A/NThanks to everyone who has read, reviewed and help with this series *cough*SpaceAnJL*cough* Thank you all.
Ride of the Teenage Valkyrie
As Loki et al blinked into existence at the Met, he did a quick head count of his charges, before he released them from what Amanda, the eco had called a "group hug." He had Angel and Haley (each with a hand that had been placed oh-so-casually on his bottom) and Tabitha, Delilah and Chloe, the Head girl. Fortunately, he had very long arms, and was able to encompass all of the girls.
Good, he had everyone that he had left St. Trinian's with. Matron would be most displeased if he misplaced one of her charges. He was inexplicably cheered by the reluctance with which his two favorite minions released their hold on his bottom. It was disproportionately flattering how much his girls admired him physically. That was completely different, although no less appreciated by him, than their unholy glee for his acts of mischief.
Satisfied that all of his charges were present, Loki took a moment to look around. They were exactly where he had set out for them to be, which was a bit of a relief. The advance scouting trip he had taken, with Matron, had been almost more of a diversion, than work. He had changed his appearance, into something a bit more circumspect, and he and the Matron had very much enjoyed spending the day in New York. When he asked her had she been there before, she had had hedged, leading him to believe that she had been there, but perhaps he was better off not knowing why.
He looked at each of his girls in turn, and then sent them off on their individualized missions. Every instinct Loki had that applied to the girls had told him to keep them all together, but he'd been overruled during one of the many planning sessions. The planning sessions themselves had been a bit of a revelation to Loki, they had reminded him a little of similar sessions with his brother, the Lady Sif, and the Warriors Three. During one of the planning sessions Chloe had brought up that they would be able to get more loot if they split up. Loki and, unsurprisingly, Matron had been against such a split. But Chloe had wisely pointed out that once the advance scouting had been done they could actually find buyers for specific pieces before they'd even left New York, with Flash ready to fence whatever they brought back, immediately, before anything had even been reported missing. At that point it seemed that it was only logical to go for said specific pieces.
Loki and that Matron had seen the wisdom of this plan, and had capitulated, albeit reluctantly; which is how Loki ended up with the unenviable task of sending his girls off without his personal supervision. He had set them up with as many protection spells as he could think of, not the least of which was a spell that would allow them to fly if they happened to fall from a great height. The girls had wanted to try that one out and in a touching display of trust, leapt from the second floor banister.
The wings worked perfectly, and the girls were able to practice and get used to being able to fly. They enjoyed it rather a lot, and squealed and laughed as they flitted around the foyer. Loki had a fond smile on his face as he watched them.
Loki was to acquire the Brisingamen, which was the jewel in the crown of the Norse exhibit. The Brisingamen was a silver pendant on loan from Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm. It was alleged to have belonged to the goddess Freya. All of this was according to the placard at the exhibit. Loki had no idea where they'd gotten that bizarre idea. Freya would never have worn *silver*.
It was incredibly easy for Loki to remove the pendant from its' protective case. As soon as his hand closed around the pendant he felt a surge of power flow through him. Whatever the pendant was not, it *was* a power augmenter. Loki idly wondered if anyone else was aware of that fact.
Loki reset the case, and returned to where he and the girls were meeting to return to St. Trinian's. He was the first one there, and as he waited he studied the pendant. Delilah was the next to arrive, having successfully retrieved her specific item. Shortly they were only missing Tabitha.
Tabitha had been on the upper level, and as they were running out of time, Angel used her headset to call and ask what was keeping her. Tabitha was trapped by a security guard who was doing a round off schedule.
After a quick and hushed conference, they decided that Loki would create a distraction for the guard, and Tabitha would get to the railing and quietly fly down to them. Loki made noises in another area, far from them and Tabitha, and the guard took off to track it down. Tabitha got to the railing, climbed over it and took off. But she misjudged the distance and bumped her shoulder on the railing.
Off-kilter, she started to fall hard. Loki raised his hand to stop her, but Angel and Haley took off and caught her. They gently brought her to the ground and Loki gathered them all back in his arms.
Before he returned them to the school, he released the spell that was running the security cameras on a loop. This had been Haley and Angel's clever idea. They had showed them what it would entail electronically, and he was easily able to duplicate it magically. Just as they were fading out, a large part of a wall opposite them was blasted away. The last thing Loki saw as they disappeared was a man in black armor and a green hooded cape stride in through the hole.
Back at St. Trinian's, Grace Murgatroyd was awaiting the return of the adventurers. She allowed her mind to wander back to her trip to New York with Loki.
Loki had brought them to a quiet alley near the Met, and kept them invisible until he was certain that no one was around. He had altered his appearance and hers; nothing too drastic, just enough to be unrecognizable. He offered her his arm and they strolled out of the alley towards the museum.
Loki looked around him curiously. The hustle and bustle of so many moving people seemed to interest him, and he leaned down to murmur in her ear. "I had no idea so many people could live on such a small island."
"Space is rather at a premium here. The flats are tiny." She replied.
"Smaller than our rooms at home?" She felt a lurch at his use of the word "home".
"About the same, unless one is very wealthy."
She felt him nod and straighten back up to his full height. They walked the rest of the way in a comfortable silence. Loki held the door for her and followed her into the Met.
Angel and Haley had given the Matron a pair of glasses that functioned as a camera. With it, they could get a live look at the museum, and do a 3-D rendering. Grace put them on, and looked around. Loki stood a little in front of her, dressed casually in black jeans, a dark blue sweater, and a black leather jacket. When Grace realized that her gaze had fallen to his backside, she jerked her eyes up and felt the heat rise in her cheeks. It only got worse once she realized that the girls would have seen what had caught her attention, Loki's well-formed bottom in well fitted black jeans. (Back at St. Trinian's, Haley and Angel exchanged a smirk. Mr. Loki would be *very* interested in that piece of information.)
