To Loki it was the standard Hero/Villain thing; he came up with a [honestly laughable] plan to take over the world and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s merry band of superheroes tried to defeat him. Honestly he was just bored… Amora, Baron Zemo, Doctor Octopus and Blackpool were busy doing something or other they deemed worthy of villainy.
Loki thought they were playing Twister without him out of jealousy of his awesome limberness.
Honestly, the Avengers should be thanking him! He had successfully caught every single thug and drug dealer and turned them into action figures. They were currently entertaining children at a local park. It was not, all things considered, his best act of ‘villainy’ but it was entertaining, and Loki had a really soft spot for children.
To the Avengers… it was just another day with Loki causing trouble and, therefore, a good time as any to test the new technology Jane Foster had worked on along with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. It shouldn’t matter that what Loki had done had literally made the lives of every single cop in town better, they were still humans and they should have received a trial.
Tony had put on a token protest that Loki had actually done them all a favour. Steve had shot him down with a ‘they are humans! Even if they are the scum of society we can’t let him get away with this!’ Natasha and Clint just followed orders; Bruce had also put a token protest because their weapon was just not ready.
And Thor was not on earth, he had been called back to Asgard due to something or other none of the Avengers much cared about.
As soon as the Avengers had caught up with Loki, the Norse God had shooed the children away each with an armful of action figures before turning his full attention to the humans. Things quickly escalated from there, with Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye and the Black Widow keeping Loki occupied while Doctor Banner and Jane Foster got their weapon ready under the protective cover of Agent Coulson.
It went like any other of their little fights, with Loki yawning and taunting Iron man and Hawkeye that they were getting tediously predictable when a low rumble of thunder had all of them looking at the horizon, expecting Thor.
Someone else came from that direction though, a red haired little boy with startling green eyes – Hawkeye thought they were incredibly similar in colour to Loki’s – running in their direction. One moment they were fighting Loki, the next they had all been pushed away by an invisible force as Loki knelt down and opened his arms.
The little shout of ‘daddy!’ was drowned by a sudden gurgle as the controlled beam from the Avengers’ weapon was fired in Loki’s direction… with the little child right in the way.
The pained roar of ‘No!’ echoed through the battlefield as Loki ran to his child, caught him and was shot by the beam as well. The explosion of sound and dust that followed covered not only the park they were in but the neighbourhood around it as well, Tony gave a sigh of relief… maybe this time, this time for certain, they would get rid of Loki. The guilt he felt over the death of a child killed by his team he buried deep inside his mind.
The rumble of thunder got louder and louder and they knew they would have to talk to Thor about what had happened.
“It’s for the good of everyone living in this planet.” Coulson muttered and, looking up he could also see the guilt set on Clint and Steve, and the stubborn set on Coulson’s chin and the horrified look on Jane’s face.
Thor arrived accompanied by heavy rain and winds, quickly setting the dust and turning it to mud; he turned directly to Loki, who was holding his son tight. The horrible wounds were already closing, covering organs and nerve-ends and bare bone.
“Brother!” Thor whispered just as shocked and horrified.
“My baby,” Loki said in a hoarse voice, “Thor, the Valkyries if you’d please.”
“At once!” Thor shouted then shouted to the heavens lifting Mjolnir. In the explosion of lightning no one was quite sure what had happened, only that one moment Loki and the kid were there and the next moment they weren’t, feathers falling all around them.
Thor turned to them all, eyes blazing in righteous fury. “What happened?” He growled.
Loki saw Skuld descend from above, wings drawn in, mounting her wolf.
“Take him to the healers,” Loki whispered, even as he knew the time had undoubtedly come for his youngest.
“We were ordered to take you as well, Prince Loki.” The raven haired woman said with no regret on her voice, just the blunt facts.
“Then do so… I come willingly, as long as you take my child directly to the healers.”
“Then mount with me, my prince.” Skuld extended her hand, which Loki gratefully took and holstered himself on the wolf as well.
“Daddy it hurts.”
“I know my love, I know,” Loki whispered kissing the child’s temple and taking some of the pain on himself. His wounds opened again, baring muscle and bone. He ignored it in favour of his child, “we’re taking you to the healers and they’ll make you all better.” It was a horrible lie and both Loki and Skuld knew it.
“Okay,” his son whispered, closing his eyes. Loki bit his lip so he wouldn’t cry at the show of blatant trust in the face of one of his lies, for the first time in a long while Loki felt like weeping.
“Let me see if I managed to grasp all the facts.” Thor’s voice rumbled like distant thunder, the god pacing up and down on Stark’s living room. Once again he had trusted the wrong people it seemed, he seemed to never learn from his mistakes. “You three,” he pointed to Stark, Banner and the red eyed Foster, “designed a weapon that would annihilate any Aesir that presented a threat and you planned to use it on Loki of all people?!” He shouted, the lightning storm outside Stark Tower taking a turn for the worse.
“Thor,” Fury started, his one eyes staring as the god paced, “I know you are fond of your brother, but it was necessary.”
