This took an awful lot of time to write. Apologies. Working two jobs and studying at the same time is really, really time consuming!
May 4th 2016. New York.
People talk about their life flashing before their eyes. But there was nothing like that for him. No warning. One minute, Tony was standing there, with a drink in one hand, and a group of women surrounding him, the weakest of the Avengers without his armour. The next, he was on his knees, gasping for air. Thanos' blade had slid in between his ribs like he was butter, the Titan's grin sharp like his blade, cast at each of the women who could only stare in horror, too shocked to understand what had just happened. Before he could cry out, before he could plead – no, not that, he would never beg, he was Tony Stark damn it, but he should have gone out with a bang at least! – Thanos had crouched behind him, knife driving through his ribs on the other side, puncturing his left lung too.
"You took something of mine," Thanos murmured into his ear. It was soft, almost kind, and the Titan patted the top of Tony's head gently as he removed his knife. Rather, he pushed Tony off of the knife, the body sliding forward to land on its face on the floor.
People screamed. Some people ran and others cowered. Some screamed for the Avengers to help them. But none of them checked to see if Tony might still be alive, even after Thanos had vanished as silently as he had appeared.
His life didn't flash before his eyes. Nothing, no reminders, no thoughts of missed chances, he didn't even think about the pain; there was no pain, only breathlessness. One minute, Tony was there. The next, he was gone.
May 6th 2016. Helheimr.
Loki was fighting alongside Malekith, Thor was with what remained of the Avengers and Tony's funeral was pushed aside for the time being because Thanos had picked the very next day to amp their war up to the next level. No one was safe now in New York. Before, people had hidden, people had run screaming, but now Thanos' forces chased them down, hunted them out of their holes and alleys and burrows, dragging them by their hair or their ankles and killing each one that was captured. He was angry about the Tesseract, angry about Death's rejection too. Luna had told them of their conversation, of Thanos' ambitions to outstrip her, and they could only guess, horror bubbling in the pit of their stomachs, at the number of people He would have to kill to be considered on par with Death herself.
But while they considered, and while they despaired, and fought, and were cut down one at a time, Harry went for reinforcements.
They were almost at the stage where they were ready to surrender, their war having been dragged out long enough. It was great that they had the Asgardian army. It was more than great, but unfortunately they were loyal first and foremost to Asgard, so at the end of every battle they would have Loki send them home. Thanos, somehow, seemed to know when they were gone. They had fallen for it a few times, weak attempted at defeating them easily defeated until the Asgardians were gone and suddenly Thanos would up the ante. More warriors would arrive, would fight harder, fiercer, and it took over an hour for the Tesseract to gather enough energy to call the Asgardians back to Midgard. Now they just stayed here, hiding out wherever the Avengers were or the X-Men or the Brotherhood or the Fantastic Four. The Ghost Rider was always alone, and more often than not Spider-Man and Deadpool were together and kept to themselves, but the others could always be found mixing it up with an Asgardian or a Dark-Elf or a Death Eater. But one by one they started to lose the drive they needed to survive, hopelessness settled upon them, burdens heavy on their shoulders as the numbers of their dead began to outstrip the deaths suffered by Thanos' armies.
Fortunately, there was one army that had yet to join them. She had promised her help, but she had yet to arrive and her army had stayed away with her. Harry thought he knew why, after all of these months, years even, of watching her father suffer, Hela should have interfered. But she hadn't, and Harry thought he knew why.
"Pale Death, with impartial step, knocks," Harry called out loudly as he walked through the wide double doors. A Cerberus stood guard, but made no move to attack him so Harry ignored it. 1
"And impartial Death must remain," the woman on the throne answered, "as must Her servants be."
She was a strange looking person. Depending on how the light hit her, she was beautiful and terrifying in equal parts. One half of her face was the image of Loki's womanly features, high cheekbone, full lips, wide green eye and heavy dark lashes. Her hair was blonde though, taking after her mother. But on the left, like Cruella DeVille, her hair was pitch black.
