Chapter 9: In Which I Fight with Myths
The white haired man raised his staff, and rested the point directly over my trembling heart. His voice was booming and calm all at once, and irrationally, I was afraid. "Why have you come to Asgard, mortal?"
"Um," I replied intelligently, my mind completely blank. Excuses never came to me easily, but it was especially hard to think of something resembling an answer when I myself had no idea why I was here. "Did I fall out of the sky? I think I did, didn't I? I'm a messenger from the gods?"
…which really wasn't the smart thing to do but my mind wasn't really working at the moment. I blamed it on the old man's language. 'Mortal' indeed, who went around using language like that?
Before I could retract my statement or diffuse it with a joke, someone from beyond the old man let out a disbelieving snort. My eyes shifted to him automatically. He was tall, and blond, and wearing something resembling a Viking helmet that looked naggingly familiar.
He looked bemused as he spoke, "You are trying to say you are from Vahalla?"
"Thor." The old man cut in mildly, and yet, somehow, his voice seemed to boom. It was suddenly too loud, too present, and full of an authority that made me flinch back from sound alone. The blond dubbed as Thor stepped back into a line of people who had to be his friends, a chagrined expression on his face.
My eyes widened as I straightened, momentarily forgetting about the spear pointed at my chest.
I looked around once more, this time with a new, horrifying and yet fascinating idea in my mind. I'd heard it all before. It was obscure but I was a nerd, and I am one of the few in Midtown who still remember Ms. Loland's grade eight English classes. We'd had a unit on mythology then.
Inhumanly still, I'd thought them.
"Except, uh…" I continued, my voice losing its strength in the face of my realization, "It seems, that in fact, that you are the ones who are the gods…"
You know the expression 'having the carpet pulled from under your feet'? Well, that's what it felt like just then, except imagine that it was a flying carpet and that you were going over a pit of lava.
My heart swooped to my stomach.
"I have to be dreaming," I muttered to myself. Yeah, that had to be it. I was currently unconscious right now in the back of the SHIELD van and hallucinating all of this. It was the only thing that made sense. It was really frustrating that I'd apparently be beaten by that chip stealing guy though.
The white haired man's attention snapped to me at my words. I swallowed at his searching gaze. Even though I was pretty sure it was a dream now, there was some inescapable and quite frankly terrifying thing about it.
And then, oddly enough, the stately man lifted his staff. He allowed the end to settle with a resounding thunk back on the ground again, the tip pointing harmlessly towards the ceiling.
"I am afraid," the old man muttered, "that this is no dream."
And then he tapped the end of his staff on the golden floors twice, a resounding boom echoing with every thump.
"Dismissed!" He called out, and as one, the sea of people before him rippled into motion. Chatter sprang up again, as if the dismissal had broken some unearthly spell that had befallen them. I couldn't help but watch wide eyed as they flowed out of the hall, their fluidity making dolphins look clumsy.
When the entire hall had cleared out save for the white haired man and a beautiful and ageless lady someways behind him, he turned to me once again.
"My apologies," he expressed, "I see now that you are in as much confusion as we about how you came to be here. It is not my policy to frighten children. However you must understand that your arrival was a serious security breech, and as the king of my people, I had to confirm if you were a threat."
I blinked. And blinked again.
"Uh, yeah sure, no problem," I said, just dazed in general. "How're you sure I'm not a threat though? Not that I'm saying I am! I'm not—but just—um—"
Wow Peter Parker. Real smooth.
I took a breath, deciding to go with something else instead. "What did you mean that this isn't a dream?"
There was a spark of amusement in his eye. It was good. Good. It meant that he was less likely to smote me. "What did you mean by stating that you must be dreaming?"
"Well that has to be what I'm doing isn't it?" I asked rhetorically. "I mean, gods."
The old man shook his head. "I am afraid not. This is truly Asgard, child. But we are not gods. In comparison to the other worlds, Earth has been rather slow in its development, and I believe that when we visited Midgard before, they took our science to be magic. That is how it was."
He said all of five sentences, and he had completely reorganized all scientific thought up to that point.
I just sat there, gaping at him.
"Do you always answer in such a concise manner?" I asked weakly.
Odin's gaze upon me was intense, "Only if the situation calls for it. I believe that you already know the truth of the matter."
I exhaled shakily. If I hadn't already been sitting down, I was sure that my legs would have given out right then.
Nordic gods? The idea was inconceivable.
