Every evening at the same time, as the pale golden light of the Asgard sunset faded into darkness over the city, Odin would saddle his horse, ride out to the end of the broken bifrost, and ask the gatekeeper the same question.
“Can you see him?” Odin asked, knowing he had received the same answer for too many nights to count.
“I have not seen Loki since he came of age,” Heimdall said, “and yet tonight, I can.”
“You can? Do you know why?” Odin asked, excited that his son was indeed still alive. “Is he injured? Does he need help?”
“He seems preoccupied… with other matters.”
Heimdall watched for a moment, wondering how he could possibly describe to Odin the strange sights that he had seen this day. How was he to tell the king that his youngest son was currently having sex with a giant Squirrel named Ratatoskr in the branches of Yggdrasil? Should he describe the way the young prince threw his head back as the creature traced the delicate lines of his chest with the tip of its bushy tail? Should he describe how Loki moaned wantonly as the Squirrel entered him?
Should he tell the All Father that earlier in the day he had watched as Loki had mated with Ari, the giant Eagle of Nifleheim? How the bird had held him gently in its wings, and brushed the hair out of his eyes with its massive primary feathers, as it rubbed itself against him.
Would it please Odin to hear that his son was currently hopping between the beds of half of the nine realms, and most seemed powerless to resist his charms?
“You would not wish to know,” Heimdall replied.
“Tell me, man! Is he injured?”
Heimdall sighed, and said, “The virgin queen is a virgin no more.”
“Oh,” Heimdall said, raising an eyebrow, the only show of emotion he had given in centuries. “I thought you knew.”
“Knew?” Odin asked. “Knew what?”
“That Loki was the future Queen of Jotunheim,” Heimdall said. “I thought that was why you took him. So the Jotuns would not be able to replenish their armies.”
“Queen? You jest, Loki is a prince.”
“The Jotun have only one sex, my king, and only one among them is capable of spawning future generations,” Heimdall explained, then he raised his eyebrow again and said, “Really? You did not know this?”
“What the Jotuns do in their beds is no business of mine,” Odin replied, as his cheeks began to turn red. “What will happen to him?”
“When he has collected the seed of enough, he will begin to lay, and he will not stop,” Heimdall replied. “The task of the Jotun queen is to populate the entire realm, but he will populate whatever realm he is in.”
“Loki must be brought home at once. I shall use the long forbidden dark energies to send Thor to find him,” Odin said. He began to walk away, then paused, and turned back to Heimdall, and said, “but we should keep this queen thing between ourselves.”
The battle against Loki and the Chitauri had been hard, but was a victory nevertheless, even though it had been at the cost of many lives, and as Thor stood in central park, surrounded by the Avengers, he was torn between feeling anger at his brother’s crimes, and happiness that he was finally taking him home after a year of believing him dead.
Thor handed the end of the Tesseract device to his brother, and watched as he took hold of the handle, his wrists bound by the shackles that prevented him from using his magic, and his mouth muzzled to prevent his lies.
Shimmering blue light surrounded them; it pulled them upwards, almost like the bifrost, but it lacked control, it was raw and disorientating. When they landed on the bridge Thor was overcome by weakness, and he felt himself sinking to his knees in front of his brother, who seemed to have coped much better with the trip than he had.
Thor didn’t realise he had let go of the end of the device that contained the Tesseract until he looked up and saw Loki was now holding both ends of it, one in each hand. He watched as the chains and muzzle that held his brother began to crack, turning to dust and falling from Loki’s skin like sand moving through an hourglass, to reveal his crazed grin.
“How?” Thor asked, with a look of horror upon his face.
“You think Asgardian magic could control me?” Loki asked.
“Then why did you not try to escape on Midgard, brother?”
“I needed to wait for my magic to recover to escape through the secret paths, but thanks to you I don’t need to wait any longer,” Loki said, and then he vanished in a beam of blue light, taking the Tesseract device with him, and leaving Thor alone on the bifrost.
Thor waited until his dizziness cleared, and then he spun Mjolnir and flew down the bifrost. He landed and entered the palace, but found the throne room deserted, so headed to his parent’s private quarters.
“Father, Loki has escaped, you must send me after him once more,” Thor shouted as he barged through the door.
His mother kept vigil by the bed where Odin lay, surrounded by a golden glow, and she smiled at him gently.
