C hapter 4****
It had happened again.
Once more he had dreamed of Midgard's moonlight and had envisioned the lovely maiden he had so long ago given himself to, in but a flicker of his immortal existence.
Time after time he would shut his eye's to find himself dreaming of her, he could not understand it. From the shore of the lake where they had met he would hear her shouting his name in a soft spoken plea, "M' silly prince. M' love." It made no sense for him to dream of the one mortal maid named Rosijen Frost.
Yet every night for the past fourteen Midgardian days he had.
It was beginning to drive him crazy….well crazier, he mentally chided.
She appeared in all his dreams as of late, sometimes she wore nothing like the way he had first laid eyes upon her. The ethereal glow of her skin blinding him. Other instances she wore simple peasant dresses to the most elegant of gowns, but no matter whether her body above was clad or not, there were never any shoes on her feet. Not even so much as a slipper would grace her small toes.
He would find himself during the boredom of his day unexpectedly wondering why that detail always stuck out to him?
If he had not known that Rosijen Frost was long since deceased due to her human mortality, he would almost suspect that she was trying to convey some sort of point to him about it?
Yet despite her lack of footwear he would always note two other details. One that there would always be a strange glowing flower of some kind in her loosely braided hair. A flower he did not recognize from any of the nine realms? With petals like glass that would pulse like an iridescent jeweled star. Crowning her in a way as if she had been more then mere peasant, but rather princess?
"More even then that," his mind had once whispered for the light of the flower in her hair would merge with the light of her skin. Giving his sweet mortal maid an eternal "Holy" glow that would make her shine as if she were of Valhalla itself.
Sometimes due to the frequency of her dreams, his mind would wonder if perhaps she was?
He would then laugh at the idea..his little mortal worthy of Valhalla…sadly ridiculous. She had not been a warrior, she had barely been anything as far as he could remember, and as all of Asgard knew only warriors were welcomed to the Great Land Beyond.
No. His one and only mortal love was no Valkyrie.
If he judged her by her appearance in his dreams alone, this was a certainty for never had she worn armor, nor did she carry any sword.
What she did carry in his dreams brought him to the other more pressing detail.
Perhaps even the most disturbing to him, for it haunted him even as he lie in his cell wide awake. He had tried blocking it from his mind; he had tried meditation, even a small spell that had cost him a trivial luxury in his cage. Nothing could prevent that final detail from living in his thoughts nearly every minute.
Nothing could keep him from seeing her, every night, as she held a small strange bundle of cloth in her arms out to him as if for him to take?
"What is it?" he would hear himself ask in each vision, despite knowing no answer would come.
Instead soft little stars would fall about Rosijen and the burden she held so dearly, illuminating her in the darkness of his mind. Her dark doe eyes ever shifting from love to anxiety as she would try to say something to him over and over, "M'love…please…m'love….please…pro..t."
Was all he ever could make out until yet again the shadows of darkness would consume him and he would awaken to his cell.
Nothing but the taste of shadows to greet him as his slumber dispersed.
Shadows plagued him. Shadows ensnared him. And shadows sang to him. This was what his life had become, nothing but the hollowness of shadows. Nothing save the weight of oppressive silence, as his mind spent hours wandering in lost lonely circles. Did he ever belong to the Realm Eternal? Had he ever carried those things that matter so much in the souls of others? Things like honor, or things like loyalty? What of pride? What of valor? What of truth?
What at last of love?
What would become of him now? Now that he had failed not once, nor twice, but thrice in this wretched lifetime. What possible purpose could he ever hope to achieve now? Now that he was scorned, now that he was both a failure & a criminal. Reviled by all as nothing save some mad beast.
Was he mad?
He had asked that question a thousand times. At first he hadn't thought so?
No. Not even when he had attempted to destroy Jotunnheim, where he had raged at his brother the question, "Is it madness? Is it?" had he believed himself truly insane.
Full of despair, yes certainly he could acknowledge that much had been in him. Full of a detrimental sense of misbelonging, well under the circumstances couldn't that have been understood?
After all, discovering that one was nothing but a stolen treasure of war was upsetting.
Furthermore realizing you have been a highly held hostage your whole life, raised and manipulated to put your absolute trust into a society since birth of which you really had no part to play at all in ever. Could sting a bit. Added to the frightening fact that said society, no the entire culture spoke nothing save the pleasure in diminishing the species you truly originate from?
He couldn't help but ask had it truly been his own monstrous behavior that had damned him, eternally? Was he mad? Was he monster? Was he evil?
What in the end was a Jotun?
Perhaps he had overreacted?
Still, oh how it had ruined him. The truth. That horrible ugly damnable truth, where his skin turned blue and ice drifted from his fingers. Visions of that detested moment of illumination, once more making his mind spiral like some twisted piece of thread that only decided knots were acceptable, drowned him. Stubborn and relentlessly the past events over the last three years tortured him.
Three years ago where he had been Loki.
Loki Odinson the Trickster God.
Loki Odinson the Silver Tongued.
God of Mischief. God of Lies. God of Fire.
Loki Friggason the God of Chaos.
Brother to the Mighty Thor.
The Sorcerer of Asgard.
The Dark Prince of the Aesir.
So many titles.
So many esteemed honorifics for the youngest son of Odin, the All father, glorious ruler of the Realm Eternal, the realm of awe.
So much promise, so much hope, so much supposed purpose.
What purpose was there now?
He pondered each of his titles and could only grimace at how ironically appropriate each truly was, in light of his current state.
"How well I fit into the role?" he had voiced aloud to himself in his newfound prison quietly.
All of his titles could be found under the definition of Monster.
Monster. The word ate at him. It tore at his center. It plagued his mind, as he pleaded, "How could I be? How could I be?"
Once he had been a quiet son. A shy fun loving child, that enjoyed little jokes on the royal guard. Unlike most Asgardian boys he had been a little different growing up, tall, thin, and lanky. In many ways introverted for a young one often preferring books. Yet despite his differences he had held the same pride for his people as those around him. He had shared the same hopes and expectations as his brother. Wanting the same things as Thor and his friends. To be great one day and always worthy of the crown he was promised he may one day bear.
