Long Live the King

Kona stood in the throne room of the palace, beside the throne but off the side, down a step or two. She looked completely worn, completely listless, completely lifeless as she stood there in her typical stance, her back straight, her hands clasped before her, in her gold and white dress, the same one she had worn during Thor's would-be coronation. But her entire demeanor was so downcast that it made the entire room quiet in heartbreak.

Thor and Jane approached the throne together, Thor having learned from his past mistake of leaving Jane on Earth to go elsewhere. No, this time he had kept her beside him, the two of them looking at each other before they looked at Odin, sitting on the throne, leaning to one side, almost sagging with grief they would assume. Thor looked at Kona, seeing the pale girl, the one who usually smiled serenely, regally…her mouth in a frown, her eyes down and heavy with grief.

"Kona," he began, "I am so sorry. I cannot begin to find the words to express my grief at the loss of my brother, and I know your pain must be double the amount to have lost someone that you loved so truly and deeply in your heart."

Kona lifted her head at that, looking down at Thor and he could see tears in her unseeing eyes. She looked so…resigned, like she had just…given herself over to the pain and he knew she had. He had spoken with Sif when he and Jane had arrived back. It had been…truly a song worthy battle, one that others would tell tales of for ages to come. But yet he hadn't been able to bring himself to find pride in it. Loki was dead, he'd died trying to save Asgard, to help HIM save Jane. He had gone after Malokith afterwards, tracked him to Earth from a vision Jane had seen when the Aether was extracted from her. They'd used the convergence to get there, had developed a plan with Darcy and Selvig and another man, Ian. It had taken all he had to battle Malokith, to stop his forces, to thwart his plan. He'd fought the man across the Nine Realms due to the convergence, but had finally managed to best the creature, destroy him for good.

And the battle had forced him to realize something, something he needed to confront both Kona and Odin about.

"I want to offer my deepest apologies," Thor continued to speak to her, Jane silent, knowing this was something Thor had to do on his own, "I have wronged you…so many times in the past. I have harmed you in ways I could never make up for. I know that now. No apology I can give will be able to restore what you have lost because of me. You…" his voice cracked a bit as Jane looked at him, confused as to what he was talking about, not sure what he could have possibly done to the girl that as so bad he felt that he would never make up for it.

"I blinded you as a child," he began, Jane's eyes widening as she looked at Thor, shocked at that admission.

She glanced between him and Kona and…it made sense now. Why Kona was so wary around Thor, why she had been so angry upon meeting him on Earth but also afraid. Why she hadn't wanted to be near him. She knew that Thor had to have been a child at the time as well, that it was likely an accident but…she knew the sort of man Thor had been before coming to Earth, and she could imagine the sort of child he'd been. The fact that…even as a child he'd possessed the brute force needed to blind a little girl…even as an accident, it…it was alarming to know, to know this man who had grown to be such a great man…that he'd been that terrible as a child. She could only count it lucky that Thor had matured since then, that he'd become the man he was today.

"And then I banished you as an adult, without hearing the truth of what had happened, of all that you and Loki had done for me…"

"Thor…" Jane cut in softly, giving him a questioning look, the blinding…the blinding, as terrible as it was to say, she could handle, he was a child, it was likely a game gone wrong, he clearly felt terrible for it, but…Loki? The man had tried to kill him AND nearly destroyed New York! And here Thor was, speaking of him as though praisingly? She understood that Loki was his brother, that his brother had just died but…no one could be put that high on a pedestal after having committed such crimes that quickly.

"Jane," Thor turned to her, pausing in his apology to Kona, feeling the need to defend Loki, to explain the truth to Jane, knowing that Kona would want that first, she'd want everyone to know how much Loki had truly done for Asgard, "Loki and Kona…they had cause to believe my coronation, my reign, occurring when it did would lead to Asgard's ruin, they did what was necessary to stop it…"

"Having you banished to Earth was necessary?" Jane frowned.

