"Remove his binds."

Very few times in history-human or otherwise- had three words had such staggering consequences. (Only thrice, in fact, had Asgard seen such an event and earth was lucky enough to know of only five recorded incidences- none of which, thank you very much, involved a declaration of love. This was mostly due to the human's inability to take emotion seriously, but in part because it was so easy to make excuses if the other party appeared less interested than was exactly ideal.) And during none of those times before had said consequences spread between realms, not to Asgard or Midgard or Helheim or any combination of the three, but to every one of the nine realms and one or two beyond even that.

Loki knew none of that, and neither yet did Odin. Or perhaps he did, the Allfather always seemed to carry more knowledge than his mind was comfortable with having, and Loki's fingers itched now more than ever to break him open and see how that brain worked. Probably not for the best. A smashed skull rarely revealed anything of use, and he assumed that would do him no good but to anger Thor into smashing his skull, and Odin would probably just recover anyway. So, he was left to pick apart his adoptive father's mind in the more traditional sense, which was also-unfortunately- not the literal.

The kept his eyes impassive, however, and yet that did not prevent a look of mistrust from Thor, and something more than that in Heimdall's blank eyes. Neither of them seemed willing to follow Odin's order, although Loki was injured and unarmed, and with the three of them blocking the only exit from the bifrost even he didn't have many means to get out of this situation. Not yet, anyway. "Father, now?" Thor wondered, uncertain.

"Now. I wish to speak with Loki before he is led to his trial." Odin replied calmly- not the calm of a leader (arrogant, proud, demanding and oh, was that meant to be frightening?) but of a father (disappointed, quiet, a little sad if you wanted to be just a tad too melodramatic). Loki returned his gaze with far more malice, unable to make a real response owing to the metal gag clamped over his lips. "I wish to know what he has to say to me, not to the court."

You're not my father, you should take pills for narcolepsy, and that eyepatch looks stupid. Yes, that summed it up nicely, but again Loki couldn't speak a word of it and narrowed his eyebrows sharply to convey his feelings as best as possible.

Whether he succeeded or not, Thor and Odin shared a long glance before the prince nodded, dutiful and wary, and turned back to his not-brother. "Do not waste this chance, brother." He warned gruffly (not brother) before reaching up to unlock the specially-designed muzzle his mortal friend had devised. His hands came next, but Loki had really only been interested in that first part, and his grin showed both his mirth and his less-than-friendly expectations for the upcoming conversation.

"Ah, Allfather, how long it's been. I missed your… ah… maybe… hm, I suppose I didn't miss you at all, now that I think about it."

Thor growled, but Odin remained outwardly unmoved. "Heimdall, guard the bridge. I do not want any interference."

As if Heimdall wouldn't be fully aware of any attempts to approach the bifrost, regardless of position or orders given him. Odin was only trying to give them a semblance of solitude, some show no doubt intended to make Loki think he was being treated well. In retrospect he probably was (he hadn't been whipped or anything, was Asgard going soft?) considering how high caliber a traitor he had become, but Loki was not placated by the special treatment. He was a prince, the lesser of two or not, and special treatment was exactly what he expected.

So he only raised an eyebrow as Heimdall bowed, said a quick "Yes, my liege", and stepped outside to give them the illusion of… nothing, really, because Thor was there, rendering privacy impossible.

"Well, Allfather? You have me at your mercy. Now what do you want?" Loki wondered with the manner of one so bored he could barely muster the energy, conscious of Thor's presence only inches away. The Thunderer would not allow any sudden movements.

"You have never wanted Midgard, Loki." Odin scolded as he stepped forward, stopping only a foot away from his prisoner. "Are you so distraught by your origins that you would pay the price of a planet merely for revenge against Thor? When he has done you no wrong?"

"You think I attacked Midgard to infuriate Thor? Oh, please. That was a lovely bonus, I must admit, but my dear brother-as he still pretends we are- is hardly worth the effort." Loki hoped the full effects of his sneer was visible from the side, it would be such a shame if the blow did not hit Thor with full force. By the slight wince he gave, Loki assumed it had. "I was a King, and he forced me from the throne. I was in search of a new domain, and the humans seemed the easiest pickings. Unfortunately, Thor became involved, and those mortals therefore survived long enough to undo my allies." Who really must be in search of a better system for battle- those warriors, individually, had been nothing short of pathetic, and what sort of species dropped dead when its home base exploded? Simply impractical, evolution had not treated the Chitauri kindly.

"So you killed the mortals in droves and suffered their planet an invasion out of mere jealousy and misguided indignation?" Odin shook his head, eye gloomy as if he had thought better of Loki. The Trickster bristled, more ready than ever to have his blood running over the floor. "You think like a child, Loki, with cruelty unbefitting even a tyrant. You do not deserve the power you wield if you would use it only against others."

"Oh, I apologize, I thought that's what the mortals were for." Loki replied, feigning a startled look. "They are just so useless, you know, I thought- well, if they really do count as people I suppose I could do them a favor. Would you like me to set up a soup kitchen? A garbage dump? I hear flies love those."

Thor growled, and his heavy hand took Loki's shoulder- no doubt he was about to issue a reprimand, but a look from Odin silenced him. There was sharpness to his eye now, the touch of his temper visible behind forced calm intended to keep Loki from "falling" any further, wounded by harsh words. As if he were so fragile. "I would have you see what you have done, and regret it. This is not who you are, Loki."

