Chapter 1: The Very Worst Thing
Odin checks the date twice, packs his bags checks out of the motel and then checks the date again. It hasn’t changed. It’s Monday. He has five days.
Friday is the day he’s been dreading for twenty-one years. On Friday he loses everything.
There’s a photo taped to his dashboard, his sons on Baldur’s, his youngest, eighteenth birthday. Only last month. Thor, huge and blond has his arms around his dark haired brothers, Loki and the birthday boy. He put it there to cover the spot where Thor and Loki clumsily carved their names with his hunting knife.
He steps out of the car and leans on the hood and takes a steadying breath. He’s been searching for a way out of this half his life.
He’s jolted out of his thoughts by the sound of approaching footsteps; he doesn’t need to turn to see who it is. “Laufey.”
The demon grins, eyes flashing red briefly. “Odin,” He greets. “I trust you have prepared yourself?”
Odin closes his eyes wearily, “No one could prepare for what’s about to happen.” He says heavily as the demon draws closer.
“You’ve had long enough to prepare, old friend,” Laufey’s breath is cold and when he touches Odin’s shoulder his shirt crackles as frost spreads across it. “You have something of mine and I should like to get it back.”
Odin shudders, “You know as well as I do how this will end, Laufey.” He says. It’s the only thing he’s been able to hold on to; Laufey will lose even more than him.
The demon chuckles and his hand drops from Odin’s shoulder. “Oh, but Odin, you know I’ve nothing left to lose. I am already dead and in hell after all.”
By the time Odin turns around the demon has vanished. He takes a deep breath and gets back in to his car to start the ten hour drive to New Mexico.
It should take longer but he knows it won’t. He’ll reach Erik’s research lab by midnight, his boys will already be there.
“Dammit, Thor!” Loki whispers as his brother disappears in to the crumbling building. Beside him Darcy shifts.
“Should we, like, do something? I mean there could be like twenty vampires in there,” she hisses. Loki rolls his eyes. It’s not that he doesn’t like Darcy its well, she’s a little annoying when she’s not making eyes at Baldur. Speaking of Baldur...
Loki taps Darcy on the shoulder, “Follow me.”
Baldur and Jane are sneaking round the back and Loki and Darcy catch up with them easily, “Loki, what?” Baldur frowns.
“Thor went in on his own,” Darcy says loudly.
Jane gasps and Baldur says, “We have to go in after him, he’ll kill himself.”
Loki nods in agreement, “Okay, here’s what we do...”
Two hours and twelve dead vampires later they’re back at Erik’s lab celebrating. Thor, as usual, almost got himself killed trying to save the day single-handedly; Baldur was able to rescue him with Loki’s plan and Darcy filmed it all on her brand new mobile phone (Jane managed to delete it while Baldur kept Darcy distracted) It’s how it’s always been – since they were kids, Thor the reckless one, Loki who comes up the plan, Baldur who usually rescues Thor, Jane and Darcy aren’t usually with them but since they were in town they let them tag along. Loki doesn’t really mind them that much, Jane’s clever and serious and once she and Thor stopped dancing around each other and just admitted it to each other Loki and her got on well. And Darcy, well, she’s Darcy, crazy, inappropriate, kick-ass Darcy. She’s like the little sister Loki’s never wanted nor would wish on anyone.
Loki’s currently sprawled out on a table, head lolling off the edge. He’s not quite sure how he got here or why but he doesn’t trust himself to move since the rooms pirouetting around him and he can still feel the warm burn of whatever the hell Baldur had given him in his stomach. Baldur and Darcy had disappeared hours ago and Loki really does not want to know where.
Thor and Jane are still in the sitting room though, laid out on the couch together; Jane on Thor’s chest. Loki shouldn’t be watching but there’s this thing in him that won’t let him look away. It’s not like they’re doing more than kissing but still.
He watches Jane trail a hand up Thor’s arm, watches his brother wind a hand through Jane’s long hair. He pretends that feeling in his gut isn’t jealousy and closes his eyes, turning his head away.
There’s something wrong with him. He knows it the same way he knows that he’d do anything for his brothers, the way he knows the sun will rise and set each day, the way he knows that he and Baldur and Thor will make a difference someday. There’s something inside him though, something the burns and niggles and scratches at the back of his mind in quiet moments like this.
When he opens his eyes Jane has unbuttoned Thor’s shirt and Loki bites his lip. Gods, he’s fucked up. Thankfully he’s saved from more awkwardness by Erik knocking loudly on the door, “Thor, Loki, your father is here!” he calls.
Thor breaks in to an ear splitting grin, “Better not keep him waiting.” He says.
