Yet another wonderful chapter from the lovely Elle to me! My friends are so damn awesome! =D

Chapter Two: Days of Forgiveness

A year ago at this time, I was a shy, withdrawn, repressed young student who had followed an author for a year. I worked up the courage to tell her how amazing her work was. We became friends and I wish to honor her for a year of tears, laughter, mail, confessions and literary spankings.

This is a 3-4 part series, and the story will continue to the next chapter. I hope you like it and welcome any feedback. Some allusion notices at the end. Warnings for a tiny bit of religious discussion, as Steve is a devout Christian. I am a bible teacher, but I'm not Christian so any mistakes are my fault entirely.

Steve had once read a poem, which stated that iron bars did not make a cage. Seeing the luxurious prison granted to Prince Loki of Asgard, he had a feeling that the royal reprobate didn't need fetters anymore to be held captive. Steve had made sure the cage was in Loki's own pain senses.

"Good morning, Loki," he said softly, stepping inside the lavish room with two meals on a tray. The prince was kneeling on a green silk cushion, a golden bookstand in front of him. "I hope you had a pleasant sleep." He didn't need to add on that the prince would have definitely spent the night on his stomach. He wasn't trying to mock the kid.

Loki looked up from his reading, and Steve was pleased to notice a flicker of fear pass through the pale face. "Yes?" he asked, tensing up. His hands had gone unconsciously to cover his bottom.

Steve put down the tray, then sat down on a low stool next to him and folded his arms. "I believe the proper greeting is good morning?" he urged gently. "I'm not here to punish you. I just want to talk."

Loki nodded. "Yes?" he repeated. "I…would prefer to be alone. I am not feeling well," he said softly, trying to sound more confident than he was. The note of resignation indicated he knew that was futile.

"I think you had enough isolation. You need to rejoin the world. I imagine you are feeling sore, but you got what you deserve," Steve said, trying to sound kind. "Come on, I'm not bad company. I'm here to help."

Loki looked back to his book. "You may pick out a book and read. My favorite tomes are on the left," he said in a dignified tone, clearly unsure what else to say.

"What are you reading?" Steve asked, curious. It was as good an icebreaker as anything he could think of on short notice.

Loki held it up. "It's Night, by Elie Wiesel…" he said, with a sadistic smile. Ah, there was the Loki Steve knew and feared. "After last night, I felt it would be the perfect reading material. I wanted to learn more about Midgard."

Steve lowered his eyes. "Believe me, I know. It's not something I can live with easily," he said. He was not a man to hide from his mistakes and he knew this would be one of his greatest.

"Six million little Jews, all exterminated. America never bombed the tracks to Auschwitz. You turned away Jews from refuge…like the St. Louis. Your allies prevented Jews from going to their homeland. You let them die," Loki accused. "And you call me barbaric."

Steve bit his lip. He still had nightmares from that horrible knowledge. He hadn't known much about it, he had been tracking Hydra. He had found out after he had woken up. A trip to the Museum in Battery Park with a charming curly haired granddaughter of Izzy Cohen had left him weeping. His country had let that happen. He would never let the guilt off his shoulder. "My country had a lot to answer for."

"How do you live with yourself?" Loki asked. "Do the numbers on the arms of aging men and women haunt you?"

Steve grasped Loki's wrists and gently forced him to a seated position. Loki's lips trembled as his rear touched the floor. He squirmed miserably. "Don't pretend you care about Jews or any other people from my world. Your Chitauri invasion destroyed the Central Synagogue, killing forty people. I buried my friend Colonel Izzy Cohen, who was killed in the attack. I…tend to be very tough on people who misuse the memories of others." His tone got very menacing. "Do you remember what happened yesterday?"

Loki was trying to hold in the words, but his sore bottom was an excellent motivator. "Yes," he hissed through gritted teeth.

"I'm curious if you think that was a one time punishment? I know you are very intelligent, but I am afraid you might have been confused. So I am going to explain it to you again. You step out of line and I will toss you over my knee and give you a thorough reminder of just. Is that understood now?" Steve asked, still forcing Loki's weight on his wounded bottom.

Loki looked away for a long moment, trying to keep tabs on his dignity. "Yes," he finally hissed hatefully.

Steve released his grasp. "Excellent. I don't want to have to spank you. I'm serious about wanting to help you. I thought we could spend some time getting to know each other," he offered. "Just be polite. That's all I ask."

Loki glared at him. "I shall endeavor to be a pleasant host," he mumbled miserably. "I am not used to company."

"Well, maybe we could change that. You see, attacking people and plotting against them have a negative effect on your social life," Steve said gently. "I'm just harder to chase away."

Loki sighed deeply. "Do you think you'll just speak to me and all my anger will fade away, and we'll walk out the best of friends? I'm Chaos itself, I can't be all sunshine and roses," he said softly.

Steve was pleased with that response. It was better than sulking. "I'm a soldier, Loki. I buried friends. I killed men. I didn't enjoy it, but I did my duty to God and Country. I don't expect the world to be a rose garden. I just don't want to bring more darkness into it," he said. "Chaos doesn't have to be a negative force. You can bring change to the world, you can bring evolution, and you can bring innovation. "

Loki's eyes narrowed at that, but the words obviously pleased him. "I suppose," he grudgingly. "Without me, there would be stagnation." He knelt back on his heels carefully.

Steve leaned forward, sitting cross-legged now. "I saw some of your artwork. You're very good. You're also one of the most educated of your realm," he continued. Loki liked being flattered. He could do flattery as long as it was all-true.

"I know. I expect you'll ask me why such an incredible being as myself lowered himself to try and conquer Earth," Loki said softly. "Trying to understand my depraved mind? Is this an episode of Criminal Minds and you're Spencer Reid?"

Steve stared at him blankly. "You know a lot about Earth," he managed to say, refusing to release control even in the face of ignorance. "Why do we fascinate you?" He poured himself some spicy tea. He really loved the food here. "Are we really that interesting?"

"Well…I suppose the prayers. When I hear the pleas for mercy, I remember I did promise to help them, and I broke that promise," Loki said, taking a cushion and gingerly sitting on it.

"What does that mean?" Steve asked, glad to see Loki beginning to relax. Perhaps that would go more easily than he thought. All he needed was some kind words and all would be well.

"Well, you're a Christian, you would know what I mean. I'm honored you pray to me, even if you don't know it," Loki said, leaning forward. "I never thought my youthful indiscretions would pay off."

Steve choked on his tea. "What?" he asked, feeling an urge to cover his ears. This could not be good.