"Oh, it is. I know now who I am- and I must thank you, Allfather, for that enlightening revelation." Loki's grin grew and turned feral, eager. "I have found a purpose. Haven't you ever killed a human, Odin? It's a wonderful feeling. You see, our blood means so little. What good is killing a man who can never die? The mortals however-oh, when their blood drains over your hands you know you have truly beaten time itself. What little they had, whatever minimal purpose in the universe they may have served- it vanishes. That is true victory, not this mockery of warfare against the giants that you Asgardians participate in."

"That is slaughter, not battle." Odin snapped, calm fading away into a barely-concealed display of disgust. This was a warrior race, one that prided itself on organized barbarianism and the glory of death in a fair battle and the pride of too much meat in the arms and none in the head.

Loki grinned and leaned forward, within inches of his feigned father's face. Thor growled and pulled him back, his grip so hard now that it was nearly crushing, but Loki did not care. "Yes. It is slaughter, and madness. Is not madness what I live for, Allfather? What I thrive on?"

"Once I had hoped not." Odin replied, gripping Gungnir tightly enough that the spear trembled. "You do not command madness, Loki, you have been consumed by it."

"I rule it!" Loki shouted in return, stepping forward only to be immediately halted by Thor, who looked as if the effort not to speak his anger was causing him physical pain. "As you rule idiocy and the futility of tradition, and the science of failure in any form that it may be applied. You are a fool, Allfather, and Asgard is a wretched loss awaiting destruction for its own good. I will grant it to you, to all of you. Would you like to watch that? Your lives mean less to me than even the humans, Odin, but rest assured I will not waste them."

"Enough." Odin's voice shook, with hatred or fear (unlikely, but it would have been wonderful to see all the same) or something far more weak (sadnesssurprisedistressand!).

Loki was not finished, however, and curled his lip back somewhere between a grin and a snarl, words spitting through his teeth. "You seem to care for me even now, do you? Then perhaps I will spare you. You may watch, with Heimdall's ever-seeing eye that I'll have gauged from his self-righteous head, as I destroy all you once held dear. If you love your children so strongly then I hope you will see their deaths- young Balder can be first, I'd hate for Thor to miss that after all. He is the only youth I'll slaughter, Odin, he should feel flattered. So special. He is still so small, I doubt if I've missed his first word yet. Maybe you'll hear it- begging for mummy or daddy with whatever breath he has left, choking on his own blood-"

"Enough!" Thor now, truly shaken and a little frightened- either of the possibility, or the fact that Loki was speaking so violently, with such conviction and excitement. Eagerness. Loki ignored him.

"-and then, then, I will find Thor. Frigga too may watch, but I won't leave her- I'll wring her neck, with little Balder's innards. Now wouldn't that be ironic, Allfather? I'll kill them all after that, the whole lot of this realm, and you will never follow. I will ensure it- let every moment of your worthless eternity be spent remembering what you brought about by trying to enforce your pathetic morals on one such as I. What you cannot and will not be able to prevent, all the while knowing that not one drop of their blood was worth so much to me as an ounce of fool's gold- that is the summation of your selves, Odin, a pathetic farce of living that I will be so merciful to end!" Loki was breathing hard, shouting not with anger but anticipation- he wanted it, not to kill the Asgardians (they truly meant so little dead, after all, but this realm was beautiful alive and it was such a shame, really, that he didn't know how badly he might actually want what he spoke of, or might not) but to see that pain in Odin's face. He wore it now, yes, but with not nearly enough strength.

"You do not know what you are saying." Odin said after a long moment, emotions slowly subsiding but still there, waiting to be called forward. "Have you lost your mind as well as your purpose, my son?"

No, of course not. Well, perhaps, it really depended on your definition of the word. He still physically had a brain, and he was every bit as intelligent as ever he had been. Loki grinned, all playful now, and actually deigned to wink. "Oh, now, don't be calling me that. You know what I tend to do to my fathers, it's a bit messy."

"I do not know what has incited you to speak this way, but stop now." Thor snapped, and Loki turned to him at last with an expression that practically defined disinterest. "Your mind is ill. Say no more that you cannot take back, Loki."

"Oh? Are you mad that I threatened your dear little brother?" Loki wondered, laughing at the irrationality of it. There was little chance he would kill Balder-at his current age, anyway- and even littler that he would ever succeed in single-handedly outfighting all of Asgard. Did he want it? Perhaps (he hadn't decided yet, it was a bit hard to when just the concept made them so wonderfully angry with him) or perhaps not. He'd have to try it to find out. And what if he did, really? The world hardly needed a god of light, it was far too bright already. "I think I'd be doing Frigga a favor, really. It's not as if that harlot needs any more children sucking at her breast. One has to wonder who their fathers really must be at the rate she's popping them out-"

The moment was blinding, really, to say the least. Loki's mind had been seeing everything far too quickly lately (more quickly than it actually could have possibly, actually, been happening, but he liked life better that way even if it made decision a bit fuzzy) but even he could not keep up with Thor's placating shout, the sudden lack of pressure on his shoulder as the thunderer stepped forward, not to mention the lightning-fast swing of Odin's spear, the blade of it toned to his control by thousands of years of warfare. And he definitely couldn't comprehend the force it held or the crack that echoed from his mind outward and brought Heimdall's attention their way (oh, perhaps he had blocked them out, out of a courtesy, now why would he do a thing like-)

At least the darkness was something he could understand, and Loki fell back into it with gratitude- or, well, something like it anyway.