“It was too much for him,” Frigga said, as she gently took Thor’s hand in her own. “Using that much dark energy at once made him fall into the Odinsleep. Your brother is lost to us once more.”
Loki was free, and with the Tesseract in his hands he would be able to roam the nine realms collecting the seed of the brightest, the strongest, and the bravest creatures in existence. His flock would be the finest army ever created, and when he was done, he knew the perfect place to raise them.
It started gradually, so slowly that at first no one noticed that random things were going missing around Stark tower.
First Steve lost the keys to his motorcycle, and after searching everywhere for them, and forcing everyone to help, he finally admitted defeat and got a new set. He had those exactly 3 days before he lost them again, and when his new set arrived Tony bought him a key ring that made a beeping sound when he whistled. 2 days after the arrived they vanished again, and despite everyone walking round for two hours whistling like songbirds, Steve’s keys were never found.
“You’re an old man,” Tony said, patting Steve on the back. “You can’t help it if your memory is going.”
“OK, where the hell have you put them?” Tony asked Steve when he stormed into the kitchen one morning, while everyone was having breakfast.
“Put what?” Steve asked.
“Someone stole all my left socks,” Tony replied, “and I know it was you.”
“How do you know they were the left socks?” Natasha asked.
“Trust me. I KNOW!” Tony replied, then he pointed at Steve and said, “You and me, my friend, we are at war. Don’t be surprised if your shield mysteriously goes missing and is never found again.”
The prank feud grew, and as more things began to go missing, everyone was accusing each other of hiding their stuff. The stash of Pop tarts left over from Thor’s last visit vanished one night, box, wrappers, and all. Natasha’s favourite jacket turned up mysteriously missing a sleeve. All Clint’s bow strings went astray and no matter how many replacements he bought, they all vanished too.
Eventually, after Tony found the still frozen bones of an entire 14 lb Turkey on his pillow one morning when he woke up, they called a truce, and agreed that the war was over.
“What the hell is this?” Steve asked, as he walked into Tony’s lab the next day, carrying a grey leathery sphere. “Is this another one of your jokes?”
Tony frowned, and motioned for Steve to bring it over, as he said, “Nothing to do with me. Where did you find it?”
“On floor 6, outside one of the abandoned offices,” Steve said as he placed it on the workbench. “Do you think Clint left it?"
“Er, those offices aren't abandoned, thank you very much, and I’d say flaming bag of dog dirt was more Clint’s style,” Tony said. “It definitely looks organic, but I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
He poked it with the end of a pen, noting that the outside structure wasn’t quite rigid, but definitely had some tension to it, and then something poked back.
“Whoa!” Tony shouted, and they both jumped back when a lump appeared on the side of the sphere as if something inside it was trying to claw it’s way out.
“Jarvis place a shield around this thing, then open a file, name it Steve’s strange football, and run an analysis on it while I’m out.”
“As you wish, sir.”
Then Tony turned to Steve and said, “Show me where you found it.”
Tony had hoped to rent the bottom ten floors of Stark Tower to businesses, but apparently no one wanted to work in a building that sometimes had giant portals and thousands of alien warriors spilling out of it overhead, so the office space remained stubbornly empty, even though it had been a year since the Chitauri attack.
Steve pointed to a damp spot on the floor outside one of the offices, and said, “It was right here, just laying in the middle of the corridor.”
Tony pulled out a hand held device, and started waving it around until it started beeping rapidly.
“Uh ohh…” Tony said.
“Familiar gamma radiation signature. Low levels, but it looks awfully like-”
“Yup,” Tony said, moving the device around, to let it detect a source.
“But that’s on Asgard,” Steve said. “Surely if it was here Thor would have told us?”
“If the Tesseract is here, maybe he can't get back without it,” Tony said, and then the machine started beeping wildly. “The source is in here.”
“Shouldn’t you suit up?” Steve said, putting his hand across Tony’s chest. “If the Tesseract is in there, things might get dangerous.”
“A little scientific investigation never hurt anyone,” Tony said as he moved towards the doorway, and then he was blown back across the corridor by a blinding flash of blue light as he tried to enter the room.
“Tony!” Steve shouted, and then rushed to help his friend. “Are you OK?”
“Get Banner down here,” Tony said, as he lay on the floor, “and tell him to bring me a bottle of Scotch.”