And yet how would I explain the golden halls before me, the graceful people of an unearthly beauty? If cross species genetics was made possible by science, why could not an alien race with technology so advanced it seemed like magic exist?
Yeah, it made sense in theory, but… but this was just impossible. Period. I closed my eyes and raised a hand to pinch myself on the arm, hard. When my eyes opened again I was fully expecting to see the SHIELD logo. I didn't.
Odin looked bemused, "Have you conducted your tests to your satisfaction?"
"Nothing like the old stuff tried and true," I muttered. So I had pinched myself, and I was still in this golden inhuman place called Asgard. I wasn't dreaming. This was real.
If a human could get spider powers, old myths about gods could actually just be an advanced alien race that the ancients didn't understand, couldn't it?
Yeah, yeah it could. Just—just not for me. Not for me to discover this all by crash landing on an alien planet or wherever the heck this was! This was awesome. Was I stuck here? I could explore all sorts of advanced science. How were Barton and the others? I had discovered an alien race. What about Aunt May? If I couldn't get back, what would she do?
I could feel myself begin to freak out. This could not be happening. This could not be happening. This could not be happening.
"Calm," Odin suddenly said, and I felt a ripple of power fan out from him. I instantly felt more serene, my heartbeat slowing again.
"Thanks," I muttered, glad that I avoided having a panic attack in front of a god. That would have been beyond embarrassing. A god. I felt ready to puke. Which was, coincidentally, also embarrassing.
"Quite understandable," Odin replied. "And now, I am sorry to be so frank, but as I have said, I do need to look out for the interests of my people. How did you come to be here?"
He'd been good to me, so I replied in kind. I started to tell him everything that had happened preceding my arrival before I realized half the stuff was probably classified. Then I had to physically stop myself from speaking and reorganize my thoughts, but by the time I was done, Odin looked thoughtful, so I guessed that I didn't do too bad of a job.
"That explains the two souls I felt who tore through the fabric of space," Odin murmured to himself. "One was your opponent, though he did not land in Asgard."
"What?" I blurted, my mind racing.
No, it couldn't be, could it?
"He must have had a device that allowed him to center in on this realm as a failsafe escape," I thought aloud. After all, I had no idea how we got here, so presumably the other guy was the one who did the sending. "You said he didn't land here, right? So what if he has some kind of agreement with another realm and he's just hiding out there?"
Odin frowned at me, "Do you really believe that is the case? I suppose the other realms can do as they see fit, but it is worrisome that you were sent here. Although he did not intend it, a mortal has bypassed Asgard's gates and came into our halls directly. I cannot allow that to stand. If your presence here is really due to the man you speak of, then it is of the upmost importance to find him."
"Yeah," I nodded. That guy had to answer for attacking Barton and the others. A thought struck me then. It filled me with dread, but I had to ask. "Hey, am I—am I stuck here until we find this guy? Because from what you're saying that could take a while, and I have obligations back on Earth—" and wow, wasn't that weird to say "—or is it possible to, I dunno, do some sort of quest to get back home?"
So my mind went to video games. Sue me. You only ever saw this kind of situation in video games and I was your average-ish teenager who played a lot of them.
The look that Odin gave me was contemplative. There was something in his eyes which I wasn't sure I liked, which was strange, considering that I'd kind of been seeing him as the benevolent grandfather king the entire time.
"I am afraid there is no such quest," he intoned. His expression was apologetic. "Until we find this man, you cannot leave. But fear not, you will be treated with the upmost respect as a guest of Asgard in the meantime."
My stomach plummeted.
"No," I whispered.
"I understand that you need to return to your home," Odin said in a kind voice, "and I will put forth all of Asgard's forces in finding this man so that you may do so as soon as possible."
I get that I was supposed to be touched that the king of the gods was reassuring me, but all I felt was a whole lot of terribleness. Gwen. Aunt May. What were they going to think?
I barely listened as Odin explained my accommodations and two guards came out of nowhere to show me the say. I followed them in silence, my thoughts awhirl. The room that was given to me was fit for a king, but all I could think of was that it wasn't the little bunker in Queen's which held one very lovely woman just down the stairs.
After the golden clad escorts had finished with their duty, they left. I just collapsed on the bed. I don't think it was anywhere close to night time, if night could even happen in a place like this. Besides I wasn't sleepy, not really. I had a nap before on the SHIELD truck and my metabolism made sure I required less sleep than I used to. But I felt tired nonetheless.
Everything was so impossible, and yet so sickeningly real, and now that Odin's calming presence was gone, I felt myself begin to hyperventilate.
