Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel characters, heroes, baddies, weapons, locations ETC. Any character, weapon or location not recognizable is mine. I also do not own the Eternal Prison.

Rating and Warning: T for Angst, hurt/comfort and violence in upcoming chapters. Mentioning of torture. Swearing. OOCness that is hopefully kept to a minimum and OCs that are kept to a minimum. Rating may go up and warning may expand.

Pairings: Pepper/Tony. And Frigga/Odin Just like in the movies :B No other pairings though.

…- Chapter Six -…

It is… extraordinary satisfying to see hard work finally comes to bear fruit.

For Frigga this means two things.

One; the elves are finally placated and will stop harassing her and her family about her son's uncontroversial release from his imprisonment. Even though some still believe Loki is a threat, they trust the beloved queen of Asgard enough to take her word. They wouldn't dare say otherwise out loud, not with Frigga faithfully seated next to the All-Father for so, so long.

And two; she can finally sit by her husband's side in peace. She can finally take on her role as the mother of this family and take care of her fallen son, and her slumbering husband, while her eldest is fulfilling his duty as protector of the Nine. The queen knows Thor can return at any given moment, and even though she would rather have him home now then later, she remains very patient.

Frigga lowers Odin's large hand. It falls limply on the sheets and remains still. The queen brushes a hand through her ashen gold hair and bites her lower lip. Her husband shouldn't sleep for too long, but she can never be too sure. One time, he merely slept for two days. Another time, so much as a season had passed. Whenever he will open his eye though, she will be here waiting for him.

Today however, she is not waiting alone.

The Goddess turns her head and a smile spills over her face. Her silenced son is sitting on the ground appearing completely oblivious to his surroundings. Frigga doesn't know why he brought the black marker, as Thor had explained to her what it was, but now the immediate area around Loki is littered with black drawings of various things. Her son has his back turned to her and is busy defiling the otherwise spotless marble with another drawing, but Frigga simply doesn't have the heart to stop him. She has come across several other drawings in the dining hall, one of the trees in the garden, the armour of one of the guards and on the ceiling in one of the corridors.

Just as the queen decides to call her son over a soft knock on the door disturbs the silence. With her permission an old servant enters, and softly closes the door behind himself. He bows deeply in greeting when he reaches the bed before holding out a chest. Frigga's interest piques greatly at that.

"Milady. We have received the requested blade from the dwarves. Guttri sends his regards." The servant hands the chest over to Frigga and then leaves, but not before throwing an annoyed glare at Loki. Because this servant is also in charge of keeping the castle clean.

And it has proven to be very difficult to remove the marks. So far, they have had no such luck at all. The permanent marker has indeed proven to be very permanent.

Frigga finds herself smiling softly at that thought. With a little creak the chest is opened, revealing the one thing they have been anticipating. Inside the chest, gleaming in the light of the candles is the forged blade that had taken so long to be created. The Goddess graces over it with her fingers before pulling the knife free from the box entirely. She'd rather not mess with the seals on her son's body. Not without her husband at her side. They have been studying the languages the prison guardians use, and although she can remove the stitches in Loki's skin, there is no telling what will happen when the seals are broken. Or if they will even break at all when the black thread is removed.

Odin fears it will not be that simple.

With another soft sigh she brushes her fingers over the blade of the knife. It bites into her skin with ease. A few droplets of blood dribble down her long fingers, but she doesn't let them get far. The droplets are wiped away and not a trace is left on her skin.

The Goddess steals another glance of her son, who has moved a few feet to a clean patch of marble. He has no idea of what is going on around him, hadn't been disturbed by the servant even. In the brief few minutes she had spoken to Thor this morning, before he left, he spoke of Loki having a relapse last night. Now Loki seems fine though. He even responds when she kneels next to him and places a hand on his head. He gets up when she asks him, and he follows her when she guides him. Frigga doesn't like to leave Odin's side when he sleeps, even if it is for just a little while. But this is a pressing matter, and her husband will still be sleeping when she returns.

She simply wants Loki to get a few hours of rest as well. The bedroom door closes with a soft click behind her. The room is fairly small, located close to the room where their All-Father sleeps. Frigga wants Loki close when he wakes again.

