Everlasting Winter has now been turned into an audiofic! You can find it here: ijusthadaneargasm▪tumblr▪com/fanfiction.
"We shouldn't be here."
The looming, frozen towers of Jotunheim rose high above the young sons of Odin. Loki's words disappeared into the air as soon as he voiced them, whisked away by the sharp wind and falling snow. The flakes, solid and heavy, stung both brothers' faces.
Thor spun to face Loki. "You are the one who tricked Heimdall into letting us come," he said indignantly. "You wanted to be here just as badly as I did. To see the place we've heard of in so many stories. Come on. Let's explore."
In the howling wind, Loki shivered, pulling his cloak around him, falling in step behind his brother, whose gaze was set straight ahead. He felt like disappearing and reappearing behind something in Thor's path, startling him enough to show him that this world was dangerous, that they were trodding on the enemy's ground. "We may be just boys," Loki called, "but the peace between Jotunheim and Asgard could be broken with our trespass!"
"Do not be so frightened, brother." Thor flashed a reassuring smile. "We are far from civilization. Look." The frosted, rough-hewn pillars of stone and petrified wood stood watch in the distance. "Laufey and his soldiers are far from us. There is no danger. Do you not want to explore? See if we can find and wrestle a Jarnsidir?"
In his heart, Loki knew Thor was making the wrong choice. Nonetheless, he followed, not wishing to be seen as a coward by his elder brother.
"Besides, even if we were to meet Laufey," Thor continued, trudging through the snow, "by now, he would be old and weak. And I could defeat him in hand-to-hand combat. And this world will know that the sons of Odin are as mighty as their father!"
"Thor," warned Loki, "Father barely defeated him; do not take on what you cannot handle."
The older brother held up a hand. "Wait. Do you hear that?"
Loki listened. At first, all he could hear was the whistle of the wind, but then he heard it. Footsteps, crunching against the frozen snow.
"Frost giants," Thor decided, puffing up his chest. "Listen. Two of them." The footsteps were out of sync, two distinct footfalls. "Light for frost giants. Perhaps they are young ones."
Like us Loki thought. Much too young to be doing what we're doing. Again, he childishly wished to be home, to be safe, but willed himself to be strong. I am a prince of Asgard, he reminded himself. I am meant to be a warrior. I can be just as brave as Thor. The footsteps drew closer...
Thor surveyed the landscape and spotted a small outcropping of rock, enough for one person to hide. "Brother," he commanded, "hide there. I will face these monsters."
"I can fight," he protested, producing the weapon given to him by Odin on his last birthday, an intricately carved battleaxe.
Thor put a hand on Loki's shoulder. "No, brother. I am the elder. It is my duty to protect you." He grinned confidently. "Do not worry. There are only two. This is child's play."
Loki wished he could share Thor's bravado, but he could only manage a weak smile in response before sprinting to the half-cave.
From his little sanctuary, Loki saw the Frost Giants come around the corner. He'd never seen a real one before; his knowledge of them was limited to the stories parents told to scare their children, and the artwork in the sagas, which he'd only seen a couple of times. He remembered the scenes in the vibrant scrolls: blue figures towering over legions of Asgardians, spears of ice attached to their fists, their size and number no match for the resolve of his father's army.
These two seemed smaller than the ones depicted in the scrolls. They were only a few feet taller than Thor, and their faces held no anger, only curiosity. Loki guessed that they were young, too, exploring the fringes of their world, perhaps coming to see the place where the Bifrost impressed designs into the planes of ice. He resisted the urge to rush forward; he willed Thor to be levelheaded, to not seek battle where battle was unnecessary.
But his brother was brash and young, and he pulled his sword before the two young giants had a chance to speak. Both of them clenched their hands, and icy daggers enveloped their fists. Loki, in awe, shuddered in fear; at the promise of a fight, Thor just grinned and delivered a blow.
They fought, and while the weapons of the Frost Giants were part of their bodies, Thor could wield a sword like it was part of his. The adrenaline rushed through his veins and he let out a primal yell, delivering a death blow to the shorter one, then turned his attention to his friend.
The dying yell of the Frost Giant echoed across the landscape, and Loki's pulse quickened. There will be more.
He hesitated for a moment, then came running out of his hiding place. "Thor! Thor, we have to go back! More will come! They will have heard!"
"Let them!" he shouted, his blade clashing with the icy fist of the Frost Giant. "I'll slay them all!"
"Thor, you cannot win a battle against an entire planet! We have to go, come on-" But even as he said it, he knew that it was impossible to tear his brother from any battle. If he helped him defeat the Frost Giant, maybe then he could drag him away-
He rushed forward, battleaxe in hand, but the Frost Giants had heard their dying brother's call. Loki looked up in terror; they were three times as tall as him and snarling with rage, their fists as large as his head, barreling straight toward them. "Thor!" he screamed, but it was too late; Thor was losing the battle, and Loki felt himself being lifted from the ground. Thor's eyes found his brother, and his anger surged enough to push the Frost Giant back and stab him through the throat. But he wasn't quick enough to save his brother.
