This story was written for and is dedicated to MaverikFlame.

Disclaimer: Avengers and Norse Mythology do not belong to me.
Warnings: There will be warnings up depending on the chapter. None for this one.
Words: 1, 234

Once upon a time there was a little Prince. This Prince was handsome, and clever, and would one day be the ruler of his father's kingdom. What this prince did not account for, however, was one day, on accident, falling from his father's realm, into a completely unknown place. Now, the prince had an older brother, and they had both been warned from a very, very young age, to stay away from The Gatekeeper. Mother warned them that while he was a nice man, he was not overly fond of children, as they tended to break rules. Well, to young boys there is no greater adventure than tempting that which you should not tempt.

One day the young prince and his brother decided they would play a trick on The Gatekeeper. The plan was to trick the gate keeper into believing one of them was ill, while the other snuck to look at what the Gatekeeper guarded. So, early that morning the brothers made their way to the Gatekeeper, to trick him into letting them see what he guarded. As they walked, appearing to simply be out looking at scenery, the older brother tripped over himself, and started to bleed from his nose. The Gatekeeper did his best to not heed the children, but when the younger prince began to cry for him to help his brother, he could not help but do just that. Unknown to the Gatekeeper, the princes had found berries the color of blood just for this occasion, but he would not realize that until it was too late.

While his brother played the part of injury, a bit dramatically if you were to have asked him, the younger prince stealthily snuck around the Gatekeeper, and into the building the man always guarded. It was a large dome-shaped building, with a sort of pedestal in the center Curious, the young prince steadily climbed the pedestal to the very top, where there seemed to be a small slot, that appeared as though a staff or spear would fit quite nicely into it. Upon getting closer to the small hole, the young prince began to feel something stir inside of him. He had felt such a stirring before, though usually it only appeared when his mother performed a spell, or if there were healers nearby. This feeling has always been a comfort to him, and had never led him wrong before. So, he walked right up to the slot, and peered down into it. It did not seem very deep at all, but right at the bottom there seemed to be something almost shiny.

Here the prince hesitated, as he could not see what the thing was, and did not want to risk injuring himself. He contemplated it as he glanced behind him, checking on the Gatekeeper and his brother. The Gatekeeper had discovered the ruse and was scolding his brother. He stopped however, upon realizing the eldest prince was not listening, and was instead focused on something behind him. The Gatekeeper quickly turned around and spotted the younger prince. He rose from his spot in front of the elder prince, and hurriedly made his way to the base of the pedestal, demanding that the younger get down. Not liking to be told what to do, and knowing he would face quick a punishment from their father, the young prince decided to at least try to get a trinket as proof that they had tricked the gatekeeper. So, with the slightest fear of punishment whirling in the back of his mind, the prince thrust his arm into the hole to grab the shiny thing. He only had a moment to inhale sharply as the stirring he felt suddenly seemed to explode, before he had the sensation of being picked up and then suddenly dropped. He fell for a few moments, before landing hard on something solid, but soft, covered in something a deep blue color.

As he attempted to right himself and stand on this new place, he heard a distinctly male voice coming from underneath him, and startled into falling over. As he flushed at having fallen, he looked up and realized that the red thing he had fallen on had in fact been a man, that was now sitting beside him, offering a hand to help him off the ground. He allowed the man to help him into a proper sitting position, and neither made a move to stand up quite yet. After a moment of tense silence, in which the prince tried to determine where he was, the new man spoke up.

"So... It's not everyday that someone falls out of the sky and lands on me. May I ask your name?"

The young prince focused on the man, trying to determine if he was trustworthy. Deciding it would be wiser to have an ally in this new place than to turn away a helping hand, he put on his most charming smile and replied simply.

"I am Loki."

The man thought on this for a moment, before nodding to himself a bit.

"And can I ask where you're from, Loki?"

"I am from Asgard."

The man seemed confused by the answer but did not outright say anything.

"Well, Loki, do you have a way to get back to Asgard?"

The prince frowned a bit, thinking. He shook his head as he replied.

"I'm not quite certain how I came to be here."

The man mulled this over before apparently coming to a decision and standing. Loki panicked for a second, thinking he had offended the man, and that he was going to be left to fend for himself. His fears were eased however, when the man reached his hand out to Loki.

"Well, I have a son, who I believe would be about your age. I'm sure your parents on looking for you, but I'm sure it would be better to wait inside somewhere warm, instead of out in this park. As night is approaching, I would be happy to let you stay at our place for the night. You can keep my son company, and in the morning we can begin looking for your parents."

Loki's eyes widened at this apparently open offer of assistance. He narrowed his as at the man and asked him "What do you want of me?"

While looking taken aback for a moment the man quickly laughed it off and simply smiled at the boy.

"I honestly just want to make sure you are not out alone in this city and that you get some food. Unless this is a regular occurrence for you..." he paused and waited until Loki slowly shook his head before continuing. "Then I find it same to assume that you have no place to rest, and no way of getting food."

Loki contemplated this, before gingerly taking the man's hand and using it to pull himself to standing.

The man smiled broadly and, without releasing Loki's hand, began walking.

"Excellent. I live quite near here, so we will be there momentarily."

They walked in silence for a moment before Loki spoke up.

"I have been taught that when someone tells you their name, it is polite to return the knowledge."

The man looked a little surprised at the young prince before chuckling.

"You are correct, pardon me for not saying sooner. My name is Howard. Howard Stark."