Disclaimer: I do not own any Marvel characters. I'm just playing with them and then I will give them back, promise.

Rating and Warning: T for Angst and violence in upcoming chapters. Not sure of where my devious mind will take this so, Rating may go up.

Beta: LaughingLadybug, this would be awful without her amazing punctuation skills and careful reviewing. Go read (and review) her stories!

Mischief in his Heart

Chapter 3

Loki sat in a small alcove in a forgotten back room of the palace. The sunlight warmed the floor and cast a happy glow over his carefully set battlefield. Metal soldiers and horses glinted brightly as he marched them to their places. He was just about to attack the evil frost giant forces when he was startled by heavy footsteps.

Loki snatched up the members of the Asgardian army and tried to hide them in his cloak as the tread came down the hallway. He hovered over the frost giants to block them from view when the footsteps stopped up behind him.

"Hey those are mine!" Thor complained.

"You weren't playing with them," Loki said sullenly, not looking up, "and I don't have any soldiers."

Thor grabbed an Asgardian soldier out of Loki's hand. "How come you hide away to play with my soldiers, and you won't come to the training grounds to see me spar anymore," Thor asked with a pout, sitting on the floor beside Loki.

Loki looked down at his empty hands and blushed. He hated leaving the palace, the way everyone always stared at him. When people stared at Thor, Loki knew it was because Thor was so perfect. The perfect prince, the perfect son, the perfect fighter. They always looked at Thor with pride, while Loki was gawked at with curiosity and no small amount of malicious glee.

The other Aesir viewed him as vulnerable and odd; he was so unlike the rest of them. They used him to feel better about their own misfortunes; at least they were better than the prince, not pale and awkward.

Loki tried to get the Asgardian soldier back from Thor's grasp but his brother held the metal figure above his head and wouldn't let him have it. Loki stopped reaching and folded his hands in his lap.

Thor dropped the metal man on the floor with a clank; it was not fun to fight with Loki when he didn't play along.

Loki up-righted the man and began to assemble his army again.

Thor watched quietly for a few minutes.

"I didn't say that you could play with these Loki," Thor said nastily though he didn't stop Loki's hands or take the men. "Play with your own toys."

"I do not have soldiers," Loki replied patiently.

"That is right, you do not. Those are mine, father gave them to me not you," Thor taunted. "Go play with your rag cloth."

Loki frowned. He had never been able to sleep without the scrap of blanket he'd kept since birth and Thor continuously teased him about it.

When taunting his brother garnered no reaction, Thor began to gather up the metal pieces. Loki let out a distressed squawk when his horses started to disappear.

Loki didn't know what else he could do to prevent the loss of his army, so he turned his back to his brother and pretended that he didn't care about the soldiers, not even the horses.

Thor hated it when Loki did that.

Thor dropped the pieces to the floor once more and sighed, putting a palm on Loki's back. "I like it when you come to see me fight Loki," he tried to wheedle.

In some part of his mind, Thor understood. He would not want to come to the training grounds either if their positions were reversed. He'd heard the whispers about Loki and how unfit his little brother was to bear the Odinson name. If it had been other boys saying such demeaning things about his brother Thor would have thrashed them, but mostly, it had been his elders.

Thor pushed the thoughts away, he wanted Loki to cheer for his sparring and that was all that mattered to him.

"I will let you play with the army if you come to my match today," Thor pushed.

"I will play with them whenever I like when you aren't around to stop me," Loki huffed.

"I will lock them in my metal chest, and then you will never get to them," Thor threatened. "If you come today I will let you play with them whenever you like."

Loki peaked over his shoulder at his brother quickly and then looked back at the wall. "No! I care not for your army," Loki replied folding his arms across his chest.

Thor bit his lip. He always lost when he argued with Loki. How could he win when Loki did not care?

"I will give you my horses if you come," Thor baited; Loki loved horses more than anything.

"You will?" Loki asked, still staring at the wall, unsure if it was a trick.