"When I was young, I decided to be reborn into a small, backwater country. I even used a standard spell to impregnate a virgin in Beth-Lechem. I grew up, showing my Godly powers and trying to make you petty mortals be more than little mayflies. But I got crucified for my trouble. Took me three days to rise from the dead and regain my Godly form," Loki said with a sigh. His Hebrew was perfect. "I'm honored people still pray to me, fight wars in my name. I appreciated all your prayers, you know."

Steve had dropped the teacup onto the floor. "You're lying. You're the weaver of lies. I'd more believe you to be Satan," he snapped. "There is a God…" He knew that to be true. He believed it with every fiber of his being.

"Many of them. I'm just one of them," Loki said softly. "I can prove it. You had a Jewish friend. She must have taught you the ancient word for God in Hebrew."

Steve nodded. "Elokim," he whispered, his throat suddenly dry. Bernie Rosen had taught him so much.

Loki traced the word in the air. "E-L-O-K-I-M," he spelled, before waving away the first and last letter. "L-O-K-I."

Getting beaten up by Loki in Stuttgart had been less painful. "You can't be…serious," Steve whispered. It made some sense in a sick and terrible way. It could be a coincidence. It had to be one.

"I'm telling you this because I want you to know who you are really serving. I can show you the first drafts from the Sermon on the Mount. In the end, you've seen Asgard. You've seen Odin and Frigga and Thor's power. You know that the world is so much more fascinatingly complex than that silly little chronicle of my misadventures. All this time, you've poured out your heart to me," Loki simpered, looking satisfied. "All your morality, all your beliefs are a funny little jaunt I had in my youth."

"I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible," Steve recited mechanically, remembering the Anglican Communion that had gotten him so much.

"I too believe in the All-Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible," Loki mocked, with a harsh laugh. "Don't bother with that." Steve closed his eyes. He couldn't give in to his urge to run away. He didn't flee the truth; he faced it like a man. "There is no heaven. My daughter Hel rules the dead and I had her set aside a special punishment for everyone you love. Your brother, your parents, your unit, they are all suffering eternally because of you."

Steve shook his head. "Stop it," he commanded, but his voice shook. He knew there was a Heaven. He believed. He knew.

Loki's smirk grew bigger. "Why not see for yourself?" he said, waving his hand.

An image of a woman's ghostly form misted up before him, weeping like a banshee. She howled in pain, as mists of flames lapped at her soul. "Steve…" he managed to make out.

"Mom…" Steve whispered, his knees shaking. "Mommy?" This could not be happening. What had he done to her?

"Make it stop….make it stop," the ghost shrieked. "Why did you do this? Why did you rebel against our Savior?"

Steve gasped. "I didn't. Mom…I didn't do it," he pleaded, tears running down his cheeks. He had never thought of eternal torment for anyone but Nazis but the thought of his mother suffering, his innocent mother who had done only good…

"Why?" the ghost shrieked before disappearing right before his eyes. Steve reached out to the air, but found nothing. As he lowered his hands, tears still salted down his face. What had he done?

"Why indeed?" Loki asked with a smirk. "You could end it, you know. Go down on your knees and pledge your life to me and I'll return her to Heaven, along with the others."

A surge of anger gave the Super Soldier a strength even he didn't know he had. Steve leapt to his feet and grabbed Loki in a joint lock. "You think this is funny?" he demanded, his hands shaking with fury. "You are a brat! You are an ungrateful, nasty little demon who doesn't deserve any of the kindness that has been given to you! I actually used to pity you, but you deserve this! You deserve to be locked in chains in the dungeons below like a traitor, instead of everyone trying to save you! You will release my mother or…." He didn't know what he'd do but he knew it would be painful.

Loki smiled, despite his pain. "Going to kill me?" he asked venomously. "No, you won't. You're a good man. And you know your mercy is going to cost you greatly. You know I will escape and many more will die. You could have stopped it before. You failed. You will continue to fail."

Steve did not know what he wanted to do. In his mind, he knew that Loki was a trickster and it was his nature to play mind games. He knew that Loki was just trying to throw a tantrum. He knew that it wasn't real. But it could be. And it hurt. It hurt so badly. "I wish you were dead..." he finally admitted. "Then it would end my mother's pain."

"Then do it. If you dare," Loki challenged, going limp in his grip. "Do what you couldn't do for all those people." He closed his eyes, bracing for the coup de grace. "Do it and my power over your family ends. Break my neck. You have the strength. "

Steve had taken lives in war. He had never doubted the righteousness of that and he had never taken life without cause. Right now, he had definite cause. The world would be safer. Everyone would be better off. How many lives was he saving? Just because Loki wasn't armed, did that cease the danger? Loki was danger incarnate! "Agreed," he said coldly.

As Steve pondered how to end this, he felt a hard hand on his shoulder. "Enough, Steve Rogers. I know, he deserves your wrath but this is not your way. You taught me better," Thor soothed. "The guards alerted me when things got tense. My brother will be punished for his crimes against you."

"No, it has to end. He can't keep hurting people," Steve whispered, feeling completely out of control. He didn't even know what he was doing anymore. "He hurt my mother! He took her from Heaven into hell."

"If you try to kill him, you will break your vow and lose the gift my mother gave you. You will be reduced to Mitgardian strength and then he will kill you," Thor explained, pulling Loki from his grip. "Loki does not hold power over the dead. None of these parlor trick illusions are real."

Loki pouted hatefully in his brother's grip. "I'd have spared his life," he insisted, still limp. "I just wanted to break a few bones, maybe a bit of a maiming."

Thor glared at him. "Quiet, before I get that paddle," he said, snapping his fingers with his free hand. The chains snaked along Loki's form, restraining him again. "I am wroth with you, Brother."

Loki pouted but sprawled out on his chair. "Take the mortal away," he said. "I'm done with his methods of control."

Steve nodded numbly. "I am done as well," he whispered, stumbling out of the room. He couldn't trust his own emotions. His mother might be in Hell. He had nearly lost control of his emotions.

He needed to just get away before he broke down completely.

The gardens in Asgard were far more beautiful than the ones on Earth. There were flowers in colors he could barely name, all arrayed elegantly. The perfume wafted through the air, as birds sang miraculously on cue. It was a pity Steve couldn't enjoy them more. His heart was broken. How could his beloved mother be suffering eternally? How could he have prayed to that Monster?

For the first time of his life, he actually felt lost. He had always had God as his moral lodestone. He had always believed in a higher power, guiding his every step. He had often imagined what the Almighty was, but he knew for sure that Loki Odinson, Villain Extraordinary was not that person.

