I just realized that I forgot to put a disclaimer for this story, so I'll put one here. This story is me exploring a better chain of events for Loki than his fall to the dark side -to borrow a George Lucas metaphor- in Thor and the Avengers. Of course, I wouldn't have been inspired to do write this story if I hadn't seen those movies. I don't own anything. This is just me playing in the Marvel sandbox.

The scene had been one that had repeated itself so many times he wondered how he kept his sanity. He walked into his chambers and shut the door. Now that no one could see him he pursed his lips and his hands clenched into fists.

Why do I bother to hope? No matter what I do it isn't good enough. It will always be the same: Thor drags me onto a quest with his foolish friends, they get into danger against my advice, I save them and no one sees it! Or perhaps, if I'm lucky, I get some backhanded 'compliment' about my 'silver' tongue or my 'trickery'. No one takes what I do seriously and no one wants me here! Is this to be my life?

Oh, yes, it will change when Thor becomes king…for the worse! Then it will no longer be groups of individual people he angers but whole realms! How long before he starts a war with his thoughtless words and actions? I can see it: why can't father? Why is it that my minor tricks are punished so fervently and Thor's stupidity given free reign? Loki god of lies, Loki Silvertongue, Loki mischief maker! No one says the Thor the thoughtless, Thor the arrogant or Thor Fumbletongue!

Perhaps I could stage something. Some scenario that would show everyone that Thor is not the perfect king! He has the charisma and the ability to fight, but what of the rest of it? Unless father sees the truth there is no way Thor will be ready to be king before father has to sleep again.

No. It would never work. Yes, it might show Thor as unready but it could all so easily end in disaster. People might be oh so willing to blame Thor's stupidity on me. It was Loki's mischief, they'll say, he made Thor look bad. Thor's glory would increase and the tatters of my credibility would be broken.

It is no use trying to get Thor to listen. For hundreds of years I have tried to show him. For hundreds of years he has ignored me. It will be the same way when he is king. He cares for me, but his pride won't allow him to listen to me until his actions cause something truly horrendous. Even then he might not listen. If his pride whispers in his ear to blame it on me he might listen to it. The consequences of that would not be pleasant…

He looked at the ceiling as his mind went in endless circles. He could see what others could not and do things far beyond wave a sword. Unfortunately, he was caged by expectations, or lack of them, and people's blindness. Solution after solution fell before these obstacles.

Stop doing tricks in an ability to show "maturity" and gain trust? No, people would just think he was plotting and still disrespect him. In fact the disrespect would probably increase because people would no longer be wary of him. His mischief did more to keep him safe and gain awareness of his capabilities than his status as prince did.

Try to gain father's favor by attending more meetings and then use them as an excuse to show his understanding of royal duty? No, Odin would just brush him away. Plus people would just see it as him trying to take Thor's place. Even though Thor had no interest in duty!

Outright ask to become an ambassador to another realm? One where magic was respected? No, Odin would give him a mistrustful look and keep him here. Loki still stung at how his petition to go to Alfheim to learn magic from the elves had been treated. Odin had waved it away and encouraged him to tend to matters here. He hadn't said to abandon magic and become like his brother but it had been implied. I can't be like Thor! I have other skills, ones needed just as much, I could be Thor's equal but no one will see it!

There was only one way out. It was dangerous because it might not work. He could be dragged back to Asgard in disgrace. I am no coward no matter what they say! All the scenarios I've cast won't work because they are trapped by father and people's expectations. So be it. If I can't play by the rules here then I'll just have to change the playing field somehow.

It was not the solution he would have otherwise chosen because it would seal his role as a coward. That will probably happen anyhow. Why not leave before it does and spare myself the whispers of discontent?

He didn't know how he was going to do it. He would have to evade Heimdall's sight. He would have to be hidden from Odin's wrath. He would have to slip away from whatever other traps were sprung. Including his oafish brother and that blasted hammer. It would not be easy. For anyone else it would be impossible, but Loki was the finest sorcerer in the nine realms. His decision was made.

It was not he who was unworthy of Asgard. It was Asgard that was unworthy of him. Why stay somewhere where he could never make a difference or be respected? If he couldn't live by their rules he would go somewhere where he could live by his own.

Revision note: I can't believe I misspelled 'Odin' as 'Odion' twice...maybe I was thinking of how 'Odin' is spelled similar to the Yu-gi-oh character 'Odion'. Thanks to Warrior Nun for catching that!

Revision note: Dementra pointed out an issue about dialog which I've worked on to make the story more enjoyable. Thanks to Dementra for the feedback!