“It’s definitely the cube,” Bruce said, as he took readings from the energy barrier that blocked the door. “There’s something different about it though. It’s not giving off the same frequency as before.”
“Will this still work?” Tony asked, as he stood in his Iron Man suit, holding Loki's sceptre in his hands.
“There’s only one way to find out,” Bruce said.
“OK, you guys stand back, just in case there’s another big blue glowy explosion,” Tony said, as he flipped his faceplate down and moved towards the entrance.
Tony edged the sceptre into the shield, moving slowly, inch by inch, his hand went through the barrier.
“Grab onto me,” Tony said, and the others placed their hands on his shoulders, and moved through the shield with him.
“Well, that was easy enough,” Tony said.
“How did you know the barrier wouldn’t fry us?” Steve asked.
“I didn’t,” Tony replied, shrugging his shoulders at Steve’s incredulous look.
“So, you could have killed us?”
The room was dark, and there was a chill in the air. Slime ran down the thick dark shell like substance that covered the inside of the floor to ceiling windows, and blotted out the light. The floor of the nearest office cubicle was covered in spheres, arranged neatly in a small group.
“What is this?” Bruce asked, and then a familiar figure stood up from behind a cubicle, dark haired and wild eyed, he carried a damp leathery sphere towards the pile. He fumbled, and almost dropped the sphere when he realised he was not alone, then pulled it towards to his chest, wrapping his arms round it protectively.
“What are you doing in my hive?” Loki hissed.
“Hive?” Bruce asked.
“My nest! How did you penetrate my barrier?”
“What the hell have you done to my building?” Tony shouted. “You know how much office space goes for round here?”
Loki scoffed, and said, “Apparently nothing, since it was very clearly empty.”
“That’s your fault,” Tony replied. “Your little Chitauri stunt sent insurance premiums through the roof.”
Loki grinned, happy he had ruined Starks plans, and Tony felt anger well up inside him, so he raised his hands, preparing to fire his repulsors.
“I would not be so quick to threaten me, Stark. I have an army,” Loki said smugly, then he tilted his head, “Or I will, when they hatch.”
The Avengers looked round the room at the spheres, and Steve was the first to break the silence. “These are eggs?”
“Yes, good Captain,” Loki replied. “What is the point of using someone else’s army, when I can create my own now.”
“Hold up,” Tony said, raising his faceplate. “If these are eggs, why the hell would you let Steve wander off with one of them? Not exactly mother of the year material, are we?”
“Who better to care for an egg than it’s other parent?”
“Steve…” Tony said. “Tell me you didn’t.”
“Of course, I didn’t!” Steve snapped back. “You know practically every word that comes out his mouth is a lie.”
“I beg to differ,” Loki replied. “I took the form of the woman in the picture by your bed. I assumed she was your lover, and you would not refuse her.”
“Peggy?” Steve exclaimed. “but... but I thought that was a dream.”
“It was merely an adequate coupling, Captain, I wouldn’t exactly call it a dream,” Loki said, “but now I possess your seed, and you can be assured that I will be providing you with countless offspring.”
“So these eggs?” Bruce asked. “They’re all Steve’s?”
“Oh noooo,” Loki replied, then he went to the pile of eggs, placed his finger on his lip, and tapped his foot while he thought for a moment, and then he bent down and picked one up.
“This one is yours,” Loki said as he handed the egg to Tony.
“How did you trick Tony?” Steve asked.
“There was no need for trickery that time,” Loki replied, with a gleam in his eye.
“You slept with him willingly?” Bruce virtually shrieked, and Tony cringed.
“Whatttt… It was after we went for Shawarma and I was drunk and he’s… hot and slightly insane,” Tony replied. “That’s like two of the top things on my list when choosing who to sleep with.”
“And this one is yours,” Loki said, as he held an egg out to Bruce.
“No, I think you’re mistaken,” Bruce said, holding his hands up and making no attempt to take the egg. “I haven’t had sex in years, not even dirty dreams, so there's no way this can be mine.”
“Oh, no, no, no! This isn’t yours, as such,” Loki corrected. “The green beast was a very enthusiastic lover though.”
Without warning, the hand of Tony’s suit flew up, and he hit himself in the face.
“What just happened?” Tony asked, as his hand flew up again, and this time whacked Steve in the face.