"Yes," Thor galloped one of the horses over Loki's back and onto his shoulder.

Loki took the horse from his shoulder, clutching it to his chest. He turned around, eyes gleaming happily. "I will go."

Thor beamed back at his brother, "Race you to get ready," he shouted leaping to his feet and running off.

"No fair! You got a head start!" Loki whined running after him.

Loki tried to ignore the strange glances he was receiving and focus on cheering for Thor. His big brother didn't seem to need him there. Loki wasn't sure if his voice could be heard at all over the din of other boys cheering for him as well.

Loki felt absurd; he thought that he'd done the right thing when he'd put on the artificial armor he had made for himself. He had found metal fragments and leather laces to put together out of the scrap bin to form his chest plate. He'd been quite proud of it until now; other boys were pointing and giggling at him.

His cheeks burned crimson.

He had only wanted to be seen like the others his age, but as he looked down at himself now, he realized how foolish he had been. Loki wanted to leave and take it off, but everyone was staring at him.

He was eventually squeezed to the back of the over enthusiastic horde as they applauded and praised Thor when he conquered his opponent in the battle ring.

Loki couldn't see through the crowd so he tried to find something to climb upon. He didn't want Thor to look around and not see him, or else he mightn't get his horses.

He was stopped by a pair of hands; he looked up and recognized a boy that was near his own age had stopped him.

"Are you the prince?" The boy asked. He was thick about the waist and a fair height, taller than even Thor, Loki noticed.

Loki was not used to anyone asking him such a thing, he was 'a prince' not 'the prince', that was Thor, everyone knew that.

"I guess so," he answered feebly, His eyes still searching out something to stand on.

The boy looked him up and down and sniffed. "You don't look like much."

Loki bristled but ignored him; his mind was focused on Thor's horses.

"My father said you were a runt," The boy smiled wickedly, he nudged his friend who looked at Loki with the same fiendish sort of grin. The other boy's face was covered with freckles.

Loki stopped looking around, appalled that they would say such a thing to him. Thor had called him that once and their mother had made Thor sit in the crook of their bedroom with nothing to do for a very long time.

Loki balled his fists. "Am not!" he retorted.

"Runt! Runt," The large boy chanted, snickering at Loki's angry face.

Loki's body filled with rage. "You…you are a fat beast!" He shouted. "At least I am not a fat…fat dulack!"

The stout boy balked, he didn't appreciate being called a fat stable animal.

He nudged his friend, "Look the little runt is squeaking," he sneered.

His friend looked around, with a worried expression. "You shouldn't do that Volstagg…we'll get in trouble!"

Loki had reason enough to understand that he could not fight the large boy and his friend with the speckled face, but he wanted revenge all the same.

Before he could think better of it, Loki sank his teeth into the Volstagg's wrist.

The boy squealed and tried to pull his arm from Loki's sharp teeth but Loki only latched his jaws on to the wrist with more vigor. Volstagg's friend ran off into the crowd.

Loki could eventually hear Thor behind him, shouting his name and trying to pull him off the larger boy who had ended up beneath him, but Loki wouldn't let go. He continued to bite down until blood pooled in his mouth and the boy began to call for his mother. It was only then that Loki released him, satisfied that the other boy had felt enough pain.

Loki realized that the crowd that had previously been gathered to watch Thor was now clustered, watching him. They were looking at him like an animal, with fear and disgust. At least, Loki surmised, they were not looking at him with pity… which was far worse as far as he was concerned.

It was the battle master that brought Thor and Loki home with the wounded Volstagg and his father.

At the first, Odin had falsely assumed that Thor was responsible for the other boy's injury, not his demure little Loki who looked completely disinterested in the trouble he had brought upon himself.

Odin assured the rotund boy and his father that Loki would be punished, the man seemed pleased, the boy, less so. He cradled his badly bitten arm and whimpered loudly for sympathy.

