Hi guys! I love you all! Thank you SO much for all of the reviews, I'm so glad you've enjoyed this! Here is the third and final chapter. Look for more Loki from me soon!\
Odin wasted no time. Heimdal searched the world tree at Odin's command for Loki's birth mother, his extensive sight soon sensing her deep in the forests of Alfheim. Odin, knowing that Loki could not survive much longer, took Sleipnir through the worm hole, carrying him and his son through to the dense and magical forests that lay beyond. Though Loki was not Odin's son by birth, Odin had never the less formed a physical bond with the young hybrid, and the older Asgardian could feel just how close Loki was to slipping away.
Sleipnir's hooves pounded the dense earth as Odin raced towards the nearest village. While Heimdal could tell Odin where Fárbauti was in general, the seer was unable to pinpoint her exact location and the king had a much bigger area to sift through without Heimdal to guide him. Sleipnir kicked up dust and mosses as he raced through he forest, Loki's head lolling weakly against Odin's shoulder as he held the young god tightly in front of him. It was no more than twenty minutes later that Odin arrived at the village, but already Loki was so weak that Odin had to press his hand to Loki's chest just to feel his heart beat. Causing Sleipnir to lay down, Odin left Loki in the horse's care, racing into the nearby tavern in hopes of gaining knowledge to Fárbauti's whereabouts. Multiple heads raised and murmuring immediately began when Odin arrived, but he ignored them all. While Asgardians did not hold dealings with Alfheim on a regular basis, and considered them more or less equals, Odin was still known by many.
"I seek the lady Fárbauti upon an urgent matter." Odin's voice boomed through the tavern, causing silence. "I require her help. Can any tell me where to seek her?"
For a few heart-stopping moments there was nothing but silence. Presently though, a young girl, no more than six, came peeking out from behind a carved table. Her appearance was wild and mussed, her dark, black hair snagged with leaves and twigs. Her dress was torn, but covered her well. She wore a leather satchel across her chest, and her small fingers worked themselves together. She walked straight towards Odin, staring up at his huge figure. Odin knelt so he was closer to her level. The little girl's wide eyes blinked long lashes, their color a bright, glittering green that Odin knew too well. "Do you know where Fárbauti can be found, child?" He asked softly, his suspicions confirmed as she nodded.
"Yes, I can bring you to mommy."
Odin followed the child outside and watched as she caught sight of Loki's form and the giant, eight legged horse that kept watch over him. She stared for a few moments, then walked up to the pair, gently touching Loki's face with her small hand. Sleipnir let her be there, sensing that she was an innocent and would not harm her half brother.
"Is he ill, sir?" She asked, looking up at Odin.
"Yes child. He is very sick. That is why I need to speak with your mother. She may be the only one who can save him."
The girl nodded, her tiny hand catching in Loki's raven hair. "I don't want him to go." She said quietly. A moment later, she gave Loki a kiss on the cheek and turned, darting away into the forest. Odin, realizing that the forest was too dense for Sleipnir in this area, lifted Loki into his arms and followed the child as she darted skillfully through the trees.
It took time, time Odin wasn't certain Loki had, but soon the young girl led them into a small clearing where nothing but the remains of a giant tree stood. It had been split and blackened by lightning at some point it its past, but the base was hollow and greenery grew all over and around it now. A door protected from unwanted company, but the girl darted forward and opened it, slipping inside. Odin followed her, stopping in the doorway to look in on a room full with herbs and crystals and other materials of magic. A woman, far younger in appearance than years, turned her attention from her daughter to see the man standing in her doorway, a limp figure held in his arms.
"Aevi, who did you bring?" Fárbauti asked, gazing upon Odin with a look of caution. Her right hand gripped a dagger at her belt, and it glowed a pale green. Her eyes were just the same as her daughter's and Loki's.