She turned suddenly, but Harry didn't gasp or stumble back as some others had done before. He had seen much worse after all, and been married to Voldemort before the ritual that made him look human had been recast. She was nothing but bone, he thought at first, but no, there was the thinnest film of skin stretched tight across her cheeks, paper thin and transparent, no life left in its flesh. Her eye was pure black, iris and pupil and all, dark eyelashes missing and teeth peeking out where her lips should have been. Her cheekbone was so sharp Harry wondered if she had ever cut herself scratching, but then looking at her arm on that side he figured it wouldn't have mattered. Her arm was as bony as her skull, likely that whole side of her was, thin and pale and dead, but from the right she was beautiful, body curvy and full. Her dress was pushed out at her chest, clinging tightly to her bust and he was going to ask about that, because everything there looked so even, but then he thought better of it. This was, after all, his husband's daughter. One didn't talk about their step-daughter's boobs with them!
Hela laughed, loudly with her head thrown back, like she knew what he had been thinking. There was a mask in her hand, a long black thing with twisted bits of leather and bone coming out of the top like a crown that would hover over her head when it was on her face. It covered one side more than others, more a jester's mask than what Harry had been forced to wear to the Malfoy's last masquerade ball. On the right side it covered her eye, wide enough that the green could be easily seen, ending just above her cheek but it went up and up into her hair line, twisting and bending over her skull to join with the other side, two horns that knotted together above her hair.
"Until commanded otherwise?" He phrased it as a question, but they both knew it wasn't one. Hela had been waiting for this moment for many years. The loss of Harry's child had opened her eyes to his existence, and she had kept his son tucked behind her skirts safe and sound until Death had come for him, claiming the time for his re-birth. Loki's daughter had joined her too, and her father for a short time, and both had gone back to life, together with Harry's son, and it was no coincidence that Harry had been the one to find Loki. A Wizard who was pregnant, and unafraid of it, who could show Loki that pregnancy was not something to be feared or disgusted by, who had magic to protect them all, who was a hero that Odin could not disapprove of, who had a husband who would raze the universe if the AllFather dared to take those children away. A man who was the Master of Death, more importantly, and who had the power to order Death to do his bidding. Her, and her servants.
"Is this you commanding me?" From behind her throne, figures began to walk out of the shadows. They were taller than anyone Harry had ever seen, including Grawp. Hagrid's brother had only been half a giant, but these men could be mistaken for nothing but full giants. They crouched down when they reached him, the two at the front the largest ones, decorated in golden chains and gems and shiny fabrics that wrapped around their waists and thighs like shorts tied at the crotch in an elaborate knot. The others only wore loin clothes, carried weapons, and had the most basic of decorations on their body, a bit of paint, a single gold chain linking their horns together, and occasionally a bracelet that meant they were mated to another Jötun. Harry considered asking about them, maybe getting Loki one too, or a chain for the horns of his helm, and then dismissed the notion. His husband would probably set him on fire; he was rather fond of his wedding ring.
"Harry Potter, Death's Master, husband of the Dark Lord Voldemort and of Loki Laufeyson, true King of Jötunheimr, heir to the throne of Asgard, my stepfather." She introduced him at length.
"Why does it sound more like Loki's introduction, than mine?" He raised an eyebrow and she offered him a half smile as some of the Frost Giants snarled at Loki's name.
"He has that effect," she apologized with a one shouldered shrug. "These are Loki's younger brothers and some of their most trusted, those who volunteered to help us defeat the Titan." Harry forgot their names as sound as they were introduced, more concerned with the last figure who had been behind Hela's throne.
He walked forward slowly, looking a little unstable, but he threw his arm out in time to catch the arm of the throne and stop himself from stumbling. "Hey gorgeous, you miss me?" Tony grinned widely.
"Pepper is going to kill you," Harry told him. "Again." He turned to Hela again, nodding at the giants' who met his eyes as he looked around. "This is me commanding you."
"Take him, then," she said, throwing her arms out wide. The double doors behind them swung open and the Cerberus stayed silent and sitting, so Harry held his hand out towards Tony who took it quickly. "Take them too. I must remain in my realm, but they will follow the orders of Jötunheimr's King."
