Loki gave a low groan and struggled to get up, wincing at the pain that shot up his back.
That little brat… I will get him for this!
The God of Mischief leant against the wall for support and looked around angrily for his son, finally spotting him inside the room next to the machine.
The nerve of that-
Loki stumbled onto his feet and was about to stride furiously into the room to teach Leif a lesson when he stopped abruptly and his blood turned cold after seeing what the boy was doing.
The god stared in horror at the growing swirling vortex between Leif's palms and for a moment, he was stunned, unsure of what to do or think. It was only after a few seconds that realisation of his son's motives and the consequences that will follow hit him. Loki's stomach clenched at the thought.
If Leif succeeded in creating the vortex, he would not only cause the Casket of Ancient Winters to be lost in a separate dimension and ruin Loki's plans. The very action of creating the vortex is extremely dangerous, and even with the pendant to protect him, the explosion caused combined with the energy of the Casket when triggered could kill the boy. Loki's eyes widened in terror at that idea. No! He can't let that happen!
In the past, despite how his plans and actions had pushed Leif away from him, Loki had always been certain that his son would one day return to his side. He had never even once considered the notion that Leif would leave him. However, now, at this very moment, the possibility of his son being lost to him forever was present and looming threateningly over the god. A cold, piercing fear overtook Loki as he stood outside of the room, holding his hand against the wall for balance and staring in despair at Leif. For the first time in a long while, the God of Trickery was panicking, and his mind was blank, unable to discern his next move.
"Wh-what are you doing?" Loki cried out in desperation to Leif, who seemed too engrossed in his actions to hear his father. "If you do that you will kill yourself!" The god stared in disbelief as his son continued to ignore him. With his face hardened, Loki got firmly onto his feet and dashed into the room.
On the way in, a flurry of thoughts had rushed through his mind. The sorcerer could see from the size of the vortex that it would be too late to stop the explosion now, and he had no idea what he would do once he reached Leif. However, the fatherly instinct inside of him prompted Loki to charge forward regardless of the dangers and to save his son, no matter how futile his actions will be. Loki was just inches away from the boy, reaching out to pull Leif away from the vortex when the deafening explosion of energy occurred.
After the explosion collided with the Casket of Ancient Winters, the energy gathered erupted with a blinding blue light and both Leif and Loki were thrown backwards by the blast. While he flailed about in the air, one of Loki's hands managed to grab hold onto the edge of the roof of an adjacent building while the other miraculously caught hold of Leif. A swirling icy blue vortex had formed a distance away from them, inside of the S.H.I.E.L.D building and Loki could see that it was sucking in objects around it with a tremendous force. As bits of rubble and items flew past Loki and hurtled into the swirling hole, the god realised that the collision with the Casket has amplified the power of the vortex. The relic was now gone, lost in the twirling depths of the abyss but the energy it had released was still immense and present.
Loki's arm ached with the strain of holding onto the edge of the building as well as gripping Leif's hand tightly, desperate to stop his son from being pulled into the void. The god felt hilariously helpless in the current situation. The blast had weakened him considerably and with his current strength and magic, there was no way for Loki to get both himself and Leif out of this tight spot. All he could do now was to hold onto both sides for dear life and hope that the vortex will disappear after a while. However, Loki's arms are starting to grow tired.
"Don't worry Leif; I will get us out of this." Loki cried out to his son and forced an assuring smile onto his face. Nonetheless, the God of Lies knew that this particular lie was utterly pathetic given their situation and Leif knew better than that as well.
"No, you can't pull us both up. Just let go of me… save yourself." Leif muttered quietly as he stared into his father's eyes and the god's smile faltered. Loki's heart sank as he looked at his son's faint expression, realising that the explosion had injured Leif greatly and that it would only be a matter of time before the boy lost consciousness. The god started to panic again. No, he would never let go.
"No, Leif… Listen! I will save us both!" Loki began anxiously but Leif only gazed back at him ruefully.
It was then, during this time of jeopardy, that Loki realised with a pang of irony how this scene was so familiar. It was somehow déjà vu all over again. The god's mind raced back to a year ago during his huge battle with his brother, which had ended with Odin grabbing onto Thor while he and Loki dangled dangerously over the abyss they have created on the destroyed Rainbow Bridge. Loki had been in Leif's position then, and both Odin and Thor had similarly begged him not to let go.
Had they felt the same way as I do now?