Over and over he had tried so very hard to fit in.
His whole life he had sought to carve himself a place of acceptance.
He turned onto his back.
Tears prickling in his eyes as memories assaulted him, frustrating him.
He had lied to his brother during his failed takeover of the Realm of Midgard. No not lie per say. He simply had chosen not to acknowledge Thor's question. At the time he had been so consumed by his desire to prove his worth. So surrounded by his raw ambition to succeed in something profound that he had simply heaved all ties that could have deterred him from his chosen course to the side. Thus he had instead screamed another so called truth in place of the real answer Thor wished.
"I remember a shadow."
Yes. Those were the words he had said that day. He chuckled quietly, at the irony.
Now when he truly was nothing but a shadow, those words could be held as unknowingly prophetic? He mused to himself whilst another portion of his soul ran back to Thor's question, "Do you remember none of that brother?"
He felt himself swallow.
He remembered with a weary disassociation their joined childhood nowadays.
Years studying his magic under the best Asgardian tutors available. Years of family celebrations or annual festivals enjoyed in the Golden City, where " they" his little family would be at the center of all of Asgard's delight. Small intimate moments where Odin would teach his "so called" sons how to ride their first eight-legged mare or some new lesson of the Nine Realms history. Moments where he and his brother would find themselves in some new tricky spot, where he would have to devise a plan of escape. Soft glimmers of little private talks held either outside the training arena or occasionally in palace courtyards. The general memory of the two of them running along the corridors of the palace in innocent mirth as their mother looked on in amusement.
Oh. What a sweet lie it had all been. Even his mother had not been open with him.
The tears tried to escape, but he forced them not too.
His thoughts shifted to Frigga, who even with his eye's closed he could still hear screaming. Norns above how she had screamed! Never had he intentionally planned his mother, even his "adopted" mother such pain! Nor such disgrace.
When Thor had presented him before Odin he had been feeling a multitude of things. He had honestly expected the worse, he had planned on being spat on by his once fellow Asgardians. He had imagined Odin ordering them to stone him the defiling Jotunar who had disgraced the mighty halls of Asgard, to death. He had expected nothing short of the greatest of hatred to be flung upon him from every single member of the court.
He had expected his brother to smite him for harming his precious mortal's world.
He had planned on being executed, and instead every assumption, every calculation, despite his clever mind had been proven …..wrong.
He had been completely and utterly proven wrong, on all counts. Making him for all eternity the biggest fool of doubt.
No one had spoken against him. Not a single asgardian courtier had cheered his punishment or applauded his imprisonment. He could still not fathom the shock he had felt at the people's lack of hatred towards him as he had walked down the aisle.
For a few seconds Loki's mind was back in that moment.
The weight of the muzzle pressed upon his jaw, pulling his head downwards. The uncomfortable pressure of the shackles upon his wrists, the pain from his injuries spiking due to Thor's rough handling of his body in the entrance way. The scent of sweat filing his nose reminding him that he hadn't bathed, eaten or slept in days.
As his brother continued dragging him closer to the throne. He had refused to look weak. He would not cower against the hostility of Asgard. He had been a King! So he had pushed himself to walk forward at Thor's side, head raised as high as possible, considering the muzzle. He had made sure that in his eyes he would convey only challenge, he was defeated but he would make certain that all knew he would not be bullied. Not without the hint of possible revenge, even if the chances of him exacting any type of retaliation were slim. He refused to let them have a chance of thinking otherwise.
He was still Loki, the God of Mischief.
Thor led him through the crowd. A crowd that had done nothing but look on him with something that stunned him into hesitation.
His feet had stopped moving and he froze in place as he had gazed back at the hundreds of faces surrounding him.
Even now he could envision the eyes his fellow… no…the.. Aesir had cast upon him. Eyes not coated in malice, but filled with a collective sorrow.
He recalled his thoughts, "Where are the jeers? Where are the japes? Where are the cries for my blood? Why do they merely stare at me? Why are they not cursing my name?!"
Thor's words in the entranceway from before echoing like a beating drum, "…Brother….Your coldness has burnt me."
"Was I missed?" he whispered once again in his heart.
So shocked had he been that he had even subconsciously slipped into old habits and had looked at Thor for aide. He had instantly caught himself and rightly re-engaged in being back on guard. Still for the rest of the way towards Odin's Throne Loki had felt confusion dig it's way deep inside of him.
Spurning a question deep in the crevices of his mind into being, "What of anything that Thanos said had been true? Surely? Surely…..I did not imagine?….Did I?"
Loki rolled over again on his small cot. Only to be met with the white wall of his cell.
"Am I a fool?"
Six midgardian months and fourteen days later he still found the same confusion haunting him as he wasted away here in Odin's prison.
That eventually with the passage of time awoke something that Loki had not thought possible until the muddled feeling had merged with his mother's furious words that kept on relentlessly repeating in his skull,
"I WOULD HAVE CARRIED YOU FROSTGIANT OR NOT, IF I COULD HAVE! –I MAY NOT HAVE BIRTHED YOU BUT YOU WERE MY BABY!"
The ugly feeling would only double then as Thor's equally startling speech, that Loki had been truthfully startled by, would repeat, "YOU WERE ALWAYS SMART! I ENVIED YOU THAT!...I never told you out of my jealousy, I regret…..you shame me."
He turned on his other side.
" I wish I had…..You shame me," Thor's voice sobbed in memory.
"My baby…Always," cried his mother.
Odin's silent grieving stare, as he softly ordered the guards to escort his "son" to the dungeons below.
So many words, that fateful day six midgardian months and fourteen days ago, so many things he had dreamed of hearing for a millennia practically, or had needed to hear.
Shouted at him.
All too late….
"Why?" he whispered to himself quietly as he pondered fate's fickleness.
Loki groaned in irritation, they were at it again.
Did his fellow inmates have to be so noisy? Truly, he would either go mad from the boring scenery that was his little cell with it's non-changing white walls, minus the prison window. Or he would perish from sleep deprivation due to the buffoons two cell blocks down. Brainless morons who had come up with the "brilliant" scheme that if they banged hard enough against their prison force fields that eventually said fields would collapse. Allowing them the chance for a quick escape, and an opportunity to take the Realm Eternal by storm.
