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Loki’s not really a god. Or perhaps he’s not really an Aes. Or both, although they’re different things. God is a job description; do they call on you? Do you answer? Yes and yes. If they’re desperate, if he’s bored, although he doesn’t see it as a duty the way Thor does. The lowest have always loved him best, not because he has any special regard for them but because calling on someone who might turn your world upside-down seems a better prospect to those on the bottom.

Aes is an identity; are you one of us? Do you belong here? Yes and no. He’s one of them, by blood and oaths that mean no less than than a marriage bond would. They call him an Aes, never a Jotun because that would be an insult, to imply that he’s the species he was born as. Thor calls him ‘vaettr’ when he’s angry which means only wight, being, a designation as vague as Loki’s identity. But he doesn’t belong. Not with his changeable gender, which would hardly be noticed among Jotuns except as a personal choice, and not with his inability to distinguish right and wrong, the clumsiness of his attempts at helping. Among Jotuns it wouldn’t matter if his ploys were underhanded so long as they worked.

So is he a Jotun then? Not if the Jotuns have anything to say about it. Too small, too soft, too scared, too fickle. The ones in Jotunheim are mostly rock and ice, solid and unforgiving as they wear away anything weaker than they are. He tried to go to Muspellheim once but the Jotuns there were fire kindled of fire, volcanic in their intensity, and had little time for a misplaced fire Jotun kindled amid forests and ice. Water Jotuns and storm Jotuns are more changeable but often crueller; Gierrod had been a water Jotun, Thiazzi and his own father storm Jotuns. Thor has his own storm aspects, elemental tendencies from his Jotun mother’s side, but he is the other face of the storm and protective in his violence. What does it say that Loki prefers him over Jotuns? The same thing, perhaps, as that Asgard is the place he’s come closest to being accepted.

There are advantages, though, to not being only one thing. He can talk to a Jotun casually where other Aesir would be turned away or attacked and has both gathered information that way and distracted them from impending tricks. He can get away with things in Asgard that others would be condemned more harshly for, his troublesome nature tends to get put down to his Jotun heritage and treated as unavoidable. As if all of Asgard didn’t have Jotun blood.

No, Loki might not quite be anything, but he won’t apologise for being himself. And he’ll take advantage of other people’s perceptions for as long as they’ll let him.