New story about Loki based on the new Avengers movie. Written for my lovely wife Jenna, of course.

Loki watched as they handed him around like a prized possession. He couldn't help but feel the irony in the fact that he had downright enjoyed his previous capture, knowing all along that they were not able to keep him; that his imprisonment had actually been a trap for earth's defenders.

This time, though, it was no charade; he could not revel in knowing that he could slip free. A specially designed mouth guard kept him from opening his mouth even slightly to utter any form of the quietest of incantations, strong enough to defy even the muscles of an Asgardian god such as he.

To compliment that guard were chains that bound his hands, but Loki knew those to simply be an extra precaution; without access to his magic the massive blonde who stood behind him stood as more than enough security to prevent his escape.

Thor. Loki glared at him spitefully, feeling the fire of his anger rising constantly as those who had defeated him passed him to the brute for safe-keeping.

They would use the very item that Loki had used to attack earth to send him and Thor back to Asgard.

Loki thought back to how he had mocked Thor, taunting him with the fact that Odin would have had to use the last of Asgard's energies to transport Thor to earth to defend it. When he had said that Loki had been confident that there would be no return trip home for his brother, so the outcome stung his pride.

Loki seethed as he watched Thor activate his side of the Tesseract and then glance up expectantly at Loki. None would see his jaw tighten for the mask he wore, as Loki glared back as his foster brother. He did not want to go back to Asgard, and certainly didn't want to face Odin in chains.

But in chains he was, and of options he had none. Loki may have stormed on the inside, but outwardly at least he was calm and controlled as he turned his side of the device, defiant even in his manner, since he could defy in no other way.

Primal blue lightning flashed inside and around the Tesseract as the ancient device shrouded them both in a warm glow and the whole world around him went blindingly bright, forcing him to close his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again he stood in Asgard.

Not just anywhere in Asgard either. Loki repressed a groan of agitation to see that they had appeared in the audience hall of the All-Father himself. Of course they would come here rather than the vast array of isolated, remote locations they could have traveled to. In fact, as he observed that Odin was already watching them, he could assume that it was his adoptive father's will that had pulled them to this exact spot.

Which meant it was Odin's will that everyone of import in the castle see the former prince in chains. Loki burned with the sentiment, knowing his face had to be colored with the heat of his rage, but helpless to stop that part of it. He forced his disposition to otherwise appear calm, helpless to do more than hold his head high.

He was a king, and whether or not he won earth, Loki would find a way to assert himself into his rightful place as a ruler. Let them stare at him in chains now, let them see his mouth bound to silence; later he would have his laugh at their expense, because he was Loki and in the long term he would prove more clever than they.

Loki imagined the hall had been bustling with activity before his and Thor's sudden appearance, but everyone had stopped whatever business they might have been concerned with, and silence filled the grand room, all eyes on Thor and his prisoner.

Thor knelt before the throne, finally taking his eyes from his brother, now that Loki was surrounded by Asgardians who would be insuring his chances of trying escape were now nonexistent. Not that he could ever have bested Thor without access to his magic.

Loki felt his jaw tighten again as he saw the favor in Odin's eye as the lord motioned for Thor to rise. Before Thor could speak Odin did, finally breaking the silence, his booming voice full of power once more now that he had freshly woken from a cycle of Odinsleep, "I see you spare me no deference, Loki.

Have you come to think yourself my equal?"

A harsh whisper passed like a wind through the room from those observing, and fear flashed in Loki's eyes for a moment. He had been so caught up in his own anger that he had forgotten how thoroughly he respected Odin's raw power. His knees shook a moment as he was compelled to kneel, his mind torn between the wisest course of action and his own stubborn assertion to royalty.

Coming to a decision Loki bowed jerkily, having so many things he would want to color the act with verbally but limited only to awkward humility to Odin's grace. Only a fool defied the All-Father so directly, and if Loki hoped to rise again he would have to at least show Odin his due.

Odin gave a curt nod to Loki's acceptance, sitting back in his throne. He turned his attention to Thor. "I am pleased to have both sons back in good health, but saddened by my son Loki's chains. Remove them for the time being, and allow him to speak in his own defense, for he has many crimes to answer for."

