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The Science Of Deception

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Loki wonders when everything went wrong—was it when the Jötun grabbed his wrist? Was it in the Treasure Room when Odin told him the truth of his parentage? Or perhaps things had been wrong from the very beginning… perhaps Odin should have left the infant Jötun to die.

He had only wanted what was good for Asgard. Thor had not been ready to become King and the only way for Loki to stop the ceremony was to help the Jötnar sneak in. He had known they would not succeed in stealing the Casket of Ancient Winters… after all, how could three Jötnar hope to defeat the Destroyer?

But everything had gone so horrible wrong, and everything had quickly spiraled out of Loki’s control. Instead of becoming the power behind Thor’s throne, Loki has become his brother’s enemy.

I could have done it father.

Instead of destroying Jötunheim, the Bifröst itself is destroyed.

I could have done it for you—for all of us!

Instead of receiving the praise he has always longed for, Loki had seen only disappointment in Odin’s eyes and hears nothing but rejection in his father’s voice.

No Loki.

 

Perhaps that is the moment when Loki Odinson dies. Perhaps that moment had been much earlier—in the Treasure Room when Odin confessed to his trickery, to his deceit. But now Loki knows the truth.

He is not Loki Odinson, he is Loki Laufeyson. He is not an æsir, he is a Jötun. He is the monster that parents tell their children about at night, he is the traitor who attempted to bring down the House of Odin.

He is Loki Laufeyson of the Jötnar, who has killed his father and attempted to destroy his race because he thought it would make Odin Allfather proud of him. For this man he has lost everything… it is only fitting that the Allfather lose something in return. So Loki releases his grip on Gungnir.

Loki no!

It surprises Loki that Thor still cares, that Thor would desire that his “brother” live, even after all the harm he has done. For a moment Loki almost regrets his—well act of suicide, but then Odin speaks.

No.

Just one word and Loki feels his blood turn to ice and he has no regrets. He hopes that the image of him falling into the abysses—the knowledge that Loki chose to die—will haunt his false father. It may be a hollow victory, but it is a victory… one which Loki does not have long to appreciate.

The shattered remains of the bridge, Thor and Odin vanish as the portal caused by the destruction of the Bifröst consumes him... then there is nothing as Loki Laufeyson falls endlessly through the vast void that separates the realms.

Time has no meaning in the spaces between the branches of Yggdrasil. The void goes on and on, with no beginning no end, time twists into spirals before doubling back upon itself. Now and then the void will part, offering Loki glimpses beyond the nothingness. He sees things—horrible and beautiful things. As he falls Loki Laufeyson who thought himself Odinson receives glimpses—sometimes he sees a world where what he desired happened and sometimes a world which may be the future or may just be a dream.

Loki wonders if Thor mourns for him—he does not think Odin would bother. He wonders if Thor knows that his “brother” is a Jötun.

These glimpses hurt, even when the things he sees are beautiful, but Loki can not close his eyes… the void is more terrifying then anything that he sees and there is little Loki can do, no way for him to seek comfort.

When Loki screams there is no sound. When he thrashes he touches nothing. When he tears at his own skin—either out of a desire to feel something or a desire to die—all he gains is a brief glimpse of time as he watches skin heal or blood drip from his fingers. The blood vanishes the second that it leaves his skin and no matter how often he bleeds his clothing is not stained.

There is nothing but the void and it’s occasional glimpses of reality. Nothing but an eternity of falling, an eternity of hollow victory consumed by failure. Nothing but Loki Laufeyson and the knowledge that he is alone.

After a vast eternity of pain, loneliness, terror and the overwhelming, all consuming emptiness, something happens which Loki does not expect… he lands.

One second Loki is falling through the void between the branches of Yggdrasil, the next moment he is lying on the ground, staring up at a clear blue sky. He takes a hesitant breath before hauling himself upright, scared and confused he reaches out with his magic to understand where he is…

He is on Midgard, in a dirty alley, lying next to a dumpster filled with what smells like rotten fruit. Strangely his arrival seems to have gone unnoticed and his arrival on Midgard does not seem to have had an effect—there is no crater around him nor mark upon the buildings. At the end of the alley Loki can see cars driving on the street and mortals walking around. He is partially hidden by the dumpster, but it will not hide him for long, and his clothing would attract far too much attention. In addition to the attention of mortals, there is another danger in his current appearance—the Bifröst may be gone, but Heimdall could turn his gaze towards Midgard at any time.