He could handle the loss of faith. But the thought of his parents suffering eternally? That was too much to bear. He had no idea what he should do to help them. How could he abandon them?

"Captain Rogers?" a melodious voice asked as Her Majesty glided next to him. She looked as beautiful as the Queen of Heaven…, which he supposed she was.

"My lady?" Steve asked, still staring off into space by the fish pool. "I…am afraid I am bad company right now." He didn't wish to cry in front of her. He liked her too much. "Your garden is beautiful."

"Thor informed me of what Loki did to you. I wanted to assure you my younger son has…continuous issues with the truth. Although I cannot give you too much information, I can assure you Loki is not the God you call the Christ," Queen Frigga soothed. "Of that, I can be sure."

"Is….He real?" Steve whispered, feeling alone in a way he had never felt before. "Have my prayers been answered?" It was the closest he would ever get to the divine and he needed answers.

"My dear Captain, there is much even Odin and I do not know. It is entirely possible your Christ was who he says he was, and still that would not negate my existence. Even your own teachings testify to that. Do you know that the first letter of your bible is the Hebrew letter Bet?"

Steve nodded. He had Bernie teach him some Hebrew but he admitted he didn't know very much. "I did not know," he admitted humbly.

"The letter is closed on one side and open on the other. There are many things that didn't make the text, that were before the opening. My essence is but one. Your Christ and I and the Gods of Olympus and Shiva and all the others are conduits to the divine. And by your actions, you have followed the path," Queen Frigga explained. "As for your mother…look into my pool…"

Steve looked in and saw his mother's form. Now that he was more rational, all he had seen before was a woman. Now he could see her sandy blond hair, her chipped front toothed smile that she had hated and her sparkling blue eyes. "Your mother is in Paradise. She is happy and at peace with your father and brother. She looks down on you often and prays for you. She is proud of you," Frigga said gently. "As well she should be."

Steve got up from his bench and fell to his knees. "Thank you, your majesty." He was choked up with grief and guilt and happiness, all mixed together. They were safe. They were at peace. That was all he needed to know. He could keep going as long as they were safe.

"I suppose you plan to return home," Queen Frigga said, raising him to his feet. "I do not blame you. Alas, my husband will be furious. I fear for Loki when he learns of this."

Steve shrugged, feeling calm now. He had duties on Earth, he couldn't keep babysitting a suicidal sociopath. "I can only help someone who wants to be helped. I don't think your son wants to live anymore. He's given up. Spanking can make him rethink his life, but it can't make him want it."

Queen Frigga sighed deeply, the pain evident on her beautiful face. "I fear for my son. He has truly twisted it up now, and I have no way to help him," she confided, her voice cracking with emotion. "I am Queen of Asgard and I'd trade my crown to heal my son."

Steve wished he knew what to say. "I'll try to talk to him one last time," he finally agreed. He owed Loki one last try before he returned to Earth. "For you."

Loki was sitting on a pile of pillows, reading another book. "I thought you left already," he said, not looking up from his comfort. "Reading an excellent book on genocide on Midgard. Very entertaining. "

Steve sat down, his hands folded. "You know, you almost broke me," he said softly. "You really are a dark soul."

Loki nodded. "Finally, we understand each other," he said, flexing his wrists as he stared at the silver chains. "In the end, we all fall into the darkness."

Steve laughed sadly. "You failed, though. Thor's friendship helped pull me back from that evil place." He hadn't fallen. He had risen again, broken but resolved to fly.

Loki shook his head. "I like the darkness. It's where I belong," he said in a relaxed tone. "You were a worthy opponent. You won the first battle. I won the war."

"You pushed me away. I could have helped you. I doubt that comes across as a victory," Steve said icily, not enjoying the compliment. "Though I suppose it's what you are best at. You strike out against everyone who cares about you, claiming they don't care. And by the time you are done tormenting and breaking them, they prove you right. You are right, everyone does dislike you. You made sure of that by your own actions. You could have solved your problems instead of magnifying them. Now, you truly are nothing. You'll end up your life some prisoner or renegade, punishing the world for your self inflicted pain." It was a spiteful tirade and he knew it. "Your own mother weeps for you. She loves you and you spit in her face."

Loki's eyes had narrowed. "You said your piece. Now leave," he said and the tremor in his voice revealed that Steve had ripped into a raw nerve.

"What? Can't the lie-smith handle the truth?" Steve asked defiantly. "I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. So why does it bother you?" he asked.

Loki folded his arms. "I will get out and kill you. Fair warning for you to make your will," he hissed. Now this was something interesting. He had regained the upper hand and it was finally making sense.

Steve smiled mischievously, a smile that seemed honest and chilling at the same time. "I finally understand you. You push everyone away because you are sure they will hate you, because you hate yourself. So you hurt them preemptively because you figure you will abandon them before they abandon you," he mused. "It all makes sense now."

"Get out before I make you," Loki hissed, trembling with anger. Now that was a good reaction.

Steve smiled. "I will not get rid of me that easily, Loki. I am not giving up on you. I am going to prove you wrong, that someone can take your behavior and still be there for you. You pushed me into a dark place, but I got better. Thor and I can pull you back as well. I still believe you have good inside you," he explained. "Isn't that something you want?"

"And then what? I go back to being a shadow of my glorious brother?" Loki demanded. "Go away."

"Why don't you care if you live or die?" Steve finally demanded. "You just want to suffer, but you don't want to do anything to change it. That's pretty stupid, don't you think?"

"I don't recall asking you for advice. Stop sticking your meddling nose where it doesn't belong," Loki hissed, getting to his feet. "I said, get out!"

"Make me," Steve challenged, rising to his own feet. "I think you know what will happen if you even try anything. I'm going to make you see sense if I have to spend the next year forcing you to finally understand!"

"Why won't you leave me be?" Loki shouted, grabbing Steve's shirt. "I am already your enemy, strike me down or not, but this compassion disgusts me!"

"I would advise hitting me, Loki. You won't want me to defending myself," Steve said calmly. "I think you know what will happen."

"Enough," another voice said, as the two moved apart. The king strode inside, looking grim. A miserable Thor and the Queen followed. "Such help is no longer necessary. I have heard what you did to our honored guest, Loki. You have lost your final chance for redemption," he said.

Loki's eyes misted over as his posture grew rigid. "Finally, getting your wish?" he challenged, although Steve noticed his hands had crept close to cover his bottom. "Getting your chance to destroy me again?"