“Oh that’s just little Erik, he takes after his father, and he does like to play,” Loki said beaming with pride. “Not even hatched yet, and already up to mischief.”
Since the cell on the Hellicarrier was out of commission, they had been forced to leave Loki where he was on the 6th floor, but he didn’t seem to be interested in taking over the Earth or leading an invasion. Instead he calmly sat at the back of the room, grinning at the piles of eggs that lay on the floor, occasionally getting up to turn them, or to add another to the pile.
Tony had a sneaking suspicion that perhaps Loki was behind some of the things that were going on in Stark tower, and while Tony himself had actually been caught red handed stealing Clint’s bow strings the third time he'd done it, no one had owned up to digging the holes in the ornamental planters in the lobby or decapitating the garden gnome Pepper had brought back from a trip to the UK.
“Jarvis, show me the video feed for the lobby last night.”
“I’m afraid the cameras were turned off last night, sir.”
“Off?” Tony asked. “Why the hell were they turned off?”
“I have no idea, sir.”
“Have they been turned off any other times this week?”
“They have been turned off every night for the last two weeks.”
"And you didn't think that was important information that you should maybe have told me?"
"You never asked, sir."
“The day they first went off, did you detect anything unusual?”
“No sir, but that was the day Captain Rogers motorcycle keys went missing for the first time.”
Tony made a big show of going to bed at the same time as everyone else, and about an hour later, when he could hear Steve’s light snores through the wall, he sneaked out of his room, and entered the kitchen.
He took the leftovers of the honey-glazed ham joint they had eaten for dinner out of the refrigerator, and then wafted the smell around the room a little. He placed it on the table, then crouched down on the floor between the table and the cupboards, prepared to wait all night if he had too, but just 5 minutes later the blinking red light on the security camera in the kitchen turned off.
Tony held his breath as the unmistakable tall figure of Loki padded lithely into the room, illuminated only by the lights of the city that poured in through the high windows. He watched as Loki tipped over the trashcan, and riffled through its contents for a few minutes, picking up various items, and then something heavy was placed on the kitchen table. Cupboard doors were opened, and Tony heard the sound of a plate being taken out, then a drawer slid open.
Loki shuffled back towards the table, and pulled a chair out quietly. He sat, and a few seconds later Tony heard the sound of cutlery clinking against china.
“I KNEW IT!” Tony shrieked as he jumped up and turned the light on.
Loki sat at the table with a spoon in one hand, the ham had been pushed to one side, and there was a bowl in front of him, that was filled with the soil of a miniature sunflower plant that Steve had placed on the kitchen window ledge to brighten it up.
“What the hell are you doing with that plant?” Tony spluttered out.
“I was hungry,” Loki replied, taking a spoon full of the soil and placing it delicately in his mouth.
“I’ve got the number of a really good Pizza place if you want it.”
“I have tried that,” Loki replied, after he swallowed. “It did not meet my nutritional needs.”
“I have tried every type of food Midgard has to offer,” Loki said, as he took another spoonful of soil. “None of them were adequate.”
“Perhaps you should try another place, like maybe not on Earth, and take your eggs with you?”
“Regrettably, now I have started laying my magic is at a low ebb, so repeated journeys, even with the aid of the Tesseract are out of the question.”
“Oh, so right now would be a really good time to capture you then?” Tony asked, trying to calculate if he was strong enough to throw the god out of a window without his suit on.
“I said low ebb, I did not say weak,” Loki replied, as he picked up the clay flowerpot. “You may try to capture me if you wish. I’m not entirely sure you’d like the outcome.”
Tony watched as Loki took a bite out of the pot, and crunched it loudly between his teeth, before swallowing it.
“Ok, that cannot be healthy, even for a demigod.”
“I do wish you would stop calling me that, and this meal contains everything I need in my present condition,” Loki said, as he dabbed at the corner of his mouth with a napkin, “Iron, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, calcium and a healthy dose of something called Miracle Gro, if that little bottle is to be believed.”
“Did you eat my socks?” Tony asked.
“Only the left ones,” Loki replied, and then he took another bite of plant pot.
When the eggs had started to hatch and crying babies lay among their discarded shells, Loki had simply left them there and carried on laying more eggs.
“Shouldn’t you be feeding them?” Steve asked, as he watched a blue, baby squirrel cry plaintively as it lay abandoned on the floor.
