Dinner was quiet at the Odinson house, well more quiet than normal. Thor was still boasting about how he won the high school football game for his team, Asgard Avengers, while Odin listened avidly to the play by play replay even though he had been there at the game. Frigga was too busy feeding Balder to pay any attention and Balder was only an infant so he didn’t really understand the working of the sport.
Loki wasn’t so lucky, though. He had to sit in retched silence and pretend he cared about Thor’s touchdowns and passes. No one cared about Loki’s track meets or football matches when it was the season, but then again he played the “wrong” type of football that everyone liked to call “soccer”. Loki hated calling it that. The words felt like lead on his silver tongue.
The Odinson family never seemed to make it out to any of Loki’s events. No one made it to one of his debates even when he made it to Nationals. None of them even blinked an eye when he disappeared for one week to go to a Dungeons & Dragons convention to put his mage against the toughest opponents and dungeon masters the world had ever seen. They didn’t care that he was in the National Honor Society or that he had been elected Student Council President.
That was because Loki wasn’t Thor. Odin was hard to please and Loki tried not to let his misgivings with their father effect his and Thor’s relationship, but it proved difficult. At every turn, Thor was casting a shadow miles long that Loki would get lost in. Loki didn’t care if he was the golden boy of the family, that wasn’t him. Still, he would have liked a little recognition, at least one “You did well, Son”.
Trying to count his blessings, Loki reasoned that he was king at school and that had to count for something. With his word, a reputation could fall into ruins. No one dared cross him. If they did, he made them utterly regret it. That had been his actual campaign platform, “Vote for me or else you will experience torment on a level you have never felt before, plus I promise a better quality of pizza in the cafeteria.” Loki had won by a landslide.
Thinking of school reminded him that he had promised to meet Victor and Thane after dinner. He didn’t like either of them, but they were useful. Thane was powerful, strong, and a bit pigheaded. It was easy to manipulate him into thinking he was controlling Loki when really it was the other way around. Victor was more intelligent and cunning. He understood that their friendship was based on Loki’s sole need to rule the school, which Victor didn’t mind as long as it meant he was able to stick it to Reed Richards every once and awhile.
“I’m going to Thane’s,” Loki announced. “Don’t wait up.”
“I have a PTA meeting,” Frigga said. “You have to babysit Balder.”
“When did I agree to this?”
“You’re the only one free.”
“And Thor isn’t?”
“Thor is going out with the team to celebrate their victory and I am driving,” Odin replied. “You can’t only think of yourself, Loki.”
Loki growled low in his throat. “You could have asked before deciding for me.”
“I will call Jane,” Thor intervened. “She will do us this favor and won’t charge!”
Odin grumbled. He didn’t like that Thor was friends with Jane. She was in college and ten times smarter than Thor. Jane also filled Thor’s head with ideas of life outside of Asgard, so of course Odin disapproved.
“Then it’s settled,” Loki said, getting to his feet, allowing them no other options. “Have a good evening. I hope you enjoy each of your social events.”
Turning on his heel, Loki quickly exited the room before a fight erupted. No matter what he did, he could never be the perfect son. There would always be something more they required of him. That’s why he no longer bothered trying to appease any of them.
A quick call to Thane and Victor had them meeting at the pizza parlor where the football team was throwing their party. Loki did it merely because he wanted to piss off Odin and knew there would be no consequences in public. Odin wouldn’t risk breaking the public illusion that they were the perfect family. Also, Loki did what he wanted. No one could tell him otherwise.
Entering the parlor, Loki could see that a few of the jocks had arrived early. The pizza parlor stayed open late after game nights, knowing that there would be a few hundred hungry kids wandering around. Unlike Thor, many didn’t have to go home first to eat dinner or else run the risk of hogging all three extra-large Meat-Lovers pizza that Couch Coulson ordered for the team.
Loki scanned over the seats until he spotted Victor and Thane sitting in a booth in the far back. Victor seemed disinterested, fiddling with his silverware with his mind on other things. Thane was the exact opposite, watching the crowd, literally salivating. It made Loki wonder if he had eaten before coming to meet him.
“Order us a pizza,” Thane commanded as Loki slide in next to Victor.
“Excuse me?” Loki chuckled.
“I’m hungry and I demand you order us a pizza, nerd.”
Thane thought he was above Loki because he didn’t participate in any of the academic activities that Loki did. He wasn’t jock either, playing no sports of his own. The best word Loki could use to describe Thane was “bully”. While most would object to being friends with one, Loki found it best. Thane wouldn’t harm Loki or try to mess with the status quo as long as he believed Loki was firmly under his thumb even if this could be farther from the truth.
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll mess it up? Being nowhere near as intelligent as you, the great Thane, I fear I wouldn’t get any of the toppings right and that would displease you. My nerdy self would feel dishonored if I allowed that to happen.”
“You’re right,” Thane grunted. “You’d never understand my complex order. Give me a minute. I’ll be right back.”
