"Please, if you would just reconsider-"
A sigh. "I said no."
"Father!" Voice cracked and desperate, fists clenched. "Please, they are my-"
"No. I said no, Loki, and that is final."
Loki looked between both Odin and Frigga, the former looking exhausted while sitting upon the golden throne and the latter having tears in her eyes but still not looking at him. The terrible feeling of being absolutely helpless made him feel so cold. Both of them, against him. Both of them, not willing to help him. Suddenly the unexpected hunting trip that Thor had been sent away on made much more sense. He would have come to Loki's defense.
…All this because of the murmurings of vain, cruel gods looking for someone to punish.
The black-haired god sucked in a shuddering breath and was grateful that the main hall was empty save for Odin, Frigga, the ravens Huginn and Muninn, and himself. He loathed feeling this weak and vulnerable. Swallowing his anger with all the willpower he had left, he looked to Frigga. "Mother, please, they are only children-"
She finally looked up with an anguished expression, eyes sparkling with unshed tears. Her hand rested on Odin's shoulder while the other twisted her skirt in knots. "I'm so sorry, Loki. We have no choice. The prophecy-"
All that tightly controlled anger snapped from its leash at the word. "I do not give a damn about that forsaken prophecy!" Loki snarled, taking a step forward as his face contorted in anger. "They are just children, you have no right punishing them for something that has not even happened yet, something that- that may not ever happen!"
Frigga looked shocked at his outburst, but Odin merely looked even more weary. "Be glad that I was able to refrain the other gods from simply killing your children, Loki."
A sneer found its way on Loki's face. "Oh, you mean like they how killed their mother without a second thought?"
As expected, Odin said nothing and Frigga looked away sniffling.
It felt good, oh so good, to let the wild burning run through his veins, better than the frigid cold, and he saw no reason to stop.
"You say that by sparing them you took mercy on them, but is casting them out from their home, their family, not the same thing? Throwing Jormungandr in the waters of Midgard? Binding Fenrir with Gleipnir and casting him into the Midgard forests to be hunted by mortals? Casting Hela into the cold halls of Helheim? That is mercy?"
Odin sighed, just barely enough to be heard. "Would you question the decreeing of the Norns, my son? You heard the prophecy. They are set to bring about Ragnarok-"
Loki slammed his fist on his chest hard enough to hurt as his anger burned like fire. "As am I. If you must, then banish me as well, but do not separate them from me. Please. I do not care if you cast us into the hall of Helheim to never emerge again, or Midgard to live a mortal life. But- please. Do not separate me from my children."
The Allfather's face did not change. "I am sorry, Loki. It is already done."
All the anger and hate drained away to cold nothingness at those last four words.
It was not possible. Odin was lying. Loki had put runes and charms of protection around his room, spun from his own magic. And there was no sorcerer in the Nine Realms better than himself, not even the very mages that had taught him.
A bitter taste entered the trickster's mouth.
There was only one being who had the power to cancel out a particularly powerful rune: Odin.
Loki glared up at the throne at his father and let the Allfather see the betrayal and hate in his eyes before he was gone in a flash of green light.
Feet settling on solid ground again, the God of Mischief opened his eyes to the golden doors to his chambers. There was a deadly silence to the hall. The guards were gone, and he could not hear Fenrir's playful growls as he played with his younger brother or Hel's quiet giggling at her brother's antics.
With a moment of hesitation, he placed his hand on the cold doorknob and twisted it open.
And the first thing that Loki's eyes landed on was the empty golden cradle where his daughter had slept only hours earlier.
On Midgard, France, late 1600s…
A woman opened her door of their small cottage to the cool, dark night, a lit candlestick in one hand. She squinted, trying to see the source of the knocking.
Behind her, her husband asks, "What is it?"
"I don't know."
She stepped out further and pulled her husbands rough wool coat around her tighter. Her bare feet nudged something soft.
Bending down, she gently unwrapped the bundle. It was a small sleeping girl, perhaps a year old, with dark black curls and smooth porcelain skin wrapped in an exquisite black cloak.
The woman, Eloise, smiled as she brushed hair back from the child's face. "And where did you come from, little one?"