"Loki!" Thor watched in horror as his brother was carried off. He tried to give chase, but the other two blocked him with their giant bodies.
"I am Thor, son of Odin," he yelled, holding his bloody sword aloft, "and the one you have just taken is my brother Loki. Return him immediately or you will suffer the consequences."
"Go back, son of Odin," said the taller one. "Go back and tell your father that the truce has been broken."
He glared at them. "Return my brother or I will kill you, Frost Giant."
The Frost Giant laughed. "You are too eager to die, young one. Go back to your father." With a flick of the giant's wrist, Thor found himself landing hard on the ice, back where he started. Seething, he looked to the sky, Heimdall's name on the tip of his tongue. Loki was right, it had been a mistake to come here; but he couldn't go back and tell his father. He wouldn't leave his brother here. There was only one course of action.
Thor got back up, brushed the snow off of his cape, and began the long walk back.
When Loki awoke, he didn't know how much time had passed. The world faded in and out around him and, for a moment, he reached blindly for a blanket, wondering why it was so cold; then he remembered he was on Jotunheim, being held prisoner. He tried to move, but his wrists and ankles were encased in solid ice, frozen to the rough-hewn stone beneath him. The cold stung his skin.
"Thjazi. He's awake," came a deep, growling voice, and a face appeared.
The giant called Thjazi scrutinized Loki's face for a moment before demanding: "Who are you?"
Loki met the giant's hard stare. "I am Loki Odinson of Asgard."
Thjazi laughed, a booming sound that sent a thrill of terror through Loki. "You are no son of Odin."
"Yes, I am."
The Frost Giant's eyes narrowed. "If you want to waste my time with lies, I can tell you that this will not be pleasant for you. What were you doing in the company of Thor Odinson?"
"My brother and I were exploring," Loki answered. "I swear. It was a mistake; we should never have come here, I know. We only wanted to see your world. We've heard so much about it in stories-"
"Enough." Thjazi raised a hand to silence him. "You are a traitor to your home."
"I am not! I just wanted to see-" He felt childish using this excuse. He was supposed to be wiser than this. "Please, just let me return home. I promise I will never return. Nor Thor."
"How long have you known Thor?"
"Since birth," Loki said desperately. "He is my brother!" What don't they understand?
Thjazi leaned close to him. "This charade does not amuse me," he growled. "I know you are no Asgardian."
Before Loki could protest, Thjazi seized his arm. Aghast, Loki watched as his skin turned blue under the giant's fingers, lines carving into his flesh. In the giant's enormous eyes, he saw the reflection of his own: dark and red. Horrified, he pulled his arm from Thjazi's grasp. "You cannot keep the truth from us," the Frost Giant growled. "Your disguise is a poor one."
Loki was silent. Usually, he could talk his way out of anything, but this revelation was too big for him to handle; he could find no words. He was- he was a Frost Giant. Or was this just some illusion of theirs? He opened his palm; willing the power into his hands, he felt the freeze emanate from his fingertips, and knew they weren't tricking him. He stared, wide-eyed, at Thjazi.
"You and the son of Odin came here to start a war," Thjazi said. It was a statement, not a question.
"No. No. The last thing we want is war. Asgard is at peace with Jotunheim."
"Was at peace." He rose. "You will tell us everything before the end. Tell us now, and I will make that end come quickly. Refuse to tell us, and you will die a slow and agonizing death."
"I have nothing to tell," Loki said helplessly. "There is no plan, there is no war, this was a mistake... please..."
Thjazi's compatriots advanced on him. One held his prized battleaxe. "Please," Loki begged. "Please."
They used the sharp blade of his own weapon to cut his thick clothes from his body. The icy snow stung his skin, and the wind froze him to the core. In his current form, he would die of exposure in mere hours. They'd stripped him of his magic; he felt utterly defenseless. He was going to die here. On Jotunheim. Which was apparently, after all, his home. A tear slid down his face and froze to his skin. "Speak to Odin," he begged. "I do not know how I got to Asgard any more than you do. It has been my home for my whole life. I'm not a traitor."
"It would be fitting," Thjazi said, "for Odin to kidnap a Frost Giant and raise him as an Asgardian. He instilled loyalty in you, and then made you turn your back on your people. Your real heritage. That is just the sort of thing that coward would do."
Loki's eyes blazed. "My father is not a coward. Making peace is not cowardly."
Thjazi met his glare. "Laufey was a fool to accept his truce. I advised against it. But out here? I do not answer to Laufey. And I will not show you the same mercy he showed to Odin." He nodded at one of his minions, who advanced on Loki with an ugly grin and a sharp tool.
"Please- please, I'm telling the truth-"
His screams were audible, miles away, in the heart of Jotunheim.