There was a soft knock at the door. “Loki, it’s time.”
“I’ll be along in a minute,” Loki called back, blinking sleep out of his eyes. Softly, Hogun left, and Loki fell back onto the down-stuffed mattress, groaning softly. Thrym’s arms curled around him, warm and pale. Loki’s Jotun husband, who looked as Aesir as Loki himself.
Loki found himself preferring his husband’s natural form. No doubt his comrades would count this a step in the right direction. “Time to face the day,” Loki said resignedly.
“Urrgh,” Thrym groaned.
“Morning sickness?” Loki asked, twisting around in concern.
Thrym snorted. “Something like. Your get is very active.”
“It’s only been six months,” Loki frowned.
“Jotuns come to term more quickly than Aesir. But I still have a good while. Come, you should make ready for battle.”
Yes. Battle. Loki’s mouth set in a grim line. Quickly he dressed, massaging his left leg before pulling on his breeches. It seemed fine. If he hadn’t known better, he’d have said the leg was his own.
“Leg feeling stiff?”
“No. But perhaps I should have the Vanir medic take one last look at it. Wouldn’t do to have it go out from under me today.”
“..and end that spell, you look ridiculous.”
Thrym grinned, but let the spell fall away. He now matched the scale of the room, and instead of being of a height with Loki, was a good three feet taller.
“I will never understand why Laufey insisted on our marriage to cement the alliance.” Loki mused as he tugged on his boots. “Not,” he glanced up, “that I regret it.”
Thrym shrugged. He didn’t know why Laufey had seemed so shocked by the Aesir prince, it had been common knowledge by that time that Loki was in truth a Jotun, after all. But his king had stared at the sorcerer, long and hard, going so far as to descend from the throne and circle the foreign prince. And then, had pledged the full and unconditional support of Jotunheim (what remained of it after Thor) on the single condition that Loki bear a child with Thrym.
Thrym was not Laufey’s offspring, he was a general, trusted and competent, whom Laufey had appointed to inherit the throne, as both Helblindi and Byleistr had perished in Thor’s first attack.
“Good politics? Good breeding?” Those were the only theories Thrym had. “We don’t have so many sorcerers that we can afford to waste them. And as I am appointed heir, a magically talented child would only strengthen my line, as my talent with magic is meagre at best.”
Loki mused over this as he walked down the cold stone corridor. The hallways were empty, echoing. It had felt intensely unnatural at first, settling into a deserted Jotun castle as their main base of resistance. Now, the over-large architecture felt normal, even comfortable.
And the castle had areas large enough for the Vanir. That had been a surprise. Vanaheim had been razed by civil war long before Loki had even been born. Before Odin’s time, even. Their source of power had been lost, and was rumored to have been destroyed utterly, leaving the immortal Vanir to wither and rage in their death throes, fighting each other to the last.
Discovering a small handful of them on Midgard had saved Loki, Thrym, and Hogun’s lives, and the Vanir (or Cybertronians, as they called themselves) had joined their small group of rebels. Of course, some few had joined Thor as well, for the pure joy of destruction, it seemed.
“Ratchet?” Loki called as he reached the hall. The Vanir medic looked up from an intricate piece of machinery.
“Ah, Loki. Come in, come in.” Ratchet said as he stood up, and up, towering over even Thrym, who stood at Loki’s side. “Let’s have a look at that leg of yours.”
Loki submitted to the gruff attentions of the Vanir as Ratchet ran a scanner over Loki’s left leg. Unlike Odin, who’d lost an eye at the end of a successful campaign, Loki had been unlucky enough to lose part of his leg at the start of the rebellion. Ratchet and Loki had worked together to design a prosthetic for him. It integrated Vanir technology with Aesir magic, resulting in a smooth fusion between metal, energon, and synthetic material on the one side, and blood, bone, and muscle on the other. It even shifted into his Jotun form with him.
“Looks fine. Let me just calibrate this… there. Good as new. Better, even. Try not to get it damaged too badly,” Ratchet glowered.