If their plan itself wasn't such an incompetent jest, Loki would have found himself wishing them the best of luck. As it was though, the plan of his ...fellow inmates was if anything at best, a damn nuisance.
Loki of Asgard huffed, he was going to kill them somehow. He really was, be it today or tomorrow, if they didn't cease immediately with their racket! Six midgardian months & fourteen days, (he counted), had he dwelt in this cage of Odin's, his "adopted father", and from it he had gained nothing but a solid case of guilt, (though he would never admit it aloud), and a headache.
If he had to listen to those degenerates any longer he was going to do something drastic. Yggdrasil and the Norns help him he was starting to wish Odin had executed him! So then at least he'd be spared having to squander away in this pitiful state. His mind began turning unpleasantly again, "What is the point?" he queried of himself.
"Why should I care whether those wretches try to escape? Why should I mind anything? I should just ignore them. Why am I even paying attention to their meager disturbances? I am disgraced. I am a burden. A glorious mistake. A waste. A traitor. A lie. A shadow. A monster," Loki's heart plummeted as his melancholy devoured him,
"You shame me brother," said the memory of Thor in his head yet again.
Loki rolled over on his meager "cot" for a bed, tucking his arms behind his head, as shame mixed with his newly discovered guilt and wounded pride twisted together like some sick poison inside of him.
"What purpose befits a monster's relic?" he wanted to shout.
"SETTLE DOWN! YOU SCUM! IN THE KING'S NAME. I SAID QUIET!" came one angry guard's command.
CLANG. CLANG! KLANK."I SAID QUIET YOU LOATHSOME SON OF AN ARGR!"
"Hmm. Eloquent." Loki thought sarcastically as the sound of a ruckus echoed from the adjacent hallway of his glass cell.
There was a brief shouting match and then much to Loki's relief the clanging finally abated. However it wasn't even a minute before it was replaced with the sound of heavy footsteps thundering from around the corner in hurried patterns.
Something was happening. "Odd," thought Loki with a frown.
The prison vanguards shouldn't have been changing shifts this early Loki knew. In the small journal he had been allowed within the confines of his cage he had taken the time to figure out & mark the entire regiment schedule of his new …"location". Written in a secret code of privatized runes, that only he understood should his journal be taken from him. All for the necessary knowledge he would need in order to initiate an escape method.
A pointless effort really for upon reflection he had realized that he could never follow through with any escape plan for the inevitable obstacle of Thanos.
The name brought an uneasy chill upon the Sorcerers mind even in the depths of Asgard. He could still see the giant creature….pulling apart some poor soul on an alter of red and presenting it to a strange winged idol of his so-called Queen.
Loki felt himself shudder involuntarily at the memory….in a way he hadn't known which had disturbed him more….the Mad Titan that crushed worlds with his hands older then even Odin sitting upon his throne. Or the strange sensation of looming horror he had gotten from looking upon the statue of Thanos's beloved goddess, "Queen Death," as the Titan had "decorated" her, bowing even.
The statue of Thano's beloved, the image of it came too easily to Loki.
It still horrified him.
Carved to bare a bright ugly crown that was as red as the innards Thanos had weaved as a necklace for it, the face of the winged entity even if a statue had almost appeared to have smiled. Whilst the poor bleeding creature lying at it's feet went into death throes. The moment forever imprinted on his brain, as his breaking mind had struggled to keep some semblance of order in the darkness of that wretched place.
Even as his wrists had begun to bleed from the chains Thanos kept wrapped tightly on him…. Loki shook his head slightly.
Now was not the time to fall back into that lane of recollection. The guard's voices were increasing. Quietly Loki rose from his cot….his curiosity peaked. He slowly made his way closer to the barrier of the large glass wall that kept him imprisoned thankful that once he had been placed in this box that Odin had not had the foresight to keep his magical binding chains upon him.
An overlooked error on Odin's part, but one Loki could appreciate.
Especially now, as the guards were gathering in the hallway just outside of Loki's reign of vision, Odin's lack of respect for magic, was to be for once accepted. For despite being locked within this cage, Loki could get away with just enough spells to keep himself entertained and what's more to boost his own hearing capabilities so that he could spy on the guards' conversation with ease.
Speaking of guards, Loki quietly stood there in his cell, allowing his eyes to close, as he felt the threads of his magical core weaving his desire. It was a rather easy spell so he merely hummed the necessary incantation and just like that he could hear everything the guards were saying:
"Is it true?"
"Why now? Why not two years ago? When the Prince attacked them?"
" Truly the All-father cannot be so blind as to trust those blue things? After all the wars?"
"Say what you all will. The fact stands that they have sought us."
"Truly the All-father grows old. Why should any of Asgard care for the fate of Frost Giants!"
Loki's emerald eye's flung open!
The words Frost Giant echoing in his skull with violent force. His heart starting to pound in his chest like a battering ram, as he put all his energy into the hearing spell, he had to learn more:
"Come Geirr, we must not presume too much. After all as my sire once told me when I was young, 'As old as the hills be the giants of yore, and know not all their secrets is the truth of our lore."
"Bah! Your sire was a kindly fool, to think up such pretty words."
"Be careful how you speak Varinn! My sire was many things ((hear Loki heard the soft ching of a blade being drawn)) and his words taught well."
"ENOUGH ALL OF YOU. Put that away Borkr! This fighting is pointless. The All-father has already given out his orders. He intends to leave for Jotunheim this very day."
"By the Norns…."
"Tis true, and Prince Thor is to accompany him, as is Master Hogun of the Warriors Three."
"Yes young Geirr. I was told the news early this morning by Odin's head guard himself, Sir Harvaldr."
"Never did I think I would live to see the day where Asgard would aide Jotunheim," moaned the voice of Varinn.
There was a collective silence among the guards as similar thoughts were gathered. Broken by the voice of the one called Borkr, "What of the rumors of them gathering in mass? Is that also true?"
"Tis so, I'm afraid, and in larger quantity then any could have imagined," replied Alarr's calm voice though filled with the slightest tremors of fear to Loki's ears.