“That is not my task,” Loki had said, turning his nose up. “I lay the eggs, and you drones take care of them.”
“I need a diaper,” Steve said, as he laid a small blue child back on the changing table.
“Coming,” Natasha said, as she flew round the kitchen, attempting to do three things at once, and then threw one across the room towards him.
“Can’t we put them in day care?” Tony asked, as he walked into the room, carrying a newborn in each arm.
“You think a day care will accept a child who looks like this?” Steve asked, as he struggled to secure the sticky tabs. “OK, I give up. How do you get a diaper on a baby with a tail?”
“You cut a hole in the back first,” Tony said, then the sound of thunder echoed in the sky above Stark Tower, and Steve and Tony smiled at each other.
“That better be who I think it is,” Tony said.
“What is this?” Thor asked, as he stood before Loki’s nest, and picked up a baby that was lying on the floor. “This child, it has antlers.”
“His other father was a Bilgesnipe.”
“Lokiiii…” Thor said. “You lay with a Bilgesnipe? They are foul creatures.”
“They are also incredibly strong,” Loki pointed out. “Their genes will add to the quality of my offspring.”
“Father explained to me that this was happening, but he did not say anything about you coupling with a Bilgesnipe.”
“Well, we can add that to the long list of things he should have said, but didn’t.”
“We must return home to Asgard,” Thor said. “This realm is an unsuitable place for your family.”
“What makes you think I want to go there?”
“Mother has assured me that your children will get the best possible care,” Thor said. “Midgard is not a good place for them. Come home with me.”
Loki considered the offer for a moment, noting that Thor would not lie where the welfare of children was concerned, Midgardian health care was poor, their education standards were terrible, and the avengers were useless drones who didn’t appear to be able to dress a child with a tail. He replied, “All right.”
“Excellent, brother,” Thor replied, then he turned to the avengers, “My friends, we will require a large area to transport so many younglings. Do you know of a place?”
The trip to New Mexico wasn’t a long one, but no one knew where to look when Loki climbed out of his seat in the back of the Quinjet, squatted on the floor, and unbuttoned the panel in his trousers that covered his vent.
“Oh my god,” Tony said, half torn between throwing up and scientific curiosity. “Do you have to? Can’t you hold it in?”
“I have tried that, Stark,” Loki said, as he squeezed the egg out with a wet plop, “but being egg bound is incredibly painful.”
“I wouldn’t mind seeing you in a little pain,” Clint said, shrugging his shoulders.
Loki glowered at Hawkeye from his position on the floor as he pushed a second egg out, and said, “The egg cracked, I tried to repair it when it came out, but it was too late. The child died. I will not repeat that experience.”
“What was it?” Clint asked. “A squirrel? A sea serpent?”
“It was half Aesir!” Loki snapped. “I have only ever mated with one Aesir.”
“Who?” Steve asked, and then he watched as Loki’s eyes darted towards the cockpit where Thor sat with the pilot, as the vast quantity of eggs and children strapped into car seats meant there was simply no room for him in the back. “Oh… no… Thor? But he’s your brother.”
“We aren’t related,” Loki said indignantly, “and I needed to select the strongest and bravest to father my flock. Why wouldn’t I pick him?”
“That’s kinda creepy,” Tony said, and then he watched as Loki pushed out another egg. An almost transparent pink membrane surrounded it, lowered it gently to the floor, and then retracted back inside Loki’s body. “Actually I think I’ve lost all concept of creepy, and now we’ve moved onto David Cronenberg territory. Someone swap seats with me?”
Tony looked round, but Steve and Clint pointedly avoided eye contact with him. “So I guess that’s a no then?”
Loki closed the panel on his trousers again, and then sat back up on his seat, leaving the eggs on the floor. The large round, baby sized eggs that had just come out of a body that was still as thin as ever.
“How do you do that?” Tony asked.
“You just squeezed out three extremely large eggs, and you’re still skinny as a rake.”
“The eggs are not gestated within me,” Loki replied. “I store them elsewhere.”
“Store them?” Tony asked. “How the hell do you store them then pop them out of your… whatever that is.”
“You know,” Loki said with a wry smile, “I always forget how backwards you Midgardians are when it comes to matters such as these. Inter-dimensional storage is a simple trick really.”