A flicker of doubt suddenly flitted through Loki's heart as he remembered the looks of anguish on his father and brother's face. The trickster had dismissed those sorrowful looks and pleas as an act in the past, choosing not to dwell more into them. However, at this critical moment, the god could not help but wonder if Odin and Thor had gone through the same feelings as he was undergoing now: Fear, terror, desperation and the torturous pain of being helpless to save the one you loved. Loki had let go in the past, despite his family's pleas and he now realised that by doing so, he had been the cruel one all along. The god now understood the heartbreak he would have caused in that single move and his insides turned cold with fear of what would happen if Leif did the same.
Is this my retribution?
Leif's hand loosened its grip, shocking Loki from his train of thoughts and the god panicked, clutching onto his son even tighter.
No! I will not let Leif leave me like this!
"Leif! You can't let go! You mustn't! If you do, I will- I will-" Loki racked his brain for any threat to stop his son from releasing his grip but found none. Leif seemed to realise this and flashed his father one last weak grin before closing his eyes, lost to the world of the conscious. The boy's hand grew limp and Loki's eyes widened with horror.
The god gripped onto his son's hand even tighter, but he knew that Leif would slip away from him sooner or later. The pull of the vortex was too strong and Loki was becoming increasingly weaker at every passing second. The God of Lies looked around desperately for any sign of help that may possibly arrive to save them; however, there was not a single soul to be seen.
Where is Thor when you finally need him?
Loki gritted his teeth in frustration and turned his head to look at Leif once more. It was no use. The boy was too gravely injured and Loki knew that he would not be able to resuscitate him like this. In view of the hopeless situation, the god considered releasing his grip on the building and plunging into the vortex along with Leif. If he could not save his son, then Loki decided that he would join him. At least neither of them would be alone. Just as Loki was about to let go, he felt a strong hand close around his and the god's head snapped back eagerly, expecting to look into a pair of electric blue eyes. However, he found himself staring into an expressionless metal mask and for some reason he could not comprehend, a slight tinge of disappointment flitted across Loki's heart.
"Gotcha Frosty," The Iron Man chirped and flew off into the air, dragging Loki and Leif along with him away from the vortex. Tony released his hold of Loki once they reached the rooftop of a building a safe distance away from the swirling blue mass and the god found himself falling and sprawling onto the hard ground, separated from Leif during the fall. The Iron Man landed lightly on the ground and watched with amusement as Loki struggled to get up and hurriedly dragged himself to his son's side.
"Leif! Leif!" Loki cried out anxiously, shaking the boy's limp body. When there was no response, the god fearfully checked for a pulse and found much to his relief that Leif was still alive. The boy's breathing was weak though, and Loki had no idea how much damage the explosion had done.
"Looks like junior needs medical attention." Tony Stark observed dryly as the Iron Man mask snapped up and the billionaire gazed down at the unconscious boy. It took all of Loki's willpower and concern for his son to stop him from strangling the supposed genius. The god stared at Leif sorrowfully and uncontrollable tears fell from his eyes.
Leif was right… I have always placed his life in peril.
"I never knew you had enough human in you to cry," Tony said as he stared at Loki curiously.
"Shut up Stark. For once, just shut up!"
Thor strode along the corridor of S.H.I.E.L.D's secret underground base grimly.
Leif was now resting in a hospital ward. A few minutes after Tony Stark had saved the boy and Loki, a raven had flown down next to Leif carrying a small vial of liquid. Thor, who had reached the scene by then, recognised the bird as Odin's messenger and that the liquid in the vial was medicine the All Father had sent to save his grandson. Loki and Thor had hurriedly fed Leif the potion and the boy's condition was now stable. Loki had then been escorted to a cell underground in S.H.I.E.L.D's base and the god had been surprisingly compliant, leaving without a word even though Thor could see worry in his eyes when his brother took a final glimpse at Leif.
Thor had been sitting by Leif's bedside for four whole hours after that incident, anxiously waiting for the boy to wake when Phil Coulson appeared all of a sudden and informed the Thunder God that Loki wished to see him. Despite his reluctance to leave his nephew's side, Thor knew that Loki must be as concerned about the boy as he was and decided to meet his brother. Phil had agreed to stay with Leif while Thor was away and the Norse God was now on his way to visit his wayward brother.
The two armed agents nodded at Thor when they saw him and opened the heavy metal door of the cell for the god. Thor strode in cautiously and gazed at Loki, who was sitting inside quietly with his hands locked in a metal cuff. The metal door swung shut behind Thor and there was a moment of silence where the two brothers stared wordlessly at each other. Finally, Thor cleared his throat and spoke.
"Leif is fine now. He is recovering. The potion Father sent has worked wonders." The Thunder God said gruffly, guessing that this was the only thing Loki cared about right now. The God of Mischief simply nodded and continued eye contact with Thor, making the god extremely uncomfortable.