"That was not their doing," Thor explained, "I nearly started a war with Jotunheim with my rash behavior, thinking as a warrior and not a king. I was banished for that reason alone, Loki and Kona had no part in that but they did use the banishment to help me," he saw her confusion on her face at how banishment had helped, "They saw me starting to grow on Earth, in ways I wouldn't in Asgard. They tore apart my arrogance in leading me to believe father had died," Jane nodded, remembering the sudden change in him, as though he realized he was no better than anyone else on Earth, as though he should start looking at it as his home and be respectful, "They sent the Destroyer to distract me, to destroy but NOT to kill…" Jane blinked at that, realizing…no one had actually DIED in that attack, but a few stores and people's livelihoods had been damaged, "It was meant to keep me on Earth so that they could lure the Frost Giants to Asgard, lead them to attack…so that they would have cause to attack in defense. They stopped the Jotun king, but I…I acted rashly. I acted solely on the word of Sif and the Warriors Three and their interpretation of what had happened. I banished Kona for a crime that wasn't a crime, and lost Loki because of it."

"But…the Destroyer KILLED you," Jane reminded him.

"Only so that I might regain my immortality through death," Thor sighed.

"That doesn't explain New York," Jane shook her head, "You can't expect me to believe that Loki didn't nearly destroy it!"

Thor swallowed hard, seeing Kona flinch at Jane's shouting about Loki, and put his hands on her shoulders to quiet the human, "You recall that Selvig was controlled by the Tesseract."

"Yeah," Jane nodded, "He said it…" her eyes widened, "You're not telling me LOKI was controlled by it as well."

"I am," Thor nodded, taking a breath, "And not just that Jane, he was…he was tortured, by the Chitauri, manipulated by them to do as they commanded, to trust them. They altered his memories, warped his mind…it…it wasn't till Kona broke the connection to the Tesseract that he was freed," he looked at Jane, seeing her shocked by that, understanding that expression all too well, it was his own expression when he realized all he thought he knew of his brother had been wrong, "He came willingly back to Asgard, he stayed in his cell in prison when he could have easily escaped so as to prove his innocence…Kona testified on his behalf, honor bound to explain the truth," he looked down, "All Loki has ever done was protect Asgard and its people…WE were the ones who betrayed him."

"Oh my God," Jane breathed, blinking rapidly as she tried to process all that.

Thor nodded, seeing that Jane was likely going to be silent a while longer and turned back to Kona, the woman standing there with her gaze directed at him, waiting, "I took your sight," he picked up, "I took your home and your memories…and now I have taken your love from you in my quest to try and keep my own love safe. And I am truly and deeply sorry for all of it Kona, every single wrong I have ever done you starting with how I blinded you."

He looked at her a long while, waiting to see if she would accept, but she was silent, so he continued, "I wish to offer you peace. Come with me and Jane back to Earth," he glanced at Odin seeing him stiffen at that, frown as he announced his plans, "Asgard holds too many painful memories for all of us. If you so wish, there is a place for you on Earth with us. Please will you consider it?" he fell silent once more, waiting for her response this time.

Kona looked at him for a long while, before slowly making her way down the steps towards him. She moved till she was standing right before him, looking directly into his eyes despite not being able to see them, just…standing there…

Before a loud crack resounded across the hall as she slapped him, hard, across the face.

Her expression darkened into one of anger, "How dare you?" she said, her voice shaking as she tried to contain herself, tried to keep from lunging at him and strangling the life out of the son of Odin.

"Thor!" Jane gasped, moving to put her hand on his cheek to check if he was ok, momentarily forgetting she herself had slapped him twice before, "Are you alright?"

Thor nodded, reaching up to take her hand from his face, holding it, "It is alright Jane," he told her, before turning to face Kona, "I deserve far worse for the wrongs I have done against you Kona," he swallowed, "I assume your answer is no?"

Kona shook her head at him, "This is all your fault Thor. Everything is your fault. Everything I have ever suffered in my entire life has always been at your hands. What would possess you to think I would ever want to go anywhere with you? You who has taken my sight from me, you who has taken my home, my memories, the only person I have ever loved. And now you stand here and you ask me if I will go with you? If I will leave the only home I have ever known, the only home I have left, to return to the realm I was first banished to? To go to that realm with not only my banishser but the man who has taken everything from me? Every hope I have ever had for the future is now destroyed, because of you."

