A/N: 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 small elements, I am 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 that it had already vanished within the blink of an eye. Loki finally possessed the power that he had been so fervently seeking. The fact that he utilized mischief in order to usurp the throne was most befitting of his reputation. Reminiscing over his glorious triumphs brought a slow, but calculated, smile to his thinly pressed lips. A touch of madness in his eyes was illuminated by the morning Asgard sun, which pierced through the vast throne room. Yet something was amiss within him.

What troubled the former prince was how his satisfaction started to wane mere months after his clandestine rule began. Though he would deny it vehemently, the loss of his mother, Frigga, had left him more emotionally ragged than he would have imagined. 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. Now 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 was now dead, 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 was not going to let him win. Not again. He still had the chance at vengeance, and he did not plan to relinquish it easily. Rising from the throne, his movements were swift and powerful like that of a predator now in pursuit of prey.