"What do you mean?" queried Geirr horrified.
Once again there was silence as the one named Alarr seemed to hesitate in answering his fellow guards question.
"….(Sigh)….When I first heard the report I doubted, but Sir Harvaldr has spoken with the mighty Heimdall himself upon Lord Odin's orders….it would seem that the Jotuns have all six hundred thousand at least, gathered to one place on their world."
"Aye, and not only the ferocious warriors our people are familiar with, but their women and children as well."
Loki eye's widened in surprise!
His mind reeled with that tidbit of information as his thoughts worked around the subject, 'Women? No one has ever seen a female frost giant in over millennia, and children? Frost giant offspring...all... gathering… together.?'
He looked down at his hands briefly as he continued to listen in on the guards.
A strange feeling of uncertain exclusion creeping upon him as he stared at his pale skin that he knew should really have been rich sapphire blue.
He swallowed, but his throat felt uncomfortably dry, as he felt a foreign confusion seizing him, 'the monsters…gather and they bring their young with them? I? Do I? Am I…interested…..concerned….curious…about this?"
Feeling oddly out of place hepractically screamed the thought "What in Valhalla's name is going on?'" but kept to his silence as the one called Varinn shouted instead.
"FROST FEMALES?! Were they not extinct?!"
"I always thought the Giants carved themselves from ice and that is why they must live in such a terribly cold place. Otherwise they would melt," spoke Geirr honestly.
Loki could not even articulate a proper response in his head to that comment, so he merely let out a loud huff of indignation. He may have always felt uncomfortable in heavily heated places but if this so called Geirr's words had been true he would have melted the day Odin had brought him home. He huffed again, for surely that would have saved the royal family a great deal of trouble, himself included.
"Hahahahahha! What a childish notion!" laughed Borkr.
"Well! How did you think they came to be?!" challenged Geirr.
"Aye.. Borkr! Tell the lad what you told me," goaded the amused voice of Alarr.
"Go on then."
"Well….I just ….well I thought they …..."
"Come now, this is childish. Who cares how Frost giants come to be."
"Look friends Borkr has turned into a measly hen."
"Hahahah. Aye, Alarr so it seems!"
"OH BY THE ALL-FATHER'S BEARD! I THOUGHT THEY GREW…LIKE.…well…from the ground," Borkr ended in a whisper.
… "The ground?"
"What you mean you thought them to be like Trees?"
"Well…they are very tall ….so it made sense..."
"BwhahahahAHAHEHEHAHAHAH! FROST GIANT FLOWERS BWAHAHAHAHAahaha!" laughed the group.
"Now see here friends for all we know! Their Women just might!" laughed Varinn.
Loki involuntarily frowned.
"IMAGINE GIANTESS DAISIES!" laughed Geirr.
"BIG MOODY FLOWERS!" echoed Varinn.
" I think you are on to something Borkr, no wonder they are so terrible. For what flower does not wither in winter?" deadpanned Alarr.
Laughter filled the hall, as Loki felt his blood boil in irritation.
"Flower, indeed. Insolent uneducated dogs," he thought angrily as his "pale" hands clenched into fists. Their conversation devolving into nothing but jokes and mockery of the opposite sex of his …dare he admit it, even in his mind, his species.
Not that he cared..no he would never care, and yet, yet…. 'How can I not? Now that I know that I am one of them? That underneath this ..false skin …I am the offspring of…Norns…..One of those things was a female! A female that carried myself!'
He shut his eyes angrily as a wave of horrified despair and realization swept through him.
For a split moment he even felt severely nauscious, his stomach churning violently, as a truth he still denied sunk in at long last.
"One of those beasts is..my….was my…"he couldn't even finish the sentence. Instead his mind filled with the image of Frigga sitting by her bedroom windowsill urging a younger version of himself to come closer, her smiling face taking up the whole of his mind as he heard her say, "Come my mischief sweet. Come here my son, see what mother has for you today."
"Yes mother!" his memory replied happily.
Loki felt his heart break a little, "Lie," he thought sadly, but what a truly beautiful lie it had been. Even if it was not true, try as he might he could not deny Frigga as his mother, if for nothing else but his soul.
Her shouting words ringing in his head once more, "DID I DO NOTHING FOR YOU?!"
No. Loki thought. No she had been a wonderful mother. A perfect mother despite everything, and try as he might Loki could not deny that he had loved her fully for it.
Loved her still.
Perhaps that was why he felt so sick, and an enormous guilt as his next thought. A question he had never even pondered before until this very moment.
Born out of an instinctive curiosity he wasn't even aware that he even possessed.
"What of….what of my birth mother? Where had she been when Odin took me? Did she not care like Laufey?"
He felt water forming in his eyes as once more the foreign feeling of misplacement filled his being, disguising even to him an unrecognizable deep sensation of absence.
"Who was she?" he wondered aloud, his voice not above a whisper.
In the background of his disquieted thoughts he could still hear the guards roaring laughter at the expense of all female frost giantesses.
Knowing he would get no more useful information he shook his head and ended the spell he had cast. For once embracing the silence of his wonderful little cage, as he walked away from the glass wall of it. He felt so weary. He had such a great deal to think about now. Already he could see the outline of escape plans forming in the corners of his mind as he thought on the fact that the All-father would not be in Asgard. Nor would his blasted, wretched, perfect, so-called brother.
He frowned….adopted brother.
He looked at his hands, his pale nearly blue tinted hands.
It was becoming a bad habit of his, gazing at his hands, he realized, sighing.
There was no point in acting on any plan…the Other's words had been true the day before his spectacular failure. And he knew with grave certainty that even with his magic at it's full capacity he would be hard pressed to stay hidden from Thanos.
Still…the missed chance, the opportunity he would lose this day stung. Rage at his enclosure began to replace his depression.
Making him feel the need for him to all but bite something! Darn those wretched Avengers! He gritted his teeth. Darn Thor! Darn Odin! Darn! Darn! Darn!.
His magic blew out of him. Destroying the small desk in his room, he tried to breathe deeply, as his eye's roamed his rotten cage…landing on his bed.
