*7/8/15 Note to new readers: I started this story 2 years ago. The past couple months I've been studying hard to improve my writing, but I don't have time to return and edit all the flaws (I hope to do so at some point).*

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or major plot points from the Marvel movies or comics. I plan to integrate ideas from both sources, but since I am changing some elements, I'm going to be labeling this story as AU. It takes place right after TDW ends.

Prologue - Old Tricks

A glimmer of gold rippled through the flowing layers of crimson upon his back—an anomaly so fleeting it vanished within the blink of an eye. Loki finally possessed the power that he had so fervently sought. The fact that he utilized mischief in order to usurp the throne felt befitting of his reputation. Reminiscing over his triumphs brought a slow, but calculated, smile to his thinly pressed lips. The morning Asgard sun illuminated a touch of madness in his eyes as it pierced through the vast throne room. Despite all he had achieved, something was amiss within him.

His satisfaction waned mere months after his clandestine rule began. Though he would deny it vehemently, the loss of his mother, Frigga, left him emotionally ragged. She was not your mother, he told himself bitterly, but a pang of guilt led to correction, it was you who was never her son. Not the son she deserved—nothing more than a monster, inside and out.

To rule the mighty realm before him had never been his true goal. Kingship meant nothing more to him than the reality of finally being equal to the brother he so envied. It was empty without the respect for which he so badly yearned. He knew he would never have those things, not from his adoptive family, not from the place of his youth. He had nothing left. The only person who ever espoused love for him met death, and he could not bear to dwell on that fact.

With memories of family, his thoughts shifted onto his sibling once more. Loki scoffed at the thought of Thor being on Midgard with his mortal love. Even now, from afar, his brother robbed him of victory. Loki would not let him win. Not again. He still had the chance at vengeance, and he would not relinquish it easily. Rising from the throne, his movements were swift and powerful like that of a predator in pursuit of prey.