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it's dark in a cold December

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"There are things more important than blood," Odin never said.

"I saw a child in a danger, an innocent on the battlefield, an infant I could never harm," Odin never said.

"I brought you home because I could do nothing less, as a man and as a king," Odin never said.

"I raised you as my own and I grew to love you," Odin never said.

"You are my son in everything but blood, and I love you," Odin never said.

"You are not a monster, nor are your birth people - propaganda and fear grew into legends, and I tried to keep such filth from you," Odin never said.

"I am proud of you and I love you," Odin never said.

.

"Loki," Odin says, looking down at the war criminal who has attacked three realms. "What have you to say in your defense?"

Loki is silent, head held high and meeting Odin's eye.

He is found guilty of all charges and sentenced to solitary confinement until he repents or Ragnarök, whichever comes first.

When he disappears from a cell meant to sap all magic, only Odin, Frigga, and Thor are not surprised.

.

"You have a gift," Odin never said.

"You must learn to judge how much strength goes into each spell, to marshal your resources," Odin never said.

"You are stronger than I ever was, or your mother," Odin never said.

"Magic and cunning are just as important as strength of arms or forthrightness," Odin never said.

"Asgard will need a level head to balance your brother," Odin never said.

"I am proud of you and I love you," Odin never said.

.

"We should have told him centuries ago," Frigga says, head turned from Odin. "I should have silenced all talk of the jötnar as beasts and monsters."

Odin's eye is closed, head bowed.

"Get out of my sight," Frigga says, and silently, Odin goes.