Disclaimer: Neither the Marvel universe nor Lilo & Stich belong to me.
Author's Note: All timelines have been seriously compromised or even disregarded in order to make this fic work. Everyone still has or will have their powers. I've kept mostly to the movieverse, but occasional references to the comicsverse and/or Norse myth have crept in.
It had been millennia since the halls of Asgard saw such a gathering of peoples. Leaders, great and small from across the nine realms stood shoulder to shoulder, jostling to see the tiny figure chained and muzzled in the center of the hall. His skin was blue, and his size put a heavy irony on the term 'frost giant', but the truly astonishing thing was the criminal's age; he was only several decades old which made him about 5 or 6 as Midgardians reckoned it.
"Loki Laufeyson," said Odin, and a murmur went through the room at the name the All-Father had chosen. "You stand accused and convicted of numerous crimes: the murder of Laufey, king of the Jotunheim-"
"We're okay with that, actually," called out Helblindi, first son of Laufey. He was thicker than most Jotuns, with a slight paunch that suggested he'd been eating too many snow cones. The elf next to Helblindi stared at him, scandalized by the admission. Helblindi saw her look, and shrugged. "The kid's clearly gone insane, but he'd have been expected to kill Laufey if he wanted the throne anyway. How else would he prove his power? We weren't going to take such a tiny, fluffy kid seriously without a serious display of worth."
"Worth!" said Odin. "He melted Laufey's skull! He laid so many traps along the bifrost we are still discovering them now. He raised the ghosts of the dead to torment the living. He rained fire and ice across the nine realms!" Helblindi looked confused as to Odin's point. Loki's sniggering was loud in the quiet hall.
"Loki," said Odin, "my son…"
Loki rolled his purple eyes. They had been green several weeks before, and underneath that they had been the normal Jotun red by all accounts. But Loki's true heritage had been revealed by cruel accident on his seventieth birthday and things had gotten worse from there. The All-Father had not released the full story, but it was known that the boy had absorbed the power of Asgard's cosmic cube, and gone mad (as if the rains of lizards and candy interspersed with deadly fire and ice weren't the first clue).
"All-Father, the cube was used for war for millennia. All Loki knows now is destruction," said Heimdall.
"Perhaps there is still something inside him that is good," suggested Queen Frigga. Her distress was evident to all. "Loki, show us that you are still in there." Loki didn't meet her pleading eyes, but his hands raised in a gesture so obscene it had started wars on five of the nine realms. Gasps of outrage filled the hall.
"Enough," said Odin. "Loki Laufeyson, your powers are to be drained as much as possible, and you will be imprisoned at the far edges of the universe for all eternity. " His proclamation was met with cheers by all but his wife. "Guards, take him away."
Loki let himself be led away, which should have been Asgard's first clue, but the elite of the realms were celebrating, and Odin had to deal with Frigga, so only Heimdall frowned, his unique eyes allowing him to see the terrifying smirk Loki wore beneath his muzzle. Heimdell decided to ignore it. Loki was clever yes, but he was still a child. Surely the combined might of the nine realms could contain him.
It was a dwarven automaton that restrained Loki. It had two silver heads which shot out fire hot enough to melt steel. They were programed to aim for Loki's magic. It was only later, after having watched Loki disappear through a jump-started bifrost, and surveyed the melting slag that was once Loki's cell, that Heimdall realized how stupid it was to program an automaton to follow the magic of someone who could create perfect replicas of themselves.
"Where did he go, Gatekeeper?" asked Odin.
"Someone must retrieve him, but the humans are a protected species." It had been decided amongst the nine realms to leave Midgard alone for some millennium in order to allow them to build up their population since the last war they fought there had nearly reduced the humans to extinction. Heimdall still missed saber tooth tigers.
"Loki has a brother," said Heimdall.
Odin stood for a long moment, his gaze transfixed by the falls beneath the bifrost. "He has more than one." He turned and strode away.
Steve rushed through their small town as fast as his enhanced legs would carry him, even vaulting a car at one point. He bounded up the rickety porch steps and pushed his key into the lock. "Please God," he murmured before turning the key. It snapped off. ACDC began blaring from inside the house, shaking the nearby window pane. Steve was relieved to know Tony was home, but on the other hand, he just might wring the boy's neck. Did he understand how important today was? Hadn't Steve explained that he was being watched by social services? Did Tony want to be taken away? Part of Steve thought this might be exactly the case. He had just been one of Tony's honorary uncles before Howard died. When Howard named Steve as the sole guardian to his legacy, Anthony Stark, the whole world had been shocked. Steve had been flattered, though it was rather typical of Howard to think that raising a child wouldn't cost anything. The company was in Obadaiah's hands until Tony came of age, but until then it was up to Steve to support the child genius. He had been living in Hawaii at the time, making the back pay from the time when he was missing for five years stretch, but with the introduction of Tony, his life had gotten a lot crazier and the money went so fast.
