Loki had known for years that he wasn't meant to be king.
He wasn't stupid. Anyone, even an idiot, could tell that Odin Allfather clearly favoured Thor above him. The golden prince, and the favoured brother. It was clear, even if Thor was not the eldest, that the throne would have gone to him. He was tired of Asgard, tired of Odin, and most of all, tired of Thor and his idiotic friends.
It had really been salt in his wounds when it was announced that Thor was to be crowned and turned King. Loki bit down his protests, for he knew that whatever he said would be lost in the congratulations for his elder brother. He bit his tongue, for once in his life, because he knew whatever consequences would arise from Odin's ridiculous decision would only backfire and harm him, Thor, and Asgard. Loki had once held love for Asgard, but now, he lost all affection for the place he once called home. He wasn't meant to belong here, and he knew it.
Odin didn't care about him. If he cared, he would stop people ridiculing him. If he cared, he would truly treat him and Thor as equals. If he cared, he wouldn't let Thor treat him like a servant, rather than his own brother.
No, it was not Thor's fault, not really. Thor was naive, and easily beguiled. He wasn't stupid, but sometimes acted as though he was. And everyone around him only encouraged him. He cared not for politics and peace, but only for war. Ever since he was a toddler, he had sworn he would wipe out all of Jotunheim. Odin did nothing to discourage this.
Loki sighed at the memories, placing a hand against his forehead and pushing back his unruly black hair. He hated his hair, hated how it made him look soft, harmless, innocent. Thor's hair was long like his, too, but it framed a masculine and strong face, which all the maidens swooned over. No matter how he styled his hair, he still looked masculine and every inch the Thunder God that he was. Loki's face was thin, feminine. His body was lean, and though fit with muscle, because he was slim and tall he did not fit Asgard's standard of masculine beauty. His hair was seen as another sign of his weakness, of how he was more of a woman than a man. If his seidr and magic did not make him a woman already. All the nobles, warriors, and lords said this about him. So he slicked his hair back, donned too-big armour, and tried to become something he was not.
He wondered, where did he learn to lie so perfectly?
He hated himself, hated Odin, hated Asgard--and though he sometimes could not bring himself to admit it, his jealousy for Thor had slowly turned itself into dislike, and then hate. Perhaps the only ones he did not hate venomously within Asgard were the innocent common-people, most who were abused and ignored by the nobles and royalty just like he was, and Frigga, his mother, the only one who had bothered to believe in him and love him and teach him how to wield seidr to defend himself.
He was snapped out of his thoughts by the sound of loud knocking on his door. "Enter," he called.
A servant stepped into the room and bowed deeply to him, before saying, "The coronation begins soon."
"Thank you," Loki acknowledged the servant with a small nod of his head, and the servant returned his gesture of respect before backing out of his room and closing the door. Loki sighed at the reminder, and told himself not to do anything rash. Perhaps he hated the fact that Thor was getting the throne, especially when he was still so young (older than Loki by years, but not by mind), naive, and bloodthirsty. Loki did not doubt that he would run Asgard into the ground within the first few years of his ruling, and Odin would be forced to take the throne back (though at that point, Loki did not know if Thor would still be willing to give up the throne. Yes, Thor loved Asgard, but he also loved ruling and power).
He had, at first, contemplated allowing Frost Giants into the castle and convincing them to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters. He had learned to cloak himself from Heimdall, so the Gatekeeper would not be able to know he was the one who had done it, and the Destroyer would kill the Frost Giants before they could become a real threat. However, he had hoped that the small attack would throw Thor into a battle frenzy, which would then show Odin how irresponsible and unfit for being King he was.
But as he thought about the plan, he couldn't help but feel guilty. Thor's only crime was being arrogant and guileless, and that was more Odin's fault than his own. If he had been raised right, taught right, given classes and reprimands like Loki was--perhaps things would have turned out differently. But Odin had made no attempts to do anything of the sort.