It is simple enough for Loki to change his appearance, to make himself seem mortal. He does not change much—his skin and hair remains the same color, while his eyes and build shift only a little. His face lengthens, cheekbones becoming more prominent, while he shortens his hair and gives it more of a curl then it has in his æsir form. The same magic which changes his physical appearance changes his formal robes, designed to be worn by a King, or at least a prince, of Asgard, into the simpler clothing of a mortal. In a handful of seconds Loki has vanished, leaving behind a mortal man dressed in a dark green shirt and black pants, with a long black coat wrapped around his thin body.

Loki shivers and is horrified at how much the simple transformation has drained his magic… he is horribly weak, weaker then he can ever remember being, and his magic is not replenishing itself at it’s usual rate. Apparently it had not been luck that kept him alive in the void. The lack of power manifests itself in Loki’s appearance—as he glances down at his hands they shake slightly, he is short of breath and has no doubt that he looks as if he has not slept for several weeks.

What is more terrifying is how defenseless he is. He is too weak to use his magic to fight, too weak to even walk between the realms. Loki has no allies on Midgard—but he does have enough magic to create a suitable hiding place. He must use what magic he still possesses to craft a false identity which will protect and hide him as he recovers from his trip through the empty spaces of the universe.

Loki takes a deep breath and pulls himself upright. His legs shake but, after a second, he is able to stand without leaning against anything. Slowly he makes his way to the mouth of the alley and gazes out at the city he has fallen in.

It is vast, but Loki does not recognize it. Excluding his visit to the place of Thor’s exile, he has not been on Midgard for many years, although he knows more of the mortals then his bro—then his false brother. There is a homeless mortal sitting next to the alley where Loki landed, with a small cardboard sign requesting monetary assistance in his hands.

“Where am I?” Loki asks as he raises a hand to rub at his eyes.

“Rough night?” The man laughs before gesturing to a street sign. “You’re on Melcome Street, there’s a tub station up that way on Baker Street.”

“No, what… what town am I in?” Loki asks, his legs trembling and forcing him to lean against the nearest building.

“What town?” The man stares at Loki for a second and then glances around suspiciously before he continues. “You’re in London son.”

“London?” Loki whispers to himself as he recalls what he knows of Midgard—it has been some time since he traveled freely, but the name does ring a very faint bell. “Thank you.” He mutters to the homeless man before he starts walking down the street.

He has already started to form a plan.

Loki can feel that this city is a place where power resides, where mortals wield influence. He moves towards the power that he can feel in the air—it has always been his nature to gravitate towards the powerful and use them for his own means. He had intended to become the power behind Thor’s throne... now he seeks a mortal whose power he can use to protect himself.

Loki seeks someone who has power and whose life has a… well a hole that Loki can fill. Perhaps a mortal who lost a child, although he could easily become the lover of a powerful man or woman.

A simple spell, which uses the smallest bit of Loki’s magic and he can actually see and feel the power that swirls around the mortals he walks among... over each mortal’s heart there is a golden light whose size and brilliance shows Loki the power that mortal possess. Most mortal carry nothing more than a single, tiny flicking candle flame, which casts little light and seems to be always in danger of going out. Some of the mortals which Loki passes carry a stronger flame, but it is nowhere near what Loki requires to feel safe.

Loki raises his gaze, focusing not on the mortals nearby, but those further away—from a distance only the stronger flames stand out… but each one of these flames Loki dismisses in turn. The few that are strong enough to satisfy Loki’s need for power have no place in their lives where a fallen Jötun may hide.

Just as Loki begins to feel despair, just as he begins to consider lowering his standards, there comes a flame which almost blinds him. It burns like the sun and Loki can feel himself being drawn towards it, like a moth to a flame. The mortal’s power is so overwhelming that Loki actually has to stop and lean against a nearby building as he stares…to the mortals who pass him by Loki appears as a drunk, or a druggie, who is staring at a faded poster on the side of a building.

The man wields enough power on Midgard to keep Loki safe until he recovers his magic. The sheer amount of power held by the man is astounding, but what is more pleasing is that his man has the sort of power that Loki once hoped to possess. The man is a manipulator, he is a mortal who stands behind the scenes, pulling the strings and controlling others.

But more importantly, this powerful man has a life which possess a nice little hole that Loki can fill… the man that Loki has chosen had a younger brother—a boy born prematurely and dead a week after he was named. Becoming that brother will not be hard for the God of Mischief. There is no better choice of safe harbor and the man is moving towards Loki.

Loki turns to face the street and silently prepares the first step of his plan.

The man’s car turns on to the street. Loki takes a deep breath and casts his first spell at the vehicle. Loki slowly slides down the wall and slumps against the building, allowing his body to look as tired and fatigued as he feels. He allows himself a small pleased smile when he feels the magic hit his target and start to work… the car pulls up to the sidewalk in front of Loki and, as the fallen Jötun looks up, a young woman with long curly brown hair steps out.

