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The End of a Legend

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Loki held out his hand. "Steve, would you help me bring peace to Midgard?"

Steve agreed. It took three years. Assurances were made. Concessions were given. Contracts were signed, promises accepted, and Steve Rogers traveled the globe, rarely seeing his home or Loki. But at last, the first collective Earth-Asgard Peace Summit began one lazy morning outside the small town of Punete Antiguo, New Mexico.

 

"Almost time," Steve said.

"Yes." Loki sighed and closed his eyes. "This will not be simple. You should head to Asgard today. I shall join you when I can."

"I'd like to watch."

"You've told me many times you are not suited for politics, Steve."

"I've become more of an ambassador these past few years. And I'm interested in your work." Steve leaned against the desk where Loki sat. "If this will be the start of something truly great, I'd like to see it. To go beyond the UN's capabilities, to bring a real stop to the world's conflicts and work together as a whole world, that is... amazing."

"It's the first of many talks. We'll be lucky if we can agree on anything today. Please, Steve." Loki touched Steve's thigh. "The thought of seeing the fog seas of Alfheim with you is the only thing that will keep me going. These talks will drag on. Make sure we have all we'll need for our journey. Mother is also eager to see you. She only leaves Father's side when you are there."

"If you insist. For your mother's sake." Steve leaned towards Loki and tangled his fingers in his hair. "You know, I like when you don't wear your helmet."

"You have your uniform, Captain, and I have mine."

"True."

Their lips met. Loki's hand brushed over Steve's cheek, and he leaned into the touch. He twisted Loki's hair between his fingers.

When they broke apart, they shared a smile.

"Go. I'll see you soon," said Loki, stroking Steve's arm.

"Don't let anyone try to start a war with this, okay?"

"You have my word."

Steve chuckled and kissed Loki once more.

 

Loki gazed upon the faces of the Midgardian leaders. Almost all the world's nations were represented, half by their Heads of State. They ranged from the most powerful to barely of any note. It was a dream come true, the fruition of years of planning and resolve.

While Loki had prepared, these world leaders had postured before one another. For many of them, the summit was more a show of power and confidence than a meeting of peace. They did not believe. Loki smiled to himself. He could change that. They fell silent as he stood in the center of the room.

He raised his arms. The seats sloped upward, and they all looked down on him at the room's center.

"I welcome you," he said. The Allspeak allowed each to understand him in their own tongue. "Never before has such a gathering taken place. While I have dealt with many of you on an individual level, we have not had the chance to come together as one. I thank you most sincerely."

He turned slowly as he spoke, to address each corner of his audience equally. "What we need is peace on Midgard. Earth. The Nine Realms have long been plagued by strife, but I offer you a solution. A very simple solution."

A slight movement caught his eye. Someone was attempting to rock back and forth. But Loki's spell had struck them the moment he began speaking. They were frozen. He put a hint more power into the spell, and all attempts at movement ceased.

"You see, Earth, as you call it, is inferior to the rest of the realms." He ran a hand along the box on the table beside him. "You squabble among yourselves, slaughter your own kind. Not even that occurred on Jotunheim. To think, the humans more savage than Frost Giants." He laughed.

"But I offer you this. I will fix your world." He opened the lid and carefully lifted out the glowing Tesseract. Its power flowed over him, hot and agitated. "You have allowed it to rot, destroying your lands and each other. But under a unified rule, you all become brothers. Yet not one of you is prepared to lead such a unified force."

He held out the Tesseract before him. He could taste the fear rising, and he grinned, slowly. "That is why I, Loki Odinson, am willing to step in. I have ruled Asgard justly while Odin sleeps. I have lived many of your lifetimes. And once, you worshipped me as a god. See me now as your rightful king.

"Unfortunately, I cannot allow you to live. A king must rule alone."

He released the Tesseract. Under its power, it floated in the air. The power seethed, pulling against its tether.

"I bid you farewell." Loki cut his hold on the Tesseract.

The door crashed in, and Steve was there.

 

Steve initially intended to head straight for the Bifrost. But he caught a glimpse of the day from the window. He wouldn't be on Earth for some weeks; he could spare one last walk.

When he returned, he couldn't resist passing by the meeting room. He passed through security, and the guards at the end of the hallway allowed him in. He moved close to the door. Loki's voice was faint, but clear.

"What we need is peace on Midgard. Earth." Steve smiled to himself. At last, world peace seemed achievable. It wouldn't be easy, but Steve had faith in Loki.

"To think, the humans more savage than Frost Giants."

His stomach lurched. What was Loki talking about? He listened, frozen with shock and horror.

Loki's words were mad. He had never heard him speak like this.

"Unfortunately, I cannot allow you to live. A king must rule alone."

That snapped him from his stupor. Steve shoved the door with all his strength, and it snapped off its hinges

"Loki! What are you doing?"

Everyone sat still. Steve grabbed one dignitary by the shoulders. The man was completely stiff like a statue, yet he appeared aware and terrified.