Did he want Thor to fail as King? Or did he expect Loki to hold his hand the entire time, dutiful, like one of the stupid advisers that Odin always had around him? Still working in the shadows, making sure Thor did everything right, but getting no recognition for it? Perhaps Loki would have done it in the past, but now, he was not the same. He would not do it. Let Asgard fall, he thought savagely.
Besides, all of Asgard expected him to mess up Thor's coronation. Everyone would suspect him if something went wrong.
So, he decided to do nothing. He would play his role as the playful but innocent brother, who was slightly jealous but otherwise happy for his elder brother and soon-to-be King.
And then, he decided, he would leave.
And never come back.
It was time for Thor to become King.
After donning his helmet, armour, and cape, he had strode in to meet with Thor. They had exchanged pleasantries and short conversation, in which Loki almost felt sorry for wanting to leave Thor and this wretched realm behind, but his guilt quickly faded as Thor told him, "Some do battle, some do tricks." At once, he remembered why he had wanted to leave in the first place--Thor didn't care about him. Sure, he never told him outright that his seidr made him womanly, but it was implied, and Thor showed that he had no respect for an 'unhonourable' way of fighting.
He wasn't accepted in Asgard, not even by his own brother.
After their pleasant chat (which had quickly soured, though Thor was unaware of it happening) Loki had gone on ahead at Thor's request and lined up to the side, where the other (snobbish, though he would never admit it to their face) nobles and lords were standing, as well as the Warriors Three (Thor's best friends, which Loki fondly referred to as the 'Idiots Three' much to their and Thor's chagrin) and Lady Sif, who was perhaps the best warrior Loki had ever seen. Though he hated her, he would admit that at least (and of course, he delighted when any of the male warriors were defeated by her and then became very huffy and aggressive).
After a while longer of silent waiting, Volstagg leaned over and prodded Loki gently. Loki sighed and turned his face slightly, placing the most menacing glare on his face. The warrior was completely unaffected by this, and instead muttered under his breath, "Where is he?"
Loki looked around and realized, of course, Thor was not yet present. He sighed. "He said he'd be along."
Sif leaned in slightly, listening carefully to their conversation, before scoffing and shaking her head in realization. "He wants to make an entrance," she explained, after Volstagg's confused, "What?" Loki, and apparently the rest of the Idiots Three, realized this also and shook their heads as well.
"Well, if he doesn't show up soon, he shouldn't bother. Odin looks like he's ready to feed him to his ravens," Fandral said ominously.
Loki laughed a little at this, though it was intertwined with bitterness. "I wouldn't worry. Father forgives him. He always does."
No sooner had he said this did Thor emerge from the back of the hall, and the crowd was thrown into a frenzy. He grinned as strode cockily through the entrance, as the crowd roared and cheered with fevror. Thor spun and flourished Mjolnir in his hand, scarlet cape flapping behind him with his movements. Sif muttered, "Oh, please," as Odin glowered from the head of the hall, his one eye blazing with disapproval was he watched. Loki winced at the look on the old king's face--if Thor was lucky, he would still get crowned today. If he wasn't... well, let's just say even without Loki's interference, he was guaranteed some sort of anger from the Allfather.
Thor finished his showy entrance and then turned to face the king and queen, a triumphant smile on his face. Frigga gave him a look (a look that still made Loki's heart flutter as though he were a small child again, touched by the tenderness of a mother's love, before remembering that kind smile was not directed towards him anymore) but Thor merely grinned back. Odin stood, slamming Gungnir against the ground. The sound echoed through the hall, and the crowd quieted instantly. It was so silent that one could hear a pin drop.
Odin began to speak, and it was at that point that Loki could no longer bear to listen to the words.
His heart beat strangely quickly, and his skin felt alarmingly warm. He thought he'd prepared himself for this, mentally. He had known his entire life the crown was meant for Thor, not for him. So why did standing here, listening to Odin's words (which were now just mumbles in the background) still so painful? Why could he not bear to allow himself to listen to it? He briefly closed his eyes, before opening them again and focusing on Frigga. His mother. Maybe if he just kept staring at his mother's eyes, he could get through this.
"Thor Odinson, do you swear to guard the Nine Realms?" Odin asked, and Loki heard this. He gritted his teeth, knowing the answer.