"Tony! Open the door!" he shouted, trying to be heard over the music. He could break the door in, but he wouldn't have the money to fix it for a few days, and how would it look if social services came to see a door torn off the hinges? Last time, Tony had glued the door shut. This time - he poked his head through the cat flap – it looked like it was welded shut, though how that was possible, Steve had no idea.
He pulled his head back out, resigned to not using his front door for a while, but was brought up short by a pointed throat clearing above his head. Standing on the porch was a man in sunglasses and a black leather trench coat which had to be stifling in Hawaii, but Steve had to admit the look suited him. Rough scars ran across the man's left eye and Steve did a double take when he realized there was an eye patch under the sunglasses. "Mr. Rogers. We were supposed to meet at 4 o'clock? I do hope that Tony is not alone in that house."
"Uh, no, I just stepped out for some fresh air and Tony locked the door behind me as a joke. He does that." Steve cringed mentally, but managed to keep a straight face. Six months of raising Tony and he'd gotten a lot better at lying.
"And I suppose 'fresh air' for you means running across town and jumping over my car?"
"It was a really fast run?" offered Steve. The social service worker radiated disapproval. "I don't believe we've been introduced yet. Mr.?"
"As in 'furious'? That's a strange name for a social worker." Steve had the feeling he was being given an incredulous look under those sunglasses.
"I didn't chose it. Now, are you going to let me in?"
"One second," said Steve, and bounded around the side of the house. A quick check revealed the back door was locked, so Steve gave up and broke a window pane on the side of the house, reaching in to open the latch and push the window up before climbing in. The back door wasn't welded shut thankfully, though Steve jumped a little when he opened it and found Mr. Fury standing right there. "Please come in."
They were right off the kitchen which was unfortunate because it was obvious that Tony had used the stove to melt the metal currently covering the front door. Mr. Fury raised an eyebrow as he surveyed the mess.
Steve opened his mouth to explain, but closed it again, unable to come up with a good lie. "Why don't I show you the living room while I get Tony from his room?" The music was still blaring from there, but when Steve knocked and opened Tony's door, all he found was Tony's computer with a playlist set on infinite loop. He turned it off and headed downstairs after checking Tony's usual hiding places.
"Isn't wearing an eye patch and sunglasses overkill?" he heard Tony ask as he neared the living room. Steve missed Mr. Fury's reply as he stared at the panorama Tony had laid out on the carpet. A baby doll with a broken head was tied to a piece of cardboard. Ketchup and whip cream were smeared liberally over its stomach. Dummy, Tony's tiny robot claw which he carried everywhere like a doll, was pretending to devour the baby's innards, its claw artistically dripping with ketchup.
"Tony was telling me how the baby's soul was being devoured," said Mr. Fury. He had a great poker face, but Steve couldn't imagine he was thinking good things. Steve stifled a sigh. It wasn't his fault that he'd discovered that Tony would sleep like a baby after watching a horror movie, but half of Disney's movies caused him nightmares.
"He's got a great imagination," said Steve.
"Yes," said Mr. Fury. He handed Tony a card. "Call me, Mr. Stark, if you're left here alone again." He turned to Steve. "I'll be frank with you, Mr. Rogers. I need to see some improvements around here when I check back in a few days. If I don't…"
"Yes, sir," responded Steve, straightening instinctively. If Mr. Fury hadn't been in the military before, Steve would eat his flip flops. He watched the man examine the front door for a moment before rapping sharply on one side of it. It popped open and Mr. Fury left, leaving both Steve and Tony staring after the man in slack jawed awe.
"I think he's a robot," said Tony. "Or a cyborg. The eye patch is hiding his laser eye." He was cleaning the ketchup off of Dummy with his shirt. Seeing that reminded Steve why he was angry.