"I know. I am able to observe Leif from afar and I have the utmost confidence in Father's abilities." Loki replied flatly and Thor blinked in surprise. If Loki already knew, then why did he ask to meet him? Thor stared at his brother for a while more and decided to leave when neither of them spoke. However, just as he turned to exit the cell, Loki stopped him.
The God of Thunder spun around and looked at his brother questioningly.
"In the past, when I fell into the abyss and all of Asgard thought me to be dead," Loki muttered quietly while Thor seemed utterly confused. "You had said that you had mourned. Is that true?"
Thor gaped in surprise at Loki's question. He had not expected this. The Thunder God stared at his brother in disbelief for a moment before regaining his composure over his initial shock at Loki's words.
"Of course brother," Thor said finally and gazed ruefully at Loki. "We all did."
"Even Father?" Loki's question came out more as a plea. Thor could see the sorrow and desperation in the younger god's emerald eyes as he stared at his brother.
"Especially Father." Thor replied truthfully and for a moment, Loki's eyes seemed to flash with something similar to guilt. Loki broke off his eye contact with Thor and stared down at his hands quietly, appearing to be pondering deeply about something.
"Thank you." This came out as a low whisper from Loki's mouth which Thor could barely catch. However, the larger Norse God heard it and flashed a rueful smile at his brother that Loki did not see. After gazing at Loki for a few more seconds, Thor decided to leave. Their meeting was over; Loki had made it clear by refusing to look at Thor any further. However, even as the God of Thunder left the room, his heart lifted considerably as Loki's final two words echoed in his mind.
Yes, Thor was sure that there is still a possibility of redemption for his brother yet.
Loki gazed down at Leif sadly as he stood next to the boy's bed.
It was 3 a.m. now, and the hospital was eerily quiet at this time of the night. Not a single soul was to be seen as all visitors, including hysterical uncles, had to leave the wards and allow the patients peace and quiet for their rest. Loki had chosen this time to visit his son, knowing full well that he would not be interrupted.
After Thor's visit, Loki had been left alone in his cell to reflect on his past actions. The god had been conflicted, not knowing what to think or believe in given his current situation. A part of him was now laden with guilt and remorse at what he had done while another part of him was still arguing that he had no other choice given his circumstances. However, there was one thing that the God of Lies could not deny. The acts he committed had nearly cost him his son's life.
You still care…
Leif's voice had rang in Loki's head as he remembered how the boy tried to convince him that Odin and Thor was still important to him. A pang of pain shot through his heart at that thought and Loki remembered the incident on the destroyed Bifrost once more. For once the god truly considered the fact that he had hurt his father and brother gravely with his past actions and smiled bitterly at the irony of how the things he had done only managed to push away what he had been fighting for in the first place: Family and love.
Leif was right. My son had seen things more clearly than I did.
Loki knew that Thor would be bringing him back to Asgard as soon as Leif recovered. He knew that he would have to pay the consequences for his actions. However, the trickster had decided otherwise. Loki did not fear the punishment that would be arriving his way. No, he was scared of something else. After all this trouble he had caused, Loki feared facing Odin once more. He dreaded seeing the disappointment and grief on his Father's face. For once, the trickster wanted to apologise, to repent for his actions but he was still conflicted inside. There were still some doubts within him, and Loki had decided that he would need more time to come to terms with his own misgivings. It would be wrong for him to meet Odin before that, before he could clearly point out his own errors and truly seek for forgiveness from his father. Therefore, Loki had decided to leave.
After an incident involving the request for a magazine, a few yelps of pain and several knocked out agents, Loki was now free again. The God of Trickery had managed to escape from his cell and had decided to pay his son one final visit quickly before he left. After all, it would only be a matter of time before the Avengers are on his trail again.
Loki carefully flicked a strand of stray hair away from Leif's face. Even if all the other thoughts in the god's mind were uncertain, he could be sure about one thing: his guilt at having placed his son's life at risk. Loki continued staring sorrowfully at his son and all of a sudden, as if sensing his father's presence, the boy's eyelids twitched and his eyes gingerly opened.
"Father?" A hoarse whisper escaped from Leif's mouth and Loki could not help but give a tiny rueful smile. "Is… is this a dream? What happened to all the green and silver mist?" The boy flashed a weak grin as he stared at his father, his eyes still tired and weary from his earlier experience.
"The mist got a little old." Loki smiled and Leif gave a faint chuckle. "Leif," The god said a little more seriously this time. "I will be leaving this place soon." The boy's eyes widened a little in alarm as he gazed at Loki.
"It doesn't matter, my son. Regardless of where I am, I promise that I will always be by your side… and I will always visit you." Loki gave an assuringly smile and Leif relaxed.