"I am Odin All-father, king of Asgard and guardian of the nine realms. I come to you for your help. You do not know this, but your first born, your son, survived the war between my people and the Frost Giants." Odin explained, stepping further into the room, his demeanor now nothing but of a father desperate for help. "This, is your son, Fárbauti. And he is near death." he lay Loki down on a nearby table, supporting the young sorcerer's head so that he would not be jarred. "I found him long ago after the battle was won, and took him in as my own son. My healers can do nothing for him and Laufey cares not if he lives or dies. Please-."
Fárbauti remained silent, but pushed Aevi behind her skirts, her black hair falling down past her waist and swishing slightly as she walked near to the table. She gazed down at Loki's still face, his body no longer producing the patches of ice. He was simply pale, and still. Fárbauti's throat went tight as she stared down at the son she thought she'd lost forever, and her long, delicate fingers brushed a strand of hair away from Loki's eyes.
"I thought he had been killed in the battle." She said, her voice clogged with emotion.
"He lived." Odin said, pressing her as gently as he could. "But he will not for much longer if you will not help him."
Fárbauti shook her head, unable to tear her gaze from Loki's face. "I cannot." She said, her voice cracking. "He is too weak, already I feel the wings that are to usher him to Valhalla." She lay a hand on Loki's heart. "His heart flutters too softly even to be felt."
Odin felt the crushing weight of her news as a physical blow. After all he'd done, it broke him to realize that he was too late.
"The only thing that could save him now is the life of another." She said, tears running silently down her cheeks. "I cannot give myself to him- I have his sister to care for."
"Take me." Odin said suddenly, his voice desperate. He knew what he would be leaving, but he swore to protect his family, and Loki was his son. He had ruled for too long, it was time that Thor learn his place as king. Odin was just sorry he wouldn't be there to help guide the young prince in his new robes.
Fárbauti cut his thoughts short. "It will not work. It must be the life that flows in his blood- the life of a parent."
Odin looked at her, tears standing in his one good eye. "Will you try? I have cared for him since his infancy. I have looked after him, taught him, given him a home. I love him like my son, there is no distinction in my mind between he and Thor. Is that not enough? Does love not overcome blood?"
The sorceress gazed upon Odin for a moment. Then, closing her eyes, she began to murmur. Moving between Loki and Odin, she placed a hand on Loki's heart, and the other over Odin's. Light sparked at her core and then split and traveled through her arms, one light going into Loki, the other resting in Odin's chest. She removed her hands and lifted a crystal to her lips, continuing to chant as the crystal grew bright, pulsating weakly along with Loki's fading life force. With a command and a flick of her fingers, a light shot from Odin and fused with the crystal, strengthening Loki's spirit. Odin fought to stay upright, but soon fell forward, panting for breath. Just when he felt he could take it no longer, the spell lifted, and Odin was left shaking and weak.
At first he was too dazed to think, but then he sprang to his feet, leaning against the wall for support. "No! Why did you stop?" he demanded.
Fárbauti was threading the crystal in her hand to a strong chain of silver, and before answering she clasped it around Loki's neck, slipping the crystal under his light shirt so it rested against his skin. Almost immediately Loki took a visible breath. He still appeared severely weak, but Odin could feel the young Asgardian gaining back his strength. Finally, Fárbauti turned towards him. "I thank you for caring for my son as your own for all these years. You have been the father he needed, and will need. He will recover, but I could not take you away from him. He needs you to continue to raise and strengthen him. Thank you, Odin All-father, I owe you much more than I could ever repay."
Odin and Loki remained with Fárbauti for a short time, Odin knowing that Heimdal would have told Frigga where he had been and what had transpired, and that Frigga would have told Thor as much as she could. Fárbauti cooked for them as they waited for both to gain back strength enough to depart.
Nearby, Aevi had climbed onto the table and lay near Loki's shoulder, her body draped across his chest. She had her head turned so that her small ear was pressed to Loki's heart. Her fingers played with the fabric of his tunic, and she had a bundle of flowers that she had crowned him with, the white blossoms weaving in and out of his dark hair like living snowflakes.
Odin watched as Loki's breathing became stronger and knew that Fárbauti's son, his son, was going to be alright.
*psst* Parting Reviews are always a good way to say goodbye!