“Of course.” Loki hid a grin. It was still odd, how little people here feared or distrusted him. Respected, yes. Cared about, that too. Believed in. He found that the hardest to fathom.
“Hogun will be waiting,” Thrym reminded.
Heading towards the war room where Hogun waited, Loki made a detour into a large room. A Vanir, Ironhide, sat with several metal plates removed from his frame as a human studied the intricate workings within. The human, Tony Stark, sat back frowning in concentration. Loki nodded to Ironhide.
“Making progress?” Loki asked.
“Yes,” Stark replied absently, arc generator glowing to match the Vanir’s eyes, “I’ll have the new prototype armour ready in in six days, and enough of them manufactured to outfit an entire damn company of marines within the month. That should give us a leg up with the damn Vikings,” he scowled.
Loki clapped Tony Stark on the back. “I’m glad you’re on our side,” was all he said.
Moving on, they came to the war room. Inside stood Hogun and King Youko of the Svartálfar. The Svartálfar, along with the Jotuns, were the backbone of the rebellion, though all rallied around Loki’s leadership. But the Jotuns had been defeated twice now, once by Odin, once by Thor. The Svartálfar were good warriors, but not numerous, nothing compared to the forces of Asgard and Alfheim combined.
The humans were too weak to make any real difference, although with Stark’s help and the availability of Vanir technology, that might change soon. As long as Thor did not split his attention between Svartálfaheim and Midgard to destroy Midgard in a preemptive strike.
Loki had tried to prevent the war with the Jotuns, not out of any feeling for them, but simply because Thor was doing it for the wrong reasons. He’d failed. And Thor’s thirst for violence had grown. “They must learn to fear me,” was a phrase that Loki learned to dread, prefacing as it did Thor’s more violent excesses.
When Jotunheim lay defeated, Loki had hoped that Thor would be satisfied, and for a while it seemed he was. But then Thor started to rumble about slights and insults from Alfheim, which turned to diatribes against the Alfar. In the end, Thor had set his sights on Alfheim. After all, they must learn to fear him, or they might try to attack Asgard. Loki had tried to talk him down, tried to get him to see reason. It seemed to work, and the situation calmed down.
At that time, there had been Jotun prisoners in Asgard, novelty slaves to amuse the conquerors.
That was when Loki had met Thrym. It was sad, in a twisted way, that Loki had recognized something in the unbowed back of the bloody, beaten Jotun that reminded him of all the good in Thor – the stubbornness, the strength, and when Loki’s heritage came to light, the understanding, the empathy. Thrym had even tried to talk Loki out of his raging fit, taking the vile insults Loki leveled at him with equanimity. Then, Loki had struck Thrym, a telling blow. The sight of Thrym’s blood on the floor had made him falter. Thrym had gotten back up, stood ready for the next strike. Loki had had no more blows to give.
In the end, Loki had gone to his father seeking answers. Odin, who was still weak, barely recovering even after his Odinsleep, had not been shocked when Loki revealed his Jotun form. Loki had waited while Odin gathered his strength, ready for the truth.
Then Thor had barged in.
Loki remembered vaguely trying to defend himself, but Thor must have gotten in the first blow. He recalled his father standing, blocking Thor’s way. He had a vivid flash of Odin crumpled against a wall. More fighting. Guards. Hogun. Then nothing, until he woke up on Midgard, Thor hot on his trail.
There had been a battle, Thor fighting in earnest, Loki trying to survive. Loki would have died, had it not been for Thrym and Hogun. Then the Vanir had come, and the full force of the Midgard’s military, tilting the odds in favour of Loki’s group. Barely.
Odin was dead. Loki was named murderer, traitor, and exile.
Thor declared war on Alfheim not a week later.
Loki stood between Hogun and the Svartalfar king, studying the table in the middle of the room. Around them hung several map depicting the different realms. Right now, the table depicted part of Svartalfheim – its north-eastern island where the main Aesir incursion was taking place, and the closest mainland area.