Jane kisses him on the cheek, “To be continued.” She whispers.
Loki closes his eyes again flushing, pretending to have dozed off. It must have worked because Thor shakes him gently (contrary to popular belief he can be gentle if he wants), “Wake up, Loki. Father’s here.”
Loki pretends to blink blearily and lets Thor drag him out of the room ignoring the sudden warmth that spreads through his body at his brother’s touch (wrong, wrong, so wrong)
When they get downstairs Baldur’s already there, Darcy leaning against him. Their father’s standing in front of him, they haven’t seen him for months and Loki’s a little shocked at how much older his father looks. Jane skips ahead and Odin kisses her on the cheek and pats her arm fondly and when they reach him he embraces them both but Loki can tell his heart isn’t really in it. There’s something troubling him, if Loki trusted himself he’d try to find out what was wrong but his brains still fogged with alcohol so when Odin suggests they get to bed he doesn’t argue.
He’s sharing a room with Thor and Baldur, they drew straws for the two beds and Thor ends up on the floor. Erik locks them in, Jane and Darcy may not be his daughters but he raised them both and although he says he only locks the doors ‘in case’ they all know the real reason. Thor grumbles about it and Baldur laughs at him and suggests he whisk Jane off to the caravan out back like he did and it’s at this point the Loki groans and begs them to shut up. After much teasing they do and Loki says; “Do you think Dad seemed a little off today?”
Baldur rolls over to face him, “Off how, Lok?”
“I dunno, just off. Like there was something bothering him. I mean he was in a bit of a hurry to get us to leave.”
“Maybe he just wanted to catch up with Erik,” Thor grumbles sleepily from the floor. “It’s probably nothing, Loki.”
Baldur nods, “Yeah, he probably had a long drive, don’t worry.”
“I wasn’t worried,” Loki mutters, “I just-” but he’s too tired to argue. Whatever it is he’ll find out in the morning.
“Do you ever regret it?” Odin asks as Erik pours him another vodka, Erik glances up at him.
“Quitting hunting to look after Jane, and then Darcy, even though they weren’t yours.”
Erik smiles softly, “I don’t think I ever could,” he says quietly. “A lot safer, right? Besides, I would have never gotten all my research done and where would we be without some of that stuff?”
Odin nods and takes a gulp of the drink. It’s bitingly cold and it burns his throat. When he puts down the empty glass he looks up to find Erik watching him. “You know Friday is-”
“Of course I know,” Odin snaps, then he sighs. “Sorry, Erik.”
“Its okay, Odin. What are you going to do? What are you going to tell them?”
Odin shakes his head and reaches for the bottle.
“Do you regret it?” Erik asks. “What you did...If you could go back in time and undo it all, would you?”
Odin downs the glass he’s just poured for himself and thinks about the photo taped to his dashboard, the clumsily carved names underneath it. “No,” he says eventually. “I never could.” He smiles softly.
Erik nods and smiles back at him, “I’m sure whatever happens it will turn out okay in the end, my friend. You deserve it.”
“Thank you, I do to.” Odin says even though he knows it won’t.
“You can sleep in Frigg’s old room,” Erik says, pushing the spare set of keys towards him. Odin nods and helps Erik clear away the bottles and glasses.
On his way up he unlocks the door to his sons room and peers in. They’re sleeping, they’re grown, Thor’s twenty-four, Loki twenty-one, Baldur eighteen, but in moments like these he marvels at how young they really are. When he closes his eyes he can still feel Thor’s chubby toddler face, hear Loki’s first words, see Baldur’s first faltering steps.
Part of him wants to run away and hope that without him there it’ll go differently, but he can’t risk it. He might lose them all and that, he knows, would be the very worst thing to happen and not just for him.
When he closes the door there are tears in his eyes, tomorrow they’ll get a call from Nick Fury, an old hunting friend of Frigg’s. Tomorrow they’ll start their journey to the worst day of Odin’s life.
So it's been forever (if anyone's been waiting on this then I'm so sorry!) but yeah, here's chapter two. Enjoy.
Loki wakes up first.