Her son automatically walks towards the bed. It doesn't matter if he is tired, and it doesn't matter if it is time to sleep at all. The Goddess herself moves towards a cupboard and retrieves a clean cloth, just in case. A smile forms on her lips, a simple little smile that shows how well she feels right now.

The bed dips when she takes a seat on the edge, and the furs rustle when Frigga moves to sit against the headboard. Loki watches her movement, probably wondering what she is doing. "Come here." She gently coos, wrapping her arms around her youngest. After a moment of shifting and gliding Loki is comfortably lying across the bed, head in his mother's lap and the rest of his body draped over and between the pillows.

The queen brushes her hand over her son's forehead. He feels cool to the touch. Loki closes his eyes and settles. "Let me." She whispers, raising the knife to the younger man's face. The blade cuts through the first wire as if it were made of simple thread. A second wire easily follows, encouraging Frigga to cut through them all. The act is over so quickly that it almost seems too good to be true. The Goddess places the knife on the nightstand. Then, with nimble fingers and practised patience she grabs the end of one of the wires and softly tugs at it. And the small, broken wire gives. The black wire is coated with blood as she pulls it free, and Frigga can tell that it will take time for the puncture wounds to heal. But they will heal, and in time they will disappear for good. Later, when Odin is awake they can get rid of the seals, and then Loki can heal and then there will be no visible evidence of what he son has gone through.

Visible… evidence.

"You look much better now." She softly croons, brushing her hand through the other's black locks. She brushes a thumb over her son's bottom lip, feeling the little holes left by the wires. "You are free to speak again." The queen prompts, knowing that she will not get a peep out of him. Her golden eyes find the emerald ones of the younger God. He simply stares up at her, past her, through her.

Frigga knows that will change with time.

Two days Thor returns to Asgard. The thunderer had been forced to travel to a desolate part of Vanaheim, where another Summoner's Stone had appeared. He had been able to break it in time, long before it could even activate itself. The appearing of the tablets is a cause for concern and has all of the realms in a state of alarm. But until they can locate the source of whatever it is that is calling the tablets from the deepest crevices of nothing, it is best they all remain calm and destroy the stones as soon as one materialises.

"Welcome back my liege. How was Vanaheim?" She is a busty servant, always ready with a pint of mede. No one knows how she does it, but she serves the drink whenever someone needs it before they even realise they crave it. The God marches through the halls of his home with long strides, never missing a beat as he reaches for the pint that she is offering while she too matches his stride. Thor thanks her for it and half of the mede is already downed before he speaks to her. He gives her a summarized version of the story, just enough to satisfy her curiosity. She can then spread the word on her own. It will be a matter of hours before the whole castle will know what has happened in Vanaheim, where Thor had gone and what he had done to destroy the tablet.

He doesn't care much for any of that. Not in a way he used to, when he would take every possible moment to flaunt his success. But not tonight. He has other things on his mind now.

Well… not before he freshens up.

The sun flocks to us always.

To that whisper that echoes from within the deepest pits of his mind, Loki finally moves. He has been staring ahead of him for a little while, just looking ahead into empty space. The God of mischief has been waiting, actually. Waiting for someone to come find him here. Frigga has fallen asleep in the chair next to the bed Odin is occupying. Had fallen asleep just before the sun had gone down, and is yet to wake up. The first rays of the sun are already beginning to peek over the horizon. Normally she would be up long before the sun. Not today.

Just like Odin, she is not going to wake up in a long time.

The gold flocks to us always. Pathetic, with eyes so bright he is so blind.

Frigga stirs, drawing the trickster's attention. She merely shifts in her sleep, half sitting on her right side in her large and cosy chair. The Goddess faces her husband, her head resting on an arm, her legs pulled up to her chest. She is completely relaxed and completely out of the world.

Loki lowers his gaze towards the floor. He has moved to the other side of his father's bed, black marker still in hand. The marble floor around him is littered with all kinds of drawings of all kinds of things. Things long forgotten, things long suppressed. He draws what he needs to in order to get their attention. In order to keep their attention away from…

…well… him.

