I am SO SORRY it took me this long, and it's not exactly my best work, but here it is, the ending, FINALLY.
Thank you all for following this story and I hope you enjoy the ending!
It was cold.
Cold and grey and dead, there was no other way to describe that place, and he would like to be anywhere else, anywhere else but here.
Yet, he didn't really have a choice. He couldn't let the one being he could trust, the one who would be there for him, always, because he had promised so, come here and be decimated by Thanos, if he could come and do something about it.
Even if he had to die trying.
You are far away from home, little wizard.
He turned around, looking wildly to his sides, but saw nothing. There wasn't anything in there, but the voice had come from near, as if it was speaking right by his side. He trembled, his hands grasping the cloak around him tightly, hoping it could hide him for a while longer, but knowing it wouldn't happen.
Have you come to meet your Fate again, little wizard? Dying again? Or do you think that by enslaving my Beloved you would escape such Fate?
"I didn't enslave her! I didn't ask for it, I didn't do anything!" he screams at the cold, dark place, not knowing where to look to be better heard.
Not even knowing if he had to talk to be heard in this miserable place.
DO NOT LIE TO ME, you puny little pest! You dared enslave something you cannot even begin to comprehend with your cheap tricks and weak magic, but NO MORE. I alone will free Death from you, and I shall bring Death all of creation as my gift.
"She doesn't want that! She told us so, she doesn't!"
DO NOT PRESUME TO KNOW WHAT DEATH WANTS, insignificant human! I will not be deceived by your tricks. Did you really think that cloak would hide you? Did you really think you could lie to me about Death? Did you really think I would believe your lies?
Suddenly, by the end of the sentence, he was thrown against a rock, his vision swimming, and the Cloak falling from his shoulders, thrown on the ground, as Thanos showed himself. Larger than life, and more terrifying than anything he had ever faced, at the second the Titan's hands closed around his body, he was sure he was dead.
He had failed. He was going to die, and what hurt the most wasn't his own death, but knowing he hadn't been enough to save his love, to save what he held dear.
He closed his eyes, a single tear falling down his cheek.
The voice was soft, like a breeze on a Summer day, and he could practically smile just by hearing it.
The hands, however, did not let him go.
Unhand my child.
At the second time, the voice as a warning, not only a request, Thanos hesitated. The hands around him became a little looser and he could breathe again.
The word was almost a whisper, but suddenly, Thanos wasn't on him anymore, Thanos was gone.
He closed his eyes, breathing ragged and difficult, by fear and uncertainty, but he could hear whispers and screams, and he was sure, absolutely sure, Thanos was trapped.
Death had trapped Thanos, and the Titan wouldn't be a problem anymore.
But maybe Death would.
Truth be told, as an Entity it was so rare to actually feel anything that rage seemed foreign until she could grasp what it was.
How dare he?
How dare he cower behind her child, deeming himself more important than Harry, and sending her Master here to confront Thanos instead of him?
Of course, she would help him; of course she would make sure that fool of a Titan wouldn't bother her child anymore, but for him not to come, not to try?
How dare that trickster god hide behind a human?
She moved across the wasteland of grey and cold towards her wizard, already thinking of the best ways to dispose of Loki without harming her Harry any more than he had already been hurt.
She came close, seeing the dark hair hiding his face, and kneeled on the floor in front of him, reaching out a hand to pull away the rest of the cloak she had given him, gazing at him sadly.
Come, child. I will take you home.
He raised his head slowly, then, his sweet smile turning up and changing into a full, wide grin, and then into a smirk.
Hair sleeking back, and his simple uniform changing before her eyes into a green and gold armor.
"Thank you, my Lady" Loki said, before winking and disappearing right in front of her.
Death stood for a long moment, stunned and bewildered, before laughing softly.
He would be a fine companion for her child after all.
24 hours earlier
"See, you say we trick it as if that's something simple, but let me tell you something – it isn't" Tony told Loki, but Harry was already looking at him, and then gazing at Hermione, who had a calculating look on her face.