He yawns and stretches in the weak sunlight pouring through the hideous yellow curtains that Erik refuses to change. His brother’s are snoring and Thor’s drooling slightly and he’s twisted in the blankets so when Loki rolls over and looks down all he sees is his brother’s stupidly muscular chest. Loki can’t help but gaze at it for a few minutes. He knows the story behind all of his brother’s scars; there’s the soft outlines of a bullet wound from that werewolf (who also happened to be a cop) last year, the gash from that wendigo’s claws, he knows them all by heart. (He also knows how they feel pressed up against him and-)
Loki shakes himself and heads in to the bathroom to splash cold water on his face. He tells himself it’s to wake himself up but he knows it’s not (Thor’s skin fever hot-) Sometimes he wonders if Thor remembers. He probably didn’t since the morning after he had woken up, looked at Loki groggily and asked what happened to the incubus they’d been hunting. Loki chuckles quietly at the memory, it was just symbolic of everything that had was wrong in his life and of course, it had happened because of a demon.
That’s thing about Loki’s life (well, probably every hunter’s life) it all begins with demons. It was a demon that made his brother fuck him and forget about it when they were 19 and 16; a demon who made him build this wall around himself, a demon that killed his mother.
He remembers that night as vividly as the incubus incident. He remembers the chill of the flames that burnt cold (people always tell him that he must remember it wrong because flames burn hotanything each other). Loki finds a box of poptarts amongst Erik’s extensive (mostly empty) cupboards and as soon as they’re done he grabs a plate and leaves the kitchen (he pretends not to hear Jane’s sigh of relief)
It’s only seven am and Loki immediately regrets not bringing a jacket as the cool morning air meets his bare arms. He stumbles over to their car and looks around for his father’s caddy; he and Thor drive a ’65 Mustang and Loki likes it but Odin’s Caddy is far cooler. When he doesn’t find he frowns slightly, it’s not unusually for his dad to speed off without telling anyone and it’s definitely not unusual for him to leave before anyone’s awake (seriously if Loki hadn’t experienced his dad’s awful snoring and convenient Odin-sleeps as Baldur called them, which usually involved his dad stumbling back to them and sleeping for three days straight, Loki would believe the man never slept)
He finds a note under their windscreen wiper that directs them to a motel eight hours away in Arizona, something about demon omens. Loki rolls his eyes as he bites in to his rapidly cooling poptarts, does the fun never end?
When he finishes his meal and heads back inside he’s relieved to see Darcy and Baldur are up (well sort of, Baldur’s slumped over the table, groaning whenever Darcy prods him) Darcy greets him with a grin and speaks extra loud so Baldur curls further in to himself with a pained moan. “Your brother had a bit too much to drink dude, he’s such a lightweight!”
Loki chuckles, “Just remember Darcy, we haven’t been to college.”
“And we aren’t all cyborgs from planet hang-over-proof,” Baldur mutters in to the table.
Darcy ruffles his hair fondly. “So when you guys off?” she asks it casually but there’s a hint of emotion to her voice and Loki notices her hand almost subconsciously comes to rest on Baldur’s back.
“Well dad’s already left so whenever Thor graces us with his presence I suppose.”
Thor takes another hour to get up and then takes a further hour to consume everything resembling food in Erik’s kitchen and Loki, for the millionth time, wonders how he can be related to such a pig.
They don’t leave till midday and Thor drives because a) if they’re late Odin might just decide to shoot them and b) it’s not like it matters if they die horribly in a fiery crash because of Thor’s reckless driving, right?
They make it there by late afternoon (Thor may have taken a few illegal shortcuts) and they find Odin holed up preparing weapons. He looks up darkly, his one good eye narrowing (he lost the other the night their mother died) and says, “I’ve found the thing that killed her. It’ll be here in three days and I intend for us to make it pay.”
That’s all he’s ever tried to do (and maybe Loki’s usually the one who gets them out of sticky situations and Baldur’s usually the one who ganks whatever monster(s) they’re fighting) but Thor’s done his best to keep his brother’s safe. Loki and Baldur are out getting food, they’ve been prepping weapons all day and Thor’s never wanted to destroy anything more than this demon.
He remembers that night, he remembers the demon and the cold flames and his mother shaking him awake and telling him to hide and keep his brothers safe. That was the last thing she said to him.
They’ve been holed up together for two days and Thor’s losing patience. Two days of endless weapons prep and memorising exorcisms and Odin disappearing on them or glaring in surly silence. He’s currently dousing salt-filled shot gun rounds in holy water (because it’s not like he has anything better to do and anything that might hurt this demon more is worth it) his father is across the table sharpening a knife and Loki and Baldur are out getting food (well, arguing about what food to get anyway).
Thor’s getting impatient.
Odin looks up when Thor slams the bullet he’s been soaking down on the table and shoots him a reproachful look, “What?” he barks.
Thor narrows his eyes. “I’m sick of you leaving us out of your plans, dad.”
Odin gives him a deadpan look. “I’ve told you all you need to know.”
