Disclaimer: Nothing from this Marvelous universe is mine.

Summary: "They are innocent. Please, punish me not them," he begs, because he'd never meant for this to happen. He'd never meant for his hated little brother to die.

Set in the same verse as 'Drown'.

Warnings: Moderately graphic torture.


For the first time in years Odin comes to visit him as he lies in the healing wards.

He sends Thor out and Eir, and then perches gingerly on the edge of the bed.

"Loki. My son. I am... glad you are well."

Loki nods.

Inside him, the part which hated Baldur for replacing him wonders if, now that he is gone, there will be a place for him again in the Allfather's heart.

They sit in silence for a while. Until Loki can't.

"Father, Mother says that the snake wasn't... that you didn't mean to have it there."

Odin's single eye glistens.

"I would never do that to you my boy," he says, and his voice is rough suddenly with affection.

Normally, that would be enough. But he is ill now and weak and he has to know.

"Then why father? Why did you not check? You have Huginn and Muninn and Heimdall and why?"

Odin reaches out and gently, gently takes his hand.

"My ravens see much. But not into closed caves where no light falls," the Allfather says, "And I did not ask Heimdall. I saw no reason to. It had been but a few months. I did not know Skadi held such malice against you. That she would take away those spells which gave you food and leave that in its place."

Loki swallows, half believing.

"Can you forgive an old King his mistakes, my son? I have lost one son through this. I would not lose another."

Lose another.

And then Loki is half reaching for him, only he can't move properly and Odin is wrapping an arm about him and he wants to hold on tighter but he can't.

"I killed him," he whispers into the golden chest.

"I know, Loki. But Baldur was fated to die. And never do the fates spin smoothly when one tries to defy them. Looking back, he might, perhaps, have benefited from a little less indulgence. A sterner hand. But we knew he was not to be with us for long and we could not."

Like my sons, fated to kill you.

"Father? What of Sigyn and ...?"

"They are Theoric's sons, my boy. That you saw fit to acknowledge them as your own does not make them kin by Vanir Law. You may not visit her."

If he protests, he reveals that they are his. That much he does cling to as he nods against his father's chest.

"My boy? I think we should put this behind us. If you can."

Safety. Security. Warmth.

And it isn't the same as things were before but it is enough. And he needs this.

"Yes father," then, clutching him tighter, "Yes."


Centuries later, after he knows he is the monster.

After the void. After the Chitauri.

"We mourned for you brother."

After SHIELD's cells.

He thinks again, You had Hugrim and Mugrim and Heimdall and why?

And wonders again just how many of Odins words were lies.