Thor reached across and casually ripped the mouthpiece from Loki, the trickster hissing at the sting of it and glaring at his brother. As Thor moved to unfasten the cuffs on his hands Loki lifted his chin to Odin, finally able to cast his voice out at those that judged him, "Before you accuse me of crimes against Asgard, perhaps you should speak of a prince of Jotenheim, stolen from his true father."

Odin's face grew dark, "A father you slew, Loki. Do you really wish to announce yourself to be of Jotenheim in this room, when we still war with the frost giants?"

Loki glanced around at the faces that surrounded him, and he knew he had made a mistake. Trying to cast Odin in a bad light for his kidnap did not endear him to those who had already sought reason to judge the trickster of Asgard. Now he only gave them reason behind their suspicions that he was of bad blood.

Loki gritted his teeth, feeling a sting he had thought he was beyond by now. He did not seek these people's approval; they were not his peers! He brought himself up to his full height, though still shorter than Thor, and committed to his course, "One does not choose one's birth…"

Odin slammed his staff down on the floor angrily and the room shook with his anger alone as he interrupted Loki, "But you may always choose your people! Do you mean to say that you choose to side with Joten? Mind you they are aware that it was you who attempted genocide on the very race you claim true kinship with."

That comment pushed Loki off-course, and he stood with his mouth open a moment, his words freezing in his mouth. He licked his lips and gulped, suddenly aware that he had been outmaneuvered by his own actions. "Yes, well… I wasn't planning on claiming Jotenheim."

Odin leaned forward, "Then what do you claim? That you are a power unto yourself? Because you have only two options here, Loki; either you are an errant prince of Asgard who must be punished, or your actions place you as a true enemy to this throne, a course that could certainly prove fatal."

Loki grew pale as Odin continued the glare at him, the greying monarch speaking again as Loki hesitated, "What, no fancy words now that you finally realize you stand here to pay for your crimes? No more games, Loki…" Odin's face softened at the fear he saw in his adopted son's eyes, "…regardless of your heritage, I took you for my son. Do you forsake me?"

Loki shouted quickly, "No!" He looked around; frustration taking hold in his warring heart as he realized what he had said was true. "I… I was betrayed; you lied to me!"

Odin sat back in his throne, nodding sadly, "I never lied, but I am not infallible. I see I should not have hidden your lineage from you. Truly, I only did so because I wanted you to avoid this very strife. You are young yet, Loki, and you have served Asgard in the past. Choose your fealty."

Loki stared a moment, his mind buzzing with the only option he could yet see through the confusing swell of emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. His mouth was a hard line as he kneeled before the throne, "I of course owe myself only to Asgard; all of my actions however failed were meant to bring glory to her people and to my father, Odin."

Odin watched him as he spoke the hollow words, his one eye piercing and his face unreadable. "Then you shall be judged for your foolish actions as a prince of Asgard, and you shall remain here in this city until such time as I decide how best to re-educate you in what truly brings glory to Asgard."

Loki looked up with a nervous smile, "So, what… we are just going to pretend none of this ever happened?"

Odin nodded, "It would certainly be in your best interest if we did, would it not?"

Loki Opened his mouth to reply then shut it, choosing to simply nod instead, as he could feel that Odin's patience was strained, and he had no intention of pushing his luck.

Odin gestured to Thor, "Bring him to his own quarters; we'll speak later on this subject, but until then consider this matter sealed."

Loki smiled over at Thor as they walked, unable to repress his grin at the notion that he was to be allowed freedom after Thor had brought him to Asgard in chains. Thor did not share his smile, obviously, and Loki could tell to his pleasure that his own mirth displeased the warrior. "Oh, come on; this is was you wanted, isn't it? You and I have returned to the same stagnation as before!"

Thor shook his head, "I truly am glad that Odin accepts you, Loki, but I believe you fail to take what you have done seriously enough."

Loki laughed, "Since when have I ever taken anything seriously? You wanted Loki back in Asgard and you have it… are you having second thoughts now?"

Loki watched Thor intently, and the thunder god could tell that he was deriving joy from the other's discomfort. "You still make a game of this, I know. And you would do well to know that Odin certainly knows this as well."

The smile left Loki's face and he stared at Thor a moment, "We can never return to what was before; I have set change in motion, and even the All-Father is helpless to stop the progress of evolution."