"You need not fear my palm, my son. I thought you had learned something from your punishment, but I see you have not. In fact, you have struck out against an innocent who only wished to help you. I see…there is no hope for you," Odin said weakly. This was starting to sound bad. Steve had wanted Loki dead in the heat of anger, but this was cold, harsh judgment and it didn't seem right.

"How could you do this, Loki? We gave you a chance to redeem yourself, you only had to stop this madness. Why did you did this?" the queen whispered, her voice trembling.

"I am never going to be your son, my queen. I am your doom, I was destined always to be misery to you," Loki said, and there was an odd note of sadness in his tone. He kept his eyes averted, and he shuffled his feet as he spoke.

"If I had any other choice, I would make it . Your brother and mother have begged for mercy, but there is nothing I can do but pronounce your sentence. You will lose all your memories, all of your knowledge. It is the only way to stop your evil," the king intoned, his voice cracking. "You will be a tree…forever."

The queen was openly in tears. "I…we tried, my son. We wanted to save you. But you cannot be allowed to hurt people anymore," she whispered. "I pled to spare your life, but this was all I could do."

The king stared at his wife with grief. "I cannot allow treason to fester in Asgard. I accept the consequences of my actions," he whispered, his voice shaking a bit.

Loki's eyes widened. "You are ending me," he whispered, his voice filled with fear. "I will be an empty shell…to be forgotten. Forever lost and alone.

"It will give you peace. Your mother will care for you, but you will pose no more threat," the king explained, but even he did not sound convinced. "It is the only way to keep this realm safe."

Thor slumped, his whole body bent in invisible pain. "I won't let you suffer long, brother," he whispered. "If you wish me to end you, I will do so." His voice broke as the Queen burst into tears. "I have Father's permission to commit murder and accept the consequences."

"Consequences?" Steve asked, feeling the maelstrom of emotion bearing down on everyone.

"I will be exiled. Forever. If it brings my brother peace…I will gladly pay that price," Thor intoned.

Loki nodded. "Please…brother," he whispered, kneeling down and lowering his head. 'Before losing my essence, I'd prefer to lose my life." For a second, there was that lost little kid who just couldn't find his way home. "Please. I'm sorry."

Thor exchanged pleading looks with his parents before taking Odin's spear. "I will be swift, brother. You will feel no pain," he whispered. "You were loved. You still are…you just left us no choice."

Steve got to his feet. "No," he said, standing in front of Loki and blocking Thor with his body. "You can't end him….sir."

"You will not move," the King said, staring at him. "You know that I could end you and yet you protect him with your own body?"

"I am not going to let you destroy him. That's cruel," Steve snapped, putting his hand on Loki's shaking shoulder. "No one deserves that. And I won't let you kill him, Thor!"

"After all he did to you, you still plead for him?" the Queen said, her voice tear-choked as well.

"He hurt me, your majesty. His crimes were against me. Let me try again to help him see sense," Steve said. "That's all I'm asking. You know I know how to make him sorry."

Odin shook his head. "You will have to move, Captain. I will not be moved. If my own family could not change my mind, if my own broken heart cannot stop me, than you throw away your life for nothing. Please…move."

Steve stared up at the living embodiment of raw power and did not blink. "I can't stop your Majesty," he said calmly. "I won't fight back. But I am not moving. This isn't justice. It's murder."

There was a long moment as Steve calmly prepared to meet his Maker. He knew what he was doing was right, and his fear faded away. He had always known he would die in the defense of others. It was as it should be. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." He lived it. He believed it. John 15:13 was what defined his life. And it would define his death.

Then a miracle happened. Thor turned to his father, spurred on by his example. "If you wish to end Loki, you will have to destroy me as well," he said, taking his place beside Steve.

"I…as well," the Queen whispered, standing before her lord husband. "I am no less brave than a mortal. I have always done as you ask, husband, but I will not lose my sons again."

Odin looked stupefied, but didn't raise his spear to obliterate the two or rather three people he cared for most, and a good Christian boy from Brooklyn who was currently saying his prayers and waiting to meet his Heavenly Father and make an accounting for his sins. "You…defy me."

Thor and the Queen had pulled a shocked Loki away from the line of fire and were cuddled in a corner with him. Loki looked so pale and confused, that Steve knew he had done the right thing.

Steve bowed deeply. "I am not saying you should let him get away with mischief. I'm just saying no one defenseless deserves to be destroyed like that. I know I haven't lived as long as you or know as much as you. But I know one thing. The God I follow was willing to die for the sins for the lowest sinner in the world. I'm pretty sure he'd be willing to die for Loki too. And so am I."

Odin continued to stare at him. "You are truly remarkable, Captain. My sons are lucky to have you as a friend," he said in a shocked tone. In a thousand of your lifetimes, I have never learned so much. You have even caused Thor and my Lady Wife to stand up to me. You have no fear. "

Steve visibly started. Was he Loki's friend? He was more into the title of assisting Thor with his family issues, but fine. "I am a friend to you and your queen as well, my lord. I just want to help," he said, offering his hand. "I fear, but I accept that some things are worth being afraid. I care about Thor and I care about Her Majesty and yourself. Heaven help me, I care about Loki. I wanted him to know the power of true friendship."

"I envy your God that he has such followers. I never imagined a pathetic little mortal, no matter how heroic, could teach me a lesson," Odin mused, as Steve turned to see Loki warm in the embrace of his mother and brother. "Loki."

Loki walked forward, still flanked by his loving family. "My lord," he said, his eyes wide with fright. "I…" Thor and the Queen steadied the shaking prince, looking all the world like a lost child.

Odin raised his hand. "Loki, you have driven me to the brink. My love for you remains the same, but you have left me no choice. Your treasonous behavior nearly cost you your life and the happiness of your family. If I strike you down, I will lose everything I cherish. If I let you persist, I lose everything that I stand for," he said quietly.

Steve pondered that idea. He had heard of the prayer that Izzy and Bernie used to say on Jewish New Years. "Our father, our king. Be gracious with us and answer us, although we have no worthy deeds. Treat us with charity and kindliness and save us," he whispered. It seemed so chilling to see that as Loki's reality.

"I see now that I require help. I am sorry for what I nearly did to you. I wish only to be your loving father. I cannot…I will not be your executioner. Therefore, I will no longer be your judge. I give you into the Captain's hands, entirely. He is now your new Lord," the king said, smiling at Steve's borrowed plea.

Loki's eyes widened even more. "He is my master?" he whispered, looking pleadingly at his mother. Queen Frigga and Thor smiled approvingly, hugging Loki tightly.