"Perhaps if I shut my eye's inspiration will come?" he thought, as he quietly made his way back over to the small cot.
It was more comfortable then what most prisoners had, but Loki couldn't help but miss his old silken bed from his room. Located only a few thousand feet above from where the dungeon stood.
He groaned after an hour of counting ancient runes in his head and rest not forthcoming.
He realized that he had been mistaken earlier. He didn't mind the scum in the cells down here, or the curs for guards and their idiot's gossip.
No, it was the lack of freedom that appalled him. It was the inability for him to do anything but think that was driving him mad!
There was nothing to distract his blasted mind from memory!
Not to mention his limited tools yes it was simple really he was starting to hate this cage. He truly was. It was doing nothing but making him feel incompetent.
Irritated beyond belief, he growled, and before he knew it the words slipped past his lips,
"I hate being bored, Rosijen."
Millions upon million of miles away another being was also irritated at his current position. For it had to be the biggest waste of time in history.
"Now then Mr. Stark let us try something new today," began the long nasally drawl of Doctor Fingersin, "I want you to think of all the worriesthat haunt your mind so to speak try to really dig deepinto those memories that trouble you most, especially as a child."
Why was he here again? There was a reason, he knew it when he was brushing his teeth this morning, he was certain about that.
"Then once you have found one, I want you to release it! Allow yourself, the joyous freedom of expelling them from within your soul," droned the Doctor, "You must hold nothing back, as we approach this new path."
Pepper had to be kidding.
"Are you digging Mr. Stark?"
She really could not be serious about this. Could she?
"I sense some hesitation Mr. Stark?"
Good Lord the man sitting across from him was wearing a tie die tye.
"Sigh. I know that facing one's inner demons is difficult but trust me Mr. Stark when I say that like the barricaded river, as you remove one stone. So will the other rocks fall away and then once more will your path flow and your conscious mind be in balance."
The man was wearing a tie die tye and now he was talking about rivers. What kind of a Doctor talks about rivers? Further more, what kind of a name was Fingersin?!
"Have you found your inner shadows Mr. Stark? Are you trying to expel them?"
Fingersin. Finger. Sin. Sin. Finger. Yep. No matter what way the name was said it still sounded dirty.
"Perhaps you need some musical meditation to help stimulate your self-awareness?"
Self-awareness... . He could do that. He was full of self-awareness actually.
In fact he, Tony Stark, playboy, philanthropist, billionaire, ex-super hero for now, was well aware of quite a few things at the moment. The first being that he was sitting across a reggae hippie wannabe who wanted him to do something with rocks and rivers?
The second was that the so-called "sofa" he was sitting on wasn't a sofa at all but a remodeled beanbag chair, that was significantly lop-sided. How a beanbag chair becomes lop-sided, Tony had no idea, but after about exactly 39 more minutes of this precisely, he was determined to find out. On top of that he was going to get to the bottom of just what kind of legalities were involved with the use of incense. Not to mention those carefully hidden plants behind this so called "Doctor's" Desk. He couldn't be sure but he was pretty positive that wasn't a small bonsai tree.
The third thing he was aware of he didn't even want to mention but who could ignore the so called, "Meditation Music."
"Those poor whales…"he thought. Anymore of that and he didn't care how much Pepper begged he'd be out of here and on a flight to Bermuda in ten minutes! Scotch in hand.
"Mr. Stark it does no good to merely brood inwardly about your problems. You must vocalize them! I am healer. A listener, please share with me your inner woes so that we may uproot your life's turmoil?"
"Uproot my life's turmoil." said Tony, and eyebrow rising.
"Why yes! Mr. Stark!"
"Indeed so Mr. Stark!" cheered Doctor Fingersin.
'This. This is what it comes to,' thought Tony soberly, 'kicked off the team for afternoons with the love child of Tree-beard meets Mr. Miyagi.'
Tony Stark had not known exactly what to expect during the last meeting of the Avengers. To be completely fair he had considered a little disbelief initially. He even had expected a few insults to be thrown his way, what with no physical proof, but this?
No. Tony had not predicted this outcome, to be kicked off the team or in Fury's terms put on "vacation", not taken seriously, and pegged as a crazy person. No he had been officially blind-sided.
And as if having "impaired vision" wasn't bad enough he had then been ordered to take therapy sessions both by Pepper, (a fact that still stung), and Nick Fury. Against their united front Tony had to consider that maybe that one had been coming? Much as he rather liked to deny it. But to be kept under near constant surveillance by his own "team-mates", for abnormal, well…anymore irregular behavior then usual.
He was never going to expect anything ever again.
So help him the powers that be!
Norse Gods not included.
Now Tony could barely walk outside his lab without having either Captain Rogers or Barton aka: The Hawk tailing him the way a hound follows a postman. He never would have made so many guest rooms in the tower if he knew this was going to happen.
Why, yesterday, Natasha had even gone as far as removing nearly every sharp object in the entire facility! He couldn't even find a stupid pencil for over six hours!
All because he could see a kid that they couldn't?!
Tony was very disappointed in the lack of his colleague's faith in him.
Very, very, very, disappointed.
Which wasn't even the worse of it!
Seeing as how he was going to be kept monitored until he abandoned his irrational proposition of just who caused the snowstorm in New York. (Which wasn't going to happen any time soon, if Tony had any say about it.)
Meant to the Avengers ever-wise one-eyed leader that Tony would need a Chauffer as well for his standing circumstances. A Chauffer that would follow him…everywhere outside the Avengers Tower and in;…..including the bathroom.
It was a heavy line crossed for the billionaire.
Sure he liked to hold the spotlight, he even thrived in it, but that didn't mean he didn't need his own personal bubble sometimes.
Trying to wiz while Agent "Blank", (because Tony didn't know the agent's name), stood hovering over his shoulder just wasn't zippity du-da.
Nope…it was all completely humiliating and unnecessary.
Worse it had created a severe case of doubt in Tony in regards to his team's long term and various,reliability, when faced with cases of unexpected truths.
Minus one Conan thunder god wannabe. Whose place of respect had risen exponentially on Tony Stark's ricter scale of: People Possibly As Smart As Me.