It was no. Thor would not guard the Nine Realms, but then again, neither had Odin. They only guarded Asgard. What of the other realms, that were struggling and dying? No, there was only Asgard. Only the golden realm.
"I swear," Thor proclaimed, and Loki almost wanted to scream, Liar! How ironic. He was the god of lies, not Thor.
But then again, he had not exactly earned the title. He hadn't been born with it. He was given the title, by Odin. Thor was the same. He was given the title god of thunder, god of lightning. He was given the title golden prince, heir to Asgard, the firstborn. Loki was given the titles the dark prince, the god of lies and mischief, the god of chaos. They were not the same. One was golden, one was tarnished iron. It was clear to see why Odin had found it so easy to distribute titles, as though they were little toys for the princes to play with.
Some do battle, some do tricks. Some do battle, some do tricks. Some do battle some do tricks some do battle some do--
The words repeated his head, like a mantra.
"Do you swear the preserve the peace?" Odin boomed.
"I swear!" Liar, liar, you're a liar. Don't pretend as though you won't wage war on Jotunheim as soon as that crown touches your head. Thor had always hated the Jotnar, as did all of Asgard. Loki had not understood their burning hatred, but he found no reasons to like the Jotnar either. Their blue blood marked them as monsters, Asgard said, and if Asgard said something you had to agree. It had been a long time since anyone had ever seen a Jotun, because everyone found no reason to speak with them or care for them.
"Do you swear to cast aside all selfish ambition and pledge yourself only to the good of all the Realms?"
"I swear!" Thor roared, his voice loud and confident.
"Then on this day, I, Odin Allfather, proclaim you King."
As soon as the words had been uttered, Thor grinned and raised Mjolnir into the air truimphantly (Loki couldn't help but find this stupid--he hadn't won a battle, had he? Though perhaps that was just his bitterness speaking). The crowd roared and cheered and leapt to their feet to celebrate the new king--for though Thor cared little for them, they probably hoped he would make a better king for the common-folk than Odin had. Which was ridiculous. Thor only cared for generals, warriors, and how many maidens he could bring back to his bed.
How many maidens he could keep as his slaves.
Loki hated that part of Asgard most vehemently. He had tried to abolish the slave trade within Asgard more than one time, but none of the nobles had supported him. Who didn't want slaves? As long as you had money, you could get one. Prisoners of war, criminals that had been beaten down, commoners from other realms, and even some Asgardians that had been kidnapped right off the streets--the slave trade didn't discriminate. If you had money, you could buy yourself out of the trade. You could bargain, and you could pay their ransom. If you were poor (which most of the kidnapped were, since it was either nobles and lords or Asgardians in poverty) then you would be sold. If you weren't sold, the slave traders would keep you for themselves.
Sure. A golden realm. Though only for the rich.
Perhaps Loki would not have hated it so much, or resented Thor and Odin for supporting it, if his best friend had not been kidnapped and sold. He had once been just as selfish as the others. But when he'd made a friend who was from the poverty-stricken streets of Asgard, he had been devastated when she'd been captured. Odin had ordered him not to pay the ransom (though Frigga had tried to pay it for him, she was also stopped) and his best friend was then sold and gone from him forever. Until he found her in Thor's bed.
He'd been reasonably upset about it, and destroyed many things until Odin forced him to stop. And then Loki was punished.
His punishment? He'd had to watch as Odin executed his best friend right in front of his eyes. Thor had helped, too--used Mjolnir to electrocute the poor girl until she was dead and unseeing. The unhonourable death had ensured she would not see the light of Valhalla, either. Frigga and Loki had been helpless to stop it, though the two of them had refused to speak to Odin for months later. Frigga had kept her silence for a few years, in fact. Loki had ignored Thor for an entire decade before he'd started speaking to the elder again. Though, he'd never forgiven either of them.
He inhaled shakily, wanting to tell himself that Thor had grown from that. And that Odin had forgotten his cruelty from back then. But he knew it was not true. He sometimes disguised himself, and wandered into less fortunate areas. He still saw slaves. He saw the trade, still flourishing. Once, he'd seen Thor and his band of misfits there, too. He knew that Thor had not grown. He was still the same.
