light of the house.

It was only after a moment of silence passed and the boy suddenly looked back at the vehicle in confusion that Loki recalled what he had actually said.

.pick up Kari.

Pick up Kari?

Loki listened for sounds in the house and could hear the distinct, light roar of a hair-dryer blowing.

He blinked and felt an eye twitch.

Met the boy's eyes again and fought to smile gently.

"I see. She is….on her way."


The boy fidgeted and fingered the fabric of his button-down shirt, eyes roaming everywhere around the front of the house that was not home to Loki's piercing green orbs.

The former prince noted the child's neat appearance and was torn between suspicion and pride.

"Tell me, what is your name?"

"Devin, sir."

"Devin. Interesting. And where is it you are going with Kari tonight?"

"Oh, uh….my mom is taking us to the movie theater."

Loki glanced past "Devin" and could just make out the figure of a woman behind the wheel of the rumbling car. He watched her move her head to look back at him, but could not detail her features against the bright lights of the car.

He shifted to lean against the doorframe and listened as the hair-dryer in the distance went silent.

"How old are you, Devin?"

"….Thirteen, sir."

Loki felt a muscle in his arm jump and kept smiling.

"Is this your first time 'going out' with a young woman?"

"Ah….yes, sir."

"You're very polite, I see."

"Yes, sir."

"It is a good quality. Do not lose it."

"No, sir."

Loki looked back at the sound of erratic footsteps coming from Kari's bedroom and knew that she had heard him speaking to the boy and was rushing to finish getting ready.

Devin, for his part had not budged from his spot at the door, stood erect but continued to keep his eyes averted from Loki's own.

The Jotun forced his fangs away as he grinned down at him, desperate not to worry the boy's mother who sat watching them from the car.

"What film do you plan to see?"

"I don't know yet. We were going to decide when we got there. But my mom doesn't want us to watch anything above PG. She worries too much…"

Loki heard the comfort level in Devin's voice raise, and for a brief moment in time, their eyes met.

He could see the sudden fear in the child's gaze, the recognition of something inhuman.

Loki knew the red had seeped in despite his best efforts.

Nevertheless, he continued to smile and bent down to meet Devin at eye level.

Placing a hand gently on his shoulder, Loki ignored the sound of his niece calling to him from the back of the house to let their guest inside, and leaned in slightly.

"I'm going to tell you something, boy. Listen carefully." He waited until he received a stiff nod of compliance and let his voice drop to a tone he had not used in many years:

"If you so much as look at my little one in any manner other than completely innocent and pure, I will wipe you from existence on this Earth and prevent the heavens from taking you. Do we have an understanding?"

Loki felt a tremor run underneath his palm and knew that it was from a combination of fear and cold. He snatched the pale blue hand away from the boy as Kari bolted past him to grab Devin's hand.

Blond hair, pulled back in her favored style, whipped behind her as she glowered at her uncle.

"Goodnight, Uncle Loki."

He let his fangs flash this time, content to see the whites of Devin's wide eyes.

"Goodnight, my dear. Have a good time."

With a calm smile and fanciful wave, Loki watched Kari drag her date to his mother's car and all but push him inside.

He fought back a cackle as a warm presence ghosted up behind him and laid a small hand on the center of his back.

Jane's sigh was loud, but it too fought to contain an amused giggle.

"This is why we don't let you answer the door."

Loki closed the door and whirled on his beloved, cocking an eyebrow and grinning wickedly.

"I think I shall fight to beat you to it from now on."

*snicker* It's very possible Kari will never have a successful relationship. No, Uncle Lolo-bad Jotun!