A/N: I have returned! (My previous username was Sergeant Hiddles, for those of you who might have read some of my previous work.) After an extensive one-shot spree, I think I have finally been granted sufficient motivation and inspiration for a full-length story. Of course, starting up a new story a week before heading to college probably isn't the smartest thing, so I suppose I should warn everyone that updates might be a little sporadic, due to the craziness ahead. However, I do have roughly 10,000 words already written, so that should help. This chapter is relatively short, but future ones will be much longer.

This is intended to be a post-Avengers story. It may incorporate some elements of what has been revealed in the Thor: The Dark World trailer, but only a few. I should leave a warning, as well, that there will be lots of angst, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and sort-of-but-not-really graphic mentions of rape and possibly torture.

And with those happy thoughts, please enjoy :)

Dead leaves skittered across the asphalt, rattling and cracking like dried bones. The wind was cold, almost fiercely so; few in the city ventured out of doors on anything but pressing business. Central Park was almost completely deserted, the unrelenting, chilly breeze having driven away even the most determined citizens. What few people were on the streets quickly vanished as night fell; all who remained were the infrequent pigeons and the wandering homeless.

Night fell, and to the slumbering city, it seemed like any other.

A stray cat wound its way around a malodorous collection of trash bins, nose on the alert for any small creatures who might serve as a suitable meal. It sniffed all about, slowly meandering through the alleyway and onto the deserted street, circuitously approaching Central Park. Then, suddenly, the animal's hair stood on end, and it bolted for safety a moment before the sky rent apart with a beam of light that crashed into the ground with a roar. Car alarms blared with shrill urgency, and windows and curtains flew open in a hurry to see what had happened. But nothing, not even the cat, was to be seen.

Within the park, however, all was not as it had been. The light had retreated back into the sky, but not before hurling a dark figure to the ground. The man, clad in nothing but a threadbare black shirt and pants, was left sprawled over the frozen dirt, breathing heavily.

Some minutes passed before he finally moved, stretching out his limbs with a groan and laboriously standing. His skin was almost as pale as the moonlight illuminating it, though of a strange hue; his hair just as dark in contrast. Faint scars marred his skin, marks both of a battle long ago and of recent abuse. He was thin, as though he had not eaten properly for some time; his tall stature accentuating the boniness of his limbs and hollow cheeks. Piercing eyes flickered over the landscape before him, before his face twisted into a snarl and he let out a howl of rage.

"Damn you, Odin! DAMN YOU!"

His voice, though hoarse, was deep and powerful. Hands clenched by his sides, he threw his gaze to the dark heavens and screamed.

"What have you done? You cannot leave me here! I am a king!"

The brooding clouds gave no response.

"You cannot simply cast me out, without a trial! Even your blackest traitors have had the chance to defend themselves? Where is your justice, Allfather?"

Still, there was silence.

"What- is it because I am a Frost Giant? Is that why you exile me without so much as a backward glance? Because I am Loki Laufeyson? Because I am not truly of Asgard, like your precious Thor?"

Loki's chest heaved as he glared with deathly anger at the blank clouds, fists trembling. The anger seemed to radiate from him in waves, stirring the wind into gusts of unease.

"Am I thus to be abandoned? After- after years of fighting for you, years of declaring allegiance to you, you will toss me away as though I am not worthy of your slightest attention? Will you not even hear me speak? Am I to be ignored thus? Answer me!"

Red and blue lights flashed in the distance. Loki turned, frowning, to see a Midgardian car slowly approaching, the lights pulsing from its roof. Still breathing raggedly, he staggered forward, raising an arm to push a tree branch aside, seeking a better view-

And fell backward in horror, staring in muted shock at his hand.

It was blue.

A choked noise escaped Loki's mouth. With panicked movements, he looked over both of hands, then at his stomach, his shoulders, his feet-

All of him. He was blue - grossly, hideously, revoltingly blue. He stood, petrified, eyes open but not seeing. Then he laughed, throwing his head back and shaking with mirth. Oh, Odin was a clever man; a clever man indeed. Why simply exile the traitor, when he could force Loki to wear his own terrible skin, and be feared and shunned and cast out again and again by every human who laid eyes on him?

He really had underestimated Odin. For all the man's foolish blindness when it came to Thor, he was cruelly intelligent in matters of punishment. It was not only exile that he had sentenced Loki to - oh, no, it could never be so simple, or so bearable. It was shame, and rejection, and loneliness, and worthlessness, and everything that Loki had fought with all his heart to avoid but was now doomed to suffer for the rest of eternity.

Yes; Odin was a clever man.

The car with the angry, blinking lights was closer now. Loki remembered enough of his previous time on Midgard to know that it was a vessel of the mortal law enforcement. For a moment, he stood his ground, ready to meet any who might challenge him, but his practicality quickly won over. Stripped of his powers and wearing only his Jotun form as he was, it would be foolish to let himself be discovered by the Midgardians; in his current state, they would have complete power over him.

Directing one last furious glare at the heavens, Loki turned and fled.