That load of responsibility felt right. Steve was going to redeem Loki and he was going to save this family and he was going to make this sniveling trickster into a man…Asgardian of worth. "I will not stop until he is a tribute to your home," Steve said.

Odin offered a handshake among equals. "Do as you wish with him to get him to return to a true path," he said. "I will not interfere in any way."

Loki collapsed into a chair, looking completely bewildered by the entire affair. Steve realized how overwhelmed he was. "Give him some time with him," he said.

The royalty nodded, and filed out. Thor lingered for a moment, clearly wishing to speak to him. "I'll be out later," Steve repeated. He waited till they were alone before turning to his new ward. "I'm glad you're alive. I don't intend to be a cruel master, Loki. I'll be kind to you. I just want to help," he assured him.

Loki stared at him, completely confused. "I do not understand. Why?" he whispered. "Why would you do this for me?"

Steve smiled. "You're welcome," he said pleasantly. "I meant what I said. I could be your friend…someday. I don't have to be your master forever. I'm not comfortable with it, but I'll keep it if it means saving your life." Loki seemed even more confused, but Steve smiled. "I can tell your next question. You think of yourself as a monster and an outcast, forever doomed to be in Thor's shadow?"

Loki bit his lip, but didn't respond. He just stared off, his posture tense as his inner feeling were laid bare. He seemed to still be in shock from the whole experience.

Steve decided to continue. "I was just like you. I had an adopted big brother who loved me but considered me a weakling. Someone to be pitied and protected. So I changed my story. I let myself risk my life to become a hero. I saved my big brother from captivity. Then I lost him." His own voice broke at that.

"In the war?" Loki asked, in a voice that by a very long stretch could be called sympathetic.

"The same way Thor thought he lost you. He was hanging over a drop…and I couldn't save him. I know how much it hurt Thor when it happened to you. I wanted to throw myself in after him. Bucky and I didn't share parents, but we were brothers, best friends. I couldn't save Bucky." Steve's voice drenched in regret. "But I can save you. I want to change your story."

"I see," Loki said, and for the first time, he really seemed to be listening. "I suppose…I have no choice." Again, that frightened young price looked up at him. He was just a lonely kid who needed discipline and limits.

"Do you really want to die?" Steve asked. "Because that would be a huge waste. On Earth, you can make a difference. Your intelligence will be respected there. Look at the Avengers, Tony and Bruce have over 400 IQ points between them and they're heroes. You could a hero too. You could get respect. You could save people. You could make your brother look up to you. Change your story, Loki."

Loki shrugged. "Perhaps," he said, but there was a boyish smile. "Perhaps I could play the ultimate trick. Turn good and wait for people to wonder where the barb was. The trick? There is no barb," he mused. "Living would be an adventure."

Steve laughed. "Exactly. So, maybe now we could start by doing some more drawings together. I'd be honored to learn from you," he said pleasantly.

Loki nodded. "You may learn from me," he finally said, and Steve could see actual sincerity in his posture. "I…think I will enjoy that."

"You have gone through enough today," Steve assured him. There would be plenty of time for punishment the next few days. Right now, he needed a stiff drink (he did have SOME vices). "Shall we have the servants bring us some stout meads?" He imagined the brew of the Aliens would be enough to settle him.

Loki smiled back. "I like the way you think," he said happily. "I'll introduce you to my personal brewery. Finest in the nine realms," he boasted.

When the cask was brought, Steve had to concur. "This is incredible," he whispered, closing his eyes as he finally got a bit shaved from the edge of nearly dying and the pain of thinking his mother in Hell. He took a longer sip from his tankard. He didn't often indulge but he really needed it now. "You got chops, kids."

The next morning, Loki was jubilant to find out his brother and his new master had gone off to see Asgard. "No magic. I'll be back soon," was all he would say. With any luck…

Loki stopped himself before he had a dark thought. He was no longer sure he wanted Thor or Captain Wonderful to die horribly in a fire. He wasn't entirely opposed to it, but it no longer was a compelling thought. He had to admit, he had a certain fondness for the foolish little mortal. Still, he wasn't fond of the idea of living his life in the hands of another. "Boy," he snapped. "Fetch my clothing." Stripped of his powers like a mortal.

What came to him in the trembling hands of his servant was not his usual dress. Something about them was off…"Your new clothing, my lord. The king and queen themselves have ordered all your clothing be tailored this way," his manservant explained, looking miserable as he helped Loki into them.

Loki hissed with humiliation as he was dressed. He knew exactly what the change was. All of his new pants now had a distinct design to the back, a buttoned flap that would…make it simpler to disrobe and humiliate them. "How dare you?" he said, feeling the seam on his backside. "Fetch my proper clothing."

"I stitched it myself," a voice said as his mother strode into the room, dismissing the servant with a wave. "I think they should fit nicely. Captain Rogers suggested it as a way to remind you of what will happen if you misbehave again. You didn't think you'd escape last night without punishment?"

"Mother, you...made this for him?" Loki demanded, remembering the mortal brute's reminder to hold his tongue's venom back.

"I did. If it will help you learn to become a proper royal instead of a criminal, I'm honored to participate," Mother said with a sad smile. "Even you must admit that his methods have yielded progress. You should not be surprised that we will use spanking far more often now."

Loki trembled with fury. "Such insolence to a prince of Asgard!" he snapped. "Mother, surely…you !"

"Loki, we have given you entirely into his hands. He alone will decide your fate," the Queen said coldly. "And you should count yourself fortunate he showed you such friendship."

"Mother, sweet, kind mother, anyone who was being brutally tortured would obey. This is how you break an animal. Is that how you want your son treated?" Loki asked, holding out his hands pitifully.

"After what he did to you yesterday, you should be kneeling at his feet in thanks. You nearly died and he saved your life at the risk of his own," Mother snapped. "I thought you had learned to trust him."

Loki growled. He did owe him a debt, even if it was being amply repaid in humiliation. "I acknowledge that, but surely you must see that I'm suffering even if I do trust him? Can't you show me some parental compassion?" he demanded. "Father and Thor nearly murdered me yesterday."

"You've driven us to the brink! Don't you understand how much pain you are putting us through?" Mother hissed. "I regret what happened, your father even more, but we cannot allow you to destroy anymore!"

"I'm supposed to be your son. You're supposed to love me unconditionally," Loki pouted, rolling his eyes. "Or is that only for flesh and blood sons?"