“Inter-dimensional…” Tony’s voice trailed off as he took the words in. “The eggs are coming from another dimension?”
“My entire egg producing tract is there, yes, along with many other things.”
“Spare armour, an enormous supply of throwing knives, and a particularly lovely teapot I found in a charming little antique shop in London. I didn’t want it to get damaged while I was moving around the realms so I stored it there.” Loki said, then he climbed down off his seat again, and pulled open the panel on his trousers.
“Ok, seriously, someone trade seats with me, because I cannot see this again close up.”
Thor and Loki arrived in Asgard with 11 children, 36 eggs in storage crates, and another 9 eggs that Loki had laid on the Quinjet, much to Tony’s disgust.
Loki had offered to leave the Avengers offspring with them, but Tony and Bruce had flatly declined the offer, and while Steve had become oddly attached to the little blue baby he had started calling Jamie, he decided the best place for his child was with Loki, but had made him promise to bring Jamie for visits when he was old enough to travel.
Handmaidens scurried to take away Loki’s brood, leaving him to face his father, with just Thor at his side.
“How do you fare, my son?” Odin asked.
“Very well, All Father. Thank you,” Loki said, then as Odin went to speak again, Loki held up his hand and said, “Excuse me a moment.”
“Oh Loki…” Thor said, as Loki squatted down at his father’s feet, and opened the panel on his trousers. “Must you do that in front of father?”
“Shut up, Thor! I can't help it," Loki snapped. "They are maturing quickly now, and when they are ready they have to be laid immediately."
Odin wasn’t quite sure where to look as his youngest son deposited an egg on the ground, and was relieved when a guard approached.
“My king,” the guard said, his eyes briefly flicking down, and a look of horror crossed his face as Loki lay another egg. “Heimdall has requested your presence.”
“Excellent,” Odin replied, thankful for the interruption. “We must go to him at once.”
Odin turned quickly, and set off down the bifrost, followed closely by Thor.
“Take care of them, will you,” Loki said as he stood up, closed the panel on his trousers, and walked after them, leaving the guard to collect his eggs like a good little drone.
“The Jotuns wish for an audience with you,” Heimdall stated. “They threaten war, if you do not meet with them.”
“Have they said what they want?” Odin asked.
“They wish to discuss Loki’s terms of surrender.”
Odin turned to where Loki was squatted on the floor, and said to him, “Perhaps it would be for the best to visit them now. They may be more lenient with their punishment since you are with child.”
“I have no objections,” Loki said, as he stood up.
“Excellent,” Odin replied, thankful for the excuse to do something other than watch Loki lay eggs. “We must go at once.”
“Take care of them,” Loki said, as he walked away, and left Heimdall stood next to a group of 4 eggs.
They arrived at the palace, and were immediately surrounded by giant Jotun warriors. Thor raised Mjolnir preparing to strike, Odin raised Gungnir in defence, and Loki crouched on the floor with his trousers open.
A voice echoed from the back of the hall. “Stand aside!”
The warriors stopped, moved back, and revealed the Jotun king sat upon his throne.
“Helblindi,” Odin said. “We received your request for a meeting.”
“I thank you for gracing our humble palace with your presence All Father,” Helblindi said as he climbed down from his throne and bowed.
“What is it you wish to discuss?”
“We want Loki,” Helblindi said.
“Never,” Thor said. “We will never turn him over to you.”
“You will return him to us at once, or there will be consequences,” Helblindi threatened.
“I will not hand over my son to you,” Odin replied, “but rest assured he will pay for his crimes against Jotunheim.”
“Crimes?” Helblindi asked. “He has committed no crime under Jotun law.”
“But... he killed Laufey,” Odin said.
“Yes, that is what happens when a new fertile, queen comes of age,” Helblindi replied, watching as Loki moved yet another egg into the small pile that was forming at their feet. “It was no crime. It is in his nature, he is expected to kill his predecessor, and any other possible queens who may fight him for leadership.”
“You do not intend to punish him?” Thor asked.
“No, we do not,” The giant replied. “As the sole queen on Jotunheim he will be treated with the utmost care, cherished, and worshipped as the leader and progenitor of our species.”
“Worshipped?” Loki asked.
