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One Grandchild, To Go, Please

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Loki was many things, Odin mused to himself. Son, sorcerer, prodigy, hero, and villain. Recently, everything that he touched fell apart, as his son descended deeper into the anger and madness that threatened to consume him if not halted forthwith.

The one good thing that Loki had done, however, was to give Odin many delightful grandchildren.

Odin walked to the stables with a bounce in his step to see his first grandchild, the noble eight legged steed Sleipnir, whose speed and strength was unmatched in the nine realms. He found the large stallion grazing calmly on some fresh grass, and bounced over.

“What ho, grandson,” Odin greeted his baby boy.

Slepinir looked up and inclined his equine head elegantly. “Grandfather,” he replied in the Aesir tongue. Odin beamed. How smart his grandson was to pick up both Allspeak and the Aesir language in addition to his own equine tongue.

“I have come to speak to you regarding your ascension to the throne one day.”

Sleipnir sighed. “Grandfather, I have previously indicated that I do not wish to rule. Besides, my body will not fit on the throne.”

Odin frowned. “Pish posh. I know full well that you have an Aesir form. We just have to work on your various...limbs,” he said, gesturing at the eight legs. Currently, they manifested in Aesir form as four arms and four legs. “But your mother is a skilled sorcerer, he will surely find some way to disguise them.”

Sleipnir smiled. “But I do not wish to rule. It is in my nature to be free, and explore. Besides, Uncle Thor has not yet spawned his children. Surely, they would be the next in line?”

Odin looked troubled. “That is a grave concern of mine, my most regal grandson. I fear that Thor...cannot rouse his little warrior.”

Sleipnir snorted. “Oh for Bor’s sake, of course he can. Stop worrying grandfather, these things take time. Not everyone wants children with the certainty that mother has.” He bent his head to look Odin in the eye. “Let us go for a ride. It will help take your mind off of these petty issues.”

Odin smiled tremulously. Ah, what an empathetic and caring grandchild he had! “As you say, grandson,” he said, mounting the great steed. “Just be sure not to go so FAAAST!”

Sleipnir let out a hearty neigh as he sped off through the golden realm, his grandfather clinging on for dear life. At least he would be distracted from his woes, even if it was for a little while.

***

Try grumbled as he lugged the corpse of a giant bilgesnipe and trudged behind Odin, who was clearing a path through the dense and dark forest.

“For Bor’s sake, your majesty,” Tyr grumbled, “the boy is grown, he can hunt for himself. I am sure that he does not appreciate you coddling him so. Prince Loki has the right idea with parenting his children. He has a *healthy* amount of attachment.”

“And mine is unhealthy, General Tyr?” Odin asked archly.

“In short, yes.”

Odin rolled his eye and continued to hack through the Forest of Horrors. It was where the most horrific beasts were spawned, truly the stuff of nightmares. It was steeped in magic, and only a being as magically powerful as Fenrir the Great Wolf could control it and its denizens within.

The Great Wolf was revered across the nine realms as the Guardian of the Forest, who kept the nightmares and horrors from being unleashed into the universe. But to Odin, he was still his itty bitty pup who would play in his lap and wag his tiny tail when Odin snuck him roast boar at dinner.

Suddenly, a path cleared to reveal the gigantic wolf, his grey pelt and wise, green, eyes gleaming. “Grandfather,” he said lowly, bending to nuzzle his snout against the old man. “Such a pleasure. What brings you here?”

“Fenrir,” Odin grinned toothily. “Can an old man not come to coddle his wonderful grandchild? See, I have brought you your favorite - dead bilgesnipe.”

Fenrir wagged his tail gaily. “Many thanks, Grandfather, and General Tyr. I shall devour it with glee.”

“How are the nightmare creatures, then?” Odin asked.

“They are well,” Fenrir replied. “They respond well to the schedule of haunting that I have devised. They haunt the dreams of the unworthy and cruel across the universe.”

“So clever,” Odin praised, “you would make a fine king. And before you dispute it, I know that your Aesir form looks fine, unlike Sleipnir.”

Fenrir threw his head back and howled with mirth. “Ah Grandfather, you have still not given up on that idea, eh? Have you so little faith in Thor’s manly abilities?”

“I do not know what to think,” Odin seethed. “He claims to be virile, but has yet to prove it! He claims to not even want children at the moment! He seems to think that Loki may yet have at least one Aesir shaped child that he can take under his wing!”

“Perhaps if mother deigned to sleep with an Aesir, then it may be possible,” Fenrir said. “But mother is powerful, and impregnates himself with the wild magic of the universe, which seeks to bring forth its own physical manifestations via his womb. ‘Tis a strange relationship they have.”

Odin sighed. “Mayhaps Loki will fall in love with an Aesir man yet.” He looked at Fenrir. “Are you truly happy here, my pup? Grandmother and I miss your happy presence in the palace.”

Fenrir inclined his head. “I shall make it a priority to visit you,” he promised. “It has been a while since I have seen Sleipnir too. A mind link is simply not enough, at times. I miss our discussions on the nature of wild magic.”

“My clever boys,” Odin grinned, petting Fenrir’s flank. “So wise and wonderful.”

And for a while, all was well in Odin’s world.

***

Odin had waded into the ocean up to his waist before he heard a voice call for him.

“Sir! Please, stop!”

Odin stopped and turned to see a truly heroic man cutting through the water, his every muscle rippling with his innate nobility. This, then, was the Captain of America, Thor’s shieldbrother, Steven Rogers.

“Sir, I cant allow you to walk into the ocean! Please, come back to land. Whatever it is, taking your life is not the answer!” Steve shouted righteously.

