A/N: So…yeah. Another Loki oneshot. My brain has been possessed, I swear. This was supposed to be just a double drabble, heh. Fat chance. I've got two Loki chapter fics in progress that I'm more likely to finish up and get posted the more feedback I get on these shorter pieces, so...feel free to mention in your review, if you have an opinion, which do you like better:

(1) Teenage!Loki and his mad uncle, myth!Loki, or (2) Time-Travel!Loki and the Avengers? Both involve copious amounts of humor, angst, and brotherhood. The former will probably be much more entertaining for mythology geeks and people who obsessively contemplate timelines than for everyone else, it's kind of my current baby.

Loki tightened his grip on Gungnir, as he returned to Odin's bedside, freshly returned from a covert journey to conspire with his nation's enemies. He took some reassurance as he did so from the power humming through the haft. He was humming with tension this past day himself, he knew, only barely bringing himself to put his helmet aside even here, in the innermost of keeps. Frigga had gone away while he was out, perhaps sleeping herself, so he was alone in the golden chamber, with only the slumbering king's quiet breath to break the quiet. It was less peaceful than suffocating. Loki sank to his seat at the monarch's left, telling himself he did not need to smooth his hair again; it was fine. If he kept this up it would become a nervous habit, and he despised people with nervous habits.

He caught himself. The hand not wrapped fiercely around the great spear had reached out in his moment of distraction, and hovered once again above Odin's limp one, but even in an involuntary gesture he could not bring himself, this time, to take it. He knew now the Allfather would be entirely well when in due time he woke; there was no need to worry, and as…as Mother had reminded him, Odin could see and hear them perfectly even in his stupor. Loki did not need to confirm again that it was still safe for him to touch Aesir skin. He did not need to be seen clinging like a child. For now, while Odin slept, he was king. And he would, he could make his father proud.

'I doubt the Asgardians would take kindly to a king that had murdered his predecessor,' he had smirked not an hour ago at Laufey, great, cruel, easily-deceived beast that he was, and like all the most powerful lies, this was the truth. Loki knew Asgard would rise up against such a king, even if the only other prince was trapped far away under a writ of banishment in another realm, with only a mortal's small strength. No one would accept such a regicidal, kinslaying usurper upon their throne, and if they were forced to kneel before such a one, it would only sharpen the blade of their hate for him and all he stood for, until it burst out in blood and death and all the horrors of war. He knew it. He was counting upon it.

Even if his emerging plans for Jotunheim itself were foiled, even if the beasts lived to be defeated again by Asgard, he would make good his plans for Laufey.

Laufey, for whom three days ago he had felt very nearly nothing besides a steady caution, and faint scorn once the giant proved gullible enough to use in embarrassing Thor. But whom he now hated with a fire that threatened to devour him alive. Loki would do away with Laufey. He would do it his own way. And he would make that death serve his purposes a dozen times over, until perhaps the wretched creature that thought itself a king had repaid a fraction of the debt it owed him.

And once King Laufey died at his hand, whatever else became of his plans, he would be safe.

The Allfather was wise. He knew how unwillingly a people would bow to a king who had murdered his way onto the throne. He would not try to forge an alliance or a permanent peace on such a tinderbox of ill-will. And so he would not send Loki away there, to live out his days among them in exile, calling it honorable service to Asgard. He could not. Surely. No matter how little Father cared, he would not spend his gamepieces so rashly.

Even if all else failed, if Odin was not grateful to him for ending the war, if Thor returned all golden before Loki could cement his position, and reclaimed the Allfather's single eye as always, and all the rest of this was for naught—because Loki was used to failing, especially at plans meant to win anyone's love or esteem; he was determined that this time he would not fail, whatever it took, but he knew that even if he did everything right, his father was not his father. That was a truth. And so for all his hopes, however he proved himself, loyal and dedicated and entirely of Asgard, nothing of Jotunheim, perhaps it could never be enough to carve out space for him to be anything but Thor's viper-tongued shadow, a stolen thing that had carelessly fanned the flames of an old war until they took light again, and so made itself useless….

Even if it was all for naught, he could kill the creature that had been his sire, and scour from him any claim of kinship there could have been from an accident of birth. He could do it publicly and with fanfare. And by that act he could be certain, if not of Odin's love or Frigga's, if not of standing equal with Thor, if not of winning the acclaim of Asgard...if not of cleansing himself of the filthy blood in his veins…. By that act he could make absolutely certain of one vital thing:

Loki would never reign as king in Jotunheim.

Because I always thought the actual plan (of killing Laufey) and the supposed plan (of killing Odin) dovetailed a little neatly, in the context of that line. And honestly, being made king of a frozen ruin full of people you despise is a pretty nasty booby prize.

Disagreement? Concrit? Declarations of love? Witty limmericks?