Norse gods slash aliens were real.
I don't know how long I spent circulating those thoughts in my head. Aliens, science, and stuck were words which made frequent appearance. Eventually it did tire me out enough for me to fall asleep, though I wasn't sure if I'd reached an understanding point with the whole concept or not.
I woke up to loud knocking. No, scratch that. I woke up to earth shattering pounding.
"What in the world…?" I muttered to myself as I rose from bed. Or worlds, I corrected myself, because there was apparently more than one world.
"Honored Midgardian Friend!" Came a booming voice from outside my door that I found vaguely familiar. "I am Thor Odinson and I wish to speak with you!"
Oh right, Thor. Of course.
I closed my eyes and sighed. And then I got up and opened the door.
The buff, towering blond man was standing in the doorway, though he was no longer facing the entrance. He was looking somewhere to his side, a slight furrow to his brows and his lips pursed into a frown.
"…don't see what is your fascination with Midgard," someone was saying, and I instantly knew this was who Thor was frowning at. His voice was full of disdain. "It is the dullest of the Nine Realms."
"Play nicely, my brother," Thor said back, a hint of warning in his voice that reminded me of his father. There was a snort but otherwise no reply, and Thor turned back to me.
"Greetings," he grinned. "I am Thor."
"Uh, hi, Peter," I said, leaning forward slightly to see who else had apparently accompanied the Norse god to visit the strange earthling. My eyebrows rose when it wasn't just one man I caught glimpse of, but five. Well, four men and a woman warrior at least.
"Ahh." Thor seemed to have caught onto my interest, because he took a step back and gestured to his companions with a smile, "Lady Sif and the Warrior Three. Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg."
The Lady Sif and Fandral both greeted me with a smile. Hogun nodded at me, and Volstagg was nearly as boisterous as Thor as he beamed and bellowed his pleasure to meet me. I had the uncomfortable feeling he would have clapped me on the back with enough force to break my back if it weren't for the fact that Thor was still standing someways between us.
"So um." Because heck, this was one hell of an entourage. "Does Odin need me for something?"
"The All-Father," the last and final, and yet unintroduced member of Thor's group cut in coldly. He stood a little aways from the rest, slender where they were muscled, his voice smooth despite the biting tone he used. "Is busy with the affairs of the Nine Realms."
With the look on his face it was easy to figure out what he'd refrained from actually giving voice to. Why would Father need someone like you for any matter?
"And," Thor sighed, a note of laughter in his eyes as he smiled apologetically at me, "my brother Loki."
"Feel free to ignore him," Fandral mock whispered to me, "we all do."
"Right, um." I was a pretty passive-aggressive person, and I didn't upset easily. If Loki wanted to be all 'superior-than-thou' he was free. "So why are you here then?"
…and I didn't mean to be so blunt.
"Not that, you know," I corrected myself quickly, because I realized that sounded sort of rude. "You're not allowed to be here. Your house and all."
"It has been long since I have seen one of Midgard," Thor laughed. "You earthlings are funny. Do you still strike fire with only stone and twig?"
"We're some ways past that," I said, mildly offended. "We can—uh, we can ignite and hold fire within glass orbs, and metal as thin as hair. We can also set off a large enough fire to wipe out an entire town."
Thor's eyes went wide, "Truly?"
"Surely you jest," Volstagg snorted. "That simply cannot be."
"Oh can't it?" I challenged. I looked around my room. There was a lot of gold and not a lot else. Questioning their reasons for being here was momentarily forgotten in lieu of this difficulty. "Say er, do you guys happen to have some lemons?"
"Are you hungry?" Thor asked curiously.
"No," I grinned, "but I'm going to show you magic."
The green clad Loki let out a snort at my words, but only sneered in reply to my curious look. The others all looked amused. I opened my mouth to ask, but it was at that moment that Thor took my arm and proceeded to drag me to the dining hall, and words were lost as I tried to keep up and not have my arm wrenched off.
They did have lemons in the dining hall, and a lot of food. A lot of food. Feeling a little guilty about wasting the food but assuring myself that it was for a good cause, I twisted some napkins, parts of my watch, and fruits together for a makeshift battery. I even borrowed a glass earring from the Lady Sif, who didn't look as intrigued as the others, but was willing to offer it to me anyway.
When I got the miniature light bulb to glow, even I couldn't help but feel a little proud of myself.