She stares at Loki for a second before she pulls him to his feet and bundles him into the black car. Loki allows himself to be pushed into the car and laughs drunkenly as the car door is closed behind him and the car starts to move once again.

Loki new older brother is sitting across from Loki and the young woman. The man is dressed in a formal suit that doesn’t have even the tiniest wrinkle and his hands rest on top of an umbrella. He stares at Loki silently and the son of Laufey knows that he must move quickly before the simple spell he threw wears off. As the car goes around a corner Loki falls forward, his hands reaching out and touching the mortal’s knee. He grabs on to the man’s leg, gathers his magic around him like a cloak and then casts the spell which will make a place for him on Midgard.

The spell surges out from Loki and the mortal man like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond. First the mortal man in front of Loki, then his assistant, the on and on… the wave of magic seeks out the people who need to think of Loki as this man’s younger brother, who need to have memories of a man who died before he could really exist. As the spell creates memories it also shifts reality—the name changes on a small grave in a family plot, papers and records appear where none existed before and a death certificate fades from existence.

In addition to spreading outward, the magic also travels inward… in a split second Loki’s magic teaches him who he is and gives him all the little details of his new life, the details of Midgard and the time that everyone will think he has spent living in the realm. Loki has left much of the creation of his life to the mortal who will be his brother—the mortal is the one who gifts Loki with his long dead brother’s name and provides the memories of a childhood they never shared.

When his spell has done it’s work, Loki cannot stop himself from falling forward. He gasps for breath, his heart races and his body feels as if it has been pierced by a thousand tiny knives. It hurts to breathe, as if Mjölnir is still pressing down on his chest and Loki is almost instantly bathed in sweat. The magic required to craft a place for him on Midgard has exhausted him—what little magic his body now contains is and must continue to be dedicated to keeping his new appearance intact. Loki feels drained and can’t stop himself from shivering. At some point his eyes have closed and he can’t summon up enough energy to open them again.

“He must have overdosed.” Loki’s new brother remarks as he rolls Loki on to his back and the woman—who Loki now knows to be his brother’s personal assistant—starts barking orders at the driver.

Overdosed? Loki wonders. He concentrates and pulls up the information that he needs to understand—it seems that his brother has decided that a history of drug use will explain away any “missing time”. High blood pressure, seizures, sweating and hyperthermia… the amount of magic it takes to fake these symptoms is negligible and Loki drifts, time becoming meaningless once again as the mortals attend to his false symptoms. He is not sure how much times passes before he manages to summon up the energy to open his eyes… but when he does Loki finds himself lying in a hospital bed, in what appears to be a private room. His new brother is standing to his left, between Loki and the room’s window.

“Hello brother.” Loki whispers.

“You’ve been missing for three weeks.” The man replies, shifting slightly so that he is leaning on his umbrella. Out of the corner of his eye Loki can see his brother’s assistant, who is sitting in what appears to be a very uncomfortable chair, her attention fixed upon her cell phone. “Mummy was getting worried.”

“Oh I wouldn’t want to upset Mummy.” Loki hisses, although part of him can’t help but be pleased at the concern in his new false-brother’s voice. The Liesmith makes a show of trying to sit up, before he “gives up” and flops back down. “How long are you going to keep me here?”

“You overdosed on cocaine. If I hadn’t been there you would have died on a street corner.” The mortal glances over at his assistant. “They’re releasing you in an hour. I don’t suppose I can convince you to stay….”

The mortal trails off and Loki raise an eyebrow as he smirks ever so slightly. The memories his magic has created rise to the surface of his mind, reminding him of events that have never occurred, of a life that was not actually lived. He opens his mouth, intending to toss an insult out at his brother—only to find himself gagging and leaning over the side of the bed, throwing up into a trash can which his brother’s assistant has helpfully pushed into position the second that he started to gag.

“Cynthera?” the mortal coughs softly as he looks away from Loki. “If you’d be so kind as to arrange accommodations for my brother?”

“Already done sir.” The young woman replies as Loki straightens up. He stares at her for a second, searching his newly created memories for the reason why she changes her name with the same frequency that other women change their shoes… unfortunately the magic he used to create his new identity hadn’t given him that bit of information. It would appear that mortals were stranger then he had thought—and a great deal more confusing. At least he won’t be bored during his time on Midgard.

“Until next time Sherlock.”

“Always a pleasure Mycroft.” Loki replies in a whisper as his brother silently leaves the hospital room. A few seconds later “Cynthera” leaves to deal with his release from the hospital and Loki turns so that he can see his reflection a nearby window.

“Sherlock.” He whispers, trying out his new name. “Sherlock Holmes.”