"Uh," Harry muttered, "I don't think they'll be too keen to take order from Loki."
"I was talking about you, Master of Death. You have wed my father, have you not? Then you are their King."
"Didn't you say Loki was their King?" Tony piped up, eyes narrowed as the giants stepped closer to the two humans.
"I said he was Jötunheimr's true King, I never said he would be King. He is as Laufey was, Queen, until his King dies." Harry's eyes widened at the implication, but he pushed the thought from his mind. He had more important things to worry about.
"Ok, everyone ready?" He received several nods, the odd bow here and there from amongst the waiting group, but his attention was on Tony Stark. "Coming back from the dead sucks, so prepare yourself."
Tony didn't have much of a chance to prepare himself. The moment Harry finished speaking, they were gone, whirling through time and space and between dimensions, and landing uncomfortably fast back inside of his body. The Frost Giants landed on their feet, half crouched for balance, and Harry landed perfectly, decades of experience under his belt, but Tony slammed face first into his corpse and woke up with all four limbs flailing as he choked and sputtered.
"What." He started coughing, "the fuck!"
"I told you it was uncomfortable," Harry told him, turning to leave the room even as he spoke.
"Let's never do that again!" Harry hummed an agreement, waving the giants passed him through the doorway while Tony dragged himself out of the middle of the hastily pieced together funeral pyre that Thor had insisted on building when they hadn't buried him straight away. Apparently, fighting a war wasn't a valid enough excuse for not burying someone straight away in Asgard. "What the fuck?" Tony muttered again, glancing warily back at the pile of wood and hay and—"Are those my kitchen chairs?"
"Thor took what he could scavenge. He thought, though, that you'd like to depart with your possessions so he stole them from the Tower. Without getting caught."
"They were nice chairs," Tony muttered as he left the room, "Pepper liked them."
"We told Pepper they were broken when Thor brought them here, fyi." Harry grinned over his shoulder at Tony, and the elder man snorted, before turning his attention to the giants and the plain white wall in front of him as if he could see right through it.
"So what did I miss?"
His hands were clenched at his sides, fingernails biting into the palms of his hands and Harry watched as the blood began to well and drip slowly to the floor, time slowing down as the injuries attempted to heal themselves, and he smirked. Hela had kept her promise. 2
"Party's just getting started, Tony," Harry promised him. With a wave of his hand the door flew open and the Jötuns and the missing Avenger joined the battle outside. Harry apparated directly to Steve, informing him quickly about Tony and the Frost Giants being on their side, and asking him to pass the message along the comms. Then he appeared beside Loki, who ducked quickly and drove his sceptre back up almost impaling Harry. The tip of the spear stopped against Harry's stomach and dropped as quickly as it had appeared, flinging over Loki's shoulder to impale the Chitauri who had dared try and sneak up on him.
"Don't do that!" Loki hissed with narrowed red eyes. His skin was blue again, and he wasn't shy about grabbing onto his enemies and hugging them until they screamed and their skin blistered from the cold. The other Frost Giants were doing the same and when Loki noticed them he blinked twice, back tense, but he went back to the battle fighting fiercer than before.
Harry left him be, nodding to Voldemort as they crossed paths, and continued searching Tony out of the crowd. When he spotted the human, his suit having made its way to him in the chaos courtesy of Jarvis, Harry set about drawing Thanos' attention to Iron Man. When the Titan was close enough to touch, Harry ducked, struck forward to grab Him around the waist and flung Him at Iron Man.
"Take off the gloves!" Harry shouted. Tony fumbled, but did as instructed, one gauntlet falling off after the other and hitting the ground with loud bangs, echoing like gun shots. Everyone stopped to watch. Harry prayed fervently to Hela, hoping against every nagging fear that existed within him that she had at least thought to explain Tony's new gift to him. She must have, because Tony's hands shot out without hesitation, one gripping the wrist of the hand that wore the Infinity Gauntlet and the other wrapping around Thanos' throat. Skin began smoking, and Thanos screamed, a horrible, desperate noise torn from His throat that was destroying itself. Not melting, not burning or blistering, but turning to stone. Inch by inch, as Harry fought to drag strips of cloth out of the way, exposing more purple skin; Tony pressed his hand there, over and over, until the others came to help.