"Steve!"

Steve looked towards Loki. A cube floated in front of him, glowing. It was quickly becoming brighter and brighter.

Instinct drove him. He dove for the cube.

It exploded.

 

The light of the Tesseract faded. Loki rubbed his eyes until his sight returned. His spell had broken with the blast. The corpses slumped in their chairs and against the desks. The Tesseract, temporarily spent and satisfied, rested on the ground.

Steve was spread out on the steps.

"Steve?" Loki stumbled forward and fell to his knees. He lifted Steve's head into his lap. "Steve? Steve?"

His vision blurred and his eyes stung. "Sa-..." His voice caught on a sob. "Sabotage! Sabotage!"

Steve's eyes were closed. He was still warm. Loki crouched over him. His fingers traced the contours of his face, but Steve did not respond.

"Sabotage! Sabotage!"

Why was no one coming? The guards. His spell. He broke it with a wet gasp. "Sabotage! Oh, Steve, Steve, please..." Loki begged for the first and last time in his life. "Please, Steve, please..."

He fought the hands that reached for him. He gripped tightly to the dead body and screamed wordlessly.

 

On billions of screens around the world, King Loki of Asgard appeared before the people of the world.

"Citizens of Midgard, of Earth, it is with a most heavy heart that I inform you of the tragedy that has struck today." He spoke solemnly, a black drape hanging behind him. “A sinister plot has killed 94 Heads of State. Only by the grace of my Asgardian heritage was I able to survive. The list is as follows." He read out the names. 94 countries. 94 positions. 94 names. 94 people.

Billions of people watched, horrified, as the list continued.

"Among those dead include over a hundred other ministers, politicians, and dignitaries, as well as the hero known as Captain America, Captain Steve Rogers..." Loki's voice cracked. "We are pursuing investigations with all haste, but let us now take a moment to remember what Earth has lost this day."

The blame was soon placed on Colonel Nick Fury, who became a traitor of the United States. Weapons with Nazi connections were uncovered in SHIELD facilities. A worldwide manhunt began. King Loki sent in his army to aid in the search and keep control in nations in turmoil.

Resistance groups quickly grew. They accused Asgard of the massacre. They were systematically and quietly dealt with. Disappearances were listed daily in media outlets, but as the weeks passed, fewer people paid them much mind. Dr. Jane Foster, Dr. Eric Selvig, and student Darcy Lewis were among the resistance. But Thor had long forgotten about the Foster woman and her compatriots while in Asgard. Their disappearances were never reported.

Within three months of the disaster, now known as the Punete Antiguo Massacre, Nick Fury was found and executed. Special Agent Phil Coulson was awarded for his services rendered in capturing Fury by being instated as the head of a restructured SHIELD.

On the first year anniversary of the Punete Antiguo Massacre, General Coulson was arrested while attempting to assassinate King Loki. Coulson was stripped of his title and publicly executed.

The nations were gradually dissolved, until Midgard was united under Loki's rule.

The superhero community was divided. Some joined with the new government. Others went underground and did what little they could to crack Loki's hold. They did not succeed.

Tony Stark was asked to provide renewable energy. He agreed. Stark Industries produced enough green energy to power the whole world indefinitely. But Tony Stark's personal fortune quickly dwindled. Officially, it was due to gambling and a hedonistic life style, but the resistance never once attacked a Stark facility.

The Hulk led a group of enforcers known as the Gamma Group. Bruce Banner's name was buried among the many others on missing persons lists.

Hawkeye and Black Widow became the names the resistance rallied behind for years. Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff were killed during a raid on a resistance base in the first years of Loki's rule.

Mutants were granted equal rights. Scott Summers became Co-Head of Mutant Affairs with Erik Lensherr when Professor Charles Xavier died in an accident.

The Fantastic Four continued to fight the common criminals and villains that still plagued the people. They remained a symbol of normalcy and a reminder that while much was different, life for many continued as usual, and the average standard of living rose.

The one thing no one could agree on was the role the late Captain America, Steve Rogers, had played. Some malcontents accused him of being an Asgardian-loving extremist, willing to commit suicide for the success of Loki. Others believed it was truly an accident, yet one more death in the tragedy that had befallen Earth. Still others, those he once called friends, believed Steve had become an ignorant puppet, blinded by foolish love, and his death was the final piece of Loki's take-over.

King Loki wiped Captain America's name from history, along with numerous other figures and heroes that had stood against King Loki. Years passed, generations of humans lived and died, and his memory was lost.

A banner decorated the front facade of King Loki's palace. The origin of the emblem was lost, but it would never be forgotten as the symbol of King Loki, ruler of all the Nine Realms.

In the center of four concentric circles, red, white, and blue, a five point star shone forth.

Once many centuries ago, a king had fallen in love with a man. But that story was the stuff of legends, and Loki had brought all legends to an end.

The peoples of the Nine Realms took up this cry:

Here and now, forever, long live King Loki.