"Loki, explain to me why you curse your family, mistreat us, betray us and abandon us, yet the second you get what is coming, you hold out your hands just like that and call out for your parents to save you?" Mother asked, taking his hands. "You need to make up your mind."

Loki turned his eyes down. "I...was..." he began, preparing his silver tongue for a proper explanation.

Mother shook her head, still holding his hands. "I don't want to hear an explanation, a litany of your wrongs. I've heard it enough to tell it for you. You know that what happen did not merit the pain you dealt to others. Do you feel sorrow for what you did?"

Loki shrugged. "What does it matter?" he asked. "Sorrow won't change anything. I would have preferred to have succeeded, but I would have preferred not being lied to," he said coldly, not liking this conversation.

"Loki, you killed many Mitgardians. You nearly started a number of wars. You attacked your brother and you abandoned your family and you committed treason. I need to know if you feel sorry for all the pain you caused those who love you and those who were innocent," Mother asked.

Loki tried to reason with her. " I regret some of my mistakes, I suppose but there's no point in feeling sorry for the past," he retorted, trying to pull his hands away.

"Because I need your word it won't happen again. Can you look into my eyes and tell me that? Promise me you won't run away," Mother urged.

Loki stared into her eyes. "I promise," he said, fixing her with his most steely glance.

"You're lying to me. I know it," Mother said, her voice growing colder as she sat down on a chair. "I may not have given birth to you, but I am your mother and a mother always knows. You're plotting as we speak."

Loki grinned boyishly. "You have me as prisoner, no matter what I say. I just don't see why it matters," he said insouciantly.

Mother tugged him closer and a strange sinking sensation filled Loki's stomach as he was firmly yanked. "Then you must be made to see why," she said in an eerily calm voice.

Loki gasped as he found himself tossed across his mother's knee. "Mother, you can't be serious..." he pleaded. He was likely to be punished by the Midgardian, he couldn't have this too! "I thought Steve is my master."

Mother sighed as she secured him. Without his magic, he was helpless as his legs were trapped as that foolish mortal had demonstrated and his hands pinned together at the small of his back. "I have his permission to administer a down payment if you should step out of line in his absence. He'll make up the difference when he returns."

Using her free hand, she began unbuttoning the snaps. As each button was unhooked, Loki got a more sinking feeling. It was helpful to spare some modesty, but at least his pants' being removed was quick. "See how helpful this is? Only a few easy gestures and you are easily bared for spanking. Steve felt it would spare your modesty."

Loki growled. This was excruciating, as his bottom was bared slowly with each movement. He could feel the cool air on his rear, first only in a corner and then more and more and more until...he heard the flap being pushed down. He bit his lip the entire time, to avoid the begging. He knew now that would come soon enough. "This isn't fair!" he wailed.

"The cook made me a fine stirring spoon. Let us see if it can serve a new purpose," Mother said, patting Loki's bottom with something hard. "I am not going to let you destroy this final chance. I nearly lost you."

"I'm begging you, Mother, don't do this," Loki said, losing his dignity entirely and proceeding to beg for mercy. He had always been the baby of the family and able to wheedle his mother's mercy.

Mother sighed. "I do not enjoy this either, my son. But I am tired of you hurting people. I had promised myself that when you hurt the poor Captain, you would feel my palm," she said, gently tapping the spoon against Loki's vulnerable flesh. "And after nearly dying, don't you think you earned it?"

Loki clenched miserably as he waited for the pain to begin. "Mother, I can't endure this," he whimpered. "Haven't I suffered enough?"

"You are much stronger than you know, my son. I know you can endure anything. I believe in your inner strength," Mother said as the spoon cracked down on his backside. "And you will need it if you have any hope of changing your cruel words."

Loki shrieked in pain, longing to strangle Steve Rogers for bringing this barbaric punishment to his home. "It hurts," he wailed as a second blow crowned his second cheek.

"I believe that is the point, my son. You cause pain to others and you get pain in return," Mother said, alternating sides with crisp strokes. "I suggest you get comfortable, I plan to make this session memorable. What you did to Captain Rogers was despicable. I raised you better than such spiteful behavior!"

"Yes," Loki sniffled, his body shaking with pain as he felt his backside being roasted by that spoon. He looked back and was shocked to realize seeing the spoon descend was even worse. Noticing how red his bottom was made him even more ashamed. He was aware of Midgardian ideas enough to know that this was a punishment for children. A whipping would have hurt his dignity less.

"You nearly lost your life. This is the last time you will throw your life away to make a dramatic point," Mother said, pausing for a moment. "I want you to think about this moment. You are bare bottomed, over your mother's knee like a child and I'm about to give you a proper tanning. Is this really how you want to spend your days?" she asked, rubbing Loki's wounded bottom.

"No!" Loki sobbed, completely broken down by just a few moments of the thrashing. He couldn't bear to look back, but he could feel his body clench in anticipation of the blow. He could only imagine how red his bottom looked. If anyone could see him like this, he'd gladly have taken the proffered death.

"Then learn to behave properly. You have the intelligence, and this will give you the motivation," Frigga said, slapping the spoon down hard on Loki's left cheek. "Is that understood?" The right check received the spoon's attention and Loki yelped accordingly.

"Yes," Loki wept, his voice breaking. He only mewled harder as Mother began to concentrate on the lowest part of his bottom and the thigh tops. No matter how much he squirmed, slap after slap rained down on his backside. A searing sensation filled his flesh, making it impossible for him to sit down ever again.

"I believe this is a more sensitive area," Mother noted, lingering on the same spot. "Judging by your reaction, I think I am finally making an impact."

"You mock me?" Loki choked out through his sobs. "Haven't I been laid low?" He just wanted to run as far as he could. His entire existence seemed to have been reduced to this infernal rhythm of pain.

"Loki, it's merely discipline. You haven't been laid low. You are merely getting exactly what is coming to you. You act like a child, and you are treated like one," Mother snapped, cracking the spoon down with a vengeance on a virgin area.

Loki bucked wildly, but his mother's grip was iron. He tried to mumble out a plea for mercy, but all he could emote was a series of screeches and whimpers. "Please," he managed to stammer out, before going limp in misery. Tears blurred his vision, leaving him only in a world of pain sensation and awful cracks.

"I still don't believe you, my son," Mother said, but the spoon ceased its searing kiss. "Consider your words carefully. Your father will be here shortly. Keep lying and I'll have him finish the job."

Loki slumped further. Although his mother's grip was iron, his father's strength was Dwarf tempered steel. "Why?" he whimpered, bottom up and head down.