"Amazing!" Thor exclaimed, bending down to peer at the shimmering glass earring. The reflected light gave his eyes a film that made them appear wider than ever. His hand was surprisingly delicate as he touched the contraption. "This is absolutely fantastic! I had no idea that Midgard was capable of such feats."
I had to smile. There was something in Thor's childish enthusiasm that was contagious, and despite everything, I found myself enjoying this.
"That's nothing," I said as I settled on one of the chairs. "We can do a lot more when we have the right tools. But now do you believe me?"
Thor threw his head back and let out a booming laugh. He straightened, grinning brightly at me as he patted my shoulder. "I have no doubt! And it is amazing enough you were able to do this with only the things which we eat." He turned towards the green eyed man, his teeth glittering white with his wide smile. "It appears we have one more magician among our midst, eh Loki?"
Loki—I raked my admittingly limited reservoir for that name and came up with nothing—only sneered in reply, "If you call that magic, then you are more of a fool than even I gave credit for, Thor."
Thor did not look at all offended by that response, but Volstagg did let out a sigh. He turned to me and bowed, "My apologies, Peter, for doubting you. I look forward to seeing what further wonders you can show us."
"Umm well." How did one reply to that. "Thanks? And me too."
They asked for more. I tried to give them more. I also tried to explain that there were just some things I couldn't show them without the proper equipment. Hogun and Sif were surprisingly understanding of that and helped me explain to Thor and Volstagg the limitations of what Asgard had. Beautiful and wonderful it was, friendly towards the technology or 'magics' of other worlds it was not.
Thor even brought in some mixtures from the medical wing when I tried to explain chemistry. I had gaped and protested that I couldn't possibly, but Thor insisted that the concoctions he took were common and easy to make and would be thrown out at the end of the month anyway. It wasn't like I knew how to use Asgardian elixirs, but some of the liquids had the same properties as the ones I was familiar with, and I figured out enough of it to make some simple reactions.
I was pleasantly surprised when I accidentally made a sticky paste that ended up binding the bottle to the table. Even Volstagg could not pull it away again.
"You look happy," Sif commented softly as Volstagg finally uprooted the bottle, along with a good section of the table.
"Huh? Oh." I lifted my hand and felt the faint smile on my face. Everyone else was looking at Volstagg, laughing at him. I wasn't sure how Lady Sif knew that I wasn't. "I guess, it's just nostalgic. My um… primary weapon back on Earth, is something like that."
Despite the fact that we were speaking quietly, that statement somehow caught everyone's attention.
Everyone just stopped and turned to me, Volstagg mid-laugh even. It was slightly disturbing, and made me shift uncomfortably. The only one who wasn't so dramatic was Loki, who had settled to read a book while the others played kindergarten chemistry with me, but even he narrowed his eyes.
Thor's eyes were wide, his voice joyous. "Peter, you are a warrior?"
"Uh." How to answer that in a way a Viking culture would understand? "No, I mean I can fight but, I don't do that for a living. I want to be a scientist—make things."
Yeah, I'd said it to Gwen hadn't I? I could help the world with innovation as well as vigilantism. It didn't make it any easier to say.
It also made me miss Gwen.
"But you fight," Fandral said with some interest. "I'll admit, I had not expected that of you. My deepest apologies. Will you spar with me?"
"What?" Thor boomed, though he was smiling, "I wanted a spar with our Midgardian friend."
"Well too bad," Fandral retorted with twinkling eyes. "I asked first. And besides that Thor, you would be overkill. No matter how talented our friend is, I doubt he would be a match for Mjolnir."
"I would not use Mjolnir." And suddenly Thor's eyes hardened, "As I would not expect you to use a blade, Fandral. Not against our mutual friend."
Fandral instantly bowed his head, his voice humble and earnest, "I would not dream of it."
Thor grinned, and the moment of command disappeared as if it had never been. "Very well then, although I do demand a spar at a later time."
And that was how I was pushed into a spar with Fandral without even saying a word. I opened my mouth to protest, but Sif caught my eye and shook her head with a slight smile. I closed my mouth again and exhaled, getting the message loud and clear. It'd just be easier to go along with it.
Well, it wasn't like I was completely against it. Sparing with a being from another realm did sound… fun. And quite suddenly I couldn't hold back my grin.
"So what're the rules?" I asked as I tilted my head.
Thor and the Warrior Three glanced at each other and rattled off the code in surprising recollection. It was decided that we'd fight with sticks instead of blades since it was Fandral's weapon of choice and I figured that it couldn't be too hard to pretend to swing a sword around.