Svartalfheim was a curious realm, with curious customs. For instance, the ‘king’ they’d sent was a woman, dusky of skin and with vibrant red hair. When she’d arrived in Jotunheim with her entourage, Loki had discreetly inquired if she’d like to be addressed as ‘queen,’ which had amused her and offended her advisor, a tall, pale man with a severe expression.
‘King Youko will be fine, or just Youko, since we’ll be fighting together,” she’d replied, which had drawn a disapproving noise from the advisor. “Rebellions tend to do best without all the formalities getting in the way,” she’d ended, glancing back at her advisor with a mostly suppressed grin. It sounded like she had some personal experience in this area.
Her party consisted of her painfully earnest advisor, some warriors(or possibly generals), a diffident young man who might have been a secretary, and King Youko's demons. The advisor, who seemed entirely without a sense of humour, had returned to Youko's kingdom (Kei, if Loki remembered right) to rule in her absence. The warriors, too, had returned to help with the plan even now unfolding on the island kingdom of Tai. The young secretary was around somewhere in the Jotun keep. And Youko’s demons were never far, for they apparently lived in her shadow when not needed.
Loki had his own demon, he reflected wryly, although he hadn’t known that Hogun’s Svartalfar pedigree leaned in that direction.
Loki had only a passing, academic knowledge of Svartalfheim; they were ruled by twelve kings, each keeping to his(or, apparently, her) lands. Some Svartalfar were immortal, some were not, and they had a truly odd way of conceiving children. He had never personally been there before Hogun had arranged the meeting with three of the kings, including Youko. The other two kings had been older, taller, and male.
“Why did they send you?” Loki found himself asking now. He’d wondered before, but had never been rude enough to ask flat out – Svartalfheim’s support was a boon, and they were not allies he wanted to alienate with a misplaced word. Youko seemed fairly easygoing though, especially for a king.
“Instead of a man, you mean?” she glanced at him.
“Er-“ Loki actually floundered.
She quirked her lips in amusement and looked back at the map. “There are several good reasons, actually. The island, here, is Tai,” she nodded at the island. “The king of Tai, that was the white-haired man, knows the land well, and he is a great general. Of all of us, he can arrange the defense of his lands the most effectively. En lies across the sea from Tai, so support for Tai in the form of troops and supplies comes from En. If Tai falls, En will be next to face the invaders, and so the king of En also remains. My kingdom, Kei, lies further south. So for now I can better afford to govern by proxy than they can. The kings of En and Tai also have more experience with the logistics of fighting large-scale, drawn out actions. My experience with war is mostly rebellions and a coup.”
“A coup,” Loki echoed, raising an eyebrow at her.
“It’s a long story,” she shrugged with a wry twist to her mouth. “Also, I didn’t grow up in Kei. I grew up on Earth.”
“Earth. Midgard?” Loki asked, surprised.
“Mm, and not too long ago. So while I don’t have specific knowledge of how Tony Stark is doing what he’s doing, I have a good framework of reference for what he’s doing, and how best to integrate anything useful for joint efforts between our peoples. And that’s why I’m here.”
Loki nodded thoughtfully, and was about to inquire further when Hogun’s head jerked up and he rose to face the doorway. A second later, Loki heard the footsteps running down the corridor. They all met Sam Witwicky in the hallway, boiling out of the war room to hear the news.
“It worked!” the human yelled. He was covered with mud, holding one arm close to his side, and had a spectacular bruise covering one side of his face. He’d come from a battlefield and it showed. “It worked, they got the extra reinforcements sent in from Asgard! No sign of Thor!”
Loki, Thrym, Youko, and Hogun dashed past Witwicky, making for the large hall that was their entry point into the branches of Yggdrasil. This was earlier than they’d expected, but Loki cursed himself for wasting time with dallying and idle chatter.