"Well, it isn't impossible, just… a bit difficult" she said, shrugging and staring at Harry, as if they were calculating risks already.
"That's… great", said Ron, putting his forehead on the table, "Last time we had a plan that wasn't impossible, just a bit difficult, we ended up flying out of a bank on a dragon's back. I would just like to remind you of that, before the two of you become convinced you can actually accomplish this."
"Look who's being all mature. I'm proud of you, Ron, I really am" Harry told his friend teasingly, and Ron pretended to try and smack him, before sighing, and sitting up straight again.
"Just… let's make sure whatever plan we have; we also have a plan b, ok? We're too old to be flying blind into things."
"Why are you all talking as if you're alone in this?" Steve asked the three wizards, frowning, "We can help."
"I'm not sure you can, Captain" Thor told them, his voice grave and face serious, "I have been to battle alongside Loki many times, and while his treachery and deceiving have helped us many a time, it isn't always safe, and there are always risks. We cannot let humans interfere in this, no matter what plan we devise."
"But you will need help all the same," Natasha pointed out, "No offense to your abilities, but three humans won't make that much of a difference in a battle against a Titan. I don't even think we would, and our training or super powers are well beyond those of Potter and his friends."
"Loki…" Thor started, and his brother glared at him, shaking his head, but seeming to know what the other god was going to say.
"I know, Thor. And I…" he swallowed drily, hands into fists by his sides, "I might need his help."
"Whose?" Tony asked, curious as always.
"We must go to him now, no matter what you plan. He can keep Harry safe. He can keep you safe."
"Who?" Tony insisted, being ignored again.
"I don't need to be kept safe!" Loki hissed at his brother, turning away, but Harry's hand on his arm made him stop and calm down, taking in a deep breath, "I need his help hiding Vetr."
"I'm not going into hiding if you're going to risk yourself by trying to trick a Titan!" Harry protested angrily.
"Who are you going for help, damn it!" Tony demanded.
"The Allfather. I need his help hiding Harry."
"And I told you I'm not going to hide while you fight this. You can't just trick a Titan, Loki, look at what it did to you last time you needed it!"
"I won't be tricking Thanos. That is why I need Odin's help. I need him to hide you from everything, and I need help keeping you safe."
"Who are you going to trick, then?" Ron asked, confused.
Now that? That might actually work.
The last time he had been to the throne room, the throne had actually been his.
Strangely enough, he didn't want Asgard anymore. He didn't feel as if he needed to have a whole Kingdom to know he was valued, or that he had a purpose, that he was loved and noticed – he had his Vetr. His Harry. Magic tainted with death, and cold green eyes alight with grief and love at equal measures – he didn't think he would ever need anything or anyone again, as long as Harry was safe and with him.
However, for that to happen, he would need the Allfather's help, and that was a bitter medicine to swallow. He would do it, though, for Harry and for the future they'd have together. He could do it if he knew he would be with Harry for the rest of their existence – and what a long existence would that be, with Harry being the Master (or perhaps child?) of Death.
Thor was walking by his side – not leaving him behind or dragging him forward, but by his side, as if they were equals, and maybe now they were.
Maybe now, now that Thor had learnt his lesson, now that he could see his brother for who he was and not be jealous of him, maybe now they were, truly, equals. At least in Thor's eyes.
In Odin's, he had no hope.
The god of battle sat regally on his Throne, his eyes hard and unforgiving, and Loki suddenly felt as if the most difficult part of his plan wouldn't be to deceive Thanos and Death equally, but convince the man who had raised him to believe he wasn't about to kill everything just to spite him. He closed his eyes, feeling as if he couldn't bear to be in the same room as the man who had lied to him all his life, ruined all his plans, never seen him for who he was, for all that he could be.
The ghost of a touch breezed on his arm for just a second, and he reigned all those awful feelings in. He was here on a mission, and that mission was much more important than his issues with Odin.
