"What is war good for if you can not assure peace that should follow?"
"But father, why do we have to negotiate with them?"
Loki winced as the voices grew louder, echoing from the arched walls of the Throne room and aggravating his migraine.
It's been a good couple of hours since the All Father announced that Thor was going to Midgard as a head of a diplomatic mission to negotiate a treaty and form an alliance with humans.
Loki chuckled at "diplomatic" part.
He loved his brother dearly and knew that Thor possessed many commendable talents, but diplomacy wasn't one of them.
One wrong placed word by a dull-witted person and Thor would unleash his wrath on unsuspecting humans, weaving a tracery of death with his mighty hammer.
The negotiations would end before they had a chance to begin.
Then Odin said Loki was going with Thor since both crown princes should be well informed in terms of foreign politics and all pieces of mosaic came into place.
The order was clear, as was the part that had been left unsaid : Go with your brother and make sure he doesn't fail.
As Odin's heavy palm came down on Thor's shoulder Loki's lips twitched at the memory.
It felt delightful to have that heavy weight resting on your arm as a rare sign of approval, to linger secretly into the touch before the father would notice and remove his hand, although it had been ...a while since Loki had experienced a pleasure of it.
The emerald green eyes followed the All Father as king of Asgard made his way out of the room.
A hug would be nice...or a pat on the shoulder. Or even a caress on the cheek even if Thor mocks him afterward...
He didn't even get a curt nod.
Loki let out a soft sigh and turned on his heels, mentally listing all the things he had to pack before the departure.
Loki stopped just in time to avoid colliding with Thor's armored chest that was now blocking his passage.
"Weren't you going to say something?"
"Father was pretty clear on the matter."
Thor's voice boomed through the space, revealing his barely contained displeasure.
"Why do we have to descend to negotiations with them? With humans! The race we've saved so many times! It is unspeakable- for us, the mighty warriors of Asgard, to ask for allegiance with them?"
- Loki had to duck once or twice to evade another broad gesture as Thor continued to throw his arms up in frustration.
" What is a purpose of this? They should welcome us as heroes and bow before us, not waste our time on meaningless talks!"
"Thor,"- Loki suppressed an urge to roll his eyes. "Just stop and think for a second. Asgard helped them on numerous occasions, indeed, but it was a long time ago."
Thor's brows furrowed and he pursed his lips in frustration and Loki smiled to himself, watching, as his brother's brain slowly started to work.
"The time that passes does not diminish the value of our aid."
"No, but it belittles the memory of it."
"Are you saying that humans had simply forgotten of us? Then I shell refresh their memory!"
Loki pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose and massaged it a little bit, battling the dull throbbing pain.
"Should I remind you, my dear brother, that their live spans are nothing compared to ours? What is a day for you is a generation for them. They remembered us, of course, and praised and honored, and told their children of our glory, but as time passed by, the witnesses perished and the history became stories, and then turned into legends. And now...I bet that now we are nothing more than a fairy tale to them."
The Thunderer growled and leaned into Loki's personal space, looking ready to kill.
"I am not a fairy."
"You surely don't smell like one."
Loki grinned at Thor's scandalized face and continued, "Do me a favor, my prince, take a bath before we leave to Midgard. I don't want to be the one to tell father that we ruined the negotiations because humans simply suffocated."
Thor tried to keep his face straight but did not succeed, as his mouth split into a huge smirk.
"One more word, my dear sibling, and I will shave your head."
Loki shrugged dismissively, "Then I'll just go to dwarfs and get a new hair, long and luscious, and make you choke with envy."
"Oh, I tremble in dread and fear!" - Thor's body shook with laughter and Loki smiled, realizing, that his migraine was suddenly gone.
"What length would you prefer? Up to your shoulders? Or waist? You will surely make a fair maiden!"
"All the way to my heels."
Thor's mouth formed "o" in mocking surprise.
"Be careful, Loki, I will not be burying you if you tangle in your locks, fall down and break your neck."
"Oh, I wont, have no fear. I'll make you braid it."
The brothers parted their ways and Loki stopped on the terrace to enjoy the warmth of the sun and a sound of Thor's laughter still reverberating from the hallway.
The question Thor asked still bugged Loki although with a slightly different meaning.
The negotiations themselves didn't bother the prince, but he mused on the purpose of Odin's decision to form an alliance with humans.
They were a faithful race, indeed, but a rather weak one.
They did not possess a physical strength even slightly compared to one of Asgardians, or Jotunns, or even elves. They weren't known for their talents in magic or craftsmanship.
Their only advantage was in their numbers, but it was not a suitable reason to seek their help on the battlefield should the time come- they would prove not much of a help, but only a burden to worry about.
But then again, it was the All Father's order an Loki was not in the place to question the king's wisdom.
Humans had wandering minds and perhaps they've advanced far beyond everyone's expectations.
May be even learned how to forge the steel that doesn't break from contact with wood.
Loki chuckled and left for his quarters.
He didn't know that he and Thor were in for a big surprise.