With Volstagg and his father looking on, Odin fixed Loki with an angry glare. It irritated him beyond measure that Loki didn't seem in the least repentative or even slightly ashamed of his behavior. It was an embarrassment to Odin's authority.

It was only when the All-Father looked down on him with such fury that Loki slowly swallowed and opened his mouth to defend his actions. As much as he wanted them to, no words would leave his mouth.

Odin snatched one of Loki's arms up in his fist; with his other hand he tore the makeshift armor from the Loki's trembling shoulders. Loki reached for his contrivance desperately though there wasn't much left of it. Metal fragments fell loose from weak leather throngs and tinkered down against the marble floor.

Odin's staff struck the back of Loki's kicking legs repeatedly while Thor looked on, paralyzed. The punishment was over swiftly and Odin released Loki's arm, now that the deed was done he felt the bitter sting of regret. He opened his arms to comfort his child but Loki cowered from the All-Father, instead running to Thor for consolation.

Odin stood straight, brushing his own heartache to the side, "Never again will you attend the training ground Loki Odinson." Odin rumbled, clanking the end of his staff to the floor, "I so decree it."

This would save the All-Father from embarrassment, and Loki from his own humiliation. He was neither blind nor deaf to the rumors' and chatty gossip about his strange child. It was difficult for him to be unaffected by it. He could not allow this child to diminish him in the eyes of his people in any form.

Despite this, he could never regret taking the child. Disguising him as his own had been the only way to save the babe from first abandonment and then the wrath of the Aesir. Beyond that, he had reason enough to love the child. Loki had been a joy to him, but Odin had never intended the boy to be an heir to his throne.

Volstagg's father was satisfied and left with his son in tow. Thor looked at his father accusingly and patted his brother's head, which was buried in his waist.

Odin softened the harsh line of his lips and placed a gentle hand on both of his son's shoulders. Odin caressed Loki's inky black hair once before banishing Loki to his room.

Loki tenderly rubbed the sorest lines that were laid across the back of his legs and rocked him gently in the crook of the room he shared with Thor. Thor had given up trying to comfort his brother who wouldn't speak to him. He was still rocking in the corner when Frigga came to bid her boys to come to the evening meal.

She sighed sadly when she saw her forlorn child in the corner of the room. Gathering up the boy in her arms, she worried over his hurts, Loki tucked his head into her breast.

"My Loki," She whispered into his cow-licked hair, his naughtiness already forgiven in her heart. She knew that he had been disciplined and though she did not approve of the form in which it had taken place, she understood her husband's position.

Loki couldn't bear to tell his horrible deed and lose her approval as well as his father's. He curled his finger in a lock of her hair, holding it to his cheek for further comfort. She held him stoically for a while before rubbing healing salve onto the lines on his legs.

Loki was shamefully grateful for the soothing action.

The evening meal was a solemn affair, Loki was afraid to look at his father and Thor was unusually quiet. The silence was broken by Odin's deep rumbling voice.

"It has been decided that it is time for Thor to have his own room," Odin spoke the words to Frigga and Loki's heart seized with terror. He wanted to apologize for every naughty thing he had ever done in his short life that would force him to be banished out of his room.

Loki's eyes flicked up to Odin's face, filled with tears, but the Father was not looking at him. Loki looked to his mother who nodded her head in agreement. "Yes, it is time." She agreed.

Loki swallowed thickly; his mother wanted him banished as well! Loki bowed his head, if only he had not bitten the fat boy, he lamented.

Loki felt sick. To make matters worse, Thor seemed excited about the idea. Thor excitedly chatted about what he would do with a whole room to himself. Loki felt the urge to throw up what he had eaten when Thor thanked his parents and didn't seem at all concerned about Loki's banishment.

"Loki, finish your meal," Frigga admonished

Loki didn't understand why he was not banished from the dining hall if he was being dispelled from his own chambers, but he obeyed her as best he could.