"Thor. You have managed to bring Loki home successfully," Odin proclaimed, rising from his chair, and staring at Thor and Thor alone.
And for the first time in all of his life, Loki saw something he never thought he'd see – Thor, looking angry on his behalf, seeing for the first time how Odin always thought the worst of him and the best of Thor.
"No, Father. Loki came home on his own volition."
Odin seemed to take that with a grain of salt, turning, finally, to look at the one he once called son.
"Is that true, Loki? You have come home?"
For a moment, he didn't want to answer. He wanted to turn his back on this creature, this lying, deceiving creature, worse than he could ever hope to be, and leave. Leave it all behind, hide forever if he had to – but he couldn't. Not for himself, for Harry. They couldn't live all eternity with the perpetual threat of Thanos hanging over their heads – and besides, he was sure Death would find them and demand he give up his Vetr, as he hadn't proven worthy of him.
He couldn't have that.
"I didn't come home," he told the man, calmly, breathing slowly, "I have found home. And I need your help to protect it."
Odin descended the steps between the throne and the place both his sons were, his face harder than ever.
"You come here asking for my help after all you've done? After threatening a war upon Midgard, after lying to your own brother to take the throne away from him? After all the pain and misery you've caused in Asgard?"
"Loki never meant to take the throne away from me," Thor protested, glaring at his father, "Or he wouldn't have if I weren't a fool and a spoilt child when you handed Asgard over to my command. He saw it before you did; he realized how unprepared I was and he stopped it." Thor is quiet for a long moment then, holding his father's gaze and seeming to gather courage to continue, "The madness he fell into, the chaos he caused in here and on Earth? None of that would have happened if you hadn't lied to him, Father. If you hadn't kept from him where he came from, and why you thought it would be a good idea for you to raise him. If you hadn't given him hope of being a King all his life, and then taken it away, handing that kind of power to a warrior with no regard for how valuable peace is. Those mistakes are Loki's, I won't deny it, and neither will he, but you are not blameless. And I won't stand by and watch you try and say all of it is Loki's fault alone, because it is not the truth."
Before Odin could answer – and Loki was sure that would be a great answer, but the way he was actually getting red in anger, a soft voice came from beside them, and Loki finally had hope.
"We will help you, my son."
He didn't want to feel like this.
He didn't want to feel this warm, soothing feeling just because the woman who had raised him (and lied to him, and helped Odin lie to him, all his life) had appeared, but he couldn't help it.
Frigga was all that Odin wasn't. While Odin was full of words of power and praise for the warrior ways Thor had always favored, Frigga had always encouraged him to be the best he could be in his own way. She was the one to teach him how to fight, fast and graceful like she did. She was the one to teach him not to be afraid of his own magic, to encourage him to always know more, to always train his abilities to the best he could.
She was his mother in a way that, he could see now, Odin was never his father.
"Mother," he greeted, a small smile on his mouth even though he tried to stop it, and Frigga didn't care that Odin was staring at him angrily, or that Thor had come home too – it was him she embraced first, tight and encompassing, her perfume of lilies filling his senses and calming him down.
Everything would be fine.
"I see your brother manages to talk some sense into you," she said softly in his ear, breaking their embrace and still smiling, but Loki shook his head, taking a small step back as she embraced Thor.
"Not Thor," he replied, knowing it would please her to hear him talking of Thor as his brother.
Loki smirked then, alight with mischief.
"The child of Death", he said, pulling the Invisibility cloak off of Harry, who stared at the two gods in front of him for a second before sighing deeply.
"Such a drama queen."
With both Odin and Frigga staring at his beloved in confusion, Loki actually allowed himself to feel some hope that their plan would work.
It may even be fun.
"I just want to make it perfectly clear that I don't agree with this plan. Actually, this plan is stupid, and I should have gone. The whole thing revolves around Death saving me, why couldn't I go?"
"We have talked about this many times, Harry. If you had gone, then she wouldn't deem Loki worthy of you," Thor explained patiently, staring at the wizard beside him, both of them gazing onto Asgard from a balcony in the palace, "If this was her first test for him, can you imagine what she would do next, if he doesn't prove his value?"