"Tony, I told you-"
That was as far as he got because Tony was out of the room and heading for his own. While the kid was a genius (and possibly an evil one), there was no way his stubby little legs were going to get him to his room before Steve. He caught the door before Tony could slam it, and swept Tony up into his arms before sitting on the bed. Tony stiffened like he always did with physical contact, but gradually relaxed. Steve's anger faded away, his eye catching the picture pinned above Tony's pillow. It was a publicity photo, torn from a magazine with Howard seated in a chair talking on a phone while Tony played with a toy car at his feet. Howard wasn't smiling or even looking at his son in the photo. Steve had privately contacted Jarvis, the Stark's butler soon after he got Tony and asked for a better photo, but had been told that Mr. Stark hadn't believed in family portraits.
"Do you want to stay with me, Tony?"
"We're not even related. Howard left me with you because he thought you were the bestest person in the world. You don't even want me."
Steve felt helpless. "You are my family and you are wanted, Tony. I can't imagine my life without you now, but if you want to go, I will let you."
Tony turned and buried his face in Steve's chest. His next words came out muffled by the fabric. "But I cost you lots of money you can't afford and I'm always breaking things and getting in trouble." He paused and only Steve's enhanced hearing allowed him to catch the rest of Tony's words. "I set Dr. Banner's desk on fire today and Dummy bit Rhodey. And then maybe I bit Rhodey, too."
"Tony, you can't bite people, and I sincerely hope that setting the desk on fire was an accident."
"Rhodey said Dummy was stupid."
"Well, you did name him Dummy."
"But only I can say it because he's my friend." Tony looked up at him. "And maybe you."
"I have seen Dummy take ten minutes trying to figure out how to turn on the TV," said Steve with a smile. He'd ask Bruce later how the desk had caught on fire. "Tony, I prefer you to any amount of money, and if you want to stay here-"
"Then I will fight for you, but we have to present a united front or they will take you away."
"I'm sorry." Tony buried his head against Steve's chest again.
"I know. We'll both have to try to do better. "
"Do or do not. There is no try," said Tony solemnly. Steve grinned. "Thanks, Yoda."
Loki was not in his right mind. If anyone had bothered to ask his last sane moment, he would have told them it was before he shape shifted into his Jotun form on his birthday and couldn't shift back. There was terror and fear after that. His father's, no, Odin's face filled with calculation. Hiding for what seemed like forever, then the cube. The cube had devoured him, or Loki had devoured the cube. He couldn't tell which, and didn't care because there was no more fear.
No more worries but chaos and destruction. Though at the moment, he'd settle for knowing where he was. Wasn't Midgard icier? He shuddered as another disgustingly warm rain drop hit his head. A strange sound made him turn. He spotted a green, slimy looking creature which made the noise again. He hit it with an enlarging spell because it was his favorite color, which meant he only noticed the other strange noise and light of a spell when it was right on top of him. He shifted into his cat form because he was faster on four legs and the night was too dark for him to see where to teleport to. Unfortunately, he forgot the rain. His paws skidded on the ground, and then the spell hit.
Steve had waffled about Bucky's idea all day. On the one hand, pets were good at teaching responsibility and would provide some more unconditional love in Tony's life. On the other, Tony was five so most of the responsibility would fall to Steve, not to mention he was a little worried about entrusting a living animal into Tony's care. What if Tony wanted to upgrade it like he had systematically done to every single electrical device in Steve's house? Sure, the washing machine worked better, but it also made growling noises if you didn't pet it when you walked by. Pets were expensive too, but maybe he could manage a few more shifts on lifeguard duty if Tony had a pet to play with while he waited. Anything that would stop Tony from dismantling people's phones while they were swimming was probably a good idea.
"Do you want a pet, Tony?" he'd asked when Tony's bus dropped him off, and the enthusiastic "Yes!" he'd been met with had settled the matter.
Of course, now that they were at the shelter, his worries were back full force. "It needs to be big and strong enough to fight off Dummy," declared Tony. "Maybe with some sort of armor."
"Something that can take care of itself," confirmed Steve.
"A dog might chew on your robot," said the woman behind the counter. Tony tucked Dummy protectively against his chest. Steve would have preferred a dog, but the lady was correct that a cat was a lot less likely to eat Dummy. "The cats are right through there." She pointed to a side door. "Have a look."
Steve chatted with the woman, whose name was Linda, but was soon interrupted by Tony running back in and grabbing his hand. He was dragged down the entire length of the hallway. Something seemed off about the room until he realized that each and every cat in the cages was curled into a tight ball in the corner of their cages. Every cat that is except for the monster Tony had unerringly picked out.