She shook her head, tears starting to fall from her eyes as she glared at him, "No, Thor. I will NOT go to Earth with you. Everything Loki and I did from the moment of your coronation up to now has always been done with the hope that, in the end, you would prove yourself a worthy King, that you would be the one to rule Asgard justly and wisely. We risked everything for that belief, for having that faith in you, and we lost everything. And now…Loki has lost his life because of you," she nearly spat the last word, disgusted, tired, heartbroken, just…angry, angry at him, angry at herself for not having looked into Loki's future, angry at everything, "And do you know what Thor?" she let out a bitter laugh, "It was not worth it, in the end…it wasn't worth it. YOU are not worth it."

Thor swallowed hard, feeling actual tears in his eyes at that. He had finally apologized to her for blinding her as a child, he had finally and truly and sincerely apologized for the only thing she had ever wanted an apology for…and now he realized he had waited too long, that he had harmed her even greater than blinding her in failing to be able to protect Loki. He had failed to protect his brother, he had caused her to lose the only person who had loved her the way she deserved to be loved, the way she loved Loki.

"I understand your grief," he began, Odin watching on silently as all this happened, "I cannot begin to imagine…"

But Kona cut him off, "This is not grief, Thor, this is the truth. No I will not go with you because all that ever comes of trusting you is more loss, more pain, and more devastation and I…" her expression crumbled, "I…I can't do it anymore," her voice broke, "I cannot handle any more."

And with that, she turned on her heel to walk back towards the steps of the throne, heading up them towards the chair, but moving past it, towards one of the doors in the back, just…needing to get away from him, needing to escape him.

"Kona," Odin called, banging Gungnir on the ground as he stood from his throne, forcing her to pause at the door, one hand on it, "You shall wait for me to join you," he commanded her lightly, "There are matters that must be discussed."

Kona swallowed hard, not wanting to agree, not wanting anything to do with Odin either, but…he WAS the king. So she gave him a brief nod and left the room, the door slamming shut behind her. She could only hope that, whatever Odin had to say to her, perhaps he would allow her to be free. Perhaps he would finally allow her to leave this accursed place and go to any of the other Realms. Thor was right about only one thing…she couldn't bear to stay in Asgard anymore, not with Loki's death a constant reminder in every single nook and cranny and hall and object in the palace. And, for the first time, she honestly wished she could forget the events that had just happened. She wished that she could forget this life, something she had never thought she could possibly want before.

But where else could she go? Not to Jotunheim, it truly was too cold and she knew, every time she felt that bitter chill she'd be reminded of Loki and how she'd remarked jokingly they could go anywhere in the Nine Realms but Jotunheim, because it was too cold. The Realm would also only serve to remind her of Loki as well, as it was the home of the Frost Giants. She could no longer go to Earth, not just because it too held horrible memories for her but…it meant the place where Thor and Jane were going to be and she did not want to be anywhere near them.

Odin waited till the door had shut before he looked down at his son with his one good eye, "You truly mean to leave Asgard?" he frowned at his son, "All for this…human?" he glanced at Jane.

Thor nodded, "Yes father," he swallowed, "Losing Loki, losing mother, it has reminded me that there are more important things in life. Love being one of them," he glanced at Jane and took her hand before facing his father again, "Love being the most important thing. I see what this has done to Kona and I cannot bear the thought of it happening to Jane and I. Please father, allow us to be on Earth to be happy until such a time comes that my help is desperately needed for me to return to Asgard."

Odin looked upon him for a long while, "You once said there would never be wiser king than me. You were wrong. The alignment has brought all the realms together. Every one of them saw you offer your life to save them. You are the only king all Nine Realms will agree to follow, the one they shall pledge their loyalty to. And yet you ask me to forsake that? To turn my back on such offers of peace?"

Thor shook his head, "I ask that you off me my life," he sighed, "Father…I cannot be King of Asgard. I will protect Asgard and all the Realms with my last and every breath, but I cannot do so from that chair," he nodded at the throne as Odin sat back upon it, breathing out a weary sigh and leaning heavily on the side of it, "Loki, for all his grave imbalance, understood rule as I know I never will. The brutality, the sacrifice…it changes you. I'd rather be a good man than a great King."

