Guys. Guys, I'm seriously tearing up over here. Thank you so much! Over 600 hits and over 400 visitors in just under two days to my little fic! You have no idea how much that means to me. Okay, sappy writer aside. I don't own Thor or Avengers.

Loki was in captivity. Well, sort of. He was in the back of a flying machine, which might as well be captivity. They were all nervous, ready to pounce should he decide to attack and escape. Really, there was no need. Loki could have vanished without a trace even before the man of metal buzzed from the sky and claimed him as their prisoner. Even now, so high above the ground, it wouldn't have been much of a trick to slip from their grasp. But he didn't want to. No. Not when they held the key. The key the Chitauri needed. He had seen so much, knew so much. No, he needed them to have him as their prisoner. That was, until, lightning struck.

"What's the matter? Scared of a little lightning?"

"I'm not overly fond of what follows."

For although Thor was the god of thunder, such a sound could not exist without lightning. And all knew that he had control over the element. Well, all who had been on earth when they were proclaimed gods. And all in Asgard as well. But this wasn't a Norse time forgotten. This wasn't Asgard. This was Midgard, Earth, in a time of now, and they had gods of their own. And while it was true that storms could arise without prompting, it was not the light or the sound that frightened him. It was Thor himself, and he didn't frighten him. He annoyed him, loathed him, "not overly fond" was just a polite way of putting it. So when lightning struck, and thunder boomed, and Thor made his appearance in the heart of the transport, there was little anyone could do. It didn't take much for Thor to gain possession of Loki, and although it wasn't in his plan for Thor to be there, it would make life so much easier. Because now that he was here, he could kill Thor while taking over Midgard.

Two birds.

One, massive, stone.

The banter was familiar on his end, really. Sarcastic claims of missing a brother that he honestly couldn't remember having the time to miss. And his brother getting straight to the point, as always. Thor would make a good king one day; he dallied not on matters of little importance. But that would also make him a poor king. Loki knew that being too forward could get one killed, or start a war. Yes, start a war. What a lovely idea.

"I thought you dead." Lies. You can't lie to a trickster, Thor should know that by now. But, in a way, Thor did believe it. Perhaps it wasn't a whole lie. Just enough of one to raise ire in Loki's blood.

"Did you mourn?" Loki isn't sure where the question came from. Not really. He knew the answer to that; he had seen them, after his fall. Their feasting, their laughing, their bragging. Not a second was spent to mourn his loss. The saddened eyes Thor saw were not because of Loki's death, but because they wished Thor would not mourn the monster. He had seen this and more with his own eyes. The Ash Tree had shown him.

"Our father-"

"Your, father." This made Thor stop, made him calm. "He did tell you my true parentage, did he not?" Loki took measured steps away from Thor, clasping his back. It hurt, being thrown through the air, into the ground. The words left him not in spite, not in anger. In resignation. He knew what he was; he couldn't deny it any longer. He knew that Thor knew. He knew the answer to everything now. He had seen it with his own eyes. But he was playing the game. The game to guilt Thor into bending to his will. Because that's what he did. He was Loki, god of mischief, and chaos, and lies. He had a part to play, an act to keep up, despite knowing what was going to be said, despite being in control of the situation. There were words that had to be said, steps that had to be danced. He was Loki, and this is what people expected of him.

"We were raised together." Loki didn't even pause. He had heard this speech in his dreams, in his visions from Yggdrasil, in his hopes. But he knew where it would lead. "We played together we fought together. Do you remember none of that?" Thor's anger was rising.

Yes. Yes Loki remembered. And he remembered that hardly a sentence would leave Thor's lips without the word "brother" being thrown in and yet here they were, bickering, and it never came to light. Not that it would be welcome. Not anymore. Yes, he remembered his days when he was young.

"I remember a shadow." And more. So much more than just living in a shadow. But perhaps, if he started small, Thor could start to understand. "Living in the shade of your greatness. I remember you tossing me into an abyss; I who was, and should be king."

But that was a lie, wasn't it? Yes, and Loki wanted to see what Thor thought of it. He wanted to know exactly what Thor remembered and how much he wanted his honor to remain. He never wanted to be king. He had told Thor that, in a moment of honesty. So now, now he wanted to know what Thor though to be truth, and what to be lies. And Thor failed this test.

"So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights." IMAGINED slights? How dare he, how DARE he! Forcing such a statement without even the thought to form it into a question. He knew that Loki's "slights" were "imagined" did he? No, no this was the greatest lie of them all. And it wasn't told by the god of lying, it was told by the father of all. Odin had placed this worm into Thor's brain, and had rotted it.