"I don't think the servants are very happy to see you drawing on the floor. Or the walls… or father's bed." A heavy hand falls on his shoulder and squeezes slightly to comfort the smaller God. Loki turns his head to stare at his brother but doesn't respond to the broad smile growing on Thor's lips. "Look at you brother. Free to speak again I see." The golden man kneels on the floor, keeping eye contact. "No words for me Loki?"

No. None.

Thor releases a disappointed sigh. He pats the other's back softly before getting up again. Loki returns to the floor and his crudely drawn lion again, leaving the larger man to his own thoughts.

Their father sleeps peacefully. On first glance he appears dead. All colour has left his skin, he barely breathes, and one can press to any point but feel no pulse. Odin however, merely sleeps, and that comforts Thor. He is afraid that one day the All-Father will fall asleep, and not wake from it.

Their mother is a different story. She rarely leaves her husband's side when he sleeps, and she barely sleeps while she watches over him. Thor rounds the bed and makes his way towards her as softly as he can. He is not a light man and stealth is not a skill he calls his, but he does praise himself when Frigga doesn't stir like she usually does when she sleeps and he approaches her. "Mother?" The thunder God kneels in front of her chair and places a hand on her knee. He gently squeezes, but the Goddess remains fast asleep.

Thor can't make any sense of it. Neither can the healers when their queen doesn't respond to their potions, snuff salts, gentle prayers or ancient calling. And neither can Heimdall, who hasn't seen anything out of the ordinary. Save for another tablet rising in the frozen wastelands of Midgard, and another one in Svartalfheim.

Which is just great…

"I do not understand why mother is not waking." He complains for the hundredth time that evening, but his brother doesn't mind. Loki simply raises his eyes again, listens to the sound of the larger man's voice, and then he looks down again and continues scribbling on the paper that was provided for him. Thor doesn't get why Loki keeps drawing what he draws, but it is much better then just sitting and staring. "Perhaps she has fallen into a same sort of sleep as father?" That isn't the case, at all. But that seems a lot more comforting to think that then black arts at work. That there is black and horrible magic in play, something Thor has no affinity with.

His brother has, but Loki is about as useful as a hamster on a brick right now. The thunderer doesn't know what that expression means or what a hamster is, but it all sounds very disappointing. "Can you not give me anything?" He pleads, giving the younger man his best kicked puppy expression. "Anything at all?" Like when they were younger and would get into trouble. It was Thor who usually got them into trouble because of his boisterous attitude, or Loki got them into trouble because of a prank gone wrong. The younger man would come up with something witty to get them out of punishment or a tight situation most of the times.

It was like… Loki had an answer for everything. Like he foresaw what would happen. The trickster had said once, that the back-up plans of his back-up plans had back-up plans. That he foresaw what would happen, what could happen, what couldn't…

Long ago, Thor decided, when he would be crowned king he would have kept his brother close. Loki would have made an excellent advisor. That had been the idea their father had too, who made sure that while Thor would train and learn about the ways of being a king, Loki would have any kind of knowledge at his disposal.

Loki stops grinding his marker over the paper and lifts his head. He looks at the other man with a weird glint in his eyes, one that shines with… knowledge? "Loki?" The trickster opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. The larger man is on edge anyway. He leans forward, prompting his brother for words, sounds, anything. But Loki gives nothing. Instead he closes his mouth again and turns his head to look over his shoulder. The blond follows his gaze, which is aimed at the balcony. Because he doesn't believe his eyes he gets up from his own spot on the floor and slowly begins walking.

A gentle breeze is playing with the curtains, blowing them softly to and fro. The Asgardian sun is slowly setting, already the first of the stars are shining brightly. The view reaches over the city that is slowly setting for the night. The endless ocean lies beyond it.

The only thing that is out of the ordinary is the tablet that has risen from its waves.

Thor grips his hair with both his hands and groans loudly in protest.

Behind him, beyond his gaze and that of Heimdall's, Loki grins.

-Word Vervolgd

I like hamsters :B I do not care much for bricks though. More Avenger action coming up in the next chapter. Actually… that is where the bad brown stuff will hit the fan. Yay!

I'm sorry this was way shorter then the chapters usually are, but I wanted to update something. I think updates will go a little faster from now on, because… well… we're getting there my dear readers. We're getting there.