“Yes, worshipped,” Helblindi said, as he picked up one of the eggs, and held it before him as if it was a precious jewel. “We have had no younglings in Jotunheim for so long. Laufey stopped laying not long after the war, and you were his final queen. When you were stolen from us we feared for our future, but to have you back, to finally have a queen, and such a fertile one at that, would make this one of the most celebrated days in the history of this realm.”
“Do you wish to stay with them, Loki?” Odin asked.
Loki looked up from his position, squatting on the ground to push out another egg, and said, “Yes, I rather think I do.”
Loki luxuriated on his throne, surrounded by rare pelts of the softest fur, as a servant gently brushed his hair. He mused that when Helblindi had said he would be worshipped, Loki had underestimated just how much care he would be given, and his every need was attended to.
If he desired special food he only had to request it and Jotun sorcerers that he had taught to navigate the secret pathways between the realms would deliver it within the hour. If he became bored they would entertain him in any way he saw fit. They would bathe him every morning in a giant pool of white milky fluid that made his skin softer than it had ever been before, and left it smelling faintly of honey and flowers.
All Loki had to do in return for having all this attention lavished on him, was produce eggs, and produce them he did. He hadn’t been on Jotunheim that long, he estimated less than half a year, but already he was laying around 1000 eggs a day, and he was praised constantly for his virility.
“Sire, a word, if you please,” Helblindi said, as he appeared before him.
“What is it?” Loki asked, as he shooed the worker away.
“Is everything to your liking, sire? Are your servants fulfilling your every need?” he asked. “If anyone is not performing to your satisfaction I can have them executed if you wish.”
“Everything is well enough,” Loki replied, as he lay back and allowed another egg to roll down the chute in front of his throne.
“You are indeed a most fertile queen,” Helblindi said, watching as a servant scuttled into the room, and lovingly picked up the egg. “You have brought life back to our world, and it is our pleasure to serve you.”
Loki observed Helblindi for a second, noting the anxious way he held his hands, and the slight twitch at the corner of his mouth.
“Why do I get the impression you have something to say to me, but are holding your tongue?” Loki asked, as he leant forward.
“I... er…” Helblindi stuttered, “It is nothing for you to be worried about, sire.”
“You will tell me now or I might suddenly get a craving for Jotun soup,” Loki snapped, as another egg rolled down the chute.
“There has been talk amongst the people, sire.”
“They are worried that you have not mated with one of our own yet, and that all your offspring, so far, are halflings.”
“I saw the need to introduce genetic diversity into the population. To add more strength, courage, and intelligence to the already considerable attributes that I will pass on to my offspring,” Loki said, then he narrowed his eyes, and said, “Do you disagree with my decision?”
“No sire, no of course not!” Helblindi blurted out, “but…”
“We would prefer it if you stopped producing Eagle babies,” Helblindi said, quietly.
“Really?” Loki asked. “But they’re my favourite.”
“I am deeply sorry, sire, but they defecate on people from above frequently.”
Loki snorted at the idea of his children dropping their waste onto the heads of the Jotuns, then thought for moment, rubbing his finger under his nose, and allowing an egg to roll down the chute as he pondered the situation. He had no real desire to allow any of the Frost Giants that he had met so far to mount him, and none of them seemed to possess any exemplary qualities that would improve his progeny. He had an idea, something that would delay any potential mating for some time.
“Very well, I shall produce some full blood Jotun children, on the condition that I will only choose your strongest and finest warriors,” Loki replied. “Organise a tournament, all must compete, and I will mate with the top three combatants.”
“Excellent, sire,” Helblindi said. “I will let the people know, and we will stage the finest tournament in all the nine realms.”
“I expect nothing but the best,” Loki said, knowing not only would the organisation of the games keep the people satisfied, but just because he mated with a Jotun, he didn’t have to use their seed to create his children. There would still be time to produce many, many more Eagle babies.
“While I am here, sire, do you have any special requests?” Helblindi asked. “Is there anything we can get you?”
“Yes,” Loki replied. “Send a sorcerer to Midgard. I will give you a location. There is a treat that looks like a gargoyle in a flower basket in the entrance of a large tower. I never did get to finish eating it.”
"Anything else, sire?"
"No, the gargoyle will be fine."
"Very well, Sire, I shall attend to the matter at once," and the frost giant bowed, and began to leave the throne room.
"Oh wait, Helblindi, wait! I have one more request," Loki said, and the next morning Tony screamed when he discovered the left feet of all his Iron Man suits were missing.