Though he couldn't eat much with the knot in his stomach, Frigga decided he'd had enough and he clutched her hand worriedly as they made their way back to what used to be his chambers. He was too forlorn to speak on the journey and even more distraught when he saw that the servants had already removed most of his possessions.

His fingers felt cold and numb, his throat tight as he watched his mother gather up his remaining items. He wondered if he could ask for his rag cloth to keep with him in the dungeons but he couldn't speak.

His mother took his hand again and they walked down the hall to the door at the end, Loki had never been in the room, he didn't know what was in there but he was afraid to find out.

He dug in his heals trying to pull his mother away but she opened the door and pulled him along.

"Come Loki, It is already time for bed," she reprimanded at his resistance.

Loki clenched his eyes shut as he entered and did not open them until he heard a drawer being opened. He opened one eye and surveyed the room.

All of his toys were displayed around the room; there was a large bed and a fire burning warmly in a corner stove. He didn't understand.

Loki watched his mother tuck away his shirt in a wardrobe near the wall and wondered how long he would have to live in this room. Even though it wasn't a dungeon he already missed Thor and he would miss his mother too. Loki thought he would even yearn for the All-Father, given enough time.

Frigga looked at him expectantly. "Well, what do you think?" She asked Loki who was starting to look a tinged blue.

Loki walked over and ran his fingers over the end of the large bed and sighed sadly. "It is good mama."

She lifted him onto the bed and pulled back the coverlet. Settling him down, she kissed his brow and lay her hand on his belly, noticing his frightened expression.

"You will be alright Loki," she smiled softly. "You will get used to having your own space. Before you know it, you might even like it."

Frigga lit a candle by his bedside and kissed Loki's cold fingers before bidding him goodnight.

When the door clicked shut, Loki let out a shuddering, puff of air and looked around the room. It was huge and the fire cast an orange glow around his meager possessions. His skin was cold in the big bed without Thor heating one side like an oven with his girth. He shivered and pushed back the blankets, putting his cold toes on the floor.

He walked over to his wardrobe and pulled the drawers open, searching for his rag cloth. Loki thought that perhaps he was not allowed to have it after he had shamed his family. When he could not find it, he went back to his bed and scrubbed at his watering eyes. He fell into a fitful sleep soon after.

It was pitch black and freezing in the room when he awoke. Thor was shaking his arm roughly. "Go 'way Thor," Loki sniffed and rolled away. "You aren't supposed to be here."

Thor climbed onto the bed. "But Loki my bed is too hot!" Thor pushed the covers back and shoved Loki over.

Loki grunted as Thor shoved his big hot feet under Loki's frigid little toes. Loki blinked his eyes and snuggled into Thor's warmth.

"Having my own room is not as fun as I thought it would be," Thor lamented, "Do you like yours?"

It was not until that moment that Loki fully came awake and realized that being sent to this room was not part of his punishment. He sighed in relief and burned with anger at the same time, regretting the hours he had spent in anxious anguish.

He kicked Thor in the belly for his part in the torment. Thor bent in half clutching his wounded middle.

"This is your entire fault Thor!" Loki growled.

"What did I do?" Thor grunted out his question.

"You got me banished! Twice!" Loki pinched his brother's arm for good measure.

"I did?" Thor asked confused.

"Yes…and give me my horses!" Loki hissed kicking Thor again.

Thor scrambled to comply and it wasn't until the horses were clutched in Loki's palms underneath the covers that Loki allowed his brother to put his heated feet next to his own again.

That night Loki decided he didn't need his rag cloth when he had something as comforting as Thor pressed to his cheek.

The two boys fell asleep as they had every night before, together.

TBC

To my reviewers!

LaughingLadybug: you are a dear! Thanks so much for your encouragement and I'm so glad you enjoy this story!

Perihelion12: I. A. So. Glad! Lol I love that you think the story is so cute and thanks so much for telling me so! Loki needs your Lovin'!

Cayran: Thanks so much for reviewing again! I think Loki is an aguish magnet, poor guy! Thanks for the encouragement!