As she spoke, the girl's eyes opened sleepily to reveal beautiful clear blue irises.
It was only later when she was giving the small child a bath that Eloise saw two things that had been hidden earlier:
The first was the discolored skin covering the girl from the waist down. The beautiful white skin that covered her upper body turned to dark, almost-bruised looking skin at her thighs and continued to her legs and feet. And yet she gave no indication that the bruised skin hurt.
The second was the delicate golden chain hanging from her neck. It had been hidden by the girl's oddly fashioned tunic earlier, but as she sat in the bathwater warmed by the fire, it sparkled in the firelight. Eloise reached out to clasp the small locket and smoothed her thumb over the intricate patterns engraved in it. Like the cloak, it something that her and her farmer husband would never have been able to afford with the little money they owned.
Eloise was about to open the locket, but the large hand of her husband on her shoulder stopped her. He sighed, bending down to press a kiss in her hair. "Are you sure you want to keep this child?"
"She will be looked upon in suspicion because of the coloring on her legs. They will call her a demon."
Eloise pursed her lips, gently scrubbing the cloth across the girl's back as she splashed the water with a small, somber smile. "And you would leave her in the cold because she is different?"
He sighed again, realizing that his wife had decided to keep the child and was not going to change her mind. Kneeling down beside the tub like his wife, he asked, "What's her name?"
Eloise hid her small, triumphant smile as she reached for the golden locket again. Being careful, she slid her nail between the two folds and opened the locket.
Inside, engraved in a graceful writing was one word:
Present Day, Avengers Tower…
"Fury, we have a problem."
The director of SHIELD gave Steve Rogers a very pointed stare. "Oh really now? Well, what is it this time? Doom let loose Doombots on Central Park? Amora throwing a bitchfit for Thor? Loki painting a mustache on the Goddamned Statue of Liberty? What?"
Tony Stark leaned over to Bruce Banner and not-so-discreetly whispered, "Yeesh, bad day at SHIELD."
It was pretty impressive how lethal Fury could glare with only one eye.
Steve sent his own glare at Tony before clearing his throat. "Well, sir, it does have to do with Loki-"
Tony cut in as he leaned back on the leather couch in the main living room at Avengers Tower. "Thor had an epiphany today while Bruce and I were discussing Norse mythology. In short, Loki has kids."
Fury gave them a blank look. Then, "Why in the world would you bother me to tell me that? We did the research, Stark, we know and we could care less."
"They're here. On Earth. Well, three of them, anyway."
The director paused a moment before leaning in closer to the camera. "Care to explain, Thor?"
The Asgardian that had been sitting unusually quiet the entire time finally looked up. There was a disturbingly somber look on his face. "Centuries ago the Norns foretold of a new prophecy. It spoke of Ragnarok, the end of the Nine Worlds, being brought upon by Loki and three beings of chaos. Out of fear, the other Aesir begged my father to cast out Loki's children, for they were looked upon as monsters on Asgard due to their lineage and appearance. He cast them to Midgard and forbid Loki from seeing them, where they remained ever since."
Fury closed his eye, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You're telling me that when your father took out the trash, he dumped them here? On Earth?"
Thor was up in a flash, eyes hard and cold. "How dare you speak of my niece and nephews in such a manner. They were merely infants when they were wrongly judged-"
"You said it yourself, Thor, they're set to bring about the end of universe," the director snapped, cutting off the Asgardian. Sighing, he sat back in his chair. "So we've got the spawn of a lunatic super villain running around Earth doing God-knows-what?"
As Bruce talked quietly to Thor, trying to get him to calm down, Tony nodded with arms crossed. "Yeah, I'd say that pretty much sums it up."
"Great. Wonderful. Fan-fucking-tastic. Gentlemen, if you'll excuse me, I have to make a few calls. Agents Barton and Romanoff should be pulled in from their current mission and back in New York by tonight. Be prepared to be called out immediately."
With those last parting words, he cut the connection.
In the tense silence that followed, Tony looked from each of his team mates grim faces and grinned. "Oh, come on, guys, cheer up. I think he took that rather well, don't you?"