Loki heard the weight and cadence of Hogun’s stride change behind him as the Svartalfar changed from Aesir to youkai, but paid it no mind. They hit the hall at a full run, passing the yellow Vanir, Bumblebee, where he sat slumped and leaking energon. The crack in space breathed impossible chill into the room, and another Vanir waited impatiently at its edge.
“Slow as a fraggin’ Autobot! Move it fleshbags!” the black Vanir roared, red optics blazing. Mounted on her wolf-demon, Youko shot past them, plunging into the gate ahead of them. Barricade threw himself in after her at a dead sprint.
Hogun pulled up between Loki and Thrym, black and red fur covering his solid bulk, snout somewhat like a wolf’s, and teeth impressive enough to make any Aesir warrior think twice. Here was Hogun’s true form. “ON!” Hogun called, his voice echoing in their heads, and Thrym caught hold of Hogun’s pelt, mounting in mid-stride. Another beast who could have been Hogun’s double matched Loki’s speed. Hyouki, Hogun's brother. Loki didn’t have to be told, digging hands deep into the black fur as he launched himself up onto the demon’s back.
The two demons plunged through the crack in reality, wickedly hooked claws digging deep for purchase as they sprinted over Yggdrasil’s branches. The demons navigated with a sure sense of direction, tracking the Bifrost’s signature back to Asgard. Fearlessly they leaped from branch to branch, something even Loki would balk at. Youko and the Vanir, Barricade, were pulling away, outpacing Loki and Thrym as planned.
The journey seemed interminable, and Loki put his head down, eyes closed, to center himself. It was all or nothing now. They would succeed, or be doomed utterly.
In a pulse of light they appeared in the Bifrost chamber and Loki dismounted. Sounds of battle reached them from outside. The Svartalfar king and the Vanir were keeping Heimdall busy, drawing him away from the chamber. Loki looked out, gauging how far away the battle was.
After a moment he nodded at Thrym, Hogun, and Hyouki. The three nodded back and Thrym wrapped his legs securely around Hogun’s middle as the demons flitted out of the chamber and down around to the underside of the crystal pier. Running along underneath the connecting pier, the two demons and Thrym made for Asgard proper with all speed.
Everything was going well so far, but now came the hard part. With the Bifrost, the Aesir armies were simply too mobile, and the rebellion couldn’t hope to match them for sheer moving power, even if they had the forces to move.
And so, the bulk of the remaining Jotuns and as many Svartalfar warriors as could be gathered had engaged in a campaign of misdirection and illusion. Loki’s plan being to trick the Aesir and Alfar into thinking they faced a superior force on Svartalfheim. Earlier today, a false offensive had gone into action. It was suicidal to pledge all their strength in a single offensive, holding nothing back. But Thor had no way of knowing that it was their entire force, and the Jotuns' natural magicks would obscure Heimdall’s sight enough that the guardian would have no way of getting an accurate count.
Faced with a sudden attack by a force that seemed large enough to be a serious threat, Loki had predicted that Thor, never one to do anything by halves, would send all Asgard’s remaining strength to Svartalfheim to squash the opposition. He’d been right.
Thrym’s suggestion, too, had been a good one. With Asgard left all but undefended, and Hogun's speed and knowledge of the palace's secret ways, Thrym would have the best opportunity he’d ever get to try it. The success of Thrym’s plan was up to him and Hogun, but Loki couldn't spare any worry for his husband.
With Youko and the Vanir drawing Heimdall away from the Bifrost chamber, Loki would have his chance. There was nothing Loki possessed that could destroy the Bifrost, but he knew someone who did. Thor.
Heimdall was almost out of sight now, far down at the very gates leading onto the pier where it started out over the water.
It was time. Loki pulled his helmet out of thin air and settled it over his head, its horns rearing up and back in a graceful curve. Next, he closed his eyes and called Gungnir to him. His father’s spear felt heavy and solid in his hand. His hand tightened around the spear, and he took a deep breath.
