It's snowing.

The snow falls on his face, soft and wet, white and pure. It dusts his hair, his black suit, and melts on the warmth there. He raises an eyebrow, a silent, personal joke resting inside him; that the frost giant has melted the snow and ice.

Perhaps he oughtn't be so amused, he thinks, he knows now how deep Odin's cover-up magic runs. He can feel it, now that he knows it's there, the artificial warmth beneath his skin, the magic thrumming in his veins.

He looks, distracted, over to a street. People are laughing, talking, shopping. Some are singing Christmas carols. There is a tenseness, though. A horrid tenseness and sorrow found most thickly in the recently destroyed buildings, the small memorials, the flowers left at the last place a human took breath.

He wants to be repulsed by it. He wants to hate the holiday for its cheerful hope, the lie of a safe future. He wants to hate the flowers as they lay, to smash them with his boot and scream that it's just stupid, pointless sentiment.

Love is for children.

But he cannot. He cannot find fault in the loving tears shed for the dead- the dead whose blood is on his hands.

Never doubt that I love you.

He grinds his teeth, his hands clenched in his is for the better, he reminds himself. The betterment of Midgard, of Asgard. Better for the universe and it's horrible, twisting, grotesque agenda, he repeats. It's a litany, the same, over and over and over: it is better.

Like a child's prayer

He waves his hand, his black and green suit evaporating and returning as his battle garb, his hand shaking, pale and cold, and so very not blue. So human looking.


He takes a deep breath, shuts his eyes, and waits for the scream. He waits for the one Midgardian to recognize him, to scream in heart-stopping fear. He realizes, belatedly, that he does not want his last true act to be terror. But in terror, or, more specifically, at the end of it, there is hope. And in hope there is joy. So perhaps his last act isn't of terror at all.

Perhaps it will be the only truly good thing he's ever done.

The scream comes, and he pastes a smile on his face, hoping (knowing) that is the same he always wears when he visits and destroys and causes such chaos.

He creates, knowing it will be the last of his magic he ever uses, a bubble of a shield around him, green and transparent. He relishes in the feel of it, the delicate power, his power, and knows he will miss it.

Maybe Hel will be kinder to him then he assumes it will, maybe there is still magic in death. That his magic is etched so dearly in to his soul he will not loose it.

His retched, Frost Giant soul. His dishonored magic.

There are more screams, there is gunfire and smoke and yelling, but nothing that concerns him yet. They haven't called the Avengers. They haven't called Thor.

He knows that when they do, he will die.

He knows there will be the cheers of the Midgardians.

He knows there will be stunned silence from the heroes.

Did you mourn?

They have arrived. He laughs as they surround him, lacking the giant green beast, and he laughs as he reaches the eye of Thor. He laughs and pretends he is not laughing because he is not sobbing, and meets Thor's eye.

We all did.

Well, they'd see about that.

The Archer is raising his bow, the Widow her gun, and he wonders who he should let kill him. A bullet or an arrow.

The Archer, he thinks, will get more pleasure from it. He knew he would, if he were in his place.

Not until I make him kill you, slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear. And then he'll wake just long enough to see his good work. And when he screams, I'll split his skull.

What a befitting reverse of roles.

He looks at the Archer, then the Widow. They are talking, yelling even, but he is not listening.

He turns to the Archer, still smiling. He can feel his composure slipping a little. He is going to die. There will be no more battles won or lost- this is his final fight. And he would make sure of it that he lost.

Loki's hands are shaking, still, as he lowers the shield. He waits a beat, wondering if it will take any sort of persuasion to get Hawkeye to take the shot. It does.

He points his hands threateningly at the Widow. Hawkeye's reflexes snap.

And then there is something barreling its way to Loki's twisted heart.

Thank you for your cooperation.

As it reaches his heart, Loki does not allow himself a strangled gasp, but he does not bother trying to keep standing. He crumples pitifully to the ground and pain builds and his magic is screaming at him to heal himself; to live.

But life is the universe's way to punish him. Life is not what he wants, and he knows he knows- that there will be peace in death. That there will be hope in Midgard with his destruction. He lays his head on the ground, and he wishes that Hel will be kinder to him then the universe was.

But then there is someone, in the haziness of his vision, holding him. There are hands pulling out an arrow and the wrapping of cloth around his chest, and oh please don't do this now. It is to late.

Loki does not want his last moments to be Thor sobbing over him. He does not want it because he knows he will regret his well-planned decision if he does. He closes his eyes because, he thinks it will break him if he sees Thor's face.

"Why aren't you using your magic?" The voice- Thor's- whispers. "Loki, this is not a time for a jest."

"Loki, no!" Thor yells as Loki falls.

"Just use your magic and be done with it. Do not cause yourself so much unneeded pain, brother." Thor's voice is still hardly above a whisper, almost a cry, almost a plead.

You give up this poisonous dream! You come home.

Loki can feel himself drifting, he can feel his magic give up, his mind relax in a blessed, blessed sleep.

"Stop it, Loki!" Thor yells, a brutish, stupid yell, that is so very Thor. It will change nothing, and yet still does it. Loki wants to laugh.

And suddenly Loki need to see him one more time, needs to know what he's leaving, perhaps to know that he did, at least, make one person bleed with his death. His final act of cruelty.

He opens one eye bleakly.

"Merry Christmas, Brother." He says, his voice so quiet that Thor barely hears it.

He will be at peace.

Midgard's hope will be restored.

It is a Merry Christmas indeed.

Well then. This was all because of a conversation between Lady Charity and I, wherein her fics made me sob and yet I was unable to say anything that made her sad. But then it ended up a perverse Christmas present, where its one and only purpose is to make her cry and/or in the slightest bit sad.

So I hope you're sad, Lady Charity.

I really do.