Loki got ready slowly, ensuring that he looked just right. After all, it wasn't every day that his brother would become king. He was in a rather somber mood indeed as he pulled the pieces of his armor on- by hand instead of magic this time. He was going to ruin the whole thing for his brother, whom he loved dearly.

He had to.

Thor wasn't ready; Loki knew he wasn't. He was arrogant, reckless, too quick to violence. As much as Loki disagreed with his father on almost every count, Thor still had much to learn from him. However, since Odin had decided that the coronation would take place anyway, Loki had assumed the weighty responsibility of delaying it.

It would enrage Thor to no end. And in his fury, he would he susceptible to Loki's subtle suggestion of how utterly impossible it would be to go after the Frost Giants that he'd have secretly let in. Thus acting like the mindless warrior he could be sometimes, Thor would show the All-Father that he wasn't ready and probably not even reach the frozen rock of a realm before Heimdall pulled them back. The plan was perfect. No one would get hurt. Well. A few Jotuns perhaps, but they were monsters anyway, not of consequence.

Before the ceremony itself, Loki clapped a hand on his brother's shoulder, smiling to hide the fact that he truly did regret what he was about to do.

"How do I look?" Thor asked, a hint of rare nervousness in his voice.

Loki answered with complete honesty, and a trace of sadness for what he had to do. "Like a king."

The Thunderer left to his adoring crowds, and Loki knelt to perform the difficult magic that would bring the beasts into the weapons vault. It was a matter of reaching into one realm and pulling what he grasped into his own world, difficult for even the most proficient with seidr. He closed his eyes in concentration when a loud pop from the fireplace startled him enough that he fell sideways, through the portal he'd half-created into Norns-know-where. As he fell, he closed his eyes, dreading where- and when- he would land.


Jane tapped her pencil on her notebook, sighing. Work was not going to get done today, she could feel it. Mostly ignoring the groans of the large and extremely clunky homemade computer she'd named Barry during a seriously long and particularly lonely night, Jane got up from the desk and went for a walk.

Thor had been gone almost a year, but just a few days ago, she'd seen him on TV. In New York of all places, he'd been fighting off an alien invasion which had apparently been led by his little brother Loki. But he hadn't bothered to stop and say hi. Hadn't bothered to see her, even for a minute. She'd waited and cried and searched for him for a long time. And frankly, she wasn't going to wait any more.

She wasn't sure if he had ever cared. She wasn't sure if she really had loved him, or just the idea. She wasn't sure of anything lately. Her purple rainboots turned a corner, following a familiar path. In the little town of Puente Antiguo, there weren't many places to go, but the fresh air of the desert town, Jane found, did wonders to help clear the mind. Usually.

She was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't realize there was someone stopped on the sidewalk in front of her until she hit them dead-on, falling onto the ground, notebook flying out of her arms.

"Ow! Oh- jeez! I'm so sorry," she apologized, gathering her notebook up.

The man extended a gracious hand to help her up.

"That's quite alright," he said politely. "Are you hurt?"

Jane brushed herself off. "Oh, no, I'm f-" She stopped, jaw dropping as her eyes made their way up to the man's face.

Loki. In full armor and everything, standing before her. Loki.

Her eyes widened and she took a stumbling step back, much to his obvious surprise.

"I'm sorry," he began in a gentle voice, one that might be used to approach a frightened animal, "Have we met?" Loki glanced at her, and around the deserted square, eyes skimming across the fronts of stores. He ran a hand in front of his body, and with a greenish-gold shimmer, the armor and helm faded into a pair of dark jeans and a forest green collared shirt. "I am Loki Odinson of Asgard," he introduced himself.

Jane gaped wordlessly for a long moment. So many alarm bells were going off in her head. Firstly, wasn't he supposed to be in jail right now? Not parading the streets of the planet he'd attempted to take over? And 'Odinson'? Bruce Banner hadn't found out much about the trickster that he could tell his friend, but what Thor had said was that Loki's whole rage was basically over the fact that he was not, in fact, a son of Odin. Either this was a poorly planned trick…no, that wasn't something Loki would do. His plans were much more subtle.

The second thing that came to her mind was some form of amnesia. Had he forgotten who he was? But that wouldn't explain why he was out of jail or whatever punishment Asgard had concocted for him. Jane stared at him openly for a few more moments. Facts. He's not acting hostile right now. He doesn't know who he is. Or me. I think.

"I'm sorry," she apologized, "I…thought I recognized you. I thought you were someone…else," she lied. "I'm Jane Foster…of Midgard," she added, feeling a bit strange to introduce herself as such.

Loki nodded, and it was clear that he thought her a bit dim, which already bothered Jane.

"I know your brother," she added, gauging his expression for a reaction.

He smiled widely at first, although an expression of mock tragedy took over quickly.

"Do you? What a pity, Thor always gets to the pretty ones first," he said smiling down at her. "He's never spoken to me about you before…perhaps he wanted to keep you a secret." He added with a wink.

"Oh, I, um…didn't spend very much time with him," Jane clarified, scuffing the bottom of the rubber boot on the sidewalk.

Loki's features shifted into a more genuine expression, a touch of sympathy in them.

"Many women know Thor briefly," he said. "He tends to be rather fickle…I'm sorry if he has hurt you, Jane Foster, I am sure that was not his intention."

"It's fine. I'm over it. I have work to do." She shrugged dismissively although she was sure it was painfully obvious that she still cared a little.

His cautious nod made it clear that he saw through the words, but the smile on his lips let her know he was not going to press the issue, for which she was thankful. "What kind of work?" he asked curiously, still studying her with those alarmingly green eyes.

"Oh. I'm an astrophysicist," she explained. "I study the movements of planets and stars…I'm actually trying to figure out how the Bïfrost works," she added, excitement brightening her eyes as it always did when she spoke about her work. Jane hefted the notebook in her hands, flipping a few pages of equations for him to see.

Loki studied the lines of numbers with interest, pausing on a few in particular before looking into her eyes. "You-" he chuckled incredulously. "You're actually very close," he said, delightedly surprised.

Jane beamed up at him for a moment before remembering who he was. Loki. Bad guy. She shut the book again, tucking it back under her arm.

"I would very much like to spend more time with you, Jane," Loki said, cocking his head to the side slightly. "But I'm afraid I will have to come back later- I have a rather important engagement today. Now, actually."

Jane raised an eyebrow. "And what's that?"

Loki sighed, running a hand through his black hair. "My brother's coronation."

She stood in shock, but he was already back in his own mind, thinking too much to notice. He bent and pressed a kiss to her knuckles.

"If you'll allow it, I'll come visit you again," he said, closing his eyes. Magic blurred his edges, but did nothing more. He stood, sweet smile gone, glancing at his palms, the sky, the ground and breathing quickly. And nothing happened.

"You okay there?" Jane asked tentatively.

"My-" he gasped, "my magic, it's-" Loki snapped, a green flame appearing in his palm that shifted into a rabbit, a girl, and back to a flame before disappearing. His eyes were frightened and mournful when they met Jane's again. "My power is gone," he murmured.