"Congratulations, brother," Loki called with a grin as he clapped Thor on the back, hiding the feelings that burned inside of him. His bitter anger and his disgust would have to wait, for now. "Let us celebrate!"
Thor winked at the younger brother. "Of course," he boomed, and then waved a young servant girl over and fetched two goblets of mead in his large hand. "Drink, brother!" He passed a goblet of beer to Loki, who smiled and took a sip. He hid his grimace at the flavour and pretended to look happy for Thor as the oaf chugged the drink. "Bah," he said, and threw the goblet at the floor. "Another!" he called. "And a tankard, not once of these tiny goblets! Do I look like a woman to you?" the others around him laughed at his joke, already on their way to being drunk.
Loki stood, his chest twisting as he forced his emotions down. "Have fun, brother. I think I will retire to bed a bit early today," he said, barely hiding the acidic tones in his voice. "Celebrate well." With that, he stalked off.
As soon as he entered his room, he sighed and fell onto the bed, bringing one hand up to rest against his eyes. As he lay there, he clothes shifted and changed form--going from armour into a loose, emerald-green tunic. The celebrations had tired and bored him both, and it had only confirmed that he wanted to get out of this dreaded place.
But where would he run off to? He would be found eventually--if not by the previous residents of the realm, his family. There was no known realm to him that was currently uninhabited, and he also did not want to spend the rest of his life floating around in the Void or in total isolation. But there was no one he could trust not to weed him out.
Illusions were an idea--he could disguise himself as an elf or something, but he knew that Alfheim also was home to many of the strongest magic-users in the universe and they would likely be able to pick up on it, no matter how well-woven his illusion was. As well, keeping up such a complicated illusion would only be draining. He was naturally gifted in shape-shifting, but he didn't want to live the rest of his life as some sort of black-furred, green-eyed animal. And the cooler animals always were more draining to become, like a dragon. He had tried it once, and nearly collapsed from the effort.
Of course, that had been in his youth. He was much stronger now. Though, unless he locked himself permanently in that shape with a binding curse (which he did not particularly want to do) then he would eventually have to shift back for a breather. And that would make things far too complicated.
He sighed, and looked around the room. With a wave of his hand, he summoned a small leather bag--he had, with the help of Frigga, enchanted this bag a long time ago to be an infinite pocket where he could fit an infinite number of things, no matter their weight or size. It would be perfect for storing his books, his potion materials, his weapons... and then he realized--so many things, and yet there was very little he could bring to remind him of his family. He settled for a charmed necklace that Frigga had gifted him, and the book his brother had bought him (though he hadn't put much thought into it, it was simply contained with fairytales that every child was told. Still, it was a book, and it was from Thor, so Loki would keep it).
He then realized he had nothing from Odin. His mouth tasted sour again. Of course. No gifts from Odin, his father. Most of the items he owned were from Frigga, anyway. Odin had only gifted him years of anger and hatred, and deeply hidden feelings of bitterness and jealousy.
He hung the charmed necklace around his neck, looping it once so it wouldn't hang too loosely. The charm was of his signature daggers, crossed. Frigga always put so much thought into her gifts--in fact, she had been the one who had brought him to Vanaheim to ask the dwarves to craft the daggers he used all the time. He wasn't sure what the charm did, but Frigga had told him to use it when he was in perilous danger. She told him, with a smile, that though it only had one use it would save him no matter the circumstances.
He hoped it were true, and that it would protect him even when he left Asgard. Left his mother.
He emptied his room, shoving everything into his bag (besides his bed, desk, and bookshelf, of course). Once he'd basically stripped his room clean, he closed the bag with a wave of his hand and a magical spell, preventing anyone but him from opening it, and then shoved it under his bed. Another wave of his hand and he draped his room in an illusion that ensured no one could see the difference. He leaned his head back and thumped it against the headboard, feeling entirely too exhausted for someone who was a semi-immortal god.
For now, he would just sleep.
Tomorrow, he would leave.