Loki stepped out of the Bifrost chamber onto the crystal pier. Gungnir struck the crystal with a deep, solemn knell.
“Thor!” Loki called, face upturned towards Asgard. “Brother! I am here!”
Loki’s words died away without an echo. He breathed deep. As king, Thor would have heard Loki’s challenge easily.
Still, for the first time in over two years, Loki stood within sight of Asgard’s glittering golden towers, and he gloried in it. Overhead, the galaxy turned, glittering stars suffusing the nebulae around them with fantastic colours. All around him the waters roared as they hurled off into nothingness. He was home.
And there, streaking towards him through the air, Mjolnir leading, was Thor.
Landing on the pier, Thor stood facing Loki, face blank.
Loki took in the sight of his brother, dressed in his armour and ready for battle, helmet now gold instead of silver, but otherwise the same as it had been on that day of Thor’s coronation. When his brother had been brash, and joyous, and – though he’d rather have died than admit it – nervous.
Loki’s throat grew tight, and his heart ached. “Nice feathers,” he said, barely keeping his voice steady, remembering how they used to tease each other about their respective helmets.
Thor’s expression hardened. “Do not pretend, Jotun, to be my brother.”
Anger rose. “Well, forgive me for having had no idea about being a Jotun. Father didn’t exactly take me aside and let me know aaall about being a monster. In fact, it wasn’t until you brought your conquered slaves to Asgard, the better to show off how strong and fearsome you are, that I even met a Jotun.”
“So, that was when you replaced my brother. How long did you torture him before you killed him?”
Loki gaped. Words actually failed him for a moment. “Re- replaced? Is that the fairy-tale you’ve concocted now? Come on brother, even you can do better than that. Show some imagination, oh, wait, I forget, that was always my job.”
“My brother is dead,” Thor hefted Mjolnir.
“It’s me!” Loki yelled, rage and helpless frustration pushing the words out, “It’s me you thickheaded ham-handed oaf! There is no other Loki!”
Thor’s face grew red, his jaw set stubbornly. “You expect me to heed your lies after you killed my father, monster?”
“I didn’t kill Father!!” Loki yelled, frustrated beyond tears, but here there was the barest room for doubt. He didn’t actually remember Thor striking Odin down, he could only infer it from the chaotic bits of memory he retained from the fight, when Thor had chanced upon him in his Jotun form as he sat by Odin’s side. He wouldn’t have- He was sure... but if it had been an accident…..
Thor was twirling Mjolnir. “I will see you dead, Jotun, and avenge my father and brother on all your kind.”
Thor attacked, Mjolnir swinging in with an overhand blow. Loki brought Gungnir up to block automatically, but still the force of the blow drove him back into the Bifrost chamber, sending him tumbling over the low dais. Right, no more blocking, Loki thought muzzily.
Thor stalked into the chamber after him, grim as death. “I see now that the only thing you Jotuns understand is force,” Thor said grimly, picking up Gungnir from where it had clattered to one side. As Loki pushed himself up, stunned and breathless, he saw Thor slot Gungnir in, activating the Bifrost.
“What- what are you doing?” Loki wheezed.
“Opening the Bifrost to Jotunheim.” Thor left Gungnir in the dock, Mjolnir whirling again in quiet menace. “Now, die.”
This time, Loki didn’t try to block, as he had nothing to block with. Doing his best not to be where Mjolnir was, Loki drew Thor back out onto the pier. Loki called on his old standby, his throwing knives, but he knew that without Gungnir, he was in trouble. And Thor was fighting in earnest now, not talking as he lunged, swinging Mjolnir with deadly intent. Still, Loki had to try and carry out his plan.
Loki, too, was silent, avoiding Thor’s attacks. Again and again Mjolnir struck the pier with ringing blows, Thor growing ever more enraged.