Stick them with the pointy end, right?
Fandral let me attack first, which, in retrospect, wasn't a good idea because I never really did that. Well, I did, but not offensively? Who even knew. All I knew was that Fandral had disarmed me with a flick of his wrist in all of five minutes and I was left weaponless as his stick bore down on me.
I acted on instinct. I ducked under the blow, grabbing onto the arm which swung down and using that momentum to try and flip him. He didn't fall with it, slick and nimble on his feet in a way that the robbers I normally encountered were not. It did shift his balance but all he did was twist sideways and pull me with him.
I let go immediately, not wanting to get caught up in his pace, skipping a few steps back to put some distance between us.
"You are stronger than you look!" Fandral complimented, eyes bright.
"And you're just as strong as you look," I muttered, still trying to catch my breath. My eyes strayed to my stick which lay a bit behind Fandral. Okay, so maybe this swordsmanship gig required a bit more than random stabbing.
If only I had my biocable…
And suddenly, the thought hit me. I might not have my preferred weapons to work with, but that didn't mean I was completely out of options. I grinned.
"I'll show you something even better," I teased, skipping back while keeping my eyes on Fandral. I had a feeling that in a flat out run he'd be faster than me, so I couldn't let him in on what I was doing.
"Oh yes?" Fandral laughed and took the bait, rushing forward with his sword, "Then allow me the honor of the contest, Sir Peter Parker."
He swung. I dodged. It was easier now that I wasn't trying to actively attack back. Finding a weak point with this guy was nearly impossible. So I needed to create one. I ducked and flipped, using the entire arsenal of my acrobatic manoeuvres and utilizing my danger sense to the fullest as I continually moved back.
"You cannot keep dodging forever," Fandral grinned as his body twisted towards me in a complicated looking sword move. "You will not win as such."
"Nope," I said cheerily as I weaved between the stick and where it was positioned to strike, "so I'll just move on ahead then?"
Because we'd finally arrived. We were at the bench where I had been mixing liquids together for Asgardian entertainment, and there were still quite a few bottles of chemicals left. I held my breath and stomped on the pertinent bottles.
A plume of repulsive gas exploded from the reaction. Fandral gasped, coughing as he staggered back, unable to deal with the smell. I took the chance to dash out of his range and the cloud which I'd created, taking a few containers with me.
Fandral recovered faster than I expected, and with a roar dashed out of the cloud and towards me at a frightening speed. I moved quickly, shattering the rest of the bottles at Fandral's feet. The liquids mixed together instantly, creating the sticky substance that even Volstagg had troubles with.
Blinded by the earlier reaction which I had caused, Fandral didn't even notice walking into the substance.
I didn't think that even it'd hold against an Asgardian forever, so I acted quickly.
Fandral staggered as he tried not to lose his balance, and I stuck. Dashing forward, I leapt over his head and swooped up the 'sword' that I had dropped.
"I win," I grinned as I tapped Fandral's head with my stick. I felt unbelievably proud of myself. I'd just apparently defeated the best swordsman of Asgard after all.
I figured, you know, with the warrior code and how excited he'd been for the spar in the first place, he'd take it in good humor. Fandral did not.
"With no honor," Fandral spat, eyes flashing as he jerked his shoulder away from me, as if I were the most disgusting creature on the planet. And then, true to my prediction, he yanked his feet from the synthesized glue on the floor and stomped away, every inch of his body tense with barely suppressed rage.
The grin slipped off my face.
I looked to the others helplessly, wondering what I had done wrong. Fandral was the one who wanted the spar in the first place, so it totally wasn't fair that he'd get so mad about losing. But no one appeared sympathetic to me. Even Lady Sif had a look of disgust on her face. Only Thor looked happy, but even that was tempered by the worried glances he sent at Fandral's retreating back.
"If you don't mind," Lady Sif said coldly, and though she was speaking to Thor her glacial eyes were directed at me, "we will accompany Fandral."
Thor nodded his consent, and the rest of the Warriors left.
There was a moment of silence. Then finally, Thor walked up to me.
"That was a wonderful fight," Thor said cheerfully as he gave my back a hard pat. "You displayed great cleverness. Do not worry about the others. I will talk to them."
I barely even got a chance to get my mouth open before he turned and strode from the hall with purpose.
"I don't understand," I said as I stared after them, confounded.
Loki—whom I had almost forgotten was there—snapped his book shut. Splayed casually on one of the benches on the far side, he looked up at me, eyes hooded, "Do you truly not? Then you are more of an idiot than even I gave you credit for."
