Disclaimer: The Avengers and all its characters are not mine, were never mine, and will never be mine.


The Path To Hell and Redemption: Part One – Return to Earth


The river flowed sluggishly towards the mouth of the bay. The sun was bright in the sky, and a strong wind sent leaves skipping down the banks. High above the river on a bridge, seven people gathered together, five standing in a loose formation, the other two facing them.

Loki's bright green eyes narrowed in anger. His black-and-green leather garments were hot in the sun, and the wind ruffled his hair. His lips twisted into a hateful sneer as the idiots who called themselves the Avengers stared at him, with expressions ranging from incredulous to amused. Thor stood next to him, dressed in his usual conspicuous armor, a heavy hand on his shoulder that Loki would have liked to shrug off; he knew, however, that Thor would just put it back, to make sure he didn't try to run.

"And Odin thought it was a good idea to keep him here?" Rogers asked, one of those who looked incredulous.

"I will remain to ensure his cooperation in this matter," Thor replied, apparently thinking that Loki's behavior was what prompted the question.

"Oh, come on! How much trouble can he get into like that?" Stark giggled. Obviously, he was one of the amused.

Loki glowered at him, but didn't say anything. He silently vowed that he would show the Iron Man just how much trouble he could be.

Thor glanced down at Loki, as if guessing his thoughts. Loki deliberately avoided his gaze, instead gauging the Avengers before him. The Captain looked uncertain but understanding – follows orders; sickeningly honorable – and glanced at his colleagues in silence. Standing next to him was Stark – reckless, sarcastic, smart – giggling madly. Then was Romanoff –watch out for tricks – her arms folded, her gaze boring into his, her face expressionless. Barton was beside her –use his hatred as a weapon – standing entirely too still for a normal human being. And last was Banner – do not provoke – bouncing nervously on his toes as he looked at Thor and Loki.

"I don't like it," Romanoff said, her gaze never moving from Loki's face.

Rogers glanced at her. "We did get orders from Fury."

And you always follow orders, Loki thought, but decided against speaking at this time.

"Still don't like it," Romanoff replied.

"My friends, I know that this is difficult, and that I ask too much from you, but-"

Thor took a step forward, taking his hand off of Loki's shoulder. Loki saw his chance. A well-aimed kick to the back of Thor's knee sent the god of thunder sprawling. Loki ran towards the edge of the bridge; if he could get into the river, perhaps he could disappear into Midgard and find a way off...

He heard feet pound the pavement behind him, and soon two thick arms wrapped around his chest, rising him bodily from the ground. Loki kicked his feet and started to scream in anger but stopped when he heard how squeaky it was.

"Whoa there, little fellow!" Rogers exclaimed as Loki nearly wriggled out of his grasp.

Little fellow!? The Captain would be the first to die. After Thor, of course.

"Loki!" Thor thundered warningly, joining them.

"You can hardly expect me not to try," Loki spat, finally freeing himself of Rogers only to have his arm caught in the vice of Thor's grip. The rest of the Avengers gathered around.

"Oh yeah, this is going to work well." Banner shook his head, trailing after the rest of them. "Let me see if I've got this straight; Odin has put a spell on Loki so that he gets younger every time he uses magic?"

"And didn't tell me," Loki muttered under his breath.

"Yes." Thor nodded, apparently not hearing Loki's complaint. "As you can see, it does work."

"Yeah, I can see that. He looks what? Ten? But it doesn't prevent him from using his magic," Romanoff said, stepping forward. "What's to keep him from wrecking havoc?"

Loki bared his teeth and grinned at her.

"Magic is a powerful part of our beings," Thor replied to her, frowning at Loki's grin. "While the spell does not keep him from regaining the magic he spends, it will not rejuvenate as quickly, leaving him vulnerable. That and as a child he is more susceptible to even your weapons."

The grin disappeared from Loki's face. Barton hadn't said a word, but at Thor's last statement a cold smile spread across his face. Loki knew he was thinking of all the ways he could get his revenge for being in the demigods employ. Strange, that a man who could kill so coldly let his emotions on his face so easily.

"Which is another reason I will be staying," Thor continued, and this time there was a trace of warning in his voice. "I will be keeping Loki from causing trouble on your world, but I will also allow no harm to come to him. He is still my brother."

Loki rolled his eyes, letting them all know what he thought of that statement, but noted with a little relief that Barton's grin had slipped. Loki let the assassin know that he had noticed by raising his eyebrows in a challenging manner.

"This isn't the best place to be having this discussion," Rogers said, glancing at a jogger who ran by, staring openly. "We had better get back to Stark Tower."

"Whoa, who said anything about my tower?" Stark protested, frowning. "The top floor is still all bashed in from the last time he was there!"

Loki winced as the memory came back to him.

"I said I was sorry," Banner muttered to Stark.

"Fury gave us instructions that we are all so stay at the tower for the time being," Rogers replied. "Didn't you read-"

"Eh, it was boring," Stark replied with a nonchalant shrug. "Besides, I was too eager to see Little Loki. He's kind of cute, isn't he?"

"I am not cute!" Loki exploded. Forget the captain. Stark would be the first to die. Before Thor. Stark snickered, and the rest of the Avengers all got small smiles on their faces as well, some amused, some mocking.

"Let's go," Rogers ordered, turning away quickly. The rest followed suit. Thor dragged Loki along with him. The group got into two vehicles with blacked-out windows and headed for Stark Tower.


Author's Note:

First off, I would like to acknowledge Mimbillia's Stone Of Command and Bombshell1701's What Happens In Asgard, Notes from a Royal Screwup, and Vicissitude, all delicious fanfics which greatly inspired me to write this one. I was going to delay a little before posting this, but in honor of this date next year, I have decided to begin posting now. Only 365 more days until Thor: The Dark World is released! Woo-hoo!

Also, I haven't read the comics, and I have taken liberties with the back stories of the characters. I have tried to stay true to the characters as seen in the movies, but I know that there are times when I manipulate them into doing things that they wouldn't really do for the sake of the plot. Please don't hate me for it.

This story is divided into parts, which will all be uploaded under this title rather than as separate stories. While part one is fairly humorous, be warned that it will get darker before the end, and there are plans to at least briefly deal with mature subject matter (not of a sexual nature) that will not be comfortable with everyone. It will also contain scenes of violence at later dates.