Behind them, the Bifrost roared ominously. Loki dodged left, Mjolnir flying past him. Why would Thor open it to Jotunheim? Loki twisted out of Mjolnir’s way as it returned to Thor’s hand. And why was he leaving it open? An overhand strike, leaving another dent in the pier. Why-
“You’ll destroy Jotunheim.” Loki realized, stopping dead. “Thor!”
Mjolnir struck him dead in the chest, sending him skidding and tumbling away on the pier. It was madness. The resistance had no base close to the Bifrost site – no need to make it easy for Thor’s forces – but Thor did. There was an outpost there, a garrison manned by Aesir and Alfar to secure the Bifrost site. That had to have been destroyed already, and the damage would be spreading. It would spread until it consumed the entire world.
“Thor, you can’t, you can’t-“ Loki rolled onto his back, trying to get his breath back.
“Why not?” Thor asked as he placed Mjolnir square on Loki’s chest.
A wind whistled by them, air swirling towards the roaring, searing nexus of light that the Bifrost chamber had become.
Thor laughed, long and loud, exultant. “All your tricks and lies, and what good are they to you now, creature?” He had to yell to be heard over the deafening roar. Thor took a few steps backwards to better appreciate his handiwork.
Loki lay, stunned. Mjolnir pressed him like a mountain, driving the breath from him. Jotunheim and everyone on it would be destroyed. The Vanir and their humans. Stark and his assistant. The Jotuns who had fought alongside Loki. Laufey who had pledged his support. Even the timid little Svartalfar scribe. On Svartalfheim, thousands more would die for naught, for Loki’s brilliant plan.
And it would be all his fault.
Loki half groaned, half sobbed, hands going to Mjolnir’s handle. The leather was warm under his palm, damp from Thor’s sweat. Loki wrapped his hands around the handle of the hammer he had never been able to even shift – and raised it up.
It was like carrying a sun. Awkwardly Loki rolled to his feet, moving around Mjolnir more than with it and not daring to let it touch the ground for fear that he wouldn't be able to lift it a second time. The mighty hammer almost dragged his arms out of their sockets, bowing his back and straining joints and muscles until Loki thought his chest would collapse as his arms frayed and snapped. But he couldn't stop, driven by some madness that others might call loyalty, and his legs staggered forward bringing him closer to the Bifrost chamber. He dared a glance over his shoulder and saw Thor, dumbstruck and staring, unable to comprehend what Loki had just done, and was still doing.
Arms trembling, Loki let the wind sweep him towards the Bifrost, cloak whipping around him. The pier was pocked and crumbling from Thor’s previous blows, but it yet held.
Loki bit back a sob, feeling the crumbled crystal beneath his boot. Mjolnir was raised over his head, although he had no memory of lifting it and could no longer feel his arms.
Behind him, through the scream of wind and the pounding of his own blood in his ears, he thought he heard Thor yell, but it was too late to stop him, and Mjolnir came down with the weight of a thousand worlds on the weakened, cratered crystal.
The pier shattered. All the energy being fed into the Bifrost through it, backlashed.
Mjolnir was ripped from Loki’s numb hands, and both he and Thor were flung up, up and back. And then down again. Thor caught hold of the ragged edge of the pier, but Loki had been further out, and tumbled into open space, hurtling down after the Bifrost chamber.
“Grab on!” echoed in Loki’s head, and he landed on fur, hard. Desperately he clutched at Hogun’s black mane with deadened fingers as the Svartalfar demon ran through the air as if on land.
Thor’s roar of cheated rage echoed out over the waters as Hogun turned and made for land. Loki kept his face buried in Hogun’s fur, utterly spent.
“Over here, I’ve found a crack into Yggrdasil!” Hyouki’s voice came. “Hurry!”
Loki managed to turn his head. Thrym was there, holding tight to Hyouki. Clutched to his chest like life itself was the Casket of a Thousand Winters.
Behind them, he could hear the Vanir swearing harshly. Then the chill of the space between worlds enveloped him as they slipped through a crack in reality, and it was almost more than Loki could manage just to hold on.