Steve grabbed a leg, pulling off His boot. Clint had the other leg, while Thor began ripping at the chest plate He wore. Fenrir almost ripped off the Titan's leg, so vicious did he pull of the second boot Thanos wore. The arms were pinned by a Dark-Elf and a Shield agent respectively, the gauntlet and the other glove torn away by two of the X-Men, and though Harry knew them he couldn't recall their names. Loki took pleasure in his role, kneeling by Thanos' head and holding Him still with one hand on either side of His temple, bent forward enough so that Thanos had to stare into Loki's eyes while Tony Stark painstakingly turned him to stone. Harry pulled the power gem out of the discarded Gauntlet and forced Tony to curl the fingers of one hand around it. Magic shot up Tony's arm and down his other one, catching one Thanos' skin and spreading, like a sickness, from one cell to the next to the next until every part of the Titan was stone, cold and breakable and defeated.
They pulled, all at the same time as Lord Voldemort commanded them too. The Asgardians stood aside, refusing to take order from a mortal, but Thor took his pleasure in helping to tear the limbs off of the creature who had tortured his brother for years. Legs and arms began a pile, split into two pieces at the knees and elbows, a head added to it and then the torso cracked in three parts finished it off. The Asgardians left to finish off the stragglers from Thanos' armies, most of who surrendered.
Malekith took his forces, with Loki's magical help, and two of Thanos' body parts back to Svartalfheimr.
Only three of the Vanir had come to fight for them, Sigyn's father was one of them though he did not introduce himself as such. He took back Thanos' upper torso when he took his friends home.
When Loki returned with the Tesseract, the Frost Giants asked to leave. They took all of the parts of His legs, wrapped in a bed-sheet that was found tangled in a tree. It was a prize for any victorious nation, and they knew better than to ask for His head when Thor stood bold as brass and holding it by the hair. So they took His legs, and they took their leave, and all but the two Princes bowed to Harry as they passed him. Those two stood tall, glaring at Loki before they turned simultaneously to Harry and nodded. They offered Loki a nod too, glancing longingly at the Casket he held between his blue hands.
"Thank you for your help," Loki whispered. They were not his brothers, they probably never would be, by they were by their actions his brothers-in-arms, and that counted for something on Asgard and on Midgard too. "It is my wish that future meetings between us run as smoothly." He held out the Casket, shaking it slowly when no one took it from him.
Býleistr grabbed it after another moment's hesitation; half afraid Loki would laugh and snatch it away. But his hands closed over it, and he tugged it against his chest, holding it carefully as Helblindi bowed deeply. "Thank you, my Queen."
Thor had been offended by a similar phrase, 'little princess' it had been, spoken by Laufey in amusement. And while Thor had grown angry and attacked the Jötun, Loki only offered a half smile as his hand came to press over his stomach, smiling when Harry wrapped an arm around his waist so he could do the same from the other side. He might have been offended before, but he had done his research when they had been trying to conceive Sigrid, and he knew know that though all Jötun were male and all could conceive, only some had the ability to successfully breed. Those that did were 'mother', and those that married a King were Queens.
"You are welcome," Loki gave a small nod of his head as he whispered, "Brothers."
They left then, taking the Casket and their army with them. The Asgardians returned, congregating around Thor who continued to hold the head of the Mad Titan as if it were his Hammer, which had been relegated to being clipped at his belt for the first time since they had arrived on Midgard to fight. They took the Tesseract, and Thor led them to the warehouse Jane had set up the machine to harness its powers in. Earth kept the last two pieces of Thanos' torso, but Thor took His head home. It was to be displayed for all to see, in his own words, a testament to what would happen to any who dared to harm a Prince of Asgard. As he spoke he kept his eyes on Loki, who smiled and nodded and then shrugged, because when Thor got something into his head there was no point arguing with him.
May 9th 2016. New York.