"Is this my son I hear or the woman he loves?" Odin glanced at Jane.

"When you speak I never hear Mother's voice," was all Thor could offer to counter, implying his words were his own, he sighed, "This is not for Jane, Father," though he squeezed her hand tightly, "Now forbid me to see her, force me to stay and return her…or say she can rule at my side. It changes nothing."

Odin let out a long breath, shaking his head, seeming so tired and worn, "One son who seemed to have wanted the throne too much, another who will not take it. Is this my legacy?" he looked at Thor.

Thor straightened, "Loki died with honor. I shall try to live the same. Is that not legacy enough?"

He felt slightly like he was betraying Loki in leaving, that the man had given up so much to make HIM a worthy King yet here he was, refusing the throne to go live on Earth. Did that mean Loki's sacrifices were in vain? No, he knew…one day he WOULD return to Asgard, but…right now he just couldn't bear it. So he stepped forward and offered up Mjolnir.

But Odin waved him off, "It belongs to you. If you are worthy of it."

"I shall try to be," Thor nodded, stepping back and lowering the weapon.

"I cannot give you my blessing," Odin warned, "Nor can I wish you good fortune."

"I know."

"If I were proud of the man my son had become…even that I could not say," Odin looked at him, the smallest hint of a smile on his face, "I would speak only from my heart…go my son."

Thor smiled, nodding his thanks, "Thank you father."

Odin nodded his welcome to Thor, watching as the man turned with Jane and strode out of the room, ready to begin his life on Earth. He waited till the man had disappeared before he stood. He walked to the back, where the door Kona had disappeared into was and stepped through. It was a small sort of balcony like room where you could look out the open spaces between pillars and out towards the open courtyards, like a sunroom of sorts. Kona was waiting there, leaning against a pillar, looking out at the courtyard though she couldn't see it, just…letting the sunlight fall on her face.

"It isn't fair," she spoke, her voice a whisper, just as he opened his own mouth to speak.

"What is not?" he asked, walking over to her.

"Thor's love is still alive," she breathed, her voice cracking, "And yet mine is dead," he saw her face scrunch in pain, "How is it possible that my heart keeps beating?" she shook her head, "It should be impossible."

"As painful as it is," Odin replied, "A broken heart continues to beat."

Kona shook her head, "It isn't that…my heart isn't broken."

He looked at her, a bit shocked at her statement, given how much she loved Loki or claimed to…how could she claim she was unaffected by his death when she was crying, "It is not?"

She shook her head, "My heart is missing," she murmured, "Loki always called me his heart…he failed to realize he was MY heart as well. My heart can't beat when it is not there…and I just…" Odin watched as she started shaking her head, starting to cry, "It's my fault, it is all MY fault."

"Kona…" he began gently, but she turned to rest her back on the pillar and slid to the ground, crying.

"I should have looked," she whispered, "I should have looked into Loki's future, I would have seen it, I could have warned him and he'd still be here."

Odin moved to kneel before her, "It would have been near impossible to see him, he was a Frost Giant…" he reminded her gently of the issue she'd always had with seeing them in her visions.

"He was LOKI," she snapped at him, "I would have seen him," she insisted, though they both knew the chances were unlikely, for he truly WAS a Frost Giant by blood even if he was Asgardian in heart and spirit, "I'd…I'd have found a way to see him…"

Odin reached out and took her hands, "Kona please do not fret…" he whispered, his voice starting to sound younger than it should have, "Your heart has not gone missing."

She looked down at their hands a moment, going silent, hearing his voice, it…it wasn't ODIN's voice, and his hands…they were NOT the hands of an old man, so she said something, only one thing that she could think of, "Your hands are cold," she breathed, repeating the words she had once said to Loki after he returned from Jotunheim when Thor had been banished.

'Odin' smiled, "I DID say one day I'd find a way to trick you…my heart."