The Bifrost was destroyed, the Casket retrieved. They were victorious this day. But all Loki felt was empty.
Chapter 4: Epilogue
“You will be sent to Midgard, if you give your word of honour not to escape, for the remainder of the war.”
The young Aesir warrior, expression already mutinous, sprang up at this and stood just behind the bars, vibrating with anger. “And how should we give our word of honour to one who knows not the meaning of the word, traitor!”
“Peace, Ragnar” the older warrior said in a gravelly voice.
“No, I will not-!”
“Peace, I said!”
The two Aesir stared at each other, until finally the younger turned away in disgust.
Behind them were another Aesir, unconscious from blood loss but likely to survive, and two Alfar, one with a crushed leg and arm whose prospects for survival were poor, one with only minor scrapes.
These five were the only survivors the rebels had been able to find at the Bifrost site on Jotunheim. They had already been tended by healers and given food and drink. Now, Loki stood before them, offering them parole, and half-expecting them to turn him down.
The older warrior looked back at him, gaze measuring. Loki had given no explanation of what had happened to destroy their garrison, and didn’t intend to. Loki returned the warrior’s stare evenly.
“And, that is the only restriction? That we not escape?”
Loki nodded. “We do not mean to torture you, but we cannot have you return to fight again. Do you accept?” Please accept, he thought silently. There had been enough death already, he had no wish to kill his own people.
“We will consider it, prince.”
It was as good an answer as he could hope for, Loki supposed. He nodded and left the prisoners to their discussion.
Loki made his way out of the building and once outside, paused to take in a deep breath of frozen air.
“There you are,” Thrym rumbled. “They’re missing you at the celebration.”
Loki just shook his head and reached out for his husband. His head barely reached Thrym’s upper chest, but he’d gotten used to that. Thrym returned the embrace silently. It was more weakness, and more strength, than Loki had ever experienced in Asgard.
How far I’ve come, Loki mused, thinking not of distance, but of his heart, and if only Thor could have come with me. “I almost can’t believe we all made it back.”
The Svartalfar queen had taken a few blows from Heimdall, but she had some access to healing magic, and she'd recovered quickly. The Vanir had taken some rather severe damage to his arm and part of his torso, but their medic assured him that Barricade had recovered from worse.
There had been, unavoidably, severe casualties taken in Svartalfheim, but even there it hadn’t reached their worse-case scenario figures. Still, it had not been a small price to pay, and Loki vowed to honour their sacrifice, and the victory it had brought them.
Thrym ‘hmm’d in agreement.
The wind howled low and mournful around them, and Loki let his eyes close. Finally he said into the silence. “I don’t want to kill my brother, Thrym.”
They stood a moment longer in silence, and Loki heaved a sigh. “I sometimes think I could have prevented all this, you know,” he finally said, barely loud enough for Thrym to hear.
Loki had a momentary debate with himself. He’d never told anyone this before, after all. Part of him was afraid it might sound, well, silly.
“Before Thor’s coronation, I had this hare-brained idea. I’d open a small path from Jotunheim to Asgard, let a few Jotuns in, and time it to interrupt the ceremony. Looking back.. it would have gotten several people killed, certainly including the Jotuns. But… would that have been a small price to pay? If I’d needled Thor into trying to break Father’s edict afterwards, gotten Thor in trouble for trying to go to Jotunheim…” Loki trailed off.
Thrym rumbled contemplatively. "The Norns weave in mysterious ways, sometimes."
Loki snorted derisively. "Now you're just trying to sound deep. Most probably, my juvenile flailing about with politics would have won a few days' grace, if that. More likely it wouldn’t have changed anything"
"Perhaps. But I think things turned out pretty well, regardless," Thrym said, hugging Loki tighter for a second.
Loki smiled a secret, soft smile into his husband's chest. " Mm, if you say so. Now, I believe you mentioned a celebration?” Loki continued lightly, drawing back from the embrace.
And side by side, the two princes went to join their companions.