Thor snorted in blatant disgust.
“Thor, listen buddy-” Tony started, but he shut up the moment Thor turned to him. He held back an instinctive shiver as the cold blue eyes swept over him.
“Do not call me that, Stark, you have all lost the right to any form of friendship when you shot my nephew.”
“Thor,” Steve said, “it was an accident. The only one who was supposed to be caught was Loki himself!”
“Then you’re not a soldier,” Thor said, absolutely disgusted with the mortals, “there are no accidents when you’re a fighter. A soldier, a fighter, a knight knows what happens around him at all times, knows not to involve innocents in his brawls, knows to stop if it will endanger someone unrelated to the fight.” Thor recited the lesson from childhood, staring down at Steve.
“Then your brother has not learnt those lessons, Thor.” Fury said, even as Steve looked away from him.
“Ha! I know my brother, Director Fury, we might not get along now but I know him. I dare you to name one innocent killed directly or indirectly by Loki.”
All eyes turned to Coulson, questioning. But he just shook his head. “There were none,” he whispered.
“There were none,” Thor echoed, sneering at the mortals. “Loki is not only a trickster, Director,” he said the word in contempt, “Loki is also a warrior and has always, always given the advantage to those who were innocent because he knew you humans are slow to get out of the path of Chaos. And you repay him with a weapon that wouldn’t do anything to him in the first place, but when shot towards one of his children has disastrous consequences.” Thor shook his head, eager to get away from all of them, “Loki will come back and when he does you will get no help from me.”
Jane shook her head, grabbing Thor’s arm when he passed her by to leave the tower. “No… Thor you’ve got to understand, we didn’t know the boy would be there!” she cried, eyes bright with tears.
“You’re not a warrior Jane Foster, you’re a scientist. You should have done a bit more research” he sneers, “before you tried to kill a Frost Giant with a weapon meant for Aesir.” Then he gets his arm out of her clutches and leaves the Tower.
Only the bad weather stopping alerted them that Thor had left the premises.
When they arrived in Asgard Loki blatantly sneered at the spears and swords pointed at him, pointedly turning his back to them and looking at Skuld, handing her his precious burden.
“Take care of Ljus, Skuld. Take him to the healers at once!”
The Valkyrie nodded, carefully taking the child and making her wolf run past everyone in the direction of the healing wing.
Loki then turned to the crowd, giving them a sardonic smile, “gentlemen, lady,” he nodded mockingly to Sif, “take me to Odin then.”
With spears still pointed at him and swords ready for attack the Aesir marched him Odin’s golden hall.
“Loki,” the Allfather said.
“Allfather,” Loki nodded.
“Skuld told me that you let her bring you here, why?”
Loki gritted his teeth, Odin knew why, Huginn and Munnin had already told him why and yet he asked. Loki’s nostrils flared as he took a deep breath to calm himself. “Because Ljus was mortally wounded by Thor’s friends,” he swallowed when the murmurs started, “they have created a weapon capable of wounding the Aesir and they fired it just when Ljus entered the battlefield. And now I need the healing wing.”
Loki continued to stare at Odin as cries of ‘barbarians’ and ‘savages’ filled the hall, thinking about the little boy he had left in Skuld’s capable hands.
“Very well, see to your son, Loki. We shall talk later, my son.”
Those last words were something he wasn’t expecting. He looked at Odin in surprise before nodding and hurrying from the hall, he took a left turn, stepping through space until he was at the Healing Wing, gently knocking on the door and stepping inside before anyone could have told him no.
“Prince Loki!” One of the healers said, hand going straight to their heart.
“My boy, where is he?”
“Loki,” his wife, Sigyn, called before the healers could do anything.
“Where is he?”
“Over here, Ljus is pretty weak, but he’s not in pain anymore.” She said just before Loki opened the curtain, only to see his little boy pale and smiling at him.
“Daddy!” The five year old called, lifting up his arms and Loki carefully picked him up, closing his eyes as he saw the sheet covered in blood. “I missed you while you were in Midgard, did you bring any presents?”
“I did, love, I did…” and he took one action figure from his pocket, dangling the human-turned-toy in front of Ljus. Watching his child play, he beckoned Sigyn near and had his wife hugging their child from behind. “There’s nothing they can do?”
“Daddy? I’m tired.” The child complained, laying on Loki’s shoulder. Sigyn choked back a sob as Loki rubbed Ljus’ shoulder.
“Then sleep… it’s okay. Mummy and Daddy are here.”
Ljus died five minutes later in his parents’ arms, with his grandparents standing by the door along with his siblings, his uncle Balder by the doors along with Thor.
Another voice broke their silence, sitting at the edge of the bed near him. “Dad?” It was the voice of his daughter. “I’ll take care of him, all right?” Her human hand touched the red curly hair, twirling one of the curls around her fingers.
“Thank you,” Loki whispered then buried his nose on Ljus’ hair and inhaling the scent of his child. “Odin,” he called, breathing deeply so he wouldn’t choke on his words, “do whatever you have to, just let me avenge my boy.”