Much to Tony's own personal surprise and eternal gratitude. Yes, in fact it amazed Tony at just how much he had underestimated the "Point Break".
Four days ago, Tony had walked into the meeting room, well aware that Natasha and Rogers would be against him. Yet he hadn't dwelled on them, convinced that he could at least get Bruce on his side if not Fury himself, after-all he, Tony Stark one half of the so-called Brains of the Avengers, had not only a lead to New York's mysterious weather, but a culprit!
Thus armed with knowledge, he had assumed that Fury, in wanting to stop the, "perpetrator" or in this case the "Kid", would have become priority number one.
So he walked into the meeting ready to metaphorically play "Battle Ship!"
Only to come out promptly sunk.
All the way to the bottom of the sea where in place of a singing Crab he was getting advice from what he could only assume was a wannabe Seaweed Barnacle, named Dr. Fingersin.
"Mr. Stark? Mr. Stark?" came said Doctor's nasally voice.
Tony just couldn't believe this was happening, why even Pepper thought he was loony!
"Mr. Stark? Mr. Stark?" questioned Dr. Fingersin's voice a bit more firmly as he drew closer to Tony, who was drowning in unhappy thoughts.
Next thing he knew Tony found a giant quilt with a teddy bear embroidered on it, shoved right into his face!
"Do not fear the child within. Mr. Stark. Embrace it!" commanded Doctor Fingersin as he then preceded to hand Tony the baby blanket.
Tony Stark at that precise second experienced what many a novice Tibetan monk would have envied. It was a pure unfiltered moment of existence. He became as close to omnipresent about his small little life as humanly possible. His current surroundings taking absolute precedent over everything else. Dr. Doom could have attacked and Tony could have cared less in this one key instance of his existence.
Where he, Tony Stark, was self-aware that he was in New York City. Somewhere close to Harlem inside of a cheap poorly man-made skyscraper, that he couldn't believe hadn't fallen during the Incident six months ago, along the lines of the fourth floor.
A building he observed that had a broken heating system seeing as how it had once more started snowing outside, (proof via OPEN window) making his toes frozen right through his plain brown shoes. Causing him to envy the so-called bonsai plant that had it's own little lamp shining on it to keep it warm.
He also envied in this, ever-important moment, Pepper who he knew waited in the lobby, outside of Office 101 of SHARING IS CARING THERAPY INC., in a grand show of support that was typical Pepper behavior.
An act that any other time Tony would have found endearing. At this exact moment though, it was hardly acknowledged.
No, what was his prime focus was the fact that he was wearing a knock-off Armani suit and sitting on a beanbag chair. Jarvis still hadn't found him any proof about frickin Peter Pan or Jack whatever! While a bloody hippie with a strange haircut, strange obsession with plants, strangely growing perverted smile was shoving a teddy bear baby blanket into Tony's hand!
….Once again a line was crossed.
"Do not feel the need to suppress yourself Anthony," continued Dr. Fingersin merrily, unaware of the building volcano in the room.
"You are in a safe zone. If you must cry and snuggle the blanket of past truths then so be it!"
If Doctor Fingersin had been any more oblivious he would have been melted by the sheer amount of metaphorical lava flowing down the metaphorical mountain by now.
"I can see your shoulders shaking! No doubt you are overcome by emotion! I am certain now, more "meditation music", is necessary. Allow yourself to be engulfed by the sounds of the great humpback whale!"
The pressure point was coming to a high crescendo now, black smoke metaphorically filling the sky, as survival of Dr. Fingersin grew slim as he went over to the CD player.
"Eeeeehahahaaaaaauuuuuuuuoowwwwwghhhh!" went the "music".
"THAT DOES IT!" erupted Tony!
Pepper was quietly sitting in Sharing is Caring Therapy Inc.'s lobby deep in quiet contemplation over the past week when an explosion of fury that would have rivaled Cracatoa blasted it's way down the hall!
The Door of Office 101 was pretty much ripped off it's hinges as Pepper looked up in alarm to see an enraged hulk-eyed version of Tony Stark stompingfull-speed out of his therapy session!
"BUT MR. STARK! MR. STARK WE WERE ON A BREAKTHROUGH!" shouted the aghast voice of Doctor Fingersin! Who was bravely if nothing else, clinging onto the enraged Tony's leg, by one hand whilst he was dragged across the carpet floor!
"BREAKTHROUGH MY BILLIONAIRE ASS! THIS IS RIDICULOUS I'M LEAVING!" shouted nay ordered Tony, his arms flapping as if he were trying to fly off!
"LET GO YOU CRAZY HIPPIE!" shouted Tony at the now possibly suicidal Dr. Fingersin, whose grip for a man that wore tie-die, would have surprised even Bruce Lee!
"I'M SORRY MR. STARK! BUT I CAN'T DO THAT! I WON'T ABANDON YOU IN YOUR TIME OF NEED! I AM A HEALER!" shouted the passionate rug burned therapist.
"I DON'T NEED HELP! I'M NOT CRAZY!" screamed Tony as he lost his footing and fell to the floor!
"NONSENSE! EVERYBODY NEEDS HELP MR. STARK!" Dr. Fingersin retorted back as he tried to wrangle Tony in with some old high school wrestling moves. "ALL RIVERS ARE CONNECTED STARK! DESPITE ARE UNIQUE PATHS WE ALL MUST JOIN THE SEA!"
"Join the? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT! WHAT DOES A RIVER HAVE TO DO WITH ME SEEING JACK!" demanded Tony as he squirmed his way roughly out of Dr. Fingersin's kung fu grip!
Before Dr. Fingersin could even get the chance to respond, Pepper's female voice cut the air in two, like it was butter. "TONY STARK! YOU STOP PLAYING ON THE CARPET WITH YOUR THERAPIST RIGHT NOW! STAND UP!-Dr. Fingersin perhaps we should just reschedule Tony's session for tomorrow seeing as how he has CLEARLY not gotten enough sleep for this today."