Odin rolled his eye. “For Bor’s sake. I am not looking to die, simply to talk to my grandson.” He straightened and adopted his most regal pose. “I am King Odin, Allfather, ruler of Asgard, husband of Frigga, father to Thor and Loki, and grandfather to many brilliant grandchildren.”

Steve paused and bowed. “I’m sorry for not recognizing you, your majesty,” he said. “But please, won’t you come back to land?”

Odin sighed and teleported both himself and Steve back to the of the beach, where the rest of the Avengers were approaching.

“Steve, where are you going? The Holiday Inn’s that way,” Tony whined. “And I refuse to swim in the ocean, when I can have a nice, temperature regulated, chlorinated swimming pool.”

“Oh my god, you’re such a rich bitch,” Barton complained.

Odin observed the Avengers, who were clearly on vacation. “Guys, this is Thor’s father, King Odin,” Steve hissed. “Be respectful to the elderly!”

“Greetings, Avengers,” Odin boomed. “I intend not to take up your time, but to converse with my most mighty grandson, the Midgard Serpent, Jormungandr.”

At that moment, the seas parted to reveal an enormous white sea serpent with green accents speeding towards the shore, its fanged mouth parted in a goofy smile. “Grandfather!”

Clint screamed.

Odin grinned and waved. “Jormungandr! My sweet pudding child!”

The snake reared out of the water to its full, formidable height and hissed. “Grandfather, you have come to visit me, what a blessed day it is!”

Clint continued to scream.

Odin petted his scaly grandson. “My sweet snake child,” he crooned, “how are the waters of Midgard treating you?”

“It is unseasonably warm, Grandfather, and the humans flood it with their waste. I tire of rescuing my aquatic subjects from beer can rings and killing the cruel whale hunters.”

“My poor, overworked child,” Odin said, his heart going out to his youngest. “I shall ask your uncle Helblindi if the oceans of Jotunhiem will be more welcoming.”

“Nay, Grandfather,” Jormungandr said. “I have a responsibility to my denizens of the deep. I shall continue to rule the seas and destroy the humans when they seek to interfere in our realm.”

Odin nodded solemnly. “Such wisdom at such a young age. Truly, grandson, you are wise beyond your years.” He turned to the Avengers. “Which of you speaks for your planet?” He demanded.

Everyone pointed at Tony like the gits that they were.

Odin loomed over Tony. “You will see to it that the oceans are cooled down once more, Stark,” Odin boomed. “I shall not have my grandson suffer unseasonable warmth. Your planet will switch to clean energy at once, or I shall have my most evil son Loki force it upon you.”

“Mother will come to visit? What joy,” Jormungander hissed. “He is always so happy to see me. I wonder who he will destroy this time.”

Tony gulped. “Er, sure thing, your kingness, sir,” he said hurriedly. The last time, Loki had made sure that his invasion had deliberately failed, as a part of a convoluted scheme to rid himself of the Mad Titan’s influence. This time, when helping his son, he would have a reason to go all out.

Tony pulled out his phone. “Pepper! Announce that Stark Industies will cut ties with all companies that don’t swirch to clean energy! Yes, we have the monopoly on clean energy. What? We’ll become even more uber rich? Excellent!” Tony cut the call and beamed. “Once again, I have saved the world and become more rich in the process! Huzzah!”

Romanov tactfully did not point out that it was technically the threat of Loki that had saved the world.

Nevertheless, Odin was appeased, and had turned back to chatting with Jormungandr about the burdens of the throne, and how he was afraid that Thor would never perform his manly duties and impregnate someone.

“If only Thor were as aware of his duties as you and your brothers are,” Odin sighed, shaking his head.

Jormungandr bent down to slither up against Odin. “Fret not, Grandfather, for mother may yet grow heavy with another child,” Jormungandr said hopefully. “Mayhaps this one will even have the right appendages to sit on the throne!” Jormungandr said, keenly aware of his lack of an ass. “But for now, I shall take you on a sea trip to alleviate your worries.”

Odin hopped on top of Jormungander who surfed away on the waves, leaving the Avengers watching with awe, and Tony mentally calculating his new revenue. It was a good day.

***

“I hate coming here,” General Tyr grumbled, shooing the spirit of a happy dead dog away from him. “Why in Bor’s name does she live here again?”

“My most beautiful granddaughter is the goddess of death,” Odin reminded him, “and she is duty bound to remain in her realm and preside over the souls of the worthy departed. If only she could have sat on the throne of Asgard,” he rued.

The air in front of the pair suddenly took on a shimmer, and Hela, Goddess of Death, Queen of Niflheim, Daughter of Loki, manifested in her half dead-half living glory. Tyr flinched at the woman, who would have been beautiful had not half of her body been dead as a dodo.

Odin, however, was overjoyed. “My most gorgeous granddaughter!”

He was also half-blind for a reason.

Hela smiled. “Grandfather, how lovely! And General Tyr,” she said, noticing the uncomfortable man behind Odin. “What brings you to my realm?”

“Just checking in on my little angel,” Odin beamed. Hela smiled, lighting up the dead half of her face.

“I have sorely missed your company,” Hela admitted. “I often yearn for the company of my mother and siblings, and of course, my grandparents. And Thor.”

“Bah! Thor,” Odin grumbled.

“Still hasn’t done the deed, hm?” Hela surmised sympathetically.

“Not with any tangible result, at least,” Odin sniffed.

Hela patted his shoulder. “Rest easy, grandfather, for there is yet time. Why don’t you visit with some of your deceased family? I am sure that they would love to see you.”

Odin brightened. “I haven’t seen my mother in some time,” he admitted.

“Great-grandmother Bestla is lovely,” Hela said. “Always trying to feed me things.”

“She makes the best roast boar,” Odin smiled. “Come, let us find her,” he said, taking off in a significantly better mood.

After all, family was one of the few great joys in the universe, and Odin loved his to bits.