There were no slights imagined, only slights seen and relived. They never thought to watch their words around the one to whom words mattered more than life itself. They never thought to watch their gazes to the one whom saw through magic eyes. They never realized, and never would. Does Thor not realize what he is saying? No. No, the buffoon never would.

"No. The Earth is under my protection Loki."

"HAHAHAHAhaha! And you're doing, a marvelous job with that. The humans slaughter each other in droves while you idly threat. I mean to rule them. That's why should I not-"

"You think yourself above them." Another statement, not a question. This threw Loki off. Above them? Of course he was above them.

"Well yes." How could he not? He had the powers of a god. He had magic, and longevity of life, and the vision of the past present and futures that were yet to come. How could he not be above them?

"Then you miss the truth of ruling brother. The throne would suit you ill." Oh, oh that's rich! The magical B word had come out, and Thor wished to persuade not the murderer that was destroying lives and ruling worlds, but the troublemaker that was cutting hair and stealing gems. He wasn't a brother, not anymore. And of all things to tell him, that he missed the truth of ruling? He, Loki, the one that would have ruled not one, but two kingdoms, in peace, had his nemesis not shown up. Thor had been banished because he didn't understand ruling. He had had a lifetime to learn how to be a king, and had failed when he needed it the most. He had so much more to learn. And he had lost his home for it. But Loki, Loki had watched, and learned, without permission. He had soaked in the lessons Thor had forgotten. If anyone knew how to rule, it was Loki.

Loki had no words. He pushed Thor aside, anger bubbling to the surface. Thor had to know, had to learn what Loki had seen, what he had been through. He had learned how to rule by watching them. He had seen the great kings and queens rise and fall, had seen presidents, dictators, commanders, from all walks of life, from all realms, and seen what was good and what was not. He had learned from the greatest, and the worst, in his time with Yggdrasil.

"I've seen worlds you've never known about!" He was almost bellowing now, his anger taking the best of him. "I have grown, Odinson, in my exile." He had seen the beginning of the universe. The different endings of it. The billions of billions of lives that had lived it. He had seen everything, far more than Thor Odinson would ever dream of seeing.

"I have seen the true power of the Tesseract, and when I wield it-"

"Who showed you this power? Who controls the would-be king?"

"I AM A KING!" It is just as he had told the humans. They crave being ruled. When no god was presented to them, they made one up. Because they wanted their lives to be controlled by a higher being, because they wanted to worship and praise. They built tall cathedrals to a god that did not exist, waged wars in his name. Millions were murdered, daily, because they wanted to have something control their lives before it became too chaotic. Even those who claimed to want freedom tied their lives to some higher power than themselves. If not some imagined god, then to some ruler who would tell them what to do. A senator, a president, a judge. The humans hated being in control of their own lives. They wanted someone else to have the higher say.

"Not here! You give up the Tesseract you give up this poisonous dream." Thor's emotion was getting the better of him. But there was something there, something Loki didn't expect. Not here? So then Odin had told him more than Loki thought. Odin had told Thor that he was a prince, destined to rule the frost giants. He was a king, even Thor could admit that. Just not here. Not here.

"And come home." Home. Perhaps, perhaps Thor didn't know? Perhaps Thor wished Loki to rule alongside him, in Asgard. For a second, for one gleaming second, insanity left Loki's eyes. And then the vision of his banishment to the cold decimated corpse of Jotunheim rose to Loki's mind, and he knew what Thor was really thinking. And he chuckled, and shook his head, and the insanity of half-seen, barley understood visions returned.

"I don't have it." A loaded phrase. And Thor knew it. He had not the Tesseract, nor a home to return to. And Thor knew he meant as much. But Loki could play with this, and he did. Thor retrieved his hammer, thinking Loki meant Asgard more than the cube. And he did, truthfully. But he wouldn't play that angle at the moment. "You need the cube to bring me home, but I've sent if off I know not where."

"Listen well, brother." There he went, once more, with the brother plea. Did he not understand that it wouldn't work any longer? A flash of light, the grinding of metal on metal, and Thor was gone.

"I'm listening."

The fight was truly one to enjoy. Foolish humans, really. He knew why the man in the metal armor attacked Thor, but he couldn't help but laugh at how stupid he was about it. He didn't want Loki to escape, he didn't want him to get away. And Thor didn't want that either. So they fought, bickered, and raged. All while leaving him high on a cliff, unbound, with the ability to escape. Really, truly, did they not suspect that something was amiss? When they returned to the cliff top, and found him waiting, patiently, for them to lock him away again, did they not think something dark and twisted was going to happen?

Yes, he was listening. And all he heard was air.