Dr. Fingersin released his remaining hold on Tony rearranging himself so he could sit in a Yoga pose. As he appeared to contemplate Pepper's perhaps intuitively wise proposal, pieces of carpet lint stuck out of his hair, "Ah! I see. Mr. Stark did not share with me the information of his insomnia. Would that he had I would have proposed such advice myself. Indeed Ms. Potts what profound insight your river channels have!"
"I bet…(grumble) you would ..have you …(grumble)….river channels…rainbow..(grumble)…hippie..." growled a now standing highly irritated billionaire!
"TONY," ordered Pepper calmly.
"It's his fault! He started it! He handed me a BABY BLANKET! A BABY BLANKET PEP!" yelled Tony defensively.
"TOOONNNNYYYY!" snapped Pepper, her voice layered with the common tone of universal angry mother's and housewives all around. A tone that had an accompanying glare that she decided to put into good use. Which shot down pinpoint precise lasers at Tony's need to whine some more. Hinting that if he decided to proceed on his current course of action that she would dish out a most worrisome cuisine of fine retribution later.
Lucky for Tony he was a genius.
"Shutting up," he responded softly.
Pepper decided to continue her glare on Tony for just a few more added satisfactory minutes and then shifting gears smiled down at Doctor Fingersin, "Why thank you Dr. Fingersin."
"Anytime, my enlightened one, perhaps instead of tomorrow I believe my secretary Nurse Windsleeve, has an opening next Tuesday? Would this be beneficial?" asked Dr. Fingersin.
Pepper sighed calmly as she took out of her purse a small nook, "Why, yes Dr. Fingersin. In fact I think that would be quite preferable."
"Splendid!" said Dr. Fingersin.
Some time later Tony Stark and Pepper Potts sat together in a small New York cab, just driving around the city. The silence between them speaking volumes as Tony gazed out his window while Pepper fiddled with her purse a bit. Tony watched the snowflakes fall outside on the nearby streets and found himself wishing that they were raindrops instead.
He was so frustrated with Snow.
He was so angry with everyone for not believing him.
A soft sigh emanated from Pepper as if she could hear his thoughts, "Tony. Listen I'm sorry, about Dr. Fingersin. I'll find someone else. Someone much more qualified."
The woman turned to look at her true love that hadn't even so much as twitched a finger at her words. He only continued to stare out the window in what she knew to be his method of cutting everyone off. Pepper sighed again in sadness. The last thing Tony needed to do was to start disassociating with everyone, so she began again, "Tony. Please understand..I."
"So where's Agent whatever his name is? Shouldn't he be here escorting the Mad Avenger from point A. to point B," cut in Tony's angry voice.
Pepper taking any conversation to be better then none, simply replied, "I told Fury that he was perhaps going just a bit too far. After all, you saw an invisible child, not some deranged Easter Bunny."
Tony finally turned to look at Pepper, his eyes just a tad watery, from his mental stress "Thanks Pep."
"Tony, listen. I care about you. We all do. It's just ..?" Pepper tried to finish her sentence carefully. She didn't want to push Tony away but how to phrase herself?
"Hard to believe. I know Pep. I really do, but" Tony paused as he reached over to Pepper and gently tucked her hand is his calloused one before continuing, "I swear that Jack felt as real to me as your hand does now. I need you to trust me. Please Pep even if no one else does."
Tony paused again his face full of seriousness as he stared into Pepper's eyes, "I need you too."
"Tony…I wish I could, but a boy? That can fly?" whispered Pepper softly.
"Why not?" argued Tony firmly as the cab car turned a corner, "Why's it so hard to consider?"
Pepper chuckled a bit before answering right away, her head tilting to the side in honest thought, "Oh. I don't know. Maybe because it's just so..(pause) so…well it's like…a .fairytale."
"Like a Fairytale?" repeated Tony perplexed.
"We live in a world where Norse Gods and Aliens exist and your telling me nobody can believe me when I say a kid can fly and make snow? Cause it's too much Bibbiti Bobbiti Boo!?" Tony sneered in exasperation, "How in anyway does that make sense?" He finished in a confused huff, as Pepper smiled despite herself.
"Your right. When you put it like that it really doesn't add up does it?" she agreed, as she turned her head slightly to look out the window at the snow-covered street. The cab car the two of them were in coming to a stoplight.
Outside Pepper saw a young mother holding the hands of two sweater bundled little children who had their tongues happily sticking out of their mouths to catch the falling flakes from above. Completely oblivious to their mother's plight of trying to get them to come inside of the restaurant she wanted them to go in. Pepper continued to stare and saw an old couple stop to look in a store window that had decided to pull their winter line up out early for it's display case, even though it was still August.
She saw a young man shivering as he hurried down the chilly streets, eyes cast to the gray sky above him. She saw a sixteen-year-old girl sitting all alone on a bus bench holding what appeared to be a small dog in her lap as she fiddled with a cell phone. As her gazed traveled over the random streetwalkers Pepper felt her eye's drift back to the two little children she'd first noticed. They were now spinning in elated circles, much to their mother's distress, their focus entirely on the snow, their faces full of innocent joy.
Pepper turned away from the window to see that Tony had been gazing at her. His brown eye's held an indescribable curious emotion as she realized that he had been trying to read her. He had been trying to follow her gaze just now and understand where she had mentally gone to briefly. The result making him look like a confused little kid again and just like that she knew the answer to Tony's question.
"We can't believe you Tony because it's too innocent."
"Huh?" queried Tony his eyebrows meeting together in even more puzzlement.
So Pepper tried to explain, "It's too innocent of an idea. And your right it doesn't make any sense that we don't believe you, but look at us Tony. Look at Fury; he's a spy, and a soldier. He like many people out there expects the worse. The worst of mankind, the ugliest scenario, Tony. I doubt he's very good at thinking about the …gentler possibilities that may or may not exist in our reality."
Tony sat there stunned. Listening as he reflected upon Pepper's point. From a certain angle he could understand what she was saying. Wondering at how he hadn't thought of it himself, really. While he pondered her words she continued, "With that in mind Tony, can you honestly not blame Fury for choosing to ignore your …suspicions when Thor brought up these. …What are they again?"
"Frost Giants," Tony supplied automatically.