"I know you will." The boy grinned and his eyelids drooped shut once more. Loki stared at Leif as he slept peacefully for a moment and felt comforted by the fact that his son was now safe.
I love you.
The god's hand brushed tenderly across Leif's cheek as Loki took one final glimpse at his son and teleported away.
"Could you believe that Loki escaped again? I really must have a word with Fury regarding S.H.I.E.L.D's flimsy security." Tony grumbled and popped another grape into his mouth. All of the Avengers, except for Clint and Natasha, who were busy with S.H.I.E.L.D matters due to Loki's recent escape, were now in Leif's hospital ward to visit the boy. Leif had made an amazing recovery and was now able to sit up on his bed and munch on an apple while listening with amusement to the others' conversation.
"Phil said that he knocked out 14 highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D agents to escape," Steve said grimly. "And with Loki's skills and magic, I bet it would be hard to track him down." Bruce and Thor nodded in agreement while Tony started cynically questioning the capabilities and intelligence of S.H.I.E.L.D's supposed highly trained agents.
Leif suppressed a tiny grin at the thought of his father being free again. The boy had not told anyone, not even Thor, about the visit from Loki two nights before. Dream or not, Leif knew that the encounter was real and he was sort of reluctant to send the Avengers after his father even after what Loki had done.
"You are awfully quiet kid, do you know something that we don't?" Tony's suspicious voice jolted Leif from his daze.
"Huh! No, of course not!" Leif replied brightly and took another bite out of his apple.
"My nephew is injured, Stark. It is perfectly normal if he does not feel like speaking." Thor said gruffly, throwing a glare in Tony's direction. Although the god had not voiced it out loud, everyone knew that he was once again unhappy with Tony Stark for pushing his precious nephew into the line of fire during the war.
"Well, don't look at me as though it was my fault. I told the boy to try and deactivate the Casket. I didn't ask him to risk his life and create a ginormous black hole that nearly killed him, destroyed the S.H.I.E.L.D building as well as tear down a portion of the city surrounding it." Tony replied flatly and threw another grape into his mouth. "Hmmm… these grapes are good."
"Well, look on the bright side," Steve said hastily after seeing the enraged look on Thor's face. "At least Leif is safe now and the whole of New York City is saved with the exception of a few buildings, considering how the vortex disappeared after a few minutes. The Frost Giants had been demoralised after seeing the explosion and we were able to beat them easily after that, weren't we? I dare say it's a rather fair trade."
"And we have Leif to thank for it." Bruce smiled at the boy and Leif flashed a grin back. Thor seemed to calm down after hearing his friends' words but still threw a dirty look in Tony's direction.
"But my brother has escaped again." The god muttered dejectedly. He had hoped that Loki would return to Asgard with him and repent his past errs. From the conversation he had with his brother, Thor had been sure that there was still hope for Loki yet.
"You know what, guys?" Bruce said finally after a moment's silence. "After hearing Tony's account of how Loki had risked his life to save Leif and the fact that he merely knocked out the agents and didn't kill them, I think Loki may not be entirely evil yet. Perhaps it would be better if he never pops up on S.H.I.E.L.D's radar ever again." Bruce's eyes flicked towards Leif and the scientist gave the boy a tiny smile, which the boy returned gratefully.
Leif understood what Bruce was trying to say. Yes, it would be best if Loki stayed off S.H.I.E.L.D's radar. That would mean that the god is no longer threatening the world again and has turned over a new leaf. Besides, Loki had promised to visit Leif before he left, and the boy knew that it was a promise that even the God of Lies will never break. Leif grinned to himself. He was sure that he would be having some really sweet dreams soon.
"Well then, now that the S.H.I.E.L.D building is destroyed once more, what do you think Fury will do with us?" Steve mentioned lightly, hoping to change the topic away from the sensitive issue of Loki's escape. Four pairs of eyes in the room turned towards Tony Stark's direction and the billionaire's eyebrows rose sceptically.
"Well don't look at me! My house is undergoing some really heavy renovation projects right now… I don't have any more spare rooms for guests."
Thor sat happily on a patio chair in Tony's garden, or park, which the god had felt was a more fitting word to describe the place.
After Leif had made a full recovery, he and the Avengers had moved into the Stark Mansion once more, despite Tony's disgruntled protests. This stay was predicted to be a longer one than the first, considering how Leif had managed to single-handedly destroy the S.H.I.E.L.D building once more. Nick Fury had coolly stated that it would now take more time to search for a new place to set up as headquarters and since the others had not fancied the idea of staying underground in the organisation's secret base, Tony soon found his house being swamped with unwanted guests again. Pepper had taken this piece of news lightly, much to Tony's bemusement, and had even suggested celebrating their victory and Leif's recovery with a simple barbeque.