She gripped his hands tightly feeling a shimmer of magic before her and…

"Loki?" she breathed, hardly daring to believe it but…she KNEW those hands, she had held them and been held by them enough times to know what they felt like. Loki had always been skilled at illusion, but one could only fool the mind for so long and only in two ways, visually and audibly. He may have made himself look like Odin and sound like Odin but…he FELT like Loki…

And now, though she couldn't see it, he appeared as Loki as well, the God of Tricks kneeling before her, holding her hands, "Hello my heart," he began, praying she wouldn't slap him like she had Thor…

And was quite relieved when, instead, she threw herself at him, her arms around him, her lips pressed firmly to his, though he could feel the tears on her face as he kissed her back, "I am so sorry Kona," he murmured as he pulled away, "I had no choice…"

"Why?" she asked him, lying in his arms, having tackled him onto his back, "Why did you do it? Why do it to ME?"

He swallowed hard, seeing the true sorrow and devastation in her unseeing eyes, "Odin would have kept me in Asgard, to make amends, he would have wanted me closer to make up for not holding him that close in his heart," he explained, "I…Asgard was no longer my home…YOU were my home. I still wanted to leave Kona, I wanted to leave with you. And the only way Odin would allow it, no matter Thor's promises to help us…was if he didn't know I'd left."

"You faked your death to…to be with me?" she breathed.

He nodded, reaching up to touch her cheek with on hand, wiping away her tears, as his other arm wound around her, keeping her secure as they laid on the ground, "If he thought me dead…he could no longer control me. He would have granted YOU a request to leave he would have owed you a debt and not felt quite as obligated to 'make it up' to you, and…we could have left together, gone anywhere."

"Then why are you parading around as Odin?" she shook her head.

Loki blinked at her, "Has…has your grief been so bad that you have not seen?" he whispered, startled to find she had mourned him THAT deeply that she had been so consumed in it that she missed what he was sure was a rather powerful vision.

"My entire world shattered around me," she remarked, "What do YOU think I suffered Mischief Maker?"

He felt himself smile at her name, seeing it as a sign that she was listening to what he was saying, though his smile was sad, his world had shattered when she'd been banished, but he knew thinking someone dead as opposed to missing was worse than anything, "Father…I was giving my 'report' to him of…of how I'd fallen in battle, a rather accurate description really…"

"How?" she cut in.

"Kona," he shook his head, not wanting to say.

"I have imagined a thousand different ways, each worse than the last," she told him, "Please, Loki, give me a reprieve from the horrors of some of them."

He sighed, nodding, "I had stabbed a Dark Elf that had attacked Thor…it retaliated and swung at me, it slashed me or stabbed me…" he was being deliberately vague to try and help ease her horror, to make her think it was the least gruesome or harming version she'd imagined, "Whatever it was I…made it seem as though I had died, turn your skin blue, your eyes red, hold your breath and Thor didn't even check for a pulse."

"He always was a bit thick," Kona murmured, feeling her heart restart, feeling herself able to breathe again. She knew she should be cross he'd put her through that but…he was there, he was alive, and…he'd done it for HER, to be with her…

"I use the illusion of the soldier to come inform Odin, I…" he swallowed, stroking her cheek, brushing some hair behind her ear, "I was not expecting you to be in the throne room. I am SO sorry Kona but…you helped me, even unknowingly."

"How did I help?" she asked, "I had no knowledge of your plan."

"And THAT is how you helped," he said grimly, "Your reaction to the news…it left no doubt in anyone's mind that it 'wasn't a plan' and that I really had died. If you'd know…I doubt it would have been so raw," he pulled her in, holding her close, "You've no idea how much strength it took not to rush to you and gather you in my arms," he murmured in her ear.

"It matters not," she whispered, "I am in your arms right now."

He smiled, pulling back to look at her, to finish, "As I spoke to Odin…he…he was not well," he told her, "Mother's death, the threat of the Aether, Thor's own 'betrayal' and then…to add my death to it…he has fallen into Odinsleep once more. But Kona…" his voice grew soft, "I am not certain he will wake from this one, what has he to live for? When it happened, his wife was dead, his son dead, a son he had been unable to make amends with, his other son likely to die…I fear he may never awaken from this sleep."