They took a few days off to rest, while Fury tried to rally the World Security Council into forcing the other superpower countries into lending their assistance. No one was offering, which wasn't a surprise, cleaning up your own mess was bad enough without having to clear up after the second New York alien invasion. Nobody wanted to do that. But it was too much work for just them, so Nick kept asking.
Their first stop was Natasha, only because they knew where she was. They had her in one of those make shift war hospitals, tents and tables with cloths thrown over them instead of walls and beds and volunteers instead of doctors. But it was the best they had had, now though, they could move her, but there was no need. Harry ran the Power Gem along the length of her face and Natasha shot out of the bed like she had been electrocuted. She crouched on the floor in front of them, legs akimbo and arms pulled back ready to punch someone. When she saw it was them she seemed to collapse into herself, a deep breath escaping her and Clint caught her in his arms and just held her. She didn't cry, but she buried her face in his neck and just breathed.
It wasn't as easy to fix Bruce. When they finally found him, they had a little trouble getting the Hulk to stand still.
"Should have kept those Giants around," Tony groused, hanging from one arm like a bug that just wouldn't blow away. Loki finally managed to freeze him in place, but without the Casket it wouldn't last long, so Harry hurried. He levitated beside the Hulk's face, making eye contact as he brought out the Soul Gem and squeezed it. It was bright and blue for a moment before it dimmed and the Hulk began to shrink rapidly, knocking Harry out of the way and dropping Tony to the ground beside him with a thump.
"Wha?" The naked Bruce Banner groaned as he tried to sit up, half trapped under Iron Man's weight. "What happened? What'd I miss?"
"Calm down, big guy!" Tony slapped him on the back as Steve offered him some spare pants. "We won."
"We won?" He received a round of nods, some more enthusiastic than others. "Oh. Good." He let out a short laugh, more of a happy exhalation that anything, but the others laughed along with him as Bruce allowed his body to flop backwards, feeling more exhausted than he had ever felt before. "We won."
June 19th 2016. Asgard.
Though Thor had taken the Tesseract with him, he had left behind the Gauntlet. Loki had insisted that Odin would want it returned, and for practical reasons they should return it before Odin comes looking for it. But Shield had found it rather useful the way the Gems helped things along. So they kept it for a month, healing their injured and fixing the damage done to the city, warping reality until new buildings took the place of the crumbling old ones. Harry hadn't minded as much as Loki (who was mostly protesting in case Heimdallr was watching) but he drew the line at them using the Time Gem. Bad things happen to Wizards who meddle with time, after all. So he popped the Gem back into the ring Thanos had ripped it from and slid it on his finger, on his right hand opposite the Deathly Hallow and no one chose to argue with him.
The Mind Gem remained on Loki's finger, hidden beneath the crest of the House of Odin and he kept Thor's Space Gem safe in his pocket, intending to return it along with the Gauntlet. Tony kept hold of the Soul Gem, which enabled him to travel between Midgard and Hela's realm where Loki's daughter had promised to teach the human all he needed to know about his new cosmic powers. The other two Gems were for Odin, to do with as he pleased, but for the two Guardians Thanos had killed, Tony and Harry would assume their place. Odin could deal with the Reality and Power Gem however he liked.
Loki handed them over easily to Heimdallr who met them on the Bifrost when Loki brought his family there. He wore the Gauntlet over one of his own gloves, more for show than anything else; to watch the Æsir gasp in horror at the sight of it on him as Heimdallr led them to the throne room. His parents were there, with Thor, when they were shown inside. Eileifer was in Loki's arms, hands curled around his mother's neck and eyes wide with wonder as he looked around. He was almost three years old, and as curious as any toddler, and he whispered questions into Loki's ear as if they were going out of fashion. Sigrid was calmer, quieter, eight months and counting, lying quite happily in her father's arms with her head turned outward, eyes fixed on any face that got too close. Her lips pursed occasionally, but thankfully she refrained from crying.
Loki handed over the Gems and the Gauntlet without fuss, introduced Harry to the court and his parents but made no mention of the children, not wanting to give anyone ammunition to use against him.
"Are these them?" Thor asked loudly, no longer able to hold his tongue. He bounced on the balls of his feet, excitement thrumming through him, because he had yet to meet his niece or nephew but Clint and Anthony had pictures on their mobile phones.