Sliding out of the booth, Thane went to order them a pizza. Loki laughed. He felt very pleased with himself. Nothing lifted his spirits like tricking Thane into doing his dirty work.
“One day he’s going to figure out you’re using him,” Victor said, though it didn’t sound like he actually cared.
“Well, let’s hope it’s after I get my pizza.”
Quiet settled in between the two of them. They really had nothing in common. Victor was in a majority of the science clubs and would probably be hanging around with them if he didn’t completely hate the other members. It was a mutual respect that kept Victor and Loki friends. They both respected that the other was a complete and utter evil mastermind.
“Loki!” someone called from across the room. “Hey! Loki! Hey!”
Tony Stark, one of the jocks who had arrived early, was waving frantically at him, trying to get Loki’s attention. Loki didn’t like Tony much. The two of them were cut from the same cloth. Both were rich, sarcastic geniuses that didn’t have to try hard in school. The only difference between the two of them was that, unlike Loki, Tony used his powers for good.
Sitting with him was Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff. Steve wasn’t a surprise as he was rarely ever more than two yards away from Tony. There were several rumors going around about their relationship, one or two of which Loki helped start.
However, Natasha did surprise Loki. The rumor going around was that she was a lesbian with Sif because since the two were starters on the football team. While it would be juicy if it were true, Loki knew for a fact that Natasha was as straight as they came because of a little deal they had concerning rumors being spread about her teammate, Clint Barton.
“If you want my audience,” Loki said to them, “then you’ll have to come here and talk to me.”
Steve gripped Tony’s arm as if urging him not to go, but Tony shook him off and approached. The rest of them followed closely behind. They seemed to be treating Loki as if he was some kind of demon. Honestly, Loki could get used to that.
“Let me introduce you to my Model U.N. club,” Loki said to Victor. “I’m Norway. Steve is America. Natasha is Russia. And what are you again, Tony? Sweat shops in China?”
“Indonesia,” Tony corrected.
“Hm, to me it doesn’t matter where they are, I still think they’re wrong.”
Tony laughed. “Good one.”
“You thought that was funny?” Loki asked while raising an eyebrow. “Okay, what do you want?”
“We want payback against Johnny Storm.”
Loki stared vapidly at Tony. Johnny Storm was Steve’s twin brother. They had been separated at birth by their parents in a Parent Trap-esque scenario. The two were polar opposites. Johnny was brash, rude, and a womanizer. Steve was quiet, thoughtful, and respectful. It honestly gave foundation to the whole nurture verses nature argument for sure.
“And what has he done to deserve you coming to me for revenge?”
“He’s been marring Steve’s good name!”
“Don’t give me that! You’re the biggest gossip in this school!”
Pausing to think, Loki thought about some of the rumors he had heard around school. There was one that came to mind, but he had dismissed it as fantasy as there was no possible way it could be true. The rumor was that Steve had begun sleeping around with anything with a skirt, led them on, and then dumped them a few weeks later in increasingly ridiculous manners. Loki had taken this with a grain of salt, though seemed plausible now that he knew Johnny was behind it.
“If we’re thinking of the same rumor, I don’t see how anyone would actually believe it,” Loki said. “You’re so wholesome it’s disgusting.”
“When one of the girls tried to stab me after practice,” Steve said, “Natasha said it would be best if we came to you.”
“You’re like the Godfather,” she explained.
“I see,” Loki said. “Well, as this isn’t my daughter’s wedding day, you do realize that my help comes with a price?”
“Name it,” Tony said. “We want Johnny ruined.”
“Ten secrets about your teammates. No small ones and none about Thor. I already know all of his, so don’t think you can cheat your way out of this.”
“No, that’s not right,” Steve objected. “Tony, I told you this was a bad idea.”
Steve’s hand was on Tony’s arm again, trying to lead him away. Tony remained firm, scanning Loki’s eyes to see if he was telling the truth, if ten secrets were all that it would take to make this go away. Loki nodded, trying to silently confirm Tony’s suspicions.
“Yeah, alright,” Tony said. “Let’s go.”
Forcefully, Steve led Tony away just as Thor was arriving with Odin. Loki was glad for that. He would hate for Odin to know that his son was essentially the devil, making backwater deals and bringing out the blackness in people’s hearts.
The next Monday at school, Tony approached Loki at his locker. It was third period and Loki was running late for his French class, but he made the exception when he saw how desperate Tony looked. Pure joy always ran through Loki when he saw someone at the end of their rope.
“Ten secrets,” Tony said while displaying a folded piece of notebook paper his middle and index finger was holding. “Good ones, too. Stuff people would kill for.”
Loki reached for the paper, but Tony pulled his hand away. “Promise me,” he continued. “Promise me that by me doing this, it all goes away.”
“I promise,” Loki replied.
Tony tossed the piece of paper at Loki’s head, but Loki caught it effortlessly from midair. Opening it, Loki read over each secret, grinning at the metaphorical dirt smeared across the page. He did notice that there weren’t any secrets about Clint, meaning Natasha must have helped write this.
“Are we good?”