Thor's mouth quirked at Loki's statement, "And what have you evolved into, Loki? I still see an Asgardian who has given himself over to jealousy. You want to think yourself better than me? Then try being less petty."

Thor turned to leave and Loki sneered after him, "Use whatever words you like to describe my ascension, but I will win."

Thor half-turned to look back at him, a small smile on his face, "You play in Odin's court now; there are no weak mortals to push around here. Feel free to tell me how much you have changed, but I see the same treachery as before, only now no one will be surprised."

Thor left and Loki stood rigidly for a long moment, suddenly backhanding a vase from its resting place. He felt a shout pushing to escape his lips but he fought it down, forcing his breathing to take on even tones. He would win; they would all see.

He would win.

Time passed, but Asgardians do not measure time as the mortal races do. Since their lives are nearly eternal, they instead measure the crawl of the infinite in moments, events and most importantly; actions.

Many things happened on earth while Loki settled into his renewed life as a prince of Odin's court. The Avengers, the very mortal defenders that he had inadvertently brought solidly together in defense of Midgard, made a name for themselves in continued defense of the planet from those who had noticed them and taken interest in conquest of the young race.

On Asgard, however, little of import transpired as the only nation currently at war with the Asgardians was unable to retaliate for the war crimes that Loki had perpetuated against them. So it came as a surprise to Loki when Odin approached him, "I have decided that you will help to repair the damage you have done."

Loki looked askance of his adoptive father, "Bifrost is destroyed, milord; how would I begin to do such a thing?"

Odin shook his head, "I don't intend to send you to them; that would be dangerous to your health and I don't trust you that far, yet."

Loki looked over at Odin levelly, the playfulness having left his voice, "Then whatever could I do?"

Odin bid him to follow and walked Loki out to the ruined remains of the rainbow bridge, "You will repair Bifrost, so that I can clean up your mess."

Loki's jaw worked, "I know even less about this device than Heimdall and so far less than you; how am I supposed to do that?"

Odin gave him a cold smile, "I am no fool; I am aware that you have been told secrets concerning the Tesseract…"

Loki feigned innocence, "The Tesseract? That archaic device is well beyond my scope of…"

Odin sighed, slapping Loki across the face with one gauntleted hand. Loki froze with his head turned to the side from the force of the unexpected blow, a look that was a cross of surprise and anger on his face. Odin continued, "Did you think I would not notice that you were using it?"

Loki's surprise deepened and he stared at Odin in genuine shock. The grey monarch continued, "You have been subtly attacking Thor and his new allies in Midgard consistently for some time now. I had hoped you would tire of it the first few times they defeated those you sent against them."

Loki was flabbergasted, "You knew all along?"

Odin gave him an incredulous look, "I am the All-Father; what activity do you hope to hide from me in my own realm? I was aware the very first time you used the Tesseract's energies to project yourself to earth. That human you empowered, Creel; he remains a threat to earth forever and for what, so that you can continue a petty feud with your brother?"

Loki gave Odin a curious look, feeling exposed but still perplexed that Odin had known the entire time, after years of thinking he was so cleverly hidden in his plots, "Then why allow much such freedom of movement; why not stop me and defend your precious Thor?"

Odin frowned at Loki, "'Your precious Thor'. Do you still pretend him not your brother? I already mentioned that I had hoped you would… mature. I'd hoped you would grow beyond your quiet form of bickering."

Loki sneered at Odin, then turned away from the bridge and headed back to the castle, "How could I forget he is my brother when you my father so constantly praise your blonde-headed son? I have no interest in this work you suggest."

Odin followed him, surprisingly unruffled by Loki's assertion, "This isn't a suggestion. I'm commanding you to use your knowledge of the Tesseract's workings to restore rather than tear down for once."

Loki halted and turned to face Odin, his mounting frustration over the realization that Odin had allowed him to attack Thor growing. Odin had let him do as he wished because he had known Loki would continually fail. "You could more easily do it yourself; all this is just an exercise in humiliating me!"

Odin stepped close to Loki and the smaller man drew back a little at the intimidating countenance before him, "You could use some humility! No one but you brought the shame you speak of down on you!"

Loki shook at the conviction in his father's face. Conviction; a human had accused him of having none, had called him out as a failure even as the frail creature died from his wounds. Why did everyone think him so weak?