"This is Eileifer and that is Sigrid. They are Harry's children," Loki told his brother reluctantly. The arm around Eileifer tightened a fraction as Thor stepped closer.
Harry rolled his eyes, but let it pass without comment. Loki had come to terms with the fact that Odin wasn't hunting him down to steal the children, but rather to find Loki and make sure Loki was ok. That didn't mean the rest of the Court would be as pleased as Frigga looked to be greeted by more of Loki's progeny. "Sigrid isn't too fond of strangers, but Eileifer would talk the bark of a tree if he could. You want to hold him?" Thor's eyes went wide at the offer but he nodded slowly, staying silent as Harry coaxed his son out of Loki's arms (or rather, coaxed Loki's arms from around his son). "Remember you asked for this," Harry told him with a grin. "Eileifer, this is your uncle Thor. Say hello."
"Hello," the child murmured. He didn't wait for a response before reaching up and pulling Thor's beard, "what's this? Why do you have it? Are you broken?"
"That was rude," Loki muttered petulantly, knowing he should speak up but not wanting to chastise his son in front of the Asgardians who were staring at them.
"Sorry!" The child chirped with a wide smile. "Why do you have this? What does it do?" He was reaching down to grab the hammer at Thor's belt. "What's this for?" While pulling at the coin purse beside Mjölnir. "Oh what does this do?" Little feet kicked at the codpiece and Thor winced as he handed the boy back to Loki. "Mother! What's that for? Is it father's? Is father here?" He was pointing at Odin's throne, and the man sat upon it only raised one eyebrow at the onslaught of questions.
"Now, who does he remind you of?" Frigga whispered to her husband, casting her own amused glance in Loki's direction.
"Always asking questions," Odin agreed with a fond smile as he remembered another little dark haired boy, one who was grown and estranged from him now but no less loved. "Always getting into trouble," he added as they watched the boy wiggle his way out of Loki's arms and start pestering Heimdallr who stayed silent and straight backed, ignoring the questions with the patience of a God. "Come here child?" Odin asked, crooking a finger at the boy.
Loki's hand clamped down on Eileifer's shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. "It has been a long few months, AllFather. We should like to retire now. On the morrow I will introduce them, with your permission, to Sleipnir, and then we will take our leave."
"You don't have to leave so soon!" Frigga stood from her throne, hands on the arm rests to keep them from reaching out to her youngest child.
"It has been a long day, my Queen." But the tilt of his head said something entirely different and Frigga smiled at what she read there, nodding her own head just a fraction, just enough for Loki to read her response. When all of the court was abed, and Harry's family tucked away inside of Loki's old set of rooms, Frigga knocked on the door. Odin and Thor were with her, and Loki let them in with pleasure.
June 20th 2016. Asgard.
Sleipnir was everything Harry had been expecting and more. Twice the height of an average horse, with twice as many legs, but he was calm and happy and let Eileifer climb all over him without bucking. The sight of him made Loki smile widely, face almost split in half from his grin, and so Harry loved the horse for no other reason than that. He pet him lightly, brushing his mane as Loki whispered into his son's ear, apologies for his past treatment, for giving him away so easily, for not fighting harder, for not loving him sooner, and hopes for the future, that Sleipnir could come with them, live with the Dark Lord and all the strange magical creatures that had gathered at Hogwarts, and he would no longer be the freakish son of Loki the eight-legged horse. He could just be Sleipnir, son of Loki, welcomed by Lord Voldemort as Fenrir and Jormungandr had been welcomed.
The horse whinnied and whined and nudged Loki's shoulder every time the man became sad, until he told tales of the present and of his life and introduced the children. Sleipnir didn't speak, but there was no doubt in Harry's mind that he could understand and that Loki could understand him in return.
He was happy for them, promising a place for Sleipnir with them if he wanted to come. Was allowed to come, Loki had interrupted, shooting a glare back in the direction of the Palace, where Sleipnir's master sat upon his golden throne.