"Right. Frost Giants, especially since you told me that Loki, Thor's brother attacked us? Tony I'm your friend, but between the two I probably would have gone with the Giants over this boy named Jack myself," finished Pepper lamely her eyes drifting down to their joined hands.
Tony took a deep breathe he couldn't blame Pepper. She had a very logical point, and as much as he resented his fellow Avengers he could understand them as well, he resigned. However, it would not quell or dispute the simple fact that Tony knew they were all wrong. If nothing else it was his belief in his own craftsmanship as a mechanic that kept him from throwing all thoughts of Jack to the wind.
Jarvis and his Iron Man Suit were the greatest things he had ever built. Probably would ever build, for at least six more years and he had seen the boy on the Suit's thermal scanner. He had picked up the kids voice on his speakers!
He hadn't imagined him.
He looked at his hand holding Pepper's.
Recalling instead the brief moment he had touched an alarmed youth's shoulder. The child's overwhelmed emerald eyes going wide. Tony's own words coming to his mind, "I see you."
He couldn't have imagined that?
He had seen him.
"Hey Pep. You know I was wondering if I could be dropped off at Central Park maybe. Just for an hour or so, get some fresh air in these lungs. Whadda ya say?" asked Tony in a false but quite convincing cheery tone. Pepper frowned as she mulled over his request. Her other hand coming up to tug behind her ear a small piece of red hair that had fallen out of place, "Fury probably wouldn't like that seeing as how you'd be out by yourself, but I say you could do with some space I think."
"Pepper have I ever told you how much I love you?" said Tony.
"Oh no you don't! Don't you try that! Your still in trouble for giving Doctor Fingersin a heart-attack," Pepper teased.
"Puh—lease.. If I did anything, I simply reminded him that his office could do with some updated upholstery. I mean did you see that carpet? Did you? I mean who does pink carpets?" Tony answered back smugly.
Sharing is Caring Inc's. lobby had been quite the memorable affront to the eyes with it's neon green couches and baby pink flooring. She would forever wonder how her new friend Maria Hill Agent of Shield went there every other Thursday.
Still, Pepper supposed some things were best left unanswered, and with that thought she went ahead to ask the cab driver to head for Central Park. Unaware of the small concerned frown that lingered on Tony's face as his gaze fell back to the falling snow upon New York City's streets.
"Jack? Where are you?" thought Tony desperately as he tried to ignore the beginnings of his own creeping doubt.
…...Far, far above the expensive convertible unbeknownst to the people within it, a small figure flew amongst the cities skyscrapers ironically enough thinking just about the same thing.
"Now where would I be if I were a 'Metal Man'?" said Jack Frost.
(End of Part 1 Chapter: Disclaimer)….
Okay so I'm going to try to keep this disclaimer/explanation as short as possible. If this seems like an odd place to be ending this chapter I apologize but after rereading & having not updated in quite some time. Yes I did notice. I thought that perhaps it would be best if I just posted at least half of what I have typed up! Just so that those who are so wonderfully following this fic know that I AM NOT ABANDONING THIS IT. There I said it, but at the same time I refuse to rush this story and as always I am writing this mostly out of my own sick twisted pleasure. And thus I will not be able to please everybody, you read at your own peril! Brace yourselves for the crazy crazy future!
With that stated let me move on to the basics:
THANK YOU SO MUCH ALL OF YOU WHO FAVORITE/FOLLOW LEAVE COMMENTS, I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU ALL! My life is a real struggle and next month will be becoming quite difficult. But your support has reignited my creative passion and in many ways kept me sane. Thank you. Forever.
I am in no way, making money or profiting off of this fic. I DO NOT OWN IT. Though I do lay claim to the original ideas within such as Original Characters like Mrs. Frisbie or Doctor Fingersin, and the overall fan-plot. Anything Marvel or DreamWorks identifiable FORGET IT. I DON'T OWN IT. ALAS….sob. Oh how I wished I worked at either even as a coffee girl.
QUESTIONS: You all may have some serious questions going on right now, with the story like who is Mab? Or what exactly is Jack we know he's part Frost Giant and we assume Rosijen was human? But what of Avalon and the Fey? What are they? Where in the Realms do they exist? What of Rosijen's ancestry? Where did all the Fairies and other such creatures go? Does Tooth know anything? What is affecting Jotunheim that has them asking for Asgard's aide? Where is Thor? Why is Loki having visions of Rosijen now? What is Nick Fury thinking? For those especially paying attention they might ask, why does North wonder about Jack in regards to Fey etc? Or better yet…where else have we seen a being wearing a red crown?
The answer to any/and all questions you may have will hopefully be answered as the story continues to progress. All you have to do is keep reading. I'm not trying to be mean when I don't answer questions or emails, I honestly am just limited on time, and also I do not want to promise things to readers and then change it on them. I'd rather simply write and let the pieces fall so to speak.
Finally: This story is not a complete crossover. The events in Rise of the Guardians never took place in this universe. Nor did Loki's trial go the way it did in the sequel. This story is in essence an Alternative Universe Crossover fic. Thus I will be changing many many things possibly. Including the history of the Realms, Guardian Origins, Planet Origins and well…..I guess the whole darn cosmos of it all. Hmm. (Rubs back of head. "How about that.")
My knowledge: a very nice person pointed out a few things in reference to the actual books and comics of Guardians and Thor respectively, letting me know of stuff I could add or not include. I thank this person for their recommendations & review. But I am honestly only using for the most part information from the films alone. Now I may use some outside references for things like Merlin and Fey folk. Heck if I can fit a third crossover in here somewhere better believe I will. But in short. There is a lot of information –comic book info I could whip out. But it's almost too much. In order to fully write what I intend I have to ignore some things & use the films mostly for reference. I apologize if this is disappointing but again I can and will not please everyone. Sorry. Also I apologize if my writing is terrible! Woe is me.
Well…anyway that wraps up this disclaimer I think and now onto fixing up part 2! Again I love and thank you all!
P.S. This may have seemed a boring update but I'm trying to build something brick by brick, and let me just say that the clay absolutely is fighting me the whole way! ("Writer's Confusion you stay away from me! Gah! You poked me oww! Stop laughing! Shoo! Shoo! Get!)