"When you know the answer, this won't have to happen anymore," Mother said, patting his scorched bottom. "Now, I thought you might use this time to think about your choices."

"It hurts," Loki managed to stammer. Staring at the floor was only making him feel worse. "I suppose causing your adopted pet pain causes you little grief." It was the nastiest thing he could say.

A sharp swat answered him. "What part of think about your choices did you not understand? You have caused me more than then your scheming rear has endured. I nearly lost you three times. No mother should have to endure such pain and yet, you would do as you please without regard to my feelings," Mother snapped.

"All you need do is stop caring about me," Loki gasped, as another hard smack awakened new levels of pain. "You still nearly let me die yesterday." How could things get worse? He buried his head in her thigh, tears already leaking.

"I did not agree with the verdict and it broke your father to pronounce it. He is king, he can't have his own son be a traitor. You're a prince, you're supposed to be an example to the kingdom. You have a life of privilege and that means when you fall, you fall harder. I know it's unfair, but you could be a street urchin hungry and cold," Mother huffed, slapping down her spoon in a piercing smack. "Now, you can start thinking or you will find yourself much worse off. I had planned to allow you to button yourself before your father comes but you'll just have to stay that way."

` "Please, no more," Loki managed to beg, as the spoon began a merry dance of pain across the spot where he sat. He could already predict the rhythm and it haunted him as he winced just as the blow fell.

He looked up and saw the redness of his bottom, a badge of shame and humiliation. "I have a feeling until you change your ways, you are going to have a very sore tail," Mother reminded him. "Now, I think we can move on to the next portion."

"Next?" Loki wailed, completely undone. He had barely maintained his dignity and his rear was sore and glowing. He feared for his sanity if he was given more cruelty.

"After what you did? I know Steve Rogers has his plans but I think you need a proper punishment. I am vexed with you, you have truly become out of control and I plan to make sure you never repeat such behavior. The belt shall assist me in making sure you remember this lesson," Mother said, pushing down Loki's head, forcing him to jack knife across her knees.

Loki twisted his neck to see his mother take a length of leather from her waist and fold it up. "I swear to you, Mother, I have learned my lesson," he wept, tears dripping down. His bottom was seared red, he couldn't imagine he could endure more pain.

"Then it proves such behavior has a deterrent effect on you. Therefore, you shall have more," Mother said, as she doubled the leather in one hand. "Head down, push your bottom up a bit more. I want you to present yourself properly for punishment." Loki weepingly complied, helpless to do anything to escape his sorry fate. "Now, I wish you to ask me to spank you until you have seen the error of your ways. I don't wish to add more crimes to your punishment list."

Loki coughed through his sobs, completely broken. "Please…spank me…" he managed to stammer, feeling his bottom clench miserably in anticipation of the strap.

"Three. Count them," Mother instructed. "Fail to count and we begin anew. Neither of us wishes that."

One. The first slash hit his sit spot with a cruel biting vengeance that made Loki scream in pain. "One, one!" he managed to get out.

The second one hit slightly above, searing into his skin like a brand and compounding the pain to new heights. "Two," he managed to pant, trying not to pray for death.

Only by sheer force of will was Loki able to whisper "three" to the third blow. he was wrung out as a rag, and in more pain that he thought possible. The thought that it was over kept him going.

Loki just mewled painfully over his mother's lap. Tears and sobs were all he could produce, he was too exhausted and miserable to do anything but weep and accept his mother's gentle circles on his back. He just wanted to be alone, to crawl into bed and get as drunk as possible.

"Your majesty," Steve Rogers said, just on cue, entering the room with Thor and Father in tow to humiliate him just a bit further. "I see you have Loki well in hand." Loki suddenly regretted not dying yesterday, or killing the Stupid Soldier back on Midgard. He hung his head low, and pretended he was anywhere else.

Mother patted Loki's naked arse. "I regret I didn't know this method sooner," she said sweetly. "And the clothing was brilliant. I think it provides an excellent reminder of how easily punishment can befall him."

"I hope you aren't too hard on him," Steve Rogers said, pouring salt into Loki's wounded spirit. Pity was acid to dignity. "That is one all American spanking. I wouldn't want to sit down if I were him."

"Only giving his scheming rear a good reminder that his behavior towards you was unacceptable," Mother said, giving Loki a firm slap. "And displaying his contrition is healthy. So it's all settled?"

Father patted Loki's head as if he was a pathetic hound. "It would have saved us a great deal of suffering. Well, no point in regrets. The matter is finished," he said softly.

Steve chuckled. "It took a fair amount of convincing, but I am fine with it. I know you'll find it surprising but Loki and I have a fair bit in common. I was a bit…mischievous as a child. Still am, I suppose," he said in that annoying voice that made unicorns want to mate with him.

"You, Steve Rogers?" Thor boomed, clapping him on the shoulder. "You have no heart for mischief! Your heart is as pure as my mother's well."

Captain Steve sat down across from Mother, his long legs crossed under the table. "I had my moments. Bucky and I would always get underfoot. How we used to worry our parents, staying out past dark, getting into fights with bullies, sneaking out on hot summer days to Coney Island," he trailed off wistfully. "We'd go on the Cyclone, we'd have hot dogs and popcorn, and wade in the sea. It was a great childhood."

Father seemed amused. "You and this Bucket sound much like my two boys," he commented. "Your parents must have been displeased."

"Bucky. Yes. We would catch it good when we got home. Our parents made a thorough impression," Steve said, almost nostalgic for the abuse. "They were very wonderful people. My father, my mother, Bucky…I miss them."

"It must be quite hard to be mortal and lose all those whom you love," Thor said gravely. "I'm fortunate to have my brother back." It was a tender moment completely lost on Loki's tender bottom.

"Don't worry, my dear Captain. Odin and I think of you as family now. We will treat you the same as both our boys. Should you ever get off the straight and narrow, I'll upend you over my knee and give you a very healthy dose of my palm," Mother said cheerily, punctuating it with a slap to Loki's red underside.

Had Loki not been whimpering in pain and humiliation, he would have sneered at Captain Courageous sputtering. "I…hope to never merit that," he managed to stammer. He looked up to see him blush to the roots of his hair. "But I am honored to be considered your family." Smooth as ice, this one.

"Is there anything we can grant you? Riches? A magical weapon?" Father asked jovially. Father had never offered Loki riches or a magical weapon in the last few years. Then again, he had done precious little to deserve one.

"No, I'm fine. Although some treasures to be shared with the poor would be wonderful," the Virgin Hero said, his halo of golden hair even more annoying. "I'm fine just as I am."