When they had finished, on that rather unhappy note, Loki led them back to the castle. Eileifer trailed along behind them, throwing leaves into the air and trying to catch them, pulling blossoms off of trees and tucking them into his pockets to give to his mother later, while Loki carried Sigrid this time.
"Hello Whoreson," a voice called from behind them. Thor's blonde friend stood there, staring down at Eileifer who grinned at him and waved, spotting Thor and his other friends running to catch up.
"Fandral!" Loki hissed, reaching forward to drag his son back. "He is Harry's son, not mine."
"Well in that case," Fandral said, turning his attention to the sleeping Sigrid, "would this be your-"
"Don't finish that sentence," Harry recommended, just as Thor caught up. He grabbed his friends arm and pulled him back, shaking the blonde harshly as he demanded to know what had been said. "Now, you have three seconds to apologise, before I beat you to death, bring you back to life, and let Loki kill you again."
Fandral opened his mouth, likely to laugh in their faces but Thor shook him roughly again, hissing angrily into his ear. Harry could only hear a few words, 'Prince' referred to Loki, but 'Death' probably had something to do with him. He grinned, wide enough to bare his teeth, and he didn't bother to hide his smirk as Fandral swept into a low bow, mumbling, "I am deeply sorry, my liege."
"So you should be. If you ever refer to my child as anything other than they royalty they are," Harry threatened, eyes narrowed and green magic sparking at his fingers, as the Elder wand burned in his pocket. He slipped into Parseltongue purposely, enjoying the way the Warriors Three flinched back and Lady Sif raised her sword warily. "You will regret it."
Loki steered Harry away, fighting back his own grin. It never got old, watching Harry defend him, knowing that Harry cared enough to defend him. He turned his head to press a kiss to Harry's cheek, and then his mouth when Harry turned towards him too. They kissed softly, stopping in the road, until Eileifer squeezed between their legs to push them apart. "Kissing is gross!" He declared with a pout, before turning around and gathering up a pile of leaves. There were worms in the middle of the pile, but he happily handed it over to Harry (who was child-free) and declared, "better than kisses, daddy!"
"Oh certainly," Loki agreed with a smile, "but don't I get anything?"
"You have my sister!" Eileifer declared, frowning angrily. "She's better than bugs and dirt!"
"Yes she is, my love. You both are." The child nodded imperiously, accepting his mother's one armed hug before he pulled a head off another rosebush and handed it over. "Thank you, beloved." Harry discreetly rid himself of the handful of worm infested leaves and magiced his hands clean, before encircling one arm around Loki's waist.
"Now where were we?" Harry asked once Eileifer was distracted again. They kissed twice more, careful not to get caught by their eldest child. When Sigrid began to stir they headed back inside, with Eileifer running ahead and Harry glancing around in interest. "Doesn't seem so bad here. If you ignore the really annoying ones, I mean."
"Anywhere you are, my love." Loki smiled at him. Harry smiled back, wide and warm and Loki melted into it, one arm around his daughter and the other around his husband as they hugged and when he pulled back he whispered, "Would you like another?"
They glanced at their daughter who was now wide awake and likely hungry. But they had five minutes or so before she'd start screaming for food. So they watched her, and listened out for their son who was probably in the middle of destroying a priceless artefact (as mischievous as Loki ever was despite their lack of biological relationship) and Harry thought about it for less than a minute. "As many as you want, remember."
Loki's smile was bright enough to rival the sun.
August 29th 2016. New York.
They stayed on Asgard for over a month. Odin had agreed to let Sleipnir go with them, whenever they were ready to leave but Loki had sent Sleipnir ahead, dropping him at Hogwarts early lest Odin change his mind. They hadn't bought a new home since they ran from the one in Alaska, but they were talking about it, considering where to settle. With their magic at their disposal distance wasn't a problem, so Sleipnir could stay in the Forbidden Forest, roam free, and still see his mother regularly; the same went for Voldemort and Eileifer. But they hadn't come to a decision yet, at least, not until the day Heimdallr came to the throne room and demanded Thor's presence.
The Avengers were assembling once more, and Thor was wanted amongst them. So he went, hurrying after Heimdallr back towards the Bifrost, stopping only for a second to glance at his brother and ask, "will you do battle with me once more, Brother?"