Loki gave a primal cry of fury and looked Odin in the eye with every ounce of nerve he had, "You want to stop playing games? So be it; I'm tired of this charade anyways!" Loki waved his hand with a single arcane syllable and disappeared from sight, running back towards the city, where he would double back to a safer place and then use the Tesseract to transport himself far, far away from Asgard. He was done with these fools.

At least, all of this was the plan that formulated in his mind on that moment just before Odin's hand snatched him from his flight and pulled him close, so he could whisper his displeasure to his son, "You are intelligent, Loki; but you will learn today to temper your thoughts with wisdom."

Odin proceeded to drag the struggling trickster along with him back to Loki's personal living space, shutting the door behind them as he entered. Loki gave his father a questioning look as Odin sat on a spacious seat, pulling hard on Loki to drag the trickster onto his lap.

Loki was so stunned by Odin's casual manner as the All-Father pulled him into position and tugged down his pants, that his dazed mind did not realize what exactly was happening until he felt the first sharp sting of Odin's hand colliding with his naked cheeks, "What?"

Odin looked down at him as he tried vainly to twist away, bringing his large powerful hand down again and again on his struggling son's backside, "You have become a petulant, arrogant fool, and you have proven that less direct methods of encouragement to change yield nothing."

Loki kicked and fought, but the physical force that Odin represented was absolute, and he realized quickly that he could not stop Odin; he was in fact helpless against the onslaught of swats being delivered to him.

The sound of those loud slaps filled his ears and Loki felt panic begin to well in him as the burning sensation drove his already inflamed anger to new heights, "Why would you choose this? It is only clearer than ever that you just wish to see me suffer!"

Odin shook his head but did not reply to Loki's accusation as he continued to pummel the trickster's squirming ass, which was beginning to turn a bright red as his motions became more frantic. Finally he spoke again as Loki began to hiss at the sting of it, "I do this because of your hubris. Thor was punished for similar arrogance, but you need a different form of humility applied to you."

Loki had no words to answer Odin's claim, and being wordless was no common state for Loki. He bit his tongue at the bitter taste of what Odin was doing to him, the message all too clear. And still Odin's hand continued its work, and Loki felt he could take no more of it, the burning sensation becoming unbearable as each swat compounded the horrible sensation.

Finally unable to take any more, and already humiliated by the grunts of pain that escaped him despite his best efforts to take the punishment quietly so as not to give Odin the satisfaction, Loki conceded at least in word, so that Odin might stop and he could become free to decide how best to escape Asgard, "Enough! I have had enough, I yield!"

Odin surprised him by shaking his head no, and Loki watched him with wide eyes as he spoke in measured words, "You are sorry you defied me now; I intend to make you sorry for everything you have done to this point before I leave you this night."

Loki's mouth worked before he finally managed to reply, "Please! You have made me full sore; why torture me further with a child's punishment?"

Odin bellowed at him and Loki grew quiet instantly, "Because you are a child, given to childish thoughts and childish actions! As you know, here in Asgard we reply to every action in kind, so you, son, have much of this to endure."

Loki only stared at Odin in horror for some time as the continued discipline caused him to buck in Odin's lap. He lay there without uttering a word for some time before the realization that he could endure no more returned to him, "No… no, please!"

But Odin ignored his pleas, and when Loki began to cry, tears streaking his face that tracked both his pain and humiliation, Odin continued, knowing that now finally he was getting past the shell and into the hurt child his son really was.

This continued for some time, until Odin finally decided that Loki had been pushed past the point of ego, and only then did the All-Father stop, looking down at his son, who looked back up at him, broken and beaten. Authority filled Odin's deep voice, "You will repair the Bifrost."

Loki nodded humbly, his voice strained, "I-I will."

Odin simply nodded, "Good." He pulled the trickster's pants back up, which elicited a hiss of pain from Loki, then pushed the godling to standing and rose himself. Loki looked unsteady on his feet, his face an open book of confusion.

Odin paused at the door on his way out, feeling he should say something more, but unable to decide what words would most help his son, he merely nodded to him and left. Loki stood there for several minutes, his heart still pounding in his chest and his face still heated with embarrassment.

Still stunned by the experience, Loki moved to sit, only to hop back up again at the bolt of pain that greeted the action. As he hissed and rubbed at his soreness, he realized Odin had left a reminder of his punishment that he would feel for some time…