Loki pulled at the "shopping list" they'd gotten from Flash. Specific things they were to acquire to sell. He stuck his hand out, and she absently placed her own within it. It wasn't until they were walking along hand-in-hand that it truly sunk in. She deliberately did not look at their joined hands as they walked along. Her grip tightened on his for a few seconds. He returned the squeeze.
They wandered around and checked out all of the items on their list, making sure to scan all of the surrounding areas. They were able to locate a blind spot from the cameras. This is where Loki and the girls were to arrive and depart from.
Once they had gathered all of the intel, they left. Once outside the Met, Grace removed the glasses and put them away. That done, she spared a glance at their still joined hands and noted, with a smile, how his hand swallowed hers.
"Are we to return straightaway?" He asked her.
She hesitated. "We needn't. Perhaps we could get lunch somewhere?"
His eyes lit. "Yes, that sounds promising. Anywhere in particular?"
She had done some research prior to leaving St. Trinian's and had an answer ready. "I know just the place." There was a Scandinavian smörgåsbord that she had read about, and she had a feeling that Loki might enjoy it, for amusement value, if nothing else.
She led him to the restaurant, and once the host seated them watched him look around the place. "It's been here for several years," she offered. "It's supposed to be authentic, and rather good." She explained to him that there were several dishes, and he only had to grab a plate and choose anything.
The server came to take their drink orders. "May I suggest glogg?" Grace said, her blue eyes lit with mischief. Delighted with her spark of mischief, Loki happily agreed.
The glogg was served in a goblet and lit on fire at the table. Loki's eyes were filled with mirth as he tried to drink it. Once he'd managed a drink, his eyes widened in surprise. "Rather stronger than I was expecting on Mid…ah, here." He finished a little lamely.
"Indeed." She said demurely. For herself, she was drinking water, the better to taste all of the new dishes she intended to experiment with. They tried many different things: Surströmming, which was made up of fermented herring and boiled potatoes, meatballs, some kind of pea soup, black pudding, blood sausage, and for dessert pancakes.
Loki professed himself well pleased with the meal. The only problem occurred when the bill was brought. Loki paused awkwardly, having seen enough television by now to understand his responsibility, but unable to meet it.
Knowing his pride would not allow him to let her pay, and wanting to avoid him using magic, she had taken steps. "Check your jacket pocket," she said quietly. Inside was a handful of American currency. Fortunately, American monetary units were fairly straightforward. The bills told you exactly how much they were worth. Loki bowed his head to her. She had managed that without his being aware. Rather impressive.
Loki paid for their meal, and they wandered back out to the sidewalk. They decided that it would be a good idea to return to St. Trinian's at this point. Hand-in-hand they returned to the alley in which they had materialized.
Matron Murgatroyd was brought back to the present by Flash entering the room.
"Nuffin' yet?" He asked.
"They aren't due back for another two minutes."
Flash nodded. He was thrilled by the possibilities inherent in this heist. If everything worked as planned, they could make a fortune robbing every museum and gallery. And no one would ever be the wiser.
The team blinked back into the room, all drawn tightly to Loki. He had a look on his face that clearly bespoke of trouble. Matron shot to her feet. "Anyone injured?"
"My shoulder, a bit," Tabitha replied. "Bumped it, rather."
"All right, let's get you to the infirmary, then."
"Here, Flash," Tabitha gave Flash the handful of coins which had been her assignment.
After treating Tabitha's shoulder with an ice pack, and sending her on her way she returned to the sitting room. The rest of the girls had turned over their haul. Loki had never intended to turn over the pendant, and so Flash hadn't looked for a buyer for it.
Once everyone else had left (Flash with a skip in his step), Matron turned to Loki. "What happened?"
His green eyes met her blue. "Someone else was there on the same mission as we were. He arrived as we were leaving. And he was powerful. Very powerful."
"Well, we don't know what he was after."
"I think we do." He held up the Brisingamen pendant. "It augments magical power. I'm certain that he was after this."
Her eyes grew round as she stared at it. "Augments? So you're even more powerful, now?"
He wondered if she would be frightened of him now. But when he looked at her, she was grinning. He grinned back at her. "Much more powerful."
Loki walked her up to the infirmary, said goodnight, and returned to his rooms. He lay in bed, and studied the Brisingamen pendant. He made a magical pocket in space, and put the pendant there for safekeeping.
The next morning, Loki was avidly checking his new sources for information on the heist, when he heard a whoop from what sounded like Angel. He rushed to the geeks' lair, and found the girls surrounding a computer. An American news anchor was talking about a robbery at the Met, and that it was suspected that Dr. Victor Von Doom had been the perpetrator. Cameras had caught him walking in, and then had gone on the fritz showing nothing else.
Loki and his minions exchange shark-like grins. They had gotten away with it, and someone else was getting the blame. The day couldn't get much better.
But for Loki, it did get better. His little minions told him about their observations during the New York scouting trip, namely Matron ogling his backside. That had been very interesting information, indeed.
But the true highpoint, although he would not admit that to anyone else, had come later. At hockey practice, the girls said that they were officially changing the name of the team. They were now the St. Trinian's Valkyrie. He couldn't have stopped the lump in his throat if he had wanted to.
"You are brave and amazing young women," he said in response, when he could finally speak. "And it is an honor to be here with you." A loud yell, and he found himself surrounded by the girls. He wouldn't call it anything so sappy as a "group hug", but it was lovely.