Loki nodded, his smile soft and shy, but he gathered his family quickly, hugged his mother goodbye and rushed after Thor.
Odin stopped him at the door, shaking his head fondly. "Surely you aren't bringing the babes to battle with you?"
"Well no, but," Loki stuttered.
"You intend to stay home with them while your husband fights?"
"Of course not!" Loki hissed, eyes narrowing.
"That settles it then," Odin exclaimed as he pulled Eileifer out of Loki's arms. Frigga was behind him and she carefully reached out for Sigrid, Harry handing her over with a snort of amusement, glancing at Loki's face which seemed to be frozen in a state of shock. "They children will remain with their grandparents and you will come for them after the battle has ended." They didn't wait for a response before walking back to their thrones, the children with them, and Loki glanced between them as if unsure what had just happened.
"Come on," Harry murmured, "it'll only be a few hours. And Luna is watching them, remember. They'll be fine, I promise."
"You promise?" Loki's voice shook, and he had to look away from his parents to stop himself running back to snatch away his children. Just because he trusted Odin not to hurt these children or take them didn't mean Loki trusted Odin with them. It was hard to see his father hold his son, it was terrifying to think of leaving his son there with him (his mother he could trust, his mother had always stood up for his children), but Harry had promised. And Harry's promises were always true, so Loki followed his husband from the throne room and to the Bifrost.
Thor had left without them, but they transported themselves to the newly restored Avengers Tower (how many times had it been destroyed now, Harry thought to himself).
"Where is the battle?"
"It hasn't started yet," Tony told them with a cheeky grin. At his side, Pepper sighed and smacked his shoulder in a futile attempt to stop him. "The Tower is complete. There are ten of us, nine if Loki and Harry share and the kids get their own rooms. Pepper and I get the penthouse. There are four more floors. Three rooms on each floor. If you don't want to share with someone, now is the time to run for your floor." Tony looked at each of them, Loki and Harry rolling their eyes at him, and Pepper sighing loudly again. "Let the battle commence!"
Clint was the first to bolt, followed by Thor. Bruce just let out a put upon sigh, as did Steve, both sinking down onto the sofa. "Let me know where I end up," Bruce mumbled, reaching for the remote and flicking on the TV. Natasha had disappeared somewhere between him sighing and speaking, but Loki and Harry were still there.
"Guys! Come on, you're going to end up separate from your kids if you don't at least try!"
"Three rooms per floor, right?" Harry asked just to be sure.
"That's right." Tony was frowning at them, perched on the arm of the sofa Bruce was sitting in.
"We'll share a room, and then one for each of the children." Loki informed them slowly, "Until the next one comes along at least." Tony was still blinking from that announcement when Jarvis spoke, voice soft and so very British that Harry felt nostalgic all of a sudden.
"Sir, Clinton would like to complain of Loki's cheating. It appears no one can access the floor directly below yours."
"We win," Harry told Tony with a grin as the billionaire shot them a dirty look.
"Stop cheating!" He demanded, crossing his arms petulantly.
"You sure you still want them to live here?" Pepper asked softly, eyes wide and innocent as Harry stuck his tongue out at her.
"Well," Tony said, rubbing his chin as he considered her question. No one made mention of the diamond ring Pepper was now wearing, though Loki had blinked slowly when he had noticed it, just like no one mentioned how the kitchen they were standing in was already child-proofed. "As long as you don't cheat when I'm playing, I guess." He shrugged, before handing over two glasses and a bottle of whiskey. "Welcome home."
They drank in toast to their new home, to Loki's desire for a third child, to Tony's engagement that hadn't been officially announced yet, to Clint getting to share a floor with Natasha which had been his main concern, to defeating Thanos and cleaning up his mess, to friends, to family.
To happy endings.
1 – Horace, Carmina, I. 4. 13.
2 – In the comics, it's Adam Warlock who dies and comes back to defeat Thanos, imbued with 'cosmic powers' from the afterlife.
Thanks for reading. This is it, finished, completed, done with, over, ta-da! Please let me know what you thought?