“All you’ve told us is that you know this demon is going to be here tomorrow. You haven’t told us anything, you never do.” Thor growls.
His father gazes at him pensively for a few minutes. “How much do you remember about the night your mother died, Thor?”
For a minute Thor’s thrown because his father never ever talks about their mother. “I-Not a lot. I remember the fire and hiding under the bed and then you came. I remember the demon was speaking to mother...”
He’s spoken about this with Loki; Loki seems to think that the demon was looking for someone-someone other than dad.
No, no, you can’t take him! I won’t let you!
He thinks about asking but there’s a look in his father’s eye that tells him he probably doesn’t want to know. He swallows and looks down, “That’s it. I don’t remember much else.”
Odin reaches out and touches his arm gently. “You’ll look out for your brother’s tomorrow, won’t you Thor?” For a moment Thor thinks he sees a flicker of fear in his father’s eye but that can’t have been right.
Thor frowns at him. “Of course I will, Dad. I always do.”
Baldur turns, laughing loudly and makes a rude gesture towards Loki. “Yeah and you enjoy your rabbit food, bro.”
“See you back at the car in twenty, yeah?”
Baldur thrusts his fist in to the air which Loki hopes means yes dear brother, I will indeed meet you back at the automobile in twenty minutes with my overly greasy food (well, maybe not in those exact words) And with that Loki turns to walk down to the small high street to find the little vegetarian place he’d tried (and failed) to talk Baldur in to getting dinner from.
He’s just passing through the little alleyway when the stench of sulphur and a sudden chill in the air makes him freeze, one hand going automatically to the iron hilted knife at his belt.
He glances around the shadowy alleyway, drawing the knife slowly. “Where are you, you vermin?” he whispers to himself.
“Right here, Odinson.” The voice is so close by that Loki very nearly jumps out of his skin with a startled yelp. Loki spins, knife raised, other hand already drawing his pistol to face the demon leaning against the opposite wall, an amused smirk playing across his pale face.
The demon is dressed in a blue suit; his hair is dark and slicked back when he blinks his eyes flash red. A crossroad demon. Loki’s about to shoot when it speaks: “So, you’re the middle son of my old friend Odin.”
“My father is not your friend,” Loki spits.
The demon laughs, “Yes, I suppose ‘friend’ isn’t quite the right word. But don’t shoot me yet, Loki. We’ve so much to do yet.”
Loki pauses because how does this hell scum know his name. It dawns on him suddenly, crashing over him like a tidal wave and he’s raising the weapon again. “You’re the one who killed my mother!”
The demon flicks his wrist lazily and Loki finds himself thrown against the rough alley wall behind him. His head collides with the brick with a sickening crack and stars cloud his vision. He’s never had a demon do that to him.
He’s distantly aware of an ice cold hand on his cheek. “You have your mother’s eyes,” the demon says almost wistfully. “Yes, see you soon Loki Odinson. See you very soon.” And with that the demon’s gone and Loki groans.
It takes ten minutes for him to be able to stand without the world pirouetting around him madly and as soon as it does he hurries back to the car, all thoughts of food forgotten.
“What happened?” he asks as Loki slumps down on to one of the beds.
“Got jumped,” his brother says shakily.
Baldur shuffles in behind him and dumps the food on the table. “He said it was a demon, a crossroads demon. Said it knew dad.”
Thor wrestles the bloody shirt away from Loki’s head so he can inspect the wound himself. “It knew Dad? You talked to it.”
Loki grits his teeth as Thor gently touches the wound checking for fractures. It’s a large bump and a fairly long gash but it’s not too deep. It will probably need stitches though. “Yes, I hesitated,” he grumbled. “And Baldur already did that.” He adds, swatting Thor away.
Baldur rolls his eyes and Thor shots Loki a ‘I-am-your-brother-and-I-am-concerned-so-grow-up’ look. “What do you reckon then?” Baldur asks, tossing Loki an icepack and Thor the first aid kit. “Dad made a deal or something?”
“No,” Loki replies. “Dad’s been a hunter his whole life. He’d never make a deal. Besides they’re usually ten year contracts right? Nothing major happened ten years ago, did it?”
“Oh who knows, it’s not like he’s ever been open with us.” Baldur says, sighing dramatically.
“He has been acting strangely though,” Loki muses. “Maybe the demon killed mum as a sort of revenge thing.”
“Revenge for what?”
Loki shrugs. “Hunting other demons?”
Baldur frowns, about to ask something further but Thor shushes him with a gesture. “I think that we should sort this wound out before we go about discussing Dad’s conspiracy theories against us.”
And then Odin walks in before Baldur can protest.