“Unbelievably so,” he purred. “Now if you’ll excuse me. I have someone’s life to ruin.”
Loki was only slightly aware of the ringing class bell as he closed his locker then wandered off. He would find an excuse for why he didn’t attend class later. For now, there was planning to be done and rumors to be shared.
A week later, Loki was finally finished planning. He was unsure about what direction to go. A man like Johnny seemed untouchable. Any rumor, he could easily turn it into a positive. Loki hated such men. It made his job all the more difficult.
Loki had decided on some simple exposure. Tony didn’t need something complicated and anything else Johnny would be able to turn around. Loki hated that he had to approach this with practicality. It would be so much easier to just tie Johnny naked to the flag pole, but he would most likely enjoy the attention.
Carefully, Loki leaned against Johnny’s locker, waiting for him to get to school. From what Loki had heard, Johnny usually arrived a half hour early because he had to get a ride from his sister, Susan, as he had crashed his own car over the summer and his parents refused to buy him a new one. This worked out for Loki, though, as it gave him plenty of time to weasel a confession out of him.
“What are you doing against my locker?” Johnny roared as he turned the corner and saw Loki.
“Whatever I please,” Loki answered with a grin.
“Great, now move. I’m not having a good day.”
“Oh, then it is about to get even worse.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Take a wild guess.”
Johnny stared at him for a minute before realization crossed his face. He began pawing at Loki, searching his clothing before he uncovered the small recording device. A look of triumph crossed his face, smug in the fact that he got one over on Loki.
“Thought you could record me confessing, huh? Well, I’m not that stupid.”
When Johnny pressed the stop button to stop the recording, a pin pricked his finger. Loki should know since he put it there.
“Or you actually are incredibly stupid and just injected yourself with a mild sedative that I stole from my father’s medical supplies. That’s just one option. I could be wrong, but seeing as you’re quickly losing consciousness, I don’t think so.”
Johnny stumbled limply and Loki caught him, holding the broader man with ease. Loki took the recording device then easily put it into his pocket before he began to help walk Johnny away from the scene of the crime.
“Now, this isn’t how I normally do things, I’ll just have you know. Normally, drugging would be a last resort, but this is a special occasion.” Loki sighed. “I had to ask myself. How does one hurt a man protected in armor? And I found the answer was that you remove the armor first.”
Loki dragged Johnny to the nearest supply closet then tossed him in. Normally the janitors used the main hall closet until after the last bell, so Loki wouldn’t have to worry about Johnny being discovered before Loki was ready. Though as a safety precaution, Loki planned to hide him behind some unused bags of sawdust.
“Now, this should wear off around lunch time then the fun is really going to begin. However, to clarify, I just want to say, nothing personal. This is all just business and if you like your pranking experience and need my services in the future, feel free to come to me at all time.”
Johnny groaned in response then fell unconscious finally. Loki was slightly concerned that he had overdosed him, but that quickly vanished from his mind as he thought of the next part of the plan. Tony was going to love this part.
The bell for lunch rang and everyone filed out quicker than they would if there was a fire. Loki waited outside Tony’s chemistry classroom. He tapped his foot impatiently as Tony took his damn time to leave the room.
When he finally spotted Tony, Loki grabbed him by the shoulder. Tony yelped and jumped in surprise. It almost made it worth the wait, but not really.
“Come on,” Loki said, dragging Tony away.
“But if we go that way, we’ll be at the end of the line!” Tony complained.
“Yes, but we’ll be at the front of the line for the show.”
“Show? Prank finally done?”
“Follow me and find out.”
Tony did, following Loki until they were on the other end of the lunch line, watching kids fight and scramble to get in before the food ran out. They all paused though when the door to the storage closet opened and Johnny walked out in a confused daze.
The student body burst out laughing. Loki had dressed Johnny in a lacey, red bra and matching underwear with a banana sticking out of it near the crack. He had also done Johnny’s make-up and put on a blonde wig on him for good measures.
Suddenly drunken sobbing began to come on over the loud speakers and a voice said, “Steve is so much prettier than me. I’m so jealous of Steve. That’s why I had to sleep with all those women and blame him, because he’s just so handsome! All the women flock to him. I bet he could even get Susan. Damn it. I, Johnny Storm, am in love with my sister, Susan. I think about her every time I screw some girl.”
Johnny’s eyes widened as the message replayed. He quickly pushed his way through the crowd of laughing students, probably intent on finding a hole to crawl in. Loki couldn’t help, but feel a tiny bit of sympathy for him. Maybe Loki went too far, but then again, it was only business.
“How’d you get him to say that?” Tony wheezed as he was laughing too hard.
“I didn’t,” Loki confessed. “That was Steve. I thought turnabout would be fair play. Steve happened to agree.”
“If you ever get a fraternity, call me for pledge week.”
“You’ll probably be the pledge.”
Tony stopped laughing for a fraction of a second as the words set in, but the image of Johnny in the bra set in again. Loki was such a goddamn bastard, but everyone loved him for it. That was why he was the king and was always meant to rule.