"I think we are all inspired by such charity." Mother began buttoning the flap, giving Loki some hope of relief. "I think you have learned your lesson and can eat with us. Behave yourself," she urged. Although buttoning the flap sealed in the heat and made it more uncomfortable, Loki was overjoyed to be able to paw the tears from his eyes.

As soon as Loki was properly clothed, he was allowed to get up from his punishment perch. Of course, sitting with them was proving to be a painful prospect. He squirmed as he sat down on his twice-heated bottom, trying to find a comfortable way. He blinked back the tears, hating how red his eyes must have looked. It was likely matching his bottom.

Thor smiled at him in a manner suggesting comfort. "Have some blueberry tarts," he urged in a whisper. "Always your favorite."

Loki ignored his brother, but helped himself to a tart anyway. He liked sweet things, especially when he was in a bad mood. He chewed thoughtfully, trying to ignore the burning pain in his backside. He caught Saint Steve's eye and noticed a look of concern. He stared back furiously. Surely he couldn't be punished for rejecting pity?

The Mini Messiah (Loki found incredible enjoyment in mocking Steve Rogers mentally) kept his burning blue stare on him and suddenly, the squirming wasn't entirely from the discomfort. "Are you all right?" he asked directly.

Loki wanted to snap back (or snap a neck) but he just nodded and concentrated on the sweet blueberry tart, the one happiness in his prisoner's life. "Fine," he said tersely. How was one supposed to feel when one felt that they were sitting on a hot forge?

"I hope so. I know you're going through a lot, but I want it clear we're not sadists. We want to help you. Your parents, your brother, they love you. They care about you. They just want what's best for you," Sir Steve the Pure said. "And…well…I'm starting to think of you pretty fondly too. I know you're mad about being punished, but try to enjoy the breakfast."

"You try being under constant threat of punishment and see how you feel," Loki snapped back, forgetting himself. Seeing the look in his father's face, he closed his eyes and waited for the worst.

Steve touched his hand lightly, his other hand smoothly motioning for his father to remain seated. "I know. It's horrible. And I won't make you admit you deserve it. I want you just to enjoy this moment and appreciate that you have a second chance," he said. "Things are going to change for you very soon, but we can worry about that later."

"Change?" Loki asked, but no one seemed to be listening to him. He supposed that Mr. Wonderful had that affect on people.

Pastor Purity looked around the table. "I think we should take the time to remind Loki we aren't eager for him to suffer, but eager for him to take responsibility for his actions." He stared at everyone around him commandingly. Such an insolent command to the royal family could cost him his life. But it didn't.

Loki turned away, but all he could meet was Thor's eye. "I never thanked Steve Rogers for being willing to die for you. I owe him everything and I shall never forget it. I am so glad you are home. Losing you was the worst moment of my life. Being banished hurt less," Thor said softly, giving him a half forgotten smile that brought back happy child memories. "My heart is lighter knowing that someday, you will be reformed into the great warrior and friend I know you to be."

Loki tried not to listen to the words, knowing how weak they made him. He reminded himself that they had lied to him, had betrayed him and had imprisoned him. They had subjected him to humiliation and had nearly killed him. He didn't want to hear that they loved him. It made the pain even worse.

"Loki, I am hard on you now. I know it hurts you to see me participate in your punishment. I have always protected you; always spoiled you and unwillingly, I hurt you. I acknowledge that and I failed to protect you. I failed to see how much pain you suffered and I failed to take steps to help you. All of this, I freely admit. But I will say everything is worth the pain if I can have my son back. The son who I love. The mischievous, clever, brilliant boy who could make the darkest day seem bright. I know you believe that son didn't exist, but you know the truth. You know that I love you more than my own life. When I thought I would lose you, I wanted to die with you. I told your father that I would go into exile if you were destroyed, that if I couldn't save you, I was unworthy of being queen. I love you, Loki. I am going to prove it to you, even if it hurts you in the beginning," Mother said, and Loki felt his hands shaking with the words. He didn't know how to respond to them without breaking down.

"Loki, I am not a sentimental man. I am a king. I am a warrior," Father began. "I am also your father. I thought a great deal about yesterday and I realized a painful truth. I failed you, Loki. I failed my children. That is not something I take lightly. I have made many mistakes and I see how they have warped you. I cannot allow you to be the person you are. My duty as a king demands justice. My duty as a father demands mercy. I have therefore entrusted you to the custody of someone who can give you both, without hurting you further. I hope he is honored by the charge, it is rare that I would trust an outsider with one of my greatest treasures."

Loki stared down at his shoes. "I…am a treasure?" he asked, not sure how to take that. Yes, a treasure, a war trophy, something to be displayed in a golden cage.

Father nodded. "My son, what will it take for you to accept that you are loved?" he asked. "I am saddened that you cannot see the value you pose to the court? To our family? Your gifts are incredible and valued for the realm. I entrusted you to the Captain's hands to help restore you so you could take your rightful place as Prince of the Realm. Your cleverness, your magic, your spirit, all of them are Asgard's greatest weakness or strength. I cannot allow it to be a weakness. As king, it would be derelict. But I must be a father and help you save yourself from the path you seem determined to take, the path that places you as my enemy. Please, as a father…as a king…I beg you to take this chance," he whispered.

Loki heard the gasp. Odin had never begged anyone…anything. He felt his knees go weak as he tried to understand how to answer that. All the hatred and the anger was still bubbling but without a source to inflict it, it felt hollow. "Yes…father," he managed to stammer, hiding the fresh tears in his eyes.

It was too emotional of a moment to last. All of the Asgardian men immediately began busying themselves with food. Yet, out of the corner of his eye, Loki saw Mother and General Moral exchange a smile. He was too overwhelmed to comment and just decided to concentrate on some honey mead. "So, what is the big change?"

AN-Yes, a cliff-hanger. Stay tuned for kidnappings, public humiliation, acts of heroism and the true meaning of friendship. And lots of non-sexual adult spankings.

Allusion lists:

Steve is referring to the poem "To Althea, from Prison" by Richard Lovelace.

Loki is reading Night by Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Prize award winning book detailing the author's experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps

The Holocaust museum Steve visited exists in Battery Park, New York and is well worth a visit. The St. Louis was a ship rejected from American Asylum during World War II.

Elokim is the English version for the Hebrew word for God, but no, in proper Hebrew, the K is an H and therefore, Loki is not able to claim to be God. And the first letter of the bible is the let Bet, Frigga's explanation is a real one.