I whirled, my fists clenching at my sides, "What?"
"You won a fight with trickery," Loki drawled, sounding utterly bored. "Did you really think that would gain you respect? I understand that Midgard is entirely incapable of standing any sort of chance against an Asgardian, but really, that was stupid."
Was that what it was? My heart gave a thud. Had I just really ruined everything because of my pride?
But no, that couldn't be it. "Thor—"
"Thor," Loki hissed, rising from the bench finally. The book slid off his lap. "Was able to be kind to you because he did not think of you as any sort of equal in the first place. Do not mistake his actions."
The slender god advanced towards me, eyes glittering with malicious green fire.
"Do you know why my brother visited you in the first place?" Loki continued viciously, "It is not because he wanted to be your friend. He just finds your kind amusing. He thinks of you as nothing more than a pet."
"Shut up," I croaked.
"No," Loki said mockingly, "no, I don't think I will. And Father, you seem to think that he holds a certain confidence with you? Tell me little mortal, why do you think you have not yet been sent home?"
My heart was thudding so hard I thought it might break out of my chest. I didn't want to play this game, but I had to know. "He said it wasn't possible."
"Of course not," Loki drawled. "Because he doesn't trust you. Do you really think sending a little mortal home is beyond the powers of the All Father? No, he can, but he chose not to. And from the looks of things he did not even bother to tell you."
That wasn't true. It couldn't be true. Except I've been betrayed before and I wasn't dumb and I could see—
"Odin does not actually trust you, you pathetic little whelp," Loki continued with glee. "You're only kept on Asgard still because he's afraid that you will present a danger, but as soon as he figures out that you're too worthless to do anything, you'll be let go. Do you really think you can feast with the race of Aesir? You're not meant to be here."
"SHUT UP!" I yelled, because didn't he think that I knew that? I wanted Gwen and Aunt May and gods even Tony and Flash. I moved without thinking really, lunging at Loki with a blind fury that I hadn't thought myself capable of. I just wanted him to stop talking.
Loki's eyes widened in surprise as I collided with his body…only to slip through his image entirely. I stumbled, and only barely managed to catch my balance again to prevent a rather humiliating nose-dive to the floor. Wide eyed I whirled, just as Loki's form shimmered and faded like shadow.
"Temper, temper," a familiar voice tsked as another Loki stepped out from behind one of the pillars, "but then again, you can't expect a human to be capable of thinking clearly can you?"
But I hardly heard what he said. Because I had understood something. The realization that hit me was so startling that it left me breathless.
"That was an illusion wasn't it?" I said with wonder. "Everything you were saying to me… that wasn't because you hate Earth, it's because you hate yourself."
There was a beat of silence. I practically felt Loki's face change. There was a split second of shock. And the mocking disappeared, replaced by burning twisted fury that put mine to shame.
"You have no idea of what you are speaking, mortal!"
But no, I was right. I was sure of it. "The other warriors told me to ignore you, and I thought it was because they were looking out for me, but it's also because you're used to being ignored isn't it? You pretend to be part of it, but really you're only there because of Thor. This entire time I've never seen you use your abilities… you're hiding them because you're ashamed, aren't you?"
"Shut up!" Loki screamed. The dishes on the banqueting tables clattered, a few fruits rolling to the floor. And then he calmed, although it was not the previous calm before. Anger shimmered just beneath the surface of his eyes, "And what do you know about that, hmm? If I am hiding myself, I am not the only one."
That actually brought me up short. I blinked, "What?"
"Restraint, restraint, restraint," Loki hissed, moving forward with a slow, predatory gait. "You have no idea, do you? Every inch of your body is under such tight control at all times. I call you human because you are not Asgardian, but that's not what you really are, is it? No, you're a bit stronger, a bit quicker, but you pretend not to be. At least I use my gifts when necessary. What do you use them for other than fooling around with Fandral?"
I stiffened. That wasn't—I didn't—
My throat was suddenly too dry, and when I opened my mouth, I found that I couldn't respond.
"Do not presume to lecture me," Loki spat, "when you know so little of yourself."
And then he turned and stalked out of the mead hall.
A/n: So like I forgot what it was like to have two essays and four term tests within weeks of each other. Dark World has given me inspiration but it's taking quite a bit longer to actually write these chapters. I hope to have Asgard arc done by Christmas, but please don't be waiting. Let it be a pleasant surprise, yes?