Kona let out a breath at that, at what that could mean, "Is that why you imitated him?"

"I was hoping Thor would stay, that Thor would continue to be king, that I could draw him somewhere and pretend to fall into Odin sleep so he would not know. I couldn't let the guards know Odin had fallen into it, with no one here to claim the throne…I feared usurpation in Thor's absence."

"That was…very wise," she agreed, to think ahead. There WERE people with a claim to the throne beyond Thor and Loki, but none of them had been trained to be king, they were not ready to be king, and they would not be good kings.

"I hoped Thor would stay but…he is leaving with Jane and…I cannot order him to stay," he admitted, "I have been parted from the one I love before…I cannot see my brother endure the same."

Kona looked at him softly, "So you would give up your freedom, playing the role of Odin, being king on a throne you don't want…bearing the burden of ruling Asgard…so Thor might have some peace and happiness."

"Yes," he nodded, "He is my brother, my family. Father may yet awake and…I shall only stay up until he wakes or…" he trailed off, not wanting to say it. It would work that way, for Odin to wake up, he would resume his position as king, for Odin to die…there would be a body and Thor would be recalled then and ONLY then to rule Asgard…and by then he would be ready and realize his duty to his people, he could bring Jane with him as his queen…and speaking of queens…

"I believe I need a new name for you, my heart," he smiled at her, "At least till Thor returns."

"Why?" she looked at him, confused.

"If I am to be forced to be king, for however long, you would not just be my heart," he looked at her, "You would be…my queen."

She let out a breath, "But no one could know, if you are pretending to be Odin."

"I know," he nodded, taking her hand and placing it on his heart, "But I will know it here, and…to have you as my queen, Kona, to…to have you as my wife…" he smiled at her gasp, "I could endure and bear the burden of anything with you at my side."

Kona could do nothing else but lean in and kiss him, she could endure anything as long as Loki was with her. Neither knew how long they would be forced to remain in Asgard, but the kingdom needed a king…

And Loki had proven himself as worthy a king as Thor was.

To be continued...

A/N: There's no title for the next story just yet, because I try to base it on something happening in the story. I don't know what the next movie Loki will be in (IF there's another one) or what will be central around it. IF there is another Loki coming, this story will continue. If not, once it's officially announced, I'll change the TBC to 'The End' :)

I hope you enjoyed this series and all the little twists and turns :) I hope you liked the ending and Loki's reasons for doing what he did ;)

For anyone who's interested, I have a Thor/OC story planned to be posted in 2014, my tumblr (link on my profile) has a page for upcoming stories where I list the tentative dates and shows I'll be writing for. So far...2014 has a hopeful 38 new stories ;)

I just want to take a second to say thanks to you all :) To anyone who's read/reviewed/favorited/followed/anything the story. You guys mean the world to me and I'm so happy to know you're liking the series so far :) You guys are just the most amazing people ever :') I hope you all have a very happy holiday and a brilliant new year ^-^

Some notes on reviews...(I'll try to answer any questions in the next Loki story if there is one :))...

Lol, I'm glad I worried you about Loki }:) There was definitely a twist planned ;)

So far Loki's now in charge so Kona is safe, she won't be watched, she'll be freer than before :) But it'll all depend on how the next Loki movie goes if there is one :)

Lol, Loki's not killed off just yet ;)

Loki's back! Woo! :) Lol, you could try to send her to TH, but I think Loki would fight you for her ;) And no worries, I definitely get real life getting in the way :) I'm glad you're excited for the future stories :) I can't say off the top of my head about Thor and Kirk, but I have a post on my 'Upcoming Stories' page of my tumblr with the tentative dates for all Movie/show stories for 2014 ;) Sheldon I know is around August, but Reid seems like it'll be 2015 :)

Lol, nope, no evil Kona so far }:)

It's cool, I'm glad you liked the chapter :) I am a little mean to Angel, but I plan for Series 8 to be MUCH better ;)

Aww, I'm sorry I made you cry :( I hope this chapter cheered you up though ;)