Harry kept quiet for a moment, and Thor had to try very hard not to laugh at how angry the human was.
"It's still a stupid plan. What if Thanos recognizes Loki for who he is? What if Death realizes he isn't me, and then lets Thanos kill him? I can't bring him back! If she lets him die, there's no way she'd let me bring him back!"
"They won't recognize him. Loki's magic is strong, especially since you helped him disguise himself. He has Death's Hallows with him, she will immediately think of you. She won't realize it's him until she's already taken care of Thanos."
Harry turned then, staring at Thor for a moment, before smirking – it was so reminiscent of his brother's smirk Thor had to contain a shiver of fear.
Two of Loki he couldn't handle.
"You don't like this plan either," the wizard started, smirking all the while, "You wanted to go and charge at Thanos, and fight him to the death, didn't you? With your hammer and some swords, and bringing your warrior friends with you. You hate it that it has to be done with subterfuge and subtlety."
Thor shrugged then, not being able to contain a small smile.
"Subtlety is not my strongest feature. I much prefer open battle, when you know who your enemies are, and you can defeat them with the stroke of a sword, or the swing of my hammer. It is much easier."
"I used to be like that," Harry told him quietly, looking away again, onto the far mountains at East, "Before everything changed, before Death chose me for whatever reason she seems to think is fair. I liked knowing my enemies so I could fight them face to face."
"And now?" Thor prodded when Harry kept quiet for a long moment.
"Now I don't think we can tell our enemies all the time. Someone can be your ally at one moment and your enemy the next. Look at Fury, or the Avengers," he scoffed then, shaking his head, "Look at your brother! Wasn't he an enemy of Asgard just a few hours ago, and now you are helping him. Things change. Your perspective on things makes things change. You can't really hold on to black and white when you have to face eternity."
Thor kept quiet for a long moment then, taking a deep breath.
"You know you will never be alone. I know why you refused to bring your friends here, and I can guess what both you and Loki intend to do once this is all over, but you will never be alone. We are not immortal in that we can't die; but as long as we're careful, we won't die. Loki will always be with you, and so will I. You are my friend, Harry Potter, possibly the only one who understands what it is to lose Jane. The one to understand my pain."
"I'm sorry she isn't here with you."
"I am too."
They keep quiet after that, waiting.
Waiting for Loki to come back, waiting, and hoping, that Odin's power had successfully hidden Harry from Death's senses even if only for a few moments, waiting to know if Loki having the Hallows with him would make him seem more like Harry than only his and Harry's magic combined would.
Loki promised Odin he would stay and face a trial as soon as his business with Thanos was done, and Thor had vouched for him.
Thor had vouched for him, knowing it wasn't true.
Harry had more hope for the brothers than Loki had, but he could see Thor was willing to make the effort, and he would help Loki through it. He knew the man for two days only, but there was something between them that Harry didn't want to ignore and make it go away.
He had faced more truths in these few days than all of his life in the Muggle World, and he was tired of running – or at least, tired of running alone.
This was it. And it was sudden and fast and insane, but he was going to accept that this was the way he liked his life.
Life with Loki would never be boring, that was for sure.
When the god appeared suddenly, materializing in front of him and Thor, he reached out his hand, and grabbed Loki's, intent on never letting go.
"It's done," Loki said, smile mischievous and accomplished, and Thor smiled at him, inclining his head.
"Well done, brother," he told him, and Loki nodded at him, accepting the compliment and peace offer it was.
His hand still in Harry's, they stared at each other for a moment, knowing that now there was nothing stopping them, nothing making them wait.
They could go, or they could wait.
Harry was never very good at waiting.
"Father is coming," Thor told them, looking to the far end of the corridor, and Harry smiled at Loki.
Loki smirked again.
"I know just the place."
And with a shimmer of magic, they were gone.
Exactly as it should be.