The cat, and he hesitated to call it that because he was fairly certain most cats didn't have horns, was the size of a normal cat, but had all the fluff of a young kitten. Its long tail and back were marked with intricate marks that reminded Steve of an ocelot. It was also blue.
"Are you sure? It's… blue."
"He's hurt. We have to take him," said Tony. Sure enough, a bandage was wound around the cat's tail.
"All right. Linda! We'd like this cat please."
She seemed a little nervous as she approached the cage. "Are you sure? He's drugged up from having his tail straightened right now. His personality might be very different once the drugs wear off. And those horns are a little odd…"
Tony shrugged. "I'm sure." Linda opened the cage, and Tony bundled the cat into his arms after handing Dummy over to Steve for safe keeping.
"What do you want to name him?" asked Steve since he was filling out the pet license.
"He said his name is Loki."
"Cats don't talk," said Steve, feeling a hint of foreboding at the name.
"He's a genius cat," said Tony, a stubborn look on his face. Steve decided it wasn't worth the argument.
"Okay, Loki it is. Let's get him home."
Helblindi and Thor were crouched in the forest outside of the Rogers' house. It was a bit of a toss up as to which of them stood out more: the frost giant or the young Asgardian prince in full armor with red cape and winged helmet.
"I know my father said it was true, but are you sure it is my brother we are hunting?" asked Thor. It was a variant of the same question he had asked twice already. After Loki had turned blue on his birthday, Thor had been hustled into the nursery like a baby and kept there no matter how many toys he broke or how loud he shouted. When they finally let him out, it was to tell him that his brother was a Jotun and had been so bad he was being exiled forever. But since Loki had escaped (which wasn't surprising since Loki was forever sneaking out of the nursery), now Thor and Loki's other brother were supposed to find him.
The Rogers chose that moment to arrive at their house. Loki in his cat form (which was modeled after Freya's magnificent steeds) was in the tall man's arms, though much more blue than Thor remembered. He must have sensed them too because he suddenly pushed off the man's chest to land on the porch, hissing at the forest. Helblindi placed one hand against the ground. Thor shuddered as the temperature dropped. The little boy got in front of Loki, peering into the forest, and Thor had to jump to pull down Helblindi's arm so his ice spear crumbled into mist.
"Father said we weren't supposed to kill or harm humans. They are protected," said Thor.
"If we follow that rule, the kid is going to keep hiding behind them. We'll be here forever," complained Helblindi. "Have you noticed how hot this planet is?"
In truth, Thor had, though it was the humidity and not the heat that really bothered him; his helmet kept slipping. But Thor had been charged with being a good example for the Jotun prince at his side. "I too wish to end this quest quickly, but if we break the rules we will dishonor our purpose." Loki appeared in one of the windows of the house, the boy behind him. Loki ignored the child to stare at their hiding place with disdain.
"You know," said Helblindi. "He's adorable in that form. You'd never know he filled father's head with lava."
"What!" said Thor. "I swore to destroy the Jotun first, and he has already killed King Laufey?" Thor pouted.
Helblindi glanced over at him. "You do realize Loki is Jotun?"
Thor pouted some more. "Yes, but he's my brother, so it doesn't matter."
"And what of me? Loki is my brother. Would you destroy me?"
"No," Thor said grudgingly. "I guess if you are Loki's brother than you are mine."
"I have a half-brother from the same mother as well."
"And what of the fact that your father, Odin, is also part Jotun?" asked Helblindi, turning his face away to hide his grin when the tiny Asgardian swore. He would take full advantage of his companion's ignorance.
Nearly an hour had passed before Helblindi was satisfied. "Well, little brother, you had better be careful where you swing your weapon when you come to destroy Jotunheim for you are related to at least half of us."
"Dammit!" shouted Thor, and kicked a tree. He regretted that he didn't know any harsher curses. Helblindi laughed. Insider the house, all the lights went off. Loki had left the window in the middle of their discussion.
"It looks like we should settle in for the night," Helblindi said. Thor nodded his agreement. "I doubt we'll be here much longer though. Loki can do nothing but destroy. He won't be able to resist. Soon he will leave those humans he shelters with and make his way to some metropolis where he will turn their drinking water into blood, give wrong directions, and steal everybody's electricity."
Thor wanted to protest, but it was becoming very clear that he didn't know this new Loki at all. He sighed and laid out his cloak for sleep. He wished old Loki were here to advise him what to do about new Loki.