Thor sniffed the delicious aroma of grilled steaks sifting in the air with approval. Yes, Ms Potts is a wonderful chef. The Norse God readily decided that Tony Stark was extremely lucky indeed to have her as his lover. The other Avengers had gathered and were now sitting around the patio table, chatting cheerily about the simpler things in life. The atmosphere here was merry, and no one was foolish enough to mention the battle they had with Loki and the Frost Giants just a few days earlier. Times were peaceful now, and everyone appreciated that fact.
Thor listened with amusement for a moment as Leif cheekily pestered an annoyed Natasha about some incident that had happened in Budapest before his mind drifted off towards his brother once more. Thor still remembered the look in the trickster's eyes when he asked about their father and the quiet 'Thank you' he had muttered to Thor in the end. This comforted the god greatly. Loki may not have apologised to his brother or expressed his repentance, but Thor knew that the thanks Loki had said meant a lot.
The god jolted up at the sound of Tony's furious voice. It appeared that Leif had once again managed to salt the billionaire's wine glass and Tony had nearly choked on his ruined drink. The god chuckled heartily as the enraged Tony chased Leif around the garden while Bruce and Steve tried to stop them. Natasha and Clint also appeared to enjoy the scene and were laughing with amusement. Pepper's brows rose in disapproval as she stared at her childish lover.
Thor's smile faltered after a moment as he gazed at his nephew and friends. Somehow, deep inside of him, the god ruefully wished that Loki could be here with them. Thor knew that his brother would have enjoyed watching this scene. If he were present, Loki would probably be smirking alongside with Leif at the furious, panting Tony, patting his son on the shoulder for a prank well played. Thor knew his brother.
The God of Thunder remembered all of a sudden how Leif had accused him of not being willing to give up the throne of Asgard for Loki in the past. He considered this for a moment and decided that Leif was right in a certain way. Thor would not only be willing to give up the throne for his brother, he would be willing to give up his life.
Thor gazed quietly at Leif, who was now grinning and making some sort of snide remark at Tony Stark while Steve Rogers struggled to restrain the angry, kicking billionaire. Yes, Leif was exactly like Loki when he was younger. Thor felt another pang of sadness for his brother. Despite all Loki had done in the past, Thor had hoped that he would one day relent and accept the embrace of his family once more. Loki deserved more than to spend his days alone in exile. He should be here, laughing along with his brother and son and enjoying the warm company of friends, just like Leif is.
I will do all it takes to get Loki back again…
Thor smiled to himself as his resolve to bring his brother back hardened. If Leif could accept his differences and fit in, then the god was sure that his brother would be able to do the same. Loki may have left them once more, but Thor had faith that his brother will return one day.
After all, there is this Midgardian saying: Like son, like father…
Thor's brows furrowed in confusion as he thought about it once more.
Or was it: Like father, like son?
THE END! TA DA! How was it? Was it too sad for you? Or was it just right? I know many of you probably want a happier ending for Loki in this story, but I personally feel that salvation is a long process, especially after what Loki had done and it is not something to be rushed in a single chapter. Not to worry though, Loki is already starting to feel guilt… he only needs a bit more time to repent his actions.
And like I have said in the earlier chapters… the end is not always the end! ;D I know some of you want a sequel, and guess what? I plan on writing one too! I have grown a little too attached to Leif while writing, he seems like a good friend now, and I cannot imagine not writing about him in the short term… so yes, I am working on a sequel. :D
But first things first, I left this story with a rather open ending and I need something to close it up for the longer sequel I have in mind. Therefore, within the next two or three days, I will be posting a short one-shot sequel to this story! It will mostly include a ton of humour and will serve as a perhaps happier alternate ending to the story. Leif will be making an appearance of course, along with the Avengers, Leif's Asgardian and Midgardian friends, S.H.I.E.L.D personnel and not to forget our favourite villain! XD It won't be a lame continuation of this ending though… there will be a separate event that will happen. I will also be writing an important author's note in that story regarding the further plans I have… so be sure to catch it! ;D
The story will have a title that would make it obvious that it's from me… so you guys can't possibly miss it. But it's not titled Son of Loki 2, of course, -.- I am not as lame as that. Alternatively, you can always click on my profile to see if the story is up. It will most likely be by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. ;)
Once again, thanks for reading my story. You guys are wonderful and I really love the reviews you gave! Do continue reviewing and reading my continuations to this! :D Till then, toodles!
Lots of love,