How long had it been since Asgard had seen the likes of the trickster? After his failed siege on Midgard, he was brought to the All-father for his punishment. His hair hiding his face like a hood, but even then the All-father could still recognize his son. Loki was sentenced to imprisonment in the darkest dungeons.
But somehow…he escaped.
Everyone in Asgard was in a panic. They all expected the worse. Frost Giants storming the city capital wicked magic pounding at the walls of the All-father's palace, or creatures of unimaginable stature power.
But none of that came. In fact…nothing came at all. Thor returned to Midgard to warn its champions of Loki's inevitable return, but still no sign of the trickster. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and longer still.
Heimdall searched the nine-realms for any sign of the rogue trickster, but he was nowhere to be found.
Some believed him dead; others believed him to be simply in hiding. Still without the trickster to sew his deceit, the realms settled on a strange peace; a peace that enveloped them…and threatened them all.
"Fury, I don't know why you keep bringing us here. Reindeer Games is gone, just like Thor said." Tony Stark leaned back against his chair. After Thor gained word of Loki's escape he returned to Midgard to ready the Avengers. All of S.H.I.E.L.D. was ready for round two, Fury saw to that but as the years went by, and everyone soon forgot about Loki. Black Widow was sent on other missions. Stark went back to stuffing dollar bills into pants. Rogers remained vigil, but even his patience wore thin.
"Stark, this isn't up for discussion. I want everyone on guard for when Loki decides to rear his stupid horned-head again, no matter how long it takes." Fury leaned against the table in front of him, even though his eye was concealed by his patch, Stark could still make out a determined gaze. Whatever it takes.
"What about Thor?" Steve asked, trying to point the discussion to better news. "Doesn't he have any info? I mean-"
"No," Fury said, "I've asked…no one knows where Loki is."
"Uh, I'm sorry, but why the fuck do we care where he is? Or what he's doing? If he's not around, isn't that a good thing?" Barton asked as he polished his arrow, ever since he heard of Loki's escape he had been on edge. His fingers itching to release an arrow into that pompous little shit's head.
"And what if he's planning something worse?" Natasha chimed in, moving a strand of her hair out of her vision. "I wouldn't put it past him."
"Either way Thor said he'd come back with news. Hopefully, it's something we can use. Fury turned his back and placed his hands behind them. "Until then you're all dismissed, but be alert."
It was a long trip back to the tower. Tony didn't want to admit this, in fact none of them did, but as the years went by things became…quiet. Not the kind of quiet that comes from an approaching storm, or the warning signs of a great attack.
Just quiet. For some reason, crime had hit a record low in New York City, and all over the world. Steve just thought it was due to the Avengers. Their presence might have scared off potential tyrants, but that wasn't it. No, that answer was far too convenient…too orderly.
"So, any ideas on what Loki could be up too?" Steve asked as the team left the docking bay.
"I think it might have something to do with flying monkeys." Tony joked. "Look…whatever he's doing we'll stop him. No worries."
It happened a few weeks after. Thor came in a storm of lightning and rain, his shoulders broad and strong, but his face withered.
The Avengers went out of the tower to meet him, each one waiting for news.
"Well Goldie Locks, what's the word on your brother?" Tony asked, he had pretty much given up on the thought of Loki coming back to Earth to attack…but it never hurt to be sure, right?
Thor's eyes gave way to fear, his brow furrowed and his back sagged. "T-there is a problem."
After Thor arrived they all made their way to the "war room", Tony's pet name for that big SHIELD-esque area that he used to use to get drunk in. After Steve and the others moved in, he refurbished the place to be a room for planning and strategizing. Yet, since crime had dropped so low he resumed using it for its original purpose…hence the empty beer cans littering the floor.
"There is no sign of my brother, but Odin, the All-father, has discovered a treachery far worse."
Clint leaned forward. "What do you mean?"
"Surely you have felt it here on Midgard as well? The peace and order…or rather the absence of chaos."
"What do you mean Thor?" Steve asked.
"As of late, villainy and treachery has all but vanished, hasn't it?"
"Yeah," Tony chimed in, "So what? That's our doing. We're so awesome that we've scared any potential evil doers away."
"Nay, Man of Iron, unfortunately this is my brother's work."
Clint shot from his seat and reached for an arrow, he let his fingers brush against the fletching. "So he is planning something."
"Nay Archer. He's not planning anything. He's not doing anything, he's simply…not."
"Wait wait wait," Natasha said, finally speaking after observing for so long. "How can you know what he is or isn't doing if you haven't found him? I mean, isn't there a guy in Asgard that can see everything?"
"Yes, Lady Natasha, Heimdall has been searching the skies vigilantly for Loki, but he has used his trickery to hide himself from all sight, even Heimdall's. Even though we cannot find him, we can still feel his actions ripple across the dimensions."
Steve felt his hairs stand on edge, "What do you mean?"
"Loki is the God of lies and chaos, his actions, his schemes and plots bring about the balance of chaos which is felt throughout the nine realms. When we were children, his jokes brought about small forms of chaos on other realms. He is chaos, and he creates it for others as well."
Loki…the father of chaos, it made sense…in a strange way.
"So Loki's absence and lack of "chaos" has brought…wait." Tony sat up, "You're saying all of this peace and order is because Loki's decided not to play ball anymore? And this is a bad thing because?"
"The balance Man of Iron. There cannot be order if there is no chaos. The All-father has even begun to notice, the constant order is…" Thor trailed off, not sure what to say next. "It's affecting Asgard and all of the realms. Something is wrong, and Odin fears it may lead to dire consequences."
"Sorry, still not buyin' it." Tony said as he and the team walked into the kitchen. All of this Loki crap almost made him forget that he was starving…almost.
"Stark, this could be very serious" Romanov said. "Look, I'm not much of a philosopher, but we do need chaos otherwise-"
"Natasha relax. Look, if Reindeer Games decided to get a hobby and leave the universe alone, how is that a problem for us? Or anyone for that matter. Jarvis, order some pizza. I feel like celebrating"
"I've gotta agree with Tony on this one." Steve looked through the cabinet and pulled out a mug. "If Loki's gone AWOL it can only be a good thing."
"Right Capt., and how can we be sure this isn't just some Loki scheme anyway? I wouldn't put it past him."
"You're wrong, Man of Iron." Thor came thundering into the kitchen, his hammer at his side. "My brother is a lot of things, but this is something else altogether. No, not even he, as twisted as he has become, could imagine a world devoid of chaos…to him that would be like a world devoid of air."
"So then what made him stop?" Natasha sat down, and leaned against the counter top. Jesus, she was getting tired of this shit. She hadn't really had much action as of late, with crime being down, there was almost no need for someone with her particular skills and cunning, and she knew Barton was feeling this dry spell as well, even if he didn't admit it to anyone.
"Why. Should. We. Care?" Stark emphasized each word, as if he were dropping an anvil with every breath. They all turned to Thor, as if he held an answer for them. Really, why should they care? If Loki was some place far away where he could do no harm, then what was the problem? And if it meant crime would cease, how was that not a double win?
Thor heaved. "I did not want to burden your minds with this, but you have forced my hand. All is not well in Asgard, I felt it myself as I walked through its streets. There is order…but it looks more like tyranny."
"All throughout my homeland everyone's spirits seem to have been crushed by this…never ending order. As if the very thing Loki stood against was oppressing all of us. And it's moving across all of the Nine Realms."
"What do you mean moving?" Tony asked, his eyes beginning to glaze over.
"The same thing has happened in Jotunheim and Nifelheim. Father fears this "order" is throwing everything out of balance, and may very well be the end of all things if it is not stopped."